Friday 29 August 2008

Phoebe and Jupiter

Mum's birthday - she's "35 again" and who are we to doubt the word of a lady? She's enjoying it so far, and tonight Mum and Dad are off for a restaurant meal. Tell you more about that tomorrow.

Dad is working strange combinations of shifts at present, and works through last night, so he's home asleep this morning and awake and available for a good walk this afternoon. We head for the beach at Seasalter, where we meet up with "brainless" (according to his Mum) whippet Jupiter, and 3 month old whippet pup Phoebe. She's lovely - like a gangly softly drawn version of a whippet, and so , so gentle. We all make a big fuss of each other.

Great fun when we get back. Dad decides to tackle a pond-plant thug which we should never have planted in the first place - "branched burr-reed". Take it from us, this thing is un-stoppable and will eat up your open water in a season, wading across the deep bits with impunity and throwing up leafy blades from the depths. Dad hauls it out in bits, armed with secateurs, and frogs jump for cover in all directions. Great opportunities for dogs to get thrir noses and paws really skanky in the balck mud!!!

Get fresh at the weekend!

Monday 25 August 2008

Chasing Cars

A couple of final Duncombe shots just to box that off. Nice one of the sun coming up over the house Saturday morning and Megan doing her "Can I get in the car now because you'll want to be going home today won't you...." look
A nice one of me, exhausted, crashed out on a camping bag, and a nice one of Megan enjoying the back home warm and dry, and Mum's luvverly vase of lilies.
Bank Holiday this morning, so Dad's in work briefly but gets all afternoon off and takes us to the Rec. here. a couple of lads have parked a humungous Japanese 4x4 (one of those crew-cab silver Isuzu Warrior type ones). They are setting up a small replica of same - a £400 (we asked) radio controlled toy one, with high revvin', nitro-fuelled, glow plug engine which buzzes like a demented wasp and races along at what looks like about 45 mph. Amazing miniaturised technology - long-travel springs and dampers, automatic 2-speed gearbox etc.
Not many people about , so the guys were able to really gun it round the Rec in a series of sweeping figure-8's and (luckily) knew how to control it so they could whizz past reasonably close to us out walking (slowing down as they approached, growling past, accelerating away). This was too much like temptation for me, and for a young female Staffie called Missie, so we charged after it in all directions. It was too fast for us though, so we'd soon give up and wait for it to come back past.
Now there's a thing (said Dad) - First impressions - owner of the Staffie was one of those "yoofs" you'd sneer sideways at (or you would if you were as prejudiced as Dad!) - baggy trousers, shirt hanging out, walking his Staffie (!) at midday with a half-finished can of Special Brew in his hand all the way round. They got talking about the toy car, and then dogs, and he turned out to be a nice bloke - intelligent, very knowledge-able about Staffies, he'd got her for quite a lot of money from an abuser - Missie had cigarette burns on her where the "bad people" had tried to cure her of being "vicious".
She has not a "mean bone in her body" and is now the picture of health - a slightly built (she'd been starved while tiny) bouncing playful girl, very gentle with we three westies. He'd thought of breeding from her and had had an offer of a "good stud dog" but had been concerned at her tiny size and health and had decided against it. "Some people keep on having litters time after time, but it's not fair on the dog, is it?".
Favourably impressed - gives you hope, said Dad (rather sheepishly)

Sunday 24 August 2008

Pulled Over

I have dug out a couple of links for you, in case you're curious.

Duncombe Park itself is on.

I love that it's owned by Lord and Lady Feversham. We come from Faversham, in Kent, and I can imagine that if one lived in a house (hice?) that posh one would pronounce it "Feversham" too!

The Cafe solo guy is on

... a very funky site with lots of animated stars twinkling in the background.

I didn't tell you, did I, that on the way up North we were "pulled over" by the wannabee police patrol guys ("Highway patrol?"). There we were, minding our own business plodding North having just sorted the first (Peterborough) fuel problem, when these guys slowly overtook, cut us up a bit and pulled in in front, with the flashing sign on their roof saying "Follow Me Vehicle Inspection". Gulp! None the less Dad gives them a thumbs-up out the window to let them know we have got the message and will follow.

Once he's got over the feelings of guilt (What I do?) that you always get when the Feds single you out Dad went on to worrying that maybe we were leaking fuel and we'd be taken off the road - condemned! So, the wannabees indicate left and whizz up a slip road, then round two round-abouts at speed. Dad suspects that all is not well - they do not seem to be driving in a 2CV-following-you-and-trying-to-keep-up friendly manner. It is all we can do to keep them in sight. At one point a van gets between us and they don't seem to care.

Anyway, after a few yards they pull into what looks like a lorry servicing area, and then bimble about as if undecided where to park. Dad follows patiently. When they eventually stop, Dad steps out and presents himself. The wannabees look totally confused at this. Why is this weirdo following us in a 2CV full of dogs?

"But, your sign..." says Dad. "What?" they ask. "Follow Me Vehicle Inspection"????!!! (now a tad annoyed)

It turns out they have left the sign on by mistake or pressed the wrong button on the dash. they don't want us at all, and we can go on our way. They try to lighten the mood with jokes about "I'm surprised half of Nottinghamshire didn't follow us in here" and "My mate only stopped you coz he wanted to buy one of your dogs" Fnarr Fnarr. How we laughed.

Very droll I'm sure
Deefski (acquitted)

Southbound again

It rained for pretty much the whole of Friday afternoon, and we spent it huddled in the beer tent, out of what was by then a chilly wind. Megan has a special way of looking miserable, shivering occasionally to emphasise the point. Mind you, she does choose to sit out in the drizzle, too, rather than in the tent on the bed with the rest of us. Never mind, says, Dad, with 24 different real-ales to choose from, they're well set up.

With the general chill and wet, and a sick car to nurse home, we decide to strike camp Saturday morning after a good latte from Cafe-Solo man (we love the Citroen chevrons he draws in the white foam top, with darker foam!). There's nobody about as we pack up. We dogs watch the pack-up from the warm and dry of the car back seat. Only little Theo and his bro' come to see us and pester us one last time.

On the road we must remember that we effectively only have the top third of the fuel tank to play with, and with the range on a 2CV being 200 miles if you're lucky, we must stop and buy another £7's worth every 60-70 miles. A pain, and rather confusing for the dogs, who expect to drive for 2 hours, then get out and have a stretch of the legs, maybe re-fuelling, maybe not. The "normal" car does 660 miles between fill-ups! And so we chug southwards seeing the county markers click past - Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex. We slot in behind HGV's again to hit that relaxing 56-60 mph groove. Not too close - we're not "tailgating" here or trying to slipstream anybody.
And so the hours go by and we cruise home uneventfully, except for one little palpitation. We'd pushed the "70 miles" a bit close to the wire, refuelling in Peterborough, then doing the A14, M11, M25 bit all in one run (no easy services), and on the sharp left hander, M25 to A2, the fuel sloshes to the right of the tank and she sucks air, doing a couple of kangaroos, just to give Dad heart failure. Dad nurses the car to the Northfleet fill-up. Sorted. We complete the 290 miles home in 6 and a half hours.
Of course, now that we've given up camping, the sun's come out, so Dad's able unpack the tent and hang it across the garden to dry it and clean off the cow-pats before packing it up.
Dad texts 2CV Llew about the fuel problems. Llew (love that guy!) re-assures us it's not a biggie, and he can fix it one evening this week.
A quiet evening unpacking, cleaning stuff, getting clean from camping grunge (but not for dogs yet).
That brings us to Sunday morning, when we listen to the rain drumming down and we are delighted we are home, dry and safe, not still on that site thinking about packing a very wet tent up in the rain. Megan is positively luxuriating in the warm clean (new) bed linen. Mum puts it on the bed when we go away.... something about wanting to feel ladylike for once, and not wrapped around with mingin' dogs and husbands. (Goes to town - make-up, scented candles, nice wine, posh table linen, girlie film, chic-lit, etc) The Nerve....

Saturday 23 August 2008

When it's not raining...

How's this for a pretty view across the Dales, with the 2CV camp setting up in front of Duncombe Park's house. Lovely (when it's not raining). Unfortunately, it's been a bad August for rain and looks like being the wettest ever on record. The camping field had soaked up a fair share of it and was a bit boggy, especially on the flat bit at the top.

The constant passage of narrow 2CV tyres don't help, and we dogs had a sorry time having to cross these minor morrasses each time to and from the loos, beer tent, cinema tent, food tents. Who am I trying to kid? No sooner were we out of the car than all three of us had rolled in some soggy cow pat or a pile of sheep poo or whatever, have you.

When the sun shone, though, you could definitely tell it was August - temperatures shot up to 20-23 and it was lovely out of the wind. Some lads flew kites to entertain us (we love chasing around on the ground as the stunt-kites fart and whistle about overhead).

We meet first-time campers Mike and Bev (plus young Elliott) and help them get a palatial tent up (you could park the car in this one). At least, I think we were helping. There were a few raised eyebrows when I started strolling about over the pristine white bits, but we got there in the end.

Mike and Dad shared a few beers and tried to protect me from a small Herbert called "Theo" who decided it was fun to be "a dog's worse nightmare" - Dad called him that but, un-abashed, he wore it like a badge of honour. About 5 we'd guess (maybe more), he thought it was great fun to run at me swinging a pretty fish-shaped windsock on the end of a huge roach-pole under my nose, then took exception if I woofed at him and chased him around. He wouldn't go away. Short of going "Grumpy old git" on the little tyke, we were at a loss. Mike said "Grumpy old git" was definitely worth a try!

We meet an amazing bloke. Driven by 2 passions, 2CV vans and coffee, he'd set up in business selling nice lattes, cappuccinos, espressos and so on from the back of a converted 2CV van. You know the ones I mean - l they look like a 2CV at the front, but there's a corrugated iron shed welded on the back!). He calls the business "Cafe Solo". You drink your coffee while listening to his CDs of Django Reinhardt and Stefan Grapelli. The guy lives on Holy Island and is, part time, a coast guard for the tidal causeway.

As well as serving superb coffees, he was keeping us amused by tales of rescuing hapless motorists who'd ignored the tide-time warnings and whose cars had been inundated by the incoming tide. At least one a month, he said, had to be helicoptered to safety. On Japanese chap in a hired (Hertz) car had very little English, and kept saying "My luggage! My luggage" as his car sank. Trying to help him with possible insurance stuff, they's asked him for his Hertz paperwork.

On it was scribbled dozens of Japanese calligraphy characters and next to them, their translations into English, which were all words like "Laxative", and "Diarrhoea". "You'll probably not be needing those now...." they'd suggested. They'd phoned Hertz to explain that if they wanted to come and get their car it was in the North Sea. At first the receptionist thought it was a gang of Geordie lads having a laugh with her.

Daleswoman Deefski

Yorkshire (again)

Adventuring again! Not satisfied with the trip to Yorkshire, narrow-boating a few weeks back, we're off up North again at the behest of the 2CVGB club, parent club to Dad's "Kentish Hoppers" crowd. It's the annual "National" meeting, taking place at the gorgeous Duncombe Park, in Helmsley, just east of Thirsk.
Just east, that is, but for Sutton Bank, of which more later.
So, leaving Mum behind as ever (Mum doesn't do camping!), we are all loaded into the 2CV last Thursday for a gentle toddle North, 290 miles, but determined to mainly (again as usual) tuck in 50m or so behind an HGV so that we can relax into a 56-60 mph stroll. You get to see the backs of a lot of HGV's in a 2CV and we're not particular which - Czech lorries, bulk food tankers, big grey container lorries with MOFU registrations (hmmm), NFT lorries..... We keep the speed down, mindful of the problems "we" (I wasn't born yet) had getting to Kelso (Floors Castle) for the International Meeting in 2005.
It nearly works - we get up past Peterboro' when the car suddenly starts kangaroo-ing, as if for fuel starvation. Dad recognises these symptoms (correctly) and guesses (wrongly) the cause - we had exactly the same when a fuel line blocked a couple of years back. So Dad starts with the routine of "dive under n/s front wheel arch - disconnect fuel line - blow backwards up it to clear block - reconnect (hopefully no face full of petrol and/or hand soaked in the stuff). Restart". Kinda works, and we get to a fuel stop. Dad figures that the extra fuel pressure from gravity might help.
Seems to have cracked it. Off we go again, and this time, nearly reach Thirsk, but then we kangaroo to a stop again, this time nowhere near a petrol station. We need the AA. AA man listens to Dad's description and susses that it's not a blockage, but an air leak in the uplift pipe from the tank, so the car is behaving as if it's only got 1/3 of a tank, then running out while still 2/3 full. (In fact, had Dad been more observant, you can see the stream of air bubbles in the (transparent) fuel line, where the petrol should be flowing!).
AA man tows us 6m to a friendly garage (friendly to AA men and, it turns out, westie owners, so friendly to we three too!), we tank up, and we're off again. AA man (bless him) advises us to just keep the tank full and stop every 50 miles for more, till we can get home and fix it.
Re-assured and mobile again we decide to risk Sutton Bank , a 1-in-4 (25%) uphill on the A170 between Thirsk and our destination, Helmsley. Caravan and trailers are banned, and even well-loaded 2CV's are risky, but by charging at it in 2nd, and then banging down into a high-revving 1st every now and then, we make the mile to the high ground. Scary, exciting, probably even a bit daft in a car with dodgy fuel supply, but we got away with it.
And so, coasting down through the Dales to Helmsley and sweeping majestically into Duncombe Park. What a beautiful place. First sight of it in slanting evening sun, through the trees, had us feeling like characters out of Pride and Prejudice (the bit where the heroine first sees the rich guy's pad - sorry about this, I asked Dad but he's a literary ignoramus.... Mum would be appalled!!!!)
More soon - I can't spoil you all in one write-up!

Tuesday 19 August 2008

The Lady with the Lump

Noooo... not Florence Nightingale - I said "lump" not "lamp". This is, though, a tale of sickness and ministeringAngels of Mercy, plus maybe a Drama Queen as well.

The lump is mine. Half way along my spay scar Dad has noticed a small (thumb-nail sized) hard lump come up, and suspects it may be a hernia (rupture), maybe where the abdomen wall is not fully mended, so we're back off to the lovely Larissa, lady vet who did the original op.

Lady Vet is concerned too, but stands me on her table and pokes, prods, pulls and palpates the area. She is now relieved. It is "almost certainly not a hernia" she says, because it feels detached from the muscle wall, instead it is in the sub-cutaneous fat layer. Probably a hard bit of scar tissue, she says, as a reaction to one of the internal stitches.

She also says (probably too much information here) that when it is a hernia, you can generally slide your finger back up inside the hole.... Oy! That's my guts you're discussing, you humans. She shows Dad how to stand me up the right way so that whole area relaxes, and then feel the size of it, and that it's loose from the muscle wall. Keep an eye, she says, and check it twice a week, make sure it's not getting any bigger - it should fade away by itself.


Am I free to go, now Doc?


Monday 18 August 2008

Time of Plenty

It's a time of plenty up at the allotment - Dad is happy to barrow home a great load of produce at the weekend. The barrow is big anyway, and the onions make up a low dome in it, with bags and bundles of beet, spring onions, broad beans, runners, chard leaves, courgettes and lettuce perched around and on top of that. The rake and spade are balanced precariously on top of those.

It's one of those times when Dad wishes that all the usual people would happen to be in the roads on the way home so they'd hail him and stop to chat, admiring the bounty. Inevitably , then, he doesn't meet a soul - they must all be indoors glued to the Olympics. Such is life! Never mind - the onions are now spread out all over the terrace table, and the greenhouse staging to ripen, so Mum's been able to admire them.


Wednesday 13 August 2008

Woozle... oh and that car

Well, as predicted, with a gale in the Swale, SB Greta wasn't going anywhere, so Mum went back to work and Dad was free to give us an extra special, rabbit-rich walk all around the Abbey Fields "beyond" the allotments. We met the most gorgeous Weimeraner, going under the unlikely name of "Woozle". Not sure you can call a Weimer "Woozle", but apparently he's "a bit of a wuss". He's a re-home, rescued from a house in Birmingham, and is the people's 4th one.

Tired out, from chasing bunnies through bramble thickets (mmm the blackberries are just about perfect just now, says Dad) we are parked up and Dad takes off to see 2CV Llew and then JJ, who is taking their project car, Mademoiselle, in for it's MOT today. She passes. Dad is now insured to drive her and it's his job to whizz (hah!) her from Deal, where she's MOT'd, to Andy's Mum's farm (where we do our 2CV camping, and where she's to be stored short term).

Whizz? Mademoiselle is 47 years old and only 475cc, so she rattles, groans, grinds and lurches, not accelerating where you'd expect her to, and has to keep visiting road-side parking laybyes to allow the inevitable tail-back of impatient motorists to pass. Fun, but not anything you'd want to take for a long journey!


Tuesday 12 August 2008

Marjorie and Repertor

Well, the forecast is giving 40 kmph winds so, sensibly, Steve (skipper / owner) is not going anywhere with SB Greta. Dad and Steve chat away, and in passing, Dad asks how he got on with the Swale Barge Match at the weekend. It seems that dramas and excursions were the order of the day.

2 barges collided, SB Repertor, who we know well, and has a steel hull, hit the side of SB Marjorie, making a 4 foot wide gash, and causing her to have to beach on the island to avoid sinking - see the following report in the Whitstable Lifeboat website news - the pictures look like something out of "Master and Commander"

Greta withdrew from the match to assist, but already had a small boat in tow, and the lifeboat was there by the time they got to Marjorie.

Anyway, it all ended without injury (to people anyway) and both these barges are safe back in Faversham Creek.

So.... no sailing for Dad tomorrow - we'll try again later in the year. Good news for us - we should stand to get a good walk in!


Lookin' good Gigot

Remember "Gigot"? Poor unfortunate rescue Bedlington who joined choc-labrador "Truffles" and long-haired chihuahua "Storm", in a family we meet regularly walking round the Rec. Poor chap was in a real mess back then, neglected to starving point, dirty, matted, encrusted in who knows what, and very very nervous (abused?), rescued by the RSPCA in Police presence.

You should see the old boy now! Just groomed yesterday, he's a picture of health and condition and is now even starting to romp around with we three, and raced around in silly circles playfully running up to Dad to say Hello, racing away again and bouncing at me. Dad commented to his Mum and Dad that he just looks better and better every time. They agreed - they reckon they see improvements every day, especially now in his social skills and play.

He is a dog to be proud of and a credit to them.

Dad noticed a small container fixed to the lab's collar, and asked about it (secretly worried that it might be one of those electric zappers people use for training). It was, in fact a similar idea, but the little hand held device triggers a release on the collar. The collar box contains a pressurised water cannister, and the release makes a short hissing squirt of water spray.

Truffles is, apparently, an inveterate scavenger, always hunting out discarded food and rubbish, and has it wolfed down before they can stop him, so she was putting on a good deal of weight. Now, when she goes to grab any scavenge, they "Pshhhh!" the sprayer and Truffles is all distracted and misses the food.

Mum and Dad were off for an afternoon's sailing on the sailing barge Greta tomorrow, but a gale is blowing, and Skipper/owner Steve, does not think they'll be going out. Dad is therefore making out like he's a salty sea dog, his life ruled by winds, tides and weather, blown hither and yon by the elements. Daft ha'porth!


Saturday 9 August 2008

That ARF diet

Just a quick follow up about that ARF diet we spoke about. Here is a link to check out


Stitches Out

Just another quick pic of the Birthday boy, Haggis.
I mentionned "birthday cake" the other day. Regular readers will know that this comes in the form of raw pork ribs with plenty of meat still on. These are seen as "safe" bones - they do not shatter into sharp bits and we dogs spend happy minutes gnawing and grinding, slurping and chewing them up. Ever wondered where that chalky white dog poo you used to see everywhere comes from?

When Mum and Dad first had Meg and the H, there was much talked about on the net, a system of feeding dogs called (S)ARF, which meant (Species-) Appropriate Raw Food diet. It might still be "out there" - we'll have to google it. These people reckonned that modern tinned foods and mixes are full of in-appropriate cereal, rusk, veg's and other rubbish, that a wild dog would never get hold of. Not sure how purely true this is, as certainly the foxes round here eat blackberries and other fruit.

The ARF types advocated feeding the dog entirely on raw meat from species appropriate to the dog's size - for example a Westie might have raw chicken, rabbit and so on. I hasten to say that we are never given any "long bones" of poultry, but we are commonly given "chicken-backs" - Dad spatchcock's the chook cutting alongside the spine either side with kitchen scissors, so we get from parson's nose to neck, taking in pelvis, lumbar and thoracic spine, neatly lopped into 3 thirds, one for each of us. The ARF people seemed to be getting hold of regular supplies of "chicken backs" in bulk from their suppliers, but the specific ones we talked to were American - not sure how possible that is "over here".

ARF advocates swear that after a few days and weeks of feeding only raw food their dogs are in superb condition, good immunity, glossy coats, healthy guts and their poo that hard chalky white. The theory further goes that ARF dogs never get that problem (nor do we, thankfully) of impacted anal glands - the straining to push out the more solid "waste" self-strips the oily fluid from them, emptying them at each "evacuation".

Read all about it and make your own mind up.

Meanwhile, I'm over to the vets today to have my spay stitches out, and I'm a very brave girl, and do not utter a single squeak.

Deefer (Arf arf)

Lamb Chops

On the day of H's birthday, Mum and Dad desert us for a (Dad) works meal at the Olive Tree in Rainham ( We reccomend this place for its delicious food in huge quantities. This is very good for us dogs (we almost don't mind getting deserted), because they are also happy to create "doggie bags" with your left over meat. One little sparrow, name of Sue, thinking she can't cope with a bulky pasta dish, orders what she thinks will be a small lamb cutlet and a few small diced roasties.

The look on her face when this enormous trencher turned up with half a sheep on top of an alpine range of spuds, had to be seen to be believed. Fair play to Sue though - she attacked it with best endeavours and managed most of one of the cutlets, all the veg, and a few spuds. At clear up time there was a suggestion of doggie bags but the prevailing wind said "Naaah... don't worry" (Typical Brits - too embarrassed, don't want to make any trouble.)

Step forward complete non-dog lover Ebonie - "You (Dad) should take it home for Haggis - it's his Birthday" ! Anyone who knows 'Ebs' will know how amazing this is. Taken aback, they all agreed, waitress was despatched to find tin foil, and Dad whipped out a bag from back pocket.

Happy dogs greeted Dad on his return with extra enthusiasm that night!

Happy Birthday "H"


Thursday 7 August 2008

Happy Birthday Haggis

Go Haggis! 11 years old today! Doesn't behave like an "old" dog, and there's this theory that I have rejuvenated him. Unfortunately, Dad forgot to buy the "birthday cake" on the way home, so that's been postponed to tomorrow. Watch this space.

His birthday is heralded by a slow moving but very extensive thunderstorm, that goes rattling through for what seems like 2 and a half hours of the night. It's an impressive show. Megan spends some of it at the back door doing her single "I want" woofs, asking to be let out. That is, till Dad lets her out, at which point she realises it's pouring down, so loses interest. I spend the storm pretty much bored and quiet.

It's Haggis who "enjoys" a good storm - racing about the house, jumping on and off the bed (either side), bouncing on front paws and woofing a good range of yaps, gruffs, wooo-wooo-ruffffff noises. He's not scared of the thunder (none of us are) - more outraged that it is making a noise in "his" airspace. He keeps this up solidly for the whole duration of the storm passing over (as Mum and Dad will attest) . He's exhausted when it's over and sleeps all day.

Dad is heard to say "Thansk H"


Saturday 2 August 2008

Going Equipped

Seriously worried about Dad last night, as he loads a dodgy looking bag with claw hammer, crow-bar, screwdrivers, rubber mallet and "cape hammer" (ask the fruit boys, the stevedores) and heads for the back entrance to Diamond's house (in her absence). He is meeting a bloke there we do not know. Are his intentions honest?

Yes, it turns out - he and fellow allotment holder Mike, are fixin' to dismantle the garden shed in Diamond's back garden. The shed was once Diamond's step-father (Denis)'s pride and joy (and Dad will tell you how precious blokes get about their sheds). But Denis (love him). is now pretty much confined to hospital and won't be needing the shed any more, so Mike gets it, and the flat, paved area which Diamond always thought was a bit too good to put a shed on, is freed up.

Diamond will enjoy this as a sun-trap terrace area, and has visions of painting the walls white, screwing on a blue trellis, and attaching the poor old rose , which up to now has been buried behind the shed, to the trellis. Diamond has always been a fan, since teenage years, of the Greek island of Poros, and she will re-create a small chunk of Poros in her back garden.

Mum sets out, once the terrace is cleared, a chair and a table fior Diamond to sit at. On the table she sets a rusty cat-food tin with some old carrot-flower tops "planted" in it. Diamond will enjoy this - Denis was a great one for keeping all manner of junk in the shed, and empty cat food tins were one of his favourites, and the sheer dodgy-ness of it will strike a chord with the Poros "barbecues made of old oil drums" etc.

Rags, needless to say, has a whale of a time while the boys are into the shed and taking it apart.

Today, we are back into walking. I am on the lead for vet-reasons (lead-only exercise for 10 days). We pass through the cemetery, and we are amazed by the huge pile of floral tributes to "Jimmy". We assume from the size of the display, and the fact that there are models of a caravan, a Land Rover and a horse made out of flowers, along with all the huge (expensive) tributes saying "Good Night Jimmy", that these are a traveller family. They know how to do a good funeral. here is even an old "single" vinyl record of Lonnie Donegan (Battle of New Orleans) tied up there.

RIP Jimmy, who ever you were. You were obviously very popular and had many children and Grandchildren. Good luck mate - and as the Irish say, "Slain Abhaile" (Good Journey)

We are in for a quiet weekend traffic-wise. The road outside is closed further up, and has now been dug up a cross its whole width while contractors install traffic islands, round-abouts and so on. For 3 weeks, no-one will be able to come whooshing down our street and whizzing past our house.

Have a great weekend