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June
1 - Up around 7:30am with the promise of a headache later. Beautiful sunny morning . . .walked Sally down to Eastville Park and along the river - real bouncy and excited dog again, even actually swimming out of her depth a bit. Walked all morning. Wow-spotted another police car in the area - wonder if someone has actually managed to get through on the phone and complain about the areas lawlessness? . . pottered around the house a bit doing nothing much. Sat around in the blazing sun in the garden and caught a bit of an instant tan! Brilliant weather-guess today is our summer . . . M/D called to touch base and say Sis2 has tentatively booked flights for a month long visit in a couple of weeks. Also mentioned Sis1 has finished with her man!! Oh dear! . . . spent an hour or so transplanting mind your own business from the back garden and putting it between the bricks of the raised bed in the front garden. LB called announcing she was all 'chickened out' and had another three quarter chicken she didn't want!? LB popped down with the chicken and for a brief chat in the back garden . . . walked and found 20p. Sat around over the field for ages watching the sun set. Amusing to see several roaches left on the floor near the seat where someone has been smoking joints - I can't disapprove cause it must be a nice place to sit and get stoned but seems a little careless leaving the evidence laying there like that! . . . had a glass of red wine which went straight to my head and then cooked up a couple of cheese burgers and sat in the garden eating them as fireworks went off in the distance celebrating the Queens Golden Jubilee. A bit of guitar noise and then sitting for hours in the warm garden making for a really jolly pleasant evening watching the frogs and such. Early to bed. (6/10)aads
2 - Up to another even warmer sunny morning . . . couldn't face walking Sally over the field only for her to lie in some stinking muddy puddle so called Sis1 and suggested we walk the dog along the river near where she lives . . .Hey Sally . . have you heard the one about the pekinese? drove to Sis1s - loads of houses and passing cars and people all displaying the red and white England flag because of the world cup!! Whole country seems to have gone football crazy with almost nothing else on TV - apart from a bit of the Queens Golden Jubilee celebrations of course! Incredible considering India and Pakistan are on the brink of a nuclear war!!! Don't understand it myself - AT ALL!!!! . . . Walked along the bit of the Frome Valley Walkway that is real close to Sis1s house. Beautiful stretch of river. If I was Sis1 I'd spend a lot of time just sat around down there amongst the trees and such, but then again I guess it is a different world if you are a girl - not very safe to do such things alone! Some chatting about her latest split up with her man - difficult not to offer opinions - and of course there are two sides to every split. Perhaps in part because of hearing so much of late about people having 'domestic' difficulties, I have begun to feel more and more 'content' to be alone - it's SO much less hassle! Dunno if that is a good or bad thing? - maybe a Sally thing? - certainly a schizoid thing!! . . . M/D called to confirm Sis2 has made flight bookings, arriving in the country around the twelfth for a whole month! . . .snapped a picture of a bit of the garden and added it to the website - almost everything is in lush summer growth mood and flowering. Nice. :o) . . . sat around/fell asleep for a while but woken by the phone but no message and callers number witheld! . . . sat in the garden for ages doing nothing but sitting. Extraordinary how I can seem to spend hours and hours doing that - doing nothing more than watching things grow kinda!!? . . .BB called to touch base. . . walked. The forecast of thunder storms didn't materialise which was a shame but it certainly has got much cooler and darkly overcast . . . sat in the garden/guitared/TVd (a small fire broke out at Buckingham Palace!!)/PCd till early. My watch has broken - no reason to know the time really but I feel very funny without one on my wrist. Surprising how often I look at it although these days, more to know what month and day it is rather than what time of day! (5/10)s
3 - The Queens Golden Jubilee weekend.Woken by Sally far too early - guarantees a nap later! . . . drizzle in the air and SO much cooler than these last couple of days . . .drove down to the river at Hanham and walked in the rain - more usual, bank holiday monday weather!. . . back home feeling really hungry and ended up having garlic sausage sandwhiches for a late breakfast! . . . more TV showing almost nothing but football and the Queens Jubilee celebrations all over the place! Figured what the hell - I've got a flag, may aswell put it up somewhere - at least it isn't the England flag that would have me mistaken for a football supporter!!! . . .fell asleep for a few hours and woke to find the day had turned sunny albeit SO much cooler than of late. . . LB called to say she'd fired up the old PC she'd been given and it seemed to work ok. Offered whatever help I could in setting it up if she needed it . . . touched base with BB . . . ate several sandwhiches of LBs chicken and then spent hours boiling up and stripping the bones again for a Sally chicken dinner . . . walked and found a tennis ball and a ball on a rope, minus the rope, for Sally to play with. Once again she sought out the deepest, muddiest, most foul smelling puddle in the field and went and lay in it!!!! Had to spend ages hosing her down yet again when we got back - those big puddles are a real pain and make walking her over there less than enjoyable!!! . . . watched the Queens Jubilee party pop concert thing all night on TV - actually got 'into it' and thought it was really rather good, ESPECIALY the projection effects on the front of the palace - how DID they do that?!!! Poor neighbours had to suffer some loud music from my stereo as people such as Ozzy Osborne and Eric Clapton did their sets! Strange how watching such 'live' events make me SO uptight in case something goes wrong or someone says the wrong thing . . . PS popped round for chats and TV watching till early. (5/10)as
4 - It's behind you!!Up late . . .walked . . . sat in the yard for a while . . . received feedback from CC (who I have rudely failed to reply to, consistantly along with anyone else who has mailed me these last few months!!) about an old school friends meeting website - Friends Reunited Message Board. Had a look - quite a few people there - had a read of some of their details , all married with kids and good jobs and, and - well of course it made me feel pretty inadequate and a failure in life!! No suprises there then - ho hum :o| . . .spent hours scanning in the FULL old school photo (476kb!!!!!) in case anyone from those days stops by and would be amused by seeing it . . .fell asleep for a few hours . . .TVd watching the end of the Golden Jubilee procession down the Mall and the fly past. Stirring moving stuff - even for a schizoid avoidant!! . . .BB called to touch base - in conversation she reminded me I'd said I was thankfull I'd never had kids and all that other stuff. Good to be reminded - so why the hell do I STILL regard the married with kids type life as a 'success'? As always, the answer to such questions is within me but just beyond my grasp, and the instinctual desire to go off into total hermit like solitude in search of my own mastery, is strong! . . . walked slowly around the field watching the hot air balloons drifting real low overhead. Sally wasn't phased at all, unlike all the other dogs for miles around that were going crazy and barking at the sky. . .watered the garden, for pleasure more than need. Sat around for ages watching things dry and sipping a glass of red . . .PCd a bit and tried to reply to at least an outstanding e-mail or two but just couldn't manage it!!? . . . had another glass of red wine, ate the last of LBs chicken donation with chips, TVd/PCd till early . . . uh oh - another night of suffering that choking feeling after having smoked too much. Ended up not being able to sleep at all and sitting in the conservatory from 4am listening to the amazing dawn chorus of birdsong!! Ate a ham sandwhich around 5am and at last to sleep around 6am!!! (4/10)ad
5 - Woken up by Sally pulling all the covers off me around 10am! God I'm tired . . .drove Sally to the Avon at Hanham for a walk. Took my time and sat around quite a bit. Threw sticks for Sally to chase into the river and at one point she briefly actually got the idea and brought the same one back to me four or five times for me to wrestle out of her mouth and throw again. Like a 'proper' dog. :o) . . . pottered in the garden a little and relocated more of the 'mind your own business' and planted it between the bricks of the new front yard raised bed, before the forecast heavy rains arrive later . . . fell asleep for a few hours . . . kinda humid and stuffy despite the cool drizzle outside so unusually reached over the TV, upon which I have my big Yucca plant, to open the top bay window. I dunno how on earth I managed it but somehow the needle sharp end of one of the Yucca leaves poked itself into my left eye!!!!! WOW that HURT!!!!! Managed to recover somewhat and eventually walked the dog with much rubbing and mopping of a badly watering eye along the way. . . BB called to touch base . . . TVd trying not to smoke so much to avoid a repeat of last nights coughing and spluttering, but still quite some discomfort from my eye. Eventually early to bed. . . woken around 2am by quite some pain from my grossly weeping eye and with my nose running in sympathy in a hell of a state!!!! Sat around for hours rubbing my eye, washing it out with egg cups full of water, sticking fingers in it in an attempt to remove whatever I thought was trapped under my eye lid, etc, etc, etc!!! Eventually back to bed to try and sleep as dawn approached. (4/10)
6 - BLOODY painful!!!!!!!!!!! Woke up before 9am in a really bad way. Extraordinary discomfort from my eye whether it be open or closed. Every blink was agony and had the reflex effect of closing BOTH of my eyes, which would remain all screwed shut for ages before I could even attempt to open either again!!! I was in BIG trouble and had to admit to myself I really needed some help!!!!! Managed to open my eyes for long enough to read the phone number of my doctors surgery so rang them and asked what they advised! They advised I head for the eye hospital in town! Only problem with that was HOW!!!! No way could I walk from one room to the next without becoming intermittantly immobile and blind several times on the way - getting to the bus stop and taking a trip into town and then having to walk all the way to the hospital was out of the question, and I hadn't enough money in the house for a taxi!! Phoned Sis1 in desperation and thank goodness she was there at home on leave. Explained I needed help and without hesitation she jumped in her car and came straight on over. Oh thank god!! Left poor old Sally without her morning walk and jumped straight in the car and was driven to the steps of the hospital, eyes involuntarily watering and screwed tight shut almost all the way! A half hour wait in some half seen waiting room or other and in to see a nursey type guy. Quick eye chart test and then had to stick my head in some binocular examination contraption. Absolutely could NOT keep my eye open for examination so he squirted in some local anaesthetic gel - OH what a wonderful relief almost instantly! Unfortunately that gel does not help healing and cannot be continually administered. He confirmed there was nothing trapped beneath my upper eye lid like it felt - that was a trick of the way the nerves in the eye work, and I actually had just scratched the coloured bit of my eye - he drew a picture of it on his report sheet and showed me - seemed like a pretty big scratch to me!! Felt bigger still! Apparantly they get quite a few cases of Yucca attack in there!!??? God I felt a fool! Told there was nothing much to be done except take some pain killers, apply some Chloromycetin ointment from the tube he gave me, and wait for it to heal! If not improved by Saturday get back in touch since infection can set in - perish the thought - his description of that, with puss and such, was terrifying! . . back outside with the pain temporarily relieved and at least one eye open, called Sis1 on the mobile and very embarassed and self conscious of whatever I must have squinty eyed looked like, walked to meet her through the crowds of shoppers - she'd had trouble finding a place to park and was some way off. Apparantly whatever had been put in my eye had turned it fluorescent green and I reminded her of the 'Incredible Hulk'!!! Driven back home and brief chats and coffee - by now the anaesthetic had worn off and I was back to square one hardly able to open my eyes at all!!! Sis1 insisted on leaving me some cash -'just in case' before she went! . . Poor old Sally is gonna have to survive without a walk today!!!!!! A crash course in 'back-yard-bathroom'?!!!!! Oh dear. . .PCd but what a hassle it is trying to type when you can't see!!!!!!! Grrrr - owww - grrrr - owwwww!!!!!! It is impossible to explain how rediculously painful such a small 'injury' is and how TOTALLY incapacitating it has proved to be. Gonna be a rough few days (if I'm lucky!!!!) - poor old Sally! A thought provoking lesson in how 'living like a hermit/compulsive self reliance' can all fall apart so easily!!! . . . touched base with M/D to tell them what was going on - best excuse I've had for ages for not going down to visit for a while!! . . . BB called to touch base . . . LB popped in and dropped off a pouch of tobacco she'd got from someone or other? . . . PS called and said 'tonight?'. Warned him of my situation but said yes and would he mind getting me some milk on the way - given some milk I can sit tight for a few days no problem. PS popped round for chats till early bearing milk. Sat around most of the evening with my eyes screwed shut and in much discomfort - PS may have been relieved to be given custody of the TV remote control for a change! :o) (4/10)aaaas
7 - Woke up with my eye all gummed up but definitely feeling a little better already although the more I was awake and blinking and trying to look at things the more irritated it became. Left the back door open to allow Sally to 'go' in the back yard as she pleased, but true to form she seemed to be reluctant to go - incredible she can hold onto things for SO long!! Poor old woofer - can't be healthy!! . . . spent most of the day popping Annadin tablets and sleeping as much as I could (leaving the back door wide open despite the persistant rain!!) and each time I woke up, my eye seemed 'better' - oh WHAT a relief!! . . . M/D/Sis1/BB called to touch base . . . actually woke up and watched the second half of the England v. Argentina football match!!!! ME - watching football!!!!! lol Can't say I enjoyed it - having 'associated' myself with the England team it just made me 'up tight' awaiting the outcome. Not my scene, however the England team DID win one-nil. 'We' won?! lol . . . by evening I figured I was suitably recovered to attempt to walk poor old Sally dog who must be bursting! Just before setting out she at last used the garden . . . walked and got through several poop scoop bags!!! Amazing dog! . . . TVd but oh SO tired - strange side effect from such an injury?! Sally seemed to be in a real playful mood and dragged out all her toys and was real bouncy, obviously relieved we were getting back to normal. Early to bed after Sally had finished jumping up and down on me and enjoying playing a bit rough! I kept my eye closed during play! Couple of things spring to mind from this experience - 1. Do blind people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder? 2. Is my nose really as big as it appears with one eye?!! (4/10)aaaa
8 - Up pretty early - eye all gummed up again and a little irritated but feeling not 'too' bad. Difficulty resisting sticking my fingers in there to relieve the itchiness. Am having trouble seeing straight and seem to be particular sensitive to light at the moment - sunglasses help . . .walked, and feeling guilty about poor old Sally being couped up these last couple of days, walked down the Frome Valley walk through Snuff Mills and back through Fishponds. Actually decided to try a new route and walked the 'wrong' side of the river at Snuff Mills. Quite nice but the path petered out and got a bit heavy going and difficult at one point, having to hang on to branches and tree roots to negotiate a nasty slope! Don't think I'll be repeating that! Sally actually acted like a 'proper' dog somewhere along the way and was encouraged to swim in the river!!!!!! Proper swimming right out of her depth chasing thrown sticks which she even brought right back to me to throw into the middle of the river again - at least half a dozen times! Excellent. :o) M/D called on the mobile whilst I was in Eastville Park near the boating lake to check my eye was ok . . . back home around midday touched base with M/D again. Touched base with LB who had collected her new polecat from the dogs home this morning - the home visit the other day was obviously successfull. BB called to touch base just as I'd lay down to nap . . .slept the afternoon away . . . popped up to watch as LBs polecats played together in her garden. They seem to be getting on pretty well, making extraordinary noises as they played together kinda like chickens clucking!? She's gonna introduce them slowly so has set up the old rotten wooden cage again so they can sleep seperately for a while! . . . sat in the garden for AGES, just sitting watching the plants grow!? Weird how I seem able to do that for SO long without feeling bored . . . walked and stopped off for sausage and chips . . . TVd/PCd till "blackbird singing in the dead of night . . "(4/10)as
9 - Woken up late by Sally snuggling . . . more wind and rain! . . . M/D called to touch base and in conversation happily mentioned that Mike Tyson had lost his title fight against Lennox Lewis last night. I can't stand boxing - horrific displays of violence and such but oh how wonderful that 'animal', a convicted rapist, etc. lost. Hope he is never heard from again! Animal! . . .walked in the torrential rain - uggh! Another nutcase on a trials bike this time roaring along the footpath that crosses the field complete with a young child wearing a crash helmet perched on his petrol tank - no number plates and too rainy to get the camera out for a shot!!!! . . . fell asleep all afternoon and missed what had turned into a sunny day apparantly . . . out the front putting stuff in the bin and heard screaching tyres up the road and saw a group of people rushing to the road to look at whatever was going on! A car came tearing round the corner and flew down the road doing at 'least' 50mph only just missing a parked car and so nearly losing control. Fastest closest thing to a huge disaster I have seen down this road for a while!! Idiot! . . . called ML and asked if he was interested in some jerry can holders for his land rover that LB was gonna be throwing out from her garden - of course he was. Popped up LBs and grabbed them for him and stashed them in my back yard for whenever he pops in next. TVd and watched Schummaker win the Canadian F1 Grand Prix . . . walked and yet again had to dodge Sally between mopeds that were being raced along the footpath! Arrrrggh!! . . . lobster red BB called to touch base! . . . TVd/PCd till early trying to force myself to reply to an e-mail or two but yet again failing miserably - I just have nothing to say right now. The ISP has changed my e-mail address and the old one dies tomorrow - so far I've told almost no one. Oh so very tempting to leave it that way - I think I'm having a bit of a down day, as well as not feeling too well. . . e-mail from CC talking about her organising a school reunion!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think I'll be busy that day with some other pressing engagement - whenever it is! It would be interesting of course - but the more I think about it - just impossible. I can't even bring myself to reply to an e-mail I've had from one of the old school mob - kinda like I know I wont be able to maintain any sort of ongoing dialogue so why even bother starting one up and trapping myself in the usual guilt when I inevitably cease to reply!! Stupid I know, but tempting to think I may be useful if only in reference at any school reunion - kinda along the lines of being a base line marker for people to use in their inevitable 'success comparisons' - viz. "I haven't done so bad with my life - at least I didn't end up like HIM!" :o( (3/10)aa
10 - Woken by Sally again - god will I EVER get enough sleep! Always SO tired! Awful wind and rain again! . . . PCd first thing and attempted to remove my details from the Friends Reunited Message Board . . . walked in the drizzle. I'm definitely in a 'bit of a down' at the moment and seem to be very short fused - came close to tears and almost cut my boots off my feet with a knife when I couldn't undo the double knotted wet laces!!! For goodness sake, grow up!!! . . . had another go at the car wing mirror which is blowing back and forth in the wind! Probably not the best mood to tackle such a thing - ended up cutting the damn thing off the car with a pair of pliers and just putting a bolt through it which of course is no good at all . . .surfed for a while fantasising about an avoidant/schizoid future and looking at adverts for Land Rover 110s (big enough to cook/sleep in?) and for smallholdings around the country (need to get out of the ghetto) - none of which I can afford of course! . . . spent the rest of the day sleeping or trying to . . . returned PS ansaphone message and said 'not tonight'! . . . walked and found 7p - guess my eye is almost back to normal . . . TVd. A new American 'dark comedy' series with a feature length first episode called 'Six Feet Under' was much appreciated. . . very 'wobbly' mood this last day or so!!? Guess it's been a while since I had a major 'wobbly'. :o| (3/10)s
11 - Woken early by Sally leaping on the bed but managed to get back to sleep for a couple more hours . . .drove down to the river Avon at Hanham and walked in the drizzle and sunny spells. Felt a lot better than I have done these last couple of days . . . left Sally at home and walked up to shop and buy a few birthday/fathers day cards, etc. Bought a pack of worming tablets for Sally - figure it must be about due. Found 2p . . . BB called to touch base . . . PS called to confirm 'not tonight' because he was unwell!! . . .walked and found 2p . . . TVd . . . touched base with Sis1 and confirmed my eye was all better and such. Touched base with M/D to see what news of Sis2s trip and they said she should be in the country already! Blimey! . . Seconds later the phone rang and it was Sis2!!!! BLIMEY!! She was at Heathrow but couldn't get a coach to M/Ds so had bought a ticket for one to Bristol and would be arriving around 3am hoping to get a connection!!!! Confirmed I'd meet her and then we'd sort out what was the best plan - I rather assumed I'd end up driving her down there! Called M/D who of course were all wound up as though it was a big disaster, and told them to get to bed and we'd see them tomorrow. Surfed the National Express website and confirmed as I had suspected, that there is no connecting coach to M/Ds till tomorrow afternoon!!!!! It's gonna be a long night/drive! Called M/D and confirmed I'd drive Sis2 straight down, no problem, and we'd see them in the morning . . . whiled away the hours - balanced my accounts (eventually!!!) for the first time in ages. Slippery slope again!! . . . spent ages packing up all the duvets and clothes and dog stuff I'd need for a couple of days and then thought Sis2 may be hungry after the trip so knocked up a flask of coffee and some crisps and chocolate bars and such. (4/10)a
12 - All loaded up and in the car with Sally around 2:15am. Quick stop off at a local post box to post birthday cards to nephew (a day late!) and neice (a day early) and then filled up with petrol at the local all nighter. Drove to the bus station in the dark miserable drizzle and arrived around 2:35am. Sat around waiting but WHAT a disgusting, dirty, depressing place that bus station is with absolutely NO creature comforts AT ALL - even the toilets were closed!! God knows why the place is always full of homeless and winos - if I were ever homeless I'd go down the river and make a shelter and sleep in the woods! The due time of arrival of the bus came and went - watched a bus destined for Swansea(?!) pull in around 3:05am but didn't think it was the one Sis2 was on so didn't run to meet it. Eventually figured it may be, so wandered down with Sally and sure enough there was Sis2 struggling with her bag. Hugs and hellos and Sally got all excited and waggy tailed? Quick pause taking it in turns to use the disabled toilet cubicle, which was the only one useable in the whole place, and then took to the road around 3:10am doing a small tour of the city centre for Sis2s old times sake. She was incredulous that the place was so dark, dank, miserable, disgustingly filthy, strewn with litter etc, etc, etc. after having lived so long in the US. Difficult to explain why the attitudes and behaviour of the people of this country have gotten so, SO bad. :o( . . . drove through the morning as the sky brightened behind the clouds and as early as 4am it seemed like daylight. Sis2 seemed to be real high and chatted all the way, pointing at this and that along the way enjoying the 'England-green' scenery. Unfortunately she is used to the hot US weather now and seemed to be real cold all the time as Sally and I suffered in the stifling greenhouse like heat in the car with all the windows closed (except when I just HAD to have a cigarette to keep me awake at which point Sis2 demanded all the windows be opened and even wanted me to pull off the motorway and get out to smoke it!!! Tales of a dog she'd heard of that had developed passive smoking lung disease! Grrrrrr!) Arrived in Brixham around 5am which seemed a little too early so drove through town and around the harbor and then parked up briefly in Oxen Cove to look across the bay at the amazing clouds shining in the sunrise. Briefly stopped at Battery Gardens to let Sally out but huge numbers of rabbits were everywhere and Sis2 was fearfull for them so kept Sally on the lead as Sis2 ran ahead shooing the baby rabbits away and of course ending up singing 'Bright Eyes' from that Watership Down movie! Seemed like a wonderful fresh and warm morning to me but Sis2 was all shivers so back in the car and drove to M/Ds arriving around 5:30am. Unloaded all the stuff and set Sally up in the garage before eventually M/D were roused from their sleep. A little embarassing that Sally who was a waggie tailed sociable angel dog (??) seemed to get more attention from Dad than Sis2! :o) For some reason Dad seems to have REALLY developed a soft spot for her and seems to look forward to seeing her! Hellos and cups of coffee but so VERY tired - figured I'd have to walk Sally before attempting to sleep or else she'd keep waking me up so left everyone chatting (after suggesting the could call Sis1 to say hello) and drove Sally to 'Pooh' lane and walked her down through the 'magic' woods and onto the beach at Churston Cove for a bit of pebble throwing playing in the sea. Happy dog. Sun broke through the clouds and after the hot sweaty walk down it really was tempting to have a swim with her - well, almost! Resisted the desire to fall asleep on the beach and headed all the way back through the woods and up to the car. Poor old Sally had drunk lots of the sea and obviously had a badly upset stomach!!! Eeeeeewwwwww!!!!! . . . briefly sat in the car and had a slurp of thermos coffee and the bite to eat Sis2 hadn't wanted and tuned in the radio only to hear football stuff!!! England were nil nil against - um - someone and it was half time apparantly. Like it matters? . . . back to M/Ds and Mum insisted on treating Sally to a pork pie she'd bought especially for her. :o) No wonder she is an angel dog with them. . Settled myself in the garage, on the floor next to Sally and managed to fall asleep wrapped in my double duvet, despite the fact that Sally insisted on lying partially on top of me!! Kinda nice to be cuddled up to though. :o) . . arrrrgggghhhh - I'd forgotten to turn the mobile phone off and after only a few hours it woke me up ringing!! It never rings?!!!! Apparantly CW had called and left an ansaphone message asking if everything was ok. (haven't been in touch with her for AGES - guilt!!) Too tired (and grumpy at being woken up!) to start trying to make conversations so turned the phone off and managed to eventually get back to sleep for another couple of hours . . . all awake, coffee and chats and MUCH praising of the uncharacteristic angel dog and eventually all out in the car and heading for Paington for a meal. Eventually managed to park up in a side street because during the summer the sea front road is closed to cars (where is the sense in that?!!!) and walked to the 'usual' place - tied Sally up outside right next to the window next to our table (perfect arrangement) and ate. Some disappointment at being given meals that were almost cold and having to hand them back and ask for them to be reheated! Outrageous! . . Left M/D and Sis2 finishing their deserts and went outside and gave Sally her steak leftovers (from the bowl Mum had produced from her handbag, especially bought for the purpose!) and then walked back to retrieve the car and drive back and pick them all up to save them the long walk! . . . Dad had been going on and on about a particular possible dog walk that may be worth investigating so it was agreed we'd park up and investigate. Mum and Sis2 thought it was chilly so decied to stay in the car but Dad INSISTED on coming too! Really didn't want him to because he shuffles along and is rather unsteady on his feet and tends to walk into stuff but - well - I AM still the little boy so I couldn't insist no could I! We unsteadily shuffled along, Dad veering off into a hedge at one point when I warned him to watch out for a car that was nowhere really near, and even managed to negotiate a couple of low wire fences which he wouldn't allow to stop him, but then he slipped on the long grass and ended up flat on his back!!!!! He wasn't hurt but it was painful for us both. :o| We carried on a little further with me kinda holding Dads arm or him hanging on to the back of my coat as we negotiated the steep stoney uneven path down through some trees. Dad spotted a buzzard up in the trees despite his perception problem - I didn't see it until he said!? The path ended up veering near a road and Sally running on ahead ended up on the pavement next to the road as cars went by, so I finally had enough excuse to say NO WAY - lets go back! Dad agreed for the laugh (the surgery didn't remove his sense of humour), that as we approached Mum and Sis2 in the car, I should have Sally on her lead in my left hand and him on the spare lead in my right hand! It WAS funny - especially when I had to admit that there WAS someone in what we thought was an empty car right nearby laughing too. :o) . . . back home for coffee and chats before I retired to the garage early for bed. Difficulty getting Sally not to lie on my legs and then difficulty sleeping because I was too hot! (4/10)aa
13 - Woke up of my own accord after a reasonable amount of sleep . . . walked Sally down to Battery Gardens - sat for a while enjoying the view with a cigarette . . . sat in the garden for ages with Dad (who apparantly was a little disorientated and wobbly this morning! A week since his latest steroid reduction? No more reductions methinks!) Chatted about stuff and things and nothing much and pointing out, when he suggested he was a little fearful of being in pain when the end comes, that he has already experienced the end at least once and the beauty of his situation is that he wouldn't be aware of the end when it came - he'll simply go into a sleep and eventually stay there. Ended up being encouraged to do a couple of 'jobs' that Dad, MUCH to his frustration, is unable to do due to his visual perception problem - cut off a large overgrown branch in the garden, put a spacer under a squeaking radiator in the bathroom!! . . . food and more sitting around chatting before loading the car up and love-yous and goodbyes and on the road around 4 o'clock. M/D insisted on giving me petrol money joking that the government was paying for it anyway since it was their DSS attendance allowance! What dreadful traffic - turned out to be a small accident along the way that had turned all the roads into a car park! Stationary for SO long I even turned the engine off for quite a while - scary realisation you need the engine running for the footbrake to work!! Broke the speed limit all the way back to make up for it and got home around 6:30pm . . . touched base with PS but he was still not quite right so 'not tonight'. LB called confirming she'd got a housesitter/cat feeder for the weekend since I'd played awkward and said I couldn't guarantee I'd be here. . . touched base with Sis1 and confirmed arrangements for another visit to M/Ds . . . walked . . . TVd and unwound in necessary solitude for the rest of the evening, ignoring a couple of LB 'lets talk about my polecats' type ansaphone calls . . . touched base with BB before bed. . Good to be forced out of myself for a couple of days - reset some values, albeit no doubt briefly. Sally has been amazingly good.(4/10)aas
14 - Up pretty late. Drove Sally to Snuff Mills and walked along the river - some Sally swimming :o) . . . did washing and house chores . . .PCd this . . . CW called to touch base . . . slept . . . walked . . . BB called to touch base. . . PS sent me a copy of an e-mail he'd sent at work. He'd titled it "Kiss Midas goodbye" - exactly what I'd titled a similar e-mail at work many years ago on the same subject!! :o) At LAST, the MIDAS program that I wrote from 1996 and 'forced' into use despite objections, has reached the end of its days and PS has shut it down. I'd asked him to tell me when he finally did. End of an era. Absolutely incredible that it was still usefull to some and lasted SO long without upgrades and improvements. I really DID know what I was doing with all that. Recent press reports about how the Post Office has been making massive losses in the past few years and how they are going to have to shed tens of thousands of employees all serves to make me think how right I was about SO much of what was going on when I was there, despite the insistance of the managers that they knew best. Someone on the news recently summed it up - "Too many managers. Too little management". Glad it's all over. (4/10)
15 - Up before the alarm around 6am . . .walked early . . . showered, did some chores and then started loading up the car - called Sis1 and told her I was running late and would be there nearer 10am rather than 9 as I'd said I would . . . filled up with petrol and picked up Sis1 and headed off down the motorway for M/Ds. Wow - really heavy traffic. Scarey stuff - even almost coming to a standstill at some points - Some Range Rover driver wasn't concentrating and had bumped into the car in front of him and they were just pulling over on the hard shoulder as we trickled by - lots of frantic keeping an eye on my rear view mirror!! . . . eventually arrived safely at M/Ds early afternoon . . . all sat and chatted over coffee in the back garden for a while. Some debate about where to go and eat - M/D suggested trying the pub that we'd discovered near a river some while ago and we all said ok, although there was some concern it would be full of world cup football supporters because England were winning three nil against whoever at the time. All of a sudden Mum was in the kitchen and starting to make dinner!!!? She said no one was making a decision so she had decided to make one!!?? Huh? She was putting together a kind of English breakfast, albeit vegetarian, so I suggested we should have some meat free sausages to go with it. Armed with Mums money I popped up the shop but there were no meat free sausages so I decided to get some packs of Linda McCartney meat free burgers instead . . Mum started having a kitchen crisis!!!! Difficult to explain, but no one could possibly offer ANY help and had to just walk on glass and stay out of her way as she went into one of her 'burning martyr moods' - aggravated by uncharacteristicly burning all the burgers! Sis1/2 escaped up to the shop and hired the Harry Potter video I'd said I'd seen up there for us all to watch later! Sat in the garden keeping out of the way and chatting to Dad but he of course did HIS 'confided despair thing' and started going on about how it was hell when Mum is like that, etc, etc, etc!!!! Impossible to explain all the dynamics that are at work at such times - it's 'family', 'childhood' stuff. It's really bloody uncomfortable - makes you want to run away! It's enough to make you want therapy! Eventually the agony was over and dinner was ready and of course it was all fine as always (except for the burgers which even Sally wasn't 'too' keen on!) . . true to form, full of food I escaped to the garage to have a cigarette and lie down for a while. Knowing that the ritualised washing up would take hours and that offering assistance was pointless, Sis1/2 decided to escape and asked if I wanted to join them walking down to the harbor and round the shops. Rain was starting to fall a little heavier so I suggested I take Sally and drive us down and park in the car park in Oxen Cove. Agreed to meet up at the car in a couple of hours and left the 'girls' to 'girly shop' and walked off with Sally to look in 'my' sort of charity, army surplus type shops. :o) Seemed like everywhere I looked was closed or just closing and with Sally I couldn't really go in them anyway - that, combined with the fact that the whole place seemed to be full of loud, shouting, rampaging drunk football supporters I just HAD to get out of there! Headed out of the crowds and aimed for the breakwater on the other side of the marina. The rain stopped and it got quite warm and dressed in waterproof coat and far too much, I gave up walking and ended up sat on the small pebbly beach at the start of the breakwater. Sat there for AGES playing with Sally, throwing pebble after pebble after pebble into the sea for her to chase. Great fun. Eventually back to the car, met up with Sis1/2 and returned to M/Ds. Sally rushed in and drank TWO full bowls of water!!!!? Guess that salty sea water drinking dehydrates you! . . . coffee and chats in the garden (Sis2 thought Sally looked unwell) and then decided to go for a drive and try and find the the pub we'd been talking about earlier . . . with the car all cramped with five people and Sally in the back we drove out in the heavy rain. Dad was trying to give directions but his perception problems meant he really no longer could and Mum was handed the unwelcome responsibility. Lot's of shouting as we clearly ended up going the wrong way - kinda my fault really - I recognised the roads and was on auto pilot like back in November heading for Derriford Hospital in Plymouth!!! All of a sudden there was a weird 'wooooshing' noise!!!?? Then there was a frantic but controlled calling from Sis2 - Sally had thrown up in the back of the car - LOTS!!!!! Lots of shouting to 'PULL OVER!!' from everyone as I carried on driving - of course I was gonna pull over but on fast, narrow, wet country roads with traffic and nowhere to pull over I couldn't until I could, no matter how much they shouted! Eventually I pulled into a field gateway and leapt out and hauled poor old Sally out. The duvet in the back of the car had done a marvellous job of mopping up a large part of the gallons of regurgitated sea water with just a hint of pork pie and burnt burger!!! Eeeewwwww!! Nothing much I could do about it - Sally walked about a bit and seemed ok so I got her back in the car and we carried on. Not for long - whoooosh - Sally was sick again. By this time Mum/Sis1/Sis2 all sat in the back seats were getting rather nervous in case Sally pointed the wrong way if she was sick again. Eventually managed to pull over and got her out again in the rain but of course she wasn't gonna be sick on command. I felt awfull - kinda responsible for - um - everything really!!! Back in the car we headed back the way we had wrongly come, all the while fearing another Sally emission! Despite the worry, under the circumstances we HAD to laugh, especially when Sis1 ended up wearing her nylon raincoat with the hood securely fastened around her face for protection from Sally!! At last we found the right road and were soon pulling up in the pub car park. (Waterman's Arms, Bow Bridge, Ashprington Nr. Totnes, South Devon TQ9 7EG Tel :01803 732214. Occupying a site recorded in the Doomsday Book, this famous Country Inn is the recipient of many awards for excellence. The Inn is situated in magnificent isolation at the head of Bow Creek, next to the ancient Bow Bridge. 15 en-suite bedrooms and a cosy candle-lit resteraunt offering a full a la carte menu with an international flavour. An Inn with a past - once used as a smithy, brewhouse and haunt for the feared press gangs. It even has its own resident ghost - Emily, dressed in grey and always clutching a bunch of keys. ) Everyone thankfuly leapt out to get a breath of fresh, non doggie air, and to take in the picturesque view despite the rain. They all went in to order coffees as I set about trying to sort out Sally and the car. Poor little woofer! She seemed ok but was VERY thirsty and drank a good bowl of water as I comforted her in the back of the soaking wet car. Eventually left her sat on her wet duvet and joined everyone inside. All had coffee and some EXCELLENT desserts . . all back on the road in the pouring rain it became apparant on inspecting the receipt we'd been mischarged - we'd had one dessert and all the coffees for nothing!!!!! Blimey! We didn't turn round and go back. :o) . . . back at M/Ds with Sally happily fed and left in the garage, we all settled down to watch the Harry Potter video, but tiredness set in and we gave up after only an hour or so, intending to finish watching it tomorrow. . as I made my way to the garage, rain was pouring down and loads of frogs were out on the hunt all over M/Ds garden! I thought Sally was out chasing a frog, and she wouldn't come when I called her so I got annoyed and rushed out and grabbed her collar only to realise the poor old woofer was in the middle of having a pee which she may have had to cut short! Poor little woofer!! . . set my watch alarm for 7:30am intending to do an early morning walk, and lay down next to Sally and slept. (4/10)a
16 - Woken before 6am by Sally who seemed insistant I get up?! The minute I opened the garage door to the garden she rushed out and had a pee - wow, did she wake me up cause she needed to go? Excellent. Was she bursting cause I disturbed her 'mid flow' last night by mistake? Poor little woofer. . Came to with a cigarette and coffee and scribbled 'luv yous' and such on the Fathers Day card I'd brought with me, mindful yet again that it would be the last time I ever do so! The card was a funny and appropriate one saying something along the lines that 'It was fathers day so Dad shouldn't think about mowing the lawn or washing the car or doing any such chores' - and then when you opened it it said 'Nor would I'!! :o) Left the card on the worktop in the kitchen and around 6:40am decided to give Sally a 'proper walk' despite the threatening clouds. Brixham harbourOut along Brixham breakwaterWalked her all the way to 'pooh lane' and then down through the 'magic' woods to the beach at Churston Cove - did NOT stop to throw pebbles for her - I've learnt the lesson about dogs and drinking of sea water if she hasn't!!! - carried on along the coastal path to Fishcombe Cove, Oxen Cove, round the almost deserted harbour, past the marina full of expensive boats and out along the breakwater, right to the end where a small group of people were fishing for their breakfast. Some sitting around and having a cigarette enjoying the views and then the long walk all the way back, cutting up through Battery Gardens as the drizzle began to fall rather more insistantly. Quite a crowd of dog walkers all stood together in Battery Gardens letting their dogs run around and play together all sociable like. Sally was obviously tired but joined in a little too. Said courteous 'good mornings' to a couple of people and agreed it WAS a 'nice morning' before realising there we all were stood in the grey drizzle!? Funny thing - no matter what the weather down there - it is ALWAYS a good morning with all that scenery and such. Eventually back along the roads and drying off in the garage with a cigarette after about two and a half hours and somewhere near eight miles and after having found 6p along the way. Gave Sally a 'full' breakfast of a tin of meat and mixer cause I figured she needed it. M/D were up and eating breakfast in the kitchen when I snuck in to make myself a coffee - said happy fathers day and such, grabbed a bowl of cereal and a coffee and then said I was gonna go back out in the garage and lie down for a bit and they should wake me around 12:30 to give me time to wake up before we all went for the meal Mum had booked. Sleep was more of a priority than watching the rest of the Harry Potter video which I agreed Sis1 should return to the shop before the due time. Fell asleep for a couple of hours snuggled up to a wet dog . . woke of my own accord around midday. Fathers day family chats in the gardenCoffee and chats in the garden and then, leaving Sally safely locked in the garage, all drove down and parked up in the busy Oxen cove car park and walked to the restaurant. Joined a small crowd of people near the fish dock all stopping to watch a sea lion eating a fish!! Wow - that is unusual - kinda proves the bay water has been cleaned up these last few years. Pleasant meal - I had a roast beef 'Sunday dinner'. Sis2 put up with my smoking right next to her at the table yet again, without a word of protest which was nice, but of course I felt awfully guilty. Once finished we all gently strolled (Dad being supported and guided) through the busy pedestrian high street looking in the odd shop or two. Weather had improved and was 'almost' sunny and certainly quite warm so we made our way back towards the car and stopped and sat and chatted for a while on the steps of a slipway overlooking the harbor. Eventually back to M/Ds to sit in the garden (AFTER Dad had got me to, get up on a ladder and spray weed killer on some weeds that had taken root in the flashing of the garage roof, and scatter ant killer on an ants nest he was concerened was undermining the drain in the front yard! So much for the 'message' on the fathers day card I'd given him! :o) ). All chatted in the garden with Sally over coffee. (Mum couldn't resist treating Sally to YET another pork pie). . around 6:45pm loaded the car up and hugs and 'luv you's' (getting to be more and more emotional with longer hugs from Dad as time passes - getting tough to keep my eyes from welling up at times! - and now typing this!!!). . on the road with Sally and Sis1, stopped for petrol and then broke the speed limit all the way back - unexpectedly pretty clear roads. Dropped off Sis1 and back home and unloaded around 9pm . . . walked. No outward signs of LBs house sitter - do hope everything is ok and the house isn't full of starving cats!! . . . BB called to touch base . . . eventually to bed around 1am absolutely exhausted! Driving really tires me out!! (5/10)a
17 - Up late . . . walked . . . spent most of the day putting duvets and duvet covers and carpets from the car through the wash! . . . pottered briefly in the front yard tending to the new raised bed . . . PCd and chatted to BB . . . walked and found a penny . . . TVd but again so VERY tired - earlyish to bed. (5/10)a
18 - Sally woke me up snuggling around 8:30am . . . walked . . .PCd this . . .BB called to touch base . . . sat in the sun in the garden for a while . . . walked and found a penny. Couldn't resist pandering to my concerns over LBs cats and closed her garden gate to get a feel for if anyone is going in there and then phoned her up at her parents to confirm someone WAS looking out for the cats - she confirmed there was . . . PS popped round for chats till early. Seems like he has more or less finished working for the Post Office already and wont be starting the new job he's got for a couple of months, so a nice long break for him. (5/10)as
19 - Up real late. Busy sky but looks like a nice day again. Took Sally in the car and drove down town and stopped off in the army surplus store by the docks looking for a replacement for my favourite black combat jacket that is wearing out. They had nothing in stock like it - Damn!! Drove to Ashton Court and walked in the sun. Sally managed to find a filthy muddy puddle and did her 'wallowing in the mud' act! Only dog in the place covered in mud - stupid animal! Some chasing by Sally of a squirrel that was clinging to the side of one of the huge old redwood trees by the mansion house - amazing to watch her really trying to climb the tree! Treated myself to an 80p ice cream from the van that pulled into the car park, and shared it with Sally who didn't seem 'too' keen. . drove back home via Fishponds having a look for the LandRover PS had said he'd seen for sale, but no sign of it . . neighbours returned from their holiday so I popped in and returned their car key they'd given me in case their car alarm went off in their abscence - they presented me with a box of cheap duty free tobacco (like I'd asked them to get if it was no bother) and happily paid them the 8 for the 200grams. . walked Sally up to the vet and checked her weight on the scales - 39.3kg!!? Oh no - she's put on weight again!!!! How is that possible with al;l these long walks and now I've cut down her food - gonna have to be more ruthless with her diet or maybe change what she's eating altogether? Hmmm? . .remembered to buy the local newspaper for Sis1 as she's asked me to for the job adverts. . walked up to SH/DH and popped in for a coffee and to say Happy Birthday to SH. He seemed a little subdued - probably an age thing! . . . walked back home and read a bit of the paper in the sun in the garden but as the day wore on my mood seemed to spiral slowly downward for no apparant reason?! . . lay down to nap and the phone went. BB called to touch base - she sounded real up tight being forced to be surrounded by family and such - I know that feeling!! . . . walked and found 2p . . . TVd till late. (4/10)s
20 - Hot and sunny again :o) . . . touched base with M/D/Sis2 telling them about the cheap fold up bed I'd seen advertised that may be of use in the garage when I come down. . . beautiful summers day so walked Sally down along the Frome Valley walkway from Eastville to Vassals and back. Found 3p along the way . . . left Sally at home and went to the cheap shop to have a look at the fold up bed. It was probably ok but I just couldn't bring myself to spend the 30 when the floor will 'do' for nothing . . . sat in the sun . . . fell asleep for an hour or so until woken by LB leaving an ansaphone message saying she was back home and everything was ok with the cats . . . walked. Sat on a seat over the field, watching the sunset and hot air ballons and trying to roll a cigarette, M/D/Sis2 called my mobile to touch base! Found a 'rovercard' bus pas with six days yet to run in a small plastic cover together with a folded up 10 note!!!!!!!! As far as I can see, there is no way to trace the purchaser of the bus pass, so I'll be keeping the money, despite feeling guilty at doing so!!? :o| . . . LB popped down as I returned home and announced she'd got two more cats - kittens in fact. That brings her back up to her 'usual' six cats - and of course the two polecats! One of the kittens had escaped from its box in her car on the way home and had climbed under her feet and pedals and into the dash board and she'd had to stop off at the garage where she works for all the mechanics to come out and dismantle the dash to retrieve it!!!!! For goodness sake!! . She offered me a slightly too old for comfort cooked chicken that she figured may be ok for a Sally meal (boiled up and meticulously deboned of course!) Popped up and picked up the chicken and had a look at the two, tiney, scaredy kittens who briefly appeared from their hiding place behind the TV and up on to the top of the cable TV box behind a decorative bowl of pine cones. Almost a 'greeting card' type of image. :o) Had to admit they were kinda cute - but - six!!!???. . . BB called to touch base . . . PS popped round for chats till early . . . TVd till earlier. (4/10)ss
21 - Up real late just in time to see the last ten minutes of the football and England losing 2 - 1 to Brazil and going out of the tournament. Hope that means there will be something other than football on TV from time to time now! . . .walked . . . sat around feeling a bit down, unable to motivate myself to do anything! . . . tried to sleep and ignored the ansaphone which kept ringing, then the door bell, then finally the mobile! Figured it may be something important (these days I almost NEVER turn off the mobile just in case there is an emergency call from M/D!!) so got up only to find it was LB insistantly trying to get in touch!? Called her back and found she was having a 'ferret' crisis?????!!!!! Huh? Apparantly the water pump on her car has broken and she needed an emergency ride to the dogs home - she'd been down there this morning and picked up a new albino ferret! On examination at home she discovered it had NOT been neutered as it should have been so she had been told to return it immediately. . . left Sally at home, picked up LB and the smelly ferret and drove to the dogs home. Walked around looking at the 'prisoners' as LB sorted out her misunderstanding. Heartbreaking as usual, especially a male GSD who was SO in need of some stroking it sat pushing itself against the bars of its cage as I stopped for a chat. The ferret had somehow been confused with another and it HADN'T been neutered - it would be and she should pick it up a week on Saturday. So I was mistaken - in fact LB will now have two polecats, one ferret and six cats!!!! Madness. Reiterated that for the forseeable future I couldn't commit to feeding her cats if she went away cause I need to be able to drop everything at a moments notice and go down to M/Ds when the need arises . . . touched base with Sis1 a couple of times and discussed the proposed trip by M/D/Sis2 to Bristol at some point - all seemed far too much hassle and complicated and, probably because of the mood I was in, I suggested we should just forget the idea although I'd go along with whatever everyone wanted to do . . . BB called to touch base . . . walked in the heavy rain . . . TVd . . . earlier to bed than of late for Sally snuggles before sleep. (3/10)a
22 - Woken by Sally around 8am . . . bank statement in the mail with an 8 overdraft charge from where I went 30 overdrawn for two days due to my laziness at checking my accounts!!! Bastards! :o( . . . walked and found a penny . . . finally got round to posting a small packet to BB and a wedding anniversary card to M/D . . . sneaked the single dose of four worming tablets into Sally wrapped up in a piece or two of LBs chicken . . . Sis1 popped in (on the way down to staying in a hotel for the weekend with her guy near M/Ds) to pick up the newspaper I'd bought her while she was on holiday. Discussed again the possibility of a Bristol visit for M/D and eventually came up with a working plan which seemed pretty reasonable although lots of driving to and fro for me and Sally of course. Touched base with M/D/Sis2 to sow the seed of the propsal . . .fell asleep ALL afternoon and then woken by BB calling the ansaphone to touch base. Woke to find poor old Sally had been sick in the conservatory by the back door!! Couldn't face clearing it up until I'd woken up a bit so called BB back to touch base first. By the time we'd finished chatting I discovered that Sally had been out and had done her best to clear up her vomit herself!! Ewwwwwww!! Cleared up, washed a bit of carpet, hosed down, etc. Poor old puppy dog! The tablet box says "providing at least 45 minutes has elapsed between giving your dog the tablet and your dog vomiting there is no need to re-dose." - I guess it was a few hours so it's done its job. . . walked . . . spent ages taking the last of the meat off the chicken bones by hand for Sally's tea . . . had myself a glass of wine, not so much cause I wanted to but more because the box tap was leaking in the cupboard and needs to be got rid of before it causes too much damage to the chipboard shelf! LB called and when I mentioned I was drinking she rushed down for chats with a couple of bottles and with stuff from her freezer which her latest diet says she can't eat. Filled my freezer and then chatted and drank. LB (drunker than what she'd drunk here) returned home leaving me with an open half empty bottle so I had another glass or two and got rather tipsy on no more than three glasses!! . . . PCd till early. . . up in the night with nightmares and for drinks of water!! (4/10)ds
23 - Woken by Sally before 8am feeling rather hang-overy after an awful nights restless sleep! . . . drove very slowly and carefully down to the river Avon at Hanham and walked. Sally was in fine swimming mood, like a real dog, once I figured out she doesn't swim for any old stick - little 'twigs' aren't worth the effort, but a BIGGGG piece of 'branch' - oh yes! Very, VERY slowly she seems to be generally gaining confidence in herself and chilling out - just a bit. Wish I could do more to help her on her way. The few people who pop in to visit, and the recent trips to and fro to M/Ds seem to be having a positive effect. Found a penny. . . ate and fell asleep (more weird dreams!) but woken around 13:30 by the phone ringing but no message left! Grrrr. Watched the end of the Grand Prix sucking more annadin tablets. . .touched base with BB . . . spent the rest of the day alternately sleeping and sitting about not feeling so good . . . walked . . . TVd till late. (4/10)as
24 - Up real early around 7am. Weather forecast promises a really sunny day or two. Balanced my accounts and sorted out the paperwork for taxing the car! This is where I really start having to find the money to pay for it - and the insurance is due in a couple of weeks too!!!. . .walked (next door neighbour told me her car wing mirror had been smashed the other day!) and carried on up Kingswood post office and paid the 105 to tax the car! . . . PS called suggesting we meet up for a coffee somewhere now he's off work for a while - I declined. Spent ages ringing here and there getting car insurance quotes. The company Dad has his insurance with were 'awkward' and didn't want to answer any of my 'where do I stand' questions and wanted me to put everything in writing!!? Pretty obvious the only way to go is to transfer the car into my name and just get my own insurance - trouble is I have NO no-claims!! Most quotes averaged out around 400 for fully comp. for the year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BLOODY HELLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is outrageous but what can I do - I have no choice - gonna HAVE to have a car for the forseeable future because of the M/D situation!!!! Poverty trap. Really pissed off about it. :o( PCd surfing for more quotes but similarly outrageous results. . . LB called from her work asking me to look in her house and see if a job application form had been delivered - it had, but was it really necessary to know right then?! . . . touched base with M/D . . . did chores . . . some pratt had drawn along the side of the car with a felt tip pen (at least it was kindof a matching green) which encouraged me to actually wash and vacuum out the car!! A VERY rare event - probably only the second time in my life I've ever bothered with what seems like SUCH a pointless activity! Even topped up fluids and pumped up the tire pressures! . . . walked and M/D called on the mobile to confirm stuff . . . TVd . . .BB 'on the road to pay some last respects' called to touch base - think it's a tough trip! . . . Sis2 called to touch base and confirm stuff . . . watched the next episode (think I've missed one - damn!) of 'Six Feet Under' - I think I like that show. :o) . . . VERY tired - PCd this until around 1am then set the alarms for 7am before bed. (4/10)
25 - Up around 6:45am before the alarms! . . . walked and found 2p . . . all loaded up and on the road to Brixham by around 8:30am. Good run down but some rain along the way - so much for the 'good weather' forecast! Stopped off at Brixham Sainsburys for petrol and arrived at M/Ds a little after 10:30 - the 'normal' two hour trip . . . Sally was VERY waggy tailed and happy to greet everyone (M/D/Sis1/Sis2) - as 'usual' Dad seemed to be happier to great her than whoever may have come with her! lol :o) . . . unloaded and settled my sleeping bag, duvet and dog stuff in the garage and then sat in the garden with coffee chatting for a bit before persuading Dad that we should do a trip to the local refuse tip and dispose of the stinking bag of recent grass cuttings and an old strip light that was cluttering up the garage, and seems to be always in my way when I visit. Drove to the tip – big queues and a long wait. Quite a stressful trip because no matter where I looked I saw stuff being thrown away by people that would have been quite useable by me for this and that. On the way home we passed someone who was making their way there with a trailer of ‘rubbish’ including an expensive wrought iron ended garden seat that was clearly quite repairable!! Definitely a better class of rubbish down thereabouts! . . . more chats in the garden before all loading up in the car and off to the Waterman's Arms at Bow Bridge (where Sis1 had ended up staying with her man for the weekend because the service at the Churston hotel was SO poor!) for a meal around 1pm. Arrived in the drizzle so left Sally shut in the car and all went inside for a meal. I had chicken chasseur & veg. followed by a delicious sticky toffee pudding, but it was rather disappointing because all the portions were SO unusually tiny!? The weather brightened up so we all went outside to sit by the river and have our coffee with Sally who did manage to have a brief paddle before more people arrived and I leashed her for safety. Amazingly tame robins and chaffinches and such all around catching mayflies and happily sitting on the railings and tables right next to us. Sally the spoiled dog!Mum had brought some bread and biscuits in a bag for the birds and ducks but couldn’t resist giving lots to spoilt Sally! Eventually back on the road and a detour to Safeway (right next to Paignton Zoo – weird animal calls audible from the supermarket car park!) where M/D used to do lots of their shopping when they had the car, to enable Mum to get some of their favourite brand stuff they can no longer get. Grabbed some dog food so I can leave supplies in M/Ds garage for my visits, rather than constantly having to transport huge amounts of luggage back and forth each visit. Sis2 encouraged a stop off at the Focus DIY store because Mum had expressed a desire to buy an old fashioned push pull lawnmower for doing the front lawn. Something about, she thought it was too much bother to do with the electric one what with having to drag it out there and plug it in and all!!!?? Seemed like a crazy argument to me and I said so. I sat in the car with Sally as they all went in to look at lawnmowers – the one Mum wanted wasn’t in stock! . . .stopped off at M/Ds local shop to enable Mum to dash in and buy huge quantities of best corned beef – for Sally treats!!!!! :o) . . all back to M/Ds for strawberries and cream in the garden (Sally had corned beef!) and chats until around 7:30pm when Sis1/2 left for Bristol . . . walked Sally down to Battery Gardens but not a long walk as I started feeling a little unwell probably because of the number of annadins I'd taken to combat my unshakeable headache. Back to M/Ds, fed Sally and left her in the garage while I joined M/D inside for chats and eventually a corned beef sandwich for myself when I felt a bit better. Earlyish to bed after 10:30pm but difficulty sleeping despite feeling so, SO tired. (4/10)aaa
26 - Awoken before 5am by what sounded like an eagle landing on the garage roof!! Turned out to be a heavy seagull! Amazing clear blue sky sunrise. Coffee and cigarettes in the garden then set out for the long ‘Pooh lane’ walk around 6am. Really beautiful morning but my hands were like ice! Amazingly there was something of a dog walker traffic jam, with two people ahead of me along the lane so I dawdled to allow them to disappear ahead. From a distance it looked as though the guy with two dogs was being a bit rough with one of them!! Sally seemed to take a dislike to him and barked rather a lot once we reached the woods, even though I could no longer see where he’d gone. Stopped to sit on a fallen tree and have a cigarette amongst the glorious green of the trees – wonderful place. Eventually on down to the beach at Churston Cove only to find it absolutely covered in huge amounts of rubbish!!! Bags and bottles and debris were strewn ALL over the place from where some selfish bastards had partied on the beach. It was like having to walk through a rubbish tip!! God I hate people!!! Under the circumstances, execution for littering seemed quite reasonable! Carried straight on up the coastal path watching a couple of swimmers that were way out in the bay in the distance. Thought my eyes were playing tricks but eventually it became clear that they DID have a dog with them!!! Swimming happily alongside it’s mistress. Absolutely amazing a dog could swim SO far – let alone the people!! Must have been a real nice feeling to be swimming along like that with your dog coming too. . along the path to Fishcombe Cove and up into Battery Gardens to sit on one of the dead peoples seats (benches with commemorative brass plaques to so and so, dearly departed wife or mother etc, etc.) admiring the amazing views across Torbay with a cigarette.Across Torbay from Battery Gardens, Brixham.
Warmed up in the sun and ended up sweating hot as I climbed back up through battery gardens and all the way back along the roads to M/Ds. Back after 8am for a bite of breakfast and then lay down for maybe an hour in the garage with Sally. . . all loaded up and on the road driving M/D up for a visit to Bristol around 10:30am. Good quick journey but SO hot in the car in the sun – very concerned that Sally would be too hot in the back! Arrived at Sis1s just after midday. . .Impressive buffet all laid out for later. All sat in Sis1s conservatory for chats and coffee – in typically unfortunate timing for Sis1 obviously wanting everything to go nicely, loads of ants decided to appear from cracks underneath the stone floor and crawl over everything and everyone!!!!! . . . eventually left Sis1 at home and loaded M/D/Sis2/Sally up in the car and went for the little ‘tour’ of Bristol we had planned, having a look at all the old places where we used to live, mindful of the fact that Mum and certainly Dad will never see them again. Dad seemed none too interested (not sure how much he could actually ‘see’) but seemed willing to go along with it all probably more for Sis2s enjoyment than their own. Extraordinary to stop outside the house at which I was born and find the lamppost outside with Sis2s name STILL written on it after all these years!! Things had changed quite a bit and yet at the same time very little, apart from shrinking! How amazing it must be to be able to remember all that stuff that Sis2 and Mum in particular seem to remember from so long ago – I remember almost nothing! Kept on driving around and about and covered pretty much everything including M/Ds old house in Longwell Green . . . a short stop off at my house to touch base and admire the gardens and such and then a quick stop off in Fishponds for Sis2 to dash into a DIY store in search of lawnmowers (which there was none) and M/D to have a look in Lidel at the fold up beds which were all gone! . . . Back to Sis1s for chats with everyone as my nephew J and niece K arrived with their respective partners and of course my nieces son O. Sally at first seemed ok (she’d become REALLY relaxed around M/D and my sisters these last few days) and even allowed J to stroke her, but when he tried again a little later she did some devil dog growling and barking! Reassured her and settled her down and let her off her lead again and she seemed ok, but it was VERY stressful for me (and probably the others) trying to stay one step ahead of any fear based devil dog reaction. Inevitably at some point little O, not realising the score, stopped near Sally and innocently stared at her for a minute – she barked rather close to his face and scared everyone to death!! Too risky!! Slapped her on the nose and banished her to the solitude of the car for a while as punishment. Eventually let her back in but kept her on her lead and tied her up on Sis1s deck a little apart from everyone although close enough for her to feel involved. . . eventually the buffet was uncovered and we all ate – god I needed some food by then! Everyone seemed pretty comfortable and chatty (Sis1s ‘children’ J and K have impressively matured – notably socially) – except for me of course! I felt all awkward with nothing to say to anyone and sat largely off to one side with Sally, chain smoking! At last it was late enough to walk Sally before her feed so I escaped with her for a walk along the river. SO disappointing to see that fly tippers had been along there too and a huge pile of builders waste had just been dumped in the middle of the walkway in front of a gate!!! Arrggh!!! Sally seemed to need the walk as much as I did and was very happy and bouncy and swam in the river chasing sticks lots. On the way back Sally chose to shake off the mud and water she was covered in, right next to a shiny new car that was parked there!! Ooops. :o) . . . Back at Sis1s more chats and some picking at the buffet until it became painfully clear M/D’d had enough. Mum had hardly slept the night before and was actually falling asleep where she sat. Strange how you can sometimes suddenly see through new eyes – both Mum and Dad looked VERY small and tired and old. Tugged at the heart. Time to go. . . a little after 9pm M/D/Sis2/Sally and me were all loaded up and back on the road. Just round the corner two guys on push bikes were acting VERY suspiciously near a house where an old couple lived and we couldn’t resist dawdling and keeping an eye on them for a while. Eventually called Sis1 on the mobile and told her what was up – she said she’d look into it and later confirmed the cyclists had called at the house with the excuse of asking directions to somewhere that was in the opposite direction to where we had seen them go!! DEFINITELY up to no good. . . drove past the church where M/D got married for old times sake and then back to M/Ds as fast as I dared with them both half conscious propping each other up uncomfortably on the back seat, all I could see in my rear view mirror. . . eventually back at M/Ds around 11pm, unloaded and all pretty much straight to bed exhausted! On reflection I felt guilty and think we should NOT have done the trip – M/D were not really up to it. They’ll never do it again.
(4/10)
aaa
27 - Woken by Sally around 6am! God I need more sleep. Another amazingly cloudless sunny morning although something of a strong breeze blowing. . .set off for a walk around 7:15am . . . back around 2 hours later for some breakfast and chats in the garden - some talk about what shall we all do today, but I wanted to get home . . . loaded up, hugs and goodbyes a little after midday. . . home around 2pm. Touched base with M/D/Sis2 to confirm safe arrival . . . fell asleep for a few badly needed hours and thankfully woke minus headache . . . touched base with BB . . . walked. The bus shelter glass I saw being repaired a few days ago has been smashed by vandals - AGAIN!! Stopped off in the chip shop on the way home for sausage and chips . . . PS popped round for chats and a glass of wine till early. (5/10)aaads
28 - Up around 8am to another beautiful sunny morning . . .walked . . . sat around/PCd . . . fell asleep for 4 hours!! Still catching up on lost sleep I guess? . . . . . . M/D called to touch base. ML called to touch base and remind me it was his birthday (I'd forgotten to send a card what with all the toing and froing!) and suggest he pop round for an 'evening' maybe next week . . . walked and had to watch a nutcase riding round both on the roads and across the school field on a probable stolen motorcycle, with no helmet, a sometime pillion passenger, no numberplate, etc, etc. resisted as long as I could and then tried calling the police, knowing full well it would be pointless. The switchboard told me the line for the area police was busy and asked if I'd like to hold! Been there, seen that, done that. Was a bit rude (knowing from experience I'd end up on hold for half an hour or more) and said it would be a waste of time and hung up! Awful, awful feeling of powerlessness having to just stand by and watch as nasty people break whatever laws they please as and when it suits them! Returned home in a pretty pissed off, definitely ever more schizoid, mood!!! :o| Found a penny . . . BB called to touch base . . . TVd/PCd till early. Feedback on the website guestbook from someone suggesting I could maybe be a paid dog walker. I'd already thought about that some time ago but just couldn't face the idea. I'd find it just SO much of a worry having to be responsible for someone elses dog, Sally seems more than a handful for me, then there would have to be insurance, and, and - no - I just couldn't. If I had my own few acres of ground all fenced in and such then maybe it would be a different story. I worry about most things, much! (5/10)s
29 - Disturbed sleep . . . up around 8am for coffee and cigrettes in the sunny garden . . .walked and found a penny . . . BB called to touch base . . . LB called and said she'd got her ferret - popped up and watched as the polecats chased the poor ferret around all over the place . . . sat around/PCd/TVd/walked and found 2p . . . BB called to touch base and somehow our conversation turned sour (yes it WAS all my fault!) and BB lost for words did some of that 'silence' stuff! Mum used to do that when we were kids - probably still does - I can't abide that! Avoidant baggage!! . . .TVd till early. (3/10)
30 - Woken by Sally snuggles before 8am . . .PCd . . . drove Sally to the Avon at Hanham for walks . . . fell asleep for a few hours . . . TVd . . .walked in the rain - M/D/Sis2 called on the mobile to touch base but the conversation was awkward and short - I tried but had nothing to say. . . in very down/avoidant/highly schizoid mood!? Funny how when I get this way I unwillingly actually visualise the physical building of a brick wall in front of me - in detail complete with pointy trowel and very neat dark mortar between red bricks! Amusing TV quote of the day - "Life is always fatal" . . . TVd till early.(2/10)ss
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