Saturday, 9 June 2018

A Bit of a To Do!

I took this photo on the 20th May of a swan family on one of the dykes. Eight cygnets! What a handful – or wingful - those parents have. I can’t zoom my phone camera in any more for some reason.

I got this one today. Very happy to see all eight cygnets, but not happy not being able to zoom in.

There was a bit of a to do in the garden this morning. Shrieking magpies, other birds joining in. Noticed Tinks on the fence by the oak tree being mobbed.

Dusty shot out and immediately spotted something bouncing about in the bushes – young magpie!

I raced across the garden and grabbed him, meanwhile the young magpie fluttered behind the tree and Tinks jumped down to pursue. I grabbed Dusty and got him in just as Harley shot out. The young magpie ended up right outside the patio door with Tinks almost on it, but Hubby managed to catch Tinks just in time and as he put her inside, Harley shot across the garden. He caught Harley just as the young magpie disappeared under the gate.

The whole thing only lasted a few seconds, but wow, it was intense! How anyone gets pleasure from having one animal hunt another is beyond me! I felt sick afterwards thinking what could have happened.

I went out the front and checked under the cars, but there was no sign of the youngster, so I assume it managed to fly off and rejoin its parents.

But there was an even bigger to do on Monday.

I found the remains of a baby bird in our downstairs loo/utility room. Cleared it up feeling sad and muttering about murdering cats. Then a bit later we heard a bird tweeting in there. It was coming from inside where all the pipes are boarded in.

Hubby wrestled the bottom panel off and there was just one baby bird in there with very few feathers. I was in tears thinking there was no hope for the poor little thing which must have fallen about 20 feet down the shaft, but we lined a box with kitchen paper and loo paper and some clean hay and popped her in.

I reckoned we had an 8-10 day old-ish female house sparrow. I didn’t hold out any hope at all, but I started feeding her.

I took this photo on Wednesday.

We saw Tinks later with her arm right in the gap beside the loo waste pipe fishing about behind the panel which is presumably how she got the other poor little thing. They must have fallen about 20 feet down the shaft.

Yesterday I transferred the sparrow from the box to a cage (cheap one I picked up) so she had more space to test her wings (and would be safer), but she hopped up on the side of the box and fluttered across the bed and onto the floor. A good sign I thought!

I took this photo today and just look at those feathers! If you can see them that is. It isn't a great photo.  Amazing how much she’s developed since Monday.

She’d just had a meal and was settling down to sleep. I am trying very hard not to imprint on her as I want her to be wary of humans and I never let her see the dogs or cats for obvious reasons.

Letting her go when the time comes (and I hope it does) is going to be hard! But there are a lot of sparrows out there for her to join up with.

Talking of things growing rapidly, Scout is now way taller than Poppy and Dusty. This was her at the beginning of May.

Two weeks later!

And this was last week when she was playing in the sea with Poppy while Dusty stands patiently waiting for someone to throw a ball for him!

When they’re at home, it’s Dusty and Scout that play together – constantly! The only time they stop is if we separate them and once they're apart, they both flake out - as do I!

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Puppy Love

Dusty is well and truly besotted with Scout. They never stop playing and we have to separate them at times just so they can both get some rest.

Dusty had his 6 monthly check up at the vet’s and he’s put on two kilos and now weighs 16.5 kilos which is a far more respectable weight. That’s a lot of weight to put on, but he’s always been at the very low end of low and as skinny as a rake. Lucy said he was “perfect” and that some of the increase could be down to muscle, but she certainly wasn’t worried. Phew.

Last year I changed him to a different brand of dog food. The one I had used for my dogs for nearly 20 years just didn’t seem to suit him at all and we couldn’t get him to gain weight. I looked into it and checked on various forums and a name that kept coming up as being a good quality food was Skinner’s Field and Trial.

I’ve got him on their Duck and rice variety for dogs with sensitivities – and it suits him very well. He looks sturdier. And it’s half the price of the other food which is a bonus.

Scout has started training classes. She seems to grow before your eyes and is almost as tall as Dusty now. It’s difficult to get a photo of them standing together because when we’re at home, they’re normally rolling around the floor snorting and snuffling!

Settled after a walk

Did you see Spring? It lasted all of two days and now we seem to be back in Autumn! It’s all topsy-turvy.

It was nice while it lasted

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Scouting for pups!

I haven’t posted recently because there was nothing to post about except Christmas and snow and I think we all had enough of that thank you very much! Although we seem to have a covering out there again just now.

But something exciting and life changing happened just over a week ago. I went with my daughter to pick up her new puppy and this past week has been all about settling her in. It was four years almost to the day since we brought Dusty home.

She already knows that I pick her and Poppy up in the mornings to bring her back here and happily goes home again later in the day.

She’s called Scout and is a mix of four different breeds. I shan’t tell you what they are, but see if you can guess. If you want to that is.

Her colours are black, honey, white and reddish brown. She’s about twice the size Dusty was when we got him.

Here she is.


Tinks, who is the most laid back cat I have ever met, went straight up to her and kissed her on the nose. No puffed up tail or arched back or huge black eyes. 

Tinks and Scout

Harley. Well Harley did this the first time she saw her, but she now accepts her. They even rubbed noses yesterday!


Dusty has been better with her than I dared hope. His record with other dogs is odd to say the least. Some he’ll be friends with and yet others he’ll bark at for no apparent reason. He's starting to catch on that the new addition wants to play and he's playful himself, so I see fun and games ahead.

In the photo below, Scout had rolled the treat ball towards Dusty and he was trying to decide whether to check it for more treats or roll it back. When he first met her and for the first few days, he's been so calm, like a different dog. I don't expect that to last.

Poppy, Dusty and Scout

When she goes outside and has a wee or poo, she immediately comes to you for a treat – and she’ll sit for that. If she goes indoors, she uses a puppy pad – unless she misjudges, but there have been few accidents. We were a bit concerned because she sleeps so much, but then realised we are so used to high energy dogs (mentioning no names Dusty-never-stops) that she’s just a normal pup.

She comes alive when the kids get home from school. She adored them all from the very start. And I fell in love with her the minute I saw her. It’s amazing just how fast they worm their way into your heart isn’t it.

Her two younger little people knew nothing about her and came home from school and there she was. They were over the moon!

Meeting one of her little people for the first time

 Hope everyone is okay, keeping warm and looking forward to Lovely Spring!

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Wrapping Up For 2017

Tinks helped me wrap the Christmas presents (well I say help, I mean she took up the sunny spot on the table so I worked round her until she decided the bag with all my wrapping paper in looked very comfy and sent rolls of wrapping paper flying across the floor, then she went off in a huff because obviously I tricked her into thinking the wrapping paper bag was some sort of soft squishy bed).


Talking of cats in huffs, Harley wasn’t speaking to me when I took this photo.


I keep treats in the cupboard behind me and she taps me on the shoulder until I give her some. If I don’t move fast enough, she starts shredding magazines, pulling tissues out of the box and throwing things on the floor. When that didn’t work the other day, she said, “It would be a shame if this little china unicorn that you treasure so much were to get broken.” Then she gave it a smack and it flew off the shelf and landed with a sickening crack on my mum’s old Toby jug. Luckily the sickening crack was just a noise and nothing was broken. “Now will you give me a treat?” she said.

I said I certainly would not because her bottom is starting to look big in that fur coat. That’s why she came and sat on my mouse mat with her back to me. What do you think? Of course I caved and gave her some. She might be a little gangster, but she’s my lovely little gangster. 

As I was typing this, she started with the shoulder tapping. The photos aren't great, but I managed to catch her in the act!

Ahem - Excuse me

I'm here!
For heaven's sake woman, tap tap, give me a treat!

She likes to keep my printer warm too.

Every Printer Should Have One

If Dusty wants a treat from the cupboard, he tries to dig his way into it (I think Harley tells him to do that). Hm, I think keeping treats in there was a big mistake. Every time I open the door to get out the sellotape or a new printer ink or an envelope, Harley pops out of her little house-bed and Dusty pings out from under my desk.


This is me wrapping up for this year and wishing you a very Happy Christmas. I can’t tell you how excited I am that we’re less than a week away from the Winter Solstice and the nights starting to pull out again!

Sunday, 12 November 2017


Anyone who knows me will know that I don’t like this time of year. Perhaps it is because my dad died in November when I was 18 and I have always felt sad around this time. And of course there is so much sadness surrounding Armistice Day when we remember so many who lost their lives.

This photo was taken in Malta about ten years before I was born. I must have been that twinkle in his eye. It's a favourite of mine because I can see both my boys in him.

My Dad

This week it will be six years since Tilly died. My funny, special, loving little dog. The first and only girl dog I ever had. It still feels raw. Perhaps because of the hopelessness that surrounded her decline and death. The way we knew we were losing her, but there was nothing we could do. I still feel the shock of realising she’d gone blind – and I didn’t know then that it was a result of liver disease. She had such a poor start in life and we didn’t get her until she was 8 months old. I’ll never forget the bond I had with her. I won’t say from the start because she barked at me for 90 minutes solid, but when I brought her home, she climbed on my lap in the back of the car and that was it - bonded. She never left my side. If I was ill in bed, she stayed with me, not even going downstairs to go out in the garden. If I went out, she howled miserably (Dusty does that too!) even with other people in the house.

My Tilly

I’ve loved all my dogs and cats and none any more than any of the others, but there is a corner of my heart that will always be bruised by her loss. She used to make me smile too, so much. And she was so clever. Indy and Oakley used to stand back and let her open doors for them. Despite being the smallest of the gang, she used to rescue them from other dogs.

I remember once – at this time of year – a load of geese were gathered on the field. She ran round them in a wide arc and disappeared into the glaring sun so that she could emerge from the glare, startling them all into the air. She was so pleased with herself! She never caught anything, never wanted to, but she did like to have fun.

A good thing that happened this month was visiting my youngest son and his family. I don’t know why, but I decided to take a photo of the halfway point between there and here. I always feel when we get to Stansted that we are either nearly there or nearly home. And sometimes we get to see planes flying low which I love! Never seem to have any children in the car though when that happens – typical isn’t it.


Several mornings running I’ve seen Mute swans flying from the marshes to the boating lakes. I haven’t yet been able to get a decent photo! So this will have to do I’m afraid. The only sound they make is that loud wing whooshing.

Another bird blur

Speaking of swans, I took a picture of these on the Dock River during one of my walks before school pick-up. You’d hardly know there was a busy road behind me carrying all the port traffic, an industrial estate to the left of the river and the big shops, Morrisons, B&M etc to the right – and the port straight ahead. It's quite a nice and surprisingly peaceful spot to stop and think for a while.

Dock River

I will be glad once November is over and the Christmas lights start to appear (some people have already started) and the evenings will be darker, but bright. In December we can look forward to getting the shortest day out of the way as the nights start to pull out and we head towards spring!

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Busy Sky

Every morning starting around 6 am I hear the geese (Brent geese I think) flying south towards the salt marshes. They come over in waves for about an hour, squawking and clacking. I love listening to them. They are always too early for me to get a decent photo, but I managed to get a couple at 7 am. Poor quality and the smudge in the sky isn’t very impressive, but I thought the sky was a pretty colour.

Flying South

I have seen some birds flying north. Not sure what they were, but they were smaller than geese and silent. Maybe they move out when the geese move in.

Flying North

As it is half term we’d planned a trip to the cinema on Wednesday, but a completely flat tyre put paid to that and as we had already booked the tickets, we lost the money. This is the third time we’ve had to cancel a pre-booked cinema trip in the last few years, but hey ho, I think sometimes these things happen for a reason.

Anyway, thank goodness for parks this week! We’ve spent hours in them! Hours and hours, making the most of the lovely weather.

We had our oak tree lopped back this week. It’s always sad to see it so heavily shorn, but it recovers quickly and we always wait until the birds have definitely finished nesting. I just hope most of the bugs and spiders managed to get away before it all went in the shredder.


I always find it very worrying seeing the guy so high up the tree with his chainsaw.

Can you see him?

Harley was terrified and stayed behind the sofa until they had finished. It’s very noisy with the chainsaws going and the big shredder chewing up all the branches.

At one point you couldn’t see the garden because it was just full of lopped off branches.

Dusty wasn’t bothered at all. He just wanted to get out there and play in all the exciting new bushes that had suddenly appeared.

Why Can't I Go Out?

Tinks was pretty relaxed about it all.


They did such a good job of clearing up and raking when they’d finished, that the garden looked tidier than it did before they arrived!


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Pup On My Pillow!

Got into bed the other night and thought my pillow felt a bit lumpy. Found this underneath it!

That was him looking as if he thought I hadn'tnoticed.

That was when he realised I had!

Saw this chap about to raid a neighbour’s pond! Very hastily taken as he was about to slither out of view. Not that herons tend to slither.

Almost didn't have any photos at all! Photoshop stopped working, the drop down menus were empty and it turned out to be something Windows 10 did on their last update - removing fonts that Photoshop uses. So it had to be reinstalled. Thankfully working okay now.

Last weekend I planned to go to the Sea Shanty Festival. I love it, walking round the old town listening to the music. Something incredibly cheery about a sea shanty and it’s a great atmosphere. It’s about 2.5 miles from my house to the quay and I set off on Saturday with good intentions, but ended up turning home within half a mile of my destination. It was hot and clammy and I was tired. It had been a busy week.

I could have gone on the second day of the Sea Shanty Festival, but I’d already planned to go to the Ipswich Vegan Festival at Portman Road. It’s years since I’ve been to the football stadium and it was kind of nice to be back there.

I’ve never been to a vegan festival before so it was good to do something different.

There was a small queue when we arrived, but it grew longer and longer and once we were in, people didn’t stop arriving. There were so many stalls, Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary, Sea Shepherds UK, Animals Asia, Actions for Greyhounds, Animal Aid, The Humane Research Trust to name but a few.

And there were stalls selling vegan products and books.

I bought some things from the Hunt Sabs stall and Greek Animal Rescue.

You wouldn’t think we’d still need hunt sabs so many years after it was banned, but we need them now more than ever.

I am thrilled it was so popular but once the Sir Bobby Robson Suite started to fill up, I started to get nervy. I’m not good with crowds, I can’t think straight and I get panicky. I felt quite emotional too, seeing all those wonderful people there with their stalls and I would have bought from every one of them if I could. I would have liked to have spoken to more people too, but I go sort of numb once I get in panic mode and can’t think straight.

It looked quiet on the stairs so we went up to the Legends Suite where the vegan food was and it was much quieter. I calmed down pretty quickly and got into an interesting conversation with the Norwegian Bakers. Their stall was amazing! And so tempting! Too tempting.

But I’d run out of money. My other half came to my rescue and I (he) bought some cakes and pastries. It made me realise how far I have to go before I produce anything anywhere near as good as that.

I brought Dusty and Poppy back some vegan dog treats which they said were yummy!

Definitely somewhere I will go back to. I don’t always get like that in crowds, so perhaps next year I will do better and maybe stay longer to listen to some of the talks and music.