Thursday, 30 September 2010

More later.....

...but for now, here's a postcard from my blissful mini-holiday

Monday, 27 September 2010

Early start

I'm off on the 7.30 Newcastle-Bristol flight tomorrow morning, to stay with my friend Lizzie in West Somerset until Thursday. She says she has a plan.... I hope it includes lots of teashops as well as beautiful villages, beaches, rolling wooded countryside and moorland, because the weather forecast is decidedly discouraging.

I also secretly, childishly, hope it will include this:

This trip has nothing to do with house buying or selling. I won't be going to look again at the house, still unsold, on which I have placed an offer; it would be too unsettling. We will walk, sightsee, eat, cosy up with the wood burner, cats and dog, and talk, talk, talk, and Lizzie can have a well-earned mini-break from all her heavy duty DIY.

Tosca will be with her foster-mum Sandra. She is moping already at the sight of the little suitcase. Lesley will stay in this house instead of her own four doors down, to be bullied and tormented by the cats. Flossie will stay at boarding school until Friday morning, when I will collect her to live  with us for ever.

Too much excitement! I'm off to lie down in a darkened room now; it's called having an early night. Back soon, with more of those blurry, ill-composed photos in which I specialise!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Not about a dog

Well, there are other things in my life, not just cats and dogs, you know. No, really. There are.

Like getting a recycled container, once filled with industrial quantities of glucose and now intended for gathering and storing rainwater on our waterless plots, delivered to the allotment this morning, and paid for with the grant we applied for so very long ago. The delivery man deposited two of them at the gate. The gate that isn't wide enough to take them through....

Earlier examples had been removed easily from their metal frames with a screwdriver, making them lighter to manoeuvre over the fence, and people came prepared. But these two required an allan key, and no one had such a thing with them.

There was some scratching of heads, some larking about (by Elizabeth the Secretary, below), and the usual know-everything suspect telling us that we only needed a screwdriver until he saw for himself that we didn't.

Then The Blokes rose to the challenge. Those containers were manhandled through the trees, my ladder and a length of timber were propped against the fence, and some physical effort applied. Brains, brawn and teamwork won the day. I took photos, as no one was looking. The nettles and the spiny shrubs did their worst, but The Blokes didn't notice.

Then I went home, got changed, and (well, of course there has to be a doggy bit in this post!) drove out of town to meet Florence and Fran at the home of our mutual friends, to have lunch and introduce Florence to them.

Floss also got to meet their lovely Harvey, another Fran graduate. He and Fran were thrilled to see each other again.

Everything went rather well..... How nice when friends' dogs become friends too!

Of course, it was all another training opportunity for Flossie and I. Mostly, I learned how excruciating it is to have a lesson in front of friends who own a superbly-trained dog when my own dog clamps her rag toy firmly in her jaws and won't 'leave' it - for what seems like hours. She got it right in the end though. I suspect Fran thinks I'm a softie. I think I've just been trained by cats, and know that in a battle of wills, it's never me who wins....

But Flossie learned to sit quietly while we had our meal. Harvey set a good example. Praise was heaped; I burst my buttons with pride.

They posed for their photo, romped about in the garden, and then it was time to go home to Tosca - the worst car-traveller in the world, which, in case you wondered, is why she gets taken nowhere - and the cats. Only 6 more sleeps (during part of which time I will be in Somerset) till Flossie joins us. Only 6!!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Indoor activities

Florence overdid the charging about with older, bigger, more agile dogs, and has a painful hip muscle today. She is on anti-inflammatories for a week and has been told to play quietly, no careening about like Lewis Hamilton on four legs.

She says she will be good.

And patient.

But she's glad to have a bone to chew.

And a new toy to share with a friend.

Such a good girl!

Meanwhile, one of Fran's dogs does his best to keep her amused:

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Beware of the dog lady

The trouble with not having seen Florence today - she was away with the class on a school trip that involved a minibus (Fran's van) and rolling fields to romp in - is that I've had the time and opportunity to talk to even more people about her. But hardly anyone has seen her yet.

I know that very soon, people will start crossing the street to avoid me, whispering to each other "Quick, hide - here's that mad woman who goes on and on about her imaginary dog..."

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Doggy boarding school report: day 2

Today we learned to:

Join in with the class

Wait to be invited (in, out, to follow Fran down the garden)

To walk on a relaxed lead (better if Fran was at one end, rather than me!)

Make good eye contact

To sit, even when the neighbours' dogs were barking madly at us

To bring our food bowl to show we'd licked it nice and clean

To run about in the fields, to play with a ball, to come back when called

But also to learn new exciting things (on the 3rd attempt only!) and look very pleased with ourselves

And then we had a little lie down. Because we deserved it.

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