Sunday, 25 August 2019

A small accident with an even smaller thorn

Is it really August Bank Holiday in England?  Wall-to-wall sunshine and temperatures far in excess of what Management and Millie consider acceptable.  I am OK until it gets above 40 degrees, so no heatwave woes from me πŸ€£.   Yesterday was brilliant and we made a start on the first hedge cutting of the year.  A garden this size with multiple (large) evergreen hedges and ludicrously fertile soil - much cutting and shredding is required each season and we regularly fail to get all the way round.

I had a great day - Millie not so much:  she got bored when she found herself the only person in the Cottage Garden for 15 minutes and this was the result:

I am, as you know, Cruel.  Mean and Heartless.  That particular Horticultural Endeavour has been curtailed:

The Honourable Lady M. made her disgust known by INSISTING that she joined us, and no trying to persuade her back indoors was going to work.  So, of course, she won and Management took on "standing next to her with a hand on the collar" duties whilst I did hedge stuff!  She's just too stinking cute to get bothered about it.  πŸ•πŸΎ

(he only let go long enough for me to take these pictures)

Today was meant to be a repeat performance.  I made an early start but whilst I was cutting back some berberis that had come through from next door, I got the tiniest thorn embedded in the knuckle of my ring finger.  It is almost too small to see, but has landed (I think) on the Ulnar Nerve.  I'm splinted and strapped up until such time as it works its way out enough that we can get a pair of tweezers in there . . .

(splinted so I cannot bend my finger, and if I cannot bend it then the thorn doesn't dig into the nerve . . . an awful lot of dressing for something which cannot be seen with anything less than a 10x magnifier!)

No point in getting upset, time to find a shady spot where Lady Millicent and I can be cool and concentrate on the Kindle.   Management braved the heat and popped out to get some fresh veg, bless him; clearly The Universe thinks I should be having a quiet day and this was her way of making me put my feet up.  πŸ₯°

EDIT:   AARGH......  that will bloody teach me.  Whilst I have been writing this, I've also been boiling a couple of eggs, fancied egg mayonnaise for lunch.  The eggs were cooked, peeled, and sitting by a chopping board when I left the kitchen to check the progress of the photo uploads.  When I went back to the kitchen there were no eggs . . .  Management had the cheek to say "are you sure that's where you left them?"   

Clearly lurchers like eggs . . . that nice [now] empty space on the tea towel was easy pickings for Lady Millicent.  Little bugger.  πŸ€£

(She's still stinking cute, but my lunch is going to be late!)

Friday, 23 August 2019

Time management with Millie

Has taking Millie into our lives been the right thing to do?  PROBABLY
Has it been as simple as when Daisy moved in?  ABSOLUTELY NOT

When Daisy moved in she was already a mature dog, and one with a very different personality to that which bubbles out of the Lunatic Lurcher on a minute-by-minute basis.  Daisy had been deeply traumatised by whatever had happened to her, and was in no position psychologically to bounce around and test boundaries;  she was a quiet, gentle and well-behaved lady - hence the name Little Miss Perfect.  She was completely house-trained, knew all her basic commands and walked nicely on a lead.

Millie is not Daisy.  Millie is her own dog, and we are on a steep learning curve.  It is all very lovely and exactly what I needed, oh boy did I need it.  I was sitting stroking her the other day and said to Management "I don't remember when I smiled so much".

At present Millie is "full on" and requires full-time attention.  Unless she is upside down and deeply asleep she needs something in her mouth.  Although she has a basket full of toys of different styles and mouth-feel unless her attention is directed correctly she's just as likely to pick up a slipper, the woodburner glove, or anything else we've been daft enough to leave with reach (and her reach is extensive!!)  We do not do 'crate confinement' and never will, so one of us is in the same room as Millie all the time - it's easier that way, if not a little exhausting.  Thankfully she is so happy to follow me around, or jump in the car and she already has a bed in nearly every room in the house.

This week has been unusually "full-on" for us, and somewhat tested my diminished time management skills, I'm writing it out just to remind myself that (contrary to a regularly held belief), I don't spend half the time sitting on my bottom.  πŸ˜€    On Monday Himself's car went to the garage first thing, and after lunch, Millie was back to the vet for a check up.  Not unexpectedly, his car failed its MOT - it is old and has done a gazillion business miles.  This finally got us off our bottoms to look for a replacement, something we have been talking about doing ever since he left work, but just "not got around to" but heck, it swallows up hours of time.

Tuesday:  Early start for yoga, which is meant to be relaxing.  Only I ruined any residual benefit by trying to be clever and go straight into town and do all the errands.  Despite being in Bill to facilitate a comfy lunch-stop I ended up chucking the remainder of the shopping list on the floor and coming home.  Hot, tired, no longer refreshed from yoga.  A tiny hole in the Persil box meant sweet smelling laundry powder all over the floor of the van = unplanned vacuuming.  Collect Himself's car which only required a quick fix to make it legal and MOT'd, but we're still going to sell it.

Wednesday:  I woke up tired, stayed tired all day.  Himself went out and ticked off a couple more errands (including a whole car boot full of things to the charity shop, Yay!),   Millie and I stayed home and played.  I tried to do some sewing, never really got going.

Thursday:  Early appointment to have my hair trimmed and whilst in town tried to finish up the errands that I abandoned on Tuesday.  Whilst Tuesday's errands were incomplete because I got too hot, Thursday's were not finished because every time I stepped outside I got soaked, and cold.

Life with Millie has given me the impetus to try to get back to a routine we successfully implemented years ago and that was to shop only once a month, except for milk and fresh vegetables which were bought weekly.  I had forgotten how much work it took to set up having a month's worth of (insert multiple items such as toilet paper, pasta, rice, mayonnaise, etc., etc) on hand but once the routine/lists are established it does save a huge amount of time, and quite often a bit of money too.  Hence so much shopping this week but it will be worth it when our little 'system' is in place and running again.

And I want to use that time to get out for 'proper' walks with Lady Millicent.  As a much happier traveller than Daisy ever was, the potential for us to go all over the place and properly utilise Bill is quite tantalising.

(this picture was taken earlier in the month and the eagle-eyed may notice her spaying scar was still infected, it's absolutely fine now)

Today we are all a little slow, and taking it easy.  The weather is (sort of) helping by being damp and cloudy so I feel no obligation to go in the garden and tackle any of the numerous outstanding jobs outside.  My desk looks like someone has exploded a paper-filled piΓ±ata over it.

I don't know how those of my friends who still work actually manage it.  There are truly not enough hours in the day.  There was me thinking "retirement" was supposed to be relaxing.  I guess it is - some of the time - but this week has not been one of those times.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Stolen campervan - please can you help

Many of you know Tigermouse - our friend Eunice, either through her comments here or her own blogs.

Earlier this week she experienced the tragedy of seeing her beloved campervan driven away from her home, and was unable to catch up with the scum-bags who have taken not only her daily drive, but her holidays and every single bit of her camping gear.

She fears the contents will have been sold to fund a drug habit and the van burnt out and left somewhere, but on the wild and amazing off chance that is not what's happened, then her little Wendy House on Wheels might well appear on a campsite this weekend - despite the "British Summer', this is August Bank holiday.

If you should see it, please phone 999 - the police will do the rest.

The internet can be an absolutely wonderful thing, and whilst I might not utilise the ability to send messages all over the place via Facebook, I know many of my friends and blog visitors do, and I am posting this to ask if you would please, please share this either on social media, or on your own blog?

Here is a link to an article in Eunice's local paper describing just how much has been stolen from her.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

So, what daft thing did you do for your dog this week?

Lurchers are often called "40mph couch potatoes" and it is true.  Millie has to sprint at least twice a day, and is generally happy to sleep/doze/lounge around in strange contorted positions the rest of the time.

But when Millie is running absolutely flat out she's uncatchable, and unstoppable.  Unless she forgets that we have come OUT the main house door and she cannot go IN via the kitchen patio doors and   πŸ’₯  *!*  CRASH *!* πŸ’₯.    Thank Crunchy this has only happened once: I saw the collision about to unfold but no way could I get to her in time to prevent it.  There are stories online of greyhounds going straight through patio doors and I can believe it, but I'm not worried about the glass - I am worried about our Darling Girl breaking her neck.  Over the past few years we have lost many wild birds to window strikes on these large panes of glass, but I am not sure I could survive something like this happening to Lady Millicent.

Enter the lovely world of campervan personalisation to the rescue!  For ages I have been looking at the vinyl designs at Hippy Motors and pondering whether to add some prettiness to Bill.  The jury is still out on whether our campervan gets some bling or I decide to remain a relatively anonymous white box, but I knew exactly what I could do with some clever stickers to protect Millie.

My study:

Dining/sewing room:


When I placed the order there was a message on the Hippy Motors website that Angela and Matt were away, and would process orders as soon as they could.  This lovely couple must have sent out my stickers before their suitcases hit the floor because I had the package within a couple of days, and this kind note on the delivery slip.

The stickers are great - I've used vinyl cutouts before that were a Royal Pain to apply, but these went on really easily and come with instructions that made sense.

No affiliation, no kickback, yada yada ya.  Just a very happy customer who is now seriously considering what I can decorate the inside of Bill with.

Today's further Court Report on the Honourable Lady Millicent is that we went back to John Sedgwick yesterday afternoon and she is pronounced fully recovered from her ailments of the last three weeks.  Her ear mites have completely gone, the eyes have no sign of conjunctivitis and best of all the spaying scar is completely healed.  This photo is a couple of days old - the skin looks even better now.

To be honest, John admitted to being as relieved as I was.  He told me that when he saw our name on the afternoon list he was already thinking "what would be the best day for surgery" as he expected to have to go back in to clean up the spaying scar.  He examined the suture I'd kept under a magnifier, and confirmed it was a braided material, absorbable, and very similar to that which he would have used.  Together with the huge lump on her neck (now completely gone) which is thought to have been an injection reaction, notes have been made on Lady Millicent's record that she might well have a tendency to "be rather sensitive" to things which other dogs tolerate perfectly well.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Bittersweet, but beautiful

Yesterday was another beautiful day although this year the weather cannot decide which direction it is going in.  It seems as if every other day is cold, damp and gloomy and - horrors - the woodburner has already been briefly lit on a couple of evenings.  Today feels like Autumn is barrelling towards us with far too much haste; perhaps we will be blessed with a warm & sunny September?

But when it is warm and bright, with a lovely breeze that's just right (providing you have long sleeves on) our Dear Little Lady is mixing moments of mad, frenetic charging around with languid lurcher lounging (oh, the possibilities for awful alliteration are endless 🐾  πŸ•  πŸ€ͺ )

Remind you of anyone?

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Trip to the beach

Millie's first visit to a beach (possibly) and first trip in the campervan (definitely).

Verdict:  she was an ABSOLUTE STAR.   We made her secure in the back of the van using another of the "Slow Ton Dog Seatbelts".   These are quite brilliant, and came in a pack of two so one for each vehicle.  We can adjust them so that Millie would be restrained in the event of a crash, but has enough room to move around when she wants.   Sadly no photos of her seeming to enjoy travelling in the campervan 'cos Management could not reach his phone to take some pictures whilst I was driving.  But he did take these earlier in the day when we were setting up the strap:

Back to the beach - we decided to stop at Allonby instead of going as far up the road as Mawbray.  I think Millie was a bit confused to start with, but once we were over the pebbles and onto sand she got the idea that running around was possible.  Unfortunately what was not possible was letting her run like she might have wanted to.  I had a 15 metre trailing lead and had rather hoped I could use it like a lunge rein but Millie did not read the instruction book . . .   a long lunge will work fine if your animal is going to run a predictable circle round and round.

That's not how Millie does zoomies.  Millie zooms in zig-zags, in figure-of-eights, in pretzel shapes.  Which is great in the garden - not so great when there's many metres of webbing strap to get knotted up in.  Which happened to both of us and, no surprise, I fell over πŸ˜†   Sand is not too hard to land on . . .

Despite the slight equipment failure, I think Millie enjoyed herself.  She certainly enjoyed trotting around with large pieces of seaweed in her mouth.

"Slumming it" in the van before we came home:

She was an extremely tired little girl last night, and today is fairly quiet and sedate (by her normal standards).  We are all going to have a gentle day.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Our first fortnight

Goodness, Millie has lived here for two whole weeks - how did that happen?  The days have absolutely sped by, possibly because it feels as if we have hardly sat down for the entire time.  I do not think there is any doubt that Millie's life has been enhanced by coming to live at Bag End but the real test is how much our lives have been enhanced by having her here.

And the answer to that is:  immeasurably.

We seem to have "done it again" and whilst this mad little girl will never be Daisy, she certainly shares some characteristics - she is kind and can be gentle, doesn't appear to have any malice and when she's not trotting around the house/garden with the latest "trophy" in her mouth* she is a very easy lass to live with.

*  It should be pointed out, in Millie's defence, that the occasions of 'nicking things' are nearly always because WE are not meeting HER needs at that time; if it is a time when she needs to play/burn off some energy, or if we have been daft enough to leave something where it does not belong and it is too easy to pick up (slippers, gardening gloves?)

Before Millie arrived I alluded to the fact that we'd been "busy in the garden' without saying what we were doing - but it was things like making gates less "jump-over-able", adding a gate to keep the Cottage Garden/Veg patch separate from the big side garden.  The garden has undergone more 'reinforcing' in the form of barriers to cut off  'zoomy routes' that were going to wreck a couple of beds, and there needs to be a little bit more done because she doesn't always differentiate between lawn and flower bed.

She does love to play, although stepping outside when it is raining requires some thought:

There is a section of Cottage Garden lawn which is already torn up, but if you rummage back through the blog far enough there are pictures of where Daisy had done a similar thing.

Lady Millicent is burning off huge amounts of energy in the garden, but doesn't yet seem to know what walks are all about.  Mostly we have kept her to the short route near the house, and she is starting to relax and recognise where she is.  Yesterday I took her to the river for the first time; she was very unsure to start with as we walked away from the house in a new direction, but once she settled down was very interested in her surroundings.

Unlike Daisy she doesn't seem to be bothered by water happily sploshing through a large puddle, but it will be a long while before she's off a lead near the river.  Actually, it will probably be quite a while before she is off a lead anywhere - her recall is as typically crap as you would expect from a young sighthound.

After the "you are not sleeping on my bed battle of wills" Millie now settles down in her soft crate every night, but when I get a cuppa in the morning and go back to bed to read for a while The Honourable Lady M.  joins me and is a warm, snuggly delight.

She's also (mostly) a snuggly delight on the sofa, although she does take up more than her fair share of it.

Unlike many lurchers, Millie does not mess around where food is concerned, although she does not like Bonio - neither did Daisy, and much prefers her Milky Bones to be interactive - ie, kicked across the floor so she has to chase and pounce.  She is also keen, at mealtimes, to make sure I do not try and escape before I've served up the latest bowl of SKibble & wet food.  Definitely "channeling Daisy" as the In-House Trip Hazard.

The fortnight has not been without its challenges - there is the small matter of my being head-butted (which still hurts!), and she wants to play typical lurcher "bitey face" games which we cannot allow when the playmate is human:  ouch!  There have been some toilet accidents, thank goodness for Vanish spray and the Vax carpet washer . . . a couple have been where WE did not get her out to the garden when we should have, the worst was (we think) caused by the stress of head-butting me and only one for which we can fathom no reason.   But these are the exception not the rule - if you had a puppy you could pretty much guarantee weeks of indoor toilet moments πŸ™ƒ

It is a shame we have had to make a couple of trips to the vet, but she's well on the mend.  Both her conjunctivitis and ear mites seem to be on the way out, and since I removed that suture material the healing on her tummy has happened at such a rate it's almost mending in front of your eyes.

So there you are, the first fortnight.  I think her 'home trial' is well and truly over and we must finalise the paperwork with Homeless Hounds, but before that we are going on our first (for Millie) campervan trip to the seaside because I know the tide is out.

We both wonder if she has ever been on sand before, guess we'll find out in an hour πŸ˜€

Saturday, 10 August 2019

One fixed, and one (slightly) broken

(Possibly not to be read with food):   Yesterday morning I was cleaning Millie's tummy as usual when one of the sites where the skin had broken down extruded the most awful amount of pus and blood.  As I gently wiped it away with cotton wool I could see something blue . . . which lifted off to reveal itself to be a piece of suture material.   A little more cleaning and there was another piece, which I gently pulled, and pulled, and pulled . . .  and when it was all out I had a length of suture at least 4 inches long, and a hard lump which I think is a knot.

(the long bit was in one piece when I pulled it out, but broke up as I taped it)

Since then, there has been no more "muck" produced; the antibiotics are definitely doing their job and her poor little body no longer has to fight to try and rid itself of this foreign object.  There is still swelling underneath the scar but the angry redness is fading fast and we can see she is healing.

(still a lot of healing to do, but so much better than 24 hours ago)

The Honourable Lady M. is DEFINITELY feeling better, the zooming around yesterday afternoon in the garden was a thing to behold - if you could keep track of where she went.  The garden is definitely going to be a very different place in future and only the toughest and most robust specimens will survive!  We thought Millie was a speedy zoomy kind of girl before, but I suspect she was only operating at 75% - 80%.

The ears and eyes are also on the mend, and she's a very happy girl this morning.  Somewhat happier than Mummy, who has to learn - very fast - how to play safely with Lady M.  During a game this morning she came up to me at speed when I was bending down and her shoulder met my face.  It did not end well for me:  hit so hard I thought I was going to pass out.  I've got off lightly - a split lip and some swelling but my teeth seem OK (and she hit me hard enough that a wobbly tooth was a distinct possibility).  Maybe no photos of this particular drama!

It is NOT Millie's fault - both Management and I clearly remember having similar accidents with Ollie and Daisy when they were young and charging around.  All we have to do is learn how she plays & moves, and keep out of the way - not rocket science, just common sense.  Interestingly, my reaction to the collision was to crumble and just call for Management and Millie instantly stopped charging around and came and lay down near me.  So she is already in tune with me enough to know there's a problem, and to respond to it, we're really impressed for such a youngster to react this way.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Poor baby . . .

Our Little Lady is in the wars . . .

Following on from our visit to Uncle John last Wednesday, you may recall Millie was suffering from ear mites on both sides and we came home with a bottle of drops.  I've been putting them in twice a day, and cleaning inside her ears as best I can and things are improving; she is no longer shaking her head and scratching at her head all the time.

You may also recall that I had John look at her spaying scar and he agreed it wasn't pretty, but would hopefully settle down.  Sadly that has not been the case, she seemed a bit subdued this morning but the tummy looked fine.  At lunchtime I was stroking her as she lay upside down and saw two blood-filled blisters had developed and when I started touching the area pus began to appear.  So back to the vet at tea-time πŸ˜ž

Five days ago:

Lunchtime today:

John excised the two blisters, and cleaned her up very thoroughly.  His suspicion is that whoever did the spaying has used nylon sutures internally and that Millie's skin has reacted to them - not common, but not unheard of.  We have 5 or 6 places where pus is seeping out, evenly spaced exactly where sutures probably are.  So 14 days of antibiotics, instructions to keep the wounds clean and try to keep them open so they can drain, and confirmation that if I see anything which looks like stitch material poking out I can attempt to remove it.  The good news, and heavens knows I needed some, is that John's as certain as he can be the infection is in the skin, and not in the abdomen.

On top of that, just like Daisy, The Honourable Lady Millicent produces "eye jelly" and this morning I cleaned up her left eye and thought "bugger, that looks a bit mucky" but had decided to leave it 24 hours . . . events of the tummy kind over-rode that, so John checked her eyes and diagnosed very early stages of conjunctivitis which should clear up quickly as we have caught it so soon.

So my poor little girl is on three lots of medication and worst case scenario is if her tummy does not heal then John has warned me that a small surgery might be needed.

Today has been hard on many levels and whilst the last week with Millie has been hugely beneficial for me (and I hope for her), you don't get over moderate depression in 7 days.  Discovering the infection was not the only kicking I got today, and there may have been some libation of the medicinal kind with supper . . .

Monday, 5 August 2019

At your own risk

Can you remember when you last read something which had you laughing so much you were in tears?

Or laughing so much that it was really, really, really hard to breathe?

For me it was about 11.00 last night . . .

I was bimbling around online, as you do when you really ought to have gone to bed an hour earlier, and I came across a blog. Not the sort of blog I usually land on - this one is an author’s blog and the chap writes “weird fiction” (that is his description, not mine, although if his fiction is half as good as his canine musings then it is definitely worth a look). The author in question, John Linwood Grant, shares his home with three lurchers. Or maybe he is allowed to share their home?

No matter . . . here is his blog page which contains links to all his writing about the glorious creatures known as lurchers.

The first link takes you to “Lurchers for Beginners”. I have now read it 8 times, and I am still crying with laughter each time . . . and I don’t regret meeting Millie for one millisecond. Well, not yet anyway!

If you know/already love lurchers you will find much of this painfully familiar and hopefully very funny;

If you just love dogs, you’ll have a damn good laugh (and continue to wonder if M. and I have any sense at all);

If you don’t like dogs, what the hell are you doing here?

Oh - and the sixth link - Lurchers for Beginners Number 4 - includes the warning that they are very good at “dead-legging” you. I can confirm that is quite correct: during the bed-time potty trip yesterday my Lunatic Lurcher was sprinting around the lawn, came up behind me and BAMM.  I was quite impressed with how slow the fall was and how well I can go down in a gentle barrel-roll. At least the grass was soft - and damp.

Look at this - butter wouldn't melt in her mouth (it wouldn't get a flippin' chance, she would have swallowed it too quickly!)

Edit:  I've tried to contact this chap to say "thank you".  His blog won't let me leave a comment . . . his Contact Page is similarly recalcitrant.  Both insist I complete a Recapture, which I'd be delighted to do if the bluddy thing displayed itself.  Have failed in Safari, Chrome & Firefox.  In the wild and unlikely event that anyone knows this gentleman, or he even visits this page himself, please get in touch.