Thursday, 30 December 2004


I've never been one to make New Year's resolutions. I never keep to them so I never saw the point. But this year I have decided that I will make a few resolutions and I am going to stick to them. Honest I am.

Mind you, I have a feeling this might be more to do with the impending "significant" birthday. Any excuse for a crisis....mid-life will do just fine! Yay!

Monday, 27 December 2004

All over

A nice time was had by all....nearly.

I had a fab Christmas morning out riding with my boss. Big horse was a tad frightening to start with but we soon settled down and had a fantastic ride in the morning sunshine. My seat bones were a little tender for the rest of the day but I didn't ache as badly as I thought I would. The rest of the day passed in a haze of food, presents, more food and lots of silly card games....Newmarket, Chase the Ace, Pig and such things.

Boxing day morning didn't get off to a brilliant start when we heard about the earthquake and Tsunami that had hit Thailand. My sister-in-law and her husband were Christmassing in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, both of which had been badly hit. Mother-in-law was in tears as I tried to contact the hotel but it was impossible to get through and the emerency contact number was constantly engaged. I finally got through to the travel company they went with who were able to tell us they had spoken to their local office and all was well. Sister-in-law was finally able to call later in the day to tell us that they hadn't known a thing about what had been going on and were enjoying their holiday blissfully unaware of the chaos unfolding about them - they were up in the mountains rather than on the coast. Unfortunately we found out that they have to cut short the holiday by two weeks as they are unable to go on to the Maldives. But they're safe.

I also discovered that I ached. A lot.

Got home today to hear from my dog-walking pal that her husband had been taken into hospital on Christmas Eve because of a problem with a fistula in his arm. He's had a lot of problems over the years with kidney transplants and cancer so she is understandably worried. Then her oven decided not to work as she attempted to cook dinner.

So as far as Christmas catastrophes go, we got away with it, although there are a few people in my thoughts now.

Hope you all had a good one!

Friday, 24 December 2004

So this is Christmas

It's Christmas Eve and festive feelings have yet to arrive but I'm sure they will by morning. We don't have to do much by way of preparation as we're heading over to Mother-in-law's for a couple of days tomorrow morning. However, I have done my chores which are to make the stuffing (which is a bit of a contradiction as it won't actually be "stuffing" given that I'm cooking it here at home), I've made the cranberry jelly and the bread-maker is doing it's stuff as I type. So that just leaves The Lurcher's presents to be wrapped.

Tomorrow morning we shall open a couple of small presents and have smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for breakfast before I head off to work where my boss and I are nicking the two horses and going out for a Christmas morning ride and OH shall walk The Lurchers alongside us. I have a feeling that this may be something I shall regret as I haven't ridden for three years and these are proper horses....17.2hh, ex-cavalry chargers. Ho hum. I think I may be a little saddle sore for the rest of the day!

So that just leaves me to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and to hope that it is as magical as you could wish for. Have a good one!

Thursday, 23 December 2004

What's that!!?

I came home from work for lunch today and OH announced that there was a surprise in the fridge. How exciting! Has some nice person dropped us off a piece of beef or half a salmon or some other such nicety?

So I rushed to the kitchen, opened the fridge door and nearly passed out on the spot. Staring me in the face was a pig's snout. Closer inspection of the carrier bag revealed that the pig's snout was still attached to the pig's head. Not quite what I had expected.

OH had met one of our neighbours who had asked him if he knew anyone that wanted a fresh pig's head (Don't ask. We have some odd neighbours). OH agreed to take it off his hands because we feed The Lurchers on a raw food diet and he likes collecting animal skulls. Two birds. One stone. Except I don't feed The Lurchers on raw pork because of past scares about bacteria in the meat. So OH will have to deal with it so he can have the skull.

If there is a pan boiling on the cooker when I come home tonight, rest assured I will not be lifting the lid to see what's in it.

Monday, 20 December 2004


I have never played computer games on my computer at work, it's just something I don't do. But I was on the phone this morning and was having to hang on and hang on so I started pottering around my computer and found all these computer games, you know the ones - solitaire, minesweeper etc, so I pulled one of them up and started playing whilst I was waiting on the phone. Eventually someone answered and I carried on with the conversation and when finished, went back to the paperwork I had been working on prior to the call. Completely forgot I had solitaire open.

About 1/2 hour later, one of our Board of Directors came in and he and my boss stood behind me and asked me to find something on the computer. As my screensaver disappeared, there in all it's glory, was solitaire. I was somewhat embrarrased but just for once I managed to not dig the hole any deeper and I just calmly closed it down and carried on without saying a word. That'll teach me!

Sunday, 19 December 2004

Early to blog

When I returned home yesterday afternoon with the foster puppy who was spending the night with us, OH informed me that "friends who are coming to dinner" were unable to get a babysitter and so would be bringing their 2 year old toddler with them. Oh, OK. I'm sure we'll have lots of fun with The Lurchers, a 6 month old, not entirely house-trained Lurcher puppy and a 2 year old, not entirely house-trained child. No problem. I am woman, I can cope. Ummm...said OH. They're also going to stay the night. Oh. I am woman, I am allowed to collapse into a gibbering wreck in my one-bedroomed flat.

But cope we did and a fine time was had by all. 2 year old toddler was hugely entertained by Christmas crackers, a torch and a portable crib which we turned into a tent for her. 'Twas most amusing when 1/2 hour after arriving she announced "Daddy, I need to go home now". Much food was consumed and to my delight, the Beef Wellington turned out absolutely perfectly - nicely pink in the middle and cooked at the thin end just for me. Beef should be well-cooked in my opinion, not just shown the oven and served mooing on the plate. "Friends who were coming to dinner" provided the cheese, purchased from a local cheese shop. When opened, the bag of cheese smelled like the inside of a rank, 5 day old, black rubbish sack....mmmmmmm just how cheese should be!

After an evening of playing very stupid charades, we took to our beds at 2.30am. Lurcher No 1 decided she wanted to go out at 4.30am and foster puppy wanted to go out at 6.30am. Had to get up at 8am to get foster puppy sorted for the next leg of her journey. So after not much sleep, I am going to tidy up the wreck that is my kitchen and disappear under the duvet...Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Friday, 17 December 2004

Busy, busy

This week has passed in such a blur I dont know my a**e from my elbow at the moment.

After having the parents for the weekend, Monday was our monthly Board meeting and the powers that be had decided that I should join the meeting to take the minutes. Oh joy. That started at 5pm and finished at 7pm and that was followed by "drinks and nibbles" in the boss's house.

Tuesday was spent at home writing said minutes and going to the hospital. Wednesday was what passes for our Christmas Party at work. Chinese Karaoke Restaurant. Do I need to say more? Actually, cheesy though it sounds it is a complete riot and for the first time in ages I spent the whole evening laughing like a drain!

Thursday was a mad dash into Kingston to do some more Christmas shopping. I still haven't finished which is a bit of a bugger. Completely stumped as to what to buy mother in law and Goth niece.

Tonight was another mad dash to Tesco to stock up on supplies for tomorrow night's dinner party with good friends. Red pepper and butternut squash soup, Beef Wellington layered with mushroom pate and cranberries, and mango pie. I've made the soup, the pate and cranberry jelly stuff so that's the fiddly stuff out of the way. Will be making the pie later.

Tomorrow it's up early to walk The Lurchers, get my hair cut and go pick up a rescue dog who is staying with us overnight tomorrow, en route to her new home in France. Then finish off the preparations for dinner, wrap presents for friends and make myself presentable for dinner.

Sunday I have to drop said dog with a friend who is taking her on the next leg of the journey to Folkestone.

Sunday afternoon I am going to collapse in a heap and not surface until the alarm goes off on Monday morning.

Tuesday, 14 December 2004

Sound the All Clear

Just about this time two years ago I was diagnosed with Follicular Thyroid cancer. Not the best Christmas present ever.

Today I've been to the hospital again and they don't want to see me again for a year. I don't have cancer any more. The best Christmas present ever!

Monday, 13 December 2004

That went better than expected.

Had the parents up for the weekend. This event is usually fairly fraught as my step-father has quite high standards when it comes to a house being spotless. And mine isn't. I could make lots of excuses as to why it isn't...and here are a few of them: It's an old property; we have 14ft ceilings; we have two dogs; no carpets to hide the dust and dog-hair, just waxed floorboards; 2ft underneath the floorboards is earth...creates dust. etc etc. So although I have what I feel are valid excuses for my flat not being spotless, they are, of course, not in the slightest bit valid and the main reason is that I'm just bone idle and hate housework with a passion. There's always something more important to do.

Don't get me wrong, we're not complete slobs living in a filthy hovel. I do just enough housework to keep the place ticking over and I do insist on a spotless toilet. I just don't seem to get round to doing the "extra" stuff, such as getting rid of the cobwebs high up in the ceilings or pulling out the bed and hoovering behind it, or cleaning the tops of the cupboards. Everything in our flat never seems to have a permanent place to live and so get moved around a lot without actually being put away. It is such things that my step-father always seems to spot and just has to mention. So these visits are preceded by a major spring clean and a certain amount of trepidation. One such visit had me in my bedroom in tears and vowing that he would never ever be welcome in my home again...he hated the music we played, the card games we played, the flat was a mess - there was dust on a pipe 14ft foot up a wall in OH's workshop.

However, he seems to be very relaxed and chilled out at the moment so the weekend passed with not one sarky comment - although I don't know what was said in private mind you! We had fun, played silly games, lots of nice music and my cooking was praised. Only two small things...I took the turkey out of the oven to rest, only to find just before serving that, contrary to all outward appearances,it wasn't actually cooked. Oh, and I made a sherry trifle and forgot to put the sherry in it. Cest la...I can cope with such things!

Tuesday, 7 December 2004

A Little Magic

On Sunday, evening I watched a film on the TV. It was Miracle on 34th Street with Richard Attenborough. A bit of a schmaltzy film but perfect for the mood I happened to be in at the time. If you don't know the gist of the film, it is basically about proving that Santa Clause does exist. The "real" Santa Claus appears in a department store and has to convince a little girl, as well as a court room, that he is the real Santa Claus and that he does really exist. Of course, this being filmland, the world is convinced and the little girl does get what she most desires for Christmas - a father, a baby brother and a lovely family house in the country.

Maybe it was because of the mood I was in at the time but I began pondering how wonderful it would be to have something to believe in. Something with a little magic to take us away from our humdrum everyday lives. How nice would it be to know that Santa really does exist? I long for something to believe in, a little magic to look forward to.

My melancholy mood deepened a little further today. On the Common we have a memorial that commemorates those that lost their lives in World War 1. Over the years the names have been worn away and we have been trying to find that list of names so that we can reinstate them on the memorial. We have finally succeded and found a handwritten list of names in a local museum's archives. Today I had to type out the list so that we have a permanent computer record. The list includes their names, rank, decorations and how and where they died. Seeing the names of these boys, for that is what most of them are, and the places they died - Killed in action at Ypres, Killed in action at the Somme etc, brought home to me the reality and the sadness of the war so much more than any television programme has ever done.

I wonder if they believed in anything? Was there any magic for them in their short lives? I think probably not.

Saturday, 4 December 2004

The day out that nearly wasn't

Big day out today. We had tickets to see the All Blacks v The Barbarians at Twickenham, so much excitement at home this morning. As we were walking up to the ground, OH gave me my ticket and put his back into his pocket. He threw away the ticket-size confirmation stub that comes with the tickets. We push on through the crowds and as we approach the gate, OH gets his ticket out and swears. Very loudly. He was holding in his hand the ticket-size confirmation stub. His ticket is languishing in a bin some 1/2 mile away from the ground. So we turn around and fight our way back through the hordes to try and find the right plastic bag out of the hundreds that they hang up on the route. Do you know, we found it! Stuck to a container that had once held mushy peas so it was a bit green but at £53 a ticket, he didn't really care!

So in we go and find our seats and get settled. Now the seats at Twickenham are tiny and leg room is fine for a five year old but not so much fun for adults. Especially the 6'6" man behind me who had to keep apologising for kneeing me in the head. And the 6', 16st man sitting next to me who had the pockets of his coat stuffed to the brim with stuff that kept digging in my leg. I hate being that close to strangers.

One of the things you can buy on the way to the ground is a "ref-link". It's a small personal radio thingy that links you directly to the ref's microphone so you can hear what he is saying and the game consequently makes much more sense. These ref-links are only meant to last for the duration of one match but you can usually use them for 2 or 3 if you're lucky. So being the cheapskates that we are (they cost a fiver a time) we took along one that we bought last time we went to Twickers about 18 months ago. Except that the powers that be seem to have twigged onto this and they've changed the frequency so our ref-link didn't work. Not that that seemed to matter too much because the two guys sitting behind us gave us quite a good running commentary. Until it became obvious that they didn't have a clue what they were talking about and weren't exactly paying too much attention to the game as they were talking too much. Still, they redeemed themselves somewhat when the they said they quite fancied Wales for the 6 Nations this year. I forgave them much after that.

The nice thing about rugby matches is that there is rarely any violence in the crowds. It doesn't matter which teams are playing or who has won, there's always a friendly atmosphere. Once the game is over and you've made your way down the zillion steps, you can pootle out of the ground out of whichever gate takes your fancy with very little hassle. People spread out so there's never a queue to get out. However, some bright spark somewhere has decided that the crowds need controlling. So having descended the steps tonight, we're met with a solid wall of people trying to get out of the same gate. I wouldn't have minded but the gate not 10 yards from the one we were being shoe-horned out of was completely empty! I asked one of the policeman why we couldn't go out of that gate and was told that "we have to keep the crowds separated". Why? "Beacuse that's what we've been told to do". Oh, OK. The consequence of course is that those of us who have ground to a halt are starting to get somewhat peeved. You can easily see how tempers could flare and violence break out. Smart move bright spark.

Thursday, 2 December 2004

Who's Bill!?

We received our first Christmas Card today. It was addressed to Angela and Bill. Gerry and I are still trying to work out who Bill is.

Tuesday, 30 November 2004

New Blog Spot

I love cooking and messing around with food, trying recipes and fiddling about with them. Most of the best things I've cooked have come from chucking together whatever I could find in the fridge. Trouble is, I can never remember how I made them afterwards. So I decided to write my favourite ones down and where better than in a blog so I can share them around! I'm trying to keep them simple so that anyone can cook them. If you've got any you'd like to add....let me know!

New Blog addy: Angela's Recipes

It's just all too much!

Today has been a day of much excitement!

First of all, my shiny silver flippy new phone has been in operation and very smart it is too. It also has Bluetooth so a happy few hours was spent this afternoon trying to get my phone and my earpiece to "bond" (Motorola's words, not mine!). Having successfully achieved "bonding" it was time to record the voice activation whatsits....which I got the hang of in the end, with much prompting from my phone telling me to "speak faster". I'm terribly impressed with the ear piece though, it makes me look like I should be on the Starship Enterprise. Uhura move over!

I'm a little baffled by all this "hands free" stuff though. I thought the idea was that you don't need to use your hands to operate the gadgetry whilst driving. That's all well and good but the earpiece requires you to press the button for 2 seconds in order for it to twig you want to make a call. So that's one hand off the steering wheel then. Plus the button isn't the easiest thing in the world to press and so far, I've had to keep looking at it to make sure it's on....which you know by the flashing blue prohetic might that be!? "I'm so sorry Officer, didn't see your flashing blue light because I was too busy looking for the flashing blue light on my earpiece". Still, I'm sure all will become apparent the more I use it.

Further excitement was caused by a trip to Tesco, when I finally bought myself a Flash Power Mop! How fab is that! You may mock, but when you have two hairy Lurchers (particularly those that have raw bones for breakfast), wooden floors in one part of the flat and quarry tiles in the other, cleaning takes on a whole new dimension and has to be done on a far more frequent basis than I would like. My Power Mop shall revolutionise my life! Today's cleaning of the floors took all of 10 minutes easy work instead of the usual 30 minutes hard labour and fights with the vacuum cleaner. I rest my case.

Monday, 29 November 2004

Ghost of Christmas presents

Today I attempted to go Christmas shopping. I headed into Kingston-upon-Thames, saw the queue for the carparks, turned around and came straight back out again. So I headed instead into Wimbledon. I managed to get a couple of things but on others I reached a complete blank. My mum wants a jewellery roll specifically to hold necklaces so that they don't get all tangled up. Relatively easy you would think. I was met with so many blank stares today that I might have been asking for a piece of the moon. My search continues.

Every year when I go Christmas shopping, I always seem to spend lots of money on things for me. This is probably due to the fact that I don't go shopping at any other time of year so never get to see what is in the shops. So when I do venture in, I see lots of things I like. This year was no exception and today I came home with a new mobile phone! I'm beginning to be a bit like a Carphone Warehouse ad with my embarrassingly old mobile phone that I don't like to bring out in public. But this new one is lovely! It's all shiny and silver and flippy and has a camera on it and other complicated things that I shall probably never figure out how to use, given that I am somewhat technically challenged. It's currently charging and I'm getting terribly excited about being able to use it tomorrow. My Christmas is coming early! Actually, that's quite sad isn't it?

Sunday, 28 November 2004

Home again, home again

I do like going away to stay with friends, but it's always nice to come home again.

This weekend's visit was cut a little short and we came home at lunctime today instead of getting home at about 9pm as usual. The reason for this is that OH isn't very well. I know he's not well because he keeps telling me, several times an hour. He has a cold, not a nice cold, but a cold all the same. Not flu, darling. Nor pneumonia. It's just a cold.

Of course, the reason he feels so lousy today has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that 10 pints of reasonably strong ale was drunk and countless cigarettes were smoked during the course of yesterday afternoon. No, he tells me, it's the cold.

Do I sound a little unsympathetic? I don't mean to, I am terribly sympathetic and am ensuring he's dosed up and having all his whims pandered to whilst he snuggles under the duvet. It's just that OH does not "do" colds very well and is a total nightmare of a patient, with a stream of groans and moans and "I'm not well" issuing from the bedroom. He'd better hope I don't get it....way to much to do for me to be ill this week!

Otherwise we had a splendid weekend. I won at crib on Friday night and then managed to get bankrupted at Mah Jong and Starwars Episode 1 Monopoly. Wonderful company, delicious food and some lovely walks in the Sussex countryside.

What more could one ask for? OH without a cold would have been good.

Friday, 26 November 2004

Going away!

We're away for the weekend so no blog until Sunday!

If you're passing by this blog, have a good weekend!

Wednesday, 24 November 2004


I came home for lunch today to find a message on the ansaphone for OH. It went something like this:

"This is a message for Mr Dooley. This is Mr Blayney from Cymru-y Metel. Just ringing to let you know that the Welsh gold ring that you ordered from us is being sent by special delivery tomorrow and should be with you before 1pm. Please call if there is a problem and we can arrange another day for delivery. Thank you."

Problem!!?? I'll say there's a problem, Mr Blayney! Mr Dooley is away this week, not that that would have made much difference as I would still have been home first and heard the message before him. I knew, Mr Blayney, that my 40th birthday present was going to be something in Welsh gold, but not exactly what.

I do now.

Tuesday, 23 November 2004


I have to take medication every day and I will have to take this medication every day for the rest of my life; over that there is no doubt or argument. I consider myself fortunate because this particular medication falls within the "free prescription" criteria, so I don't have to pay for it. In fact, I don't have to pay for any prescription that I ever have to have in the future, regardless of what its for. Which in some respects does seem a little unfair really. I know several people who also have to take medication every day, and will do for the rest of their lives, but because they don't fall within the free prescription criteria, their prescriptions cost them an arm and a leg. So why should I get everything for free, when they get nothing? Odd system.

However, I digress from the purpose of my blog. Because of the way the free prescription system works, my Doctor is only allowed to give me enough medication for one month at a time. So each month I have to remember that I'm about to run out of tablets, unfortunately, I have a crap memory and although I realsie I'm running out of tablets, it's only when I get to the last tablets that I realise I still haven't put in the request for the next lot. So it's then a mad rush to get to the surgery to get the repeat prescription request in and get it signed quickly so that I don't miss a day. My Doctor is getting a bit peeved with me for not being more organised, and rightly so!!

I do wonder how many people are involved in the process of getting a repeat prescription. There's me, the surgery nurse, the Doctor, the pharmacist, and probably several other individuals in the NHS that deal with the paperwork that goes with getting free prescriptions. One can't help but wonder how much it actually costs to get a free prescription. It would make much more sense, and probably be a lot cheaper for the NHS, if a prescription could be issued for 3 months, or even 6 months, worth of pills at the same time. As I said, an odd system.

Monday, 22 November 2004

Early to blog

Early blog today as my day has not gotten off to a flying start and I need to get it off my chest.

For as long as I have worked here, we have had a young lad come almost day after day to just stand at the paddock fence and just "be" with one of our horses for hours on end. He seemed to be a nice enough lad but we thought the behaviour a little strange, bordering on the obsessive as it did, and we therefore assumed he was probably suffering some form of mental illness so kept an eye on him, but tolerated him hanging around.

Fast forward a year to this summer, and the particular horse that he had become obsessed with had to be put to sleep. This horse had everything wrong with his legs that could possibly go wrong with a horses' legs. He was in a lot of pain and it was the kindest course of action we could take.

Then one of our staff, who didn't want the lad upset, told him that the horse had gone to Wales for a long holiday to rest his legs up. Everyone else fell in with the lie and when the lad popped up periodically, we would say, yes, he's doing fine. Then last Friday, he came in and asked me for the address where the horse was staying as he was going to see him. I felt that enough was enough and that we could not keep this lie going any longer. Sooner or later it was going to trip us up. So I told him that the horse had had to be put to sleep. I broke it very gently and explained that it was not fair to keep an animal alive when they are in such pain, etc etc. I was very sympathetic and told him how sorry I was as I knew how much he had loved the horse. He seemed to take it very well, although was quite shocked, but did take off at full speed once out of the office. I let everyone know so they knew what to say if they met him and forgot about it.

Saturday morning, the duty officer had a visit from his parents. His mother was crying her eyes out and explained that he suffers from Aspergers Syndrome and Autism and is a suicide risk. He had come home so upset on the Friday night that he had ripped all the pictures he had taken of the horse off his walls and locked himself in his room and wouldn't come out. They said the news had set him back to such a point that they didn't know how they were going to pull him back.

I can't tell you I feel right now. I can sit here and ask why his parents didn't tell us, knowing as they did about his obsession with the horse. It obviously never occurred to them that this situation might arise. Had we all known his situation, we would have handled it very differently. But we didn't know. I feel terrible about it and if anything happens to him, I am going to have to live with the fact that it was probably my fault. I'm really not sure how I'm going to deal with that.

Saturday, 20 November 2004

We've been out!

I can't remember the last time OH and I went out for an evening. It's such a rare occurence that you'd think it would have stuck in my memory but it was obviously so long ago that it's been lost in the mists of time. But tonight we found ourselves "out"!

We have just rediscovered the delights of ten-pin bowling, and remembered how crap at it I am! But hey, we met up with some friends that we haven't seen for a long time, had an absolute ball, stuffed our faces at a local Chinese restaurant, then went to the pub and saw even more friends that we haven't seen for even longer!

It was so much fun that we all promised we'd do it again. Soon. But we've said that so many times before and it still ends up months and months before we see these friends again. Let's hope we keep that promise this time.

Friday, 19 November 2004

Walk a mile....

Sometimes it takes a healthy dose of someone elses reality to put your own life into perspective. I've just read back through my Blogs and my moanings and can't help but wonder, were they really worth moaning about?

I've had to face demons in the past and, with the support of my partner, friends and Reiki, I came out the other side relatively unscathed and, I hope, a better and stronger person for it. But how do you tell someone on the wrong side of their demons that it will be OK, they can get through it and with time, some heartache and soul-searching, it really will be OK? You can't. Because no matter what you say it will sound trite and perhaps a little condescending. All you can do is let them know you're there and they are not alone. And hold their hand.

Thursday, 18 November 2004

All I want for Christmas.......

Because OH is from a large family, he is one of eight children, Christmas could become extremely expensive. Six of the siblings are either married or have long term partners so that adds up to 14 presents. Then there are the nieces and nephews, of which there are currently 8, bringing the total to 22. And, of course, we mustn't forget the family matriarch, so that adds up to 23 presents. EEK!

So some years ago the family devised a scheme whereby everyone over 18 makes a Christmas List of all the things they want, up to a total value of £25, then the lists are put into a pot and everyone picks out one of them, so you only haveto buy a present for one person, plus the grandchildren under 18. That makes things a bit more manageable.

In order that there is plenty of time for present buying, the lists have to be distributed by whoever has been coerced to do said task (and that's me this year) about now. I don't do Christmas until Christmas Eve, so trying to think what I would like for Christmas in November is causing me a few problems.

One of the problems, I find, is that by the time you get to my age, you pretty much have everything you need and what you might "want" certainly doesn't fall within the £25 limit. I don't really go much for knick-knacky things, I hate clutter (although you'd be hard-pushed to believe that if you could see the junk around my flat!) and I like things that are useful rather than pretty. But the other side of me thinks that Christmas presents shouldn't really be practical, they should be more of the things that you quite like but wouldn't spend your own money on, "treat" type things. So you see the dilemma I have.....I only like practical things, but I don't want to put practical things on my list because I don't think Christmas is about practical presents.

So if anyone has any ideas as to what I might like for Christmas, do let me know.

Wednesday, 17 November 2004

Politics, politics

I hate office politics. It's a game where each contestant has their own set of rules and anyone else playing the game rarely knows what they are. It's also a complete waste of everyone's time and energy. A game I have studiously avoided all of my working life. But it seems that a few people at work have decided that it's a game we should all be playing. One person seems to think it's amusing to try to drive wedges between the rest of us. Fortunately, we can see what's going on and we're not falling for it. But it's so damn unnecessary. We're all keeping our heads down, doing our jobs, and hoping that someone's petard is going to hoist them somewhere they can't get out of by blaming someone else.

OH is still away so I am having some much needed "me" time. I can eat what I like when I like, sit in front of the computer all night if I want, watch what I want on the TV and be a complete slob if I so choose. It's bliss!! *pauses* .......I do miss him though.

Good news though. My best friend who is in hospital has come through her op successfully and they found a vein pressing on the Trigeminal Nerve, which they have dealt with. So we're all keeping fingers crossed that once she's over the op, the pain will go away and she can get back to a normal life. That's the best news!

Sunday, 14 November 2004

Road to Hell

I had a very quiet day today, although was a bit taken aback by the frost that greeted me when out walking The Lurchers this morning. A tad chilly around the extremities. Which reminds me that my car is about 2 months overdue for a service and I'm really not sure if it has any anti-freeze in it. Time to give my tame mechanic a call methinks.

OH had a marginally more exciting day. I was getting ready to blog tonight about how he had gone away for the week and how nice it would be to have the remote control all to myself. It didn't quite turn out that way though. He loaded the car up with all his work gear and stuff for him and Lurcher No.1 for the week and duly left as planned about 1.30pm. He called about 3.15pm, having travelled about 25 miles in 2 hours. The M25 was closed due to a petrol tanker spilling it's load yesterday between J6 and J5. I did hear that on the radio yesterday but it went in one ear and out the other - I might have saved him a bit of trouble if I'd paid more attention! Having just passed J7/8, OH was stuck until he could reach J6, a matter of not very far. He finally reached J6 at 5pm. At that point he turned around and came home. He will try this venture again tomorrow morning, going the other way around this time. And I have remembered to mention the roadworks!

Saturday, 13 November 2004

Speedy recovery required

My bestest friend goes into hospital tomorrow.

Christmas Day 2002 she came down with a migraine and it stayed...for the next 5 months. Doctors finally diagnosed Trigeminal Neuralgia which is, apparently, one of the most painful conditions known to man. Basically, a blood vessel inside the skull presses onto the trigeminal nerve, causing excruciating and constant pain. So, in May 2003, they operated. They drilled a hole in her skull and placed a piece of Teflon in between the nerve and the blood vessel and then stapled her up again. Things definitely improved and the pain lessened, although it didn't go away. Then, after a few months, it started to get worse again and for the last year she has once again been in constant pain. In order to deal with the pain, she is taking super strength prescription painkillers which often leave her floating in a twilight world. She can't work, is no longer allowed to drive and has had to move back home to Wales to live with her parents. She tries her best to live as normal a life as possible but most days the pain and/or the drugs render her incapable of functioning.

So tomorrow she goes back into hospital and on Tuesday they are going in for another look. Possibly the Teflon has slipped and will just need putting back into place...that's the best case scenario. It is possible that something else inside her skull was disturbed during the first operation - that's the middle-case scenario. The surgeon has intimated that Trigeminal Neuralgia may not have even been the original problem - that's the worst case scenario. If it's not that, what the hell is causing the pain.

So, good doctors at the Heath Hospital, do your stuff and make my friend all better again.

Thursday, 11 November 2004

Lest we forget

by John William Streets (killed and missing in action on 1 July 1916 aged 31)

Behind that long and lonely trenched line

To which men come and go, where brave men die,

There is a yet unmarked and unknown shrine,

A broken plot, a soldier’s cemetery.

There lie the flower of youth, the men who scorn’d

To live (so died) when languished Liberty:

Across their graves flowerless and unadorned

Still scream the shells of each artillery.

When war shall cease this lonely unknown spot

Of many a pilgrimage will be the end,

And flowers will shine in this now barren plot

And fame upon it through the years descend:

But many a heart upon each simple cross

Will hang the grief, the memory of its loss.

Tuesday, 9 November 2004

Lurcher No.2

Lurcher No.2, the delight of my life (Lurcher No. 1 is equally delightful I hasten to add!), has been with us a whole year today! Happy Gotcha Day my favourite boy!!

He was a little 12 week old bundle when he came to us from Greyhound Gap and his story is, happily, not as tragic as some rescue dogs. He and his litter mates had been bred by someone who fancied a litter of pups from their lurcher. His brother had been pulled by the rescue first as he was the runt of the litter and had been left in a shed and called "Reject", he hadn't seen daylight for much of his short life. I was able to find a super home for him with my vet and it's been great to see the two brothers growing up....even if they don't like each other very much! Just before Louis went to his new home, the founder of Greyhound Gap got a call to say that one of the pups that had been sold had now been returned. He was being left on his own for 9 hours a day and the owners couldn't cope with coming home to a mess of puppy poo and wee every night. He was 7 weeks old for heaven's sake! So he was quickly hauled out of there too.

As soon as I saw his picture, I just knew that he was destined to come and live with us. He was the spitting image of Lurcher No.1 when she was a puppy and my heart just melted at the sight of him! So after much persuading, OH agreed and Lurcher No.2 came home with us! All we know about his breeding is that mum was a Greyhound x Deerhound, and there is obviously some Border Collie in there, as he has classic BC markings.

We've gone from this:

To this!

Monday, 8 November 2004

Doggy love

I love my dogs and if either of them were to go missing, I would be beside myself. I therefore do all that I can to ensure that, should the unthinkable happen, the chances of us being reunited are high. They are both microchipped, logged with Petlog, and both have tags carrying home, office and mobile numbers.

We get a lot of lost dogs brought into the office on the Common and it frustrates me no end when these dogs don't have any ID on them at all. Apart from the fact that it is illegal for your dog not to have a name tag with contact details on it (and a fine of possibly up to £5,000 can be imposed) I find it completely irresponsible. Fortunately most of these dogs are reunited with their owners fairly quickly but it would save so much time and heartache if the owners had a mobile number on their dog's tag so that we could get hold of them quickly rather than them spending hours wandering the Common when their pooch is tucked up nicely in our kennel. What is even more frustrating is when the dogs do have a mobile number on the tag but you can't get hold of the owners. They finally turn up and say "Oh, my mobile is at home". Forgive me, but what bloody use is it there?

The other thing that really peeves me is when the dog that has been off wandering is still entire. They are more inclined to wander when they entire and when I suggest to the owner bemoaning the fact that their dog is always wandering off, that they might consider getting him neutered, I'm met with horrofied looks "but I couldn't do that to my dog". Why not? If you don't plan to breed (and breed responsibly) what is the point of keeping your dog entire? You are putting them more at risk from prostate cancer which means they end up being neutered anyway, just at a much older age when they can't cope so well with the anaesthtic and are at even more risk. Grrrr......

Today, though, was one of the sad days. We had been receiving reports of a greyhound seen wandering the Common all morning and someone was finally able to catch him and bring him in. No tag of course. Now Greyhounds are very close to my heart and I immediately contacted the dog wardens and Battersea plus all the lost dog organisations to see if he had been reported missing. No, he hadn't. The owner still hadn't turned up by lunchtime so I brought him home with me. He was obviously cared for, had plenty of weight on him, his teeth were good and nails neatly trimmed and he settled in at home quite happily. The dog warden came to collect him to take him off to Battersea where he was scanned and he wasn't even micro-chipped. So there he remains whilst Battersea try to trace the history of his ownership through his racing tattoos. Heaven knows his history, all we know is that he was registered to race but doesn't appear to have raced. Possibly yet another cast-off and throw-away dog from the racing industry.

But if a dog can be so well-cared for, how can his owners be so careless as to not even have so much as a tag on him?? It makes me spit, it really does.

Saturday, 6 November 2004


We went to a jumble sale today. Jumble sales are quite rare these days given the public's prediliction for car boot sales but our local church hosted one today, conveniently situate 100yds down the road.

OH is a painter/decorator so most of his work clothes come via jumble sales or are cast off by friends. He must be one of the few painter/decorators to go to work in Versace jeans and Ralph Lauren shirts! So he stocked up today and is very happy.

A few other bargains were to be found as well. A duvet for use as a dog bed - £1. A beautiful set of bone-handled fish knives and forks, resplendent in a velvet lined box for 50p. A set of 6 african batique cushion covers for 50p. A whole bagful of stuffed toys for The Lurchers, which should last all of, oh, 10 minutes before becoming de-stuffed toys, for 50p. And OH bought a fabulous pair of biking leathers and helmet for a quid! That's for the day he gets a motorbike again. He will one day. I know this because he keeps telling me so. Often.

So a successful day on the whole. OH has gone off to the party and me and The Lurchers are about to curl up in front of CSI. Why do I always time it so I'm eating whilst watching CSI? I can't think of a worse programme to eat to!

Friday, 5 November 2004

The Lurchers

Not entirely sure I like fireworks anymore.

Lurcher No.1 doesn't bat an eyelid and ignores everything but Lurcher No.2 is made of much more highly strung stuff. He doesn't like fireworks either. At least he hasnt tried crawling into the fridge yet, as a friend's dog did some years ago. But he has decided he is most happy curled up in the furthest, darkest corner under my desk that he can find.

We were going to my brother in laws 50th birthday party tomorrow night. OH is still going but I refuse to leave Lurcher No.2 at home getting freaked out. Some of the family probably won't like it. The fact that I treat my dogs as creatures with feelings, and with a slight degree of anthropomorphism it has to be said, is seen as slightly quirky eccentrism on my part. But hey, they'll still be sane on Sunday morning, and I'd like my puppy to be too, so I'm staying home regardless. So there.

Oh, and my washing machine appears to have sprung a leak. Oh joy.

Thursday, 4 November 2004

I'm going back!!??

I have finally regained enough equilibrium to talk about my night in a haunted house - last Saturday. Yes, well. There were a few experiences not to be forgotten.

It all started well enough. In daylight. A most beautiful house, slightly the wrong side of genteel shabbiness, but that can be forgiven, it was the most welcoming and happy house. The first tour revealed that the atmosphere of one wing of the house was slightly more opressive than the other, but there was nothing to suggest that there would be too much out of the ordinary before dawn. And so we got down to business.

A little vigil in one room apparently haunted by a not so nice character. A few people saw orbs in the room and the photographs taken with digital cameras certainly showed they were there. However, when I started talking in a voice which, I was later told, was not my own, things started to heat up a little.

Unnerved somewhat, we removed to the dining room to eat delicious food supplied by our very genial hosts. Dinner seemed to be a perfectly normal affair. As we sat down I tied my camera with a normal reef knot to the arm of the chair so that it wasn't in the way. When I went to untie my camera from the arm of the chair that I realised the spirits in the room had been rather busy whilst we had been stuffing our faces. The cord of my camera was no longer tied in a reef knot but was a complete mangled mess of knots and in one photograph taken of us dining, you can actually see the cord of the camera sticking about 2" up in the's a very soft cord and no way could it do that on its own. The other slightly spooky thing was that there is one chair around the dining table where, if people sit in it, they are liable to get prodded and poked. Our hosts refused to tell us which chair it was. 24 of us walked into that room to eat and there are 25 chairs. Guess which chair everyone seemed to instinctively know to avoid!

The paranormal crew decided to hold a seance in the same room we had been in earlier and I, albeit somewhat reluctantly, joined them. Don't ask me why but I just felt drawn to do so. The first seance was very quiet and nothing untoward happened. Then, one friend, sitting in exactly the same place as I had been earlier, started coming out with almost exactly the same stuff I had earlier....albeit in her own voice! The upshot was that we had another seance of 6 women. No talking in a strange voice for me this time, no, I just got more and more agitated and started rocking back and forth. I was aware I was doing it but I couldn't have stopped if I'd tried. Whatever was in that room was trying to channel through me but I was so frightened by this point and my protection so strong that it wasn't happening. We had to close the seance down because I just could not carry on. It took me quite a while to recover from that and I could not go near that room again.

If I've learnt anythng from the weekend is that you really shouldn't mess with stuff you don't really know about. If we hadn't of had the experienced paranormal crew with us, I wouldn't have even attempted to do what we were doing.

Other slightly spooky things that have come to light are voices reacting to our voices, not heard by us but most definitely heard by the video cameras.

And yes, a couple of us are going back at some point! We both feel that there is some business there that we to put to rest. Mad. Completely mad!

Friday, 29 October 2004

No talk, just pictures

No blog, just thought I'd share some silly pictures of The Lurchers.

Lurcher No 1

Lurcher No 2

Lurchers 1 and 2......playing!

Thursday, 28 October 2004

Nervous? Me?

I am gearing myself up for Saturday night.

On Saturday night, a group of us are spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in Britain, Hermeston Hall. We are doing this for charity, to raise funds for Greyhound Gap and are all trying to raise as much sponsorship as we can.

We must be completely bonkers. Saturday night is the 30th/31st October, perhaps better known as Halloween, you know, the night that disembodied spirits of all those who died throughout the preceding year come back in search of living bodies to possess for the next year. The founder of Greyhound Gap, and organiser of this little outing, has shown a rather perverse sense of humour over the choice of date, I feel. I've been quite looking forward to it up to now but today, for some reason, I am starting to get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. They are apparently quite friendly ghosts, apart from one, The Bishop, who is, by all accounts, a bit of a nasty piece of work.

We have a full parapsychic (or whatever they are called) coming with us to make sure we get the most of the night...thanks guys! If you've ever seen Most Haunted, you'll have some idea of the sort of night we have in store.

I may be grey when I get back on Sunday!

Wednesday, 27 October 2004

TOGs unite

Yesterday's little incident with the sunglasses could, I feel, be put down to a momentary blip in concentration and that JGs welcome to TOGdom may be a little premature. However, events of today are making me realise that I appear to already be a fully paid up member of the club.

Just to give you a bit of background, occasionally at work we have film crews parking in our car parks and to make life easier, we bollard off part of the car park the night before.

I woke up around 7am this morning and snuggled down under the duvet, smug in the knowledge that I'd got everything I needed to take to work organised the night before and could have a bit of a lie-in.

So as I snuggled down, my mind wandered to what I needed to do at work today. OMG!!! There's a film crew coming in and I haven't arranged for the bollards to be put out. Jumped out of bed, put clothes on over jim-jams, ran out to the car and shot off to work to put them out. Drove round to the yard to let them know what I'd done, then drove home again to get ready for work. Phew, sorted!

As I rushed round (I was now late) OH muttered something about the day. I stopped in my tracks. What day is it today? I asked. Wednesday. Oh bugger. The film crew are coming in Thursday.

There's no hope for me is there?

Tuesday, 26 October 2004


OH doesn't believe in hairdressers so some years ago he invested in a Wahl hairtrimmer so he can do his own hair. Now, he doesn't go mad and only cuts it on a 4, which is really no shorter than any decent hair dresser can cut hair with a scissors.

He does have a problem doing the back though and occasionally ends up leaving a little mohican - fetching, if you like that sort of thing but not perhaps to his taste. At this point I usually get summoned to the bathroom to do that bit. I also tidy up the ends a bit which means being very careful with the Wahl set on 0...the skinhead setting.

The summons came this evening and in I trotted to to do the honours. Picked up the Wahl and proceeded to zip up the side of his head, behind the ear to get rid of the mohican. Within 1 second OH screamed and ducked away from me. What?? There's no blood? What's the matter?

The matter, dear readers, is that the Wahl was on skinhead setting. He only meant for me to tidy up the edges. Oh. Dear. I did do my best to tidy it up but it is looking just a tad lob-sided. Just as well he has a sense of humour....and can't really see the damage! I can, and cringe every time I see it! Ooops!

The sun shined this morning. A lovely Autumn day. I searched through my bag, affectionally known as The Pit, to find my sunglasses. No sign of them. What I did find however, was 1/2lb of melting butter. That, of course, gave me a very big clue as to where my sunglasses were. Where the butter was supposed to be. In the fridge. Put a whole new meaning on the word "cool".

Monday, 25 October 2004

Fungi to be with

Today one of our Keepers caught a chap with 4 carrier bags full of mushrooms picked on the Common. Apart from the fact that it is seriously breaking our Byelaws, it breaks the laws of common countryside sense. Pick all the mushrooms, no mushrooms to spore, no mushrooms next year. Over-picking of wild mushrooms is becoming a big problem and there is now a Code of Practice on the subject to help preserve them in their natural habitat. Pick what you can eat is the advice, and if you're not sure, leave them be. I think 4 carrier bags full takes that a little far. What would have happened of course, is that they would have been sold at great profit to local restaurants. We realise that we're not going to stop people picking mushrooms but moderation is everything.

We confiscated 3 of the bags and they would usually get shared out among the staff. Which seems a little hypocrital but if we don't confiscate them, what does that tell people? Oh, you'll get a smack on the wrist but hey, you'll still get the mushrooms. Our office mushroom expert is currently on holiday and the rest of us don't have much of a clue, and wild mushrooms are not something you take a chance with. So I called in OH. Whilst he would not profess to be an expert, he knows enough of the commoner mushrooms to know what's what. Even he couldn't identify them, not even with his books, and so there is every possibility that these bags of mushrooms aren't even edible. Now they are completely wasted and the best we can do is spread them back in the area they were picked and hope that some will be able to spore.

Rant over....

Sunday, 24 October 2004

A good day

A very satisfying day today. Had a lovely walk with The Lurchers this morning which they thoroughly enjoyed and from which they are still pooped - which is good news as Lurcher No.1 has been a little out of sorts for the last few days.

I have baked a loaf of bread, made a batch of scones, an apple pie, a batch of pasties and have a stew simmering in the slowcooker. I've hand-washed one of The Lurcher's duvets (£6 duvet from Asda is a lot cheaper than a "proper" dog bed!), tidied up a bit, moved along apace in PD4 and sorted out some of the accounts for Greyhound Gap. Plus all the trough boxes for OH, me and The Lurchers are done and ready to walk out of the door with in the morning. Hah! Stepford Wives move over, Angela coming through!

I also had my shopping delivered by Tesco this morning. I positively hate shopping and getting someone to trudge round the superstore with a wonky trolley amidst the Sunday morning hordes, queue at the checkout, bag up the groceries, load them up and deliver them to my door is well worth £5 of my money. They are usually pretty good at delivering what I ask for, unless I forget to check the "no substitutes" box, then unloading the shopping can be a bit of a magical mystery tour through the carrier bags.

As I was unpacking the bags this morning, I was a little miffed to find a huge 2KG bag of Tilda basmati rice and a tube of Heinz tomato puree. Now, I am very much a Tesco own label kind of person and the hairs stood up at the back of my neck at the thought of how much those two items were going to cost me, especially as they weren't even substitutes as I hadn't ordered any rice or tomato puree. On top of that, my Canteloupe melon was missing! On checking the delivery note, it seems I have been charged for said missing Canteloupe melon, but I haven't been charged for the rice and the puree. Given that I appear to be quids in, I stifled my initial desire to reach for the phone and complain and thought that as I was having such a satisfying day, I would, out of the goodness of my heart, forgive them on this occasion. Ahem.

I just feel sorry for the person who unloaded their bags and found themselves with a Canteloupe melon they hadn't bought and missing a bag of Basmati rice and Heinz tomato puree that they had. Oh well....I shall let them complain!

But that leads me to another gripe about Tesco home delivery. Now I like carrier bags, it saves me having to buy bags to fit the rubbish bin, and I'm very keen on recycling, but Tesco took this to the extreme this morning. Amidst the loaded carrier bags were 8 bags that only had one item each in them. They weren't big items, one was a tube of toothpaste, another a lump of cheddar, and other such small items. It makes you wonder what's going through the minds of the Tesco staff as they pack up the shopping doesn't it??

I have also managed to fix the digibox. For a few weeks now we have have been having reception problems, to the point where the freeview channels have been unwatchable, and the terrestrial not much better. During the last few days I have re-booted it (very nearly hard out of the window) and re-scanned it and today I was about to launch a major re-installation. In the meantime, our landlord had checked with the neighbours that they hadn't done anything to our shared aerial and OH was up on the roof checking that the aerial connection wasn't sitting in a puddle of water. So back to the major re-installation, as I moved the box to unplug the aerial, I noticed that one of the Scart leads wasn't in it's hole properly. Funny, but since I put the lead back in, it's all worked fine and dandy. *embarrassed titter*

Saturday, 23 October 2004

Jammy dodgers

I have spent most of today in a traffic jam. Or as it's more commonly known, the M25.

I do some voluntary work with a Greyhound and Lurcher rescue, Greyhound Gap, and today I was asked by them to help out another rescue, delivering a puppy to her new forever home. Having set out at 11.15am this morning, I finally arrived at the meeting place, South Mimms services, to meet with the fosterer, having spent half the journey in solid traffic between the A3 and the M4.

I very nearly came straight home again with the puppy, a beautiful little 12 week old Collie cross. I adore puppies and would have my home full of them if I could!

So onto the next stage of the journey round to Southend of Sea. Out of the services onto the M25 and straight into another traffic jam. This one 8 miles long according to the traffic reports. *sigh*.

Puppy safely delivered 2 hours later and start out on the journey home. Why is it, when there are two possible routes you can take, you always pick the wrong one? One seemed longer and more out of the way and the other a much more direct route. So I took the direct route. What the map didn't tell me that this was through 4 consecutive high streets and a set of roadworks. On a wet Saturday afternoon, it was no fun. The indirect route would have been so much quicker.

Back to the M25 again and surprisingly no traffic jams, not even at the QE2 Bridge. But lots of heavy rain making visibility absolutely minimal.

So 6 hours, 200 miles and an almost complete circuit of the M25 ( I got on at J10 and got off again at J9), I'm home and ready to curl up in a ball under the duvet.

Still, a beautiful puppy delivered safely to her new forever home. Somehow it does all seem worth it.

Mouse update. 3 traps set last night, baited with Maryland Chocolate cookies. This evening, 3 traps still set with Maryland Chocolate cookies missing. Yay!! Go meeces!! One apparently quite calmly sauntered out of my clothes cupboard in front of OH this afternoon....more biscuits please!

Friday, 22 October 2004

Gnawing pains

'Twas the night before errrr....Friday,

when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring,

not even a mouse;

Hah! Not in this house! I was sitting here quietly last night, OH had gone to bed early and The Lurchers were settled and sleeping. I was working at the computer which is in the hall, when I heard scratching noises coming from the sitting room to my right. Thinking Chaz the Hamster was awake I went in to say hello and give her some fruit. Oh, not Chaz, she was still sleeping, being more of a 4 in the morning kind of girl. Back at my desk the noises started again and I just couldn't locate them.

Having spent 10 minutes crawling around the floor and shining the torch under the dresser, from where the noises appeared to be coming, it dawned on me. Our usual autumnal visitors were back. Yep, mice! Our ground floor flat is quite old and there are plenty of nooks and crannies for them to get in. Did you know that mice can dislocate their shoulders to get through the tiniest of gaps?

I would be quite happy to have them around, they're pretty harmless after all, except for the fact that they will chew things. Over the years I have lost several items of clothing from the bottom of my clothes cupboard to mice searching for nesting material. And I once lifted a brand new bag of hamster food out of the cupboard to have it trail out of the bag behind me through the very neatly nibbled hole. Food on tap, no wonder they come back very year!

Last year was quite amusing though. The telephone in the sitting room has a long lead so we can move about with the phone...yes I know we should get a cordless but hey, a long lead does the trick....and when we got home from a weekend away, the phone was on the floor and the lead seemed to be disappearing under the sofa. Moving the sofa out of the way, we discovered that the mice had pulled it down through a hole in the floorboards. Unchewed, I could only assume they wished to tap into our phone line to call the relatives. I did wonder when we'd find a note asking for a broadband connection please. They are quite cheeky mice year I was in the sitting room of an evening when a movement caught my eye, Mr Mouse was quite happily trotting up the hall with a dog biscuit in his mouth which he had purloined from the dog bowl!

However, the problem now arises as to how to deal with them. OH is in favour of the old-fashioned mouse trap, baited with chocolate, which apparently they prefer to cheese... we have discerning mice in this house you understand. Either that or Mrs Mouse suffers from the same cravings that us human females do. I'm not comfortable with these traps and would rather use humane ones but the year we did, we were more overrun with the little beggars than ever. It didn't seem to matter how far from the flat we released them, they all came back, or maybe word got round that this was a safe house. Poison was suggested this year, but I've vetoed that one completely. If they have to die then it will at least be quick and painless.

Any other tips for humane removal of meeces would be most welcome.

Thursday, 21 October 2004

Soul Food

The best thing about Autumn and heading into Winter is that we can now get back to proper food. No more picky, unsatisfying salads, or getting the barbeque to light without smoking out the neighbours. No moving the contents of the kitchen to the garden or being attacked by marauding swarms of wasps and, in turn, becoming dinner for the local midge and mosquito population.

It's time for lamb, slowly roasted with rosemary; beef casserole and hearty homemade soups. Roast potatoes and roast parsnips, with the thin end burnt and crispy; mashed swede and mashed potatoes, melting with butter. Peas, swimming in rich gravy. Oh, and sprouts! I love sprouts! Apple pie and thick, creamy custard - bagsy I get the skin! It's time to dust off the slowcooker and arrive home to the smell of simmering stew and freshly baked bread.

Ahhhh......I do so love Autumn!

Wednesday, 20 October 2004

A lucky escape!

Two blogs in one day.....gosh.

We've just had a narrow escape. Last night Lurcher No.1 decided she wasn't that keen on her dinner after all (a lovely fresh mackerel too!) and at 1.30am decided she'd bring it back up again. All over the bottom of the bed. So we stripped the bed down, re-made it and resumed slumber, and plonked everything in the washing machine this morning.

Fast forward to this evening. Where's the remote control for the digibox OH asks. Search me. Pulled the bed apart and around, moved the furniture, searched through a pile of discarded clothes. Not a sign. Oh, laughs I, I hope it's not in the washing machine. Panic stricken look on OH's face. Uh oh! A mad dash to the laundry room reveals one digibox remote wrapped in the bed throw and about 10 minutes from a 40 degree cycle and a fast spin. EEK!

We're not really slaves to our TV....honest.

I have recovered

No blog yesterday. The day was way too emotional for me to be the slightest bit coherent.

It all started when Big Boss asked for a "quiet word". Always worrying when Big Boss asks for one of those. I suppose I could have said "silence", it is a quiet word after all, but somehow I felt that flippancy was not going to be the order of the day.

It all started because I am in the enviable position, at least, I feel it's an enviable position, of being able to take Lurcher No.2 to work with me. He's been coming with me since he was 12 weeks old and now that he's the grand age of 14 months, he's settled into the routine and pootles about nicely in the yard with the other dogs, outside the office or curled up under my desk. He occasionally likes to go see people and say hello. He is a very sociable dog after all. he's very calm and well-behaved and always does as he's told.

However, last Friday, I forgot to pick up his dog bed to bring home to wash and when one of my colleagues went into the office on Saturday morning, there was a distinct air of "dogginess" about the place. This was fine until some terribly helpful member of the public decided to drag dog poo into the office and onto the mats. Said colleague threw a hissy fit at that point and the Big Boss happened to walk in. So the "quiet word" was to announce that Lurcher No.2 could no longer come into the office. Well! I was completely gobsmacked, and absolutely furious. If said colleague had a problem why on earth didn't he talk to me?

I was hurt and very upset. I had to listen to Lurcher No.2 in the yard, crying and whining because he couldn't understand why he couldn't come in the office. It would take months of re-training and over cold and wet winter months he'd have to be out in the elements. After listening to said crying and whining for several hours, Not Quite So Big Boss had enough and told Big Boss what for. The upshot of which was that Lurcher No. 2 is now allowed back in the office, as long as he doesn't wander around and I remember to take his bed home and wash it a bit more often! Phew! Such a roller-coaster of emotions!

This might all sound like a complete over-reaction on my part but my dogs are my children to me (not having any human ones) and one of the reasons we decided to home Lurcher No.2 was the fact that I could take him to work, and he was welcomed by previous Big Boss. (Lurcher No.1 goes to work with my partner.) We could have managed but both dogs would have had to stay at home all day and that is not the life we want for them. Perhaps I'm also being selfish, after all, he could still have come with me and we could have made other arrangements. I think maybe I was also feeling a little guilty because it was partly my fault for the situation arising in the first place.

A lesson learned for me though - not everyone looks upon their dogs as I do - and I guess it's important to remember that.

Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Shouldn't bigger be smaller??

Well, a hugely exciting start to the week when my new printer arrived at work this morning, Ooooeeee!! It's only black and white but it prints at 28ppm....that got your attention didn't it! There is a downside to this of course: if I start printing something and realise I didn't actually want to print 10 copies of a 10 page document but only 10 copies of just one page, as happened to me this afternoon, by the time I got up the printer box and cancelled the print, it had already printed 64 pages! My reflexes are going to have to speed up a bit!

But what I want to know is this.....why is it that when technology seems to be making everything so much smaller, my new printer is absolutely enormous!! It's twice the size of my previous, and now defunct, printer. OK, it's a laser printer so I know it's going to be bigger than your average home inkjet but all the same, I remember having a laser printer 6 years ago that was half the size of this one. That's something to ponder on isn't it!? I shall leave you with that one...mainly because there is nothing more interesting for me to write today!

Monday, 18 October 2004

Oh my....'s been a while hasn't it!? Two months since my last blog and still nothing terribly exciting to write about *sigh*. I think I should get a life.

Today has mostly been spent pondering. Pondering how to spend my 40th birthday in January. We've been pondering this for some time and several ideas have been decided upon and then discarded when we've thought about it a bit more sensibly. For instance, my first thought was to go as far north as we could go, without leaving the UK, to see the Northern Lights. That idea hung around for a while, until one day I considered that the Shetland Isles in January might not be entirely feasible, what with snow and all that. Then we thought about a lovely, and expensive, hotel in North Wales that allows dogs. But what can you do in a hotel with The Lurchers? Daren't leave them in the room alone whilst we go for dinner for fear of them trashing it, so we'd have to stay in the room with them, eating room service in bed. Heck, we can do that at home without having to spend £150 a night!

Next plan was a cottage in the country, large enough so that the close band of friends I want to spend such a momentous occassion with could join us. That would be 12 people in total. Have you any idea of the price of a cottage with 6 bedrooms!? At least £1,000! Bang! There goes another plan then!

So current thinking is a few fun hours in a Pottery Cafe, followed by dinner in a local restaurant. Wild huh!? I may be starting to get a life after all!

Good night!

Thursday, 19 August 2004

Computers. Who'd have one.

What a complete and total mess. Through my own complete stupidity, I have a acquired a virus on my computer. I received an e-mail from a friends rentitled "photos", thinking she was sending me some hilarious exploit photo I clicked on the attachment. Within a nanosecond I realised it was an .exe file and within 2 nanaoseconds had turned off my computer. Too late. The virus is in and I'm buggered. I can only be thankful that my tardiness last weekend stopped me from buying a new computer as I would be even more annoyed with myself if it had been my new computer that I had infected. *sigh* Not a happy bunny at the moment.

Tuesday, 17 August 2004

Poorly paws, Hamster food and Olympics.

Sunday.....yes, Sunday. Don't do much on Sundays if it can possibly be helped.

Walked The Lurchers. As that is a daily routine, it will feature regularly. Nothing exciting to report apart from Lurcher No.2's poorly paw is no longer poorly and he is now running fit and well again. No Wombles seen again today.

Hamster food. I would just like to bring this important point to your attention. Hamster food contains E numbers of the colourings variety. WHY? Where do the manufacturers think that hamsters would find E numbers in the wild? Why are they trying to induce heperactivity into my hamster? Do they not realise she is hyper enough as it is? Especially at 4am.

Olympics. So what happened to the shooting? I was under strict instructions by OH to stand-by with remote control for the video to record the shooting. Due to start at noon. Did they show it? No they didn't. And it was only going to be on for 15 minutes anyway. Shootism....that's what I call it. Do the BBC schedulers have to face an irate OH when they get home. Nope, but I do. Did spend an enjoyable hour or two watching the Dressage though. You really have to like horses to understand why that's enjoyable.

Back to my Sunday afternoon slumber.....zzzzzzzzz

Sunday, 15 August 2004

Saturday August 14th

Quiet day today. Up as usual to meet friend to walk The Lurchers with her Boxer. Unfortunately Lurcher No.2 has poorly paw so he had to stay with OH whilst Lurcher No1 and I went out. No Wombles to be seen on the walk this morning so all very uneventful.

Was going to go out an buy a new computer today. Very big excitement. However, the thought of having to clear my desk of old computer and the masses of papers that clutter every available surface, it all seemed just too much to bear today so have put off buying new computer for yet another week.

And there's another dilemma, which computer to buy? Just how much RAM does a girl need for heaven's sake? Do I brave the vast wilderness that is PC World or do I resort to the easy option and buy from Dell again? Hmmmmm....shall ponder that one in the days to come. All suggestions welcome however.

Lurchers No.1 and No.2 seem to have made themselves comfortable on the bed along with OH so not quite sure where I am to sleep tonight. *sigh*