Posted on February 13, 2011 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay11 Comments »


I’m really enjoying this new meme! Sunday Selections is great!

This week, I’m digging right back to 2008, to a trip I took to the US. Now, when you fly to America from England, the plane takes a flight path over Greenland and the ‘great white north’ part of Eastern Canada and the views from the plane windows can be stunningly beautiful.


Ever hopeful, on that trip I took a series of pictures through the thick plastic windows with my little point-and-shoot Lumix. I thought it was a pretty forlorn hope, but what the heck? With a digital camera, what have you got to lose?

As it happens, some of those pictures came out surprisingly well.


Some of the most spectacular sights happen when the sun is coming up over the ice, but that’s particularly difficult to photograph, especially with such basic equipment – as you can see from the top picture which shows a distinct lack of good contrast in the foreground.

Anyway, one of the nicest of my ‘dawn’ shots is this one taken using the plane’s window as a frame.


If you liked these photos, you can pop along to Frog Ponds Rock, where you’ll find other selections from forgotten and previously unpublished files.


Yesterday, OH and I were companionably tidying up the kitchen together. I was putting things away and wiping down surfaces and he was loading the dishwasher.

A happy domestic scene, no?

And then it happened.

OH: ‘Do you want this ‘dirtbag’ mug to go into the dishwasher?’

Puzzled, I stopped what I was doing and looked around.

THIS was the mug he was holding aloft for my inspection.


One of my prized Johnny Depp mugs!

I gasped.

Realising he had perhaps chosen the wrong word (which happens from time to time, suffering as he does from mild aphasia) he tried again.

OH (Flapping slightly and in a mild panic): ‘Sorry! Sorry! ‘Scumbag‘ mug!

My jaw dropped and I did the fish thing, speechless with outrage and shock.

OH (Now hopping from foot to foot): ‘Nonono!!! Wrong word! Wrong word!! I meant … um … I meant … I’ve forgotten the word. What do you call this mug?’

Me: (Icily): ‘Grunge*’.

OH (Digging his hole a bit deeper): ‘Yes! Grunge! Same meaning, though. I mean … well .. it was when I was growing up … ‘

He trailed off.

OH: ‘I’d better stop talking, hadn’t I?’

Me: ‘Dirtbag?’

OH: ‘Sorry! Sorry!’


OH: ‘It was the wrong word, alright?’

We both ended up laughing, as we usually do, but … well, really!!

You see, ‘grunge’ in this sense describes a fashion type. The original followers of grunge music were notable for their ripped jeans, plaid shirts, layers of clothing and (seemingly) uncombed hair – a look which most Johnny Depp fans will immediately recognise as his favourite casual look. He’s updated it and made it his own, of course, with scarves borrowed from Vanessa, bits and pieces given to him by his children and multiple layers of jewellery, but it’s still basically grungy.

He’s also an icon of grunge philosophy in that he really doesn’t give a shit about ‘looking cool’ or conforming to anything much, and therefore he is one of the coolest people on the planet.

So there.


I’ve been thinking for a while about turning into a Grumpy Old Woman and listing my pet hates in a series of blog posts, and what happened yesterday tipped me over the edge. I foolishly went out without my camera, but I won’t apologise for not having pictures of the actual incident, and as you read you’ll be grateful for that.

You want to know what upset me, don’t you?

Well, for a very long time now – years and years and years – I’ve been disgusted by a habit that some women have, which they seem to think is perfectly acceptable: standing their small children in their shopping trolleys instead of using the seats which are provided.

I mean … What. The. Fuck??

Here’s what I’d like to say to these women, if only I had the guts:

Do you REALLY think it’s okay? Have you even thought about it? Have you – for instance – considered what your little darling might have trodden in during the last few days? Things like … oh, I dunno … spit, vomit, rotting remains of food, bird droppings, etc?

Maybe Darling Shania trod right over the patch where the litter patrol man just picked up the used nappy* you tossed out of your car last week without bothering to find a rubbish bin, or where a local thug bled last night after having his lights punched out by a buddy?

And you think it’s perfectly fine for me to put my FOOD in there?

So, it’s all packaged. Big deal. Those packages are going in my fridge and in my larder, Lady. The invisible deposits from the spit, vomit and rotting remains are going to be smeared right over my shelves. Can we say ‘health hazard’?

Now – if you’re still with me – I’ll tell you what I found in my shopping trolley yesterday.

I’d already put a jug of milk in there, and as I reached in to place a bar of Green & Blacks 70% cocoa gently and lovingly next to it, I noticed something stuck to the bars in the bottom.

I looked closer, and I kid you not – DOG SHIT**.

Smeared in half a dozen places over the wire in the bottom of that shopping trolley, in which I’m supposed to casually toss my vegetables, meat and so on, is that hideous brown mess that we know so well.

I took the trolley to the supervisor.

Me: ‘Excuse me, I can’t believe this, but … this appears to be dog poop!’

Supervisor: ‘Oh, my goodness! You’re right! I’ll take it straight out the back … ‘

And she handed me my jug of milk.

Supervisor: ‘Do you want this?’

Me (with visions of traces of dog shit in my carrier bag, being transferred to my other food): ‘Uh … no. You see, it’s been standing in the trolley with the, uh … No, I don’t trust it’

Supervisor waves the milk around in the general direction of the milk cabinet, catches my eye and changes her mind. Last I saw it was going with the trolley ‘out the back’, hopefully to be disinfected before being returned to the shelves.

Seriously: What is wrong with people?

Or perhaps it’s just me.


**Which annoys me even more because I always pick up after MY dog


See that? This was the point at which Sid became unsure of the whole procedure.

He was excited to get out of the car at Newborough Dogs and smell greyhounds, and he was perfectly happy to walk up the ramp to the door of the hydrotherapy room. There was a small setback when he saw the tiled floor – he didn’t have his purple boots on – but Mark, the hydrotherapy guy, gently picked him up and transported him across those Evil Tiles and set him on his feet somewhere safer .. but oddly damper and warmer. Well, that was OK too. His two favourite people were there, after all.

Then he had a very strange jacket velcroed tightly onto him and he was taken to stand rather too close to some steamy water. Hmm. Maybe this wasn’t quite so ‘OK’ after all!

What happened next came as a Big Surprise. You can see that by his face.


Sid: ‘WTF?? I’m wet ALL OVER!!’

Me: ‘I told you you were going swimming’

Sid: ‘WTF? I can’t feel the bottom!!’

Mark: ‘Steady, big guy!’

Sid: ‘WTF??’

Me: ‘It’s OK Sid, it’ll be fun … really!’


What can I say? When Sid is surprised, he swears like a trooper.

As far as I know, this was Sid’s very first swim in a hydrotherapy pool and he was a trooper. Want to see him in action? Well, here you go, but the quality isn’t that great since it was steamy, and you have to put up with my commentary too.

During the swim, Sid had his pulse checked every few minutes for signs of stress or tiredness, and he was allowed – no, made to rest on Mark’s knee several times.


Mark was absolutely wonderful with him. Very gentle, very slow at the big changes like .. oh, like being swept of your feet and placed in deep, warm water. And like being dumped out on a rubber mat afterwards like a landed fish.


You see, greyhound legs turn to rubber after they’ve been in warm water. Sometimes they’ll even collapse in the bath at home. It’s worried many a new adopter, but it’s fairly harmless – apart from a tendency to put your back out. Yes, your back, as you try to keep them upright or pick them up afterwards. I’ll say this, Mark is a very strong man. He carried Sid with no particular sign of effort, dripping wet dead-weight of 72lb as he was.

Then came the good part.

Sid: ‘Yeah, you just wait. You won’t take me by surprise next time, you know. IF I go in again, it’ll be … it’ll be … well, it’ll be because I want to, that’s all!’

Trust him to have the last word!