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Posted on May 6, 2013 in The Home Front by Jay12 Comments »

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There you go, my lovelies! Your new Macro Monday puzzle.

Now, since I won so resoundingly last week, I’ve been very kind. I’ve taken a nice, easy picture for you all.

Admittedly, not all you will have one of these. Some will have one but it won’t look quite like this. My mother never had a red one! And she didn’t have one which … but if I tell you that, some of you will guess easily and the rest will be led astray! Ha!

Anyway. These things are magic. It’s taken me this long to acquire a new, modern one and I love it. Perhaps I wouldn’t have chosen red, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in purple, so that was out.

To those who think it’s a tad unfair that not all of you will have one, I’ll tell you something: I bought this in my local supermarket. Ergo, if you’ve been in a supermarket, you’ve probably seen one. Or you’ve maybe seen it on TV or in the movies or in a friend’s house. Or a different kind of shop.

So. Leave your guess in the comments, and I’ll be back tomorrow evening (Tuesday around 10pm, UK time) and I’ll post the answer as usual in the form of a picture link.

Happy guessing!!

PS – Lisa’s Chaos, the host blog for Macro Monday seems to be down at the moment. Do try later if you get an error message.

Well, there you go – it WAS an easy one, wasn’t it? Most of you guessed this one correctly! Well done to Lori, Ron, Rob, Herman, and BabsAll of these lovely people have great blogs, so pop along and check them out.

Here’s the picture, as promised!

All of you got it right with no trouble at all, despite Lori’s fears! Well done everyone! Now, for next week … but you’ll just have to wait and see, won’t you?

Thanks for playing!

Posted on May 4, 2013 in Food and Drink by Jay10 Comments »

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Remember all those delicious Italian cheeses? Mmm. So do I.

This, however, is not one of them. This is a block of … something which looks like cheese, and which I bought to wrap the dogs’ pills so that they’d just eat them. It certainly moulds around capsules and pills very nicely, and they certainly eat it with every appearance of pleasure, so as far as that goes, it works quite well.

However, OH pointed something out to me. Something weird, and perhaps very important, and which I’d missed altogether.

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Nowhere on the label is this product actually described as ‘cheese’.

It surely looks like cheese; it says ‘Double Gloucester’ on the front (which is definitely a well-known variety of English cheese), it’s more or less the right colour, and the nutritional values are all in line with what you’d expect from a pack of cheese. But it does not claim that this actually is cheese.

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Of course, OH says ‘quite right, too’. He would give it as his opinion that of course it isn’t cheese. It might look yellow and have a waxy, slightly greasy feel – as cheese does – but you should not be able to make models with a good cheese, as he is certain you could with this. It also has very little cheese odour, and though we haven’t actually been able to bring ourselves to taste it, we suspect that it won’t have much cheese flavour, either.

So. Perhaps it isn’t, after all, cheese. Perhaps it is simply some kind of artificially-coagulated milk product which doesn’t merit the appellation of ‘cheese’ under current EU regulations!

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To paraphrase a common saying: it might look like cheese, slice like cheese, and smell vaguely like cheese, but that doesn’t necessary mean it is cheese.

Posted on May 3, 2013 in Hounds by Jay12 Comments »

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Oh dear. I feel like a bit of a fraud here.  I mean, how hard is it to keep a greyhound slim?

Actually, you’d be surprised. I’ve seen far too many greyhounds who have been allowed to get porky and their slim frames simply don’t handle extra weight well.  In addition, all the fat ones I’ve seen have looked positively depressed!

I’m taking part in a blog hop titled ‘Show off your dog’s waistline’, which I read about today on ‘You Did What With Your Wiener’.  The aim is laudable: to raise awareness of what constitutes a fit dog and to share stories of struggles with weight.  So many people seem unaware of the fact that their dogs are fat, rather than fit, and it really isn’t good for them.

For some breeds this is more critical than for others.  Dogs like dachshunds, with those short legs and long vulnerable backs, are at great risk for slipped discs and other spine problems.  Cavalier King Charles spaniels, with a genetic tendency to weak hearts, clearly do not need extra weight to carry around, any more than do other brachycephalic breeds like pugs, boxers, and bulldogs.

And of course, there are dogs with disabilities.

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Sid is an obvious example, being a tripod. Each one of his three remaining legs takes extra strain, and so does his back.  His one functional hip joint is under particular stress.  So I have to watch his weight carefully.  I  have him weighed regularly, and also ask the vet to assess his weight by eye and by feel when we consult.  For some reason, with Sid I find it hard to tell if he’s overweight or not – possibly because a) more of his stomach is exposed by the absence of a leg, and b) he has developed some strangely unbalanced musculature over the years, with a protruding spine which can fool you.

As you can see from that picture up there, we have our moments when the creeping weight gets past us and he ends up less than sylph-like.  Oh, Sid – you porker!  Time to cut down, old son!

Last time we saw the vet – a matter of a few days ago – he was pronounced absolutely fine on the weight front, which pleased me, but in the past he has silently packed on the pounds when I wasn’t looking, and when he does, he always, always struggles.

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The problem with Sid, of course, is that, because he only has three legs it’s harder for him to do enough exercise to keep in shape as he ages without reducing his food intake.  And the main problem with that, of course, is that we don’t want him losing muscle!

So far, we’ve managed OK, I think.

Jeffie, on the other hand, maintains his slenderness and his tuck effortlessly.  In fact, it’s hard to keep weight on this dog.  He looks as if he’d break in a strong gust of wind!

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And yet, if you can believe it, he weighs more right now than at any time since we got him!  He looks thinner in the photos, but in real life he feels nice to me at the moment.  He has a good amount of muscle, especially over his loins.  He will always have a bony appearance, and his iliac crests will always show like two horn buds at the wrong end, but he is fit and well.

Oh, to have his problem, huh?

To join in, add your link and tell your story!

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This week has really felt like spring – and that really helps to make everyone happy, including me.  There has been a warmth in the air quite unlike the ‘balmy’ days of winter, and any breeze that has sprung up has lacked the bitter edge we’ve been treated to for so long.

One thing which makes me very happy is that, once the flowers are open, all the little insects wake up and begin dancing in the air.   And one of the first to appear is always the bee-fly, which is often mistaken for a bumble bee .. for obvious reasons!

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Don’t you just love the blur where his wings should be?

The thing that looks like a sting is in fact – or perhaps I should say ‘are in fact’ – the mouthparts,  adapted for sucking nectar.  So, this one is a bee-fly, and the one at the top on the lavender is a bumble bee.  Got it?  Good.

Another thing that has made me really happy this week is that, despite some very cold nights, the flower buds are still on my wisteria!  Wisteria buds are very vulnerable to frost, and ours has often begun to bloom, only to be nipped by a severe frost in April or early May which has killed all the buds stone dead.

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So far,  so good!

Now for something completely different.

I have terrible trouble getting shoes to fit.  I have high arches, fairly narrow heels, and my feet are very wide at the front.  Added to that, in recent years, is the fact that I am developing one our family’s less pleasant genetic abnormalities: bunions!

Imagine my delight, therefore, to have discovered a new-to-me brand of footwear that exactly fits my foot shape!

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These are Merrells trainers.  While I might not have chosen this colour (they were simply black and pink when I got them – with violent pink laces, which I have now replaced with purple ones) they are blissfully comfortable.  I really did need to replace my heavy mountain trainers which were almost completely worn through on one heel, and since these are made almost entirely of mesh fabric, they will be perfect for summer.

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And what’s more, yesterday I discovered an outlet shop which sold Merrells and had two styles of barefoot trainers, which I’ve wanted to try for a long time.  It seems to me, that with my particular type of foot problems, it’s the way to go.

These are not my colour choice, either, but who the fuck cares, when they are this comfortable, and only two thirds of their usual price?  I’d like to find the man who invented these things and kiss him soundly.

They’ve certainly made me happy this week!

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Join in – it’s easy: post something that made you happy this week!  Add this little badge and link back here, if you’d like.