Thursday 31 December 2009

I saw this and thought of you...

Mum's very sweet and love-able colleague Pam presented these salt and peppers to Mum today saying, with a laugh, "When ever I see something like this, I always think of you!". Mum accepted them in good heart joking back "why don't you think of me when you see diamonds or pearls?" How cool is that? They have, we think, an appropriately Hogmanay-ish "Black and White" whisky (no "E", this is Scotch Whisky) theme. Superb!
So, New Year's Eve at last and nearly the end of 2009. We have Diamond and John over for a full-on roast beef dinner, no doubt a drink or two, and also a bit of First-Footing. It's been an interesting year, and no mistake, with highs (like getting the Mademoiselle project car to La Chapelle d'Armentieres) and lows (Diamond's medical dramas and Meggie passing away) and plenty of fun along the way.
But I don't want to risk this sounding like one of those circular catch-up letters (some) humans put in Christmas Cards, so this is just a quick posting to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Enjoy your parties tonight and don't have too much hang-over tomorrow. Catch up with you all in 2010
Happy New Year

Wednesday 30 December 2009

Now why didn't I think of that?

D'ohhhh! There we all were looking for Westie-flavour Christmas goodies, and frustrated by the lack of westie-flavoured Christmas cards coming from the usual sources (Blue Cross etc), when had we thought about it, all we needed to do was google "westie AND christmas" (the capital "AND" makes the search engine go off in search of websites which contain both words). Step forward, The Westie Shop

...and a wealth of cards and all sorts. Ah well, too late now, but we'll know for next year. As it was we went with various RSPB and Blue Cross cards anyway, plus 60 off a Truprint use-your-own-image one which featured Mum sitting in the project 2CV car "Mademoiselle" by the road sign for the French Town of La Chapelle d'Armentieres (but that's a whole 'nother story - search this blog for the "Mademoiselle" word and you'll see).
Meanwhile, rain, rain and more rain as we drip and slosh gently towards the end of 2009. Happy New Year, everyone. And Mr Silverwood and Em-J, we hope you're feeling better soon.

Monday 28 December 2009


The Humans are still enjoying their long Christmas break - well, 4 days anyway. This is the longest break Dad says he's had over Christmas sonce he started working - more fool him for working in the chilled food distribution industry (cream, meat, turkey, brandy butter, salad - it's always going to be a bit mad around Christmas!).

We are getting some decent walks, such as this morning's one to Conyer where we walk out along the creek bank, past these two old hulks of long-dead barges (and Haggis clambering back up to high ground through the rocks). Conyer is brilliant for it's low scrubby bushes and millions of rabbits running everywhere.

Also depicted, the funkiest pair of socks received this year by mum, resplendent in red with tartan bow and westie face! How cool is that?

And finally, a kit car called a Pemberton. Dad and his 2CV cronies descend on one of their number, Ian C, train driver living in Folkestone. Ian's garage is double length, carpetted throughout and bedecked with railway memorabilia. Even the en-suite loo (en suite to the garage I mean) is done up like an old railway train toilet and when you lock the door it plays railway station sound-effects, and you are made to feel guilty by the sign saying "Please do not use this toilet while the train is standing in the station"

The Pemberton is a look-alike old 3 wheeler Morgan, with open wheels and an exposed engine in the nose, like a WW2 fighter-plane with no wings. The "chassis" is replaced by a space-frame unit, the suspension is ex-2CV, and the engines are some kind of air-cooled 2 cylinder. In Ian's case the 2CV engine out of the wrecked car he broke to get the suspension, but many people use motorbike engines like V-twins. Ian's has Dellorto carbs instead of the standard single solex of the 2CV (we Westies know about these things, of course).

Ah well, back in the old routine tomorrow, for 3 days anyway....


Sunday 27 December 2009

New Trains

Parked up in the sidings at Faversham over Christmas, all this smart new rolling stock - our new japanese built "Javelin" Trains. I bet the local "fat controller" thinks his Christmas has come in style this year, and he has a whole new big-boy's trainset to play with.

We are getting back into nice long proper walks now, in the absence of Meggie, so not only have we done the old "two bridges loop" many times, but also the "levee" loop down past the barge (Cambria) and today a bit of a skiddy, waterlogged one down across the allotments and out round the fields. It's something to do with needing fresh air and healthy exercise after all the indulgences of Christmas eating.

Look after yourself


Saturday 26 December 2009

5000 visits

Hey! We made it. Site meter is recording the fact that this blog scored 5000 visits by Friday 25th which is quite neat timing.
We were off down to visit Pud-Lady and Stamp-Man, where Mum and Dad were due to cook the turkey dinner. In the event, Mum got so focussed in the small kitchen and was enjoying herself so much that, except for lifting heavy turkeys out of the oven and the carving itself, she rebuffed all offers of assistance. Dad was left to chat with the other guests, T-Fer and friend-of-the-family, Jane.
I caused a quick flurry of excitement myself, of course, when I found that a badger dig under the fence meant I could get out of the Steak Lady's garden, and then off across 3 or 4 more gardens. This was much too exciting for me to worry about Dad whistling and calling (won't be a minute Dad; I just have to check out these hutched rabbits and these Dogs going mad barking at me strolling around because they are inside a fenced cage).
I was very good - I always knew where Dad was, and I made sure to keep giving him glimpses of me in various gardens, but eventually he clambered over a few fences and cornered me. There after I was only allowed out in the garden on a lead, which seems a bit mean.
Meal eaten, prezzies exchanged and opened, we headed back to home with a pleasing amount of cold turkey left overs, via a nice sighting in the headlights, of Fallow Deer in Challock Forest, to chill out with our bloated stomachs, to watch Doctor Who. It's been a very good Christmas all round. I hope yours was as nice.
My pic shows a recent Cambria shot, just for an update, deck-beams almost complete and the start of deck planking going on, as we headed in to Christmas.
Enjoy the weekend

Thursday 24 December 2009

It was Christmas Eve, Babe...

Christmas - babies in mangers and all that Jazz. This pic might be of me, or equally it might be of Ellie or Archie; we all looked the same at that age. This is September 2006 and taken within minutes of my (our) birth(s).

Ah... that song, Shane Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl and the Pogues. Surely the best Christmas Song in all time (so says Dad, and Sir Terry Wogan, so it must be true).

Mum and Dad are just back from going to the wedding evening of Mum's colleague Marina to new hubby Ian. Well done you guys and all the best. The "evening" took place in the town's football club new-ish club house. 6 years ago our footie club was all derilect, the pitch overgrown, the buildings all burned out and graffiti'd up, the fences in disrepair, the team disbanded and the management moved on. Then thanks to a concerted effort by the club and motivating dozens of volunteers and getting hold of some money, it rose like a Phoenix from the ashes and is now very smart and doing really well.

From the wedding "do", Dad's now back, and Mum was too, but has nipped off to take Diamond to Midnight Mass. We are all ready. Prezzies are wrapped and (edible content not-withstanding) stashed under the tree, food is assembled and prepped for Hastings tomorrow, and we are almost out of space for any more Christmas Cards.

Y'all have a great Christmas and a well-deserved break from the daily grind.


Wednesday 23 December 2009

Eve Eve

Things are settling down here now into a new, Megan-less routine. We think we've told everyone who needs telling the sad news, except for a lot of the dog-walkers we would normally meet on the Rec, Short evenings and bad weather mean we've not seen the likes of Barney and Smudge's Mum, Ben's Mum or Maxie's or Finzi's Dads, so we'll have to catch up with them in due course unless the Jungle Drums get them first.

It's Christmas "Eve-Eve" and everyone's exhausted. All humans go crazy-busy at this time of year, and only now do they start to wind down towards the Holiday. Dad has, unusually, the luxury of a 4 day break which is, also inevitably, getting filled up with events. We may even visit Diamond and Rags - it'll be the first time we've met Rags since Diamond's been in and out of Hospital (and Rags has been "on his holidays").

Dad and his 2CV mates had their Christmas meal last night, and came back smelling of paté, venison/chestnut/ale pie and Christmas pud with ice cream. Very well fed and soon snoring away - only problem with being designated driver, he was on the alcohol free Becks, and had to forego a guest beer called "Christmas Fairy" which 2CV-Doctor Lew was raving about.

Good long, fast paced walks nowadays - one compensation for the passing of the Megster.

Nearly there

Monday 21 December 2009

Just a couple more

Just a couple more (well, 3 then) pics of Meggie, and then I think we'll move on. Dad has got this cute (and very youthful) face now as his screen background image. The grass one is out on her beloved Rec, strolling about in an aimless looking manner. She probably had an aim - she just wasn't letting on, and had us all beleiving that her aim was to sniff every blade of grass on the Rec, and be admired by all the young male dogs she could find. We used to call her the Dowager Duchess of Kent. If she could've had one of those old "dance cards" she would have done. You can see why Mum called her "Pretty Girl" all the time, and very rarely Megan or Meggie.

Look after yourselves

Sunday 20 December 2009

Some more nice Meggie shots

A few nice Meggie pics, just because Mum is transferring loads of pics from one PC to another and we came across them. They date from 2005 (no, we haven't had that much snow in these parts yet this year).

Enjoy what's left of the weekend

Saturday 19 December 2009

A Big Thank You

A big thank you to all of you who have posted kind and sympathetic comments about Maggie back to this blog. I gather we've even been "facebook'd" from Oz (Hello, Cousins!) although we don't go anywhere near Facebook if we can help it! Thanks, too, Em-J. We'll miss her too.

Dad is amazed by Haggis and myself and how we're coping. Haggis seems to miss her quite a bit, and you often see him trot over to the bed where she'd normally be, and then stop short, seeming to realise that she's not there. I guess it still smells of her there. The two of us were also sniffing round the edges of the grave mound this afternoon before our walk, so that the snow there is now gently dinted up to the rim of the mound with little dog foot prints.

Dad was mildly concerned we'd start digging (Dad! How could you?)

Meanwhile, have you looked at the "site-meter" at the top of this blog lately. We are getting up towards 5000 visits!


Friday 18 December 2009

...and we shall have snow

The South East of Endland is whacked by North winds and some proper snow. It only takes about half an inch to knock out most of our road system, so this 4-5 inches had all the area around Bluebell Hill (the A229) and Detling Hill (the A249) closed and/or paralysed. Huge queues quickly built up and journey times ballooned. Dad set off at the normal 05:00 but came back at 07:00 saying that both the hills were closed - he'd been 2 hours doing the 20 or so miles there and 20 back.
No matter, that gave us a chance to share breakfast with Mum and Dad, and they even went across to the Panini shop for bacon rolls. Later, Dad tried again using the Ashford Road (A251) and Charing Hill to get "down", and this time got to work at midday, a good 7 hours late!
All safely home now though, fire going in the grate, red wine to celebrate the Friday at what Dad's work call DEFCON 4. They are never sure whether the "defcons" run up or down (is 1 bad or is 5 bad? Should have paid more attention to the film "war games").
We are all missing Meggie of course - the click click of her toenails on the laminate, not having to carry her down the garden first thing and last thing to make sure she did her business, her stiff-legged waking up from cold on the bed to come and greet a returning human. Still, she's resting now, down in the orchard, The snow drops are just starting to poke through down there, although there's now a dusting of snow.
Have a good weekend

Thursday 17 December 2009

Farewell to Meggie

Today we are sorry to bring you the sad news of the passing away of Megan. Uncomfortable and off her food for a few days now, Mum and Dad, fearing the worst, made an appointment at the vet's. The short version of the story is that her suffering was a result of acute kidney failure, so that the tough decision had to be made, and she was put to sleep tonight.
Dad was pleased that it was himself there and also pleased that the vet on duty was old friend and vet to Megan from the moment Mum and Dad brought her home as an 8 week old pup, John F. That was 13 years ago.
For those of you who have never been there it was a very dignified and gentle exit. She was up on the bench with Dad cradling her head and a vet nurse steadying her body. John shaved a small area of leg, readied the syringe, then drew back a small curl of blood, and pushed in the pink liquid. Megan never flinched or changed her expression at all, just carried on looking at Dad. In no more than 10 seconds, almost before the last of the syringe-full went in, she relaxed into Dad's and the nurse's hands.
Dad left the room to settle the bill, while the nurse out back wrapped Megan in a blanket, and then rather than bring her through the waiting room, walked round the side and met Dad outside. Dad carried the small bundle back to car and brought her home to Mum. We were allowed to sniff the bundle, but this was then laid to rest quickly in the orchard still in its blanket.
Mum and Dad hope that all their animals are granted such good, full and happy life and then as dignified and painless an end. You can't really do more for a friend and pet than that. Goodbye then the Megster - we will miss you a lot. I'm sure that all your many friends and admirers will wish you rest in peace.

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Here to serve

Winter's suddenly seriously here, with proper frosts and North Winds. This unfortunately coincides with Mum's car's heater deciding to stop working, so her car is frozen inside as well as out today and she's scrabbling around (getting nice and warm) trying to defrost the car, and then trying to get into the 2CV. She did, though, find time to take this rather good pic of a rose in the back garden.
Dad gets in stores of coal and logs. We already have a stock of old newspapers, and a good supply of old house-structure wood for kindling after the Panini brothers had done their stuff.
Dad feels like he's "here to serve" today, racing between various sites for work and then at lunchtime it's works Christmas Dinner in the canteen, and the Managers traditionally serve the colleagues at these do's. So Dad and his fellow Managers get a taste of "waitering" dressed in obligatory silly hats, setting out festive settings and scurrying between tables and food-prep areas with trays of food, plates, glasses of (soft) drinks while three sittings of guys and gals get processed through between about half 11 and 2pm. He takes his hat off to anyone who has done this for a living.
Tonight, more "servitude", representing the views of the allotments tennants as the local Town Council starts to negotiate taking back control of allotment running from the wider Borough Council. We await with interest what that will bring.

Sunday 13 December 2009

All better

Within a few hours, my pain from yesterday was gone. I tried to hang it out a bit, but was busted when I leapt down from Dad's lap and landed with a shoulder-blade stretching thump to collect a proffered sweetie, without wincing or squeaking.
Unfortunately, today it's ol' Meggie's turn to be off the weather. She's off her food, taking only a half hearted interest in sweeties, and is mooching around looking fed up, ignoring breakfast and not being impatient for supper (which is a sure sign all is not well.)
Today is Mum and Dad's last day off work - back to the old routine tomorrow, so they have a bit of a tidying blitz - stuff to and from the loft and to and from the shed. Christmas tree bought yesterday is erected and dressed. Mum says it is a bit like "the tree that taste forgot" - no news there then!
Look after yourselves.

Saturday 12 December 2009

Oooowooo - OW OW OW!

I'm in pain, and nobody cares! The humans just keep looking at me all sad, and gently picking me up and feeding me treats and uttering sympathetic noises but nobody REALLY cares. I have had to go to the vets for my annual jabs, which made me squeak, but Dad just told the vet not to worry as I'm a known drama queen.

I was then OK in the car on the way home via some obscure farm cottages in Eastling (something to do with allotments), bouncing around the car and shouting at any passing dogs, and I was OK while Dad trimmed our bums and eyes.

But when the humans decided to go buy a Christmas tree I suddenly realised I was in pain, and I've been woosing around ever since, stiff shouldered and stiff necked, whimpering with pain at every opportunity. It Hurts me so! It's not fair. Dad says we'll rest it and lift me everywhere and see how we are in the morning.

Make it go away! OWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

Deefski (Poor wounded soldier)

Friday 11 December 2009

A little bit of what you fancy

Over the last 2 days, it's been something for everyone. Yesterday Mum and Dad abandon us for a day trip to France, leaving us to the tender mercies of the Angel B and Uncle Jim. They head for a favourite restaurant (La Restaurant du Cygne) in St Omer
which is only about 50 kms inland from Calais. It's very posh, they say, and you find it hard pushed not to sit back with a smug glow thinking "aren't we the badgers nadgers?". There is also time for a bit of shopping for the Christmas Calavados and treats. Yet again they manage to swing a clear skied day with little wind, so the channel is pretty close to mill pond smoothe, and Dad still hasn't seen Mum be sea-sick.
Mum warned Dad about 15 years ago that she was a terrible traveller and prone to turning green as soon as she left port, but in those 15 years, every sea crossing has somehow happened on a reasonable day, so Dad is half expecting Mum to finally admit "Ha ha! Only kidding!".
Because we get left behind on these trips, not having the required rabies jabs and paperwork, Haggis and I get a compensatory nice long walk at Reculver. Here you see us close to, on the beach, then far away on a distant mussel-bedecked mud bank with the towers in the distance, and also some of the hundreds of brent geese over-wintering at Reculver. A girl can put up quite a honking clamour of geese if she runs at a flock fast enough, and none of them turn on me as did those domestic geese up by the narrow boating canal!
Finally, Mum takes Meggie off for a quiet stroll in the Rec, smuggling her out the front of the house while dad distracts us with a bout of greenhouse cleaning. 2 times round the tennis couts apparently and not a blade of grass un-sniffed. So - everyone's happy, and now it's the start of the weekend.
Look after yourselves

Sunday 6 December 2009


It's that time of year again when we are allowed real fires. This pic's a bit of a cheat, being a couple of years back but it gives a nice warm idea of what I'm on about. Meg, needless to say.

Nice walk this morning, down through town while Dad looks around for inspiration on a quiz he has to "quizmaster" for the local Horticultural Society. In the purpose of that we get to meet a load of dogs on the Rec including brown and white Staffie, Frank, plus chihuahuas Trigger and Simba, long haired and short haired respectively. Trigger is a mad fast black guy who will chase around with anything that will chase around with him (I'm up for a bit of that). Simba is a very nervous rescue dog who is convinced he's gonna get mullered by every dog he meets. We help out with a bit of socialisation therapy there!

Meanwhile, it's all change in the Panini Room, with the new fridge freezer now fired up and filled, so the old fridge and freezer go variously to the shed and the dump. This computer gets a new screen.

All the best


Friday 4 December 2009

Do I come here often?

Time for a bargee update, I feel. Here is a photo in through the front entrance of the lighter / polytunnel, which gives you an immediate idea of how the restoration is coming on. Visit the Cambria Trust website and one of the first pics you'll see on the home page is the tired old bow and the splintering, rotten wood of the stem as the old girl languishes in the lighter and is brought back to Faversham for her restoration.
Contrast that with the smart new white-painted (for the moment) stem post which is clearly visible in the pic, and the crisp smart curves of the (also white) "wale" planks (top of the sides of the hull) and you'll be queueing to get on trains down here to gape, mesmerised at the brilliant progress. OK maybe not.
Dad blags another "poets" so we (the "H" and myself) get another good vigorous daylight walk, down past the water works to the creek, east along the levee and then back in land from Nagden, to the allotments, where we stop off to admire the broad bean plants but also to be appalled by the shaggy wet grass. Dad has not been able to get on the plot for a month, it seems like - continuous tilting rain.
All the other plot holders seem to be out there , too, walking around morosely with their dogs, frustrated by the inability to get on the site and dig. Nobody does "morose" quite like an allotment holder in the rain.
Meanwhile, Dad is getting all "togg"-ish on us, swearing he has read a specific bargee article in a mag, but then being unable to find the article again. Silly old git.
Rumour has it both Mum and Dad are off work all week next week. Have a great weekend.

Friday 27 November 2009


With Dad having blagged a "poets" he's finally home in the dry daylight, and we are all treated to a walk down at Conyer Creek. We love this logo on the gated community at North Quay, which is cut out of sheet metal and painted white.
Conyer is, as ever, alive with bunnies and there is much fun to be had hunting in amongst the bushes, but it also seems to be THE PLACE to take your dogs at that time of day, presumably squeezed in between the end of work and it getting dark.
Quite sociable it all was. Have a good weekend
PS - we seem to have swept straight through the third birthday of this blog, which was the 18th November. Doesn't time fly when you're having fun.

Sunday 22 November 2009

Going Backwards

At the risk of going backwards on this blog, having finished the building works, I attache, courtesy of the Angel B, this striking pic of the house with a big hole in it, prior to the Panini Boys installing the new French Windows.
It seems a while back now - all the work finished and our visit from the Silverwoods come and gone. Dad dropped them back to Gatwick this afternoon. They had a great time and did a lot of the stuff they had on their lists including this morning a good old play around the "toys" in the Rec and a drive in the 2CV out to see the old Mmle car. We also fitted in a couple of trips to Diamond's place, where little J-M (9) has now fallen in love with most of Diamond's wardrobe and doll collection. Look out Diamond - count the dolls before we leave!
But now it's nice to have the house back - no builders, no guests, just us lot chilling out and watching a bit of Antiques Roadshow
Look after yourselves

Saturday 21 November 2009

Them Jonasses again

Well - you'll be pleased to know the girls thoroughly enjoyed their Jonas concert, coming back very tired at 02:00 but saying words like "brilliant" and "cool". Mum reported that it was very loud and at one stage asked if you could die from the screams of tens of thousands of pre-teen girls, plus reporting that she was pleased she'd taken her ear plugs but was sad she'd forgotten to take a book to read, and some Bach to play through the earphones. Mrs S was more "up for it" and has J-M balanced on one chair seat while Em-J was boogie-ing on the next chair.

Dad was meanwhile, chilling out back here with us to Terry Wogan and the "Children in Need" thing and "Autumn Watch". With all this stoppin' out, nobody was up very early for breakfast, so we got a walk through the soggy grass of the Cemetery, and were very dirty by the time we joined spanking-white westies Jasper and AN Other in the Rec.

Today's main entertainment for the humans was a trip down to see the Pud-Lady in Hastings, but with the car already full of people, there was no room for us. We got to sleep all day in the house. Panini-boss John called round to collect his money, so he's happy too.

Now Em-J and J-M have been practising their frog catching skills down at the pond, with torches and rain coats against the rain. Mad, the lot of them. Indoors we have a coal fire going in the Panini Room, so when they come back in at least they can get warm and dry.

Have a great weekend


Friday 20 November 2009

Jonas Brothers

These are the guys about whom was all the fuss, the Jonas Brothers. Mum has invited Mrs Silverwood, and the 2 girls Em-J and J-M over to join us for the weekend so that tonight they can all head for the Wembley Arena. None of us have the first idea what they sound like, although the Angel B claims to have caught them by mistake on the TV. Mrs Silverwood says they are actually capable of "rocking out" - it's not all too sickly sweet, cute and poppy despite its Miley C and Hannah Montana links.

Enough on that because we really are speaking from total ignorance here (no change there then!). It's been fun to have them around despite some appalling weather. They had made a big list, Mum-style, of all they wanted to do in the short time they were here, with the intention of ticking them off (revisit our town Rec's excellent swings-and-slides park, visit Diamond, climb the James Grieves Tree in the back garden, watch X-Factor (what? - our TV doesn't even receive chav-TV girls!)).

Because of the rain we've not got through the list very well yet, although we did visit Diamond and the Sparrowhawk came through and let them see a fresh kill, which wasn't on the list, but would have been had they known it was available. Now they've gone off to see their concert, and it's all gone a bit quiet in the "Panini Room". We got our walk, and we've been fed, so now we're all chilling out. Mr Silverwood is believed to be chilling equally with the 2 infant charges (Toddler-M and Baby R) with whom he's been left while Mrs S abandons him for the weekend in Ireland.

Can you cope, Mr S? Dad says it's really tough you guys not being able to go see the Jonasses but I don't think I quite believe him.

Have a great weekend

Deefski Jonas (we love the fact that the Jonasses come with a small 8 year old brother who's not yet allowed to tour with them, and he's called Bonus Jonas!)

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Bye bye Paninis

With a final flurry of electrics work (lights, central heating thermostat) and then clearing up, the Panini boys finish and depart by about 11:30, off, we are told, to re-supply electrics to an address in Margate which was disconnected when the tenant got busted for owning and running a cannabis factory in there!

Brilliant blokes, and very easy to be a around, these guys have done an excellent job for us and Mum and Dad are delighted. They'd recommend these guys to anyone in the Kent area as builders (seriously, so Dad says if you want to know who they really are, leave a comment).

Dad's been around today - using up some holidays and running errands, plus the boys were in and out a bit quick, so the Panini supply was a bit limited. Dad's had some fun spoofing up one of their flyers with extra dog and bakery graphics, and extra "services" added to their list - General building work, roofs, tiling etc, no job too small, local bakery businesses well supported, no dogs knowingly starved etc.

So there y'go. Now there's just the awesome task of putting the place back together ready for the arrival of the Silverwoods.

Look after yourselves. I was going to say "have a great weekend" but it's not that yet for most of you, is it! Shame!


Tuesday 17 November 2009

All is revealed

The Panini boys are hard at it again today and by the time Dad returns from work (at a sensible hour this time) we have a posh new wooden "reveal" around the inside of the French doors and a much tidier garden. The boys are cruising in towards the end of the job now - I'm thinking maybe tomorrow will see them all done.

Just in time then for the imminent arrival of some of the Silverwoods, who are over so that the girls (Em-J and J-M) can be taken to a concert at the Wembley Arena, of the Jonas Brothers. This is a treat from (our) Mum, and Mrs Silverwood is coming along for the ride (or perhaps she's a secret fan?). The men are notable by their absence, strategically swerving these delights and unaccountably volunteering to stay home and look after the infants (M and Baby-R in the case of Mr Silverwood, we three doggies in the case of Dad).

We're quite alright being left on our own, Dad, if you really really want to go see the Jonas Brothers.....

Megan, meanwhile has suddenly perked up as if the discomfort of the operation-scar on her foot has suddenly eased. She enjoys a walk to the Rec, round the outside and back, positively scampering at some stages, and not needing a carry back along the tarmac path, by Dad. She is, says Mum, also no longer given to TOGG-ish "Do I come here Often?" looks (how rude!).

Fun ahead, but we'll miss the Panini Boys

Monday 16 November 2009

French Doors

With Mum and Dad out at work all day, the Panini boys are back and with the weather improved since Friday, they get stuck into extracting the old "back door" (Dining room exterior door) and replacing it with double French doors and the 300mm side panels.
This seems to generate huge amounts of stacked rubbish in the back garden, but luckily not the predicted gentle dusting of brick dust over everything (Mum would just about have cracked up at that point!)
Unfortunately, Dad gets held up at work, so Mum is home first, but after the Paninis have left town and not left the key for the new doors in any obvious position. This leaves Mum with the prospect of calming all dogs down and explaining why they can't go out the "old way", but have to be carried one by one out of the front door and round the side passage to the back garden, and one by one back round again when they've done their business.
It's all too much for me, so I hop around squeaking and jumping up at the locked new door, making Mum shout at me, and Meggie decides to be sick in the hall and the kitchen. Then the front door sticks leaving Mum locked out for 10 minutes. It's not the usual, shall we say, smooth running, cool, calm and collected arrival, of a home coming. Mum goes from content to frazzled all in about 10 minutes, and texts Dad to say she's moving into the Home for the Bewildered out the back.
By the time Dad gets home, of course, she's in, has now found the keys and some semblance of normality is restored.
We think that Mum will be soooooo relieved when the Panini boys have finished and gone and we can all tidy up........ We'll miss them though.

Sunday 15 November 2009

Macra na Feirme

Looking, by her own admission, for all the world like a member of "Mna Macra na Feirme", the unofficial Ladies associated with the Irish "Young Farmers" (Macra na Feirme is official, it's just the ladies of a certain age and style who tag along - Irish Country gals, basically), Mum togs up to take Diamond to Mass. Diamond is actually a "prod", of course, but the RC Rev who came (to Mum's plea) and supported her when she was in the depths of Intensive Care hell a couple of months back, was so nice and kind, Diamond is keen to pay back the compliment now she's "out"

Diamond is currently in remission and living at home, needing the hospital only for blood tests etc, pending a possible further chunk of treatment at Kings Hospital in the big smoke. She's even been round here to admire the work of the Panini Boys, and taken tea with us, and she has been invited by the Pud Lady to come down with us to Hastings on Christmas Day. This may not quite work, as she may be in Kings, but the thought was there, and she's delighted to have the invitation.
We get some good walking today, making our way down to the quayside where, it being a Sunday, the barge SB Cambria is open, and Dad's barge-chums Mark and Cathy are "on station". Kess is there, of course, doing what she does best - being strange. Long haired JR Kess, we know of course, has a thing about stones.
Having selected a suitable stone she will then obsess on it, moving it about by mouth and, where ever it sits, ripping to shreds any grass tussocks near to it and tearing at the ground till quite a sophisticated trench has been dug near the stone. She did this on our terrace once, totally confusing me so that I just sat on Dad's lap barking at her antics, and the nice round pebble has been preserved by Dad for next time she visits.
Returning home we come across new kid on the block, short haired JR, "Clifford". I try to entice him to play by flirting outrageously and running about, but he only has eyes for Haggis (much to Haggis's displeasure) and he's fixated on sniffing bits of the "H" that "H" would rather not have sniffed.
Keep on keepin' on

Friday 13 November 2009

Bo and Coco

Heavy rain and strong winds prevent the Panini Boys from installing our French windows (they are worried about the dust from their stone-cutter blowing everywhere and the rain getting into the sensitive parts of their electrical tools) so they are reduced to working indoors on what is now surely going to be known as "The Panini Room" , doing detailed stuff - edging around the hall floors, picture rails, the glass pane above the internal door.

Out on the Rec we meet, now almost full grown, white and black Staffie, Bo (or possibly Beau) whom we last met as a tiny floppy pup almost a year ago. We also meet new kid on the block, equally floppy but nothing like tiny pup Coco, a Dogue de Bretagne. Named after Coco Chanel, this lady is all silly and submissive, and still all pink and "new" aroiund the mouth and eyes, but already the size of a full grown boxer. Short haired and chocolate brown - she's gonna be huge!

Have a good weekend

Thursday 12 November 2009

I gave it up for music and....

The Panini boys continue to make good progress on the re-build. Most of the floor is now down and much of the new skirting is in place. The new French Doors arrived today and were unpacked and inspected. The Panini boys continue to feed us well (we have no complaints) although we did have to express concern when Dad-Panini suggested we might like some vegetable soup in our bowls for lunch. 100%-canine Haggis, in particular was so distressed he had to go and have a lie down.

Meanwhile, Mum and Dad are exploring some unheard of music avenues. One of Dad's allotmenters, and "Dad" to shaggy-bearded Finzi, the black lurcher, turns out to be a proper professional muso, who has performed on stage with Martin Carthy (him of Steel-eye Span etc, electric folky stuff) and Billy Bragg (presumably not together!), writes his own stuff and has released several CD's. He's about to go on tour with his latest one (including at the Gulbenkian (Canterbury) this month.

He gave Dad a copy and he's been playing it round and round in the car; he's 100% impressed and is looking on the guy with new found respect. There are songs about Kent, Spitfires and all sorts including, rather marvellously, a song inspired by Dad's own twisted asparagus as came up this Spring.

In addition Andy, Dad's co-owner of the 2CV project car Mademoiselle, is an ace electric-bass player and has lately been appearing in band headed up by his ex, "Zinta and the Zoots". Mum and Dad went off to see them in the "Smack" pub in Whitstable last night. Again (they said) some good stuff, enhanced by the rather mad-cap on stage antics. Andy at one stage whipped out his "rocket bass" (oo-er) - a bass guitar enclosed in a big silver space-rocket shaped body - big fins on the "tail end" and a pointy nose-cone over the machine-head, like something out of Fireball XL5

My future in the system
was thought about and planned,
but I gave it up for music
and a free electric band.....

Deefski (breaks away for searing guitar solo)

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Ceilings and floors

Praise the Lord! The Panini-Boys are back, and this time Mum has furnished them with their own supply of crumpets in the fridge, butter and honey and Jamaican Ginger Cake. Dad's at work this week, so doesn't actually see them, so he's not in a position to scold them when they feed us with tear-offs, but he suspects we must be getting spoiled rotten, as none of us really want boring old dog food for supper, when he gets in.

You can see from the pics that the start of the laminated floor up the hall is in place, and that the inner walls have been chopped out to accomodate the French windows. The Paninis can't do the outer walls yet, as we are still waiting for the double glazed units themselves to arrive, but they needed to do the inners so they could proceed with the floors.

What you can't see from these pics (or at least only indirectly) is that the ceilings have been painted a lovely dense 3 coats of white. You'll know this when I also tell you Dad is using bounced flash off the ceiling, and you look at the difference in lighting between the new-plaster ones a few days ago.

Hey, Progress!

Welcome back Paninis


Friday 6 November 2009

Panini Count Zero

Ha! This Rob might know a bit about plastering (see what a great job he's done from the pics) but he knows zip about how to spoil (sorry, I mean "treat") doggies. He accepted some coffees from Dad and a few chocolate digestives, but didn't go over to the bakers once - no cheese rolls, no bacon slices, no baguettes, and definitely no panini.
The Panini boys appeared first thing to bring him here and show him the job, and then came back briefly at about 1pm when he was gone but on neither visit were there any victuals to be had. All we got, just before we passed out from malnutrition, was a bit of cold roast lamb from Dad's lunchtime wrap.
And to add insult to injury, on returning from our Rec walk (in which admittedly I did have a roll in the muddy grass) Dad decided I was way too scuzzy to remain unbathed, so I alone have been shampoo'd. He tells me that never has a small dog needed so much shampoo to raise a lather, and that the water coming off me was some kind of record breaking black. Guinness was mentioned, though this might be a slight exageration.
Ah well, weekend is here, builders are gone and Dad has washed the kitchen floor about 5 times by now. We are all expecting a million more fireworks tonight, but to be honest we're a bit bored with them at this stage.
Have a great weekend
The fragrant, white and fluffy.....

Thursday 5 November 2009

Tomorrow we get plastered

Remember remember, tonight's the night we're allowed lots of legal shouting in the back garden. How dare people invade OUR airspace with those nasty flashy, screamy, banging fireworks. Haggis has LOTS to say on the subject, most of it at full volume from the top of the steps. Megan shrugs (seen one firework, seen 'em all). Me, I'm not so sure, so I'm usually out there supporting Haggis but from a position closer to the house than he is, just in case a girl has to make a run for it.

Last night we dined in style, as you can see, red wine amongst the Panini-Boys' equipment, with Dad dodging between tools to conjure up a roast lamb, roasties, carrots and chard, followed by Christmas pud (but don't let on to the Pud-Lady we took this long to get around to it!) and ice cream.

Today, the Paninis have been gyprocking about the place and making good the grooves left by the absent wall, putting up the new ceiling and generally titivating because tomorrow we are getting plastered. No, Haggis, this isn't Calva and no, Megan, we are not talking red wine, Mum and Dad are under strict instructions to have the kitchen entirely clear of all kitchen-y stuff because "Rob" is going to perform a transformational miracle.

The Paninis are off to another job for the day, so we don't know how we'll do tomorrow for cheese rolls, cheddar puffs, cheese-and-bacon savouries and , of course panini. Today we were offered tomato and basil soup, coffee and a "roll up". I think the Paninis might have been taking the Mick at that stage, don't you.


Wednesday 4 November 2009

Diagonal Door and Panini

Oh what a perfect day (I'm glad I spent it with you). Not only have we have the builders round again which means plenty of torn off bits of cheese sandwich, bacon roll and cheese/ham panini (Old John has not yet learned to avoid our imploring looks, even though Dad scolds him). The guys have put up the door which sits neatly diagonally across the end of the hall (we have not yet been officially told that it's main purpose is to keep us at the back of the house when the humans are out), so we think Mum will be delighted.
It's a gorgeous honey oak, just waiting for some nice oil to be rubbed into it. There will be a glazed panel above it, and it has 2 windows, so will allow plenty of light through in either direction. They have also started on the ceiling work.
We also got taken out, all three of us, in the 2CV to go collect the old project car, Mademoiselle, to take her for a nice blast through all the country lanes across to Lew's workshop, where we are all allowed out for a good sniff around, There are old farm buildings and greenhouses so plenty of chicken-y and ratty smells to chase, as well as beer-drinking, tea-drinking Jack Russell "Rosie" to talk to.
We do, though create a minor drama when we stray too near some pigs in a field. Lew runs to rescue us in alarm. Dad is quite knowledgeable around farming but has no experience of pigs, and wasn't aware that pigs will quite happily surround and kill a dog, tearing it to peices if they get a chance. Could've told me!
Dad does not think it was such a perfect day though, just because he gets chauffeured around all the builders merchants in Canterbury shelling out for french windows here, a door there, wood there and laminated flooring there..... He's gone for a lie down.
Deefer (pah! Pigs! I wasn't scared!)

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Canterbury Steel

Day 2 of the house-wrecking project. A lot less masonry flying about today and (Mum will be delighted to hear) a lot less dust. The guys tidy up the broken off edge of the ceiling where the RSJ is to go, then bash out a hole in the walls at either end. The beam gets hefted into position while we're out for a walk, so we didn't see that bit, and "wound up" with two more Acrows. Next comes blocking up above the steel, packing out the gap from RSJ to the bottom of the upstairs wall with slate, blocks and cement. All good stuff.
We get a nice walk round the boat yard and the town. Dad is curious as to where Sailing Barge Greta has got to. Working the touristy charter business all Summer out of Whitstable harbour, she was due to come "home" to our quayside last Sunday but-one, and hasn't appeared. Hope she (and skipper Steve) are OK.

Monday 2 November 2009

Trick or Treat?

Trick or treat? This is what happens if you don't give them the correct sweeties. They come back next day and knock your house down! I jest, of course. This is day 1 of Mum and Dad's
"re-modelling" project, to whit, knocking down the wall between Kitchen and Diner. So we have had Bob the Builder and his mate (actually, John and Dan) to "play with" all day. Can't think why we were all shut away out of the firing line when the boys set to with the kango's and hammers and the shards of masonry were a-flying.
End of Dad 1, and we have no wall left and the ceiling held up by Acrow props. We have a 3.7m RSJ (Yes, Mum did manage to call it a JCB this morning) coming. We shall have new floors, new ceilings and lots of making good in the walls dept. A new radiator, too, and some re-sited sockets. Dad has the week off, so he's been able to keep up and email some pics to Mum, but I bet she'll still be impressed when she first steps into her new "Kitchen Diner".
Meanwhile, up at the allotments, it's that time of year when some plots come free because people decide not to re-new. This year we have 6 part plots to let, and 35 souls on the waiting list, so Dad is busy arranging meetings up at the site to show people the options. We love this because we get to come too and get a good run around the site - this time with beardy black lurcher, Finzi.
You were only meant to blow the bl***y doors off!

Sunday 1 November 2009

Undiscovered Kong

Ah the joys of it! Mum and Dad are clearing the dining room and the kitchen preparatory to Bob the Builder coming in Monday to demolish the wall between the two. In the process they move a big dresser and, lo and behold!, under it is an old Kong toy. What's more it's full of treats!
Now these may be fairly ancient treats (rumour has it that the kong was bought for me as a pup but that I either lost interest or it rolled under the dresser and got forgotten, but these treats improve with maturity and age, so I immediately claimed the toy as my own and set about extracting the goodies (and growling at anyone who came near.)
Haggis, on the other hand HATES all these furniture moves with a passion, strongly suspecting that they may result in humans disappearing with their belongings in a suit case and us being abandoned to the tender mercies of Dog Sitters. Now the only dog sitters we've ever had are Ken and Jackie one side, and the Angel B and Uncle Jim the other, all of whom are wonderful, but that doesn't stop Haggis slinking around with his tail and ears down, and a hang-dog expression like his little world is falling apart.
Meg's cool as long as no-one turns off the food supply....