Thursday, September 30, 2004

Let's go surfin' now, everybody's learning how

You may never have guessed, but if truth be told I'm not entirely au fait with this intermaweb thingy. Over the past couple of years I've learned how to send emails, which now reach their intended targets at least 80% of the time, especially if they don't have attachments. I can use Google fairly well to search for information, and again most of what I find is either what I hoped for or, if not, is interesting and sends me off at a tangent so I have a senior moment and forget what I was looking for in the first place. Occasionally it all goes horribly wrong and I find something completely unlike anything I ever wanted to see, and never want to see again in my life ever ever, but thankfully that's been very rare.

I've almost learned that, when googling and I open a webpage which turns out to not be useful after all, to click 'Back' rather than closing it by the X, because that closes google entirely and I have to start again. But I still make it take longer than it need - am I the only person who carefully scrolls back to the top of a webpage before clicking ‘Back’?

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Time after time

It’s been an odd sort of a day. It’s never really got light, so I’ve never really woken up, and as a consequence I’ve been in a strange mental limbo. I got to wondering about dates: not the fruit, you understand, which always looks nicer fresh than dried, but is horrible in either form, its only acceptable incarnation being in a sticky toffee pudding. No, I started pondering the accuracy of recorded dates. For instance, John Lennon was shot in New York at about 22.50 on December 8th 1980 and died shortly after. But at the instant he died it was nearly 4am on December 9th over here. If anyone from the UK had spoken to him on the phone up to 4 hours earlier they would have been talking to him the day after he officially died, which is a bit spooky. Why this should bother me is a mystery, but it did.

Of course the great benefit of a particular moment happening at different times is that at every year I can watch the Australian New Year celebrations on TV then go to bed at a reasonable hour. I’m not a New Year type person.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Don't you make me repeat it

I wasn't going to blog, because the only thing that I felt vaguely worthy of sharing was my distress at finishing my supper and finding half a snail in my vegetables. It was at least a fresh, organic snail, because I only picked the veg half an hour before and I don't use sprays on the veg garden - but I hadn't been psyched up for mollusc. I don't recommend them.

Monday, September 27, 2004

The only way is up

Or at least, that's how it's been for most of my meals today. I suppose I could have entitled this "Breakfast Revisited". I still don't feel very well, so I'll bid you all a goodnight.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

As high as an elephant's eye

More household expenditure is on the way. I’d hoped the lawnmower would last to the end of the season, but it hasn’t; in fact today I couldn’t even complete the back garden. Some of the strips are nicely sheared, others have merely had the long grass rolled flat so that by tomorrow it will look as if nothing’s been done, and for others only half the blade seemed to be cutting. Then it gave up the ghost entirely. It all looks very strange.

So off we trotted to the garden centre to have a look at their selection, which turned out to be none. Instead we bought two large composts bins (300 litres) that the Council are discounting, from £45 or so to £11. Because our old bins, which Ned constructed from old pallets, have completely fallen apart this was a Good Buy. If only we had some lawnmowings to put in them.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

My mind is on the blink

It's been a long day. After a late night yesterday (gone midnight before I got to bed) I was awake at 5 am wondering whether Her Majesty had been bothered by the heat of the Gobi desert, and why she was there in the first place. Surely there are deserts closer to home that she might visit? After that an orchestra got entangled in the wiles of a witch who was mowing the lawns of an arboretum before the earth moved. I think I need another drink.

Friday, September 24, 2004

The Vicar of Bray

Donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey donkey.

Good night.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Where the air is good

It looks like this will be a good year for country-wine makers. As I was walking the dogs around the fields I couldn’t help but notice how large and juicy all the hedgerow fruits are. The elderberries are the biggest I’ve ever seen them, although, like the blackberries, they aren’t very sweet; obviously the summer hasn’t been sunny enough for sweetness as well as juice. In one hedge there are some strange little plums, which I’ve never seen anywhere before. They’re about the size of a cherry, and when ripe are a greeny-yellow colour, with a red flush on the sunny side. I wouldn’t say they’re exactly sweet, but they are more edible than a sloe, for example. The hedgerow pear at the top of the field has a good crop of very round yellow pears, slightly smaller than a tennis ball, and the variety of crab apples is astonishing. Some are bright green, like tiny Granny Smith’s, some are yellow, and one tree has fruit that are a startling salmon pink. Absolutely stunning. The may-trees are crimson with berries, the sloes are almost the size of damsons and the dog-roses, which in June were studded with delicately-scented flowers, are scarlet with hips. The birds’ larder is well-stocked. I think I’ll go blackberrying at the weekend, donkeys and weather permitting - there’s room in the freezer for quite a few pounds, and I love blackberry and apple crumble in the winter.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

It's the way that you do it

The washing machine is in the breakfast room. It has a prominent position, almost perfectly in the way of everything. Is it over the counter and where it should be? Is it wombat. Did it arrive before 10am, and if not, did I get a phonecall before 10 to arrange a time? Ho ho ho. You’re even more na├»ve than I. We looked at the installation instructions, and I’m sure it’s perfectly DIY-able, given time. However tasks like that have a tendency to cause marital disharmony, so I’ve called our excellent tame plumber, who will send his boy round next Wednesday morning. I hope he’s as efficient and competent as his dad. With any luck Ned, Boy and I can get it to its final destination in the meantime.

Oh, and we’ve had another postcard! This time from ‘Sunny Beach’, Bulgaria. The message reads: “We’re wombling free. Love, Uncle B”.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

A wanderin' fool or a heart at rest?

I’ve been working at building up my muscles for tomorrow’s planned washing-machine juggling event, and I’m now confident that this is going to be a disaster. I’m assured that if the delivery bloke hasn’t arrived by 10am he will phone to arrange a delivery time. We’ll see. And what’s the betting he sucks his teeth and says “Oh no, madam, I’m not insured to lift anything” then mongooses off at high speed? If it does arrive before 10, at least Ned and the Boy will be around (and hopefully awake), so perhaps I will merely be required to supervise. I’m good at that.

Five skeins of geese flew over the house this evening, heading east. Good timing; tomorrow is the autumn equinox. It must nearly be time for the clocks to go back. I’d better top up the Brussels sprouts.

CNPS: 164

Monday, September 20, 2004

That will bring us back to doh

The freezer missed out on some stocks today. As I was bowling along on my merry way to work in fairly heavy traffic, I noticed that the cars in front of me were pulling away from the verge at a certain point. As there was no sign of a cyclist it seemed a little odd, till I realised they were trying to avoid a roe deer. It was a very silly roe deer, because the side of a busy road is not a sensible place to have a little sleep. Especially a sleep in that very strange position. It was clearly freshish because it was still deer-shaped, unlike the one further on which, by the morning rush-hour, had been fairly well ironed. If there had been less traffic, and if I had been homeward bound and not have to keep it all day in the car, getting hotter and hotter, I would have been able to stop and bung it in the boot for gralloching, peeling and dismemberment, with what wouldn’t fit in the freezer fitting perfectly in the dogs.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

These boots were made for walking

I hope the wildlife appreciate that the rights of ramblers to roam the land are now far more important (especially because skylarks are as yet disenfranchised) than their (the wildlife's) demands of privacy to reproduce. This Government has absolutely no idea about the natural world that lies beyond the gay bars of Islington.

On another note. Hooray! Ned's home! He's had a lovely weekend and now he's back safe with me. The Boy's home too, so the whole family's under one roof. Batten down the hatches.

CNPS: 159

Saturday, September 18, 2004

The game commences

Every time I ask the Boy for a bloggery suggestion he says “Harrod”. Harrod (not his real name, but it’s what he answers to) is one of his chums, who Ned and I have just about come to terms with. Our early dealings with him caused us to refer to him as ‘The Lying Braggart’ – and it’s a shame, because he could be a nice enough lad. But he’s always been insecure enough to try to buy friends – and his parents seem to have aided and abetted him, by showering him with money instead of their time and attention. Basically he’s a nice enough lad (and even nicer now that his parents have moved to France) and he’s growing up.

We had a major run-in with him a few years ago when his mother phoned me one morning and gave me an ear-bashing for the state in which Harrod, the Boy and another chum had left their house (“there was nobody else there, he knew he wasn’t to have a party while we were away and he swears he hasn’t”). Apparently, and judging by the debris, the three of them had smoked about 300 cigarettes (the Boy and O.C. didn’t smoke) and got through two bottles of whisky, two bottles of vodka, a bottle of Southern Comfort, 9 bottles of wine, about 100 assorted cans and bottles of beer and sundry alcopops. Call me suspicious, but I’d seen the Boy and Other Chum that morning, and they were fine, and so I said I reckoned they may have had outside help. I asked the Boy where he had been on the night in question – “At Harrod’s party” he said. It took over 6 months for Harrod to get around to apologising to us for the haranguing I received from his mother. Ned subtly reminded him every time he asked him to leave our house.

But I don’t think I can blame him for tonight’s little upset. A couple of months ago I started making a small stuffed toy orang-utan to be a geocaching ‘Travel Bug’ courier. It didn’t look too bad – the face was a bit of a problem – and it was put into a plastic bag and left on the kitchen table till we got around to planning the next cache. I’ve been tidying the table in readiness for Wednesday’s upheaval and found this toy. Someone – and it has to be one of the Boy’s friends – has opened the bag and drawn a frown and Hitler hairstyle on it. I’ll have to make a new one now. I’m not best pleased. I wonder which of the little s***s it was?

Friday, September 17, 2004

Climb ev'ry mountain

Things are improving. I’ve been making sure the Black Dog gets plenty of exercise trying to keep up with me, and I think it’s tiring. Scott is being a star and helping me with ideas (keep ‘em coming – you’re brilliant!) and Stu helped me sort out a computer problem I had. And of course Omally's bony hug helped. What lovely people I have got to know.

The only other problem looming on the horizon is how to get the new washing machine, which is being delivered on Wednesday, into the kitchen. It won’t fit between the units which divide the breakfast area from the kitchen, so it’ll have to be lifted over the top. Anyone feeling particularly strong?

Thursday, September 16, 2004

You saw me standing alone

Aquamarine, azure, cerulean, cobalt, cyan, indigo, monestial, navy, Prussian, royal, sky, ultramarine. Blood, cross, eyes, heaven, meanies, moodies, Mondays, hats for days, kerry, jays, birds, ridge mountains, peter, ribbon, pencil, Nile, movie, moon, oyster cult, velvet, lamp, jeans, whale, thin line, cheese.

Yep. I’ve got the blues.

PS. I apologise to Paul g0tlg for monopolising his commentification box. I enjoy a sensible, rational debate - and he's good!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Everybody knows one

I can hear the pitter-patter of paws in the distance, getting gradually closer. I know they’ll get steadily louder, and then I’ll feel the hot breath of the demon on the back of my neck. If I keep moving around a lot, I might be able to shake it off, but I can’t think of anywhere to go or anything to do to distract myself. I know this fidgetiness of old – it heralds the approach of the Black Dog of depression.

In an effort to avert it I’ll commit a shameless feat of Omally-bloggery-idea-copyingitis and tell you about my pal PJ. He was a lovely bloke, great fun to hang around with, and tremendous fun. He was tall – about 6’3” or so – and lanky, and drove a very small car which meant he was limited to how many people he could give a lift to because there was no legroom behind the driver’s seat. Anyway, a gang of us – mostly girls it has to be said – used to take fairly frequent trips up to Town to go to the theatres and art exhibitions and such. Because PJ worked in London we sometimes arranged for him to meet us and join us on our jaunt. This particular occasion we arranged to meet in the cafe at Waterloo station, which in those days had large circular windows overlooking the concourse. We were sat with our teas and coffees, engrossed in chat, when the sound of sniggering attracted our attention. When we looked up, there was PJ slowly to-ing and fro-ing past the window, arms making slow swimming movements and his mouth opening and shutting like a goldfish. We scuttled out to collect him and set off for the theatre. As we ambled through the West End he said something that irritated Liz, and she stalked off in front of us. PJ apologised loudly “Daphne! Daphne! Wait! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!. All right then, I’ll have the operation!” All the passers-by stared, Liz was mortified, and the rest of us were collapsed on the pavement in hysterics.

I still chuckle over that 20 years later. I wonder what happened to PJ?

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

And that ain't what it takes

What on earth possesses them to do it? I refer, of course, to the enormous spiders which take it upon themselves to abseil into the bath overnight in order to squat there balefully and glare malevolently at me when I drag myself into the bathroom in the morning. Three there were today, busily covering the base of the bath with industrial-strength webs and pretending that the others didn’t exist. As usual I ignored them and hoped someone else would deal with them, but no, they’re still there. Why don’t they realise that I don’t keep flies in the bath, shin back up their ropes and go searching elsewhere? If I’m ever to have a bath again I’ll have to do my usual trick of scooping them up on the end of the backbrush and twitching them out of the window. Maybe I should mark them in some way to see if it’s the same stupid ones returning each time, or whether our house happens to be in the centre of Spiderworld.

Monday, September 13, 2004

I feel the earth move under my feet

When did the organisation of the world change? When my grandmother was young and living overseas, about the time of the first world war, the ‘Middle East’ was the Afghanistan, Persia, India region, the Far East was still China and Japan, but what is now known as the ‘Middle East’ (Palestine, Israel, Syria, etc) was the ‘Near East’. If that area is now the Middle East, what is India categorised as nowadays, and where has the Near East moved to? Belgium?

Sunday, September 12, 2004

It's a sign of the times

I'm afraid I shouted at the TV tonight. There was a programme called "Who got Marc Bolan's millions?" and it opened with sycophants gushing such statements as "He was the major star of his era", "He put the 'glam' into glam rock" etc. Yuck. Puke. Well I'm sorry, but I was there. Marc Bolan and T.Rex were just A.N.Other band, and not even really that big. In a class of 30 fifteen-year-old girls, only one was a Marc Bolan fan. Come on, this was the era of Rod Stewart and Elton John, and from the glam rock point of view there was Slade, Gary Glitter (enough said), Sweet, Wizzard, Mud ... the list is huge.

I'm sorry, but the best that can be said of Marc Bolan is that he was 'of his time'. Just like Buddy Holly, his main claim to fame is that he died young, in a tragic accident, in his prime.

Death elevates us all.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

We're riding along on the crest of a wave

Being a very tired person today (the burning ends of the candle seem to have met in the middle) I sat myself down with the puzzle section of the paper. Yes I know, coals to Newcastle and all that, but I like puzzles. So I had a go at the ‘fast five’ puzzle (completed within time, hooray!), tinkered with the large general knowledge crossword (Ned had started it) then moved on to the codebreaker. This is the puzzle where the letters of the alphabet are randomly numbered, the crossword squares numbered accordingly and you are given three letters to get you started. We make these at work - or rather, the computer generates them and we have to check them to make sure they are neither too easy nor impossible. Sometimes the given letters are too easy – E, R and S for example – and anyone with enough vocabulary to read a newspaper can solve it in minutes. Sometimes there is the opposite problem where the letters are very rarely used, such as J, V and Z. I was idly chatting to Ned as I worked on the puzzle (given letters I, P and V – not easy) telling him about one I was checking once with the letters B, J and M, and which I thought would be horribly difficult, until I scanned the wordlist (which also has to be checked against an ‘undesirable words’ list – nothing too obscure, nothing rude etc). There was ‘jamboree’ – a word containing all the given letters, and with the last two letters obviously being the same there was little else it could be, giving the solver four more letters straight away. Easy-peasy - and I've only seen that word appear twice in the year I've been checking those puzzles. Guess what word was in the puzzle in today’s paper. Yep, jamboree. How weird.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Living by numbers

We’re still going great guns with this Consecutive Number-Plate Spotting, by the way. Although I can see it can be a cause of stress, especially when you hit a dry spell and not see the next number for days (132 and 146 are a case in point), then as soon as you’ve ticked that one off your list you see them everywhere, the thrill when you make a spot is great. Okay, it’s very short-lived because you’re immediately on the lookout for the next one, but it’s one of Life’s little pleasures. And there are some very strange number-plates around. I thought, for instance, there are regulations about the size and font they can be in – but there are some very arty-farty ones around, with squiggles and swirls, and some with teeny-tiny lettering. Then there are the ones where people have changed the spaces between the components, so that SU 51E is squished to look like SUSIE. I was very envious when I saw the numberplate P4NTS, but the other day I saw a car with the numberplate M457 URB. Am I the only person who thinks that looks slightly rude?

CNPS: 152

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Oh Mr Wu! What shall I do?

Either my bum’s getting bigger or this dilemma has abnormally close-set horns. You see, my old washing machine has, for some months, been misbehaving. It’s an ancient twin-tub, and has given sterling service for nearly 15 years, cleaning many loads of laundry every week. It is quick – three loads of washing cleaned, spun and on the line in half an hour – and economical on water because the same water is recycled for each load; whites first, coloured light soiling next, heavily soiled items last. If the water still looks vaguely liquid and not a slice of the Ankh then the dog blankets get a sluice. Then a few weeks ago the spinner started playing up. Sometimes it would spin, sometimes not. Sometimes it wouldn’t stop spinning until the machine was unplugged from the mains. Then last week the drive belt to the washer section snapped, and I was forced to do the washing by filling the tub with water as usual and sloshing it about manually. It was an excellent slimming aid, as not only did it start building my upper body it also meant I didn’t have time to eat.

But seeing as I’m no longer at home every day I decided to enter the latter half of the 20th century and treat myself to a new-fangled automatic machine. We looked at lists of various machines, bearing in mind water use, economy of power, noise, efficiency and size. I don’t want to have to rearrange the kitchen, after all. An integral tumble-dryer isn’t necessary because we were given a tumble-dryer 20 years ago and it’s lived, unused, in the garage since we moved here 15 years ago. We decided on what seems to be the most suitable make and model, checked out prices (the store that claims “We will not be beaten on price” can be beaten by £50) and placed our order, to be delivered in about a week. I may not be strong but I have stamina – I can cope for a week. Then we got an email telling us the manufacturers were out of stock and we had to wait a month. At this news I grew quite agitated, and invested a fiver in a new drive-belt which Ned duly fitted, and while he was at it he tinkered with the spinner-switch and got that working properly again.

The dilemma is, now that my faithful old machine is working again, what should I do about the new one? Should I cancel it? Should I go ahead with the purchase and store it in the garage? Should I go ahead, have it plumbed in (is that a DIY job?), and store the old one in the garage (it’s ideal for washing the filthy dog-blankets, after all)? But the drum’s getting rusty ... Decisions, decisions ...

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

All together now

I was sent this by one of my other chummingtons. I don't usually put anything political or contentious in here because I like everyone to be happy little pals and not get arsy, but I thought it worth posting anyway.

To be sung to the tune of

'If you're happy and you know it'

If you want to show your mettle, ban the hunt.
If you want to grasp a 'nettle', ban the hunt.
If your backbenchers are roaring
and the crime rate it is soaring;
from the coffers cash is pouring
So ban the hunt.

It makes such a catchy headline - 'ban the hunt'.
We will set an urgent deadline - ban the hunt.
Whilst the peace of our great nation,
Transport, health and education
seem to be beyond salvation
Ban the hunt.

Show that government is working - ban the hunt.
Proof that there will be no shirking - ban the hunt.
If you've lost control of law;
Saving pensions is a bore
and you can't drum up a war
Then ban the hunt.

Just to show we earn our wages - ban the hunt.
Been discussing this for ages - 'ban the hunt'.
Not enough determination
to get tough on immigration
But we plead in mitigation
"Ban the hunt".

Lock your livestock up in boxes - ban the hunt.
'Cos you cant be cruel to foxes - (ban the hunt).
When they raid and maim and loot
(Are you SURE? - they look so cute)
You can poison trap and shoot
'em. Ban the hunt.

If you need an easy target, ban the hunt.
Cant control the Common Market - ban the hunt.
If your feeble leadership
Should be showing signs of slip
and you feel you've lost your grip
Then ban the hunt.

No Comments please. I realise this is a topic likely to cause ill-feeling, but it is my Blog for my views. For this reason, all comments on this post, whether positive, negative or neutral will be removed. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings

When I was doing the Post Office run for work today (although as it turned out I went too soon, because Big Boss discovered during the afternoon that he had packaged the wrong disks and had to email in apology and burn new ones and re-post the updated ones) I had to walk through the park, where there is a columnar poster-board where all the adverts for upcoming events are posted. Hooray! There’s going to be a Singalonga Sound of Music next month – for one night only! Oh poo. It’s a Thursday night, when Ned’s working. I don’t want to go on my own, and the Boy would rather stick pins in his eyes than accompany me. I’ve got a great costume in mind too – I think I’ve got enough brown paper and string ...

Monday, September 06, 2004

Let it fly in the breeze

How do they do it? No matter how many times a day the dogs are groomed, first with their rubber brush to loosen the dead hair and massage the skin, then with a bristle brush to remove the handfuls of whiteness and finally a polish with a chamois leather, I can never get them to reach a state of groomedness. You give the dog a stroke, and there’s still more loose hair. And it gets everywhere. I make sure to groom the dogs in the garden, because handfuls of the stuff come out and lie on the lawn until either I mow it and it goes in the compost or all the little birdies steal it as nest-lining material. All hail James Dyson – the bloke who has saved the sanity of dalmatian owners everywhere.

Judging by the amount they shed you’d think that after a fortnight they’d be bald, but no, there’s plenty more where that came from; and this ability to regenerate hair lasts all their lives – even very elderly geriatric dogs have a good thick coat. The scientist who manages to isolate the magic ingredient that causes this marvellous hair-regenerational ability will be worth squillions. Just think – no more ghastly comb-overs by desperate men!

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Like a circle in a spiral

When I was looking at the amazing satellite photos on ScottJ's blog about Hurricane Frances, and hoping that the damage to people, property and wildlife won’t be too severe, I noticed the similarity between hurricanes and the universe. (It was also very late at night and I was tired and somewhat emotional.) The storm spins round and around a central core, and the bits on the outside are whipping along at incredible speed. They say the galaxy is like that – a spiral circling around a central core, with our little solar system on the outer edge clinging on for dear life.

My best summing (and google) assures me that the UK is rotating at about 600 miles an hour (you multiply the cosine of your latitude with the speed at the equator - 1000 mph. I almost know what that means), and rotating around the Sun at about 67,000 miles per hour. So if you combine that with being whirled around the centre of the galaxy at about 559,000 miles an hour, is it any wonder I feel so tired?

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Saturday knight's all right for fighting

Tonight, on and off, because I kept having to go and watch how Frances was approaching the US, I was mostly watching a fillum called "A Knight's Tale". No, not the Chaucer story (he was a relation, but I shan't go into that now), but terrific entertainment. It was an English version of a Hollywood version of the Middle Ages, but what the heck - it's our history and we'll abuse it how we like. Historically it seemed to condense 300 years into about 20, judging by the styles of armour (human and horse), fashion (ditto) etc, but it managed to rise above that, even if the people were all far too clean. Incidental music included Thin Lizzy's 'The Boys are back in Town' and the language used was definitely late 20th century English. The jousting scenes were great, as were the tactical discussions ("How would you beat him?" "With a big stick. While he slept.").

Yeah okay, the film was rubbish (just shows what the alternatives were like). But it made both of us laugh out loud, which nowadays is no bad thing. And phwooaaarr! There was so much male crumpet - it was almost my 'Knights in White Satin'!

Friday, September 03, 2004

Picture this

We think we've been burgled. When we went on our last booze-cruise we brought back masses and masses of beer to last for ages, but somehow the stocks have been vanishing at a remarkable rate. Well, we've remarked on it, so that makes it remarkable in my book. (It's a very strange book. Odd pictures.) Anyway that means we have to do a repeat journey; luckily it should have been long enough ago for C&E not to be suspicious and dismantle our car and seize our purchases on our return, being under the false impression that only smugglers can get through that much alcohol so quickly. Think on't. If we were smugglers, would we have such a rubbish car? I rest my case.

Right, so another shopping trip is in the offing. Ned was checking ferry prices on the net then suddenly remembered to check his passport. It expires tomorrow. Whoops! Off to the photo booth tomorrow. That should be a laugh - mind you, they do say that if you actually look like your passport photo, you're not well enough to travel.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

They did the Monster Mash

It was a good day for gardening today, so I dug the remaining few rows of potatoes. The last five plants yielded 2 stone of spuds. Not bad, eh? I have no idea what variety they are, because it’s been several years since we last bought seed potatoes. Since then we’ve just kept replanting the ones that are too small to be eaten. And are potato fruits fertile? You know, those poisonous green tomato-looking things they produce? They must make fruit for a reason, after all. Can I just ignore them and dig the soil over, or will they grow into potato plants next year? We’ve noticed the slugs like some varieties more than others (spuds with pink eyes (King Edwards? Maris will know) seem especially vulnerable) but on the whole they’ve done all right. But they do grow into some strange shapes sometimes. I’m not sure which way up is best for this photo – are they boggle-eyed little aliens, or something ruder ...

This way up? Posted by Hello

Beattie’s leg’s improving slightly. The creams I’ve been smearing on and the tablets I’ve been shoving down her neck (possibly vice versa in the small hours) seem to be helping her. She was very good about it overnight, and we all got some sleep. People may think I’m daft taking so much care over what appears trivial, but if these lick injuries are neglected they can result in months of vet treatment (unpleasant for the animal and very expensive for the owner!) and have been known to require amputation, with the worst-case scenario being, depending on their location, even death. I’m not prepared to risk that, so I’ll carry on doing what I do best. Caring.

The postcard war continues! Another one arrived today – from Ibiza, simply saying “From 3 Ibiza babes!” We’ve not heard any news on whether the retaliation is working ...

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

When I need you

A pinch and a punch for the first of the month – and no returns!

Today has mainly been spent trying to prevent Beattie eating herself. In the past when we’ve all been away we’ve either taken the dogs down to stay with my mother (until her dog and one of ours decided they hated each other) or got house-sitters in. The sitters have been excellent, and meant that not only could the dogs stay in their own home, the house was occupied (and so guarded) as well. And for roughly the same price as kennelling four dogs – provided you can even find a kennel that has space for four all in together. Yes, it’s very odd, and not entirely pleasant, having strangers living in your house, but they look after it well, and the last one not only mowed the lawn for us, she also picked and froze the vegetables from the garden for us, so they weren’t wasted.

Anyway, when we went away last we left the dogs and homestead in the novice hands of the Boy. The dogs were fed and walked (I know that because a) the neighbours told us and b) sometimes when I popped back I walked them myself), but obviously they knew things weren’t quite right. Beattie is a very intense soul, who always tries her very very best to get everything right, and is filled with apologies if anything goes wrong – she gets upset if one of the others gets told off, let alone her. So, just as an unsettled child will suck its thumb in times of stress, she has the common doggy habit of licking a front leg. Till it bleeds. Then, because it is bleeding and sore, their natural instinct is to lick it to make it better. Of course, no matter how persistently they lick it doesn’t heal – a bit like scrubbing hands clean with a wire brush; you can never get rid of all the blood. This morning when I came downstairs I was greeted by Beattie, front leg all gory. Silly dog. She’s fine when I’m near; the problem arises when she’s bored. So guess where it looks like I’ll be sleeping for the next few nights – yep, under the kitchen table with her. (Taking her upstairs wouldn’t help – she knows they’re not allowed up there, so that would stress her more.) I don’t think the Boy considered their mental health as well as their physical health. It’s all very well being loved, but it would be nice to not be quite so indispensable.