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<My Diary Archive 2010 My Diary Archive>

- Up around 7:45am . . walked . . did dish washing and vacuuming chores until Mum arrived for chats with food donations etc . . ate ham, mayo, spring onion and lettuce rolls and a little chocolate . . napped until around 6pm . . drove to walk. . TVd . . ate kipling tarts, bowls of cornflakes and chocolate . . early to bed around 11:30pm!?
2 - Up around 6:30am . . condensation on the windows!! . . PCd a bit and somehow ended up on the BBC website comparing the political parties policies!!!!! I've studiously avoided all the TV coverage of the electioneering as best I could because - um - well frankly, the way ALL the politicians talk, just makes me want to throw up! There's something terribly obviously false (to me at least) about the image they all present. Well - I put in quite a bit of time using the BBC's quick-compare dropdown box thingy, for the allegedly key issues, and sure enough, there wasn't a single party that I broadly agreed with, sufficient to think I should vote for them. So - I guess I won't be voting then. That just served to further increase my alienation from everyone/thing. I wonder how long it'll be before things get SO bad that someone will finally have the nerve to stand up and say we need to attempt to decrease the population? We MUST! It's SO obvious isn't it? But NOooooo - they all aspire to return to 'growth' - growth of the economy, housing - and everything else it would appear. Am I the only one on the planet who can see that permanent growth is simply not possible? Why on earth do otherwise apparantly intelligent people buy into this propoganda/myth? 'Permanent' anything isn't possible (other than suffering perhaps? lol)! We only seem able to 'just' sustain the affluent consumerist lifestyles we have because, so far, we haven't 'quite' exhausted the earths resources, AND we are entirely reliant on poverty stricken 'slave' labour! We just happily turn a blind eye to where that poverty/labour is - just so long as we have our cheap TVs etc flooding in! What happens when all the 'slaves' in Asia start expecting/demanding a 'decent' wage and standard of living? I guess Africa is a largely 'undeveloped' source for the next wave of 'emerging economy'. Hell - what do I know. I hope I won't be around to see it all go into meltdown, as I'm absolutely certain it must - in time! Just a matter of time. Blah blah blah. . I can't bear to watch the news at the moment. Either it's pointless saturation coverage of some speech or walkaround shaking hands somewhere, or it's coverage of the oil spill off the US coast. The latter is THE most unbelieveable disaster of surely underplayed global significance!! We just won't be happy until we've absolutely destroyed everything will we. :o( 'Oh think of the chillllldren'! Actually - yes - ha, ha, bloody ha! Good luck to 'em! My god - I HAVE been turned into a bitter and twisted old git haven't I!!! . . . walked the woods for the first time in ages. Dunno why I had to pick a day when it was drizzling! Not 'quite' there yet, but plenty of evidence of the bluebells coming through. My god it felt cold! A good handful of degrees cooler than it has been of late - only around eight degrees C with a bit of a northish type breeze! . . . PCd looking for spare parts for both my broken vacuum and lawn mower. The vacuum part I need (Panasonic MCE470 pre-filter wiper assembly) simply isn't listed anywhere. It's just stated as obsolete! That's bad news. The Flymo E300 mower on the other hand, I CAN get the parts I need (ish). Blades are commonly available (but extortionately expensive for what they are! What a con! Almost tempting to knock one up from some scrap out of the nearby metalworks skip! ). Also - I had no idea that it was probably part of my problem - but you can also get some cheap plastic blade-spacers, to make the cut height lower. 15 for both would probably make it cut SO much better. Having said that, the switch/handle mechanism is all broken too, so since I could 'maybe' pick up a second hand one for 20, I'm not sure it's worth bothering with. Ho hum. Time for sleep yet? Feels like it is!. . left Sally at home and drove to the Battery museum and dropped off the gas mask and bong . . drank wine and cooked and ate sausages, eggs, potato and onion followed by a little chocolate . . napped . . TVd . . PCd until early before eventually to bed. Difficulty sleeping. Should have eaten more - felt absolutely hypothermic! ds
3 - Back up around 6:30am after literally only an hour or so sleep!! 14 degrees in / 6 degrees out! Back to winter temperatures and layers!!. . walked. Very chilly . . ate sausage sandwiches and a couple of Mum donated iced-doughnuts . . sat around feeling tired, down and simply not functioning again. :o( What am I supposed to do? Which way can I turn when experience has shown, all roads lead to the same destination!! . . Mum called to say she'd had a worrying call from Sis2 regarding her health and a possible visit to an 'emergency room ' - before then being unable to reach her! ?. . napped . .drove to walk . . TVd . . ate pizza and chocolate . .TVd until to bed around 1am. s
4 - Up around 7am :o( . . walked . . did laundry . . I'm deep in a 'down' right now and frankly struggling with it - much! :o( . .touched base with Mum. She'd finally got hold of Sis2 who was maybe slightly better after a typically fruitless visit to the emergency room. . PCd aimlessly surfing . Actually ended up on some government site at one point and went through the long process of filling in various drop down boxes etc etc, in an attempt to see what (if any) benefits I may be entitled to. The answer was of course, absolutely none! . . I was just about to eat and sleep when 'singing man' called in. He'd encountered someone selling a video camera and thought I may be interested. No. . ate a pastry slice, cheese, spring onion and biscuits . . napped . . woken by Sally barking around 6pm. Singing man had dropped a cassette tape through the door. He'd gone home and immdiately made up a song based on one of the guitr twiddles I'd done when he was here. Funny thing was, I don't know what HE 'heard', but it obviously wasn't what I'd intended. lol Had to try and do a compeletely different twiddle to match it, before soon giving up. .skipped the walk. . TVd/guitarred the night away . . forced down corned beef, mayo sandwiches with a spring onion and half a battenburg cake before to bed around 2am. s
5 - Woken by the bin men, snoozed on maybe then up around 8am. . .walked . . sat around. . PCd. Surfed e-bay and eventually ordered 10 white cotton handkerchiefs for 5.70, to replace the collection of worn out near 'rags' that I am currently using. My smoking-related permanent 'flu like' (drowning!) symptoms (more recently including chest pains) dictate I always carry a couple! . . PCd aimlessly for most of the day. Funny it hadn't occurred to me before, but at some point I ended up doing a search on Youtube for Schizoid and Avoidant personality disorders. Quite a bit on there! Watched a few bits here and there but only succeeded in making myself feel even more down and totally, totally hopeless and more uniquely isolated than ever!!!! Severe avoidance is one thing, bad enough in itself - but throw in on top what I've experienced over the last few years - the apparant resulting PTSD type symptoms - a lifetime of depressed mood with spontaneous bouts of (increasingly) more severe episodes. I dunno - seems like I'm pretty far gone here and there isn't actually anywhere to return to. . . because of the 'no benefits for the likes of me' thing I did yesterday, I had a poke about on the local jobs website, because as far as society is concerned, I'm apparantly totally fit for work. That didn't go well - to say the least!! . .awful headache . . BB called briefly to touch base . . drove to walk despite feeling headachey and wobbly and probably unfit to do so. . TVd . . forced down pepperoni and lettuce rolls and some chocolate . . to bed before 11pm.
6 - Up around 7am. .PCd just a bit of this only to end up sitting in front the screen for half an hour, a bit blank and typing nothing. . walked. Some guy stopped me as I was heading out, asking where the polling station was. The polling cards for the local station (cricket club) have been printed with the wrong address on - not taking into account that the old cricket club is now a housing development and there is a new club building in a completely different road! lol . found a pair of useable kitchen scissors laying in the road. . sat around in front the TV. guitarred. Mum called to touch base and say she'd been to vote . . my supply of handkerchiefs arrived in the post. Blimey, they're cheap! So thin they almost have the appearance of a net curtain! I wonder if they are even useable! :o(. . . ate a four egg cheese and pepperoni omlette and a whole large bar of Mum donated chocolate!. . slept until around 6pm . . skipped the walk . . TVd the night away . . ate bowls of co-co pops before to bed around midnight. s
7 - Up around 7am. .it really means nothing to me, but briefly popped on to the BBC website to see the result of the election, just out of iterest. A 'hung' parliament whatever that actually means, with the tories having acheived the most seats. Oh well - so much for all that then!?? (wonder how much all that election thing cost?) I wonder if we'll end up like Greece, with rioting in the streets, when we all see our standard of living decline as we are forced to pay the increasingly affluent who have somehow succeeded in fleecing us all? . I still occasionally watch the property development type shows on TV. There was one recently where the people concerned had a huge budget of, I think it was 40K. Their intention was to build a tree-house play area for their children in their enormous garden! What obscene nonsense! . . walked and did the full walk through the woods . . mowed the lawns and my beard and hair and then did vacuuming chores . . Sis1 called. She was at Mums with her daughter and HER daughter. I'm embarassed to admit, I declined the suggestion that I may wish to pop up and see them and join them in whatever it was they were planning for the day. I simply couldn't face it. :o( . . drank a glass of wine and ate 'dog food' beef and chips followed by a bunch of chocolate biscuits . . napped until around 7:30pm . . Sally is off her food and seems unwell. At one point she came into the living room, stared at me and then just kinda keeled over and collapsed to the floor. :o( . . TVd . . ate corned beef and lettuce sandwiches before eventually to bed in the early hours. d
8 - Up around 7:30am. .PCd and somehow ended up spending ages reading comments on the news reports about the US oil spill. If I am to believe what I read, in comparison to other spills over the last few decades, (so far?) this one isn't as large as it could have been. That's as may be, but it isn't stopping any time soon is it! I think I need to stop reading 'reader comments' on any of the sites/articles I surf on to. The ignorant absurdity or downright nastiness of all such comments, just seems to prove to me that there really is ABSOLUTELY no hope for human kind! . . Sally's really not right at all!!! . . drove to walk. Sally couldn't even manage to climb into the car from either the back or usually 'slightly' more easy side doors!! She got her front feet up but couldn't muster the energy to get her back end up that high, and on both occasions just tumbled back out in a heap! Really upsetting. Managed to eventually haul her off the ground and get her into the back. Awkwardly getting her in like that, she ended up kinda laying on her side, and unlike would normally be the case, she stayed like that until we were heading off down the lane!! Lifted her out at BGdns and as usual she seemed to be more like her old self all of a sudden. Did more or less the normal walk around, and she even had a go at chasing a rabbit at one point. . back home it became apparant that there were signs of an odd wet patch or two on the carpet here and there - mostly in the hallway where I'd found her laying when I got up and where she'd presumably slept for part of the night. I can't express sufficiently how TOTALLY out of character it would be for her to have an 'accident' like that. It just would never happen. She is SO fastidious about keeping her territory clean that she would have come and woken me up or I would have heard her scratching and whining at the door. I've got a horrible feeling she's somehow leaking pee from her back end and isn't really actually aware of it!!!!!! Oh jeezuz. . threw away another bowl of her, this time, totally untouched food . . did dish washing chores and petted Sally quite a bit, also trying to see if she really WAS involantarily leaking. I think so. . Mum called in. As Sally got up from where she'd been laying, it was very clear that she HAD leaked a little while laying there. There was no further room for doubt. :o( Could it be some sort of bladder infection, or could she actually have had a bit of a stroke and suddenly become incontinant? Oh my god - if that IS the case, even if she gets all back to normal otherwise, how the hell am I supposed to live with that? As she gets older and more infirm, precisely the time when she would need warmth and comfort, how could I possibly suddenly turf her out into the garage or some such. We've been pretty much inseparable 24 hours a day since I've had her - I'd have no choice - I'd HAVE to sleep in the garage with her! How the hell am I supposed to live like that? I just couldn't! Oh jeezuz!!!!!!!!!!!!! :o( . . she did at least eat the pork pie treat Mum had brought. . . whatever is going on with Sally, she's spending perhaps more than her usual time asleep, and during that sleep she appears to be almost constantly dreaming. Far more than usual. . . I've really little choice - I'm gonna have to wait until Monday to see how things pan out. If things improve all well and good - if they don't, I'll be getting her in the car and urgently heading out to try and find a vet who'll see her without us being registered with them. I'm sure some may criticise me for just waiting like that. Understand - if it was ME who was similarly ill, I would do no different - except perhaps, wait even longer before 'maybe' seeking assistance.. . drank wine . . ate a tin of hot dog sausages with four pieces of bread and butter followed by many biscuits . . napped . . Sally was happily eventually persuaded to use the garden to have a pee, and although obviously really not well, doesn't seem - um - overtly 'distressed' which WOULD be demanding of immediate action. . She refused her food again. I think we're in big trouble here. . TVd the night away, but really lost in my thoughts, involuntarily 'rehearsing' possible actions/outcomes and such. :o( I did at some point surf the net and make a list of local (and not so local) veterinary practices! . . Sally hardly moved much all evening and just lay around dreaming lots and maybe panting and drinking just a little more than usual. . ate bowls of corn flakes before eventually to bed whenever that was. ds
9 - Up around 7:10am. . No intention of trying to walk her this morning. Encouraged Sally to use the garden to have a pee which eventually she did. Although difficult to accurately guage, I felt as though she wasn't in 'quite' such a worrying state as she had appeared last night. . PCd and surfed some of Sallys symptoms wherever it took me. It would appear that loss of urine retention is quite common in GSD bitches that have been spayed! (I don't recall them telling you THAT when you have it done!) It would appear it is also quite common for people to utilise adult nappy type devices on such dogs in the home under such circumstances! . unfortunately, the fact that Sally isn't eating right now suggests things are absolutely NOT 'that' 'simple'(!!!!!??) . shut the PC down only to soon after go back to it and try to get to the bottom of which vet it was I once registered with, when Sally was unwell when we first came down here. Once again - ain't 'tinternet' marvellous. Using Google's Streetview thingy, I was able to 'virtually' drive along the roads and actually familiarise myself with the local place we'd once been before - and route I could take to drive back there if it was open. (Dart Vale Veterinary Group) It appeared it WAS indeed still open (allbeit only part time as before)! (Why/how did I get the long standing impression the local one had closed?) . Gave the phone number a ring, rather expecting to get an ansaphone, just to check it was still in business and what the actual opening hours were. To my enormous suprise, the phone was eventually actually answered by a vet (unbeknown to me, the phone had actually been re-routed to their main practice)!! Clumsily explained what the score was and that, although it wasn't an emergency 'yet', I was really ringing just to check I WOULD be able to make an appointment and get to see a vet during their surgery in Brixham tomorrow afternoon. The vet I was speaking to, seemed in her manner to suggest it wasn't something that should be delayed (uhuh - - I bet!) , so it was agreed I'd jump in the car with Sally and come straight over - to their main practice in Totnes! . . thrust Sally's old paperwork into a pocket, my wallet and credit card in another, lifted her into the car and drove straight there (with her sat up in the back looking at the passing scenery pretty much all the way there). Followed the directions the vet had given me and suprisingly found the place immediately without a single wrong turn. . Parked up, managed to successfully lift Sally out of the car and went in. Two women were already in there talking to the vet and handing over what appeared to be a cat wrapped tightly in a blanket. They were obviously distressed and after having said 'goodbye and see you in a week' and gently touched the bundle they'd just placed in the vets arms, as they passed me to leave I saw they both had tears on their faces. Oh god - that got to me rather I'm afraid. The vet said she'd be with me in a moment so I said I'd just pop out and have a quick cigarette. .had a bit of a weep and only half my cigarette before eventually being called back in . . Managed to pull myself back together without making 'too' much of a fool of myself. Sally appeared to be slightly energised by the unusual change in our routine and was quite happy to go into this new place. I can't recall the vets name of course, but I kinda felt she was ok. Very young, but she really seemed to have a good way with her. (In my opinion she had probably not yet been in the profession long enough to have taken on that experienced, been there, seen that, done that, don't really care so much, edge of an attitude that you almost always see in more experienced vets and doctors and the like.) Anyway - suffice it to say, I felt ok about her - and that's saying something coming from me! It was the usual awkward attempt by me at fully and concisely explaining only relavent symptoms - but I think she got the gist of it. Manipulating Sally's groin with her experienced hands, she managed to make her whine a bit - which is something I'd not managed to do! Definitely something sore going on down there, initially suggestive of perhaps just an infection. Sally at this point decided it wasn't so cool being in there any more and seemed pretty keen on immediately leaving the way we'd come! lol She is SO good. It didn't take much persuading for her to remain and stand having a thermometer stuck up her, before quickly having her sit on the scale for a weigh! . the upshot of the examination was, an injection and a course of anti biotics to see if that would improve things. On top of that, it would be necessary for me to obtain a urine sample, which I should pop into the local practice tomorrow afternoon - and then also make a checkup appointment for a weeks time (assuming things get better)!!!! Oh my god! How the hell is a urine sample gonna be possible? Boy - that's gonna be SO awkward!!

Paid the 65:98 bill (OUCH!!!!! :o( ) with my plastic (injection of 20ml Metacam 10:30, 28x Synulox Pal 250mg tablets 29:94, consultation 25:74) lifted Sally back into the car (Ouch! My poor back!) and was soon back on the road heading home - feeling just a little more optimistic about things than I had been on the way there! . . stopped off at BGdns on the way home for a very short wander round, really just to let her have a poop - which she duly did, albeit very little since she's eaten so little since the last. . . Mum called to touch base . . took a big joint of K donated beef out of the freezer to defrost, in the hope some of that would tempt Sally to eat something . .PCd a bit of this . . drank wine and ate ham and lettuce rolls and biscuits . . napped until around 6pm at which point I woke myself from the awful dream (nightmare) I was having! (I won't go into the horrific details, but my mind was adamant that the location was the lobby of one of the twin towers on 911!!) How on earth does the mind counjor such stuff up? Bizarre! . . TVd and then PCd a bit, looking up how other people have collected pee samples from dogs. Dug out a shallow elongated tupperware from a cupboard and eventually mustered the courage to take her out into the garden and give it a go. Wow - it went really well. Absolutely straight forward. As soon as she squatted, I rushed up behind her and positioned the tupperware beneath her and immediately collected more than I needed. Decanted some into the small container the vet had given me and then stored it in the fridge. From what I'd read on-line, urine tests are best done soon after collection, so I'm really not sure how useful that is gonna be by the time I hand it in. Nevertheless, the vet had been very clear that it should be taken before she starts on the tablets - and that she should start the tablets today, so I had little choice. I'm just glad I managed to get it at all. . Considering what I used to collect it, it wouldn't suprise me if when the sample is tested the vet reports back that Sally has a severe case of garlic-sausage slices, with possible grated cheese and chopped onion complications! :o| . . mixed up some of the chopped-up defrosted beef with some gravy and crushed the tablets into it, and with some persuading managed to get reluctant Sally to eat it. Mixed more up and put it in her bowl but she left most of it untouched. . TVd eating lots of chocolate until around 2:30am before to bed. ds
10 - Up around 8am. . Sally refused to finish a bowl of milk!! Unheard of! . . drove to walk . . forced her to eat grated cheese and tablets . . sat around worrying. She's worse than yesterday. That'll be the metacam injection having worn off. . confronting 'eventual' (whenever that may be) realities, I PCD a bit looking at local pet cremation services, urns and the like. Hugely upsetting but actually suprisingly 'affordable'(ish) which was something of a relief and therefor not something I'm gonna have to worry about too much until such a time comes. :o( . . left Sally at home and drove to the vets to hand in the urine sample and make a checkup appointment for Friday. Popped back in and also got a leaflet about cremations before driving home!! . ate ham rolls, banana and mini cheesecake. Sally refused her normal titbits. . napped until around 6:30pm . . TVd . . struggled to get Sally to eat a little beef with the tablets wrapped in it - and failed - and ended up having to roughly force the tablets down her throat on their own and hold her mouth shut till she swallowed them!!!!!!! :o( Distressing for us both! . .eventually she DID eat some of the bowl of best beef I put down . . Mum called to touch base . . TVd/guitarred . .Sally appeared to perk up just a little as the evening wore on and even was tempted by a little milk after I'd eaten bowls of muesli and a banana. . to bed around 2am.
11 - Up around 7am. .Sally had been sick by the front door! . .cleared up and hosed down a bit of the carpet out in the back garden . . Sally refused to touch the little bit of milk I put down in a bowl. :o( . . drove to walk . . eventually successfully wrestled the bare tablets down Sallys throat again because she wouldn't touch any food! :o( . . guitarred and just sat around 'waiting' - feeling awful. . Mum popped in with some ham and a pork pie, which she thought may be useful for helping to get tablets into Sally. . drank the last half glass of wine from the box and ate tuna, lettuce and mayo sandwiches, lots of biscuits and some chocolate . . napped. Half woken by the phone ringing, slept on then up around 5:45pm. Uh oh - did 1471 on the phone and realised it HAD been the vets trying to call, presumably to give me the results of the urine sample test? Immediately tried calling back and after lots of engaged, finally got through - but once again the phone was re-routed (to Paignton this time!) and unfortunately their computer system had no details of the local test result. I was told to contact the local place after 1pm tomorow! Damn! The way things are going - whatever the results of that test, I think I need the vet to start thinking about other tests - or 'something'!!! :o( (Actually - I don't think I've mentioned here yet, but that involuntary 'leeking' pee thing she was doing, did stop a couple of days ago I think, so at least the carpets and floorboars are being spared that!) . . drove to walk. Once again Sally seemed to perk up whilst out walking. Sat around here and there for ages. She even had a bloody good go at chasing after a rabbit a couple of times (although I have no idea how she found the strength after so little food for so long)!! That probably didn't do her any good at all! . . mixed the crushed tablets with just a table spoon or so of tuna and eventually managed to 'encourage' Sally to eat it. She refused to touch any of the other food I put down. . it wasn't long before she was sick and brought back up the little she'd eaten - complete with the tablets of course!! Cleared up the mess and sorted out the carpets only for her to be sick a little more shortly after I'd finished!! That's bad news. Equivalent to her NOT having this evenings dose of her medication - but what the hell can I do???!!! . . ended up leaving the back door open and letting her sit in the garden for almost a couple of hours while I watched a bit of TV in rapidly dropping, uncomfortably cold temperatures!! . . ate Mum donated pizza . . TVd until bed around 1am. ds
12 - Up around 6:45am. I think Sally may have successfully eaten just a handful of her food in the night . . drove to walk. Sally didn't even seem particularly interested in going, and took a bit of persuading to join me up by the car! She seemed to perk up when we got there and made her way round the usual route ok. Sat around in the sun quite a bit . . back at home, once I'd lifted her out of the car, she initially just pretty much sat and stayed where I'd put her down, up by the car-port! . I eventually had to walk all the way back up there to wrestle the tablets down her throat again! . .called the vets only to have it confirmed their call HAD been about the urine sample results, but I'd have to call after 2pm when a vet would be available to tell me . . sat around/PCd a bit . . . Mum called . . eventually the vet called and reported nothing untoward had been revealed by the urine sample. It was obvious to me they were gonna tell me that before they called! I made it clear the tablets weren't working and Sally was declining, and they brought forward her appointment to tomorrow afternoon, which was the earliest they said they could do. . . ate the last of the tuna in a sandwich together with a couple of ham and tuna sandwiches, a banana and some biscuits and chocolate . . Sally just lay here and there, with short rapid breathing and much dreaming. It's very hard to powerlessly see her suffering like this. I think it is fair to say she IS now 'suffering' . . napped until around 7:30pm. .wrestled the tablets down Sally's throat out in the garden. Since they are clearly not having any beneficial effect, I really REALLY hate putting her (and me!) through that now and am increasingly of a mind it would be kinder to her to just stop (despite the vet and all the literature saying you must always complete the WHOLE course of tablets pescribed!)! Aside from anything else, it is kinda destroying some of the trust I've built up in her. Now every time I just go to check on her and pet her, she's clearly worried I'm going to force her through that unpleasant ordeal again! :o( . . let her bide in the garden as she chose and had to watch TV wrapped in layers and hat and gloves again until eventually I had her back in around 10pm. More than ever, she seems to be actively seeking solitude in some other room rather than my company :o( . . ate ham and mayo sandwiches and large amounts of chocolate . . to bed around 2am. s
13 - Up around 6:45am. Sally'd been sick in the living room - well, as much as she could, having eaten nothing for so long! Yesterday's food remained untouched. . I don't think there is any doubt any longer - if the vet can't come up with a diagnosis of something treatable and pretty damned quick, this IS going to agonisingly slowly , take her life (although with hindsight, this seemingly endless ordeal has all happened pretty quick hasn't it?). :o( . . ummd and ahhd before eventually deciding I WOULD walk her, no matter how poorly she obviously is, because she does always seem to perk up a little when we get there, and go about her normal sniffing business. . Drove to walk. She's getting weaker. After having sat for a while she had slightly greater difficulty mustering the energy to get back up. Once up, she managed to carry on walking and sniffing and successfully climbed all the steps back up to the top without 'too' much difficulty, and exhibited no hint of increased problems afterwards, as you would expect if she had an underlying heart or respiratory problem!?? What the hell IS it? . . back home to push the tablets down her throat again. . lost it a bit and sat in the garden crying for quite a while. I am being buffetted by enormous spontaneous waves of (premature?) tearfullness. Just as well to get that over and done with for a bit I guess, so I can 'hold it together and just 'take care of business' at the vets later. .not very long after getting the tablets into Sally she promptly threw them back up again (whilst I was out the front putting a whole dish of untouched food in the bin - again!). Right - that's it - I'm NOT putting her through that any more! . . .sat around just waiting for time to pass and the vet appointment to come, which is pretty much all I've been doing for the last few days. What else can I do? Sally IS my life! This is agony! . . jotted down on paper the progression of Sally's condition/symptoms, etc so I could accurately convey to the vet later exactly what had been going on, without having to try to remember pertinant facts on the spot. . BB called . . whiled away the day until it was time to lift Sally into the car and head for the vet. . Got there a bit early. Sat outside with a cigarette for a bit before eventually going into the waiting room. Took the opportunity of weighing Sally on the scale that was there. 46kg. Incedibly she doesn't seem to be losing weight particularly quickly. . eventually the vet called us in and I gave him my bit of paper to read, listing the time line of Sally's condition/symptoms etc. He 'got the message' and suggested they'd start doing blood tests etc. Thankfully he didn't insist on having her up on the table, so I was spared having to try and pick her up yet again. (My arms/wrists are constantly aching from where I've been awkwardly lifting her in and out of the car!) I made my case for stopping the unpleasant business of forcing her to take the anti biotic tablets and thankfully he agreed. He listened to her heart and said it sounded strong. He took her temperature which he said was perhaps just a degree or so above usual. He said something about pressing her gum and a slow return of blood to the area - but I'm not sure I understood the significance of that. . the assistant was called in to help him shave a part of Sally's left leg in order to extract a blood sample. As always, Sally was so SO good. I kept up our accustomed stream of 'baby talk' reassuring nonsense while the assistant and I held her still, as the vet inserted a needle into her left leg. Sally tried to withdraw her leg a little despite us holding her still, and the vet seemed to lose the veign he was after. He ended up having to have another go with a new needle before he eventually succeeded in getting enough blood into the vile. . he injected her in the scruff of her neck with a dose of steroids (which should pep her up just a little and ease her suffering). He then proceeded to inject her again with what I think he said was an anti-biotic booster. That didn't go so well. The liquid in the syringe appeared to have the colour and consistancy of thick creamy milk. Perhaps some two thirds or more the way into injecting her, the syringe kinda blew off the needle under the back pressure, dumping the remaining bit of the dose into her fur!! I think the vet 'may' have been a little embarassed by that and quickly removed the needle saying that what he'd got in would be sufficient!!! . . He said he'd hopefully have the blood tests back by late tomorrow at which point he'd try and give me a call. Failing that I should ring up on Saturday morning! So - more just sitting around waiting, watching Sally decline still further!!!! Aside from the underlying cause and the stress it must be putting on her body, I can't imagine how long she can go on like this without eating. It surely can't be too long until she becomes so weak she won't be able to get up and around. IF that happens, I'm gonna have real trouble being able to pick her up and carry her to the car etc!! :o( . . touched base with Mum to update her. . napped briefly until woken by the phone ringing, but didn't manage to reach it in time. Didn't recognise the number of the caller so I didn't call them back. Damn - I trust that can't have been the vet already! . TVd . . dug out the ansaphone from the cupboard and got it plugged back in and set up, just so I don't miss any vet calls . . TVd . .PCd briefly. Yet more irritating comments had been posted on the 'English Yobiera' video I uploaded to Youtube last year (I am supposed to automatically get e-mailed a copy of any comments on ALL my videos. It is an ongoing process for me to evaluate which if any should be removed - because SO many are simply swearing and abuse (most often in respect of the local youth rock band), and I don't want to be associated with any of that sort of childish barbarian behaviour!!) Clearly 'people' (yobs?) who were involved in organising the booze cruise event have somehow suddenly discovered the video - and predictably they feel obliged to go on there and leave 'confrontational' comments directed at me. Funny thing is, a couple of the comments have already been removed - and NOT by me. Unless it degenerates into ongoing out and out abuse, I'd figured I'd just 'give them enough rope' and leave their comments there, to show themselves up for the selfish, repulsive, nauseating individuals they so obviously are. Removing their OWN comments like they have done makes it look as though 'I' have censored them!!!! (the ones removed were: chrispy61 - "Yea boys, sounding good!" and FranetiC1984 - "LMAO!!!!........this is actually brilliant, excellent foottage to the man whinging about people having a boat party......as u will notice Telsweb these parties are not in the middle of the day, its a boat party in the eve......and if u listen carefully u can actually hear some quality commentary as the boat goes around.....so get over yourself and think of something better to do then about people having a good time! but as i said before im sure the organisers are well happy with the footage!!" ) Suffice it to say, the ability of such people to 'reach into' my little world with their unpleasantness like this is something I could well do without - particularly right now. It's like having a splinter irritating you. Unfortunately also - given things that have happened in the past and my (irrational? Not really - given what actually happened in the past!) PSTD type insecurities - it makes me feel frankly 'scared' of what 'could' escalate from it! Even to the extent that I wondered if that phone call earlier may have been connected!!!!!! . . BB called and confirmed it was her who'd try to call earlier. Bit of a relief there then! . . forced down a banana and a tin of sausages in beans with some grated cheese and four pieces of bread and butter around 11pm. Sally didn't eat anything at all, all day. . to bed around 1:30am. s
14 - Up around 6:20am. I confess, I gingerly go down in the morning now half expecting to find something awful. . PCd a bit of this . . skipped the walk and just sat around with a horrendous headache wishing the day away, watching Sally look unwell . .did dish washing chores . . ate ham ring, eggs and chips . . napped poorly for a couple of hours only to wake with the same headache . .at last - shortly before 6pm the vet called. 'Good news' he said. He hadn't quite had all of the blood results back yet (platelets/cell counts yet to return I think he said) , but all those that have been done (liver etc) have come back as normal. Don't get me wrong - but that did NOT seem like good news to me! I was kinda hoping something would come back as wrong, so at least we'd know which way to go with some treatment for her!!! If everything keeps coming back as ok, she's just gonna carry on suffering and fading away! . because of the impending weekend and 'days off' and the like, it was suggested I should attend the open surgery tomorrow to get another long lasting anti-biotic injection put in her, and then if not contacted by him by late morning on Monday, I should call them. . I dunno - this just feels like waiting to see what happens - and aside from anything else, selfishly, the stress is starting to take quite a toll on me. Everything's on hold. Everything. . Poor old Sally!! :o( . . TVd . .PCd and had a bit of a poke about on a canine vet/symptoms/diagnosis type website desperately trying to come up with something. Pointless of course :o( . . TVd. . tried to guitar a bit but promptly ended up getting hit by one of those huge uncontrollable waves of emotion, and just ended up crying for a while. Mum called towards the end of this. I thought I'd regained control of myself and made the mistake of actually answering her call. Ended up getting hit by another 'wave' and had to hang up and have another cry for a bit before pulling myself together enough to successfully call her back to update her on the seemingly hopeless situation. :o( . . ate liver sausage sandwiches, biscuits and chocolate. Incredibly to my delight, Sally showed some interest in what I was eating, and was actually encouraged to eat a couple of shortbread type biscuits and a tiny postage-stamp size piece of sandwich. She ate nothing else all day and is obviously becoming weaker. Just getting to her feet is 'starting' to look like quite an effort for her. Once up however, she is still currently able to climb the steps into the garden to go have a pee . . to bed around 2am. s
15 - Restless sleep, woke earlier, tried to snooze on then up around 7am. . Sally had been sick in the night. Just that tiny mouthfull of food she'd had last night had immediately made her sick again!!!!!????? So - how long can she go on without food? That's about a week now!!!! :o( . . . heaved Sally into the car around 8am and took her to BGdns for a very short walk round before sitting in the sun for a cigarette for a bit. Crouching down stroking her, I noticed that drips from her nose onto the light coloured fur of her leg looked 'discoloured'. There was a hint of blood. That's it then isn't it. The writing's on the wall!!!!! :o( . . . drove to the vet, deliberately arriving early so as to be one of the first seen after 9am. Buffeted by waves of tearfulness and had to sit around outside for quite a while with a cigarette and handkerchiefs . . eventually called in to see a vet. Explained through yet more uncontrollable tears why I was there and what had developed this morning. He dabbed Sally's wet drippy nose with a big wadd of cotton wool and sure enough, there was a hint of blood discolouration. He suggested such a discharge was unusual, in that they only see one or two cases like that throughout a year. He took her temperature (which remained a little above 'normal') and then had a VERY good feel around her abdomen. He eventually reported that now she had relaxed a little, he was able to identify a large tumerous mass. It was not immediately identifiable of what, but he suggested it could well be her liver and was certainly capable of constricting her lungs and causing the rapid breathing, and given the symptoms, had probably spread the cancer to her lungs. He suggested, considering her age, the size of the mass, etc, etc, there really was very little that could be done, unless we wanted to start exploratory surgery etc etc, and he was of the opinion that any such attempt would most likely be unsuccessful - with a dog of her age in that condition probably not surviving an operation. His welcome, sensitive, forthright manner finally removed the doubt and gave me the answers I've been dreading, but largely knew already. I sought his opinion of where to go from here - but made it clear, 'NOT now' - which is what appeared to be hovering over our conversation by this point! He gave her two more injections (the same as she'd had the other day I think) and then rather made it clear that I SHOULD bring her in to see him at Totnes first thing tomorrow morning! He didn't say so, but I formed the impression (rightly or wrongly) he was suggesting THAT may be the time to bring her suffering to an end. I 'think' he may have just accepted prolonging Sally's suffering to give ME time to come to terms with it? . .pretty much losing it in waves of tears by this point, and unable to speak much, I shook his hand and pretty much ran out of the place, so as not to make all the people in the waiting room feel awkward at the state of me. . sat (well actually - just brought to my knees!) outside for a bit until I was fit to drive, before loading Sally back into the car and heading home. Drove through tears . . sat in the garden with Sally and yet more tears. I need to get a grip on this crying s**t and 'take care of business' for her! :o( . .


PCd a bit of this . . rang up about cremations . . Mum called in . . walked up to buy annadin tablets . . ate Mum donated pork pie and pastie . . napped poorly for just a couple of hours. Sally barked as a christian collection person called at the door nad is obviously still up for trying to be abit of a guard dog despite her condition! . . TVd . . PCd this briefly . . touched base with BB briefly to let her know what was going on . . TVd . . ate liver slice sandwiches, banana and an out of date mini cheesecake and chocolate . . to bed around 1am. a

16 - Poor restless sleep then up around 5:25am! Headachey already!! Annadin for breakfast. . Sally'd apparantly been sick in the night - although of course she's nothing to be sick with! Also there appeared to be several damp patches on bits of carpet here and there. I get the impression it was actually the large amount of drips from her nose where she'd been laying rather than anything else. . sat with her out in the garden and conservatory for quite a while. I'm under no illusion - she IS dieing - she isn't gonna get better - but is she SO ill as to warrant having her put down - already? How do you make such a decision? She had another bout of nausea in the garden at some point and then just stood up there staring at me. Right then - it seemed like it would be best to end things - today. . sat around until eventually (rather early) loading Sally into the car and heading for the vet in the rain. Sally didn't even sit up or look out once while we drove . . arrived at the vets way early around 8:45am and just sat around with Sally alternately smoking, talking, stroking, crying etc. Despite her condition, she still got all ears up and interested when a cat appeared at the entrance to the car park, and gave some pigeons a good glare too! In fact - it just began to feel as though she was just a little too much 'all still there' for her to be given the chop right now!!! Arrrggghhh. How on earth is one supposed to know - 'when'? . eventually the vet arrived and after a much needed use of their loo we eventually were called in. Popped her on a scale while the vet was getting ready. 44kg and something, which if those scales are accurate is quite a weight loss in just a day or so!? Explained the latest and then bumbled through trying to explain that although it was pretty clear at some point soon I'd have to have her put down, 'I' needed to be absolutely sure it was the right thing to do to be able to work out when. I needed to be absolutely sure of what was wrong with her. Another vet was called upon to give a second opinion of Sally's groin. Although they agreed there was something going on in there, there seemed to be 'some' uncertainty. 'Had she had an ultrasound/x-ray done'? No? Not yet? . an appointment was made for her to have a scan, tomorrow at Paignton! The bad news about that is, I was given to understand she'll have to be dropped off there, will need sedation - will need to be shaved etc (and who knows what else) and I'll be phoned when it's all done to come and collect her! That 'having to leave her' and sit at home waiting is pretty much my worst nightmare - but I think I've got to do it - for MY sake more than hers (I'm SO sorry!). All this 'I think it's this' and 'it could be that' bullshit just isn't good enough if you are preparing to end a life! Perhaps I SHOULD have spared her that further suffering and just 'done it' there and then - but I didn't. .she was given more jabs (three I think - including something new which could help with her nausea) before I loaded her back in the car, got the woman who'd blocked me in to move her car, and then headed home. . stopped off at Mums on the way home for a quick coffee. Poor mum - she'd been upset and unable to sleep all night! . . PCd a bit of this . . let Sally lay and sleep where she pleased, on her own in the conservatory and garden for several hours. . TVd . . ate Mum donated pizza. . brought Sally back in and layed down for a much needed nap myself . . TVd . . Sally is still able to make it up onto the grass of the garden to have a pee, but its becoming increasingly difficult to encourage her to bother, it's SUCH an effort her getting up. I'm now much regretting this scan/x-ray business I've got set for tomorrow. Right now - again- I really don't think it's right to put her through all that! Assuming they are going to sedate her and all whatever that may mean, she 'may' perhaps not even survive the procedure. I'd have a hard time living with that. I don't know. I just don't know what is best - for HER. MY needs may be clouding my judgement. I just don't know what to do. I just don't know

. . put duvets down all over and eventually encouraged her in to lay in the living room for a bit. Brought her a bowl of water to save her getting up. .

touched base with Mum and BB 'sounding' them out about whether or not it was right to do the scan business. .

left Sally laying on the floor of the kitchen by her bowls and eventually headed for bed around 1:30am or later. Trouble getting to sleep almost crying with my eyes shut! as
17 - Up before the alarm at 6am. Looks like Sally hasn't even moved during the night - which is totally out of character. (She has (had!) a little routine where as soon as I say goodnight and she hears that I've actually taken to my bed, she'll have a good long drink and then go lay down either by the front door or in the living room) Her breathing appeared to be somewhat slower than of late, and there was the hint of a little dry saliva throw up near her mouth. Opened the back door and encouraged her out to have a pee in the garden. She slowly got up and climbed the steps up onto the pergola patio before abruptly suddenly laying back down on the paving stones. Despite much encouragement, she didn't seem to have the strength to get back up, to carry on up to the grass! There she lay for the next several hours, very sleepy andhardly moving! I offered a cereal bowl of drinking water to her on more than one occasion but she point blank refused it. I tearfully sat out with her and comforted her. It was a beautiful sunny morning with much birdsong and the cherry blossom falling all around. She seemed pretty calm and peaceful and not in any great distress. She'd made up my mind about taking her in for the scan thing. Absolutely no f***ing way. No way was I gonna put her through all that distress. Around 8am I phoned the vets surgery, got the 'on call' person and cancelled todays appointment. During the conversation I confirmed that whenever it would be necessary (I imagined later today, if Sally didn't manage it herself pretty soon) , they DID operate a 24hrs call out and WOULD come to the house to put her down. . Sad image of Sally eventually ended up putting one of her folded duvets on the ground next to her, and eventually managed to encourage her to move just the few inches to get onto it, to give her a little more comfort than just the cold bare stone. She was so calm and relaxed, and her breathing so slower and different from the recent panting she's been doing, it looked pretty obvious to me that she was probably coming to an end. If she could do it on her own - like this, oh my god I'd be SO grateful. I'm no good at playing god. :o( . . had to drag her duvet around a bit with her on it, to get her out of the rising sun, and even dug out an old parasol from the garage and stuck that in the ground to shade her so she wouldn't get too hot or dehydrated. . touched base with Mum to let her know what was going on and accepted the suggestion she would pop in and join me for a while 'sitting vigile'. . at some point singing man popped a book through the letterbox!!?? Sally gave a little 'guard dog' woof. Dale Carnegie's 'How To Stop Worrying And Start Living'! lolol (I've not spoken with him recently - he has no idea what I'm currently going through with Sally) I guess he's trying to be helpful in his own way, but of course I'm afraid it isn't. I think I had a copy once and read that one (amongst others of the genre) many years ago. In my experience, realisticaly, all such books are of most benefit to only one person. The author - to line their pockets! . . . at almost exactly 10am, all of a sudden for no apparant reason (maybe the beneficial effect of a little sunshine on her back?), Sally suddenly raised her head up and perked up a little!???? I raced in to get a bowl of water and this time she gratefully gulped down pretty much a whole bowl and a half. She then seemed to progressively brighten up still just a little further. Not long afterwards Mum arrived, and when the doorbell rang, Sally gave a bark and somehow had recovered enough to even get to her feet and be a little bit 'guard-doggy' again!! Raced in to let Mum in then raced back out and quickly managed to encourage Sally to make it up to the garden and have a pee, before then encouraging her back inside rather than be 'stuck' out in the garden. Who would have imagined she'd change like that over the course of a few hours. . absurd speculation is rife about every tiny thing at a time like this - but it occurred to me that 'maybe' her overnight decline and earlier 'sedated' condition was somehow as a result of whatever the vet had injected her with yesterday. Maybe it had all just worn off? I'll never know. It did however cement the notion in my mind that I would NOT be visiting the vet again. Somehow - somehow - I have to push aside my own insecurities and failings, trust my own gut insticts, ignore everything else, and just do what 'I' know is right for her. (This (we both acknowledge) has 'some' similarities to the position Mum was in when Dad was dieing. At the onset, only SHE knew that he was really ill and needed urgent treatment. Throughout all his dieing care, only SHE, REALLY knew what was best for him despite all the well meaning professional help and advice). I will only call the vet one last time - when I know it's the right time and thing to do - and when I can at last trust the vet to do what I already painfully know they CAN do well! . . left Mum keeping an eye on Sally and raced round the store for some tobacco. . Sally got up, had a drink and changed laying positions on a couple of occasions. SO different to earlier. I have to confess, with guilt, a large part of me wished she was still like she was this morning, so that things would probably have been drawn to a close today. As it is, it looks as though we are going to persist and let things take their natural course for maybe another day or so? It's largely down to whenever she can no longer get to her feet and go have a pee - which is well likely to be tonight or tomorrow morning I guess. . . Eventually Mum headed home . . ate Mum donated ham rolls and a little chocolate. . .napped until around 6pm. . Sally was still 'alert' and as she was when I lay down. Dared to open up the back door and let her have access to the garden if she wanted and if she could make it . . PCd briefly. Had a whole new type of 'copyright infringement warning' from Youtube regarding the Sony music I'd used to the old cowtown carnival video (Bob Dylan - Buckets Of Rain samples). It would appear they are threatening that if I am found to be a 'serial' copyright infringer (which of course I AM and they WILL) , they will close down my entire account and delete ALL the videos. It wouldn't at all suprise me if this is the result of 'someone' deliberately reporting me for all the infringements, for their own amusement. All those hours and hours of work and little 'captured golden moments in time' all for nothing! Oh well, so be it, what do I care - everything's coming to an end isn't it. . PS called. He meant well, but the last thing I needed was YET another person telling me all about their dog or some other, who'd been terribly ill, had been taken in by the vets and then returned a couple of days later in full health! I KNOW Sally IS terminally ill. I didn't need to surf all those vet sites to understand her symptoms ARE indicative of a serious underlying poor prognosis progressive cancer type complaint. I AM doing the best for HER, as I've always tried to do. The fact that the vets have failed to give me a concrete diagnosis is absolutely AGONISING to me. How many people lose their dog and end up not REALLY knowing WHY like this? I've never heard of one. I know - I AM for all time going to torture myself with the question, did I do enough. DID I do the right thing. Should I have just 'abandoned' her at a vets, and hoped for the best, in these final precious moments. I AM going to torture myself for ever more. Greatly! I don't need to hear yet more stories about the miraculous recovery of other peoples dogs in different circumstances. I'm in a big enough emotional mess as it is. Worse than even 'I'd known I always would be. I'd never imagined I could cry this much. . Sally'd made it out of the conservatory and was laying in her usual spot against the first step up, in front of the kitchen window. Sat out with her until around 10pm before eventually having to try to get her to her feet. After something of a struggle she made it up, and I was eventually able to encourage her to struggle all the way up to the grass to have a pee. I knew it would be the last time and in my encouraging, told her so. She made it back inside under her own steam, had a good long drink from her bowl and then lay down next to it in the kitchen, and pretty much stayed there for the next couple of hours while I went to distract myself by watching a little TV - but frequently going back out to check on her and stroke her. That's what the advert breaks are for . . touched base briefly with Mum . . .
18 - . . somewhere around midnight I discovered Sally had managed to get up and move into the corner of the conservatory and had thrown up on the carpet quite a lot. Even SO ill, she had desperately wanted to get outside to throw up, to keep her space clean. She hadn't the energy to back out of the corner she was facing, and was just laying on the duvet with her face right next to the throw up. There was a lot of it - obviously much of the water she'd been drinking, and although it was hard to be sure on a red carpet, there appeared to be some blood in there too. Mopped a little with tissues (examining the colour!) before just plonking a newspaper over the top of it all to spare her being almost nose into it. With much tearfulness I soothed and comforted her and explained that I thought she really HAD had enough. It wasn't right to put her through any more of this. Image of Sally, oh SO ill !Gently dragged her around so she was facing back away from the corner and eventually went into the living room and phoned the vet a little after 1am. Difficult phone call. It's just SO hard (impossible actually!) to keep speaking when your throat is gripped by greif. Without much ado, the person on the phone (the same one who'd answered when I called to cancel the scan appointment this morning) took my and Sally's details, and said a vet would be with me soon. Turned the hall and outside light on, to make the house noticeable for them, and opened the living room curtains so I could occasionally look out while waiting. I wanted to beat them to the front door so they wouldn't ring the doorbell and get Sally all up tight and guard-doggy. . by the time I returned to sit with Sally, she'd somehow moved from the conservatory and was laying in the kitchen next to her bowls, looking just a little more alert again, ears up listening to what I was up to! Explained to her the vet was coming and why. Sat and stroked and chatted for a while, saying thank you, sorry and such. . occasionally looking out of the window, I succeeded in seeing the lady vet arrive. . told Sally the vet had come and told her to stay where she was, before greeting the vet half way down the garden path. Sally heard us talking and would you believe it - she dutifully barked and came wobbling out of the kitchen to do her guard-dog duty! SO painful to see her on her feet like that, especially considering what I was about to do to her! 'Introduced her' to the vet in my usual way and encouraged her to relax and go back in. She wobbled off back into the kitchen and dropped like a sack of potatoes back to the floor by her bowls. . the vet was ok. She indulged me and allowed me to explain through my tears my discomfort about not having a diagnosis, and had/was I doing the right thing and all that. I can't really recall much of what she said, but she didn't say anything 'wrong' for me. She DID say something along the lines of, under the circumstances, even if they had found something on the scans and x-rays, to be FULLY sure of a diagnosis they would inevitably have had to operate on her - with the inherent risks given her age and condition. Like I say, I can't recall much of what she said, but what she DID say was 'ok', and did not in any way risk adding to my future mental 'torture'. With this stranger kneeling down next to her and examining and petting her a little, Sally just lay calmly on the floor. She was more calm and relaxed than I could have hoped for. . with a suitable break in my blubbering, I said 'Lets do it. Lets do it'. . to my great relief, I think I pretty much managed to hold it together enough to keep talking to Sally throughout. Gently stroking her behind her left ear, I told her to 'wait', and did my usual silly voiced 'oh dear. Poor old Sally, oh dear, oh dear' etc which is how I've always spoken to her when she was unwell or being sick etc. She calmly stayed where she was and hardly batted an eyelid as the vet tied the top of her right leg, shaved off some fur, raised a veign and eventually injected her with the big fat lethal syringe. With her head on the floor between her paws, with little more than a gentle last sigh, she died at 2:17am. There was no unpleasantness. No putting up a fight. It was ok. Typical of Sally really. Always been SO good. I couldn't have ever asked for more. I satisfied myself she was gone by gently tapping around her eye, to make sure there was no blink reflex. The vet had a good listen with her stethascope. It was done. The vet complimented Sally on her lack of fight and how easily she had gone . . . composed myself just sufficient to be able to engage in the conversation about what had I decided about what to do with her now. (I'd LONG ago decided I WAS going to have her cremated and have her ashes back!! NOT because I 'couldn't bear to be parted' or any of that sentimental nonsense (although it 'may' be true) - but just to ensure that her remains were afforded 'some' due 'care' in their disposal. She shouldn't be just 'thrown away' like some bag of rubbish with a bunch of other animals in some land fill or some such! By requesting an 'individual' cremation (actually apparantly in an oven with other animals, but separated from them by a 'divider'), AND that I should have her (allegedly!) ashes back, I figured that would 'force' someone to take at least 'some' care over the disposal of her remains. It isn't permissable for ME to actually take care of these final acts. I HAVE asked and absolutely would have done so if it had been allowed - but the 'system' arrogantly denies me that.) . Did I want her to go with the vet now, or did I want some time with her and to arrange that myself in the morning? I took some moments to decide. I'd previously imagined I'd want to sit with her and have her taken away later - but looking down at her laying there, as if she was about to get up at any moment, it was clear that wasn't going to be right for me. I couldn't face the prospect of sitting there all night or perhaps sleeping a bit and then having to face dealing with all that in the morning and prolong my agony. She's gone. It was 'ok'. I asked the vet to take her with her now. I'd apparantly get her ashes back in around a week or so in a named box. . firmly in 'taking care of business' mode, I asked if she had a big plastic bin liner type bag or some such, which I'd imagined she would. She suprisingly suggested I just wrap her in an old sheet or something (which I imagine was probably all about just trying to spare my feelings, rather than being practical. I am fully aware - when you're dead, things quickly get a bit messy!) .Image of Sally, deceased knelt down and had my last good deep sniff of Sally's soft fur, while the vet went out to prepare the back seats area of her car. (Wonderful smell - doggy and old dry carpet, with just a hint of some sort of carpet-vac type fragrance!) Pulled the mucky dusty old sheet from Sally's sofa in the conservatory, and eventually with undignified difficulty, managed to get her on to it and partially wrapped in it. I dared to take my last photo of her - but I'm not sure why. :o( . getting her onto the sheet was bad enough - banging her head on the floor a bit - but actually then picking her up was a whole new nightmare! I'd never fully realised how much somehow Sally helped when I've picked her up in the past. Now, as a floppy dead weight, I could hardly manage it!!! There really IS, NO dignity in death. None, no matter how much we may try to pretend otherwise with all our rituals. (Damn - with hindsight just now, I shouldn't have bothered with the sheet!) Desperately struggling to carry her considerable weight, with her legs coming free and hanging out from under the poorly wrapped sheet, I headed for the front door. As I did so, poor old Sally's body began to leak pee, and I ended up with a trail of it right through the house and out the front door!!! lol It sounds horrendous, but somehow I found it 'amusing'. She'd been scrupulously clean in the house all her life. It only seemed fitting that after what had just been done to her, that should be her parting shot. Hard to explain, but I absolutely loved her for it! . . I loved her. She was my 'partner', my 'child', my 'friend', my ALL. It's been an absolute privilege to have known her and been with her. An absolute privilege - and EVERY time I think that word, I cry. . half way down the poorly lit steps from the front door, I began to realise I couldn't manage her weight and floppy awkwardness and was in danger of falling over and dropping her!!! I had to call out to the vet to come and help - which she did, by taking her head end. With some difficulty and no dignity, Sally's body was awkwardly placed on coverings in the back seat of the womans car - and shortly after she was driven away. . after some more crying on the steps, I eventually came back into a big empty house. Strange guilty feeling of relief mixed with deep, overwhelming sorrow. . . . pulled myself together in a weird disconnected state, and touched base with BB, eventually Mum and even Sis2 while I was able, to let them know what had happened . . sat around feeling empty, numb and very alone. . eventually lay down to sleep but just couldn't. I had absolutely no appetite but no way was I going to be able to sleep feeling so hungry. Had to get back up and force down a bowl of sickening muesli. . TVd but soon turned it off and sat around in silence for quite a bit. It was cold and I put the fire on. Experimented with the concept of being able to fully close the living room door to keep the heat in, rather than always having to leave it open so Sally could go out to her food and water. Room warmed up a lot pretty quick!! I'd settle for being cold. . . eventualy to bed a little before 6am. . back up around 9:15am - but for what? . Tears for breakfast. . PCd a bit of this through the tears - which means reliving it all of course. I miss my friend. My reason for being. . around 10:30am a vet called to let me know the results of the outstanding blood count tests! 'The system' hadn't yet been updated - he was unaware of what had occurred earlier. Once again I turned into a blubbering mess during the strangled conversation - but was eager to know the results!! He suggested there were 'indications of possible leaukemia'. Uhuh. I'm just never gonna know is all. It doesn't matter so much now. Nothing that remains does. . sat around inside and out just blubbering . . guitarred in the garden. Actually, getting lost in trying to do some pointless twiddle or other was something of a relief from the crying for just a while. . . I've seen it myself - this business of recently bereaved dog walkers being all lost and adrift and feeling obliged to go on the walk WITHOUT their dogs. Despite their best efforts, they only do it a couple of times at most. Their pace is always quicker than when they had their dog, and yet they seem to drift past slowly like haunting ghosts. If they even dare to stop and sit where they used to with their dogs, they don't for long - and likely won't try to again. It's painful and sad to witness - and then you never see them again. :o( With nothing else to do, I figured I'd go get it over and done with while not so many people (or dogs!) would be about to witness it. Walked (fighting back tears at stategic Sally scent marking places along the way - feeling oh SO strangely alone and sticking out like a sore thumb, no sure how to walk alone like that anymore!) and sat in BGdns for a bit. Very warm. Very empty feeling. Dolphin were visible in the bay surfing the bow waves of an incoming trawler and passing ferry. I pulled the camera out of my pocket briefly, but that too felt immediately overwhelmingly pointless and meaningless now, and I soon gave up with it. I've no reason to be there any more. Absolutely none at all! . . leaving BGnds I passed a couple of dog walkers, one of which I usually said hello to, so I let her know that Sally was gone. The woman she was with turned out to be a religious nutcase! She started giving me all this feeble minded BS about how Sally was in a better place and I'd see her again, and how she'd had a vision of her dog when it died and came back to visit her, and that I should go get another one etc, etc. I said nothing and waved goodbye. I could have done without that. F***ing nutter! . . back home tearful. Awful feeling coming in to a big empty house. It all seemed SO much bigger than I need all of a sudden. It's never felt like 'home' and never more so than now. . . carefully oh SO carefully picked up the fur that had been shaved from Sally's leg, still laying on the floor of the kitchen, and put it in the small cremation urn I once found, together with more from her grooming brush. Just a token. Temporarily put the urn up on the mantlepiece next to my prized solid-brass German Shepherd ornament. That ornament always has been precious to me, but never more so than now. It's incredibly rare to find any such ornament that actually looks like a REAL German Shepherd, rather than some pathetic and laughable, poorly proportioned amateur representation (Actually - in the the photo here it looks less so!). I've scanned shops and the internet on many occasions looking to find anything that comes close, and never have. It doesn't actually look like Sally of course, but it kinda represents all of that (Sheba too) I guess. . started the usual 'mourning process' of cleaning and clearing up, and removing all the dog related stuff which absolutely litters every inch of the house. Multiple duvets, cushions, towels, toys, sheets, food, bowls, brushes, poop bags - huge amounts of stuff absolutely everywhere! :o( Temporarily just dumped everything on the floor in the middle of the conservatory - because now I can? Had a long, LONG session of vacuuming trying to remove some of the dog hair from the downstairs carpets. A whole new concept, vacuuming up all that hair knowing it WON'T immediately be replaced! Hard to explain, but with my strangled throat and ceaseless uncontrollable waves of tearfullness, I found myself occasionally making a strange audible whimpering sound as I worked, interspersed by occasional soulful murmerings of 'Ohhhhhwwoofyyy!' . the house is absolutely full of her and always will be, no matter how much I may vacuum. I don't mind. Her hairs got everywhere - under the floorboards, in the lampshades, on the curtains, in cupboards, in the sugar, in my keyboard, - everywhere. I haven't a single piece of clothing (all black) which isn't covered in her hair - all my socks especially.

moved a little furniture around in the living room, now that Sally's 'bed alcove' is free. Very weird feeling, realising I could put anything wherever I wanted now, without having to consider her. I guess I could even bring my new guitar downstairs now, and just plonk it somewhere on it's stand in the living room and not have it accidentaly knocked over or damaged. EVERYTHING is different. Absolutely EVERY single thing!

Every breath I took was with consideration of her. (Hell - there were often times during petting and stroking when we would BOTH deliberately synchronize our breathing!! Not as crazy as it sounds - probably an instinctual 'wolf pack' type behaviour to ensure, when sleeping, that any approaching threat could still be heard).

Every step I took, particularly around the house, was taken lightly and with care, lest I should step on her wherever she may be lead - which absolutely WAS wherever she bloody well wanted.

A whole 'language' - a vast FULLY UNDERSTOOD vocabulary and series of mannerisms is now redundant for me.


. . no appetite. Forced down a ham ring and chips and some chocolate . . sat in front the TV (not really watching, and more often than not with the sound off) until bed. sa
19 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up around 7:30am. Oh dear. Tears for breakfast again. PCd just a bit of this but I only seem able to type a couple of words before ending up just sitting crying, staring blankly at the alien world outside the window, or frequently at the photo of her below, and wondering what the hell I'm supposed to do next. I just can't think of anything!!!!!! . PCd looking up local dog rescue places and then eventually rang the Animals In Distress Centre at Ipplepen and confirmed they'd be interested in a donation of dog food and toys etc. . . started sorting out all the dog stuff in the conservatory. Loaded all the food into the car together with a rubber grooming brush, tick remover and unused treatment box of worming tablets, etc. .hosed down and cleaned the old plastic laundry basket I've had laying in the garage for ages. Figured it would be 'just' big enough and ideal for putting all the masses of toys and balls in. Sally never was much of a 'play with toys' type of dog. She'd always lose interest in the middle of a game, drop the toy somewhere and then just sniff around 'on the hunt' instead. I stopped taking toys out with us years ago. With rare exceptions, the only times she'd go out of her way to retrieve a toy from the containers of them all around the house, is when someone would come to visit. THEN she would drag something out to have a bloody good chew on for a short while. Obviously some sort of stress response. Despite that, we ended up with HUGE amounts of toys! Not only were there the remnants of the collection that Sheba used to have, and some I bought FOR Sally, but also all those lost by other dogs which I would constantly find or go out of my way to retrieve from some branch or other, mostly whenever we went out walking in Bristol. Huge amounts of balls and chewy toys and all manner of things - some really quite expensive - and all now covered in dust. Spent ages sorting through them all, discarding some of the rubbishy ones, and laboriously washing in just clean water all the rest. VERY time consuming and distressing. . Mum called in, in the middle of this sorting and washing. Let her read this (rather than have to try and talk and not cry) and carried on cleaning toys and vaccuuming while she did so. Never mind the stuff I threw away - the big old two feet tall plastic laundry basket ended up FULL to the brim - it was THAT many toys!!! . Dumped all Sally's old drying towels straight in the bin. Nothing to be gained by washing all those old rags. Plenty of deep sniffing before I did so. How come poo should smell so sweet? . . spoke to passing singing man when out emptying yet more of Sally's hair from the vacuum. Dutifully said thanks for the book and tape and got that nagging obligation off my mind. Let him know why I'd not been up to thank him earlier, and then quickly excused myself from any further conversation (because I was liable to uncontrolably burst into tears at any moment!) . . eventually finished cleaning/crying, loaded everything into the back of the car and then drove with Mum to Ipplepen. I'd Google/streetviewed the route beforehand so had 'some' idea of how to get there. Eventually found the place without any trouble, although somehow it appeared to be completely different and far larger than what I'd looked at on the PC Google satellite/streetview images? Temporarily parked near the reception office and quickly popped in to tell someone what I was there for. They suggested I should just unload and stack everything up on a bench that was outside. I persuaded whoever it was to come outside to make sure they wanted it all (and to explain what was what and hand them the small bag containing the worming tablets etc). They quickly just left me to it! I think they DID say thanks somewhere along the line - but unfortunately I ended up feeling as though they kinda didn't just say 'thank you' in earnest or quite enough somehow! :o( Fifty + tins of dog food, almost three full 15kg sacks of 'complete' dry food, worming tablets, brushes, poop bags, towel, enough balls and toys to keep them going for years, etc, etc, etc. For me in my financial position - this really WAS a VERY substantial donation - never mind what it actually 'meant' to me!! Under the known circumstances, 'I' would have gone through the motions of showing me MUCH greater gratitude. :o( (Subsequently rightly or wrongly, I have developed the notion, that place doesn't do so badly financially!! I have a suspicion that plenty of 'well to do' retired people from all over the area, contribute much in both time and money, and as such they may have lost sight of how truly fortunate they are there to be given so much!) . eventually left the pile of food sadly unattended on the bench and parked the car in the car park. Headed off with Mum to have a quick wander around the kennels of the poor dogs requiring re-homing. I wasn't in ANY way considering having one - hard to explain - it just seemed since we were there, it was right not to shy away from sharing in the suffering and distress of the poor dogs housed there. . my 'bench-mark' of experience of such places, was the enormous Bristol Dogs home right in the middle of town. This was much smaller and very rural. Far fewer kennels - and a large construction site in the middle of everything, soon to be a new care facility for puppies I think it said. What struck me as being rather strange was the fact that not a single kennel I passed had any piles of poop in it with the dog (as was always the case in Bristol)!? This added to my impression that these dogs may have been comparatively 'well off' and better cared for than the much larger numbers found elsewhere. Elderly doting volunteers were throwing balls and excercising some of the dogs in a huge fenced paddock just outside. Other people were regularly struggling to find parking spaces in the full car park, prior to taking dogs out for a country walk. Despite all this, it was still awfully sad to walk past the poor pleading faces of the dogs requiring a new home! (One was very obviously one of those 'trophy' dogs that the yobs have these days. Been just abandoned at a vets, the blurb pinned to the bars said. Another was reportedly ok on the lead - 'but was scared of trailers and tractors'! You wouldn't see that on the evaluation of a Bristol dogs home dog. lol ) SO many of them were really quite old, and had health problems, which made things seem doubly sad and hopeless. Having said that, in conversation over the fence of the excercise paddock with a volunteer as we made to get back in the car, we learned that even such dogs WILL likely find a new home. Plenty of elderly people will take on such dogs we were told - because they won't require all the excercise and will simply benefit most from companionship and somewhere comfortable to curl up. Even those requiring medication etc would probably find a home, because apparantly the shelter will continue to pay for their medication even after they've found one!! All in all, we eventually left believing they had not entirely the bleak future such dogs would have elsewhere. Drove past Sallys pile of food, still laying unattended out on the bench as we left, with a big lump in my throat. . spotted the dogwalker of one of the dogs Sally 'fancied' on the way home, and managed to pull over and tell her the news, to get it over and done with and 'put the word out', so I don't have to try and tell everyone I used to regularly see (and probably never will again). :o( . . .mindlessly laboriously cleaned some of the brass fender around the fire with an old rag and some Brasso! It's no longer gonna get spattered with water droplets from a muddy wet dog, to make it go tarnished and green, so figured I may as well get that shiny again for a bit. . .PCD a bit and had a surf looking for some Shakespeare quotation or other Mum had mentioned. Bumped into a bunch of such quotations and had one make a bit of an impression on me. "Mourning is love with no place to go" Anon. Simple enough - but speaks SUCH appropriate volumes - and more. Tears. . TVd . . mustered what it took and eventually PCd the Sally 'sad song' video with the last bit of footage I took of her while waiting to go to the vet. Hard thing to do. Hardly a masterpiece, but I wasn't capable of trawling through lots of old footage to do a 'proper' 'tribute' one. I probably never will. I just wanted to get 'something' up on Youtube (before my account gets censored/closed?!) to let anyone who may have followed things on there (subscribers, etc?), know why there would be no more videos. . eventually ate a trio of ham and mayo rolls somewhere around midnight . . to bed around 2am. ss
20 - Up around 7:30am. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. :o( What AM I getting up for? . . desperately down! Desperately!!!! Ended up aimlessly guitaring a bit before ending up back on the PC actually reading loads of my own journal!! Read forward from just before I first met Sally for quite a bit, before eventually then just scanning through the months and years looking for glimpses of her in the photos. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. :o( Amongst much else, I was really quite shocked at 'who I was' back then, compared to what I have subsequently become. Much 'bad' happened in those intervening years - and I've been greatly scarred by it. I hadn't realised how much. How VERY much.


Theoretically I 'could' run around looking for a job now - as I'd always imagined I would as soon as Sally was gone - but in reality, I now find myself in a far worse position than before, where I absolutely cannot contemplate the idea. The prospect of having to be around 'people' now, makes me just want to throw up with utter loathing!

I knew I was gonna have a hard time when Sally went, but I had no idea it was gonna be this bad. It was probably obvious to everyone else, but I hadn't fully realised it - just how much my life WAS Sally! For 'at least' the last few years, that's been all I've done really - is just look after her and make sure she was safe and content. Apart from having to do a few 'necessities' along the way - that's become all I do. So - what's left when that comes to an end? Nothing.

I ABSOLUTELY do not in ANY way hold it against Sally of course - but I AM aware that none of that horrific 'Bristol' stuff would have happened if not for having Sally and being out walking the streets of the yob infested barbarian 'ghetto', twice a day like I did!! I've paid a high price for the priveledge of knowing Sally.


Opened a bottle of red wine and drank. Closed the living room curtains mid afternoon because - well - EVERYTHING 'outside' is an irrelavence to me now. Every time I look out, my mind involuntarily races round in hopeless circles trying to find something - ANYTHING - that's worth the effort of trying to force myself to do. There's nothing! It's just hopeless. I AM NOT like other people! It isn't just a case of deal with your grief and then pick yourself up, pull yourself together and get 'back' to doing what you 'enjoy' doing. I don't have anything I enjoy doing!!!! I had nothing before Sally - and have returned to that - and worse!

Cried, drank, chain smoked, sat in silence, TVd, PCd the day away. Psychologically, I'm in BIG trouble here! :o( . . . no appetite at all - it crossed my mind to have a go at going without food for a week, just to fully appreciate what suffering I 'allowed' Sally to go through at the end. I couldn't do it and ended up eating half a Mum donated coffee sponge cake and two kipling apple tarts before to bed around 10:30pm or earlier. Poor dog. POOR dog! With the benefit of hindsight, I'm so, SO sorry I allowed her to suffer for SO long. :o( dds
21 - Up around 6:30am. . PCd a bit of this for hours, because I couldn't think of anything else to do. I'm tempted - but I guess I won't be drawing all 'this' to a close 'quite' yet. It's painfully obvious there's going to be nothing to put here any more - except incoherent gibberings from 'the dark side' if I can even be bothered! It doesn't sit well with me that the few who still go out of their way to read this will be presented with such pointless tedious sh*t day after day. I DID receive a few commiserating e-mails from people when Sally died - and should reply and say thank you, but I'm afraid a 'thank you' here will have to do. . .interesting article in the news today. Scientists have allegedly made their first 'artificial life form'. Exciting stuff, albeit a bit scary considering how mankind seems bent on destroying itself. What better way - quickly! On the plus side, I delight at anything which further undermines the ever shifting sand upon which are built, the arrogant towering egos of delusional religous fundamentalists! And yet still - STILL - the world is full of people who insist on adhering to literal interpretations of (man made) religious texts (or dare I say 'party manifestos'?)! Beggars belief. . VERY warm and sunny. Perhaps because of that, I felt just a 'little' bit less desperate and mustered the strength to walk to BGdns, intending to try and hook up with a few of the usual dog walkers, to say my goodbyes. .I hadn't fully realised just how much slower Sally had become walking of late. My walk to BGdns this morning was done at a 'natural' pace and was much quicker . . a few tears when I got there and passed some dogs, but no one else was around so I was able to sit with a cigarette in the sun and pull myself together a bit by the time some of them appeared. . a while ago one of them had mentioned he'd replaced a kitchen worktop and was throwing a long length of one away. I'd expressed an interest in having it. Thought it 'may' be useable as a table top for some sort of custom made computer desk in my computer room. I really can't imagine actually doing all that now, but since he'd already been to the tip and disposed of all the other rubbish he had, I kinda felt obliged to still have it. Asked him to put it in his front garden so I could have a look and make plans about how to shift it. .eventually said my goodbyes and returned home. Got straight in the car and drove round to see the work top. A proper heavy duty, thick chipboard, with a black marble effect laminate. It was very quickly evident that it was far too long to go in my car and was really quite heavy. G offered to put the seats down in his car and drive it to my place with it hanging out of the back of the hatch, since he was going out shortly anyway. Helped him lift it into his car (partially protected by an old Sally duvet from the back of mine) and then drove via a quick stop at the store, home to wait for him. . mowed the front lawn while I waited. G arrived and helped me carry it up the steps and into the hallway. Blimey - it really IS rather heavy! I really don't think I want it, but I guess I can cut it up and dump it some time. Temporarily managed to get it through the house and dumped in the conservatory after he'd gone. . mowed the back lawn and did bed linen laundry chores . .very hungry after having eaten almost nothing yesterday . drank wine and boiled up some rice and peas around midday. Mixed a tin of chicken soup with some chopped onion in butter together with a pack of Mum donated chopped turkey pieces to make up a thick sauce to go with the rice. (The turkey Mum'd bought in the hope it would tempt Sally to eat when she was unwell. I never got round to even opening it because by then she wasn't eating anything at all - and if she did even just a mouthfull, she was immediately sick! :o( ) Eventually ate half of the concotion - a huge bowl full with four pieces of bread and butter. Really actually rather ok. SO sad not to be able to give someone the pleasure of licking clean all the pans and bowls etc. :o( . . TVd feeling restless like I should be doing something with such a glorious day. First day this year it's REALLY felt warm in the house. Proper summers day at last. Poor old Sally. Fancy missing the summer after having battled through that long hard winter!! She'd have had a good LONG walk through the bluebell woods today and a dip in the sea at the beach. :o( . .sat around and wandered from room to room feeling lost and directionless . . in sheer desperation I eventually grabbed my camera, tripod, guitar and a bottle of water and drove back to BGdns to go sit on the roof of my favourite gun emplacement in the sun. Plenty of litter around the place - which wouldn't have been there if I was still walking Sally every day. I didn't pick up any. My days of doing that are over. I've done my time. Someone else can have a go at that now - or more likely not. It already all felt somewhat 'alien' to me. I've had a daily 'intimacy' with the place for quite a time, walking Sally around there 'at least' once a day. Hardly a twig or a blade of grass could be moved without me noticing. After a break of just a few days, things all looked different, with much spring growth having appeared since I was last there! The tree 'someone' harshly cut down up in front of the roofed seats, coppice like has all started to shoot again! It'll be blocking the view again in a just a couple of years!! Who cares? . Forced myself to sit there for 'at least' an hour having a twiddle and just watching the little that was going on, and the happy dog walkers wandering by. I felt stupid and uncomfortable! Being sat WITH your dog, 'legitimises' your presence in a place and invokes passing smiles and a pleasant word. Just sat on your own makes you the WEIRD guy sat on his own that people are openly wary of, and with whome eye contact should be avoided at all costs. Horrible feeling. Horrible horrible feeling. Horrible world. I've no longer ANY place in it! :o( . eventually gave up the pointless, considerable effort of sitting there and headed back to an utterly empty home . . TVd . . ate the rest of the rice concoction with four pieces of bread and butter. . touched base with Mum and BB briefly . . ate kipling tarts and chocolate . . TVd until bed around midnight. Well - on the whole, despite it being all painfully empty and pointless, I guess I have to admit that today wasn't 'quite' so bad. I certainly didn't cry SO much. Funny how that makes me feel 'guilty'!! (A TV concert by Carol King and James Taylor DID predictably set me off again for quite a bit!). Having said that - given the state I was in yesterday, I could hardly have gotten worse! Who knows what I'll be like tomorrow!! I WAS in BIG trouble yesterday! Suffice it to say, despite ALWAYS having to wrestle with the urge in my mind as I have done all my adult life, I guess I have to accept I probably NEVER WILL actually have the balls to commit suicide. If I was ever going to, yesterday would probably have been the day (but for waiting for the return of Sally's ashes. Really the only reason not to I could come up with! ). Who knows? Things can always get worse. Seems like they always have, no matter how much I hoped they couldn't possibly. 'Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow'. Yeah yeah - I saw all my tomorrows yesterday. What a dreadful 'wash' of a life this was. ds
22 - Up around 7am, hotter in bed than comfortable . .PCd this. Very sunny and hot. Guitarred. Did a little laundry (a throw from a living room chair showing muddy signs of woofy). Mum called in. Let her watch the last video I'd filmed of Sally, which I'd felt obliged to upload to Youtube to 'indicate' to subscribers why there would be no more. She became tearful. Me too - again - still! . . Drank wine. With my 'addictive nature', I AM undoubtedly in danger of becoming 'a drinker'. It 'helps' - almost - a bit. What have I to lose? . Ate sandwiches. Napped. Guitarred. TVd. Ate mum donated iced doughnuts and tuna and mayo rolls . guitarred/TVd/PCd until bed around 4am. Thought provoking Michael Moore documentary on TV about 'Capitalism'. I am almost embarassed to admit it, because every time you hear the term it seems to be accompanied by newsreels of rioting, but I guess I AM very much an 'anti-capitalist'. Kindof a socialist I guess, but for the conviction that mankinds inherent nature (greed) makes that unworkable in practice. . probably due to the hot weather and everything drying out, there is much creaking of things around the house, and lots of noise coming from my dodgy (still full of frozen K donated dog food) fridge freezer working overtime. With my iffy ears, I kept on 'hearing' Sally moving around!!! My heart leaps up! :o(
Mum dropped off a little booklet earlier, suggesting I should read some of it. I can't remember doing so, but apparantly I'd actually gone on-line several years ago to order it for her, after she'd heard much of his stuff on some local radio show or other! A book of poetry by Cornish poet David Prowse. I read what she'd suggested earlier - through much tears. It struck me as a remarkably eloquent piece. It would be easy to change some of it to be more fitting for me and Sally - but I'm going to include it here, exactly as it is in the booklet.


For a dog he was old, it was no great surprise
For the years take us all in the end,
And tomorrow will dawn without obvious change
Bar the loss of a family friend.
Yet, did you but know it, you’ve added your name
To a ledger as endless as time
Where the biggest and strongest and bravest of men
Are featured in line after line.
So why all the tears and the stinging remorse
That you vainly attempt to control?
Because what he gave lent a rhythm to life
In tune with your body and soul.
And if any should scoff at the catch in your voice
Or the glint of a tear in your eye,
Regard them with pity and smile on the stars
For the feelings their senses deny.
He was part of your being, the best of your heart,
The spark in the warmth of a smile,
He fostered the softness you thought you could hide
In his childish but secretive style.
Be proud to remember as long as you live
That soul-mate who never complained,
He guarded your children, he took you for walks
And only reneged when it rained.
He moulded your manners to match his routine
Yet offered far more than he took,
He adopted your language until, with a glance,
He could read you like reading a book.
He saw you as perfect, a prince among men,
A hero to love and adore,
And all of these things were the man you became
The minute you walked through the door.
And now that it’s over, you mope like a babe
And grope for the words to explain
How something so lacking in human finesse
Could cause such illogical pain.
Now the house is as silent as yesterday’s prayers,
Yet here in the gloom of the day,
With that magical instinct he always possessed,
He’s only a whisper away.

26th November 1998

Don’t let anyone ever tell you, ‘it was only a dog’. It’s equivalent to saying that no life other than your own is of any great importance and to deny that friendship, warmth, loyalty and even love are of material importance. The fact that all those qualities formed part of a relationship with a non-human should never be a source of embarrassment, whether you’re a six-year-old mourning a hamster or an 80-year-old coming to terms with an empty hearth-rug where your merest whisper caused a tail to wag. They’re all special but some are more special than others, maybe one or two in a lifetime whose brief presence was sufficiently endearing to become intrinsic to a particular span of years. It’s not sentimentality that brings about a moistening eye, it’s a recognition that real love needs no flowery speeches. All you ever had to do was look in his eyes.
From 'Shadows On A Landscape' By David Prowse

23 - Poor disturbed sleep. Woke earlier, snoozed on overheating then up around 9:15am. I was too hot, needed a pee and a drink - no other reason to. Very hot and sunny again. . sat around . .mustered the strength to call Mum and suggest we walk the woods. I really didn't 'want to', but some time ago she'd expressed a desire to accompany me (and Sally) down there (while she can still manage it with her bad feet) to see the bluebells. We did that walk with Dad when he was dying, and I suspect it is something of a personal 'pilgrimage' for her, aside from it just being nice. If I leave it any longer and keep putting it off, it'll be too late and I'll feel guilty. Just another loose-end, 'obligation' to have to take care of and get out of the way! . Mum was in the middle of laundry so suggested 'in an hour?'. That had me try to get out of it and say lets not bother then - because I couldn't guarantee I'd be 'up for it' in the next five minutes, let alone in an hour! She persuaded me to still do it, so I wasted the hour by having a shower and doing some more of my own laundry. Actually dug out an old pair of black denim trousers from the cupboard and put those on for the first time in MANY years! (They must surely be well over ten years old - and hardly worn!!!) Without having a muddy slobbering dog, supplies of poop bags to carry, and a lead belt attachment etc to consider, even what I wear and how I dress has to now come up for review! Figured I'd see how it felt not to wear combat trousers for a change. Strange! . dug out a big 'belt pouch' type thing I've never really used, and threaded that onto my old leather belt and crammed my phone, camera, video, bag of rice, etc, etc into it. Too hot for my 'live in it', falling apart, multi pocketed bodywarmer. The last time I tried a belt bag like that, the jarring of it on my hip when walking threatened to destroy the tape mechanism my old camcorder. Figured it was worth trying the new memory card camcorder in it - and also - well - frankly what the hell do I care now if it breaks the new one! . . put laundry on the line in the blazing sun and exchanged a brief word with one of the neigbours and let him know what had become of Sally, before Mum arrived. .headed off to do the walk. Very hot and sunny. . down in the woods a bunch of 'enactment/game player' people ('Brixham Berserkers'?) were milling around all dressed in strange garb, chainmail, robes etc, carrying artificial swords and the like. (How DO you 'play' at sword fighting? I couldn't do that - I'd end up HAVING to do it for real kinda!!?) I've always regarded doing that sort of thing as a very weird way to spend your time, but for sure, down in those atmospheric woods amongst the bluebells on a sunny day IS a really neat place to do whatever it is they do. They always seem very happy and good natured. I guess that's what happens when you escape 'reality'. One of them was taking photos of their group as we passed, so I offered to take a couple of them all on her camera. Further on, one of them was quietly sat motionless beneath the stone arch of the old lime kiln, dressed as a 'knight', complete with full armour helmet covering his face! Extraordinary image. I regret not having pulled my camera out and taken a photo - but I just wasn't in the mood. . Sat down in the woods for quite a while with a couple of cigarettes, with Mum seemingly ceaselessly chatting - and largely about 'old' stuff that I've all heard, several times before!! Really got on my nerves! I'm used to sitting there with Sally, all quiet, just listening for the heartbeat of nature. :o( Lost in my thoughts much of the time we were out, I admit to largely not listening and just letting her carry on, occasionally nodding where it seemed necessary. .Image of busy Churston Cove and the breakwater beyond after the obligatory couple of photos of us with bluebells in the background (yawn), we eventually carried on and down to the beach. .good grief! I've never seen so many expensive boats moored in the coves since I've been here (the 'have's'?) - and loads of people and dogs were on the beach and rocks and in inflatables (the 'have not's'?) enjoying the amazing weather too. It all had a real bustling, relaxed, 'South of France' type feel about it. 'English Riviera' indeed. Incredibly, amongst all of this, only yards from the beach and all the swimming kids and barking dogs etc, were two seal also enjoying the sun!! Who'd have imagined they'd have swum past all the boats into the cove like that, and then hung around their usual spot in the clear water with all the people and activity right nearby! Extraordinary. . eventually headed up the steep cliff path (Mum worryingly feeling a bit dizzy and unsteady on her feet!) and eventually ended up both sat on top of my favourite gun emplacement in the sun in BGdns for ages. . passed a couple of dog walkers on the way out, one who didn't yet know about Sally and looked genuinely upset (has it really been only less than a week?!!) and another who wanted to offer her sincere condolonces. . . drank wine and guitarred in the garden for a bit . . TVd . . ate Mum donated pizza with extra cheese, chocolate and a while later a couple of bowls of corn flakes. .TVd (much (most?) of the time with the volume off!) until bed, well before midnight. ds
24 - Up around 7am . .put my combat trousers back on, just to feel comfortable again. Dog or no dog, like it or not, I've lived in combats EVERY day for SO many years now, nothing else will do! . . PCd this (for hours!), determined to just get the bloody chore off my back. There is FAR more NOT written here than is - but I'm 'forgetting' already - and NOT in a good way! It's just how my broken mind works. I, in very quick time, totally lose the priceless important memories that others are able to keep all their lives and which can grow to define who they are!! :o( I have no such memories of anything (except some of the really bad stuff!) - just vague 'impressions' of very little. My ENTIRE early life is lost to me already - completely! My childhood is a complete blank. Even poor old Sheba I can't really recall at all now. I've a photo or two to prove 'I' (?) was there. :o( So I guess I could say - loss, bereavement, mourning - all this is nothing new to me in this respect. I've kinda spent my life having to deal with it every step of the way - and also in every relationship I've ever had, usually by my own actions. :o( . barring a house fire or burglary, I can at least look at a bunch of photos and some videos and read some ramblings, to give me an insight into the last ten years of my life (much of that time already COMPLETELY lost to me - except some of the bad of course!). What would it be like to just be able to remmber all that stuff? Who would it have made me? Impossible to imagine . .Mum called to touch base. Uncle T isn't doing so well apparantly. He now weighs less than I do!! Oh dear. . called the vet enquiring about Sally's ashes. Predictably the person on the phone could find no record of any such arrangement/details. Uhuh. :o( I indicated my payment of the outstanding bill was linked. (Unwise - that 'could' ensure I get back any old ashes!) She said she'd investigate and call me back. :o( . .she DID call back and suggested the ashes were at Totnes, and she'd have them over and available locally tomorrow afternoon. . .aimlessly sat around and ended up getting pretty desperate again. Tried to sleep but couldn't (almost did but then had a vivid 'half dream' of Sally sniffing around my face and abruptly 'woke' to escape it - because I wanted it SO bad. Felt guilty 'rejecting her' like that!?) and got back up to cry. . ended up aimlessly back on the PC - surfing motorbikes for sale for goodness sake?!!! God knows why. (Even found an e-bay advert placed by the guy down the road, for one of the Harleys he recently brought over from Arizona.) They've all become shockingly expensive since last I looked - well outside of anything I could afford now. I don't know WHY I was looking at them - if I had one, exactly like it used to be, where would I go and why? In fact - upon disturbing reflection - I don't think I even have the 'confidence' left in me to be so 'visible'. Same old same old dead end. . . Turned into a really VERY tough day again - not helped by 'already' having trouble NOT turning to drinking!!!!!! :o( . .TVd . .ate Mum donated ham rolls . . to bed around 1am.
25 - Woken around 7:30am by a neighbour noisily putting stuff in their bin. .sat aimlessly staring at this for well over an hour . . guitarred a bit . today is all about just waiting for the call from the vet (this afternoon?) to say Sally's ashes are back! :o( . felt just a little 'more in control' than yesterday again . . Cut my hair and pottered around the place vacuuming and trying to remove a handful of long standing marks on the carpet here and there. It really is a whole new experience NOT having layers of dry mud-dust and dog hair on everything all the time. I've developed a whole new time consuming 'hobby' when sat in front the TV, which will probably keep me going for the remainder of my life. Trying to pick off, one by one, all the dog hairs from my hooded fleece (clothes in general)!! I'm not sure how it's possible, but the hairs appear to have actually become part of the fabric of everything, all interwoven throughout the material and in abundance in every seam. Every time I pull a handkercheif out of a pocket to blow my nose, I almost always somehow STILL end up getting a really fine, cat-like hair in my mouth! Trying to remove as much as possible from the house has become a bit of an ongoing 'challenge'!! . . cleaned a bit of the bathroom, still covered in layers of dust from when I put the shower in! . Mum called in for a cuppa and chats, although I REALLY wasn't in the mood! . . showered PCd/TVd, sitting around waiting for the vet phone call which I'd begun to think probably wasn't going to come today. . somewhere after 3:30pm the receptionist from the vet DID call to say Sally's ashes were ready for collection. . drove straight to the vets. The receptionist popped out to her car to get the box containing the ashes (!?), slipped it into a plastic carrier bag and popped it up on the counter. Fought back tears as I waived my plastic and settled my final account of all the recent consultations and injections etc. (Amongst them - Visit at night up to 5 miles - 70.99 ; Euthanase dog - 50 ; Cremation Fee Dog >40kg with (a casket) - 135.71). Actually, the final itemised bill is a little confusing suggesting either I was already in credit for 13.10, or maybe I still owe them that much (if I do they'll probably never get it. I've no reason to ever return.)? My final payment to them there came in at a total of 386.69. That's quite a 'wack' on my income - but something ELSE to be grateful to Sally about. (She 'did me proud' in SO many ways. My better half.) On my income, with a finite, ever-diminishing modest pot of savings, having Sally WAS a tremendously stressful gamble. Throughout the years, I've spoken to vast numbers of dog walkers who've had health poblems with their dogs and have been suddenly lumbered with HUGE cripling vet bills. Even worse - all those who's dogs needed unbelieveably expensive medication on an ongoing basis for the rest of their years! If anything like that had happened with Sally, I'd have been in BIG trouble. (Because I don't qualify for ANY benefits - along with everything else, I also don't qualify for free/charity vet care!) I couldn't afford insurance for her - even back in 2001 I was being quoted up around 230 per year for it (and even when you DO have it, when push comes to shove as always, you find out in the small print that much (dare I say most?) ISN'T covered)!!!!! It's been a stressful gamble for ten years not having insurance - but I guess I 'won' in the end? Aside from everything else - if I ever DID decide I wanted a dog again some time in the future - THIS would be a reason I simply can NOT! :o( . . cried. Sat in the car and composed myself before eventually driving home (with 'Sally' 'up front' for once!) . . Image of Sally's cremated remainssat with a coffee and removed the box and Sallys ashes from the carrier bag and 'familiarised' myself with it. More tears. So - there it is then. That's all it amounts to - all those shared years and experiences - a plastic bag of who knows what 'bits', tied with a knot and crammed into a cheap 16x12x8.5cm wooden box (with NO lid fastener!), with a cheap engraved nameplate (not even stuck on straight!). :o( The amount there was, actually wasn't 'that' much less than what Dad became - which I guess is about right. She WAS a big dog. SO beautiful right to the end. . temporarily put 'her' on top of the wooden storage box which now sits in the living room alcove where her duvet bed used to be. 'Her' corner. A decision about what will eventually become of that can wait for some other time. :o( As it stands at the moment, I 'may' actually keep the 'ashes' hanging around the place - IF I can find something more suitable to put them in!!!! ('Ashes' is actually poorly named. In reality, lots of small pieces of ground up bone! Once seen - easily indentifiable when people discretely scatter them. Not uncommon on the grass in BGdns - on top of which the yobs party, piss, have sex and bonfires etc. - so I would NEVER scatter ANY ashes there myself!!) At this moment in time, I just can't think of anywhere I would be happy to dump them (except with Dads 'maybe'?)! If I could find some sort of tasteful, plain polished brass 'pot' for the living room, I may actually just keep them - safe - until such time as I'm gone and no one cares anymore. (I HAVE looked LOTS on the internet, but not found anything 'suitable' to me.) It's even a fanciful idea they could accompany ME when I am cremated!!!!!!!!!! How sad is THAT! (I need to make a will - soon!) . . so - that's that then. It's over - except for my pain and hopeless longing. :o( . . briefly pottered in the front garden removing just a handful of weeds from the borders. . drank wine. Defrosted some 'dog food' pork and ate with chips. . TVd the evening away (picking hairs from my fleece). . ate a whole pack of Mum donated salami slices and the last of the biscuits in the house, before eventually to bed around 1am. ds
26 - Up around 7:45am woken by the sounds of the bin men. The recycling bins this week. It wasn't worth putting mine out. I don't create as much any more. Fewer tins. :o( . . PCd this. For the handful who still do, I figure about now is probably a good time to give up reading this. It's just gonna end up being a list of sandwiches! . .Image of apparantly rare, polished brass cremation urns just sat in front of this for hours and then surfed for the rest of the morning and into the afternoon for hours more, once again looking for a completely plain, polished brass cremation urn. No luck - except for a small picture on some Canadian undertakers website somewhere suggesting such a thing (not 'quite' plain, but acceptable) HAS been made at some point, and may actually exist - somewhere!?? 'Almost' tempted to e-mail that funeral place and ask, but I imagine even if they are available, they'd be incredibly expensive and - well - that'd be just all getting a bit weird and out of hand wouldn't it. (There are plenty of brushed brass ones with little engraved detailing all over the net, but that's just NOT what I want). Boy - there are some awfully gawdy tasteless ones out there!! Ain't people weeird! I think I'm gonna stop looking and give up on the idea. . ate ham sandwiches and a banana . . napped for a dream laden hour . . briefly cleared tools, paint pots and a bit of junk from the kitchen, which has been sat there untouched ever since the shower work! Moved the big stack of muddy/stained Sally duvets from the conservatory and just dumped them up in the garage. Not sure what to do with all those. Despite their condition, I'm loathed to just throw them away. Tempted to keep them hanging around in case I could maybe cut them up and use them for insulation around the house (under the floor?) somewhere some time. . guitarred/TVd/cried . . ate corned beef, lettuce and mayo sandwiches with crisps and half a coffee sponge cake . .BB called . . to bed around 1am. s
27 - Up around 8am . . PCd this/read the news etc for hours. . spent an absurd amount of time sorting through a very large collection of old plastic carrier bags, throwing away those that were no good and puting asside the rest for donating to a charity shop. Mum called to touch base . . walked down town in the sun - 'without Sally' for the first time. Briefly popped in the local motorbike store on the way, just to have a pointless look and inhale the delicious scent of rubber, oil and petrol. . I was doing ok, holding myself together - UNTIL I encountered a black guy playing a violin, busking in the high street, just up from the post where I'd tie Sally while I dashed into shops, and then always sat with her for a cigarette. He was playing 'Memories' (from Cats)! That saw me getting all lumpy throated and tearful behind my sunglasses. :o( . toured charity shops, donated the carrier bags and let a couple of the shop assistants who asked where Sally was, know she was gone. Scored a small, cheap, plain plastic wall clock for the kitchen for 2.95 (with a new battery allegedly fitted). Both of my decent big battery wall clocks (including my favourite 'radio controlled' one) have recently stopped working and are pretty much fit for the bin. I hadn't thrown them away 'yet' because I'd planned on keeping an eye out for a simple cheap charity-shop one, in the hope I could maybe transfer the mechanism/hands over. The new one will do as it is for the time being, rather than risk breaking it trying to remove the hands and workings . . drew some money out, bought a few supplies and a bunch of burgers from the butcher. . sat at my usual place for a cigarette. Sad. Just watching the world go by, all the people going about their lives, I just seemed to feel overwhelmed by the 'tragedy of it' all! . . decided why not, and then walked a long hot circuitous route home, to take me past a funeral directors place. Popped in and asked about urns. Predictably they did NOT have anything like I was after. What they DID have in their display were a couple of exact copies of the small 'keepsake' urn I'd once found in BGdns which I recently put a token collection of Sally's fur in. (NOT a 'pet' urn as I'd originaly thought - which more than ever, begs the question how DID it end up where I found it? So - it WAS probably a PERSON'S ashes I tipped and washed out!!), They were selling them for 30 each!!!!! Blimey! . . drank wine, cooked and ate four burgers in buns . .napped until around 7pm!! . . guitarred/TVd . . PCd, aimlessly surfing all manner of stuff I don't want on e-bay, and not feeling tired, somehow ended up still awake come sunrise! . eventtually to bed only to toss and turn for ages. Saw 6am come and go. d
28 - A few hours of awful 'half sleep' and then back up around 10am feeling kinda woozy. Annadin tablet, coffee and cigs. . .I'd put the plug in the kitchen sink last night as a test, because something new has started to manifest with the old sink mixer tap. Sure enough, the damn thing is leaking a fair bit (couple of mugfulls per day?) - in two different ways now I think. I'm gonna have to try and dismantle it pretty soon, in the hope of being able to replace some washers. :o( It's so old and coroded , I've a horrible feeling that isn't gonna go well - and frankly I just don't want to have the hassle right now! . . PCd this . . mustered the energy to dare to have a look at the leaking kitchen sink mixer tap. Turns out there isn't an isolating valve for the hot tap, so I didn't go anywere near that side. Since the back boiler broke, I never have hot water 'on tap' anyway, so there seemed little point in disturbing it. . despite the corrosion, it actually went ok (all new to me) and I was able to remove the cold tap insert and dismantle it all and clean it up with some wire wool etc. It's one of those quarter-turn, ceramic valve types which I've never owned before, so unfortunately I didn't have any new rubber washers or O-rings in my collection that I could replace the old ones with! Ended up just moving the rubber washer and O-rings around a bit to make sure they were clean and intact, 're-seated' them as they were, and then with a smear of grease on everything just put it all back together. Unscrewed and successfully removed the whole swivel top section of the tap once I'd figured out how, and did exactly the same with that, because I didn't have a replacement O-ring. Amazingly (for the time being at least) that appears to have somehow done the trick!! No more leaking (yet) and the action of the cold tap lever is now wonderfully easy and smooth - the best it's been since I've been here. :o) Dog walker 'M' unexpectedly appeared at the door during all this. He'd returned from his holiday and had a 10 pack of 50g packets of Golden Virginia duty-free tobacco for me. Yayy. 43. And thank you VERY much. . ate two cheese and mayo burgers with chips . . napped until the alarm at 6:30pm. . the forecast said the long spell of hot sunny weather we've been having was going to break, and a band of wind and rain was due to move through tonight. (Typical - what bad luck - it's the start of the week-long Heritage Festival tomorrow! THE week to visit the place in MY opinion.) Somehow mustered the energy to mow the back lawn, de-weed some of the paving slabs and paths, and then laboriously swept up all the masses of debris and fallen blossom from the trees, etc. Long overdue and needed to be done (sweeping up the fallen blossom in particular) in order to discourage the stupid little outside drain near the kitchen from blocking, as it so easily does with a bit of rain. I SO need to alter that in some way! . finished and sat outside with a coffee by around 9pm. . TVd briefly and guitarred before turning the TV off and guitarring some more, at length, out in the conservatory - actually feeling 'ok-ish' and able to recognise my own good fortune, such as it is. . I guess 'in the abscence of a life', I'm eventually gonna end up turning my attention back to doing stuff on the house - IF I can find the energy. I feel SO aching, old and tired, I simply don't think I'm physically able to do much of it anymore. Psychologically too I guess! . ate bowls of co-co pops and TVd before eventually to bed around 2am. s
29 - Up around 8:30am. Wind and rain as forecast. PCd this and watched as an elderly neighbour walking her dog, battled past in the rain. One of those (few) times when NOT having a dog IS 'ok-ish'! . . did dish washing and vacuuming chores until Mum called in with food donations, etc. . ate two cheese and mayo burgers with chips . .napped until the alarm at 6:30pm . . TVd . .Mum called to say she'd spoken on the phone briefly with Auntie B. All that side of the family were all assembled. Uncle T is in a hospice now - and WON'T be coming home! Oh dear. Awful times. Good luck to them all. :o( . . PCd this drinking wine. . sat in the front garden briefly around 9:50pm listening to/watching some of the Heritage Festival fireworks going off down in the harbour. Mostly out of sight. Missed Sally's company and soon came back in to aimlessly sit in front the TV some more. I guess I'm pretty much done with all the crying, and 'getting used to' (!!) the idea of being all alone again. Feel almost guilty, like it's too soon. :o( . . ate Mum donated buttered scones and watched 'The Last Samurai' which was on again. Something to do with the mood of the film - and the fact that I had to watch much of it with the sound turned off - but it felt as though the 'spectre of death' was abroad in the night, lurking in the shadows, close by, with much work to do!!! . . to bed around 2am. Dennis Hopper died this day. daa
30 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up around 8:30am. . Restless. Pacing. . guitarred PCd/TVd and somehow pretty much guitarred the whole day away . drank wine . ate corned beef, mayo and lettuce sandwiches with crisps and a banana. . napped . . guitarred/TVd . .ate Mum donated iced buns . . TVd/aimlessly PCd until gone 4am and sunrise in the sky before bed. Not a good day. d
31 - Woken around 8:30am by the sound (once I'd figured out what the hell it was!) of one of my chordless phones beeping, announcing it needed charging . . PCd . . toyed with the idea of 'forcing myself' to go out and walk about a bit, but just couldn't face it and unable to motivate myself to do anything else, ended up back on the guitar! 'Progress' with the guitar is so very VERY slow, but I consider that I 'have' made a 'little' progress of late. ('progess' relative to not being able to do anything at al!!) Trouble is, I'm not actually 'learning' anything. I just keep messing around and doing my OWN poor 'twiddles' - largely now the same handful, over and over again. They need 'lyrics' - but I have none in me. (How come I 'used' to be able to 'do words', but NOT now?) :o( . How DO people just 'make up' songs? I seem to find it impossibly difficult! . dug out a piece of paper long ago downloaded from the internet, and tried to get a 'bit' serious with ('some' of) the pretty chord sequence as used on James Taylors 'Fire And Rain'! There went the next several hours until mid afternoon! Boy - I SO wish I'd started playing guitar (in earnest) when I was a kid, rather than waiting until I was almost fifty! I am filled with an overwhelming sense that it's just too late and I haven't enough time left! I've finally 'discovered' enough now, to appreciate how incredibly huge and time consuming the task is (for me). It's enormous and kinda' 'infinite'. It's like there is a whole language to learn - and so far I've only just about managed to learn how to stutter 'hello'!!. . drank wine (opened another, long ago donated bottle) and ate a microwaved chicken and mushroom slice with chips and buttered chopped onion and peas . . napped until the alarm at 6:30pm . . guitarred . . TVd (guitarring a bit, during every muted advert break at least) and watched a Ch4 documentary on the building of HMS Daring. I'd videoed her when she was in the bay a while ago, so for that reason found the program doubly interesting. . . PS called suggesting he'd be down soon. If YOU like - but don't expect me to be forced into goin' 'out'!!. . guitarred yet more out in the conservatory, with the garden light on until around 11pm. With all this recent guitarring - jezzuz the fingertips on my left hand are hurting! REALLY badly!! Throbbing pain ALL the time now! (I even ended up running them under the cold tap for a while to try to get some relief!) Do I need softer strings? I can't go on like this! . . BB called . . ate a Mum donated tin of hot dog sausages with four pieces of bread and butter around 1am. To bed around 2am. ds