Tuesday, 31 August 2010

My World Tuesday The Last Day of Summer



To see more My World  posts please click here.Thanks to the My World team who host this meme.
Whether 31st August is the last day of Summer is a moot point but it felt like that when we took our dogs for an early morning walk. Our canine visitors have gone home and we left Buddy, our old gentleman, at home. A soft mist hung in the air for the sun, though awake, was not yet strong enough to defeat it. The dogs trotted along happily, tails wagging, noses working hard to assimilate and analyse all the fascinating scents left by others who had passed that way, human, domesticated and wild.

Jenna leaps after the Kong  . . . 
. . . followed by Gus
As we approached the first ponds Jenna and Gus dashed forward for their first frolic. Frodo went in for a leisurely bathe and then rejoined me.

The advance of the webs on an unsuspecting Frodo!
In the sun the tall grasses sparkled with dew-bejewelled gossamer in every direction, the work of a thousand tiny spiders. The ponds are full again after heavy rains and the Labradors thoroughly enjoyed their retrieving practice.
We walked on up the hill, appreciating the clean, fresh air and bright sun in the blue sky. It promised to be a fine day and as we watched aircraft silently cutting a swathe through the heavens the promise seemed to be confirmed by vapour trails dissipating rapidly in the still air. 
Thistles are still flowering but most are producing thistledown. The bracken too is beginning to change colour and soon will die down, changing the landscape yet again. 
We returned to the starting point of our walk through light woodland, carpeted with decades of fallen leaves, sunlight finding paths through tangled branches to cast spotlights and shadows wherever it could. Our footfalls were silent on the soft peaty ground until we emerged into sunlight once more.
We returned home with three happy, tired dogs. It was a wonderful start to the day.    

Monday, 30 August 2010

A Plumber’s Tales #2


Paul was fitting a central heating system in an old wooden-framed building and needed to lay pipes under the floor. He decided against taking up the floorboards, opting instead to create a trap-door into the cavity below. With his safety helmet and head torch in place he lowered himself through the hatch and proceeded to make his way through the dark and dirty space. 
He was on his back so that he could tap supports for the pipes onto the underside of the flooring. He became aware of a crunching under his body and looked to see piles of empty snail shells. As he was pondering how they came to be there in such incalculable numbers he heard a loud hiss and was exceedingly alarmed to see a badger far too close for comfort. Badgers, particularly in confined spaces, can be extremely aggressive and Paul removed himself as quickly as he could from that potentially very unpleasant situation, leaving his helmet and head torch behind.

So Paul finally had to lift the floorboards to finish the job. The helmet and head torch remain below the floor. What will archaeologists make of them in centuries to come?

Sunday, 29 August 2010

A Plumber’s Tales #1



Paul and his father Dave were invited to give an estimate for fitting a bathroom. Paul arrived at the house first, removed his boots as requested, and went inside to start the assessment. When Dave arrived a little later the lady of the house asked him to take his boots off before he went in, but he refused.
'What size shoes do you take?' she asked.

Not unnaturally Dave asked, 'Why?'

She answered, 'I shall have to ask you to wear slippers if you come to work here.'

Dave responded, 'These work boots are an important part of our safety clothing.'

She retorted, 'Nonetheless, you must wear slippers.'

Dave replied, 'That's fine. If you can find slippers with steel toe-caps then we'll wear them.'

With that, Paul and Dave left, having decided that they wouldn't take the job.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Play dead!

I'm sure many dog-owners have trained their dogs to play dead but this is something else! 

A sort of Flenny Noyder


I blame it all on Jinksy from napple notes . . .



Shing, shang, clope,

Missles in the trope.

Kwi pats ill ein? Spleeder Jarno Glein.

Kwi pats ill reit? Spleeder Tarmo Streit.

Caze a nastig blor was drat

To try to zag poor missle nat

Kwi nope did any blune

Ma zig the squizz in his petro's flune.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Midweek Blues

Thank you to Rebecca from 'The Dusty Cellar' for hosting this meme.Click here to see more participants.
Some people like music as a background to their lives, others don't. I fall into the latter category. If I'm trying to concentrate music gets in the way, something to do with the rhythm, I think. Barry belongs in the first group. He exercises to music and the beat helps him to maintain his cadence. If he is exercising in the pool then an ordinary radio suffices. If he is swimming that is no good and then he employs the Swimp3 earphones in the photo above. The speakers sit on the bones below the ears and the delivered sound is very good, apparently. Barry uses a snorkel so his head is mostly below water. I'm not sure how big a part rhythm plays in swimming. The only thing I used to count was lengths but it's not possible or necessary to do that in an endless pool!

The Further Adventures of Frodo the Faller - update


If you're familiar with tales about Frodo the Faller you will know that he acquired his name from his habit of collapsing without warning (usually) and dancing while unconscious. The first time he did this his female servant, who was alone in the house at the time, apart from two other Dalmatians, was quite frightened. She had seen humans experiencing this but now here was her gentle, loving, devoted dog turned into a snarling, uncommunicative beast – the snapping jaws, the frothing mouth, the unseeing eyes, the frantic paddling paws were unrecognisable - but in the back of her mind she understood what was happening. After that first episode she took Frodo to see Nadia-the-Vet. By the time Nadia saw him he was completely recovered and wondering what all the fuss was about. Further episodes occurred and he started a mild drug rĂ©gime for he was now officially diagnosed as idiopathically epileptic, undergoing tonic-clonic seizures. 
For eleven months Frodo was free of seizures and then they recurred; they happened every three to five weeks and he would have clusters of two to three in a 24 to 48-hour period. They were not prolonged – about one and a half minutes – and his recovery was swift but gradually his medication was increased to try and control them.

Eventually, we decided to try and find out if there was an underlying cause and took him to the Royal Veterinary College for tests. He had to stay overnight – that was a shock for the poor boy! Thankfully there was no evidence of anything untoward though they discovered a cyst, which might have been present from birth and not have caused any problems, and so we continued with the treatment. However, we were advised to have another MRI scan to see if the cyst had changed in any way so we travelled to Potter's Bar once more, this time taking Jenna along for company for the lad. Again, he stayed overnight and though the scan showed no change in the cyst, poor Frodo went into status epilepticus, a potentially fatal condition when fits either do not cease or follow each other in such rapid succession that the brain cannot cope and the individual dies. The mortality rate is high, around 20%. It happens to humans too. A seizure of longer than five minutes is considered an emergency. We are sure it was stress that caused this.

The neuro-surgeons were able to help Frodo and added another drug, so thereafter he was taking three drugs. We brought him home and drugged him as prescribed. He slept like a puppy or an old dog – that is, very soundly. During the intervening years Frodo has balanced so that he can go three to five weeks between seizures, occasionally as long as eight weeks. His fits are short, increasingly singular rather than clustering.

What causes a seizure? Frodo is fortunate in that there are no food or drug-related triggers. Some dogs, and cats, have seizures triggered by delays in drug administration or food to which they are intolerant. Others are affected by perfumes in hair spray or carpet shampoo, deodorant or soap. Yet more react to sudden changes in weather or the phases of the moon. Frodo reacts to stress. Now this is a problem when so many things in the course of a day can excite him. Breakfast! Walk! Doorbell! Janice moving out of eyesight! Car! Janice returning! Telephone! Supper! Visitors! Vet!

When he first started having fits, just before his third birthday, he was so aware that something unpleasant had happened that he was reluctant to return to the scene of the disturbance. This meant that I had to accompany him out to the garden and reassure him if one had occurred out there. If he had a seizure as he was getting into the car the next couple of occasions with the car would be cause for anxiety – for all of us! Fortunately, he seems less anxious these days, or perhaps better able to deal with stressful situations.

Seizures can occur at any time of day or night, and an animal may be awake and active or asleep. Many animals display particular behaviours before and after a seizure (pre-ictal and post-ictal) Pre-ictal conduct may involve restlessness, trembling, unresponsiveness to commands, biting or snapping at objects or persistent gnawing at paws. Post-ictal behaviour can include pacing, excessive thirst and/or hunger, confusion, ataxia, temporary loss of sight and hearing, when they may crash into walls or down stairs. These behaviours can continue for hours and are very distressing. Frodo tends to become very clinging when he's about to have a seizure. He also becomes rather clumsy. During the ictal (fit) stage he loses consciousness, thrashes his limbs, his neck and spine arch, his jaws open wide, he growls and salivates and urinates. Afterwards, he is dazed and then stumbles around for about twenty minutes. If it's daytime he'll have a long drink. At night he goes back to (a clean) bed.

A dog in a multi-dog household is potentially at great danger from his housemates. There are many instances of dogs being attacked and severely injured while they are having a fit. In Frodo's case each of the dogs reacts differently. Before he lost most of his sight and some of his hearing, Buddy showed every sign that he would attack if we were not there to check him. The late, great Dominie was concerned, gentle girl that she was. Jenna is usually frightened and wants to get away. Gus thinks he's playing and wants to join in but I have a feeling he may also be inclined to assault when he's a little older. A dog in the throes of a seizure looks aggressive but is unconscious and therefore unresponsive to the subtle dog language of his canine companions. Thus, if he continues to show apparent aggression he is likely to be set upon.

We rarely leave the dogs alone but have to be careful who goes where

Recently Frodo's pattern seems to be changing again. He has had two short fits a week apart and we expect another one imminently. At night I sleep with one ear open, ready to leap out of bed as soon as I hear the tell-tale scrabbling in Frodo's basket. I support his head and talk to him although I know he is lost to the world and cannot hear me. When he comes round I change his bedding and reassure him. Eventually, we all go back to sleep, thankful it was not worse and hoping there won't be more in the next couple of days.

ABC Wednesday F is for Fred!




 Fond and Friendly appreciation Fly Forth to Denise and her Faithful Force For their Fortitude in organising this meme. Click here to see more posts.I am being idle again this week. The post I had prepared for F is far too long so I decided to Feature Fred once more. From an early age I loved watching Fred Astaire dance.

Dancing on the ceiling from 'Royal Wedding'

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, my favourite combination, dancing in 'Swing Time'

Monday, 23 August 2010

100th Macro Monday



Thank  you to Lisa from 'Lisa's Chaos'who organises and hosts this meme. Why not visit her to see more macros?
I thought finding 100 things to post would be difficult and then I looked around.
Dalmatians and Ocicats have hundreds of spots. We used to challenge our young children and grandchildren to count the spots on a Dalmatian. Bethan enjoyed dot-to-dot pictures and tried joining up the dots on our first Dallie.
An allium has at least one hundred flowers.
The pyracantha flowers of spring have been replaced by the scarlet or yellow berries of late summer.
Hundreds of ceanothus flowers provide plenty of nectar and pollen for visiting bees - and the bee has hundreds of fine hairs on its body.
At least a hundred blackfly are gathered here to feed a hungry ladybird.

Cricket

Listening to the cricket commentary is one of summer's pleasures in England. The commentators are witty and wise and frequently bring a smile to my face. Last week I laughed out loud at one remark. Jonathan Agnew, commonly called Aggers, commented on a Pakistan fielder who was racing to stop a ball from reaching the boundary.  He said, 'Everything was moving fast apart from him over the ground.'
I was pleased that Pakistan won the third Test - they deserved it and I hope it will have brought some slight, light relief to that beleaguered country.

Microfiction Monday #45 The Skeleton


Susan from 'Stony River' organises and hosts this weekly meme. Thank you Susan J She provides a picture and the challenge is to create a story in 140 characters or less – including punctuation! Click here to read more marvels of microfiction – and perhaps join in. It's fun!
Here is this week's picture accompanied by my offerings. 


Henry was notoriously slow at making decisions. This time even he realised he had deferred too long. How would he explain to Bob's widow?

(137 characters)

Arthur felt eyes on him. Suddenly he started humming, 'I ain't got no body'. When he turned round, he wasn't shocked to see a skeleton.

(135 characters)

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Simon's Cat - the latest

For anyone who is a fan of Simon's Cat, here is the latest video - 'The Box'. Simon Tofield has an uncanny way of capturing what goes on in a cat's mind. Anyone who has owned been owned by a cat will be able to relate to this little film. Enjoy!



Today's Flowers #107 Japanese anemone

Thanks go the the Today's Flowers team who host this lovely meme. To see more flowers please click here.
The Japanese anemone (Anemone hupehensis), also known as Japanese Windflower or Japanese Thimbleflower, belongs in the family Ranunculaceae. It is actually native to Hupeh province in eastern China but has been naturalised in Japan for hundreds of years. It grows to a height of 3' and was introduced into Europe in 1844 by Robert Fortune. He had discovered it growing in a Shanghai cemetery, spreading between the tombstones, one of several beautiful plants used to commemorate the dead. 
Japanese anemones may appear delicate but, once established, are strong and reliable plants, appearing year after year to flower profusely from early August until the first frosts. We planted two plants a few years ago and now have quite a clump of them. They are pleasing at all stages, from the first emergence of green leaves in spring, through the pretty buds to the unfurling of the flowers. 

Pet Pride - After breakfast

Bozo and his human host this weekly meme - thank you! To see more pets please click here.
Breakfast is an exciting time in our house. Winston miaous at me and if he thinks I can't hear him or am ignoring him he yells louder and comes to pat my leg. Frodo whinnies, Tia, one of our visitors, whines softly and Foxy, our other visitor, dances from front paw to front paw, as though she's kneading the floor to bring forth food. Jenna, Gus and Buddy watch every move.
Buddy is the first to be fed - that is his privilege as the oldest dog. Correction! Winston is fed first but his food is put in the conservatory so that it doesn't get snaffled by a quick dog. Depending on what I'm giving them for breakfast the rest are fed in the kitchen or outside. If I'm cutting up heart or kidney then they remain indoors and watch as the bowls are filled. Minced tripe is the easiest meal - and probably the smelliest. I simply remove the packaging and put the mess in a bowl. Tia is the next in the queue as she needs a little extra to build her up. Frodo follows, then Jenna and Foxy. Gus has already had one breakfast but is given more in the sitting room to prevent him pinching the others' food. 
If chicken wings are on the menu, Winston has one in the conservatory, Buddy doesn't have them at the moment, so he'll have tripe or heart, and the rest, including Gus,  follow me into the garden. Then it's rather like feeding the penguins at the zoo - or perhaps the alligators. I toss a wing to each dog in turn and the snapping of Frodo's jaws is loud and fearsome. They edge closer and closer so that I have to toss the wings further afield to make them move back. After I've counted the wings for each dog we all troop back indoors again. 
The next excitement is the ritual of the pills, all served in peanut butter. They all watch as I set out the tablets and capsules. Frodo has the most as he has anti-epileptic drugs three times a day, plus MSM, glucosamine, bromelain and a couple of other tablets. He has his dose first. Buddy is next, followed by Tia, Jenna, Foxy and Gus.
Then they settle down for a well-earned rest.
Winston chooses one of the footstools.
Frodo curls up in his basket.
Jenna likes to rest on Barry's chair.
Buddy and Tia play bookends on one of the settees.
Foxy and Gus sleep together in another dog bed, close to the box of toys.
Peace reigns supreme, punctuated only by snores and whimpers as they dream of rabbits.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Camera Critters #124 moth


To see more Critters please click here. Thank you to Misty Dawn.

This photo is bigger than the moth itself which was less than three quarters of an inch. This is the underside as it rested on our grubby patio doors.
This is the more usual view. I haven't been able to identify it so if anyone out there knows what it is, please shout out!

Blog problems


My apologies to those who have had problems accessing my blog through Internet Explorer and whose screens have frozen because of it! Carletta suggested it might be a widget so I removed them but it made no difference. Then the Genius, (variously known as Himself, the Lord and Master, Sir, or more commonly Barry) intervened.


'I've never seen another blog with such a long page as yours. It gets near the bottom and seems to choke.'


We looked at some other blogs and he was right (curses!)


It was the labels, folks, which I have now removed. IE is able to cope once more – in our house, anyway, but I shall continue to use Google Chrome because it loads so quickly.


Of course, if you still can't get in (or simply have given up and gone elsewhere and I couldn't blame you!) you won't be able to read this.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Weekend Reflections

Thank you to James from newtowndailyphoto who hosts this weekly meme. To see more reflections please click here.
This is how the water looks before the dogs charge into it.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

SkyWatch Friday Season 4, Episode 6

Thank you to the SkyWatch team for this weekly meme. To see more skies click here.
Last week Barry went to visit his mother in her retirement home in the Blackmore Vale. How could you not be happy with views like this? 
Hopefully, given time, she will be content.

Magpie Tales 28


Magpie Tales is hosted by Willow  Click here to see more tales.
Molly breathed in the warm scented air. This was the best time of her day. Slipping her feet out of the smart, uncomfortable shoes and stripping off her clothes she felt the customary release, as though swaddling bands had been loosened. She stepped into the tub and sighed with pleasure as she sank under the water.

Molly liked the water to be deep, hot, embracing, warming her through to the core. Idly she gazed at her hands – the nail polish was still intact so she needn't renew that. She stretched and slid deeper into the bubbles. She braced her feet against the tap end and wondered, not for the first time, what it would be like to have the full complement of toes.

Broadmoor






Image courtesy of Daily Mail and Wikimedia Commons
Many of you will already know that Barry and I live in a village in Berkshire. Crowthorne is not an attractive, chocolate box spot with thatched roofs and roses round the door, but more of a place you travel through to reach somewhere else. Since the bypass was built about twenty years ago most people don't even have to go anywhere near it now. I say that we live in the village but that is rather misleading for although our postal address is Crowthorne, geographically we live in Wokingham Without. (Without what, you may ask.)
Crowthorne is known mainly for two institutions – Wellington College, originally a boys' independent school but now co-educational. Fees are around £30,000 per annum. At the other end of the village, on the edge of the forest, is Broadmoor Hospital, the best-known of England's three high-security psychiatric hospitals. It houses 260 men and costs about £100,000 per patient per annum. During the First World War part of the hospital was used as a prisoner of war camp for German soldiers who were mentally ill. It was known as Crowthorne War Hospital.

Image courtesy of Sun and Wikimedia Commons
In 1952 one of the inmates escaped and murdered a local five-year-old girl. Local residents called for a warning method to alert the community to escapes and a system of warning sirens was established. These are based on the air-raid sirens so familiar during the Second World War and are tested for two minutes every Monday morning at 10:00. The two-note wail is then followed by a single tone 'all clear' for another two minutes. Every school within hearing of the siren has procedures to follow if the alarm warns of an escape. Basically, the schools lock all doors and windows and children are not allowed to leave except into the care of a known adult. It only happened once when I was teaching, in 1991, and it was not a pleasant experience.
Escapes are rare - the last serious one, in 1991, was of a child rapist. Road blocks were set up and vehicles were checked. At the time, Barry was just starting out for a run with the dogs. On the track entering the forest police had strung a tape on the understanding, presumably, that no-one would think to go either side of it. They stopped Barry and showed him a photo of the escapee and said, 'If you see him, run back here and tell us'. They had no intention of going into the trees!
Barry didn't see the escapee but he was recaptured two days later.
Many years ago a patient escaped but was so frightened by the unfamiliarity of the outside world that he gave himself up very soon.
It is thought but not proven that Jack the Ripper, who murdered prostitutes in the London of the 1880s, was Thomas Cutbush. He was a main suspect in the murders, which ceased after his arrest. He was committed to Broadmoor after being declared insane and died there in 1903.
Another murderer who was in Broadmoor for a time was Robert Maudsley. He was the inspiration for Hannibal Lecter. Current patients include the Yorkshire Ripper and the Stockwell Strangler.
One of the most interesting inmates was W C Minor, a retired American army surgeon. He was not considered a danger and so was allowed to buy books from London. Through his association with booksellers he learnt of the call for entries to what would become the Oxford English Dictionary. He sent thousands of contributions to the editor, Dr James Murray, who became very interested in his prolific correspondent and subsequently visited him in Broadmoor.
The hospital provides employment for many local people. It is often said, rather unkindly, that the nurses are more frightening than the patients! | must say that the ones we've met, walking their dogs, are friendly and have a great sense of humour. That must help in a job that could be soul-destroying. It's hard to find humanity in men who have committed such heinous crimes but, as the Quakers say, we must strive to find 'that of God' in every man.

Texts and texting


I don't consider myself a Luddite – I'm blogging, aren't I? I have a mobile (cell) phone but am not soldered to it. I use take it with me when I go out shopping – a rare event in itself since I prefer to shop through the internet am bone idle and don't go out unless I cannot avoid it. It also comes along with me (on its little legs, trotting by my side – no, that's silly!) when I take the dogs out on my own.
How can I be on my own when the dogs are with me? Well, what I mean is that I'm the only human when we go out. (My neighbours would be interested in that and possibly quite offended.) I have always been a muddled thinker and even more puzzling speaker, which made teaching interesting and probably incomprehensible to my pupils. I mean, I use more words than necessary, unless it's first thing in the morning when I am either mute or aggressively monosyllabic.
What I really mean is that Barry is not with me. Well, he is, but he doesn't always go walking with me. Now, I could have expressed that much more succinctly I'm sure and it's not that I like the sound of my own voice, you appreciate – actually, my voice doesn't sound as though it belongs to me when I hear a recording of it. The voice in my head – just one, if you're wondering – sounds quite pleasant, normal, friendly, not the clipped, precise, horsey one that everyone else apparently hears. Add the pedantic element and you'll understand why I am such an appalling conversationalist and have learned to cover this by becoming an excellent listener, whom no-one ever remembers (sob, sob) because I only ask questions and nod to encourage others to continue speaking so that I don't have to. I can kill jokes, effect awkward silences, change the tenor of a conversation from light-hearted and gay (I do wish we could still use that adjective with its original meaning) to sombre, serious or embarrassed with one comment.
I also have a tendency to go off at a tangent. Oh, you hadn't noticed that trait? Anyway, I take my mobile phone with me when I go anywhere without Barry. Actually, it's Barry's old, old phone – it's simple and works in his car so that we can be 'hands free'. I don't want one that gives me the latest Stock Market figures, or tells me the time in the Arctic, or brings me up to date on the latest celebrity news. I don't need to know the football scores – EVER – or the weather in the Atlantic or the nearest supermarket/hotel/petrol station. Emails can wait until I can access them on my laptop and I'm perfectly happy with the photographs my camera takes. In short, (at last, you sigh!) all I require is a device with which I can make and receive calls and occasionally create a text message.
I don't send text messages very often so I don't use intuitive text, nor do I use abbreviated text, though I can. To wit:- 2 Ys U R, 2 Ys U B, I C U R 2 Ys 4 me. I can't see an occasion when I would ever text something like, 'C U l8r m8', mainly because I haven't any m8s. There are some acronyms that I use – AWOL, ASAP, LOL and of course, OK. I have just – today – discovered a site called 'Text speak made easy'. Some of the contractions are familiar – IMHO, BTW, BRB, AFAIK – but others were quite unknown – DIKU, KISS, OOTO.
Coventry University published research in 2006 that suggested that text messaging might improve young children's spelling skills. I can't see how, but I didn't carry out the study. Following that the Scottish Qualifications Authority said that text speech answers would be acceptable in English papers so long as it was clear that the students showed understanding of the subject. How long will it be before Shakespeare's work is published in text message form?
'2b or nt 2b, tht is t ?'
Critics suggested that examiners might not be au fait with street slang. I think it's highly probable that they wouldn't be! I don't know the current situation concerning examinations.
To my increasing annoyance, texting is creeping into everyday communications between service providers and the public. Thus, when one of the domestic machines (not me, one of the electrical goods) went wrong we were told that a text message would be sent to inform of the estimated arrival of the mechanic. That's no good to me – I can hardly remember where I left the wretched thing and certainly am not in the habit of checking it every few minutes. It does bleep when a message arrives but if I'm not in the same room as it then I don't hear it. Last week I attempted to carry out some online banking. The account is an e.account and can only be accessed online. The bank was bought by another bank a few years ago and the final adjustments were being made. To this end I received a new bank card and went online to transfer remaining funds and close the account. I was informed that a text message would be sent to 'welcome' me and that any transactions would be authorised by text. Grrrr! I dialled the number I had been texted – a deafening silence greeted me. I must try again this week when I'm feeling calmer. There are no alternatives. If I go into a branch of the bank no-one there will be able to help, because it's an e.account.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Battle of Britain


Mo from 'Fresh Eyes on London' posted a photograph today of a replica Spitfire.
It reminded Barry of the time he was working at RAF Bentley Priory. This non-flying RAF station was the headquarters of Fighter Command during WWII. A wartime Hurricane and Spitfire in the grounds were lasting reminders of Bentley's importance during the Battle of Britain which raged throughout the summer and autumn of 1940.

Hurricane image courtesy of Adrian Pingstone and Wikimedia Commons
The Ministry of Defence, wishing to gain some revenue, decided to sell the aircraft and replace them with full-size replicas. When the Airfix kits arrived all the top brass on the site were alive to the delivery. Excitedly they swarmed out of the building, eager to begin the task of construction. The pieces were laid out on the lawn and assembly began.
Spitfire image courtesy of Kogo and Wikimedia Commons

Disaster! The delivery contained Hurricane and Spitfire bodies but no Spitfire wings and two sets of Hurricane wings. Much annoyance and discussion ensued. Eventually the problem was resolved but, while the RAF were victorious in the Battle of Britain, Airfix trounced them on this occasion!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

ABC Wednesday E is for England!



Thanks as Ever to the Effervescent Denise and the Energetic Efforts of her Entire team. Click here to Enjoy more Es and perhaps be Encouraged to Engage in the Exercise which can be Educational as well as Entertaining.


A bit of nonsense this week. Here are the words to the chorus so that you may all join in, no matter what your nationality.
 "The English, the English, the English are best,
I wouldn't give tuppence for all of the rest" 
Michael Flanders and Donald Swann  - usually referred to simply as Flanders and Swann - wrote and performed comic songs between 1956 and 1967. Michael Flanders was an actor and singer and Donald Swann was a composer, pianist and linguist. This performance pokes fun at everyone, but particularly the sort of Englishman who is a dyed-in-the-wool jingoist.

Midweek Blues



Thank you Rebecca at 'The Dusty Cellar' for organising and hosting this lovely meme. Click here to see more blues.


Looking through Lightroom for something blue I stumbled across the following photographs. My eldest and youngest daughters will kill me! 'Oh, Mum . . . '
Bethan at Christmas, 1984. My mother made the dress and smock and the matching doll.
Bethan's birthday is four days after Christmas Day and here she is on her third birthday. The hobby horse was a favourite toy for many years, long after she was 'too big' for it.
Here's Gillian on her friend's moped with Bethan wearing a huge blue crash helmet!

Cheats never prosper


The old adage should read 'Cheats can prosper' following Mark Hurd's departure from Hewlett-Packard this month. Mr Hurd, the formerly successful CEO of HP, has been forced to resign his job after not adhering to the company's code of ethics.
His problems started in June when a marketing contractor to the business accused him of sexual harassment. An inquiry into the claim revealed that there had been no sexual impropriety but found that many inappropriate payments had been made to the woman by the company. Hurd had falsely claimed around $20,000 in expenses on behalf of his accuser.
General Counsel Michael Holston stated that Hurd had "demonstrated a profound lack of judgement that seriously undermined his credibility and damaged his effectiveness in leading HP". Share prices fell by nearly $10 billion following the announcement of his resignation. Hurd repaid the $20,000 to HP and the woman received an undisclosed pay-off from him the day before he resigned.
It appears that the company was unable to dismiss him directly because of a legal loophole in his contract. Therefore he was able to leave with a handsome severance package and retain his stock options. Estimates vary between $28 and $40 million. That is an obscene amount.
My husband worked for HP for several years. Had he been involved in this sort of scandal he would have been dismissed forthwith with no severance pay, no stock options and the possibility of a criminal case being brought against him.
Mark Hurd has walked away, head bowed in apparent contrition, but with more money than most could ever dream of. I hope it keeps him warm in bed. I doubt his wife will.

 

Monday, 16 August 2010

My World Tuesday Bedtime




To see more My World  posts please click here.Thanks to the My World team who host this meme.
Bedtime in our house follows a particular routine. First comes the rallying call - 'All-ee, all-ee out' - which awakens the dogs from their slumbers so that they can tumble into the garden for a final 'comfort break'. Then we all make our way upstairs. 

Our dogs always sleep in our bedroom. Thus, if any of them is ill in the night, we can deal with them immediately. This is particularly important for our Dalmatians. Of the four Dallies we've had, three have had gastric torsion and in two of them the stomachs twisted. This is a life-threatening condition that occurs in deep-chested dogs. Immediate action must be taken to prevent a painful, swift death. Additionally, Frodo has idiopathic epilepsy and while he doesn't have frequent seizures, there is an ever-present danger that he might go into status epilepticus, when fits either don't cease or occur so rapidly one after the other that the brain is damaged and death follows soon after unless veterinary treatment is given to halt the fits.

Once the dogs have been counted back into the house we switch off the lights and make our way to bed. Going upstairs is not a problem for the younger dogs – three bounds for Frodo, four or five for the Labradors. Buddy usually manages to climb the stairs but a combination of very poor sight and elderly stiff limbs means that occasionally he requires assistance.

Having reached the bedroom Buddy goes to his comfortable bed on the floor, Frodo to his basket and the Labradors position themselves variously on the floor, in baskets, or, favoured site, our bed. Often there's no pretence at going to their own beds - they simply stretch out on our duvet and fall sound asleep.

Winston may or may not grace us with his presence. Periodically he likes to be the cat that walks (or sleeps) on his own. Last night we were honoured that he decided to join us.

Wherever the Labradors start the night, invariably they are on our bed by morning. Currently, this means four solid dogs spread across the available space, which becomes ever more available as they push with their paws and shove with their bodies. They snore, they dream, they twitch and whimper but the slightest unusual sound alerts them to a chorus of barking.

Now and again I leave Barry to herd the dogs and dash upstairs to get ready for bed and claim my bedspace. Sometimes he goes up before me and then it's a case of threading myself into bed between blissfully snoozing canines.

This was the scene on Sunday night.

Buddy settled quickly on his duvet.
Foxy went obediently to a basket and squintily to sleep. 
Tia is not allowed on beds or furniture in her own home but enjoys her holidays with us when she is able to take full advantage of all the soft furnishings in our house. 
Jenna also went to bed and was soon joined by Frodo, who clambered in on top of her.
 Gus believes his rightful place is our bed. From his earliest days with us his ambition was to climb onto the bed. He will sleep in a dog bed too, but prefers close contact with his humans.
Winston possessed me, lying across my arm and licking and nudging me from time to time as I attempted to read.

No wonder I stagger forth each morning, stiff and bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived from the awkward positions I've been forced to assume and the cacophony of seven animals - well, eight, including Barry. It's a great life, if you don't weaken!