Monthly Archives: July 2013

Gus has trouble with his bronichals*

Gus was no better this morning, so I sent Roses an apologetic text, asking to postpone our meeting, which she readily agreed to, I walked the dogs and put the washing machine on and headed off to Norwich again.  Weeza had decided to take the day off work and work tomorrow instead (she works three days a week but there’s some flexibility) and I was going to help occupy Zerlina.

We got a bit carried away with the tatts

and later decided to walk to the village shop for ice cream and then go to the playground.  Fortunately, we took umbrellas and coats because we needed them for a while.  I also remembered kitchen paper towels to dry off the swing and slide, and that was needed too.  We were out for a couple of hours and Gus slept most of that time and was still asleep when we arrived back.

Weeza had booked a phone call with the doctor and he asked her to bring Gus in to the surgery in the afternoon.  He was quite concerned that Gus was still ill and decided there was a secondary infection subsequent to the attack of croup.  He reckons it’s bronchiolitis and has prescribed both steroids and antibiotics to relieve the symptoms, and has made an appointment for Friday.  Poor little Gus, he tries so hard to remain cheerful throughout it all.  And Zerlina has been a little darling, really helpful and loving.

Their lovely childminder Lynda only has a couple of other children tomorrow, so is willing to take Gus and give him a quiet day, but if Weeza doesn’t feel he’s up to it,  I’ll go over again.  She did pop in to work for a while this afternoon to do some vital air ticket bookings for her boss, so can take a short day tomorrow.

Russell has been very good-natured about holding the fort back here and doing all the dog walking, apart from first and last of the day.  I was more disappointed than surprised when I got home at 6.45 tonight, to find he hadn’t bothered to unpack and restack the dishwasher in the course of the day, but it didn’t take long, once I’d fed the dogs, prepared dinner and laid the table.  H’m.

*This is correct in East Angularian

When it was fashionable not to relax

It was Nick who pointed me in the direction of this article and I found myself invoking the rodents of disbelief as I read it, rather as he did.  Yes, journalists are censorious and Bronwen is a journalist, but surely no one feels the need to take the sort of expectation she describes seriously.  I think she’s taking as much as a stance as these fictional ‘perfect’ mothers and I found the article pretty trite and not especially well-written.  But I don’t have to churn out a weekly column for a living and I can quite see that a chance remark sparks off a train of thought and, perhaps, that one is drawn into a more vehement expression of opinion than the matter actually warrants.  So I shrugged and moved on.

Except, that it reminded me of the early 1980s, when there seemed to be great pressure to be busy all the time.  It was a common occurrence, that a woman would declare that she was constantly on the go and that she felt guilty if she ever took a break and sat down with a book or did anything for herself.  In saying how wrong she was to take this attitude – ‘my problem is, of course, that I’m a perfectionist.  I’m just too conscientious’ – the more vehement she was, the more she was actually boasting about it.  And others would agree with her and they’d all declare how stressed and busy they were all the time.

My answer was not an affectation because it was true, but I have to admit that it was deliberate – I intended to wrong-foot – when I reacted with great sympathy.  I needed loads of time to myself and would happily leave the washing up if I wanted to read a book, I declared.  “It all gets done in the end.  I don’t feel guilty because I’m not doing anything wrong.”

I wasn’t being entirely naughty, I did mean it.  There was a prevalent feeling that a woman had to do everything and many young women felt guilty at the prospect of employing someone to help in the house, even if they worked full time and had young children to look after too.  And some of them couldn’t afford not to be constantly on the go, and I don’t mean them, they just got on with the work and didn’t talk about it.  It was the ones who boasted about a level of stress and busyness that I knew either wasn’t true or wasn’t necessary that irritated me.  

Z might have had a nap at some time, too

I looked after young Gus today.  As I said  a couple of days ago, he’s had a bad attack of croup – it’s an infection going round, apparently, though he’s not infectious any more.  But his mother had something on at work that she neither felt able to miss nor to cancel and I was free, so I headed over there this morning.

And it was the easiest babysitting I could have had.  He stood for some time watching television (yes, I have no hesitation in using the soothing powers of children’s tv once in a while) and then I realised he was leaning heavily on a table and nearly asleep.  So I scooped him up and sat him by me on the sofa and after a while I suspected he had gone to sleep.  His breathing was very wheezy and I couldn’t recognise the moment when he did actually sleep, I had to use the camera on my phone reversed to see his face.  And he slept for an hour and a half from the time I realised he had dropped off, so it was longer than that.

He woke at 1 o’clock, so I gave him a drink and went to find him some lunch.  Not having expected him to be home, there wasn’t a lot in the fridge, but I gave him some grapes and cucumber to keep him going and then grated him cheese while I cooked some pasta.  Pasta and pesto, the great standby of the modern mother.  He ate a lot of everything, he was very hungry.

And he cheered up by the minute.  So, since he’d cleared his plate, I offered him a chocolate mousse that I found in the fridge.

And that made him really happy.

Rupert also sits very nicely at the dining table, by the way.

Weeza rather enjoyed her meeting.  We emailed each other every so often during the day and she said, at lunchtime, I’m just back from my trog around the estate – 2.5hrs we were poking about hedgerows!!  Excellent stuff though – I love hearing old boys talk about ‘back in the day.'”  Very like her parents, is our Weeza.

Rambling Z

Long-term readers will know that I sometimes start telling you all about my family’s or my own past.  I’ve pretty well run out of things to say now though, and I’ve been telling one of my friends about another family I’ve known since way back.  I’ve got quite a few anecdotes – you know me, not brief funny stories but fairly long ones that ramble on and on with multiple digressions until, at the point where the reader reaches total despair, I return to the original point and complete the tale.  Sadly, I can’t possibly post any of it here (not because it’s rude but because it’s not appropriate, they’re not my relations), but it does make me realise how much I enjoy this sort of reminiscing.  Odd really, because I’ve never done it within my family, I’ve written more here about my childhood than I’ve ever told my children.  Still, if ever they’re interested, they can read it here.  My friend probably wishes she’d never asked, mind you.

I have, with uncharacteristic boldness (if you’ll believe that, you’ll believe anything) given Elle a link to this site.  It’ll be news to her that I call her Elle, for a start.

Z prepares for the winter

Today, I’ve been buying cashmere.  Well, it’s the time of year, innit?  When it’s cheap.  Two good quality (I’ve bought from them before) cashmere jumpers for £55 including postage is fine by me.

Weeza phoned this evening and we realise we haven’t seen each other for several weeks, so we’re planning to meet up on Friday.  Their house-buying is still ok, they’ve had a few concerns about the vendor but it seems that it’s on track and they hope to sign the contract this week.  Fingers crossed.  There’s a fair bit to do with the house, which was formerly a Methodist chapel and the conversion was never quite completed, but it’s got great potential.

Poor little Gus has croup and was quite ill this afternoon.  In fact, he was wheezing so badly that when Weeza (sorry, I should call her El on this occasion) phoned the NHS helpline, they offered to send an ambulance and, when it arrived, he was given oxygen – not because he was in danger but to ease the symptoms.  At the hospital, he was given steroids and is asleep in bed now, although still quite wheezy.    If he’s not better by Monday, I’ll go over and look after him for a while in the morning as El has a meeting that she’d rather not cancel because people are coming from some way away for it, and she will take the afternoon off.

I’ve been exchanging emails with Elle – ah, there’s why it’s not too sensible calling my daughter El.  Our student friend who stayed over here for several months, if you remember – her parents and sister came over in February and she returned home with them.  We’ve talked on Skype but really not kept in close contact, considering what close friends we became.  Anyway, in apology, because I’m really rubbish at replying to emails, I’ve offered to tell her the name of my blog.  Yes, I know.  I never mentioned it when she was staying here, but now I’ve blabbed.

Some rain this evening, but not the thunderstorms that other places have had.  Not very dramatic on the whole, East Angular.  


I took Ben to the vet yesterday for a routine vaccination.  By the time I came out, with worming and de-fleaing stuff (no reason to think he has either worms or fleas, just precautionary) and a new harness, I’d spent the better part of £100.  H’m.  He likes the harness much better than the Halti though and it seems okay, though if he really pulled I think it wouldn’t be quite as effective.  He doesn’t normally, he’s pretty good except if he sees something and suddenly takes off, such as a dog friend of his.  It’s a bit of a nuisance to put on, but at least he doesn’t run away when I pick it up, as he does with the Halti.

While I was in the waiting room, I weighed him.  He weighs 42 kilos.  That’s nearly 93 pounds, 6 stone 9 lbs.  H’m again.  That’s quite a lot of dog.  More than four times the weight of Rupert, less than two stone lighter than I am.  And he’s not keen to get into the car, I have to lift him, half at a time.

I didn’t finish the crossword today because friends called round and we stayed in the garden for a long time chatting, but did anyone else find today’s Times crossword particularly easy?  I filled in half of it in  ten minutes flat – and since I sometimes stare helplessly for at least that long before solving the first clue,  it was unusual.  I’m not as good at cryptic crosswords as I used to be, sadly.  I don’t know if it’s my brainpower that’s diminished or if I don’t get enough practice.  Both, maybe.  H’ – oh, I’m repeating myself.


There’s another thing with Blogger you see.  There doesn’t seem to be a way of making the photo at the top any smaller.  I’ve ticked the ‘shrink to *whatevs*’ box already or it would be even bigger.  This is just a picture taken on my phone but the only way I can find to make it appear smaller here (I’ve tried before doing it on the computer before adding it) is to email it to myself and sending it as a smaller file.  There’s a choice of sizes of pictures you add to the post, but headers are not so adaptable.

It’s just choice I want, and I realise that there’s a limit to what I can expect from a free service.

Anyway, what you will have realised it that we’re a two-dog family for a couple of weeks.  The first night went well, the only drawback being that my bedroom windows start at knee height because the ceiling is low.  So I couldn’t leave the window open in case Rupert jumps out.  We’d already decided he couldn’t sleep downstairs with Ben, they’d play all night and Roop might whimper for his family.  So we didn’t sleep a whole lot, but only because we were so hot – if it is as muggy tonight, I might move into the spare room where the windows are much higher.

What is it with puppies and paper?  I had a clean tissue on my lap – I’d just used it to wipe a mark from the screen and Rupert jumped up to say hello and stole it.  He and Ben are demolishing it on the carpet now.

Ben has an appointment at the vet’s for a vaccination this afternoon.  It’ll be fun getting him into the car on my own.

Pictures –


There have been a couple of anniversaries this week.  On Tuesday it was the 27th anniversary of our move to this house and yesterday was Ronan’s 29th birthday.  Yes, my baby.  He’s the tallest member of the family and an absolute delight.  Years ago, I asked him if he ever remembered quarrelling with his elder brother and sister, because I’d never seen it.  He considered the matter and agreed that he didn’t think he ever had.

He was a difficult small baby though, not at all easy to please.  But once he’d grown up a little, I realised why.  He is a communicator and he was frustrated.  The moment he learned to speak his first word, he was a changed child.  “Dah” was it, and it meant ‘water.’  And water is such a useful word.  Whether you’re thirsty, if you go for a walk by the sea (we lived 100 yards from the beach then), if it’s raining, if you’re having a bath, there are so many opportunities every day to say a word that the person you’re with will pick up on and make into a conversation.  And, of course, you say it twice and your father is really pleased with you.

And the more he grew up, the more delightful he became.  Lovely young man.  Happy 30th year, Ro.

Z plans a move

I’m going to be moving from Blogger sometime soon.  I’ve got as far as buying, but don’t bother looking there yet because there’s nothing to see.  Ro is lending a hand and I’ve explained my requirements, which mostly have to do with comments.  I don’t know if we’ll find a way of sorting it all out from the start, but this is what I’ve said.

  • There must be a way of subscribing to comments, I don’t expect people who respond to a post to have to keep coming back to see what else has been said.
  • They shouldn’t have to belong to WordPress, Google or anything else to leave a comment. 
  • Ideally, I’d like one-off approval of commenters, I neither want people to have to go through complicated word verification nor be bothered by spam myself (Blogger)
  • If someone says they will subscribe to comments, I don’t want them to have to say it again in an email, especially one that starts ‘Howdy’ (WordPress).
  • I want them to be able to put in the name they want to be known by – I sometimes have to put Zed because Z isn’t long enough (Disqus).  
  • Once they leave a comment once, I want their details to be remembered if they wish, so that they don’t have to fill it all in again.  It’s no good ticking a Google identity box if you don’t want your full name going into the comment box and a guest signing-in isn’t remembered (Disqus).
  • Regarding the blog itself, I want to be able to move all posts and comments too.  

I don’t think any of this is a whole lot to ask, but we’ll see.  I heard on the radio recently that MySpace has just had a relaunch, but those who blogged on it had their entire blogs wiped, with no warning.  I’d have been devastated, frankly, I love my blog.

Bodily Functions

The dog just nudged the keyboard, with the result that Neutral Milk Hotel is playing on iTunes, all unbidden.  In the Aeroplane over the Sea was one of the albums that Ronan bravely loaded onto my new iPod several years ago when I asked him for his chosen music, out of absolute respect for his taste, albeit with no knowledge or understanding of what he liked.  This particular album took me quite two years to appreciate, but I did come to it.

It’s not been the most tranquil day because events conspired to prevent me from finishing an Extremely Important Letter, but I finally got to grips with it this afternoon, even though it meant I had to ignore some visitors for a while, with due apologies – I should say that they were really visiting Russell in any case.  My reputation for writing effective letters for any and all occasions haunts me somewhat, but not enough to stop me doing it.

Anyway, Mimi and her mother Lottie arrived this evening and we sat outside, somehow sinking nearly three bottles of wine between us, not that Lottie drank much at all because she was driving home.  It was generally agreed that Russell drank most of it.  My mother was exceptionally friendly with them both and shared a birthday with Mimi, albeit several decades apart, but they loved each other.  It’s rather  lovely to think that Mimi is sleeping in Jane’s bedroom tonight, Jane would be so happy to know it.

I suddenly discovered yesterday that the front path to the annexe was quite desperately overgrown, but luckily a friend was able to help out with his strimmer tonight and it’s all magically been cleared.  I didn’t take pictures of that but I’ve just remembered those I did take.  Al, Dilly and Hadrian called in this morning and Hay wanted to see the tortoise, so Russell went to get her.  I warned about her reaction to being carried and provided newspapers … oh, sensible Z.  I’m afraid I was intrusive enough to take photos of Edweena’s bodily functions.  If you are sensitive about such matters, please look no further.


*sure you want to read this? M’kay*  Photos as they was took.

It all started innocently enough, you see.  Edweena noticed the apple and moved towards it.  But she’d already done a little wee and soon a Number 2 followed.  And it all got remarkably – well, there was a lot of it.  And then, when we thought she was all done, having wet the paper again, she suddenly flooded it.  I’m afraid we all laughed like drains, especially Hay.  I will never hold Edweena without taking precautions, being dangled starts her off.

And this afternoon, one of the bantams appeared on the lawn with two fluffy little chicks.  She is extremely cross with us because we’ve put her in a coop, to save them from possible attack from magpies or other predators.  But it’s her fault, she should never have laid away.