A sunny walk with the camera

Reblogging this old photo post for the benefit of new followers since it was posted in February 2016. Almost six years ago, a few days after Ollie’s 4th birthday, and on a very cold day in Beetley.
The camera used was the Fuji X30, and the aperture settings were either f5.6 or f8. All the files are straight from the camera, with no post-processing.

beetleypete

Despite the cold, and recent snow, I awoke to a sunny day, that if anything, was too bright. I made up my mind to venture out with Ollie earlier than usual, to get the best of the day, before any cloud settled in during the late afternoon. This meant that his usual doggy pals would not be around, so I quickly headed over to Hoe Rough, to give him a bigger walk, with my camera taken along too. As usual, all the photos are large files. They can be clicked on, for full screen, and further enlarged for detail. The bright weather allowed for some good photos today, and the details are very well-rendered.

The constant rains have waterlogged the ground. This standing water was frozen on the surface.

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A few paces further on, and the rest of that water was joining up, forming what looked like a small canal. It…

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Sunday Musings In A Sunny January

‘Sunny January’ continues unabated in Beetley. Unusually bright weather for the time of year, accompanied by frosty mornings, and foggy evenings. The sun is so low in the sky, and so unbelievably bright, we have to keep the curtains closed until it moves around after midday.
Not complaining, as it hasn’t rained for days!

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Ollie’s recent trip to the Vet seems to have kick-started some recovery. Going back on the steroids and ear drops has stopped him shaking his head, and his fur is starting to regrow, albeit far too slowly for my liking.

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Julie has been ‘decluttering’ with a vengeance. Seven bags of ‘stuff’ taken to the charity shops last week, and six more to go in the car to be dropped off next week. Most of it was clothes that no longer fit her, as she has lost weight with a change of Diabetes medication. Much of ‘the stuff’ was brand new with tags, so never worn.
There’s a lesson there, somewhere.

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After shifting some storage boxes that have remained untouched in the main bedroom, we were horrified to discover that tiny carpet beetle larvae have eaten away large areas of the bedroom carpet. Okay, so it is very old, (long before we moved in, probably laid in the 1990s) and is the only flooring we haven’t changed since we moved into the house. But now we have to face spraying the area, to stop the larvae spreading onto the good carpet in other rooms. Then we will have to replace the carpet as soon as is practical to do so.
It never ends.

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Cutrently, it seems that our Prime Minister may well survive the recent scandals around his leadership. Conversely, I actually think that might be a good thing, as it will give him time to act the clown and upset the electorate even more before the next general election. If someone who knows what they are doing succeeds him now, I might well be stuck with a repulsive right-wing government until my dying day.

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Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone. The sun is still shining in Beetley!
(A bit, through this morning’s cloud.)

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Ollie’s Treatment Review

This afternoon, I had to take Ollie back to the Vet for his review of the recent treatment for the ear and skin infections.

My poor dog had started to shake his head again yesterday morning, and was ‘dropping’ his right ear constantly.

After the Vet had dug around in his ears long and hard enough for Ollie to start growling at him, the Vet concluded that the right ear was still infected, but the left was clear. He was pleased with the re-growth of fur, and declared that the skin was no longer infected.

As the Prednisilone Steroids had finished, he suspected that Ollie could once again feel the itch in that right ear. So he is back on those tablets for another ten days, accompanied by antibiotic ear drops that I will have to administer once a day. If things haven’t improved after those ten days, I have to take him back again.

Ollie was not happy at all, and couldn’t wait to get out of the Vet’s. But he had to wait until I had paid the £81 bill. ($111)

Back at home, he slurped down a whole bowl of water, then accepted a small treat from Julie for being good.

Now he is sleeping soundly beside me.

January Sunday Morning Musings From Beetley

Well for once some retribution might be due for the ‘entitled’. Prince Andrew (now just ‘Andrew’) has to fight the sexual offences allegations in court, and lost his free ride thanks to his mother. It seems more likely he will pay off the accuser, as he will not appear in court in America, so would be destined to lose the case.

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The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, had to apologise to parliament for breaking the laws surrounding Covid lockdowns. That sparked speculation that he is on his way out, and in advance of the report commissioned to investigate the accusations, he has seen fit to ‘disappear’. Many of his former political allies and friends look very uncomfortable as they try to defend the indefensible in his absence.

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If you read my recent post, you will know that Julie celebrated her birthday on Friday, and had a lovely day. We both enjoyed an excellent celebratory meal that evening.

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Ollie’s fur has still not grown back, but he seems healthy and happy otherwise. Unfortunately, he has started to notice the antibiotic tablets in the meat we wrap them up in, and on a few occasions we have had to force them down his throat. That is distressing, but he needs to finish the course. He has to go back to the Vet next week at some stage for his treatment to be reviewed.

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The time is coming for our five-yearly trimming of the Oak trees. Our neighbour thankfully took on the task of getting estimates for the work, which should happen before the end of March. This year, they varied wildly, with one company wanting to charge more than three times the estimate of two others. It is an annoying job, as it has to be done by people approved by the Council Tree Officer. He then inspects the work after. So we can’t just employ a willing man with a big saw!

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The sun is out again this morning, but it is still a chilly 5C. At least no rain is forecast.

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I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday. I am cooking a venison casserole for dinner tonight.

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Delightful Dining

Yesterday was my wife Julie’s 61st birthday. She took the day off work, and enjoyed opening her presents and cards, chatting to family and friends on the phone, and replying to the hundreds of messages she received on Facebook.

I cooked her a late breakfast of traditional English fare. Lincolnshire herb sausages, unsmoked bacon, black pudding, mushrooms, and two fried eggs. The bonus was that the eggs had ‘double-yolks’, so you could argue she had four eggs.

I had already booked a restuarant for her evening birthday meal. We chose the pub The Brisley Bell, in the village of Brisley, four miles from Beetley. This well-known establishment has two big bars, room accommodation, and a large award-winning restaurant in a huge space at the rear. It is extremely popular, but I managed to secure a table from 18:30 until 21:00. As we had never eaten there previously, we had both checked out the menu online. However, I didn’t want to get too excited, as menus can change on the day.

After the short drive in very thick fog, we managed to get the last space in a very crowded car park. The bars were busy, but when we were shown to our table in the Library Room at the back, it was peaceful there, and very nicely lit and decorated. Over a drink, we perused the menu, unusually deciding we would both have the same first two courses.

The chosen starter was Pheasant Broth. This came with assorted wild mushrooms, and delicious small dumplings in a flavoursome broth that was served piping hot.

For main course we had Monkfish wrapped in thin smoky bacon, served with spinach and fresh gnocchi on a smooth white garlic sauce.

Both were absolutely delicious!

After a short interval, we agreed we would also have a dessert. Julie chose the Mango Pavlova, with mango ice cream on the meringue, and slices of mango surrounding it in a mango juice. I had something different, a home-made warm Bakewell tart, topped with a small scoop of pistachio ice cream.

They were good choices, and we were both very satisfied.

Driving home in even thicker fog, we both said it was one of the best meals we had ever eaten, and believe me we have eaten some good meals over the years.

I am not one to take photos of my meal, (Julie did, and posted them on Facebook) but here is a link to The Brisley Bell. If you ever find yourself in this area, you will not find a better place to eat. If you allow the header photos to scroll, you will see the ‘Library Room’ where we ate.

https://thebrisleybell.co.uk/

Some Sunday Musings

Life has finally returned to normal after Christmas and New Year. I couldn’t be more pleased about that, as I find comfort in routine these days.

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What hasn’t returned to normal is the weather. After three days of bright sunshine, we got eighteen hours of torrential rain. With only one day below freezing, the mud hasn’t hardened, and dog-walking with Ollie is still unpleasant. The strange winter weather continues next week apparently, with temperatures climbing back up to over 10C, before falling again.

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After five days on his new tablet medication, Ollie has stopped shaking his head, and is a lot calmer and more relaxed. His fur has yet to grow back, but on the plus side it does seem to have stopped falling out. Becuse he cannot have his arthritis tablets in conjunction with the steroids and antibiotics, his front legs have become stiff again, and he is not even contemplating chasing any deer or rabbits.

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I still haven’t got around to having my car checked out, but I am encouraged by the fact it is running well, and there is no squeaky noise at all.
Now I have typed that, I am sure I have pushed my luck, and anticipate ‘The return of the squeak’ forthwith!

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Not much else has happened worth reporting. I see that as a very good thing.

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New Year, Same Ollie

I mentioned recently that Ollie’s fur is not growing back after his recent skin infection. If anything, the fur loss is getting worse.

Then over the weekend, he started to shake his head again, a sure sign of a developing ear infection.

So my first ‘normal’ day after the holiday season involved taking him to the Vet, yet again. I was lucky to get an afternoon appointment, even though the place was heaving with numerous dogs, and cats in baskets.

For some reason, the dogs in the waiting room yesterday were particularly distressed. One small French Buldog was in such a state, it was climbing over its owner’s head to try to get out of a window. A stocky Chow Chow was digging its front legs so hard into the flooring, the frustrated owner had to drag the poor thing into the consulting room by its body harness.

Next to us, a nervous Lurcher bitch spent her waiting time trembling and crying, and an unseen dog in the treatment room at the back howled through whatever process it was enduring. Ollie picked up on all the distress, constantly walking in circles around me.

Eventually, we got in to see the usual Vet. He diagnosed an ear infection in the right ear. I expected him to use the new ‘wonder-gel’ to cure it, but he told me that does not get into the bloodstream, so Ollie would have to have tablets. Back to Prednisilone and Antibiotics for two weeks. He has to go back then, to be checked over.

As if the Christmas season wasn’t expensive enough, that ten minutes and two bottles of tablets cost £126. ($171)

On the plus side, (looking for positives!) the squeaking noise from my car has stopped. Maybe it was just something caught in the wheel? I won’t be able to risk not getting it checked though, but that will have to wait for a while.

Normality returns

From tomorrow, the 4th of January, life goes back to normal in Beetley. Other than some different days for bin collections, the local kids go back to school, people who still go out to work (including Julie) start work again, and all shop-opening hours return to pre-Christmas times.

One of the things about geting old, at least for me, is comfort in familiarity. I don’t embrace change as I once did, (if I ever did) and like to know my routine is not disrupted. Just like my beloved dog, Ollie, I am happy with what I know.

Because of the Christmas holidays, I had to write down the bin-collection revisions on my new 2022 Sharpei calendar. I always have a calendar on my desk, and write everything I need to remember in the large box provided for each day. When you are retired, so many days merge into a blur, so I also get a lot of comfort from my calendar.

(Tech wizards please note*, I am too old to rely on a mobile phone to tell me all this stuff.)

So from tomorrow, I will be able to ring the Vet to get Ollie sorted, and ring the car mechanics to get my car sorted. I will be able to make a booking for Julie’s birthday meal on the 14th, and every service normally used will be back to normal.

That makes me very relieved.

Since Christmas Eve, I have felt as if I was in limbo. Every day was the same, just different levels of housework or cooking required. Once Julie’s birthday is celebrated on the 14th, (I have already bought the card and presents) we can relax until my birthday in March.

I have eleven months until the Christmas madness starts all over again, and I will enjoy every one of them.

My First Musings Of 2022

I’m musing on the wrong day here, but at this time of year I have to look at my calendar to know what day it is. Apparently, it is Saturday. As it is a ‘sort-of’ public holiday here, and most people will not be out and about or back at work until the 4th, it feels like yet another Sunday.
(The 3rd is the official public holiday, because today fell on a weekend.)
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I managed to stay up and awake to see 2022 arrive. In fact I didn’t go to bed until 2am. My perkiness was assisted by only having one glass of wine with my dinner. The Tapas-style buffet we chose to prepare was delicious, and eaten over a decent amount of time as we sat around watching the poor choice of seasonal TV provided.
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I am going to try to be a little more positive about things this year. Here is one example.
It rains too much in Beetley, and that gets on my nerves. So here is a positive slant on that for New Year’s Day.
Too much rain = never having a water shortage.
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My driving licence expires in March. That is because I will be 70 years old. In Britain, that means I have to make a ‘Medical Declaration’ that I am fit to drive, and also supply proof of my identity all over again. It is such a faff to do this. They recommend you do it online, but I have no scanner to scan documents. The paper form requires that I send original documents as proof that I am who I say I am, and it comes with a warning that there is a very long backlog of applications already. I was hoping to win the lottery so that I could just abandon driving and employ a full-time chauffeur.
Sadly, that did not happen.
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Ollie is going to be 10 in February. For his breed, that is a considerable age, close to 80 in human years. His fur is still patchy, and refusing to grow back. Some other dog-walkers seem to be avoiding me recently, as they are convinced his skin condition must be contagious. Covid-19 has made people fear anything unusual.
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I intend to cook a Chinese meal tonight. Duck in hoisin sauce, stir-fried with suitable vegetables and noodles. After days of making do with leftovers or eating huge traditional roast dinners and High Tea, I am yearning for something Asian and spicy.
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The brakes on my car are making a nasty ‘squeaking noise’. When life gets back to normal on the 4th, I fear I am going to have to take it in for examination and repair. No doubt this will be my first financial downturn of 2022, as I can already hear the mechanic’s cash register ringing up a huge bill.
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On the plus side, I am looking forward to reading all your posts in the coming year, and I might even be having my usual moans about bloggers who follow with no link to their site, or others who think that a one-word comment like ‘Nice’ is acceptable. (It isn’t, and you get spammed for it by me)
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The sun is shining brightly. That’s two days in a row. I am taking that as a sign!

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Our Last Christmas Present

Every year, one of Julie’s twin daughters gets us a delivery of an English High Tea as a Christmas gift. With all the eating and socialising over Christmas, we always choose to have this delivered later, in this case, today.

Piglet’s Pantry is a very reliable company, delivering on time, and everything freshly made and very well-packaged. We are actually going to have this for our evening meal later, as Julie was at work when it was delivered.

This version of a High Tea does away with sandwiches, which is fine in my book. We get Sausage Rolls in two varieties, an indiviual Quiche each, and two delicious hand-made Scotch Eggs. The sweet stuff comprises four delicious bar cakes in assorted flavours, and a Fruit Scone each, accompained by clotted cream and jam. To round it off, they supply two tea bags of their own special blend.

Julie is having a mini-bottle of Prosecco with hers, and I will be on red wine as usual.

Our special tiered tea plate comes out for the occasion, and this is what it all looks like.

Savoury selection.

Sweet selection.

(Photos from Julie’s phone.)