Saturday, 21 February 2015

Like the curate's egg...

... today was good in parts.

First of all what a beautiful day! The sun shining, blue skies, cold... yes... but perfect to be out walking in.

Mountain Man went off yesterday to do his winter skills training with Borders Search and Rescue for the weekend somewhere near Aviemore, so it was just Lazy Boy and me. The day started off very well, what with the weather and all, but then when I went for a shower Vespa decided to start destroying the kitchen furniture. To be honest I think I was lucky it was only the wooden bench. He's so lazy he couldn't be bothered to get up from his bed and seemed to go for the thing he could reach the easiest. I was, however, not best pleased. The bench is now covered in Vick to ward off further dog attacks.

Then, for the first time ever, Vespa wouldn't come in from the garden and I realised he's now, at just about to be 6 months old, become a real adolescent. Odi was a dreadful teen and I don't suppose he'll be much better. Ah well.

I put my not pleasedness behind me and Vespa and I set out for Harestanes near Jedburgh. We had a fantastic walk where he was very well behaved and then made a visit to one of my favourite people at Harestanes, Caroline Marr, who I bought a lovely purple purse from. From there we went to St. Boswells and paid a visit to Mainstreet Trading Company to buy some cheese and truffle oil from the deli before heading to the cafe for a sandwich for lunch. Vespa was very well behaved even though we had people coming up to us and demanding to speak to him.

We went home via Scott's View, which if you haven't seen you ought to. On such a beautiful day the view is absolutely spectacular (which this photo gives you a teeny glimpse of) and was a brilliant place to stand and contemplate.

Scott's View

After a bit of housework Vespa and I went off to Gordon Community Woodland for another walk because we're due snow tomorrow and if we're going to be stuck at home I wanted to make sure we both had good time outside today. And here's where, for another first, Vespa's adolescence kicked in. A couple of dogs chased up to us and, unlike before, he wouldn't come back when I whistled. He came in the end, but I was disappointed. His recall has been so good up to now and I suppose it's to be expected as he pushes the boundaries.

Our Saturday night has been pretty relaxed with us both curling up and having cuddle time together, which has been lovely. Some things just don't change!

Friday, 20 February 2015

Dinosaur porn rules?

How much energy does it take to create a poem in a day? The answer, as far as I'm concerned, is a lot.

My current online poetry course with The Poetry School is certainly taking it's toll. We have one week to write a poem, which in reality means come up with an idea, do the research, write the poem while living your normal working week and looking after a Guide Dog puppy (let alone 2... more on this in a moment). I struggle.

This week's assignment was to do with disasters and I knew immediately I wanted to write about a volcanic eruption... but there have been so many, so which one? I decided on Tambora's eruption in 1815. I think it was the magnitude that entranced me, as well as the fact that it had such an impact on the whole world. But I'm not known for writing long poems so what to focus on? It took a week of thinking/not sleeping/biting my nails before I made my choice and it just happened to come on the last day possible while I had to dog sit for Quaver (who's now a 10 month old lab/retriever cross) as Mountain Man was off on daughter duties in Glasgow.

Have you ever tried writing a serious poem while 2 dogs create havoc around you? No? Well I don't advise it!

Quaver when she was teeny tiny with our lovely Odi

Lazy Boy and Quaver in a quiet moment

What you might not realise from this photo is that Vespa is actually almost the same size as Quaver, but he's got that teenage slouch to perfection. He's also much wider than she, which also doesn't show from this photo. The other thing that doesn't show is the manic behaviour that made up most of my day, only interrupted by a Skype meeting I had to attend in the afternoon and they were forced to lie down and be quiet.

Anyway, I managed to write my poem, which was a sonnet to fit the age in which the disaster happened. The poem was also pretty crap btw, just in case you're wondering, but hey, can't do everything can I. My friend, Denise was amazing and summed it up by saying, 'it's very dark satanic mills' which is just what I was going for, so at least I achieved something.

After uploading I was supposed to go onto my other online poetry group for an online workshop, but as there were only 2 of us we just chatted instead, but I have to say it was the most fun I've had in a long time and ended up with tears streaming down my face as I couldn't stop laughing. Have you ever read any dinosaur erotica? No? I'm shocked!

Actually I'm shocked by the writing let alone the subject. If you want to read some of the worst written stuff around (yes even worse than 50 Shades of Grey) then don't hesitate to read this excerpt. I'm afraid that even at 99p it was far too much to pay for something so dreadful and I really didn't want to know what happened next. However, it made for the most hilarious evening and I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Dinner out

Last night I was taken out to Chapters in Gattonside for a lovely Valentine meal by Mountain Man accompanied by Vespa who was out for his first ever dinner engagement.

MM had booked the table and checked it was ok to take Lazy Boy and when we got there we were put at a table right in the middle of the floor. I was really concerned that Vespa might be in the way lying out in the floor, a ready recipe for disaster and so we were moved to a much more appropriate corner table where I spread his little mat for him to lie on. I relaxed after that.

Vespa behaved truly perfectly and only wagged his tail when a waitress came near, but didn't move at all. We (and all the staff and punters) were very impressed.

Vespa doing a great job of practising being a proper Guide Dog

The meal was delicious. We were given a complimentary glass of fizz each on arrival and I got a chocolate heart. As MM doesn't drink alcohol I scored his. Yum! He did get 3/4 of my chocolate though. I tried it but a yucky strawberry filling was just too much for me, so MM gallantly stepped in to the breach.

It was a lovely evening and a chance to put on some glad rags and glam up a bit - I even straightened my hair! I tried to take a selfie, but I really don't know how those people who take them all the time manage. I'm obviously not very good at it as you can see from the photo:

Jeez, how on earth do those celebrities take selfies and make themselves look good?

Still, it gives you some idea of what I looked like, though I swear my feet really aren't that big!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

The focus on me

They got the weather forecast right for the last 2 days as the grey has descended. It looks like someone has come along with a huge watercolour brush and brushed the sky with translucent grey paint and sadly they forgot to put any blue or clouds in. It really affected my mood, but not as much as going to bowls and losing 27 - 3.

It was quite funny in some ways as the people in my team were good players, but we just couldn't put it together at all. I don't think I was helped by a guy with his iPad who asked if he could take a film of me bowling for a council film of what goes on in the building. I was a little shocked and to be honest it did put me off a bit, but no excuses, it was just one of those days.

I don't know why I was chosen as I'm neither a very good bowler nor was I looking particularly attractive in my old sweater and jeans, but the guy seemed satisfied.

I did ask if he could do a bit of photoshop, but all I got was an enigmatic smile and, on reflection, I suppose at least if his iPad was focussed on me then he wouldn't be filming the scoreboard!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

How wrong could I be?

After yesterday's weather moan I thought I ought to fess up that I got it 100% wrong!

This morning boasted the most beautiful of blue, sunny skies, so Mountain Man, Lazy Boy and I made the best of it and took a lovely walk along the old railway line. On days like this it makes it just the best thing ever to be outside and walking about, even if my sore knee is sore and I seem to have aggravated both an old back problem and my old ankle injury as well with my cavorting at badminton yesterday. The joys of getting older I suppose.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

It could be worse

Just when I thought Spring was in the air after quite a few gorgeously sunny, blue sky days, today it went all gray and gloomy and cold again. Yuck.

Monday was just unbelievable, but sadly I had to go to Perth for a meeting. I left home at 9am and made it to my meeting at 1pm with just 10 minutes to spare, but the train journey, delayed though it was, was glorious with spectacular views as we went over the Forth Road bridge and along the Firth. It took just as long to get home and I didn't get back until 8pm - though I have to admit arriving in Edinburgh at just after 5pm isn't the time to be getting in my car and travelling home, so I did a teeny bit of shopping before getting my car.

Yesterday Mountain Man was on ambulance observation duty while Vespa and I enjoyed our day together going for walks along the railway line and to the Post Office in Kelso. I won't relate the bad management stories that MM came back with - that is directives from on high not the ambulance service itself - but suffice it to say, sadly not much has changed since I worked in the NHS.

So today, in the midst of the murk, I took myself off to Old Lady Badminton to see how my fitness programme was affecting a) my knee and b) my general fitness. The answer to the former is, well slightly and to the latter, definitely. At least all that walking about with my Fitbit on to check on the amount of steps I do in a day has motivated me and not been a waste of money. The only thing I have to be careful of is doing 2 hours of badminton on my damaged cartilage was a touch stupid and I ended up feeling quite sore at the end, though I did win all my games. Still, I've got a bowls match tonight, so a bit of walking on it might help stretch it out a bit.

From the forecast it looks like the murk is with us until at least the end of the week and getting colder too, but I shouldn't complain too much, I could be in my mother's position, where she's been full of the cold for the last week and then was involved in a credit card scam that left her really stressed. If all I have to worry about is the weather I think I'm doing pretty fine.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

As promised...

... a photo of Vespa in his Guide Dog puppy uniform and doesn't he look just the part!

'C'mon then Mum, let's get on with the shopping'

What's really interesting is that he actually seems to behave much better with his coat on and seems to realise he's not supposed to interact with people and to keep an eye and ear on what I want him to do.

He's grown so much recently that today we decided he could no longer fit in the footwell in the front of Mountain Man's car and so, with a hefty heave from us, he clambered into the back and seemed to be reasonably happy with his new travel accommodation. He was quite entranced with the rear window wiper, but sadly I didn't get a pic of that. Instead you'll have to make do with this rather cute image:

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Another week, another round-up

Last week? What can I say? It came and went just like that.

I had to go to a meeting in London on Monday so went down on Sunday so I wasn't rushed. Lucky in some ways as the train was 80 minutes late, something I couldn't have afforded to be if it had been the same on the Monday. And it gave a chance for Vespa to see a train for the first time. He wasn't at all bothered, far too lazy for that.

Waiting for the train at Berwick-upon-Tweed

Mountain Man and he stood on the platform and waved me off and then went to try out the beach for a bit of fun. Apparently Vespa loved the seaweed and hardly noticed the sea at all.

After a (thank goodness) nothing to report time in London, I came back on Tuesday, luckily missing out on the Guide Dog puppy training class, which MM said was hell. Vespa, instead of being Lazy Boy, worked himself up into a frenzy by standing on 2 legs for most of the class wanting to play with his puppy friends and then pooing on the floor and finally losing 2 teeth and bleeding all over everyone. MM took him home well before the end and then came to meet me at the station. By that time Vespa was back to his calm, Lazy Boy self, whereas I don't think I could say the same for MM... calm I mean, not lazy! Still, Vespa was given his Guide Dog jacket and now really looks the part - though no photos as yet, I'm afraid, as when he has it on I've either been too busy to take pics or not had my phone on me.

Wednesday was another work day and I had to scoot into Edinburgh. I took Vespa with me and he was brilliant. I think the activity of the day before had its effect and he was calm as anything and just lay there in true Lazy Boy style while I was at my meeting. I rushed home from there in a panic as I'd realised my new poetry course (the intriguingly entitled: Write What You Don't Know - research, writing and the apparently confessional) first assignment was supposed to be in on Thursday and due mainly to problems with my previous internet provider I'd not even downloaded the assignment. The rest of Wednesday went by in a flurry of scribbled lines and torn up paper.

Thursday arrived and still no poem written. I took Vespa over to Lynne's in Tweedbank so he could have a play with his pal Tweedy. They had a great time though Vespa lost another tooth and bled all over Tweedy, who's the same colour as Odi so it showed up big time! He was exhausted by the time we came home, which gave me another chance to have a go at the poetry assignment. I'm really pleased to say that I managed a somewhat crap poem, but to have got anything written before the deadline was a plus. I just know I'll be hiding behind my hands come feedback time. Ah well.

Friday was retirement day, as in I had no work that needed immediate attention so I took time out and took Vespa for a lovely walk in the morning and then went to bowls in the afternoon. I ended up playing pairs and started out at the negative end of what looked like it was going to be a trouncing - we were losing 0-9 - but miraculously came back to win 15-14. I don't think either my partner nor me, nor our opposition knew quite how that happened. To celebrate I opened a lovely bottle of red wine and watched the finals of the Allotment Challenge and to be honest I probably had one glass too many, which has left me feeling worse for wear today, so today is definitely time out time and will be spent doing not much at all.

I promise a photo of Vespa in his new coat tomorrow.