Thursday 30 October 2014

Poorly Dusty - Again

Last Sunday, Dusty was not at all well. Listless and lethargic and then it came up – a swelling under his mouth again. It didn’t seem as big or as bad as before and he wasn’t doing the alarming head twitching this time.

These photos were taken the first time he had the swelling. You can see by the way his ears are down and his eyes so dull that he was in pain.

I had one painkiller left from last time, so I gave him that to tide him over till we could see the vet and he perked up. On Monday we trotted off to the surgery and he was booked in for an operation on Tuesday and given more painkillers and antibiotics. This time when the vet pressed his gum, something nasty oozed out.

Tom (who cared so well for Tilly and Indy) saw him when I booked him in on Tuesday morning and was concerned that the Rimadyl hadn’t lowered his temperature which was still very high. He said he’d do blood tests to see if anything else was going on, plus X Rays of his teeth.

It was a very long day.

My oldest grandson, who is just 9, had come with me to take Dusty to the surgery in the morning and insisted on coming back with me to pick him up that evening. I said I didn’t want him to come in, in case it was bad news. He said, “That’s why I want to come in with you. You’ve had a lot of bad news lately.” I was so proud of him and realised in that moment just how grown up he's become.

Jo showed us the X Rays. Nothing wrong with Dusty’s teeth, but an infection had set up underneath one and his blood tests indicated it might have reached his bone. They removed a tooth as it was acting as an incubator for the infection.

He’s now on very powerful antibiotics for three weeks and may need another three week course when that finishes. It’s possible that on one of his chewing sprees (like all puppies, he loves to chew) he has had a splinter go in and set up the infection.

But for now we watch and wait and hope the antibiotics do their work.

I wasn’t going to blog about this, but he does seem improved today if the way he’s been bouncing around is anything to go by. 

He’s not been off his food at all either and boy was he hungry when we got him home!

There was a lot of information to take in, but Lachlan remembered everything Jo said – and Dusty was very happy to see one of his little people had come to bring him home. Not that he’s such a little person now. He’s very grown up and I was very glad to have him there with me.

Harley says she can't believe that on the day after National Cat Day I'm blogging about a dog! (Even if she was very concerned about him!).

But yet again, October, I will be very pleased to see the back of you!

Friday 24 October 2014

Keep Going Shell and Imposter Syndrome

Sorry – it’s another fishy one, but bear with me – there’s a writerly bit at the end!

This is another rare find on the beach. I always thought it was some sort of extra-large cockle. Whenever we found one, we’d yell, “I’ve found a Shell shell!”

Interesting fact: Shell’s original logo was a mussel.

Well, my extra-large cockle is a Pecten (scallop).  Pecten is from the Roman meaning comb or rake. You can see why it was so called.

Here’s another interesting fact: Scallops have up to 100 bright blue eyes around the edges of the two mantles.

They really are fascinating creatures and you can read more about them here.

Meanwhile, back on the beach we found this.

Big fellow isn’t he? That’s my size six foot in the photo to give some perspective. The tide was almost in, so he must have been there all night, poor thing.

I had never heard of Barrel Jellyfish until I did a bit of research. They’re more likely to be found in the Irish sea, but apparently earlier this year they fetched up round the Cornish coast. They are harmless, peaceful creatures and a favourite food of the Leatherback Turtle.

You know what all this is don’t you? Procrastination. I’ve rag dolls and dresses to make and stories to write, but I’m baking desserts and writing about sea life.

But here’s an article which may be of interest to you writers, “Why Writers are the Worst Procrastinators.”  Actually I think we are the best procrastinators. No one does it better.

It’s a very good article all the same and I really identify with Imposter Syndrome (fear of being found out as incompetent). I know a lot of other writers who feel the same - just waiting for that moment when someone points at you and says, "Hang on a minute, you're not a writer, you're just... you!"

So to distract you from my incompetency, here’s a picture of Naughty and Naughtier during a rare moment of restfulness (note who gets the cushion - the boss of course!).

Friday 17 October 2014

Mermaid's purse - spooky!

I’ve been hoping to find one of these for ages.

I used to imagine perplexed mermaids swimming about wondering where their purses had gone.

It is also known as a Devil’s purse.

I was quite disappointed when I found out they were empty egg cases. This one is most likely from a skate, but could be from a ray. Sorry I can’t be more precise.

Darn. So no such thing as mermaids after all? Or is there?

I didn’t know a great deal about the egg cases so I looked it up. Apparently they are attached, by the parent fish, to weed growing on the sea bed and sometimes a storm will dislodge the weed and the egg case complete with eggs or babies which is when you find them on the beach.

The cases are made of collagen. I’m glad to say I’ve only ever found empty ones.

The best time to catch crabs is as the tide is going out. The seagulls all know this and sit patiently waiting for the water to recede.

They’d had a feast one day. I saw hundreds of footprints and dozens of bits of crab on the sand bank. It was quite sad really, but the seagulls have to eat. This is a feast on a smaller scale. It appears only one poor old crab was eaten here.

These ripples in the sand were quite close together. They change depending on the weather. Sometimes the ripples are very wide and flat.

This morning I saw a man digging up lugworms (Arenicola marina). They can live for 5 or 6 years (if a fisherman doesn’t dig them up for bait or a hungry sea creature doesn’t eat them) and live in a burrow under the sand.

The casts in the photo are close to the beach and are from very young lugworms (and yes that is a Dusty footprint). The bigger, older ones can be found nearer the low tide line. The cast is made from worm poo as they burrow into the sand, eating nutrients and expelling what they don't need!

So where is this all leading?

I took a photo of the man digging for worms because I thought it made a great shot – silhouette of a man against the sea with shovel. Bear with me – this is where the spooky bit comes in.

This is what I got – and I took several photos of him. So where did he go? He wasn’t there when we walked back. Perhaps he was never there at all.

Maybe he was a merman looking for his girlfriend’s purse…

Cue Twilight Zone music! 

Am I making it up? I'm a writer, what do you think? There was a man there and I did take photos and he wasn't in any of them - but it was very bright and I couldn't see my screen, so I might just have missed him. 

Speaking of making things up, I have a new book on Kindle, Gold Digger & Other Stories. You can read more about it (if you want to of course) by clicking the short story tab at the top of my blog. It contains fifteen tales with a twist.

Saturday 11 October 2014

Beautiful Morning!

This time last week, Dusty was very poorly. We had to take him out to the vet twice on the Friday – an hour round trip each time, but worth it.

He’d woken up with no bounce at all and he was holding his head on one side and twitching. He looked almost as if he was about to have a fit.

Jo gave him drops for a mild ear infection, but said to bring him back straight away if he got any worse. A couple of hours later, he had a swelling under his chin like half a hen’s egg. It was rock hard and clearly giving him a lot of pain. He couldn’t even rest his head down and was trying to sleep with his head up. So back we went.

Thank goodness for antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication. The swelling softened and he started to feel better. But he was still so quiet all over the weekend and didn’t even want to go for walks.

By Wednesday he was back to his normal mad, jumping-about, bright-eyed, full of beans self I am very glad to say. In fact, it seemed to hit him that he’d been out of action for almost a week and that he’d got to make up for lost time! Yesterday when we saw Jo for his follow up appointment, he was absolutely fine.

I’m not even going to mention my toothache. Oh, I just did. It’s been a month now and I have yet another appointment to go back in two weeks. She can’t see what’s causing the pain, so she’s replacing my fillings and putting liners in. I think I have another two to be done – I was in such a state of terror as I crawled out of the chair, I’m not quite sure what she said!

As you know I’m not a fan of this time of year, but this morning made me realise October can be beautiful. Dusty enjoyed himself at the beach.

I was down there at low tide and it was extra low meaning some of the creeks weren’t there and even the big one fizzled out, the further out you went. On my way there, a skein of geese passed by, honking their heads off followed by three swans. Behind me the ducks on the dykes were quacking.

There were cormorants lined up along the edge of the water and the usual huddles of gulls here and there. And it was so still and peaceful.

There were dark clouds gathering over Walton though – or maybe it was Clacton which is just a little further along the coast.

Then again, it looked pretty dark over towards Harwich and Felixstowe too.

Years ago, we used to search the beach for holey stones to use as weights for crabbing. This one would have been perfect.

We called them lucky stones as a stone with a hole going all the way through was meant to bring good fortune.

They are also known as Hag stones, Witches stones and Hex stones and have generally been used to ward off evil by farmers, sailors and just about anyone.

I’ve put mine on the windowsill.

Harley has a new pink collar and pink name tag. She said "It's very pretty, but does it make my bum look big?"

Oh, and I've a new book of ghost stories out on Kindle

It's raining now, not such a beautiful morning, but it was a great start to the day and right now I am feeling very lucky.

Thursday 2 October 2014

October Giggle Blog

Imogen, 7, has written the book of her life in cartoon form. Pages and pages of her hopes and dreams.

On one page she pointed to a picture hanging on the wall. “That’s you, Grandma,” she said. “I have given you short curly hair because I always draw old ladies with short curly hair.”

I was just very flattered that in her future life when she is a grown up, she’s going to have my picture hanging on her wall.

There are several pools at the beach which are nice for paddling in, but there is one which is very deep. I have no idea how deep, but Poppy refuses to go in it at all. Dusty on the other hand, can’t wait to leap in.

Hm, a bottomless pool, what might a writer do with that? 

Apologies to anyone who clicked on an earlier link to this post and found it gone! I'd downloaded the video and it had come out sideways. I didn't want visitors to go away with a crick in the neck, so had to get that sorted out (with help from hubby - well okay, actually he sorted it out completely). 

Don't forget to check out the other October giggles from Susan and Lynne (and Sue!)

Happy October!