What I did on my holidays..

Don’t get me wrong, we have had holiday disasters before.  There was the three days in Bruges when we arrived in the freezing rain at dusk to find the B and B shut and locked.  There was the weekend in Amsterdam, where on our arrival we found the hotel had given our room away and had no more beds. And then there was the long weekend in Rome when I came down with a horrible flu/cold on the journey there.

But this latest adventure really takes the biscuit.

I had sooo been looking forward to this holiday – a whole week away in a cottage down on the Dorset coast. Instead of rushing around trying to see everything in a weekend, we would have time to sit back and smell the roses/daffodils (it’s spring here, no roses yet). Plenty of time to visit museums, gentle fossicking for fossils  on the beaches, drives in the countryside to see beautiful scenery.

We really should have stayed home and just dreamed about it, it would have saved a lot of grief..

It started on the trip down – with the brakes failing on the car, by the time we pulled into the services there was smoke pouring from the back tire and we had absolutely no idea why.  The brakes had been sorted recently and although the tire was burning hot, it was still in one piece.  Parked with the hood up we attracted the attention of various helpful, kind people and were about to limp our way to a garage in Chepstow when a man came up and informed us that he’d had experience of this sort of thing before and that we would find that after the car had a rest that it would be fine.  And guess what?  He was right.  We started on our journey again – the brakes worked and the smoke stopped and we made it to our destination with no further trouble.

Till we got there..

We were stood talking to the lovely lady who had showed us around our cottage, the dogs were in the car – all excited and leaping about, it was time to unpack and show them their accommodation for the week – except wait – we can’t, in their excitement the dogs had trodden on the door lock and locked themselves and the keys in the car… excellent.

We had to smash the window to get in and get them out..

But wait folks, there’s more..

We then preceded to have three lovely days, fossil hunting, admiring the scenery, strolling the streets of Lyme Regis and Bridport and drinking the odd pint of lovely local beer. And then it was Tuesday.

Mr T dropped me off in Bridport and he and the dogs went to the beach for a amble.  We had arranged to meet at a certain time and we would have a lovely lunch in town before maybe, another spot of fossiling.  So I was surprised to find him leaning out of the car and yelling for me, half and hour earlier than had been arranged.

 

Charlie, our beautiful Pomeranian boy was in Bridport vets in an oxygen tent, with a broken leg.  Instead of following Mr T and Toastie down to the beach he had wandered unnoticed up the cliff path and fallen about four metres, probably hitting himself on the rocks on the way down, and ramming sand into his eyes when he hit the ground.

His leg was so badly broken that the Bridport vets said they couldn’t do any thing for it and his x-rays were sent through to our vets in Hay-on-Wye who have a visiting orthopedic vet who said he would try to fix it.

So..

Home we went, Charlie splinted and bandaged and carefully held on my lap.  He had his operation on Friday and it is going to take around three months to recover.  He has drops for his eye that was badly scratched, antibiotics, painkillers and a crate which he is supposed to be confined to, none of which he is inclined to enjoy but the worst part is that he is not allowed any exercise apart from very brief forays (5 mins) outside to toilet.  Have you ever tried to keep a Pomeranian quiet and calm?  Let alone, poo on demand during his five minutes outside?  It is a trial believe me.

We had no pet insurance so having started the holiday with a small amount of savings, we are now so deeply in debt to the vets that we will still be paying for it in nine months time.

All the holidays that I mentioned in my first paragraph turned out well and made good stories,  but I’m afraid I am struggling to  see the light in this one.  If I can’t keep Charlie from knocking his leg about there is the chance that it will not heal properly and he will have to have it amputated.

I am grateful that Charlie is alive and that we had a few days at least of enjoyment but still..

No more holidays for a while.

IMG_0401

 

 

Now – where are my dried frog pills?  Ahh, that’s better…

So, where was I?  Doesn’t matter – I’m not there now..

Last time I looked I wasn’t Atlas, I do not have to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders and every now and then, like today and Sunday, I remember and my world becomes a lighter place.

What am I up too?  Well, it’s the middle of winter here in little, old N.Z. and mostly I seem to spend a lot of time putting wood on the fire to keep warm.  And dressing in lots of layers, and walking the dogs in the rain and drying wet dogs and wet washing and – well you get the picture.

I do like the winter though, especially when we get truly wild weather like we had yesterday, southerlies rolling in, lots of dramatic, freezing wind and rain.  Giving me a chance to wear some of my sixty million shawls and hats and socks and boots.

I have been making stuff as usual, like this blanket, which handily warms my knees as I hook it.

P1040654

The latest shawl, fresh of the hook and waiting to be blocked.  It’s called The Sunday Shawl from a pattern on Ravelry and I am pleased with it except I could have been more careful about the main colour – dark blue is a blond dog fur magnet.

P1040662

I am also doing some stitching, using my natural dyed fabrics.  My brain has not been working well recently and although I wanted to stitch something really complicated it turned out that energy and concentration levels as well as the ability to MAKE A DECISION FFS, were not playing together nicely.  So I’m keeping the design simple but interesting (to me anyway).  I will show you it again when it’s finished.

P1040655I

I have company during my day of course, there is this dog..

P1040659

and this dog..

 

P1040346

and both of them are giving me the ‘it’s time to take us for a walk’ signals, so I’m off.  See you soon hopefully 🙂

 

a break in the weather..

All day we have been having Weather. Polar southerlies blowing in cold and wet.

In the break between the wet bits I managed to get myself out of the house to walk my friends and have a bit of bracing air. Round the block, an eye out for nasty dogs that slam themselves frothing against their garden walls promising to devour us if they could only leap a bit higher and an eye out for storm clouds. Home without being eaten or rained on and back into the blessed warmth.

Our new house is proving to be a haven, with a damn good fire that heats our huge lounge (still haven’t got over the novelty) and kitchen happily. I am sitting in front of it now, in full gratitude mode.

Over the last month or so I have been suffering some internal foul weather as well which has been driving me to distraction, anger, and despair..but today, like a southerly storm, I have experienced a lull, much needed, and some calm. This afternoon with our walk over we settled in front of the fire, me with old episodes of friends, tea and crochet, the dogs to steal each others chew bones, race about with sqeezy toys and finally collapse to twitch and dream.

P1030496

We adopted the newest addition to our family on the same weekend we moved in here. His name is Charlie and he is a four year old Pomeranian. He used to live just down the road from our old house but his owners had a baby and worked full time and as a consequence Charlie was spending most of the week locked in his crate. So his owners decided that life would be easier if Charlie was rehomed and I said yes as soon as I was asked, oh yes we would have Charlie and what a great idea that turned out to be.

P1030456

P1030477

slightly bleeding squashiness..

Hey there..

I love red grapes don’t you?  Nom, nom..

Lovely to munch on after dinner if you feel like pud and have none in the house and are too damned lazy to do anything more energetic than swipe the grape bowl of the counter and squash back up on the sofa again with the dog.  Soooo..

How are you all out there then?  Hope you are all well and goodly.

Probably due to hypothyroidism I have been wrestling with the black slug again but think I am coming out victorious.  This time I had the help of a small dog in fighting the good fight.  She keeps me company, makes me walk the countryside with her and generally cheers me with her sheer cuteness and mild bonkersness i.e. the Assault of the Cherry where after throwing a cherry around and batting it back and forward with paws she then proceeded to snarl and growl at it when it had the temerity to menace her as it sat on the floor in its slightly smeared, slightly bleeding squashiness.

The Hay Book Festival and the How the Light Gets In Festival of Philosophy and Music have both been and gone in the same crowded ten days.  Both seem to have done extremely well and I have heard that tickets for the book fest well exceeded last year.  We have a population of around 1500 here in Hay and they sold about 220,000 tickets for the book festival alone – needless to say our town was just a tad rammed.  The poor buggers who were camping (and there were a lot of them) had to put up with rain and cold the first weekend and by the Tuesday when I went to do my shift at the charity shop we had sold out of all blankets and coats and people were still coming in and asking for them.  It amazes me that some do not understand that summer weather in this country may be a little uncertain.

T and I had the great good fortune to see film director John Waters speak on the first Saturday night – he was very, very, very good.  Interesting, funny and wise.  One of the bonuses of the evening was that he was interviewed by his friend Helena Kennedy who is also a pretty damn wonderful woman, you can read about her here.  I admire both of them immensely for their outspoken stance against prejudice and injustice.

My other visit to the festival grounds was to see the marvellous and incredibly prolific Alexander McCall Smith, he of the No1 Ladies Detective fame.  Once again a visit and battle with the crowds worth making. Interviewed by Ann Robinson ‘Sandy” as she called him proved fully capable of taking a simple question and turning it into a circuitous and engrossing tale – great fun with an infectious laugh.

There was a wonderful energy to the town while the festivals were on but I have to say that it is lovely now everything is back to normal.

I’m off now – don’t want to rabbit on too much now i’m back in the blogging mood again, I’ll just leave you with this..

Like her new i.d. tag?

And Then it Gets Exciting Again…

Finally, finally, FINALLY – I have my ticket!!!!  The money came together yesterday and I held my breath till we got confirmation that the price hadn’t risen… So, that’s it then, we are off on the 31st of May, and I am still having trouble getting my head around it.  I had thought when we returned to NZ this time that we would not be back in the UK for a very long time – and had resigned myself quite happily to it – but here we are, off on a big adventure again, so very COOL!!

Have spent the afternoon making felt and knitted necklaces and listening to TED talks.  Absolutely wonderful, I am so lucky being able to listen to these amazing speakers. The first video was of Dan Buettner speaking about how to live to be 100+, the second – Rober Sapolsky on the uniqueness of humans and then Hans Rosling’s new insights on poverty.  I particularly enjoyed the latter two.

I am getting stuck in to the craft making because I am joining with others from my craft group in having a sale table at the Greytown Festival over the weekend.  Also on Friday this week we are heading down to Greytown take part in the Guerilla knitting project.  We have been assigned the school bell to decorate, should be fun.

I am signing off now to continue with my crocheted button necklace, and enjoy the thunderstorm which has broken the intensely muggy heat of this afternoon.   The dog is not happy – she does not like loud weather and is frightened of heavy rain, wind and hail sends her shaking and crunched up into a corner.  Some soothing is required.

“I’d rather be a rising ape than a fallen angel”

Terry Pratchett is responsible for my heading today, he has been interviewed for the Guardian Book Club, you can read a report of it here. There is also a video of part of the conference and I was so pleased to see that the illness he suffers from has not got him down yet.

I am thoroughly enjoying Unseen Academicals, I try to read it when I am not tired as it is quite complex in some ways.  I know that he has another book on the go – with one of my favourite characters, Tiffany Aching in it. Yahoo!

We have spent part of our Saturday visiting friends and chopping down their trees (they did ask us to).   Or Tude did the chopping and I just sat around looking pretty 😉  Our last trip of the day we visited Yvonne and her lovely brood of animals, which include amputee Titan, the dog who I reported on in my last post.  He greeted us happily but is not quite his old self yet of course.  I forgot the camera, so maybe next time I will get a photo of his beautiful mug.

The weather is shaping up well for the Summer Solstice and I have my eye on a bottle of Nelson Boysencider which I spotted in the supermarket today and will make an interesting change to take along to the party.

It is going to be a quiet weekend, although I have been promised home made popcorn later tonight along with the unbelievable United States of Tara.

Cheers

Curry, Dogs and Amputation..

More hot, blustery weather, which is keeping me out of the garden and in my work room making Solstice/Christmas presents – tiny Buzzy Bee broochs and small tile pictures. Everything is on a go slow today however, as I drunk a little to much white wine last night and I am feeling the effect.

We had three of our good friends for dinner last night and Tude cooked up a storm with Cauliflower and Pea curry and a Fish curry. My responsibility’s were the Coconut Rotis and the Eton Mess for afters.  Everything went down well and the huge bowl of Mess, which I had thought I had made way to much of, was decimated. I had two bowls myself and deservedly felt sick afterwards.

I could quite happily eat curry all the time. Except maybe not for breakfast.  My favourite curry, when we were in the U.K., was a vege one –   Spinach Paneer, love the texture of paneer.  Tude’s curry’s are very good but they just aint the same as the U.K. ones.  I think it must be impossible to make them the same, and maybe that’s a good thing, maybe we don’t really want to know what’s in them – something  weirdly addictive anyway.

My friend Yvonne was meant to come to dinner as well but was busy having her dogs leg cut off — fair enough.  The dogs name is Titan and I think he is the ugliest/cutest dog in the world and probably the happiest and friendliest dog as well.  He had an accident some time ago and had had to have a piece of metal put in his leg. Unfortunately Yvonne found out the other day that the metal has slipped and his leg is badly infected, he also had a small tumour in it.  He has been in great pain for a long time – but never showed it. Every time I have been to her place he has been just the most wonderful, madly lovely, loving dog.  I will try to get a photo of him to show you – he is apparently recovering well after his op.

I am hoping that we will be able to go to the Organic River Festival at the end of January. Had a good time at the last one, even if it did rain a lot. Will have to see how the funds are going. I am also hoping that we might be able to go camping when we get back from my Mums. Maybe spend a week either out at Mt Holdsworth or at the Pinnacles.

Tiny vintage comic pictures
Buzzy Bee broochs

Smoked Fish and Wet Felt…

Hot and blowy today. We have been out walking the hound, visiting the charity shop (me), and drinking coffee at our favourite Cafe Bambino where we snaggled the leather sofas and immersed ourselves in the various foreign magazines supplied. The dog was not impressed because the local schools had the temerity to be using their field for sports day and she could not make full use of it – and then we tied her up outside the coffee shop which forced her to whine for the entire time. People, Bah!

She will be even more annoyed when she realises we are going out tonight and she is not.

My lovely husband is in the kitchen listening to Hancock’s Half Hour and making Smoked Fish, Broccoli and Tomato Pasta Salad to take with us this evening. I do love Tony Hancock.  The radio plays are inspired and the other characters so strong. The telly programmes are good to, I think the first one I saw was The Radio Ham in which Hancock is the only character seen. If you like British comedy and haven’t had the pleasure of Hancock yet, it’s worth looking out for.

I am going on a wet felting (as opposed to needle felting) craft course tomorrow evening. My friend Vicky is running it and it is about incorporating other fibres like silk,  into felt. Should be a really enjoyable and social evening as many of the people from our craft group will be there. Also it is being held at Cafe Bambino, which is a big space, and Caroline the lovely lady who owns Bambino is supplying food.

It has been a long time since I did any wet felting and I am hoping it will give me the impetus to make some shawls and scarves.

Tony Hancock. We have a giant poster of this in our hall.

Days of Pigs and Roses

…and I’m back

Spent the last couple of days visiting my Mum. Which is why I haven’t posted. No broadband connection you see, and as I have said before, dial up does my head in.

Got back on the train in time to have a coffee with my friend Evonne who calls in every Thursday after work. It was a lovely welcome home, as was being met at the station by Tude and then an over excited Polly who acts like she hasn’t seen me for years.

The roses in my garden have bloomed fragrantly and expansively in the 48 hours I have been away and the two tiny aubergines and a chilli that I planted by the back door have just completely disappeared.  It’s all happening…

It has been a year for canine losses – four dogs that I have known have died so far, two –  Bess and Sally in the last week. Very sad, good dogs all.

I’m not sure I could ever live without a dog but it is so hard when they get ill and die, especially when they have to be put down.  At least they have a fairly decent life span though, unlike the pet rats that I have had, that only live for a couple of years. I don’t think I will ever forget sobbing down the phone to the vet as my rat died on my lap. I don’t think the vet will either.

I would really like a miniature pig. I saw an article about them in today’s Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/nov/05/micro-pigs-pets-victoria-beckham They live for up to eighteen years and are seriously cute as well as being intelligent. Trouble is they are £700 – how can you spend so much money purchasing a companion animal when there are so many others desperately needing homes?

They are seriously cute though..

Taking Their Lives In Their Claws

We have some interesting creatures visiting our garden. They are around a lot more  now that Titch is no longer hanging about outside guarding the place. Not that she was a great guard dog, just a big old softie really. I once saw her lying at the top of the garden steps, when we were in the U.K., watching a couple of rats emerging from the garden next door to steal our birds bread. Titch stared at them intently, and I held my breath in anticipation of her erupting and chasing them out,  but she remained completely still. The rats hung around for a bit, then picked up their bread and ambled off.

The visitors we have at the moment are guinea fowl. They belong to a neighbour two houses up and were obviously well used to visiting our house before we moved in. Nether of us had seen this type of bird before so its been interesting.  They are quite noisy and most days, the male stands on his front fence and crows, he’s fun to watch. Unfortunately for them, Polly is not as passive as Titch and the other day she chased them. They flew up and the male landed on top of a cabbage tree, where he spent some time loudly scolding us.

Sneaky garden visitors
Sneaky garden visitors

Picture 066