Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas 2013

Peace and love and hope and joy to you and your loved ones this Christmas time.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Didn't Mean This Post To Be About Mia. It Just Turned out That Way.

I am spending all my time with Mia The German Shepherd at the moment and things are going well with her training. Now that I am a retired man I am able to spend lots of time with her. This is something that I have not had the luxury of with previous dogs, what with work always getting in the way. It definitely makes a huge difference. Mind you the weather has been terrible since she arrived. Wet and windy all the time and the paddock is a quagmire. I haven't let that stop our walks though.

Today, despite the most awful wet weather, we went for a walk with my extremely beautiful daughter Jodie and her dog Skye the Labrador. It was excellent. There was no aggression from Mia towards Skye at all. I felt good about that. It is so important to me that she gets on with other dogs. However Mia did show aggression to other dogs we met in the park. Still work to be done there.

Mia had a free run in the paddock today after I had shut the hens away for the night. She came back to me every time I called her. Very satisfying.

I left Mia alone while I went to the house to take pictures of the Christmas decorations. She has stopped barking and getting stressed when I leave her for a few minutes. Oh dear, when I returned she had stolen a box of sweets and eaten a few, What amazed me though was that she had very carefully unwrapped those she ate. It seems that coffee cream is her favourite flavour. I didn't tell her off. This was her first bit of naughtiness indoors.

Here are some photo's of the decorations.

Happy Christmas to you all.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Oh No, Not Another Post About Mia The German Shepherd!

Last night I thought I would try to impress Mia the German Shepherd with one of my many talents. Obviously there is still some way to go with her training. Adoration and hero worship are difficult skills for a dog to learn.

Monday, 16 December 2013

More About Mia The German Shepherd.

Phew! Day four with Mia the German Shepherd draws to a close. It is hard work but every day gives me another little insight into her character. And hers into mine of course. I spend an awful lot of time shouting, "NO MIA!" Well one has to be firm with her. She is a big dog, and needs to know who is boss.

She is so lovely and affectionate with people, which is wonderful. Sadly she appears not to feel the same about other dogs. Every time we come across a dog on our walks she lunges at them, barking madly, giving the impression that she wants to tear them limb from limb.

But I am now of the opinion that this behaviour is not simply aggression. I think it is fear. I come to this conclusion because of the way she behaved to my extremely beautiful daughter Jodie's dog Skye today when they came to visit. Mia's reaction at first was as I described above, and she definitely wanted to bite Skye. But EBD Jodie was surprised at Skye's reaction to the aggressive behaviour. Because Skye who is a very timid dog appeared to be totally unconcerned. This made us think. We then, with a certain amount of trepidation, allowed Mia to get closer to Skye. Close enough to touch each other. Success! No biting.

We all went for a short walk across the back field. Short because it was bucketing down with rain. Mia still displaying a little aggression sometimes but by the end of the walk I can tell you that we all, human's and dog's, were far more relaxed.

I still haven't let Mia off the lead (I fear she would run off and never be seen again if I did) but come the time when I do, I think it's going to be fine. Mind you, keeping her on the lead is a good thing. Today she was not pulling so much and my arms have resettled back into their sockets. She is learning to walk to heel already. She is not totally restrained at all times though, EBD Jodie gave me a long lead to use in the fields. I want Mia to be able to experience things and she must be allowed to investigate and have a good sniff about.

Mia barks at everything. The birds on the bird table, a slightly raised tuft of grass in the field, an errant plastic carrier bag, even a leaf falling from a tree! It is almost as though she has never had much opportunity to experience the world outside. Strangely though she did not bark at a fast trotting horse and cart that went hurtling past us today! Weird that.

Bonnie the Ginger Cat has not run away from home, but Mia is still scaring her by barking every time she see's her. Mia now sleeps in the bedroom with me, - on the floor by the way. I'm not that soft- with the door closed and Bonnie can then come indoors safely and have her food and a bit of home comfort, at least until the morning. She also sometimes gets brave enough to come indoors when Mia and me are out. Bonnie is my only real concern regarding Mia at the moment. I am sure they will accept each other in time - at least I hope so. I just have to keep reminding myself, it has only been four days.

Sorry there are no accompanying photo's. The weather has been awful since she arrived.

Things are going to be fine. Today progress was definitely made.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Meeting Mia the German Shepherd.

My Extremely Beautiful Daughter Jodie came with me when I went to meet my prospective new canine friend. I was so grateful for her company because my sense of direction is non existent and even the shortest journey can become an odyssey. So with EBD Jodie at my side and also bolstered by my new Sat Nav we only got lost three times, and arrived at our destination only 20 minutes late. Marvellous things these Sat Navs.

It was love at first sight when first I met Mia the German Shepherd. She is truly beautiful. Here is a picture. What do you think?
She likes this chair

She likes this chair too

And she likes my bed
Mia is a big girl. Bigger than Sadie. She is one year and two weeks old. Indoors she has been behaving very well, but outside she is a bit of a nightmare to be honest. I think she has been taught some commands. She will sit if she is asked enough times, and EHS George who arrived home for the Christmas holidays yesterday, discovered that she will shake hands. She does not appear to have any idea about how to walk properly on the lead (my arms are almost out of their sockets). She barks at any other dogs she sees, in fact she barks at most things and even seems to bark at nothing on occasions. She is desperately in need of being taught some good manners. She also jumps up at people in greeting. Some things have to be nipped in the bud straightaway.

She barks at Bonnie the Ginger Cat. In fact Bonnie is very reluctant to come indoors now and I suspect it is the loudness of Mia's barking that is putting her off. She has been in a couple of times for a quick snack, but soon scarpers off again. I have had to put a temporary door in place to keep Mia from her. But eventually Bonnie will get brave enough and hopefully all will be well.

Due to my foolishness Mia chased the hens. She caught one, but was so surprised that she didn't know what to do next and dropped it. I think I shall keep her on a lead until she gets used to the fact that the hens are part of life around here.

Mia has been brought up in a town and lived in a flat. She knows nothing of the countryside at all. It must be quite overwhelming for her to see all these large spaces and I must constantly bear this in mind.

Her temperament with people is very sweet. She seems to be very affectionate. When we first met she greeted me like a long lost friend. Already I have noticed that she becomes stressed if I go out of her sight. Even in this little wagon if I walk into another room she wants to be near me. I am dealing with her neediness by going outside and leaving her alone for a few minutes at a time. Most of the time I shall have her with me, but sometimes she will have to be left on her own and she has to learn to deal with that.

She is good in the campervan and was no trouble on the way back yesterday. Actually I think she quite likes the van. We drove to the shops today and I left her in it while I shopped. She was quite relaxed about that.

She was no trouble last night, but she will not sleep in the bed I made her. She is either in a chair or on the hard floor. She woke me this morning at 4.48. I told her to go back to sleep and she did. Eventually I got up at seven thirty.

It is early days of course. She has only been with me for 36 hours. I think we will do OK. I have lots of time to give her.

I must get to bed now. It is past midnight. I have to be up early. I have got a dog to take care of.

Oh I nearly forgot. On the way back from collecting her, and with the aid of my marvellous Sat Nav we only got lost four times!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Just A Quick Note

Hi there. How are ya?

It's seven in the morning here and still dark outside.

I can't stop long because I am picking up my Extremely Beautiful Daughter Jodie at eight. We have a bit of a journey ahead of us. EBD Jodie is keeping me company. We are going to meet a young German Shepherd bitch (one year old) who is urgently in need of a new home.

I hope we like each other. I shall let you know what happens.

Have a lovely day.

Be It Ever So 'Umble.

Good morning! Or if your name is Paul Forster seasonsfullcircle.blogspot.com and you live in New Zealand, good evening. If your name is not Paul but you live in New Zealand, good evening to you too. In fact, let's not mess about here, salutations to you wherever you are and whatever the time is.

Thanks for stopping by my humble blog. I say humble but I don't know why. The very fact I'm writing it at all makes me think it can't be that humble. Humble.adj having or showing a modest or low opinion of your own importance. Do humble people write blogs about their everyday lives? Is it a good thing to be humble? I don't know. The Dalai Llama he's a humble bloke, wouldn't you say? Lots of people love and admire him. And Gandi? Well how humble do you want to be? All in all I think humble is probably okay. Except if your name is Uriah Heap the Dicken's character. He is obsequestiusly humble. Obsequesiously. Obsiquiciously. Obsequisciously. He is so smarmy. Do you see what I did there? I left my spelling mistakes in. This is to show you what a truly humble person I am.

The fact that I really do not know how to spell obsequesciously is actually unimportant in the scheme of things. It is not a word I use every day. I am going to make a startling admission here, I didn't use the word obsequiciosly once in the past twelve months! Yes I know, shocking ain't it! But it is true I assure you. I have wracked my brain cell in an effort to verify this fact.

At this point I would like you to take part in my spelling test. This is how it works. You have one chance to spell the word obsequiciously correctly. No cheating now. Do not look it up until you have tried.. Let me know how you get on. If you didn't manage it and admit it then you are a humble person. If you did get it right, well I'm saying nothing okay. Oh! Except congratulations on being a good speller.

I have my dictionary to hand (it isn't my dictionary. I borrowed it from Tricia several years ago and have now claimed it for my own) and I am going to look up the correct spelling of obsequesiously right now. Excuse me a moment or two.

Well that is a shock I can tell you. I think the reason why I couldn't get it right even after so many tries is that I have been mispronouncing it. You know what this means. It means that all my life I have been saying a word that doesn't even exist! How excruciatingly embarrassing! Not really. Me? Embarrassed? I am far too humble. Anyway as I said just now, it's not a word I use often.

This has been one of those posts where I sit down not knowing what to write about. Had you noticed?

Monday, 9 December 2013

The Right Approach.

When my friend Ronald Thorpe, age 9 1/2, broke a window at school by accidentally hitting it with a cricket ball, the teacher on duty came storming into the playground, grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, shook the living daylights out of him, screamed at him, called him all sorts of nasty names, making him cry in front of all the other kids, and then kept him back after school until he had written 500 times, 'I will not break windows with a cricket ball again' or words to that effect.

When I, age 9 3/4, broke a window at school by accidentally hitting it with a cricket ball, Mr Hewitt strolled out to find out why it had happened, asked me if I thought it was sensible to play with a hard cricket ball so near to windows, explained to me that was how accidents happened, and told me in future to play cricket with a soft ball at the far side of the playground away from windows.

All of us kids liked Mr Hewitt. He was a fantastic teacher. Always easy to approach if we had any concerns about anything. I will never, ever, forget Mr Hewitt.

We all hated the other teacher, and do you know what? I can't, for the life of me, remember what his name was.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

I Bet Victoria Wood. Haha Get It? Victoria Wood (Would). It's A Play On Words.

I  have just spoken to my extremely handsome son George on the phone. I say just spoken. In actual fact it was over an hour ago. As we said goodnight I told him I was going to go to bed early because I had earlier fallen asleep whilst reading the newspaper. It never turned out that way though. Here I am still up and wide awake. I shall tell you why.

What happened was, I switched on the television. Don't ask me why. I knew there was nothing on I wanted to watch. It's just something I do occasionally, switch the tele on for no particular reason. Yes I know it sounds daft, I mean I was going to bed so what was the point?

It turns out there is a programme on called 'dinner ladies'. It's a situation comedy set in a works canteen, and it is very funny. It is written by and stars Victoria Wood the singer and comedian.

Anyway I start watching it and soon find myself laughing out loud at some, indeed most, of the lines uttered by the different characters. Genuinely a laugh a minute. At least it is to me.Victoria Wood is an extremely funny lady and a very talented writer.

I gets to thinking to meself: I wouldn't mind having a go at writing some funny one liners. How hard can it be? I asks meself.

So here I am. Sitting here. Trying to think of something funny to write....

.... I might give it another go tomorrow. I mean how hard can it be?

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Double Headed Magic.

Some people wouldn't like the idea of a railway track at the end of the garden. I am not one of those people. To me the sight and sound of a train is somehow very comforting. It is not something easily explained so I won't try too hard, except to say I feel it is perhaps to do with coming home, and the promise of happiness, comfort, and love that coming home brings with it.

Occasionally, like today for example, magic happens on that track too. This beautiful photo of two old steam engines pulling together, taken this morning by my friend and neighbour Steve says it all as far as I am concerned, without another word being needed.

Photo courtesy of Steve Johnson.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Pee'd Off

Dogs have been on my mind quite a lot recently. I hope to find a suitable puppy soon. I'm fairly sure I shall choose a German Shepherd. Boy or girl? Well I wasn't too fussed either way until Willard the 'sort of Sheepdog' came to stay for a few days last week. He had a habit of peeing on everything. Not indoors, he wasn't that uncouth, but he did seem to think that everything outside was there to be pee'd on.

Actually now I come to think about it he may have pee'd indoors, I have to sleep occasionally and he might well have taken the opportunity. There is a bit of a strange smell emanating from behind my armchair. I was blaming myself for it but suddenly I'm not so sure. I shall purchase a can of Febreze first thing in the morning.

He pee'd on the tarpaulin covering the wood pile. He pee'd on the anvil outside the workshop, in fact he really liked the anvil and 'blessed' it several times daily. He pee'd on every tree and every upright post he could get to. He pee'd on the van wheels, the tractor wheels and my bike wheels. He pee'd on the legs of the garden table, all four of them I do believe, and he pee'd on the chairs. He pee'd on the hen house and he pee'd in the hen's drinking trough. He tried to pee on one of the hens, namely Miss Gray, but she got out of the way just in time, and he pee'd in the pond. He pee'd on the bin where the hen food is stored. There are quite a lot of sheds around the place. He pee'd on all of them. He pee'd on the chainsaw. Luckily it wasn't running at the time. Once, after he had eaten his dinner, he pee'd in his own dish. After his stay and as he was leaving with his owner Glen, I couldn't help noticing that as he went through the gate, he pee'd on it.

Now I do happen to know from experience that female canines also pee. But the thing is they pee far more discreetly. They mostly pee delicately onto the grass but if they do feel the need to pee on something they tend to do it on flat ground. In fact with a female you sometimes wouldn't even know they are peeing. They tend not to have the males determination to 'own' everything with their scented pee.

I'm thinking my next doggie friend will be female.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag

Autumn 1963. That's me, kit bag balanced on my shoulder, walking along the road that leads from the village to the croft where Mum and Jimmy live. It's about a three mile walk. It's a fine walk. I always enjoy it. On this section, to my right, across a narrow field busy with curious black Aberdeen Angus bullocks is the beautiful river Don laden with sparkling granite rock, and to my right a gently sloping hill, home to Scots pine begins it's journey into distant mountains.

The slightly inadequate tinkling of a bicycle bell causes me to stop and turn. It is Jimmy. He is on his way home from his work in the local quarry. He throws a leg over the saddle and dismounts expertly.

"Fit like Loon," he asks. It's the local dialect. It means how are you boy.

"Nae sae bad," I answer. Not too bad.

I haven't seen Jimmy for nearly a year now. The last time we met I was in a tremendous rage at him and my Mum and I threw rocks at them, breaking windows, and cutting Jimmie's head. I was back in a children's home after that escapade, and then joined the Merchant Navy. This was me coming back from my first voyage. I wasn't sure if I had a home to go to, but had decided to chance my luck with Mum again. She was usually quite pleased to see me after our separations.

Jimmy, a man of few words, and I walked on in silence, side by side for a few hundred yards.

"I'll tak it," he says, gesturing towards my kit bag.

"No, no really it's fine, I can manage."

"Gies it here noo," he says, reaching out a powerful arm, grabbing the bag from my shoulder and settling it with one swift motion across the handlebars of his bike. And then without another word, cycles off in the direction of home.

That small gesture of kindness, from this quiet, dour Scotsman, who had good reason to dislike me, had a huge impact on me, and I viewed him in a different light from that moment on.

In that gesture Jimmy had acknowledged me, shown a caring aspect that I had been too young to appreciate about the man before. He had shown he cared. He had put our unhappy past away. He had moved on, and in doing so, he had allowed me to move on too.

Maybe at the time I didn't realise the significance of this event. Sometimes we have to look back to glean the benefits. But today I still remember the moment, and that speaks volumes.

We were friends after that. Relaxed in each others company. We didn't have long together though. Jimmy died the next summer. Swiftly taken by cancer.

It wasn't just a kit bag he carried that day. It was a bag full of hope. I love you Jimmy, you miserable old bugger. I promise you I shall always carry someones kit bag if they need help.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Coming To You From My New Office.

I'm sitting at my new desk writing this. I got fed up with having an office in a cupboard so have adapted my bedroom to incorporate an office too. As befits my new status as an author of course. Office is probably too grand a word considering the size of this place but it feels good to have a bit more space. I shall show you a photo or two. Hold on a minute while I try to figure out this camera once again.

It would be good if it were possible to continue writing whilst uploading photos don't you think. I expect now that someone is going to tell me that it is possible.

Anyway this is my bedroom/office. What do you think of it? I like it because I can lie in bed now and watch the birds feeding on the table outside. My bed incidentally is made from a couple of wooden pallets and a sheet of plyboard. It is only three feet wide, however I have cunningly made it so that it can open out to a larger size should the need arise. Pre planning as they say. Also when I am writing, during moments of reflection I can admire the view through the window instead of peering into a cupboard as I have been doing for the past couple of years. Sorry about the curtains. I haven't got around to sorting them out yet. That is fabric on the walls. The square pattern was a duvet cover and the other is a patchwork quilt cover. I have stuck it all on with PVA adhesive. No really don't laugh. Honestly I kid you not, it is much cosier than it looks. I anticipate that women will be flocking to see my new office, and once they notice the bed, there is no telling what might happen. Forethought that's what a man needs. Especially when he is getting to that stage of life when his good looks might depart at any moment. D'you see the book I'm reading? That's me that is, Mr Nice.

Sorry but I have to go now Match Of The Day has just started on TV. I didn't realise it was so late. I might be back later.

I'm back! Sorry about rushing off like that. Worth it though. My team won. Won! We thrashed that other lot four nil. Thrashed 'em! Shouldn't gloat really, it's not very nice for the losing team. Where is Mr Nice now? Ought to be magnanimous in victory. That's the sporting way. And in defeat too of course. That's what I have always told my football hero, my extremely handsome son George. Mind you it is quite difficult to keep one's emotions in check at football games. And let's be honest here, four nil. That's what you call a result.

I have realised that my lack of  regular postings on this blog might be down to the fact that I have not been out and about much lately. I mean if I don't go anywhere and I don't meet anyone, then there is no material to get to grips with. I am going to have to do something about that because the brain needs stimulation if it is to keep going.

Actually please disregard that last paragraph. It is patently nonsense. Why would I think like that? Me! The bloke whose imagination very often takes me on some wonderful journeys. No need to even leave my chair or bed. Just let my vivid imagination do it's weird things.

Do you think the world would be a nicer place if there wasn't so much separation in it. I mean from the beginning, before land borders were formed. What if no borders had ever been formed? What if people could travel about wherever they wanted. There must have been a time. When did it change? No passports, no visa's. If you wanted to settle somewhere you could and if you didn't? Well that would be fine too. Different races wouldn't come into it because we would all just be human beings. Maybe religions wouldn't have formed either. I am just imagining it now. It is difficult, I realise that. Now that I think about it, even animals have their own territories, and have border disputes. Perhaps borders are simply a part of the human psyche. Oh well, it was just a thought.

Willard is staying with me for a few days. Willard is a dog. Sheepdog type. He used to come courting Sadie the German Shepherd. Many is the time I have sent him packing. But he is older now, wiser, and well, we were all young once. Why I remember like it were yesterday the time some bloke caught me on the doorstep with his daughter. If you think it isn't possible to clear a garden gate and run for your life with your trousers around your ankles, let me confirm that it most certainly is.
Willard is seventeen years old, that is a good age for a big ol' dog, and a bit blind and deaf. No trouble at all though. I think he likes it here. I think he likes me. I like him, he is a lovely old chap. Bonnie the Ginger Cat isn't so keen though. Willard, as far as I can make out wants to be Bonnie's friend, but she is having none of it. Mind you she is still coming indoors despite his presence. She has given him a couple of whacks and hissed a bit, but Willard isn't bothered. I think they could become friends given time. I think Bonnie will adapt quite quickly when I get a new puppy. Willard is sitting by my feet as I write this. It's a nice feeling.

I'm off now, EHS George is skyping tonight at nine. He wants to see what my new office/bedroom looks like. See you again soon I hope.