Friday, April 30, 2010

Down in Devon

The verges on the Devon lanes were filled with dandelions. I took a closer look at this one and realised they're really pretty. I've always thought of them as just weeds not looked at them properly. I know they spread like crazy and have horrid roots but they make a lovely show on the side of the road.Rose said they used to hold dandelions under their chin to see if they liked butter; we did that with buttercups. If you liked butter, you'd get a yellow reflection on your skin. Pretty impossible not to get a yellow reflection so it was probably a marketing ploy by dairy farmers.

While I was there I made some scones so we could have genuine Devonshire clotted cream, jam and strawberries.
And I can't post about a visit to Devon without a photo of Grand-Daughter. She's 5 months old now and is growing so fast! She had her first swimming lesson on Wednesday but she spent the time looking around rather than splashing. Born nosey. It runs in the family.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Night night

Just back from Devon so will have photos to share but it's time for bed now so I'll just leave you with this photo that Younger Son took a couple of evenings ago from around the cliffs.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Oh George!

George got a bit hot on our walk and cooled himself down by lying in a puddle. A muddy puddle.

Wetting the bed

For one reason or another I haven't been out walking with George much recently so we made up for it today with a two-hour wander around the woods. It was very obvious that Spring has certainly sprung.

The field next to the tip was a mass of dandelions. Were you told, as a child, not to pick dandelions as it would make you wet the bed? I'm sure there must be some herbal homoeopathic reason for that but, to this day, I've never picked dandelions in flower. But I've picked the fairy clocks and never wet the bed.

In the woods we came across loads of these strange little boxes. No idea what they're for but, I guess, part of an experiment.
A few years ago the council undertook a massive clearing project in Clyne woods to rid it of the alien rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias, which had migrated in from neighbouring Clyne Gardens, to allow the native species to thrive. The work took over a year and changed the face of the woods as we had known it. But it hasn't worked!

I can understand them missing small bushes or seedlings that were just shooting up but these flowers were on fully-grown trees.

They may not be in the right place but they're very pretty.

But the main reason we went for our meander was to search of bluebells. They're not out fully yet but are just starting to bloom. I love bluebells: they have a colour that is unlike any other. And a beautiful scent. Every time I walk through bluebells I dream my secret fantasy ...


Last day of work

Husband has just left for Newbury for his last day of work. He's had to take his laptop, mobile and pass to hand in. Officially he is in work until the end of April but after today that's that. No more communication possible, so no 'little jobs' to be asked to do.

I asked him how he felt. 'Wonderful.'
'Doesn't it feel a little bit strange after all these years?'
'Nope.'

He's worked incredibly hard all his life and has provided wonderfully for us, his family. He's reached the level he has through ability; he's never played golf with the boss. While he's given everything when he's in work, time with the family has always been precious and untouchable. He's worked to live not the other way round.

We got through his cancer scare twenty years ago and now we're looking forward to another twenty years - at least! - of enjoying life. We - the children and me - love him very much and hope his retirement is everything he wants it to be.

As for me, well, I have to carry on working. (Big 'aaaah', please.) Someone has to bring home the pennies ...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What a scrubber!

I blame you all.

Not one of you warned me that stone tiles are hard to clean. Ridiculously hard to clean. Or maybe it's just our light-coloured ones that are particularly dirt-grabbing.

I spent this afternoon, Cinderella-like, on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor. I ask you: is that any way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

I'd done about half and was exhausted so I stopped for a little rest. Husband, who was feeling guilty because he'd spent all day on the computer trying to prove that he's related to royalty, took up the mantle and finished it for me. I do love guilt.

By the way, Husband decided that he probably wasn't in line for the throne as the Mormons had got their facts wrong. No surprises there then.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Worth a chocolate brownie

I promised a chocolate brownie to someone in return for some information, some important information.

Like the name of the person who was responsible for depositing the Jesus clock in the office.

I shall bide my time and think of a suitable riposte.

P.S. I just looked up riposte in the dictionary. It means: a quick return thrust after a parry. Hmm, my return won't be quick but it will be sharp ...

When only ice cream will do

I'd been craving a Verdi's apple crumble ice cream all afternoon. To be honest, I'd been craving one since Wednesday when I'd had coffee there. (I actually had tea but to say 'I had tea there' sounds odd.)

So after our barbecue dinner last night I suggested a family trip down to the ice cream parlour. It was after 8 by the time we got there but the queue outside was as long as ever: it seemed that everyone had the same craving. I could see one man having apple crumble ice cream and I said, 'There'd better be some left for me.'
His wife, who was standing outside waiting for him, said, 'That's what he said. He came home from Bristol and made me come down straight down here.'

There was some left for me and I had it with another blob of praline pecan ice cream. Oooh yummy.



Thursday, April 22, 2010

My new hoover is a ...

Sebo!

Yes, I know: I'd never heard of them until I started investigating cleaners. Sebo, Bosch and Miele came out top in the Which and other reviews. Bosch uprights were hard to find; Miele was about £60 more than the Sebo and only had a 5 instead of 10 year guarantee.

So Sebo it is.

And so far so Sebo. (That doesn't really work, does it, as play on words of any sort?)

We've gone back to a bagged cleaner - the bagless was useless with a George in the house - but this time I'll read the instructions before breaking it. I mean instead of breaking it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I was going to clean the bathroom yesterday ...

but the sun shone so we took George for a long walk instead. Younger Son had told me about Millwood, a forestry commission site just behind Oxwich Bay. I'd never heard of it so we set off to find it and explore.

It was easy to locate just on the edge of the Penrice estate grounds. in fact it used to be part of the estate and was the location for the local mill, which gives the wood its name.

We wanted to end up at the seaside so whenever a choice of paths arose we took the one Husband said would lead to the beach. I should have remembered that Husband was thrown out of the boy scouts.
Bearing in mind that Gower is a fairly narrow peninsular with water on three sides you'd think it would be easy to find the sea. But it was like climbing up a hill when you keep telling yourself, 'the next summit will be the top,' but it never is. 'The sea will be over the next ridge,' but it wasn't.
After we'd been walking for well over an hour this was the closest we got to the sea.
Getting back to the car was a similar story. 'It's just down this hill,' Husband said confidently.
'Hmm,' I said doubtfully.

Still we got to walk through pretty Penrice village with its postbox from the reign of the King George.

And eventually ended up back at the old mill.
I didn't regret not cleaning the bathroom one bit.

I love this place!

I drove down to Mumbles this morning to meet a friend for coffee at Verdi's. This is the road I travel to get to work. I can hardly believe how blessed I am.

We sat outside Verdi's and this was the view from our table.


Not very a'peeling'

We were looking at the persecution of the early church last night in Zac's and I said that I worried about being persecuted (not constantly worrying you understand, just when I think about it) because I'm such a wimp they'd only need to tickle my feet and I would give way. At this Sean said the thing he really feared was being peeled.
'Peeled?'
'Yes, peeled. Having my skin taken off.'

Now that is something I hadn't even considered. Flipping heck!

Afterwards Blossom called me a tough old bird (he changed it rapidly to tough cookie after seeing my face) because he reckoned I underestimated myself. 'You go into prison, you talk to murderers and rapists. I know grown men who wouldn't do that.'

Talking to murderers and rapists? I'd never thought of it like that ... they're such nice polite boys.

Anyway on a lighter note, it was Baz and Di's 25th wedding anniversary yesterday so I made them a cake. It was a good excuse to use the lovely sparkly stuff. It's so cool eating sparkles.


It's not every bible reading ...

that is accompanied by a long, noisy trumpet blast of wind from the reader. But not every bible study has a Gerry.

Later on, very thoughtfully, he stood with his backside to an open door but the damage had already been done.

And where Gerry left off, our heavy sleeper took over with his snoring.

It's not every bible study ...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Husbands

There's a strange mark on our lovely little courtyard table. It's been there for a while and it was puzzling me. Today I asked Husband if he knew what it was.
'Chainsaw oil.'
'Chainsaw oil? On my table?'
'Don't look at me like that! It'll come off. If the pressure washer doesn't do it the white spirit will ... don't look at me like that!!'

Warning - cleaner at work

We've been let down by cleaners again. At Linden that is. Whenever we employ professional cleaners they turn out to be unprofessional. We've given the current - now ex - lot a few chances but I'm not God: I have a limit to the fresh starts I'll allow.

So yesterday in work I hoovered the hall, as it was being used for circuit training last night, and as I was working up a sweat pushing Henry around it occurred to me that the cleaners get paid more than I do. 'Perhaps I should give up admin and take up cleaning,' I thought.

Me? Cleaning? All day every day? I need to think that through more carefully.

Continuing on the cleaning note, my new 'hoover' has arrived. Except it's not a Hoover. But I'll tell you about that later: I know you're excited to find out all about my hoover but you'll have to wait.

Let's just say it arrived about 2 weeks ago and the weather's been too nice to use it since. Plus the volcanic ash keeps falling from the sky. (Ooooh, I could drag this out for years.)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Volcanic ash part 3

In church this morning we were asked to pray about the serious side of the air traffic disruption. Chris said, 'Angela was telling me that they're having trouble bringing a body back into the country.'

I probably shouldn't have laughed at that point but really ...

I was already in trouble for hanging up in the main hall the Jesus clock that appeared in my office. And I can't understand why nearly everybody looked at me in disbelief when I said I didn't know where it had come from.

Volcanic ash part 2

Has there ever been a better excuse for not cleaning?

My dressing-table is thick with dust 'but there's no point cleaning while the volcano's still exploding.'

The fact that the dust pre-dates the volcanic eruption is neither here nor there.

Volcanic ash part 1

Girlfriend was supposed to be flying home to Italy last week but after a not-too-pleasant stay in Luton she returned here yesterday. She's given up her flat so she's staying with us until she can get a plane out, probably direct to Ibiza now as she won't have time to go home before her placement starts.

She's been remarkably sanguine about it all even though she's missed her best friend's hen night and a family confirmation. 'There were lots of people in a worse situation than I was,' she said. She is a lovely girl.

We've also had a young lad from church staying with us for the last few weeks. This morning I said to Husband, 'Isn't it lovely having the house full?'
He was non-committal.


Is it supposed to be smoking?

Husband was doing his now regular lumberjacking thing so I volunteered to do some shredding.
'Are you sure?' Husband asked. 'It's hard work.'
'How hard can it be pushing branches through a shredder?'

It is actually quite hard work. The big branches I couldn't force through and the little branches were too bendy to push through. But I'd been merrily shredding for about 20 minutes when that question arose.
'Is it supposed to be smoking?'
'Turn it off!'

It was well and truly blocked.

I did wonder why more seemed to be going in than was coming out but I put it down to an illusion. Although when nothing came out I should probably have wondered a little harder.

Friday, April 16, 2010

There is a line

Husband is taking this retirement lark seriously and has joined the central library, mainly for the cds. He came home today with Best of Erasure.

Erasure?

Gin and tonic plus Erasure?

I am worrying about my husband.

Not forgetting the dog

video

Which seeds shall we plant, mummy?

Taking after her mummy

It wasn't me! I want to make that clear before I start.

In the two weeks since we last saw her GrandDaughter has started making little fists, clenching her arms and squealing, 'Eeeee!' when she's excited. Which is quite often as each day is such an adventure.

She's also taken to exploring her fingers and toes with her mouth. And has learned that, if you're feeling sleepy but you're can't go to sleep and it's making you a bit grizzly, sucking your thumb is a good remedy.

But it wasn't me! I admit to edging her thumb towards her mouth in the past when she's been a bit sucky but she did this all by herself when we were out walking.

Taking after her mummy.

Taking after her daddy

GrandDaughter won't take a bottle, not even of mummy's milk. However she did find a bottle she liked!And the more I exclaimed, the more she laughed and pulled the bottle closer.

I mean, seriously

... when you are grandmother to the most perfect baby in the world you have to boast a little, don't you?

Racing the clock

'Right,' Husband said, 'we've got to leave here by 6.30 at the latest so dinner had better be ready by 6.'

I'd volunteered to cook dinner in Devon before we headed home and, as anyone in my family will tell you, my cooking-to-a-time skills are lacking somewhat. So at 6.15 we sat down to dinner and at 6.40 we were in Minni and setting off.

Now the reason for the rush is that the M4 closes between junctions 24 and 28 from 8 pm each night and we didn't fancy a trip around Newport so I was keeping a close eye on the ticking clock as we skedoodled along.

We managed to avoid too close an encounter with Tyrannosaurus Rex along the way ...
and the sun was setting as we crossed the bridge home into Wales.
We'd passed junction 23 and the cones were out when a traffic flash on the radio reminded us - as if we needed reminding - that the M4 was closing at junction 24 in a few moments. Husband couldn't even put his foot down as we were in a 50 mph zone and already in a queue of cars.

At 7.59 precisely we slipped past the junction slip road: yay, we'd made it! In spite of me.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I'll never trust a green bean again

Girlfriend flies home to Italy on Thursday for a short visit before heading off to Ibiza where she'll spend the summer working in the dive school. The placement is part of her university course so she goes early but Younger Son has exams to do before going to Ibiza too.

Husband and I are off to Devon tomorrow for a few days so we took her out for a farewell meal last night. As we didn't know what restaurants would be open on a Sunday we opted for the eat-as-much-as-you-like curry buffet (at Younger Son's prompting). We went to one of our usual Indian restaurants and they had a good choice of curries to suit everyone.

I carefully chose curries that didn't look or sound too hot and everything was fine. I was merrily eating a fairly innocuous prawn curry when I came across a green bean. Now it didn't occur to me to wonder what one green bean was doing in a prawn curry. I just assumed they'd done what I do: found a solitary bean in the bottom of the fridge and thrown it in a curry. (You mean you don't do that?)

It was in my mouth for perhaps 2 seconds before the pain set in, and with it the realisation that I was chomping on a chilli. I'm afraid I forgot all sense of table etiquette and spat it out into my hand. But it was too late. the damage was done and irreversible.

Now you know me, I don't like to draw attention to myself, especially not in a crowded Indian restaurant. So I was very subtle as I rocked to and fro on my chair, eyes crossed, one hand thumping the table with the other covering my open mouth and the merest hint of a whimper escaping.

To quote the great Basil Fawlty, I think I got away with it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Gentlemen prefer ...

I've just changed my Facebook profile photo. This was the one I had up:But I realised that people thought it was me. Well, it is me but on honeymoon nearly 32 years ago. So I've changed it for this:
Which is, at least,a comparatively recent photo. I have good legs; I like my legs.

For the first umpteen years of my life I was convinced I was fat. I spent years hiding and it's only been quite recently that I've looked back at photos, like the one of me in the sea, and thought, 'Damn, you looked good!' What a load of time I wasted feeling ugly and hideous.

I think part of it was down to my cousin. Six months older than me, she was the pretty one, the slim one, the well-dressed fashionable one. I was the poor relation in not only the literal sense of the words. We spent a lot of time together and - I don't think intentionally nastily - she would make these little comments about my hair or my legs or this or that.

And this was in the days before size zero - size 10 was challenging enough - so goodness knows what sort of pressure today's young girls are under.

And everyone knows men prefer curves!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

In the garden

So after 'enjoying' my olive bread at lunch in the sunshine in the garden, it was time to set to work planting the bulbs and perennials I'd bought earlier in the week.

This is my bit of flower-bed garden that I've been nurturing for the last few years. Not entirely successfully I'm afraid. In fact while I was pottering today I found several old plant labels suggesting that we've bought and planted things before that now are no more.
But I'm not giving up. Not yet anyway. It is possible that I have dug up previously-planted plants in my enthusiasm for nice empty beds of soil so, to ensure that doesn't happen again, I've drawn a map showing what is where currently.
If you look closely you'll see quite a few names have question marks after them. Some even say 'dead?' The ones with proper names are the ones that still had their labels.

I'm not a natural gardener. But in my defence I do have to put up with George sitting on my plants, eating my plants, and digging up my plants. And today I had to dodge falling trees as my 'I'm a lumberjack' Husband continued his efforts at deforestation.

I'm good at drawing too you see.

Cho yung anyone?

I can understand why I'm not losing weight - it's not exactly a strict diet I'm on - but I am baffled as to why I'm putting on weight!

I think I must be one of those rare people whose metabolism makes them gain weight when they try to diet. Or I have an even rarer hormonal disease that makes me hippy.

It can't possibly be the fact that I'm eating too much.

Anyway I decided today would definitely be the day I started taking my diet seriously: my shorts are painfully tight. So it was unfortunate that I had to go to the deli in Mumbles to get some parmesan for risotto and they had some scrummy-looking olive bread and yummy cheese.

Never mind, thinks I, I'll start tomorrow.

What bit of my brain, do you think, didn't absorb the fact that I was buying olive bread and that it would have olives in it? (I don't like olives.) And my cheese wasn't as nice as usual so I could carry on with my diet after all.

Has anyone else checked out these 'I lost 3.5 stone in 3 months using this 1 amazing secret' adverts? (And are you willing to admit it?!) I so want to believe but I know in my heart it can't be true. I even checked out one of the reporters the advert claimed had been convinced by the evidence. It turned out she didn't exist.

If I drink lots of water will it fill me and stop being hungry? I'm going to be very miserable over the next few weeks.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Speaks for itself

According to the Sunday Telegraph, 40% of the money raised by The Cherie Blair Foundation For Women (a charity set up by the woman herself) was spent on staffing and consultancy.

20% of the money went to the former CEO, Connie Jackson, who was paid £113,325 for 10 months work. She said, "I am expensive and I don't apologise for it."


Wanted: botanist

At first glance I thought these were wood anemones but on looking closer I could see that they weren't. They have sort of three/four leaf clover leaves so maybe they're clover. I'll have to google.P.S. Googled and doesn't look right, so any suggestions?

Another good day at the coal face

First I made a pot of tea without a teabag.

Then I trapped my finger in the stapler. Twice.

I should have stayed in bed today.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Reasons to walk slowly, part 1

We were walking through the woods when Husband said, 'We should walk slower.'
'Why?'
'So we'd live longer.'

I looked at him. 'Why would we live longer if walked more slowly?'
'Because animals that walk slowly live longer.'
'Animals such as?'
'Giant tortoise.'
'I thought they were extinct.'
'Elephant then.'
'So you're basing your theory on one animal?'
'And the humming-bird. It doesn't live long.'

I'm not convinced.

Zac's reprise

I was so discombobulated by the massage that I forgot to talk about the most important things in the bible study.

We're continuing to look at Acts and the life of the very early church. On Tuesday we read the bit where people are appointed to be in charge of making sure everyone gets a fair share of the food. It specified that those that 'wait on table' had to be 'full of the Spirit and wisdom'.

Every week Di and now Lisa take up position behind the bar in Zac's to serve tea and coffee. They are women both full of God and wisdom.

It's often the speakers, the leaders, the up-the-front people who are regarded by us as important, so it's good to remember that in God's world, the ones who serve quietly behind the scenes are every bit as vital.

P.S. I don't want you thinking that in Zac's tea-making is regarded as women's work: we're just better at it! (And to be fair the boys do lend a hand but they're better at bins!)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Hail Caesar!

Only the Americans could make a salad so fattening!

Give unto Caesar - or Newman

My fridge is half-full of opened bottles of salad dressing, largely Caesar or 'light'. I cannot find one I like.

I first had Caesar Salad in New York when we visited in ... can't remember but it was before 7/11. I really liked it and over the last year or so became aware that Sainsburys were selling the dressing in bottles. (Yes, I know they've probably been selling it for years but I only just noticed!) So began my search for the prefect taste.

The most recent bottle to join the collection is Newman's Own Creamy Caesar Dressing. Now Paul Newman wouldn't lie to me, would he? If he says it's good enough to carry his name it must be authentic, right? Wrong.
But last week, while in Devon, I had Caesar salad in a restaurant and it was yummy and I noticed that they made their own dressing and it stated 'Contains anchovies'. Contains anchovies? I have read even the very small print on Newman's Own and it makes no mention of anchovies.

So, with my brain ticking rather slowly, I've come to the conclusion I'll have to make Liz's Own. I've been out and bought the anchovies and I'll let you know the result after dinner (of chicken Caesar salad).

Zac's is never normal

Not what most people would consider a normal bible study anyway, but last night's was ... even less normal than usual.

Well, you don't get a massage at most bible studies for a start. According to Blossum I have to think about how I'm sitting when I'm using the computer. 'You're all hunched, aren't you? I can feel it in the way your rhomboids are tight. And, oh!' He pressed my neck. 'What have you been doing? There's a huge knot here.'

Jane suggested an exercise she'd been recommended by her physiotherapist son. 'Sit up and push your shoulder blades together.' Or as Andy shouted, 'Stick your boobs out! Be proud of God's creation!'

Meanwhile Blossum is saying, 'Relax, concentrate on your breathing.' I ask you: have you ever tried to concentrate on your breathing while being heckled?

And this was after Martin had said, 'I want to talk to you about your writing.' (I'd read my Easter monologue.) He said, 'You had her gasping again and panting.' (After the last monologue I read in Zac's it was suggested that I take up writing erotica.) But I couldn't work out if he was grumbling or complimenting! (Although it was only a quick gasp this time so he was probably complaining.)

So maybe it was just an extra-unusual night for me.

Jerry was on good form, first accusing the early church of corruption and then insisting that 'If is a big word.' He didn't really expound on that sentence, preferring to repeat it, repeatedly, and let us draw our own conclusions. But then, just when you're getting fed-up of him, he does something amazing. In this case pray. With wisdom and honesty.

He is an enigma. If only he weren't an alcoholic.

On the cliff path yesterday


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Monday, April 05, 2010

While cleaning the study ...

I found ...Yes, it's a programming manual for a Sinclair Spectrum. I also found these three rings.
I have absolutely no idea what they're for but can't help thinking it must be something important. (By the way, they're bigger than they look, about 2" in diameter.)

And I came across the thing I was looking for last week but I hadn't put it in a safe place.

Cleaning my study is an adventure!

In bed this morning

Husband and I had a fascinating chat.

Did you know that it's actually a chain on a a chain-saw that does the cutting? Oh, you did. If I'd ever thought about how chain-saws work I'd have imagined it was the bladey-thing sort of zizzing. I didn't realise it was actually a chain.

'The clue is in the name,' Husband said. 'Like monkey wrench.'

(And, trust me, that was fascinating compared to Husband's usual chats about the weather. He is becoming - sorry, has been for a while - a weather nerd. Now he's retiring there'll be not stopping him.)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Joanna's story

video
I was asked to write a monologue to tell the story of Joanna, one of the lesser-known women who went to the tomb on the first Easter Sunday morning. I got a bit carried with her back story! So this video is about 12 minutes long I think. When I read this morning we had a short meditation break about halfway through. there's a natural stop between her history and the Easter story.

Happy Easter!

For the final in my Lenten thanks series, what could be more appropriate on Easter day than a celebration of the very special new life that is GrandDaughter's?

GrandDaughter about 5 hours old.About two and half weeks old.
Nearly 7 weeks.
Three and a half months and demonstrating great fashion sense! Unco-ordinated? Moi?
And on April 1st, who has Granny wrapped around her little finger?


Interview with George

We, i.e. George and I, are featured on Coffee with a Canine right now! Lots of photos and information that you may or may not know about George!

Thanks, Carol Ann, over at Coward's Corner for suggesting us as possible victims - I mean interview subjects! It was good fun to do.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Lenten thanks 46

I've just looked back through my Thanks and, hey, there have been some odd ones! But do you know I haven't said thank you for chocolate? Or David Tennant. Or Doctor Who. Or cream teas. Or living by the sea. Or the sea itself. Or wider extended families. Or bananas. And loads more things.

But today for my last but one in the series I want to say thank you for my happy pills.

I was suffering intensely with anxiety that was turning into depression and making life miserable for me and my family. Anxiety controlled me; it was as simple as that.

I'd consulted the doctor and been sent to a counsellor. She gave up on me.
I'd been prayed for and felt guilty because it didn't cure me.

Eventually the doctor took me seriously and put me on Seroxat. I can say without any question that the little white pill changed my life. I have a chemical imbalance that is corrected by my happy pill.

And life's great. And sometimes God works in mysterious ways.

Friday, April 02, 2010

I got bitten by a dog today

We were just near home, on a narrow path, when an Alsatian tried to get at George. George kept out of his way so, instead, the dog picked on me.

I was terribly British and didn't say, 'Get your ******** dog off my ********* leg!' I just walked on, limping slightly. To be fair I don't think the owner realised her dog had bitten me; on the other hand she can't have failed to see my trousers in her dog's mouth.

Fortunately the bite wasn't severe. My leg is bruised and the skin is just broken but it's nothing to worry about. However if I had been a child ...

Where's the superglue?

Remember Husband was cutting down trees last week? Well, it was fine; the trunk didn't land on the greenhouse or on me. However ...

We got back from Devon yesterday to discover that another trunk, one that had been previously supported and protected by others, had fallen down. Right across our path and, more importantly, blocking in Betty Beetle.

Fortunately it didn't actually fall on Betty. Now that would have meant trouble for Husband.

What were you saying about supergluing Husband before he did any serious harm?

All hoovered out

Do you remember this wonderful super-whizzy red hoover I bought about 18 months ago?

Well, 'tis no more.

No, it wasn't supposed to be spitting out red hot embers. It turns out the motor has burned out. Apparently because I haven't been washing the pre-motor filter (at three month intervals) or the exhaust filter (monthly).

I didn't even know they existed, let alone that they needed tender loving care!

I blame George. He sheds too much hair.

I'll read the manual before I use the next hoover.