Two years ago at 18:43 our beautiful girl Lilu crosses the doggie rainbow. We still miss her greatly as though it was yesterday. She will remain in our hearts forever.
adam southward, aquarium, Birthday, Books, brian l porter, car, delamere forest, delsi williams-dyke, Dogs, Education, fish, General, gwenda bond, james rebanks, jeannie wycherley, john william polidori., lily savage, moon, outings, party, reading, sasha, still standing, stranger things, suspicious minds, the massacre of mankind, the vampyre, trance, war of the worlds, Weather
I keep meaning to do a post, and then something comes up, and later I realise that I didn’t do my post, and think I will do it now, but manage somehow to get myself sidetracked and BOOM! Forgot to post again. I do not know what is going on with me. So, forgive me for my tardiness!
Since last we “spoke” as it were, I finally got rid of my large tank in the lounge. Part of me was glad to get rid of it, and part of me was sad to see it go. The fish love their new smaller home and my Cameroon shrimp seems happy too. Although it was a great tank it took up quite a lot of room, being so massive. We have a unit that we moved into one of the halls when we got the tank, so that is now back in the lounge. My thoughts for getting rid of the tank was to move the smaller tank onto the said unit and get another small tank and finally do a nano reef tank. However, the cost of doing a reef tank is high. I have found a nano tank I like which is £150, but then I need a skimmer and a heater so that’s another £90. Add sand, live rock and all the other bits I need to get it started and I am close to £500 without even adding fish or coral. So, before I take the plunge I have downloaded and printed a book on the subject and intend to read it in full before I decided on what to do. Having spoken to a few people the jury really is out. Some say it is easier than tropical, some say get a large tank as a nano can have problems being small, and others rave on about nano tanks, so there is no real help chatting to others LOL.
I bought an external 12-litre canister filter for my other large tank which works like a treat, but today I added on an extra 2-litre filter canister to that. In essence, water is drawn out of the tank to the small sub canister then passed into the large canister and finally put back into the other end of the tank. I did manage to make a bit of a watery mess as I had not fastened one of the inlet pipes properly oops! I had lost a few fish over the last few weeks, so thought the canister filter would help sort the water quality out. It has UV inside so sterilises the water as it filters. The lighting I have on the tank also decided to die, only 6 weeks after it being exchanged after the first one died after 4 months. Thankfully the aquatic centre where I get most of my equipment and livestock were very understanding and spoke to Fluval who admitted there was a problem that they have now sorted out and to exchange it for me.
It was Harpers 5th Birthday on Sunday. As always we took them to McDonald’s for hamburgers, then to the pet store so Harper could pick a toy, which this year was a rather large monkey, and two packs of balls. Needless to say, they both had a great time.
Thought about it, even mentally made a pattern for a hat for winter, but that was it, but it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?
I was reading The Massacre of Mankind which is a sequel to War of the Worlds and in the end, I gave up as it was so slow and the author was trying to write in the style of H. G. Wells but failed page after page. As most of my readers will know I love classical literature, so have no problem with ancient writing and old English, but this bad, if he had written it in current English it would have been a good read.
I went to a joint Christening and Communion party a few weeks ago, got very drunk and had a ball.
Last week we went to Delamere Forest again, which for some reason driving there we managed to take all the wrong turns. I came off the motorway/highway onto the expressway in order to go over the Mersey Gateway Bridge, which when you get to the end of the expressway is straight over the roundabout, however, when you follow this, you end up in an industrial estate and nowhere near the bridge. It would seem the directions for the bridge do not exist, and when you get to the end of said expressway you turn left and ignore the signs. But as I managed to turn the wrong was we ended up back on the motorway heading in the direction of home. Time though was on our hands. My satnav said we would get there at 11:15 when we left home and although I managed to go on a long diversion of 20 minutes we got there at 11:22 thus proving that time travel can be achieved.
The degree is now on hold. I was so undecided about doing it that I thought it best to put the thought to one side until I was 100% committed to doing it.
After returning from Ireland I had tests and a cardiac assessment done. My blood results came back reporting a lack of vitamin D, which is about right living so far north and the general lack of sun. But I also did not have enough of the good cholesterol either, but this could be due to coeliacs disease. The doctors’ office suggestion was to take vitamin D tablets and eat more oily fish etc. Luckily I found a company that sells vitamins on Amazon and they do a vitamin D that is 4000iu, and when you buy a product they thank you by letting you pick another one for free. I decided on Hemp oil tablets as they are for omega 3 and 6, so that’s the bloods sorted.
The scarecrow festival came and went, and I managed to take exactly zero photos of it. I mean, what is the point of having a great camera, living in the country, and having festivals if I do not record it? Answers on a postcard, please!
We bought new garden furniture, namely a table, chairs and a parasol, just in time for the monsoon season to hit us. Yes, my luck/timing really is in at the moment.
I have managed to have a few barbeques lately, between showers that is.
I finally took the leap into meditation after dipping my toes off and on into it over the last few weeks. I have joined Headspace for a year, and am finding it quite good and just have to add it into my daily routine.
In other news, I had a puncture in one of the rear tyres on the car.
So, how are you all?
It’s fathers day, and we are aboard the good ship Mersey sailing to Ireland to see M’s parents. The dogs are with us and are in the onboard kennels. They are not too happy, to be honest, but it is better there than left in the car or left at the boarding kennels back home. I have had my breakfast finally along with a gallon of black coffee, so I am happy. M is in quite an excitable mood, but I think it is because he is going “home” and with that, it’s like watching a kid in a sweet/candy shop with everything for free.
We arrived at the port at 7:30am, and finally boarded at 9:30am. The ship is rolling from side to side so I guess we are off. We have a 4 birth cabin on the main deck which is good for M, no stairs to use, also the dog kennels are on this deck too, so we will be in and out for the next 8 hours checking up on them and walking them on the outer deck where they can go.
Unfortunately, Mazikeen seems to be suffering from disagreeing of one of the treats from last night, so I have had to clear up a few times after her on deck, but, it’s all part of having dogs.
I went a little mad and bought myself some new cologne in the duty-free shop. The lady there was spraying all kinds of fragrances for me to try, but most of them were too sweet smelling. I like dark and moody aromas to my aftershaves, finally, we found one called Spicebomb by Viktor & Rolf. It has notes of cinnamon which is a good start, £20 cheaper than in the shops, bargain.
We have about one and a half hours of sailing left until we dock and I think I have exceeded my calories for a week so far. Apart from a fried breakfast with toast, at lunch, I had fish and chips with mushy peas and tartar sauce and a pint of Pepsi, three black coffees between meals and one white tea after, and now I am sitting in our cabin with a large pot of Jelly Bean Factory beans. I have two bars of liquor chocolate, one Irish gin the other Irish coffee.
Needless to say, I am shattered and the humming of the ship is causing me to want to have another nap. Yes, another one. I had a power nap before and felt worse for it. I don’t know if it is the dryness of the air circulating the ship or I am coming down with a cold, but my throat feels raw, I hope it is the former or my friend Eileen has a lot to answer for LOL.
I cannot complain about the journey. The restaurant food is all good, there is a bar if one wants alcohol, and a cafe for snacks and soft drinks is excellent. A little expensive though. But, we do have satellite internet, it is slow, almost like having dial-up again, but at least we have it. There is a free cinema too showing three different films. Also, we have our car with us, so that’s a bonus.
M and I had our DNA mapped a good few years ago with 23andMe and loved the experience of finding out lots of things about ourselves from traits to health and of course ancestry. But I always thought it would be fun to have the dogs DNA mapped, and see what they are made of, health, allergies and reaction to drugs etc. I always thought it would be a bit of a pipe dream and that no one would do such things. We did have Lilu’s DNA done, but that was in case she was stolen, and having the DNA map meant that we would be able to get her back if she was stolen and her chip changed.
Today, I received an email from our insurers about having DNA mapping for dogs, and that got me thinking again about it all. I found kits on the usual sites, but nothing too exciting. Then I came across Wisdom Panel who are part of the Mars group and do full DNA mapping for dogs. After a good read of the site, I think I will take the plunge and get them done. £75 each and you get full ancestry, breed and health reports with drug sensitivity that you can share with the vets. One of the things I noted that when you buy a kit you get a code that you can share with family and friends to give a discount to them, but when buying 2 kits no discount is given so I will have to buy a kit, then order another one and use the code unless I can find a code on the internet. I have found ones that work with the .com site, but nothing for the British site, which is about right here, most companies are tight-fisted in the UK.
Once I have had the DNA done I will share the results with you all. If it is anything like the experience when we had our own DNA done it will be both exciting and interesting.
It is just after midnight Tuesday, so, technically, its now Wednesday. Yesterday (Monday) was a busy one. Up early as the girls insisted I began my list of “Things to do whilst M is away”. Apart from several walks for the dogs I never stopped. First was a deep clean of the kitchen. I knew it needed doing but as our kitchen is so busy as can be seen in the photo (I like busy, but please note, the walls are a light green, not yellow, the photo was taken whilst the sun was out) you tend to miss things. But with all deep cleaning in a kitchen, all the appliances need to be done, the dishwasher and washing machine are easy, add the product and they do it themselves. Apart from the detergent draw in the washing machine, which never gets used as the liquid goes in the drum, so I had to do that by hand, and it was disgusting I am ashamed to say. The cooker I removed all the parts and cleaned each one, and stripped the ovens (two) of everything and cleaned them thoroughly, and having a “Stoves” cooker all the doors have removable glass, so easier to clean. Every object on shelves and units were removed and cleaned and put back, then the rest of the room was dusted within an inch of its life.
Next, was to shampoo all the carpets. Luckily I had bought a new carpet cleaner, which is excellent, and one by one each room was done. The living room carpet, the newest of them had that new carpet smell again, which is quite the sensory drug.
Bathroom next, which was not all that hard as we tend to clean the shower after each use, and always swill the basin out, and the toilet is always clean, so it is an easy room to do. The biggest thing was polishing the giant mirror, but even that wasn’t hard as again I tend to keep polishing it, as I hate mucky mirrors.
Next job was to tackle the ivy growing around the house, mainly cutting it back from the windows, and trimming around the security lights so no shadows were cast. As I was in the garden I planted new flowers for the baskets, the summer ones looked worse for wear and being summer plants and flowers do not do well in autumn, now we have cyclamen in them, and I will be doing some troughs to go outside the front gate when more come into season.
Final job of the day was to install a new electrical socket in the hall by the front door so the repeater can connect to the garden gate camera. I have fitted so many sockets and changed so many from two to three ports over the years I thought I would have finished with this, but no, there is always somewhere else we need another.
Today, Tuesday, Mazikeen had a vet appointment, she goes every month to get weighed and get her worming tablets and a check over. She is just over a year old and has never had a season, but the nurse said today that she was a little swelled up in various areas, so it looks like she will finally have her first, that is if this is not a phantom season, which can happen. After that and a long walk with the dogs, I painted the master bedroom, only the first coat, but it was a start. I was doing the edging and discovered the brushes I had were shit, that’s really the only way I can put it. Off to the DIY centre to get a good sharp one, and whilst I was there, some magnetic catches for the cupboards and a new electrical socket with USB ports. Apart from putting up some frames and making myself a curry from scratch, I decided I had had enough, and my lower back, right-hand side, was spasming, which told me to stop.
Tomorrow, Wednesday (which is now today as it is 00:38) I will be finishing off the painting, then starting my knitting again, which is The Great American Aran Afghan. I had started it the other day, but it is in American English, which is an oxymoron in itself, translating it into correct English is a bit of a bind, to say the least. For example, it states three ridges, which means knit six rows, so, why not just say knit six rows. If you were next to me when I sussed out what this meant, you would have heard my eyes rolling never mind seen them with the added slow shake of my head. I do hate that in English there is so bastardised, and do not get me started on spelling. Anyway, I digress slightly. I had started it, but due to this quirk in language the pattern reads wrong, and with wrong the WS rows are not mentioned, so you have to work that one out yourself, which my test showed that you have to to the WS as a reverse of the RS.
That’s the plan anyway, but as with the best-laid plans of mice and men, one can never be sure if it will change.
If you were wondering, yes, it is raining again, battering against the windows in fact.
There is a field we take the dogs to so they can have a run about without the distraction of other dogs (usually), and Mazikeen can get all that pent up energy out by constantly running the whole time. But the Hades had me in his sight. We had done one circuit of the fields with several to go along with ball playing, but then the ambush!
A woman that goes there around lunchtime appeared through the bushes waving like we are long lost friends, and just to confirm, this was 9am. Thankfully she was far enough away not to see my eyes rolling. There was nowhere to run, and small talk joined this ever-increasing throng.
Her mutt was off his lead. Mazikeen was off hers until I saw her, and being a responsible dog owner, put her on hers. I hate when dogs come bounding over to my dogs with the immortal words from the inconsiderate owner “he only wants to play” or “it’s okay he is friendly”. Quite frankly, I could not give a rats arse if he had a Nobel Peace Prize, keep your dogs away until I decide that I want my dogs to play with your rabid animal. My dogs look to me for protection and that is what I will always do and stand between the oncoming hound and them. Harper dropped her football and walked behind me as he bounded over. He went to take her ball, to which my raised voice “No!” stopped him in his tracks. He then decided to take a leap at Mazikeen, but she is super fast, and leapt backwards, again behind me and gave him a sharp bark, her version of “No!” My dogs know that safety is behind me, they have been trained well. Unlike this woman’s dog, which she freely admits bites her to get his own way, and has bitten her husband many times too. The dog is not bad, it just has little or no training and does not know what boundaries are. She had asked my advice one time as my dogs sat next to me waiting for a release command. I explained that she needs to be the Alpha in the pack reward training needs to be done, but she came out with an excuse of “but he won’t listen to me”. At this point I gave up, why impart wisdom to the deaf?
Now, this bloody woman admitted that her dog does not get on with other dogs “when he is on his lead”, which means he does not like other dogs, full stop. Last time her dog made a snarling face at Harper. Now, Harper can hold her own, she is 22kg of solid muscle, but, with it, she is also a softy. I moved her back away from him, as I could just imagine the problems if her dog did snap at one of mine due to its untrained temperament, my actions would be quick and harsh to it, nevermind Harper defending herself too.
I decided enough was enough, and after giving her my death stare started to move away with one eye on her teeth bearing dog. Her parting words were, “I’ll let you go as you seem to have your hand full”. I was close to saying, “yes, I have, keeping my dogs safe from your rabid mutt that should be on a lead and muzzled”, but decided to hold my tongue, knowing that this was her replacement for her son who had died about two years ago. I can be cruel, heartless and downright callous, but I thought better of it, this time at least.
I woke up this morning in a complete panic, my heart was beating so fast I could hear it. I sat up and quickly reached for the dogs, who were happily sleeping on the bed.
I had just woke from what I considered a nightmare, this is what happened.
M and I decided to go to London, but rather than take our car we decided to go by bus. This proves how illogical dreams are as we take our car everywhere, all over the UK and Ireland, and when I have had to go to London alone, I have always taken the train, as usual, I was only there for an hour or two at most. So, in this dream, we were on an old bus and sat in a double seat facing forward, and the dogs were lying behind on the floor at seats that face the middle but were looking at us every time I turned around. After some time we decided this was where we needed to get off, grabbed our stuff and alighted the bus.
The bus pulled away and the stark realisation that the dogs were still on the bus hit me. I quickly gave M my stuff and started running after the bus, M followed quickly behind as it seemed in the dream he was not disabled and I could run without any asthma effects, (I do love this side of dreams). However, the bus was too fast and I was not Superman, so could not keep up. I decided that a cab would be the best bet, and get them to follow it, but for once, there was none, which is not like London, which is awash with them. I kept running in the hope of getting to the bus but then realised that I was not running on the road and was on a pathway that seemed far from the natural road. I stopped and told M we had to get back to the road.
I knew that the dogs would realise we were gone and as soon as the doors on the bus opened they would run off looking for us, Harper is road aware so should not venture in harm’s way, but Mazikeen however, is only 7 months old and has no road sense at all, and I knew that they may not stick together and would be lost forever and even killed in the roads trying to find us.
We turned around to get back to the road and I started to run, then, thankfully woke up.
Although it was a dream, and everything was wrong with it, my sleeping mind could not pick fault with it and kept going along with this ludicrous jaunt. I have had really odd dreams in the past, and have realised that what was going on was wrong and concluded I must be dreaming and promptly woke, however, this time the dream kept me going on this wild goose chase, or should that be wild dog chase?
After finally calming down and settling back into my slumber my phone rang. I jumped up with a fright, the second time through the night, grabbed my phone to see a call from Tonga, at the same time M received a call from the same number. The call lasted one second, but enough to make me wide awake. These calls are scam calls, I knew as I had read online about them, so quickly blocked the number, and changed my settings to only let my phone ring if their number was in my contacts. By this time it was 5:15, so I resigned that I had no chance of sleep now. Fingers crossed for a better night tonight.
Sitting at my desk, the lighting is low, not by my doing. The weather, although we were promised temperatures higher than Spain, has not stopped raining, so much so the roads were flooded in many places.
Well, I ought to leave but the rain it never stops, and I’ve no particular place to go.
Earlier I needed to go out and get the dogs a 15kg bag of dried food that I give them with the cooked stuff I make them. I also wanted to go to my favourite northern supermarket Booths. Now, from where we live to the supermarket is a 20 miles round trip, There is another Booths, but that is a 30-mile round trip, so all in all, it is quite a distance. Not that I mine, when getting my unpasteurised milk, I have to drive 26 miles, but I am a bit of what we call in the UK, a petrol head.
My plans for the morning was to go to the dump/tip and get rid of some of the accumulated crap from the garden, and the old gas barbeque. Take the dogs for a walk, then off to Booths and the pet warehouse. Build the new barbeque, and give it a test run, because this is the law in the barbeque world, also on Thursday I could smell someone barbequing so that really got my juices flowing. The other plans were to plant some more clematis and other climbers. Of course, then to sit in the garden and enjoy this. But this was not to be. When letting the dogs out this morning at 7am I thought it was quite mild, I did not have a stitch on I do admit, but then, my garden is totally private and not overlooked, and I did have some hope for the day, however, as I pottered out there I could feel the spits of rain and knew that it was all about to change.
I decided to treat myself to a leather tape measure. I have to admit, it is beautifully made, and the smell of leather is divine. I had seen it on the wrist of a fellow knitter on Instagram and decided I just had to have one. Along with the soggy post it was in the mail this morning, wrapped and sealed from China. How many times have we all been there looking for a measuring tape, well now I have one to hand, pardon the pun.
So with the rain still battering the windows, I think I will watch a film and do some knitting, and of course, keep dry.
Fingers crossed for a dry day tomorrow.
I was talking to the trainer last week regarding the food that I make for the dogs, including the biscuits, and she said that she used to do that but after a few weeks gave it up as she didn’t have time to do it. This I found odd. I prep the veg, usually carrots, sweet potatoes, cabbage, green beans and broccoli and shove it all into the electric pressure cooker, and press steam. That’s it! Not hard or time-consuming at all, it takes all of 5 minutes to prep and the cooker does the rest in 5 minutes. The only thing that takes more time is cooking the meats. I usually make them lambs liver, kidney and hearts, turkey, chicken, pork, but even that does not take much time. I usually just put some olive oil in a large pan, and lightly fry the liver and kidney for about 10 minutes. The liver I cook as it comes, which is usually slices, which breaks up in the pan, but the kidneys are whole, so I slice them before cooking. So about 10 minutes whilst the veg is cooking and cooking. The whole lot get decanted into dishes and popped into the fridge. I timed it today and it took less than 30 minutes, and that is done every two or three days. I also do rice in the pressure cooker all of 3 minutes and that too goes into a container in the fridge. In a week I would spend about an hour to an hour and a half each week to cook everything for them, which in my mind is not that long at all.
The biscuits obviously take longer but when it is raining like today, there is nowhere to go, and so I may as well make a batch for them and put them in an airtight container.
Last week I decided to do the kidneys in their own doggie gravy and added some garlic granules, this went down very well.
One thing I have to keep in mind is that balance is the main thing.
I also give the dogs boiled eggs and add pure salmon oil to their meals, and of course, they get dog vitamins. All in all, I think they have a healthy intake of food, and I enjoy making them lovely foods.
Here the biscuits that I said I would be making in a previous post. Needless to say, the dogs love them. So, if you want to make your dogs some, here is the recipe I used.
Add all the dried ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. Make a well in the middle and add the egg, oil and stock and mix to form a dough.
Need for a minute or two until it is the texture of pastry, and roll out until it is about half an inch (13mm or about 1.5cm).
Grab your cookie cutter and get to work cutting, placing each of the shapes onto a floured baking tray.
Pop them into the oven for about 30 minutes at fan 130, conventional 150c/300f or gas 2. Let them cook and then treat your best friends to some delicious biscuits.
You do not have to use chicken stock, you could use beef, pork or lamb. I would avoid vegetable stock though as it would be a little bland for them.
The next ones I make I will be adding parmesan to the dried mix, and maybe a teaspoon of garlic granules.
As well as making the dogs their biscuits, I also made them lambs liver and made a doggy gravy, however, I cheated with the gravy as I can buy dog gravy granules, so after frying the liver, I removed it and chopped it all up into chunks, added about 350ml water to the pan, stirred it to get all the meaty bits stock to the bottom of the pan then added the granules, then put the liver back in to the pan to get a thorough dowsing of the gravy, then decanted it all into a dish and popped it onto the fridge to cool down. I served this with carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, peas, and a hand full of cooked rice as I still had some in the fridge. Again everything was eaten in record time, so they obviously loved it.
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