Friday, 31 August 2012

Happy Endings

I love clouds like this, wispy things like the silky fur of a dog.

Even better when a flock of starlings rush across the sky.

A couple of weeks ago Imogen lost her toy cat, Kitty. It went everywhere with her and she’s never been able to sleep without it.

When they got home after an afternoon at the allotment, she realised she hadn’t got Kitty. They went searching. They had narrowed down where she’d been lost to a very small area, but when they looked, there was no sign of her.

Imogen was heartbroken. The next morning, friends and family searched again. A photo of Kitty went up on Facebook and lots of lovely people were keeping an eye out for her, even friends from far away (thank you Suz and Julie).

Next time she came to my house, she had a rag doll under her arm where Kitty used to be and such a sad little face. Normally she bounces in, full of smiles. She’s only just five and I think when you’re that small and you lose something that has been such a huge part of your life, it is a bereavement of sorts.

Not only was a physical search going on, but also an internet one (her dad spent ages scouring the webwaves) and a few days later Imogen received a parcel.

Apparently Father Christmas was here on his holidays, soaking up some rays when he found Kitty all forlorn and lost. He picked her up and took her home, handing her to the elves who gave her a good wash and a new collar.

She was then posted home and our happy little girl was back.

Last night there was a ring around the moon. This morning it feels chilly and really autumnal. There’s a definite whiff of change in the air and much as I dislike the final quarter of the year, it felt kind of nice.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

On the North Face of Grumpy

It occurred to me the other day that all I ever seem to do on Twitter and Facebook is put up links to petitions or share funny/sad pictures.

But I can’t help thinking that no one would be interested to know I’d put my woolly socks on or had just released a grasshopper back into the wild (hop wild and free little green friend). Who cares that I’m off to the shops or that I stubbed my toe on the filing cabinet? I really feel I should say something, but what?

Anyway, as you can probably tell I am on the north face of Grumpy at present. I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s the end-of-summer blues.

As an apology to everyone who puts up with my petitions and a thank you to those who take the time and trouble to sign - and also to thank lovely readers of this ‘ere blog for putting up with me, I am giving away All at Sea on Kindle. It’s a compact read and was originally published as a Woman’s Weekly serial.

You can download All at Sea free for the next two days.

If you don’t own a Kindle, the program itself is free to download onto your computer, so you can take advantage of Kindle freebies – and non-freebies too if you wish.

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Awards for ME this time!

Tim and Ted’s lovely mum, Pat, has passed two beautiful awards to the pets of bloggers. I have tried to eat them with no success, but Herself has promised me a slice of garlic bread if I do this nicely.

I am to tell you five fabulous things about myself. Well where to begin?

1.    I am going to be famous. I shall be appearing in Dog’s Monthly magazine soon. Me. My picture. In a proper magazine. With my face and everything and even words. How excited am I? How far away is Betelgeuse? Well even further than that!

2.    My proper posh name is Finisterre Shadow. My dad’s name was Shadow and like he used to, I chase shadows, lights, spiders, flies – anything that moves really. It used to amuse Herself till she read somewhere that it was a form of OCD. I have tried telling her I love it, but if anyone should inadvertently catch the light with their watch, she tells them off.  Spoilsport.

3.    I love children – or food dispensers as I like to call them. During a recent bath, Herself found Coco pops in my ear fur. I was saving them for later.

4.    I am very generous. I let my people share my bed. I even let them have some duvet and the use of my pillows.

5.    I once tried to eat a bee and ended up with a face like a furry football. I do not try to eat bees any more, but I will eat spiders. I am very good at catching them and for some reason it makes Herself very happy and suddenly very eager to give me treats.

I would like to pass the awards on to anyone who comments on my post – human or otherwise - and fancies having a go. 

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Spooky... but nice

My daughter and son in law have just acquired an allotment behind the Norwegian houses on the land around the Redoubt fort in Harwich and going there sparked 7 year old Lachlan’s interest in visiting the fort – and the girls decided they’d like to come too.

They’d spent the morning at the beach – and some of it in the sea (the water was very warm). The lighthouse you can see is known as the Umbrella.

While Lachlan posed very seriously with the guns and cannons at the fort, the girls posed like – well like girls!

I grew up in one of the white wooden houses – donated to Harwich by the Norwegians after the 1953 flood and I didn’t take a single second of the 18 years I lived there for granted. My mum lived there until her death in 2003.

I often used to take a short cut round the fort and through the allotments on my way home from school. The Harwich Society hadn’t started restoring the fort back then and I recall one day on my way home hearing footsteps and voices inside the fort. It was chilling.

I think that might have been the day I stopped taking the short cut.

In my last year at primary school, when the long job of restoration had begun, we were taken into the fort. There were no lights and we had to go down the staircase by torchlight. It was a very dark place and I don’t mean just because of the lack of light. I loved it. I loved being scared.

They often have events there and there's a ghost hunt coming up on 7th September. It’s the sort of chance I would have jumped at when I was younger, but not any more. I don’t like being scared.

The atmosphere is absolutely charged. I have never been anywhere like it. I felt it just as strongly yesterday. Fascinating place, I love it dearly, but I would never go there alone.

The Harwich Society have done a fantastic job and it is well worth a visit for the views alone before you even start on the exhibits. And there's the Umbrella again!

I’ve been round the Redoubt many times. My kids used to love going when they were little and I’ve a feeling I’ll be going a lot more in the future with this new generation, but definitely not after dark!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Goats, Alpaca and more Goats

Since reading on Eileen's blog, Life’s Hard, Wine Helps about the children’s petting zoo in the Martello Tower in Clacton, I’ve fancied a visit and I’ve now been a couple of times.

Here are two of the latest arrivals. Gorgeous aren't they?

It’s lovely! All the animals are friendly and cuddly and of course I have a soft spot for the little goats. Thumbs up from me and the kidlets.

I like petting zoos. I love that they give children the chance to meet, feed and pet animals they might not normally see. Most important of all, the animals are all happy - and did I mention friendly?

I’d never met an Alpaca before. They are so very soft. And very smiley. And they liked carrots!

One of my favourite places is Mistley Place Park. It’s not a petting zoo, it’s an animal rescue centre. They have a few dogs, but we only got to see one today. If you time your visit right, you can be there on the big field when the dogs are running about.

Mistley Place Park is in a lovely setting with a lake and a great view across the River Stour. They have a nice cafe too which you can visit without going in to see the animals. 

We got through seven bags of food on our visit today.

And of course, there are lots of lovely goats.

I absolutely love goats! But don't tell Indy!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

All Quiet

Isn’t it quiet here in Blogland? Perhaps it’s the call of the Olympics, or maybe it’s the sudden spell of warm weather.

It’s a bit like walking into a large room full of empty chairs. Where is everyone?

I’ve joined Twitter and I’m still getting to grips with it. I’ve looked for people I know and every so often I stumble across a familiar face and follow them. So if anyone is out there reading this and you see me wandering around looking lost, give me a shout.

I gave Indy a haircut this week with the electric trimmers and for the first time ever, he didn’t try to sneak off halfway through, so perhaps he was pleased to get rid of some of his wool. He even enjoyed his bath afterwards.

I’m going to leave this silent room to the shadows and close the door quietly on my way out – or as it’s so hot, perhaps I’ll leave it open.

Whatever you’re doing, I hope you’re enjoying the summer.

And I’ll leave you with a photo of Indy wearing his Night Vision Goggles.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Award, Award!

Many many thanks to Gary (klahanie) for awarding me not one, but two blog awards. I am beyond chuffed.

I’m sure that everyone who comes here has visited Gary’s blog, but if you haven’t, then please go along. It is a place of good humour, kindness and wee folks with occasional helpings of Indy’s favourite lady, lovely Penny the Jack Russell Dog and Modest Internet Star.

The Fabulous Blog Ribbon requires me to tell you five fabulous things about my life. So here are my chosen ones.

1.  When I was nine, my mum had cancer. She was in and out of hospital and I thought she was going to die. The day she came home and said she didn’t have to go back to hospital again was one of the happiest of my life.

2.  My honeymoon in Helsingor. We stayed in a cabin in a forest, visited the beautiful Kronborg Castle and walked on quiet, empty beaches. It was wonderfully peaceful and we could see Sweden across the water.

3.  Telling my mum on Christmas day that I was expecting her first grandchild – I thought she was going to explode! I always thought she went a bit over the top until my daughter told me she was expecting my first grandchild – then I understood.

4.  Coming home from school on the bus and seeing my dog, Cassie, waiting for me on the other side of the road. Until then, I thought only dogs in comics and stories did that sort of thing. I should say he wasn’t allowed to wander the streets on his own, but he was a bit of an escape artist. And here's a picture of my mum, my daughter (Mum's first grandchild) and our family dogs. Cassie is the one in the middle taking a treat. He lived to be seventeen and he was a legend!

5.  My most fabulous thing is my family – and that of course includes Indy. I honestly don’t know what I would do without them.

And now it is my pleasure to pass the awards to seven lovely bloggers who in turn, if they so wish, should tell us five fabulous things about their lives and then pass on the awards to seven more. These are my Magnificent Seven.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

What a Week!

Happy August. We welcome this lovely sunny summer month with open arms, dollops of sun cream and cries of, “Phew, what a scorcher!” – what? I’m a writer and there’s such a thing as artistic licence you know. And we can dream can’t we?

It’s been an eventful week. My daughter’s pup, Poppy, has a fondness for socks. She has been known to help herself from the washing basket or off the clothes airer or even in a surprise hit and run attack while the washing machine is being emptied.

On Thursday last week she stopped eating and she was sick and very quiet. She was taken promptly to the vet and given her sock-eating history, they kept her in for x-rays.

And there, stuck in her small intestine, was a sock. This was returned to them after the operation in a plastic bag.

“Don’t open it,” the vet advised my son in law. “It’s very smelly.”

The trouble is, she doesn’t know that she felt ill because she ate a sock. Now she has a shaved tum with a long neat scar down the centre which she is showing off at every opportunity. 

It was just such a relief to see her back to her usual self and I am so glad she's okay.