Friday 27 May 2011

Tag - You're It!

Thanks Suzy for tagging me. I have to answer some questions and then tag three more people.

Q1 Do you think you’re hot?

Only when I’m not cold.

Q2 Upload a picture or wallpaper you’re using at the moment

I was going to put my desktop picture up, but it’s already here on the blog somewhere so I thought I’d put the last one I took yesterday instead. This is Indy – he dragged his bed out onto the landing, flung it around, shook it, beat it into submission then left it for dead.

Q3 When did you last eat chicken?

At my daughter’s wedding in 2003 – it was an accident. I helped myself to some rather delicious looking creamy stuff from the evening buffet – goodness knows what I thought would be in it, but I certainly didn’t expect it to be chicken and in my defence I have to say my judgement was impaired. It had been an emotional day. And as it was a wedding I couldn’t spit it out so I had to chew it up and swallow it - it was only one mouthful, but it might just as well have been the whole chicken. It may have been Coronation Chicken, but I was so far gone by then it could just as easily have been Coronation Street.

Q4 The song you listened to recently?

Indiana Wants Me by R. Dean Taylor. Always loved that song and now I have it on CD along with a load of other R. Dean Taylor songs. And as I only currently have two CDs up here because I’m too lazy/forgetful to bring any others up, that is what I listen to.

Q5 What are you thinking as you do this?

Doesn’t it feel lovely and fresh after the rain and don’t the birds sound happy?

Q6 Have you any nicknames?

Loads. My first one when I was very small was Charlie Macey. A neighbour once said to me, “Hello Teresa, what’s your name?” So I said “Charlie Macey.” Poor man went and told my mum that it was a tragedy I didn’t know my own name. There have been others.

And now for my three victims! Hm, who shall I choose? This is the fun part.

Should you choose to accept it, I nominate…

Novelist in the Making


Pat Posner

Your turn to answer the questions and pass it on, girls - if you so wish!

Thursday 26 May 2011

Commenting - and Message for Suzy!

Humph! I am tearing my hair out at the moment - so many blogs out there I'm trying to leave comments on and Blogger won't let me! It won't even let me comment as Anonymous.

I am feeling quite miffed to put it mildly. It asks me to log in even though I am already logged in, then asks for the wordy thing which I put in and it takes me straight back to the log in page so I end up going round and round in circles.

Suzy, if you're reading this, thank you for tagging me and for what you said. I'll put my answers up in a day or two. I loved yours - and I loved your picture - they look like ballerinas!

Sunday 22 May 2011

Win a copy of Ghostwriting

If you'd like to nip over to I Should be Writing and answer a simple question about ghostwriting, you'll be in with a chance to win a copy of Ghostwriting, signed by the author Lynne Hackles.

If, like me, you've ever wondered about exactly how to go about writing for others, this book has all the information you need. I know because I've read it!

Saturday 21 May 2011

With Bells

I dog and puppy sat yesterday and with a quiet house to myself, several hours without internet, my laptop and two notebooks I thought I’d get loads done.

Silly me. Poppy is such a joy. Quick and willing to learn – she already understands several basic commands and adores praise. Of course I played with her. A lot. I didn’t write a word!

Tilly has been wonderful with her which surprised me as Tilly generally doesn’t like other dogs. But Poppy is very respectful and courteous around Tilly and doesn’t keep jumping all over her as she does the other dogs.

Today I realised that that clever little pup probably knew what was wrong with Tilly before I did. Or at least before I admitted it to myself.

She’s always had poor sight. Before she came to us, she was scratched across her eye by a cat. Wasn’t the cat’s fault. The two of them had been left locked in a conservatory for hours on end. The cat probably got fed up being shut in with a bored energetic pup.

We only found out about that when we had her vet records transferred to our vet. I thought she'd get over her fear and hatred of cats and despite my cats being gentle and kind, she never trusted them.

Over the years she’s hurt her eyes twice more – both times rummaging round in bramble bushes.

In recent months she’s been quieter, calmer. At times contemplative and wistful. She’s fallen off my bed a couple of times during the night and has taken to raiding the kitchen bin. Silly old thing I thought.

Yesterday she walked into the frame of the garden swing.

Out on our walks, she barks and bounces waiting for me to throw the ball, then when I throw it she leaves Indy to rush off after it. Getting lazy in her old age I thought. I even teased her about it.

The signs were all there weren’t they?

Today I realised she cannot see the ball. That is why she doesn’t chase it. She can’t see. That is why she walks at my side instead of running round the field like she used to. That is why when she is on her lead, she walks pressed up against Indy’s side. Why when she hears a dog barking she flies into a panic and starts to pull like a steam train.

She is coping with this better than I am. I am devastated thinking of her in a world of darkness. But she’s always been a problem solver and despite spaniels having a reputation for being daft and a bit scatty, she’s very intelligent. As long as we don’t move any furniture and everything stays the same, I think she’ll cope fine.

My friend had a blind dog. They learned never to move furniture as he knew precisely where everything was, but they had an interior wall knocked through and for the rest of his life, her dog used to walk very carefully through where the doorway used to be.

I feel very sad right now, but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from dogs it’s that they don’t do self pity, not really. Indy will have a go now and then at playing the old soldier, but on the whole they accept what life throws at them and get on with it.

I’m going to find her a ball with bells – after all, she still wants to play and she hasn't gone deaf yet - except when it suits her.

Sunday 15 May 2011

Casting Clouts

When I was a child a clout to me was a smack from my mum. But when you’re talking about old sayings a clout refers to clothing so the saying “Ne’er cast a clout till May be out” means don’t be in a hurry to shed your warm clothes.

Whether May refers to the month or the tree is unclear.

But anyway what I’m getting round to is that when I was a child I was never allowed to swim in the sea until June or until we had spotted the first jellyfish – a sign that the gulf stream had “discharged its filth” as Pop used to say.

But when I was twelve I knew better than to pay attention to folklore and I went swimming. My mum said I’d pay for it. There was a cold easterly wind blowing and I’d probably catch my death. You know what mothers are like.

Well she was right. I didn’t exactly catch my death but I came down with a bout of bronchitis that took several courses of antibiotics to clear and I ended up not being able to go swimming for ages. My mum’s “I told you so” button had never been so active.

Last week my youngest son’s two little girls Roxy and Charlie came to stay for a few days and for once the weather was with us. I took Roxy and another of my granddaughters to the beach – no swimming costumes (my mum’s warnings ring in my ears still), but Isabel had other ideas.

“No going in the water,” I said and I got on with making sandcastles safe in the knowledge that the shingle between beach and sea would be too harsh for tender little feet. I should have known that a determined two year old would find a way – she made the journey on her behind.

After all the effort I hadn’t the heart to refuse her a paddle so I rolled her trousers up. Well of course she fell in. And so did Roxy. There was no nasty easterly wind blowing though and the sun was warm, so no harm done and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

We had a lovely time while the girls were here – including a visit to the animal sanctuary at Mistley where the girls fed friendly goats, cuddly sheep and dozens of assorted chickens that crowded round their feet.

Monday 2 May 2011

What is so special about May 2nd?

It’s May Day bank holiday this year!

It is also the day on which Richard I gave Portsmouth its first Royal Charter, Anne Boleyn was arrested on charges of treason, witchcraft, incest and adultery, Baron von Richthofen was born as was Catherine II of Russia and Peggy Mount.

Alan Titchmarsh, Phil Vickery, Jimmy White and David Beckham celebrate their birthdays.

Died on this day, Leonardo da Vinci, Oliver Reed, J. Edgar Hoover and Nancy Astor.

2nd May is Flag Day in Poland, National Education Day in Indonesia and Teacher’s Day in Iran.

On 2nd May Good Housekeeping magazine went on sale for the first time, Tennessee Williams won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and the King James Bible was published for the first time by printer Robert Barker. Mary, Queen of Scots escaped from Loch Leven Castle and the De Havilland Comet 1 made its maiden flight from London to Johannesburg.

Of course a lot more people you will have heard of were born or died on this day. And a lot of things happened and go on happening as they do. You could look up tomorrow and find it is World Press Freedom Day and a lot of other things besides.

Tomorrow is important for me because it will be Indy and Tilly’s eleventh birthdays. Today it is mine. Not my eleventh I am glad to say. When I was eleven I broke my arm, started at secondary school which I hated and lost both my great grandfather and my dog. It was not a happy year for me.

This is little me. I don’t know how old I was, but I think I was happy then – except for my fringe. My mum used to cut it wonky then she’d try to correct it and I’d end up with a wonky fringe about half an inch long.

And Indy has asked me to tell you that the rumours about him swimming in the dyke and then not being able to get out last week are untrue. He did not look scared out of his wits, he did not have to be helped out and he was not dreadfully embarrassed by the whole thing. That is his story and he is sticking to it, but he says there should be a sign for dogs at that particular spot pointing out that the bank is steep and also that the water level is lower than usual and he’s planning to write a long letter to health and safety about it. Not that he had any problems of course, but he feels a lesser dog may well get into difficulties. Tilly says she could have got out of it with her eyes shut, her legs tied together and a frog sitting on her back and that she hasn’t had such a good laugh for years!