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 light......how 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 air....it'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!