The Last Sunday Musings For September

It has felt like a long week, for no good reason. Perhaps because Monday was a Public Holiday for the Queen’s funeral, the days have been out of synch.

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Unusually, everything closed for the day on Monday. No shops opened, not even for reduced hours. So my usual supermarket shop had to be put off until Tuesday. That made Tuesday feel like Monday, and every day after that just felt in the wrong place. By Thursday, we were both convinced it was Friday, and I was wondering why the TV was showing programmes on the wrong day.

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For Ollie of course, nothing changed. As long as he got his routine in the right order, and his walks at the right time, he didn’t notice any changes. On Friday, I had to drive to the Vet to get his repeat prescription. I had added an extra, a steroid cream that helps heal a sore spot on his chest. It worked exceptionally well in July, but soon ran out. I wanted to have some more just in case, so asked for another tube. That increased the bill to a mammoth £91. I had to remind myself once again that he is always completely worth the expense.

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After the relentless 10-day TV coverage of all things Royal, the normal news returned and I finally found out what had been happening in places other than Balmoral, Windsor castle, Westminster Abbey, and in countries outside Britain. Naturally, Monday was written off, with 24-hour coverage of the funeral on all main TV channels. Once they got back to normal on Tuesday, all the schedules had to be ‘bumped up’ by one day.

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Out on the dog-walks, we caught up with some friends (and their dogs) we had missed for the week we were away in Lincolnshire. It was back to greeting familiar dogs for Ollie, and marking his territory with an intensity that had to be seen.

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Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you have a peaceful and happy Sunday.

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Visiting My Mum

When we lose loved ones, they live on in our memories. In my case, they often appear to me in dreams too.

I went to bed before midnight last night. I felt tired after a reasonably busy day, and went straight to sleep. Not long after, I was visiting my mum.

She spent her last years in a small flat in South London. When she became almost immobile with breathing problems, I would visit her there, go out and buy her shopping, then cook her some meals to leave in the fridge and freezer. Before leaving for home, I would always watch her eat a meal, to make sure in my mind that she was getting some decent food instead of existing on sweet biscuits and cake.

Her living room was small, but she had a folding table and two chairs under the window. That was for guests to sit at if they wanted to. She remained in her armchair, and ate her food from a lap tray. I was watching her eat, which was a slow process, as she had to rest between mouthfuls and catch her breath. She was talking to me about when I retired from work, and moved to Norfolk. That dates the conversation as sometime in 2011, as we had just bought this house that summer.

She was also talking about the pets she had lost, and lamenting the fact that she was now too ill to get another dog. She hoped that I would get a dog when I retired, and bring it to London to see her. I spoke again about the possibility of her moving in with us once we moved in 2012, but she was adamant that she wanted to stay in London.

It was completely real, and totally familiar to me, like watching a video of us recorded at the time.

But most dreams also have a surreal element, and the next thing I knew we were walking across a cemetery to find the grave of someone we knew who had been killed in the Falklands War. Except that she could not have physically managed that, and we didn’t know anyone who had been killed in that war.

Before we found the grave, I was woken up by a severe bout of cramp in my left leg. I had to get out of bed and stand on the leg to ease the pain, and I was surprised to find myself in the bedroom in Beetley, and no longer standing next to my mum.

Whatever part of my subconscious brain recreated that visit to my mum, I am glad it did.

Sunday Musings After A Holiday

It has felt like a long week since we got back. The intense coverage of the aftermath of the Queen’s death has worn me out, with the increasingly monotonous 24/7 repeats of film tributes about her life. Not being a Royalist, I can only hope all this will come to an end after Monday’s funeral.
Somehow, I suspect it will not.

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The old saying, “I need a holiday to get over my holiday” rings true. Despite a very enjoyable time, it doesn’t really feel as if we are refreshed and relaxed. The few days since we got back have seen us both quite tired, and not really in the mood to get on with anything. As for Ollie, he is still sleeping more than ever, and reluctant to rise from his bed in the mornings.

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There have been a couple of wet dog walks, as the exceptionally dry summer has been replaced by the arrival of a definite autumn. It has felt cold too. Dropping from record temperatures well above 30c to a daytime best of just 14C has been something of a shock. At least we no longer have to have a fan running to get to sleep at night.

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I have put the last of the holiday photos up on the blog, and started to write the remaining photo-prompt stories from photos received in 2020. By the end of the month, I should be ready to start the next fiction serial.

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Just to remind us that Covid-19 is still very much an issue, I received an invitation to book my annual booster innoculation. The first slot available was at the end of November.

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Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope you have a peaceful and enjoyable Sunday.

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Back To Reality Musings

We returned from our holiday on Monday afternoon, and had things to do yesterday. So I have not been online from the 4th, until this morning.
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We were lucky with the weather, despite some overnight rain and an occasional heavy shower during the day, we managed to avoid getting wet and stayed in pleasant sunshine. Like most people do on holiday, I had too much to eat, and a lot more wine than I would have at home. Ollie had a wonderful time meeting new dogs, (including two Sharpeis) but he came home exhausted by the extra exercise of long walks along the seafront. He has been sleeping all the time since Monday, save for his walks across Beetley Meadows.

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It felt strange for me to not be blogging of course, but I am back today, starting from scratch. This means that I have replied to comments on my posts while I was away, but have not managed to tackle the hundreds of posts of bloggers I follow. By the weekend, I should be back to my normal routine.

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Thanks to everyone who read my older posts while I was gone. It was encouraging to discover I had regular views every day, even when not posting anything.

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Quite a lot happened while we were on holiday, including the death of the Queen, and Ukraine retaking ground in the ongoing war against Russia. But I watched little or no TV, as I had a porch to sit on, and watched the world go by outside instead. I make no comment about the death of Elizabeth II, and the media circus that has accompanied her passing. Everyone who reads this blog will know I am not a royalist, and have no interest in anything to do with the British royal family.

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After an enjoyable time breathing sea air, and travelling around a different part of England, I am actually looking forward to re-establishing my routine with Ollie. Julie has today off work, so it will be spent quietly, with a necessary supermarket shop and some catching up on domestic things.

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I hope you have all had an enjoyable week while we have been away, and I will catch up with all of your blogs soon.

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A Long Day

Getting ready to go on holiday can be quite tiring. (At my age, anyway)

We were up early. Choosing clothes to take, making lists so we don’t forget things like chargers for phones, and Ollie’s requirements for a week away.

Ironing can be hot work on a 25C day, and we both did a lot of that.

Ollie had to be walked, and some bags were packed ready for Monday. One thing about taking the car on a holiday in England, you take too much stuff. Lots of weather considerations apply.

Will it rain? Do I need a coat for the evenings? I should take some shoes for wet weather, just in case. Before you know it, you have enough for three weeks, let alone one.

The whittling-down begins.

Three pairs of shoes should be enough, though I should chuck the wellies and umbrella in the car, in case of inclement weather. At least one ‘smart’ set of clothes is necessary, as we will be eating out for our wedding anniversary on the tenth. And how many toys should we take for Ollie? Two should be enough, but three will nail it.

Adding a couple of fleeces for sitting on the verandah after dark, and making sure I have enough boxer shorts for seven days, plus extras. And very soon, it is all coming together.

Bt 1pm, it feels more like 7pm, and we are both yawning. Then Ollie gets his chicken dinner, and he starts yawning too. Julie has a hair appointment for 5pm, to get a much needed holiday trim. I have already dealt with what hair I have left by clippering it off yesterday.

Oh, the toiletries? They have to wait until Monday morning, as we have to use them all before we leave on Monday.

It is now 6:30pm, and feels like midnight. Time to get dinner ready.

Lap-Dog

There are times when you can enjoy a dog sitting on your lap.

And there are other times when…

We drove down to Attleborough to see one of my stepdaughters this afternoon. It was her husband’s birthday, and we wanted to drop off his card and present.

As you can see, they have a dog.

Loki is a 2 year-old Cane Corso, an Italian Mastiff.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cane_Corso

He hadn’t seen me for a while, and wanted to show his affection by sitting on my lap. Literally. As he weighs over 11 stones, (155 pounds) I knew he was there.

Despite his Shetland pony size, and the fact that his head is much bigger than mine, he is a gentle giant. He loves strokes and cuddles, and likes to sit as close to you as possible, preferably on you.

Whe we got home later Ollie was intrigued, and gave me a very detailed sniff for a considerably long time.

The Last Sunday Musings In August

Feeling quite positive this week, so no moans for a change.

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After another burst of ‘big heat’, heavy storms broke the humidity and made life more pleasant, especially for Ollie.

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Despite not starting a new fiction serial on my blog, I have been enjoying finding old photos online and compiling them into nostalgia posts on my blog. And they seem to be popular with readers too.

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Ollie got his bath and claw trim, and feels sleek for the first time in a long while. The groomer said his skin was in good condition, so that made me happy.

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Next week, we will begin preparing for our holiday on Monday week. Sorting out clothes, making lists of things we must not forget to take in the car, and charging up electronic devices like cameras, tablet, and phones. Julie was tempted to look at the long-range weather forecast for where we are going, and it currently predicts one day of rain on the Tuesday. One out of seven won’t be that bad, if they got it right of course.

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Tomorrow is a public holiday in England, August Bank Holiday Monday. But it will just be ‘Monday’ for us, as going anywhere near the coast or to places open to the public will be sure to be jam-packed with visitors. As the shops are open until 4pm, I will probably do my usual supermarket ‘big shop’ for the week. Not very exciting, but then I have a holiday to anticipate!

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Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope you have a peaceful Sunday.

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One Forgotten Cost Of Living

The news media here has been featuring the rising costs of everything since Russia invaded Ukraine six months ago. Prices of Gas and Electricity have risen sharply, in most cases by well over 100% on the previous year. They are set to rise again this week, followed by more rises in late October, and again in January 2023.

Trying to appear compassionate (that’s a laugh) the Conservative government announced a series of payments to every user to help pay for the increases. They began with a £150 per household rebate on Council Tax, and will soon be adding an additional £300, more for the unemployed and others living on benefits. They are also increasing the Pensioners’ Winter Fuel Allowance, a one-off annual payment that I qualify for because of my age.

I am not fooled by this apparent ‘generosity’ of the current government. They are trying to limit the damage of Boris Johnson’s shameful legacy, and they are well-aware there is a General Election in 2024. We also know that members of parliament’s own fuel bills can be paid for by the taxpayers, if claimed on expenses. (And most make those claims.)

Also, perhaps shamed by its obscene profits, the major gas supply company British Gas is donating 10% of those profits to be shared out to its customers.

But one cost of living increase that almost never gets a mention is Heating Oil. (Kerosene) In rural areas and small villages all over Britain, there is no Mains Gas supply. This leaves those of us living in those areas with three options.

Propane Gas.
All-Electric
Heating Oil.

Like many surrounding villages, most houses in Beetley rely on heating oil, stored in large tanks on the property. This fuel heats our water and runs the central heating. The price fluctuates on the world market, and like all other energy sources, it is currently increasing. Before Russia attacked Ukraine, I could buy 500 litres of oil for a reasonable £230. I have just ordered some to be delivered today, and the cost will be £480. That’s a huge price increase in a six-month period.

However, despite the fact that over 1,500,000 homes rely on heating oil in the UK, it has not been mentioned in any rebate scheme.

Another industry cashing in on the excuse of the war in Ukraine, and more profts for the friends of government ministers.

Ollie Looking His Best

Yesterday, I took Ollie to the groomer at 2 in the afternoon. She took one look at the amount of fur he was shedding and said, “I’m going to need an extra thirty minutes, so pick him up at 3:30”.

That was okay, as I had stuff to do.

The first trip was back to the Doctor’s, where my wife works. I had to hand in a ‘sample container’, and she was at the desk when I arrived. However, she needed someone else to book it in, as she is not allowed to deal with anything to do with her own family.

After that, I had to drive to the Vet in Swaffham, to collect Ollie’s regular prescription of Arthritis tablets. I went the back way, along the country lanes and through nice little villages. It made a refreshing change to avoid the busy A47 main road, even if it took 15 minutes longer.

However, it had been storming and raining since the early hours. After so long without significant rain, many roads were awash with water running straight off of the bone-dry fields. And I had to use my windscreen wipers for the first time in a very long while.

When I got to the Vet’s it was very quiet, and no customers were inside with their pets. So I jinxed the staff by saying out loud, “I have never seen it so quiet in here”. A lady told me off for saying that, then gave me the tablets. I was surprised that the price had increased since last month. In a little over a year, the 30 tablets have increased from a monthly cost of £38, to today’s price of £49.71. That’s almost £600 a year, just to try to keep our beloved dog pain-free.

He’s worth it though, of course he is.

By the time I got back to the groomer’s in Scarning, Ollie was ready, and excited to see me. He looks really good, smells fresh, and his claws are clipped as short as is sensible.

But I wonder how long it will be until he is like a smelly old rug once again.