Friday, August 11, 2017
Thursday, July 20, 2017
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
We decided to visit the Wooden Fender, just a few miles away down a twisty Essex country road. We sat in the garden and had a lovely meal - the food and the service was excellent. Then we drove back towards Billericay, not knowing quite when we should pick up Brody. We stopped at the Mini car sales place in Chelmsford, to look at a convertible mini - 4 seats, but only 4 people if the passengers in the rear seats don't have legs below the knees! Still, it looks like a very nice car and would suite us and Brody, but we would have to find a way of strapping him in.
Back in billericay we visited the Ford garage to look at bigger cars - S-max etc. Then there was an hour or so to wait to retrieve the retriever.
The poor dog is not at all comfortable after his knee clean, even this morning he is clearly in a lot of pain. We have to go back to the vet tomorrow to see how he is doing, and are hopig to start hydrotherapy later this week.
Monday, July 17, 2017
So starting with Saturday. Liz had arranged a visit with Leo to see "Despicable Me 3" at the cinema.
I had won 4 tickets to the Odeon in the raffle at the Carousel concert at St Mary's recently, so we had to go to either Chelmsford or Southend. Chelmsford is closer, and I don't like the Odeon in Southend, so it was an easy choice. Not realising we could have book we arrived at the cinema in time to get the last 4 seats together (2 in row A, 2 in Row B). Things were going our way as I had driven straight into an available space in the car park on the ground floor near the entrance.
We were soon settled in the theatre, enforced toilet breaks taken. It was FULL. The noise was horrific. Next to me two young girls were 'nesting' - they had a blanket, had removed their shoes and were huddled together like birds on a cliff edge in a storm - except they also had mobile phones.
The film started, and the volume it was played at mainly drowned out the noise, only during quieter parts could you here the inane chatter. Next to me two skype sessions were in full swing, they weren't interested in the screen it seemed, they couldn't see it from under the blanket for part of the time. Meanwhile Leo sat in his seat eating his sweets and was properly engrossed in the film. Surely that's what you go to the cinema for.
Ah, yes, the film. It is popular today to talk about fictional universes - so here goes. The Desipcable Me universe containing Gru, Dr Nefario (who is still a man (#DrWho), but not in this film), Lucy, the three girls and the Minions is not as consistant as it should be. As the minions are looking for the 'most evil boss' surely they should switch from Gru to Dru (the twin brother) but they don't. Nevertheless the story is good enough, and the jokes are reasonable and the animation is very good. There are also some nice asides and cross references for the adults. Dr Nefario in Carbonite - for example. So - enjoyable, if not brilliant.
Saturday, July 15, 2017
Thursday, July 06, 2017
This morning he wanted to go for a walk so I took him towards Sun Corner. We got up to the back of the church car park and he decided he had had enough. We have been advised to restrict his exercise, I believe that will be increasingly difficult. The drugs routine continues - he is almost used to it, I wonder how he will react when the various courses are finished?
Wednesday, July 05, 2017
Administering the tablets is easy, although I do wish they would give me tablets that don't have to be cut up - 1½ of this one and ¾ of that one. The main motivator is cheese, anything hidden in cheese is eaten with enthusiasm. The liquid was another challenge. I decided to give him 3/4 of his lunch, then squirt the liquid in his mouth and quickly follow it with the final quarter of lunch. In the first two days this has worked reasonably well, but he does not like the taste of the liquid. We also have a cold pack which is supposse to be put on his wound for 15 minutes 4 times a day. Keeping him still for 15 minutes is a challenge!
On Tuesday his recovery was going well, we know this because he sneaked into the kitchen and stole a carrot (that's a normal Brody trick). Later that evning he heard a sound in the garden and jumped off the sofa and clearly hurt himself as he stopped very abruptly and took a few seconds before he moved again, then limped very badly. When the sun goes down this evening I will try a very short walk out the front, only becaause he keeps asking.
Sunday, July 02, 2017
paraphernalia. We found the fudge shop eventually, and outside was a lady offering free samples. It turned out she was originally from Laindon.
Driving around the new forest this Saturday was more challenging than usual as there was at least one, probably more, cycling events. I am a walker, a cyclist and a driver and believe we can all share the road, but each has their responsibilities, for cyclists today the responsibilities that were lacking are:
- Stick to your own side of the carridgeway: driving down a narrow lane and being faced with four cyclists coming towards you (two on each side of the road) is a bit frightening, where was I supposed to go? They missed me, I'd stopped.
- If you have a child with you do not cycle off into the distance and leave him to cope. It is grossly unfair and if he makes a mistake you are not there to help.
- Riding two or three abreast is now, I believe, recommended, but it is not a good idea to start overtaking each other while cars are trying to pass you. The 'shape shifting' serpent that this presents to the driver is very difficult to assess and react to, and I can't possibly give adequate space when you pull out a fraction of a second after I start my manouver
- Learn how to look behind you without wobbling the bike and changing direction.
Then we moved on a little and pulled off the road to take a walk in the New Forest.
We had walked for about 20 minutes when Brody found a bog and jumped in. He sank in the mud, as he lifted one paw, the rest of him was sucked down a little. He finally found a footing and hauled himslef out, our chocolate labrador now blacker than a black labrador from his feet up to halfway up his rib cage. Oh the smell - we kept away from him as shook and shook himself, but the mud stayed stuck. We allowed him back in the car - what could we do? - and started our journey home. At fleet services we asked Google for a pub nearby for lunch. In the list was the Fox and Hounds. Any pub is likely to be better than a Motorway services, and this one turned out to be well worth the slight diversion. Plus we had a fly by from the Red Arrows as we were sitting by the canal waiting for our food. A really good meal, in great surroundings. I did wonder about getting Brody to swim in the canal - to wash the mud off, but he was almost dry now, and I didn't want the smell to come back.
Then it was back on the Motorway and following google maps advice we went north rather than south around the M25. A slow journey for a lot of the time.
Eventually, we arrived home, and bathed Brody ready for his operation on Monday.
A lovely holiday, the New Forest is great and Bucklers Hard is very special.
Friday, June 30, 2017
ever seen that before, also the backbone had been removed - a very good kipper.
After breakfast we walked Brody through the woods on the path to Beaulieu, round and back along the gravel path. He doesn't like walking on gravel, but he still follows me even when there is grass to walk on.
A little over an hour later we were queueing with a load of school children for the river boat cruise. Fortunately, they all sat outside, so we could sit inside. First we saw the docks where they built Nelson's favourite ship - the Agamemnon. When ships were built at Bucklers Hard they were first moved a little down stream to an area known as Fiddlers Reach. The ships were left here for plimming - allowing the wood to swell and close up the joints between the timbers. At the end of this time a party was held to celebrate a new ship. The music was provided by fiddlers - hence the name.
During war time the forerunner of the spitfire, and a missile, on which the cruise missile is modeled were both built in the yards on the banks of the Beaulieu River. Now it is very peaceful and quite, and mostly a nature reserve.
For lunch we visited Beaulieu village, and found "Steff's Kitchen". Very nice sandwiches, but a few uninvited guests that have to be tolerated.
The cafe is attached to a garden centre so we got a few ideas for the garden, and then took a short walk through some barley fields.
We then moved on to Exbury Gardens, arriving too late for the train, but it was still good to wander around. The azaleas and rhododendrons would be amazing in may, but there are still a few left.
We can't leave Beaulieu without mentioning cars, so here's my next car:
So to Lyndhurst for tea, and some award winning fish and chips from Bertties, now back at the hotel watching supervet.
After a brief walk - the woodland walk is mis-advertised, it is barely long enough for more than a few strides, so after that we headed for Hatchet pond which we were told was 'just down the road'. After a while I checked google maps, it is 2.7 miles away. It seems that when the shipbuilding stopped, so did the local's ability to measure.
Back at the hotel, we split up. Jo went to the garden to cross-stitch and dog sit, and I went to the Maritime Museum. I was there for a little over 1 hour 30 minutes and had only followed the history to just after the end of WWII. Defense spending in the 1700's was brutal. The navy commissioned ships and put them out to tender. There were bonuses for building quicker than agreed, and penalties for building later. All the timber had to be cut and seasoned for two years, so don't even bid if you don't have the wood. That, of course, has to be bought before it is cut down. The story of Bucklers Hard is a story of multiple bankruptcies. Except for Henry Adams, so he is the local hero. I learned the origin of the phrase 'money for old rope'. Old rope is untwisted and re-twisted into a soft string, like course wool. It is then pushed inbetween the timbers of the ships hull and covered in pitch. The hull is therefore waterproofed. Clever sailors collected (for free) rope that was being replaced on other ships, then SOLD it to the ship builders. Hence 'money for old rope' = money for nothing.
We went to the Captains Cabin the Bucklers Hard restuarant for lunch and had the 'traditional' (almost) for us - soup and jacket potatoe. Slightly expensive, but quite good.
Very full, we headed for Lymington. There we walked along the high street and down to the quay. Now is my chance to get a picture of a black headed gull. btw their head is a dark grey/brown colour, but looks black in flight. Mostly, by the time I get the camera zoomed and focussed the bird has flown, this one was watching something else.
St Thomas' is an unusual church, both in its shape and because they have all the major building developments and their sponsors listed on plaques around the base of the balcony.
We moved on to Milford-on-sea. This is an exageration, the sea is half a mile from the village. Presumably they have been expecting coastal erosion for centurys. We walked round the traingular village centre, and Jo went into the Co-op. Next door is a charity shop, I was browsing when a lady came out. The conversation went something (just a little) like this:
"Can we help you?"
"No, thanks, just browsing. My wife is in the Co-op, I can't take the dog in there"
"You can take the dog in here, come and have a look around"
"No, thanks Auntie Wainwright, I just wait here"
After a walk out along Hursts Spit (we didn't get far, it's too stoney) we returned to the village for dinner at the Smugglers Inn. If you've arrived here via Facebook, here's a Friday Food picture for you.
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
The room was very warm when we went to bed. We are not used to sleeping in the same room as Brody, so a combination of the heat and a dog moving around meant that sleep was difficult. It is at least properly dark. Sleep did not last long, soon Brody was asking to go out. Jo took him, and we went back to sleep. Soon Brody was asking to go out. Jo took him. It's worse than having a baby. So, when the alarm went off, waking was also difficult.
The room is not large, but it is a good room, the shower is good too. The cups, however, are small - meant for the coffee machine, not for cups of tea. Shortly after that it was of to our private, dog friendly, dining room for breakfast. The breakfast bar in the restaurant is amazing, it took a while to work out what was what. Milk, for example, is in the same bottles as the fruit juices, and is kept in a large ice bucket. The large jug of white liquid is yoghurt! The breakfast itself is very good and nicely presented.
After breakfast, I read the Guardian (paper edition) and Jo was cross-stitching. Then we went to the bar for a pot of tea. It was still raining. Eventually the rain stopped, so I took Brody for a walk. The rain started, but stayed light, so he had a reasonable walk.
Lunch, not really needed, was late, and less than impressive. We both had a Ham and tomatoe sandwich. The bread was thin, and the tomatoe only just exceeded the lettuce.
It was still raining.
We took a drive to Brockenhurst. On leaving the hotel drive there were 5 cows wandering along the road, we had to wait for them to get out of the way. We saw other cows wandering or sitting by the road, some in dangerous places. Brockenhurst is a nice little village, where I got some cash. At one end of the village a stream crosses the road. It's not quite Buttsbury wash, but the cars still race through and spray water over anyone close by.
It is still raining, we went to the Turfcutters Arms for tea. There was a roaring fire in the grate, so I had to check that it is still June, and we hadn't time travelled to December. Our meals were very nice, and very good value. Finally, back in the hotel, we walked Brody round the village, hoping for a better night and a drier day.