More November Sunday Musings

This past week has been dominated by the weather. To be specific, rain. Relentless rain, day and night for days on end. I wrote about it on a blog post, and despite a dry day on Saturday, it started again overnight. As well as being unpleasant and affecting my mood, it has caused chaos further north, with flooding in Eastern Scotland causing the death of a woman who was swept into a river in Aberdeenshire. I really don’t want to hear one more person say, “It’s good for the garden”.


Otherwise, it has been an unremarkable week in Beetley. I have stuck to my routine, and so has Ollie.


There was a government ‘Financial Statement’ during the week that basically announced tax rises for everyone, and a windfall tax on some oil companies. We were told to expect austerity and slow growth, and some ‘difficult decisions’ to come until the next election. This from a Prime Minister with a personal fortune exceeding £30 million, five houses, a bilionare wife, and a salary of £162,000 that he should really give away to charity, as he doesn’t need it. And from his sidekick Chancellor, a man on a salary of £153,000, plus expenses up to £200,000 in addition to that. Austerity is not something those people will ever comprehend.


Julie has been baking, making Bread Pudding. It is delicious. Readers outside of the UK may never have heard of this cheap-to-make cake, so here is what it looks like, with a recipe.


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


32 Hours Of Rain

When I went to bed on Tuesday night, it was raining heavily here. I lay in bed listening to the sound of it, driven against the window by strong winds.

Then I woke up on Wednesday, and it was still raining torentially. It carried on that way until just after midday, when a break in the weather allowed me to have a dry dog-walk with Ollie.

But by 3pm it was back, raining just as heavily as earlier.

Later that night, the rain increasd in intensity, as did the noise of it striking the house. When I went to sleep, it was still raining. When I got up this morning, it is still raining. The house is dark, and I have my SAD lamp in operation at 8:30am.

After such a long and hot dry summer, I had seemingly forgotten just how much relentless rain like this can so badly affect my mood.

Sunday Musings For The First Week In November

An uneventful week that began with me coming down with something on Tuesday that I thought might be Flu. Sore throat, persistent cough, and aches. I spent three days taking various tablets and going to bed early, and by Friday afternoon it had gone away.


The weather changed, and became ‘changeable’, according to the BBC forecasters. This meant some very cold and crisp days accompanied by eye-blistering low sunshine, followed by others when it was stil dark at 11am, and pouring with rain. The shorts went back into the cupboard, and we have had the heating on for 2-3 hours each day. This small house is well-insulated, so at the recent temperatures those few hours are all we need for now. We have just had almost 17 hours of torrential rain, and it is still raining as I type this.


One positive about that rain was that it reduced the number of Firework parties on our traditional ‘Guy Fawkes’ Night’ 5th of November, also known as ‘Firework Night’. Unlike many pets, Ollie is not disturbed by those, but last night was the least celebrated I can remember since moving to Beetley.


My SAD lamp has also been used most afternoons in the office room, to combat the early onset of night-time darkness. It seems to be working, as my mood has been chipper.


Ollie has also had a quiet week. No need for him to visit the Vet for once, and his walks on Beetley Meadows have been enriched by the company of numerous dogs during the dry days. At home, he has recaptured some of his puppy youth, and gone back to playing with his toys in the evenings. That is very nice to see, and indicates that he is free of any illness for the time being.


Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope you have a happy (and dry) Sunday.


Holiday Snaps (4)

One afternoon, I decided we should drive inland. I wanted to see the ruins of Bolingbroke Castle, then move on to Gunby Hall. That is a grand house where dogs are welcome in the gardens. Unfortunately, the heavens opened once we got up into the Wolds. We had rarely seen rain like it, and it was of Monsoon standard. Even with 2-speed wipers, I could hardly see to drive. Cars were stopping on the main road, which was awash with water in seconds, and by the time we got to the ruined castle, it was still torrential.

So I abandoned the plans, and decided to venture back to the coast at Skegness. That is a rather ‘tacky’ holiday town. It is very large, and not our sort of thing, to be honest. However, there was a dog-friendly attraction, the seal sanctuary at Natureland.

Once there, the weather was better, parking was free on the street, and we could take Ollie inside on his lead. To be honest, it was barely worth the entry fee, but as it receives no government or charitable funding, we were happy to support it.

(All photos can be enlarged, by clicking on them.)

Rescued Harbour Seals in the water, and sunbathing.

They had some Meerkats too.

And some camera shy Penguins.

A not very shy Goat, hoping for some treats.

After our visit, we stopped for a very good coffee along the front, before driving back 14 miles to our cabin.

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.

I Don’t Want To Hear It

After the heavy rain yesterday, I went out with Ollie. It was still drizzling a little, and looking dark and cloudy. Wandering around our usual haunts, I met a few dog-walkers. Being English, we naturally discussed the weather.

I mentioned to one lady that the weather was miserable, and she replied.
“But it’s good for the garden”.

Sometime later I saw a man I see every day. He mentioned that I was carrying an umbrella, and reminded me that more heavy rain was forecast to arrive later.
As he walked off, he turned and said,
“It’s good for the garden though”.

With the clouds descending again, and the temperature dropping, I walked one more circuit, before heading for home. On the way I saw a lady with two dogs. She also noted my umbrella, and looked up at the sky. In my mind, I was pleading ‘Don’t say it!’ But she did.
“Good for the garden at least”.

It has been raining heavily all night, and later this morning I have to take Ollie out, with more rain forecast.

If you happen to see me over on Beetley Meadows, please, please do not say “It’s good for the garden”.

I don’t care if it’s good for the garden. It is June, and I want some summer!

Very Wet Sunday Musings

I was woken up at 4:40 am this morning by the sound of torrential rain hitting the patio outside the bedroom window. I couldn’t get back to sleep, so have now been awake for over four hours. It is still raining, dark inside the house, and only 11C. Welcome to a very British Summer.


At least I managed to cut the grass yesterday afternoon, front and back. It took me almost three hours, and my hands were trembling all evening after that. Ollie helped of course, doing his special task of constantly standing just in front of the powerful hover-mower, oblivious to the fact that it could easily chop off his paws.


Now the interminable Jubilee celebrations are almost over, I have to call the optician about my eye appointment for the driving licence renewal tomorrow. I might as well get it sorted sooner, rather than later.


Talking of Jubilee celebrations, I was pleased to note that many people were doing what we do best in this country. Fawning, and sycophancy. We are world leaders in both.
If anyone saved their street parties until today, they are going to need their Union Jack umbrellas, by the look of it.


Ollie is snoring so loudly, I might have to wake him up in a minute. Perhaps the rain disturbed him early too.


Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, have a peaceful and pleasant Sunday. It looks like it is going to feel like a very long day for me.


A Change In The Weather

After one of the driest and brightest Januaries I can ever remember, February started out well too.

Then it all fell apart.

On Saturday, it started to rain at 1pm, just in time to get a good soaking out on the dog walk. That rain continued all day. Then all night. Then until 9am on Sunday.

After a bright start, Sunday ended up under water, with icy cold rain that made the whole day forgettable.

Then it rained all night Sunday night too.

I was fooled into thinking it had stopped raining when I went out with Ollie on Monday. But no, down it came again, accompanied by gusty winds that made it difficult to hang on to my umbrella. Ollie was saturated, and even using three large dog-towels hardly got him dry.

Time to head off to the supermarket for my regular Monday ‘big-shop’.

Driving there in quite heavy rain, wipers going. I was inside the shop for around 45 minutes, and as I emerged with a fully-loaded trolley, I could see it had been really bucketing down. The car park was awash, and just getting across to the car, my trainers and socks were soaked.

After stacking away all the groceries, I came inside and started to prepare dinner, then watched the news.

Two storms are on their way later this week, arriving one after the other. Bad enough to be given ‘names’, and an Amber Weather Warning, they will bring 80-90 mph winds, snow and blizzards in Scotland and the north, torrential rain and damage to trees and property elsewhere.

Who said a crocus was a sign of Spring? 😦

Finding Bailey

It was a wet dog walk today. I wathed the lunchtime weather report, and they said it would be ‘cloudy but dry in the East’. So I knew to take my umbrella. Ten minutes in, and it was raining lightly. By the time I got over to Hoe Rough, the umbrella was failing to cope with torrential rain.

That meant wet shoes, (Skechers for comfort, not waterproof) wet shorts, and wet sleeves on my cotton top. Then there was walking through the tall grass and shrubs, still wet from yesterday, now soaking my legs on top of the rain. To remind me it was summer, the temperature was a humid 21 C (69 F), and Ollie was hot enough that despite being wet from the rain, he still jumped into the river to cool down.

After a couple of miserable rounds of the nature reserve, I headed back to Beetley Meadows, skidding around on the fresh mud. Over there, I saw a lady I know in passing. She usually has two small dogs with her. Today there was only one. She walked up and asked me, “Have you seen a small dog? It’s a little Spaniel called Bailey”. I told her I knew the dog, but hadn’t seen him. She told me her son was out in his car, driving around Beetley hoping to see him on the street.

I asked her where she had last seen Bailey, and she said he had gone into the long grass opposite the gate to the woodland area. That grass is never cut, and is currently very high. It also contains nesting adders, (poisonous snakes) who would likely be hunkered down in the cooler, wet weather. I said I was heading that way, and would look for her dog. By that time, she had been trying to find her dog for almost thirty minutes, and was getting worried.

Standing next to the long grass opposite the gate, I called out “Bailey” and whistled too. Ollie seemed confused, thinking I was whistling him. Seeing the grass moving about twenty-five feet away, I called again and again, until there was definitely more movement. So I told Ollie to stay, ditched the umbrella, and ventured in, finally catching a glimpse of the tiny Spaniel ahead. I patted my legs and called his name again, and he made his way nervously in my direction.

When he was close enough, I stepped forward and slipped Ollie’s lead over the small head. Then I walked him back to where the lady was standing with her other dog.

Little Bailey was soaked through, and looked exhausted. It must have seemed like being trapped in a grass maze, towering well over two feet above him. Perhaps he became disorientated, and headed deeper into the grassed area, rather than back to the path? We will never know for sure why he got lost there.

But at least he was found, safe and sound.