The Gloomsday Scenario

I was looking back over some old posts this evening, and found this one about the weather, and Global Warming. It is over six years old, but still strangely relevant, at least as far as life in Beetley is concerned.
Hardly any of you have seen it before, or commented previously.


When I was young, we used to be told of ‘The Doomsday Scenario’. This basically involved nuclear war between the West, and The Soviet Union. Despite a lot of rhetoric, and much commentary, this never happened. Instead, the reality is now the ‘Gloomsday Scenario’, and that is happening, as I write.

Over the last twenty years or so, we have heard from the Green lobby, and the other agencies concerned with ‘Global Warming’, about the evils of technology, and the combustion engine. The ‘Carbon Footprint’ has been synonymous with disregard for the environment, and we are made to feel guilty, for the use of every light bulb, or any journey involving foreign travel. When I retired, I expected that retirement to be in a haze of unrestricted UV waves, with sunshine warming my old bones, and the climate of the UK eventually resembling that of Sicily, or Arizona. I would…

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I was not imagining it

I moan a lot about the weather. Guilty!

I suspect that many of you think I exaggerate it, and that’s understandable.

Fortunately, the BBC have just confirmed exactly what I already knew.

During the last 25 days, it has rained here EVERY day.

Forecast for tomorrow?

You guessed it. ‘Heavy showers’.

I think I might actually go insane.


Ollie, the Moose, and a Deer

By the time it came to take Ollie for his walk on this Sunday afternoon, it had been raining here for almost 24 hours, non-stop. I was not in the best of moods, having been awakened early by a particularly torrential downpour whilst it was still dark outside.

I also had to wear my new Wellington boots for the first time, as last year’s ones had sprung a leak somewhere, forcing me to invest in a new pair. As we set off, I wasn’t looking forward to a couple of hours walking in heavy rain, trudging through mud and six-inch deep puddles. The new boots were not too uncomfortable, though the left one was rubbing my little toe enough to have me limping after less than an hour.

Ollie was looking around, in the hope of seeing some other dogs for company. But nobody else was risking the lunchtime downpours, and he couldn’t find any doggy pals to run about with.

I decided it was up to me to enrich his playtime, and fell back on the old standby of telling him to search for an animal to hunt. For some unknown reason, I chose to mention a Moose. Now Ollie wouldn’t know what a Moose is, as we don’t have them in Britain. But my secretive tone, and half-whispered “Find the Moose, Ollie. Where’s that moose?” had him off and running immediately.

Nose to the ground, he crisscrossed the whole of Beetley Meadows in search of the non-existent animal. Every so often, he would stand stock still, lift his head, and sniff the air. When he had decided that his search was in vain, he ran back to find me, looking dejected. Trying to keep the momentum going, I took him through the gate into the small woodland area, talking to him as if he was a person. “It’s in here, Ollie! Find the Moose!” In the heavily overgrown woodland, his search was more difficult. Avoiding the nasty clumps of thorny brambles, he soon gave up.

I led him back through the gate onto the Meadows, and turned right. Around 250 yards straight ahead, a small white-tailed deer was busy nibbling some berries from a bush overhanging the path. It hadn’t noticed us as we walked from the gate. Ollie took off at high speed, sensibly making no yelping noises, and with the long wet grass muffling the sound of his galloping paws.

I became concerned that he might actually catch the small animal, which was no larger than my dog. So I picked up speed as best as I could, hampered by the new boots, and muddy ground. Just as I was convinced that Ollie would grab the little deer in his jaws, it turned and spotted him, at the last possible moment. Bounding off as if it had springs for legs, it took the route through the overgrown central area of Beetley Meadows, meaning I could not see Ollie at all as he continued in pursuit.

I carried on in the general direction for a few minutes, until Ollie finally returned to find me. His face was frothy from the chase, and he was panting hard. When I asked him “Did you get it, boy?” he snapped his head around to look, in case it had come back.

He may not have seen a Moose, or caught a deer, but he was happy for having had the chance to try.

Ollie At The Vet Again

Just over a week ago, we noticed that Ollie’s fur had still not grown back completely, after his last skin infection during the hot spell.
I took a photo of it, when we were out on his walk. You can make out the circle of bare skin, and the mark where a scab had formed.

Then over the weekend, his back got a lot worse. Hair was falling out in more circular patterns, and it was soon looking like this, with more scabs appearing.
(Notice his tail is uncurled, a sure sign he was unhappy at being photographed close up.)

On Monday evening, we noticed this awful sore had appeared on his neck, just above his right leg.

I rang the Vet on Tuesday morning, and managed to get an appointment for today.

Now we are back, with a diagnosis of a yeast infection of the skin, an ear infection in the right ear, and a sample sent away for laboratory testing in case it is Ringworm. Ollie has a week-long course of antibiotics and steroids, ear drops for the right ear, and the sore at the bottom of his neck has to be washed twice-daily with salt water.

I may have to bathe my wallet too, so it can recover from the amount taken out of it…

He was very well-behaved, and allowed the lady Vet to scrape, prod, and poke. For his good behavior, he was rewarded with some delicious cooked chicken pieces once we got home.

Let’s hope that it clears up soon, and he gets no more infections for the remainder of 2019.

“It’s Just Weather”

After another ten hours of near torrential rain yesterday, I was beside myself. Why had I chosen to live in Norfolk? It was supposed to be the ‘Driest county in England’, but after seven years, I had seen more rain that in the previous sixty years of my life. There was no getting away from it, all this rain was making me unhappy, bordering on depression. I was beginning to hate my life in this world of water.

The new guttering was unable to cope with the relentless downpours, so the whole property was awash. Then I discovered that the shed had flooded again, so by the time it came to have to take Ollie for his walk, I would just have soon hanged myself from our oak tree, in all honesty. I really had seen enough. The end of my tether didn’t even get close to conveying my mood, which was darker than dark. Black, in fact.

But Ollie has to go out.

I dressed for the weather, with a waterproof coat, and heavy rubber boots. I added an umbrella, to keep off the worst of the downpours.

Ten minutes into my walk, and Ollie was saturated. Even with the umbrella, I was having a hard job even keeping remotely dry. The ground was wet and muddy, the river had burst its banks and overflowed onto the paths. If I lived in America and owned a handgun, I would have shot myself, with a smile on my face as I collapsed to the ground.

Halfway round Beetley Meadows, I spotted a fellow dog-walker. I know him, and his delightful tiny dog, Lola. Ollie trotted off to see them, and I finally caught up. Lola was also saturated, her short coat of fur was a mass of damp curls. But as always, she jumped up onto my leg for strokes and cuddles, and licked my hand and face.

I walked alongside my neighbour for a while, bemoaning my fate. I told him how I was so fed up with the rain, that our shed had flooded, and that my mood was so low, there was no level that could describe it.

He told me that he was having just a short walk with Lola, as she was such a tiny dog, she didn’t need too much exercise. When I mentioned that I had to keep Ollie out for at least two hours, to tire him out, he nodded.

I repeated my complaints about the relentless rain as he walked away. He turned and smiled, his local upbringing showing through his wry grin.

“It’s just weather. That’s all it is”.

I wish I could be like that, I really do.

Annoyed With Myself

This country recently changed the size and composition of its currency. The old paper banknotes were replaced by ‘plastic’ money. These new notes are slippery, stick together, and cannot be folded. I didn’t like this new money from the start. It just didn’t feel right, and had a tendency to easily slide around. But then I don’t use a wallet, never have. I have always been someone who carried his cash in a trouser pocket. Wallets are easily stolen, especially when carried around in a back pocket, and when you live in a crowded city like London.

Since moving here, I have little need for cash. I can buy everything I need with a bank card, even tap the card against devices in shops to pay small amounts without having to enter a PIN number. For many of us, cash is almost obsolete now. You can even pay for something as small as a bus fare using a bank card.

However, I wanted to get some cash out yesterday, to give to Julie to take on a trip south this weekend. She is meeting a group of friends just outside London, and it is handy to have cash when it comes to splitting bills, or giving over her share of something, like an entrance fee. Outside the supermarket, I used a bank machine to draw out fifty pounds, and that sum was delivered in five ten-pound notes. Brand new plastic notes, all stuck together so firmly, they looked like just one. I made sure there were five of them, and carefully placed them into my trouser pocket before heading inside with my trolley to get the weekly shop.

I knew I would not have to go back into that pocket, as my bank card was in another one, and my car keys were clipped onto the trolley so I didn’t lose them. After getting the ‘big shop’, I had to go into town to sort out someone to come and investigate problems with the TV aerial. I was in the TV shop for just ten minutes, and didn’t have to go into my pockets for anything during that time. I then drove home, and unloaded the car.

Not long after that, I reached into my pocket to give Julie the fifty pounds.
It was gone, all of it.

A search ensued. All the shopping bags were examined. The car searched inside and out. My steps from the driveway to the house retraced, and my clothes examined in great detail.


Julie phoned the supermarket, in the hope that someone might have handed in the cash. They were very helpful, and said that the manager would instruct the cleaning staff to look for the money, once the store closed. If they found it, he would call us on the phone.

By 5 pm, I was so angry with myself for losing the money, I became frustrated and very dejected. I blamed the government for their stupid slippery plastic money, but I mostly blamed myself for being careless and forgetful. Fifty pounds is not a fortune, I know, but when you might just as well have thrown it down a drain, the loss of it is very annoying indeed. And when you are living on two work pensions and the State Pension, even that small amount is a loss that is noticed.

I managed to get to sleep eventually, and to forget about it. But when I woke up this morning, it was the first thing on my mind.

I fear it is going to ruin my whole week.

Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Good cartoons.

No idea why, but I woke up thinking about cartoons today.

I know we now have adult cartoon shows, like ‘The Simpsons’, and ‘Family Guy’. Younger adults are also well-served by the Japanese animators, with their amazing imaginations. Kids have Disney Pixar and Nickelodeon, and the tiny ones have things like ‘My Little Pony’ and ‘Paw Patrol’.

But I never see any of the old ‘good cartoons’ anymore. Ones like these.

Or the ones I grew up with.

At the cinema, cartoons always added to the enjoyment.

Many became household names, and endured for decades.

When television came along, we had cartoons to enjoy at home too.

I was happy to watch these into my late teens,and always enjoyed the antics of the familiar characters. But then longer cartoon shows took over, like the awful ‘Scooby-Doo’, ‘Hong Kong Phooey’, and many more. Pop groups like the Jackson 5 had their own cartoon show, and very soon the essence of the short cartoon seemed to have disappeared without trace.

Political correctness, merchandising of associated products, and the power of the networks put an end to the cartoons I had enjoyed for years.

Let me know what cartoons you miss, by leaving a comment.