Thursday, 25 May 2017

Growing Family

Tinks


My son and daughter in law have just adopted Tinks. She is from the same rescue that Harley came from and is about the same age or a little older. Harley will be four this year.

She seemed like a perfect match for us. Friendly, likes children, loves (absolutely adores) dogs and has lived with another cat before.

She spent the first 24 hours in a “safe” room away from the rest of the house, but was allowed to wander round the whole house to get used to the smells and sounds while Harley and Dusty were out of the way.

Dusty in the woods


We should have waited 24 hours before introducing Harley and Tinks, but they met face to face through the patio door. Harley’s tail puffed up, but I think that was just surprise on her part to see a strange cat in her house. They seemed so eager to meet that we allowed them a brief encounter and waited for the hisses and growls.

Harley just wanted to be friends, but Tinks had a little growl and a hiss. They met several times after that and within 5 days they are getting along fine. Not cuddling each other or anything like that, but respectful and relaxed together.

Harley


With Dusty it is a little more difficult. He has always chased cats out of the garden because there are a couple round here who come into our garden with the sole purpose of beating Harley up.

Tinks is not in the least little bit afraid of him. She’s come right up to him and rubbed noses, but occasionally he’ll lunge, so when they are together he has a lead on – just in case. I’ve put a baby gate up on the office door and they spend a lot of time close together but with the gate as a barrier. She is desperate to be near him and he is desperate to play with her.

Making friends


Meanwhile, Harley is throwing herself at Dusty, batting his ears and yelling, “Chase ME! Chase ME!”

I am sure with patience and time and lots of positive reinforcement (they get to eats lots of chicken when they are close together) they will be good friends.

And just as the weather hots up, we have to have all the windows and doors closed so Tinks can’t get out! Phew! Hopefully it won’t be too long before she can go outside to sprawl in the garden with Harley.








Saturday, 1 April 2017

Getting My Goat!


Sadly I haven't got a goat - although I would love to have one or a few. I took the photo at an animal rescue centre. Look at that beautiful expressive face, "Stop taking photos and give me more FOOD!"

There are several explanations for the origins of getting your goat. One is that in days gone by, a goat was placed with a racehorse the night before a race as a calming influence and rivals might nick the goat to upset the horse.

The title of this post came to mind because at the time I started writing it, a lot of things were getting my goat and turning me into a grumpy old mare (see what I did there?).

I wrote a lengthy rant about all the goaty things and deleted it. Life’s too short to dwell on the goat getters.

Some upheaval during the past few weeks has resulted in a very tidy house and multiple trips to the tip. I even found a couple of books I’d bought a few years ago for research and never got round to reading. Happiness!

I’ve rediscovered my baking mojo too and have been making lots of cakes every weekend – including Heavenly Nutty Chocolate Cups which aren’t cakes and don’t need to be baked. They are extremely popular with everyone. The kids are always asking when I’m going to make more and they are vegan which pleases my oldest grandson (and me!). And I ring the changes by sometimes using different nuts – I like to use peanuts and cashews.

At the moment school seems to be getting the resident little person’s goat and Harley thought if she went to sleep on her school shirt she would save her. Unfortunately her cunning plan didn’t work – it was a shirt put aside because it has been outgrown.



They’re all more than ready for the Easter holidays and a break from school – and so am I.

Happy Spring!





Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Novel Blogging, Newsletters and Dogs

If you like a good read, then Mandy Brittany (a name I know many will recognise) is sharing two novels free via two blogs. One is a magical comedy called Phototime and the other is a mystery thriller called The Cold and I know from her short stories that she’s very good at both.

As I said, the novels are free to read, but Mandy is hoping to raise money for Cancer Research and there is a link on the blog to the Just Giving site. Whether you wish to donate or not, the books are there to be read. You can start reading The Cold here and Phototime here.

** 

I subscribe to a few of my favourite writers’ newsletters and as a subscriber I was lucky enough to win a beautifully illustrated little book of poems by Robert Burns. It really is lovely and I have Rosemary Gemmell to thank for it.  Rosemary’s is one of my favourite newsletters and you can subscribe via her blog here.

Rosemary’s blog is well worth a visit anyway.

**

You’d think after all that leash walking Dusty had to do while he was recovering from his leg operations, that I’d have managed to train him to walk nicely wouldn’t you? He’s so quick to learn and has been the easiest dog I’ve ever had to train.

And he’s incredibly helpful, bringing me my dog-walking shoes when we’re going for a walk and pulling the duvet back for me to get into bed. He even gets my clothes for me in the mornings and it’s hard to be grateful when they’ve been dragged all round the floor and thrown up in the air, but I do try.

I’ve tried all sorts of different head harnesses and body harnesses to get him to walk nicely. I’ve tried treats, but for a food obsessed dog, he’s just not interested once we leave the house. I’ve tried toys and balls and doing the stopping and changing direction thing. Nothing works. So I’ve given up and resigned myself to having a dog that is almost rubbing his chest on the ground because he’s pulling so much.

I steel myself against the tuts and dirty looks I get from those lucky enough to have dogs trotting along beautifully at their sides. Oh and did I mention he also shrieks as we walk along which draws even more disapproval.  But something amazing has happened…

I pass an elderly couple with their two dogs when I walk to the fields. They always smile and laugh and say “We can hear you coming a mile away! He’s so keen! It's lovely!” And I see a man with a hearty laugh and a small dog and he says, “It makes my day seeing you! I love the noise he makes. He’s so eager to get off the lead, so full of energy. I love him!”

So if we brighten the day for a few people, then I’ll put up with the embarrassment!


It was Dusty’s best friend Poppy’s 6th birthday last week. She’s much more of a cat person than a dog person and would rather play with cats than dogs, but she makes an exception for Dusty. 


Sunday, 22 January 2017

More Teething Problems

Harley taken by her special little person Izzy


When Harley was a year old and went in for her annual check-up, our vet found her back teeth covered in tartar and her gums very red. She was taken in for a dental clean up and fortunately kept all her teeth.

She was tested for Calicivirus, but it came back negative. Apparently the tests can give a false negative, so it’s still a possibility that she had the virus before we got her. Or it could be a genetic problem.

We know that she had a bad start in life. She was dumped along with her brother over the sea wall onto the beach when she was very young. Fortunately someone saw it happen and was able to rescue them.

Those people who threw her away like rubbish have no idea what they're missing. She's such a sweet-natured and kind little cat and she has a very special bond with my almost-8-year-old granddaughter Izzy (even if she does wake her up taking photos of her!).

She was expected to have to have a dental clean up every year, but at every six month check-up she hasn’t needed one – until this time. The vet thought she might lose one or possibly two teeth, but said she wouldn’t know until the teeth had been cleaned.

She had to have four out. That was a shock. I didn’t think her teeth looked as bad as they had that first time and that she’d just need a clean-up.

As she dislikes soft food in any shape or form, I had to soften her kibble with warm water. She had to have antibiotic capsules twice a day and a squirt of Metacam, an anti-inflammatory. She is so good taking her medicine.

Since the problem was first found two years ago, she’s had special food for oral health and a sprinkle of Plaque Off on her food.

I took her for her post-op check on Saturday and they were very pleased with how well her gums have healed already. It’s very sad and frustrating to think this is an ongoing problem and that she will probably lose more teeth no matter what we do.


But she is a happy and content little cat and now those teeth have gone, probably a much more comfortable little cat!

Blissful Sleep


Saturday, 14 January 2017

Floods

Well it didn’t happen. After all the warnings and evacuations, there were no significant floods in this area thanks to a change in the wind direction. Further up the coast in Whitby and Hornsea, they weren’t so lucky, but even so, it wasn’t the disaster they had been preparing for.

My daughter’s house was in a danger zone and they moved valuable items upstairs and packed bags, ready to come here if necessary. We were a whisker outside the potential flooding zone.

Were they right to evacuate some areas? Yes, they were. Better to put up with a little inconvenience than to suffer the way people did in 1953. On that night, my mum said it was like a tidal wave coming down the street. People lost their homes, their possessions and their lives.

I wrote a post five years ago about the 1953 floods, "The Eyes Say It All", with photos from the time. We should never be complacent about what could happen when a storm surge coincides with a spring tide and a strong wind from a certain direction. I would rather be evacuated from my home unnecessarily than risk going through what my mum and so many like her went through all those years ago.

We didn't get much snow either, much to the disappointment of the children who were all hoping for school closures and snowmen!

Dusty still has the remaining scrap from his Christmas toy sheep. It has now been joined by the remains of a cow, a monkey and a donkey which he was given on his third birthday last week!




We were sitting round the table drawing and Dusty decided he wanted my youngest grandson’s toy dragon to add to his collection! I didn’t get a single photo of him trying to steal it without his arm being a blur!