Sunday, 28 May 2017

Thank you

Thanks for the anniversary wishes, I am very lucky to have such a kind, hard working and thoughtful husband (but then he's also lucky to have me!  lol).  We had some nice cards and gifts of money from family, which will go towards days out next week - once OH has had a couple of days of well-earned rest!

I want to reply to one of the comments I had - from ALT57 (a new reader I think - welcome, and thank you for your comment).  You said that cuddling a dog who's fearful is the worst thing we can do.

Along with thunder, Betty also doesn't like fireworks.....there's a large caravan park a couple of miles away, they sometimes have fireworks on a Saturday night, which we can hear quite clearly if the wind is in the right direction.  Fortunately, as this is rural farming country with lots of livestock in the fields, there are rarely any other fireworks nearby, even on Bonfire Night.

I had in fact already wondered how we should deal with Betty's loud noise fears and had some weeks ago discussed it with our trainer, Carrie, who as well as being a dog trainer, is also a qualified dog behaviourist.  Carrie's opinion was much the same as mine - whilst it's not a good idea to fuss too much over the dog, as it could reinforce their view that there is actually something to worry about, neither do we want the dog to carry on being distressed.  She advised talking to Betty calmly and giving her some strokes, but said if she was in a very fearful and distressed state, then don't make her stay in the situation but try and take her away from it, if possible, without making too much of a big thing about it.  

So I had Betty sit on the sofa with me, she had her head on my lap whilst I stroked her and read a book for a few minutes, until the thunder had moved away and she had calmed down.  I then put her back in her pen (she went quite willingly) and went back upstairs to bed, and didn't hear another peep out of her.

Everyone has their own ideas, of course, quite rightly so.  In my case, if Betty is scared, then I'm not going to leave her to suffer and possibly get more distressed.  She's not our first dog, our 5th or 6th I think, although our first puppy (the others were all adult rescue dogs).

Warm and quite muggy today, it's making me feel very lethargic.....rain forecast for tonight, so hopefully it will feel fresher later.  OH is making the front garden fence a bit higher, just in case the farm dogs make an effort to get to Betty!  No sign of them yet, but I gather the danger time is more mid-cycle.

Saturday, 27 May 2017


Thank you for the comments regarding Betty's first season - she definitely won't be having another!

It's mine and OH's wedding anniversary today - 34 years.  Where did all those years go?  Marriages seem to break up at the first sign of trouble nowadays, it's as if people just give up without a fight.  It takes work, compromise, cooperation and plenty of talking to make a good long marriage....that and lots of love, of course.  Although my parents' marriage didn't last, both my brother and sister have been married for almost as long as we have, partly due I think to us not wanting to make the same mistakes our parents did.

We don't give each other presents anymore, there comes a point (well, it came a few years back) where we have everything we need or want.  But when OH came home from work in the early hours of this morning, he brought me a bag of crisps, my favourite brand and flavour, a rare treat as I hardly ever eat crisps anymore due to being diabetic.  A tiny thing, but a lovely thought on his part.  We do still exchange cards, he has a knack for buying really nice cards.  And we generally have a meal out.  Not tonight though, he's working, but we will do something next week.....when he's RETIRED!! (did I mention he's retiring next Wednesday?!  teehee).

Had a spectacular thunderstorm last night, it woke me up about 03.30.  I came straight downstairs as I knew Betty would be fretting (she doesn't like the thunder).  The thunder lasted about 10 mins, the lightning a lot longer.  I cuddled Betty until she settled, then went back to bed, OH came in shortly after.

It will seem strange next week not having the bed to myself several nights a week!

Friday, 26 May 2017

First season

Thank you PP for your comment on my last post.

Betty's having her first (and only) season, at the age of 7 months.  She's all out of sorts.....restless, sleeping more than usual with lots of short naps, a bit whiny, clingy and wanting to be around one or the other of us all the time.  She's not much interested in food - highly unusual for her, hasn't finished all her meals for the last couple of days, and isn't begging us for treats like she normally does.  And she doesn't want to play with her toys - unheard of!  We're keeping her on the lead for walks whilst it's going on, we don't want any accidents!

I'm guessing all of this is completely normal?  We've had mostly boy dogs in the past, the one bitch we had was sterilised before we got her.  We're having Betty spayed as we don't intend to breed from her....the vet said the best time to do it is a month or two after her first season.  Any idea how long her season will last?  I googled and found estimates of between 2 and 4 weeks (thank goodness human females don't have theirs go on that long!).  Would her first season perhaps be shorter than later ones?

We need to make sure we keep a close eye on her when she's out in the garden at the moment, as the local farm dogs aren't neutered, and one of them in particular is always sniffing around trying to get into gardens that have dogs.  Our garden is securely fenced, but I'm sure it wouldn't stop a determined randy dog from getting in somehow.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

A week of nice things for OH

Well, one week today OH does his last ever shift at work.  As well as the week after being a treat week for both of us (his retirement and our 34th wedding anniversary on Saturday), I've decided to try and do something nice for him every day leading up to his retirement.  Just little things I know he'll appreciate.

So to start off with, today I've made him one of his favourite ever cakes - ginger (not to my taste but each to his own!).  Tomorrow I shall do him smoked mackerel salad, which he loves, for his lunch before he goes to work.  After his late night shifts he usually gets up late morning and takes Betty for a walk....for the next few days I'll take her out so he can have an extra half hour lie in.  I'll make his work sandwiches every day - he usually makes his own.  And I'll pop a little note in his lunchbox 💗

I've bought him a big ribeye steak for a celebratory meal the day after his retirement....I'm not particularly keen on steak but he loves it, I'll probably have fish.

Glorious warm sunshine today - he's out in the garden so I'm just off to take him a nice cold drink.

Hope your weather is as nice as ours.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Makes you think

Just been reading about those children blown up after an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester....god those bloody terrorists are sick in the head.  How absolutely terrible for the families. 

Puts my Achilles tendon pain into perspective - I shall stop moaning about it now.

Life can be ripped away in the blink of an eye.  Just makes me appreciate my life and my loved ones more.  We should live every day as if it were our last, and tell all our loved ones just how much we love them every day.

Thursday, 18 May 2017


Thanks for the comments, the time is fairly whipping along now, OH only has 9 working days left.  We're still deciding on things to do during our anniversary/retirement week - a visit to see my cousins, hopefully, being one of them.  We've booked for a workshop our dog trainer is holding, it's an afternoon of clicker training, should be fun!  Going to have a beach day in Dorset, afternoon tea in the lovely grounds of a manor house near Castle Cary, and possibly a couple of National Trust garden visits.  Some of those depend on the weather, though, of course.

At the beginning of the week, whilst taking Betty round one of the local fields, my foot slipped on a lump of earth and it's obviously damaged my Achilles tendon.  It hasn't been too bad, just a bit sore up until yesterday evening, when we took the dog for a long walk round the Marshes nature reserve.  By the time we got back to the car, it hurt like hell and I could hardly walk.  Taking anti-inflammatories today, OH will buy some ibuprofen gel for me when he goes to work later.  I've ordered a support strap online, it should be here tomorrow.  If it's no better next week then I'll go to the GP.  In the meantime, I'm just going to rest it up for a couple of days - I've been on my feet all week in the kitchen doing a lot of cooking and baking for the freezer, which I don't suppose has helped it much.  I'll do some gentle stretching exercises too over the next few days, hopefully it will get better without me having to go to the doc.

This week I've made 2 lots of dog food and dog biscuits.  A fruit cake for the freezer, a double choc chip cake and some muffins.  2 cottage pies, one frozen.  2 fish pies, one to freeze.  2 lots of Frugal Queen's frugal tartiflette.  Sorry there's no photos, I didn't think to take any.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

To plan or not to plan....

20 days to go! 

We've been discussing how to do things once OH's retired....whether to just go with the flow and see how we feel each day, or have firm plans of things to get on with.  OH does feel that it will be nice not to have his days structured, after 51 years of work routines, I can see that will be attractive.  But I think we both work much better with some sort of routine.

Of course, it won't really be workable having a strict day by day plan, especially since most of OH's jobs will be outside ones.....if it's bad weather then he won't be doing stuff outside.  And we may well get up in the morning and think "I can't be bothered with that today, my back aches" - after all, we're not getting any younger!

We've decided to have a sort of compromise between structure and free 'n' easy.  Each week I will write two lists - one of things that we really want or need done that week, the other of less important jobs that we could do, but won't matter if we don't.  The idea will be that we make every effort to do all the important stuff for that week.  Then we can choose to do stuff from List 2, or not - we might want an extra day out, for example, if it's good weather.

We're definitely going to have at least one day out each week.  We've lived in this beautiful county of Somerset for 7 years now, and there are still many parts of it we haven't visited - it is a big county.  So much to look forward to!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Baking and Betty photos

Thank you for your comment, Sheila, yes we are looking forward to having a week of doing whatever we want....only 3 weeks to go!

I thought it was about time I posted some more photos.  I've had a baking session this morning:-

A date and walnut loaf - one of OH's favourite cakes.....I'm not so keen.

On the left, a half white/half wholemeal seeded loaf.  On the right, a parmesan cheese loaf, we're going to have some of that tonight with our dinner - smoked mackerel salad with a lemon and olive oil dressing.

Tuna and sweet potato loaf for Betty, chopped up and ready to freeze in portions.  I give it to her moistened with a little hot water, she absolutely loves it.

And some recent Betty pics:-

Betty and a pretty little cow having a staring match.....Betty gave up first!

Having a little rest halfway through an exhausting walk.

Dozing on my lap yesterday evening.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Plans coming together

Thank you for the comments.  Sheila, I hope Betty does grow out of the digging and chewing soon, I miss having lots of flowers and colour in my garden.  Sue, Marlene and Chris - yes it's nearly here, just 25 days to go!  Julia - wow, 17 years, you got a good one there.  I've narrowed it down to about 3 different machines, am hoping to make the final decision and order one next week.  I've been pleasantly surprised at just how much better - more efficient, energy saving, better features etc - washing machines are now.  My old one takes only a 6 kg load and has a max spin speed of 1000 ones have speeds of 1400-1600 and much bigger drums, taking 8 or 10 kg, and of course much quicker wash times.  Saw one with a fast wash time of just 14 minutes, amazing.

OH has chosen a Citizen silver watch as his retirement gift, and was told yesterday that his boss wants to take us both out for lunch, which is nice.  I asked him if he wanted me to make some cakes to take in on his last day....he said they're not allowed to take food in! (bloody elf n safety).  Having spoken to the boss, he was told that he could take cakes in, so long as each cake (or slice) is individually wrapped in cling film or foil, and not eaten on the premises - good grief!

I may have already said that we've decided to have the week following his retirement as a sort of treat week for ourselves - it's our wedding anniversary on the 27th (he'll be working that day) and we want to celebrate his retirement too.  We're not doing any garden or house works, other than essential stuff, that week, but will have a few trips out locally, plus a couple of full days further afield.  Planning on going to see my cousins and aunt, who we haven't seen for a few years, they live a couple of hours' drive away.

Our first major job after our treat week will be to get the utility room sorted out.  It's nothing fancy at all, simply a small brick built building stuck on the side of the house next to the kitchen.  At the moment it functions as utility room (washing machine, tumble drier, small chest freezer and spare fridge), OH's tool shed for when he can't be bothered to put tools away, store room for - well, junk basically, and larder for extra tinned/dry foods, toiletries etc.  The previous occupier gave the bare brick walls a quick coat of paint, now peeling off, and there's a patch of mildew on the ceiling where the chimney was leaking last year, that's since been fixed.  The previous bloke fitted a mismatched range of second hand cupboards, they're functional but unattractive and most of the doors have broken hinges and broken or missing handles.  The floor is bare concrete.  All in all, it's currently very uninspiring and cold (no heating in there), but could be made to look much better.  We don't want to spend a lot as we're tenants here and it's doubtful our landlord would give us any money towards it, although we don't know until we ask him.  We just want to clear it all out, paint the walls and ceiling, lay some vinyl flooring, put a nice blind up at the window, fix the cupboard doors and cover them with some Fablon to match them up more.  Just make it a more usable and pleasing space, really, at the moment I hate going in there.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Coasting along

Thanks for the comments, glad to note I'm not the only one with washing machine (or other appliance) problems.  You're very lucky, and in a minority, Chris, to still have yours working fine after so many years.  We've bought a combi microwave/oven/grill, it's a DeLonghi, I'll give my verdict on it once I've used it more extensively, but am pleased with it so far.

Going to do some thorough research into washing machines before we buy a new one.  I know I want one with a timer switch, fast spin speed, quick wash programme, normal 40 deg prog that doesn't take over 2 hours like my current one does!  Oh, and a larger drum to take a bigger load than my current one.  Plus not too expensive!  If anyone has any recommendations - or warnings to avoid - please let me know.

I feel like I'm just coasting along at the moment, simply marking time until two things happen - OH retiring for good (29 days!), and the dog growing up a bit more and stopping digging up and/or chewing everything in the garden.  I love my front garden, it's normally full of flowers and colour, but at the moment there's not a lot flowering....other than the clematis montana which is glorious - well, not so much at lower level, where Betty can reach it!  We love Betty to bits, but unless we're out in the garden with her all the time she's out there, which isn't always possible, she creates havoc.  Lots of the plants, shrubs and flowers she just chews (thankfully, I don't think we have anything which is toxic to dogs).  She does have several toys which she plays with out there, but quickly gets bored and attacks the plants instead!  Bless her!  I'm not going to plant up the tubs or put anything else in the borders for a while, bit pointless when Betty prunes everything for me (whether it needs it or not!).  I just shrug and laugh about it, not much else I can do right now, until she grows out of her chewing phase.  I will plant up the wall baskets we have - at least she can't reach those - so we will have some colour.

Both OH and I keep thinking of things we want to do or that need doing, and then say 'when I've/he's given up work' - it's like everything is put on hold, we really are counting down the days.  We're itching to really get stuck in to our new life.