Monday, 29 June 2015

A hair-free week

It never ceases to amaze me how much black dog hairs appear upstairs where Vespa isn't allowed. Every morning when I wash my face I find umpteen hairs in the sink and when I vacuum my bedroom you'd think he'd been lying around on the floor there. So much so I'm almost wondering if he has a sneaky trample around when I'm not looking.

I'm off to London tomorrow to my brother's retirement party and I'm staying in London until Saturday with places to go and people to meet. In some ways I'm looking forward to it, but in other ways I'd far rather be at home in front of the telly watching Wimbledon, but you can be sure that the very last thing I'll find while staying with my mother are black dog hairs.

I won't miss long black hairs everywhere, but I will miss my morning cuddle and the general ambiance of having an affectionate personality around, because you can be sure that the other very last thing I'll find while staying with my mother is a feeling of 'someone loves me'. No I'm heading for the land of bad moods and criticism.

You know what? I think I'd rather have the black hairs!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

The wonders of the internet

I opened my email this morning to find this message:

Dear sir or Madam, Good day .

I'm Ms. Kathy Liu from Ningbo of China. Who is the supplier of welding metal. We are supplying following welding metal for more than 8 years.

1. Tin solder wire (Bar),such as 99.7/0.3; 60/40
2. Brazing wire (Rod),such like bcup-2,(Harris0)
3. Aluminum flux cored welding wire, CU-Al, and Al-Al, such like TC150
4. Solder Iron , wooden handle ,30W-300W .
5. Brass rod,
6. Electrode ,include :E6013 ,E308 etc.
7. agent Brother fatory produce: Zinc alloy for diecast. Zamak#3-#8

Recently the metal cost in China has dropped, we would like to send you our updated quotation list for your reference if you are interested on above products, one more choice to get the better products with lower prices.
Please kindly contact us or send us your detail inquiry.

Thanks and best regards!

First of all I'd be fascinated as to who in that company spends their time trawling through the internet to find people's email addresses so they can send off their emails, but even more so I wonder if they ever get any replies?

I was thinking it might be fun to email them back and tell them that sadly, being a three-quarters-about-to-be-seven-eighths retired Clinical Psychologist means that my interest in welding metal is absolutely nonexistent. But do I really want to open up communications with them? Probably not.

Sometimes the internet is beyond fascinating! 

Friday, 26 June 2015

Signs of ageing

It must be about 10 years since I last had any real dental work done, so when I discovered I needed a crown (my first ever) I think it was lucky I was lying down in the dental chair with my mouth clamped open when I was hit with the price.

I hate going to the dentist at the best of times, but now I have a temporary filling and a sore mouth and will have to go through it all again in 3 weeks time when the crown is fitted. I can feel my dental phobia coming to the fore. Still, needs must sadly.

The signs of ageing are now fully fledged. What with my new hearing aid and my cracked tooth I'm wondering what part of my body is going to need attention next. On second thoughts I don't think I even want to think about it!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Writing news

Recently I took part in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) with Iowa University in poetry. The course itself was excellent, but the massive bit was too much for me. If I posted a comment on an instructor's post I was inundated with (literally) hundreds of emails and I just couldn't cope, so I ended up not posting comments, which in some ways was a bit of a shame.

About a month ago Iowa University put out a message about a free online course they were going to run for folk interested in creative nonfiction. I've recently been writing short stories and, as I'm about to write a book for my kids about our family company (and it's just for them and my nieces) and I've been struggling to make it readable, I thought I'd learn a lot if I had the opportunity to take part.

The course was by application form and a short piece of writing that the uni gave a prompt for. The prompt was 'lost' and we were asked to write about a time we were physically or psychologically lost. I had a lot of fun writing about an incident that happened when Mountain Man and I were in Venice some years ago and trying to find the Grand Canal when MM told me he knew how to get to there and, needless to say, we got lost and found we'd walked in a circle.

Well... I received an email to tell me I'd got a place! They only accept 20 people from across the world and I can't believe I'm one of them! I'm super excited (can you tell?) and I can't wait to get on and be part of it.

Roll on July!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

It's a puppy walker's life

Yesterday necessitated a visit to the hearing aid people and they have a lovely 9 month old Parsons Russell terrier, Mack, who sits in the office. Vespa was excellent with him and, as he had his coat on, he wasn't allowed to play. Mack was put on his lead and came to say hello, but was jumping around while Vespa lay on the floor looking a little surprised at Mack's yips and barks.

I was so pleased with him and even more so when he lay on the floor quietly while I did my hearing aid business. However, an hour later when we went to see the Puppy Supervisor at the Gyle Centre in Edinburgh for a check up and she had her supervisor with her from Forfar, it was a different story. For some reason Vespa decided this was the time to behave like an idiot and show me up no end.

David (the PS's S) took over and marched Vespa off for behaviour 101. I'm not sure the PS nor the PSS believed me when I said he'd been behaving better.

Today another PW came round for a coffee. She's currently GD puppyless as she's just got a new pet puppy herself and needs to focus attention on her, but we went for a lovely walk round the woods and she was telling me how impressed she was with Vespa and how well behaved he was.

It seems that the life of a Puppy Walker is one of pride through to embarrassment in the blink of an eye.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Tweezer rescue

Late last night, as I was shutting the velux window in my bedroom, I managed to drop my tweezers out of the window and there they were on the roof - don't even ask how that happened! Tweezer rescue was on.

With Mountain Man away I had to get on with it myself, so I got the steps out and leaned as far out of the window as possible, but they were just out of reach. Next, I cleared the top of the chest of drawers that live just under the window and knelt on them, which is quite something for me as I have no knee in my right leg and kneeling is very uncomfortable, but when there's a rescue in operation there's nothing for it but to bear the pain and get on with it. This time as I leaned out my fingers just managed to grasp hold of the tweezers. Success!

But success comes at a price. As I clambered back I caught my knee and shin on the edge of the chest of drawers. Boy was that painful or what!

Next time I drop things out onto the roof I think they'll just have to stay there... or wait until MM is home... or actually a better way of managing would be to make sure I wasn't multitasking in the first place and just close the window. Simples.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Bathroom smells

After managing to throw a whole bottle of Tea Tree oil around my bathroom on Thursday morning I went into Edinburgh to see a client followed by a trip to the dentist, where I found out one tooth had a crack in the filling and another tooth was cracked. This was not great, but at least it explains the pain I've been having on eating and at least the crack in the filling was dealt with. I have to go back for the next episode next week.

After the dentist it was a quick trip to the hairdresser, where I didn't dare drink a cup of hot anything in case of numb lip spillage, and then after that I zipped back to No. 2 Son's to drop my bag and change into my jeans and head out for dinner.

Dinner at David Bann with my friend and his son was a fun evening and I've decided that I'm going to do drinking wine through a straw more often, but by the time we'd finished my tooth was incredibly sore and I was pleased to get back to No. 2 Son's to down some painkillers.

Yesterday was an all day workshop, which went ok I think, but it was a long day and by the time I got home I was exhausted and only good to slob in front of the telly.

Today, when the weather has returned to Autumn status, Vespa and I took a trip to the Championship Dog Show at Kelso Border Union show ground, where we spent a happy hour traipsing up and down watching doggies doing their thing. Vespa was actually pretty good and apart from a couple of 'play with me' dives at a dog or two I was very pleased with him. So much so I bought him a fluffy dog toy, which lasted approximately 10 minutes when we got home.

And then there I was, prepared to settle down to watch Andy Murray for the afternoon, when Autumn reached Queens Club too so that was rained off.

Not the most satisfactory end to a week, but at least my bathroom smells herbally antiseptic!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Is it catching?

On Tuesday No. 2 Son called to tell me he'd had an accident at work and knackered his back. He was helping a disabled person in their vehicle when it happened. He's now on muscle relaxants and pain killers.

On Tuesday night I went to bed feeling fine and got up yesterday with my back in spasm. I phoned No. 2 Son to see how he was feeling and he was, he reported, feeling much better than he thought he would be.

This morning my back is slightly better. I'm hoping No. 2 Son hasn't caught it back!

Monday, 15 June 2015

A curate's egg type of week

Well summer lasted 3 whole days in the Borders (I've actually put the heating back on tonight); Vespa had another bout of enteritis and is now on a different antibiotic; Mountain Man has been away, come home for a night and gone away again; and to top it all off I seem to have a problem with a tooth. Such is my life at the moment.

I actually had 3 meetings last week, 2 of them being last ones in my current job. The reality of changing from being 3/4 retired to being 7/8 retired is settling in now and I'm looking forward to finally finishing my job. It's been an immense 6 years and I feel I've put a lot into it, but the time's right for me to move on, however until then I've still got a bit to do and that's fine, but the end is in sight. I'll still have my London work, so don't worry folks I won't be totally workless!

Meanwhile I found myself getting beyond angry with Vespa over the weekend. There he was shitting liquid and on meds and what does he do? He finds some disgusting thing to eat on our walk and ran away from me when I tried to take it out of his mouth. There was part of me that thought it was very funny... something about the look in his eye when he just wants to be naughty... but there was a very large part that was far from amused. I think he got the message when I finally caught him and he was put on the lead and had to walk in disgrace for half a mile and then taken off the lead and made to lie down about every 100 feet and then wait until I called him.

Today Alex and Guide Dog pup Quaver came over and we went for a walk in the woods. The dogs had a brilliant time and it was lovely to see the 2 of them having such fun. And tomorrow is Guide Dog coffee morning so that should be fun too.

At least all this is keeping my mind off my tooth problem. I've managed to secure a dental appointment on Thursday, which I'm not looking forward to, though it'll be good to have it sorted.

So it's been a mixed bag since I last wrote on the blog, but I sure wish that curate's egg didn't seem a bit top heavy .

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

It's arrived!

Yesterday saw me complaining that, so far, summer was rubbish, but by the late afternoon there I was sitting on the back stoop, sipping a glass of cold, white vino and reading my book, with Vespa lying down by my feet both of us enjoying the sun. What a change 12 hours can bring.

And this morning, here I am getting ready to go to Glasgow for a meeting today and it's bright, sunny and, above all, warm... hooray! Though of course I wish I could stay at home and enjoy being out in the sun instead of going to Edinburgh, getting on a train and then being inside for most of the afternoon before I head back home, where I'll no doubt arrive by the time the sun is just heading off. Oh well... can't have everything.

Apparently tomorrow is going to be summer too, so that's good, except I have another meeting to attend, this time in Edinburgh in the afternoon, which means I'll have the morning to enjoy being out and about catching some rays.

After that, the weather is supposed to revert to being grey and cloudy with rain for the weekend and temperatures back to 11 degrees.

Please don't let summer doesn't consist of just 2 days... PLEASE.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Call this summer?

Well as you all know, Andy Murray lost. But nevertheless the French Open final was brilliant and I'm so pleased Wawrinka won. I have nothing against Djokovic, it's just that it's so lovely when the underdog comes through, and in style, to win. Onward to Wimbledon!

Meanwhile I'm pleased to report that Vespa is recovering well. So well, in fact, that all his pent up energy has been taken out on his toys which are now ripped to shreds... the joys, and expense of having a dog around the place. I won't go into the details of how his recovery from enteritis, followed by a day and a bit of constipation played out, but I'm sure you can use your imagination. Being ill during the French Open did mean that he was relatively quiet though and, in between severe bouts of cuddling, we did manage walks in the sunshine that appeared over the weekend along with high winds just to make sure it was still cold.

Sadly the sun has not lasted and we're back to full on grey skies and temperatures around the 12 degrees mark. And this is flaming June, with the emphasis here on the flaming, used totally as a swear word today. Where is summer? Please don't tell me we've had it... I don't think I could cope.

One of the good things though about the year trundling on at such a pace is that in November I'm off to South Africa for a holiday with my friend, Tracy. And the rate this year is going November will be here in no time at all. At least it's pretty much guaranteed that the sun will be out for quite a bit of the time and I have that to look forward to. I've not even worn a short sleeved T-shirt since I got home from Bangkok and have stuck rigidly to long socks and my warm jacket, which I seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time wearing around the house these days.

On that rather depressing note, I'll leave you for another day in the hope that by the time I pick up my blog again some warmth will be creeping into the Scottish Borders.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Strange things can happen

Poor Vespa has been ill. He's had enteritis, which has meant a trip to the vet, some tablets and paste stuff to help him get better. But worse than that, the vet has put him on a light diet of either pasta or rice. plain or with chicken, but as I didn't have any chicken (we're a pescetarian house) and I had a poetry reading to go to in Edinburgh and Mountain Man was away doing his stuff, I made the decision to go to Edinburgh and buy some macaroni and rice on the way (I didn't have any in the cupboard... well I did, but spaghetti or Thai sticky rice didn't really seem to fit the bill), see which one cooked the quickest and stop off at No. 2 Son's, do a bit of cooking and then head for poetry.

Vespa did not like plain macaroni. To give him his due he ate most of it, tho he picked out the tablet and spat it on the floor, which prompted him to get a small bit of bread-wrapped tablet, which he did eat, but he wasn't all that happy to have to go to poetry when his belly was a bit empty.

It was a lovely evening with my poetry tutor from the last course I took with The Poetry School, Ryan Van Winkle, as the star turn. I also got to meet Clare, one of the folk who'd been on my previous Poetry School course. It was lovely to meet up in person and we both enjoyed the poems.

When I got home I decided, as we only had hard boiled eggs in the fridge, to cook Vespa some rice and add a chopped hard boiled egg as I felt he needed a little something and as the rice was cooking I sent a text to MM to do a little bit of shopping to shore up our supplies on his way home from his meeting.

Vespa thoroughly enjoyed the rice and egg. He enjoyed his rice and chicken breakfast even more and, because he has to be fed every 2-3 hours, he also enjoyed his lunch and I'm sure will be very grateful for another 3 meals today.

Meanwhile I cancelled my plans to go to another thing in Edinburgh today and stay home and dog sit. MM went away this morning for a weekend doing his stuff in the Lake District, so it's just me and my pup, who, in between rice and chicken meals, will be watching the French Open.

Just before the tennis started I took Vespa for a walk in the woods. I felt we both needed to get out and as the temperature is rising slightly, it seemed the right thing to do. He loved it, but I had to laugh because we came across a couple of people walking their 3 dogs and as Vespa and the dogs were all bouncing on their leads trying to have a sniff at each other a deer passed about 12 feet away from us and not one of the dogs even noticed!

So it's now an afternoon in front of the tv with everything crossed for Andy Murray. You never know. I mean who'd put a bet on a deer crossing in front of 4 dogs and not one of them seeing or smelling it, so strange things can and do happen. Let's hope that the strange thing of Novac Djokovic being knocked out of a semi-final happens too, but I'm not putting any bets on that one!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Feeling low

Today was back to Guide Dog puppy training and for the second month in a row we made it through the whole class with reasonable behaviour - that's Vespa's behaviour not mine of course. Though when I come to think of it, I was pretty well behaved too!

As the weather has degenerated over the past few days back into winter, my mood has degenerated too and I find myself feeling pretty low most of the time. I can hardly be bothered to go out and it's far easier to sit and watch the French Open on telly than go out dressed in my winter gear. Thank goodness for tennis.

On Saturday Vespa and I did manage to get into Edinburgh for a fundraising event for Guide Dogs. It was in a pub in Rose Street and Vespa, along with his pal Paddy, had to sit around looking cute and being much admired by all and sundry. Vespa finds this part of his job very easy, though he does have the dreadful habit of sitting with his back legs sticking out which somehow detracts from his handsome features, but does cause a lot of laughs from the petting public.

Vespa and Paddy with their Guide Dog chum

I've had a couple of book reviews to do. Both of them are non fiction. The first one - Flirting with French - was ok, but not all that great and I think I did a great job of actually finishing it so I could write a proper review. The second one is amazing. It's called Age of Ambition: Chasing fortune, truth and faith in the new China. The only problem is it's quite a tome. Almost 400 pages of dense text with some amazing facts and figures. And I'm supposed to write the review pdq and I don't want to skim read it, but I think that's what I'm going to have to do in order to get the review written on time.

So in some ways, with the tennis and the book review to do, it's not so bad that the weather is crap. The only thing that's really suffering is my lack of exercise, which has been highlighted by my Fitbit. However, yesterday it looked like I'd done loads of activity as by mistake I left the Fitbit in the pocket of my pj's which I then put in the wash. Amazing what a wash cycle can do for the activity calculator! And I have to say I'm also pretty amazed that the thing hasn't decided to give up the ghost as it's not supposed to get wet and that's the second time it's found it's way into the wash. Better not chance a third time.

I've also had some work (on Monday) and some pleasure in the form of my friend's 60th birthday dinner (on Sunday), which was fun. Just as well there are these necessities to go out otherwise I could sit in my pj's all day with my hot water bottle, my book and the telly and not see the light of day apart from through the window. And just as well Mountain Man has been home this week to take the burden of dog walking on, while I moan and complain about lack of sunshine and warmth.

It can only get better can't it?