Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I still don't know what I was waiting for

I've jumped on the apparent bandwagon of work-related upheaval that seems to have recently affected so many people. For several months my vet-boss has been trying to sell the practice, and after many hold-ups and set-backs and tears and tantrums (and that was only the solicitor) the sale was finally completed and yesterday lunchtime I ceased to be employed by XYZ Veterinary Surgeons and became an integral part of ABC Veterinary Practice Ltd.

Now the fun starts. Because nobody knew when – or even if - the sale would happen we’ve been pottering along, business as usual, and we weren't allowed to mention the possibility of the sale to the clients. But now when clients ring up to book an appointment with the Old Boss we have to explain that he no longer works in the practice; unfortunately because it’s (apparently) so sudden they think he’s been struck off or something, so we go into the spiel about the sale and how the practice is merely under new ownership.

Some clients will no doubt leave because they liked Old Boss (there’s one with an appointment on what would have been Old Boss’s rostered day this week, who’s going to be stunned) and others who didn’t like him (he’s best described as an ‘acquired taste!’) might well return. The wife of the new owner, who’ll be doing the actual vet stuff, has yet to make an appearance!

The computer system seems not to have been changed overnight, although the credit-card machine has (New Boss explained to m’colleague that “it’s like the ones restaurants use.” To which she replied in a bewildered tone “I have a father and a husband. I don’t pay in restaurants.”), and we have to remember to answer the phone differently. That could take a while to get into the swing of, and I confidently predict that I’ll use my home number in answer before I remember the new name.

And we’ll need new uniforms, and all the printers will need the letterheads and label details changed, and new business cards, and all the notices will need redoing, and … and … and …

Chaos and confusion will be the order of the day for some while yet!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Goodbye, piccalilli

There is only one variety of piccalilli that we like, but it’s not easy to obtain. At first we could get it from farm shops locally, but one by one they stopped selling it until it seemed to have vanished off the face of the earth. Every time we visited a different area of the country we’d stop at local delis and see if they had any, but although they all stocked other products from the same company, they never had piccalilli. We searched from Cornwall to Kent to the Lake District, and many points in between. Then a shop in Banbury thrillingly managed to get some and we carried home the jars in triumph, and ate them.

Then the shop couldn’t get any more.

After several more months had passed the company lowered its minimum order price from £200 to £20, so we ordered some for ourselves, and we’re eagerly awaiting our delivery. This morning a parcel was delivered – from a new deli in Battle (no, not New Delhi in India) containing six jars of this prize. My mother hadn’t realised we’ve ordered some and kindly arranged a surprise for us.

Piccalilli sandwich, anyone?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Dem bones, dem bones

Hurrah for Ned! This week's weigh-in confirmed that he's reached his target weight; a loss of 42lb since Christmas! I'm very proud of him and will now allow him a scraping of butter on his cardboard.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Where the sun shines brightly?

Well, we're back, and rather sooner than planned. The journey down was as expected and we got the tent put up in fine weather, which was lovely. So we took a little evening stroll down to the beach local to the campsite so Beattie could stretch her legs. The beaches down there are wonderfully dog-friendly, which makes a pleasant change.

Next day we got a couple of caches under our belt to break ourselves in for what we planned would be a mighty effort. The first required a fair amount of pushing and shoving and squeezing to retrieve ... but only minimal DNA was left behind on the thorns, so that was all right.

The Cornish have a different idea of what 'hedge' means - an awful lot of stone is involved.
Then it was back to the tent for a rest. Honestly, you'd have thought that for two people and a dog that two chairs, a double airbed and a dogbed would be fine, wouldn't you? Well that's wrong. You need spaces for three, because obviously Beattie isn't a dog, but she kindly allowed me to sit on her chair sometimes
and was willing to let me share the bed. Ned and I both fell off several times each night when she turned over or stretched.
Next day was fine and not too blowy, so we went caching in Boscastle. Guess where the cache is in this picture?
Some of the houses there are obviously only suitable for thin people with flat-pack furniture. This doorway is regular-sized, but the doors most definitely aren't!
Boscastle is still having reconstruction work done after the flood of 2004 but it's very much a thriving village again, which is good to see. We first went there in 2003 and I fell in love with this 14th-century building
which was totally washed away in the disaster. In the picture you can see the end of the building behind. The owner managed to salvage much of the stone when they cleared the harbour of cars, trees and assorted rubble and has rebuilt it. Sadly it's lost a lot of its charm.
A short drive down the narrowest lanes imaginable, where the car was scraping the undergrowth on both sides at once, and the grass growing in the middle of the road needed mowing, got us another couple of caches. Then the weather closed in.

And stayed closed in. The gales blew, the rain lashed down across, the tent rocked madly in the powerful gusts. And the forecast was for more to come. After a wakeful night waiting for the sound of ripping fabric as the tent was buffetted from side to side and groaned like a ship foundering on the rocks we decided discretion was the better part of valour and disappointedly packed up and came home. It was a shame because we'd been so looking forward to the break but we'd have been too afraid to leave the tent to visit anywhere in case the tent left as well!

Maybe we'll go back to finish the holiday in September - hopefully not coinciding with the equinoctial gales!

PS. It appears from the TV news that Boscastle has today been hit by a similar, though thankfully smaller, inundation. Perhaps we'd better not go back there ever ever again.

Friday, June 15, 2007

No more working for a week or two

We're off on wallaby in the morning. Be good while I'm away.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

And it will be my last

Watching 'House' alerted us to a fab band. We hadn't heard of zero 7 before. Off to the record shop!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Dipping in the pocket of her raincoat

An eventful day at work. The morning shift included a woman who turned up randomly with her dog to see the vet a full 20 minutes after the vet should have left, but luckily we'd been having a cuppa and a gossip so there wasn't a problem. Within 10 minutes the dog had been referred to the nearest eye specialist (an hour's drive away) with the owner in utter shock. Two days ago the young (3½ years) terrier cross was fine - today it's blind in one eye and the other is affected. Tomorrow it has to have the blind eye removed and is on medication to try to save the other. Primary Lens Luxation is hereditary - don't believe those who tell you that crossbreeds don't suffer from hereditary conditions. That's total tosh.

In the afternoon another woman burst into the waiting room in a panic, asking for a vet to come out to a dog she'd run over in xxxxx Road. I live in xxxxx Road - my automatic response was "What sort of dog?" - not the question she was expecting. On being told "A spaniel" I could cope (phew, not mine!) and all went smoothly from there. (Not a great prognosis, apparently.)

I'm emotionally drained.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Fools rush in

In the field this afternoon Harry and Piglet were systematically hunting along the hedge as usual where all the rabbit holes are when they both suddenly stopped and concentrated; stepped back in puzzlement then went in again. The next thing was that Piglet tore along to the end of the hedge, through the gap and sprinted back along the other side to where Harry was still engrossed. Assuming one had flushed a bunny and the other was going after it I was surprised when a buzzard slowly flapped up from the other side of the hedge from Harry. I blew the whistle and was very pleased to see Piglet reappear unscathed - but was slightly taken aback to see that he was carrying a freshly-dead woodpigeon. It seems he'd mugged the buzzard for its kill and won! Even more pleasing was his triumphant return to give me the trophy.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye

It seems that you don't hang around long after you die in America. My dear aunt died on Friday and it's her funeral today. Is that short time usual Over There? It doesn't give much time for more distant relatives to attend.