I cannot believe we’re back to early morning fires and empty trees. Well not quite empty but looking decidedly patchy. Some delightful colours up here in Cheshire this autumn. Muddy walks with the wolves and even Mimi is, genetically speaking, 90% wolf (and 10% cotton wool). The time of free weekends is upon me.
So the time has come for planning a few changes to the living space and I must start with the bed. I once saw a t-shirt with the slogan ‘I sleep with dogs!’ Funny. Anyone who has dogs close in their lives know that they are never happier than when they are snuggled up in your bed with you, and if we dog owners are honest there is something very nice about having a warm body snuggled up to your back in the night. I’m no exception. Since ‘lives alone with dogs’ is one description of my life I do allow my two, Mimi and Blue, to sleep in the bed with me if they wish. Many people would say it’s not hygienic or it’s too permissive. Sod that. It’s nice and my dogs are clean and I wash my sheets at least once a week. I’m not involved with them in any other way than emotionally! But I do know them well. Dogs lovers will be settling down now for a nice doggy chat. We can go on for hours about our dogs in the way some people will go on about their babies. If you’re not a dog person then skip the rest of this chapter because it’s mostly about my dogs, with a little bit about my bed.
I actually have three beds in the lorry. Mine, a guest bed and the dogs’ bed. I have converted the passenger seat in the lorry cab to the dogs’ bedroom and it works really well. It’s where I can chuck them if they do come in muddy. They can keep an eye out for visitors (or intruders) which they consider is part of their job description and they travel there too of course so it’s convenient and obvious. It means that the lorry cab can be a bit dogodorous (my word but it trips off the tongue and is wonderfully descriptive and accurate). Non-dog lovers will now decide to stop reading. But I do clean it out regularly and spray with ant-flea stuff. The two can jump through into the front easily and seem to enjoy their own space. Let’s be honest, it’s a child’s bedroom. When I do clean it there’s all sorts of doggy bits they’ve taken in there and they make it theirs.
The second bed is for guests and doubles as my sofa. I do occasionally have a guest to stay and although they will inevitably be living close with us, it’s perfectly possible to maintain the proprieties of life with someone else for a BRIEF period. I think any longer would (and did once) send both of us mad, but short breaks are possible and quite fun.
The third bed is ours. I say ours because I mean mine and the dogs’. They think of it as theirs which they graciously allow me to share. The politics and logistics of bedtime are worth observing. It changes from time to time, but currently they are warring over the prime space. The bed pulls out slightly so it affords a strange wedgeshape bed, close to the fire (nice in winter!) and with the tv at the bottom it is very cosy indeed. The wedge makes it about four foot wide at the top and three at the bottom, which fits the human frame really well. The only reason beds are rectangular is that they’re easier to make like that, but feet don’t actually need all that width. The prime space is alongside the pillows, against the wall. It affords a warm, secure protected space, closest to me and Mimi has long held it as hers. As the senior and Alpha female, she considers it hers and Blue has never tried to take it. Even if I put her there she moves down either to the foot where there is more space or to about half way down. All this has been fine until recently when Blue has been surreptitiously invading Mimi’s space and refusing to budge when Mimi grunts and complains about her closeness. They never fight but the body language is hilarious. It has become a dance of space claiming, and can go on for hours. And Mimi knows how to patiently explain the situation to me, expecting me to do something about it. Dog owners will know what I mean by this. You come to know every nuance of your dog’s behaviours exactly like language, and although it’s not talking, it almost is.
So the bed has to change as this nightly and sometimes extended ritual war is depriving me of sleep. And I like my sleep. So today is space change day. I plan to widen even further the pull out section, making the wedge even wider at the top and hopefully to allow more room for the dogs at the top end of the bed and, at a stroke, restore domestic harmony to the Alexander household. Watch this space.
All the best from a road near you,
Photo with Blue invading Mimi’s space on our wedge bed. Mimi has temporarily given way and is the lump at the foot of the bed!