Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Remembering My Father...

New Years Eve can never be the happiest time for me since my dear father passed over two years ago, today. He had a good innings and at 96 had unfortunately, reached a stage in his long life where he had had enough.

He had wanted to die in his own bed in the little cottage in Torcross, South Devon, he had owned since the mid 1950s. He moved in permanently when he retired many years later. Although in the latter years he had help in the place by Social Services, he got to the stage where we had to put him in to a Nursing Home as he deteriorated mentally and physically.

He was a brilliant man and I grew up wondering if I'd ever be as clever or as bright as he was. He had the answer to any question you asked. Although the family say I am like him in many ways, I never became anywhere near as clever as him... and am now deteriorating with age myself!

Canford Cliffs, Bournemouth...
My earliest memories of him were when we visited my grandmother (his mother), in her home. She had married PC Wren, the author of Beau Geste and many other books. He had raised my father as his own.

He was educated at Harrow, then Oxford. He played cricket for his school and at University and became well known. I have many newspaper clippings that my father had saved of his exploits on the cricket field.

I believe my mother met my father at a cricket match somewhere. Shortly after they married, the war started. My father had joined the Army and eventually became a Major. He saw service on the continent and had some pretty harrowing times, as many others had too. We were lucky that he did survive.

As soon as the war ended, we joined my father in Berlin. I have recollections of bombed buildings and the poverty.

My father left the army and took a job as a House Master in King Alfred's School in Plorn, near Hamburg. My memories are riding horses and sailing. My mother ran the Riding Stables attached to the school and my father taught sailing... as well as History, English and Latin.

We came back to England, and unfortunately, in the early 1950s, my parents divorced. My father had custody of me and my mother had custody of my young sister. My mother re-married and went to live in Malaya, as it was called then.

My father also re-married a woman he knew in the school in Germany. She had a son two years younger than me. It was at this time that my father bought the cottage in Torcross. We used to spend holidays there occasionally.

Then my father took on a Prep School near Tiverton... Ravenscroft, I think it was called. A lovely old building with wooden panels everywhere... I was allowed to keep my pony there in the school holidays.

As time passed, I left home...
By now now my father joined a school in Harpenden, St Albans. St George's School.

Shortly after his retirement, his second wife died. He then married a local widow who had always lived in Torcross. Her first husband had been the local doctor for many years. She was the loveliest person I have ever met. She and my father were so happy together and perfectly suited to each other. Your face ached after visiting them for a few hours as they were always smiling and laughing together. They never had a cross word or a disagreement the whole time they were together.

My father was devastated when he lost her many years later. We knew he had had enough of life then. He was so lonely without her even though her family all lived locally and visited all the time.

A year before he died, we had to put him in a home to get 24/7 help. This brilliant man was beginning to loose his memory. He was forgetting to eat and needed constant help. He always appeared to recognise me and my sister and those closest to him... But past memories were gradually being erased from his mind... He mistook one of his step daughters for his wife on several occasions. The two were very alike.

I was so sad to when he left this world... But I knew he'd meet up with his one true love and be pain free. I feel him now watching over me and as time passes, I can't be sad. As I said at the beginning, he had a good innings. I did love him so...

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

An Emergency Yesterday...

I had an unexpected phone call yesterday...

"We can't get hold of Brian. The last time we spoke to him was three days ago and he wasn't that well." It was Brian's daughter-in-law who lives in Scotland.

Brian is very deaf, but does have the 'gadgets' attached to his phone making it easier for him to hear... and a light flashes when it rings. Apparently, he knew to expect phone calls.

It just happened that I hadn't had a good day, so had got undressed as it was more comfortable. But Dave jumped in the car and drove down. Brian lives about half an hours drive away from us. When he got there, he phoned me to say he couldn't get in and Brian wasn't answering the door. Cassie, Brian's Border Collie, was barking like mad. Normally, Cassie's bark would alert Brian that there was someone about.

So I dialed 999. After repeatedly telling the operator what the problem was, I managed to get off the phone and ring Dave back to say the police were on their way. I also phoned Brian's son in Scotland to tell him the situation. Then I put my cloths back on and Chris and I drove down to Brian's. We would need to bring Cassie back with us if all was not well.

The police arrived before we got there and were about to break the glass in the front door, when Brian appeared and opened it! Panic over for Dave... But not for me and Chris. In my haste to get going, I left my mobile at home so couldn't ring Dave to say we were on our way!

We arrived just after the police had left... The door was unlocked, so we walked in.

Brian really doesn't look well at all. He should be in hospital in my opinion... But being a stubborn man, he absolutely refused to go. He had been ill over the whole holiday but was a little better now, he told us. The house was a complete mess. He needs help as he just isn't able to care properly for himself these days.

I rang his son from the house and got Brian to talk to him. His son was going to contact the rest of the family.

Dave told me that a friend from London was driving up and would be there in a couple of hours time. She is staying till Wednesday and will help sort him out.

It is such a worry when a friend is found not to be well. It's shock if you fear they might have died. I felt guilty that we hadn't driven round to see Brian over the holiday. We should have invited him up to ours for Christmas dinner. But we had planned a quiet Christmas, which is what we had. The first we had had on our own for a long time.

Brian, and his wife Jill, are old friends of ours. They used to compete with their dogs and like us, Jill used to judge too. We moved up here to the Fens in 1999. Brian and Jill wanted to follow us but Jill's father wasn't very well and he lived in Borgner Regis down on the south coast. Sadly, he died and Brian and Jill eventually moved up here.

By this time, Jill wasn't at all well, though health wise, Brian was holding out quite well. Sadly, with in six months, Jill died. I had lost a very good friend. We were all concerned how Brian would manage on his own as it was Jill that organised everything. Luckily, they did have three sons around the UK. One in Scotland, another in London and one in Bristol, I think.

Brian's health has steadily got worse. He has emphysema and is riddled with arthritis now. We will have to keep a closer eye on him from now on.

One good thing is that we now have a key to his bungalow which will make it much easier. Phoning is difficult, as he seldom answers and when he does, he can't hear what you are saying. He won't wear his hearing aids... Stubborn to the last!

Friends from down South that might read this and have been in Obedience for over fifteen years might remember Brian & Jill Green.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Happy Boxing Day...

The 12-Step Program for Internet Addicts

1) I will have a cup of coffee in the morning and read my newspaper like I use to.
2) I will eat breakfast with a knife and fork and not with one hand typing.
3) I will get dressed before noon.
4) I will make an attempt to clean the house, wash the dog, get the kids off to school, all before even thinking of the Internet.
5) I will sit down and write a letter to those unfortunate few friends and family that are Internet-deprived.
6) I will call someone on the phone who I cannot contact via the Internet.
7) I will read a book...if I still remember how.
8) I will listen to those around me and their needs and stop telling them to turn the TV down so I can hear what is happening on the Web.
9) I will not be tempted during TV commercials to check for email.
10) I will try and get out of the house at least once a week, if it is necessary or not.
11) I will remember that my bank is not forgiving if I forget to balance my checkbook because I was too busy on my computer.
12) Last, but not least, I will remember that I must go to bed some time....and the Internet will always be there tomorrow!

Monday, 22 December 2008

Up-date on Barry...

For folks that follow Barry and Tessa's blog...

I have spoken to Barry every day on the phone. He is doing quite well and was up and sitting on the chair beside his bed the day after his operation. He had a kidney out and they hope they have cut all the other cancerous cells out too, but won't know for sure till they've done some more tests.

Thank goodness the news is a great deal better than he thought it would be.

Tessa and Dollar are away on holiday (in kennels). They are both fine but Dollar is getting a little jealous of Tessa. One girl takes Dollar off for a walk while another plays ball with Tessa in an enclosed area. Poor Dollar is missing out on the games. She'd rather stay with Tessa and the pair of them play ball... Barry tells me. I think he's told them at the kennels now as he's rung them a couple of times to find out how they are.

He is hoping to be able to get home next Monday.

Barry asked me to let his friends know he is doing alright. I haven't managed to get down to visit him yet but a friend who lives near him, has been down a few times.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

You Pets & Christmas...

Check this blog out for good advice about your cats and dogs over Christmas. It is written by a busy Veterinary Nurse.

I can't add anything to her list, but if you can think of anything, please leave a comment below.

I don't know what you do, but we always buy presents for our dogs... Often replacing old toys that have been around for a while and really need putting in the bin! This year we have picked up a couple of new Frisbees, a couple of new tuggy toys, bags of edible doggy treats.

They get a bone each... the type that are treated and stuffed or similar. Never give your dog a cooked bone, except those you can buy in your pet shop. It is very dangerous to give your dog cooked chicken or turkey bones which can and will splinter.

We also get extra balls on ropes for them... and another word of advice here. Always make sure that any ball you buy for your dog, can't be swallowed or get caught in the throat. Buying the ones with a rope attached makes it easier to get hold of the ball to throw again and to remove if it did get caught in the dog's throat. We also have new footballs... they love dribbling these around the lawn!

As the Vet Nurse's blog says. Don't be tempted to give your dog the lavish Christmas dinner you are having. You will guarantee your dog will get the runs!

I give mine the same dried Genesis Complete food they are normally on. I take a little of the turkey meat and some of the left-over vegitables and add it, with some gravy on top. If your dog is over-weight, don't give more than normal.

I wish you and your pets a Very Happy Christmas...

Thursday, 18 December 2008


According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December.

Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring.

Therefore, according to EVERY historical rendition depicting Santa's reindeer, EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a girl.

We should've known... ONLY women would be able to drag a fat man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Titch To The Vets...

We popped down to Peterborough to meet Wandering Willie. He's a GSD pup of six weeks, the only one in Dollar's litter. Tessa, Dollar's litter sister, writes about him on her blog. He has a new home and will be called Phoenix, which I think will suite him.

It was good to see Barry. He's off to hospital this week to have a kidney out and to get sorted. Our prayers are with him at this very difficult time. We'll pop down to see him while he's in hospital.

It wasn't the nicest drive back home as it was a little foggy.

Over the last couple of days, one of our dogs - Titch - scratched his ear a few times. Naturally, we cleaned it out but it appeared to be bothering him more this morning. I made an appointment with our vet and Chris and I took him down early afternoon. Titch is Chris' dog. He kept him from my Jade's first litter. He was the smallest but has grown into the biggest of them all.

He's a lovely dog and the vet was very impressed at how well behaved he was. She said she could manage on to examine him on the floor, but Chris offered to pick him up and put him on the table... Titch lay down instantly and stayed very still.

The vet had a good look in his ears and apart from wax, couldn't see anything else. I asked her to take a swab to be absolutely sure. We came home with drops and some ear cleaner. He's been treated once and hasn't scratched his ear once since coming home. So fingers crossed it will clear up quickly and there is nothing sinister lurking down in his ears.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

BBC Are Not Covering Crufts 2009

This is the first paragraph of the Kennel Club Press Release issued yesterday:

Today the Kennel Club confirmed that it and the BBC will be unable to continue working together in 2009 for the broadcast of the world's greatest celebration of dogs, Crufts, which in previous years has attracted over 14 million viewers in the UK and additional audiences worldwide. This position was reached after the Kennel Club regrettably had to refuse to comply with the unreasonable demands insisted on by the BBC, to exclude certain breeds of dog from the group competition at the show. These demands took no account of the measures the Kennel Club has in place to improve the health of pedigree dogs, or of the fact that judges will be trained to help ensure that all dogs being awarded prizes at Crufts will be healthy representatives of their breed.

We have been encouraging people to write to Horse & Country TV to ask if they might consider negotiating with the Kennel Club to take over the coverage of Crufts as the BBC and the Kennel Club can't agree.

All this has come about because of BBC documentary programme 'Pedigree Dogs Exposed' broadcast a few months ago.

From my point of view and a great many of my friends, we are not interested in the Breed Showing side of Crufts. We are interested in the Working Dog side... and a great deal of that goes on at Crufts but very little in shown.

Although 'Pedigree Dogs Exposed' hit the headlines, I didn't write about it on my blog at the time as I knew the programme was very one-sided and several people in the breeds mentioned were also filmed. But they were not shown as their dogs are healthy and have had all the tests before breeding litters. The programme insinuated that all pedigree dogs had health probems. That just isn't the case, but I will say that may be 90% need to be looked at.

I really don't want to get into a discussion on the way some dogs are bred these days as I am not in those breeds with problems. I have Border Collies where we do have a few problems, but I had all the known tests done and checked out the Stud Dog very thoroughly before I bred a litter... and over 20 years, I have only bred three litters, when I wanted to keep a pup, of which all of the pups have been healthy.

Here is a copy of the letter I have just to Horse & Country.

I expect you will know by now that the BBC are no longer going to cover Crufts Dog Show in March 2009.

We are very concerned about this as a there are a great many people who rely on watching the BBC broadcasts when hey are unable to attend the show in person.

We are also a little unhappy with the previous BBC broadcasts. We are interested in the Competitive Obedience Championships - both Dogs & Bitches and they seldom show very much of this.

I represent a good number of people who work their dogs... We are not interested in the Breed Showing part which has always dominated most of the BBC coverage.

You will already have heard from a number of us as we have been encouraging our ObedienceUK Yahoo email list and Forum members to contact you. The majority of the Championship Obedience Competitors who will be competing at Crufts are members of my lists (those who are on the Internet).

You would need a knowledgeable Obedience person to commentate on the Obedience. I can suggest a number of people suitable for this. Some, who have in the past, done the job on the BBC. So they are experienced broadcasters and also know the handlers and dogs. We would suggest you use experienced, well known dog people and not Celebrities who are not very good with when it comes to chatting or handling dogs as they are pet owners. We have our own Celebrity Dog Handlers, like Mary Ray, who you must have heard of.

Apart from the main Championships, there are Team Events and the World Cup where teams are sent to compete from various other countries. There are also the YKC - Young Kennel Club - events. There are Good Citizen Tests and various other demonstrations of Obedience with different breeds of dogs. Also Heelwork To Music.

You also have Agility heats and Finals and Flyball heats and Finals that can be covered. Very popular events with the general public. There are demos of other working dogs like Gun Dogs and Police Dogs, Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs... There are so many things, but I can't list them all in one email.

And none of the above involves the Breed Showing side of things which is what the BBC used to concentrate on.

For years we have been encouraging Responsible Pet Ownership... and Crufts is the biggest window to reach the public with.

I do hope you will consider negotiating with the Kennel Club.

If you are interested or concerned that Crufts is not going to be broadcast in 2009, maybe you would also like to write to Horse & Country. Scoll down the page for the email link. They seem the most logical TV company to take over from the BBC.

Read this article in The Times today...

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

A Lovely Surprise...

After having a good moan in the post below, I popped over to see if anything had happened on my Windows Live Spaces blog. Surprise, surprise...

My oldest friend Sylvia had left a note in my Guest book, saying she had lost my email address. Annoyingly, I don't have her email here on my laptop. It's on my desktop which really needs sorting out and putting back to factory settings. It takes so long to boot up or do anything on it!

I have known Sylvia since the early 1960s. My first husband was a musician and so was hers. He played in in my husband's band. I had my first son Danny, then she had her daughter Louis. I then had my second and last son Christopher.

Life wasn't always very good for me during those times and Sylvia was always there to help pick up the pieces and give me and the boys a bed when I needed one.

A few years later I left and moved up to East Anglia... Shortly afterwards, Sylvia and Louis followed. Then she got married again and ended up living in Barbados. We lost contact till last year when she found me on Spaces.

I do hope she finds me here and leaves a comment below to say so.

Not a Good Morning For Me...

My tummy problems woke me at 5.20am this morning... I was not a happy bunny! Not the time of day I want to be sitting in the bathroom with no time to pop back into my bedroom to take some tablets to bind me! Eventually, about a quarter of an hour later, I managed it.

Sat on the edge of my bed not daring to walk around for fear of an unexpected accident... I find it's easier to sit still staying close to the bathroom when I'm like this. Eventually the pills worked... Well, I hoped they had bound me.

So around 6.00am I made cup of coffee... then went back and sat down. Jade jumped up beside me on the bed to get a cuddle. Bless her... She is always beside me when I'm feeling a little down. She also likes to curl up in a corner in the bathroom when I'm in there! She's always by my feet as she is now while I'm typing this. It wasn't long before I had to take some more tablets... It appears I have to take more to bind me now than I used to. It is all getting so much worse than it used to be. I can't wait for my appointment to come to see the doctor at the hospital.

At 7.00 I did the dogs their breakfast and let them out. Then came on here... Sorry to have a moan. I get like that occasionally... especially if I've had a few days of feeling rough!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

The Last Few Days...

I think I am coming to grips with this new place. Have managed to get my photo up with my dogs and the list of blogs I like to keep up with.

Like a good many other people, I was surprised and shocked at the changes Windows Live Spaces had made last week with no warning. I don't think I've read a comment from anyone who likes the new way of doing things. It has become more like Facebook, which isn't for me. I just want a place to blog as a diary of what's happening around me. Somewhere to put up the odd bit of News on Dogs and some humour or jokes. So I've landed here!

Dearly Beloved...
He's had some worrying troubles. For any new readers, he's got heart problems. He's had a quadruple by-pass, one kidney removed and has Diabetes (insulin dependant)... He's also well over weight.

The other day he had a TIA (mini stroke). He was sitting in his chair in a cold sweat, staring into space and just didn't look or react to anything as he would normally. He also appeared to be a little dodgy in his balance. We rang our doctor and I was asked to bring him straight down to the surgery.

After a full and thorough examination they concluded that he had had a TIA.

It's funny, but I am able to keep body and soul together when Dave's not well or there is an emergancy I need to deal with. I've always been like that.

However, yesterday evening (Monday), I payed for it! I have tummy problems* as friends will already know... and all hell let lose! I spent most of the evening in the bathroom. I managed to watch three quarters of 'Catastrophe' on Channel 4 with Tony Robinson commentating. It was interesting and the only thing worth watching last night IMO!

I seem to be fine today... fingers crossed!

I've been visiting friends blogs and playing around on here. I've managed to find a photo of me and my dogs to use on here.

I'm on my Laptop and don't have many photos saved on here yet... But will put some up soon.

I have now put a link on my Spaces blog to here. I do hope my friends find me?

* Diveticulitus with some complications.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Lady Rings Hospital...

Lady rings her local hospital and this conversation follows:

Lady - Hello I'd like some information on a patient, Mrs Tiptree. She was admitted last week with chest pains and I just want to know if her condition has deteriorated, stabilised or improved?

Hospital - Do you know which ward she is in?

Lady - Yes, ward P, room 2B

Hospital - I'll just put you through to the nurse station.

Nurse - Hello ward P, how can I help?

Lady - I would just like some information on a patient, Mrs Tiptree, I was wondering if her condition had deteriorated, stabilised or improved?

Nurse - I'll just check her notes. I'm pleased to say that Mrs Tiptree's conditioned has improved. She has regained her appetite, her temperature has steadied and after some routine checks tonight, she should be well enough to go home tomorrow.

Lady - Oh that's wonderful news, I'm so happy, thank you ever so much!

Nurse - You seem very relieved, are you a close friend or relative?

Lady - No, I'm Mrs Tiptree in room 2b. Nobody tells you stuff at all in here...'

Time For a Change...

I am not happy with the way Windows Live Spaces have changed their whole programme. I have been blogging there for quite a few years and I think it's time for a change.

Unfortunately they are more like Facebook now and that place isn't for me either. I am far too old to mess about with trying to get to grips with the Spaces new way of doing things. I'm not a computer geek... I just want somewhere I can blog a diary or put up Dog News and jokes.

Give me a little time to get to grips with this new home... Have a great weekend.