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.


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.


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.


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!


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


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.

The Kindness Of A Stranger

Last night, I went to collect a Thai meal from the local restaurant in Beetley. A very short drive, and only a twelve minute walk in better weather.

But at 6:30 pm, it was raining hard, and still very icy on the pavements. So the short drive was preferred.

The food was being prepared fresh, so I had to wait for almost twenty minutes past the order time until it was ready. When I got back to the car, someone had parked very close to me. Reversing out was going to be tricky, but in the large empty car park, it seemed easy enough to just swing the wheel to the right, and execute a large ‘loop’ so I was facing the exit.

However, the snow on that part of the car park was deeper than it looked, and my car came to a sudden halt, the front drive wheels spinning. I remembered the drill in those situations, reverse a little way, and get a bit of a run against the snow in front. As I reversed, the rear wheels stuck fast. The person who had parked so close as to make this happen appeared with his meal in its bag. He jumped in his car, and drove off easily from the harder paved area where I had been originally.

I was now alone, stranded in the rear of large empty car park, with my car refusing to move either forward or back. I had some decisions to make.

Return to the restaurant, and try to get help from the staff. I already knew they were flat-out busy, and only one of them was a man stong enough to help. And he is the head chef.

Abandon the car, walk home in the rain, and return for it tomorrow, using something under the wheels to get a grip on the snow. The food would be stone cold by the time I walked home. Warmed up Thai food is not exactly appetising.

As I pondered my options, it started to rain harder. Freezing rain mixed with sleet, pinging against the car windows

Then a car drove in, and I made my play. Running across to the car as it parked on the hard surface area, I spoke to the driver, a burly man in his late thirties. I asked if he could help by pushing my car as I tried to drive it out of the snow. Or failing that, he could drive it, and I would push. (Though I doubted my strength to be able to do that, in all honesty) He said “Hang on”. I returned to my car to wait.

He took some time, and I wondered if he had changed his mind. But then I saw that he was putting on a heavy coat, to combat the sleet and cold. He came over, took a place at the back of the car, and I tried again. It still stuck, so he suggested going in reverse again. That didn’t work, and he shrugged. “Third try, then I will have to go and get my meal, okay?” I thanked him profusely, and gave the accelerator a push.

Out it came, onto the harder area. Reluctantly it seemed, but unable to resist his final determined push. I jumped out of the car, and unable to shake his hand, due to Covid social distancing restrictions, had to settle for a geniune and heartfelt thank you, that I am sure he knew was very real.

Thanks to the kindness of a complete stranger, we were able to eat dinner before it had time to get cold.

Finally managed some photos

This short post is from 2012, so not that many of you have seen it before. This was the first time I managed to insert photos into a blog post, after many hours of frustrating experiments. Ollie was just nine months old then. He no longer likes to wade in the sea, much preferring freshwater rivers or ponds.

I did something wrong back then, so the photos cannot be enlarged. Sorry.


If you look at the bumper on the front of this car, you will see how we shop for poultry in Beetley!

This is our dog, Ollie, enjoying a refreshing dip in the sea at Holkham.

It has taken me ages tonight, just to work out how to import pictures onto this blog! A sure sign of advancing years. Now I have finally managed to add these two to this post, I am going to call it a night. More to come, when I have the necessary patience. I have even sent out a desperate request to WordPress for advice, so you can ignore it, if you see it.

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Ollie goes out in the car

Ollie, when he is ‘not happy’. Tail down, and panting.

Since he started the summer moult, Ollie has been scratching his legs and biting his ‘undercarriage’. These are sure signs of irritation caused by the usual skin infection he gets a few times a year. Rushing through nettles and brambles doesn’t help, nor does standing for long periods up to his neck in the river. That might cool him down, but it allows who knows what in the river to get into his system too.

So I bowed to the inevitable, and booked him in for a Vet appointment today. Then on Wednesday, he went to the groomer to have the loose fur stripped, and a nice bath. He came back looking sleek, and smelling a whole lot better too.

Taking Ollie to the Vet has to be done by car, as it is twelve miles away, in Swaffham. It makes me feel guilty to see how excited he gets to be going for a drive to some exciting new place, when I know where we are actually going. In the familiar car park, he emerges from his place at the back with a worried look. Having spent so much of his life to and from one Vet or another, he recognises the location immediately.

Once through the door, he begins panting and placing his paws on my knees, looking concerned, and turning in circles on his lead. I always try to see the same Vet, but he was doing surgery today, so I had to see a young lady instead. Meanwhile, a nervous Spaniel in the waiting room was whining and crying, which upset Ollie even more. He kept going over to check on the dog, to make sure he was alright.

By the time we were called in to the examination room, Ollie was trying to head for the door. Fortunately, his condition is well-known, so he only had to be weighed, and suffer a brief investigation with an ear-scope. He tolerates Vet treatment very well as a rule, and as long as I am there, they can do more or less anything to him. After a quick once-over, the lady Vet agreed that he should have the usual doses of ear-drops, antibiotics, and steroids for the inflammation and itchiness. When she got up to go and get the medicines, Ollie tried to exit through the closed door, keen to get back out to the car.

Still feeling guilty, I took him straight up to Milennium Wood in North Elmham, where he came across a group of Labradors and Terriers to sniff and play with.

By the time we were heading back to the car, he appeared to have forgotten his distressing trip.

Until the next time.

Mankind 1. Nature 0.

I was very pleased to hear that one of my oldest friends had reason to visit Norfolk this week. I arranged to meet him yesterday at a seafood restaurant on the north coast, in a small place called West Runton.

After a dismal damp morning in Beetley, the short drive north saw a welcome change in the weather. By the time we were sitting down to eat, it was pleasantly warm, almost too hot. We had a good catch-up of course, as we had not seen each other for close to two years. The food was fresh, and very tasty too. A pleasant way to spend a couple of hours indeed.

On the way home, I took the quiet country route. Driving in pleasant evening sunlight, even though it was past eight pm, I reflected on what a nice place this is to live, when the weather is fine.

Approaching the village of Guist on a narrow road, a deer suddenly ran out from the bushes to my right. Despite hard braking, I could not possibly avoid it, and I hit the animal at a speed of around 50 mph. The poor thing was catapulted along the road before coming to a stop on the left-hand verge. I saw it twitch briefly, and then it moved no more.

It was a difficult place to stop, on a small fast road, close to a bend. I concluded that getting out to check on the deer, which appeared to be a female Roe Deer, was potentially too dangerous, and continued my journey. When the road became wider, I stopped the car by some houses in Guist, and checked for damage. One front panel was out of alignment, though easily popped back with a hard push. Otherwise, the car appeared to be undamaged.

I carried on to Beetley, feeling very sad for the unfortunate deer, who had fallen victim to a technology that was not in its nature to anticipate.

When The Fates conspire…

I wrote yesterday about being covered in rashes and bites. On top of that, the hay fever season is especially bad this year, and I am streaming from the eyes and nose. Add to this a heavy summer cold and cough, and the recent spell of nice weather has become increasingly difficult to enjoy.

So, to cheer us up, and for a change on a Saturday evening, we decided to go to the nearby Thai restaurant, where we always enjoy good food, and a pleasant night out. We had to book an early reservation, as they were unusually busy. It is within walking distance, and this is one of the added attractions, not having to drive there. However, the uncomfortable humid weather brought heavy skies, and the promise of rain. By the time we had to leave, at 6.15 pm, Julie decided not to risk any thunderstorms, and said she would drive us there in her car. Light rain on the way confirmed her fears, and by the time we arrived, it was raining a lot heavier.

The food was excellent, the staff as friendly as ever, and we were glad to have made the effort to get out of the house, and enjoy the change. By 8.40 pm, we were back at home relaxing, and watching a film on TV. At around 10.30, we were startled by the doorbell ringing. Beetley is a very quiet place, dark and sleepy by this time. Someone calling at that hour is not only unusual, it is almost unheard of. I went out, and saw two people with torches on the driveway. As I got closer, I realised that they were police officers. One of them shone his torch across the road outside. “Could that be your car?” He asked. I was shocked to see Julie’s car up against the wall of the house opposite. I replied, “Hang on, I will go and get my wife.”

We went over to the house of the neighbour across the road. Our car had rolled off the driveway, sedately crossed the street, then continued across his front lawn, before falling into the gap by his side entrance. The back of the car was hard against his brickwork, and the rear wheels suspended in space, jammed by some half-logs that surround his grass. It was too dark to do anything about it, and the police made some cursory checks before leaving, happy to conclude that it was no more than a simple vehicular mishap. Our neighbour wasn’t even at home. He had checked his security cameras remotely, seen a car against his back gate, and presumed that a burglary was in progress. He had called the police from where he was, almost 100 miles away, and they had responded expecting to find suspects at the scene.

This morning, we can see it all in better light. The wheels are stuck fast, his newly-landscaped lawn and log border have been slightly disturbed, and there is some damage to the rear of Julie’s car, as well as to the underside. The insurance company are recovering the vehicle to be repaired locally. They will supply a replacement car for one week too. When our neighbour arrives back today, we will give him the details, so that he can claim for repairs to his property. No harm done, nobody injured, more inconvenience and embarrassment than drama. Things that can be fixed, and only a small amount to pay.

If only we had stayed at home…