Thursday, 23 February 2017

It's going to be a looooonng few weeks.....

OH has made his decision official and informed the powers that be at work of his intention to retire.  Neither of us can wait now, we both wish it was this week!  We're going to be counting down the weeks (13 weeks and 6 days).

He intends to be busy finishing building his shed, which is happening very slowly, and working in the garden cultivating all our produce.  He likes to be busy outside, and usually has several projects on the go at once (one at a time would be good, he'd stand a better chance of actually finishing one!  But at least it keeps him occupied).  He's recently seen an idea for a woodwork project he'd like to try (a piece of furniture), so will have plenty to interest him.

I'm looking forward to doing a major declutter, as I really want to simplify our life, cut down on 'stuff', and have less to clean, dust and tidy up.  Having Betty though means, much as we love her, there will always be a certain amount of cleaning and stuff to clear up - the living room, at the end of the day, looks like closing time at a kids' nursery, with toys scattered everywhere.  I've given up putting them away in her toy box during the day, as she just gets them all out again!

It's actually been a lovely day here, glorious sunshine all day, just with lots of wind.  Storm Doris hasn't affected us much, other than a few things being blown around the garden.  I hope you've all been fortunate....I know it's been bad in other places.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

It's a hard life!

Betty after her play date with Poppy the 5 months old spaniel neighbour this morning:-


They absolutely love each other, they spend a happy half hour charging round the garden wrestling and jumping on each other.  Every few minutes they stop for a 'time out', both have a drink from the water bowl and a few seconds breather, then they're off again.....it's so funny!

Thank you again for the comments on my last post, and welcome to a couple of new followers, I hope you enjoy reading.


Thursday, 16 February 2017

Betty learns a lesson, and a query

My brother and SiL came to visit the other day, and brought their Airedale Terrier Molly with them.  She's the first big dog (and she is big) that Betty has come into close contact with.  Well, Betty has now learnt (we hope!) that Not All Dogs Want To Play! 

Betty loves all dogs and does want to play with them all.  When we go to the nature reserve, we have her on the extendable lead so she can have a good run around....we've not let her off the lead yet, as her recall isn't consistent and until it is she's not coming off the lead in public places.  When another dog comes into view, she races towards it - we rein her back in so we have more control over her and wait to see how the other dog reacts.  If they want to play (and the owner is willing), we let her have a bit more rein.  But even if the other dog doesn't want to, Betty still persists in trying!  She doesn't seem to be put off by aloof or even growly behaviour.

Molly the Airedale, who is 6 but still acts like a puppy a lot of the time, is bouncy and friendly and we all assumed she and Betty would get on fine.  Well, for whatever reason, Molly did not want to play at all, and made it perfectly clear with very loud growls and dominant behaviour, standing over Betty and even giving her a little swipe now and then.  Betty immediately took the submissive position or ran back to the reassuring safety of mine or OH's legs.  It didn't stop her going back for more though within a couple of minutes, she's full of courage for such a small young dog.  Eventually, her attempts to get Molly to play calmed down, she was clearly puzzled and kept giving us quizzical looks as if to say 'But why won't she play with me?'.  Hopefully, she will have learnt from it.

Thank you for all the comments about the bossy know-it-all woman.  I'm happy to be given advice, but she didn't give us advice (not that we asked for it anyway, we didn't), she told us authoritatively what we were doing wrong, and as for grabbing Betty's muzzle (because Betty was yapping), well that infuriated me - I mean, would you do that to a stranger's child just because it was making a noise?  For those of you who have offered us advice and websites to look at (the Victoria Stilwell one is very interesting, thank you), please don't think I was having a go at any of you - I wasn't.

Now for the query - does anyone know what's happened to Hard up Hester and her blog?  I read her blog regularly, she always makes me laugh, but her blog seems to have been taken over by someone going on about yoga!

On the subject of blogs, I feel for Ilona of Life after Money, she has a really nasty troll who's been attacking her for 5 years.  5 years!!  blimey, the woman (Ilona knows who it is) must be totally obsessed, or in need of psychiatric help.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Busy busy

Thank you all for the lovely comments about Betty.  She's slowly getting more obedient and less bitey, a bit less lungey on the lead, and calming down a bit.  Well, by that I mean she's still very excitable, but calms down a bit quicker.  Taking her out to busy high streets is still a challenge - we want to do it to get her used to crowds and to train her to be more restrained instead of jumping up at everybody who passes by.  However, since virtually everyone wants to stop and make a fuss of her, it's a bit of a double-edged sword.  And it takes us twice as long to do anything!  I was a bit annoyed at one couple we met up with, who had 2 pointer-type dogs - the woman clearly considered herself a dog expert (she informed us she has several more dogs at home and has bred these pointer-types for several years).  She proceeded to tell us what we were doing wrong, and took it upon herself to tell Betty off and hold her muzzle shut!  If we weren't in a public place I'd have done the same to her!  Bloody cheek.  I felt sorry for her partner, as she also told him off - it's obvious who wears the trousers in that relationship.  I know people will have their own ideas about how to train dogs, but Betty is our dog and we'll do it our way.

Ok, off the soapbox now!

Got lots going on right now, feels like I'm juggling a dozen balls and trying not to drop any of them.  Husband has decided he doesn't want to retire at the end of June....he wants to do it in May  👀  Fine, I have no objection, but have asked that he sticks to that or it will keep throwing my plans out if he's changing his mind every 5 minutes.  He made it official this week and told everyone at work....he said they all, from management down, keep saying they don't want him to go!  That's nice to hear, he's very popular at work.  I know he'll miss it, despite being ready to leave.  Just as well he's got lots of interests to keep him busy (as have I....got things to keep him busy too!! 😂 ), he's not the type to sit around just watching TV.

I've decided to draw up a list of light lunches and main meals we like...I think it will simplify things, I'll be better able to menu plan and shop, and it'll give me a bit of structure.  Once OH has stopped work, meal planning will be easier as I won't have to work around his shifts. 

I used my new stand mixer to make bread dough yesterday, it worked well and I'm very pleased with it, it'll be in use regularly from now on.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

A Betty post

We've had Betty 6 weeks today.  She's changed a lot in that time - when we first got her she looked more like her mum, the Shar Pei, but now she's starting to take on more of her dad's (the bulldog) characteristics.  Her face is getting broader, as are her chest and front legs, she's also developing the bulldog stubbornness!  She's also very strong for her age - 3 months old.  She's still wrinkly like a Shar Pei though. 

We took her to the vet this morning for her 3rd and final booster jab, a quick check up on how she's doing, and to get 3 months' supply of worming/flea tablets.  She was weighed.....she's now 9.7kg - she was 2.9kg when we first got her, so has put on an average of just over a kilo a week.  The vet said she's in excellent all-round condition, with no apparent problems. 

She's fully house-trained and clean, and has slept through the night without a murmur since the 2nd week of having her, both of which are fabulous.

Betty isn't really a lap dog - she's getting too hefty for that anyway!  She does quite like to sit on my lap, but won't sit still for a cuddle - she fidgets and wriggles for about 5 minutes, sniffing me all over, then wants to get down.  She comes to me for strokes and reassurance (if she hears an unfamiliar noise, e.g.), but goes mainly to OH for playing - the two of them have a lovely noisy boisterous time rolling around on the floor, throwing toys around and playing tug of war (I don't know who's worse - husband or the dog!  I have to tell them both to calm down after a while!). 

We're doing some training with her in short bursts (in common with most puppies, she has a very short attention span).  She now understands Sit, Down, Fetch, Leave and Bed....she understands them, but whether she obeys them is a different matter!  The bulldog stubbornness is very apparent here - sometimes she obeys, sometimes she won't, although she almost always will obey if a food treat is involved.  We're trying to train her to do things without having food treats all the time though. 

She's still quite 'nippy', although she hardly ever bites me, it's usually OH (something to do with the way he plays with her, I suspect!).  That's something we really want to get her out of doing....can't have her biting people when she's older.  She also tugs like mad on the lead....again something we're trying to get her out of.  To be fair, nearly all the time we take her for walks to the nature reserve, where she's on the extendable lead so she can run around.  We haven't really taken her out much on the short lead yet.  Today we took her to Wells (a very pretty small town with basically one fairly short high street) - the first time she's been to a town.  She was beside herself with excitement at all the people, dogs, sights, sounds and smells, so was tugging on the lead the whole time - probably not the best choice of place to go first!  Over the next few weeks we will be taking her out along the local roads where there are less people and vehicles (we live in a very rural farming area), to try to get her to learn to heel.

Pictures:-


Her lovely squidgy face.


Messing around in her bed....she drags the blanket out and runs around the room with it.


Playing tug of war with daddy.


Having a mad 5 minutes in her bed.


Investigating an irresistible smell in the nature reserve.


"Mum, do you have to keep taking photos, can't you see I'm having a comfy nap?"









Tuesday, 31 January 2017

More good value shopping

Thank you for all the comments on OH's impending retirement, it's certainly got us thinking and making plans.  Oh, and I've joined our local Freecycle group - no breadmakers as yet, and to be honest there's a lot more Wanteds than Offers there at the moment.  Still, I'll keep looking.  I seem to have a few new followers - welcome and thank you for reading.

We did our shopping in L*dl yesterday, with a top up shop in the big supermarket of things we couldn't get in L*dl.  I spent £22 in L*dl, and was surprised and pleased at how much cheaper, yet still good quality, the fresh veg, bacon and cheese is, we will be shopping there regularly from now on.  The top up shop in the supermarket was £16, it's a pity there are some things we just can't get in L*dl or A*di.

We're taking Betty to the vets tomorrow for her final booster jab and some flea and worming advice.  I'll do a Betty post, with pictures, tomorrow.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Exciting times ahead!

OH was 66 this month.  He currently works part time, 3 shifts a week....he was planning to carry on working until he's 67 or 68.  However, a couple of days ago he announced that he's now had enough of driving lorries (he's been doing it for around 40 years, and has been working continually since he left school the day after his 15th birthday) and night work and wants to retire this year.  He's looking at probably the end of June to stop work.

I don't blame him, I reckon he's well and truly earned his rest!  And I've had enough of spending so much time on my own (he works a minimum of 12 hours per shift, and is of course in bed for much of the morning, so on his work days I only get to see him for around 3 hours).  He gets very tired as he doesn't sleep well during the morning.....especially when Betty wakes him up when she's having one of her noisy play sessions!  He also doesn't much feel like driving on his days off....understandably. 

So we're now starting to plan for his retirement, a year or two earlier than expected.  Which means, of course, adjusting to living on a smaller income.  I'm not due for my state pension for another 10 years or so - if then even, since the Government keep moving the goal posts! 

Over the next few months, we plan on building up our savings as much as we can, and restocking our stores of dry goods and toiletries.  I'm going to scour the charity shops for a breadmaker (mine gave up the ghost several months ago), they often have them in.  I want to start making bread again, but my hands and wrists aren't strong enough for all that kneading.  We're also going to eat less meat - we're not planning on going vegetarian, both of us are confirmed carnivores, but we'll have 2 or 3 veggie days a week instead of the 1 we currently have.  We'll also eat less meat - I'll still buy the good quality meat from our local butcher, but will use less for a meal and bulk it out with veg or pulses.  I'll also start to do more shopping in the cheaper stores......we eat a lot of Cheddar, e.g., and a kilo of Cheddar for £4.99 in L*dl is a bit of a no-brainer really!  I was amazed to see it for that price when we went there a couple of weeks ago, it's so much cheaper than the big supermarkets.

As a couple of you pointed out, FarmF**ds do some good deals too - I've not really had much of a proper look round there in the past.  I do buy toilet rolls there (£3.99 for an 18-pack, Nicky brand) but am not very keen on their frozen stuff.  They do seem to have good prices for tinned and packet foods though, although it seems a bit hit and miss as to what they actually have in every week.

I'm not at all snobbish about where we shop....neither of us (husband in particular) just really fancies trawling around several places to get all the shopping, up to now we'd much rather do it all in one place.  But if it means we'll save money, and of course in future we'll have more time when he retires, then we'll have to start doing it!

Having OH at home 24/7 will be nice after all these years, it will certainly give us a lot more time to do things, and spend more time together.  I'm just slightly concerned I'll get a bit fed up with having him around ALL the time, after so long with my own company....