ZIGGY

Sprawls across our double bed as though it is her own

(A habit started early and never quite outgrown)

Adorns the kitchen table in posture like a sphinx

And though that’s unhygienic, that’s not quite what she thinks.

No-one dares chastise her and any naughty doing

Is added as a talent to the others she’s accruing.

We even took to spelling out certain words she knows

Are other dogs this clever?  Some may be, I suppose.

This dog is really special.  I know that she can feel

When someone has the lonelies, for up to you she’ll steal

And give you just a little lick, a subtle blink of eye

“I understand your problem” is the message she’ll imply.

It sort of makes me comfy to have a dog around

The unimposing presence that with humans isn’t found

You can’t get cross or cranky when a canine cuddles up

The world would be much better if it bought itself a pup.

1984

JUNK

Why do I keep tarnished souvenir spoons

Limp sheets of music of never played tunes

Dolls of my Gran’s with their cracked waxen faces

Shelves full of books that my Kindle replaces.

Portraits on walls with unfashionable frames

In sepia tones and of unrecalled names

Albums of photos assembled with care

So easy right now to just digitally share.

The lamp from Mao’s China we carted along

To find them already for sale in Hong Kong

The rug called flokati we purchased in Greece

That still smells of sheep with its long tangled fleece.

Suspicion runs deep that my flawed DNA

Keeps putting my home into wild disarray

In which case, consoled, this most probably means

The mess just occurs ‘cause I’m wearing these genes.

1984, revised 2018

MY MUTTERINGS – A Traveldogue

Day 1
SYDNEY TO ETTALONG

My Chief of Staff left early by train to put arrangements in place for my State Visit to the Central Coast later in the day. I heard later that she had strategic negotiations with the Event Coordinator over a lavish lunch of fish and chips at the Ettalong RSL Club.
Some food envy here, as I do like flathead, and would have enjoyed a portion of matured leftovers wrapped in a soggy paper serviette and served from the bottom of her handbag in a day or two’s time. As occasionally happens.

However, I will move on…
Mid afternoon I set off from Barkingham Palace in a current model BMW on the the back seat of which my Chauffeur had spread a clean beach towel for my sprawling comfort. The pillow I had requested was firmer than necessary, but I DIDN’T complain as my sharp sense of smell determined that there was a block of Lindt mint chocolate within this medium sized Esky, and I’m partial to my minuscule after-dinner portion served cool.

On arriving in Ettalong in the early evening my Chauffeur, the Event Coordinator and my Chief of Staff patted and licked each other enthusiastically then entrusted me with minding the limo while they visited the Ettalong Bowling Club to select my gourmet dinner. The service was a little slow I have to admit but the meal was excellent when it arrived, well worth the wait. It makes me salivate just to tell you this – it was sautéed bison. Though they told me it was veal, I know a toothsome piece of well hung bison when I’m served it, so satisfying to get one’s canines into. No vegetables, thankfully, and they thoughtfully had added a side of selected remnants of a savoury crumbed item with tasty gravy.

I spent the night at the Event Coordinator’s own impressive residence. She had even laid out the Green Carpet Grass for my grand entrance, and placed my OWN bed alongside hers. I’ve heard The Queen of England travels with her own toilet seat, but even She doesn’t get to take her much loved aromatic one metre square futon.
Feeling very content with the way things have gone so far on this trip. A brisket bone thawing on the back seat would have been a nice touch to make my journey from Sydney to Ettalong less arduous but hey, this travelling with a Standard Poodle is all new to my staff.

Day 2
ETTALONG TO OLD BAR

Around 5am I had a good stretch, then passed some silent wind to gently rouse my Event
Coordinator. She had omitted to show me the bathroom facilities last night and I was more than ready for a long squatted pee on that vibrantly green synthetic turf outside her residence. She dressed quickly for this occasion in an ankle length pink chenille gown with loosely knotted matching belt. She really didn’t need to get so formally attired for this relatively brief outing, but it was appreciated anyway.

I broke my fast satisfactorily with triangles of Vegemite toast, thanked my Event Coordinator for her sterling efforts in making this visit seamlessly pleasant, and deliberately didn’t mention that I had personally autographed her slippers during the night. She will get such a pleasant surprise later when she puts them on and sees how nicely I reworked their decorative pom-poms and inner soles. Much like Banksy might.

I was collected by my Chauffeur and my Chief of Staff, who by the way, I had personally selected because they seem to work so well together. They then took me to visit a dear younger friend, Beau Palmer, at his nearby lakeside villa. He’s a lively chap, taking flying lessons actually, see pic. He has a Butler of such high order that Beau allows him to closely cohabit at night with total disregard for his own personal hygiene.

A delightful morning tea had been prepared in my honour, then we took our Staff for a gambol along the lakeshore. They unfortunately didn’t make the most of the opportunity to roll in fresh puddles and chase slow pelicans as Beau and I did. Their loss. We had even allowed them off our leashes during this highly pleasurable excursion.

Well, I have to say Beau’s lakeside fine abode eclipses anything my imagination might have conjured up about George Clooney’s Italian pondside shack. I wouldn’t have minded pooping by to check out those Nosepresso-scented kennels, but, as I’m reluctant to fly (confinement in a chilly metal tube careering through Space versus elevated back seat position in a well grounded silver Beemer, go figure) it is not going to happen in this life. I do believe in reincarnation though, so karma-dependent, I maybe will find myself there in the future.

Next stop to pee was on the weeds out front of a Smacka’s Speedy Eats at Bulahdelah, which was also a convenient location for the staff to replenish my recyclable plastic lidded tureen with scrummy leftovers. Which I of course planned to save for later. Delayed gratification, I work on it. The aroma from that one third of a grilled teriyaki chicken wrap was torture though but I still abstained for a full ten minutes before computing that this form of martyrdom was not drawing the attention I had hoped for, so I just wolfed down that damn delicious chook while no one was looking.

For the rest of the journey to Old Bar I have to admit I dozed. My staff checked on my needs a few times, but I am not not a needy sort of poodle really, unless I’ve o’deed on running water in the park after a ball game. Sometimes then its hard to know when to stop. When your preferred liquor is on tap it can be hard to resist having another pint.

As no further pee stops were deemed necessary for any of us, when we reached the Boogie Woogie Beach House I assured them that I was still continent so they went on ahead to liaise with the manager about our accommodation arrangements. I was privileged to be allotted the alfresco verandah where my own futon and paraphernalia could be installed, while my Staff were to lay sentry indoors, poor things, in a shared bed.

As an act of solidarity I indicated by repeatedly pawing the door separating us that I could not possibly pull rank on them like this. As there was inadequate room for their cumbersome elevated futon on my airy patio I insisted on bringing mine inside to join them in their air conditioned space as an act of selflessness and friendship.

While they arranged more leftovers for my dinner, I again minded the limo which had been parked conveniently close to our shared quarters. It’s the least I could offer to do, and meant I could keep an eye out for local mongrels. I should add that the Pavarotti pizza residuals were lip smacking good. What’s not to like about crispy salami and melted cheese with a touch of anchovy on a thin crust.

Day 3
AROUND OLD BAR
The day started poorly with my Staff being evicted from Boogie Woogie Beach House. I did overhear grumblings about breached demarcation lines. Species discrimination is a slim possibility but at least pelt colour did not appear to be the big issue.

We all rehoused nearby at much more appropriate lodgings from my perspective. I would have to say it was the ultimate in shabby chic. I’d heard that ‘50s original scuffed linoleum flooring was de rigeur in the latest high end kennels. I warmed to The Look immediately.

I encouraged the Staff to take a drive out to Manning Point and sample their famous locally grown oysters. Can’t say that molluscs are my cup of bone broth, but they certainly invigorated my Chauffeur and Chief of Staff. I discretely shut myself in their
ablutions room on our return to lodgings and put my paws over my ears.

Day 4
OLD BAR TO COFFS HARBOUR
A picture speaks a million words. Do I look happy or not? Not only was there a welcome sign out for me at the Toreador Motel in Coffs Harbour, but attached
to the key to my suite was a gift wrapped packet of my favourite
biscuits. Does not get much better than this.

Day 5
COFFS HARBOUR TO BELLINGEN
My Staff have arranged another State Visit for me, this time I am to stay overnight in the home of the La Principessa Kirsty e Il Princepe George della Bello. They live as sumptuously as I’d expected and of course have arranged alfresco daybeds, warmed human laps and bowls of my favourite bevvie, adorned with tasty fresh newts from their own creek instead of those silly umbrellas and lemon slices.

They will get a Triphoundvisor Certificate of Excellence if I have anything to bark about it. I should mention we lunched enroute in the nearby citadel of Bellingen on a local delicacy, pork and fennelsausage rolls. All politely noted my slightly fresher breath.

Day 6
BELLINGEN TO YAMBA
A bad hair day and a tedious drive to Yamba.
I’ve had little chance today to sniff any of my peers.
Makes me realise it is not just about the journey, its all about the ball play and the ecstasy of a dozen or so leisurely squatted pees at the destination.

Day 7
YAMBA TO MERMAID BEACH
Nice to finally reach Ewingsdale where we all partook of lunch at my elderly mother Zo’s place. I hadn’t been to her Utopian country house before. My Staff licked and patted Mama Zo’s Attendees in an awkward display of overfamiliarity while I showed more restraint and just discretely sniffed the designer diaper of the tiny Court Jester. My step-sister Lola showed me around her private zoo, also most impressive. She has a rare furry Tree Dog that eats gum leaves, and even tastier water dragons than I keep in my Yowie Bay moat. I’ve arranged a repeat visit later in the week, and hopefully then will meet the python, who Lola says lives a solitary life on a rafter above the communal banqueting hall.

After my splendid midday repast of partially buttered sourdough crusts, leg ham gristly bits and fat, and a small segment of reptile tail, we pushed on and reached The Holy Grail this afternoon. A visit to magical Mermaid Beach had long been on my bucket list.

My Staff are so well connected, they had spoken with The Powers That Be and a Welcome Bubble Bath awaited me. Just what I needed after a week of insufficient ball play opps and far too much reclining effortlessly on the back seat of a limo.

Day 8
MERMAID BEACH
I don’t expect you to understand what it’s like to go on Royal Tour. So many
arrangements must be put in place, and coincidentally there are other Aristdograts
visiting my domain this month too, so just imagine the logistics that faced the organisers.   (Hazza and Megs Windsor, haven’t met them yet but he’s the one with the orange pelt, very rare. She’s more my colouring, quite sleek, doubt if she tangles.)

You are sure to have noticed that I am quite dogged about documenting the fine details of this tour. Here is another observation – I had no idea there could be so many varieties of muffins served with morning puppacinos. White chocolate and banana, feta and spinach – I mean, who dreams up these things?

Anyway, we have reached Nirvana and in this lifetime too. And I never use the word Utopian lightly, but Mermaid Beach exceeds my expectations. I can only imagine the size of the water dragons that live in this enormous moat.

Mostly it’s just my species and their attendants vacationing here. Felines, equines and bovines don’t know what they’re missing, there are just so many archaeopteryx and pletosaurs to hunt. Hard to catch but I keep reminding myself that the fun’s in the chase. It’s my mantra actually, and particularly regarding the pointless returning of fetched tennis balls.

Day 9
MERMAID BEACH
I turn 11 today, and I’ve gone on heat to celebrate. I get to wear customised fancy pants (actually the tiny Court Jester I met yesterday had on a similar pair, but as she is unevolved hers didn’t have the special tail aperture that I’m modelling!).

Rotisserie chicken skin and thigh flesh (with no yukky stuffing) for celebratory dinner tonight! I requested the addictive crunchy wing bone be served also. Not something I’d do too often as I’ve heard horror stories about my species ingesting too many cooked bones, but hey we are here for a good time, not a long time.

Days 10-20
BYRON BAY AND MERMAID
I rostered off my Staff for a few days and returned to my relatives in Byron Bay. Been ages since we had quality time together so Zo, Lola and I raged like there was no tomorrow. Snoozed in every boudoir, midnight-snacked on discarded salmon patty crumble under the tiny Court Jester’s throne-ette. I know you’d like to hear more but sorry, that’s all I’m prepared to disclose here, what happens in
Byron stays in Byron. No, not even telling for liver treat bribes.

When my Staff returned they drove me in the manner to which I am so accustomed back to Mermaid Beach, where to celebrate our reunion they made me a degustation dinner. You want details? I gobbled up three good handfuls of microwaved turkey mince then wolfed down an ear of last Easter’s Lindt bunny that had been hidden for me behind the sofa.

I felt a need to return the hospitality so invited Lola and Zo up to Mermaid Beach for a few days. The Puparazzi were, as expected, out in force as we did our our meet and greet walkabouts around Mermaid Beach. Here however are a couple of my own Instdogram posts. Apologies for not always getting the horizon straight. I’m left pawed, and I need a good pedi.

…Here we are, dining al fresco on osso bucco. One each, from the Nobby’s butcher.
At $14.99 a kilo, I’ll suggest to Lola and Zo that we save the marrow bones for another chew tomorrow.

… My Exercise Physiologist is so well trained, he knows I will only fetch Dunlop Fort All Court tennis balls.

AND you will also have noted by now that, just like the British royals, I don’t carry a bag myself, but Staff always have my necessities, so if I do whoopsy they deal with it.

Day 21
MERMAID BEACH TO ULMARRA
Before we set off on the drive back to Barkingham Palace I made a quick trip to the Day Spa as a few more official visits had been lined up for me. My Staff closed the drawbridge to the fortress at Mermaid Beach and my cavalcade set forth for
Ulmarra where I feasted on the crumb coating off a chicken schnitzel in the beer garden of the most glam resort in town.

Day 22, 23

ULMARRA TO SOUTH WEST ROCKS
Smoky Cape Retreat, what a lifetime highlight. Just check out this mob of Macropodidae. It took enormous restraint to not befriend them. My Special Envoy advised just in time
that they were accomplished boxers and could not be relied on to give up their delicious, pouch-sized young willingly.

Day 24

SOUTH WEST ROCKS TO PORT MACQUARIE
More official duties, rather a ho hum day from my perspective. Beach runs, beach runs blah blah blah. Rather looking forward to tomorrow…

Day 25
PORT MACQUARIE TO ETTALONG
It’s always nice to revisit special places, and I have to say Ettalong is one of those. Such a fuss made of me, the green carpet grass was out again, and I felt the love as I was hand fed bite size pieces of nicely underspiced Portuguese chicken thigh by a delegation of local serfs.

Nearly forgot to mention. Pooped in to see young Beau Palmer again today. He’s still, hhhmm hhmmm, intact, and I’m still on heat- ish… Call me a cougar if you like but I did give it a momentary thought…

So it is back to Bark Palace tomorrow after a rather successful tour. Many have patted me, but next month I am scheduled to have a tepid tea tree rinse after my shampoo, so it’s a security risk I can manage. I’ve dined wisely whilst not forsaking the opportunities that travel presents to try local delicacies. Schnitzels I now know vary regionally. I prefer them Panko crumbed, but not all of my rurally based underlings get to experience the subtleties of Japanese food, so cornflake crumbs it sometimes has to be.

In conclusion, I make no apologies for typos in this officially sanctioned Traveldogue. Good editors are hard to find and I want to see this going as viral as kennel cough asap.
Hey, here comes comes a slow fat cat…bye!

Love, Baci xxx

TURNING FORTY EEK

At Michelin place she did feast

On sumptuous foods, unpoliced,

With elders to share

This day of despair

Who understood ageing, at least.

But surprise of surprise, when Day came

It wasn’t as bad as its fame.

Her wrinkles, she checked,

Weren’t much worse to inspect

Than the previous time she’d been game.

She prayed that the eyesight of HE

Who she lived with, would also not see

The lines and the flaws

That the year’s might have caused

And would love just her inner real ME!

1987

DEAD TOAD DITTY

Poor toady has been slaughtered and in coffin has been stored

His legs have slightly stiffened and his eyes seem glazed and bored

He’s looking rather flaccid and a rotting smell has grown

And propped upon his pogo stick, he cannot bounce alone.

He seems real unattractive now with lips so widely bared

Being rigid makes him clumsy so his bouncing’s quite impaired.

1970

NEARLY FORTY

I hardly considered when twenty, and wed

That a formal career could have suited instead.

The options to this weren’t yet to arise

While I tended my children in aproned disguise.

Who would have guessed that the hands in the sink

Belonged to a woman with real thoughts to think?

Should I, while in “youth” (for I’m still 39)

Be checking new offers in Fate’s Grand Design?

Does Destiny state that my life holds in store

Brief sentence as housewife, then joys evermore

As artist esteemed, of Impressionist style

Or pianist renowned if I practice a while?

A writer of poems or novels long wrapped

In ribbons of fantasy still safely trapped

Until such a time that it’s right to unlock

My erudite thoughts caught by calendars’ clock?

Or “competent asset” as husband, elated,

Would say if I offered my talents, (unstated)

To help him our burgeoning business to run

As earlier on I had willingly done.

Unknown to the kids, and to him at this stage

My unsettled feelings, confused by my age.

Bring fantasy thoughts of alternative lives

Til obliged to “grow up” when THAT birthday arrives.

1986