Tuesday, July 16, 2019

New Dog Dramas

Things are a tad stressful here at the moment. As I mentioned in my previous post, we fostered another dog on Saturday, a cross breed called Buddy who’s had a pretty rotten life so far and is the loveliest little chap you could hope to meet. We brought him home to Pippa, our existing dog, and things seemed to go pretty well at first. We introduced them on neutral ground and went for a walk with them. We let him off the lead and they played together, and then we brought them home. There was a bit of growling from Pippa now and again, but overall the first day was a winner.

However, on the second day, she started going for him quite aggressively. There’s this thing called “resource guarding” where the existing dog protects their things, toys, bowl, bed, whatever, against the encroachments of the new dog. Well, it turns out that Pauline and I are the resources that Pippa guards. She doesn’t like Buddy getting any attention from us. Most of the time, if we balance it so she gets more than he does (he gets one stroke, she gets three) it’s okay, but sometimes she just takes umbrage with him for no apparent reason. Like yesterday when I went to brush her with a new hair shredding tool. He wasn’t even doing anything, yet she attacked him. Why? my guess is because the new tool had had only one previous use, and that was brushing some of the funk out of Buddy’s coat on the day we were bringing him home. She smelled him on it, she smelled me on it, but she didn’t smell herself on it. Conclusion: I had been off somewhere giving Buddy attention in private, like some husband who comes home from a "late night at the office” smelling of a perfume other than his wife’s.

Another time was when they were both wet. I towelled her down, then started to do the same to him, and she was on him like a demon. And then last night she had to go to the vet (more on this in a moment) so I took him for an evening walk while she was gone. We came back and she was home. She saw me come in with the lead, then him following after me. Conclusion: we had been alone together again. She attacked him. It’s now getting so he’s afraid to come into the same room as her.

Buddy and Pippa.

So all that is apparently pretty normal for when you adopt a new dog. It settles down after about a month (a month?? God help us). At the end of that time the existing dog has come to accept the new pack arrangements and hopefully everything will be jolly. But to go back to that trip to the vet’s that Pippa had. A while ago she was in heat and was being plagued 24-7 by the local four-legged free-ranging Romeo, and I was worried that maybe he might have had a private moment with her while my back was turned. I did catch them at it once, but I chased him off before he got his rhythm going. Well, we noticed she was getting a bit tubby lately, sort of, filling out. We put it down to her not running around so much because it’s hot lately. However, yesterday, it her teats were noticeably enlarged. Uh-oh. 

After cursing the place we adopted her from for telling us she was spayed when in fact she wasn’t, Pauline took her to the vet’s to see what was going on. The vet squeezed one of her teats and milk came out. Uh-oh!

Then they did an ultrasound and … there’s nothing in there. It’s a “phantom pregnancy”. Basically all the ingredients of pregnancy, including in some cases labour, but without the puppies. Other symptoms include possessiveness, moodiness, resource guarding, and possibly aggression. So, while we’re relieved that she’s not pregnant, that also goes to explain the heightened sensitivity she must be feeling to Buddy’s arrival in her home.

Now some of you will be saying, you should get her spayed. Yeah, well obviously we should, but we can’t do that till all symptoms of the phantom pregnancy have passed. So we’ll do that in a few weeks … actually, no, we won’t. We don’t want to have her recovering from surgery in the middle of her month of adjusting to Buddy’s presence, so it’ll have to wait till mid August. And then, fingers crossed, we can all settle down to a nice normal routine. Whatever that might be 😊

Sunday, July 14, 2019

New Dog ... Maybe

It's been a busy and somewhat stressful weekend for us here. We fostered another dog, Buddy. We met him on Thursday, and by Saturday afternoon he was riding home with us from the kennels, smelling badly and wrestling with me in the back seat all the way. We stopped at a pet supplies store on the way home and bought some essentials, including a grooming glove with which we immediately brushed all that old funky hair out of his coat. Then we brought him back to Pippa, arranging for them to meet on neutral territory and go for a walk together. They got on well enough, so, nervously, we brought him back to the house.

There have been some ... er ... "scenes" since then. A scrap - just a warning scrap with her telling him to back off when he was overstepping a line that, in fairness, he didn't know existed. He's also pee'd in the house a few times, once straight into his food bowl, but following a bit of research, I now know that this is just territory marking: a sign of his having had been bullied over food in the past (which rings true with what we know of his background). But the trickiest thing for me is (and I know this'll sound weird) the two dogs warming to each other and playing happily in the garden. Why's that? You cry. Because they rough-and-tumble all over the place, including into my flowerbeds! Arg!!



However, we're already very fond of him, and we think Pippa is too. So ... probably ... we're going to keep him. You can see him (and her) in the video above. A very mysterious cross breed if ever there was one. I personally think he's a cross between a German Shepherd, a Jack Russell, a greyhound, and Anubis, god of the dead. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Underground Turns 50

Underwood and Flinch: Underground has reached the fiftieth episode over at Patreon. That's fifty episodes of U&F that could be in your ears for just $3. 


A quick Google search tells me that the average cup of coffee costs $2.75 in the USA. So for just 25c more you could be re-entering the U&F universe and getting all that audio straight to your phone with your own personal Patreon RSS code. 



Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Frisbee Adventure

I nearly lost Pippa's frisbee this morning. We were on the cliff top and I was throwing it for her inland into the fields, but then (inevitably, I suppose, it had to happen sooner of later) the frisbee snagged my gloved fingertip and went spinning out over the cliff top. We watched in horror as it went sailing down to the high tide-washed beach below.
Nooooooooooooooo!

I looked for a way down, but there wasn't one. There were other dog walkers on the beach but none of them were going that far because of the incoming waves. However I was too cross at the thought of losing a brand new frisbee to just shrug and forget about it. So we walked on until I found a way down. It's a clay cliff, all wet mud and tufts of grass, and I had to tread carefully to avoid slipping and tumbling down on my arse.
Once down, we went back through the incoming waves to where I guessed the frisbee should have come down. Every other wave sloshed into the tops of my wellies, slowly filling them until we got to the spot. I scanned the hillside up and down, but there was no sign of the frisbee anywhere. But then, at my feet, a flash of red! Washed up right to the cliff line was the jolly red disc, half submerged and smothered in sand. Huzzah!!
I plucked it from the water and sloshed back to dry land, where we resumed the endless cycle of throw, fetch, and stubbornly refuse to give it up no matter what, all the way home.

Pippa

I forgot to tell you - we got a dog. Pippa is a rescue dog that we adopted from the great people up at ASH Animal Rescue Centre in Co. Wicklow. She's a three-year old mixed breed (border collie and Labrador). She's ridiculously adorable, and is proving much better than a Fitbit at getting me out of the house and reaching 10,000 steps a day.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Glitterballs 3 - Pants 5°

Episode 3 of my written for TV sitcom set in a 1990s music venue, Glitterballs is now available in my public podcast feed. This time gig promoter Tom gets an unusual request on a bands rider (that's the list of food, drinks, and other items the band's agent requires the gig promoter to provide for the band). Meanwhile Max and Doreen plan a swinging evening of their own.

This podcast contains adult language and themes ... you'll be delighted to hear.



Monday, August 20, 2018

Wexworlds 2018

Yesterday I was speaking on a panel at Wexworlds sci-fi and fantasy convention at Wexford Opera House. It was at 9.45 on a Sunday morning so I was expecting maybe a couple of people at most (you wouldn't normally get me out at that hour on a Sunday morning). But it was almost a full house, and the audience were great. My fellow speaker was David Turpin, the screenwriter of the Irish gothic horror movie, The Lodgers. He's a smashing chap, and The Lodgers will be out on Netflix very soon, so keep an eye out for it.


Thursday, August 16, 2018

Car Crash

So we had a car crash last Saturday. I haven't mentioned it till now because i wasn't sure if I should, I mean, it's not good news, is it? But then I thought, well, this is a blog, so I really should blog it, if only for my own recollection later on. So here's what happened.

We were driving along on Saturday afternoon at about 70 kph on two-lane main road. The speed limit is 80 kph and we're driving at a sensible distance from the car in front (in hindsight, maybe that sensible distance was part of the problem. If we'd been tailgating the car in front, the accident mightn't have happened ... but another one might). So anyway, my wife is behind the wheel, her dad, Jim, who's 97, is in the front passenger seat, and I'm in the back.

As we approach a junction, a sort of crossroads, we see a Mercedes waiting in the other lane of the main road to turn across our lane into a side road. The car in front of us (remember that sensible distance?) passes the turning, and then the Mercedes starts moving, turning to cross our lane. I remember sitting up, eyes wide, incredulous that he's actually going to drive in front of a speeding car - our speeding car - and knowing that the rules of physics mean there's no way on earth we're not going to hit him if he does. But he does, and he's not even in a hurry. He takes a leisurely turn across our lane, the side of his car rushing towards us, filling the windscreen. We brake. We jerk forwards - all stopped by seat belts - and then wham! My eyes close, and when they open it's to see both air bags deployed, my wife and father in law disorientated and smoke rising from the dashboard and steering wheel from which the airbags have burst. But we're all alive. I have no pain, I'm just disorientated. The horn is jammed on, blaring in a long scream as I and my wife get out. We go around to the passenger side and she checks on Jim. He seems okay, no blood, no obvious injuries. She's tending to him, so I go and try to shut off the horn, which is still blaring. I can't shut it off. The engine is off but it makes no difference. I wrestle with the airbag that's burst from the steering wheel and it kind of cuts in and out as I do - which is almost worse than constant blaring - but ultimately it won't give up, so I do.


The other driver is pacing around beside his car. He comes up to my wife and tells her he's only had his car for three weeks. He asks me if everyone is okay and I say yes, are you? He says yes. Then another guy, a passing driver who's stopped at the scene, comes up and tries to help shut off the horn. On seeing he can't, he goes to his car and returns with some pliers. He pops the bonnet and disconnects the battery. I feel inept and curse myself for not having any tools in the car. I don't even have a mobile phone on me. But then I remember I have a breakdown kit that I've never had a use for in fifteen years, so I go and get that. It has some reflective triangles in it and some replacement bulbs. Oh well, it's something. As my wife calls emergency services, I place the triangles on the road in front of and behind the crashed cars. I see the guy who shut off the horn is now directing traffic like a pro. He has a faded fluorescent waistcoat thing that's seen a lot of use, so maybe he's a construction worker and directs traffic as part of his job, I don't know, I didn't ask him, but he was a great man to have around at the time.


Another great person to have around at the time was Marion, another passing motorist who has stopped at the scene to help out. She used to be a nurse and she's talking to Jim, chatting to him about this and that, but at the same time assessing his condition. Then the police arrive. Two male cops. They take over traffic directing duty from the fluorescent top guy, and he so he wishes us well and goes on his way. We both thanked him, and my wife asked him his name. He said he was John, and then he was gone, like some kind of Lone Ranger whose work there was done.


The police take both our and the other driver's details. They don't breathalyse either driver, nor do they take a statement. I thought this was odd, so I asked why not. I was told they only do it in the event of serious injury or a case of bad driving. Bad driving? But surely this is a case of bad driving?? Unhappy with the lack of official investigation, I take my wife's phone and start taking pictures of the scene, otherwise it's just going to be our word against the other driver's in the event that he doesn't accept responsibility.

Then the ambulance arrives and they take Jim on board and check him out. He has some heart rhythm irregularities so they take him away to hospital. Marion goes and we thank her. Turns out she's met Jim in the past. She's actually related to him, and so my wife, and so me, by marriage somewhere in the mix. Small world, eh?

Then the tow truck arrives and our car is loaded up and taken away. My wife's sister has arrived and she gives us a lift back to Jim's house. She gets some things for him in case they keep him in hospital overnight, and goes. Then my brother in law gives a lift back home.

And that's it. In the end, neither me nor my wife were injured; Jim was given a battery of tests and found to be okay, though his chest still aches a bit a few days later. Maybe from the seat belt, maybe the air bag, I don't know, I'm not a doctor. But it's nothing life threatening. We're all okay.

Being a weekend, there was nothing we could do with the insurance company until Monday. They told us the other guy isn't accepting responsibility so it's our word against his. We sent in the photos and within thirty minutes his insurance company accepted liability. So that was a relief. Our car is a write off. We still don't know what we're going to get for it, but probably not much; it was a 2006 model, and once cars get over ten years old, insurers take a dim view of them here.

I'm p*ssed off, obviously, but also greatly relieved that no one was hurt. And I'm grateful to everyone who helped out, especially to John and Marion, who had no obligation whatsoever to do so. I hope if ever I'm in the situation that I pass an accident I might be able to stop and be half as helpful as they were ... Note to self: get some pliers!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

U&F Underground 42 / Dracula Chapter 10

Two new podcasts out this week. In my public feed you can hear my reading of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Chapter 10. If you're not subscribed, you can do so by adding this link to your podcast app: http://mikebennett.libsyn.com/rss  


Also, at Patreon, I've just posted Underwood and Flinch: Underground Episode 42.  I say! That's 42 episodes of UFU for just $3! That's the cheapest big audio book you'll see this month, I'm sure. 

The beginning of the month is the best time to sign up to Patreon, as you can enjoy a whole month of listening for just $3. And if, at the end of the month, you decide you want to opt out and not pay for another month, you can! But why would you want to? U&F Underground is still in progress, and I guarantee you won't want to leave. Sign up today, and when you do, be sure and make a note of your personal RSS code and add it to your podcast app. That way you can get the podcasts streaming straight to your phone with no fuss.

Huzzah!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Glitterballs Reaches Episode 5 at Patreon

Glitterballs, my situation comedy written for TV (that those fools at the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 turned down back in 1996) now reaches its fifth podcast episode at Patreon.com.

In this latest episode live music promoter Tom finds himself stranded alone in a snowstorm with the secret love of his life - Dave's mum. An episode that oozes sexual tension ... sort of, Glitterballs 5: Snowbound is available now at Patreon for patrons at the $1 a month level and over. And if you bump that up to $3 a month, you can access 42 episodes of the ongoing Underwood and Flinch podcast adventure, Underground. Get in!




"Glitterballs is probably the funniest unproduced '90s TV sitcom about a live music venue ever podcast. Hilarious!" 
Mike Bennett, author of Glitterballs.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Cosmic Rebels Con in Enniscorthy, Wexford, Ireland.

I did a reading at Cosmic Rebels Con in Enniscorthy, Ireland. My audience was small (2 people), but hey, that's not bad for a total unknown (which is what I am in Ireland). I had a nice time all the same. My audience (Madeline and Pauline) was charming, the convention itself was great and the weather was wonderful. I even got arrested by Judge Dredd. Huzzah!!



The convention continues today and tomorrow at the Riverside Hotel, Enniscorthy. So if you're around, drop by. It's a fun day for all the family.








Thursday, February 22, 2018

After the Plague Begins in My Podcast Feed.

Hi there! Yes, many of you will have heard it already, but many won't have. And so I'm going to start podcasting my zombie apocalypse story, After the Plague, into my public podcast feed

If you have heard it, you can listen again (it stands up to a second listen) and you haven't then be warned, listener discretion is advised on this one; in an apocalypse, people can be rather unpleasant.


Listen / download



Wednesday, December 27, 2017

MB featured on Ken Scott's Website.

Author, Ken Scott, has just published a great piece on his recent discovery of my work. It's a big deal for me when another author digs any of my books, and Ken is not only a very prolific writer (he's written or collaborated on 25 books, several of which have reached the Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller List) but he's also a professional writing coach. Pretty cool eh? 








Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Yule Among the Sleepless

It's Christmas at Patreon! I'm writing and podcasting a return to the world of One Among the Sleepless. Not a sequel, and definitely not a novel, but simply a chance to catch up with some of the surviving characters and find out what they did next. 


Episode One of the Yule Among the Sleepless podcast is available now, exclusively at Patreon, for patrons paying $1 a month and up.
Huzzah!!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Glitterballs 3 at Patreon

If you're a Patreon patron, I've just posted the complete episode of Glitterballs Ep 3: "Pants: 5 Degrees Centigrade". It's 57-minutes long and full of Nineties music venue goodness. Check your podcast app now, or click here for a direct download: https://www.patreon.com/posts/15248003


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Dracula Episode 3

Episode 3 (Chapter 3) of Bram Stoker's classic novel is now available from my podcast feed, which you can subscribe to my feed by clicking one of these links:

iTunes

Android

RSS for any reader

Or you can listen or download the episode by clicking this link


Oh, and stay tuned to the very end to hear an old promo I once did for Underwood and Flinch from about 2011. Very exciting.


And in case you're new to my work, you can find Underwood and Flinch here:

iTunes

Android

RSS for any reader

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dracula at Youtube

As you may know, I've been reading Bram Stoker's Dracula over at Patreon and I'm now podcasting it, chapter by chapter, into my public podcast feed. But I'm also releasing it, chapter by chapter, at Youtube. Here are the first two chapters ...


Underground Episode 31 at Patreon

The latest episode of Underwood and Flinch: Underground is now available from Patreon.com for patrons at the $3 per month and over categories.


Sign up and get straight into 31 episodes of Underground today. Patreon will give you a personal RSS feed that you can - nay - really should - add to your podcast app. This will then deliver the podcasts straight to your phone ... or whatever else you use to listen to podcasts.