Monday 31 August 2009

St Ives Cowboy Theme

Give them a theme and they'll run with it. At the St Ives camp, the theme was the "Wild West" (actually the wild East, being Cambridgeshire, but that hardly seemed to matter. The humans were "away on a hack" running with the theme.
The entrance to the camp was a mocked up shack, complete with papier-mache-faced man in blue check shirt, jeans and boots, outside with a big double barrelled gun (a safe mock up, let me say, with a wooden stock with two bits of one inch diam black plastic pipe attached). All around were signs such as the one shown, with a Ciroen Ami van with buffalo horns attached, or the totem pole adorned with many mysterious Citroen double-chevron runes and a dubious looking 2CV in blue on top.
Everywhere, the theme was taken up. The food area became the "chuck wagon" place, with the food wagons being cowboy related - mexican street food (Delicious said Dad - spicy chicken in a wrap with a salsa made with toms and onions plus green limes, and pumpkin seeds), cowboy food (pork and beans etc). The "flea market" became the "Trading Post". All the "streets across the camping site fields between the blocks of tents were named with wild west names - indian tribes like souix, mohawk and apache, or film-related names (boot hill, the crick).
In the barn set up for the live music and entertainment the stage area was, inevitably, the "Deadwood Stage". Even more Citroen related - there's a car called the Ami 6 Saloon, so that was the name given to the bar, and there's a range of 2CV's called the "AK"s, so the main arena was called the "AK Corrall". They must have enjoyed themselves thinking up all the puns and in-jokes for the programme. The quiet camping area was signposted the "Stockade", and the boundaries to the site were signposted "The Badlands".
Ah - before I sign off though for today a quick "Hello" to Em-J. Sorry I missed you, ol' mate. I didn't realise you were on an early flight Sunday, or I would have said a proper "goodbye" on Thursday morning. Hope you enjoyed the rest of your stay with "Mum". See you again soon.

Sunday 30 August 2009

2CV camp St Ives

Hi guys. We're just back from the latest 2CV camp, this one organised by the National club (2CVGB) in St Ives, Cambridgeshire (Not the one in the far South West).
It has, as ever, been a blast. Lovely hot sunny weather so plenty of chilling out, and a "Wild West" theme, so plenty of opportunity for the humans to go loopy. Haggis is still traumatised, we think, by the sight of a grown man in a black and white cow suit, with an inflated rubber glove in an appropriate place, for the udder. More than a poor impressionable young man can take.
We made loads of friends, as well as meeting up again with most of the gang who go to the Kent Camps. Just one quick pic for now, a shot from inside the tent where I (centre) and Haggis (right) have taken cover from the heat, and Megan is resolutely basking in the sunshine outside (left). Lots of adventures to describe but we're all too tired just now, so tonight, just a quick catch up like this
Look after yourselves.

Wednesday 26 August 2009

Purple Stuff and Grassy 2CVs

Mum and Em-j are back from their French adventure, bubbling over with tales of adventures, including the one we're not allowed to mention about getting lost. They return too with strange foreign "Purple Stuff" which turns out to be a soft drink which you dilute 7:1 with water (preferably fizzy, says Em-J) and end up with a very nice drink tasing of violets.
The grassy 2CV in the pic is part of a fun garden in the old town of Boulogne, which has many bits made from old car stuff - paths made from tyres, a greenhouse made from windscreens, and these old planters made from scrap 2CV's. It's in the old part, and well worth a look, say the ladies.
They lunch in the old town too, on galettes (buckwheat pancakes) with melted cheese inside and savoury mince, potatoes and onions on the top (Mum had just potatoes and onions). From there they made their way to Wimereux to look at the beach, collect crabs and paddle. They had gigantic ice creams, with tinsel-stars on the ends of bits of wood stuck in the top.
There was some driving and some shopping - they returned with some souvenirs, wine and calvados, rillette.
By mid afternoon they are "France'd out" and they catch the ferry home from Calais, to where Dad has walked us and cooked supper.
More adventures tomorrow.
oh - and here's a link to Wimereux if you need one

Tuesday 25 August 2009

An elegant young Lady

We have young Em-J (11) with us at present, and Mum has decided that is is a chance (in a rather light hearted way) to train her into a Young Lady. She will taught the finer things in life, says Mum, etiquette, elegant table manners, deportment, how to get in and out of a 2CV (sorry, says Dad, no Maseratis currently on the fleet), how to conduct one's self at restaurants and so on.

A bit like "Gi-gi", says Mum; the 1958 film with Leslie Caron and Maurice Chevallier, although Mum wonders if that colours her the same colour as the Aunt Alicia character (Isabel Jeans) who is rich and sophistimacated on account of acquiring wealth in a dubious "demi-monde" way (look it up - but suffice to say she'd be a "lady of negotiable affection" in Terry Pratchett's books). So of course we have to watch the film, although dogs are persuaded not to join in the chorus of "Ze Night zay invented Champaiiiiiiiigne!".

It's a good day. Megan has been walked a short one in the morning, so Haggis and I are taken out by Dad and Em-J a nice route march all around the long-bridge route. We watch for trains over the bridge parapets, and enjoy the "Night Mail" poem and the train and historic building pictures painted along its panels (all be it most of them are now graffiti'd out of sight).

Back in the Rec the small female "herbert" escapes from the "Elegant Young Lady" persona and has to have a go on the swings, climbing pyramid, grown-up round abouts and a fancy circular rail thing which you try to walk on but which goes backwards as fast as you try to walk forwards. This generates enough challenges for Dad to get a bit bored watching and to strike up a good satisfying game of plastic-bottle throwing with me while we wait for Em-J to get sweaty and tired enough to need a drink and a shower.

Time enough for being Elegant tomorrow, says she, when Mum is taking her off to France for a look at St Omer and a practise of some new found skills in language.

I still think the best French word in her new books is Crapaud (pronounced Crappo) which means "toad"


Sunday 23 August 2009

We've been here and we've been there...

A day for flying about hither and yon with Em-J, showing her the local environs. We dogs get an early walk in the Rec while everybody gets up (Em-J takes after her Aunt in respect of not being a morning person). Breakfast is pain-au-chocolat and coffees or hot chocolates. Mu and Em-J head off to town to a shop now known as "Not-Woolies" in search of assorted stuff.

Then we all load back into the car and head for the wild-bird food shop and down to the Standard Quay to see the sea-worthy barges and Cambria. Em-J and Dad hail friends John and Sophie aboard their Dutch barge (Willhemina-Maria) and are invited on board for a look around. Tothe farm shop next to buy salad-y stuff for lunch.

Dad goes for a kip while Mum and Em-J nip off to visit Diamond in hospital, then Mum grabs some shut-eye while Dad takes Em-J off up to the allotment to dig spuds, pull leeks, harvest chard, beans and beetroot, and even to pick over the raspberries (not enough to bring home - sorry, Mum). They also take in the bee-hives, and head home via an explore of the new housing behind us.

Exhausting, is what it is!


Diamond Update : Diamond is through her most recent crisis, and sitting up in bed able to joke and argue with all the visitors. Relief all round, although we are by no means out of the woods. Hang in there, Diamond - everyone is rooting for you.

Mum disappears over to Ireland, to collect our neice Em-J (Silverwood) and bring her back over here for a treat. She will live with us for a week, and Mum will attempt to turn her into an elegant Lady. (I'm no one to judge, having had to have a bath this morning due to rolling in some skank out on the Rec, but my new boyfriend Jasper loves me!) .

We have to say that Mum managed to be delayed both on the way out and on the way back. The outbound plane got into Dublin at 02:00, and Mum was met by night-owl friend Teresa, so there was not going too much sleep had that night. Portmarnock supplied an irish fried breakfast and pink champagne (uh huh?) , before Mum rounded up Em-J and headed back to the airport. Am I allowed to say she lost her car in the car park Em ? (Shhhhh - OK we'll keep it as a secret between us then).

Have a great weekend

Thursday 20 August 2009

20 foot Great White Shark

Ha! Now I can hear you all saying... "That Deefski gets some weird and wonderful subject lines in but they always turn out to be relevant - how's she going to get a 20 foot shark in?"

Well... 's like this. Dad has been doing Gardening for Wildlife judging around this part of Kent and as part of this he's over last night to see the people at Buckland Lakes nature reserve, come fishing venue come diving training school, It is a 60 acre Lake up to 70 feet deep, so it's used by all the local scuba-folk - the Royal Engineers, rescue services and the civvie-street scuba clubs

To make the diving more interesting, they have deliberately sunk various "wrecks" in the lake, including a 40 foot fishing boat and a Lear Jet. The Royal engineers have then "helped things along" by smuggling in numerous stone garden gnomes, so there is a size-able gnome-population down there, apparently.

The owner also thought it'd be fun to have a 20 foot Great White Shark, so that the divers could take pictures of themselves being "fearless" (arms in it's toothy mouth etc), so he created a very realistic model out of fibre-glass. This was so bouyant, apparently, that it sat proud of the lake surface, with only 6 inches under. In the end the engineers had to load it with rocks and then winch it down from the lake-bed so that it now "hangs" at a suitably photogenic "height" in the water, and looks real in the divers' pictures.

Amusingly the lake is also peppered with moored up, broken, abandoned but still floating early-design jet-skis. Each has 2 or three rolled up straw-and-chicken wire "mattresses" mounted on top for the ducks and moorhens to use as nest-box "tubes"

The owner turns out to be the judge for the amphibious vehicles on Scrapheap Challenge, so he also has a variety of amphibious cars, rafts, bicycles and other waterbourne tom foolery knocking about.


Monday 17 August 2009

Fruity abundance

Kent is reputedly having the best fruit year for 30 years. Farmers who have been reporting poor cropping for the last few years, are nowbuying in extra trays and boxes and reporting gloomily that the price will crash. If the state of our damson tree is anything to go by, we have branches weighed down to breaking point by the weight of fruit. We didn't do so well with the Reine-Claude (greengage) or the quinces, but the apples and plums are heavy too.
I promised you a Cambria update. Here's a nice pic looking along the hold from stern towards the bow, showing the graceful curve of deck beams. Below is a significant stage, but one much harder to photograph, the huge white baulk of the stem post has now been bolted to the (red painted) apron. These two make up the bow of the barge, and the side planking rebates into the groove between the two. In this picture you are up high above the top of the apron, on the port bow, looking down. The white painted angled frame is effectively the front of the deck, but it will have above it the decorated bow-boards and bow-badges to fend off the waves.
I love all this stuff. Sorry if I get a bot obsessed.


Sunday 16 August 2009

Early Birds

No, I'm not referring to the feildfares or black headed gulls who are still sitting on the grass of the Rec as early as we are out there, but the dog walkers and dogs. No matter how early you get out there there always seems to be someone about. Today it's not much after 07:00 and as we reach the Rec we can see in the distance, 2 year old handsome boy-Westie, Jasper, and the "old lady with the black poodle" (who seems to shuffle off at the approach of anyone, dragging her dog behind her, quickly out of sight)

Jasper spots us too, and is soon making a bee-line in our direction. He likes a good run around with me, and the H often joins in. Both Jasper and I are quickly grimed up with the dew and dust, so that a shower seems likely this afternoon. The man gets chatting to Dad about getting "them groomed" and is fascinated to know that Dad does us himself, getting supplies from the Wahl European service centre which happens to be in Herne Bay, not far from here.

The man thinks he may go look at prices and have a go himself. Dad offers to show him the (very) basics but warns him that professional groomers we are not!

Mum's off to look after Diamond, Dad heads in the direction of the barge - it's "our turn" on the volunteer rota, so some pics and an update on that soon. Dad comes home with some mildly grubby bed linen from a lady called Nicole (ahhh Nicole? Papa?). Mum raises an eyebrow. Some unlikely story about a couple with a Dutch barge alongside at Cambria's wharf concerned to find that the town has no laundrette. So now we're "taking in washing".......

(The fragrant and showered) Deefski

Saturday 15 August 2009

Brown Turkey

Thought you might like this image from last night. Also one of the figs already growing well on our tiny, new tree, got as a thin weedy whip from the Pud Lady 2 winters ago and planted, with a restricted root-run as advised by the same, in a sawn-in-half barrel. These figs are turning colour nicely and should be ready to eat this Autumn.

Look after yourselves



A warm but breezy weekend should be a chance to chill out, but regular readers will be sad to know that our good friend Diamond has taken a bad turn in Hospital, and things are looking very grim. Just a few days ago she was allowed out for the afternoon and we were all sitting chatting on the back terrace in the sun, while Diamond heartily ate some of Mum's pasta. This was the first good appetite she'd showed for a while, and things were looking up.

This weekend then, we are a bit of a hub of visitors coming to see Diamond - friends from London, family and family friends from Stockton on Tees (where she and the late Denis hail from). Friday night turned into a bit of a vigil, as we all sat out on the terrace in the gathering gloom, candles burning, wine, chat, food, we dogs mooching about checking out the night noises and smells.

Today has been lots of comings and goings as people visit in relays.

It's a worrying time. Hang in there Diamond.


Wednesday 12 August 2009

The Story of Louisiana

I promised you the story of Louisiana, brother to Mississippi, our cat who died last year, and easily the cat our family has owned for the shortest time.

These two cats, brother and sister, one black male (Lou) and the other a brindled female (Missi) were bought from the Cats' Protection League on June 5th 1999 (Megan was only 3, Haggis just 2 !). They were brought home and let go indoors, with the cat flap bolted shut. They did what new cats always do - fled upstairs and hid under the single bed in the spare room, scrambling up into the bed frame from underneith and hiding from the humans, the 2 dogs and the existing big ol' ginger tom cat, Kalamazoo.

No sooner were they in than a huge thunderstorm rattled through, crashing and banging; the poor little mites must have been terrified. The humans were cool with this and let them be, putting down food and water and waiting for them to calm down and emerge of their own accord. It can take a few days before curiosity gets to them and they come out and explore. In a couple of days the brindled girl did indeed start to sneak out and explore upstairs, but nothing was seen of the black one.

In one more day, the humans were getting concerned, as the brindled one (Missi) was now out regularly and still no-one had seen Lou. Dad lifted the bed up and found.... no cat. The house was searched, to no avail. The only way the cat could have escaped that night was out of the tiny bathroom upper window - a 10 foot drop to the concrete. Things were looking bad. The thunderstorm might have sent him fleeing but then he'd be wet and totally lost, not having had any kind of time to familiarise himself with his surroundings.

The humans were frantic - searching the local area, getting sheds and outbuildings opened, notifying the local vets and police, signs up in the paper-shop and tied to local lamp posts, neighbours helping etc. It was hopeless, and after a few days, the search was called off. Missi settled in and became house cat and companion to Kalamazoo, learned to cope with the dogs and learned all the local territory, fortunately showing no tendency to venture into the front garden or cross the busy road out front.

Lou became just a sad tale of "the other cat we got the same day". 18 months went by.

Then out of the blue we got a phone call from the local vet. Did we own a black cat with only half a tail? Brindled? No, definitely black. "A lady" has brought one in and we've scanned it for micro-chip and it's coming up with your name and address (which is something CPL do before they give you the cat).

To cut a long story short this lady who lives over the road and half a dozen houses further up(who Mum and Dad now know quite well) had taken in a stray about 18 months before, which had started begging food and seemed to have no home, and had eventually moved in. She had taken him off to the vets for something and had learned of his "other life". She was now very upset (in tears even) to think that we might think they'd stolen our cat and would want it back.

Dad went over to see the lady, and explained the story about the collection night thunderstorm and the short-lived cat. Obviously it was now plain what had happened, and only that neither cat dared cross the road, stopped the brother and sister meeting up and comparing notes! Dad, of course, "gave" the lady the black cat, explaining that we had never really owned it, and did not know it or feel it was missing in any way any more.

The lady was relieved and delighted (and, as I said, Mum, Dad and these two have now got to know each other a bit more), the papers signed, the database and microchip updated and everyone lived happily for ever after..... at least until both cats passed away in 2008, Missi of general collapse of hind end, Lou of kidney failure. Both had had good lives since rescue, in loving families, and a cat can't really ask for more than that, can it?

The moral, if there is one - a terrified cat in new surroundings in a thunderstorm, can escape through an upstairs, upper window and you will probably never see it again.


Monday 10 August 2009

Odie the Basset (11 weeks)

I never did tell, you, did I, the amazing story of Louisiana, brother to our old brindled cat Mississippi who died in May last year. Remind me to one day. Meanwhile, enough to say that the owners of Louisiana (now also passed away) who live not far away have bought a superb little basset pup.

Called "Odie", and only 11 weeks old, this little fella is, as you can imagine, still growing into his skin. His face already has that jowly, saggy-eyed look, his feet are far far too big for him and his ears, at about 6-7 inches are long enough that he keeps tripping over them.

We met them tonight (Odie and Mum, not his ears per se) on our way back from the Rec. Little Odie was a reluctant walker and making as slow progress westwards as we (with Megan) were making eastwards. Dad crossed the road with all of us to say hello, and poor Odie sat down, quite overcome by being approached and then quietly sniffed by all three of us at various points along his length. We are harmless though, so he soon got used to it and cheered up (although he still looked very doleful but that's bassets for you.

Welcome to our patch Odie - I expect we'll see quite a lot of each other in the Rec


Sunday 9 August 2009


We now have the narrow boating holiday pics rolling round ina 200+ picture slide-show on one of those digital picture frames. A couple there reminded me of how little M (3) loves his cookery, and it's a great way to entertain the little chap when he's bored.

Mrs Silverwood has, anyway, discovered that Asda do self-decorate kits for things like gingerbread men, and kiddies "Thomas the Tank Engine" cake mixtures. The gingerbread men are already baked, and come with edible glue, toothpaste tubes of icing and smarties / hundreds-and-thousands (sprinkles?) and the children just assemble the lot using smarties for buttons and eyes and drawing on mouths with the icing.

The cake mixes they just need a bit of supervision measuring and stirring the mix, then spooning it into cake cups. The cooked and cooled down cakes are then decorated with icing and topped with little Thomas characters printed onto rice-paper.

M's fascination with cookery though, goes way beyond that and he's a regular and useful helper for Mrs S around the kitchen. he even amazes Mrs S by knowing the ingredients you need for some of the regular dishes. If Mrs S says they are doing bolognese, he's off and running, diving into the kitchen cupboards for the mince, tinned tomatoes, spices and herbs etc without needing telling.

On the boat it was Mum who did the cooking, and he was always there "I'll do it that one!" He'd say.... "I can do it!". Mum had him making up salad dressings, preparing salads, weighing and measuring, counting out the spoonfuls of various bits. We even have a photo of him proudly showing off 2 bowls of green salad - how many 3 year old boys are even interested in green salad?

Ah well, today it's too hot really to do anything, and after our 6-miler yesterday nobody's hassling Dad for a good walk, and he's not complaining.


Saturday 8 August 2009

Idiots in 4 by 4's

A real treat today - Haggis and I get to accompany Dad on the Challock Forest 6-mile walk he leads for the Friends of Kings Wood. Before we depart, all three dogs get a quick walk to the Rec to make sure Meggie does her stuff, and then we sneak off while she's sleeping that one off.

There are 12 walkers in the end and Dad takes them round what used to be the 6 mile waymarked trail (dismantled by the Forestry Commission about 10 years ago) but with an added loop down into the bit called "Cutler's Valley" to see the newest pond created by (well, paid for by) the Friends. Created, of course by proper land scape contractors.

That's the 4th pond. Also on the visit we go to look at one near the "Reptile Valley" which has apparently been damaged by some muppets in a Land Rover. These ponds are created on fairly dry chalk and thin soil by digging the bowl with a big excavator, and then puddling in 15 lorry loads of local clay to make a 2 foot thick smear over the chalk. The ponds then fill naturally and we allow them to colonise with plants by the slow process of natural succession.

This one had been a great success, being blessed with a better catchment than the others, and we'd helped that along on a Friends "volunteer day" by cutting gulleys from the nearby forest tracks, which happened to converged there from the local hillsides. It was alive with dragon flies and other water insects, newts and was used frequently by the fallow deer to drink.

Till that is, some bloomin' idiot with a Land Rover decided it would be fun to drive through. Now Dad's as big a "Landie" fan as the next man - grew up with posters on the bedroom wall, was always going to own one and eventually did, used to go "green laning" (responsibly), joined the All-Wheel-Drive-Club, suscribed to LR Owner magazine, eventually sold the beast in an attack of pragmatism (noise, thirst, slowness etc).

So we sympathise with the muppets' desire to get out into the country and get it muddy. Not for us the "Sloane tractor" shininess, where the nearest to off road you got was mounting the kerb. But these tarts have driven it into our pond and then effectively sliced down through the 2 feet of clay spinning the wheels to get out

Either they have, or the tractor they engaged to pull them out has. The pond has now leaked away all it's water and sits there, a dry bowl with cracked African "river bed" floor. The Friends are left looking at the cost of restoring the pond, bringing in more clay, re-engaging the excavator to puddle it in.

Thanks lads. I hope the damage was worth the laugh.


Friday 7 August 2009

Haggis, Ultra-sound and an Oasis

First up, Happy 12th Birthday to the H! Haggis, still a pup at heart hits 12 today and tomorrow is still well up for one of Dad's Challock Forest 6-mile walks. Me too, but we'll have to leave the Megster behind. She'd be about 6 months getting round, and that's if Dad carried her for the last 5 and a half! Birthday, so raw pork ribs all round. Yay Haggis!

Dad returns yesterday bubbling over with a new experience, that of being ultra-sound and Doppler scanned like a pregnant lady. Some unknown problem had caused swelling in one of his legs, and the docs wanted to rule out deep-vein thrombosis. So he was packed off to hospital to be poked and prodded, ending up with him being sent for an ultra-sound scan. many readers will have either had one, or be married to someone and watched one, but it was all new exciting technology to Dad (he loves all that stuff!).

For a DVT, he says, it's gel up the leg from ankle to groin, and then a case of inching down the leg's length looking for the rougly-round vein on the screen. Pressure on the leg with the probe crushes the vein (assuming there's no clot). Then in around the knee where it all gets a bit complicated with cartilege, tendons and other jointy bits (yum slurp... oops, sorry) they go over to Doppler mode, where a squeeze of the leg makes the screen flare with yellows, oranges and reds (but again, only if the flow above the squeeze is not impeded by a clot. Then back to probe-presses for the calf.

You'll be pleased to know that Dad's leg is not pregnant, and is also bright with flaring Doppler-effects and the vein eminently collapsable, guaranteed DVT-free.

Off next to Medway where Dad's wildlife-garden judging skills are to be deployed in the unlikely urban jungle of the Chatham Tower Blocks. He drives in somewhat trepidatiously. Both Mum and Dad used to live in Chatham (all be it separately in those days), and the blocks were no-where you'd go by mistake. Also no where you'd expect to find any kind of garden, never mind a wildlife garden.

Never mind - gulp hard and press the flat number and "call" on the big heavy security door. Get let in and follow the lady-speakers instructions climb the dodgy looking stairs to come out onto a kind of concrete mezzanine floor. Turn left and be greeted by...... absolute splash of riotous verdant growth and colour. A tiny space, just the ground floor equivalent of the balcony but absolutely crammed with pots, planters, baskets, planted up coffee mugs, drink bottles and off cuts of rain-gutter. Even cracks between slabs had been planted - some decent sized sunflowers tower from a half inch crack between path and the main building.

The whole is adorned with a completely mad eccentric but joyous mixture of plastic teddies, mermaids, dragon flies, lanterns and candle holders, coloured glass and stones. The flowers are all insect friendly - nasturtiums, lavender, marigolds and various climbers we didn't recognise, a-buzz with bees and hover flies. There's even a tiny bird feeder.

Amazingly the local "hoodies" seem to leave the old girl alone, and nothing gets vandalised or touched, even though it's well within reach of sticky fingers. On the contrary, this lovely crazy old girl's efforts seem to have spawned a local enthusiasm for adopting the grim civic planters, painting them up beautiful colours and planting them. More gardens are starting to appear on balconies and outside other flats in the area.

It's a real oasis in the middle of urban utilitarianism. Fair play to this lady, and more power to her elbow. Dad says this kind of thing makes the whole thing more worthwhile, somehow. Easy to be a wildlife gardener in Acacia Avenue, middle class leafy suburbs well protected from the madding crowd. Not so easy exposed like that to the whims of some of the local Herberts.

Ah well, Happy Birthday Haggis. Mum will be home soon from visiting Diamond (our thoughts are with you Di - we know it's a bit rough just now. Hang in there.


Monday 3 August 2009

One of us will kill her...

Mum returns with an amusing story from Hospital. She's booked in this afternoon for an appointment but there's been a hold up and the waiting room is backed up 1 and a half hours (not too many people - these are quite long appointments). Everyone is quite philosophical about this - these things happen and it had been 2 hours but the staff and Receptionist had worked through their lunch hour to help catch up.

Everyone is quite philosophical (sitting, reading etc) EXCEPT that is for one tulip from Margate who decides the way to deal with it is to start shouting her dissatisfaction at the Receptionist from across the room (staying in her seat). Everyone feels a bit awkward and embarrassed. Mum also feels hungry because she's missed her own lunch and has been sitting there a while.

Eventually one of the staff comes out and explains patiently to the lady about the hold up but says the current "victim" will 15 more minutes, then there's just (Mum) and it'll be her turn. Mum spots the opportunity to nip for a bite of lunch and visit Diamond (who's in the same hospital), while at the same time helping the harrassed Receptionist and maybe shutting up the large, loud, Mrs "Margit".

She has a quick chat with the Staffer, and then clears it with the Receptionist, that she swap places with Mrs Margit and nips out. "That's very sweet of you", says R, "but why would you do that?" Mum (in a whisper) says that "otherwise that woman will shout at us all for the hour and one of us will have to kill her".

She smiles as the R tries not to giggle, and as Mum slinks out she hears the R start up... "That very nice lady who has just left has generously volunteered to let you have her appointment time.... etc". Unfortunately Mum was out by then but we all hope the loud one has sufficient shame to be crawling with embarrassment.

Go Mum!

Sunday 2 August 2009

Boxers, Beers and Birds

We meet Skiboo again on the rec - a fine handsome Westie from out towards the village of Graveney. He's a real stocky show-dog shape with a handsome face (like Haggis's). See also my May 2nd post.

The title? No, we've not gone all male-chauvinist here. One of Dad's 2CV chums (actually an exponent of the 2CV kit-car conversion called a "Lomax") holds a garden party each year at around his birthday. 2CV engines, "as any fool no", are 2 cylinder horizontally opposed units, known by the nickname of "boxers". Beers are easy to explain (this being a bloke-ish party, although there are plenty of other-halfs there too).

Birds? Each year the food is a real treat - a range of salads, but then a choice of meat around a theme. The first year "bangers" (all sorts of exotic and weird sausages including wursts and chorizo type stuff). The 2nd year "Burgers", again - all sorts from venison burgers to good ol' USA style hamburgers. This year the "birds" refers to all sorts of poutry products (duck spring rolls, spicy chicken wings, lemon chicken, chicken kievs etc.

We wonder where the host can go from here, fast running out of B-words to go with his boxers and beers. Baking maybe?

It's a lovely sunny day, so it's roof-down 2CV motoring, Dad resurrecting the straw hat for the first time since the "Sussex" Saga Sunshine.


Saturday 1 August 2009

Back in the old Routine

It's a normal Saturday, and we get a standard walk to the Rec. We meet old frineds Barney (westie) and Smudge (long haired Jack Russell who chases a ball endlessly till his over heated and tired state shows up in the redness of the insides of his ears). We also meet new kid on the block, 5-year old (maybe) rescue westie Jessie. She's only been in town a couple of weeks with her new owners, so it's good that she's discovered the Rec, hub of dog-social activity that it is.

Dad is off up to the allotment which is now in full flow of productivity. He returns with some last broad beans, but also French and runner beans, chard with massive leaves, cherry tomatoes, courgettes, baby beetroot, a small Summer Cabbage, Grannies and Discovery apples, and some first new potatoes.

The gang head off to visit Diamond, still languishing in hospital and undergoing treatment (so Rags is still on his "hols"). She is OK -ish, but feeling weary and aching, and also a bit fed up with some of her family members. She will be apparently allowed home soon, for a rest between the various episodes of treatment, and is looking forward to being able to relax in her own, proper bath.

Look after yourself, Diamond, and get well soon.

Mr S writes (Thanks, old chum). We have now managed to copy our photo's of the hols onto the memory card of one of those digital frames, so it's rolling round in the living room. Have you got the CD yet Mr S ?

Have a good weekend