Thursday, December 23, 2010

Good King Wenceslas Looked Out

... and thought, "Enough with the snow already".

Merry Christmas, everyone. May you and your loved ones enjoy the festive season.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Three Years

It was three years ago this week that Herbie had his last chemo treatment. When we went back after Christmas, I explained that the tumour had in fact grown, and this rescue protocol, his second, was losing its effect. The vet said the only thing we hadn't tried was potentially risky, and given that Herbie had suffered side effects from his last chemo, he wasn't sure it was safe.

It was such a shock to be told that we were out of options. The vet didn't mention survival times without treatment, but the books I had weren't optimistic. Still, three years later, the boy is still here, still eating and running around, just with a lot of tumours. I sometimes think that if he had a shorter nose, the tumours would have outgrown his head, but fortunately he's a greyhound. I've tried to do the right things with his diet, even though he is now standing by the bookcase which has the dog-biscuit tin on top, with what I call his "Bohemian Rhapsody" expression ("I'm just a poor boy from a poor family"), trying to convey to me that he could in fact die of starvation only half an hour after his evening meal if not given an immediate biscuit. Nice try.

He might be lumpy, but he's still here.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Worst. Winter. Ever.

Snowed in for a week, roads not ploughed, two feet of snow, nothing gritted. Finally got out at the weekend. Thank the Lord I have remote access to the office computer system, so could work from home, but even so, cabin fever was setting in.

Now it's starting to melt, everything's icy so the dogs won't walk, it hurts their paws and they slide everywhere. Holly's bouncing off the walls with boredom. The river Ouse in York is frozen over (and it's a big, fast-flowing river). I never thought I'd say this, but I might want to live in a town again.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Worst November in - oh, lots of years. Six inches in two days. I've come off the road twice. I want my own hovercraft.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Unreliable Blogging

It's the naughty step for me, for not blogging at least weekly as I'd promised myself. It's been another awkward couple of weeks, major repairs to car, leaking tap, winter vomiting bug (norovirus) courtesy of my co-workers, and just the general run of worries. It's OK now.

Herbie is wrapped in his duvet like a little greyhound parcel while Holly lies in the yellow cardboard wreckage of a biscuit box. We recycle - when we reach the end of a box of bone-shaped biscuits, she shreds the box into little pieces, then I gather up the pieces and put them in the fire. I just haven't got round to the gathering bit yet.

I've entered lots of competitions, and today I won a whole pound (£1) from my toilet paper - as a get rich quick scheme, it's not entirely working...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


This week my leaking roof has been fixed, and the leaking kitchen tap has been fixed. I can now close the bathroom door properly too. (When you live on your own, you stop worrying about things like the bathroom door not being quite private enough, but you worry more about roofs and things.) Money can buy you happiness, whatever anyone says.

Herbie is lying at a weird angle, his body wrapped up in his bedding but his neck halfway across the floor so that he can stare into the stove. (The TV means nothing to him, but the fire is worth watching.) Holly has scraped her bed into a lump and is trying to bury her head inside it. Someone I work with joked about having ordered his box full of straw, and at the weekend he would climb into it and stay there till spring. I think the dogs are almost ready to do the same.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Antibiotics Again

Herbie's picked up yet another respiratory infection. His paws and ears go all cold, and the tiniest bit of exertion makes him pant like a steam train. Fortunately the antibiotics kick in fast, and after two days of not eating, he's back to wolfing his meals down.

I've caught the comping bug, and have been glued to the competitions forum at It stops me doing anything less/more productive, so this may or may not be a good thing. So far I've won £20 courtesy of Walkers' crisps (I now own enough bags of crisps to see me through to Christmas). Is it because I is bored? Probably.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cold cold cold

... and we are all snuggled up in front of the cast iron stove. A leak in the roof means that Steve the builder is going to come and take part of the roof off to fix it. Not looking forward to that bit, but we need to be dry this winter. Herbie has just rummaged through my bag to find the remains of my lunch, still in its little Tupperware box. I have let him have the equivalent of a couple of spoonfuls of rice, and he is so proud of himself for scavenging it, rather than being given it in his foodbowl.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Half Past Ten

On Saturday, Herbie reached the grand old age of ten and a half exactly (or 10.30, as an elderly, and now more than a little absent-minded, neighbour described him). He's slowed down a lot over the last couple of months, and doesn't want to walk far in the mornings, but for a dog who's 10.30, he's doing OK.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In Pink - and In Disgrace

Holly is all snuggly and warm in her new nightwear. However it will be a while before she gets anything else new - I've just had to pay a vet's bill (or half of one) for a neighbour's cat.

We were walking up our driveway at dusk on Friday, returning from a walk, with Holly still on the lead. Suddenly she lurched sideways at the hedge, and then stepped back dragging a cat by one back leg. I grabbed Holly's collar and made her drop it, and the cat ran off. I put a note through the neighbour's letterbox to say "if your cat has bitemarks on its leg, I'm sorry but it was us". Saturday the neighbour turns up with a vet bill for x-rays and painkillers - her elderly frail cat with a number of medical conditions now has a broken pelvis. The vet didn't think the cat would survive a general anaesthetic, but he thinks the pelvis will heal OK if the cat rests up.

Fortunately the neighbour was able to say "It was cats and dogs being cats and dogs" - she can't keep her cat out of my garden, and I can't guarantee my dogs won't lunge at cats hiding in the hedge, so we agreed to go halves on the bill. Even so. Holly had better not demolish any more cats. We were very lucky the cat survived.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

A Mixed Week

Today at work we found out the details of the restructure - it looks like there are five jobs for eight of us. Ho hum. And so it goes.

Herbie is very slow this week. It has rained a lot, and he's stiff when it's damp. Holly's new winter pyjama top has arrived. It's pink with sheep on it. I always swore I wouldn't end up the kind of person who dressed her dogs in fluffy pink clothing. Must have been lying to myself. Holly is rather puzzled by the concept of pullovers, as opposed to coats with velcro straps, but I have to say she looks pretty darn cute. There will be photos at the weekend.

Monday, September 20, 2010

One of those weeks

... when everything seems to break down at once. First I was carless for several days, which could have been a disaster, or very expensive, until the garage kindly lent me an elderly car to get to work in. I think they mostly did it to stop me phoning twice a day.

Then I couldn't get online at all. Given that my tax return is due 30 September, this was another disaster in the making. As of today, I have a shiny new router, shiny new phone-point, and I've done my tax return. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything else continues to work. It's nice to have an upgrade on the router, and I wouldn't have bothered if things hadn't actually broken down - I'm used to maintaining a series of technological antiques, rather than being at the cutting edge. The BT engineer looked at my set-up and said, "Yes, we do occasionally see one of these - did the help-desk have to look everything up online?" Er, yes, actually. "You'll find with an upgrade, the help desk are actually able to help." Well, that will be a novelty.

The dogs liked the BT man a lot, and Holly was convinced he had come round specially to play with her. It was rather sad when she finally realised he hadn't, and she sunk down onto her bed with her face on her paws.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Happy 4th Gotcha Day

Tomorrow it will be four years since I picked Holly up at a service station off the A1. She had been in a council pound for six weeks and her time was well and truly up. If I hadn't said I could take her, there wouldn't have been any options left. Via a complicated chain of people and events, she ended up with me, skinny, wormy and semi-feral. (Er, she was, not me - think I need to do something about that last sentence.)

She still has her semi-feral moments, particularly when she spots a cat, but she's considerably chunkier. On the plus side, she had no expectations about living in a house, so when Herbie told her what to expect ("Oi, that's MY bed"), she went along with it quite amiably. Four years later, she's still here, still stealing tissues to shred, and still the sweetest little weasel-face.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Autumn Already

Judging by the berries in the hedgerows, it's going to be another harsh winter. The haws, sloes and elderberries hang in heavy clusters, and this morning we met the grit-men, leaving piles of rock salt in little heaps along the roadside. We're on top of a steep hill here, and at every bend in the hill there is now a neat pyramid of salt.

Herbie's recovering from his dental, and no, he can't whistle through the gaps in his teeth. Holly probably could though - the middle two of her bottom front teeth were worn almost to stubs when she came to me, aged almost two. The vet said she'd probably been chewing the wire of a kennel to achieve that effect, out of sheer boredom and frustration.

Monday, August 23, 2010

No teefies

I've been trying to sneak up on Herbie to show you that he's got no front teeth any more, but he keeps catching me, and rolling over so that I can't get a close shot. The gums over his front teeth had receded quite badly, so his little incisors had to go. He also lost the carnassial on his lower left side. Now, when he's happy, his jaw vibrates but his teeth don't chatter. It's sad. But his teeth aren't brown any more, and that's a huge improvement.

Now, every evening, I have to try and remove any food from his teeth with a cotton bud dipped in chlorhexidine mouthwash. When the vet first suggested it, I thought "Touting for more business, are we? Bowel surgery next time?" Herbie has a long history of eating toothbrushes, tubes of toothpaste, trying to swallow the little rubber finger brush (but fortunately, although it went down his windpipe, he coughed it up again. ) Things I have learned from brushing his teeth: aluminium from metal toothpaste tubes will dissolve in hydrochloric acid. Dogs' stomachs contain concentrated hydrochloric acid. And also, greyhounds are big enough that a snapped-off toothbrush head will pass straight through. Things I wish I had not had to learn: see above.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


He's back, minus six teeth. His remaining teeth are all sparkly white. There was a tricky moment, apparently, when the vet was trying to anaesthetise him, so they ended up taking an x-ray of his lungs. No lung metastases, which is good news. Herbie's had breakfast, and a little potter, but he's feeling a bit sore. Still, he's back in one piece, which is the main thing, and I think the vet is almost as relieved as I am.

Sunday, August 08, 2010


Herbie goes to have his teeth cleaned next week - he may lose a few more teeth. When he's happy, his teeth chatter, and it saddens me to think that I may not hear that sound again, but it is so beyond time that his teeth were cleaned... Some greyhounds have difficult teeth, and Herbie has needed his teeth cleaning every 9-10 months, even with daily toothbrushing. Holly, on the other hand, has been with me for four years now and not needed one dental. Similar diet, better teeth.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tail Ends is Ending

We're all still here, but an era is drawing to a close at Tailends, the greyhound hospice in Devon. One of the founders, Angela, died earlier this year, and her partner has decided not to take in any new dogs, but to let the existing cohort live out their days. Given that most of them came to Tailends on their last legs, that may not be very long. They have done amazing work for the last couple of decades.

I am going through the usual summer lull at work, and am very bored. Fortunately a kind friend has sent me a boxed set of Flight of the Conchords, so at least I can hum silly songs to myself. I'm very much enjoying the dead-pan New Zealand take on life in New York.

And finally, a sad farewell to Soly, my sister's Maine Coon cat. Something got him, out in the fields. He died out hunting, which is possibly how he would have wanted to go, but we were all expecting him to last a bit longer than he did. Rest in peace, Sol.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dentist Time

Herbie's eating again, but his teeth are in a terrible state. My vet, this time, said she might be feeling brave enough to tackle them. Having spent 18 months thinking he could go at any moment, she, like my previous vet, had been reluctant to put him through a potentially risky operation. Now his teeth are really really bad, despite toothbrushing and mouthwashes.

So. Huge decision. We're going to do it when Lucy is back from her holiday. There's always a risk, with general anaesthetics, but this time... not going to think about it too much. Instead I'm going to go put dry trousers on, Herbie's just wiped his face all over what I'm currently wearing.#

Thanks for all the good wishes. Herbie seems to react badly to almost everything these days.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Drug reaction

Still here, but it's been a difficult week. Herbie was prescribed Previcox last week, to help with his stiff back end, and on his third dose a reaction set in - diarrhoea with strings of fresh red blood. OK, I thought, a soothing diet. Fine for a couple of days, then off his food completely.

Fortunately, just as panic was setting in, and he wouldn't eat anything with painkillers concealed inside so he was reluctant to go for walks, and I was worrying about quality of life - he decided he would like some yoghurt. And some of Holly's food. Tonight he ate boiled mince and then realised that while he didn't want my cooked blackcurrants, he would definitely like some custard. It's not something I'd recommend as part of a balanced canine diet, but for a dog that's been turning his face away from all food... I might even make him some more tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

End of June

... and Herbie has picked up a little. I'm lurching along from day to day. I took some time out last Sunday to go to the Jerry Green annual open day, and Holly had her first go at some agility equipment. She hated it, so there went that idea.

There was a large German shepherd/husky cross in the end kennel who looked at me then said "Mow" in exactly the same tone of voice our old cat used to use when he wanted you to know he was a poor old neglected cat who'd been left out in the cold. It was as if he was saying "Get me out!" but I can't. I don't have the right life for that breed. I hope he finds his family soon.

Monday, June 21, 2010


... and he's not doing so well today. He's eating, but he hasn't wanted to walk anywhere much the last couple of days. It's sunny, but it's not baking hot. It's not a good sign.

I found the blog of someone else who's done CV247, which worked OK on Herbie, in that the tumours stopped growing while he was taking it. Heidi is 14 and has been taking CV247 for a year or so. It's nice to hear of older dogs doing well.

Everything at work is up in the air, yet again. New government, change of funding, rules, etc, and we were due to shed a few people over the summer. The number of posts going is increasing, and the latest view is that 30% of staff will have to go over the next 3 years. As I'm not a frontline worker, it's not looking good. Budget tomorrow. I suspect baked-bean manufacturers may do well, looks like the entire nation will be living off beans on toast for the foreseeable. I know this sounds Eeyorish, maybe I need a holiday.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

We have been reading

... the Stay at Home Bookworm blog: I love finding recommendations from someone who reads the types of book I like.

Uh oh - I feel an expensive trip to Amazon coming on. If only it were possible to block websites yourself, to stop yourself going there. Of all my vices, the bookspending one is one of the least under control.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Hot at Home

... and I'm trying to swap Herbie and Holly from winter walk-times to summer walk-times. There's always a tough couple of weekends when I have to persuade them that we don't have a walk at lunch-time, it's too hot, and we don't do evening walks until late.

I cracked today - every time I went into the hallway, the two of them rushed out and looked at their leads meaningfully. In the end I couldn't stand it any longer, and took them to the arboretum. When I got there, the lady at the gate said, "It's quite hot for a dog-walk." Yes, I know - would you like to explain it to these two? We had ten minutes of panting and snuffling, and then we went back home. I'd like to think I've made my point, but I suspect we'll have the same routine tomorrow, until I learn to stand firm.

Friday, May 21, 2010

End of a long hard week

... so Herbie is having yet another lie-down. He's not been very well, perhaps because it's turned warm. Last week I was scraping ice off the windscreen every morning before driving off to work, this week I'm in a T-shirt and sandals (oh, and trousers as well, I'm going out fully dressed). (In case anyone was wondering!)

I've just started studying physiology and anatomy, so that I can get onto a canine massage course. I dropped biology a long time ago, so now to get onto this course, I'm having to do a pre-qualifying course and both my brain cells have had to stretch a bit. I'm doing it for the challenge, and it certainly has been so far. I'm going to be great at Scrabble after this, though - just learnt that the xiphoid is a lump at the bottom of the breastbone.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Elections and Rhododendrons

First we had an election, but nobody won. Then we had a weekend, and went to Nawton Towers to look at their rhododendrons. They only open for half a dozen weekends a year, mostly in spring, because they have a fabulous collection of rhododendrons in every colour - I'd never seen blue or yellow rhodies before, and the yellow ones have a beautiful scent.

In the car park/ field, there were some stumps of wood, and I was careful not to park right on top of them, but there was one that was shaped very much like a rabbit. As I got out of the car, I was thinking, it's a very similar brown, but so obviously a dead tree. Then Herbie got out of the car, and the "dead tree" bolted for the fence. Herbie got all the exercise he needed right there in the car park.

And then, a few days later, we got a prime minister. And his new friend. Coalitions, eh?

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Now I Know...

... what to do with surplus dog hair:

Admittedly greyhounds don't shed vast amounts, unless they're losing their kennel coat when they go from being kennelled to being indoor dogs, but if I had a lot of spare hair, I'd be sending it to Louisiana or wherever right now.

Monday, April 26, 2010

If it's Spring...

... it must be time to paint something - in this case the upstairs landing, where the leaky roof left water stains down one wall, and the bits of my bedroom I didn't get to before I moved in. The roof was fixed in November, but I haven't been able to face painting before now.

There was an interesting piece in the Telegraph on Saturday, about Prozac slowing tumour growth in people with lymphoma. It ties in with what I've suspected about emotions and cancer being linked - improve the mood and slow the progress of cancer. I still feel guilty that Herbie developed cancer about four months after we moved house. He was a nervous, traumatised dog when he came to me, and he felt safe in that tiny little house with low ceilings, and upstairs windows almost at floor level. I was tired of hitting my head on the beams and having to duck every time I went downstairs, and wanted somewhere bigger. But for Herbie, that house was somewhere he had come to trust, and feel safe, and I took him away from it.

There's no going back, though.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ten Today

His Royal Herbiness has reached the grand old age of ten. To celebrate, he has just spat rice all over the carpet, then wiped his face on my ironing pile. Happy Birthday, old boy.

(Another favourite recycled picture.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy hounds

Herbie has seen his old friend Guinness several times this week. She is 13 ,but she still manages to run towards him with a fair turn of speed, and I find it touching to see two older dogs rushing up to each other to say hello and sniff, their creaky joints forgotten.

I've been reading an online dog magazine, or rather the free copy they have online, at Dogs Naturally. Plenty of interesting articles, including one on the increase in cancer cases.

I am working hard at the moment, coming home scrambled every evening, to face a Holly who wants to play. It's the longstanding dilemma of dog-owners, staying employed while also being a good dog-parent. I haven't come up with a solution yet.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Now Easter's over...

... it's election time. I think I am going to get a box set of DVDs and not watch any TV for a month, in order to avoid the next few weeks of improbable claims and promises.

Are any of the parties going to do anything to help dogs? I should cocoa, as my grandmother used to say, with both eyebrows raised. Free dog-biscuits? Dogs allowed in shops? There are six million dog-owning households in the UK.

In the meantime, I've discovered a handy site full of hints on dog nutrition and health, Dogaware. Much more interesting and useful than party political broadcasts.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Snow on the Way

... again. We are not amused. Herbie has been to the vets for his three-monthly check, and he has put on a whole pound! The vet looked worried when we first came in, and I'm sure she was thinking, "Is this the day I have to say it's time?" but after she'd listened to his heart, she smiled and said "He's OK, considering." That last word covers multitudes.

So we skipped off home, and I had taken the day off work, so we could go to the arboretum, and then we curled up on the bed for the afternoon. Apart from the vets, it was a perfect day.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Then and Now

Three years ago (almost) I was worried about a small lump. I'm still worried.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

White Faced

Herbie had a black face, once upon a time, but he has become a venerable snowy-faced old boy. I was asked how I keep his face so clean, and had to say "Oh, he does all that himself."

There is a reason why I have blankets over much of the furniture, and a reason why I mostly wear old jeans at home. After each meal, Herbie will walk the length of the sofa one way, sliding his face along the surface, then turn and wipe the other side of his face, again along the entire length of the sofa. If I am standing up, he will then come and wipe his face against the back of my legs. I've learned to change out of my work clothes fast.

Holly, despite being a dainty girl, is much less bothered, and going out with legs covered in tomato sauce is normal for her.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Still here

Older, more tired, as messy as ever... but we're still here. Thanks to all for the good thoughts - they really help.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Frailer now

Herbie's been unwell over the weekend. I think it was another respiratory bug, but he didn't eat for 48 hours (apart from one blueberry yoghurt, and he spat out all the blueberries, so his bed had purple spots). The vet had given me some emergency antibiotics, which I used, and he's recovering now, but he goes downhill so quickly, and he's lost weight.

I'm not sure either of us can survive much more of this.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bound to Get Better

Apparently after 40, life gets better and better until you're 74. So there is something to look forward to, after all.

The first snowdrops are out, but it's going to be a very late spring - this time last year they were over. There's no sign of the tulips I planted, but since there was more snow last weekend, they may well be lying low. There was still ice across the lake at the arboretum today. I decided to work from home, and I'm glad I did. It's been grey and dank the whole time, and the ground is waterlogged. Herbie's not too interested in going out much, but he's very interested in the thought that there may be some ham in the kitchen. If he needs more exercise, I'll just hide some ham around the house.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


... and that includes photos. Herbie looks exactly the same as he's done for months, so this is a photo from before Christmas.

It's been a busy week. Nigel's baby, William Thomas, arrived in the early hours of last Wednesday - needless to say, the car had iced over at the point when Mel realised she needed to go to the hospital NOW, so poor Nigel was frantically scraping ice off the windscreen at 2 in the morning... at least they got there, unlike this poor couple.

Then another member of the team at work left to join the NHS. And another person at work who left suddenly on Friday looks uncannily like the picture of an Irish woman suspected of being a hitwoman in Dubai. Now we're all going to be wondering... (Actually we think she was here at the time the murders were carrried out, but fiction is so more gossip-worthy than the truth.)

And finally, to add to all the excitement, I took the day off so I could get the chimney swept.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Missing Coal

Feeling a bit vulnerable tonight, got home to discover a fair bit of coal missing. I'd filled up the coal bucket last night when I got home, and used the entire bucket during the course of the evening. I didn't have time this morning to re-fill before work, and when I went out to the coalshed this evening, there were only half a dozen lumps of loose coal left. Fortunately there are still a couple of plastic bags of e-coal (a supposedly ecological alternative to coal) but I'm annoyed that while I've been out someone's come into my back garden, gone round the back of the house and stolen several buckets of coal.

I know it's been a hard winter, I know many of my neighbours don't have much money, but hey, I don't either. I've been trying to be careful with my fuel, which is no use when someone else is siphoning it off (wrong metaphor, but can't think of the right one). I used a couple of months' worth in three weeks over Christmas and early January, so my winter fuel budget has not quite worked out, but I don't wait till my neighbours are out and then go steal theirs.

This blog wasn't meant to be a rant about anything, it was supposed to be about Herbie, but tonight it's about me, and I'm cross. I can start padlocking the shed, but I can't stay home all day, I have to work. Where I used to live, it was safe to leave coal in an unlocked container. I want to move again.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Happy Candlemas

One of those old pagan festivals that we've lost is Candlemas, the first of February, when at dusk the lady of the house was supposed to light a candle in every window. I get home from work somewhat after dusk, but I've lit some candles tonight in recognition of the fact that the light is returning. It may be cold, but there is more light than at midwinter.

Herbie is clutching a marrowbone to his chest, while Holly has both a bone and a vegetarian dog chew in the shape of an alligator, which was a present from my sister. I'm not entirely sure why they need vegetarian chews, given the amount of meat I feed them, but it has kept Holly happy for a long while.

A friend at work is waiting for his first baby to arrive. His wife wanted a whole new kitchen installing in the fortnight before the baby was due, so we are taking bets on which is ready first, the baby or the new kitchen.

Monday, January 25, 2010


... through the endless wastes of January and then February. This is always a bleak time of the year, and my mood will lift when the daylight returns. One thing that lifted me before then was reading Susan Chernak McElroy's blog here. I've admired her books for a long time, so it was wonderful (and somehow strange) to find the author in person.

Someone who's off my "admired" list, though, is Dara o'Briain, whose greyhound was euthanased after she broke a leg in a race. It's a fixable injury, and there's a charity in the US, Greytlegs, that specifically pays for surgery for racing dogs who break a leg, so that they're not killed for an injury that would be treated in a domestic pet. Shame there isn't a branch in Ireland, but then the aforementioned comic, who is never off the TV, can't be so short of money he couldn't afford a vet bill. Particularly not after just appearing in a happy little programme showing him travelling across Ireland with the aforementioned greyhound, Snip Nua, and two friends. Unfortunately I now have to boycott one of my favourite TV programmes, "Mock the Week". Such is the price of principles.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sighs of Relief

The snow has almost gone, and the temperature is now a balmy 7 degrees centigrade. I feel human again, a human no longer under siege. Parts of the North Yorkshire moors are still difficult to reach, but here in the foothills, normal life has resumed. I feel tired, though. My grandmother used to speak of people she knew as "won't last another winter", and I know how that feels right now.

Apparently today is Blue Monday (3rd Monday in January is the time when most people will feel terrible) but I was vastly cheered by the kind comments. I've had to put comment moderation on again, due to receiving weird Chinese spam - thanks again to Lesley for pointing out what they might mean in translation. Somebody's trying to improve their search engine rankings the bad way.

And finally, although his owner died, Gollum the Italian greyhound found his way back home. My thoughts are with Gollum and Andrea's family.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bad Weather Blues

It's been four weeks now since the first snowfall, so I wasn't best pleased to find another inch fell overnight last night. While I haven't yet had to crawl across the road, the last couple of days have been ludicrously icy, and I've been driving to work at 10 miles an hour until I reach the main road.

I am tired of this now, and my patience with the dogs is at a low. They are sliding around on the ice, and Herbie isn't too happy, but Holly doesn't care if she pulls me over every time she sees a cat. I am thinking "treadmill" for Holly, and wondering if Herbie should be walked at all. I would just like to be able to go for a walk and get to the shops without skidding. Just for a few days, at least.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Snow Day - Again

Once more unto the snow shovels, dear friends, once more...

A gloomy old man in the village told me that the long hard winter of 1962 started like this. "It were bad before Christmas, and it stayed bad till March." Oh great. People keep ringing to tell me where they've been stuck, how long it took to get out or be rescued, where they came off the road, where they had to spend the night, etc.

I've taken today off work because the local radio announced that my route in, the only gritted route, was blocked. It's not the day for back-roads driving. We've had snow cover now for almost three weeks, which is rare for these parts.

Herbie had an emergency visit to the vets on New Year's Eve because he started coughing and wouldn't eat. One lot of antibiotics (Noroclav) later, and he's back to normal. However I'm starting him on Tramadol, a painkiller, because he seems to be a little brighter on them. The snow is not kind to old bones.