Wednesday 30 March 2011

The Further Adventures of Indiana Bones

I’m not letting her say anything this time. I think she’s said enough. In fact I think she’d said more than enough when she said to the vet, “Okay, let’s do it.”

The day had started off innocently enough. Yay, I thought, a ride in the car. I love going out in the car. It saves my little legs the walk to the fields.

But we didn’t go to the fields. We went to the V.E.T. There was a rather attractive and elegant lady Deerhound in the waiting room. She spoke kindly to me and I gave her a sniff – a very polite sniff I should say. We settled down together in a fug of terrified silence.

I was so glad when Elena came out and called my name. I like Elena. She put stuff in my eye and turned off the lights then gazed deep into my eyes. “Still blocked,” she said, peering up my right nostril. “We could flush the tear duct under sedation.”

Then I heard the word “starve” and I’m afraid I went to pieces. I collapsed in a heap on the table as my bones turned to jelly. I don’t do hungry.

I knew something was up. For the next few days people kept patting me on the head and asking after my health. “I’m fine,” I told them. “Leave me alone. I don’t need no operations thank you very much.”

Then there were the sad mournful looks. Blimey, they say spaniels look sad, but we’ve got nothing on those humans. I mentioned my worries to Tilly and she just curled up next to me and sighed. And she kept sighing sadly and looking all miz and bereft. I told her to shut up.

I don’t know about me having a leaky eye, but that human of mine was leaking a bit by Friday. She kept going on about the internet and things she’d read. Like “it not being worth the risk of an anaesthetic” to “left untreated it can lead to blindness and even the loss of an eye.”

And she said “Are we doing the right thing?” about a million times. Not to me. Oh no. No one asked my opinion.

I had my tea early on the Thursday and no chewy in the evening. I kept telling her she’d forgotten, but to no avail. Then Friday morning I went to have a drink and my water bowl had gone. Hey, I said. I always have a drink after breakfast. By the way, when is breakfast? It’s not normally this late and I am starving. If I owned a watch I would have tapped it.

Would you believe she forgot? Then she took me out in the car again – without Tilly. Ha ha, unlucky, I told her as I sped out of the door. I could hear Tilly howling at home as we drove off.

Then I realised we weren’t going to the fields or the woods or the beach. She told me she was going to be leaving me at the vet’s, but would come back for me later. I wasn’t really listening. I could hardly hear anything over the sound of my stomach rumbling. I couldn’t believe she’d forgotten to give me breakfast.

Elena was waiting. She asked me to step on the scales. I was reluctant. A guy has his pride and anyway, when was breakfast?

Mum dumped me on them like I was a piece of meat. I said look, it’s just the occasional bit of food that falls from the hands of small children. It would be churlish to refuse. How can I say no to them?

She said my weight was fine. I knew it would be. Then we went into her surgery. I looked round. I couldn’t see any food. She listened to my chest, checked my gums and – gulp – said she was going to take my temperature. Mum said I’d have to stand up for this bit. Well I don’t know what it had to do with my temperature, but what happened next was a tad embarrassing.

Elena said I was in good health and they discussed the risks of sedation. What about the risks of not giving me breakfast, that’s what I wanted to know. The next thing Elena invited me to go with her through another door. At last! She knew I was hungry and was going to give me breakfast. I left Mum behind in my hurry to get to some food.

I don’t remember much about what happened next. Someone shaved my leg. The next thing I knew I woke up feeling a bit twitchy. A nurse smiled at me and stroked my head and said I was brave. Too blinking right I am – I hadn’t had anything to eat since the night before.

They left me to sleep it off. Sleep what off? My hunger? That doesn’t work. Anyway my stomach was rumbling so loud everyone else was complaining that it was keeping them awake too. And something else occurred to me. I needed a wee.

I dozed on and off, then the nurse came in and said it was time for me to go. Where? To dinner? My legs felt all wobbly and I followed her out to the waiting room. Mum made a big fuss of me. I was so weak from hunger I couldn’t see straight and the room was spinning. The nurse stroked me and said I was a good boy then she said the magic words, “Give him his tea when he gets home.”

Mum had to lift me into the car. I was on the brink of collapse from starvation. I sprawled across her legs. “Aw,” she said. “He’s gone to sleep.” No I hadn’t. I’d passed out from lack of food.

When we got home she tried to take me in the front door, but I still needed a wee – desperately - and refused to go in. She said I was still dopey. Huh! Talk about adding insult to injury. She let me go into the back garden and I rushed over to the nearest bush. I couldn’t even keep my leg up and had to do it like a girl.

Speaking of girls, Tilly came rushing over and licked me all over my face till I was soggy.

She said breakfast had been great and I’d missed a treat. Bacon, eggs, sausage, fried bread, beans, sweet milky tea …. I think she was lying.

But I had the last laugh. Mum made me scrambled eggs to have with my food. Tilly had some too. She said she was glad I was back and she’d missed me. She said it was a price worth paying if we were going to get scrambled eggs and said she’d give it a few days and then poke me in the eye…

A week later I went back to the vet and we had to wait because there’d been an emergency admission. I got shouted at by a cat and had a conversation with a poodle with Cushing’s.

Anyway, Elena looked deep into my eyes and smiled and said I was fine! I said I’d had my breakfast thank you very much, but I wouldn’t mind something else to eat if she had it.

Well at least I came home with no bits of me missing – I still haven’t forgotten that particular “little operation”! But for now, back to having fun.

Sunday 20 March 2011

People's Friend and Authors for Japan

There is good news from Shirley Blair from The People’s Friend over at Womag’s blog. And if you’ve any questions for Shirley, post them over there and she’ll try to answer them. It's a great opportunity, so if there is anything you need to know, now is the time to ask.

Authors for Japan. Now I’ve assumed everyone must have heard of this, but in case you haven’t there are over 100 items on the site and the auction ends tonight at 8 o’clock.

There are some fantastic lots on there. How about a dedication in the front of
Jill Mansell’s next book? There are signed copies of books, the chance to be a named character, mentoring and manuscript assessments to name but a few… the list is amazing and it is so easy to bid.

There is also a copy of
Diamonds and Pearls which will include the signatures of all 34 contributors. Don't forget you can also buy the book from Amazon for the bargain price of £4.29.

Thanks for all the entries so far for the first line competition in the previous post. They’ve all been great and so different! I’m really enjoying reading them and I don’t know how on earth I’m going to make a decision when it comes to picking a winner. But please keep them coming!

Thursday 17 March 2011

A Bit of a Competition

Don’t get too excited, it’s not huge, but it might be fun and I promise it won’t cost you a penny. More of that in a bit.

Lynne Hackles makes a very good point on her blog
here about Diamonds and Pearls being a great research tool for anyone wanting to write for magazines (as well as raising money for Against Breast Cancer).

You’ll probably recognise quite a few of the names in the book:

Sue Houghton, Christine Webb, Kelly Florentia, Vivien Hampshire, Fran Tracey, Linda Barrett, Ginny Swart, Sophie King, Teresa Ashby, Gerry Savill, Francesca Burgess, Sue Moorcroft, Kathleen McGurl, Linda Lewis, Elaine Everest, Geraldine Ryan, Paula Williams, Jane Wenham-Jones, Glynis Scrivens, Caz Jones, Sally Quilford, Vanda Inman, June Crowe, Lisa Main
Ann West, Penelope Alexander, Jill Steeples, Catherine Burrows, Della Galton,
Dawn Hudd, Kelly Rose Bradford, Angela Johnson, Katharine Swartz,
Lynne Hackles.

So how would you like to win a copy of Diamonds and Pearls? No strings. Well there is a string, but it’s only a small one and doesn’t involve parting with any money.

What I would like you to do is to write the first line of any sort of story. Beginnings are important so make me want to read more, but all I want is an opening sentence.*

You can put your entry in the comments box or email it to me at Teresaashby at ymail dot com. The only thing I would ask is that you are willing for me to reprint your entry and name (first name will do if you’re shy) in the blog when I announce the winner (or winners if I can’t make up my mind, but don’t worry you won’t have to share the book!)

Winner gets a brand spanking new copy of Diamonds and Pearls. Oh and we’d best have a closing date. Shall we say 31st March and I’ll announce the winner on Mother’s Day, 3rd April.

*Sorry about the post yesterday with the changes - I confused myself let alone everyone else. Put it down to me being in a bit of a tizz - not thinking straight at the moment. Bear with me chaps and please accept my apologies.

Saturday 12 March 2011

Notebooks, Indy's Story and Good News!

So there I was wondering what to blog about next when along came Gail from The Writing Bug with another Stylish Blogger award to kick start me. Thank you, Gail!

But I’m not going to bore you with seven more things about me. I wrote them down, deleted them, wrote them again and deleted them again. So consider yourselves lucky.

I had another post drafted and as I started to read through it I thought it may make a story, so that has been moved to my ideas notebook.

Indy’s paw seems, touch wood, to be better. His eye is still runny so I’m afraid it looks as if another trip to the vet is in the pipes.

I bought myself a new notebook this week. New project = new notebook. It’s a new one on me – an
Oxford Acts for the Planet notebook and I have to say as something of a notebook freak, I like it very much indeed.

Also got a new subs book. I use a hardback A5 lined book to record all my submissions and have them in various shades of red, blue and black – but this time I went for purple.

I spent ages browsing round the notebooks, project books, this book and that book, but the Oxford one felt right for my New Project.

My new project of course, is Indy’s story. I started to write thinking I’d do a page of notes per year of his life to expand on later. I started writing it all down last night and so far I’ve filled about 20 pages and I’ve only covered 6 months.

Whether it will ever come to anything I don’t know, but I am enjoying it and I’m finding as I write things are coming back to me.

And I’ve saved the best till last - CONGRATULATIONS to Sue Blackburn who has just had her first story acceptance by Ireland’s Own. Well done, Sue!

Saturday 5 March 2011

The Tale of Indy's Paw

This week Indy started limping and when he wasn’t limping around he was holding his paw up and looking pathetic and generally miserable.

This week I hurt my foot. I could barely walk, but you didn’t hear me complain. I waved my paw at her occasionally and she told me to stop playing the old soldier. Old? That's me on the right with my pet spider when I was just a child (poor spider - he went to pieces, literally). I still am. I will never grow up.

He’s also got a very runny eye again.

It made me cry.

So off we went to the vets.

So she took me to the Chamber of Horrors.

In the waiting room was a beautiful Rottweiler, a dear little Border Terrier and a gorgeous border collie. They were all so good too sitting quietly and waiting patiently. Indy behaved perfectly.

In the waiting room was a massive Rottweiler that licked his lips and said I looked tasty, a Border Terrier that laughed at my sore paw and a border collie that said I was too inferior to bother with. I was too scared to move so I sat like a statue - except when I climbed on her lap but she called me a wuss and made me sit on the floor.

I had visions of operations for Indy as I hadn’t been able to find anything in his paw and was worried he’d cracked a bone or something. You know how it goes. Your imagination starts running riot and before you know it you’ve got them hobbling round on crutches with their legs in plaster.

I had visions of operations for myself. You know what it's like. She keeps looking at you with a worried expression and you start to think she knows something you don't. Apart from that she kept poking round in my paw and looking at it through her magnifying glass. I mean what an insult - suggesting you'd need a magnifying glass to see my injury. The pain was terrible, although I hid it well.

I’d even made contingency plans with everyone in case I had to take him back the next day for an operation – that’s how bad it had got in my mind.

When we left home I told Tilly that if I didn’t come back she could have my green rubber bone and I asked her not to forget me.

He has been known to overdo the running about at times and he gets a little stiff after, but this was different.

She has been known to overdo the tennis ball games which results in me having aches and pains and her having achy arms. It’s her fault.

Our lovely vet, Elena, took us outside and watched him walking up and down. Did he limp? Did he hell. And here’s the amazing thing – he came back in without a fuss! If it had been Tilly, I doubt I would ever have got her back through the doors once she’d been out of them.

I like Elena. She asked me to walk up and down so I bravely put my best foot forward and tried not to limp. I was keen to get back inside – some of the vets give me treats.

She spent ages looking at his paw and found a tiny scabby spot deep up inside. Something has pierced it – a thorn perhaps. Elena is almost certain there’s nothing in there, but if it flares up again when his tablets have finished, she’ll know there is. So he’s got antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory. That was Thursday and he’s already a lot happier and limping less.

She spent ages looking at my paw and finally found the sore spot. Since I’ve been on the meds, I feel so much better. A bit spaced out at times, but happier.

Next came the eye examination. Luminous green dye was put in and it didn’t appear down his nose so his tear duct is blocked again. He’s got drops for that which hopefully will do the trick, but if they don’t he’ll need his tear duct flushing and I don’t even want to think about that.

She put something in my eye and then looked up my right nostril and said something about a duct. A viaduct maybe? What that has to do with the price of Bonios I don’t know.

Tilly was ecstatic when we came home. I had to get the appointment when I knew someone would be home with her. I knew she’d be upset with Indy not there and she was. She really does love the bones of her brother.

Tilly went mad when I got home. “What are you doing here?” she said, trying to shove me back out of the door. “If you think you’re getting that green bone back you can think again, Buster.” See, she’d already forgotten my name.

He goes completely limp at the vets. He flopped down on the examination table, draped his head over my arm and just relaxed completely. He always has. Even as a little puppy I used to put him on the table for his vaccinations and he’d just go boneless and sprawl. It’s like he’s giving up.

I relax completely at the vets, especially if it is a lady vet. They make such a fuss of me and are so kind, what else is a boy to do?

Tuesday 1 March 2011

Stylish? Me?

Many thanks to Novelist in the Making for the Stylish Blogger award. I hope you'll pop over and pay her a visit.

Now I have to tell you seven things about myself and then pass on the award to 15 bloggers.

This is a nice way of bringing blogs to the attention of others that they might otherwise have missed and I hope you’ll go along and see some old friends and maybe make some new ones.

So first my seven things.

1. I sold my first story to My Weekly when I was in a lead lined room in Essex County Hospital. My husband phoned and opened the letter and read it to me. I wasn’t allowed visitors, but the sister adjusted the bandages round my head so I could use the phone and wear my glasses!

2. I think I may have Dyscalculia. I was in the dunce class at school for maths and after I left school I got a job in the office of a furniture company. Within six months I was in charge of all the accounting side of things, from cashing up the tills to doing the end of year accounts for the auditor. I got another job before the auditor saw the books. He must have had a heart attack when he opened those big ledgers and found tear-stained pages with so many rubbings out that there were holes in the pages. I was 16.

3. I left there and got a job in the solicitor’s office across the road. My old boss gave my new boss a glowing reference – I daresay he was eager to get rid of me. Within six months I was the most senior secretary in the company’s three offices and because we were the smallest branch I was in charge of all the banking, the smooth running of the building society agency and the petty cash! By then I had learned to check, double check and check my figures again. As long as I make extra sure I am writing numbers down in the correct order I’m fine. I did okay.

4. I was married at 18. Several people said it wouldn’t last. One person gave us six months and here we are 35 years later still together. On my last birthday I was 35. See 2.

5. I am a bit of a hypochondriac - see 2.

6. I have been a vegetarian for about 25 years. The last time I ate meat (except for a couple of buffet accidents) was in December 1986. I was at the Lancaster Gate Hotel in London meeting Liz Smith from My Weekly and I think I had something with beef mince. I was so nervous and rather pregnant and I can’t really remember, but she was – and is – lovely, and put me at my ease.

7. I am a qualified crystal therapist. I also did a Reflexology course, but gave it up before the final exams when I came to the realisation that I don’t like touching other people’s feet.

And now my fifteen bloggers. It is up to them whether they accept the award, but whether they do or not, go along and pay them a visit! It’s a mixed bag – as I said some old, some new, but all worth a look.

I think you will be entertained, informed or find kindred spirits among my chosen blogs.
Having just spent hours checking the links work (couldn't get my hyperlinks button to play ball today) and leaving messages for fifteen people I would quite understand if my victims would prefer not to take part. I did enjoy myself though floating round the interweb visiting all those lovely blogs!