Tag Archives: Dogs

Matchstick Girl

4 Jun
Spider web at sunrise
Image via Wikipedia

Halfway through the year and we’ve had no summer. Just the other day, I greeted with gloom the news that this month we will be celebrating the summer solstice, which means that the day after, we’re on the downward spiral to winter.  Now I wish we were already there; at least I’d get some sleep.

The light woke me – again – around five this morning.  Every day for almost a month I’ve been woken around that time, and every day I’ve fought it.  Today, I gave in, got out of bed, and caught up with some television: Rookie Blue and two episodes of Have I Got News For You.  That brought me to six a.m.  That brought me to my feet in annoyed surprise.  That meant I had actually woken at four a.m., misread my watch, and spent two hours not snoozing when I could have been.  I should have suspected something when I put on the fish tank light and they all turned over and went back to sleep.

I’ve had about four hours and I’m grumpy.  That’s why I can tell you that I no longer fear a backlash, as I did last night, from my expectant readers: I haven’t climbed any spider webs; there will be no photographs; and I’m in a very bad mood.

I had to abort yesterday’s mission because there was no one to take pictures: the Hub was on the phone and Spud insisted on revising for next week’s exams.  I was forced to walk the dogs alone and neither of them knows how to work a digital camera.

I can’t do it today because the Hub wants the dogs to have a ‘real’ walk (apparently I just pretend to put one foot in front of the other when I’m out) before the England game.  By that he means he wants to get back to watch the match after taking them to Alexandra Park, the dogs’ favourite place in the world after their food bowl. 

I did hope to use the slide on Gorsey Bank Park tomorrow, but the rain is closing in and I don’t have a spare pair of trousers ironed.

The Hub has promised to take me on the swings next week.  He’d better.  If he doesn’t…expect bruising.

101/1001 (4)

15 Apr
This is courgette (also known as a zucchini).

Image via Wikipedia

The challenge is going well: I’m doing everything I normally do like watching films and walking the dogs, but I get to cross things off my list by doing them, so that makes me feel good.


I read two books this week, you’ll be pleased to hear: The Judy Annual 1970 and the The Bunty Annual 1979.  I picked them up at a car boot sale last Sunday for 50p.  I wish I could get hold of a Mandy annual: that was my favourite childhood comic; though I did like The Bunty for the cut-out Bunty and her clothes. 


I was stupid this week (I know what you’re thinking; no need to write it in comments.) (Are you listening, Hub?).  Earlybird mentioned courgettes on her blog so I mentioned how horrible I found them when I once ate them.  Now she has made me add Taste a courgette to my list.  She thinks I will like them next time around.  Just because she is a fabulous cook doesn’t mean my taste buds have become sophisticated, but a promise to a friend is a pain in the backside to be honoured.  Thanks, Earlybird.  Maybe I can repay the favour by forcing cauliflower on you.  Yuk.  Worse than courgettes…oh…no need to say anything, Earlybird; I’m on it.


Taste cauliflower again.


I’m now oneandahalf hours ahead in the dog walking challenge, thanks to a couple of young visitors staying here this week.  Yesterday’s walk at two hours fifty minutes had me and the dogs flat out for the rest of the day.  I’m getting far too old for all this exercise.  Maybe I should give the dogs away.  Maybe they should give me away.


Fifteen poems this week: I love Napowrimo.  (Shameless plug alert) You can check them out at my poetry blog.  This week’s highlights: cannibals, vomit and dead grandmas.

Don’t forget to go see how Sarsm is doing with her challenge.





Fancy Watching Thirty Huge Men Throw Each Other Around In The Mud? Get A Dog.

9 Apr
Sale Sharks

Image via Wikipedia

We often walk our dogs on Alexandra Park.  So does one of the Sale Sharks players.  Despite the fact the Hub loves rugby, he didn’t realise that the owner of the cutest Jack Russells in Stockport was a Shark.  All the times we stopped to chat, we never noticed his cauliflower ear or his muscular build.  It was winter when we first met him, so we can be excused not noticing his build; but an ear is difficult to miss…  Well…is it, really?  How many times in a day do you meet someone new and take a look at their ears?  You might spot a vulgar earring or hair sprouting like whiskers – though not from the same ear, I hope – but you never come away thinking, What a lovely person; I like their ears.

I'll be honest: I can't tell the difference between them if Hurley doesn't have a ball in his mouth or is shouting at me to get a move on and throw his ball, pronto.

For months our dogs had played together, by which I mean Toby chased squirrels and ignored them; Molly hid behind my legs, away from the rowdy boys; Hugo ignored Toby and Molly because he was busy being a proper dog; and Hurley walked off with anyone who made the mistake of throwing his ball for him.  We had chatted to the Shark thinking he was a porpoise like the rest of us, when his job happened to be mentioned in conversation one day. 

The Hub was like a shark himself: scenting bloodsport, he dominated all further conversations with talk of scrums and sin bins and that’s the extent of my knowledge of rugby terminology but, trust me on one thing – there is no one so boring as a man in love with sport.  I was left to be Hurley’s trebuchet.  Not that I mind; he’s gorgeous and knows how to be a real dog on the park, unlike our two, who will play ball at home until there isn’t an intact ornament standing but consider that sort of behaviour in public non-U.

After many, many, many chats about rugby – how it is played, how it used to be played, who plays it well, who played it well, who didn’t play it well, who might play it well in the future blahblehblehblehblahblehbleh (by the way, I’m not casting aspersions on the Shark; he is charming company when he’s not being forced to recite league tables and statistics by my blHub) – the Shark must have twigged that the Hub rather likes it, and offered to get us tickets for a game.  The Hub, ever-bashful, asked if he could make it four so that Tory Boy could go as well.  The Shark, ever-kind, said Of course; and would we like hospitality bands for afterwards, to meet the players?  The Hub fell sobbing with joy into his arms.

And so it came to pass.  Eventually.  Once a proper wardrobe was decided upon.  You wouldn’t think it would be that hard to choose the right outfit for a rugby match, would you?  You’d be wrong: it was warm last night, but what if it turned cold suddenly; or wet?  This is Stockport, after all.  I packed my mittens but forewent socks; wore a light jacket but not a jumper.  The boys were sent upstairs to change three times until they looked comfortable enough to watch the game but not too scruffy to meet the players.  Clothes littered the stairs, the beds, the floors.  And then they bought Sale Sharks shirts in the Sale Sharks Shirts Store and changed into them, so it was all a fuss about nothing.


The game was brilliant.  I had no clue what was happening but I was happy to watch two teams of butch blokes pile onto each other for eighty minutes.  Wouldn’t you be?  Rugby is waaaaaay more fun than football and the players don’t have hissy fits when a decision goes against them.  They behave like sportsmen.  There is no need for separate seating areas for opposing teams and no menace or foul language in the crowd.  Rugby is definitely a sport I could get interested in.  After badminton, it’s my favourite.

We made our way to Edgeley Park’s Insider Suite after the match, gaily waving our entrance tickets (flourescent orange wrist bands) at the minders.  Tables were labelled with the name of the club’s sponsors, who each bring parties to the games, so we weren’t sure where to sit, but a waitress told us to choose an empty table and look like we belonged; so we did.  We knew it had worked when a man rushed up to Tory Boy and asked, ‘Where’s Mr Kite?’  ‘I’m not sure,’ TB replied; ‘Have you tried over there?’  ‘No, thanks, I will.  Please tell him I’m looking for him if you see him,’ he gasped, and charged off.  Various people wandered over to inquire if they could take one or two of the pies with which our table happened to be laden, we not eating them after a huge dinner of boerewors, courtesy of our favourite son, Tory Boy (our favour changes according to which of them is nicest to us, so he’s actually the Hub’s favourite son, because I don’t like boerewors); a Gloucester visitor begged the whole plateful from us because it’s a long drive back, and we had the pleasure of watching pie-filled mouths beam at us in gratitude across the room.

Our Shark’s brother is a Jet, (part of the Academy; you’ve gotta love that whoever named these man-mountains is either a musicals fan or has a sense of humour) and we had met him the previous day.  He’s even more charming than his brother, if that’s possible.  He brought over what we had suspected was the Shark’s mythical fiancee, because he talks about her all the time but we’d never seen her on the park; and she was lovely too.  How good it is to meet nice people involved in sports: not everyone is a Wayne Rooney, it seems.

I got the giggles.  Our Shark sat with us for a while before taking the menfolk off to meet other players, and while we were talking, people came up for his autograph, which he gave with a smile and a friendly word each time.  This is the same bloke who shares a dog poo bin with us on the park.  It was a bizarre experience.

Spud had a wonderful time meeting the players, getting their autographs and wishing that he’d never given up playing, and we had a wonderful time right along with him, thanks to our friends Hugo and Hurley, who had first introduced us to their lovely owner.  All good things must come to an end, however, and it was time to leave. 

At home, there was an email from Viv: was that my Hitler lookalike goldfish (claimed to be in Stockport) that she saw on Have I Got New For You tonight?  We checked; it wasn’t.  Just how many fish looking like Hitler are there in Stockport?  Good job we’ve got Sharks to take care of them.

101/1001 (2)

1 Apr
Cover of "Modesty Blaise"

Cover of Modesty Blaise

Sarsm and I have agreed to update you weekly on how our challenge is going.  So, how has my challenge gone in its first week?


I watched one film, Robin Hood, and enjoyed it.  I started three others but they didn’t grab me in the first ten minutes, so I turned them off.  Life is too short to do something you don’t have to do.


I have read one book: Moonraker’s Bride.  It is an old favourite that I have never owned a copy of until this week, when I managed to get one from Readitswapit.  I’ve never been so glad to have a sore arm because I was able to sit, read and drink tea all day yesterday.  What am I always telling you?  There’s always a silver lining.

Madeleine Brent was really Peter O’Donnell, the author of Modesty Blaise.  From Wikipedia:

At the request of publisher Ernest Hecht, he began writing gothic romance and adventure novels under the pen name of Madeleine Brent. The novels are not a series, but feature a variety of strong female protagonists. They are written in first person, take place in the late Victorian era, and although every protagonist has connections to England, part of each book is set in various locations around the world—including China, Australia, Afghanistan, and Mexico. Identity—the need to discover who she really is—is often a major part of the protagonist’s struggle.

They are all fabulous stories and I have read them to death.  I learned some years ago that he also wrote Garth for a long time: a comic strip in The Daily Mirror that I think now would be called a graphic novel.  I loved that too but I lost my only Garth book years ago and they’re not in print any more.

I am halfway through another book, Bleak House.  I’ve been halfway through that for six months, so it’s time I finished it.  Not Boz’s finest hour, though it was the BBC’s, which is what persuaded me to read it in the first place.


Wrote two new poems: abysmal rate.  Must try harder.


Walked the dogs for six and a quarter hours.  I need to do seven hours a week so I’m already behind.


Told seven jokes which, frankly, got a more enthusiastic reception than I anticipated – thank you, dear readers.  Also gave me the bonus of realising I’d found a way to count down 1001 days.


I’ve added ten new challenges to the list.  I can’t remember what they are because I added them aesthetically instead of chronologically.  There was definitely a balloon and some Maltesers in there, though.


Blogged seventeen times.  That doesn’t include posts to my other blogs; just this one.


Hit the big 4-0-thousand hits.  Time to part-teyyy.*

*I can’t carry that off, can I?

Back To Me

30 Mar

I’ve been so busy boasting about my handy Hub that I haven’t told you what I’ve been doing lately.  Not much, as it happens.  Guess this is going to be a short post. 

I have been enjoying my walks with the dogs more than usual, as the weather is so nice (one day last week I didn’t have to put the heat on even once).  I tried a new route: down the main road; turn left and left again at the pyramid; up the Pennine Trail that runs along the Mersey River; over the footbridge; past the abandoned tyres; up the hill; over the pedestrian crossing, at which a car on one side will stop for me but not on the other, so it’s a choice of sprint with the dogs flying behind me on the lead or irritate the kind driver.  I have excellent manners so it tends to be sprint and dodge.  That brings me full circle home in just under an hour.

The walk along the river is lovely.  However, the route is not accessible to traffic so there are no dog poo bins because they can’t be emptied.  I had to carry three bags with me: for little dogs they sure do poop a lot.  And Toby’s is just weird – I counted five colours in one plop.

Still, a gentle stroll with the sun on my face and only three layers of clothing, watching the shopping carts float downstream and the plastic bags, trapped in the trees and flapping in the breeze, is a pleasant way to while away the day.  I never felt more like swinging the poos.

A Good Week For Dogs

4 Mar

Sort of.

Like humans (present company excepted) (I hope), dolphins commit rape, murder and have huge orgies.  They also rescue lost dogs.  Read the story here of how two dolphins stayed with a stranded Doberman and caused a commotion to make sure it was saved.

Like dolphins, humans kill other species.  Humans kill dogs because they are surplus to requirements: five stray pups were put to sleep but one survived two lethal injections and now people from all over are clamouring to give it a home.  Read all about it.

These stories should make me happy but I can’t help thinking

  • how many of those people would have gone to a shelter to rescue a pup before this story?  And how many of those who want him now will go get one when they are unsuccessful in their application? 
  • what kind of person wants the job of pup killer?
  • dolphins aren’t what they used to be (non-sex-crazed, non-murdering clever chaps of the sea). 
  • if our closest rivals for world domination are not vegetarians, then why should I be?

My Fascist Goldfish

25 Jan

Here’s the thing: the Hub loves animals.  I think you know that.  He’s always mooning over the geese in the park; yesterday he trained three scared mothers and their even more scared offspring to not only feed the geese but to let them take the bread from their hands.  A good day’s work.

That would be fine if his love of animals stayed in the park, but it spills over into our home and makes the thing I hate most in the world: clutter.  We don’t have one gerbilarium, we have three, all different sizes.  We have seven bags of food that our dead gerbil will never eat.  We have three leads per dog and one spare in case we lose five; the dogs have two and five coats (Molly is nesh); boxes of dog treats; boxes of gerbil treats; and – and I really wish I was exaggerating here but I’m not – four huge binbags full of gerbil toys, courtesy of Freegle and car boot sales.  How sad that you can’t take it with you, or Callie would be the happiest gerbil in heaven and I would be the happiest housewife on earth. 

A cage the Hub built for the gerbils to exercise in. It's stuffed behind the couch now.

As well as all that, we have the fish.  You may remember I rescued Bill last year from his little plastic tank and his lonely existence.  The Hub approved so much that he immediately bought a proper tank and five other fish for company.  Bill is thriving, as are the other four (one was a weakling who couldn’t cut it in the big world, sadly).  So much so, they outgrew their tank and the Hub insisted we get them a bigger one.  To be fair, the small big tank was horribly dark and dank compared to the big big tank. 

The Hub replaced the stones with sand, bought more fresh plants, rocks and wood.  And four shrimp; ostensibly because ‘they’ll clean the tank’ but really because ‘they’re sooooo cute.’

The tank is lovely. 

But there was one horrible, unforeseen and appalling side-effect: if the fish can see us, we can see the fish.  Here’s Jock:

Or Adolf, as he’s now known.

A Little Fishy

19 Jan

I’m happy to report the Tobester ate two small bowls of mackerel this morning, and kept them down.

Crisis averted and wallet intact.

Thanks for all the good wishes.  Looks like I’m not the only soppy dog owner in the world. 

Ain’t life grand?


2 Jan

My little girl is still virgo intacta –  being only eighteen months old, like any adolescent male Toby was enthusiastic but clueless.  He apparently kept looking to the Hub for help but, even when the Hub lifted him on top of Molly, he couldn’t make the bat hit the ball.  He gave up in the end but she came back exhausted anyway because they spent an hour running around the garden instead.

She’s been invited back next season, when it is hoped he’ll have done some studying into the matter.

We Love Senryu

8 Dec

The prompt for We Write Poems this week was various kinds of love.  I didn’t write all of these senryu in response to that prompt, but it’s my favourite form (you might say I love it) and I have enough about love that I can share with you.  There’s also a short poem I wrote as a teenager in love on my South Africa – A Love/Hate Story blog.


Talking Point

My son discovered
he loves Shakespeare: now we have
something in common.


Christmas Eve With Dad

He lived and loved, laughed,
then sighed.  He held my hand.  He
held my hand.  He died.


A Note For My Mum

An old woman passes me,
smelling of fags and
booze.  I grieve, for she’s not you.



Geese guard a stricken
comrade until it dies or
flies again – how neece.


Adult Yearner

Married man longs for
someone. It can never be.
She is his wishtress.


Unconditional Love

I expected to
feel it for my children, but
not for my pet dogs.


Empty Nest

Forlorn housewife. Heart
heavy like wet washing on
the line. Mothers’ fate.


Not-So-Modern Marriage 

Selfish man: your wife
will fetch carry clean feed love
you: stupid woman.


Two Beautiful Things 

A bloody baby
and his brother, screaming their
way into my heart.


Something Cute For Tuesday

7 Dec

Before I start, let me tell you that they were groomed to within an inch of their lives before these were taken, though you would never think so.

Do we not have the cutest dogs in the world?

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