Wednesday, 26 April 2017

It's that time!

Time for a coffee plant update!

As you can see the plants are doing well. There has been some brown leaf problem, which is something that happened to the large one that never recovered and was eventually 'removed'. I do so hope that doesn't happen to these two.

You probably can't see, but there are quite a lot of new leaves growing. As always the plants don't like it when the temperature fluctuates too much. They like it warm and sunny. The sunny I provide in the way of the lamp they're under, but sadly I can't do much about the awful weather we've been having this week. We went from an ambient 14 degrees on Sunday to 1 degree on Monday and we even had snow. I have had the heating back on, but I think the plants think it's not on as it should be spring and heading for warm.

I have to say I fully agree with them!

Sunday, 16 April 2017

A proud mother moment

I had a phone call this evening from No. 2 Son announcing a bit of good news. He'd been at Edinburgh Comic Con this weekend and had taken part in the Cosplay championship, where you have to dress up like a character from a comic film.

He made his costume himself of No Name from Spirited Away. And out of about 150 people, he came 3rd.

Well, ok... it's not the Nobel Prize, but it was a prize and he was super happy and therefore, so am I.

Proud? Of course I am!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Change of plans

I'm finding life with Diesel is full of doing not much at all and yet seemingly very busy.

We've been out to play with various other Guide Dog puppies, done lots of shopping (he's quite the star attraction in Boots in Galashiels and Sainsburys in Kelso. And the security guard in Asda has done quite a good job of checking our Guide Dog credentials every time we go), a bit of training and not a lot else.

I do have one funny episode to report, which is when I was trundling around Sainsburys and talking to Diesel while doing so. You know... things like, 'And now I have to get eggs and bread' and stuff like that. Well one couple were looking at me very strangely and so I said, 'I'm not talking to myself, really I'm not. I'm talking to the puppy.' And they just looked at me as though I was completely bonkers and walked off. I only realised after that, that talking 'shop' to a puppy is quite as bonkers as talking to myself. I'm going to have to curb that one before I get a reputation!

I'm in the process of writing a play for Treading The Borders, a theatre company that has got some Scottish Arts funding to stage a Noel Coward play and one by one us new writers (there's 15 of us). I signed up for the project as I thought I'd get to learn about writing for the stage (I did), but I hadn't realised I actually had to write one for an actual performance (I do). That'll teach me not to read the small print! It's still very much in the process and has to be done by 23rd May. I'm finding the constant interruptions of having to say 'no' and 'don't bite' and 'off' is not conducive for a good working session.

We did, however, have a lovely intrusion into our routine yesterday, when my friend, Shirley, came for a visit. Diesel loved having her here too and spent a lot of time on her lap on the beanbag, trying to bite her fingers. I was just relieved it wasn't mine for a change!

Diesel having a good old chew!

We're off this afternoon to Melrose Rugby Football ground for the league final. We're on the guest list. Should be fun, but not sure how long we'll be able to stay. Diesel hasn't yet learned to do anything (that doesn't involve chewing) for very long at all.

Meanwhile, my work plans for this year have changed. I was due to go for my usual stint at Chiva Som in Hua Hin, Thailand in July. It was supposed to be for 2.5 weeks. Anyhow, they asked me to change dates, which turned out not possible from my end. So instead, they've given me the whole month of June next year and, having looked into things, I've decided to completely change tack as July isn't the best time weather-wise in Thailand in July and I'm already feeling a lack of hot sunshine and certainly don't want rain on my hols if at all possible. So I'm now due to go to France and see my friends over there instead. I usually go in August, but it turns out that July is now better for us all.

Always good to have something nice to look forward to.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

A new experience

Guide Dog puppies are supposed to be introduced to all kinds of different circumstances, but today was the first time, with all the puppies I've either walked or boarded, that I've taken a puppy to a funeral.

Today was the funeral of the amazing Alison Brown. She and her sister, Betty, puppy walked 98 Guide Dog puppies between them. That is a literally a lifetime's worth of service to a cause. Rather nice to know that their last puppy (from 18 months ago) is now a working dog.

There were about 10 puppies and a couple of actual Guide Dogs there. Not the easiest to negotiate singing hymns and standing and sitting at the appropriate points when you've got a 9.5 week old puppy to handle, with other dogs, children and all sorts of interesting things as distraction. But we managed it. We did have to go out once for a quick pee and I did use half a bag of treats to keep Diesel quiet, but luckily he's a squeaker not a barker, unlike a couple of other pups. One who never even made it through the door as she was barking her head off before we even started to troop into the crem.

All good experience though... and that's for both Diesel and me.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

1st class

Today was Diesel's first puppy class and, much to my amazement, he did brilliantly. However, I have no photos whatsoever as I had to concentrate on him.

When we got there it was time to play and his pals, Folly and Millie were very willing to oblige! Also there was Rose, who he's going to stay with when I'm off to Thailand in late June, and Robyn - a 15 week old gorgeous blonde lab/retriever cross. Actually, Diesel did better than Robyn did because he's got his 'down' down to a tee, whereas she was struggling a bit. I even had a proud mama moment when his recall, which is hopeless at home, was perfection.

So, all in all, I was very pleased. And when I think back to Odi and Vespa there's no comparison. Odi was a hooligan right from the off and Vespa, well at every class he disgraced himself (until the Christmas party where he actually won prizes) by doing something or other, so, having a puppy who actually did what I asked, was pretty amazing for me.

However, Vespa was really good at home and Odi, well, apart from being a hooligan, she wasn't all that bad at home, but Diesel? Well Diesel is a very, very mischievous pup. He's into everything and, when I leave him in the kitchen on his own for a few minutes, he's already off creating as much mischief as he can.

It's interesting for me, as in some ways I like a puppy who behaves well at home. But then the accolades of people when my puppy behaves well in class is a new thing for me. And frankly, I'm reveling in it... well just for now, of course, because you can never tell with a puppy. By next month Diesel might have decided that behaving in class isn't really a going thing.

Roll on next month and we'll all find out then.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Busy doing nothing

I can hardly believe that Diesel has now been with me for nearly 3 weeks. He now sits and lies down on command (unless being distracted by anything or anyone else) and walks on the lead (preferably while holding part of it in his mouth). He's actually a very good. The house training is coming on and we've had some successes and some failures, but as he's only 9 weeks old, that's to be expected. And that's the good bit.

The bad bit is, he's a biter and wants to bite everything, which includes a lot of my kitchen. So I've had to be camping out in the kitchen for much of the day while he's awake, just to supervise and shout 'NO!' quite a lot.

Consequently, I've done virtually nothing. I've written one very short poem and two pages of the 30 minute play that I'm supposed to be writing and that, folks, is about it.

We've had a couple of trips into Edinburgh and today we went to see the lovely Neymar, who I boarded just before Diesel came. They had such fun together and Diesel really enjoyed being dragged round the floor while holding on to Neymar's toy.

Now, though, Diesel is utterly exhausted and will probably spend the rest of today (and maybe tomorrow?) sleeping to make up for it all.

Such fun!