Tuesday 30 June 2009

H Vans and a Scammell

2 more nice pics from the 2CV camp, and the associated Preston Steam Rally. The grey beast is the Citroen H Van mentioned yesterday, and the blue and red beast is considerably heavier, being a low loader / heavy haulage puller/pusher, the Scammell. Both lovingly restored and I am sure much cherished. Dad says he loves the name, but that might be something to do with Theakestone's beers.

My but it's hot. Dad's getting home at a sensible hour but no-one feels like walking till about 9 pm. The car's dashboard thermometer read 35 degrees at 3pm, admittedly in a sun-trap car park, but even moving under normal conditions we were still getting 31 degrees. Too hot to walk, too hot to type.

Love though, to Diamond, not at all well in hospital at present. Rags has been sent away "on his holidays" (a place up on the A2 owned by chums of Diamond, where Rags goes when she's in Greece. He loves it there - big garden and people around all the time to make a fuss of him and be with him. Thinks all his Birthdays and Christmasses have come at once. Won't want to come home!


Monday 29 June 2009

Socks and a Ukulele

2 more pics from the 2CV camp. A couple of the campers who we know well, and who turn up with Collie brother and sister, Ben and Nellie (14) have lately got keen on playing the Ukulele.

The guy in particular has bought several on Flea-Bay and "done them up" with amusing paint-jobs etc (One was in two-tone and covered in pics of ska bands and stuff). He is also a bit of a genius woodworker and , being also mad keen on the old corrugated steel Citroen vans called "H" vans, has even made a Uke whose body is the same shape as an H van grille. I will dig out an H van pic so you can see (just imagine a corrugated iron shed on wheels).

This one has several amusing and imaginative features - the number plate says "Uke", the paint work has been deliverately "distressed" at the bottom and on the neck, the sound-holes are the Citroen chevrons, and inside is a fake sticker saying "Made by Citroen USA in 1958". The coffee mug in the pic is also H-van inspired, as within Dad's club there is an un-official spoof sub-group called "Scum" (Societe Citroen Utilite Moteurs) - or some such.

The next pic is another dog we know well from many many camps - "Socks" who appears with Mick and his good lady Charlie. Socks belongs to Charlie and here she (Charlie) is caught facing the wrong way in their H-Van driving seat and trying to screw her head round to see who is calling her through the window (It's Dad). Disorganised ears or what?


Sunday 28 June 2009

Hoppers Camp 2009

Hey! We've all been camping again, the 2009 edition of the 2CV camp organised by dad's club local group, Kentish Hoppers. We're in the old familiar farm in Preston, a village just East of Canterbury but in 2009 there are some major differences from "normal". First up, the weather.
Dad's camps are plagued by strong winds and heavy rain, so that we dogs are always damp and normally crawling into the damp tent accompanied by a towel down by increasingly damp dog-towels. We lie in a steaming heap with Dad and no-one can really get a good, comfy night's sleep.

This year, blue skies and hot hot dry days, windless to the point of being stormy-sultry, but the threatened storms miss us, except for a tiny shower on Saturday.
Next was that the camp was timed to co-incide with another big local event, the Preston Steam Traction Engine Rally, where lots of boys even more weird than Dad display their huge steam engines (far worse than 2CV's!). Boys never grow up - it's just their toys get bigger.
We finally get to ride in the Hoppers' project restoration car, "Mademoiselle", when Dad has to nip over to collect here from the lock up so that she can be displayed at the camp site, and does not want to leave us behind. The precious restored seat fabric is protected by a rug, and in we clamber. Excellent fun!.
More of this soon - I have lots of pics and lots more to tell. I must remember to tell you about Megs getting into trouble for stealing our new Hungarian friend's breakfast, but that's for later.
Also why I'm now shampoo'd to within an inch of my life.......
Good stuff - we're all tired out now though.

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Cool Car

Some more pics from the fun and games at Birchington last weekend. The Giraffes are not paintings, but full sized, for real, stuffed dead ones in the museum of African hunting trophies in Quex Park. Amazing place.
Dad says that the ol' 2CV "Mademoiselle" must be a pretty cool car, because look, the three most beautiful girls from La Chapelle are with her. It's official. These three are the "Damoiselles" (= beauty queens) of the town for this year. The blue dress is, allegedly, No 1 and woe betide you if you don't recognise this, but Mum loved the black and white frock.
The two different spellings are, we are told, allowed, because the "Damoiselle" tradition is supposed to draw from old french, chivalry, Knights in shining armour etc, when it was spelt with an "a". The modern spelling is Mademoiselle, and as "herself" only derives from 1961, she definitely falls into the latter camp.
The third photo is just Birchington's Morris Dancers. get in every where, don't they. Even La Chapelle. Rumoured to like the odd pint too.
Go'on lads

We know the sound

It's no good you thinking you can sneak up into the loft when we're down the garden, Dad! We have very good hearing and we KNOW that sound - the screech of the loft ladder, and it stirs in our veins, memories of Cyril the Squirrel (see earlier post "Killer Queen"). We race back up the garden and rush upstairs, and we shout furiously up the loft ladder at you through the hatch!

Don't kid a kidder!

Sunday 21 June 2009

Home Leg

Dad and the 2CV boys are today on the 4th part of the Mademoiselle 2CV restoration adventure, the "home leg" when La Chapelle d'Armentieres came to Birchington. This was a last chapter, if you like, and a final "mission accomplished" stamp.

The car now sorted, went on it's baby adventure to Birchington, then did the London to Brighton, then the big adventure to La Chapelle in May and now, finally, heads for Birchington, there to meet the La Chapelle contingent off their tour coach at Quex Park, and then to convoy into town and park up, on Show, in front of the library while the two towns met for a meal, wine, speeches, Morris Dancing, tree planting and even a Blessing by a local preacher-man.

There was even a fly-past by the Battle of Britain flight, buzzing low over the Birchington seaside, but that might have been something to do with a big Air-Show happening just down the coast at Margate. Very nice, all the same!

My pics are of the cars attracting a lot of attention outside the town library, and one of Bernard, the Mayor of La Chapelle sitting in the car while he recounted anecdotes of owning a 2CV whilst a student around Lille.

It's a tiring day, and we are a quiet subdued lot in the evening, sitting out on the terrace wondering if the gathering clouds portend rain at last?


Saturday 20 June 2009


Apologies, but it seemed like ages since I'd last posted and indeed it proved to be. First time I'd gone more than a week without getting the itch. It's been so busy round here, there's been little time for posting and , yikes, we've even missed a couple of walks where Dad was home so late.

I must introduce you, though, to a new chum, name of "Toad". He's a charcoal grey pug and a young chap. Suitable name, I guess, given his dark and ...um.... not that handsome look, but he's game for a bit of charging about. At least we think he's a pug, we didn't ask. Dad was too busy teasing the young lady owner because we'd started out assuming from the red diamante studded harness and pink extending reel lead that he was a she.

"No need to ask whether this is a girl or a boy" says Dad, and then has to retreat in confusion. The owner , though is not offended and enjoys the joke hugely, carrying on the theme by saying that the lead is girlie pink because she is a girlie girl, and he (Toad) is a real Momma's boy.

Busy and about to get busier as Mum and Dad come into the judging season - both for Gardens-for-Wildlife (for Kent Wildlife Trust) and the "Sustainability" (nee "Environmental Action") category for the Calor Gas Village of the Year Competition. With lots of gardens and villages to do between now and mid July, there will be precious few free evenings or weekend days over the next few weeks.

Have a good weekend

Friday 12 June 2009

Two Ticks

With Dad apparently trans-fixed by "Kate Humble Watch" (and he says it's the Red Kites and Goshawks!) there's been lots of focus round here on wild life. We have our own flying-schools of course, of baby sparrows and starlings, great tits and robins, but then Dad sees above the M2 on his way home the unmistake-able outline of a red kite.

Common now above the M4 and M40, West of London ("normal" but still very impressive) they have not yet officially made it down here to Kent. This one was flapping lazily westward (London Bound). They are a great success story in conversation. When Dad was small they were a great rarity, with only a few pairs breeding in central Wales, but now, 30-40 years later they are spreading fast across western England. It can be only a matter of time before they are as common over the North Downs, as they are over the Chilterns and Mendips.

I have my own wildlife, when 2 ticks attach themselves to the top of my head, exactly symetrically placed, just in front of my ears. So symetrical are they that Dad thinks first, as he tousles my hair, that they are some kind of whisker-base hair follicle. But, No, and they have to go. I bravely succumb to a Mum's tweezers based gentle but firm extraction (She insists that Dad douse the tweezers in boiling water afterwards, for some reason!). I do not even squeak.

Tonight, walking back from the allotments we meet up with Ellie in her front garden and have a nice sisterly chat. It's ages since we met. She already looks gorgeous (inevitably) and not satisfied with that she's off to the groomer tomorrow.

Have a great weekend.


Sunday 7 June 2009

Farewell to Owen

We are sad to relate the passing away of one of Meg's pups from the first litter, little Owen, who went to Mum and Dad's very good friend Bob-the-Plumber. He was named by their youngest, who was a mad keen Michael Owen fan, because he loved playing footie with the boy.

This was 2 weeks ago but we only just heard, Bob bringing his family down to see the SB Cambria, not knowing that Dad was on the volunteer rota this weekend.

This pic dates from May 99 and is pre-digital. Owen (left here) would have been less than a year old, and came back to spend a weekend with Megan and Haggis when Bob and Co went away for the weekend. He would have been 10 this year, and we know what a happy, loving family life he's had.

We hear that Owen had a perfectly happy and healthy final day, nipping out in the evening to bark at the moon as usual, just before bed time, drink from the pond and generally sniff about (his normal last-thing activities), but then keeled over on his way back into the kitchen, passing away quickly and painlessly of an apparent heart-attack. He had a "lovely funeral" apparently, buried at the top of the garden, and 11 friends were there to see him off.

Our sypathies are with Bob and Lynn and their family at this time. He has left a big hole in their family and they miss him a great deal.

Rest in Peace, Owen. We'll miss you too.


Saturday 6 June 2009


There is a new kid on the block, but this time it's not a dog, but a car. Mum has bought a new "baby", a small Fiat which goes by the unlikely name of Timbuktu due to it's combination of registration letters. Pics soon, but for now it is being treated with great care and driven round to show it off to Diamond and the Angel B etc, and parked on the drive, with Dad's car evicted to the roadside.

Timbuktu is a very smart rosé-wine red the same colour as a previous Fiat (Cinquecento) Mum had. This one is a panda. We have not been allowed in it yet (Him? Her? - what's it gonna be , Mum. We're guessing "him" as it is called "Tim" but you can never tell).

We leave all this behind and head for the Forest. We park at the Jacket's Field entrance (it's the way we usually go in when we're looking for deer) and make a triangle of paths, which does about an hour - all Meggie's up for these days, as she starts to slow down. We don't see any deer.

A mob of long-tailed tits comes through the garden this afternoon.

Have a good weekend


Friday 5 June 2009

"Reversing Blackbird" and "Stupid Spug"

You'll be familiar with those audible warnings on HGVs telling you the vehicle is reversing. One popular one round here has a rising and falling sequence of trills, which a dog can best describe as "Doodle-eep, doodle-oop, doodle-eep... etc" (You'll know exactly what I mean if you've heard them, and probably be completely baffled if you haven't).

Well, round here, where the garden story is all about birds and baby birds fledging, flying schools and inexperienced fluffy youngsters, but one regular appearing throughout is a blackbird who sings from a big Leylandii several gardens up, and intersperses his song with a perfect imitation of the doodle-eep, doole-oop noises. Mum has Christened him the "Reversing blackbird"

One of the various baby sparrows around here, newly fledged, amazes and amuses us with his/her attempts to get to the feeding ports on the seed-feeders. Landing on the very top of the pole in a reasonably professional manner, she then gets down to the port in a not-very-well-controlled plummet, falling down to the top of the feeder, and then from there falling down to the port. She has become known as "Stupid Spug"

We spend hours in fascinated viewing of the antics of these dudes.

Meanwhile, we suspect that another narrow-boating trip may be imminent. A load of paperwork has arrived from Shire Cruisers, the company we have used up to now


We suspect packing activity may follow, and one of Mum's Lists will shortly appear.

Have a great weekend
Deefski, all wet and tired out from running and running and running and running in the Rec tonight with good friend "Smudge"