What’s in a name

Are  we defined by our given names? Do they affect our personality? What really is in a name?

Well, apparently quite a lot.  When I sat down to do this post I typed into Google ‘what’s in a name’ and came up with The Kabalarian Philosophy website.  You type in your name and it will tell you exactly what’s in your name.

I tried it out on a few family members and it’s amazingly accurate.

Which causes a certain family member a bit of a problem as they now have to change their name.

Dear reader, let me elucidate:

Monday is the day I pick Munki up from school.  She was feeling particularly bellicose this week and as I was struggling to fix her car seat safely into position she was complaining about the reading book she’s just been given. “I’ll read it, Nanny. ” She read me the whole book in about thirty seconds. “It’s a stupid baby book, it’s rubbish!” The shoved it back into her school back in disgust then enquired as to whether we’d be going to the park.

Since it was a nice day and Douggie the doggie was in the back of the car the answer was in the affirmative.

We strolled through the park having a nice chat about our respective dogs. “Teddy chews things all the time”, she said. “Oh really? Douggie doesn’t really do that.”

Quick as a flash came her vehement  ( yes, yes, I did indeed swallow a dictionary this morning) reply: “Yes he DOES! He chewed my favourite teddy, Lavender. Now she doesn’t smell like lavender any more, she smells like dog slobber so I’ll have to change her name to Dogslobber. Stupid Douggie!”

Oh dear. I hope it doesn’t affect her personality. I ran it through the Kabalarian website just to be sure. Funnily enough ‘dogslobber’ didn’t come up as a name, although I was invited to add it to their database.

Time is a great healer

My dear brother. Heh. You’d laugh if you read that. Then you’d ask me what I was after.

It’s already been four days since you left us.  Four days in which our lives have been turned upside down. How has that time gone so quickly? It’s going too fast.

I don’t want the time to go by because in no time at all it will be a month since you passed and then year and then ten years.

It’s a really bizarre thing.  Although our hearts are breaking, life is going on as normal. The dog still needs a walk, jobs need to be done, the postman still turns up wanting a banter and because I don’t want to be rude I’ll banter back. It’s an unreal reality, it feels like a dream. Can’t anyone else see that nothing is normal any more?

I want to be back at your bedside, stroking your hair and telling you I love you.  It’s just too hard to let you go yet.  I know that he kindest thing, was to let you go, your life would have been intolerable to you had you survived.

I should gain some comfort from that, but I’m not.  Not yet.

Time just needs to stand still for a while and let I feel every stab of the pain of your loss because  the depth of pain I’m feeling means that you are still close to us.

As time passes,  the  memory of you will fade along with the pain we are feeling right now and I’m not ready for that.  Rick, can you just get someone to  stop the world for a little while? Just for a little while, till I’m ready to move forward again.


My Bruvver

What can I tell you about my brother? Listen to the song, it sums him up perfectly as a child – and indeed as an adult.

When my brother phones and says, “You couldn’t do me a massive favour could you?” your heart sinks because you know it’s going to be something totally unreasonable. After a wail of “OH RICK-EEEE, NOOO!” you usually end up doing what he wants, cringing as you go.

His latest idea was a corker. “You couldn’t do me a massive favour could you?  Can you just …..” (Just!?  Fecking JUST!?!)…………his idea was for me to  just find a nice lady dog to mate his twelve year old, half chihuahua, half King Charles spaniel, completely blind, senile, arthritic dog  with. “Well, he won’t last for ever, I’d love a puppy from him.”

“No. It’s not happening,  he’s not exactly a catch is he? I’m not even sure he could manage it, he’s about 65 years old in dog years. Who’s going to want to breed their pedigree dog with him? No, Rick, no.” *puts the phone down really quickly so he can’t talk me round.*

As a child he was a walking accident. His glasses were always fixed with sellotape. His shoes regularly ended up in the canal after he’d kick a ball of a stone or even just set off at a run. Talking of running, he’s the only child I ever saw kick his own backside as he ran.

How? I have no idea. Spindly legs and knock knees, I suppose.

I could list his exploits for many a post and not run out of tales to tell.

After one of his many accidents he used to stand in front of our mum with a look on his face that would translate as ‘please don’t kill me.’ Of course, we were brought up in the days when it was perfectly acceptable, indeed encouraged, to give your children a good walloping and Ricky had his fair share of them. Mum would flail at him with both hands while he just curled his spindly body into a ball, elbows and knees sticking out everywhere. In the end mum would give up as he was hurting herself more than she was hurting him so she’d just shout as she walked away fuming, “Oh, RICKY, You’d make a fecking saint swear. “

She wasn’t wrong.

As we grew up Ricky became my best friend. We’d go out together at the weekends, get drunk and then go back to my house with our respective partners and friends, listen to Pink Floyd and contemplate the meaning of life. Other times we rocked out to Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Deep Purple, ZZ Top or any of the other bands that took us through our teens, twenties and thirties.  We laughed, conversed, played poker and just generally all enjoyed being in each other’s company. Good times.

It was Rick, who when he met Boofuls for the first time, recognised that there was something special going on. I think you’ve met your match there, he said.  A prophesy that was proved to be correct. It was almost exactly  year later when he walked me down the aisle and gave me way at our wedding.

Latterly, Rick has settled into a more sedate lifestyle. Not totally of his own choice. A bad accident a few years ago left him less mobile than previously and years of smoking  took their toll. Really, people with asthma and emphysema shouldn’t be smoking but  suggestions that he stop smoking fell on deaf ears as you’d expect.

Last week, Rick was suffering from a particularly bad chest infection. “Rick, get to the doctor’s, this is ridiculous. ” He must have felt gruesome because he did exactly that.

While he was there he collapsed and suffered heart failure. I suppose if you are going to collapse then the best possible place to do it is in a building full of doctors. He’s always been jammy like that, our Rick.

He was given CPR and then taken to our local hospital critical care unit where he was put onto a ventilator, dialysis and all manner of other things I don’t even have names for. Tubes, drains, sensors, clips, bottles seemed to be coming in and out of him  from every angle.

It turned out that Ricky had developed pneumonia which was just too much for his already overworked organs to deal with. He suffered multiple organ failure and sepsis.

For the last few days  the family and a couple of close friends of his have been with him almost constantly, taking it in turns to sit with him, chat to him, stroke his hair and listen to the constant beep beep beep of his life support machines.

Yesterday morning I  got the call we’d all been dreading. “Get the family together and get up to the hospital as soon as possible.”  At the  hospital we were informed gently and sensitively by the doctors that Ricky wasn’t responding to any treatment, in fact his  condition continued to deteriorate  despite massive medical intervention.

The decision was made to turn off his life support.

We  all said our goodbyes individually and then we surrounded his bed, stroking his head and holding his hands as his life support machines were turned off.

It took him less than five minutes to die. He slipped away listening to his favourite song ever, ‘Never Before’ by Deep Purple.

We don’t know if he was aware of what was happening at all, if he knew he was dying. We don’t know if he heard the nurse telling us how it would happen.  We don’t know if he heard or understood that we were going to turn off his machines and kill him by doing so.

We don’t know if he heard us tell him that we love him.

I do know that when I noticed a tear in the corner of his eye as his life left his body I fell apart.

That tear will haunt me until the day I die.

My funny, clumsy, clever, cheeky, irreverent, unreasonable, amazing brother, it has been an honour to be your sister.

I love you.

Copyright Copyright



Life, love and loss

Life has a way of taking over sometimes and just getting in the way of living - if you see what I mean.

No? Ok. let me explain.

Boofuls and I set off to Devon with Douggie the doggie, mostly for a nice end of summer break but also to view a couple more properties for sale. Almost from the moment we set off we were beset with difficulties and odd events. I’m not going to bang on about them – mostly because of a very inspiring post by Vanessa, my Farfetched friend – you can find the very post here.

Remember the cousin who got married earlier this year and then died a few days after? Well, On the way to Devon, although it isn’t really on the way at all, we decided to stop off to see my uncle and surviving cousin in Swindon. Having told them that we’d get a hotel for the night they suggested that we stay in my deceased cousin’s house as her husband was away for the weekend and had said we could have the run of the place. “How very nice of them, that’ll be lovely.”

They seemed a little bit tense when we got there and there seemed to be a bit of an atmosphere but we put it down to the fact that they are very shy and we don’t see them that often. The conversation was a bit hard going at times but we spent a very nice evening with them, going out for a very nice meal in a very nice dog friendly restaurant. All in all very nice. Until……… cousin dropped a major bombshell. BOOM!

What is it with my family and major announcements in public places? For Gawd’s sake! There’s another story there but I’ll save that one for another day.

Cousin’s announcement forced me to release a couple of skeletons from the family closet. I felt like I had the starring role in an Alan Bennet play. It was awful. The news, which I have no choice but to pass on, will reverberate around the family for some time. The more I think about it the further I can envisage the shockwave and repercussions spreading.

It would appear that the cancer that took my cousin’s life is genetically linked.

Eventually it dawned on me that I would be have to tell the rest of the family. Withholding this little nugget of information could cost a family member or two their lives.

It’s no way to start a holiday.

We decided to have an early night.

As I carried out my evening ablutions I realised that my dead cousin’s toothbrush, make up wipes and other womanly paraphernalia were dotted around the bathroom.

As I walked into our bedroom for the evening the first thing my eyes fell on was an urn. Oh no! It can’t be! It was. An urn with my dead cousin’s ashes in it – in front of the urn were the dried flowers from her wedding. Her dressing gown hung on the door and the fan that cooled her as she lay dying was on the bedside table next to her bed, the bed we were about to sleep in. Oh!!! No no no no no no!!

I loved my cousin dearly. I understand what an honour it was that her husband allowed us not only to stay in their house but in their bedroom but OH MY GOD! Boofuls and I were both extremely uncomfortable with the whole situation. I felt like I was desecrating a shrine. Why oh why didn’t we stay in a hotel as we’d planned?

So there we are, dear reader. Our plans for a pleasant evening with family turned into a major life event, the ripples from which will be spreading out far and wide for some time.

A perfect example of life getting in the way of living.

This was only day one of this trip. Tune in later for more tales from the same trip.

Snory story

Originally posted on Tripping over Pebbles in the Dark:

Here’s a little snory story for you to keep you going till I can write a proper post about our lovely romantic anniversary dinner last night.

Since weeknights have become a no alcohol zone in our house in an effort to econimise, lose weight and generally get healthy, I’ve noticed a welcome but totally unexpected side effect. Boofuls no longer spends most nights snoring and I no longer spend most nights cursing, digging him in the ribs and shouting at him to ‘”Turn over and SHUDDUP!!” Usually followed by, “Right! That’s it! You’re p***ing me off now. Go and sleep in the spare room.”

Peace, perfect peace. I’m loving it. I’m loving getting up in the morning and not spending half the morning trying to get my poor brain out of it’s sleep deprived fog.

Weekends, however are the perfect reason to open a nice bottle of sauvignon blanc and…

View original 323 more words

Get your big girl knickers on

You know that golden hour ? The one hour of the day when all the chores are done and you can lounge around watching telly in your jammies safe in the knowledge that visitors won’t be turning up at that time. That one hour to do whatever you like without that little voice whispering in your ear, “shouldn’t you be…….”

I was spending that hour watching Russell Howard last night. On TV I hasten to add, not in a stalky or creepy ‘get into my car and I’ll give you something you didn’t expect ‘ kind of way.

Naturally, about three nanoseconds after the programme started there was an ad break.

What caught my attention was the image of a youngish woman pulling on what looked like a pair of potty training pants. Eh?

The next thing I see is a roomful of women in tight jeans dancing around, presumably all wearing incontinence knickers and happily pissing themselves while they danced.

WHAT? !?!?!

Let me tell you something, girls. As much as the marketing people might like you to think its normal to pee your pants at the drop of a hat ( or a knicker ) it’s not. See your doctor !

As for that ‘oops moment’ ad when the woman gets her dress caught in a lift door and flashes her incontinence knickers to a chap as she gives him a saucy wink, presumably while she pisses herself, don’t even get me started. Oops moment? I’d be effing mortified! Again: SEE YOUR DOCTOR!

I think it’s disgraceful that the media is allowed to mislead women into thinking that loss of bladder control is normal. Honestly, what companies will do to earn money never ceases to amaze me.

Rant over.

Douggie the Dancing Dog

It’s a little known fact that Boofuls and I are keen ballroom dancers.We’ve been dancing together for about 27 years.

Well, I say keen dancers, we used to be until Boofuls’ hips decided to give up the ghost. Now we just go along for a lesson once a fortnight but haven’t actually gone out dancing for quite some time. It’s never crossed my mind to find a new dance partner – until now, that is. A certain blonde haired young man called Douggie.

Move over Boofuls, Douggie Dancing Dog is here.

We actually made it to our club’s HTM competition last weekend and what a weekend it was. Even turning up was quite an achievement when you consider that of the four competitions we’ve entered, we missed one because of his epilepsy, we competed in one in May and gained a 6th and then a 7th place. Then we missed another competition because of his tummy upset, which he swiftly followed up with a major fit, that was a week from hell, that was. Over the last couple of weeks though all has been peaceful on the health front. I was quietly hoping that we might actually *whisper it* get to compete in our club’s competition. I kept my fingers and toes crossed and hoped for the best.

It’s not always been an easy ride this HTM lark. Douggie’s epilepsy quite often makes him tired so we have to go easy on the training with short bursts of as little as ten seconds several times a day. At the club we often sit out of the training out so he doesn’t get over tired. Other times he’s raring to go but he’s a sandwich short of a picnic and he forgets quite a lot so we have to go right back to basics. Sometimes we have a lovely time training and he amazes me with his skill and just occasionally he really can’t be bothered in which case we go and do something else instead.

It’s been challenging, frustrating, infuriating, joyful, character building, inspiring and downright blooming good fun. I know we’ll never get to Cruft’s but that has never been my intention, this is a just hobby and bonding time for me and my boy and we both love doing it.

On Thursday night, club night, he gets all excited while I get his treats ready and we make our way to training where he can see all his mates and have a great time.

I’d entered us into four rounds: starters heel work x 2 and starters freestyle x 2. I knew we’d have no chance in the heel work as we’d not even put a routine together, I just thought it would be good experience in the ring for him and we could use it as a training round and have a bit of fun with no pressure. Good job really, what a load of old cobblers we were in the first round. I don’t know about being a sandwich short of a picnic – the whole bloody picnic went AWOL. What a disaster. However, during his second attempt I thought I’d see it thorough to the end and we got 5th place! No one was more surprised than me.

The freestyle we’ve been working on for a while but it’s all a bit hit and miss. I think the technical term is an ‘on the the day dog’. We started the routine and he stayed with me but without much enthusiasm. I expected it all to fall apart at any moment and then – he decided he wanted to join in after all and guess what?

We won!! Both rounds! I’m so very proud of him that I could burst.

Douggie the Dancing Dog

Here’s the routine on YouTube. Remember if you watch it, it’s starters HTM. Don’t be expecting Ashleigh and Pudsey. Hey, I was just thrilled when Douggie joined in about halfway through, up until that point I was just dancing round like a twonk!


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