Month: January 2018

Educational Courses…

pexels-photo-762687.jpegAs part of my New Year Resolutions, I said that I wanted to learn new things. so I have enrolled in a few courses.  My 4 courses are  (1) Screenwriting, (2) Mathematic cryptarithms & symbologies, (3) Copyrighting, (4) Novel Analysis.  Yes, I know, a bit of a wildcard in there with the mathematics, but English and Maths are passions of mine, and I have always loved and been quite good at both, that is why I did a degree in English Language and Literature.

I love education and if I had my way, I would spend 8am until 5pm Monday to Friday in a classroom learning everything.  I have a good memory, and M has complimented me on my knowledge of many things, which is nice to hear as he is very clever too and is a microelectronic technician and has designed and built CAT scan machines, which, ironically enough due to his illnesses he has had a great use of in the hospitals.  I loved school and stayed on and did the extra year of O levels, then did my two years of A levels, but at the same time I also went to night school and did more O and A levels, and continued with night school every year until 1998.  Through the years I have done Psychology, Sociology, Japanese Language & Culture, Archaeology, Equality & Diversity, and many many more.

 

Vet Update…

Mazikeen has recovered from her bout of illness.  The vet gave her injections to combat the stomach problems, which turned out to be gastric irritation which had caused thickening of the gut and irritated it.  She also had injections of anti-sickness and antibiotics.  They examined her and did x-rays to make sure she did not have any foreign objects stuck in her tummy, and thankfully for all that she swallows, nothing was trapped.  I picked her up at 4pm and she was really happy to see us, although she was a little dopy due to the anaesthetic, but she soon recovered from that and was running around the house playing with Harper like nothing had happened.

The only thing the vet said to do was to feed her steamed chicken for a day or two as it was easy on the stomach and get her back into eating.  Needless to say, chicken is her favourite food, so she gulped it down every time we fed her (little but often).

Today she jumped out of bed early and has been on the go ever since.  Her only quiet moment was when she came back from the forest after a long walk and slept on the couch beside me for an hour.

Glad she is all better, but at £160 for that one trip, I would hope that she stays well.

40 Years On…

Over the last 4 years I have met up with lots of family members I never knew (my Mums birth family) or had not seen for 30+ years (cousins, uncles and aunts), today I got to meet my cousins who I have not seen for 40 years.  Only due to Facebook was this possible, I had added cousins, uncles and aunts there and my cousin Gail messaged me a few weeks ago asking if I was the little boy she remembered from all that time back.  She asked if I fancied meeting up and having a catch-up and she would bring her sister Lorraine with her.  Today was the day, and I had a lovely afternoon chatting and recalling things from when I was 8 years old, I even told them where I remembered their house was, their Dads speedboat colours and many many other things.  They were both amazed at the fact I remembered so much from all those years ago.

We talked about family, how my Dads family were estranged due to his lies, telling them we had moved (my Mum still lives in the same house and has done for 46 years) and telling my Nan not to make contact with us.  Like me, their opinion of my father is also very low.  I was saddened to find that their Dad had died in 1999, but glad to hear their Mum is still alive and living in the same house I remember from my childhood.  My Nan was their Nan’s sister, so we talked about both of them and the legendary parties their Nan had at new year.  We shared stories of our memories when we all went on holiday to Devon and Cornwall which was quite a thing as there were so many of us there, usually my family, my Nan, their Nan and Granddad, their family, my uncle and his family and another of my uncles, so we are talking 18 people, our dog Kimmy and some years more, so it was quite an event.

Lorraine had to go to the Dentist at 5, so I took Gail home and met her husband and kids, so again more connections added to my family tree.  Both girls live around the corner from where I was born and lived as a toddler, and not far from my aunts where we spent lots and lots of time from when we were kids to my late 20’s.  The coincidences were in abundance, and we think that we would have passed each other many many times, but never known it.  Gail and her husband also go to the pinewoods all the time, so it is possible that we have passed each other again, but never known it.

We have vowed to keep in touch and to meet up again in a week or so and bring our spouses with us, and when they are going to the woods to let us know and we will meet them down there and our dogs can meet too.  This seems like the first of my family that genuinely want to keep in touch, and we are planning to go and visit their mum as a surprise too.

So today’s reunion has been a good day all round and I am looking forward to the next chapter.

Vet Emergency…


As with every morning, my alarm goes off, and the bedroom lights automatically switch on (the joys of an automated home).  At this point, both dogs take this as a cue to jump all over me, but this morning only Harper did.  Mazikeen was in a ball curled up next to me.  I said hello to the pup and stoked and cuddled her, but she started making noises, nothing new, when she is tired she makes a certain moan/groan noise, but with this, there was a whimper too.  I got up and went to let them both out for the toilet, Harper was up for this but the pup did not want to go, so I carried her to the door, still making moans.  I thought it may be because she is teething, but when opening the door to the garden she decided that she did not want to move.  I carried her out and she came back in.  Not her usual behaviour.  Back in the house, I got dressed and her moans increased.  I put her on the bed and lay next to her rubbing her tummy.  I checked her teeth, and although some were pushing their way through her gums she was not reacting, so not that.  I felt her tummy and nothing obvious.  She cuddled into me and started to fall asleep.  But I knew that something was wrong, so at 8am when the Vets opened I called to get her in.  Whilst waiting for the next hour to pass she climbed on me and slept in a ball again, yes she is a Daddies girl.

In the Vets office, she was quite vocal about her discomfort.  The vet checked her out and said that it could be she had swallowed something that was lodged in her tummy as puppies tend to eat everything they get their mouths around, but I knew this was not the case as we watch her all the time.  His other thought was that one part of the cut was extruding to another and cutting off blood supply which would be painful.  He decided that she should go to their hospital and be examined under general anaesthetic and give her some x-rays to check everything out.  An hour passed and Michael the Vet called to say nothing was trapped that they could see, but it depends on what the item is made from, but he was happy to rule that out together with the other thing he thought it may be, which was good as this could be fatal.  The only thing he could find is that her stomach on one side is quite thick and he thinks that this could be the problem as it would cause gastric problems along with inflammation and pain.  So panic over, but she will be there for the rest of the afternoon to recover and have some injections to sort the problem out and make her comfortable, and they also want to get her to eat something too, and I will collect her about 5pm.

I hate seeing the dogs sick, especially the pup as she is only four and a half months old, but at least she will be okay.  Roll on 5pm so I can go and collect her.

Our Plane…


I thought I would share with you all a photograph I took of our plane. It is a sculpture of  Lockheed 10E Electra Plane that took its first transatlantic flight on 15th May 1937 from our beach to New York.  It was a record breaker and took 16 hours to cross the Atlantic.  Below is a photo of the original plane.


The building in the background “Toad Hall” is still there but has been empty for a long time now.  It was a Hotel/B&B in its early days and then a nightclub.

Training Classes…

I suggested to M that I wanted to take Mazikeen to Puppy Training classes, not that I cannot train her without them, I have trained many dogs throughout my life and had dogs all of my life, so have no problem there.  However, I wanted to train her as befitting to her breed, and that of a gundog.  However, one of the places I found that would entertain my request was very militarian, which is not my style.  A dog should be able to have fun and not be treated as a machine.

Tonight I found a place not far away that does all kinds of classes including agility.  The dogs get certificates and rosettes for completing their courses, and always leave each session with a doggy treat bag.  The courses sound fun, so I have booked Mazikeen and me on the next course starting 29th, so two weeks Monday.  Looking forward to it, and I know she will have a great time.  There will be other dogs there so she can socialise with them.  She shies away from other dogs, which is odd as she comes from a large litter, the breeder had other breeds of dogs there too as well as the parents of Mazikeen.  She is far from shy in the house with Harper and has always been fine, but the other week we took her to the beach fields and she met another Springer and managed to slip her harness, and a few days after she met what we think was her brother, and shied away again.  We think the dog was her brother as he was the same age to the day, and I doubt there would have been another breeder local that had puppies born on the same day, it is feasible, but I somehow I think my instinct that they were related is on the mark.

Roll on 29th.

Diet Update…

IMG_2654I started my diet on 2nd January, weighing in at 14 stone 8 pounds (204 lbs).  On Thursday I weighed myself and have dropped 9 pounds, so far so good.  I have had a few treats along the way, but all in all, I have kept to it.  27 lbs to go.

UK Holiday…

pexels-photo-166669.jpegI have been looking at booking a holiday cottage for M and me to go on, taking the dogs of course with us.  However, I am just not sure where to go!

So far I have been looking at Devon, Cornwall and the Cotswold.  I have been to Devon and Cornwall many times when I was a kid on family holidays, and I used to love going on the Lynton and Lynmouth Funicular Railway, and the long walk up and down the cliffs.  M has never been to that part of the UK, so I thought it may be nice for him to experience it.

Part of me thinks we should go to the Highlands of Scotland or the Brecons in South Wales as they are places I have not been to.  I have been all over North Wales, but never the South, and I have only ever been skiing in Scotland, so being up a mountain in winter with the sole purpose of skiing I never got to see any other part of the country.  Devon and Cornwall call to me as it will be a lot warmer, but then again with the British weather, one can never tell what it will be like.

I was also considering going back to Rome at the end of September, beginning of October as we both love the place, and would move there in a heartbeat if we had the chance.  But with any foreign break, we would have to leave the dogs in the kennels which is about £160 for the week, which is money that we could save by staying in the UK and taking the girls with us, and it saves them being stressed too, so a bit of a win-win if we stay here.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated…

Car Service…

First Service of my car, it seems like only yesterday when we bought the car, but a Year has passed in what seems like the blink of an eye.

The weather outside is shockingly cold and the ice like winds off the river would freeze the most hardy of people. So with that I have decided to sit in the showroom and wait for the hour or so to pass in the warmth with a cup of black decaf coffee, thankfully I have my kindle and they have WiFi here too, so all good.

One of the things I dislike about being here is that I see brand new cars and want to get a new one. That is what happened last year. I was looking at the latest X-Trail and quite honestly drooling over it as it was gorgeous. My car at the time was only two years old, in perfect condition and was a great car, but temptation took over and a few days later I drove out the showroom with a brand new X-Trail. Obviously I’d love a new one but we are going to keep this one for now, but mid to late next year we will look at getting a new one.

Sunday Limbo…

I am sure I am not the only one who thinks of Sunday as a bit of a limbo day.  I find Sundays a real pain in the arse.  The shops open their doors late, and close early, there is bugger all of the worth on the TV, and if feels like a wasted day, and by the time we get to bedtime, most of the day has been wasted from being busy doing nothing.

I like to relax on Sundays, but for some unknown reason that only the gods seem to be privy to, I never get the chance.  Today is no exception.  After waking at just after 5am as the dogs wanted to go out for toilet duties I ended up quite literally coughing my guts up, which went on for close to an hour.  After coughing, blowing my nose and retching and being close to vomiting, I eventually managed to go back to bed for a few hours sleep.  My sleep was broken yet again by the dogs, namely Mazikeen, who thought it was a good idea to lie on my head and pillow and promptly lick my face.  I endured this for a few moments, then got up and let her out in the garden for 5 minutes.  M was still in bed, so I decided to let him sleep as he had his sleep disturbed by me coughing.

I ate breakfast at my iMac whilst reading blogs and trying to keep the dogs from making too much noise as they played rough and tumble.  When M got up we had a brew and took the girls out for a walk.  That was followed by going to get the car washed.  I would do it myself, but it is a big car, and it is cold, so the high-tech automated car wash did the job for me.  The car is sprayed down and pre-jetwashed by a man, then the car goes onto the roller tracks and gets all its foam, wax, shield treatment and finally drying.  This we are used to as I use this from time to time when I do not get it valeted, but I forgot that Harper hates the jet wash and is quite aggressive towards the windows when it hits, and Mazikeen had never been in a car wash before and was totally terrified as she sat on M’s knee.  Needless to say, I will be going on my own next time.

When we got home I cleaned out the inside of the car as it badly needed it.  There was so much muck from the forest and sand from the beach that really the inside could have been considered outside.  I was not up for doing it after the bad night sleep and this cough that seems to be plaguing me, but, I had to do it as it is going for its first service on Tuesday as it is coming up to being a year old.  I do treat my car as a workhorse and the last time it was valeted was September before going to Ireland.

Next on the agenda was cleaning the house, then a big bowl of scouse.  For those who do not know, this is like a stew made from beef, potatoes, swede, carrots, onions, water, salt and pepper, it can be made with lamb too.

I had planned to sit about watching movies, sewing my sweater and generally relaxing, but that just has not happened.  Again, only the gods know why I cannot do what I plan to on a Sunday.  It is now dusk and I have not managed to do what I wanted.

On a more positive note, my diet is going okay and I have managed to lose 2 pounds this week.  Fingers crossed it keeps going that way.  It turns out that having no sugar is not that hard.  I have had decaf coffee and tea.  However, I have had some milk, a touch of skimmed in tea and semi-skimmed on my cornflakes this morning (along with chopped up banana and a drizzle of honey), but the point is, no refined sugar.  I did think that I would have lost more than just two pounds as I have cut out so much, but I am sure being early days it will keep dropping off me.  I still feel fat though!

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