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Posted on August 31, 2009 in Hounds, The Home Front, Uncategorized by Jay37 Comments »

This is my first post for Macro Monday, and I really don’t know why I haven’t joined in with this one before, since I love to take macro pictures!  Anyway.  This is not the best macro photo I’ve taken, not by a long way, but it’s very dear to me.

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This is Beautiful James.  It’s a unique rose in the true sense of the word, because there is only one bush in the whole word.  And it is mine.

James was our very first dog, and he really was a beautiful soul.  He’d been abused and neglected before he landed in Wood Green Animal Shelter at Godmanchester in Cambridgeshire, but his faith in the human race never wavered and he was one of the most eager-to-please greyhounds I’ve ever met.  I only had to make him understand what I wanted from him and he’d do it if he possibly could.  He had a huge vocabulary of words, gestures and commands and he never once, in his entire life with us, so much as grumbled at a person, no matter how old or how young, or what they were doing.  He endured some very unpleasant medical procedures without a murmur – he was so compliant and gentle that our vet called him ‘Gentleman Jim’.

James was 100% small dog safe and he was afraid of cats, and yet he was a fierce  hunter of rabbits.  And however far he ran from me on his spontaneous hunting trips he would always, always come back to the exact spot he left me.

So when he died at the venerable old age of thirteen and a  half, I needed to find something beautiful as a memorial and I chose to have a rose bush named for him – a completely new variety, which would be his alone.

It is beautiful, don’t you think?  Just like James.

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Posted on August 28, 2009 in Hounds, Life, the Universe and Everything, Oddities by Jay22 Comments »

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There is a park in the centre of our city, called – oddly enough – Central Park, and it’s a good place to take newly retired dogs for socialisation.   You see, greyhounds are used to such a sheltered life when they’re racing.  They usually never see another breed, or come across things like shops, traffic, or bicycles. Or pushchairs, umbrellas, walking sticks, wheelchairs, skateboards – or even children.  And it’s doubtful if they ever run up against an open-air concert with country music being belted out at several thousand watts.

Sid, bless him, has been retired a couple of years, and he’s been taken around to quite a few country shows and carnivals, so he’s much more blasé about such things, but he still needs a little work with other breeds, because he can be highly suspicious of some of them, and since I’m hoping to do therapy work with him, the more children and people in wheelchairs he gets to meet the better it is for him and his future prospects.

So it was good that there were dogs there, and people with walking sticks and foldy chairs and stuff like that.

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That’s a little white boxer, who was interested – you can just see that he’s watching Sid go by – but he was very obedient and stayed by his master.  And sadly, all the dogs we saw seemed to keep their distance.

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I think that one was almost pure greyhound too … but when we smiled at the owner and walked in his direction, he scowled at us and quickly pulled his dog away.

Anyway.  The would-be cowboy was singing something in the middle of the park when we arrived, and it was very familiar, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was.  Something about talking and drinking and women and being depressed. You know the sort of thing – tragic, but with a good beat.

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And he had a troupe of line-dancers stomping away happily in front of him.

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Aren’t they wonderful?  I  love it when people just go for it and don’t give a damn who’s watching.

They had a good audience, too – apparently an old-folk’s club had come out for the day.  One old lady seems to have fallen asleep, but the others are having fun.

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Look at those dancers go – and half of them the wrong side of sixty!

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Anyway.   You’ll all be pleased to know that Sid behaved himself beautifully and seemed not at all put out by the music, the wheelchairs or the dancers.

Not even by the strange men with big shiny things.

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Or the little kids on bicycles with too many wheels!

It was fun.  And it was good to see the park so busy, and so many people out enjoying the sunshine – young and old alike.

Oh. You wanted to see the lovely Sid himself, did you?  Alright then.

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There.  Handsome as ever, isn’t he?

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It was a toss up for ABC Wednesday this week.  Should I find my stash of pictures of Ferry Meadows?  Or should I show you some pictures of food?  Well, guess which won?  Ferry Meadows is great – it’s a country park with lakes and dog walks and a little train and people flying kites and boating and suchlike, but food … well, now you’re talking!  And I suppose I’m pretty fixated on it right now, since I am once again trying to lose a bit of weight.

So I’m going to tell you about some of the memorable foodie moments of the last couple of years, but first a couple of random facts about our family.

One, OH is just a teeny tiny bit obsessive about neatness and order.

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He was in charge of the food preparation following my shoulder surgery, when I wasn’t allowed to lift so much as a fork with my right arm, and he was quite wonderful in his care and attention.

I’m quite fond of tomato soup, especially when I’m feeling poorly, so he did that for me quite frequently.

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And he did it neatly.  He did it with flair.  And also, with many variations.

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And the second fact?   Both of my sons can cook – and do so extremely well.  Oh, and I suppose there is a third, because I really don’t like to cook At All.   So on high days and holidays, my boys will come over and cook something nice for us.

Here’s  No. 2 Son serving up – I think it was New Year’s Day, 2007.

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And on Father’s Day it was Son No. 1′s turn.

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OH had requested toad in the hole.  And naturally, they both wanted huge portions – well, they don’t call them ‘man-sized’ for nothing, do they?  And the relatively healthy plate, with all the vegetables?  Yep.  Mine.

And this was Mother’s Day when No. 1 Son made me a delicious spinach and three cheese lasagne.  Quite festive, that was!

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I believe this next one was someone’s birthday.  No. 2 Son is putting the finishing touch to a  Clock Pie before it goes into the oven.

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Of course, being boys, they do like to play with their food sometimes.  But that’s OK.  I get a funny photo out of it!

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And that one right up there at the top?

Well, we were about to go out with the dogs and I asked OH to cut up some mild cheese to take for training treats while I got ready to go out, and that’s what I saw when I came back downstairs.

We call it Cheesehenge.

Personally, I think it was a not-particularly-subtle observation on how long I take to get ready to go out.  And the dogs – knowing perfectly well it was their cheese – were flummoxed and frustrated by this flight of fancy.

But don’t worry.  They did get to eat it in the end!

Posted on August 24, 2009 in Life, the Universe and Everything, Oddities by Jay12 Comments »

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Personally, I can think of at least three reasons why this is a really bad idea – unless, of course, you’re training a genuine bone a-fido Assistance Dog.

But maybe that’s just me.

What do you think?  Would you mind scratchmarks on your fridge?  How about teethmarks in your stewing steak?  Dog slobber in your butter?  Would you care if your dog poisoned himself with rich chocolate pudding or spotted dick, or raw onions?  Or even perhaps got drunk on that beer?

You’d certainly want to get up to date on brushing his teeth, and teach him to wash his feet before going into the kitchen, wouldn’t you?  I’m not even going to mention their personal hygiene habits.

Oh, whoops!  I did.

Discuss.