Sunday, 30 August 2015

It's his birthday!

The Birthday Boy!
Today my boy turned one! I can hardly believe it as the time's gone so quickly. He's having a lovely day, with having pressies first thing, followed by a lovely long walk in the Community Woodland, where he got to play with a few pals and lark about, and then we went off this afternoon to get another treat from the pet store in the shape of a filled bone for tonight.

While we were there a couple approached with their daughter and told me they were thinking of Puppy Walking and wanted to know what I thought. Luckily it was a day when Vespa was behaving well and it was so lovely at the end when we left them for me to overhear, 'Well that's a beautifully trained puppy' I was so pleased!

Yesterday, because of the vagaries of the weather right now, we went on a pre-birthday walk just in case the forecast was wrong for today. We went to my favourite place, Bowmont Forest and Vespa had a ball. He found loads of mud puddles to jump in and out of, which of course meant that he didn't smell so nice on the way back. But what the heck, it's his birthday and what's a boy to do when faced with a bit of mud and water. Still at least he dried off pretty quickly.

So Happy Birthday Vespa aka Big Boy aka Mr Lazy aka Mr Chunky... you're a star!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Where I gain a day

Today I went to a Guide Dog puppy training session in Melrose. Vespa was super badly behaved and I ended up with aching arms and an almost cricked neck, but it was lovely to see folk.

There were 5 pups including the Puppy Supervisor's pup - she has Micky who's the most gorgeous Golden Retriever, but she has him because he was spotted right from birth as being a difficult dog and if anyone can knock him into shape she can. He also barks a lot. And so does Quaver and so does Hannah. Vespa and his pal, Amber are the quiet ones, so there was something to be thankful for!

We did some work in the park and then walked into town to get a cuppa. It was all pretty chaotic and even sitting in the sun with a peppermint tea didn't do much for me, as Vespa would lie quietly and then just take it into his head to have a lunge at one of the others to play. Mind you they were all pretty bad, so it wasn't just him.

Then I went off to have a lunchtime chat with Lynne, who lives in Tweedbank and used to have Teddy (who was Odi's official first pal) and then Tweedy who's now at Forfar. Vespa was a touch put out that there was no dog there for him to play with, but he had lots of fun running round Lynne's garden with a large Kong in his mouth.

Anyway, as Lynne and I were chatting and talking about how quickly this week was passing, I said that I only had tomorrow to get myself together as Friday was a busy day for me. She said, 'But it's only Tuesday today.' I was a bit flummoxed by that as, if I'd had to, I'd have taken a bet that today was Wednesday. Still, poor Lynne thought it was Saturday when she woke up this morning so she's lost a couple of days where I've seemed to gain one!

Monday, 24 August 2015

The power of three?

So far today (and please bear in mind it's only 9.23 in the morning) I've had 3 things go wrong:

1. I left a note out for the milkman to cancel Mountain Man's milk order and he paid not one bit of notice to it and left me with some milk, which I don't drink. It made me want to both laugh and cry at the same time. Here I am trying to get some order into my life and someone's not even paying attention!

2. My dear friend in Australia was due to Skype me this morning. I put my alarm on for 6.15 so I'd be ready and waiting for her call... but it never came. I was getting a touch worried that maybe something had happened to her, but no... all is well. She'd just had a bit of a mind blip about time difference. We've been trying to chat since I got back from France and I've put my alarm on every morning, so now we're rearranged for Thursday so at least I've got a few days respite from that dreaded alarm. Phew!

3. The fridge in my kitchen stopped working about 3 weeks ago. Luckily I have one in the utility room, so no problem with having one that works, but the one in the kitchen is very convenient. Anyway, MM got a man in, who looked at it and pronounced it fixable. Just the switch in the thermostat, so I was very pleased when I got the call this morning to tell me he'd be round at 8.30. So in he comes all jolly and lovely and started fixing things. Next thing I know he's calling me and admitting to have managed to touch some wires that shouldn't be touching and he's blown the new thermostat and also tripped the fuse. He reset the fuse, but now needs to order another thermostat. So that's the fridge out of action for at least another week. Sigh!

Please tell me things only come in threes, or I'm doomed!

Sunday, 23 August 2015

And life goes on...

... remarkably well actually.

Last night we had the most incredible thunder storm, which seemed to have cleared away the grey skies and coldish temperatures and this morning I awoke to the most beautiful, sunny, blue sky day imaginable. So it was on with a vest top (and no cardie... yeah!) and Vespa and I took ourselves off to the Edinburgh Festival.

When I got to Son No. 2's house I was greeted by his girlfriend telling me how beautiful I looked. That girl really knows how to make me feel good! Vespa and I then trotted off to mingle with all the festival goers in the sunshine.

We started out at the BBC tent, where we joined a table of 2 couples, who were just lovely. They even bought me a glass of Prosecco! I was so amazed. We spent about an hour chatting and it was a delightful way to spend our morning.

Then, bizarrely, I had a phone call from a psychologist, who I haven't seen in about 3 years and he decided to join us. So he and I then went for a wander and a chat. I left him and took Vespa for a walk and ended up at The Pear Tree pub, which just happened to have a guy playing rock/pop, so, after getting the pooch some water, I stayed a while until I was joined by No. 2 Son.

After that we went back to his and then had such a lovely afternoon, playing card games out in the garden in the sun, while Vespa lay on a blanket in the shade. No. 2 Son's girlfriend joined us. Then his best friend, Adam, who's visiting from Cornwall arrived. We had such a laugh, especially when Adam asked for a spin in my Audi TT in swap for some Cornish cheese he'd brought with him. So out we went for a quick ride round The Royal Mile and back. It was such a laugh. And now, apparently, there's a pic of my car on Instagram... not quite sure how I feel about that, but then only those who know me, know it's mine.

Finally No. 1 Son joined us and we all hung out for a while, eating and having fun. I'm so lucky with my family. What a wonderful way to end a beautiful day.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

A shocking discovery

I'm usually pretty upbeat on this blog, but today I got an absolute shock, a real slap in the face.

I had a lovely time in France, although I seemed to have taken the Scottish grey skies with me for the most of my week away. We did have a lovely couple of days of sun and I even managed to spend an afternoon on the swing seat in Sara and Krzysztof's garden reading, but then got stung by something (I think it was a wasp) which kind of put a dampener on things a touch. Luckily I'd brought some really good stuff from the homeopathic chemist in London, which did the trick of taking the pain away pretty promptly.

Sara and K have the most gorgeous pair of dogs. Both are Great Danes and I spent quite a lot of time being sat on by one or another. Clarence is 11 months old (in fact his birthday is on 30th August, which is exactly the same as Vespa) and absolutely huge. Myrtle is just 4 months old, but she's not exactly a small dog either. Still it was great fun and they're so lovely. Clarence is a bit mouthy and liked to take my arm in his mouth, which is a very scary experience! Luckily he didn't completely close his mouth, cos his teeth are pretty damn big!

Clarence sitting on my knee!

Myrtle trying to be a lap dog!

I got back from France on Tuesday afternoon to a great welcome from Vespa, but Mountain Man was a bit distant. Deep down I knew all wasn't well, but couldn't quite put my finger on it. Just something. And I'm pretty good on the intuitive front. We had had an argument just before I left, but I thought we'd dealt with that and that he was going to be trying a little harder on the relationship front.

Yesterday we went to puppy class in Aberlady, which is about an hour away from us, but it was the only time the Puppy Supervisor had to show us how to use the spray collar to stop Vespa eating things he shouldn't when out on a walk. He was incredibly well behaved and I was so pleased with him. For those of you who've read all about Odi at this particular class, she always behaved like a complete hooligan and I used to hate going, so it was really lovely to have Vespa do so well.

By the time we got home I was exhausted. I think the travelling - which started at 5 am on Monday morning and ended by 4 pm on Tuesday - had finally got to me and I took myself off to bed for an early night.

This morning I was getting ready to go out to have lunch with No. 1 Son and then see a client, when MM asked if we could talk. He then told me he wanted to move out. I have to say I was pretty shocked. He also wanted to stay until he found somewhere else, something which I'm afraid I just couldn't deal with. He then told me he didn't love me. Even more reason for him to move out straight away.

I was going to go to work, but then I realised I just couldn't possibly deal with a client and have my feelings all over the place too, so I cancelled everything and took Vespa for a walk instead. MM wanted to talk about him leaving when it was more conducive for him, but hey... someone tells you they don't love you and want to move... what's there really to talk about? He assured me he'd only been thinking about this since I'd been in France. But you know what? There was something else. My intuition told me there was.

MM packed some things and then left and, for better or worse, I decided to check on his desk top computer, just to see if there was anything that might give me a clue as to why I felt the way I did.

And there it was...

He'd been online and looking for other places to live for a little while and also been on several online dating sites (15 at the last count and some rather less savoury than others) since early April and had even met up with someone in person and, let's put it politely, had taken the relationship to a different level. To say I was hurt was an understatement.

I phoned him to tell him I knew all and he agreed he'd lied. So today hasn't been the easiest. One moment I'm reasonably ok and now I'm on my own with a house and a dog to look after. Oh well... I know I'll manage, but feel a little stunned right now to say the least, so if I don't appear on this blog and am my usual cheery self, you'll know why.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

La Belle France awaits

I'm now getting ready to go to France and decided to take my car for a wash, just so that the flies stuck to the front don't get totally ingrained into the paintwork in the heat that's supposed to arrive.

I sometimes wash my car myself, but sometimes, when it's absolutely filthy I take it and get someone else to do it for me. One of the places I like to go is the car wash at Dobbie's Garden Centre, just on the outskirts of Edinburgh when I'm up that way. They're pretty thorough and also pretty damn quick.

Last week I'd spotted a car wash in Kelso and, as I had some shopping to do there today, I decided to try it. It was actually pretty good, especially if you've got quarter of an hour to spare. Yes, the Kelso car wash isn't the place to go if you're in a hurry. There were 2 guys on duty and they spent a lot of time switching the hose off and chatting to each other. It was rather endearing really.

And now my car is clean and ready to sit outside the house for a week, I have to get packed. I've been a bit last minute on this one, but I'm hoping for very hot weather and minimal clothing, so it shouldn't be too much to fling in my case.

I'm off to stay with Sara and Kzryzstof in their farmhouse in Normandy, complete with chickens, pony, donkey, cats, guinea pigs and two brand new Great Danes who I've not me yet. Sadly their 3 Danes that I loved spending time with died in the last 18 months. Clarence is the same age as Vespa and Myrtle is just about 4 months (I think). Here's a lovely pic of her that Sara sent me so I know partly what I'm heading for:

Myrtle a month ago

Sara and I have been friends since we were 13 and at boarding school in Sussex together. I try and get over there every year, but don't always make it. So it's been 2 years since I last ventured Francewards.

I'm really looking forward to a bit of downtime, but it won't be so much relaxation as I'm only on Week 4 of my 9 Week course with Uni of Iowa. It's such a full on course and there's no let up, so I'm girding my loins and hoping that Sara's usually pretty crap internet is going to work enough that I can post my comments on others' work so they don't think I've slacked off completely. At least they already know that I won't be able to take part in the online Sunday discussion next week so aren't expecting participation on that score. And tomorrow night I'm hoping the internet at my mother's house is working a bit better than the last time I was there.

So folks, it's au revoir et vous voir dans un peu plus d'une semaine. My French adventures will be posted on my return.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Church life

One of the strangest things about living in an old church is that people don't always seem to realise it's not a church any more.

Yesterday afternoon Susan brought the lovely 5 month old labradoodle, Amber, for a run around in the woods with Vespa. They had a wonderful time, though Susan and I couldn't relax at all as the dogs went ape shit rushing around and we were both exhausted by the end of it. The consequences of this were that Vespa (and Amber too I gathered later in the evening) was flat out for the rest of the day.

However, last night as Mountain Man, Vespa and I were settling down for an evening of crap telly, Vespa, who was sparkers one minute suddenly went from sleep to full blown guard dog in approximately 1 second flat as our front door opened (yes, ok, we occasionally forget to lock it, but we do live in the country) and there, encased in what can only be described as an electric green bodysuit with shoes to match, was a rather attractive young woman.

I held on to Vespa's collar while MM checked what she wanted. Apparently, according to her, we were due an hour's worth of aerobics starting in five minutes. MM very politely directed her to the other end of the village where the village hall resides.

If only I'd have felt more lively I might have joined her, but instead I went back to lazy mode cuddling Vespa, who promptly fell asleep.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Definitely worth it

Puppy class came and went yesterday in a haze of mainly frustration with a touch of boredom.

It started out with Vespa and I getting to the hall to find it filled to the brim with kids. I was pretty sure I'd got the right day, but as I was the only one there I thought I'd better phone a friend and check. Just as I was phoning loads of Guide Dog pups turned up and the Puppy Supervisor too. It turns out the hall had been booked for the kids until 11 even though our class has always started at 10.30. It then started to drizzle.

So there we were with 7 GD pups of varying ages having to sit outside in the damp and wait. Not very patiently I might add. And that goes for the Puppy Walkers as well as the pups.

When we eventually got into the hall the PS decided, as we hadn't had a get together since our June class, we all needed to be informed about every single thing happening for GD's at the moment. Then I was told that I'd have Vespa with me for another 7 months (pups usually leave around 13/14 months, but because of a huge backlog it's now going to be 17 months) and then I was ceremoniously given a lovely framed photo of my gorgeous Odi. That all took over half an hour.

Odi looking gorgeous

Just over one hour after the class was supposed to begin we started to do some training. By this time Vespa (and most of the others) were far too hyped with having had to lie down and not play with each other for all that time to fully focus on what they were supposed to be doing.

Vespa did ok under the circumstances, especially with the biscuits-on-the-floor-and-being-made-to-sit-by-them-and-not-touch-them exercise. This is one of those exercises that Vespa's particularly brilliant at and everyone was smiling and nodding approval at us as he went through his paces.

Then the PS wanted to arrange a date for us to meet up, which took another ten minutes and a lot of her seeming to not believe me that he was doing pretty well and, apart from training with the spray collar she'd just handed to me so he doesn't eat cow/sheep/rabbit/horse poo that he finds when on a free run, he didn't really need much to work on. And anyway she needed to show me how to use the collar which would happen when we meet up so we didn't really need to talk about that.

I left, clutching my Odi pic, trying to feel that the morning hadn't been too much of a waste of time. Meanwhile Vespa was exhausted after spending most of his morning being forced to lie down and not play with other pups, so I suppose it paid off in the end. I had my writing course to do and was hoping to break the back of the next assignment, but sadly this is one of those assignments that just isn't resonating with me, so Vespa being a good boy and sleeping for the majority of the afternoon didn't really help me much at all.

But the great thing is that Mountain Man put Odi's pic up on the wall and so instead of writing I spent my time staring at her pic. I'd kind of forgotten what a pretty dog she is as I've kind of got used to the big black bruiser look.

And so in the end, all that frustration seemed definitely worth it.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Not quite

The day after I was supposed to be finally finished with my NHS work I had to go to a meeting... what about? ... an NHS conference I'm helping put on as part of my last role. Sadly I don't get to give it up quite so quickly it seems. And the handover for my new job won't be until the end of August I discovered on Friday, so I was a touch preliminary in my 'that's it, done and dusted' of the last post.

Oh well, I tried and it is all in the pipeline, so it's as good as... isn't it?

Meanwhile I've had a nice relaxing weekend. Well when I say 'relaxing' you can translate that as 'lazy' as yesterday I luxuriated in being waited on by Mountain Man who was doing his best to keep things going while I went into full blown lazy mode. Today at least I went out and we both took Vespa for a lovely walk by the River Tweed.

I have to say he did so well on the walk, really obedient, coming when called and when allowed to go and play with other dogs he came back just like that. Of course we do have puppy class on Tuesday and I'm sure he'll use that as an opportunity to show me up.

Maybe, just maybe I'll wish I had work to do on Tuesday instead!