Month: July 2018

Photography…

As a lot of my readers will know, I love to take photographs and have done since I was 14.  My first job was as a photographic lab technician in charge of enlargements for the company and correcting photographs that had things in them that needed to vanish, a process called spotting.  I had to spot away everything from dust marks to some, well, how do I put it, penis erasing.  Yes, you read correctly, usually, a big group shot and there would be in the photo a man with his bits out.  It was very enjoyable to do and made me laugh quite a lot, and surprised me how many men got their junk out on photos.  I would always ensure that the offending item was erased and no one could ever tell.  Now that is easy with the use of digital photography, and I have done some of my best corrections using the likes of Photoshop, especially on old photos that have fold marks and tears on them.

Anyways, I was invited to join a photography site and now have some of my work there.  But, I did not want to let you all away without seeing some of my prize images.

Postage Stamps…

Today I received postcards from Chicago, Finland, Taiwan & Japan, and I have to say I loved the postage stamps on them.  The UK postal system is crap, we do have picture stamps, but try and get them and most post offices have limited supply or, at it would seem most of the time, none at all, so we have to stick to the crappy one colour picture of the Queen.  Not that I have a problem with her majesty, but our banknotes, coins and stamps all have the same picture on them.  Don’t get me wrong, we do have picture stamps at regular intervals, but not all denominations, usually first and second class and the odd another one.  I just wish we were like other countries and had all these fancy ones all the time, it would make sending post to others via letter and postcards more of a pleasure.  Below is a card I received from Japan today, take a look at all the fab stamps on it.

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Scarecrow Season…

Living in the country does have its perks.  Each year the residents start making scarecrows for the festival we have.  So as you are driving through this part of the country there are literally hundreds of them.  Last year we had Trump ones, which were by a carrot farm funny enough.  Even the kids get involved and tie them to the school railings.  Here are some I took photos of.  There are hundreds to photograph, but I am usually driving past them and just do not have time to pull over grab my camera and shoot, also I keep forgetting to bring my camera with me.  Doh!

Polecat Rescue…

This week has been a fun one in many ways, but the best part of it, and the saddest was to find a stray polecat.  Yep, live and kicking polecat.  He was so friendly and was wandering about looking a little lost, and hiding under things looking out, presumably for a friendly face.  That friendly face became mine.  At first, I was not sure if he was totally friendly or if he would be a little bit bitey, as they are known for that.

I grabbed a box and lured him in with a small piece of banana, and before anyone says that the only eat meat, I know, but, this little morsel had him in the box in no time and munching away on it.  Next, I got him inside, put a tee shirt in the box and some water.  Quickly looking at the web to confirm he was a polecat and not a ferret and to see exactly what he would eat, I presented him with some minced beef, however, he really was not interested in it and only of the banana.  Quickly thinking I checked the ingredients of the dog biscuits I have, and they matched almost exactly that of the ingredients of dried ferret food.  He loved them.

As the animal sanctuary was not open I had to keep him overnight, so we got the old dog cage/crate and adapted it for him.  M added a Russian hat hanging from the top and some ropes if he fancied climbing, and of course a small box for a sleep station.  Filled with food, water and shreddings he settled down after eating and drinking and made himself comfortable and had a sleep.  We have two spare bedrooms, so the smaller of the two became his room.

He slept so much, and it turns out they sleep about 20 hours a day, so we left him to it.  The dogs were very suspicious of what was going on as they could smell him in the house and also on me.  He was a little bit smelly, but nothing too bad, slight urine and a musky odour that was a little woody.

The next day I took him to the RSPCA rescue centre where he was greeted by Mark, a worker there, who played with him and made a fuss, something he seemed to thrive on.  I had called him Toby for the time as he just seemed like a Toby.  I was a little sad at handing him over but crossed my fingers that he would be reunited with his owners.  Mark said that if no one comes forward he would adopt him and take him home.  So, all in all, he will be fine.  I was tempted to say I would keep him, but with the dogs about I would not want them to get frustrated with another being in the house that they could smell, but not see.  I played quite a lot with him and he was a bugger for crawling all over my shoulders and head.

Penpals Update…

And we are off.  A lady in Hamburg contacted me and wants to write, so YAY!, here we go.  She is sending the first letter which I am looking forward to receiving and starting this journey again.

I have also been chatting to an 82-year-old chap who wants to write, but can only use email as he has tremours so writing is a no-no, which is fine with me, so email it is, not exactly snail mail, but I can live with it.  I used to correspond to my 85-year-old Great Uncle via email, although we had never managed to meet. My Mum was adopted and when I finally found her family my Great Uncle found me via Ancestry.com as I had him in my tree, we emailed quite a lot, but unfortunately, he died last year after a short illness.  It was a great shame, as he had said that he would like to meet me and my Mum and due to his eyesight, I said I would drive over to visit him, saving him travelling, he agreed, but, as he was not feeling too good said that he would arrange some time soon, alas that never happened.  Although we never met we wrote to each other each week.  He was a fascinating man that I wish I had got to meet.

One of the downsides of the sites I have joined is one has to be paid for and so far, no one wants to talk to anyone.  The free one everyone wants to talk, some want husbands, romance, money and other things that are yet to be revealed.  My profiles states I am looking for snail mail pen pals but so far I feel that it is being ignored.  Oh well, I can always ignore and delete.

I have also returned to Postcrossing.  I have been a member since October 2007, but in 2011 I stopped sending as the cost to send a postcard as I had quit my job due to professional disagreements, that is to say, my boss wanted to do illegal things and I disagreed, so I walked.  I kept thinking over the years I would pick it up again and sent 2 in 2015 and did not receive a single one back which was not what the rules of Postcrossing dictate.  I have received 214 postcards in the past, so let’s see what cards I get and where they come from, and of course, I will share them here with you all.

I have checked out also some swap sites to and joined, so it looks like it may start to be a busy hobby for me.  Of course I will leave time to knit, and in all honesty, I think I need to pick up my needles again as the hat project I was doing has sat there since April, begging me to finish.

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Training End…

Tonight I would usually take Mazikeen out to training classes, I decided I did not want to go, although guilt slipped in for a moment.  Lately, in the class, I think Mazikeen is bored too as the last few weeks she has starts playing up and ignores instructions.  She is great during the day and I feel the evening class is too late for her finishing at 9:30 pm, her attention is zapped and so is mine after a day of number crunching.  M and I talked about the training as Mazikeen is not learning anything extra at the moment, we just seem to repeat the same things over and over each week.  Some of the other dogs don’t catch on and struggle, but Mazikeen is hyper-intelligent and usually only a few repeats of something and she has it.

She is 10 months now and definitely is Daddies little girl.  Oh, I am Daddy and M is Dad.  She follows me about and likes to sit in my lap, so thank the lord she is small, as when Harper decides she wants to do the same I am crushed under 22kg of fidgety dog.  If I have a treat in my hand I can get her to do anything I want, even today whilst out in the forest off lead she never strayed too far, and when I called her, knowing I may have treats she came back.  This does not work for Harper who has her own agenda whilst out, so never gets off the lead unless we are in one of the small fields by the house.

We finally came to the conclusion that the training classes were not working for us and any training we do will be done from home the way we have successfully trained all our other dogs.  This was never going to be a permanent thing, and I did like the idea of doing agility, but Mazikeen has a busy and fulfilling life without adding competitions and constant training to her schedule.  For an English Springer, she is only small, and I think all the work will take its toll on her.  Even though she was first born she was the smallest of the litter and all her brothers and sisters are massive in comparison, so I have to take that into consideration.  The vet told us the other month that her ovaries are not fully developed and that will be down to her being small, hence not having her first season yet.

I think we have made the right decision for her and any training will be a lot more fun now rather than sitting about waiting for her turn in class.

Klytus, I’m bored…

It’s not just Emperor Ming, I am too.  I have no idea why and what is going on in my head, but I just have that “cannot be arsed” feeling and nothing, nothing seems to take it away.  I think it’s boredom setting in and it’s dragging me down a little.  I can not settle into doing anything and as soon as I start something BANG! Bored again.

The heat is not helping either, and I think it is driving my boredom to the next level, hence not being able to settle.  I am part way through about 15 books and can’t get myself to finish any of them.  I picked up a hat I was knitting and put it down again.  Thought to look at some of the courses I want to do and instantly closed the screen with a sigh.  M suggested a few films to watch and I was very “whatever”.

This morning I did not want to get out of bed, not for any other reason than “the same shit, different day” theory.  I was not wrong.  Took the dogs for a walk in the forest, cooked liver and other things for them, pottered about the garden and some cleaning and watched a bit of TV.

I know I am having a moan and will forgive you all for rolling your eyes at me, but I am sure that my brain will have a soft restart and services will be back to normal.  I hope it will be like Apples OS High Sierra’s update and I wake up with a new a more dynamic get up and go.

Penpals…

I wondered the other day, how many of us had penpals when we were growing up, and how many of us had them when we were adults too?

I never had a penpal when I was a kid, living in a small village (of French origin) there was not exactly an opportunity to have one, hell, my primary school consisted of just 28 pupils, and apart from general subjects with a huge overdose of religion, yes it was connected to the church, there was nothing to inspire people to look further than their own garden gate.  No one I knew ever went on a foreign holiday, it was all quite alien.

When I was in my early 20’s I decided I wanted a pen pal, the internet did not exist, so this became a challenge.  I had no idea where to start.  By this point, I was working in the city, and on my lunch popped into WH Smiths as I knew they had international papers and odd publications you would never find elsewhere.  The New York Herald had nothing in at all but was an interesting read.  I tried several foreign publications including Le Monde, but nothing seemed to have the information I wanted.  In the end, I asked one of the staff there if they could recommend something, and to my surprise, she knew exactly the paper.  It was one called Loot, which had every conceivable advert you could think of, and I guess you would compare it to Craigs List on paper.  Adverts for cults, sex, personals, animals, you name it, it was getting sold in this paper, then close to the back, there it was, penpals.  I have no idea where they got the information, but I jumped right on it.

I ended up with quite a few people I wrote to, which suited me well as there was a great shop called Athena that sold coloured writing paper and envelopes, and there was also a few places you could get other designs of writing paper too just around the corner from work.  Some of my pals dropped off and stopped replying, so I dropped them too, but I had two that were constant writers, both from California, one Heather from Burbank and the other Rocko from San Diego.

Both came to visit me.  Rocko was a little over the top and was a party animal.  I was living about 2 miles away from the city at the time, so nightlife was easy to get to and walking home was good.  He was supposed to stay for a week, which I took off work, however, he stayed for a lot longer, which really was a strain as I was used to living on my own and in the end it really started to affect our friendship and my bank balance.  His friend was killed when he was over and that was my queue to make him go home, which was a battle.  He was not convinced that he should go, even though it was his best friend, but I persisted and eventually, he went after staying for about 6 weeks.  I heard from him once more after that, and then he vanished without a trace.

Heather, however, was a delight when she came to visit me.  It was 1998 and I had moved to a seaside town 25 miles away from the city, and she was touring again.  We had a great time, she only stayed for a few days as she was covering a lot of the UK visiting penpals and distant family.  We carried on writing for many years, then the internet came with email, so we ended up emailing each other, which was novel at the time, but I really missed getting snail mail.  Our emails slowed down over the years but still kept going, however, they soon stopped when FaceBook arrived.  To this day we are still in touch with each other through FB, but it’s not the same excitement that was felt when a letter dropped through the door.  I have FB but don’t really bother with it, as I really don’t feel the need to see every aspect of everybody’s life, warts and all, so it is there for the odd message and to keep up to date with the dog trainers.

About 10 years ago, I tried to start up writing again with penpals and had a few who then all wanted to swap to email, talk about colour me disappointed.  M started about 6 years ago to write to a few American prisoners, who were all quite charming, but then the begging letters started, asking for him to send money to them.  He did, to begin with as he knew they did not have much, but this turned out to be an error and they asked for more and more, and unfortunately, he ended up cutting ties.

I keep thinking that I would like to have penpals again, but knowing the way past ones have wanted to switch to email puts me off, and as for writing to prisoners, I would be happy to do that, but hey, I do not need someone that begs for cash in each letter.

Carpet Cleaning…

We already have a carpet cleaner which I bought about 5 years ago, and over the years it has been good, but it was a cylinder one that had a suction hose with a detergent host attached and it felt like it was not cleaning as good as I once thought.  Yesterday I had ordered a Vax RapidPower Pro Carpet Cleaner and I collected it today after taking the dogs to the fields for a runabout.

Now, this thing is a beast, and if I am totally honest is so heavy that it was a bit of an effort to use it, but my god, does it clean!  The pup yesterday decided that even though the doors were all open, and she was going in and out of the garden that she would pee in the hall, on the carpet, but not once, three times in total.  I have no idea what had gotten into her, but I know that it is pointless shouting at dogs as they don’t understand after the deed has been done, and I had not caught her in the act.  Today she decided that she would have a number two in the hall, but I caught her in time and got her out through the open, yes, open door to the garden to do what she needed to do.  Only this time I did not reward her for using the garden as she quite clearly decided that the hall was a good place.

Yesterday when she peed on the carpet I used the old cleaner, and I just was not convinced that it was clean enough and that the 1001 cleaning fluid was just masking a deeper problem.  Today, when I was going to do all my catchups I went and picked up the cleaner and set to work on the hall carpet.  There is a deep clean setting, so that was used, followed by a rinse setting, and then the drying/sucking up of any liquids.  What a job it did.  I thought, foolishly that the carpet was clean, apart from yesterdays mishaps with the pup, but boy, was I ever wrong.  The water in the dirty water tank was filthy, and I do mean filthy, to the point of shame.  The machine has lots of rotating and spinning brushes that buff up the carpet pile too and edge brushes that do exactly that, the edge.  What a difference it makes having a decent machine.

I have now decided that I will do the lounge carpet next to freshen it up.  The carpet is only 2 years old and it was Scotch-Guarded, so I know it is still very clean as the guard stops stains and markings from time, but I am so interested to see how it goes.  It is a light colour so and it still looks brand new, even with three different dogs lounging about it over the years, so, more on this when I get round to doing it.

Catch up Sunday…

Sundays have always been a bit of a catchup day for me, but lately, I have not got round to catching up with anything, especially blogs and emails.  I have over 2000 emails to go through and I am sure thousands of posts that you lot have been writing over the last few months.

So, today, I am getting out my virtual time machine and going back and reading what has been produced in the past and trying in earnest to read it all, well, the blogs at least, most of the emails I see I tend to hit the delete key and move on to something important, or something that is relevant to me, rather than all the sale (except yarn) emails, and other crap, especially from Amazon, who think that I need products relating to things I have looked at, but tell me, how is a ladies training shoe any connection of a hive light bulb, or a paddling pool to knitting needles?

So, here I am, in the garden, listening to the birds and I think a neighbour eating breakfast in the background, coffee in hand, MacBook on the table, let the reading begin, and distractions abate, after a bacon sandwich that is, oh, and another coffee, then I will begin, honest…

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