Birthday Boy! Eight Years Old!

On the 12th of February, 2012, Ollie was born late at night, in the house next door.

Three months later, he came to live with us, and has been my constant companion ever since. Hardly a moment of any day goes by when he is not close enough to me to touch, and the only time he is ever on his own is when he settles down on his bed at night.

He has mellowed my moods, given me reason to exercise and explore, and through him, I have met most of the people I know in Beetley.

Despite all his numerous surgical procedures and other medical problems, he has stuck with me loyally, and remained my best friend for those eight years.

Happy Birthday for yesterday, to the best dog anyone could ever hope to own.

Never Forgotten

Today would have been my Mum’s 95th birthday. The photo below shows her at her 70th, twenty-five years ago.

She died in March 2012, aged 87.

It was a hard and painful death, and very uncomfortable to watch, I assure you.

But then she had endured a hard life, with her teenage years spent during WW2 in London. Then in 1947, she married my Dad, and he didn’t give her a very easy time. She worked for most of her life, from the age of 14, until she was 75. She had a work ethic, and didn’t like to feel like she was being lazy. Despite my Dad’s numerous affairs, she stuck by him. Then when he finally left her for another woman, in 1976, she stuck by me.

After he was gone, she never once went out with another man, despite being the relatively young age of 52 at the time. She devoted her life to her family, her numerous pets, and to me. She worked hard at trying to run her own business, twice. When that failed, she got work as a housekeeper for rich people in the countryside. After that, she worked as a domestic cleaner, and did ironing too, right up until she reached the age of 75, and illnesses stopped her working.

She was a devoted Mum, aunt, sister, cousin, and friend too. When she died, not only family grieved her loss, but the community she lived in as well.

An accomplished baker, knitter, and talented on the sewing machine, there was very little that she didn’t turn her hand to, in a life lived to the full. She was political too, as a long-term member of the Labour Party, and a committed Socialist. And even at the age of 70, as shown in the photo, she cared about her appearance, and still held down three part-time jobs.

She was everything anyone could have asked for in a Mum. And in an aunt, sister, or cousin.

And she will never be forgotten, I promise you that.

Violet Anne Johnson. (nee Pallen) 1924-2012. Rest in peace, my beloved Mum.

Too many candles

Today is my birthday. Regular readers will know that I always make a big deal about that. Previous birthdays have seen frequent trips to the seaside, or places of interest. I fear the weather is not going to cooperate today, so it will be a quieter celebration. I will restrict myself to opening my cards, and the few gifts I will receive.

Ollie thinks it is just another day of course. So his long walk will go ahead as usual, and he might be interested to sniff at my cards and parcels, hoping they contain unexpected treats for him.

We will go to the nearby Thai restaurant later. But it will just be a nice meal, nothing too celebratory.

And there will be no birthday cake.
I think that 67 candles is too many, for one cake.

Seven Today!

Today is Ollie’s seventh birthday. As usual, he was refusing to pose for photos on the walk, even though I took him somewhere nice for a change. After many attempts, this was the best I could get.

(Please enlarge the photos, by clicking on them.)

He was happy to receive two birthday presents this morning. A stuffed toy version of the famous ‘Grumpy Cat’, and a new nylon chew bone to replace his much loved previous one. He was so excited by the gifts, he wore himself out, and slept for the rest of the morning.

I drove him the short distance to Beetley Common, for a change of scene, and he was happy trudging through the mud over there. He spotted some sheep, and probably expected a birthday greeting. But they eyed him suspiciously instead.

Further down, he saw a swan on the fishing lakes. But that was busy grooming, and not at all interested in the birthday boy.

He had to make do with me, and the best part of two hours doing circuits of the Common, woodland, and lakes. And by way of celebrating, he has decided to start moulting heavily, covering everything in dog hair. 🙂

Chicken for his dinner tonight, with some extra birthday treats.

Time to start watching…

Christmas is coming, and our habit is to give out a list of presents we might like to receive, so we don’t end up with unwanted gifts like soap sets, or decorative items we have no room to display. My short list this year contained one non-fiction book, and fifteen DVD films that I would like to own. I already knew that I would be getting a new pair of my favourite sheepskin bootee slippers, so didn’t bother to include them on the list.

Thinking about the DVD films to add to my list, I generally only consider the cheaper ones, not the expensive brand new releases, or Blu-Ray editions. It seems presumptuous to request an expensive version of something that can be bought for half the price, or reduced significantly once the festive season has passed. As small parcels began to arrive, it soon became obvious that Julie has bought more than a few of the films on my list. And if she has passed on the others from the list to relatives, I might be lucky to get lots of new films to watch.

This morning, I had to get something from a shelf in my small office. I noticed the top shelf, which contains DVD films that I have yet to watch. Some of these are still wrapped in cellophane, and some are used copies, bought for next-to-nothing on Amazon Marketplace. The films are stacked two deep, with others on top of them, sideways on. I had a look through them, and was quite frankly startled to discover that there are over forty films I have yet to watch. Many were presents from last Christmas, and my birthday in March. Some date back to Christmas 2016.

I watch a fair bit of TV. I also watch films on TV. Since acquiring a streaming device, I have watched a lot of foreign serials on that, generally one episode after the other, until I have seen them all. But I obviously don’t watch nearly enough films on DVD.
I will have to set aside some time in 2019, and get watching.

Significant Songs (198)

Love Is A Losing Game

If she had lived, Amy Winehouse would have been 35 years old on the 14th of September. I missed the actual day, but still wanted to feature a tribute to her talent to mark the occasion. She died in 2011, after a long period of problems with drugs and alcohol. Her promising career began with the release of the album ‘Frank’, in 2003. But the second album, ‘Back To Black’ launched her into international stardom. She specialised in sad songs about failed relationships, so I thought one of those might be appropriate.

A bigger cake

Remember the line in the film ‘Jaws’?
They see the size of the shark, and Roy Scheider says “We’re gonna need a bigger boat!”

It is my birthday today, and if I was having a cake (which I’m not) it would have to be a bigger one. It would need to accommodate 66 candles this time, and might well set off the smoke alarm once lit.

Last year, I celebrated by taking a trip to the Suffolk coast, on a bright and breezy sunny day. I was wearing shorts, and feeling that summer was just around the corner. But we have had rain overnight, and the sun is currently unable to break through the dark clouds threatening overhead. So a trip to the seaside might be called off, I suspect.

Nonetheless, it has started well enough. I have received ten cards already, and gifts of a new PC monitor, red wine, and some of my favourite caramel nougat. The postman might bring more cards later this afternoon, and this evening we are going out for a birthday meal. I have chosen The Chequers, in a village called Thompson. They specialise in British food, and I am looking forward to ordering a traditional steak and kidney pudding. It is a 17th century inn, with a thatched roof, and a tiny bar.

So, even if we don’t get out anywhere because of the weather, I have that to look forward to.
If it is anyone else’s birthday today, and you are reading this, then I wish you Happy Birthday, from a fellow Piscean.