Spiders and waff-waffs and eeps, oh no…

Some things are funny for reasons I can’t explain. Suddenly I’ll look at something in a slightly different way and it will seem utterly hilarious. One day, Bahkti, my son, and I were sitting in the bath and I spotted a bottle of dog shampoo.

On the label was a picture of a spaniel, one which did not look as if it wanted to be bathed. It appeared to be mouthing the sound waff, with the implicit meaning “don’t you dare bring that shampoo toward me”. I already had a private joke about spaniels (which I can’t explain here, unfortunately) and suddenly they became the second most miserable thing in the world.

Spaniels have now become a part of my ‘personal mythology’, if you want to think of it that way. Bahkti and I (and even a number of our friends) react to spaniels (‘waffs’ or ‘whaffs’ if you’re in the know) by putting our hands up to the sides of our heads, waggling them like the long, stupid ears of the silly mutts.

Our friend Jonathan (who was my Best Man) recorded a number of doggy-related songs for us. The first two he gave Bahkti as a birthday present and I think I enjoyed them more (in fact, I know I did) as they were based on two of Bahkti’s favorite songs: Whaff-whaff-whaff (based on John Foxx’s Underpass) and He ist ein Spaniel (based on Kraftwerk’s Das Modell). Whaff-whaff-whaff begins with the inspired lyrics “Spaniels in the doorway, spaniels in the park; listen, can you hear them? Listen how they bark! Whaff whaff whaff!”. This is why I have a picture of spaniels in a doorway here…

Some of the other things that make me laugh are things I tease Bahkti about, which he claims (wrongly, of course) is being cruel. When we moved to Hitchin in 2012, we kept hearing a plaintive “eep” sound whenever we picked up the intercom for the flat. It was clearly a bird outside, making a truly monotonous call. He then identified the sound as being made by blackbirds, which run all over the hill opposite (“booncin’ and gannin’ ‘eep’”, according to him). He then developed an irrational hatred of ‘eeps’, much like my irrational hatred of spaniels. Then there are spiders…

We think we’ve got hens in the skirting-board


Well, that’s my opinion and I’m always right! When I was a child, we lived close to a chicken farm and the wretched animals were always escaping. Despite having their wings clipped, the could still over the fence around the farm and, occasionally, over the fence into our garden. It happened so often that our dog, Bengo, reacted to the word “chickens” by running to the French windows, barking. He would chase them from the garden. One once tried to run through the chain-link fence into next door’s garden and got stuck, being unable to back out because its feathers got stuck. Our neighbor had to get gloves and hold the feathers down whilst pushing its head back through. Stupidity!


Bird ’flu. Need I say more?

There is also Geraldine, the “Chicken of Mass Destruction”. This started as a dream that Bahkti had, in which there was a chicken working on one of the tills at our local Sainsbury’s. Customers were being warned not to look her in the eye, as she would steal your soul with just one glance if she clucked three times. She had an especially high stool so that she could reach the conveyor belt, but had difficulty manoeuvring stuff with her wings. And she was called Geraldine… Bahkti decided to Google for “Geraldine” and “chicken of mass destruction“, not really expecting any results. Life can be very strange at times!