Posted on November 29, 2008 in Hounds by Jay34 Comments »


Forgive me for slacking, but I’ve been worried about The Princess.

She’s been off her food ever since those damned fireworks, and at first we thought that’s all it was – but as time went on, it became clear that she was not feeling good.

We tried tempting her with various delightful comestibles, such as sardines, puppy food, beef mince and even cheese sandwiches, but during the last week she’s really only eaten treats, a small bowl of yoghurt each day, and maybe a mouthful or two of actual dog food.

She’s lost over 2kg in about a month, and she actually made a puddle in the hall one day when we were out, something she has never done, not since we got her.  So on Thursday afternoon I led her outside to get a urine sample, loaded her (and it) into the car and took her down to the vet, where she was felt all over, and had her temperature taken and her symptoms discussed.   Apparently, there was blood and protein in her urine, and white cells too, so it’s probably just a UTI, but before she was given antibiotics we had to return early the next day for a fasting blood test.  She is nearly ten years old, you see, and the vet was a bit concerned when he heard that she had been drinking more than usual.  He wanted to rule out kidney disease and Cushings, and various other nasty possibilities.

Fortunately, the blood results came back within normal parameters (for a greyhound), so The Princess is now on Clavaseptin for ten days and hopefully that will fix her up.  Today, I was very relieved that she actually ate a pouch of puppy food for breakfast, and a bowl of home-cooked chicken and rice for dinner.

I was particularly worried because I’m due to go in for my shoulder surgery on Thursday, and I won’t be able to do much caring for a sick dog – not with one arm, and groggy from the anaesthetic – but hopefully she’s now turned the corner and will recover!

Now all I have to do is finish getting the cards and gifts ready to send to my American and Canadian friends by Wednesday, and make sure all laundry is done and the shopping in, etc.  And now the bloody PC, which has my Christmas picture files on it, has decided to do the electronic equivalent of dropping acid or something and it Won’t. Do. Anything!  The printer has taken a huff too, and is telling me it can’t print my stuff because it’s out of paper.  Which, I might tell you, it really isn’t.

Ah, well.  No worries. As long as The Princess is on the road to recovery, I simply don’t care.


Posted on November 27, 2008 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay17 Comments »


Wandering around my local supermarket recently, I came across a DVD display unit with the heading which you see up there.  ‘Great Buys Kids’.  Not the best grammar, is it?  But that’s not what I’m complaining about.   Not this time.

Forgive me, but I don’t see responsible parents agreeing that a DVD titled ‘Mass Murderers’ would be a great buy for kids.  I’m not so sure about Bull Durham, either.  Bull Durham is a great movie, and I’m very fond of it, but there’s some very explicit language and sexual action in there. I suppose it depends on your definition of ‘kids’ … but nah.  It’s definitely an adult movie.

Hot Fuzz is a movie I didn’t know, so I looked it up.  Here’s a snippet from a review of Hot Fuzz on IMDB.  It’s from a ‘Comment in a Nutshell’ by Dick Steel, which 88 out of 124 people found useful – ‘Featuring some of the most gruesome ways to die, it’s a blood splattering fest worthy of any serial killer movie.’

Many of the movies on this stand are unfamiliar to me – some of them may very well be great buys for kids, but a good number of them are not.

So what do you do?  Shrug and move on?  Or go to Customer Services and ask to see the manager so that you can point out to him that this is Not a Good Idea?  I’m afraid I chickened out, thinking that he really would not have been interested.  And yes, it’s up to the parents to monitor their kids’ movie choices, isn’t it?

Sadly many of them do not.

Click on the thumbnail below to see a full size picture of the titles in this erroneously labelled DVD display unit.


Posted on November 26, 2008 in Hounds, Johnny Depp, Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay31 Comments »

Sssssooo!!  Here we are at the letter ‘S‘ in the fun series of ABC Wednesday!  I hope you won’t mind another horsey post, because there are a lot of lovely ‘S‘s to do with horses!

For instance, Horse Creek Farm, the stable where I go to learn Western riding, is home to Sovereign Quarter Horses.

Here is a view inside the big barn, showing some of the stalls.  You can see the sand arena at the end, where the people are standing.


When they hold event days, there are usually some stalls of a different kind.  These ones often sell Western gear, including the most beautiful stirrups


Racks of spurs


and, of course, the big Western saddles and saddle blankets.


I find them so much more secure than English saddles! And more comfortable, too!

This young lady, sitting on a slope, obviously has a great rapport with her horse


And here they are in the arena, showing off their spin.

Isn’t that a pretty sight?

Now.  I could include a lot of different ‘S‘ pictures which I’ve used before in my blog, like my little Sabatier knife, or the green spiky people of Sheffield, or my spare room, or even that spider which OH wanted removed from the conservatory. But I’m sure you’d rather I got straight on to the Johnny Depp stuff, wouldn’t you?  I thought so.

There are a number of movies which come into the ‘S‘ category.  Here are three with ‘S‘ in their names -


Secret Window, Sleepy Hollow, and Edward Scissorhands.  I talked about Secret Window before – it’s a Stephen King story, remember?  Sleepy Hollow is the movie about that famous legend of the Headless Horseman, and Johnny Depp plays Ichabod Crane, of course.  Edward Scissorhands is a rather wonderful fairy tale about a chap with scissors for hands.  It’s quite moving, actually, and not at all gruesome as you might expect.

Sweeney Todd, of course, has to be mentioned.


It’s a musical, and Johnny sings. Yes, he does, he sings!  And he does a damn fine job of it too!  If you haven’t seen it, you really should!  It’s awash with blood, but also very funny.


The Astronaut’s Wife doesn’t begin with ‘S‘, but the main character is Spencer Armacost, so I think I can squeeze that in, can’t I?

Needless to say, Johnny Depp is very sexy.  Everyone agrees.  At least, they do when they’re talking to me …

Now, here’s Johnny himself.


This was taken at the premiere of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in Leicester Square, London. He’s wearing a jolly nice suit, isn’t he?  And just look at those sunglasses!  Some people call them ‘shades‘, you know.  I just thought I’d mention that.

And I can’t leave without mentioning my dear friend Tennessee Jenn’s beloved greyhound Scooter.  She loved him dearly, and sadly lost him to osteo-sarcoma last autumn.


This banner was made in his memory and that little stylised greyhound head is a drawing of the lovely Scooter, and is now used on a line of greyhound merchandise.  A portion of the profits goes to the Morris Animal Foundation in the hopes that their ongoing research will one day find a cause and a cure for the bone cancer that took his life.

The skull and crossbones with the little red sparrow … ?  Well, suffice to say that TJ is a huge Johnny Depp fan, too.

And here is Scooter himself. He was a smashing dog, a big, gentle, loveable boy.  So sad to lose him so young.


He looks a lot like The Pirate, doesn’t he?  There’s a good reason for that.  Despite Scooter being whelped in the US, and The Pirate being thoroughly English, they are related.   A dog named Flashy Sir was The Pirate’s sire – he was also Scooter’s great-grandsire.  I think that makes them some kind of second cousin.

Oh, yeah, and you might notice that the photo of the banner was taken on the beach.  Venice Beach, to be exact. Anyway, there’s a lot of sunny sky, sand and sea, and quite a few large stones – and nearly everyone is wearing shades!

And no, I’m not in that one.

Posted on November 25, 2008 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay14 Comments »


I was waiting at the check-out in Asda this afternoon with my trolley load of groceries, and idly scanning the shelves – as you do – when I saw that bright and cheerful little box up there.

As you can see, it’s a fund-raiser for two breast cancer charities, both of which are very worthy indeed.  One funds important research to discover the causes of breast cancer and find cures for this devastating and life-threatening disease, and the other provides much-needed information and support to sufferers.  I try to donate when I can, whether it’s dropping coins into the collecting box or buying something like this.

Except … what is it?

I picked up a little packet of the bright and pinkly cheerful tubes.   I shook my head and scanned it again.  No, I was right the first time.

Nowhere on the packaging – either on the individual items or on the display box – does it tell you what these little tubes contain!

Is it nail varnish?  Bath or shower gel?  Kids’ face paints, perhaps?  It might be blusher.  It might be lip gloss.  It might even be those squidgy candy tubes you can buy so that your little ones can end up sticky all over, but happy.   It might be moisturiser or hand cream.  Or – here’s a thought – it might indeed be a mysterious product designed to tickle you till you turn pink!

I asked the sales assistant.  She picked one up and helpfully examined it for me, clearly thinking I was either a non-reader, or in my dotage.  Her face registered growing bewilderment and finally she grinned and handed it back to me and said she hadn’t got a clue.

There isn’t even a list of ingredients from which you might make an informed guess!

I think it might be illegal, but … fuck it.   I guess it’s just a case of Caveat Emptor Gonne Madde.