Sunday 29 August 2010


I tried Caroline’s suggestion of holding a biscuit over my head with one hand and the camera with the other to get a decent dog shot. So this is Indy’s “I’m being good gimme the biscuit,” face (more about him later).

And this is Tilly’s “I’ve been in the smelly, dirty dyke, but I don’t think anyone has noticed,” face.

I love Thames barges. One day I am going to have a painting of one to hang over my fireplace – but first I would have to get a fireplace. What’s that got to do with the price of petrol I hear you ask – well nothing, I just wanted an excuse to put a picture of a Thames Barge on my blog.

Last week was lovely. All my grandchildren were here, right down to the littlest, Charlotte who is 10 weeks old and just about the most placid, easy going, good humoured baby I’ve ever known.

I managed to get them playing quietly for oooh about a minute and a half with Play Doh. No that’s not true, they played nicely for quite a while. But why is it when you get something out for kids to play with, Lego, Play Doh, wooden bricks – you suddenly find yourself engrossed in making something and completely alone where they’ve all wandered off to play with something else?

We managed to get a boat trip over to Shotley where Lachlan and Imogen posed for a picture.

And I took this picture because I felt like it.

Now the serious stuff. They started harvesting just over a week ago and of course with the harvest comes the guns. You hear the men shouting at their dogs then the guns go off. I hate it, knowing every time there’s a gunshot something is either dying or hurt.

Indy found where they’d been gutting the rabbits that they’d shot. They’d left the entrails at the side of the footpath. I’m just glad the only child with me was Isabel who is 19 months old and not old enough to realise what it was.

Indy went straight for it and began to eat. But it was a similar incident that may have saved his life as a puppy – or at least it gave him a few extra hours. I’ve probably blogged about his pancreatic insufficiency before (but being of a certain age I'm allowed to repeat myself). He was only a few months old when he got sick and the nurse at the vets called him a skeleton with a head.

All his food went through him and came out exactly as it had gone in. The vet kept prescribing antibiotics but nothing was working.

On a walk before he got too weak to come out – it may have even been the last walk he had until he recovered - he came across a freshly killed rabbit which had been ripped open and he ate the insides before I could stop him. I thought at the time it was because he was always ravenous. Well it probably was, but amongst those innards must have been a pancreas and it must have contained live enzymes because his next poo was near normal.

I researched on the internet and learned about pancreatic insufficiency and asked the vet to do a blood test. Then we had to wait for the results while Indy died a little more every day. I didn’t think he’d last until the results came through and I asked for the enzyme powder that would save his life. The vet was reluctant without a proper diagnosis, but what difference did it make anyway? It wouldn’t harm him and might save him.

They gave me the powder and the effect was immediate and a few days later the blood test results confirmed the diagnosis. So began his recovery. This time 10 years ago he was a very sick little dog.

I wish I’d taken a photo of him when he was ill, but I couldn’t bear to. I thought he was going to die and I didn’t want anything to remind me of his suffering.

I suppose in my usual long winded fashion what I am saying is that yes, the sight of the grey and red guts dangling from his jaw today was gruesome, but it reminded me of how close we came to losing him and how lucky we are that he is still here.

And finally, another trip to Shotley. At last I got to see inside the HMS Ganges museum there this afternoon. I’ve been itching to get in there, but every time I’ve been over it’s been a weekday and the museum is only open at weekends.

It was worth the wait. Small but beautifully put together with so many photos and items of interest including the restored figurehead from the original HMS Ganges. There are endless folders to look through containing more photos and interesting documents. I went through some hoping for a glimpse of my mum or dad, but alas not this time. It is so lovingly kept and cared for and the people working there so friendly and helpful.

I became unexpectedly choked up. It was an emotional experience on many levels. The photos of the boys who looked so young and who would have been at war soon after; the woollen long johns worn by men like my dad on the Arctic convoys; the thought of how much my mum would have enjoyed looking round there. It all got a bit much for me.

Anyway, had a little walk afterwards, looked longingly at boats for sale and took this final photo. It made me smile. Perhaps you’ll be able to see why – perhaps you won’t.


  1. Your grandchildren are beautiful, Teresa.

    And the photos of Indy and Tilly are lovely - I wish I had a dog I could try the biscuit trick on.


  2. Oh yes, Teresa. I know the feeling of being left to play on my own, only too well. Usually, just as I'm about to place the final piece on a requested lego
    house. Sometimes when I'm trying to model Peter Rabbit out of PlayDoh. Aren't kids impatient? I'm sure I was never like that...(cough, cough).

  3. What a name for a boat!

    Great pics. I must try that biscuit-over-my-head trick with Harvey. He is a devil to get a good photo of. Much too excitable to pose nicely.

    How amazing that Indy found the solution to his own problem like that. He looks a very happy little chap now.

  4. Such lovely pics! What a great story about Indy, I'm glad that something so horrible lead to finding the answer to his problems!
    Now I'm wondering, what did you make with the play-doh once the little ones had wandered off? I usually attempted a Morph :/ Do you find yourself worrying over the mixed up colours that children inevitable squish together? Or is that just me?

  5. Thank you, Suzanne xx

    And do you ever find, Martin, that you're reading a book and find your audience has gone, but you carry on reading anyway?

    It's tricky to keep the camera straight while waving a biscuit over your head, Joanne, but at least it got their attention.

    penandpaints - I like making long sausages then winding them into things, or making little plates of food. I used to try to keep all the colours separate but they always get squished (love that word - the smaller ones call Play Doh "squish") into a brown blob. I've given up trying to keep the colours separate.

  6. I had to get my magnifying glass out but I got the name of the boat. That would make an eye-catching title for a story.

  7. Love the boat name!

    I was recently in Brittany and saw a boat with Cap Sizun on it. I thought it was an English joke, until I realised that it was the name of the area we were in.

    Very much enjoyed your stories in the Going Places anthology.

  8. What an amazing story about your dog. You wouldn't know now to look at him that he'd been so ill.

  9. I can't believe Charlotte is ten weeks old already!

  10. Hi again Teresa.

    Today I read your lovely cat story in the PF Autumn Special, and remembered that you'd had a Huggy of your own. Isn't it great that through our writing we can reconnect with the people, places, and animals that have been special to us. Just been back to your July posts to look at Huggy's pic again. x

  11. What a gorgeous dog - so glad he survived! Dreadful name for a boat. Imagine the owner telling his wife he's off out in it for the day. Lovely grandchildren.

  12. What an amazing story with a happy ending. Glad to know Indy survived.

  13. beautiful dog, so glad Indy made it through - not least through your love for the dog and your persistence with the vet. I hope you gave him the biccie after he sat so lovely for you! Maybe that's what my husband should do when he's taking a photo of me and I'm a bit reluctant. " Come on, Julie, there's a good girl. Look at the hobnob, Julie! Do you want the hob nob, Julie? Then smile - there's a good girl!"

    I love the barge - they look so lovely.

    julie xx

  14. How heartbreaking it must have been to see your pet suffer in that way and how wonderful that your instincts and perseverance restored him to health. He is adorable. And so are all those lovely children!

  15. Yes, wouldn’t it, Keith!

    Bernadette - Cap Sizun – brilliant! Loved that it turned out to be the place. I very much enjoyed your story in Going Places (it’s one I will read again and again) – I had no idea that you and Sherri were one and the same!

    He looks pretty good doesn’t he, Helen. It still amazes me that all that stands between him and certain death is half a teaspoon of Panzym powder twice a day.

    It’s hard to believe isn’t it, Elizabeth. I can’t believe it myself. Time goes too fast.

    Thank you for coming back, Joanne (did you bring the Maltesers and the chains?) The Huggy in the story had a little of Gizzie and Leo included in his personality. I agree it is lovely to be able to reconnect with those we’ve loved.

    Thank you, Womag. Do you think the owner of the boat has a wife? It would be interesting to see him. Or maybe he’s a she!

    Thanks Jarmara. We certainly didn’t think there would be a happy ending for Indy. He was so thin and starving and always cold. I used to cuddle him up in bed at night to keep him warm and wonder if he’d make it till morning.

    Lol, Julie – I wouldn’t be here to tell the tale if I hadn’t handed over the biscuit! You did make me laugh at the thought of your husband with the hob-nob!! I’m glad you like the barges too – I’ve a real thing about them.

    He is adorable, Joanna. It was heartbreaking going through all that with him. I remember after one trip to the vets just sitting in the car with him and crying all over him – poor little dog, almost drowned in tears on top of everything else!

  16. Love the photos, especially Tilly! Reminds me very much of the expression on our last dog Jed's face most of the time.He seemed to make it his life's mission to find the smelliest spot to roll or dive into.

  17. Beautiful photos of the grandchildren and Tilly.

  18. What a gorgeous dog, Indy was very lucky.

  19. Thank you Sky Blue. Tilly is such a character - she never rolls or eats dead things, but she does love to jump in filthy ditches.

    Thank you Eliza.

  20. Anita - just found you hiding in my spam folder! Thank you for your comment.