..

Friday, 30 August 2019

Man, dog and..,

me sat looking for all the world like three crows in a row overlooking the river Teme. Beside the Dinham Bridge we watched normal folk at play.  A boy with two Staffie’s having a whale of a time racing in and out of the shallows chasing unseen whatever’s, just for the sheer joy of being alive.  Ellie sat to attention on hind quarters watching how the other brave half live.

‘There you are, you will one day be like that!’ I said.

Every day in every way we are making progress. 
Occasionally to allay her fears I fed her a homemade carrot, cinnamon and peanut butter dog biscuit!  Organic 100% wholemeal flour naturally. Ludlow, a well known foodie town, so when in Rome... it’s only right and proper Ellie gets the full weight of my cordon bleu expertise, after all?
I noticed even the ducks turned their beaks up at a family who presented them with white bread ‘fresh’ out of a plastic wrapper.  Quacking and complaining they swam off in high dudgeon... ‘You might be able to get away with that sort of carry on in the lower reaches of the Thames, sadly not here in the undulating Shropshire countryside!’  


The Green Cafe, our local wonderful coffee stop by the river, we three were perched exactly where the couple are sat in the middle of the picture.
How lucky are we?

Thursday, 29 August 2019

The straw that broke...

the camel’s back.

The bathroom, not Ellie this time!

The bathroom when we moved in was in a sorry state, tiny with just a shower.
The lady we bought the cottage from, said they did have a bath but took it out as they got too old.  So we knew that the very limited space would accommodate a tub.
Off we went to a swish showroom to see what our limited space could accommodate.  The plans were drawn up and we were very impressed with the guy who came out to measure up.  His suggestions were acceptable to us both although I did question the size of the shower screen across the way into the cubbyhole that housed the bath.  No worries he said, offering all sorts by way of   ‘I won’t charge you for this!’ type of thing!

When the estimate arrived I looked and there all the things that were promised wouldn’t be charged for, were priced up!  Pay back time was swift, into the showroom I swept,  Boudicca would have been proud.   
‘Dan, time for me to get a real freebie!  What I would like is one of the back rests for the bath and this time for it NOT to be included in the price!’ my smiles more akin to a babies wind pain, he got the message that I had seen through his empty promises.
A catalogue of cock-ups then proceeded to bite us on the bum, not literally obv!
All through I kept calm, I have often said to husband if I saw a wave caused by a tsunami    coming at us I would say relax it’s only water!
The latest major leak from the shower all in my chilled book was a breeze... human error, no worries.  Content, well that is until this morning, when on opening the little cupboard under the washbasin I discovered the shelf tipped when anything was placed on it.  On closer inspection where four lugs should have been there were only three.  The more I looked the more I could feel the pressure start to rise inside my head.  Why?  Did they only get three, did they drop one and not be bothered to replace it?  Boy was I steaming?

‘Is our trouble we are too friendly and 
welcoming with homemade scones, cakes and 
biscuits?  Wall to wall tea, proper coffee 
 and a cash appreciation at the end of the 
job?’  I crabbily asked himself.  Boy was I 
cross!  After all the kerfuffle, I was sent into orbit by just a tiny thing.  The chap that forgot to solder one joint, I think was the guy who did the base unit.  He is coming tomorrow I will tell him exactly how I feel, he thought I was a pussy cat! 
Tomorrow he sadly will see and know my thoughts with KNOBS on about such a piffling 
thing!




...husband is often heard to say! 

UPDATE... Andy wasn’t brave enough to come himself!  This afternoon the electricians    came to replace the cloakroom 
 ‘water feature’ light fitting and at the same time they replaced the itinerant lug!  



Tuesday, 27 August 2019

‘Put on your big...

girls pants!’
I have been told in no uncertain way.  Get real and not to pander to the princess that has without me realising it usurped my regal status.

The funny thing is, now I have been shown in a no holds barred sort of way just where I have been going wrong I feel strangely liberated.  She has been playing us like fish, ever so slowly bringing us to her heel and not the other way around!  Like mugs conscious of her past life we have indulged her at every turn, leaving her free to call the shots.  No more!

Not for the world would either of us hurt her, however now is the time for us to show her her position in the pecking order of this particular roost.  So from tonight on, we are both totally ignoring her and not her doing that to us.  It is so hard; however for all our sanity it needs to be done.  The bottom line is already she is much loved by us both and we want the best for her and for us, so if that is what it takes so be it.

As I already wear BIG girl’s pants, I’m at a loss as to where to go from here?


‘Hello, is that the...

Marriage Guidance Clinic?’
‘Hello, is that the Dog Behaviourist?’
Hello, is that the Shrink?’
‘Hello, is that the Dog Warden?’
 ‘Hello, is that the TTouch fast Track Training Centre?’

Where to start?
We’ve had a bit of a crazy weekend.
For starters, like everyone else it’s been a stinker of a bank holiday weekend, not only the weather, but chaos on the dog front.
Ellie is still spending lots of time in the shrubbery.  The positive is she is marginally better on the lead, our taking her into the college grounds has proved a godsend, as you will see later in the soap opera that is our life at the mo.  We had got the okay from the principal, especially as she doesn't perform on the lead.

Last night against all teaching I had to carry her in.  For some reason she has a collie hang-up about not wanting to come in when called, even foodie enticements don’t work, same with toys.  Ted is still persona non grata, even though he has got out his animal magnetism aftershave.
‘It’s always worked before on the bitches I’ve encountered in my trip through life!’ he plaintively cried.  Sorry mate not this time!?!
In the midst of this when himself took the inaugural shower in the newly completed bathroom.  I said as he came down
‘The cloakroom light won’t go out!  Every time I pull the switch, the light goes onto half power?’  Me, being me, I didn’t notice the cloakroom had a water feature light!?!
‘There’s water pouring out of the pull!’
he said helpfully!
Husband left a short message for the company on their return after the Bank Holiday to get your arses here first thing as we have a problem. Round they came to investigate, just as the guy with our beautiful wardrobe doors turns up.  He is carrying them up the stairs as Ted shouts 
‘LL get down here quick the dog has escaped!’
I was upstairs talking to the plumber about the possible cause of our little leak.
On hearing his panicked tone, I go to shoot down to be met by another door just about to 
round the corner at the bottom of the stairs.
Seeing and probably feeling it through the soles of his feet, the force that is ME pelting down the steps, would be enough to put any sane person into early doors mental assessment!  Out I go through the ‘left open’ gate, looking to the river no sign, looking up our short road I see her bob out of the 
entrance to the college.  Between me and her there is a chap walking up, luckily and this will be the first time you will hear me say it looking intently at his phone!  Usually my thoughts on the morons that walk around with not one idea of just what is happening around them wouldn’t be printable!  His complete disconnect meant he didn’t attempt to help, for that I am eternally grateful.  Ellie saw him stroll by and bobbed back into the college grounds.  Absentmindedly he passed 
her with barely a glance.  With me calling she ran down the footpath and in the gate. Home!


Monday, 26 August 2019

We’ve only had one...

accident on the carpet in the ten days since Ellie has been here.  The fault was entirely mine, not literally obviously!



Because the latest little hang-up is being in the shrubbery 24/7.  I ‘wisely’ so thought, shut the door to prevent her taking up her favourite position that early in the day.  As we sat having our breakfast in the kitchen, she stood in the middle of the Orangery and turned to look at me.  Not by the door otherwise I, even slow on the uptake me would have twigged!  When the penny did drop a minute later, she had done a wee wees on the carpet, out of my sight line as I sat at the kitchen table.  My thespian days set me in good stead as with ne’er a care I wandered through and opened the door, seemingly not 
to notice.  Larry O. would have been impressed.  All the while as I mopped it up I could have kicked myself, not an easy manoeuvre when bending over clutching kitchen roll.  My training goes on...
a prize pillock: 
best we don’t take a vote on that!

Sunday, 25 August 2019

This is the dog who is...

winning every trick in the 
Glasses Guide ‘Training Humans’ manual!
Sweet isn’t she?


Trouble is her intelligence far outweighs mine.  Of that I am very sure!
My mind is full of exactly where we went wrong and she subtly got the upper paw?

Our list of woes are too many to go into.
I want help and I WANT it now!

Being a stinking hot bank holiday means people have their own enjoyments, that’s as it should be.

When we do eventually get help from a behaviour specialist, I am inclined to sign up to marriage guidance at the same time.

Watch this space to see who comes out as 
Top Dog.

The bottom line is she is SO worth it although at the mo I am struggling to see it!

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

We stood in...

the kitchen I was full-on flushed with success.  Ellie had just done wees and poo.  I had appeared in the garden room door as if by magic waving the special treats.
‘Good girl!’
As she thinks you’re not looking, is it any wonder she is thinking her new mum is a witch?  
Mission accomplished we walked into the kitchen to crow of our achievements.

‘Now what word should I use to highlight her bodily functions?’ 

Himself is cooking our supper tonight, a rare treat!
He looked at me and said 

‘I’ve heard it done both ways!’

Thinking he was just about to give me two Transcendental Meditation type Om words, I waited...

‘Should I dust it in peppered flour or.....?’

I looked, I wondered, I thought living with me has finally taken its toll, he’s gone completely ga-ga!

Himself was clearly in the zone and was thinking lamb’s blooming liver,
whereas I...




Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Ellen Terry would...

be proud.  I’ve tapped my inner diva, I didn’t have far to to plumb, as the diva runs through my veins so close to the surface looking for the slightest excuse to break out. To be called upon to to have a starring role in ‘Crapgate’ was obviously what all my life quite unwittingly I had been waiting for.  Alright I was only cast in a support role however always good to start at the bottom and work up, as it were!?!
Ellie has a hang up about going to the loo, she won’t do it on the lead, wee or poo and hates to be watched.  Now this is where my not underdeveloped acting skills are put to the test.  Luckily pottering about in the garden is the sort of gardening I excel at.  Not hard graft just poncing about looking busy without actually doing too much. She has been my shadow since she arrived, she worked out I was so engrossed in the bean harvest and decided now is the time!?! She did the deed and as soon as the shit hit the fan (not literally obv.) she was off like a rocket, keen to put as much distance between her and the evidence.
In my best Dame Ellen Terry commanding and encouraging tones I said...
‘Ellie, good girl, what a very good girl!’
Smartly stepping into the garden room to give her the high end treats.

If I’d had a tail I would have wagged it.



Sunday, 18 August 2019

We have a wee...

problem!  Ellie has in a past life obviously been told off for going to the loo.  As a consequence won’t do it on the lead or even in your presence.  Our garden is on two levels so yesterday she would only go up there if I went with her.  Then when we got there she wouldn’t perform.  A catch 22 situation.  We went up and back 26 times with me feigning interest in the rambling roses.  I even felt at one point compelled to show her what was expected and squatted behind the luckily vastly overgrown Hebe.  If you saw on the news last night Ludlow had experienced a totally unexpected eclipse of the sun... there you have it!  Eventually after me turning away and carefully inspecting the ivy clad walls she found a spot and produced a walnut whip to equal any confection of yore!  Success, trouble was, still no pee!  Every time I came back down the garden she followed me.
We went to bed still unsure of the piddle state of play.  She was put in the crate and left, so far so good, half an hour in she decided to go vocal.  All the books say turn over and go back to sleep... fat chance!  Eventually himself wandered to the top of the stairs and in gruff voice said No barking!  Another half hour went by... 
We’ve cracked it!  Wrong!
This time in gruffer voice the same.
All was quiet with neither of us sleeping that well for worrying about whether she was desperate to go to the loo.
6.15am he got up and let her out, fully 
expecting a wet bed or worse.  Ellie put an 
Exocet missile to shame by the speed of which  she shot up the steps.  Trouble now is Hubs is the villain of the peace and her fear of men has been confirmed.  
We know she is okay to go up the garden 
on her own without trying to escape.  Her today’s MO is to hide in the shrubbery.  Sort of progress, one step forward and two paws back.

Let’s see what tonight brings? 





Any suggestions on this odd behaviour and how to cure it, gratefully received.






Friday, 16 August 2019

Life has been...

hectic and exciting in equal measures.
On Wednesday it was my birthday.  The bathroom has presented lots of hiccups of a sanitary kind.  Before you jump to the wrong conclusion, little problems not the pong sort!  The shower screen was far too slim to be of any real use, added to that it was too tall to fit the space.  The towel rail came without a timer which was on the spec.  The hand made tiles look superb.  Today we have the long awaited fitting of the lavatory.  Trogging down the twisty, rickety-rackety stairs in the dead of night is no fun for half asleep old bod’s!




Tomorrow sees the arrival of Ellie, our little collie, like a couple of kids we are getting excited about her coming.  The over-run of the bathroom means she will have to get used to having workmen in the house, which won’t be ideal, however her and I can 
retire to my ‘studio’ at the top of the garden.  There are lots of things for me to sort out up there which up until now I haven’t had the time to do.  A perfect excuse to get my crafting bits and bobs finally sorted.

Friends are also staying in town so I am cooking, which I love to do.  Entertaining in a building site is a tad challenging?  
Although as a retired chef this sort of 
challenging is a walk in the park compared to my past life...

The curtain rails have been fitted, after much subtle and not so subtle calls, Mafia style entreaties, stepping into the shop with attendant violin case sort of thing!
Himself even went in and said it would be the
best birthday present LL could possibly have to get the curtains hung. It did the trick! 
 What a super star that man is!  As if living with me wasn’t enough to grant him special status as an all round good egg.



Thursday, 8 August 2019

Things I have...

lost or mislaid or maybe given away.
And now wish I hadn’t!
So many things.
A twig Christmas tree bought in Habitat for £50.  As I carried it home I had a qualm!
And on the mat as got in was a prize from my Uncle Ernie at the Premium bond office of...
Yes, you’ve guessed it £50.
That tree came out every year for maybe 20 years.  And then I only went and chucked it out!
For more years than I care to remember I collected cheese dishes, only stopping when I got to 40 as I used to say 

‘I’ve got a cheese dish for every year of my life!’
It suddenly hit me that folks with a modicum of sense could tot up just how ancient I was!
Added to which over the years I had been given some appalling examples!  They
 went off to a sale room with me saving the best for my slimmed down collection.  Folk could then think what they liked... boy she looks old for 15!?!
Slowly over the years they dwindled, leaving just two magnificent ones.  With a fit with my leg in the air, they were packed up and sent off when I left Goudhurst to move to Hythe.  I hugely regret that now. 
This is the last survivor which interestingly  enough unbeknownst to me survived the cull.



You will see the stamp on the bottom: what 
this is all about I am too idle to look up...
says it all really!
This post is the start of so many regrets about possessions lost, mislaid or just wilfully chucked out!  I will revisit other lost treasures at another time.
Have you kicked yourself for similar acts of materialistic  folly?

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Dog days...

are coming... we’ve found her.
A very nervous collie who hasn’t like so many surplus to farm life, had the best of starts.  She is 12 months old and does not for one moment trust that species that claim to be of higher intelligence?  The rescue centre have found out that she had been fitted with a shock collar.  To fit one of these forms of torture on the most intelligent of dogs just beggars belief? 

I knew just as I did when I saw the photograph of this cottage that she was THE one for us.  Call me a witchy-poo, I don’t care!

The husband felt exactly the same!  Although with the cottage he did say 
‘They’ll be plenty more!’
There weren’t and after lots of upheaval we finally got here, it was meant to be.

We go back lots of times to visit her and to build up her trust in us.

She is the sweetest, gentlest of dogs.




Sunday, 4 August 2019

He left me in...

the market, when he came back he said 

‘What have you bought?’  

My sheepish face gave me away.  

‘Nothing, just give me ten pounds will you?’

‘Now what?’

‘Only half a tree!’


And he thought I was joking...

Thursday, 1 August 2019

It’s early...

4.30 am is just too blooming outrageously
sparrow-fart early.
My head is too busy with thinking thoughts.  I tried my usual meditation, I ran through the full shebang, usually I’m gone by ‘my left leg is very...’ zzz!  
So many things to think about, the main one furry with four legs.  The work due to start on Monday, the curtain rails that seem to be as rare as hens teeth.  Ludlow has been named by the husband as Ludslow, as they do seem to operate at snails pace, which should be a great habit to get into?  However we are still operating under the South East rules of engagement, which is... let’s get this done, yesterday is plenty time enough!  Jousting with the traffic as it shoots off abroad before Europe and the U.K. divi up the family silver.  Here wherever you go there is very little traffic and courtesy is the county’s co driver.  A total change of pace, just wish my head could follow suit!

It’s now getting on for 7.30 and I am tea’d up, cold and feel tired, oh and peckish ready for my toast.  Go back to bed or stay up and start the day proper?  Decisions, decisions...


Life on the

allotment.  A flavour…   Ludlow town wall stands guard    No Dig is the way forward Charles Dowding