GRAPES!

I have had this grapevine for a couple of years and this is the first time ever that I have grown grapes.  Obviously this hot weather has helped.   

LITTLE BABY BOY GROWING UP/GAZEBO AND DOG ENGLAND READY!

LITTLE BABY BOY GROWING UP

Each Friday I pick my daughter up from work and visit my little baby boy and girl.  Last week little baby boy was telling me he had a girlfriend.  When I arrived this week, he informed that she had dumped him due to him chasing the other girls in the class.  He wasn't perturbed, another girl had asked him to be her boyfriend and a hand made love letter/card was in his school bag, that she had made him. Apparently, this all happened over the dinner hour.

We all oohed and aahed and he informed us she was his girlfriend at school and  as he was nearly breaking up for 6 weeks,  this, we assumed, would be a long distance relationship.   

Sorry, I omitted  to tell you that they are both 7 years old!

 

 

 

USE BY WASTAGE

THESE TINS WERE ONLY A FEW MONTHS AFTER THE USE BY DATE AND ONE DATE WAS END OF JUNE 2018. THEREFORE, AS IT WAS NOW THE 1st JULY 2018, IT WAS GOING TO BE THROWN.

I have just rescued this tinned food from my neighbour who follows Use By dates to the letter and was going to take it to the tip.  Tins and bottles last for years and never had any date codes on them, but then it was decided that they would have to conform.  The wastage is now phenomenal.

SF's CAR YET AGAIN

As I was having my little babies to stay, I borrowed my stepfather's car again as it has 4 doors, you will remember I told you about that a while ago.  This time I was driving him home to drop him off after shoppingand I glanced at the clock on the dashboard.   I knew it was never right and worked out the time difference.  However this time I knew it was between 15.00 and 15.30 in the afternoon and it was showing 15.28.  I checked the time with his watch which said 15.27.

I asked him when he had put the clock right and he said he has never altered it in years.  Thus came a lot of pondering of how it put itself right.

It was only when I glanced at it a bit later and it read 157.4, I realised that I was looking at the mile counter and not the clock!

 

 

RONNIE AND REGGIE MAINE COON??

GARDEN UPDATE

GOOSBERRY CROP/GIBRALTAR/GIBRALTAR MONKEYS

GOOSEBERRY CROP

I have got 12 ounces of gooseberries off the bush in my garden today, so I have made a Gooseberry and Almond Cake.  Don't get too excited, I haven't tasted it yet!

GIBRALTAR

Have just got back from a few days in Gibraltar, staying on the Jasmine Coral Jay B & B boat again.  It is like home from home with John and Tracey who run it. He took us for a speedboat ride around the marina to look for dolphins.

The weather was beautiful and we had a guided trip up the Rock in a taxi and the day we left, we went up in the cable car to the top.  I managed to get bitten by a monkey, but it was because I had walked too near her youngster.  It didn't break the skin and they are all vaccinated.

GIBRALTAR MONKEYS

ROLLING STONES

I saw them at the London Stadium on Friday.   As I have already said I have been to all their farewell concerts since 1991!  It is handy knowing a West Ham season ticket holder, they get first choice on all the concerts held at their ground.

GETTING GARDEN SUMMER READY

230518

I got the idea for these wall pouches from the Deniwats last year.  They have since dispensed with them as they tend to dry out.  However, this year I have amended them somewhat.

Along the base of the pouches, in each row except the bottom, I have slit them horizontally, and packed the earth so that it reaches down in to the next one and so on, to give them more soil.  When I water them from the top, the water trickles down in to the one below and so on.

Time will tell if it works this year.

 

 

SOMETHING TO CHEER YOU UP ON A MONDAY MORNING

SASHA FRENCH BULLDOG/STEPFATHER'S CAR

 

 STEPFATHER'S CAR

 

My SF's car has had new tyres, brakes, starter motor and battery recently, which is not bad as it is  14 years old. All it needs is a new body and it'll be as good as Trigger's 17 year old broom!

 

 

 

 

SASHA FRENCH BULLDOG

Michael is married to my lovely neice (he is lovely as well) and I knew Sasha from a pup.  We went up to the North East one New Year and they came up as well and brought Sasha, the new puppy with them.  She was so cute as a pup and they spent a lot of time house training and walking her. 

When we left to go home, I bundled her under my arm and pretended to sneak her home with me!  

I am glad she is happy now.

 

Importing pets from Eastern Europe yields heartbreaking behavioural issues

 

 By Michael Booker

PUBLISHED: 09:29, Mon, May 7, 2018 | UPDATED: 10:07, Mon, May 7, 2018

 

MICHAEL BOOKER

AS A journalist I should have known the omens weren't good: buying a cut-price Lithuanian-born French Bulldog on the eve of the Leveson Report's publication. I'd found her on the internet for sale from a seller living just a few streets away.

 

She was a cute, furry bundle of fun (the dog, not the seller) who would be a lovely pre-Christmas gift for the family.

I saw a future where we'd all go for long, idyllic walks in the park like all those perfect famousfamilies do on Instagram and everything would be lovely. Right? Hmmm.

The kids named the cute, furry, bundle of fun Sasha and for the first nine months or so everything went to plan - bar the occasion I took her to the park in her first snowstorm, let her off the lead and she sprinted half a mile home across two main roads back to our house with me swearing loudly in red-faced, hot pursuit.

The snub-nosed looks and usually playful nature of "Frenchies" have helped launch them to a point where they'll soon overtake the labrador as Britain's favourite breed. 

Eastern European dog breeding yielded sometimes horrific results

But those from abroad have usually been born and transported in horrific circumstances, thus triggering unpredictable behaviour and downright mayhem similar to that seen in some of the wilder Tasmanian Devil cartoons.

Sadly that's what happened with Sasha. From nowhere she would suddenly tense up and start to shake before pouncing - usually to take a bite at someone's fingers. I, my wife, two children and my dad all fell victim to her sudden attacks that usually managed to draw blood.

Seconds later she would be playful again but we were worried and started to cut down on allowing visitors into the house and we stopped taking her on family visits.

We found a dog training school and kennels who said they'd be willing to help us train the unpredictable aggression out of her. They also said they'd look after her while we headed up north for New Year's celebrations with our family.

And it's not hard to see why judging by the reaction from people in the street as I took her for walks. Everyone who passed would stop to comment on how adorable she was, particularly when she started to show the first of her behavioural "quirks" which saw her lying spread-eagled refusing to budge an inch further once she decided she was tired.

This wasn't a huge problem to start with given that she was just about a foot and a half long but as she grew bigger and heavier it didn't seem as funny as I puffed and panted back home from walks with her in my arms.

After nine months matters took a darker turn. Of course I'd vaguely listened to the scare stories about buying the breed, particularly those who had been born in Eastern Europe.

There's already a whole host of "normal" problems associated with them: breathing and spinal troubles, ear infections and chronic diarrhoea to name but a few.

 

MICHAEL BOOKER

Eastern European dog breeding yielded sometimes horrific results

But those from abroad have usually been born and transported in horrific circumstances, thus triggering unpredictable behaviour and downright mayhem similar to that seen in some of the wilder Tasmanian Devil cartoons.

Sadly that's what happened with Sasha. From nowhere she would suddenly tense up and start to shake before pouncing - usually to take a bite at someone's fingers. I, my wife, two children and my dad all fell victim to her sudden attacks that usually managed to draw blood.

Seconds later she would be playful again but we were worried and started to cut down on allowing visitors into the house and we stopped taking her on family visits.

We found a dog training school and kennels who said they'd be willing to help us train the unpredictable aggression out of her. They also said they'd look after her while we headed up north for New Year's celebrations with our family.

Just hours after dropping her off things took an even darker turn. I was settled down watching Goldfinger with my first New Year's Eve drink when disaster struck… and I don't mean the bit where Goldfinger turns on the laser heading for Sean Connery's groin.

My mobile buzzed into life with a strange number on the screen. I answered it whereupon I found myself talking to a vet who said that Sasha had been found whimpering in her kennel that morning unable to move her back legs. He explained that some of the discs in her spine had disintegrated.

As I stood ashen-faced 270 miles away from our paralysed pet among a house full of happy New Year revellers he said we could have her put down or go ahead with £3,000 worth of treatment that might or might not help her walk again. Like Bond I suddenly had a Licence To Kill but we couldn't face that. And luckily we were insured.

Despite her violent "quirks" we did love her and so decided on an MRI scan followed by spinal surgery that evening at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. It was four hours later when my phone buzzed again. This time it was the surgeon who'd operated on her back. The news was good: Sasha had survived the op and the signs were she'd make it through the night.

We kept in touch before we could go to see her but even the experts were having trouble. They explained how the docile arrival in hospital had turned post-op into a demon trying to attack the surgeon that had saved her!

When we arrived to pick her up - now complete with an eight-inch scar down her back and a wobbly set of back legs - they looked relieved to be getting rid of her.

It was then up to us to help her regain as much movement as possible. Morning and evening before and after long days at work I'd be at one end feeding her chicken while at the other my wife would be massaging Sasha's legs, all the while praying she wouldn't suddenly go off the chicken and go for one of our throats.

After a few months she was walking relatively normally but the cranky behaviour gradually worsened.

Things were so bad that over the next two and a half years we virtually banned visitors unless Sasha was locked away in the kitchen.

At the same time we spent a huge amount of cash on training courses to tame a dog that we'd come to both love and loathe.

Things came to a head after nearly four years of struggle and - mainly for the safety of the kids - we decided to have her re-homed with the help of the kennels where she had done most of her training.

I'm lucky to have avoided too much death so far in my life. But seeing her look back at us with those pleading eyes as we walked away after dropping her off triggered the sort of tearful grief I'd associate with a family bereavement.

We drove a couple of miles away to a coffee shop while Sasha met her potential new owner - who was very caring and experienced with the breed and had a number of dogs - at the kennels.

Amazingly we both decided that we'd take her back like a shot but we were told in a phone call that they'd all got on famously. We made the hour's drive back home in total silence and the house felt empty for days.

Ultimately it was for the best and we still get regular updates about her new life, although she now has another name as part of her fresh start.

So if this Bank Holiday Monday you suddenly get the itch to buy a French Bulldog to complete your family unit make sure you find out as much as you can about it - for your sake and the dog's.

 

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ZSA ZSA

One year old today.   8th May 2018.

THIS IS FOR MY GEORGOUS NEPHEW AND HIS FIANCE

LOVE THE CAT'S WEIGHT READING ON THE VET'S SCALES

???????

I was chatting to my next door neighbour as I was sorting out the garden rubbish in my drive for the dustman.  I noticed that that some work was being  done in the house opposite me. I commented on this to my neighbour. “Yes”, she said, “apparently she has split  from her partner and is having an extra bedroom built on to the side".

 

This seemed strange because as far as I knEw she lived on her own and didn’t have a partner. I had only seen her to say hallo when she dropped her dog off to her parents, who lived a few yards up the road, as she worked full time.

 

My neighbour then volunteered the information that she also had the 3 children with her. Rather puzzled as I had never noticed a partner, let alone 3 kids ever being with her at the property. Her parents were the only visitors, looking after it when she was at work.

I then asked my neighbour who she was referring to.

 

“The woman who is having the extension built up the road”, she replied.

“No”, I said, “the house opposite to me”.

"Oh" she said! "she is having her bathroom done!"

 

NO UNACCOMPANIED DOGS OR UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN

I decided to make a sitting room out of my front bedroom for special occasions.  After watching Money for Nothing, I got some ideas on how to upcycle instead of buying new furniture.