Posted on September 13, 2013 in Funny, Hounds by Jay27 Comments »

Just for fun, I’m going to try joining in with the 30 Day Photo Challenge I’ve seen several of you doing just lately.  The prompt words are indeed challenging, but I have the perfect photo for today:

The word is ‘Wrong’, and it is.  It really is, in so many ways …


The reason this is so funny to me is that Jeffie (the black dog) is really picky about who touches him and where, while he is sleeping.  Sid (the fawn dog) usually gets growled at if he so much as breathes in Jeffie’s general direction while they are resting.  So to see Sid with one paw firmly pushing against Jeffie’s rear end without so much as a twitch from the Grumpy One is really strange.  I mean, it’s a strange picture anyway, but for these two dogs, it really is strange.

And it made me suspect that something was wrong with Jeffie.  Like, maybe, he was dead and I hadn’t noticed*!

You’ll be relieved to know that suspicion was also, well, wrong!

* He is elderly!  That’s one reason he’s so thin, by the way, in case you were wondering.

Posted on September 12, 2013 in Life, the Universe and Everything, The Home Front by Jay12 Comments »


Well, it seems that despite summer dwindling into autumn all of a sudden, I still have plenty to be happy about this week.   The little happinesses are there, if you only look for them, so while my veggies are well and truly over (being mostly summer, salady type crops) I am now finding those magical dew-bedecked spider webs in my garden and enjoying the sight of all those fields full of bales.  We have both the huge, modern round ones and the traditional square ones all stacked up ready for collection and waiting serenely under the brooding skies.

I don’t know quite why these are so fascinating, except that the colours and shapes are very satisfying and they probably touch some deep primitive corner of our minds which concerns itself with harvests being gathered safely in.


Then there is the fact that UPS have found my packet – the one they lost down the back of some shelving and which contains my tickets to the Modà concert I’ll be going to on my birthday while we’re in Italy.  The link will take you to a YouTube video of a fairly typical Modà track.  And here’s another:

The tickets are a tad crumpled, but I’m just happy to have them after a long saga involving temporary drivers, missing ‘you were not in when we tried to deliver … ‘ slips and yes, losing them in the shelving of the Northampton UPS depot.  If it had not been for the fact that sent me a tracking notice I’d never have known they were lost until it was too late.  The tracking notice, by the way, arrived five days after the attempted delivery, but hey – it all came out in the wash, and here they are, looking just about ready for a very careful ironing.


You know what?  It gives me great pleasure to be able to sing along with Italian songs like the ones I linked to above, because when I do, I really feel I’m getting somewhere with my language skills.  Although I only ever do so at home, or in the privacy of my car. With all the windows closed.  Naturally.

And lastly there is the discovery of an old ‘friend’.  I’ve been sorting through my books lately and trying to cut down the more-than-extensive library that we have here.  I love books, but they are taking over the house and I know there are novels on the shelves that I’ll never read again. If I can remember the story well enough, I can decide just by looking at the cover, but there are some that I read so very long ago that I can’t remember much about them at all, and this is one of them:


When I find a book I can’t remember, I simply start reading it again. And that’s what I did with this one, fully expecting to get a few pages in, remember the whole thing and toss it in the discard pile.   But it didn’t happen like that.  What happened was that I got gripped by the story, and fell in love with the book all over again.  Provided it doesn’t upset me with a terrible ending, this one will go back on the shelf and be read again with great affection in the future.  It’s well written, evoking a bygone era in rural Ireland at a time when good people did terrible things for all the right reasons, and came unstuck over it all.  If I tell you that Sabrina is a rebellious young woman fighting her mother’s desire to give her to the church and force her to become a nun, I won’t be spoiling the story because it tells you that much on the back cover.  If you like that sort of story, you’ll probably love this one, too.

Well, there it is.  ‘How to be happy’, for this week.

I firmly believe that the road to a happy life is to find your pleasure in small things, not to wait for the big ones to happen along.  To this end, I try to bring you the small things that made me happy this week – and you can join in, too, if you like.  Take this little badge, and write a post of your own.  Link back here, if you’d like to.






Well, here I am again after missing last week’s Macro Monday puzzle post! I’m sorry about that. If you read my last post you’ll know how that came to happen. Anyway, I’m back with another one now, and I think this might be a tad easier.

Or maybe not.

This is a very familiar sight for most of you. In all the countries we’ve found ourselves, we’ve also found these things. They all look pretty much the same, too. Some are nicer, some are shinier, some are actually not made of the same stuff (I’ve even seen one or two made of chocolate!) but they are basically the same size and shape and serve the same function.

I bet you have at least half a dozen at home!

Take your guess and pop it in the comments, and I’ll be back Tuesday evening with the answer. That’s UK time, of course.

Now, I’m crossing my fingers and scheduling this post, because tomorrow evening I shall be at a Leonard Cohen concert, and to be quite honest, will not feel like whipping out my mobile phone to complete a blog post. It would be a tad rude, too, would it not?

Have fun – I’m planning to!

Tuesday evening has come … and gone!  And I’ve just found myself with a minute to update this post. Sorry it’s late.

You did very well again, most of you.  Babs from Beetle Blog was the first to guess, and she got it right, too!  Then came Taffy’s Mum, Genji’s Corner and Houndstooth, followed by Molly, Herman Turnip, Rob Lenihan, and Hannah.  Very well done all of you!

Go here to see the bigger picture.  Not very exciting really, and it’s a very cheap version, but there you go.  Not everyone is born with a silver .. um … thing in their mouth!

Posted on September 7, 2013 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay6 Comments »


So, yeah … where was I?

Ah, yes.  I’ve missed two or three ‘How to be Happy’s and one Macro Monday and haven’t posted much for a while, have I?  Would you like to know what’s been going on?

You see, I foolishly undertook to produce a fundraising calendar for Brambleberry Greyhounds, and then decided we should do an Advent calendar as well.

When you go to the calendar sites on the internet, they make it look so damned easy.  It is not. Complications will ensue as sure as God made little green apples.

It started off okay.

Well, no, actually it didn’t, because unless you have tried doing this for yourself, you will not believe how hard it is to get people to send the right size and quality of photos for your consideration.  People were wonderful and sent some amazing shots of their dogs with full permission to reproduce them for profit, but I ended up doing one hell of a lot of Photoshopping to make some of them acceptable to be blown up to A5 size, and even then they aren’t what I’d call sharp.   I think I did get one SOC* file, though.

They’ll be OK, because people are very forgiving when it comes to charity calendars, and thank heavens for that.   And of course, there’s always the Advent calendar to make use of those files that really are way too small and nowhere near sharp enough to enlarge.

The problem is that people don’t understand what’s involved in printing a calendar.  I myself am by no means an expert, but I have worked as a typesetter in a graphics studio, and OH had his own graphics studio too, for a while.  Anyway, I’ve seen these guys work, so I know a little about the process and, to be frank, that when it comes to photos it’s a question of GIGO**. However, if you haven’t seen these guys work, why would you know what it takes?  It’s all very understandable, if frustrating.

So I spent a lot of time with those photos, and I uploaded them into the online template of the Team Calendars site and arranged for the invoice to be sent to Brambleberry … and that’s where it all fell apart.  They couldn’t see the files I’d uploaded and asked for them to sent again via their sister site in a zip.  Somehow, they arrived corrupted but I didn’t hear about it until I rang to ask what the delay was because somebody with a different email address wrote to me about it and it went into my spam folder because it had an ‘unsolicited attachment’.

Here’s what the proof they sent me looked like:


I sent some more files and asked them to let me know if they were better.  I heard nothing.   Guess what?  Another person with another different mail address had replied to my message and again it had gone into my spam folder because it had an attachment.  Googlemail didn’t like the look of this because, clearly, I didn’t know these people since they were not in my contacts list.

So the studio is having problems and I feel for them.  They have staff on holiday, and a studio manager in hospital and a string of different people answer the phone. But now I’m having problems too, because if I don’t get these by the Great Greyhound Gathering I will lose a lot of potential sales and Brambleberry will have spent money it can’t afford to lose on this project.

I went to see the other printing studio today, the one that’s doing the Advent calendar;  Sadly they don’t do the type of wall-hanging yearly fundraising month-to-view type calendar I’m trying to get made, or I’d let them do that as well, because this guy was friendly, personable, helpful and competent.  He checked my Advent calendar files and was nice enough to take a look at my other photos and said that while they weren’t pin sharp, they really should be fine for the A4 calendar, even though he’s not getting that particular job.  He looked at the proof the other guys had sent and, like me, couldn’t work out what they’d done to the pictures I’d sent them.

I spoke to Team Calendars and they sent me a paper copy proof with all possibly speed.  They assured me I will be happy with it, and it arrived yesterday, and I was happy.  Here’s what the same picture looks like now:


They promise faithfully to turn it around within five working days. If they can live up to that and provide me with the calendars I need in the quality I need, I will happily forgive them. Let’s face it, everyone has off days, and the poor studio manager can’t help being hospitalised.  I’m sure he’d just as soon not be languishing in a sick bed, poor guy.

The Advent calendars, meanwhile, are also well in hand, so it looks as if I might be able to pull this one off, and thank heavens for that.

By the way, if you are ever in the position of looking at digital proofs sent via email, remember to open them in Adobe Acrobat, not rely on the browser viewer. They ALL look like crap viewed via the browser viewer.

While all this was going on, we decided to plan a holiday in Italy before the winter sets in, and decided to go the villa route rather than stay in hotels, which meant hours and hours and hours of online searching for the perfect places to stay, plus some agonised emails in imperfect Italian on the subject of feathers and allergies.  Son No. 2 and his family have moved house, which meant a little help with that process, and some time spent babysitting and bottle-washing.  I’ve been having trouble uploading pictures for my blog … and I’ve been sucked into another stupid Facebook game on the grounds that I needed a little stress relief.


It’s a fairly simple, puzzle-type block moving game but these Facebook games are evil. I’ve played several now.  They are designed to be highly addictive, and if you play them late at night they will stop you sleeping because they quite literally mess with your brain.  And the higher levels give me migraine.

So.  Never mind the calendar stress, can somebody please rescue me from the coils of Candy Crush?

*SOC = Straight Out of the Camera

**GIGO = Garbage in, garbage out