Pruning

That tree did need pruning…. Saves me a job.

Problem is that now the gardener wants to bring his new toy into the house. Must be a gardener thing. But I bet the branch would last longer than his last toy. The unbreakable dog toy that lasted 10 minutes.

Which all explains why I’ve just noticed in the corner of the living room a very well chewed branch. I guess we can call it a bit of Art Deco.

Cars

The Head Gardener seems to be enjoying his work…..

Don’t you just love cars. My car went into the garage to get its breaks fixed, the petrol tank made less corroded and then pass its annual test. The brakes and tank have been delayed since February due to parts being on back order. They can only be sourced from China for my car. Getting the parts was a tad difficult because of the pesky virus. Well a year later we tried again.

All good until the dreaded phone call. The petrol tank needs another part which is still unavailable from the Chinese supply chain. So the car has been partly fixed and partly patched up. It’s somehow fudged its way through the test. So I can drive it but not too far until the other part turns up.

Oh what fun. But as the car is doing about 0 miles a week at present. It’s not an issue.

However

What the Head Gardener is doing to the garden might be an issue.

New Pal

Somebody has a new pal….

That’s not entirely true. The snowman has a guard dog. I grant you not the most scary or attentive guard. Actually the Captain Chaos is waiting to pounce and claim his spoils of war. The football cone, two twigs and the ultimate prize – a carrot.

From the evidence it would appear that the Captain was helping.

If ripping chunks out of the side of the snowman’s body counts, then yes helping. So yes enough snow here to play. Unfortunately the presence of The Cap usually rules out snow angels. But luckily Hawklad had a solution.

Thankfully the trampoline had remained unused. Does my bum look big?

Definitely beats school at home, just don’t tell the French Teacher.

Are you sure

A moment of quiet contemplation between the mayhem. A penny for his thoughts.

I wonder if it was ‘in a few minutes I get a chance to really bark at the shopping delivery driver’.

Well he needed patience today. Definitely late delivery.

We are so fortunate to be able to book a weekly food delivery. Ok what comes is a little random but it so helps during these strange lockdown days. The drivers are usually really friendly and helpful. Today it was a new driver who looked only just old enough to drive the van. About an hour late the phone rang.

“I’ve been sat outside for 10 minutes and your not in. I’ve food to be delivered.”

Sorry but you are not outside our house.

Yes I am”

Sorry I can’t see you on our drive.

‘Well I am parked on your drive”

Sorry but your not. You might be at the wrong house.

Definitely not, I’m here”

Wait a second and I will see if I can see you….. I can see you. I’m waving at you. You are at the wrong house.

No you must have used put the wrong address on the order. It says xxxxxxxxx as the address ”

Yes that’s our house address. It’s the one that has been used by the supermarket for 9 months. It’s the address to this house not the one your parked at.

Are you sure…..”

Strangely yes I am sure. I’m currently stood outside my house and you are parked outside the wrong house.

*******

Finally the van arrived at the correct address. The food was delivered and then the deep philosophical discussion continued.

That house had the same colour door as the one you included in your instructions..”

I don’t think it does. I put on the order that our house had a white door. That one over there has a brown door.

It’s very confusing I bet the other drivers have struggled to find you.”

No you are the first to get lost.

For the future could you add some more detail to the delivery address.”

So apart from the correct address, the correct colour door, instructions on how to get to our house from both village entrances. The ones which are on the order already – what would you suggest.

Anything to make it clearer….”

*********

So on the next order maybe I should include the door colours that do not apply to our house. A note saying that it might be an idea to check the door number on the door matches the one on the order. And listen out for the really noisy dog. That should do it…

Early morning mayhem

Just a few signs that the winter greyness will soon be gone. No indication of the mayhem occurring so close by.

This photo might give the impression of early morning calmness. A chance to breathe. To carefully crouch down and take a few moments to stop. Soak up the quietness and stillness of a village still to wake up. Truly experience the beauty in nature. Meditation and reflection.

In reality I was trying to snap the yellow buds using a mobile held in my outstretched left hand while the right hand grimly held onto the dog lead. The said lead being stretched to breaking point by a mad dog excitedly trying to pull in the opposite direction. The next tree was calling him. Try taking a photo while one of your shoulder socket is being ripped out. The village peace ruptured by a dog barking at 150db and me rather sheepishly trying to tell the Captain to shut up. Not so much meditation as acute pain and social embarrassment.

You see those perfect dogs walking quietly and obediently next to their serene looking owners. Are they really the same species as Captain Chaos. A dog expelled from dog training classes for being too disruptive.

Never a quiet moment with him. Which is exactly the point. No finer remedy for a house which had become empty, cold and lifeless. A place which was becoming more about loss than life. Hard work YES, but still one of the best calls made during our grief journey.

Muddy puddles

This will be where I go for my one permitted trip out of the house. The farmers field at the back of the garden. One bit of outside exercise is now permitted by the Government. So that’s taking the dog for his morning constitutional. A few laps round the deserted field.

But look at those puddles. How tempting are they. So want to channel my inner Peppa Pig and jump in those muddy puddles. But I don’t want to get the dog drenched and caked in mud. So maybe I could go back home, drop him off and then come back.

But surely that would count as a second exercise trip out. Breaking the rules.

I bet those sheep would dob me in as payback for feeding them cheap biscuits.

Here’s hoping

I sneaked out for an early dog walk. That way Hawklad doesn’t go into Quarantine meltdown. For me and the dog. One thing about our son is that he is so predictable in a morning. After 3am that’s it he is asleep and doesn’t wake up until just before 8am. One of the advantages of the school at home project. This has been pushed from 7am. Much more natural for him, much less forced.

It does allow for a dog walk but sadly no run. Captain Chaos goes into bark mode when I try to sneak out without him. And it’s just a big fat NO to trying to run with Captain Chaos. He’s a dog that doesn’t believe in going in the same direction as the person with him.

But a dog walk is something. It’s a little win. We take any wins these days.

You might not be able to tell but it’s absolutely chucking it down with a howling Gale. But at least some of the mist has been temporarily blown away. Very squelchy under foot.

While someone had a little constitutional in the field I decided to play with the panoramic mode on my phone…..

This field is our sledging slope. Only ever seen us two use it really. Will it get used this year or next? Doesn’t feel like snow. But here hoping. That would be another little win.

Changes

Tis the season for cobwebs.

I don’t know what it is but my car is a particular favourite haunt for the spiders round here. As I’m not driving the car much these days I’m pleased it’s found another use.

Today’s high point was a visit to the vets for the dogs annual inoculations and to check him out as he’s been sneezing a bit for weeks. It’s changed a bit since the last visit.

You now can’t just turn up and you can only attend during your allocated time slot. When you arrive you have to stay in the car and phone to let them know that you have here. I was informed another pet was being seen and we were next up. I had to wait until the red light above the front entrance turned to green before we could enter the building. I was met at the entrance by someone dressed like an Astronaut to ensure I had a mask on and that I had used the hand sanitizer. As I ensured high levels of hygiene, Captain Chaos was happily rolling about in the mud and other unmentionable items. Don’t know why I bothered combing him.

Once inside we were ushered into a tape marked area and told to wait for the vet. The Vet also dressed like an Astronaut promptly arrived and stood behind another marked line on the floor. After a few questions the vet carefully stretched over and took the Cap’s lead and led him into the treatment room. From behind the door I listened to the mayhem. Items knocked over as someone went exploring. The telltale growl as the Captain sees the needle. Definitely dog for you have another thing coming if you think that massive sharp thing is coming anywhere near me… Then the Yelp and Crying – he’s not the bravest fella.

A few minutes later the Cap bursts out of the door and he’s officially in ‘out of here’ mode.

As I try to prevent the dog from destroying the front door the vet tells me that he needs some medicine. The expensive medicine is handed over through a new protective screen at the reception. It’s back home to then immediately phone the Vet up to pay the bill – only telephone payments are currently accepted.

At least somethings stayed the same. The poor potted plant in the waiting room was well watered again by the Captain. It’s a tradition…..

Almost ready

The apples are almost ready.

It will soon be apple crumble time. Now what to go for with it – Custard or Ice Cream?

There is always something to be thankful for. Even in 2020.

I heard someone on the radio say that to him 2020 was the worst period he had ever known. We are all different. We will have our own very unique years to forget. Suffering years. To me 2020 has been an odd year. Yes some new battles. Mainly filled with old battles. More isolation but not that much more than previous years. BUT crucially some wonderful things have also happened.

Eventually when I look back at my life 2016 will take some beating as my worst year. But even then that oversimplifies things. The first 6 months were not bad at all. Then the 6 weeks from hell. Lost my mum and then my partner. Came crashing into the competing worlds of grief, depression and single parenting. Those 6 weeks changed everything for ever. The despair associated with those 42 days and the following weeks just mark 2016 as a bad one. But you easily forget the good stuff that happened before and after. For example November 2016 witnessed the arrival of this well behaved and sensible four legged chap.

Yes it’s easy to forget that good stuff happens all around us, even in the darkest years.

Two things

Two strange things have happened over the last few days. And NO it’s not that I have found sleep….

The two things are that clearly we have moved back into winter and I have switched to the new WP editor. I’m hoping both are short term changes.

Not sure the cover to my waterproof exercise bike cover is Yorkshire weather resistant

It’s winter. Very cold, very wet and exceedingly stormy. In fact the storm force wind has managed to shift the exercise bike a few feet since last night. I struggle to do that on a good day. It’s been that wet I’ve spent most of the morning trying to stop the rain from flooding out the Utility Room. Too bad even to exercise outside, so it was an indoor session. Problem with those are trying to find enough space and the PETS. The sight of me on my back trying to lift up weights is too much for a dog and cat. Suddenly it’s play time for the not so little hooligans. What chance do I have I’d focusing on posture and technique when I have various well chewed soft toys dropped on my face.

Using the new WP editor feels a little like having a soggy, well chewed pet toy repeatedly checked at you. It kinda works but only on its terms. It does like randomly reformatting posts, messing up links, deleting posts and generally messing up my blog. The deleting of my posts may well be seen as a wonderful feature amongst many. It’s basically as well behaved as our pets, which is not behaved at all…..

Unbelievably this little white flower continues to survive the buffeting. Clearly it was designed to cope with ‘its raining cats and dogs’ weather. I suspect it’s not designed to cope with mad pets although it might be able to design a more user friendly WP editor.