New Arrivals: Rusty

Last December, I mentioned Rusty, a puppy that had arrived on the dog-walking scene. Full of youthful exuberance, he is always excited to see Ollie, and beside himself with the desire to play. Unfortunately, Ollie considers himself above such childish behaviour now, so Rusty has to make do with pretending to play, while Ollie stands still and gives him an occasional warning growl.

Rusty is older now of course, though not that much bigger. He enjoyed himself in the snow when it was here.

He recently had his first trip to the groomer, and his super-soft fur is looking in top condition.

I am hoping that Ollie will soon decide that Rusty is in his gang, and one of his new best friends. But I’m not holding my breath. 🙂

Edward Hopper: A Tribute In Photographs

American artist Edward Hopper (1882-1967) created stark images on canvas that were powerful enough to tell the story in your head. You may not have heard of him, or like me, you might well be a fan. These are some examples of his work.

An American photographer, Richard Tuschman, has been experimenting with recreating some of Hopper’s images, using a digital camera. My friend Antony sent me a link to a short (six-minute) video presentation of his photos, which are quite simply stunning.

All you photographers out there are going to appreciate this video, I am sure. And also many of you who never take photographs, hopefully.

(The video link looks blank, but it does play when you click on it.)

A Special Lunch For My Birthday

Julie got up early today, to cook me a home-made ‘High Tea’ for my birthday.

(The photos can be enlarged.)

We decided to have it for lunch instead, so she prepared the coffee table in the living room, and I watched the news as we ate.

As you can see, she made Scotch Eggs, Quiche, and Sausage Rolls. Presented on our special ‘Tea stand’.

(Ollie’s toy box can be seen behind.)

The top tier includes home-made cupcakes and a selection of Baklava from my step-daughters, which were brought over last Sunday.

I hasten to add that we didn’t eat it all!

It will provide lunch tomorrow, and the rest of the Quiche will be eaten as a main meal this week.

And I am pleased to confirm that it all tasted as delcious as it looks

Is Blogging Writing?

Some people write very little on their blogs. Perhaps just captions above or under photos, a list of ingredients for a recipe, or a few lines of Haiku.

That’s fine. I say well done to all of them. Blogging should work for you, and be what you want it to be.

Others use their blogs to promote their published books. ‘Real writing’, by real writers.

Occasionally, a blogger will write 2,000-word posts about their predicament. That might be suffering from depression, the break-up of a relationship, or enduring a lifelong medical condition that affects them in many ways.

Good idea. Get it off your chest, connect with others in similar situations. Blogging as a form of communication.

Diary bloggers tell us about their week. What they did, where they went, who they met. That kind of thing. Travel bloggers do something similar, except that it is usually in an exotic or unusual location.

Then there are bloggers like me. Weather reports, dog-walking, nostalgia pieces. And fiction, a lot of fiction. Some of my long serials published as one story fall just short of the accepted length of a novel. But I don’t try to publish them as novels, and have little interest in doing so.

That begs the question. Am I a blogger, or a writer? Is blogging ‘Writing’, or something completely different?

Over to you.

Birthday Boy!

On this day in 2012, Ollie was born in the house next door. Today is his ninth birthday, quite old for his breed.

But as you will have seen from his recent video appearances, he is still lively, and enjoying his walks.

2020 saw the loss of his mother, Molly. Then later in the year, his sister Milly died. He didn’t know of course, so was spared any sense of loss.

Today he received two new soft toys as birthday presents. A Crocodile, and a Sheep. With his dinner later, he will get an extra bonus of a large smoked sausage.

I hope my best friend and constant companion will be around for a long time to come.

An Alphabet Of Things I like: T

Tortoises.

The smaller breeds of tortoise are very popular as pets. Slow-moving, easy to feed, and long-living. Many families, including mine, have kept a pet tortoise, or more than one. But that doesn’t mean to say we should keep them of course, as they are never truly domesticated.

In some countries, they are called turtles, because they are in the same animal family. As this graphic explains.

In far-flung places like the Galapagos Islands, giant tortoises can grow to an enormous size. In the past, they were hunted for their meat, and also for their shells.

I understand that they are no longer so popular as pets, and that is a good thing. Hopefully, they can be left alone to live their lives naturally.

An Alphabet Of Things I Like: P

Parrots.

Parrots, including Cockatoos, Lovebirds, and Budgerigars are colourful, noisy birds. They have been kept as pets for centuries, and their feathers were also prized in some civilizations. As a child, we had some budgerigars in a small cage, and they would bash the mirror, and ring the bell. It was my job occasionally to change the sandpaper at the bottom, and to restock the millet that they ate. I wasn’t old enough to consider that keeping two birds in that tiny cage might be cruel.

My first close-up experience of a large parrot was when my uncle kept an African Grey as a pet.

Although it had a large cage, it was allowed out, and would walk around the furniture, often choosing to sit on my uncle’s shoulder. I was wary of its powerful beak, and it made me jump when it would suddenly fly off to perch on top of the curtain rail. I soon decided that it wasn’t right to keep such a bird in a domestic situation. I was later proved correct in this, when his parrot began to pull out all the feathers it could reach, until it was bald over about 60% of its body. It also bounced its head up and down constantly, a sure sign that it was suffering from mental health problems.

Parrots should be allowed to live in the wild, and fly free.

Like so many other animals, some varieties of parrot are now endangered in the wild. Hunting for the pet trade, deforestation, and other encroachments of humans are threatening their existence. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just learn to be kind to them, and leave them alone?

Gosia’s Soaps: The Best I Have Ever Used

Christmas is coming, and it is time to think about giving something useful as a gift. I am happy to suggest the wonderful soaps made by the wife of fellow blogger, Eddy Winko.

Gosia produces them with 100% all-natural ingredients, in a real home-crafting situation in Poland. Even better, you can choose from a great variety, including those suitable for sensitive skin, like mine. Prices are fair, and much better than those so-called ‘Artisan soaps’ seen for sale at craft fairs and trendy markets around the country. The soap I buy even softens Norfolk’s hard water, and makes the bath easy to clean after use!

Gosia will post to anywhere in the world, and advance payment is easily arranged by using Paypal. You can contact Eddy through the website for any special requests, or to leave your order and address details. I am not the only blogger who uses these soaps regularly, and every customer always comes back for more!

The latest updated link, in English.

Soaps

This link is in Polish, but can be translated using Google.

Zielona Koza

Here is a link to the site in English, where you can scroll through and look at photos and descriptions of the products available.

Soaps

Cleethorpes: A Deserted Beach

(All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them)

A trip north to the once genteel resort of Cleethorpes delivered something of a shock. Despite being end of season, the town was absolutely packed with tourists, and it took a very long time to find a car-parking space.

Dogs were not allowed on the beach until the end of the month, so we had to walk along the busy promenade with Ollie. Although the streets were full of people, the beach was almost deserted.

In the distance, I spotted what was left of some wartime fortifications.

The pier that once served as an elegant entertainment venue is now just a gigantic fish and chip shop.

It was a sunny and warm day, and we were able to find a good place for a delicious lunch later.