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Posted on April 20, 2008 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay3 Comments »

StGeorgeTruckWe were walking the dogs yesterday when my attention was caught by a small truck parked on the other side of the road a little way ahead. Something about it seemed unusual, and it wasn’t just the fact that it was periodically enveloped in a haze of water spray – or the fact that there was a man dragging wheelie bins up to the back end of it when it clearly wasn’t a council vehicle.

No, what caught my eye was a fluttering from above the driver’s cab. A white and red fluttering. In fact, two of them!

As I drew nearer, I could see that this was a blatant and unashamed case of Flag Flying! And it was the England flag, the Cross of St George.

I’m seeing it more and more, as the common people of England realise that they’re being oppressed and manipulated into being ashamed of being English, and many are rising up to rebel against such thinking. Not many people actually realise yet that the government are busy removing the concept of England altogether, but they do seem to know that their national flag is under threat while the other UK nations are happily flying theirs, and there is a groundswell of resentment. A very small groundswell at the moment, but it seems to me that it is growing.

As I took pictures of the truck (which turned out to be owned by the local independent wheelie bin cleaning service) the owner looked bemused, and then when OH pointed to the flags, gave us the thumbs-up and grinned hugely. He didn’t look like a thug or a bigot or a football hooligan to me, just a hard-working man, quietly supporting his country.PostLady

Turning the corner to go home, we saw our post lady cycling merrily towards us, and on the front of her bike, what did we see? Yep, that’s right, a St George’s flag sticker. She kindly allowed me to take a picture of her, but I don’t want to get her into any trouble with the Post Office, which is still a government department – or was last time I looked – so I have blurred her face.

Anyone else think it’s a really sad and shameful thing that I feel I have to do that?

Posted on April 20, 2008 in The Home Front by Jay4 Comments »

iGallopWithHatYou may have heard of this little gym machine.

The iGallop purports to provide you with a horse-riding experience in the comfort of your own home, and the suggestion is that if you ride it diligently for fifteen minutes a day, it will whittle away inches from your waist while you read or watch TV, having insane amounts of fun at the same time.

Being a fundamentally lazy person who hates the gym and needs to whittle inches – and who used to thoroughly enjoy horse-riding in her younger days – I decided to look into getting one. There’s not a great deal of hard information out there on the internet about it, although there are many different versions available from different manufacturers ranging from the iJoy Ride (also available in the UK) to this one from Panasonic which looks much more like a saddle, and including the giggle-inducing horse scooter (yes, this a bona fide exercise machine, but this one’s for children, folks).

The trouble is that these things don’t seem to be taken too seriously by a lot of people, and if you watch some of the videos available on You Tube, you can see why. Not to put too fine a point on it, some of the ladies seem to be having a little too much fun, and the guys can’t keep a straight face either. However, all joking aside, as a core exerciser, the manufacturers claim they help to work the abdominals, and like a lot of women, I do seem to have a problem with acquiring anything approaching a flat stomach. I’ve been having trouble with back pain, too, so I asked my chiropractor if she thought it might be useful, and she said yes, if used daily, she thought that it would.

So, at the beginning of the year Other Half very kindly bought me an iGallop, whereupon I promptly put my back out riding in his new Audi (don’t ask), and the thing sat in the spare bedroom until February, when Kim the Chiro gave me the all-clear to begin trying it out. As befits a woman with a passing interest in science, I first measured my waist – 34 inches – and on the 21st February, I began a daily routine of 15 minutes on the iGallop before my morning shower.

It is now 20th April, and this morning I measured my waist again. During the last two months I have been keeping an eye on my diet, but I have lost no weight, and yet this morning I am happy to say that my waist now measures 33 inches! Yay! Result!!

The iGallop IS fun. But no, there is no way on earth I could read while bouncing around like that. However, there is one more invaluable benefit to report – since that day in February, my posture has improved out of all recognition, and I think for that reason alone it’s worth the cost and the house room.

Go on. You know you want one!

Posted on April 17, 2008 in The Home Front by Jay2 Comments »

JackEye300-2CJSThis week has been an expensive week at the vet. First we took The Pirate* to see a veterinary opthalmologist on account of his bulging and piratical eye.

Now you might think that pirates are obliged to have one bulging and piratical eye, or at least an eye patch, but you’d be mistaken – as can be easily seen by referencing Captain Jack Sparrow, who has the most beautiful set of identically healthy peepers I’ve seen for a long time. Anyway, I digress. The Pirate has had the eye problem for a while now, and he’s seen an opthalmologist before, and our own vets many times and no-one seemed to know quite why it bulges and goes red. The first opthalmologist, a local vet specialising in opthalmology, thought it was uveitis caused by bad teeth and recommended a dental. Now we’d not had The Pirate long and he’d already had a dental cleaning and extraction, but we did as he said and had that tooth out from under the eye socket. And did the eye clear up as Mr Veterinary Opthalmologist say it would? No, it did not.

So we tried a few more things and then we asked for a referral to a proper and very well known specialist centre, the Animal Health Trust near Newmarket, and that’s where we went on Monday. I have to tell you that the people at the AHT are just so incredibly nice, and being specialists at the top of their field, they tend to put their finger right on the problem very quickly. We saw a smashing lady vet who was very sweet to my twitchy old dog and gave us the diagnosis of immune-mediated episcleritis, which is a condition affecting the white part of the eye and results in redness and swelling. Luckily for The Pirate, episcleritis in dogs is not painful, and it’s not particularly dangerous. We are very relieved that he does not have glaucoma or a lens subluxation or any of the other horrible things that can happen to eyes. Now that has to have drops six times a day plus ointment at night, we are even more relieved that The Pirate (despite being the biggest coward on earth and likely to perform the Greyhound Scream of Death at the slightest provocation) is a dream when it comes to eye drops. He sees the bottle in one hand and a cube of cheese in the other, runs to his bed and stays as still as a statue while the deed is done – then, naturally, looks for the cheese. Did you know pirates are very fond of cheese? No, neither did I. But it’s better than a dog addicted to rum, on the whole.

The Princess came with us to the Pirate’s appointment, and paid us back for the wear and tear of travel and having to stand so long on a hard floor by developing a UTI which resulted in her peeing in the most expensive and heavily padded dog bed in the house – which is saying something since we have about eight of them. She emptied her bladder onto the Orvis Dog Sofa, and let me tell you that greyhound bladders can hold quite a lot.

So, the tally this week is one visit to the AHT costing around £200, one visit to the local vet requiring lab tests and antibiotics, costing around £80, plus a double load of washing and a couple of pots of Prince’s meat paste to hide the pills in.

Oh, yes, and we’re advised that Doggles might help to prevent future flare-ups of episcleritis. Other Half wants me to enquire whether they can make pirate eye-patch style Doggles, since only one eye is affected, but somehow I don’t think they do. Any more than my vet is willing to implant gold teeth.

*Yep, that’s the Pirate, and his famous eye, up there at the top.

Posted on April 14, 2008 in Johnny Depp, Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay4 Comments »

DollsAndJackOh, how I laughed when I came across this little gem!

I was doing a little interweb browsing with ‘Depp’ in the Google search box, as you do, when I came across a long and very technical article about a new protein that some medical bods had discovered and named ‘Depp’. Now, it’s a long time since I did my nursing training, such as it was*, and my advanced biology has got a little rusty, but after perusing this piece with furrowed brow for some considerable time, and consulting with my friend Dar, the psych nurse, it seems that this particular gene is at least partly responsible for the uterine changes necessary for the successful implantation of the fertilised human egg.

Well, well, well.

I’ve known for a long time that Mr Depp does some serious remodelling of the female hormone profile, but it’s nice to get a little acknowledgement from the medical profession, huh?

There’s more. Hints in the titles of the related articles suggest that with a little more research, Depp may help our understanding of endometriosis. Possibly, women with endometriosis are suffering from a surfeit of Depp – and if that is so, all I can say is thank goodness I am not among those who need to cut down.

But steady on, there, ladies. Don’t all rush at once. Chances are your doctor won’t know WTF you’re talking about, and if he does, I’m willing to bet that neither type of Depp will be available on the NHS – more’s the pity.

*My nursing training was many years ago, and involved animals, but I think that the word ‘Depp’ in this article is an acronym from ‘Decidual protein induced by progesterone’.