Monday 29 March 2010

More Signs of Spring

Now that the local Daffodil Show is well and truly over, the daffs all decide it's now OK to flower. These rather nice collection of Tete-a-Tete are in one of the big pots which were originally a birthday present from Mum to Dad. They are too big for Mum to lift but she used her womenly wiles and the 2CV (and a handy bloke with strong arms) to bring them home from the garden centre when Dad was out of the way.

Since then they have contained a variety of ill-fated plants, a Japanese maple which died, and a philadelphus which fared little better. Now they are full of daffs while they decide what to do with them. The other pics (if we can get them to show - this website seems tyo be having a hissy-fit and will not show them, so we have no idea whther they uploaded successfully or not.

Dad has survived another weekend on call and we've had plenty of good walks. Mr H, says Dad, is definitely starting to slow down now, the old fella, and an hour and a half of fairly gentle is enough for him. I am, of course, fit as a flea at 3 years old, so there is talk of maybe replacing Meggie with a fit, young third dog to give me a run for my money and let Haggis have a gentle retirement, like they did for Meggie. Maybe not a pup. Maybe not even (gasp) a Westie.

We'll see. Now we want to try publishing this and see what the website makes of it.


Tuesday 23 March 2010

Good Weekend

We'll call that a good weekend, then. It's been a long time coming but Spring seems to be finally here, Daffs and Irises are starting to do their stuff, all be it rather late for the local Hort Soc's Spring Show. Never mind, on that one - there are always plenty of ladies willing to enter the flower arranging classes or cook the cakes for the baking classes (and Jackie next door happy to pass "us" a cake (and, thankfully a roasted lamb bone or two) which she has over.
Dad gets a chance to catch up on the SB Cambria, and you can see from these pics that not only is the decking progressing well but also in the below decks pic of the back end, you can see the side planking slowly climbing up the sides. Look either side of the red-painted vertical pole (which is a deck support pillar under the little rear (="mizzen") mast. The light shining in between the frames there is now only getting in for the top 3-4 feet.
The on-deck pic is taken from the starboard bow, basically standing just to the right of the stem-post, looking aft.
And there's a new "Smudge" in the house. We already know one, companion of Westie "Barney", a mainly white, long bodied JR cross with wirey hair and floppy ears that glow ever brighter red as he heats up chasing the tennis balls that are his number 1 passion. Well, tiny pup Smudge is aslo a white wispy haired JR with brown smudges, but he's only 12 weeks old and still all floppy and soft in his movements, and given to falling over his feet when tapped by a westie's nose. His companion is a red Staffie of whom we cannot recall the name, though we were told.

Wednesday 17 March 2010

1630 Club

Now that all the dog walkers are squoze into the gap between end-of-work and it-gets-dark, our 16:30 pm unofficial dog club has started to re-form. Anyone who's anyone goes, and we all look out for each other. First we are spotted from afar by eagle-eyed Luca the Lurcher, who steams across the Rec towards us, and we straight way commence our game of Luca nicks my dirty, saliva soaked tennis ball, and I nick his bright pink sponge-ball.

Together we wander across the Rec diagonally, soon spotting solid Jack Russell Patch out with his Mum. We are soon joined by black collie cross Ben, a shaggy brown lab called Archie and old chum who we've not seen for what seems like a year, slim, nippy JR bitch Bindy. Finally tonight we come across a lady Dad doesn't quite recognise, out with a choc-brown pointer and a tiny JR. The lady turns out to be Daughter-in-Law of the Angel B - she recognises Dad and introduces herself.

Nice pack - good socialising and plenty of running around. That's what I call a dog walk!


Sunday 14 March 2010

St Trinians

Here's Haggis getting uncomfortably close to the newly dressed sails of Sailing Barge Repertor. These guys dress the sails each year in a noxious mixture of (in this case) red and yellow ochre, melted parrafin wax, lanolin, vegetable oil, and white spirit. The mixes are usually secret to the sail maker, and can also include horse urine which is, we are told, sterile and a natural bleach. This set are about to get dog urine, which probably works just as well.
And so, another nice long weekend draws to a close and Dad is in deep shock that he'll actually have to work a 5-day week. It's not on, he says! The humans console themselves with a showing of the new St Trinians film (well, not that new now, but you know what I mean). Gotta love a School Song that includes the lines "We are the Best, so Screw the Rest", and proclaims the School as "Defenders of Anarchy". Dad says his school song had "What's the tie that makes you one? Brothers all, The Name? ..... Sons of William Parker!" which does not convey quite the same ethos.

Friday 12 March 2010

Are you down there, Henry?

If they bury you in this town,
be sure they dig you deep.
Cos the rabbits and the dogs will try
to interupt your sleep.
We're often in the graveyard
and we don't hang around
There's bunnies running everywhere
that should be underground.
We chase them fast as we both can
me and Haggis,my big bruvver
but under some ol' marble slab's
where they will find safe cover.
That's where the chase will have to end
we stand frustrated there
Head nose and ears are in the hole
and tails in the air
Our favourite grave is Henry Miles
Died 1923
There's two holes under that one
One for Haggis, one for me.
So Henry, sir, you lived so old,
now sleeping like a log,
unless you wake and wonder why
you're yelled at by a dog
Sleep on, old timer, pay no mind,
protect your rabbit's nest
Ignore the westies hunting 6 foot
up from your last rest.

Thursday 11 March 2010

Old Glory

We dogs are firmly convinced that Dad is entering the official ranks of "old gits" when he buys a copy of the steam traction engine magazine "Old Glory". Wannabee Fred Dibnah? He claims that it is only because this month's edition has a five page article on the SB Cambria restoration, but I'm not entirely sure I believe that.
Never mind - fair play to the old boy, another day off using up 2009 hols, so good news for us and we get a good walk in the dry but bitter wind. We park at the Three Mariners pub in Oare (a good pub if you're passing this way) and then walk down the lane to Harty Ferry. Here we head east along the sea wall then back along the Oare Creek path to the car. It's a chance to see the Hollow Shore and the Shipwright's Arms (another good pub!) from across the creek (main picture) and for Dad to hunt down some more old dead barges.
The Old Glory mission is really just a distraction while waiting for the garage to MOT Mum's car "Timbuktu" (don't ask) - it passes the test no problem but the whole show is running late, so we have time to kill and time to wander into Smith's. Not us actually, obviously - Dad.
Dad also gets a chance to mow for the first time up at the allotments, and finally gets fed up with the mower being pathetically under-powered and "hunting" really badly, so that gets taken to local mower-doctor for repair and service, plus a new blade. The allotments are getting treated to a new hard-surface path where the grass (and more often mud) public footpath goes through, and the contractor is also rolling some spare road-scalpings into the carpark. We shall be so posh we will have to charge for parking!
Hope tomorrow's as good

Wednesday 10 March 2010

Millicent Maud

Well lookee here!
What do we find when we are walking around our own local boat yard, but this young lady more used to the canals and waterways of Sowerby Bridge, where we do our own narrow-boating. Yes, I appreciate that there are nearer canals, but heh!
Just now I cannot for the moment imagine what brings her to our town.... some kind of refit or repair for which we are uniquely skilled? Or possibly the owner is a resident of these parts and he/she chose to bring the boat "home" for repair, rather than keep making the journey to the lady's normal moorings. Anyway, Millicent Maud, it's nice to see you and you give us that little excited tingle of holidays to come this Summer.
Meanwhile in bitter winds, we are getting some nice walks in, and meeting some of our good friends - Luca the Lurcher with his games of "tennis" behind the Bowls Pavilion (and Luca's Mum is getting me quite good at catching the bounces too!), Ben, Skiboo, Patch, Smudge and Barney, Bailey the Setter. We are back into those medium length days where everyone walks their dogs in daylight, so gets squeezed into the gap between about half three and half five. Soon the clocks will change and the squeeze will be less, and the walkers more spread out.
For us, meanwhile, another short week work for Dad, and a nice long weekend, using up his 2009 holidays, so some good explorations. Meanwhile Diamond is back in hospital for the moment - her own choice, it suits her for now. Look after yourself, Di.

Friday 5 March 2010

Scraping Greta's bottom

In the process of losing his mind, Dad gets chatting to the owner/skipper of SB Greta and volunteers to help scraping barnacles off her nether regions. He's at it for 3 hours this morning and comes back aching all over. The barge, in dry dock, is up on blocks only waist height to Dad, so he's working in a space where no-one can stand. There's a lot of kneeling, twisting, reaching and using unaccustomed muscles.
The wee beasties are scraped off first with a garden hoe, then for more detailed attention, with a little triangular paint scraper. Steve (owner/skipper) then follows on with the big industrial jet-wash. This all prior to the old girl getting new anti-fouling paint (which Steve jokes is a complete waste of time because as soon as she sits down on the mud again at low tide all the paint gets squidged off).
And here, as promised, the old transom (flat stern) of the SB Oak, looking like the guys in this container yard are actually looking to preserve the relic, rather than letting it moulder in the hedge along with the bits of her bottom.
It's all bottoms today

Thursday 4 March 2010


With Dad still using up spare holiday days, we are getting some nice fuss and Quality Time, plus some good walks. Today's for example, in bright sunshine but a bitter wind all down through the boat yard and back through town and the Rec where we met superb brown and grey Spinone "Tosca" whom we have mentioned before. This time she seemed at first to be all on her own and mooching round the trees, very happy to see us, but eventually we saw her owner several hundred yards off chatting. Tosca had obviously gone for an explore.
The walk down through the boatyard turned out to be interesting from a barge-ish view point, when Dad spotted that what had seemed to be a pile of old wooden bits in a hedge, had an oddly familiar structure - like a short section of the bottom and sides of a flat bottomed boat? All the elements were there that Dad now knows from Cambria - chine-keelson, chine, frames, planking etc. Dad decided to ask in the local Chandlery and they guy thought it might be the remains of Sailing Barge "Oak" and could also remember seeing a chunk of transom (flat stern) sticking out of some brambles. This proved to be the case, so we doubled back on ourselves for Dad to take some pics (see future posts)
We also called by the Cambria where Dad stopped to chat to Cambria's Master shipwright, Tim, and to owner/skipper of SB Greta, Steve and , mad fool that he obviously is, volunteered to help tomorrow to scrape barnacles off the dry-docked Greta. Greater love hath no man.
Meanwhile Diamond is indeed home but exhausted and aching from some of the heavy duty medication. Take it easy Diamond, preserve your strength.

Wednesday 3 March 2010

Rosie and Skiboo

A gas engineer spoils the afternoon - one of those where they might be "here" any time from 1pm, and we end up tied to ear shot of the doorbell, so the nice walk we were going to have became just a jaunt to the Rec. No matter, we met two good friends there and had a good time.

Skiboo (also known as Posh-Westie) is a very handsome old guy - proper show dog shape with a nice face, like Haggis, and currently a very smart show-dog trim. Bred, and now maintained by local dog groomer "Dapper Dogs", he always looks the part, unlike certain disreputable looking mutts we could name. His owner used to have a farmhouse down the road to Graveney but has now moved into the new houses behind here, beyond the Home for the Bewildered, so we see a lot more of them on the Rec.

But for me the highlight is 2 year old red and white Jack Russell. One of those dogs you meet occasionally who are exactly your equal when it comes to running, nipping, swerving, and rough and tumble play fighting. We quickly got to know each other, and then we were everywhere tearing in small circles, bundling each other over, sometimes chased too by Haggis, chasing chasing chasing until we were quite worn out.

Dad and Rosie's Mum didn't have to do much, except stand chatting with Skiboo's Mum, but the wind has turned bitter cold, so this was not actually such a good plan. They all froze, while we raced and chased till we were over heating!


Tuesday 2 March 2010

Sick List

For those following the Diamond saga, you'll be pleased to know she's doing well and may be sent home from hospital mid week this week (which I guess means tomorrow). She (and we) now have to play the waiting game, to see if the latest "fix" has worked and meanwhile neither Mum nor Dad are allowed anywhere near her due to the man flu.

We hear that the last remaining Megan-pup with whom we are still in contact, Lady, who stayed in this town, is now showing her age (1999, so she's 11) and has developed quite bad diabetes and has gone blind. She's still OK, and mooches around the old familiar territory presumably by memory, sound and smell. She has to have insulin injections twice a day, and the old couple, very good friends of Mum and Dad have been shown how to do that. They sneak the needle in once she's been lifted onto the kitchen table and given a bowl of food (true daughter of her mother!).

Pedigree-wise she'd be one of the Helix prefix dogs, either Helix Wichita Lineman, Helix Giddy-up-a-ding-dong, or Helix Living on Mars (the pups were named from what tune was playing on Radio 2 at the moment of birth; It was Thursday night, so we went through the gamut of Bob Harris's Country show and some ol' Blues show says Dad (racking his brains)).

Look after yourselves, Lady and Diamond

Monday 1 March 2010

Stranger than Fiction

You couldn't make it up. Tonight on the Rec we meet two new dogs. Out being walked by a young lady, there's a biggish black and white Lhasa Apso who is apparently rather ancient and given to collapse at the back end, whereby the Mistress of the house has to be summoned in the car to come and collect everyone.

With these, on a lead is a tiny madly hairy black one, which Dad assumes is a Lhasa pup. He also assumes it's a bitch because "she" has a bright pink harness and pink lead. The lady laughs and says that, no, he's actually a boy, and the pink harness is from their ferret, because he slips his normal collar. He is not a Lhas, but a miniature Yorkie cross Lhasa. What's his name? "Bruiser". At this point Dad is laughing fit to bust because there never was a dog less like his name than this little mite.

Such niceties are lost on us, of course - we are happy to say a nice hello to anyone and we walk around with them for a while, pee-ing on the same tufts of grass etc, and eventually meeting, and introducing these new comers to our old chums Ben and Patch.

Funny old world