Thursday, 28 May 2015

A coffee plant update

I'm sure you must be wondering how the coffee plants are doing... well you have been, haven't you?

The answer is, not terribly well. I think the cold weather spell has made their leaves turn even browner than usual and we had to do a move around with them, which is something they absolutely hate. The largest plant seemed to be getting a bit burnt by the daylight bulb it was under because it was so tall, so we moved it and put the smallest one in it's place. The largest one is not amused!

At least they all have some new growth to go along with their brown leaves. The pic isn't a very good one, but it's the best I could do with very little time. I'll try and post a better one soon.

So there you have it, alive and growing slowly just like always, but I think they, like me, can't wait for warmer weather.

Saturday, 23 May 2015


I got an email from my lovely friend, Binod, from Kathmandu yesterday. I've known him since he was 19. He used to work in his uncle's tea shop and is now a tourist guide. He's such a sweet guy and it's lovely to see him all grown up. While we were having tea with him in Kathmandu, I realised I didn't have my phone on me, so he used his phone to take pics. Then, of course, there was the earthquake and so it's taken a while for him to send me them.

Me and the lovely Binod
Mountain Man gets in on the action

I was also reminded that I'd received some pics from Mariko in Hua Hin from the night we went out to dinner, so thought I'd post that too.

Me and Mariko out for dinner. She was the teeniest therapist at Chiva Som. I'm around 5ft 6 and not wearing heels.

And then there's some pics from my last couple of days in Bangkok, one of which shows the most amazing toilet, which was in my bathroom. It had a button you pressed to wash and dry yourself, a bit like an automated bidet. I thought it was fab!

The view from my table at breakfast at The Sukhothai Hotel, Bangkok

A view of the pool from my sun lounger

The amazing toilet choices. And yes, I did try oscillating!
Lovely memories.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Back to bad

It's been a busy week in one way and another. Vespa is now fully recovered and, after a week of very good behaviour, totally let himself down today as we went off for a walk in the woods with Lynne and her 15 month old Guide Dog puppy, Tweedy. Tweedy is positively the best behaved pup around, who comes when he's called, walks to heel off the lead and no matter if another dog is around, is always at Lynne's beck and call.

Sadly the same can't be said for Vespa, who paid no attention whatsoever to any commands I issued, broke the tag off his collar and managed to tear a strap off the welly I was wearing. He just wanted to play with Tweedy and that was that. Also, when I was away and he was staying with Freda in Selkirk, he got to play with Fleur, another GD pup, who loves the water. She taught him all kind of tricks, such as finding the muddiest puddle and rushing into it to lie down and enjoy a mud bath. And so Vespa spend an inordinate amount of time today rushing in and out of the mud pools and getting as dirty as he could and encouraging Tweedy to roll him over and over just so he could get fully covered. This combined with a lack of obedience didn't make me a happy bunny.

Yesterday I had to go and get my ears syringed and do a hearing test ready to get a new hearing aid (the joys of getting older). It was absolutely disgusting what came out of my ears and I'm damned sure you're very pleased I didn't take any pics, suffice it to say I'm surprised I could hear at all with that lot down my ears. But what the audiologist discovered is that I have a middle ear infection, so now I'm on antibiotics. Not my favourite thing to be on.

Today, as I was getting ready to go out, I put my hat in a handy place so I could grab it and jam it on my head before setting off to the woods so my ears wouldn't be affected by the wind, but as Lynne arrived in her car Vespa started behaving like a maniac and I forgot it in my efforts to control him. Not a great start and made me an unhappy bunny to start with, let alone by the end of the walk.  I also forgot to take poo bags, but luckily Lynne was armed, which was just as well as my naughty boy decided to have 3 deposits on our walk. Tweedy of course had none.

Vespa's today behaviour was in total contrast to the last few days, where he's been at meetings and even a Guide Dog coffee morning where out of the 3 pups in attendance, and he being the youngest, he was the best behaved. I was beginning to think things were looking up, but no... I was a bit premature on that one.

However, one of the great things about rushing about in the woods with another pup is that Vespa is now exhausted, which is just as well as I can now nurse my sore ears and rest my weary body and try to recover in peace and quiet.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Not 20:20 vision

I was awake at 3 this morning and then went back to sleep to be woken by a noise from the kitchen. I decided, as it was almost 7, to get up and check what was going on.

I don't know what Vespa was up to, but everything was fine. We had our morning cuddle and I got myself a drink wondering what time Mountain Man, who got home last night, would grace us with his presence. I felt so tired that I curled up on Vespa's bed with him, closing my eyes for a while, but he just wanted to play.

When I looked up at the clock and it said quarter to, I fed Vespa, who went out and did his business and then came in to settle with me while I ate my breakfast. As I was putting the dishes in the dishwasher I glanced at the clock. I looked again. It was just past 7! Oh dear... that'll teach me not to put my glasses on! No wonder I was tired.

Eventually MM joined us and I then decided to go back to bed and listen to the radio. Next thing I know it's gone 11. A quick get up and out to take Vespa on a training walk around the vintage car rally at Springwood Park in Kelso, which was so good for him. Then out for lunch to the Cross Keys in Kelso town square and back home to go... to bed! All I wanted to do was sleep.

I don't know why I'm so tired today, but I am and consequently have spent most of it with my eyes closed, tucked up in my bed. Sadly because he's not allowed upstairs, Vespa has spent most of the day apparently looking longingly up the stairs willing me to come down, while MM has been holding the fort.

Hopefully normal life will resume tomorrow. It better bloody had as I have work. I feel Vespa's not going to be so pleased with me as he's going to have to stay home while I head to Edinburgh to meet a new client.

Whatever happens I'll be sure to look at my clock with my glasses on before I get up!

Saturday, 16 May 2015

What a poser

The last few days Mountain Man has been away on one of the events he works on, which left me to keep Vespa occupied while still in his supposed 'sick role'. This is the dog who slept a lot the day after the op, but after that has been going a bit bonkers with having to walk on the lead and not being allowed to jump into the car.

Actually I gave up yesterday and let him jump in the car again... I mean for goodness sake, he'd been jumping on and off the wall in the garden since last Sunday, so I couldn't think that jumping in and out of the car would have any effect.

I also gave up on the walking on the lead today and took him for a free run. I couldn't take it anymore. Luckily he was very well behaved and loved rushing about and sniffing around along the old railway line, which was a whole lot better than him rushing around trashing our veg patch and tearing up the lawn.

Vespa has, however, decided he loves the rubber collar that he had to wear at night just in case he wanted to lick his wound. Every night when I got it out he wagged his tail and seemed desperate to have it on.

We went off for a quick shop in Kelso after our walk and as we were walking around we came across these beautiful small versions of The Kelpies in Kelso town square. Just fab.

Miniature Kelpies

While we were admiring the sculptures a couple came and to chat and told me they were Puppy Walkers from Stockton-on-Tees and they have a ten month old black lab bitch, who's apparently a bit hormonal at the moment and they left at home. She's their first. It was really nice to talk to them and reminded me of how things had been with Odi and how it seems so much easier with Vespa. A bit like kids really. The first is always a steep learning curve.

As we were leaving Kelso it started to tip down, so I abandoned doing a training exercise of going to the 3 Day Eventing at Floors Castle and headed home for the rest of the day.

After watching Flash Gordon (which we enjoyed lots... me for the film, Vespa for the sound effects) I went to take the air out of the blow-up collar ready to take back to Lynne next week and Vespa came and looked at me really sadly, so I gave him a last go with it.

He seemed really pleased to have it on and posed very nicely for a pic. Not so happy to have it immediately taken off again and put way though!

A last go with the rubber ring

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Oh dear

There I was, having a wee sip of red wine and minding my own business, when Vespa had a mad moment... he rushed around, clashed into me and there it was... red wine everywhere... and when I say everywhere, I mean EVERYWHERE!

Couch, floor, table, but more than that, in my hair, my ear, my bra... well I don't think I'll go on... suffice it to say it was a wetfest and I wasn't very pleased.

And Vespa? He couldn't have cared less.

Me? What'd I do?

This came after a day when he escaped into the garden, went berserk with a flower pot in his mouth (I really wish I had a photo) jumped off the wall and generally behaved just as we were told that he shouldn't after his op.

I can't wait for Sunday, when he's free to go off lead again and jump to his heart's content. I'm not sure my sense of humour will last that long!

Monday, 11 May 2015

A bit of horrified and a bit of relieved

We were explicitly told after Vespa's op that there was to be no jumping until his 10 days post-op is over. However, no-one told him, or if they did he totally ignored them.

This morning was Vespa's check up at the vet. The last couple of days he's been travelling in the footwell of my car, but today, instead of just gently getting in the car as per usual, he actually jumped onto the front seat. I was horrified and immediately told him off and put him in his place. He has never, ever travelled on the front seat and I don't know what he was thinking.

Apparently he was thinking exactly the same after seeing the vet as he did the same again. I was not amused.

Still, at least his check up showed absolutely no after-op effects and he's healing well, which is a huge relief.

This afternoon I left him at home to go visit with our fellow puppy walkers, Alex and Jackie, who puppy walk Quaver (who's been to stay with us in the past). Jackie has been very poorly and been in hospital for an op, so it was the least I could do to pop round, take some choccies and spend some time.... you'd think....

As I sat down on the sofa I suddenly felt a seeping wet patch through my jeans. For the second time today I was horrified. Had Quaver jumped on the sofa and done a wee? Even worse, had I got some kind of dire affliction and didn't notice that I needed the loo?

Luckily it turned out to be neither of those things... phew!

No, it turned out it was just my water bottle top wasn't on tight enough and had leaked through my bag. And for the second time today I was relieved. Amid much hilarity and a bit of a towel drying I bravely sat on the wet patch and we laughed our way through the afternoon.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Not a 'man' any more

In 24 hours Vespa went from this:

What a handsome chap

To this:

Poor me

He went for his op yesterday and kept the vet nurses amused by groaning at them all day. They thought it was hysterical... not sure he thought quite the same, but he was very pleased to be home.

What he wasn't so pleased about was the half portions for his dinner and also having to wear 'the tire' just in case he decided to have an impromptu lick at his wound.

I've also given him arnica. I don't really care that homeopathic medicine has had a bit of a bad press recently, I've always given it to my animals and it seems to help. I was pleased to see that the wound went from red to quite pale in the space of about half an hour after giving him the medication, so that was encouraging.

After a good night's sleep we're having a quiet day today. Staying in, watching movies, having cuddles and maybe a short walk later.

We have to go back to the vet on Monday for a check and then it's lead walks for 10 days, but fingers crossed for a full recovery with no problems.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Puppy news

In the last 2 months Vespa has gone from being the best behaved puppy to being a total and complete adolescent, hormonally challenged dog. Yes, my boy has gone from puppy to dog in the time I was away.

It also just so happens that Vespa has never completed a Guide Dog puppy class.

He came to us in late October last year and our first class was in November. The only problem was that Vespa was still on 4 feeds a day, so the class, which goes from 10.30 - 12.30, had to be left early so he could be fed.

December and January there was no class. February neither Mountain Man nor I could make it. March I was working so MM took Vespa, who was teething, to class, where Vespa promptly pooed on the floor and then played with dogs so violently that he lost several teeth and bled all over everyone and the Puppy Supervisor told MM to take him home. In April I was off to sunny climes so MM took him again. This time apparently he spent all his time on 2 legs in a state of complete hormonally challenged inattention and wouldn't do a thing MM asked him. The PS took over. Vespa still wouldn't do anything he was asked to do e.g. calm down. The PS told MM to take him home. I think he'd lasted about 30 minutes.

It was with extreme trepidation that MM and I decided to brave yesterday's puppy class together to face the music with our big bad boy.

We were totally amazed at how Vespa behaved. Not only did we stay for the whole class, but our gorgeous boy behaved impeccably and wagged his tale throughout the whole process. No-one could believe it, least of all the PS!

I'm not sure if this turn in behaviour is just growing up, or that Vespa has associated us being away being connected to his challenging adolescence, or if he overheard the phone call I had with the PS the day before the class when she told me to 'get him neutered and as soon as possible', followed by an immediate phone call with the vet to get Vespa booked in on Friday morning.

I don't really care, what is absolutely brilliant is that for the last 2 days my lovely doggy has behaved so well that I feel like a proud parent.

We were in Kelso today and Vespa was incredible. We were held up for about 20 minutes trying to send some money by Western Union and he just lay on the floor and never moved. Then we went for a walk along the old railway line and met up with one of our village neighbours and their dog, an elderly lady lab. Vespa just lay down on the pavement while we talked. I was so amazed and the neighbour was saying how incredible Vespa was and also how handsome. I couldn't have agreed more.


Sunday, 3 May 2015

Home at last

After a couple of relaxing days in Bangkok, where I had time to process all of the Nepali events and feel a whole lot better, it was time to head off home via London.

My flight back was uneventful and, with The Beast once again coming off the carousel pretty smartly, I arrived back at my mother's house in good time. At 9.45 pm UK time (3.45 am Bangkok time) I hit the sack and that was that.

Yesterday I spent my day having my hair cut and doing a bit of shopping, going to the National Gallery and generally being a tourist and then today got my train home (delayed of course!) and got home to a delirious welcome from my lovely Vespa.

Vespa's grown enormously in the 6 weeks I've been away and is now a big boy. He doesn't even look like a puppy anymore, but is a very handsome chap.

A lovely welcome

All grown up

In my pile of mail I received a card from Odi's new owners, which was just great. She's very happy with her new people and her new name and is living in Glasgow, so you never know we might even get a chance to go and see her one day.

The weather is crap, the house is a mess, I've got loads of washing to do... but you know what? It's good to be back.