Friday, 29 February 2008

A day off!

Having signed up to Blog 365, we actually find ourselves in a year of 366 days so the kind souls at Blog 365 have said today can be a non-blog day.

So I just thought I'd blog to say that, well, I'm not blogging today.

Except here I am and I am going to blog because today I've bought something I've been wanting since I can't remember when.

I've bought a pair of cowboy boots! Yee hah!

Yes, pathetic I know, that I can get so excited about a pair of boots but there you go! They are second hand from flea-bay so they are nicely worn in. They need re-heeling and they are a bit scuffed but nothing a bit of boot polish won't sort out. But the best bit about them is that they have some wonderful engraved heel tips on them.

And I love them!

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Just desserts

I need some help and inspiration again please!

I have my Mother-in-Law and a couple of other members of Himself's family coming for Mother's Day lunch on Sunday. I shall do a roast of some description but I want to do something different for dessert.

I'm not usually that creative with desserts. I stick to what I'm good at: Apple Pie. I do make a mean apple pie, even if I do say so myself, but as I do that every time my MIL comes to dinner, I think she's probably getting a bit fed up with it now!

Anyone got any suggestions for a dessert that isn't too complicated and doesn't take too long to make please!?

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Apologies needed

Apologies to those very lovely bloiggers who have given me awards that I haven't acknowledged yet and apologies to everyone whose blog I normally read and comment on but have failed to get to this week.

Varying excuses:

I'm very tired - partially because I'm not sleeping well and partially because I will keep reading Patience's book before I go to sleep and you can't help but keep turning the pages!

My back hurts. I've had back problems since I first put my back out when I was 19. At 27 I had x-rays and the radiologist apparently told the specialist that I had the wear and tear that could only be expected for a 55 year old. When the specialist told him I was only 27 they diagnosed me as having "excess wear and tear" and sent me on my way. I started seeing an osteopath who would clunk me back in to shape every six weeks or so or would give me acupuncture to relieve the pressure. That was all well and good but going so often was getting expensive, and time-consuming as I worked in the city in those days and it was always a rush to get back in time.

Then I discovered the Bowen Technique. It's wonderful is all I can say and after a few intense sessions, it sorted everything out so that I no longer wake up every morning with my back stiff and aching. I now just go every 3 or 4 months to keep me "topped up". But sleeping on a very hard bed in the hotel last week has sent my back into spasm so I'm off to have it sorted again this afternoon.

That's all a very long-winded way of saying it's been too painful to sit at the computer for very long and I promise to catch up soon.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

It's just not fair!

As well as our own two dogs, The Lurchers, and Snowy our foster Greyhound, we've been doing some dog-sitting as well the last few weeks. Yes I know, I'm mad but you knew that anyway didn't you!?

Last week it was Flo Jo. If I'd remembered to take a photograph of Flo Jo you'd understand the irony of her name. She's a chocolate labrador. In her body anyway. Her legs think that she's something a lot smaller. Consequently she waddles around with her body swaying because her legs can't quite understand what they're doing with the wrong body. She belongs to our neighbours and, because the children are asthmatic, she's only allowed in the kitchen and spends all day outside in the garden. No, I don't like it either. I particularly don't like it because her disproportionate body and leg combination means she suffers from arthritis in her hips. And being outside all day does not help. So when she comes to us she's spoilt. She's allowed in the house and revels in stretching out in front of the log fire. By the end of the week she was hardly noticing her arthritis at all. But it's not my place to tell my neighbours how to look after their. Well, OK, I did but it went in one ear and out the other.

Today another colleagues two retrievers arrived. They've stayed before but we didn't have Snowy then. Two entire males caused the recently castrated Snowy a little consternation but as they ignored him completely, I think he'll settle down.

So what's not fair? This is what's not fair. I do most of the walking and feeding and general care of our dogs and our guests. Himself does do his bit but his work means it's usually me that does the most. And that's fine, it's just how it's always been and it's not an issue. But who always gets the thank-you-for-looking-after-our-dogs gift? Not me, dear readers, not me. Himself gets gifted with whiskey and beer and home-made pork pies (yeuch) and me? I get diddley squat.

It's not fair I tell you. Not fair.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Fun Monday #10

Mariposa is this week's host for Fun Monday. The assignment is this

(1) Please share to us how the NAME of your BLOG was made? I can't wait to hear interesting funny stories!

(2) Please share to us (in words or photo, though a combination of both will be a bonus!) your favorite/ most common dish!

Well, this is going to be fairly straightforward. Not only because there is absolutely nothing interesting behind how my blog came by its name but also because I completely messed up. I've been thinking about the second part of this assignment all week, trying to decide on my favourite and most commonly cooked dish. Having decided it was roast lamb, I was planning on cooking that for dinner last night so I could take some photographs of it. Except I forgot and got a piece of pork out of the freezer instead.

So, Blog name: Aoj & The Lurchers - Life in a Lurcher Household, and Other Stories. I mentioned in this post here how I came by the nickname "Aoj". In case you don't want to go clicking about the ether - they are three of my four initials and the name was given me by one of my ex-boyfriends. "The Lurchers" bit....well, when I started this blog it was my intention that it would be about life lived with Lurchers, although I did give myself the caveat of "and other stories" in case I wanted to broaden my horizons. Which was just as well really because a blog every day about walking two Lurchers was not going to make the most scintillating reading.

Favourite dish.....well, now that depends on what sort of mood I'm in. I do like food that has lots of flavour so any spicy food is good, such as Chinese, Thai or Indian. Given a choice of what to eat on a regular basis it would be one of those. I also really love to eat with my fingers so the Chinese/Thai works well for me.

My other favourite, and probalby the one we have most often, is roast leg of lamb. I like to cook it long and slow until it's really tender and falling off the bone......none of this pink meat thank you very much. Meat should be cooked not baaing or mooing on the plate. I serve it up with roast potatoes, roast parsnips, and some green vegetable such as broccoli, sprouts or green beans. Oh and lashings of thick, tasty gravy!

Head over to Mariposas to read everyone else's stories!

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Never judge a book...... it's cover. Or a person by his mannerisms.

A man came in the office today asking if he could help by doing some litter-picking around the Common as he had some free time. He was a pleasant enough chap and struck me as a typical middle-aged single billy no-mates sort of guy who got a kick out of litter-picking. Well, each to his own.

But what started to freak me out a bit was the fact that he kept staring at me, unblinking, as I spoke to him.

When he came back to the office with his second bag of rubbish, he started chatting away quite happily, introduced himself and asked me my name. I hesitated for a split second, and then told him.


"No, Angela"

"Ahnla? Sorry, it's my hearing"

Then the rather large penny dropped. He wasn't staring at me, he was lip-reading. I stopped being freaked out then. Lesson learned.

Saturday, 23 February 2008


A few nights ago we had one of those throw-together meals - whatever is in the fridge and needs eating gets chucked in a pot and you see what comes out the other end sort of meals. The trouble with that sort of meal is it often turns out delicious but when you try do make it again, it never quite tastes the same. Regardless of how well you think you remember what ingredients you used.

So I'm going to write down tonight's throw-together to share with you.....and in the hope that I can make it again. Please bear in mind that when I say "throw together", I really do mean "throw-together" so you can change anything to your own taste.


Red Pepper
Baby tomatoes
Cooked left-over meat - I'm using lamb because that's what I have.
tablespoon of oil - I use sesame oil because I like the flavour
Stock - I used a mix of concentrated chicken stock and some Bouillon powdered vegetable stock because I didn't have any homemade to hand (no idea how much but about a litre should do it).
teaspoon of Paprika
teaspoon of Cumin seeds
Encona hot pepper sauce - to taste but I used a good teaspoon full.
two teaspoons of Japanese Mirin Sauce - optional but it's sweetness takes the edge off the tomatoes.


In a pan, heat the oil, cumin seeds, pepper sauce, Mirin sauce and paprika. Cook for about 30 seconds and add the onion, pepper, courgette and baby tomatoes. Cook until soft, stirring regularly.

Add the uncooked rice and cook for a few minutes, stirring all the time. Add the stock and whilst that's simmering, add the cooked meat (if you're vegetarian you can just use more vegetables instead of meat).

Leave to simmer, stirring every few minutes so it doesn't stick to the pan, until the rice is cooked.



Friday, 22 February 2008

Tired but wired

A long drive and too much caffeine and I'm buzzing.

I've spent the last 24 hours with my fellow moderators from the Pixalo photography forum (the friendliest photography forum on the net! Yes, I would say that but it really is!).

It's the first time we've all met and it's really weird putting names to real-life faces rather than to photographs. But we all got on really well and, even though I was the only female in the group, I still had to take my fair share of teasing.

But the best bit of the trip was this morning when we headed out to Coombe Abbey Country Park just outside Coventry (where we were staying) to play with the cameras. It was the first time I'd put my new 70-300 lens through it's paces and I was very pleased with the results. I also learnt a lot from the guys about some camera functions I hadn't been near before and I also learnt that the problems I'd been having getting sharp shots was not a problem with the camera, but a problem with me which I've now been able to rectify. And it's always good to rectify a problem.

And the proof of the pudding?

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Does this work?

Not being able to get out with the camera today because of the weather, I decided to have a play inside instead. This was the best of the bunch that I came away with but I'm not entirely sure it works. This really was very makeshift with a black file providing the background and a normal lamp providing the light.

It's quite dark but I quite like the effect. What do you think?

Wednesday, 20 February 2008


The weather this week has been glorious. Cold and frosty but the sun has been shining and the light has been perfect for taking photographs. Of course, I've been stuck at work. But today, today I have a day of leave and I was anticipating getting out and about with the camera.

This is today's weather

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Things I (don't) need in my kitchen

Notice that this is "need", as in really, really need. Not want. Well, OK, maybe there's a little bit of want in there too. The thing about gadgets for kitchens is that you could fill your shelves and cupboards with stuff that you will never ever use, but which seemed like an indispensable item when you purchased them.

For example, I have always, always coveted one of these:

It's a professional blow torch. Why? Why would I covet one of these so much? Because it's just something you have to have isn't it? It makes you look like you are a serious chef when people come for dinner and they can say "Gosh, she must be good look, she had a professional blowtorch" and you can bask in the glory. So far I have managed to resist the temptation because I know that there is nothing that I could conceivably cook that would require one. Creme Brulee? Never made one and whilst I might at some point in the future, I have no immediate plans to make something with the potential to go very disastrously wrong.

Here in the UK we have a fantastic company called Lakeland. Lakeland make every conceivable gadget that you could want for your kitchen...and many other gadgets that you never even realised existed, let alone knew you needed. Take these for example

A bagel cutter guide

A mushroom brush

Or how about a multi-fruit case? Mmmmmcan just see Himself toddling off to work with one of these.

Egg piercer anyone? Why would you pierce an egg before you boil it? Wouldn't all the egg run out? And anyway, what's wrong with a pin?

Or toasting tongs to get your toast out of the toaster?? Nothing wrong with burn finger tips in my book. Veteran kitchen scars.

Actually, I may mock but Lakeland is one of my favourite websites. I can browse it for hours and hours, falling into a dreamy bliss-like trance of how efficient and Stepford Wives-ish I could be with all these things. *sigh*

**Doesn't one regular blogger have a kitchen gadget company? Can anyone remind me who it is please?

Monday, 18 February 2008

Fun Monday #9

This week's Fun Monday is hosted by Sayre's Smiles and her assignment is this:

Every day as I go to work, I see things around me that make me laugh. Usually these are in the forms of signs. So take your camera with you as you go about your business and take a picture of the things that make you laugh along the way (but it doesn't necessarily HAVE to be a sign).

Now, it's a sad fact about my life that I don't get out much. I go to work. I go to the supermarket. And that's about it. There is a good reason for this, sort of. My cottage comes with my job. My job is part of a team looking after and conserving a very large piece of common land - 1140 acres (460 hectares). Well, large considering it's only 7 miles from central London. My cottage is smack bang in the middle of the common. My journey to work is made by bicycle and involves me walking out of my door, getting on my bike and cycling 1/2 mile down a gravel track surrounded by trees. It's big on idyllic but not big on things that make you laugh. For the supermarket I get in the car and drive about two miles with that same Common always in sight. The thing about living where you work, at least, with this sort of job anyway, is that it becomes your way of life and it's so beautiful here that we see very little need to leave it very often. I'm well in my comfort zone here and I don't like leaving my comfort zone very much.

So I'm going to cheat.

Every year we go camping with Himself's family. He is one of eight so with partners and children in tow, that usually makes for a party of about 28 of us. It's a great weekend and there's no pressure to do anything if you don't want to. I usually spend the whole weekend reading but someone usually does a quiz, we have a bonfire and a BBQ and we go for a walk. And every year, on that walk, we see this sign:

And every year it makes me giggle! They must have some clever dogs in that part of the world..and why don't humans or cats have to shut the gate?

Sunday, 17 February 2008


It has been absolutely freezing here over the last two days. Yesterday was not a day to venture outside because if you did, the warmth was just sucked out of your bones. Today has not been much better but at least the sun had some warmth to it. So it was just as well that a UTI decided to set in this weekend and I had the perfect excuse to bury myself under the duvet with a book and a hot water bottle.

And now I must leave because one of the dogs has farted and it's getting difficult to breathe in here.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Not quite the Friday night or Saturday morning I'd envisaged

I was tired yesterday. Hence the slightly down in the dumps blog yesterday. But the boss said I could take a POETS day so I headed home at 4pm, planning on getting my head down for an hour. But the sun was still shining so Himself and I took The Lurchers, Snowy and Flo, our neighbours labrador who is staying with us, out for a lovely walk. I took my camera and although there wasn't really enough light to catch them running, I did manage to take some snaps of the blossom which is looking so lovely at the moment.

So, with spirits somewhat lifted, I decided to forego the snooze and get an early dinner and early night instead. Lisa at Greyhound Gap called for a chat and to tell me one of our dogs, Cara, had gone off to her new home not far from me.

20 minutes later, I'm just serving up dinner when Lisa calls again. "THEY'VE LOST CARA!". They'd stopped to let her out just before they got home and Cara had jumped out of the back of the car in a split second.

Dinner forgotten and Himself left to fend for himself, I got my butt into gear and phoned local police, dog wardens and Battersea Dogs Home. Half an hour later found me and my friend, and fellow volunteer, Nettie, on the road heading into London to help with the search. A newly rescued dog, in a strange area where the predominant dog will be a Staffie taught to fight was not a comforting thought. Forunately no sooner had we arrived than we got a call to say Cara had been found safe and well. Having Saluki in her, she'd just taken herself off for an explore and came back once she'd got bored with that and wanted something to eat!

This morning was flyball. It was a disaster. We arrived nice and early to find the organisers and several participants busy setting everything up, whilst letting their dogs run riot off lead with no thought for other people who were trying to keep their dogs under control. When a young German Shepherd kept throwing himself at Lurcher No.2 I decided enough was enough and left.

Maybe it's because I'm used to sighthound gatherings where the dogs are on lead and under control - because many will be ex-racing greyhounds - I found the attitude rude and discourteous. I have no time for people who are too arrogant to consider other dogs just because their dog is just "having fun".

Friday, 15 February 2008

One of "those" days

Today is not starting out as a good day. I knew that when I woke up and my heart was in my boots and my head was in a big black hole. Reading this, lovely and heartwarming though it is, only served to deepen the gloom. I can't help but wonder where I went wrong that I don't have that sort of relationship.

Anyway, I've had a few hours feeling sorry for myself and wallowing close to tears and now I have to follow my own advice and get a grip.

Things to look forward to....

Trying Flyball with the Lurchers tomorrow for the first time. The organiser has also agreed I can take photographs as well so with any luck I might get to try out my new lens.

Only two days in work next week.

A trip away overnight next week. I moderate a photography forum and all the crew are meeting up for dinner and a play with the cameras on Thursday night/Friday morning. Me and seven men. Himself took it very well when I mentioned that tidbit.

I'm alive. That's always good.

That will do for now. One week at a time.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Happy Valentine's Awards!

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you are all recognised in the way you deserve!

I have some awards which I promised to hand out today as well. This was came from Lisa at Lisa's Chaos - thank you again Lisa!

And I'm handing this one out to

Flowerpot and MsCellania

I also have some thanks to give for an award from Rotten Correspondent which arrived last week and I have been very remiss about saying thank you! So thank you RC!

As it's Valentine's Day, it seems appropriate to shower it around like confetti so this one goes to anyone and everyone that comments here today.....consider yourselves spreaders of love!


In other news, our electricity is back up and running and everything in the freezers survived. I'm not sure about it being a "romantic interlude" Fiona, it was too damn cold for that!


Having started out being so laid back, Snowy, my foster Greyhound, started to get very restless last week. He would get me up two or three times a night and from being clean as a whistle in the house, he started marking. We have either tiles or wood on the floors so it was no big deal cleaning up but it was still something we needed to get on top of. Someone also needed to explain to him that he is a Greyhound and that Greyhounds are supposed to sleep lots. Not our Snowy. He's fine when we leave him here during the day on his own (I come home at lunchtime and take him out for a walk) but if we're around, he spends the whole time running round like a spaniel on speed. The state of my garden is testament to that!

On Sunday, his new forever mum came to visit him. A lovely lady and they were both smitten with each other. Snowy is staying with us until she returns from her holiday on 5th March. After her visit, something seemed to click in his head and he finally seems to have relaxed. I've even caught him roaching a few times....when you foster sighthounds, let me tell you that first roach is a sight to gladden the heart!

*UPDATE - several of you have asked what "roaching" is when it comes to sighthounds. Roaching is when they are so relaxed that they roll onto their backs and fal asleep with their belly exposed and legs in the air! Lurcher No.2 is happy to demontrate for you.....

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Just a quickie

We have had no electricity at home since midnight last night so am having to post a quick blog at work in case power isn't restored tonight. We've been promised it will be but I'm still a bit concerned about all the food in the freezers. I dare not open them at the moment to check.

Everything is run on electric in the Cottage so no heating, no light, no hot water and no oven. Thankfully we have a woodburning stove for some heat and we've dug the gas camping stove out of the attic so we will have some basic comforts at least. Even if we will be in the dark unless Himself can find the candles.

You don't realise how much you take something for granted until it's taken away from you.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

A trip down memory lane

Yesterday's Fun Monday brought back a few memories for me, as I'm sure it did for a lot of us.

I'd like to write a little bit about the first ex that I mentioned in that post because he was someone that I cared about a lot. And he, in his way, cared for me too and I was always thankful that we remained friends. Truth be told, we probably should never have had a relationship to begin with and, though this will sound a bit cliche, I think we were meant to be just friends.

Keith and I met quite by accident. This was back in the late 80's and a friend and I had just moved into a flat and Keith rang to speak to the lady who owned the place. We got chatting and ended up on the phone for nearly an hour. He was such a charmer! I invited him over for dinner and so began the roller-coaster ride.

Now, Keith was black. I'm not sure if that's the politically correct term these days but it's the term he used so I shall use it here, and my apologies if it offends anyone. I'm not black and 20 years ago that created something of a storm in my neighbourhood. And did we ever have fun exploiting that fact! He drove a black BMW and had no hesitation is announcing to all and sundry that it was his "Black Man Wagon"...this man had no hang-ups whatsoever about his race! He was incredibly well educated and spoke with just as many plums in his mouth as any member of the landed gentry. That always threw people too!

The fun we had....we dressed up in black tie to go to the opera or just for the fun of it to go to the restaurant around the corner. We dressed in jeans and t-shirts to go to events where we should have worn black tie and didn't give a hoot. We went to country hotels for weekends and the decision about who paid the bill was based on the outcome of a rugby match. I helped him furnish his flat.....and we stood in the shop having an hysterical discussion about which kitchen he should choose. He wanted the most expensive which was ridiculous because he never cooked and always ate out or had take-away.

Keith coined my nickname, Aoj, which were my initials, and it's stuck to this day. I called him DK, which were his initials. I bought him flowers, he bought me whiskey. Go figure, it was that kind of relationship. My mum and step-father came to stay and we took them out for dinner and had the whole restaurant in hysterical uproar as we told more and more outrageous stories and jokes.

I took him home to Wales to meet my family on my Grampa's 70th birthday. I will admit that I was a little unsure as to how my family would react. They were used to me having wacky boyfriends but in the town I grew up in, a black face was very uncommon. I needn't have worried. He won my family over with his charm and every single one of them adored him - from the kids to my Grampa. They loved him. To this day my mum still mentions him.

But the fun faded and he found someone else. I knew it was on the cards and it seemed inevitable that we would go our separate ways. In some ways I was relieved. I needed him more as a friend than I did as a lover.

Life moved on and we'd speak from time to time. He always worried about me as I crashed from relationship to relationship and he was the one I turned to in troubled times to talk to. He always could say the right thing to set me back on my feet again.

Then came the day I met Himself and I knew this was the one. I was so happy that I rang Keith at work to tell him. I knew he would be so happy for me. I will never forget that telephone call for the rest of my life. One of his colleagues answered and told me that Keith had had a massive heart attack and had died. On his 40th birthday just a few weeks before. I was in total shock. One of my friends had to ring back to get more details because I was not in a state to string two words together.

The following Sunday morning I bought flowers and visited his grave to say my goodbyes. I still can't believe that he's not out there somewhere living life to the full as he always did.

I am not a religious person and I don't know what happens to us after death but there have been times since when I knew he was with me. I would feel his prescence so strongly that I felt that if I had turned around I would see him standing there with a silly grin on his face saying "Aoj, I worry about you".

He may be gone but he's still out there somewhere looking out for me, just like he always did.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Spring is Sprung

Spring is sprung,
The grass is riz,
I wonder where de birdies is?
De little birds is on de wing,
Ain’t dat absurd?
De little wing is on de bird!

My grandfather always used to say this to me. Not for any particular reason he just liked the sound of it I think! But this weekend spring has most definitely sprung. The sun has been shining and, more importantly, had some warmth to it, despite the ground frost first thing. There's still a nip in the air but it finally feels like we're coming out of winter. Not that we're under any illusions. Last year it snowed in February so the weather might still yet surprise us. But for the moment we're making the most of it.

It's been so lovely to throw open the windows and hang the washing out in the sun to air, if not dry. And it's been nice to have a little time to get out with my camera and mark the coming of Spring.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Saturday ponder

Lurcher No.2 eats his food very, very quickly and so to stop him taking in big gulps of air with his food, and making himself sick with colic, I put a tennis ball in with his dinner to slow him down. And this is what puzzles me........he eats very gingerly around the ball until his dinner is all gone and the bowl licked clean. Then he takes the ball out and licks that clean too.

So why hasn't he figured out that he could take the ball out straight away, still get his food down his neck as fast as he'd really like to, and then lick the ball clean?

But it's not only him. I've done exactly the same with all my fosters and they do exactly the same thing.

Just one of those things that I ponder on in the dark hours of the morning when I am once again sleeping on the sofa because Himself's snoring has become unbearable. And Snowy has woken me up for the second time. And I'm on duty and the duty phone has rung at 4am, and it's a wrong number.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Tagged for 4 things!

Cynthia at Dahhling I love you has tagged me. Which is just as well as I had no earthly idea about what else to blather about today. Signing up for Blogging 365 is one thing but keeping the blogs marginally interesting is a struggle and I'm not sure who will keel over first - me or you guys! Still, one day at a time.

4 Jobs I've Had:
1. Milking cows - I suppose you could have called me a "cow girl"
2. Bulk Collection Operations Advisor - possible the best job title ever!
3. Barmaid
4. PA

4 Movies I've watched over and over:
1. Independence Day
2. The Crimson Pirate
3. The Green Mile
4. Steel Magnolias

4 Places I Have Lived:
1. Porthcawl, South Wales - the town where I grew up and possibly the butt-end of the universe. It has fantastic beaches making it very popular with tourists and surfers. Unfortunately all the visitors make it hell for the residents. It has a funfair called Coney Beach which is apparently modelled on New York City's Coney Island. Personally I think he resemblance ends with the name!
2. Cardigan, Penbrokeshire. I couldn't not mention this place as Cynthia has living here on her recent bucket list!
3. Surbiton. Made famous as the setting of the 70's sitcom "The Good Life" although it wasn't actually filmed there!
4. Wimbledon. Home of the tennis and the Wombles. And me.

4 Shows I Watch
2. CSI (all of them)
3. Star Trek (currently Enterprise and DS9)
4. Grand Designs

I'm not a big telvision watcher but these are not to be missed programmes.

4 Places I've Been:
1. Paris
2. Geneva
3. Brussels
4. Portugal

4 People Who E-mail Me Regularly:
1. Paypal (as Treasurer of Greyhound Gap we receive a lot of donations via Paypal so I probably get more e-mails from them than anyone else)
2. My step-father
3. Blogger, notifying me of comments to my posts
4. Freecycle - I moderate our local freecycl group.

That's all a bit sad isn't it? But then I tend to use e-mail as a work tool rather than as a means of communication with friends. I tend to chat to them more on Skype or on our own message boards.

4 Favorite Things to Eat:
1. Cheese
2. Chocolate
3. Roast lamb
4. Roast parsnips

4 Places I'd Rather Be:
1. Where I am now, I love it here on the Common
2. Out walking with The Lurchers
3. The Port William Inn, North Cornwall. It's a pub perched on a cliff where you can sit with a beer and watch the waves come crashing in.
4. Carreg Cennen Castle. One of my favourite places. I sat up here to finish reading Lord of the Rings. I love old castles and this one so atmospheric.

4 Things I Look Forward To This Year

1. Reaching the end of it in one piece
2. Finally giving up smoking
3. Our holiday in October
4. Getting the cottage finished.

I have also been given another award! Lisa at Lisa's Chaos gave me this one! Thank you Lisa and Happy Birthday! As I dished out a few yesterday I shall save this one for next week and pass it out on Valentine's Day!

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Embarassing Moments

Yesterday, The Rotten Correspondent related a very funny embarassing moment tale. I thought about relating some of mine but I've never been the kind of person that likes to make themselves look like an idiot. I do it by default on many an occasion but I'm not comfortable doing things that will make people laugh at me. It sounds ridiculous and over the last few years I have tried to relax myself over this and not get into a panic if I'm in danger of having to do something that might make me look ridiculous.

Then last night one of those default moments occurred.

I needed eggs and I needed parsley for a recipe I was trying for dinner. Not having either in the house and not wanting to go to a supermarket just for two things, I went to our local shops instead. Now, our nearest local shops are in Wimbledon Village. For those of you that don't know, and I'm assuming that will be most of you, Wimbledon Village is a tad on the pretentious side. It purports to be a village but it is a village for the very rich. All the clothes shops are designer labels; Jaeger, Diane von Furstenberg etc. There are coffee shops and bistros and interior design shops, basically everything you need if you are a lady who lunches.

It's the sort of place that I usually only drive through or maybe stop to go to the bank. But I knew there was what I thought was a small grocery shop and I thought that would do as it was just for eggs and parsley. When I got into the shop it became very clear that this was not a small grocery shop. It was a very expensive delicatessen with a range of organic fruit and vegetables at the front of the store, which is what had thrown me.

I found some ordinary eggs amidst the sea of peeled quails eggs and other eggs from speciality breeds of hens and went in search of parsley. I found a pack of fresh Barley, Sage and Parsley. Now, I'm pretty much up on herbs but I'd never come across one called Barley before but.....well, it was that kind of shop and who was I to show my ignorance about a herb called Barley? So I picked it up and wandered over to the cash register to ask the assistant if they had any packs with just parsley.

"That is just Parsley, Madam"

"No, it's Barley, Sage and Parsley. I need just Parsley"

You know that moment when an assistant looks at you down a very long nose and you know you are about to be swimming way out of your depth?

"Madam, Barley and Sage is the name of the shop"

That was definitely one of those moments.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Hissy fits and stuff

I threw one this morning. Big time.

You may remember from the anniversary Fun Monday a couple of weeks ago that the area outside my front door is a mess. We have a small compost bin out there that we also use for the wood ash from the fire and for the last two mornings I've woken up to find it's been raided by either a fox or the crows and there has been ash and vegetable peelings spilled all over the place. It all got too much for me this morning and I started stomping around, slamming doors and yelling that the place looked like a damn pikey yard with stuff everywhere.

So this coming weekend we are going to get stuck in and tidy it up. I know we can't lay the permanent paving or decking that we will eventually put down but we can at least make the place look like it's loved and cared for.

The lawn in the back garden is just going to have to wait unfortunately. Between Himself applying moss killer and in so doing losing half of the green stuff there and Snowy doing his "kicking-up-the-turf-to-spread-my-scent" routine, there's not a lot of it left. We are supposed to be having a garden party at Easter. Dress code might be wellington boots.


I forgot to mention yesterday that another book I have purchased is Patience's own book, Mama Pajama Tells a Story, a bookPatience has written about life with her Whippets. I am so looking forward to reading this as I adore Whippets and I know my Mum will be right in the queue behind me to read it too!



I was the quite pathetically grateful recipient of not just one but two awards yesterday! I am an award virgin so it was quite a thril to be invited into the blogging award club. These are they:

This was awarded to me by Ann over at For The Long Run - thank you so much Ann for giving me my first ever blog award. I shall wear it with pride! I now have to pass this on to ten people....and these are they:

Robin's Nest
Lost in the Bible Belt
Patience Please
Summit Musings
A Spot of T
Biting the Cherry of Existential Delight
Graham, Prince and Tilly
Lil Mouse
Jo Beaufoix
Sauntering Soul

My second award was from Alison at RDHMom, thank you so much Alison!

I'm passing this one on to:

Dahhling I love you
From the Planet of Janet
Tales of a Southern Doll

To be honest, I could have awarded either of these to any one of the blogs that I try to read daily but several of them already have the award and I wanted to spread the happiness around a little!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Reading Fodder again

Thank you to everyone who made suggestions for books that I should read. I've made my first order today and I'm looking forward to getting stuck in!

I have ordered:

The Veritas Conflict by Shaunti Christine Feldhahn as suggestd by raising3saints
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeliene L'Engle as recommended by Laurie and lil mouse
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov as recommended by Meg

I've also ordered Memoirs of a Geisha because I've always meant to read it and another Anne McCaffrey book that completes a series, the first three of which I've already read.

Should keep me quiet for a while.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Fun Monday #7

This week's Fun Monday is being hosted by Tiggerlane over at The Neophyte Blogger.

Here is the for assignment this week:

Have you heard of The Bucket List? Well, that's what I want from you! Make a list of things you want to do before you die. It must be at least five items - and you can make it as long as you desire. Photos are optional. And let's hear about some of the wackiest, most bizarre to-do's on your Bucket List!

So here's my list - which is very dependent on me winning the lottery.

1. Travel in space - Space and space travel has always fascinated me - which probably explains why I love reading Science Fiction/Fantasy and love watching Star Trek and any space-based movie (It may be a naff film but I could watch Independence Day over and over!). If commercial space flights ever become regularly available you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be on one!

2. Build my own house - I have wanted to have a house built to my specifications for as long as I can remember. I have, in my head, every single detail of how I want the house to look and I'm constantly refining it. It will have big spacious rooms and be in the middle of nowhere with stables for horses and kennels for the rescue dogs to get them out of danger. I have colour schemes worked out, I know what furniture I want and where it will go. It's all planned.

3. Take a trip in an hot air balloon - This is something I've only thought about doing recently. A friend of mine (Ali, who comments on here from time to time) recently did one and had an absolute blast.

4. Buy an Aston Martin DB9 - I wouldn't consider myself a snob in many respects. I don't place too much importance on what people think of me and how I look/what I do etc. However, one thing that seems to be important to me is having a decent car. I don't know why, it's not important on the grand scale of things but cars impress me. I can't help myself. I drive a pretty mediocre car at the moment that still as a dent in the side from where I bashed it 18 months ago so perhaps this particular foible of mine is fading. Nevertheless, one day I will own an Aston Martin DB9. That car is just sheer class on wheels.

5. Watch Wales play rugby at the Millenium stadium - It's hard to explain how it feels to be Welsh. There's a great deal of pride and something we call "hwyl"...which defies translation into English. It's about spirit and knowing your roots and where you belong. Many hundreds of years ago, the Welsh were subdued by sheer brute force by the English and brought under English rule rather than under their own rule. It still rankles. And when it comes to rugby, the English are still THE team we want to beat. It's as if the battle still rages but now it's moved to the rugby pitch. Welsh patriotism is at its highest when the Welsh rugby team takes to the pitch at their home stadium and I have yet to see them play there so that is a definite goal before I die.

Please visit Tiggerlane's blog to see the mammoth list of those participating this week!!

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Phew....'s been a busy few days!

Friday lunchtime I left home and headed up the motorway to Stoke on Trent to stay the night with Lisa, Greyhound Gap's founder. An uneventful journey until I got to Birmingham when someone turned the sun off. In the space of a minute I went from driving in brilliant sunshine, wearing my sunglasses, to black sky and a wall of hailstones. Five minutes later I was driving through a blizzard. Twenty minutes later it was back to sunshine again.

Saturday dawned to a couple of inches of snow, although it was already starting to thaw in the sunshine. So that will probably be the only snow I see this year. And did I have my camera? No.

We headed off to the kennels where the Gap dogs live until a suitable foster home becomes available. A gang of us walked the 17 dogs and checked out some of our new inmates: A young, blind whippet cross and his pal, a small staffie cross. Apparently the little blind dog holds on to his pal's tail when they go out! Then there were the two young lurchers who had been due to be put to sleep because they were, wait for it "sheep killers". We'll never know if they did kill a sheep or not but Gap takes the point of view that almost any dog is likely to be a sheep killer if they are allowed to get into that situation. These two were so tiny and so scared I'd have been less surprised if the sheep had attacked them.

That done, we headed off to Birmingham City Dog's Home to pick up a young Greyhound that had been reserved to come into our care. Whilst there we walked around the Home in case there were any other dogs there that we could take on. There were. We came home with the Greyhound, who is possibly a lurcher, and a young lurcher who was racked with kennel cough. Two more are reserved for us if they are not claimed before their time is up....another beautiful young lurcher bitch and an estimated 12 week old puppy. Difficult to tell the breeding as he was a little ball of fluff but we are convinced there is whippet or Bedlington in there somewhere. Not sure where but we'll find it!

Back to the kennels to drop off the two new arrivals, christened Minstrel and Frannie, and pick up Snowy, then back to Lisa's to walk her dogs. Then, in a complete change of direction, off to the Yankee Candle Shop to stock up on candles then the three hour drive home.

Snowy settled like a dream last night. I had been expecting a restless night but it was Himself who had me dragging my duvet off to the sofa because he was snoring like a trooper (Andre, he is normally a very brilliant and clever person to have around but the beer does get to him!). Snowy didn't wake me up once!

Dogs or men? Dogs or men? Mmmmm.........

Saturday, 2 February 2008



Please meet my latest foster Greyhound, Snowy, who I brought home today. I've had a busy couple of days and am way too tired to blog much tonight so will fill you all in tomorrow. I apologise for the dreadful photos but Snowy is still getting to grips with being in a house rather than a kennel and he won't stay still for a minute.

Oh and we are still in one piece and the house hasn't blown up yet...although that's more to do with the fact that it stopped raining. I was able to put a plastic container under the drip which hopefully stopped the imediate danger!

Friday, 1 February 2008

Water, water...not quite everywhere

It may only be a little leak in the roof but it's a little leak that's leaking straight onto the electricity fusebox.

I dragged Himself out of bed but after several tins of beer too many he can hardly see the ceiling let alone the leak. All he could say was "well what do you want me to do about it?"

Actually, I'd like you to do something to stop us all being fried in our beds please.

So if you hear a bang, don't panic, it's just my house exploding.