Monday, 31 December 2007

Fun Monday #2

I have to say that today is not starting out as a particularly Fun Monday. I had to rush to the emergency vet with Lurcher No.2 at 11.30pm last night for what I thought was an occurrence of colic. Not life threatening but he was in obvious pain and distress. The vet gave him a jab which seemed to ease things and he slept through as whatever they gave him also had a very mild sedative effect.

He's still not right this morning though and has some diarrhoea as well so I rang my normal vet and they asked to see him. Himself has just taken him down and, as he is still in some discomfort, the vet has decided to keep him in and x-ray just to rule out any blockage. So I am sitting here biting my nails until I hear more from the vet.

*Update: Lurcher No.2 is home and there is no blockage, just a possible gastric upset and lots of nasty gas in his stomach and colon. It all just has to work its way out of his system now and then he'll be a lot more comfortable.

However, I did start to put together my Fun Monday post yesterday evening so, although I'm not feeling particularly jovial, I can at least share these with you, even if there are not as many as I'd hoped to share.

This week's Fun Monday is hosted by Peter over at Holties House. As it's nearly the New Year, Peter wants us to end 2007 with a smile on our faces and wants to know our favourite jokes or cartoons.

I have heard some absolute howlers over the years but, unfortunately, my joke-retaining ability is way off the minus end of the scale and I can never remember them so here are a few that I do remember (or have written down) that absolutely make me chortle!

Silliest Joke. I've first heard this joke as a child and it still makes me giggle!

Why do elephants have big ears? Because Noddy won't pay the ransom.

Funniest Quotes. These are cheating slightly as they are not jokes but a friend sent me a list of quotes from examination papers and I always go and read it when I need to have a good belly laugh! This is just a few of the funniest:

What's a Hindu?
It lays eggs

Name the four seasons
Salt, mustard, pepper, vinegar

"Monotony means being married to the same person for all your life."

"What changes happen to your body as you age?
When you get old, so do your bowels and you get inter-continental"

"The body consists of three parts - the brainium, the borax and the abominable cavity. The brainium contains the brain, the borax contains the heart and lungs, and the abominable cavity contains the bowels, of which there are five - a, e, i, o and u."

"What are steroids?
Things for keeping the carpet on the stairs"

"What is a common treatment for a badly bleeding nose?

"For Fainting: Rub the person's chest or, if a lady, rub her arm above the hand instead. Or put the head between the knees of the nearest medical doctor."


BENIGN...What you will be after you be eight
CAESAREAN SECTION...A district in Rome
COMA...A punctuation mark - a bit like a full stop
SEMI-COLON...Partial removal of the intestines
VACUUM...Large empty space where the pope lives
ENEMA...Someone who is not your friend
MAGNET...Something you find crawling on a dead cat
FIBULA...A small lie
MORBID...When there is a bigger offer
GERMINATION...The process of becoming a German
NODE...When you have known somebody for a long time
SEIZURE...A Roman Emperor
FERTILISATION...The fusing of the male with the female garments
TERMINAL ILLNESS...When you are ill at the airport
TIBIA...A country in North Africa

Have a Happy New Year everyone and head over to Holties House to see all the other Fun Monday Participants' posts!

Friday, 28 December 2007

That went well then

Despite my protestations that a surly teenager would not dictate my day, I actually had no need to protest. Everyone arrived about 2pm which was fne because my plans for a walk before lunch were scuppered by the fact that it was hissing down with rain.

This was the first time I have ever hosted Christmas lunch and it all went amazingly calmly. It all came together and dinner was served as near as dammit to 3pm...the only thing that didn't quite go according to plan was that my parnsips wouldn't crisp. A minor thing that really didn't bother me that much!

We opened presents, played games, ate some more and crashed out at about 11pm.

And not a single episode of a surly teenager. Laughs and smiles all day! With the highlight of the day undoubtedly being Lurcher no. 1 not being satisfied with opening her own presents so much that when our backs were turned she dived into the present pile and started opening everyone else's presents too!

Hope yours all went well too!

Monday, 24 December 2007

It's started!

I have just been having a conversation with my Mother-in-Law about tomorrow. She is picking up her eldest son and his daughter to bring them over to us for the festivities (sister-in-law is a nurse and working so she will come along later). When they arrive apparently depends on what time the daughter, a teenager, decides to get up. They've been saying this for weeks and I've taken it as a bit of a joke and assumed they would be here in good time to start the festive ball rolling at about midday or just after, and then sit down for lunch at 3pm. Apparently not. They'll get here whenever daughter decides to get up. I just hit the roof and made it quite plain that tomorrow is not about one person, her father will get her up and they will arrive in good time for drinks and a walk before dinner and not five minutes before I put dinner on the table.

My Christmas Day is NOT going to be dictated by a teenager.

Moving on to someting much more cheerful....... if there had been any doubt in my mind about whether or not Bridie was Tigerlily, it would have been swept away with the greeting that Jemima and Henry received when they got here! Tigerlily went mental when she saw them, with that greeting that's reserved for someone a dog loves very much. Her tail wouldn't stop wagging and she couldn't contain herself with excitement and once we got inside, she didn't leave their sides, coming back for more and more cuddles! It was a very tearful moment I can tell you!

I think their expressions say it all don't they!? ;D

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Saturday, 22 December 2007

A very happy ending!

It's strange how an innoccuous remark can lead to such an unexpected conclusion.

On Friday night, I mentioned to Lisa (who runs Greyhound Gap, the rescue I volunteer for) about how strange it was that no-one was looking for Bridie considering that someone had put in a lot of work with her as she was so well-trained and such a well-behaved dog. She showed no signs of having been mis-treated and she had obviously lived in a house before as she knew exactly what a sofa was for!

When a stray dog comes into Gap's care, Lisa always checks on the DogLost website in case they have been listed there. Doglost is a fantastic site that does so much to help re-unite missing pets with their owners. Although she had checked when Bridie first came into our care and there was no dog listed matching her description, Lisa decided to have another check. Much to our surprise, up popped a dog that matched Bridie to a tee. I spent all last night comparing all the markings on the dog in the photo to Bridie and there was no doubt in my mind, this was the same dog. She'd been registered on DogLost a week after she came to us and has been missing for two months.

So this morning I had the delightful job of ringing up the owners to let them know that I might possibly have their missing dog lying on my sofa.

There was shock, tears and a little upset that we wanted to check them out before we allowed Bridie to go home. But, as I explained to them, we needed to be sure that she was going back to a caring home and not to somewhere where she might be mistreated.

The Gap volunteers pulled out all the stops once again and one lovely lady dropped everything to drive 50 miles to visit Bridie's family. All is well and they are driving over to me tomorrow to pick up Bridie, or Tigerlily as we now know she is named, and take her home, just in time for Christmas.

I don't think any of us could have asked for a better Christmas present!

Be happy Tigerlily, we shall miss your puppy cuddles!

Friday, 21 December 2007

REM Sleep Paralysis

Have you ever experienced REM sleep paralysis?

Well, actually, you all have as it's a natural part of your sleep pattern so I suppose a better question is have you ever been aware of experiencing it? This particular sleep paralysis occurs when you are in the REM stage of sleep: the brain literally awakens internally during REM sleep. In a person with normal sleep behavior the REM sleep stage is one of near paralysis for the entire body other than the muscles of the eye and the middle ear. In this stage of sleep, you experience your most vivid dreams. The dreams that you are most likely to remember. And if you wake up, or, at least, think you wake up, you can't move.

It's happened to me several times now and each time is as scary as the last.

I remember the first time very vividly. It was a Sunday morning and Himself was going out early. I decided to have a lie-in and fell back to sleep. Next thing I am aware of is what I thought was Himself coming back in the room and lying on top of me, almost crushing me. But the bizarre thing was the feeling of complete and utter evil. Then the dawning realisation that I was awake, but I couldn't move. I remember screaming and then I woke up. Properly woke up. And I was on my own. Himself wasn't there at all. The feeling of dread I was left with was awful because you really do think you are awake and that your dream is real.

It happened once when Himself was lying in bed next to me awake and reading. He was apparently chortling to himself at the noises I was making in my sleep. To him it was gurgling and muttering. To me, paralysed and terrified in my REM dream because someone was trying to kill me, I was screaming at him to wake me up. When I did eventually wake up, I left him in doubt that if I were to ever start muttering in my sleep again, he was to wake me up and not leave me there whilst chuckling to himself.

But the strangest of these dreams happened to me last night. Again I thought I had woken up but this time I started to feel like I was having some sort of fit. My neck and shoulders were twitching like crazy......twitching isn't quite the right word but it's the closest I can find to describe the feeling. On top of that, I could feel and hear something rapidly gnawing at the side of my neck. I imagined it was some sort of gremlin but I couldn't move and I couldn't stop it and the only thought that was going through my head was that I was going to die. Yet one side of my brain was obviously awake and being rational and it kept telling me that I knew this was one of "those" dreams and that I had to wake myself up. Fortunately, the fingers of my left hand were resting on my right arm and through sheer determination I made my fingers pinch my skin to wake myself up.

Damn scary.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

A Rescue Dog's Christmas Poem

If you wonder why I, and countless other people, keep on fostering despite the mixed feelings of joy and heartbreak when a you have to say goodbye to a foster, this is why.

Thank you Lisa for posting this and reminding us why we do what we can.

A Rescue Dog's Christmas Poem

Tis the night before Christmas and all through the town,
every shelter is full - we are lost, but not found,
Our numbers are hung on our kennels so bare,
we hope every minute that someone will care,
They'll come to adopt us and give us the call,
"Come here, Max and Sparkie - come fetch your new ball!!

But now we sit here and think of the days...
we were treated so fondly - we had cute, baby ways,
Once we were little, then we grew and we grew
now we're no longer young and we're no longer new.
So out the back door we were thrown like the trash,
they reacted so quickly - why were they so rash?
We "jump on the children:, "don't come when they call",
we "bark when they leave us", climb over the wall.

We should have been neutered, we should have been spayed,
now we suffer the consequence of the errors THEY made.
If only they'd trained us, if only we knew...
we'd have done what they asked us and worshiped them, too.
We were left in the backyard, or worse -let to roam-
now we're tired and lonely and out of a home.
They dropped us off here and they kissed us good-bye...
"Maybe someone else will give you a try."

So now here we are, all confused and alone...
in a shelter with others who long for a home.
The kind workers come through with a meal and a pat,
with so many to care for, they can't stay to chat,
They move to the next kennel, giving each of us cheer...
we know that they wonder how long we'll be here.
We lay down to sleep and sweet dreams fill our heads...
of a home filled with love and our own cozy beds.
Then we wake to see sad eyes, brimming with tears -
our friends filled with emptiness, worry, and fear.

If you can't adopt us and there's no room at the Inn -
could you help with the bills and fill our food bin?
We count on your kindness each day of the year -
can you give more than hope to everyone here?
Please make a donation to pay for the heat...
and help get us something special to eat.
The shelter that cares for us wants us to live,
and more of us will, if more people will give.

--Author Unknown

A Lurcher Tale. And a wreath.

There are days when any silly little thing can set my blood pressure going off the scale. There are days when I am perfectly happy and content and one silly person can send me from chilled to boiling in the space of 30 seconds. Today was one of those days.

I was walking home from work with Bridie, looking forward to an afternoon of pottering around at home. It was a lovely walk, the sun was shining and all the trees and grass where still covered in this morning's hoar frost.

In the distance I could see a chap walking a young Leonberger off lead. He was talking on his mobile phone and not paying a huge amount of attention to his dog. The dog came bounding over to us and started to torment Bridie, who is by now bouncing like a gazelle on the end of her lead and getting us all tied up in knots. I just stood still and calmly yelled at him to please get his dog under control as my dog was on a lead for a reason. He wanders over, still talking on his phone, and said "Oh he's just come to say hello".

That was it. The red haze descended and he got told the story that everyone else gets told when they say that to me. Whether they want to hear it or not.

Lurcher No. 2 has always been a flight dog. If he found himself in any situation where he was not comfortable, he ran. Not far, just far enough to get himself away from his perceived danger. Then two years ago he caught his foot on an exposed tree root and fractured and dislocated a toe. He was on lead walk for six weeks and do you think the local dog walkers kept their off-lead dogs away? Did they like hell.

When a flight dog can't run away he very quickly learns that the best form of defence is attack. The first year after his accident he was a nightmare. If any dog he didn't like the look of came near him he just launched himself at them, bearing his teeth and snarling. He never aimed to bite, just to warn but, nevertheless, it was still scary. So he had to be muzzled and we did a lot of work to get him back to how he was before. We never did get all the way and although he doesn't have to be muzzled all the time now, he still does have odd moments of regression.

So "just coming to say hello" can have a more profound effect than some stupid dog-owners realise and it's high time some of them realised that, around here, if a dog is on a lead, it's on a led for a damn good reason. Fortunately Bridie is a level-headed dog that didn't really give two hoots, she jsut wanted to play, but that's not the point is it?

There, I've had my say. So moving swiftly on. "Wreath" did someone say? Here you go then. It's not the most ornate in the world is it? And it's still missing a pine cone but I figured that that's how fate decreed my wreath should look. And who am I to mess with what fate decrees?

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Despite my earlier misgivings, I made my Christmas wreath last night.

And you know what? I'm really rather pleased with it!

I would have taken a photograph for you but unfortunately one of the pine cones fell off when Himself hung it on the door. OK, so it doesn't stand up to close scrutiny but then anyone who wants to stand at my front door and closely scrutinise a Christmas wreath deserves all they get really. It more than stand up to a passing glance and that's all that matters!

Monday, 17 December 2007

My first Fun Monday!

This week's Fun Monday is being hosted by kitten and here's what she wants from us -

I think it would be neat to hear about the story behind your home and the road you live on. It doesn't have to be historical, maybe just something that stands out to you. It would be nice to have pictures to go with your little story. I also would like to know who has the oldest house. Whoever has the oldest house will get a little Christmas treat from little ole me.

I was fortunate that a change in my role at work last year coincided with the availability of a staff cottage. This meant that just over a year ago I picked up the keys to my tied cottage. The place was a shambles quite frankly as, although someone had been living in it, the previous tenant refused to have anything done to it whilst he lived in it and so nothing had been done for over 30 years and it needed complete modernisation. Fortunately Himself is very well-qualified in the DIY business as it's what he does for a living so he did most of the work himself. We had to replace rotten floor joists, get central heating and new plumbing installed and generally bring the place back up to standard that was comfortable. it was great beig able to choose a new kitchen and bathroom...and have someone else pick up the bill!

We're not entirely clear about it's history. We know there has been a building on the site since at least 1871, when my current employers took charge of the land. We can also presume that the cottage had a thatched roof as it is called Thatched Cottage.

In the early 1890s, the cottage was leased to the Ladies of the Royal Wimbledon Golf Club for use as a clubhouse. The photograph below shows them standing in what is now part of my back garden. I'm not sure if you can make it out but behind the ladies to the right of the picture is a section of darker colored brick...that is now my lounge window and our garden fence runs from just to the right of that porch.

You can just see the side of the porch in this picture here

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The Ladies used the property as a Clubhouse until 1932. Once they vacated, the property was split into two cottages for use by the staff working on the Commons. In the mid-70s, the internal layout of the two cottages changed again when the master bedroom of my cottage was incorporated into the adjoining cottage as the member of staff living there had two children and needed the extra room.

The Cottage is tiny but it is, in my opinion, in the best location on the Common. It's remote and quiet and, despite living within 7 miles of Central London, we could be in the middle of nowhere. We love it here and it really feels like home. The only down side is that, being a tied cottage, I can't stay here once I retire. But that's a way down the road yet!

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Christmas Spirit?

This blog was inspired by Patience's post here.

For years I have longed for Christmas to be special.

My childhood Christmases were not that special. Oh everyone tried, but divorced parents do not a happy Christmas make. They vied for who would have me for the day and I ended up being shunted from pillar to post over the holidays. My father always had to outdo everyone by buying me the most expensive presents, including a pony. Which was lovely and I was not ungrateful because I'd longed for a pony but even as an 11 year old, I could see the psychological game he was playing.

My mother, bless her heart, tried her best for someone bringing up a child as a single parent, but what 13 year old animal loving teenager wants a coney fur jacket for Christmas? She still tries her best but even when I was in my thirties she thought I was still the kind of person who'd just love a woolly jumper with cute little bears on it, or a fleece with cartoon ponies.

Somehow I also ended up living with someone who thinks Christmas is a load of baloney as well. He only enjoys getting together with his family, which is great and we do have fun with them, but because we were never at home for Christmas Day, he would never let me have a tree or any decorations. He is the worst person ever to buy presents for and he can't even pretend to be pleased with the gifts I buy. They're always a "waste of money" or "it's nice of you but I won't ever use it". Oh well, I suppose it's the season of good will and all that so I just look away and bite back the tears again.

But this year I decided it would be different. This year I am on duty on Christmas Day so we have to be at home. So this year I have a tree. It's only small but I had grand ideas of decorating it all with natural decorations. Pine cones and holly berries. Old-fashioned popcorn on cotton. Have you ever tried threading popcorn onto cotton? Don't. It's meassy, the popcorn is all the wrong shape and you eat twice as much as you manage to thread onto the cotton. So that idea went out of the window. And have you ever tried fixing wire to pinecones to hang them on the tree? If anyone ever suggest doing that, my advice would be to run. Very quickly. And don't look back.

Make my own wreath? I know I'm not artistic so why am I even trying? That's tomorrow night's job and I just know I'm going to be disappointed with myself again.

And the really big clanger we've dropped? Lights on the tree outside our gate. Himsef wanted blue lights. So blue lights I bought. They are bright. Very bright. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that they are very, very crass. And I suspect we are going to be a laughing stock with the neighbours because of them. I've already taken them down once because Himself had all but thrown them at the tree and left them where they landed. And now I have to face telling him they are going to have to come down again.

It's selfish I know, to moan about such things, and to wish for it to be special for me when lots of people won't have even a smidge of a happy Christmas, but it's my blog and I'll whinge if I want to.

I shall feel better tomorrow no doubt. And at least it's not raining.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

It's Saturday morning....

...and I really should be doing things, not sitting here catching up with blogland.

I really should be out walking the dogs but Lurcher No. 1 is roaching in bed with Himself. Lurcher No.2 is curled up on a dog bed next to the radiator and Bridie is lying on another bed quietly chewing a toy. It really seems a shame to disturb them.

I really should be making my Christmas decorations and going out to buy a tree but the thought of the massed hordes out there doing exactly the same thing this morning is making me curl up with dread. I need to put my wreath base into soak and go collect some holly so I can make it. Can I face the resulting punctured hands? Not yet.

I really, really should be cleaning the house and washing all the dog beds and sofa throws. But my electricity bill arrived this week and was three times what it normally is because Himself just chucks everything in the tumble dryer rather than hanging it out to dry. The thought of being surrounded by wet washing is not appealing but I can't face another electricity bill of that size.

I really should go shopping for food. The fridge is empty and the cupboards all but bare. The supermarket on a weekend before Christmas? Perhaps later.

So I shall sit here and contemplate my navel instead. There'll be plenty of time to panic later.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Sorry, wrong colour.

Bridie, my current foster, is perfect! We estimate she's roughly a year old, certainly no older, she's spotless in the house, good with other dogs, generally good on the lead, polite, learns quickly and would make someone a perfect companion.

The rescue had a home in mind for her and I had a good chat with her potential new family last night. This morning they have decided that she is not the dog for them. Why? She's the wrong colour. Words fail me.

I must also aplogise to all those whose blogs I usually frequent and comment's been a little manic and I will catch up with you all soon I promise.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

All Cried Out

Leaving Ruby in her new home yesterday has reduced me to a physical and emotional wreck. I've cried more in the last 24 hours than I have in years. The slightest thing can set me off......a sympathetic look from a friend, or a completely innocuous line in a Kate Campbell song. I suppose it does at least prove that I do have a heart in there somewhere, contrary to what I thought a few weeks ago, and I do care. So I spent last night cuddling the Lurchers and weeping into their furry necks, seeking solace in my love for them.

Everyone tells you that they've gone on to a loving home and it was the best home possible and now there's room for another waif and stray that needs a warm and comfortable sofa and some TLC. Well, yes. My head knows that. My heart and my tear glands haven't quite caught up.

But now I have to pull myself together because I have no time to indulge my sorrow. My new foster girl has arrived and she needs me in one piece, not in bits. She is Bridie, a young brindle lurcher girl, who despite being abandoned and left to die in the pound, has oodles of love and cuddles to give.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday!

Ruby, our foster Greyhound, is off to her new home tomorrow. She's been with us for three months now and in true Greyhound style, has wormed her way into our hearts. I didn't realise quite how much until I knew she was going.

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday. Be happy sweetheart!

This is a little montage I put together of her time with us. Crank up the volume and reach for the tissues.....

This one is.....

....just for Stu and Plume. Alhough you can all enjoy it too if you'd like!

Carol of the Goat Bells

Tuesday, 4 December 2007


Graham, Prince & Tilly Too! have tagged me to give five random facts about myself, so here we go....

Rules: Link to the tagger and post these rules on your blog. Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird. Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

I am time-obsessive. I always have to know what the time is, even if I wake up in the middle of the night I have to check the clock. If I'm in danger of being late, I break out into a cold sweat and start to panic. About 10 years ago I stopped wearing a watch in an effort to break the habit - it helped a little, but not much!

I hold a valid Heavy Goods Vehicle licence and can drive anything up to, but not including, an articulated lorry (I think that's a semi to my American readers!)

I am a Reiki Master

I have a phobia of ladders. No problem with heights, just don't like getting to them via a ladder.

I'm allergic to aspirin. It gives me a migraine!

OK I'll tag Flowerpot, Laurie at Three Dog Blog, Em at Mirrorshards, Dogga and Andre at Existential Delight

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Last night we met a man.....

...and this is what we learned about him:

He was a Bedouin from Morocco.
He grew up in Casablanca.
He'd spent some years in France and Switzerland.
He came to London for a holiday to distract himself from the death of his grandmother.
He stayed.
He met his wife in Switzerland through a holiday romance.
They met again by chance when he came to London.
They married two weeks later.
They have two daughters.
They have two grandsons.
Both are blonde and blue-eyed which raised some eyebrows on their recent trip through Europe with him (think Madelaine McCann and you'll understand why)
One of daughter's has a father in law who's a crook and spent some time at Her Majesty's pleasure.
He has been a chef.
He once earned £100,000 a year.
How much his VW Transprter cost him. How long he'd had it and all its advantages.
He's a Muslim but thinks this business of the teacher and the bear named Mohammed is something of an over-reaction.
He worked for the Saudi Royal family.

We didn't meet him at the party. He was our cab driver for the 10 minute journey home. What is it with cab drivers that they can share their life history with you in such a short space of time!!?

If you happen to pass by this blog Mr Cab Driver, make sure you're our driver next time because I really want to hear the rest of your story, it was fascinating!

Monday, 26 November 2007


When a person with dogs says "ewwww", you know it's trouble. And smelly trouble at that.

See, dog people have to do some pretty yucky things: picking up dog poop, mopping up wee and cleaning up various forms of dog-sick - we've ranged from fresh mackerel vomited all over the bed to regurgitated skanky rabbit. We have to deal with expressed anal glands and fox poop that's been rolled in. Oh, you might not want to have read that bit if you're eating or of a delicate nature. o;

Most of those things would send your average non-animal person running for the hills. With the exception of people who've had babies perhaps, I guess not much turns you when you've had children either.

But tonight was a real ewwww. Lurcher no.2 rolled in something very very rank, and I don't think it came from an animal.

That was almost an ewwww too far.

I'm back!!

I've borrowed a laptop from work and have managed to connect with wireless. I am inordinately proud of myself for having got that set up, being a complete technophobe.

My insurance company are going to pay for a replacement computer for me but, typically of insurance companies, nothing is straightforward, and they have to take away the old one to see if it is repairable before they will replace it. So I've also really pushed the boat out this morning and ordered myself a new laptop which should arrive by the end of the week.

I can now relax and enjoy my week off and catch up with everything I need to catch up with, which does mean Christmas shopping but hey, I'm super-chilled at the moment and even the thought of that is not phasing me at all.

I will try and catch up with everyone's blogs today but hope everyone is well and there's been no major disasters!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

I may be gone some time

Computer has died.

Laptop works but won't connect to internet. Yet.

Am now on leave from work for 8 days.

Will hopefully see you all again once I get the laptop connected. If not, I'll see you when I can!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Here I am....MeMe....and then I'm going again!

Having had a break for a week, I'm ready with charged batteries to start blogging again, when my computer blows up and I'm left both internet and PeeCee-less (am at work now in case you were wondering!).

I'm not sure how widespread all this rain and storms have been in the UK but last night we had three incredible thunderbolts come out of absolutely bloody nowhere!! A split second before the first two, blue sparks shot across my desk from my homehub and I lost my internet connection again. I suspect it's also blown the ethernet port and I'm getting a strong feeling of deja vu! Exactly the same thing happened back in July, although if sparks flew then, I wasn't there to see them. It took three weeks to sort it out then and I really hope BT don't mess me about like they did then - or they really will see sparks fly this time.

I managed to connect the USB and get internet connection and then we had the second thunderbolt and blue sparks - at which point I just turned everything off and ran!

I've booted up the PC this morning and it seemed to be loading OK so I left it to it and took the dogs out. When I got back it had turned off and I have lost power - I just can't switch it on.

I haven't had time this morning to see what the problem might be - it could just be a blown fuse but I suspect it's not going to be that simple.

But in the meantime, I've been tagged by Laurie

8 things I'm passionate about

My dogs
Greyhound Gap
Wimbledon Common (I live there, I work there, I care for it)
I suppose I should say Himself but passion seems to have been replaced with companionship. But I’m happy about that.

It’s difficult to find any more things I’m “passionate” about. Passionate means intense and strong feeling and, at the moment, I don’t have huge amounts of room for intense feeling.

8 things I want to do before I die

Watch Wales play rugby at the Millenium stadium
Own an Aston Martin DB9
Buy a house
Have lots more dogs, particularly a whippet
Travel in space
Is it too sad that I don’t have that many goals? I'd rather just wait and see what comes along.

8 things I say often

“Wha you wan for 50p?” (don’t ask – silly story!)
Tyler! No!!”
“It’s too early for dinner” (to Ruby, who always wants food)
“It’s a hard life being a puppy in this house” (every time Lurcher No.1 huffs and puffs)
“I’m going down to the garden to eat worms!”
“Feed me
Seymour. Feed me!”
“Have you seen my keys/sunglasses/gloves/etc, etc….”

8 Books I’ve read recently (or am still reading):

Currently reading: Terry Pratchett – Making Money
Terry Brooks – Jarka Ruus
Terry Brooks – Tanequil
Terry Brooks – Straken
Robin Hobb – Shaman’s Crossing
Robin Hobb –
Forest Mage
Robin Hobb – Renegade’s Magic
Megan Lindholm – The Windsingers

8 Songs I Could Listen to Over and Over (And do!):

Steeler’s Wheel – Stuck in the Middle with You
Lennyrd Skinnyrd -
Sweet Home Alabama
Eva Cassidy - People Get Ready
And all that Jazz (from
Elvis – hard to choose one but possibly In The Ghetto

The Killers – All These Things That I’ve Done
Rolling Stones – Angie (My song!)
Donna Summer - State of Independence

8 Things that Attract Me to My Best Friends:

They tell it as it is
They love me – warts an’ all
They make me laugh
They make me cry
They have conviction in what they do
They’re prepared to listen to all sides of a story
Their quirks and foibles
They’re always there when I need them

8 People I Think Should Do Crazy Eights

Anyone who feels the urge!

Sunday, 11 November 2007

For the Fallen

In memory of all those who gave their lives and fought for their countries so that we may have the freedom we have today.

For The Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Four years ago today

Just over four years ago I saw this picture of Tyler (Lurcher No.2) on Greyhound Gap’s website:

My heart broke in pieces there and then and I knew, just knew, that he was destined to come and live with us. He had been taken on by Gap with his littermate, Louis. They had been bred by someone who thought it would be a money-spinning exercise to breed some lurcher puppies. After all, everyone wants lurcher puppies don't they?

Tyler had initially been sold to a home. At 6 weeks of age. Louis was the only pup left and was kept in a shed and called "Reject" because he was the runt of a litter. He didn't see daylight until he came into Gap's care.

Then Tyler was returned to the breeder as his owners could not cope with him soiling in the house whilst they were out at work. He was left for 9 hours a day. W
hat the heck did they expect?? So he very quickly followed Louis into Gap's care.

During the next two weeks, I used every wile I could find in me to persuade Himself that Tyler should come and live with us. To this day I'm not sure what eventually persuaded him, but it may have had something to do with this:

This was Georgie (Lurcher No.1) on the day we brought her home in 2000. They were so alike it was uncanny.

So four years ago today I drove up to Stoke on Trent to fetch Tyler home. My heart was finally back in one piece.

I can't say Georgie took to him straight away. In fact, on the way home she tried to clamber onto the parcel shelf in the back of the car to get away from him! To this day she will not tolerate him sitting anywhere near her - she has real space issues! But the way they greet each other when they've been apart is enough to convince me she that, deep down, she loves him!

Day 2

I just love this picture!

And now he's all grown up!

Tyler, my heart dog. Georgie, my soul dog. I am complete. I love them both to bits and simply can't imagine life without them.

Although I'm sure there's room for another one somewhere!

Thursday, 8 November 2007

All clear but....

I had one of my regular check-ups at the Royal Marsden yesterday and, after a few blips over the last couple of years, was told everything is fine. Sort of. There's no problem with my thyroxin medication and no problem with my thyroglobulin levels so absolutely no sign of any cancer returning. But back in May they sent me for a bone scan as the lack of a thyroid gland does make you more susceptible to osteoporosis and the results showed a slight problem in my left hip. They are not doing anything other than sending me for another scan next July - so it's obviously nothing to worry about right now.

The problem is not osteoporosis but osteopenia which can be a precursor to osteoporosis. A possible warning shot across the bows if you like. If I want to lessen the chances of developing osteoporosis, I need to look at my lifestyle and try to improve it in certain areas:

Diet - my diet is pretty good, I eat mainly fresh food and a good selection of fruit and vegetables, and very little processed food. I need to look at my calcium intake and see if I can up that a bit.

Exercise - exercise is good as bone develops as a result of the "stress" of exercise. I cycle about 3 miles a day and walk The Lurchers and Ruby twice a day so if I step out on the walks rather than amble, that should help.

Drink - I don't drink so alcohol isn't a problem and neither do I drink fizzy drinks very often.

Smoking - ahhhh. Yet another good and valid reason for giving up. I'm not a heavy smoker but I suppose even one is one too many.

Being given a pointer as to what you can likely expect in the future is actually quite a comfort. I felt a bit like that when I originally had the cancer diagnosis - " that's what's going to get me in the end." Complete bunkum of course as the cancer I had does not usually spread anywhere, but it helped at the time.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

I have a visitor.

Scarlett Bear has come to stay!

Scarlett is Greyhound Gap's fundraising bear and she recently started a tour staying with Gap supporters all around the country. Everyone who has Scarlett to stay pays £5 for the pleasure of her company and takes her on little adventures which are then chronicled in her blog.

Scarlett is even starting to globetrot as she has just arrived back in the UK hotfoot from Florida.

Scarlett's travels is the brainchild of 6 year old Lucy, one of our youngest supporters, who wanted to do something in memory of one of her mum's best friends, Elaine, who recently passed away very suddenly with cancer. Elaine was also a staunch supporter of Greyhound Gap. The full story is here.

Scarlett has a busy week ahead of her, although I'm not sure Wimbledon can live up to the excitements of Disneyworld, we may just have some local celebrities who might be persuaded show their normally secretive faces.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

I love this time of year...

...Autumn has to be my favourite season.

The colours, the smells, the photographic opportunities:

Monday, 5 November 2007

What do you do at lunchtime?

When I get home for my lunchbreak, I like to chill out and relax and switch off from the office for an hour. So might I surf a bit as I eat, or play a game of patience on the computer, or perhaps read my book. Whatever it is I do, it won't be a chore or any sort of running about. That hour is my respite. The only thing I do, if OH isn't at home, is to give the hounds a 10 minute spin and feed Ruby the Foster Greyhound, but that's not a chore.

Yet most of my colleagues seem to spend their lunchbreak running round like demented lemmings. They hoover and clean, or get the dinner in the oven (how bloody organised is that?), they go shopping or chop wood for the fire, in summer they garden. Whatever it is they do, it involves doing something.

My brain just cannot compute this. The thought of being on the go for a solid 8 hours without that hour break literally fills me with panic...which does make me wonder if there's just a touch of compulsive behaviour in me somewhere!

Don't these people need a break!?

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Deck the Halls....what? Already?

I find my thoughts turning towards Christmas. This is not like me. I fall firmly and squarely into the "Christmas starts on Christmas Eve and not a moment before" camp.

But this year we are spending Christmas at home. For the first time. Ever. There are two reasons for this: firstly, it's our first Christmas living at the Cottage and I want to spend Christmas there. Secondly, I'm on duty so whether I wanted to or not, I have to be there, spending the day with my radio and telephone glued to my hip in case some wayward member of the public gets themselves into trouble. So I am doing my usual thing of trying to get ahead and get things planned. Of course, what will happen is that I will suddenly find it's the weekend before Christmas and I've done nothing other than think about the things I should have been doing.

I am therefore writing all my disjointed Christmas thoughts down here and then I can check back and try to keep my head in one piece. And you can all regale me with your Christmas successes and debacles for me to chortle over, knowing that my Christmas is going to go smoothly and without panic. Hah!

1. Christmas tree. We ARE having a Christmas tree, despite Himself's aversion to them. It will have to be a small one, no room for a big one. It will be a live tree and we shall decorate it with natural decorations. Like pine cones. Oh. Pine cones have been and gone. Revert to plan 2. Oh. There isn't one. Lots of holly and ivy decking the halls, well, hall anyway. Actually maybe not, the hall is so narrow we'd be poking our eyes out on holly leaves every time we tried to venture out of the sitting room. Draped on the fireplace then. Oh yes...we can do that!

2. Who's coming for dinner!? The Parents were coming but Mother now has to work Christmas morning so they are coming Boxing Day instead. Himself is one of eight and you can't ask one without asking them all. 27 people in the Cottage is not an option, unless a few people don't mind eating off their knees on sofas and beds. And they'd have to go home and Himself's family don't like going home. Once they're entrenched they are there for the duration. Keep working on that one then.

3. What to eat? Turkey and trimmings. No discussion about that. It's what we're having, like it or not. Pudding is a different matter. Himself is not that keen on Christmas pudding whereas I love it. Any suggestions for an alternative would be gratefully received.

4. Presents. OK time to go into meltdown. I hate shopping with a passion. And I particularly hate Christmas shopping. Last year was a complete and utter disaster and one I do not wish to repeat. Online shopping is the answer - as long as I get everyone's Christmas lists in time.

What have I forgotten?

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Repeat Blogging

I wrote a really long blog about how you start repeating yourself if you blog for long enough.

Then I thought that you really do not need to know the ins and outs of me going for an eye test. Scintillating reading it was not. Suffice to say I have had to spend over £400 on new glasses and sunglasses.

And if you are wondering where to go to get your eyes tested - there being as many opticians on the high street as there are estate agents - go to Dolland and Aitchison. I was very, very impressed. And it takes a lot to very, very impress me.

In other news, Lurcher No.1 is roaching on the bed. Ruby the Foster is flat out in front of the fire. And Lurcher No.2 is hiding in a makeshift tent of sofa and throws that is his safe place for the next few weeks. He doesn't do fireworks terribly well so he is on the doggy equivalent of Prozac. He still doesn't do fireworks but he doesn't much care.

Safe place and Prozac. Am liking the sound of that.....excuse me while I go make one for myself.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007


A quick Google and.......

Night sweats - check

Hot flushes - check

Palpitations - check

Mood swings, irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, difficulty coping and forgetfulness - Oh...check, check, and double-check!

Insomnia - check

Joint and headaches - now you come to mention it. Check.


Oh well, bring it on I say, let's get it all out of the way sooner rather than later!

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

There's nothing like a drizzly horrible day to induce some Sunday afternoon Zzzzzzzs

Lurcher No.1 "Bugger Orff!"

Lurcher No.2 "Yawn"

"Sleeping. Leave me alone."

Ruby the Foster - "Get that thing out of my face"

Millie the Whippet (the parents are staying for the weekend which means a visit from Millie - my very first Greyhound Gap foster) - "Muuummmm....tell her!"

"Don't care. We Whippets sleep through anything"

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Bye Bye Blackbird

A blackbird, harassed by crows, crashed into my office window this morning and broke it's neck.

I'm usually a bit hard-nosed and matter of fact when it comes to nature in the raw like this, but for some reason it made me feel incredibly sad this morning.

Fly free little blackbird.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Is it really necessary?

Have you noticed the propensity of advertisers to advertise deoderant by showing people with extreme sweating problems? Such as being able to keep fish alive under their arms, or having to change their shirts every 2 minutes or, and this is the worst of the lot, soaking crowds with underarm sweat?

It's gross and I feel queasy just thinking about it.

They might as well be allowed to advertise tissues by showing people picking their noses or toilet paper by showing people crapping.

It's so unnecessary. What happened to subtlety? Or do advertisers think the British public are incapable of getting subtle message so they have to be completely in your face.

I feel a complaint coming on.........

Monday, 22 October 2007

Not the afternoon I'd planned

It was one of those glorious Autumn afternoons on Sunday so we decided to have a late brunch sitting in a corner of the garden that is a real suntrap.

I'm sipping my coffee in a post-bacon-and-egg haze, and contemplating a doze under the Sunday papers, when I hear a "sploosh". The kind of sploosh that sounds like a bucket of water being thrown. Being otherwise occupied with dealing with my full tummy, my brain took a little while to register what it had heard. I looked at Himself and said rather lazily

"That didn't sound good"


"I'd better go and have a look"


So I sauntered into the cottage to be greeted by a stream, nay a veritable river, of water pouring out of the kitchen door. The post-bacon-and-egg haze rapidly disappeared to be replaced by fast-thinking and action! Splashed over the the machine and turned it off, yelled for Himself to come and help. Which he does. Slowly, as he thinks I'm exaggerating.

I'm not. There is water pouring out of every available oriface of the washing machine. Apart from the oriface at the back of the machine out of which water should be pouring.

Dilemma. The machine obviously can’t drain any water but it is full of water and too heavy to move. We have no option but to crack open the door and try to catch as much water as we can in a bucket. It works, after a fashion, but not without adding to the pool of water on the kitchen floor. We then manhandle the machine outside to get a better look as it's obviously blocked somewhere.

"Well, it's not working is it so we've nothing to lose by taking that bit off and seeing if we can unblock it" says I.

So he removes that bit of the machine. Nothing happens and we scratch our heads and then remove something else.

Ahhh. That'll be the problem then. The filter's blocked.

The problem is with the chenille throws I bought for the sofas in the cottage. They are supposed to be dry-clean only. Well bugger that when you've variously got three or four dogs about the place. You can't be doing with dry clean only so everything goes in the machine regardless of what it says on the label. I've got away with it up to now but this time it's come back and bitten me on the bum, so to speak, and the throws have shed all their chenille inside the washing machine.

One washed filter and several buckets of water later the machine is as good as new and my kitchen floor is lovely and clean! Every cloud has a silver lining as they say.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

So there I was.......

.....swanking around the supermarket in my Cats.

I love my Caterpillar jeans. They fit. Like jeans should fit. Boot cut and tight. Holding everything in place where it should be.

I feel good in my Cats so I swanked a lot.

When I got back to the car I realised I'd been doing all that swanking with my flies undone.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Kitchen tiles. Or not as the case may be.

How difficult can it be to choose kitchen tiles?

Let me tell you. Very difficult.

The kitchen was installed last Christmas and still requires some finishing touches, none of which can be done until I've decided what tiles I want on the walls. I thought I knew. Black. I had a picture in my mind before the kitchen went in and it would look perfect. Then once the kitchen went in I realised that, actually, black tiles would over-balance the kitchen and make it top heavy.

So back to light colored tiles then. But with cream units and cream walls, I needed to make sure we didn't go the other way and go too bland.

I have looked and searched and given up so many times I've lost count. The matter is not helped by the work surface I have. I love it but it's black with cream and silvery and gold bits in it. And shiny. Nothing quite goes with it.

Then on Saturday one of my friends dragged me kicking and screaming to a different tile shop. I immediately fell in love with a natural stone tile in a dark cream/brown colour.


Not in stock for three weeks!


And the delay has, unfortunately, given me time to think about it again and I don't think they'll go. Natural stone and a shiny work surface? Nope.

Cancel tiles.

I'm now going for wood. OK, it's not quite wood but some sort of MDF that is made to look like tongue and groove. A colleague has just put it in his kitchen and it looks really good. I figured it would be cheaper to start with that and live with it for a while and, if I find I don't like it, I can go with tiles again in the future.

I'm sure having the cottage almost but not quite finished is not helping my state of mind at the moment either. It's so frustrating when there are silly little things to be done, which I can't do so I have to rely on himself to do them. And I hate that.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Skiving? No sir, not me sir.

I have decided I'm going out this afternoon to take some stock photographs of the Common.

Yes I know the sun is shining and it's a lovely Autumn afternoon.

Yes I know I'll be trying out my new camera.

But I need the photographs so it's definitely work. Not skiving at all. No sirreee.

Friday, 12 October 2007

When I was a child, I was fascinated by supermarket check-outs.

Well they weren't really "supermarkets" in those days, they were still on the high street for a start and they only sold groceries. Each item was individually priced up with a little sticker and the check-out girls, for they invariably were girls then, tip-tapped the prices in to the glorified adding machines that passed for tills.

Then came bar codes and scanning and a succession of "beep, beep, beep, beeps" and my fascination deepened.

I can't begin to explain this. I never aspired to be a check-out girl and it wasn't the job itself. There was just something in the tip-tapping and the rhythmic sweeping of items past the till that just caught hold of something in my brain. I'm not sure if I thought these were "very important people" but it always struck my five year old mind that it was a position of great responsibilty and, well, it looked like fun. And I always wanted to at leas try it

Life moved on but I have never entirely lost that fascination, or rather, I have never entirely lost the memory of that fascination. So imagine my delight when my local supermarket installed self-service check-outs, complete with your own bleeping scanner.

And now I've tried it, I know it's not actually that much fun. In fact, it's rather tedious and I now always make a beeline for a manned till. I can't imagine what my five-year old self was so enthralled by. Which is rather sad really, I always used to smile at that memory and it feels sort of dashed by reality now.

Some things really should be left alone.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

A ramble through my confused meanderings

The title should be enough to give you a clue to my state of mind at the moment.

Despite, or even, in spite, of the fact that I blog, I am basically a very private person. Yes I have let slip what some would consider to be private matters fromtime to time but they've tended to be surface stuff. I don't intend to start revealing my deeper feelings to you all just yet, although it would probably do me good. But I do need to get some things down in black and white.

There are times when you need to get things off your chest. I have good friends I can talk to but the problem I have at the moment is that I am struggling to come to terms with what I'm really feeling. By saying it out loud I will have admitted it. And then there will be no turning back.

So right now I find myself in something of a downward spiral. I've shut myself off emotionally and seem to have stopped functioning as a caring human being. Instead I seem to be just existing, finding distraction in inconsequential or routine things so that I don't have to think. I find myself being short of temper and snappy and unable to cope with anyone not doing things in the "right" way. I don't speak to people so they can't hear the insincerity in my voice. I know that deep down I do care, I just can't quite plumb those depths at the moment.

This isn't a plea for sympathy - that would really be something I couldn't cope with at the moment. It's more an acknowledgement of my state of mind so that I can perhaps try to move myself up and out of this and do what I know I need to but won't admit.

But perhaps not just yet.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Well that was embarrassing

I would like to think that I don't get starstruck when faced with a celebrity, even a minor one, but today I excelled myself.

A lady came into the office on Friday to discuss some business-related stuff. She was really lovely and chatty and at the time I thought I had met her before but just couldn't place where: it might have been just walking dogs on the Common or something through my work with Greyhound Gap.

Thinking it might have been the latter and it would have been rude of me not to acknowledge the fact, I mentioned it to her when she rang this morning. We chit-chatted and giggled about our joint lack of organisation skills for a while and then I said:

"I'm sure we've met before but I can't place where"

In a quiet little voice, she replied "Oh, I do some stuff on the telly"

I was mortified. How could I have possibly been so crass!? I apologised profusely and she took it in very good spirit and said it happened all the time. She even invited me round for a cup of tea!

A lovely lady!

I'm still embarrassed though.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

My Day. His Day

My Day

6.45 - Alarm goes off. Get up. Find glasses. Fend off all resident dogs to whom a few hours is a lifetime and who must all greet me as a long lost relative.
06.50 - Clear up water spilt on bedside table by over-enthusiastic hounds
06.55 - Shower. Dry hair. Get dressed.
7.20 - Take all resident dogs for a walk.
8.15 - Find dog bowls and rid them of snails that have partied in them all night. Get dogs breakfasts ready. Make OH's trough box. Make my breakfast. Get Ruby the Foster's lunch soaking (no teeth!). Get The Lurchers' dinner out of freezer. Decide what the humans are having for dinner - get it out of freezer.
8.35 - Grab a coffee and cigarette.
8.40 - Feed all resident dogs. Stand around to prevent scrap starting.
8.55 - Cycle to work
9.00 - Get to work. Work all morning

1300 - Get home and walk resident dogs
13.20 - Grab some lunch for me
13.40 - Feed Ruby. Stand around and stop The Lurchers sulking as they don't get lunch.
13.45 - Get Ruby's dinner soaking.
13.55 - Cycle back to work
14.00 - Get to work. Work all afternoon

17.15 - Get home from work. Walk all resident dogs.
18.15 - Find dog bowls and rid them of snails that have had a coffee morning in them. Get all resident dog's dinners ready.
18.30 - Sit down at computer for 1/2 hour.

19.00 - Start preparing our dinner.
19.30 - Feed all resident dogs. Stand around to prevent scrap starting.
20.00 - Get The Lurcher's breakfast out of freezer. Put Ruby's breakfast to soak.
20.30 - Eat our dinner
21.00 - Empty dishwasher. Load dishwasher. Transform kitchen from war-zone back to kitchen.
21.30 - Try to catch up on Greyhound Gap's mail.
22.00 - Transform lounge from war-zone back to lounge. Turn off all lights.
22.15 - Sit down at computer for half an hour.
22.45 - Go to bed. Read. Fall asleep with book open.

04.30 - Get up let all resident dogs out for a pee. No pee necessary but the garden is interesting at that time of the morning.
04.45 - Get up to let in resident dog that has been left outside.
05.00 - Fail to get back to sleep.
06.30 - Finally fall back to sleep
06.45 - Alarm goes off.

Find time somewhere to do washing/hoovering/shopping/etc etc

His Day

06.45 - Grumble at resident dogs who think he must be awake too.
06.50 - Disappear back under duvet.
07.30 - Get up and stagger to kitchen to put kettle on.
07.35 - Sit at table. Drink coffee. Smoke cigarette. Do crossword.
07.50 - drink more coffee.
08.15 - drink more coffee.
08.45 - Grab trough box. Get in car. Go to work.

Work all day, stopping for periodic coffee and cigarette breaks.

18.00 - Get home.
18.05 - Grab a beer and decamp to lounge to watch Rugby World Cup.
20.30 - Eat dinner.
21.30 - Shower.
21.45 - Go to bed. Read.
22.30 - Fall asleep.

I'm coming back as a man or a dog in my next life.

How to confuse a flat-coat retriever......

.....have two tennis balls. Poor Henry, he really is the sweetest dog on the planet but he is severely lacking in the brain cell department.

We have guests. One of my colleagues is away and the chap who usually looks after his two dogs is also away. Some months ago I vaguely offered to look after Albert (a Retriever) and Henry (the Flat Coat) if it was ever needed. Seems my offer was taken seriously and here they are.

The Cottage is really quite small but it's surprising that having five dogs here doesn't seem to make the place that crowded. Yet when we lived at The Flat, which was twice the size, even three dogs seemed way too many. Himself wasn't too impressed when I mentioned this to him last night. He could see where I was going with that statement and only grunted in that "I'm not hearing you" sort of way.

Foiled again.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Cameras bought. Cameras sold.

I've had my Pentax ist DL2 for just over a year now and I've really enjoyed using it. A few weeks ago I decided to get a new zoom lens for it. I have a 50-200mm zoom already but wanted one that went up to 300mm. You can pick them up for a reasonable price but I had been advised to get one with IS or VR (which means that the lens is stabilised helping to reduce camera shake with a bigger, heavier lens). It seems such a thing doesn't exist for the Pentax.

Someone at the time suggested that rather than keep buying kit for the Pentax, I upgrade to a Nikon or a Canon as it's much easier to buy accessories and lenses. I pooh-poohed the idea at the time as I simply couldn't afford to start splashing out the best part of a grand for new kit.

Then someone advertised a second-hand Nikon D70 on Pixalo, the photography forum I use, at a very reasonable price. What put the tin hat on it was that of all the places this guy could live in the world, he lived about 20 minutes away from me. And I was due to be 5 minutes away from him on Saturday to do a homecheck for Greyhound Gap.

Seems fate has a way of stepping in sometimes. So I am now the proud owner of a Nikon D70 with a classy 18-70mm kit lens to boot!

Then a young student on the Forum started asking about a film SLR which he needed for his course. I have an old Canon AE1 which has been sitting doing nothing for more years than I care to remember. So he popped round yesterday, loved it and bought it!

But what is it about the young that they can come out with what they obviously see as nothing more than a statement of fact but have absolutely no idea that it will just cut you off at the knees? I was explaining that I'd bought this old camera at least 18 years ago. "Oh" he said. "That was before I was born."

I crumpled on the spot.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007


There is a definite Autumnal nip to the air this morning. How did we get to Autumn already?

Time is moving way to damn quickly for my liking.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

I may be gone sometime

I appear to have discovered facebook.

Friday, 7 September 2007

The Rugby World Cup. A Girl's Eye View.

I shall leave the technical stuff to the men but, suffice to say, before anyone mocks me, I do love the game and I do almost understand the rules!

However, I am going to pick my alternative man of the match. Tonight's choice is Sebastien Chabal. French unfortunately but you can't have everything. S├ębastien Chabal (born December 8 1977 in Valence, raised in Beauvallon is a French rugby union footballer who plays at number 8 in the back row of the scrum for Sale Sharks and France, and has also played as a lock for France. He is well known for not shaving and his very long hair, leading to French rugby fans nicknaming him "l'Homme des Cavernes" - the Caveman.

He is also famous for a number of eccentric moments in his rugby career. One includes missing a tackle on an opponent and tackling the linesman instead.

I can't find a picture that does justice to the moody and nonchalant way he walked onto the pitch in France's match against Argentina tonight but it fair took my breath away.

Have him stripped and sent to my room!

Thursday, 6 September 2007

You are now entering the Twilight Zone......

....courtesy of those dear people at Amazon who sent me this e-mail.....

"We've noticed that customers who have purchased or rated books by Karen Pryor have also purchased The Mutt Book: Decoding Your Mutt's Heritage by Bruce Fogle. For this reason, you might like to know that The Mutt Book: Decoding Your Mutt's Heritage will be released on 10 September 2007."

I've always wanted to try time travel.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Got a puncture?

Then buy a new bike. Which is what I did last night.

A little extravagant perhaps but having had two punctures in as many days in the same tyre, it occurred to me to check the wheel - a broken spoke appears to be the culprit. A new wheel would probably have done the job but my bike is getting on a bit now and is a bit of a boneshaker. The brakes needed replacing, the saddle was falling apart and as I've not really looked after the bike properly, it didn't really look t its best anymore.

So I took myself off to Halfords last night to purchase a new one. I was in a bit of a hurry as I had to get back to meet my car mechanic to get my MOT sorted out, so I grabbed an assistant and said "I want a new bike. Mountain bike-ish but I only do about 4 miles a day on a gravel track so it doesn't have to be expensive. I don't want pink or lilac (as most of the ladies' bikes in my price range seemed to be) and this must fit it" waving my basket bracket in his face.

So he grabbed a mens' bike, said "try that". I did. It was great. I paid for it. He put it in the car. I was home again within 30 minutes.

A most satisfactory shopping trip and I feel quite giddy with excitement - which tells you something about the state of my life doesn't it?

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Ruby Rooooooo!

My latest foster, and my first greyhound, arrived yesterday. Ruby is a 6 year old ex-racer and , unfortunately her teeth were left to rot causing such an infection that when she came into Greyhound Gap's care, she had to have 31 of her 42 teeth removed, as well as part of her jaw, as the infection had spread.

She smiles, she likes to be sung to..."Rooooooooby Roooooooooo", she groans, her tongue lolls out of the side of her mouth because she doesn't have the teeth to keep it where it should be, she grates what teeth she does have left and she drools. But she is the sweetest, funniest greyhound I have ever met and she is so going to be someone's heart dog. Lisa thinks she'll stay. Hah!

I asn't found the sofa yet

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Now I ' as!

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And Lurcher No. 2....just because!

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Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Having fun with the camera

I mentioned in my last blog that whilst we were at the Two-Day Event over the weekend, my pal Ali and I took the opportunity to take some photos of the show-jumping and the cross-country course with our respective cameras. These are a few of the shots that I took and of which I am inordinately proud, particularly as I forgot to take my zoom lens and had to make the best of the standard 18-55mm lens that I had with me!

Monday, 27 August 2007

Another "conversation" blog

Went to a Two-Day Event and Country Fair this weekend. Ostensibly to raise funds for Greyhound Gap, but a little fun was had with the camera whilst there (more of that tomorrow). Sunday involved some lurcher and terrier racing so there was quite a lot of hounds to snog. Which was nice.

Lurchers come in all sizes, colours and degrees of hairiness, depending on their breeding. A lurcher will usually have a greyhound as one parent with a pastoral or terrier type as the other. A second-cross lurcher will have a lurcher as both parents. Yes, mongrels but mongrels that are a recognised "type". Yesterday a lady approached our stall with several lurchers that I had not seen the like of before. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Ooooh....they are beautiful! They look like a cross between a Whippet and a Borzoi" (remember I said that. It's important).

Lady, in that manner that dog-breeders reserve for someone who has just asked them what cross their very expensive pedigree pooch is: "Oh no, these are Silken Windhounds"

Me, having been momentarily lost for words: "Gosh"

So we got chatting and it turns out these Silken Windhounds are a newly recognised breed. In Slovenia.

Me: "So if they are a newly recognised breed, what is their history as I presume there is sighthound in there somewhere?"

Lady: "Oh yes, Whippet and Borzoi"

Umm....right. Didn't I say......? Obviously not the same thing at all. Silly me.

Anyway, they were stunning....even if a little odd choice of cross if you ask me. They are a little bigger than your average Whippet but with the beautiful curly silky coat of a Borzoi. This be them:

Friday, 24 August 2007

Out of proportion

The conversation tonight went something like this:

Me: "I really do not feel like cooking tonight"

OH: "Let's have fish and chips then"

Me: "Good idea"

OH: "What do you want? Fish, chips and curry sauce?"

Me: "Yes please"

I know it's naff but there is something about chip shop curry sauce that just sets fish and chips off just right.

OH: "Spring Roll?"

Me: "No, hold the spring roll. I'm not that hungry"

OH disappears off the chip shop and duly returns.

Me: "Where's my curry sauce?"

OH: "You said you didn't want any!"

Why is it that when you don't feel well, the smallest, inconsequential, thing can set off a major pissy fit?

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Walk away from the computer

This morning you were going to get vitriolic blog about selfish men and idiotic people.

Instead, I stopped blogging and walked away from the keyboard. I poured myself a large, strong coffee, took some more Nurofen and Sudafed, and waited until I felt better. Now the headache has subsided and I don't feel quite so snappish, it's probably safe for me to venture out again. As long as no-one pushes their luck. But I'm not making any promises.

Nothing quite like a cold for making you lose patience with things you'd normally brush off.

Men can still be bloody selfish though.........

Anyway, in order to try and be a bit brighter and more cheerful, and to put myself in a more positive frame of mind, I thought I'd share three beautiful things - as suggested by flowerpot days on her blog:

My dogs - what more can I say? They make me laugh, make me cry, frighten me half to death sometimes but give me more joy than I can possibly express in words. They cuddle with me when I'm miserable, laugh with me when I'm happy and remind me that life should be lived for the moment.

Climbing into a bed made with freshly laundered linen, especially after a shower. Bliss!

A book in which you can lose yourself for hours and hours.

Do join in if you'd like!

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

I am not well.

It's official. I am a poorly bunny today. So poorly that OH was asked to walk The Lurchers this morning. I'm that poorly. Nothing to do with the fact that it's howling a gale and peeing down. Oh no. I am poorly.

I felt lousy last night with an aching throat and head. Lisa suggested it was just a release of stress after yesterday. I was inclined to think she was right and that a good night's sleep would put me right. Except I still feel lousy this morning, with blocked sinuses and the waves of dizziness that go with them to boot. I shall be brave and noble and make my way to work, in the vain hope they'll send me home again, even if only to stop the noise of my groans and sniffles from echoing around the office.

Not sure going on the bike is a good idea though. Dizziness and howling gales are probably not conducive to safe cycling.

And why, in the middle of August, is it howling a gale and peeing down? It's not right I tell you, it's not right.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Ho Hum. With emphasis on the hum.

We went camping this weekend. The annual clan camping trip.

I forgot to pack half the things I needed. Mugs are always useful to drink coffee out of don't you think?

Lurcher No.1 was stung by a bee on her gum on Friday evening. Much swelling. Much panicking when I realise that I don't have a phone number for a local vet, much less than that, I don't even know where the local vet is. Won't be going anywhere without that information again. Fortunately she was fine but I'd have been stymied if she had had an anaphylactic reaction.

Saturday afternoon it started to rain. That drizzly, damp, pervasive rain. And it stayed that way for just about all of the rest of the weekend. We braved the elements to have a BBQ and a bonfire once it got dark. But we had fun nonetheless.

Onto the humming. When we got home, I realised I'd forgotten to take something else with me. The meat I'd been defrosting for The Lurcher's supper on Friday night. It absolutely stunk! Nothing leaves a pervasive hum quite like rotten meat. Eewwww

Dakota, thank you for your comment on my last blog. I've had so many people wishing me well for today that I've been quite overwhelmed! I do know some lovely people! The scan went fine and the lady doing the scan was almost 100% sure that it was just a lymph node. It was just a pea-shaped lump and there didn't appear to be any irregularities in it's shape nor were there any blood vessels in it...both of which would be expected if it was cancerous. I'll know for definite when I go back to the clinic in a few weeks but, for now, cue a very large sigh of relief!