Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oh, and by the way, are you laughing now?

Piglet's always been a strange dog; he views Life very seriously. He's never seen the point of toys (unlike Harry who adored toys) unless it was to take Harry's favourite toy to annoy him, or playing games for pleasure. The concept of 'fun' has passed him by, and he totally missed out on the sense of humour gene (which Harry had in spades and was one of the many traits that made him so endearing). Piglet's always been more self-sufficient and anxious; I can see many characteristics in him that, in a human, would suggest a degree of autism. However in the months that he's been an only dog he's started to choose to be around us and seek our attention much more, which is nice.

Because he's never bothered about playing with our other dogs he's also never wanted to interact with dogs that we meet when we're out. He likes to ignore them if he can - he'd rather they didn't come too close unless he's met them amicably several times; if a strange dog pulls towards him he'll lunge and snap to drive it away. There were a couple of tricky moments at Cropredy when he felt pressured by dogs coming close (in a very crowded pub, for example), especially if they reminded him of dogs he knows he doesn't like (collies - they stare - and very hairy dogs mainly). However at Cropredy he also displayed a behaviour we've never witnessed before. As we were walking along past dogs of various shapes and sizes which were glanced at and ignored we saw another dalmatian; the first he's seen since Beattie left us. Piglet's ears pricked up, his tail started wagging and he pulled me towards it, squeaking with excitement. When we got close he knew it wasn't Harry or Beattie, but he was still keen to be sociable. His reaction brought tears of sympathy for his obvious loneliness; perhaps we ought to get another one sooner rather than later.

It was his and Harry's 11th birthday yesterday.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Watching flowers in the rain

Some people like gladioli, some people like dahlias. I like lilies, and they've been quite successful this year. I bought a few cheap bulbs from a DIY shop, not expecting great results, so was pleasantly surprised by the size and quality of the flowers that were produced - and they're sweetly scented to boot. This white one bloomed a few weeks ago and we could enjoy the scent when we sat outdoors.

This pink one is flowering at the moment, so I've brought it indoors where it's scenting the sitting room, and not being rained on.

There's another one (of a totally different variety that has much smaller, unscented flowers) that's been living outdoors for donkey's years, and is still managing to bloom each year despite the onslaught of the horrid lily beetles (which at least have the courtesy of being bright red so you can pick them off and squish them), which has the curious habit of producing little bulbils on the stem, which produce leaves and roots while still attached to the parent plant.

These bulbils can be picked off carefully

and potted on to eventually reach flowering size. Not wanting to count chickens but with luck I'll have a lily-beetle banquet in a few years.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

She'll put a spell on you

"When shall we three meet again?" "Well, I can manage next Thursday." I think I'm being invaded by witches. Yesterday when I was locking up to go to work I found this little character on the back step trying to get in

Then in the evening when I was telling Ned about it a black cat strolled nonchalantly down the hallway and appeared in the kitchen, and was hastened out of the back door (rather faster than I imagine it had entered!) before Piglet woke up; the mess that would have caused doesn't bear thinking about! Goodness knows how long it had been in the house, but it was one familiar too far. They say black cats are lucky - that one certainly was, to have visited our house and left unscathed.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

At a bar called O'Malley's

In the past I've often tried growing a pineapple plant from the tufty leaves at the top of a bought fruit, but never succeeded. However our latest attempt seems to have been successful!

As you can see it's already slipping baby plants, which we might try snapping off and growing on when they get large enough.

I know that they used to be grown in the 'big houses' but I assumed that you'd need a hothouse if they were to fruit. But then we came across this site where a chap from Surrey has catalogued his endeavours, which has given us hope that it might, just might, eventually bear fruit.

We're not holding our breath though!