Tag Archives: zerotohero

Brilliant Dancing dog


Douggie and I have been practising a new dance routine. I’ve decided for our next dance we’ll do a paso doble.

We started to practice at the club last might and one of the other members commented that he looks and moves just like a dog from Azerbhajan and sent me this Youtube link.

How people can belittle heel work to music is beyond me. The level of training and the rapport between this dog and handler is superb.

I was absolutely blown away by it. Not only is he (she?) identical to Douggie, he (she?) does in fact move just like him. It was so inspiring to watch I thought I’d share it with you.

I can only aspire to reach this level, it’s amazing.

I’ve run out of superlatives now so sit back and enjoy the video.

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Obituary Column


It’s turning into a bloody obituary column, this blog.

This morning I heard that a friend from school has died. One of the nicest lads I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.

Sleep well, Bully. He wasn’t a bully, just in case you are wondering. That was his nickname. If ever a name didn’t suit a person this was it. He didn’t have an aggressive bone in his body.

I’m posting one of my favourite pieces of music in honour of Bully. It’s the Bizet’s Pearl Fisher’s Duet sung by Jussi Bjorling and Robert Merrill

Enjoy it just because it’s wonderful.

 

Can you do me a favour?


It always makes me nervous when my younger  brother asks me if I can do him a favour. It usually never ends well for me, or for whoever else he asks. He has a way of delegating jobs he’d rather not do himself.

He gets away with murder because he’s a nice guy and a bit disarming. I’m generally immune to it since I’ve known him all his life but then I sigh, tell myself he’s my little bro and get drawn in to his bizarre plans, as I said, usually to my detriment.

 He  has bones that will break if you so much as give them a long, hard look.  He’s registered disabled now and and not very good on his legs. Getting from A to B generally involves cadging lifts, getting a taxi or using the local disability transport. He lives with a little dog called King who’s an eclectic mix of breeds, most likely a chihuahua and a King Charles spaniel. He’s totally blind and fair to say he’s knocking on a bit.  At the last reckoning he was about twelve years old, the dog I’m taking about now, not my brother.

Over Christmas my sister went to see him, my brother, not the dog, and he asked her for a favour – would  she cut his toenails?

 Ohhhhhh noooooo!!!!  Eeeeeeewwwww!!!!!!!!

She, and I, went queasy at the thought of it. If you’d seen his toenails you’d know what I mean.  Disgusting! Poor sis has been keeping out of his way ever since Christmas in case he asks her again. I did gently  suggest to him that there are chiropodists for that kind of thing but he wasn’t for taking me on at all. I don’t know if he’d had them done yet, I daren’t ask. He stopped short of asking me to do it though. I think the look  on my face gave him the answer before he’d even asked the question.

So, instead he requested  that I  cut his hair because he couldn’t get to     i.e. couldn’t be bothered going to  the barber’s. ” I don’t know how to cut hair” I wailed at him. “It’ll be right, just cut it straight across.”

Good Lord, he looked like Friar Tuck when I’d finished. A picture of sartorial elegance he is not. Did I mention I don’t do ‘hands on’ tasks? ( that sounds a bit rude. Move on along now, no happy endings here) I was shuddering for a week. Next time I’ll drag him out to the car and take him to the barber whether he likes it or not.

Last night he phoned me. Hhhmmmm, unusual. What’s he after?

Sure enough after a couple of minutes chit chat there it was;

“Ummmm, you couldn’t do me a massive favour could you.”

“I’ll try. Go on.”

“Well, King’s knocking on a bit now. He’s not going to last forever. Could you find me a bitch who’s a bit like him to mate him with? I’d like a pup from him.”

“WHAT? You want me to find someone who will be prepared to mate their prize pooch with your blind, geriatric, provenance unknown  dog to give them some bizarre new breed of dog that they’ll have a whole litter of? He’s not exactly a prime specimen of doghood, is he? Why don’t you just go to the rescue and get another dog from there? There are plenty looking for homes. “

Here it is folks, the bit that just draws you in:

“But I love him. I want a pup from him so when he dies I won’t feel like I’ve totally lost him. he’s special to me is King.”

Oh for Gawd’s sake! What am I going to do with him?  I’ll tell you what I won’t be doing though – walking up to the owners of dachshunds, spaniels, chihuahuas and the like and asking if they’d like a litter of pups from King, who I have to say I’m not even sure is up to the task.

This time, little brother, you’re on your own.

What would you do?

And the winner is………


Remember the post from a few days ago about our trip to Finland to see the northern lights?  The trivia question about the church?

Oh yes, it’s all coming back to you now, isn’t it?

I sifted through all of your answers which took me all of one second as only one of you had a go at it.  Shame on you for your tardiness!

Well, Aussi Emjay , who’s blog is well worth a lookie, took  the only guess at it being the most northerly church and she was absolutely right.  Actually, maybe it wasn’t a guess, maybe she knew it. In which case muchos kudos to you.

As well as being the most northerly church it also has something else going for it.

So any more last minute guesses  as to how you might know this church?

CopyrightI guarantee that you know it if you’ve watched tv at all over the last few years, particularly at Christmas.

Give in? Ok, I’ll put you out of your misery.

It’s the church from the Coca Cola Christmas advert. 

So. The prize, of my undying admiration goes to Aussie Emjay.

Tune in for the next exciting post, folks.

You couldn’t make it up Chapter Two


I know you’re all dying to know the second instalment in the carpet disaster, so here it is.

The insurance man cometh this morning to inspect my poor disfigured bedroom carpet.  Stony faced and unapproachable. As he walked, or rather waddled into the house as he was grossly overweight and clearly had trouble with his legs, I couldn’t help but feel like my claim was going to be instantly dismissed on the grounds that stupidity isn’t  covered on the policy.

“How did this happen then?”

I related the whole sorry tale, not leaving out the funeral, the  wrong colour or the lack of glasses. I saw the corner of his mouth twitch and his eyes crinkle a bit as he tried not to smirk when I got to the part about not having noticed I’d spilt paint everywhere.

“Well, you know that it’s possible to get 90% of that stain out.” Mind you, it will destroy your carpet.”

Helpful, I thought.

“How old is this carpet?”

“About ten years old.  It’s not new but it’s a good one, we wanted it to last a long time.”

Obviously, that was the trick question to see if I was going to try and con them out of any money. He nodded as if satisfied with my answer, suddenly became much more friendly and filled in his report form saying the carpet was indeed destroyed as I’d said.

Which brings me nicely to today’s zero to hero challenge:

Do you have a reputation? What is it, and where did it come from? Is it accurate? What do you think about it?

Funny things, reputations.  My own feeling is that your reputation will vary depending on the context and circumstances you are in at the time.

Boofuls just walked into the room so I’ve just asked him if I have a reputation. after filling him in on the background his almost instant answer was. Yes. You have a reputation for inviting people to go on walks and then nearly killing them. ”

Hahaa  I can’t argue with that. The trouble is that I struggle with the idea that my children and grandchildren aren’t as fit as I am and can’t keep up.

At this point I was going to talk about my reputation for being stupidly honest, however. A bigger reputation seems to be pushing it’s way to the fore so I’l tell you about that one instead. 

I know, apart from the occasional blip, I have a reputation for being generally happy and cheerful with a massively overdeveloped sense of the ridiculous.  I’m generally so cheerful in fact that the staff at work think I’m on drugs.

Clients are often surprised when I burst into song as I photograph them. Once I sang Bohemian Rhapsody to a family group. That backfired a bit as the first half a dozen frames were ruined by the look of shock on all their faces. Another time I was on a fire escape staircase at a hotel waiting to shoot a wedding group shot. We were  waiting for a missing guest to arrive so I asked them if I should sing while we waited. Well, you know, it worked for Sir Cliff at Wimbledon.

A few of the guests shouted back yes. So I did. I sang, ‘I’ve got a loverly bunch of coconuts’, which incidentally, I also sang to a group of my peers while I was doing my teacher training a few years ago. The tutor, a very crusty psychologist nearly had a heart attack.

That’s the same tutor who was totally bemused one day when I got a fit of the giggles in his class and had to leave. He’d made a comment about the dogs helpline and my sense of the ridiculous kicked in and I had a vision of a beagle answering the phone with it’s sympathetic listening face on. I was laughing so much the tears were pouring down my face and I was struggling to breathe.  Of course I couldn’t tell anyone what I was laughing at, they’d have had me locked up.

Crap. I’ve just realised I am in fact a bloody nutcase. 

You couldn’t make it up. Chapter one


The first chapter starts way back in the mists of time, other wise known as last week when I popped into B & Q to pick up some  colour charts to help me find the perfect colour for my bedroom wall.

I pinned all the charts onto the wall against my lovely sparkly ‘feature wall’ paper and eventually decided that the best colour was one called ‘bumble’. Why it was called bumble I can’t imagine. It didn’t look anything like a bee or honey, it was just a very pale champagne colour and it blended in with the wallpaper beautifully. Just perfect.

Boofuls and me picked up the paint along with a few brushes and various other bits and bobs as you do when you go into B & Q. You know how it is – go in for a screw and come out with a full load.

BEHAVE YOURSELVES!!!! Rude!

Boofuls was out last night so I started the onerous task of turning the coffee coloured walls in the bedroom to ‘bumble’.  Why is it never straightforward? It became very obvious very quickly that turning a dark wall light was going to take more than one coat of crap B & Q own brand emulsion. Doncha just love doing a job twice, maybe even three times?

After a couple of hours I got fed up, cleaned the brushes and left it with the intention of picking it up again tonight.

Fast forward to this morning.

Remember the friend who dropped dead recently? It was his funeral this morning.  Funerals. I just hate all the meaningless platitudes that people churn out at these events. Ask Winklepop about meaningless platitudes, she’s had a ton of ’em.

Boofuls, me Winklepop and bezzie all turned up to a packed crematorium.  As funerals go it was perfectly fine. I’m sure he would have enjoyed all the attention and laughed his socks off at the tears. I can imagine him saying,  “What are you crying about you big girls blouse? ”

After the funeral, still a bit upset, I went home and decided to get changed and crack on with some painting.  I looked at last night’s handiwork and realised that the paint had dried with a peachy hue. Peachy? I don’t want bloody peachy, I want champagne!

I picked up the tin of paint and inspected the label to make sure I hadn’t picked up the wrong colour. Hmmmm, can’t read it in this light, I’ll take it to the window. The tin slipped out my hand slightly and I took a tighter hold of it, laughing to myself that it was a good job the lid was on tightly as that could have been a proper mess.

As I got to the  window I tilted the tin again to get a better look. The lid flew off and most of the contents of a five litre tin of paint poured all over the windowsill, down the front and back of the radiator, all over my Dawn French book and all over my beautiful jade green carpet. OHHHHHH NOOOOOO!!!!

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In my panic, and trying to protect the carpet,  I grabbed my dressing gown and threw it down on the floor to try and catch the paint. What a bloody stupid thing to do. Now I have a ruined dressing gown and a ruined carpet.

Then I turned round to look for something else to limit the damage with and let out a howl as I saw a massive patch of paint on the floor behind me. WHAAAAT?  That must have poured out when I first looked at the label but completely missed me and my clothes, sliding silently onto the floor like an emulsiony ninja carpet assassin. I stood there horrified.

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At this point the dog has come upstairs to see what all the fuss was about. He was dancing round the huge patch of paint, threatening to walk through it and spread it right round the house on his great big clodhopping paws.

Now you know how you can never get a builder to turn up for love nor money? Well, bugger me, the builder turned up at exactly that moment, which is exactly when he was supposed to turn up. Unheard of.  My brain was near to overload. I went downstairs to speak to him, instructing Douggie to follow me.

After a few brief words to the builder I went back into the house to realise that the dog had laid down in the paint puddle while I was distracted and the whole of one side of him was a crap B & Q peach colour.

Oh for Gawd’s sake!!!

A squirt of doggie shampoo and a quick hose down with the garden hose sorted out a very disgruntled dog. Disgruntled? I’ll fecking show you disgruntled!

At that point I decided I couldn’t cope any more and phoned Boofuls at work. “Guess what I’ve done?” If I’m honest I didn’t know how I expected him to react. Maybe I was expecting annoyance, anger or even disbelief  but to be honest I wasn’t expecting mirth. That was the bit where all my strength disappeared and I finally dissolved into floods of tears.  He talked to me for a minute or two and then told me, “You’ll have to go now, I can’t wait to tell Lashes.” He was still chuckling as he hung up. 

I spent the rest of the afternoon scooping up paint and trying to get through to the insurance company. At one point I heard a noise behind me and discovered that Douggie the doggie had picked up and eaten one of my socks. One of  the  posh ones I wear with my posh trousers and my posh boots with the lovely folded leather and zip at the back.  The ones I’d taken off and discarded in a heap on the bed after realising I needed to get some old clothes on for my massive clean up operation.  He was tucking in to my posh sock with relish. I’m not sure I’ll get another wear out of it:

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Luckily, I was feeling much better by then with Boofuls’ words of wisdom still ringing in my ears and was able to just shake my head and say “Oh, Douggie, you are such a bad doggie. Come here and give me a cuddle you bad sod.”

So what were the magic words that took me from nervous breakdown to relative serenity in no time?

“On a scale of things love, this is nothing. We’ve still got each other and mornings like this morning really help to get things like this into perspective. It’s only a carpet. Don’t worry about it.  ”

What would I do without my Boofuls, eh?

Now, excuse me. I have to go and scrape up some more paint.

One year ago today


Exactly one year ago tomorrow Boofuls and me set off onto our Big Adventure. I say ‘our’ but I really mean ‘my’ big adventure. Boofuls, bless him would no more have chosen to come here than fly to the moon ( actually, he’d probably love that) but being the man he is he willingly went along with my dream of travelling inside the Arctic circle in the hope of seeing the northern lights.

We got off the plane and stepped into a magical land.  Where dawn and dusk merged for a couple of hours into a dreamscape of blues, pinks and purples and where the night sky danced and twisted in shades of green and purple.

On the coach journey to our hotel, right on the border between Sweden and Finland, I stared out of the window transfixed as I saw what looked like strange and mythical creatures lining our route. Dragons, gremlins, weird and wonderful shapes of the trees bent over and carrying a heavy coat of snow fuelled my imagination. I really felt like I’d stepped through the wardrobe into Narnia.

This is where I experienced one of the most terrifying events of my entire life; husky sledding in the pitch black.  The only light being from the torch attached to the driver of the sled shining onto the reflective strip on the suit of the driver in front.  I loved it!

I didn’t love it quite so much when it was my turn to drive. Those dogs are fast! I may have sworn once or twice while I clung on for grim death as the huskies galloped at breakneck speed down what looked and felt like a bobsleigh run, slowing down occasionally to fight with each other.  I was convinced we were going to die. Luckily we didn’t so we repeated the exercise again a couple of days later.

There are so many highlights of this trip that a post about it would be the size of War and Peace. I’ll let the photographs give you a feel for what it was like.  You get a gazillion brownie points if you can tell me what is special about the church.

Spruce it up


It’s felt a little bit spring like this last couple of days. I know that that sounds ridiculous since it’s the only second week of January but  there has definitely been a hint of spring in the air.

Well, we all know what spring does. It makes one want to spruce everything up and give it a fresh new look. As I type I have a big tub of champagne coloured paint waiting to be slapped onto my bedroom wall.  It’ll match the gawjuss sparkly paper I put on last year and make it positively glow, it’s going to be be beautiful when it’s done.

Once that’s been done the next job will be to jet wash the patio. That’s a massive job as it’s the length of the house and the  two barns, getting wider as it goes along. Still, it’s an easy job that doesn’t require much in the way of brain power. That’ll suit me down to the ground at the moment. Hahaaa ‘down to the ground’ geddit?

Heckling  from the gallery?  What’s that? “Don’t give up your day job!”

Rude!

I’ll get me coat *slinks out*

We’re also waiting for a builder to turn up *sigh* to replace a couple of dozen slates on the workshop roof. After that we’ll drop a couple of tons of gravel onto the track, get a gardener to do the heavy duty garden tidying and Bob’s  yer uncle.  A nicely spruced up house all ready to greet a new spring.

Isn’t it funny how just a bit of sunshine can give you a whole new perspective on life? It’s only yesterday it was all gloom and doom.

Let’s do it all again!


Here’s a plan.

The first ten days of this year has been so awful and hell, we’re only ten days in! I’m not going to bore you with the details but none of it’s trivial stuff. Just take my word for it that it’s  just awful. Heart wrenchingly, frustratingly, terrifyingly, anger makingly awful.

Every single day has been worse than the last so far this year. Yesterday I spent most of the day in tears as it all got too much. 

See, that’s why I hate New year. All this sodding expectation that everything will be bloody great this year and when it turns not to be all you have is a massive feeling of disappointment as well as all the crap to deal with. New year should be banned.

Fancy sitting there at our local Flab Fighter’s meeting,  right on the front row because bezzie who I go with is as blind as a bat, in tears. God. The shame!

No. I wasn’t crying  because I’ve put weight on, although I have but who gives a toss.  I’ve got bigger things to think about at the moment, I was in tears because one stupid, stupid woman said I looked upset and asked me if I was ok.

NEVER ASK AN UPSET WOMAN IF SHE”S OK!!!!

It’ll only end in tears – and it did. Lots of ’em. And snot. So much snot. Why can’t I cry prettily?

So. I’ve devised a plan. No, not to learn how to cry prettily, at my time of life I think I’m stuck with the red eyes, puffy face and snot type of crying.

No sirree.  My plan is this:

We are going to put the Christmas tree back up and all the decorations, forget that the last ten days ever happened and just do Christmas and New Year all over again. Except that we’ll just extend Christmas a bit and not do New Year.

Now that’s a good plan.

We might be slightly out of sync with the rest of the year come the end of December but we’ll worry about that when we get there.

Who’s with me?