In The dog House. Again!

Ed, Greg and I are in the dog house with PIL. She’s not happy.

On Easter Sunday the two ‘boys’ went off to Stamford Bridge to watch Chelsea play Tottenham Hotspur. I couldn’t go as I was working and staying in London. They kind of wish they hadn’t now and not just because Chelsea lost. They met up with some guys that Ed had met when he went to Barcelona to watch Chelseas Champions League match (We lost that game too!) They all had a few beers before the game, a few more at half time and then went to a local pub with Eds new best friends for a few more beers. Then it was time to leave and get the train home. Late. On Easter Sunday. Essential maintenance on the whole rail network. They contacted PIL to arrange a pick up from the local station. PIL not amused.

“Get a cab home from the station” she told them.

PIL went to bed!

They contacted her again. Trains stopping at Ashford and going no further. A 20 minute drive away. Can she please pick them up from there? Even I heard the sigh as she agreed to pick them up from Ashford International Station.

“What time does it get in?”

“ERRRR. 23.50”

PIL duly arrived. Tired and ticked off. Train was late arriving.

They drove home in silence but quite quickly.

Moving onto Tuesday.

Ed going to be late home from work which has been manic for the last couple of weeks. I went to pick him up from the local station. PIL went to bed as she had an early start in the morning.

Ed hadn’t eaten so I said I’d knock something up quickly while he watched the highlights of Real Madrid vs Juventus, another Champions League match.

I chucked a couple of bangers and some oven chips in the oven. Joined Ed with a couple of beers for us to enjoy while the game was on. Forgot about his dinner. Rushed out to the kitchen when I remembered hoping it wasn’t burnt. Opened the oven door and 2.73 seconds later the smoke alarm went off!!! Our smoke alarm is VERY LOUD and there’s a repeater upstairs. I, somewhat ineffectually, waved a tea towel at the alarm while Ed came out with a cushion and waved that about for a while. The alarm also set the dog off! Bloody mayhem. Ed grinned at me and said,

“Now you’re in trouble with Mum!”

And I was. I apologised the next day and PIL said;

“For what? There’s a list.”

It’s now Thursday and that couple of sentences along with a huge number of sighs has been the extent of our conversation. I’m enjoying the peace and quiet!

Oh. Plus a comment about leaving the toilet seat up.

Have a brilliant day.

 

More Dick soon.

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Evolution Can Be a Bitch.

The average human being is a pretty incredible creature. Apparently, we consist of some 100 trillion cells (what anorak sat and counted?), we can distinguish tens of thousands of scents, a million colours and store 1000 terabytes of memories. Apart from teeth, we repair and regenerate the cells in our bodies so that every ten years we are physically a new person. Not bad for a species that is 70% water and shares 50% of its DNA with bananas, 60% with chickens, 84% with dogs and 96% with chimps. It is those minuscule differences that make us what we are. I read somewhere that if the human genome was written down, it would fill nearly 300,000 pages and only the last couple of hundred would contain the parts that make us the individuals we are. Unless you come from Kentucky where everyone has the same DNA.

We have evolved as bipeds and for humans to be able to walk upright, we do not have opposable big toes. This in turn means that our feet are arched and this enables us to walk the way we do. We continue to evolve and toes are as good a place to talk about as any. As a rule, each human has 5 toes on each foot. The big toe and the next 3 along do whatever they do, but the human little toe is evolving faster than they are. It is becoming increasingly sensitive to the extent that it has now developed into a sensor of hard objects in low light environments. It finds these hard objects by hitting them and then informs you that it has found the armchair/bed leg/door frame by sending a wave of excruciating pain to your brain. Forget child birth. Forget kidney stones. Forget a kick in the ‘nads. This fuckin’ hurts! So much so that it is impossible for the human who has recently rediscovered the whereabouts of the door frame that’s been in the same place for centuries, to swear. Instead, all that can be managed is;

Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah (all very quietly because it’s 3 o’clock in the bloody morning and you don’t want to wake everyone up) ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah (until eventually) ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah Ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffuck it! You manage to swear.

How do I know this? I know this because last night, at 3 o’clock in the bloody morning, I discovered where the door frame to the toilet is courtesy of that wonderful appendage, my little toe.

Have a wonderful day.

More Dick soon.

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With apologies to the inhabitants of Kentucky who, I am sure, are very nice people all with their own unique DNA but I couldn’t find a picture for Louisiana.

Sailing and the NHS

Quite a few months ago when I wrote my last post, I included this photograph:

I added the comment that some people when looking at it would think,

“Wet”

“Cold”

“Horrid”

To which Claudette over at ceenoa added,

“Sea Sick”!

Something I hadn’t considered as I don’t suffer from it but Claudette does. (Take a wander over to her blog. She does stuff with stuff and makes wonderful stuff and her photographs are a joy. You will find it here)

Whereas when I look at that photograph I think,

“Excitement”

“Fun”

“Women in wet tee shirts”

I must now add,

“Hernia”!

Yep, the day after we had gone sailing on ‘Jabberwocky’ while on holiday, I noticed a fairly large lump on the right side of my groin. I was fairly sure what it was but being a male of a certain age, I thought I’d get it checked out when we got home. I was going to go and see the Doc anyway as my right knee was giving me grief and was very painful.

So, on our return, I made an appointment for the following day and saw my GP. I explained, she asked me to straighten my leg and had a poke about and told me I had arthritis. She then looked at my groin, had another poke about and informed me I did indeed have a hernia. She printed off a form and told me to go to the walk-in x-ray clinic at the local hospital where they would x-ray my knee to confirm her diagnosis and in the meantime expect a letter for an appointment to have my hernia checked out. So, off I went, had my x-ray (how good is that? I was back home within 30 minutes of leaving the Docs). A week later, two letters arrived. One informed me that I did indeed have arthritis in my knee and to contact the hospital for an appointment for physio. The other letter was from the very Harry Potterish sounding ‘Department of Hernias, Lumps and Bumps asking me to attend for an examination.

I duly rocked up at the hospital for my examination. Now for some reason, I had got it into my head that my knee was going to be examined so I was somewhat surprised when I was asked to drop my shorts! That’s why I was wearing shorts, so I wouldn’t have to drop them, not that I’m shy.

I carried out a quick mental check:

Freshly showered? Yep

Clean underwear? Yep

Neat and tidy gentleman’s garden? Yep

Good to go.

My Mum would have been proud.

I dropped my shorts, lay down and was examined. It was an ultrasound examination as used on pregnant women. It would establish that I had a hernia for certain, exactly where it was and how big. The woman carrying out the examination explained what I had to do. I had to make like a puffer fish and inflate my cheeks and push down towards my groin.

While I did this she would use the ultra sound thingy to examine the area.

The examination commenced. The result of all this cheek inflation and pushing down and prodding with probes was that I farted.

It was not discreet!

“Oh”, I squeaked, feeling dreadfully embarrassed, “I am so sorry.”

“That’s ok Dick” said the woman. ” It happens all the time. Curry last night was it?”

“As it happens, yes it was” I replied blushing, while out of the corner of my eye I saw the other woman in the room switch on her desk fan!

“Thought so” said the first woman as she wander over to the window and opened it!

“I am still here y’know” I said feeling even more embarrassed and somewhat flustered.

“Yes Dick, we know” she said “and so is something else.”

I gave up then. There was no point arguing. Two women in a room with a man who had just dropped his guts! No contest really.

As I left and walked down the corridor after the examination was completed, all I could hear was gales of laughter coming from the room I had just left. Buggers!

The up shot of this was that at the beginning of January, I went to the K&C Hospital as a day patient, had key hole surgery on my hernia and was back home later that day feeling just fine but under strict instructions not to lift anything and not to drive for a week or two. I did as I was told and returned to work two weeks later. The NHS and the staff in particular is just bloody wonderful.

I am currently rethinking my plans to become a sailor. I really don’t want to go through that again and it is likely to happen if I start hoisting sails and stuff. Something gentler I think. Learning French is still on the cards but now perhaps I should take up photography again and maybe start a vlog. I will keep you informed.

Have a great day.

More Dick soon.

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A New Language or Two

 

I know people who would look at this photograph and think:

“Wet.”

“Cold.”

“Horrid”

Whereas I look at it and think:

“Excitement.”

“Fun.”

“Women in wet tee shirts!”

So what has this to do with a new language?

Well, I am going to learn to sail but before I do, I have to learn the language that sailors use. I will call this language “Nautical”. It’s English Jim but not as we know it.

For instance, the pointy bit at the front is called the “Bow” (as in what a gentleman does when he meets Her Queenliness)

 

The rear end of a boat is “the stern”.

Left is “port” and right is “starboard”. The floor is “the deck” while a wall is called “a bulkhead”. The driver is called “the helmsman”. “Abreast” is not what you see when a woman is wearing a wet tee shirt unfortunately, it means side by side or by the side of. The “beam” is the widest part of a ship or boat. Downstairs is “below” and upstairs is “atop”. A  room is called a “cabin”, the kitchen is “the galley” and the speed of the boat is given in “knots”! Why this should be is beyond me.

Then there’s “athwartship”! (Really? You have got to be kidding me). It means at right angles to the centre line of the boat/ship.

Then you have words where all the vowels have deliberately been removed:

F’r’c’stl’. What’s that then? How do you pronounce it?

M”ns”l. Not a clue.

See? It’s not as easy as you first think. I’m getting there though and once I’ve got it sorted and can speak like an old sea dog, I’ll get on with learning a new foreign language. Probably French.

We have all been to France several times and we murder the French language whenever we can. Recently, on a fairly regular basis, magazines dedicated to French property have started making an appearance.

Then, the other day, PIL asked if we still had the Peter Mayle books, A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence. I said I’d look in amongst the million or so books we have banging about but to no avail. So I went to Waterstones in Canterbury and bought A Year in Provence and, because they didn’t have Toujours, I also bought My Good Life in France by Janine Marsh. I’ll get Toujours some other time. I wrapped the books up, I wrote “Happy Wednesday” on a sticker and presented it to PIL when she got home. They remain unread! Except by me.

I am in no particular rush. By the time CJ finishes school and Uni’ I’ll be getting on a bit so there’s plenty of time.

Then, one day, I will be fluent in Nautical and in French and PIL will suddenly decided it’s time to up sticks, grab our zimmer frames and move to bloody Spain!

Have a brilliant day.

More Dick soon.

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Sailing

A little while ago I wrote some fiction regarding a conversation I had with Mr. Death. You can read it here.

It is a work of fiction but, as with many things, it had elements of true life in it – some of my real life experiences. One of the true items in that story is my desire to learn a new language – French (probably) and to learn how to sail.

Recently, we went on holiday. We went to Antigua. It was bloody brilliant. We flew out via Virgin Atlantic Upper Class (the posh class!) That was an eye opener. I’m not sure how PIL managed it. I think she got the geeks at work to hack into Virgin Atlantic and get us an up grade. Or it might have been her using the gazillion air miles we had accumulated over the years. We arrived at Gatwick, checked in and went to the Virgin lounge. We were offered champagne! It was 6am! Of course we accepted – it was free! We had all kinds of nibbles offered. More champagne was consumed. Our flight was announced and, slightly the worse for wear we staggered off and got on the plane. The leg room! Unfuckingbelievable!

We arrived in Antigua after a wonderful flight, being waited on hand and foot, totally refreshed and ready to go.

It was lovely. Smashing sandy beaches. Plentiful bars and restaurants. Pools dotted around. Absolute bliss. I noted a number of small sailing boats. Catamarans. I thought to myself, I can get started here. A problem arose though. We are a family that goes on holiday and we SLOB! We lie in the sun. We eat. We drink and that was the problem. Greg and I crept off to the gym at 6.30 each morning. We got back, we all showered and went for breakfast. By 9am we were sprawled out by the pool. At 10, when the bars opened we were getting a bit hot so we’d go get a drink. The intention was always to get a soft drink, 10am being a bit too early to hit the hard stuff but the bar man would point out;

“It’s midday somewhere man.”

So we had rum as well. And with no concept of portion control, they were heavy on the alcohol. After a hearty lunch I was probably too pissed to go sailing, let alone learn anything so I didn’t go.

As a great believer in not doing things by half, I decided my first experience of learning to sail would not be on board an eight foot dinghy but on a proper 50 foot sailing yacht! And that’s what we did. We chartered a yacht for the day. It was called Jabberwocky and it was owned by Nick and Kaye, who are two of the nicest people you could wish to meet.

We got a cab from the resort to where Jabberwocky was parked at a place called Jolly Harbour. Antigua is full of places with lovely names like that. We set sail. We had a choice. Snorkelling or beach. We’re slobs so we chose beach and we headed off to a place called Deep Bay. It was on our way here that I carried out my first ever sailing task:

I set the genoa!

I have no idea what that is or what I was doing except it involved some hard physical labour and I think I set the sail in front of the mast. I felt inordinately pleased with myself.

We arrived. The anchor was dropped and we took the little RIB to shore. It was just as you would imagine a desert island to be. Warm seas lapping on a soft sandy beach. There were a couple of other people there but it was heavenly. There was a small fort, Fort Barrington, on the hillside. Greg, CJ and I went off for a wander while PIL and Ed sat on the beach and swam in the sea.

The beach at Deep Bay with Jabberwocky in the background

Time for lunch back on Jabberwocky. PIL, Greg and CJ took the RIB back. Ed and I swam back. I decided on back stroke but because I’m useless, without noticing, I started to swim back to shore. The others found this immensely funny. I just got tired!

Jabberwocky at anchor in Deep Bay

Lunch was lovely. Afterwards, we set sail again heading back to Jolly Harbour.

Jabberwocky setting sail back to Jolly Harbour

Once we got out of Deep Bay, I set the genoa again and joy of joy, I took the helm and steered the yacht on it’s way back to its home port.

Me at the helm of Jabberwocky

I was in heaven. It’s a lot harder that it seems and I’m sure my course was more than a bit ziggy zaggy but I was having a great time. The rest of the family were up at the pointy bit at the front and then they started to sing!

Having an absolutely brilliant time.

 

Over the sound of the waves and the wind in the sails I couldn’t make out the words but the tune was just about audible. One of them them was singing “Sailing”, the Rod Stewart song. Despite my surprise at one of my children actually knowing this song, I felt a huge sense of well being and happiness well up inside me. We were having a great time. My family up at the front burst in to laughter and they all started singing. As they did, the wind carried the words to my position at the helm. This is what they sang:

All together now.

We are sinking

We are sinking

To the bottom

Of the sea

Dad was steering

Hit an island

Didn’t see it

Blind old git

 

Hit the island

Of Antigua

How did Daddy

Manage that?

We have sunk now

And we’re swimming

All because our

Dad’s a prat!

Charming!

Despite this, I will learn to sail and soon I will be visiting a local sailing club and begin lessons. I may just stick to smaller dinghies or catamarans but, who knows, I may go onto larger boats. We shall see and I will keep you informed about my progress.

Of course, let’s not forget that I also want to learn a new language but since trying my hand at sailing, that will now be TWO new languages to learn. The reasons why will follow soon.

Have a lovely day.

More Dick soon.

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Dexter on the Loose

As you are probably aware, our dog Dexter underwent an operation on his leg a while ago.

For the last 7 or 8 months he has only been for short walks and always with his lead on. Understandably for an active dog who just loves to run and run and run this has been driving him mad. We have been under strict instructions from the vet not to let him tear arse about. Last week that changed. He had recovered fully from his operation.

I took him out on his lead. This is sufficient to get him excited. This time though we took a different route and headed off to the fields and woods. Dexter just knew there was something afoot. He kept looking at me as if to say “Are we going to the woods? Am I going to be off this pesky lead?” We arrived at the path leading down through a small copse onto the fields and to the woods a bit further down. We stopped. Dexter started to quiver in anticipation. He made little snorting noises. He looked at me. He woofed. He quivered some more. He stared down the path. I let him off the lead. The next thing I saw was his arse end disappearing down the path in a cloud of dust. I grinned to myself. A couple of minutes later he returned. His tail was wagging so hard the whole of his rear end was swaying from side to side. The look of pure, unadulterated bliss on his face was a wonderful thing to see. He jumped up at me, gave me a big lick and tore off into the fields again. We weren’t out for long. Maybe 35 minutes but Dexter had a great time dashing about, sniffing stuff and dashing about again. We got home again and he had a drink, scoffed some food, sat down at my feet, wagged his tail some more, gave me a lick and went off and fell asleep on his bed. I think he had some good dreams that day.

I should add that the flattened crops in the background were not due to us. I follow the tractor trails and Dexter causes practically no damage when he runs through the crops.

Have a smashing day. Dexter did!

More Dick soon.

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Surprises.

The not so surprising thing about surprises is that by their very nature they take you by surprise. Some are bad like the letter I got recently informing me I had been caught on camera in Watford on the 30th April at 0657 travelling at 41mph in a 30 zone. A few days later I had another nasty surprise when the Essex Constabulary informed me that on the 12th May at 1243 I had been caught on camera travelling at 58mph on the QE2 bridge which has a 50mph limit. WTF! Are speeding tickets buses now? Nothing for ages then two come along together! I have no recollection of speeding on either occasion.

I have completed my speed awareness course where we covered the laws of physics, watched videos, had discussions on a variety of speed and driving related subjects. All jolly interesting stuff. I think I only nodded off once. For the offence on the QE2 bridge I have paid the fine and had 3 points put on my driving licence. I have informed my insurers who will happily use the excuse to increase my premiums for the next few years. Bummer!

At times like this I like to take refuge in my garden and have a good old poke around, dig some holes, plant some plants, do a bit of pruning and mow the lawn. Even this can have nasty surprises usually in the form of half buried cat shit where you least expect it and, more often than not, precisely where you are using your hands to make a planting hole slightly bigger! Nothing quite like a handful of cat poo to brighten your day or to discover new ways to curse the blasted creatures! Then there are the surprises where things you planned to happen in the garden don’t materialise. A couple of years ago I wrote about how the foxgloves in my garden were doing particularly well and were giving a good show. I said how easy they are to grow and that I just let them seed where they want. I was a bit smug about it. Imagine my surprise when to my surprise (and disappointment) my smugness bit me on the arse last year and hardly any grew at all, just a few straggly specimens managed to make an appearance.

In an effort to escape from the terrible thoughts I was having about the things I would like to do to the inventor of the speed camera and the fecal land mines laid in my front garden by an assortment of neighbourhood felines, I decided to cut the grass in the back garden. Mowing the lawn isn’t my favourite pastime but it’s the kind of mindless exercise I can live with and the end result always looks nice. So I grabbed my iPod, inserted the earpieces and started to mow. The music, the hum of the lawn mower engine, the sound of the mower blades cutting through the grass, clover and daisies allied with the buzz of a stray stone being picked up and spat out at great speed and smashing the kitchen window soon relaxed me and I started having more pleasant thoughts such as what PIL looks like naked. Probably not a good thing for a bloke to be thinking if he has a pair of secateurs in his hand but it’s fine when mowing the lawn. Then, out of the corner of my eye  I saw something that gave me a very pleasant surprise. Along the fence at the side of the garden there is a line of 25 or 30 beech trees. They may be hornbeam but I can’t tell the difference. I cut them back at the beginning of last year so that they are only about 8 feet high and they are turning into quite a pleasant-looking hedge. Birds nest in amongst the branches and lots of creepy crawlies live there and call it home. Well, in amongst the branches, arching beautifully with the weight of flowers was a lovely fox glove.

All on its own.

It looked just simply beautiful. It had white flowers flushed pink.

It reminded me that no matter how hard we try, Nature will always go two or three better and produce something in the most surprising and unusual places. I was chuffed to bits to see that.

There are three things that most people find surprising about our garden although two of those will be changing. First, there aren’t any roses in the garden. None at all. There was one by the front door when we first moved in but that went a few years ago. I understand why people like roses. They often have beautiful flowers, they come in a huge array of colours and some have a wonderful scent. To me though they are just a mega pain in the bum. They are “gross feeders” so they take all the nutrients and minerals out of the soil meaning copious quantities of compost has to be added once or twice a year or you end up with dust. They attract pests, especially aphids and diseases that spread to other plants in the garden and to top it all they rip you to shreds if you so much as touch them. Not for me. I prefer to be able to sit back and admire my garden.

I also get why people like bedding plants or annuals. Instant colour that lasts for months if you dead head regularly. I just think “aching back” and “sore knees” from planting them in the Spring and digging the blighters up again in the Autumn. Not to mention the increase in getting a handful of cat poo while digging them in. That’s changing though. PIL (aka She Who Must Be Obeyed) wants hanging baskets and that means annuals although mixed up with things like strawberries and stuff. She tends to take care of the pots too and does a fine job with them. They’ll be annuals in the pots as well. I don’t mind. It’s our garden and my only objection to bedding plants is the effort involved. I look forward to seeing how that works out.

The other surprising thing about our garden is the absence of the colour orange. Or so I thought. I’m talking the fruit colour here. Goes with bugger all. Clashes with everything. In a gloomy corner of the front garden there is a big clump of what I think are Welsh Poppies. For work reasons, I tend to be away when they flower in May. They’re yellow. Or so I thought. This year they flowered a bit later and I saw them. They looked absolutely superb in that slightly gloomy corner and contrasted really well with the white flowers in the front. (I have no idea what the white flowers are. Planted ’em years ago and I can never remember plant names. Unlike my memory for the collective noun for wombats!!) Anyhow, they looked really good but they were orange! See. Nature did it again. Nothing to do with me. They are staying. Look at the photo and you’ll see what I mean. Smashing!

On that note I must go as it’s getting late. Have a nice day wherever you may be and whatever time it may be where you are.

More Dick soon.

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Memory.

I was at work the other day. It was quite early, probably about 7 am. I heard a bird start to sing. Without looking I thought to myself, “That’s a goldfinch.” I was right. I had remembered its song. My brain then went into overdrive as it scanned its memory banks and told me some associated information. The collective noun for Goldfinches is “a charm”. My brain then informed me that the collective noun for hedgehogs is “an array” and that if you remove all the fleas from a hedgehog it suffers from withdrawal symptoms. From there my brain informed me that the the collective noun for a group of wombats is “a wisdom”. Wombats!!
Then my brain thought:
“How do I know this stuff and yet some mornings I wake up and can’t remember who or where I am!”

More Dick soon

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Operation Dexter Dawg

A little while ago I wrote about our bonkers dog Dexter and how he needed to have an operation on his left rear leg as he had torn his cruciate ligament. If I’ve done this correctly, you can read that post here. The poor pooch has been confined to the house and garden since before Christmas 2016 and it’s been driving him nuts although he has been out for brief 15 minute walks on his lead every now and again.

Well, as planned, Dexter went for his operation on the 9th March and it was a complete success although it wasn’t without its dramas. We had taken Dexter for a number of x-rays and scans and because the vet was going to be manipulating his leg quite considerably, Dexter was given a general anesthetic so as to minimise any discomfort for him and as a safeguard for the vet in case Dexter decided to take a lump out of him.  Once he had come round whoever had taken him, either PIL or me, would lift him into the car, drive home and lift him out again. At 30 odd kilos, he ain’t exactly a lightweight. We thought it would be the same for his operation. So I went to work and PIL took Dexter to the vet. To PILs surprise not only was a general administered but Dexter was also given an epidural. After the operation the pooch eventually came round but he had no movement in his rear end because of the epidural. PIL and the vet lifted him into PILs car. Once home PIL, who is very definitely a girlie girl, couldn’t move him to the rear of the car to get him out. She knocked at the neighbours. No one in!  So PIL got his water bowl and food and sat in the car with him until Ed got home from work two hours later. Dexter didn’t mind.

The vet had put a cone on Dexter to stop him trying to get to his stitches. We only put it on him at night or if we popped out and he was on his own and I have to say he was very tolerant of it and never kicked up a stink when we put it on him. Even when he went out into the garden he had to have his lead on to stop him running around.

It was a different matter altogether when we gave him his tablets.We wrapped them up in goodies which he scoffed and then spat the tablets out. We held treats next to his nose to make him salivate and swallow but he just dribbled and made a  disgusting mess on the kitchen floor. We called him a bastard. A lot!

We called him all the names under the sun but none worked. After a lot of treats and stroking his throat he would eventually swallow his tablets. We then spent 20 minutes cleaning all the goo off the floor. Twice a day for weeks this went on but eventually his course of tablets ended, the stitches came out, more x-rays were taken and last week, he was given the all clear. He could go walkies again! Dexter had been quite happy to sit in the sunshine and soak up a few rays but there is no doubt all he wanted to do was go berserk in the woods.

My favourite photo of Dexter sunning himself

A big but went with this. Only for 15 minutes at a time and only on his lead. The time increasing by 5 minutes each week until it got to 30-35 minutes and then he could be let off the lead for 5 minutes again increasing by 5 minutes each week until it got to 30 minutes and thereafter, Dexter could be let off for how ever long we were out for. Brilliant. Recovery is a long-winded process but necessary to ensure he doesn’t wreck his leg again. The vet does expect him to do the same thing with his other leg though! We shall see.

Have a brilliant day.

More Dick soon.

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Cars

I like cars. I like driving them even more. The workings of the internal combustion engine are a complete mystery to me though. As with DIY, engines are beyond me. I know where to put the fuel, the oil, coolant and screen wash. I can change a wheel but that’s the limit of my expertise.

I think I may have mentioned before that my first ever car was a 1973 MGB GT.

This is identical to the MGB that I had. Same colour, same interior, same wheels.

It had a 1.8 litre engine with overhead valves. Nope. No idea what that means but it was a nice car and I travelled many miles and it was a blast driving it. Girls liked it too which was the best reason ever to own it.

The next car I owned was a Rover P5.

It was like driving around in a gentleman’s club with all the old leather in it. It had a bloody great 3.5 litre V8 engine. Ever since then I have loved the burble of a V8 car engine. A lovely sound. With the price of petrol at 55p per gallon it wasn’t particularly expensive to drive either despite a lousy M.P.G.. When fuel prices started to shoot up, I got rid of it. Shame really because they’re worth a fortune now.

There then followed quite a few years of dull and bland company cars. Some were ok but nothing more and some were just crap. There were exceptions. For a few months my company car was a Ford Sierra Sapphire Cosworth 4×4. Brilliant car that looked like a normal saloon car but went like stink.

Goes like stink

Unfortunately, I wrote it off when a tyre blew out at speed and it rolled over. I hasten to add that the speed I was travelling at was the national speed limit. Maybe just a little bit above it but not much. Really. Then it was back to boring and unexciting cars. It was the same for PIL. Our cars did the job they were supposed to do but nothing more. Then in 1994, we bought ourselves a car which started a love affair with the marque that has continued to this day. So much so that we have two now. We bought a Land Rover Discovery.

On the school run

What a brilliant car! Over the years we have had a couple of Range Rovers and a Land Rover Defender

but we keep coming back to Discoverys. We’ve probably had 8 or 9 in total and currently own a couple of Discovery 4s.

For us they are the perfect car. We live in the country and during winter the roads are rarely gritted, snow drifts form quickly that block the roads to all but 4x4s or  the roads flood and our village and others nearby get cut off unless you have a 4×4 that can wade through fairly deep water. One of the other advantages is that Discoverys come with 7 seats. Our kids are very sporty and are always playing matches in one sport or another and of course, PIL and I go to see as many matches as we can and this means that we often return to their school with half a football/hockey/rugby/netball or swimming team in the car plus all the kit that goes with the sport. So for us, it was ideal. Land Rovers are also tough as old boots. Google “land rover defender falls off cliff” and read the stories that appear. You can read about the blokes who survived when their Land Rover Defender rolled 600 feet down a slope or the Scottish bloke who survived after driving his Discovery off a 150 foot cliff. Or the woman who survived after driving her blue Discovery off another cliff. I’m not sure if the fact it was blue made any difference and I can’t really say why so many Land Rover owners seem to enjoy driving off cliffs but they survived the experience. I can confirm the toughness of these vehicles from personal experience. On one occasion, I was returning home after dropping the children at school. I was driving our Defender. I stopped as the car in front of me was turning right. Just as it turned, a van being taken for a test drive by a mechanic drove into the back of me. The Defender which is not the lightest of vehicles, was thrown 30 or 40 feet forward by the impact. I got out of the car completely uninjured. The van was a write off with the whole front end completely demolished. My Defender had a couple of broken rear lights, a bent tow bar, the rear windows were smashed and that was it. I drove it to the nearby Land Rover garage and arranged for the van to be picked up by the breakdown people.

On another occasion, PIL was going to a work function in central London. She took my Range Rover. She phoned me just after midnight to say she was stuck in a traffic jam on the M20 caused by road works. Ten minutes later she rang again to say she had been involved in an accident. She was fine but the car wasn’t. An articulated lorry had driven into the back of it. The lorrys brakes had failed. If PIL had been in a normal car, the lorry would have gone straight over the top of it and killed her! That was the opinion of the Traffic cop who attended the accident.

A few years ago, PIL and CJ were on their way to LegoLand and were travelling along the M25 in PILs Discovery 3 when a German articulated lorry decided to move out of the inside lane of the motorway without indicating and obviously without looking in his mirrors because he moved out onto a car travelling in the next lane and shoved it straight into the path of PIL in the outside lane and overtaking both these vehicles. PIL hit the central reservation at about 70 mph. The impact spun the car and it finally came to a halt on the hard shoulder, jammed up tight against the armco crash barrier facing the wrong way. All the air bags had deployed filling the car with smoke to the extent PIL was convinced the car was on fire. Thankfully, it wasn’t and she and CJ were completely unharmed. Shaken yes but unhurt.

On the way to Sainsburys to do the weekly shop

They really are brilliant cars and if money were no object I know exactly what car I would buy. This car really is the dogs bollocks.

 

I’d buy a 1969 Boss 429 Mustang.

The Dogs Bollocks

But I’d also have a Land Rover Discovery as my daily drive. Probably the only car you will ever need or want.

Have a great day.

More Dick soon.

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