Sunday, 23 February 2014

Seeking Commitment.

Eight days. That is how long it has been since last I sat here and wrote a blog post. Eight days and yet it seems so much longer. The mood to write has not been upon me I'm afraid. It isn't really upon me now but I don't want to give up. I am sure it will soon return. And I do love to write, and to put my thoughts down. Besides which, and of course more importantly, if I did stop writing this blog of mine I am sure I would miss you all very much.

Having said that, I have been tardy, and must apologise for having neglected what I shall call my blogging duties towards those kind enough to follow my musings. It sometimes gets quite difficult to fit in the time. Because as you know if you blog yourself, the writing bit is the easy part. What takes the time is keeping up with others blogs and reacting to them, and of course the more one follows the more there is to do. To be honest I sometimes find it a chore keeping up. This is not to do with the actual effort involved but more to do with a state of mind.

I tend to take things too seriously at times, and I also have a tendency to let things get on top of me. Take Mia the German Shepherd for instance. I find myself worrying all the time about her well being and as to whether I am giving her enough of my time. Which seems strange, because since she arrived in my life we have been together almost every minute of every day. But having taken her into my life and my heart I feel this constant need to make her life the best it can be. And of course this is as it should be. But I don't really believe it should be the 'be all and end all'. She does need training though because she has had very little of it in her life so far and due to her size and age now this is hard work. It is definitely not the same as training a dog from a pup. She has developed ways of her own and I need her to see things my way sometimes. And we are at that stage too where she thinks I should not do anything that does not include her. She gets into a right panic if I leave her alone in the paddock for even a minute, although she seems to settle if she is indoors, and she is also content to sit in the van watching the world go by. Having said that I should point out that we are progressing very well. When we go out for walks now I feel safe to let her off the lead. She now always comes back when I call her and she has even answered my call a few days ago when chasing rabbits. And there is even good positive progress when we meet other dogs. She has shown herself not to be aggressive, but due to her size and strength, her enthusiastic and boisterous behaviour can be misconstrued. Tomorrow and for the next few days I have some work to do. She cannot come with me and this is giving me cause for concern. We shall get through it though and I will make sure she is not alone for too long.

I don't know where that last paragraph came from, except to say that it shows the effect she has had on my life lately. Perhaps I should consider myself lucky that I have so much time to share with her.

Anyway where was I? Oh yes blogging. To be a successful blogger does require time and commitment, and the commitment has been somewhat lacking recently. I am sorry about that. However I am sure it will come back soon. Thanks for sticking around, I appreciate that so much. The fact that I still get many readers even when I am quiet means a lot to me.
Top dog.

Jodie's husband Lee with Mia.

My extremely beautiful daughter Jodie.

Still a lot of shoveling to do.

Mia loves the van and finds it most relaxing.
The constant wading through mud got me down so I am making a gravel road. Hard work and every barrowload has to be moved a hundred yards or more. But the family helped and what a difference it has made. I bet it stops raining now.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Getting The Wind Up.

In the middle of a storm here, and the wagon is shuddering in the huge gusts of wind. This is the worst the weather has been since I built this wagon. It has been bad before and I have had reason to thank my lucky stars that I chose, without any forethought I have to admit, a relatively sheltered spot to build it on. The shelter is provided mostly by the neighbouring gardens and surrounding hedges.

Tonight is bad. I haven't been this worried before. Poor Mia the German Shepherd is in her bed trying to sleep, but she keeps on being jolted awake with a confused look on her face. How I wish she could talk. I would love to know what she thinks of this strange place I have brought her to.

This shuddering reminds me of my days at sea, during the gales. Not frightening really, because what can you do about it, but worrying when the big gusts or waves hit hard.

I am going to bed now, but I shall remain fully clothed, just in case the worst happens and I need to go into preservation mode. I shall sit up reading a book, pretending I am not concerned, until I fall asleep. John Grisham, The Runaway Jury is what I am reading at the moment. What a good storyteller he is. Tricia gave me a collection of his books recently.

Tricia is in Liverpool visiting our extremely handsome son George for a long weekend. I am looking after her house and pets. I would take shelter there if I could, but Mia the German Shepherd would probably wreak havoc with the three terriers and two cats. So Mia and I shall ride out the storm together here. That's what friends do.

I heard on the news that the weather is expected to take a turn for the better next week.  About time too. But they also said the snow storms hitting America might make their way across the pond soon. Oh well, soon be spring hopefully.

Lots of shuddering happening and strange noises going on outside. If I had a mast I would lash myself to it.

Good night and God bless.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The Gold Book.

Once upon a time, long long ago, a small boy sat quietly, legs crossed as instructed, on the floor of the school hall waiting for morning assembly to begin. There were many other children sat alongside him and behind him, and some in front of him. But despite this company of kids, the small boy, as he had a tendency to do, was in a world of his own.
He was looking at his knees, at how thin they were compared to the knees of the boys on either side of him, and the way the knobbly bones stuck out and made his skin stretch like it would burst, and how white the skin was. He didn't like his knees. He wished they were fatter. Suddenly he was started from his reverie.
     "Good morning children."

     "Good morning Headmaster," chorused the children. Some with less enthusiasm than the Headmaster would have liked.

     "Let's try that again shall we? he asked, "Good morning children."


That little boy was me. Those thin knees were mine. Still are. I have never liked my thin knees. But this isn't about my knees. This is much more important. This is about the gold book.

Because this was the day that the Headmaster, Mr Knight, introduced us to the gold book. The gold book would contain the names of any child who did something special at school. As soon as the Headmaster told us about the gold book, I determined to get my name recorded in it. I did too. I got mentioned for having the best italic writing in the whole school. What a day that was. I had to go and stand in front of everyone during assembly whilst the Headmaster carefully wrote my name in the gold book. I remember feeling a bit embarrassed standing there, but mostly I felt pride. I felt good.

I had my name put into the gold book a second time too. This was for bravery. What happened was that during a game of cricket I was hit hard by the cricket ball on my knee, and despite considerable pain played on. Not only did I play on, but fielding in the slips I made a spectacular catch to get the other teams leading scorer out first ball.

The second time of getting my name in the book I did not feel the same pride. I shall tell you why. I didn't really hurt my knee badly during the match at all. I made a lot of fuss about nothing. I did this because during a game of football Teddy Weston got injured, played on, and got his name in the gold book for it. And that catch I made in the slips, I didn't know a thing about it. The ball just flew into my hands and stayed there. It was a complete fluke. I felt really bad about getting my name in the gold book under false pretences.

Years later at a school reunion I asked the Headmaster what happened to the gold book.

     "Gold book," he said, "what gold book?" Mind you he was getting on a bit.

Sadly I think I know what became of the gold book. I think it got incinerated when the whole school went up in flames. Here are some pictures of the fire.

It was nothing to do with me I promise, but I am quite pleased the gold book has now gone forever. It was full of falsehoods. I can assure you I wasn't the only one determined to get their name in there by hook or by crook.

Funny how it got back to my knees though.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Agility With Mia. Not Sure She Gets The Point. Not Sure I Do Either.

I thought you might like to see what Mia the German Shepherd and I got up to today.

I have discovered that Mia likes to do her own thing. She does not have that doggy thing of trying to please her owner. She is most certainly her own dog. It is almost as though she has been able to always do exactly what she wants to do, and not taught anything. For an example, at the moment she is outside in the dark. She keeps coming to the wagon door and rattling the cat flap and yet when I open the door she will not come in. It is like she is just making sure I am still here. She will come in if I offer her a treat, but I refuse to give her a treat every time. Also she will come in when she decides she wants to. Another example is that she knows perfectly well what 'sit' means - she will sit for a treat - but if she decides not to sit she will not. And it doesn't matter how often I say the word either. I counted how many times I tried to get her to obey today. I stopped at twenty times. I am learning patience. Trying to make her come when called is difficult too. She is out there now, sitting in the middle of the paddock, looking straight at me when I call her, and yet not moving an inch. It isn't defiance. I know that because if I go outside and pretend to walk away, she comes running to me immediately. In the mornings before she has had her breakfast, she will do everything I ask of her. After she has eaten her breakfast she will disobey me entirely. She is very intelligent.

We will get it together eventually I am sure. She is great to go for a walk with and keeps coming to make sure I am not lagging too far behind. I try to avoid area's where there might be other dogs though unless she is on her long lunge lead. I am sure she will take off after them and I will have a hard time getting her under control again. I know this because if we do see another dog she takes off on her long lunge lead and nearly takes my arm out of it's socket. Come to think of it these are the only times she does act like a dog.

Having said all that, I should point out that we are getting on great. She is really focused on me. She is a really sweet natured, affectionate dog.

I have just called her back in. Had to shake a plastic bag to do it. She associates the plastic bag with a treat. I gave her a piece of cheddar cheese. She likes cheese. Peanut butter too. And apples. And liver. Bacon, she loves that. Eggs too. I tell you, she thinks she's human. Can't have that. I prefer dogs.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Wet And Completely Fracked Off With It All.

It has rained every day for eight weeks. Maybe this is the end of the world. Maybe it's going to rain until we are all swept away and drowned. Maybe it is going to keep raining until the earth is so heavy and waterlogged that it will fall out of the space it occupies in the universe and disappear into a black hole.

The solution to the problems we are having with floods is to build our houses on the top of hills. Mind you there would be no way off the hill except by boat, because all around would be flooded.

The solution to the problem we are having with floods would be to live on boats. We could build houses on them and call them houseboats.

Or balloons. We could live in houses suspended from balloons. They would have to be enormous balloons though, and permanently filled with gas. Those flying balloons that you have to keep turning the gas on and off, would be too time consuming.

If we all decided to live on the top of a hill the question arises; will there be enough hills to go round? I think not, and even if there were, they are likely to be in mostly remote places. A further question also arises; who gets to be at the very top of the hill?

If we did all live on boats how would we mark the boundary of our property? There would have to be a boundary, we can't all just go floating around bumping into each other. That would be chaos.

Oh wow! Wow! Wowsers! I just had the most fantastic idea. The solution to the flooding. It's brilliant! I think I must be a genius to come up with this. Listen this is it. You know all that fracking that is going on? You know. Where they drill holes deep into the earth to extract gas. Yes? Are you with me? Yes? Well I propose that we let them frack as much as they want. The more holes drilled the better, and then, and this is the fantastic idea bit, we let all the flood water pour down the holes! No more floods and as a bonus no empty voids left in the earth, which is what has been the main concern with fracking for gas.

Come on. You have to admit, this is a brilliant idea. We have to do something soon or we are doomed. I suggest we all get fracked!