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- Woken by Bella climbing up onto the bed around 6:15am!!? She appeared to have something irritating her throat and was having a bit of a cough for a little while. . ended up in the PC room carefully oh SO carefully reassembling Sis2s old laptop. I AM now fully resigned to the fact that it IS of no use, is uneconomical to repair, and will only be worth something as 'spairs' on e-bay or some such. . disappointingly, after having got it all back together, it wouldn't turn on or even 'post' at all (which it DID(ish) before I started!)!!!!! Well - that settles it - if there was any remaining doubt (after the fiasco with BBs years ago) - I must never EVER take a laptop apart EVER again - because I'm obviously crap at it!!!! :o( . . walked in full weather gear only to pretty much miss the rain and just get too hot. I've completely lost track of the days. From the broken (vandalised?) branches of a nearby tree, drink bottles discared along the way, and an old black sleeping bag dumped alongside the road, I'd assumed it was halloween last night. Turns out it's actually tonight - and it was the clocks that changed to GMT last night! (My cheap radio controlled watch which I'm still rather pleased with, HAS automatically changed - so I guess that's working ok) . on reaching BGdns I had another damn good search of the leaf strewn grass in an attempt to find last night's lost ball. At length I gave up - and then - Yayyy - eventually found it (actually nowhere near where I believe she lost it and where we'd been looking, so maybe some other dog had found it and moved it in the interim?). . collected up the old black sleeping bag from the road on the way home. It IS pretty tatty and probably fit for the bin (doesn't even have a zip closer) but I figure it may be of use for covering stuff in the back of the car or some such. (It's certainly no worse than an old one I already have laying around for such use). Washed it and draped it over the drier in the conservatory. . PCD a bit of this (for hours) , because right now, just this minute - I don't feel 'quite' as down and unstable as I have done these past few days. Pointless really - there's almost nothing here. . . drank a glass of red wine and ate pizza . . napped until the alarm. . . walked. A few bunches of trick or treat kids and some fireworks going off but otherwise pretty quiet out . . TVd . . PCd for hours surfing mostly multi-pocket body warmers and M65 style combat jackets - again! It's surely only a matter of time - I AM gonna be buying one of each, once I've tried to work out what size I want . . . ate a bunch of biscuits before to bed around 3am!
30 - Up around 7:45am just before a really heavy shower passed through . . walked, mostly between showers. Didn't really help - Bella decided she absolutely WAS going to go down on the local beach this morning, so I ended up throwing her ball and having her swim out for it only to then return and make ME soaking wet as usual! lol . . FINALLy got round to getting serious with Sis2s old laptop. Following the disassembly video I'd downloaded from Youtube, I spent careful hours breaking the thing right down so that I could remove the motherboard and have a really good look at both sides of the power socket - just in case the fault WAS connected to a dodgy connection from it to the board (as is SO common with Dell Inspiron 1150's). (I'd long ago downloaded various entries from various bulletin boards about how to test-for and botch/fix such problems, and was VERY much hoping it WOULD be that.) Once I'd finally got the thing apart, it eventually became apparant that it wasn't anything to do with the power socket at all. Put my multimeter on this and that and spent ages going over and over the in/out pins of the socket and as far as I could see, it was all in perfect order. . back on-line for ages looking at old bulletin board entries again before finally concluding it really WAS a duffer. I think it WOULD require a new motherboard to get it back up and running. TOTALLY out of the question (even all those on e-bay appear to have duff motherboards - and from experience and based on what I've read, those that allegedly don't, probably really have!) . resigned myself to it being definitely a lost cause. SUCH a shame. :o( I've wanted a bloody useable laptop for years now - but just never quite seem to be able to pull it off! They HAVE come down in price a lot in recent years, but it really would still be an outrageous 'luxury' for me to actually go and buy one (with the few hundred pounds Mum gave me for my birthday perhaps?). Trouble is, I've TOTALLY lost touch with whats going on out there these days. I've had a 'bit' of a prod around looking at them, but I just wouldn't have a clue what to get now if I was going to! I can't even get my head around just exactly what the difference ACTUALLY is between a full blown laptop and a netbook, and which would 'do me'. I DO hanker after being able to sit in the comfort of the living room and plug in my guitar and record a twiddle or two - or watch a downloaded youttube video of a guitar lesson while having a go - or maybe spontaneously surf a bit from the comfort of the sofa - and maybe have it all appear on the TV if desired etc, etc, etc. I just haven't a clue what would 'do it' for me - and haven't the money to make a mistake! I guess I'll be doing without some more. :o( . . VERY headachey after all that squinting with my bad eyesight and dodgy 'reading' glasses, and really VERY pissed off about - well - everything somehow!? Eventually just left everything in the PC room in a huge mess and walked away from it all . unplugged the phones again. I've nothing to say to anyone. . ate Mum donated ham and mayo rolls, crisps and chocolate. . . napped until the alarm around 6pm. . TVd for an hour or so, not eager to head out into the atrocious weather. . walked in full wet weather gear in the wind and rain - and boy did I REALLY not want to! In a VERY bad short tempered mood. .sat on the usual seat and played ball in the not 'too' bad rain until all of a sudden, Bella lost the ball! Damn damn damn! That's all I need! Ended up miserably wandering around in the dark and the wind and the rain searching for the ball for ages, before finally just having to give up. . filthy mood on the wet, overheating trudge home! . . TVd the rest of the day off, feeling unstable, miserable, a bit 'desperate' - AND freezing cold (it very much wasn't according to my thermometres - but I even had to put the fire on for a while!? I think maybe I should invest in a thermometer for ME during such episodes rather than for the room?)! . can't quite understand why I've somehow SO rapidly descended into SUCH a severe black mood!! With hingsight, maybe it's actually been building for quite a number of weeks but being all preoccupied with 'bringing Bella on', I just hadn't noticed? The usual 'birthday blues' thing perhaps just tipped me over the edge? . .Watched a long, LONg film about the Warsaw ghetto. I have in some small part, touched that place. :o( . .ate mum donated cake, bowls of corn flakes and chocolate before to bed after 1am as wind and rain battered the front of the house - making one of the bedroom windows 'whistle' slightly! :o( s
29 - Up around 8:15am . . walked. Five minutes out the door and Bella was lunging at a passing dog and all uncontrollable! To be fair, the other dog WAS doing the same, but it wasn't a good start to the day in which I turned out to be all down/frustrated and particularly short tempered! . . irritably sorted through all my junk and managed to eventually find my old variable socket/output power supply and then had a prod at the broken digital radio I pulled out of the bin the other day. Didn't take long to conclude there WAS something terminally wrong with it. (Mum called to say she'd pop in for a bit.) Opened it up to have a look inside just for interest. As I'd suspected, it was really 'roomy' inside for no apparant reason. So - I remain confused as to why they all seem to have been deliberately designed by idiots to look retro, BIG and ugly!?? Put it all back in the bin where it definitely belonged. . . PCd downloading a disassembly video from youtube for Sis2s old laptop. . Mum arrived. . ate corned beef sandwiches and oxtail soup. . napped until the alarm around 6pm. . walked, played ball and just sat in the dark with Bella for ages . . TVd . . guitarred at the pc but only succeeded in feeling directionless and all frustrated some more. . ate a Mum donated pork pie, pastry slice, marmite crisps, banana and chcolate before to bed around 1am. a
28 - Woke earlier after only a couple of hours of broken sleep then reluctantly up around 8:15am . . walked and then straight back home to sit around feeling tired out . . TVd . PCd and eventually ordered myself a new torch from Amazon. I've been looking at torches on e-bay and such quite a bit of late. The one I always use is fixing to finally break pretty soon, and is becoming more and more prone to falling apart when handled. (I've already long ago superglued a bit of it all back together!) Having a torch with me every night during the long winter months is not something I can live without because of the dog-walking thing (and the pitch black, steps and no lights in BGdns, having to poop scoop, me and Bella both being dressed in black on a road with no pavement, etc, etc). Well - after MUCH poking around on the net, I decided to throw a little money at what 'appears' to 'maybe' be a good deal from Amazon. "Rolson Tools 61760 3pc 9 LED Torch Set With Batteries" for a mere 5.99 including postage! That's THREE pocket sized aluminium bodied torches WITH batteries! (I already have plenty of rechargable batteries that will fit - although I think they may be getting a bit 'tired' now after SO many recharges). My existing torch gives out a more than adequate light for MY modest uses with only one of its leds lit, so I'm sure they'll be bright enough - and hopefully they are just a little smaller and more easily crammed in my already overflowing pockets. We'll see. For THAT money, I don't imagine they'll work for long. We'll see. So - I guess that's my birthday present to myself for this year! lol . . . ate corned beef sandwhiches, a banana, biscuits and chocolate . . napped . . walked. . TVd and ate the last of the fudge. . PCd looking at TVs - again! Another thing I 'could' spend Mums birthday money on. Can't be many people around hereabouts (after the digital changeover), STILL watching TV on an old 28" Tv (with a bit of a strange coloured splodge in one part of the screen)! I AM itching to get myself a big new flat screen 40" jobby with the freeview and all that built in. (Maybe if I did, I'd be able to plug in my old PC, use it as a monitor with a PROPER, readable resolution, and finally be able to surf from the sofa using the remote infa-red keyboard?) Trouble is - everything seems to be changing at SUCH a rate, once again, I have absolutely NO idea what would be the right thing to buy!!! LCD, Freeview and HD-Ready would have been my choice only a little while ago, but now they are talking built in freeview HD, Freesat HD, LED, internet TV, 3D TV - I'm just TOTALLY lost with it all!!! Once upon a time you bought a TV and expected it to fulfil your needs for, if you were lucky, perhaps the next twenty years or more!! Now - just as with everything 'computers' - it appears they'll be out of date within a year or two! All well and good if you have the money and knowledge to keep up - I do not! . at length I suddenly concluded I was mad even thinking about it, because after all, the TV that is actually on these days is such utter, UTTER CRAP - with exactly the same mindless drivel repeated over and over again! <rant rant - but then - I just can't even be bothered to type it! Who AM I typing this for? I'm not actually typing it for anyone any more. I'm just doing it cause I have done for so long.>. . ate two cheeseburgers, a banana and chocolate after midnight . . to bed around 1:30am.
27 Birthday - -//unfinished and will remain so //- Up around 7:20am . . sunny and remarkably warm out all of a sudden. walked the beach, woods, BGdns, then on down around the harbour and out to the breakwater beach for yet more ball throwing before eventually back via town. Treated myself to a 1 box of fudge. Really was like a summers day again. That took care of the whole morning. . dutifully returned mums 'happy birthday' ansaphone message and submitted to her 'happy' returns. I AM NOT happy. Never really have been - never will be. . popped back out and up the local store for a couple of supplies. Took Bella on the old lead without the halti just to see how she's 'actually' doing. Not bad.

. ate four defrosted dog food pork buttered rolls and some chocolate. .disconnected the phones and napped . . walked. Sat in BGdns for ages feeling oh so VERY 'out there' and distant from the ENTIRE rest of the world. Shit - I'm in a really 'dark place' these days! I can hardly tolerate ANY contact with ANYONE!! . .I always have 'trouble' with Birthdays and Christmas and such - but it would appear I'm having even greater trouble with them as the years pass. I can't even bear to type this shit anymore. . Saw another shooting star - not unusual down here.

Dared to briefly let Bella off her lead and do a little walking to heal/wait/come type training in a dark deserted car park on the way back. She did really well. :o)

. . TVd/guitarred the evening off. . ate lots of fudge and then a plate of pork with a packet of crisps! . . TVd/PCd until early before finally to bed. sad
26 - Woken around 7am by the sound of rain. Up soon after. . PCd this for ages, not eager to go out in it . .walked and sat around playing ball in the rain! lol . . PCd damp and wrote out LBs birthday card before leaving Bella at home and quickly popping up the post office (in the rain) to post it . .ate three ham rolls, crisps and chocolate. . napped. Suprised to see contractors had dug a hole in the road pretty close by while I'd slept! Well - that goes to show how effective the sound proofing from that new double glazing is. . . walked dry in a break in the rain. . . TVd/guitarred. . ate ham rolls, crisps, banana, mini apple pies and chocolate. . to bed around 1am. s
25 - Up around 7:20am . . 14C in, 1C out according to the thermometer. . walked the beach, woods, etc. as the rising sun caused mist to rise from the sea and the white layer of frost on the grass to melt away . Back via the newsagent to buy a silly birthday card for LB. God knows how she is doing!!. . .recovered from the walk with a coffee before putting on some laundry and then having another go at trimming the big overgrown hedge in the front garden with the hedge trimmer. Awkward and took several hours but eventually managed to just roughly hack the height down by at least a couple of feet (working for some of the time in next doors garden!). Looks awful with all the thick woody cut-off stems exposed, and of course it's totally the wrong time of year to do such a thing, so it's gonna remain looking awful now all winter. (Sorry neighbours.) It really could do with being cut down even lower, but as it is, I CAN at least more or less 'almost' reach the top of it for future trimming . spent ages cutting all the debris into bag sized chunks and filled half a dozen or more empty dog food sacks. Dumped them all in the garage (away from tomorrows forecast rain) awaiting a trip to the tip some time . . ate two corned beef rolls, two bags of crisps and some chocolate. . napped for a bit. . walked in the clear cold. Impressive dark orange moonrise over the sea. Is it half term or something? Seemed to be a lot of people with kids around. A huge number of chinese lanterns were being let off in the far distance across the bay somewhere inland from Goodrington. Saw at least ten drifting away as we played ball in the dark. A little later while sitting on one of the seats higher up, someone let off two or three from the car park over by Shoalstone pool, to go drifting out to sea in an easterlyish direction. Predictably I soon heard on the scanner that someone from Brixham had dialled 999 reporting to the coastguard that 'flares' had been sighted. (Members of the mobile rescue team soon confirmed it was only chinese lanterns). .Bella really IS slowly getting MUCH better at walking to heal on her halti now. With her lead just tied to my belt (when there are no distractions - usually on the walk back at night) I am hardly touching the lead at all, and just using voice commands and allowing the halti and my belt to do the work if she steps too far ahead, and can keep my hands warm in my pockets. For the last few nights in particular I've been pushing things even further and abruptly changing direction, crossing roads, circling around parked cars and all manner of zig-zaging nonsense (with constant praise and treats) to try and really push the message home and make sure she is learning to walk to heal rather than just learning to walk our twice daily route. I guess I'm being pretty demanding. She's been doing really well considering. :o) . . guitarred/TVd the night away with the fire on for quite a while. With the thick curtains pulled and the two hallway doors shut, it really does warm that whole downstairs space up pretty damn well. . drank a glass of wine and ate a Mum donated pizza (Bella has all the edge crusts), kipling apple pies and some chocolate. . to bed around 1am. sd
24 - Up around 7:45am . . walked. . got under the floor and finally removed some long redundant aerial/cctv cables leading up to the TV unit from outside. As I'd hoped, that gave me just enough room to be able to push the little LCD indoor/outdoor thermometer sensor cable down and out through the mid-bay air brick, and have it rather more permenant (although not fixed in any way) than hanging out of the closed window. It 'should' be somewhat protected from the glare of the morning sun in that position too. . THAT was the sum total of what I acheived today!!!!!! . . TVd/PCd . . ate ham and mayo rolls, crisps, banana and chocolate. . . napped . . walked feeling a bit unwell. . TVd feeling rather down . . ate three fried eggs, chips, banana, kipling apple pies and some chocolate. . to bed around midnight.
23 - Up around 8am . . a break in the rain but very heavy looking skies. . walked in the sun wearing a raincoat. . aimlessly PCd, surfing a bit looking at all manner of nonsense I have absolutely no intention of buying whatsoever - just wasting time! . . Mum called in with the paper and food donations for chats etc . . ate two Mum donated pies, crisps a banana and chocolate . . napped . . walked . . guitarred/TVd . . ate two bacon rolls, banana, cake and chocolate . . to bed around 1am. s
22 - Up around 7:30am . .walked the beach, woods, BGdns etc. . .For at least a couple of evenings of late, there have been unseen gatherings of rowdy 'youths' in BGdns again. From what I'd heard they'd obviously been congregating at the two upper gun emplacements amongst the thick undergrowth on the hard-to-access, steep hill right next to the lethal cliffs behind Astra Zeneca. Couldn't resist climbing up there with Bella this morning to see what sort of a state they'd left the place in (the cliffs ARE fenced off). Filled a carrier bag with just some of the litter that was strewn around all over everywhere up there, before then spotting a rucsac laying in amongst some brambles. Eventually managed to clamber back down the treacherous slope with the rubbish and the rucsac and made my way to the seats under the roof, to dump the rubbish in the bin and have a look at whatever was in the rucsac. As I made to put the carrier bag of rubbish in the bin, it turned out there was a thrown away Hitachi digital radio laying in the top of the bin (perhaps from one of the campervans parked up on the road?)!! How behind the times am I! I've never even owned a digital radio, and yet people are throwing them away already! I'm not entirely sure why, but I just couldn't help myself fishing it back out of the bin to have a look at. Turned out it was in pretty poor condition and was actually making a strange chirping noise, so it was clearly fit for the bin. Nevertheless, I decided (???) I'd take it home to have a 'play around' with. At the very least I want to open it up and see just exactly what IS inside one of those new digital ones, in an attempt to resolve a question that has been haunting me ever since they first appeared on the market. i.e. - why on earth are they all made SO big and so, SO incredibly ugly and pseudo 'retro' looking! . with just a little excitement I sat down on one of the seats and had a look to see what it was that was inside the rucsac. Disappointingly turned out to be a large plastic, red white and blue bong with a decorative turn/twist part way up, a white towel and a small plastic container top (with possible traces of brown powder?). Why on earth do these kids always find it necessary to use a weird elaborate bong to smoke their stuff there? How come they can afford to just dump stuff like that? . wrapped the broken radio in the towel, crammed it in the rucsac and eventually returned home with it on my back. . turned out that half the batteries that were in the radio were WELL past their 'use by' date. Is it possible it 'may' still be working and just needs new batteries? I've NO intention of buying any just to see - but I may have to leave that radio laying around for a bit until I have a chance to see if I have a power supply of the right voltage anywhere with which I can test it. . PCd briefly (checking the opening times) before walking with Bella back down town to the local Police enquiry office, just to get rid of the backpack and 'bong' contents (I confess I kept the half-decent white towel), and get that off my back so to speak. They really weren't interested of course, but I figured it was the best way to get rid of it - and kinda force them into having the 'intelligence' about what REALLY goes on there night after night. . drank a glass of red wine and cooked and ate four burgers in buttered bread rolls . . napped until around 5:30pm . . walked . . TVd. . PCd a bit of this . . ate a load of biscuits with coffee. Pretty cold and put the fire on for a bit to warm the room up nicely. . BB called to touch base as heavy rain began to fall. Briefly popped out into the garden and got damp, making sure all the masses of fallen leaves weren't blocking the silly outside drain. .Bella spent much of the evening looking very comfortable, asleep on the big sofa. When I finally went to bed around 1:30am, I explained to her (like she understood! hah! lol) she could stay there if she wanted, rather than have to come up and lay on her duvet on the floor in the cold bedroom. It appeared she HAD decided to do just that, so I made to fall asleep in bed leaving her downstairs. Funny how uncomfortable and kinda sad that made me feel. (Sally almost never slept in the bedroom with me.) I was SO much happier when she decided of her own accord to eventually come up and join me. We had a quick 'cuddle' on the bed before she took to her duvet as normal. lololol.
21 - Up around 8:15am . .walked the long walk through the woods, beach, BGdns, etc. . PCd working on the latest random snips of Bella and eventually uploaded them to Youtube mid afternoon. That speeded-up squeaky-ball footage audio makes me laugh every time. :o) . . cooked and ate bacon and grated cheese sandwiches and then a banana, biscuits and chocolate . . napped until the alarm around 6pm . . walked and stopped for milk on the way home . . guitarred/TVd . . ate Mum donated pizza . . TVd until bed before midnight. a
20 - Woken early by a bout of sneezing!? Snoozed on then up around 7:45am. In/out temperatures around 14/4C . . walked . . got the circular saw out in the garden again and spent hours dismantling, carefully measuring and then trimming down the mirror mount/surround timbers from the salvaged mirrors I've put up in the diner. More careful measuring, drilling and screwing before I finally had one of them done and all screwed together. Hung it on the wall to see how it looked and then just ummd and ahhd for ages. After all that work - damn it all if I don't think I actually prefer them WITHOUT! Eventually made my mind up and unscrewed it all and put the mirror back up as it was before I started (except for a couple of extra unnoticeable screw holes in the bottom). Well - what a waste of time and effort all THAT was! . not wanting to have completely wasted YET another day, I did at least manage to dismantle the hedge trimmer and remove the cut-through two or three feet of cable and replace it with the long, good bit. Pretty much had to dismantle the whole damn thing to be able to get into the handle and reveal the block connector for the cable! You'd have thought, given it surely MUST happen all the time, they'd have designed the handle to be easier to reach that connector without having to break down the whole machine! (It also had a small (anti-interferrence?) ferrous ring with five turns of each of the incoming cables wrapped around it on the incoming-cable side of the connector, so I had to re-do all of that too before gtting it all back together and working! Silly design.) . . .ate ham and lettuce rolls, banana, crisps and chocolate . . . napped until around 5:30pm . PCd and finally found the paypal deposits had appeared in my bank account. Sorted (hopefully) the Paypal side of things and got things back up and running - although I won't be fully satisfied it IS back up and running until I've succeeded in actually going on-line and successfully buying something in the normal way. I may well actually blow some money on something cheap and cheerful on e-bay just to prove it IS all up and running ok - and I know JUST what. Thermometers! My weird obsession (accentuated by trying to guage the effectiveness of the new double glazing) about how cold it REALLY is in and around the house (despite how I actually feel - sometimes hot, more often cold, bizarrely apparantly completely independant of the ACTUAL room temperature!??), is not entirely satisfied by the thermometers I have in the living room. I'd like to put one in 'at least' another two of the rooms (PC room and bedroom) just to keep tabs on things. The coldest part of the house must surely now be my main bedroom, with NO insulation in the flat roof above and stud wall below, the bay window. Under a winter duvet, I'm fine and warm in bed - but Bella sleeps on her duvet in that bay, so I want to keep an eye on how cold she may be enduring at night. I would like to hope (like Sally did) she will naturally 'fluff up' a bit as she encounters the seasons proper. . . walked. I think we've pretty mcuh gotten through the first of the new squeaky balls. Lasted pretty damn well considering all the use its had, although the small plastic squeaker insert HAS given me cause for a little concern. On that first ball, it actually ended up coming right out one day (I spotted it happening and safely pulled it out and popped it into a pocket)! Probably wouldn't have taken much for it to have got swallowed (or worse!) by Bella! (The second ball we've started on has had the squeaker insert fall inside, to rattle around inside the ball for the time being!) Still - they sure have lasted pretty well considering the EXTREME amount of use/abuse they get with her. . . guitarred/TVd . .PCd surfing e-bay and such for hours . . ate corned beef sandwiches, crisps, two bananas and chocolate before bed around 3am. s
19 - Up around 8:15am . .walked . . called the bank trying to get to the bottom of the paypal thing and the delay in their nominal 'proof it works' deposits appearing in my account. According to the bank, the reason my account was dropped was all paypal's fault. Uhuh. They reckon they HAD informed paypal (on two separate occasions) of all the detail changes to the direct debit mandate, but paypal had failed to implement it! They also said the deposits 'should' appear in my account tomorrow - since they (now?) take four working days!!? Humph. :o(. . . . . PCd for hours messing around with a few bits of Bella video. . . drank a glass of red wine and ate a six egg cheese and onion omlette with four pieces of bread and butter and then a little chocolate. . napped until around 6pm . . walked. Well - after my good words about Bellas behaviour yesterday, today she was awful, lunging at dogs and pulling all over the place!!! :o( . . guitarred/Tvd the evening away. . ate a banana, bowls of cornflakes, biscuits and chocolate . . to bed around 1am. s
18 - Woken by Bella a little after 7:30am . . walked around 8:30am and did the beach for swimming (VERY low tide), the woods for squirrel chasing, BGdns for ball chasing and then down town to tour charity shops, buy some burgers and score a couple of bones before eventually back home by around 11:30am!! Bella IS definitely slowly improving in her behaviour (although probably largely due to the restraints imposed by her halti) and we successfully acheived 'most' of the walk with her lead just tied to my belt. :o) Gave Bella one of the bones out in the garden and dared to try the 'dominance' thing again, of taking it back off her half way through, just to make sure I'm still 'alpha male/pack leader'. She still definitely didn't want to part with it, but it WAS easier than the last time I tried it. All good. :o) . . PCd a bit of this. With the amount of hours I'm devoting to Bella at the moment (three out walking this morning - probably another couple later!!), I'm finding it increasingly difficult to find the time and energy to keep up with this! . . ate four burgers in buttered bread rolls and a square of chocolate . . napped until around 5:30pm . . walked. Well - I think it's safe to say that today was without doubt the best day we've had so far in terms of her walking to heal and not lunging (too much) at passing dogs etc. Slowly, slowly, bit by bit, we're getting there. :o) . . PCd a bit of this while having got unexpectedly bogged down in a lengthy 111MB+ download of an update to my antivirus software! . somehow ended up surfing e-bay and such for hours, just wasting time and avoiding the things I SHOULD have been attending to. Particularly stupid since my bank/paypal thing is not yet resolved and as I'd feared, seems to be having a problem and dragging on indefintely meaning I can't currently buy anything anyway! Nothing I can do about it and very frustrating. . ate a handful of biscuits and a banana before eventually to bed around 1:30am.
17 - Up around 7:45am after only a few hours sleep . . walked and played ball in BGdns as usual. Walking back along the nasty narrow bit of road without a pavement, some old idiot in an expensive car came towards me not giving me and particularly Bella anywhere near enough room for safety. Nothing was coming in the opposite direction so there really was absolutely no excuse for the idiot coming so close, other than self centred stupidity! Seeing the danger approaching (I'm always on my guard there because it isn't the first time its happened) I actually stopped walking and pulled Bella in close to me. Unfortunately because the way the halti works, that actually had Bella start to go sideways bringing her back end out into the road even closer to the guys car. I swear her tail may have actually brushed the side of the car as it eventually went past. Jeeze that was SO close to killing her and SO unnecessary! I lost my temper and ended up in the middle of the road gesticulating after him and shouting foul mouthed obscenities! I wonder if he's the type of guy who would have done that if it were a horse and rider in the road - or a small child perhaps? Surely it's obvious to most intelligent people isn't it? If your passing ANY animal - you f***ing well slow down and give it a wide, WIDE berth - at the VERY least, a clear distance of the length of the animal! Suffice it to say, on the walk back, I felt lucky to have escaped Bella being hit. It was a bit of a wake up call really I guess. Like it or not, I'm going to HAVE to start crossing back and forth across that road and walking down the other side on the way back from now on I think (which given the nature of the road and the nearby junction will pose it's own host of dangers - but more for me than Bella, which I guess is how it should be.). . .did more laundry and then spent several hours messing around with the salvaged mirrors again. I HAD wanted to mount them on the wall complete with their little plinth and the turned wood uprights either side, but the positions of all the hinges and various bits and pieces meant that was going to be real awkward and would require a lot of work and messing around to be able to, only then, 'maybe' be able to do it. Absolutely determined to use them in the kitchen alcoves somehow, I eventually decided to just go ahead and mount the curved mirror parts without all the other bits - because that WAS going to be 'relatively' easily do-able. Measured up, drilled and popped a couple of slightly protruding screws into the alcove walls (with just a touch of filler around the holes). Spent ages then modifying a couple of old brass picture hanger fitments ('Omega' type shape with three screw holes). Drilled a new hole large enough to fit over the screw head protruding from the wall, and then used various small files to join that hole to the existing one to make a slot just big enough for the shank of the screw to slip into. Excavated a similarly sized recess in the mirror backing timber and then finally screwed the brass fitment over the recess and - job done. Just then a matter of the awkward bit of actually holding the mirror up against the wall and locating the protruding screw head into the hole and down onto the slot from behind. All a bit fiddly - but worth the effort I think - to have a hidden fixing and the mirror 'almost' flush against the wall. Image of Bella and salvaged mirrors on the dining room wall I'm actually suprisingly happy with how they look WITHOUT the extra plinth/turned bits I had hoped to include. They may well end up just staying like they are - kinda clean and minimalist looking, and helping to make the dark room just that little bit brighter still. It DOES however make the bare firebreast look to me EVEN more in need of 'something' in the middle as a feature. Haven't a clue what though (I'm loathed to put a big poster sized picture up there (Sally? Bella? etc) as is obviously tempting) . 'Something' interesting (clock? barometer?) with some brass on it would be perhaps VERY fitting? Gonna have to keep an eye on the charity shops - but it's gonna have to be something very 'right' IF I do put something up there. . At some point during the work when making one of my frequent trips up to the garage, next doors dog was out in the lane with the neighbour, so it seemed like a good opportunity to let her out to meet him again. It went ok although pretty much ended up with her just playing out in the lane with HIS ball. lol . . . spoke with the other neighbour out in the front yard later on. He asked me if I had any bees!?? Turns out his front garden had been invaded by a huge number of burrowing bees!??? All over the grass there were little mounds of freshly dug-out earth and bees buzzing around all over them. I don't think I've EVER seen anything like it, even on TV. (I regret not having tried to film some of it!) Didn't know bees behaved in that manner. If that's how they try to live, no wonder they are becoming endangered!! Hard to imagine ANY of them can possibly survive in such circumstances. Surely the next lawn mowing or just a shower of rain will put paid to them all? Strangely, there were absolutely NONE in my garden - although my conclusion on that was because of the shade from my overgrown hedge and my grass not being in the sunlight. All very strange. . during our conversation we touched upon the subject of my alterations to the rooms so I invited him in to see the 'mostly' finished(ish) state of things. I think he was suitably impressed.
ate ham and mayo rolls, crisps, mini cheddars, a banana and chocolate a bit late . . napped until the alarm at 6pm . . walked a bit headachey. Ziga zagged the nasty bit of road without the pavement on the way back for the first time, so I was walking on the left keeping Bella on the inside away from traffic (but with my back to it - torch in hand! One of the penalties I'll have to pay for
always, only having her on my left)! . . TVd a bit (Martin Shaw documentary type program all about the 'real' Dambusters) before finally getting round to removing the front grill and ceramic heating elements of the living room gas fire, and using a brush and the vacuum to carefully remove all the accumulated building work dust, etc. Cleaned it all up as best I could before turning it on briefly for the first time this winter - not that it was really cold enough (15+C inside/8-C outside) but just to make sure it was all still working and to burn off the inevitable smell you get when it hasn't been used for ages. On my usual setting of only number two (of four) it seemed to warm the larger space of the new 'open plan' room up pretty well, so I think with the new double glazing keeping the heat in for longer, it 'should' be quite adequate to see me through the winter (certainly warmer than last year!!). (Did my headache get worse? I really should buy myself a carbon monoxide alarm!!) . TVd/guitarred . . ate a Mum donated pastry slice, pack of mini cheddars, banana, piece of cake and some chocolate . .gave Bella a long grooming/brushing session. Unlike Sally, she seems to really enjoy the attention and just happily lay there, occasionaly turning upside down while I did so. :o) . . TVd until bed at 1am.
16 - Up around 6:20am walked the woods and beach and BGdns. . did dish washing and bed linen laundry chores. . after having not really touched it all year, I FINALLY got round to taking the small step ladder and the hedge trimmer out into the front garden, to have a go at trimming back the monstorously overgrown hedge. Five minutes or so after having started on it, would you believe it - with a small flash I chopped straight through the hedge trimmer power cable!!! Damn, damn, damn!!!!! I must be going senile!! (Actually - I think it happened because the damned hedge was just SO overgrown with brambles, and the cable unnoticed by me got all hooked up on the thorns of one). Well - that's another one of my lives gone I guess!!!!! Funnily enough - the 'trip' on the outside/protected power socket did NOT trip. One of the easily reset breakers at the fuse box did? Is that right? I've have expected the protected socket to have tripped (first) instead? Hmmm? . . next door popped out and offered me a tray of 16 'surplus to requirements' eggs. Gratefully accepted and then donated the old small fire extinguisher which used to be mounted on the wall of the kitchen in exchange. One less bit of clutter. I don't want it. The LAST thing I'm gonna be doing in the event of a fire is rushing to grab some old fire extinguisher I inherited with the house, and hope it's still working despite it being past it's safety date! Under the circumstances, I can't imagine why he actually wanted it. (Perhaps he really didn't and was just accepting it to be polite. lol) . . Mum called in with the paper and food donations for chats. I mentioned in conversation the funeral I'd seen yesterday and the passing child's comment and we had a chuckle about the things kids say in their innocence. Apparantly when I was a very young boy, some elderly person (relative?) had died and Mum'd had to explain to me that people die when they get old. Hard on the heals of that explanation, in a barber shop I saw an old man having his hair cut while waiting to have mine done. In a very loud, heard by all voice, I apparantly turned to my Mum and said "That man is old mummy - I expect HE'll be dead soon." :o) He's long dead now - that's for sure! . . as soon as Mum had gone I bagged up the hedge cuttings I HAD succeeded in making, dumped them up by the garage and then just left things for a later date. . ate Mum donated pork pies, crisps, mini cheddars and a little chocolate. . napped deeply until around 5pm . . walked . . TVd/guitarred the evening away. . ate Mum donated cake and chocolate . .PCd until bed after 3am! s
15 - Up around 7:40am again. Toothachey again. I've been clenching/grinding my teeth in my sleep again! The last one that came out has changed my bite and how the remainder meet - and they're all moving around trying to compensate (before inevitably falling out of course)! . .walked the woods, beach etc. Bella seemed in a VERY hyperactive sort of mood, swimming and rushing around all over the place. Returned via town. Sat for a cigarette at my usual sitting place and watched as a funeral courtege pulled up prior to going into the nearby church. The hearse drove slowly up through the pedestrians only road, with its headlights on and a smartly dressed female funeral bearer walking slowly in front. Atmospheric and really quite moving in its dignity. The hearse pulled up directly in front of us and then parked with its back door open and the pallbearers assembled, as the following cars of mourners pulled up nearby. A sombre air of grief and loss seemed almost palpable in the air all around. :o| A small child innocently and unknowingly walking past the hearse and coffin with her grandmother asked "Why is that car full of flowers?". Made me smile. I guess it IS unusual to see a car full of flowers. :o) . . . finally managed to muster the energy to have a go at modifying the kitchen still further, so as to be able to get the big old microwave into a slot in a unit, and regain use of the limited amount of worktop space its been taking up (its SUCH a small compact kitchen, having that much worktop space suddenly all used up has been making life pretty awkward to say the least). For ages I'd been thinking the way out of the problem was going to be to buy a new smaller microwave - but I somehow suddenly realised, the amount of work I'd have to do to be able to get even a new smaller one in the tall oven unit, was pretty much the same as what I'd have to do to get the big old one in there - so why waste all that money when the old one I inherited with the house (actually quite a good one, from what I've seen of the capabilities of the new ones I've been surfing looking at) is still working fine? Image of Bella and the modified kitchen oven unitSo to cut a long story short(er-ish) - after having removed the freezer and oven, unable to actually remove the 'screwed-to and holding everything else up' tall oven unit from its position, I used a handheld hacksaw blade pushed in between the gapsto laboriously cut out the bottom screwed-in shelf of the unit, ditched the plinth bit and made it possible to actually put the freezer in on the floor between the two side uprights, as it should be. I used the spare bit of worktop (which used to be in the alcove on the opposite side of the kitchen) to fashion (with the circular saw out in the garden) an awkwardly shaped piece to fit in, like a sturdy shelf, but also with the carved-around-the-unit-upright facing-edge, butted and glued to the existing work surface, making it look as though it's a single piece (almost!). With one of the thin shelves screwed to the top of that, I was able to slot the oven back in place, slightly lower than it had been, making it look as though it was fitted-in immediately on top of the work surface. THAT gave enough room above, to ditch the narrow lift-up cupboard door-front high above, move a shelf down and get the huge microwave in there - with even enough spare room above to give me somewhere to put my tray or such on top. Looks a 'bit' weird - but I'm happy with it - especially now I have the freezer looking as though it's under the counter top like it should be (rather than sat 'in' the unit) , and since I don't have to be rushing out wasting money on a new microwave. Yep - that'll do me nicely. . walked around 7pm in the dark . . TVd just a little . . ate a huge bowl of stew and four pieces of bread and butter, biscuits and chocolate. WHAT a joy to have a useable work surface back in that kitchen. . exhausted and just couldn't stay awake and ended up in bed by 10:10pm!!
14 - Up around 7:40am . .PCd this. . walked late. Dare I hope that Bella is just 'maybe' starting to get the idea about not lunging at other dogs while on the lead? She still had a bit of a go, but it didn't seem to be 'quite' so bad this morning. . carried on down town to buy a few supplies before heading back . . gave Bella a bit of defrosted bone out in the garden. .drank a glass of wine while cooking up a huge pot of potatoes, carrots, peas and onions stew with some of the old defrosted dog food beef that K donated LONG ago. . ate a big bowl of stew with four pieces of bread and butter followed by a couple of squares of chocolate. . . napped. Ooops - didn't wake until almost 7pm (despite having set the alarm for 6pm??)! . BB called briefly . . walked late in layers, hat and fingerless gloves. The first full-on, in darkness night-walk I've done with Bella. Except when using the torch, in much of BGdns she really was totally impossible to see, despite it not being as dark as it 'can' sometimes get, because of tonight's low reflecting cloud cover!! Dared to sit and throw her ball for her as usual, despite the risk of potentially losing it. What amazing eyesight she has! Even in the dark she was able to chase and catch it - almost all completely invisible to me! Encouraging her to run off and chase the rabbits as has also now become her usual, was something of a test of my faith in her not to go off too far and to quickly return, etc. It all went ok but I think I AM gonna have to start looking seriously into getting her some sort of LED illuminating collar, or at the very least a reflective one (particularly for the nasty bit of road with a blind bend and no footpath that we always have to worryingly negotiate. God how I HATE that 50m or so stretch. On more than one occasion I have actually stopped and shouted out after some idiot car driver or other, who has insisted on driving past at illegal speeds within 12 inches of Bella (Sally) despite having the whole width of the road to use! A dog has a mind of its own and is more than 12inches in length! If it chose to suddenly go sideways (or lunge at something as is still often the case with Bella) they'd kill it - simple as that!! ). . TVd. . PCd and ended up surfing looking at what illuminated dog collar (and ball)type things are on the market. The type I've ended up leaning towards aren't cheap!! :o( Nothing I can rush into anyway because of the recent weird goings on between Paypal and my bank account. Looks as though I have to go through all the hassle of setting up my linked bank details all over again, which'll take at least a few days to do! As I recall, the first/last time I had to do all that, it all went pear shaped for some unknown reason and dragged on for ages before it was all sorted and useable. What a pain having to try to get through all that again! I suspect it's because of changes at the bank after it having been taken over (which has actually uncomfortably resulted in all my (few remaining) eggs now being in one basket!!!! That's not good!) . .PCd this until around midnight. . TVd a little. Felt pretty cold in the house tonight. Had the back door and windows open for much of the morning, because of all the steam when cooking the stew, which allowed the place to cool down a lot. 14C in, 8C or less out. I haven't yet gotten round to de-dusting the living room fire since all the building work, so daren't put it on yet. Ate stew, bread and butter and chocolate again. . BB called back briefly . . TVd until bed before 2am. Difficulty getting to sleep. Time to dig out my winter duvet I think. da
13 - Up around 7:45am . . TVd briefly to see how the mine rescue was going. Smoothly it would appear . .walked .learned that T had lost one of his dogs on Sunday. He'd finally had to take it to be put down. :o( . . PCd a bit and then somehow couldn't resist, succumbed to my 'voyeurism' and ended up pretty much sitting in front of the TV all the rest of the morning, transfixed by the spectacle, watching the live coverage of miner after miner being lifted to safety. Amazing openness about the whole operation with cameras everywhere and the footage made immediately available, live - even footage from cameras in the cavern down below and one on the escape pod looking directly up the shaft!! Amazing. Seems to me the government, police, officialdom and the BBC over here could all learn something from that.. . ate bacon and lettuce rolls, biscuits and chocolate. . napped . . walked. . TVd the evening away, inevitably ending up watching more of the mine rescue. Ate some defrosted old beef, crisps, biscuits and chocolate. . TVd until the early hours, unable to resist watching the coverage until the last of the 33 miners was out. The noise from a hovering helicopter outside around 1:30am saw me put the scanner on and have a listen-in. Turned out it was the police helicopter hovering over by Bury Head. Apparantly, from what I heard on the scanner, a twenty four year old had called two of the emergency services (saying 'tell her I love her') and suggesting he was going to kill himself by jumping off the cliffs. The lifeboat was called out to quietly hang around nearby out of sight in case he jumped, both the local rescue teams were mobilised up there to do the same, and police negotiators were making contact with him. LOTS of people and equipment! Must have been cold on that clifftop! Under 17C in my living room, around 5C out. All this was going on as I watched on the TV the very last miner being rescued around 1:45am, leaving the six strong team of rescuers still to be lifted back out. It is THEY, the rescuers who went down who are the REAL 'heroes' in all this, and the media didn't seem to give them much mention at all. They even had to sit around down below waiting after the last rescued miner had made the surface, because everything stopped for what seemed like an age so that the president could make a long speech and then join in with all the rescuers singing what seemed like several VERY long verses of their national anthem! They ALL new the words?!!I SO wanted to stay up and watch the last one of the rescuers come out - out of respect and admiration. Could you imagine ANY of that happening here? The prime minister living in a camper van at the mine, hugging every rescued miner as they came out, and everyone singing the FULL national anthem? Not! Bizarrely it all left me with an overwhelming sense of how 'wanting' THIS country and its fragmented selfish society really has become! Very sad. :o( Carried on watching TV and listening to the scanner until I just had to give up and go to bed around 3am, before knowing the full outcome of either. . Actually - today was a pretty bad day 'moodwise'. Wasn't helped by someone innocently sharing an account of their AvPD type stuff with me in an e-mail. It WAS fascinating to read a bunch of 'familiar/parallel' stuff, but after having had a brief poke around on the net to learn more about them, I just ended up feeling - er - um - awfully inferior , inadequate and even more 'broken' than I have faced up to for a while. In a weird way, the miner rescue thing on TV added to my nauseating self pity. All those miners coming up to be hugged by their partners, kids, family, etc. What would the world's media have made of it if 'I' had been one of those miners. I'd have come up and just embarassingly awkwardly wandered off on my own - or would have had Bella sat there waiting for me (if she even remembered who I was)!! A funny image perhaps, but also a sad truth about how 'successful' I have been in what matters in life. If what matters IS love and relationships and all of that - then I HAVE indeed been an utter failure. Blah blah blah. Like I say - today was a pretty bad day 'moodwise'.sa
12 - Up around 7am . .received a message via Youtube from 'Class Lane Media'!!!! "We make training videos for the RNLI in the UK and I would like to use the footage from the Brixham Trawler BM10 'Emilia M Emiel' In Rough Seas 17/04/08 video you uploaded in one of the productions. Can you tell me if you own the footage or who I should contact to enquire regarding it's usage." Not sure what to do about that. Normally of course I'd happily let anyone have ANY of the footage I've captured, without a problem - but with this one, and considering it's a 'commercial' video company - I'm not so sure or comfortable with the idea for some reason! If I just give it away to them - do they theoretically make money out of it (unlike me!)? Do they charge the RNLI for their service? (It IS a super bit of film I think - and HAS proved popular enough on Youtube to actually qualify for their 'profit sharing thing' (which I have YET to actually sign up for!). I 'think' I am actually able to receive a few pennies (?) for all the hits it's had!! Should I 'protect my interests' and be all possessive about it - or even expect/request a 'payment' for it? All a bit of a yucky concept to me - and I just don't want to have to think about it or show myself up for some sort of moneygrabbing b****d. Hard to explain.
. . walked the woods and beach. At least two seal were close in the cove during Bella’s stick throwing and swimming. At times they could only have been twenty feet or so away from her, frequently popping up to have a look directly at us. Really inquisitive creatures they are. SO much like ‘dogs of the sea’. Tried and tried and tried but just couldn’t quite manage to get them in the same camcorder shot as Bella. Actually pretty cold out in the still stiff easterly breeze, and made pretty wet by Bella again.. Played obligatory ball a bit in BGdns before eventually returning home. . . received an unexpected package in the mail? I guessed it was for Bella, whoever it was from, because of the return label on the outside of the package saying ‘PetsInTime Ltd’, so I actually opened it up on the floor with her while trying to film. lolol Wow – a total of NINE expensive ‘Kong Air Dog’ ‘tennis’ balls – complete with squeakers in! YET another gift from DS! :o) Nice one – but – good job I’ve already lost some of my hearing! lololol . . . messed around for ages (after having played ball lots – poor neighbours!) ‘prodding’ at one of the dressing table mirrors I salvaged from the neighbour up the lane (seems like a lifetime ago now!). It’s not possible to simply screw them to the wall as they are, and I just can’t make my mind up what to do with them for the best. Ended up just wasting a good hour or more umming and ahhing and getting absolutely nowhere. Image of the Devon Air Ambulance in action over Brixham
The sound of a low flying helicopter eventually diverted my attention. Turned out to be the Devon Air Ambulance, hovering LOW over the town and occasionally doing circuits over what struck me as a strange area, well away from the ‘usual’ open landing sites. Grabbed the camcorder and ended up in the front garden for quite a while having a bit of a go at filming it. Bella was completely unfazed by the loud noise circling directly overhead, and didn’t really even seem to notice it. :o) To my amazement, it eventually descended and landed seemingly right in the middle of town – actually on a small industrial estate on the side of a steep hill!?! I’m not sure who (maybe a taxi driver?) but someone briefly came over the otherwise silent scanner at one point, suggesting someone in the garage on the industrial estate had suffered a suspected heart attack. After five or ten minutes of silence on the ground with the engines shut down, the noise eventually resumed, the helicopter reappeared, ascended out of the built-up valley, and quickly headed off, presumably on the short hop to Torbay hospital. They'd better not do that for me if I ever have a heart attack and my heart was still going. I'd be SO excited to be having a trip in a helicopter (I never have/will), I'd end up having a heart attack proper! . PCd . . ate a tin of spaghetti bolognese with four crusts of bread and a couple of squares of chocolate. . napped . . walked and played with one of the new balls. Looks as though they ARE worth the money (1.35 PER ball!) – still intact after a damn good session with it.. . . PCd this for ages . .drank a glass of red wine while cooking a pizza and watching the news channel's live coverage of the preparations to attempt to lift the 33 trapped chilean miners from their subterranean prison. Proper media circus that's all turned into! The 'all channels' live coverage - and me watching it while drinking wine and eating pizza, seems to have made it into 'entertainment'!!? Ate a couple of squares of chocolate after the pizza . . TVd until eventually to bed in the early hours (before the rescue had 'actually' started because it got delayed for a couple of hours).d
11 - Up around 7:15am . . walked and back via town to draw some money out and buy some peanuts for the bird(mouse!)feeder . . mowed the lawns and swept up just some of the fallen leaves. Cut my hair and beard . .ate three ham and mayo rolls, mini cheddars and chocolate . . napped . . walked . . TVd. . ate mini cheesecake, banana, chocolate and then bacon sandwiches . . to bed at 1am.
10 - Up around 7:35am . .PCd this for an hour or so and didn't walk until quite late again . . walked the long walk through the woods and down onto the beach. The easterly wind was still blowing real strong and lots of seaweed and floating junk had been washed up onto the beach by the waves. Threw a stick for Bella and in spite of the roughness (relative) of the sea and the waves, she was well-up for swimming out for it!! That's a very noticeable increase in confidence on her part. Very good to see - although to be honest, I was actually a little worried by her swimming out in such rough water. Played Ball in BGdns before eventually returning home after a good couple of hours + out. . PCd a bit while charging scanner and camcorder batteries etc. . . ate a chicken and mushroom pastry slice with chips, biscuits and chocolate while watching a bit of the grand prix. . napped . . walked. . guitarred/TVd the evening away. . ate bowls of co-co pops and a couple of squares of chocolate before to bed around midnight.
9 - Up around 7:45am again. .PCd this - toothachey. Slow getting going. . walked late. Had a little bit of a 'prod' at the pilot boat with the camcorder as it went out in the somewhat rough sea. Had to stop filming because all of a sudden two of T's charges (young boys) suddenly appeared all saying hello and kinda 'latching on to me' for chats and to play with Bella!! She ended up happily have them throw the ball for her. Frankly I found it all VERY uncomfortable suddenly being 'trapped' in their company like that (a recent local news article told of how even a school dinner lady was 'accused' of potentially 'grooming' a child - when she offered them a biscuit!! The 'case' has been dragging along for a couple of years apparantly - before finally she was cleared of any wrongdoing and it was suggested that political correctness had gone mad!). Just imagine what someone could make of me 'allowing' a couple of young foster kids to play with my dog like that!!!! I called a halt to the ball throwing earlier than I otherwise would have, and made my escape. I couldn't possibly dare of course, but SUCH a shame I couldn't have videoed a bit of Bella playing with them 'for the record', to prove how good she was with them. . Returned home with a big tub of best left-overs meat for Bella from K. . guitarred and PCd a bit until Mum called in . . ate Mum donated pork pies, mini cheddars and chocolate . . napped . . walked. Sat in the dark waiting for rabbbits to appear for Bella to chase, someone somewhere across town let off a fairly large firework. First one I've encountered when out with Bella. Apart from making her jump (it did me too) I don't think she was particularly disturbed by it - until the small dog that was nearby went a bit crazy over it and started running off up onto the road barking lots. Bella kinda joined in the chase a bit and had to be called back to me (before she reached the road!). If all that was anything to go by, I think she 'should' be generally ok with fireworks and such. . . used the footstool in the living room to reach up and withdraw the two spotlights from the ceiling, so I could add the small rubber gromets which I'd mistakenly left off long ago, which actually keep the 'ball' in place when angled. I'd mistakenly thought those rubber bands were just packing rather than an actual piece of the lamps! I'd only realised my mistake when fitting the new ones in the kitchen recently. I never DID go back and finish that journal entry did I? Well - those new LED bulbs I paid a fortune for - they ARE CRAP! They are absolutely NOWHERE NEAR the stated equivalent light output. In the kitchen diner that's ok, because of the added light from the fireplace bulb, and they DO give kinda the 'candlelit' effect I had in mind. In the living room however, they simply don't give out anywhere near enough light. Because they'd cost SO much and use so little energy , I've been persevering with them, but I finally just got sick and tired of being in SUCH poor light all the time, not even able to read the TV schedule in the paper or see what number was on the telephone readout etc. Tonight I replaced the new expensive LED bulbs for the old (35Watt-ish equivalent) energy saver ones I had in there before. Guess I'll be using a bit more electric again now, but oh what a joy to be able to actually see in there again (without having to have the main light on) . . guitarred TVd the evening away . . ate three Mum donated ham and lettuce rolls, cake and chocolate. .TVd until bed around 1:30am. saa
8 - Woke earlier, snoozed on, head and toothachey until up around 7:45am . . walked. . back via the store for tobacco supplies. . guitarred . . pottered around a bit before eventually finally getting round to having a go at putting up the new curtain tracks around the living room bay window. To cut a long story short, after having put appropriate bends in the tracks using the hairdryer (Bella hates the hairdryer and even took herself off up to her bed for a while when I was using it), because everything wasn't straight or level, I ended up having to try to screw the tracks to the ceiling rather than glue/screw them to the capping above the window frames as I'd intended! Didn't go well but got them up in the end and hung the old curtains. Whether or not they'll stay up is another matter! . . ate defrosted dog food pork and chips . . walked. The sea was quite rough again, and is liable to stay that way for a while I think, thanks to the strong easterlyish winds we're having. Strange weather - incredibly mild for the time of year and kinda misty, and yet blowing a gale. It isn't normal to be misty AND windy is it? While throwing Bella's ball in the fading light, lots of bats were circling and wheeling low overhead again. SO low and close on a couple of occasions I actually ended up ducking because I thought they were going to hit me! I really could have reached out and grabbed them! Although just sillouettes against the sky, it gave me a pretty good rare view of them. Remarkable. Sat in Bgdns for quite a while listening to the scanner. A boat (Nina?) had capsized somewhere in Exmouth harbour and the local ILB had been sent out to pick the guy up out of the water. . touched base with PS and thanked him for the glue. . finally got round to calling LB to touch base, after having been putting it off for ages. The last time we spoke I got the strong impression that her health was in decline, rather suspected the worst about her cancer 'in remission', and even a little while ago dreamed of her 'being sick'. She wasn't there - she was in hospital. :o( I passed on my best wishes for what it was worth. Poor LB - doesn't sound good. :o( . .TVd/guitarred feeling - um - 'sombre' - sad and old, and 'nearing the end' really! Gotta outlive Bella at least now haven't I!! :o(. . Not both having layed down for an afternoon nap today seemed to have tired Bella out. lol . .ate dunked biscuits and a couple of bananas. I was hungry and wanted more, but ended up not really being able to eat anything else - because I pulled my aching tooth out!! It didn't take much 'pulling' - almost fell out of its own accord! I think the remains of the one next to it is gonna go too (already like a 'culdera'), because that one is still hurting like hell. Not many left now. Increasingly difficult to actually chew anything! :o( . . touched base with BB . . TVd until bed around 2am. saa
7 - Up around 7:45am . . walked the long walk through the woods, down to the beach for much stick throwing and swimming and then eventually back via town . .received a tube of glue in the post from PS. lol . . PCd a bit . . ate just a banana, piece of cake and some biscuits . . napped for a couple of hours. Woke feeling a bit unwell and with a pretty bad toothache . walked mostly between showers feeling very not good. Suprisingly a bit of rough sea this evening and a very high tide, causing waves to break over the breakwater a bit. . TVd the evening away. Ate Mum donated pizza with extra cheese, tub of muller rice and some chocolate . . to bed around midnight. a
6 - Up around 7:45am . . walked. . PCd working on some more video clips of Bella. . drank wine and cooked and ate two cheese burgers with lettuce and mayo in bread rolls and then some chocolate and biscuits. . napped almost for just an hour or so . . walked. Bella fumbled her ball after a throw and it rolled over a cliff and was lost in the sea! I guess I should be grateful she had the sense not to try to follow it, but I'm still 'upset' about the loss. It was a nice rubber one of the type that normally goes on a rope, but without the rope. The holes in it meant it kinda whistled when I threw it and it was a lot more durable than a tennis ball. Dunno how I'm gonna be able to keep up with replacing them all the time like this. :o( Sat around for ages in the dark letting Bella chase the poor rabbits, who seem to be used to the game and will reappear only minutes after her having chased them all into hiding . . PCd the whole evening away and eventually finished off and uploaded the latest bunch of little snips of video of her (and even dared to include some of me having a twiddle on the guitar one night!! Oooer! lol) . . ate a corned beef sandwich, crisps, tub of muller rice and chocolate before to bed around 2am. d
5 - Up around 7:45am . . walked and then eventually back via town for a tour of the charity shops and a sit for a bit . . Received a couple of rather worrying (actually genuine 'I think') e-mails from paypal! Something weird going on between paypal and my bank account!? Very worrying - and nothing much I can seem to do about it, given you can't ever actually talk to or e-mail anyone about anything in such companies these days. :o( . PCd this at length, which is gonna be the sum total of what I get done today probably, aside from the walks!!!!!!!??? Food and sleep beckon already! It really IS a dogs life ain't it! . . .PCd the 'Bella Walk' video (probably rather boring to anyone but me - and Mum? lol) and eventually set it uploading to Youtube. (Took over an hour - and internet explorer crashed during it, but somehow it successfully completed nonetheless!) . ate corned beef and lettuce sandwiches, crisps, banana and a whole pack of jammy dodgers while the upload slowly ground along! . . napped . .walked. On the way to BGdns Bella lunged at a passing dog, and did so with such uncontrolable determination, she somehow came clean out of the halti!!!! If not for the safety link to her main collar, she'd have ended up loose in the street!. ./

/. . guitarred/TVd . . ate tuna and mayo sandwiches, crisps, banana, cake and chocolate. . to bed around 1am. sa
4 - Up around 7:30am . .Image of Bella and I on a seatwalked. Given a spare dog-treat belt-pouch by dog walker H. Having to have a pocket full of training treats on me all the time is a new thing for me, and I'd mentioned how it was a bit awkward and I'd probably have to get a dedicated pouch for them. Unfortunately on close inspection later, the loops won't fit on my wide belt, and the alternative plastic hook affair is mounted too low to avoid it probably slipping off and being lost , so I don't think I'll be using it and will have to remain on the lookout for something which WILL work for me. :o(. . gave Bella a bone in the garden and did laundry while PCing before calling Mum to see if she wanted to walk to BGdns and back in the amazingly sunny, warm and summer-like weather to see how Bella is doing. She did. . walked again with Mum before eventually returning briefly to Mums to quickly cut off a branch from her hedge she couldn't manage. . ate a sausage roll and pastry slice, crisps, chocolate and a very large amount of biscuits. . napped for a couple of hours until around 5:30pm . . walked yet again! I'm not quite sure how, but with Sally, we'd do our walks and then I'd do something else in between. With Bella somehow, I'm really doing NOTHING BUT the walks! It seems to be taking up every moment of my time and ALL of my little available energy, and there's none left for doing anything else at all!!!??? I'm just drifting through the weeks, day after day, walking, grabbing a bite to eat, sleeping and then doing the whole thing over and over again with nothing else in between!!? I'm not 'complaining' as such - it just doesn't seem 'right' and I feel guilty about getting nothing else done! . I've been seeing a LOT of bats flying about of late. Even Bella noticed one and watched it circling overhead for a while. . PCd the evening away working on a couple of snips of BGdns walk video and somehow before I knew it, it was well after midnight! . ate ham and lettuce rolls with crisps and a square of chocolate before to bed by 2am. aa
3 - Up around 7:30am after poor broken sleep thanks to the storm battering the front of the house much of the night . .walked as the weather cleared to almost sunny spells. Back via the store for tobacco. . surfed for hours looking at microwaves and kettles (my kettle has been leaking for quite a while). Round and round in circles getting nowhere. . ate four chicken and stuffing slice rolls and chocolate . . napped . . walked the cove and woods. Lost another 'three throws' ball when it quickly sank in the sea. . sat in Bgdns around sunset until dark. . TVd . . drank a glass of red wine and cooked and ate fish and chips, banana and chocolate. . PCd surfing for hours more until finally to bed around 2am. d
2 - Woken around 6:45am by one of my portable phones beeping because it needed charging. . PCd the local news and a bit of this . . walked, overheating in a fleece and raincoat, in what turned into sunny spells. On the seats under the roof a woman was sat with her two 'less than entirely controlled' red setters. They'd apparantly found a recently killed rabbit somewhere, and had its bloody remains on the floor in front of the seats with them. Possessive of their prize, as Bella approached, they ganged up and had a bit of a go at her! Withdrew with her to safety to one of the other seats a little way off. After the woman and her dogs had gone (complete with the carcass - allegedly unpleasantly left up on the road near where her car was parked!) we joined the usual assembly of dog walkers under the roof. Eeeewww! Tiny bits of fresh rabbit meat lay on the floor underfoot here and there, and at one point Bella managed to discover a ('unlucky') rabbit foot in the grass nearby, and ended up with it poking out of her mouth!!! Wrestled it from her and threw it out of touch into the overgrown bushes (although I suspect someone elses smaller dog may have ended up with it later!). All rather unpleasant. :o(. . . carried on down town to see how Bella coped amongst the crowds with the halti on. She still got a bit boisterous and 'lungy' towards passing dogs, but certainly easier to manage with the halti than without. I still don't like them - but I'll happily add my name to the big list of people who would recommend them. Scored a small white plastic flip top bin in a charity shop for 2. Silly, but I'm really rather pleased with it. With the dining room all sorted out as it is now, there really was nowhere in the kitchen I could put my old big swing-top refuse bin (further complicated by the new re-cycling rules). That new little one which I can usefully put (yucky non recyclable) stuff in single handedly when cooking etc, will fit comfortably in a small corner on TOP of the work surface, right near the sink. Unorthodox but VERY handy and functional and actually doesn't look 'too' weird. :o) . overheating badly and in need of a drink (and now always wanting to expose Bella to as much as possible) I decided to go into the church hall in the high street which had a (in aid of the bowls club) coffee morning going on. As I'd suspected, dogs WERE allowed in there. It was very busy and full of people, and just a handful of other dogs. Took a seat at one of the tables and was 'waited on' by one of the elderly women! Ordered a coffee and paid my 60p. In no time at all, I was presented with not only a cup of milky coffee but also a couple of biscuits on a plate (to share with Bella of course). That's value for money! lol They even had bowls of sugar with a spoon on each of the tables for you to help yourself. A rare thing in this day and age. All very pleasant and civilised. Even better when the old couple next to me didn't want their biscuits and I got to share them with Bella too.. . back outside to sit on my usual bench for a cigarette, I ended up talking to the old lady next to me who started cooing over Bella. I really am somehow prematurely aged, to the tune of at the very minimum, ten or fifteen years it would seem. I seem to have little in common with anyone at the best of times, and certainly almost nothing with anyone my own age, or worse still, younger (<shudder>). Older people (around here particularly) are SO much easier to talk to than younger people it seems to me. Their 'old fashioned' standards and values are something I understand and embrace. They have nothing to prove. They've done it all. They know there is no point in being other than pleasant to everyone. Something like that. Suffice it to say, I happily engaged in an 'isn't it awful now' and 'remember when' type conversation with her (even, because I was carrying my new bin, embarking on a conversation about the new recycling refuse collections chaos. We both remembered back to when 'bin men' WERE 'bin MEN' and they wore hats and leather waistcoats, and carried heavy bins of ash from open fires on their backs, to throw by great strength alone, up into the back of their lorry). I could hardly believe it when I eventually discovered I was happily chatting like that with a 90 year old!!!!! Things got rather uncomfortable when she suddenly wanted to show me a leather wallet she still used, which she'd made when she was a child. Just a couple of pieces of light coloured leather, sewn around three sides with some once upon a time brightly coloured taffeta type twine, which she seemed to be offering to me to have a look at. Truly remarkable she still had it and used it and all, but the uncomfortable bit about it was, it was stuffed with paper money!!!! She'd just drawn out her pension and there she was waving it around in the street like that, showing it all to a complete stranger - never mind whoever else may have been nearby watching!! Made me VERY uncomfortable! Got her to put it back in her handbag as quickly as I could without being too rude (I don't think she 'got it' at all!) and very soon excused myself and headed home (feeling pretty sad). . Bella did some pretty uncontrollable lunging at a small dog on the narrow pavement alongside the dangerous main road on the way back, despite the halti and me awkwardly waving the bin in front of her face! . did the mountain of dish washing chores . . Mum called in with the paper and food donations for chats and a cuppa, etc. . ate Mum donated pork pies, crisps and some chocolate. . . napped the afternoon way until the alarm around 6pm . . walked in the dark and rain and got pretty wet again. . . guitarred/TVd letting my wet clothes just dry on me! Rather uncomfortable being damp like that - again!. . ate fried pork, chips, some chocolate and a whole pack of Mum donated jammy dodgers! . . BB called . . to bed around 1:30am.
1 - Woken by Bella I think, around 6:15am. Headachey again! Still absolutely pouring with rain and blowing a bit of a gale - and all the stacks of recycling bins which should have been emptied yesterday, are all still sat out in the street, drenched. (I'm sure I read something somewhere suggesting WET cardboard/paper could NOT be recycled?) That new refuse/recycling system really is absolute chaos at the moment, and yet the head of the company responsible for the mess, continues to maintain in the local press that it's all gone really well!? Jokers. It's surely only gonna be a matter of time that the vast majority, including me, just give up on the complicated nonsense and put everything straight in the landfill bin and don't bother recycling ANY of what they dilligently used-to. ('Most' of the plastics (yoghurt pots etc), even if labelled as recyclable, are NOT recycled by this waste company anyway!) . . PCd this, putting off having to venture out into the atrocious weather . .walked in 'waterproofs' - but within minutes it was apparant they weren't waterproof at all! Got drenched. As I walked up the road the bin men were battling through the weather to empty all the bins from yesterday . . the halti I'd ordered around 11am yesterday arrived in the mail before 10am this morning. Tried it on Bella without 'too' much complaint. I dunno - I don't like it any more than she does. Not sure it'll get much use but I'm gonna HAVE to give it a bit of a go I guess. . .pottered around a bit doing some paperwork etc and also surfed and messed around looking into Sis2s laptop fault again. Sadly based on what I've discovered and what I've read, I really do think I'm wasting my time with it. e-bay is full of people selling them - all similarly faulty! :o( . . ate a tin of sausages in spaghetti, four pieces of bread and butter and some chocolate . . napped . .finally the rain had stopped. Walked a little early with the new halti on Bella. I'm not convinced it is the best of fits. The piece that goes over the top of her nose seems to lay uncomfortably close to her eyes on occasions. I keep stopping trying to adjust it away. Having said that, it's difficult to see how anything of a different size or adjusted in any other way would make it any different. For the first time out with it, I have to say I really was VERY impressed with how it did its job! Really amazingly almost instantly effective at stopping any sign of her pulling during normal walking, and even an attempt by her at lunging at a couple of (close by - closer than usual) passing dogs was MUCH more easily controlled. For a first walk out on it, the results were pretty encouraging. Sadly, with it taken off and let off her lead at BGdns, she promptly had a go at nearby dog as if to vent her frustrations! lol . . TVd/guitarred the evening away, playing ball with Bella much of the time . .ate defrosted ('dog food') pork in buttered bread rolls, biscuits and chocolate. . to bed around 1am. aas