Friday, 11 January 2019


This is written in response to an image from ‘Words for Wednesday’ (yes, I know it’s Friday.) ‘Words for Wednesday was started by Delores and now is hosted by various bloggers. The aim is to encourage you to write – a poem, a story, a song or whatever comes to you – using some or all of the prompts.

This week’s prompts are two photographic images supplied by Lissa. I chose the second as it looks as confused and hazy as the future of UK after Brexit!

My offering is a poor effort, much like the Prime Minister’s ‘deal’. You will find other and better responses here.


All is confusion,
Trade in seclusion,
Empty delusion,
There’s no conclusion.

Some shout ‘sedition!’
Bring back tradition.
Ignore the suspicion
We need a magician
To make a decision.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

The 24th blog of Augustus Lazarus Cooke (Gus)

The 24th blog of Augustus Lazarus Cooke, (Gus) aged 9.

Hello everybody? Anybody? Is there anyone out there?

I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone had abandoned this blog, just like Mrs H seems to have done! She thinks she’s the only one who’s got lots to do. It’s not even as if Frankie takes up a lot of time now because he’s at school. Humans! They should try being dogs. We have to be alert all the time, guarding the house and barking at the television. We like Kitty Croquettes so we clear up after the cats, too, but the Humans don’t like us doing that and pull faces and tell us to go away. That’s not a nice thing to do to loyal Labradors, or any other faithful dog, for that matter. I suppose they have their reasons.

Talking of devoted dogs (and we all are) Mrs H saw a photograph of Buddy Liver Spots on her Facelook feed the other day. What? Facelook! What’s wrong with that? Oh, Jenna’s just told me it’s FaceBOOK. Well, I didn’t know . . . Anyway, it was a lovely photo. I remember Buddy, and Dominie, but the Dalmatian I remember best is Frodo the Faller. 

(If you want to know why he was called Frodo the Faller you’ll have to read about him here and here and here and here . . . and so on.)

I loved Frodo. I really admired him and wanted to grow up to be as big and strong as him.  I didn’t grow as tall but I’m sure I’m just as strong as he was and quite broad, too.  We all missed Frodo when he travelled on but we had each other and then Roxy came to live with us and she’s a lot of fun. Well, the other day, in the Dreaded Woods, we met a Dalmatian and Bertie and Roxy and I really enjoyed playing with her. I felt as though I was a puppy again. Jenna was very friendly to the Dalmatian, too, but she’s thirteen and doesn’t charge around any more. She prefers to stay close to the Humans because they’re carrying the biscuits and she loves biscuits.

I had to go to the Vet before Christmas because I had a lump on my leg. My Humans thought it was a cyst but it was a tumour and it was benign. Well, the Vets carried out more tests and discovered that it is malignant but very slow-growing. It doesn’t matter to me. It doesn’t hurt. I don’t feel as bad about going to the Vet now as I’ve been quite a lot recently. I met some nice children there the last time I went.

I had to keep going to the Vet because my bandage kept falling down. First I had a lovely, Christmassy red one, then a blue one, then a green one. I was very pleased when I didn’t have to wear a bandage any more because then I could go out for walks again. I can tell you, it’s not much fun being stuck in the house when the others go out.
It was lovely to go out again and it's always fun when Frankie comes with us.

On Christmas Day a heron visited us. The Humans think it was trying to find a way to reach the fish in the pond. It stayed for quite a while.

What else has happened? Oh, yes, there has been a new baby. He’s called Jack and he arrived on Marnie’s birthday. She’s twenty-five and he’s nought! So, Mrs Human went to stay with Bethan for a few days to help with Jack’s big brother, Charlie.
Jack, a few hours old
Gillian and Paul and Callum and Kat came to see us after Christmas. They didn’t bring their dogs, though, so we were a bit disappointed about that.  Roxy was ever so pleased ‘cos she really likes Callum.

I don’t think there’s anything else to report. 

Be good.

Hwyl fawr am nawr! (That’s Welsh for ‘Goodbye for now!’)

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Small kittens

Litter brothers Walter and Khan have joined Gareth and Nina's family. 


The current incumbent, Sebastian, has expressed some displeasure.

The Latest Lunacy

Complaints have been made recently about a ‘straight’ actor being cast as a ‘gay’ character. There are ‘so many gay actors, why couldn’t one of them have been offered the role?’  This is political correctness, or sensitivity, or equality, or whatever else one could call it, gone stark raving bonkers.  Using this argument, one could insist that only straight men should be cast as straight men, or train drivers as train drivers, soldiers as soldiers, paedophiles as paedophiles.

Aren’t they all actors? And isn’t the whole point of being an actor that he or she should inhabit and symbolise the character being presented?

I don’t know what letter of the alphabet represents you – there are so many nowadays – L,G,B,Q,T for example. How about adding a few more? F for Fed up, D for Disinterested, HTWIWB for Happy The Way I Was Born, GINGUITCW for Glad I’m Not Growing Up In This Confused World.

While on the subject, or one associated with it, there are people being given gender assignment or reassignment surgery on the NHS, the much loved and now elderly and creaking public service available ‘free at the point of delivery’ in the UK. I have some issues with that surgery being offered although I appreciate there is a very small minority of people truly troubled by the belief that they have been assigned the wrong sex at birth. See this fascinating TED talk by Paula Stone Williams.

However, what I really cannot stomach is the complaints that have been made by a few that they are unhappy with the results and want them reversed (!) or improved (bigger breasts, for example, because the recipient is suffering mental stress.)

I will write a post about the NHS another day.

For now, I will finish this by stating that I will never call myself ‘cis’. I am a female (and yes, I am becoming a Grumpy Old Woman, but better to be a GOW than a COW!)
From Wikipedia: Cisgender (often abbreviated to simply cis) is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. Cisgender may also be defined as those who have "a gender identity or perform a gender role society considers appropriate for one's sex". It is the opposite of the term transgender.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

 The Entropy Gang’s August 2018 blog
(Clicking on the photos enlarges them . . . usually)

Herschel: It’s more than a year since Zula joined the family. She’s still tiny but very determined. She loves the GARDEN. To our sorrow, not many birds venture into the GARDEN these days.

Jellicoe: The MASTER calls me the assassin. I’m the smallest of my brothers but probably the quickest. This year I’ve caught a rat, a mouse and a young blackbird. I was told off for the blackbird but the MASTER and the MAID were quite pleased with me for keeping down the rat population.
Jellicoe up high on the arch and watching . . .
Isambard: I’m still not very interested in hunting, though my attention was attracted by a fly the other day. Lenny is the hunter of butterflies and dragonflies. He eats the butterflies.
Herschel: The butterflies have been coming into the conservatory. They laid eggs and the caterpillars from the eggs ate the plants.

Jellicoe: Lenny spends a lot of time with us. He’s still a bit frightened of Zula. He sleeps next to the MAID’S pillow and I sleep between her and the MASTER.

Isambard: I always sleep on the MAID’S feet and Herschel lies on the MASTER’S legs but he spent all night in the gymnasium the other night.

Herschel: Yes, I went to keep the MASTER company while he was exercising. I must have been asleep when he left and he didn’t see me.

Jellicoe: The MAID was in the garden (not hanging out the clothes) when she heard him miaouing and rattling the door handle, so she let him out but he wasn’t cross or hungry.

Isambard: It’s a good thing it wasn’t during the Very Hot Weather but the MASTER didn’t go in the gym then.

Herschel: No, he concentrated on swimming. We like to join him in the pool, not in the water, you understand, just watching.

Jellicoe: Solomon and Zula spend long days in the garden. Zula drinks from the pond. When she was very small she trod on the water weed, thinking it was grass, and fell in and got wet. She hasn’t done that again.
Isambard: Solomon and Lenny have been scratching a lot. Poor Solomon had to wear a body suit to stop him scratching. Then he went to the VET to be tested for things that might make him itch.
Herschel: They’re called ALLERGIES and it turns out he’s allergic to NINETEEN different things.

Jellicoe: Now he has to go to the VET for injections to DESENSITISE (that’s a long word!) DESENSITISE him.

Isambard: Then Lenny will have to be tested. We don’t have to go to the VET. We’re strong Ocicats.
Herschel: Oh, oh, I had to go to the VET recently. I cut my back foot. The VET said I had severed one tendon and half-severed another. The MASTER and the MAID don’t know how I did it.

Jellicoe: They think he might have done it in the garage. He likes to go mousing in there.

Isambard: But now he’s only allowed in there for short periods and Lenny isn’t allowed at all.

Herschel: That’s for a different reason. (whispers) It’s because he uses it as a litter tray, even though we’ve got lots of litter trays as well as the GARDEN.

Jellicoe: We still love the dogs, especially Bertie and Roxy. Zula loves the DOGS, too, but I don’t think Solomon and Lenny are quite so keen.
Herschel sleeps on Bertie
Jellicoe shares Roxy's bed
Isambard: I’ve seen Lenny rubbing round the DOGS sometimes, but not Solomon. It’s us three brothers who love them the most. It’s funny to remember how frightened we were when we first saw them.

Herschel: Time to go now. The DOGS are going out for a walk soon. How funny! WE don’t have to be taken out for walks.

Jellicoe: It’s been very quiet at home. Frankie, the small SERVANT, has been away on holiday. He’s coming home on Friday.

Isambard: I like Frankie. I like to scramble onto his lap and he likes that. Zula is his little cat and she sleeps under his bed every night. TTFN.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

The photographer

Barry is usually to be found behind a camera whenever we have a family gathering or go out. This means that for most of their young lives our children, grandchildren and now our great grandchildren, were only able to recognise him if he had a camera in front of his face.

As the curator of the family archive, spending hours cataloguing the hundreds of photos Barry takes, it began to bother me that there were very few photos of him.

However, there are occasions on which it is possible to extract an image of him. The first one here is taken from an image caught in Callum's sunglasses on a recent sailing trip.

  The second is taken from Kat's sunglasses. Kat is Callum's girl-friend.
 Sometimes, though, he is the subject. iPhones can be very useful! Thank you, Callum.

Charlie is 3!
It was Charlie’s 3rd birthday yesterday. It was a busy day for a little boy, with cards and parcels to open.

He had a very special party at which he was the only child. Later, next month, when his friends come home from their holidays he will have another party, lucky boy.

Charlie played with his toys . . . 

. . . and so did his parents.

 At different times he was an astronomer, (or ornithologist) . . .

. . . a fireman . . . 
. . . a spaceman, and a gardener with his lawnmower. (He expressed a desire for a sit-on lawnmower but that wish was not realised)
There was delicious food, of course, and a lovely cake.

There was washing up to be done. It required rubber gloves. You have to blow into them first . . .
. . . then pull them on.
Add washing-up liquid . . . 
. . . and lots of water.
Like all good washer-uppers Charlie looked around for more things to be washed . . .
After that, the gloves had to be washed . . .
. . . inside . . .
Today he went go-karting.  

Sunday, 18 February 2018

The Amazing Talking Dog

The Amazing Talking Dog

This is my retelling of a story in our local community magazine. Clicking on the photos will enlarge them - usually.

Walking along a quiet road I passed a house which had a sign tacked to the tree by the path. It said, ‘Talking Dog for Sale.’ I was intrigued so I rang the bell. The man who came to the door told me his dog was called James and he was in the back garden. He invited me to go and see him.

I found a beautiful Dalmatian sitting on the grass. I said, ‘I hear you can talk. Is that right?’

‘Yes,’ said James and wagged his tail.

I was very excited and asked him to tell me his story.

James yawned and scratched his ear then said, ‘Well, I discovered I could talk when I was just a pup. I wanted to help the government so I asked my owner and he approached MI5 for me. They were very interested and in no time at all I was travelling all over the world, sitting in rooms with world leaders, eavesdropping. No-one took any notice of me, other than to give me a few titbits. After all, who would suspect me of being a spy, even though my name was James?’

I could hardly believe my ears but James had more to say.

‘I was MI5’s most valuable spy for eight years but I was getting tired of being on the move all the time and I wanted to settle down so I applied for a job at Heathrow. I did undercover security work there, observing suspicious characters and listening, always listening. I thwarted some major plots and alerted the police and customs to some serious crimes. I was awarded many medals, for bravery, for initiative, for being the best in my sphere of expertise. I was very proud. After I left Heathrow I met my wife and had some puppies and now I simply enjoy my retirement.’

I was amazed and decided I would love to have James. I asked his owner how much he was asking for the dog.

I was astonished when he said, ‘Ten pounds.’
‘Why are you selling him so cheaply? He’s an incredible dog.’

The owner smiled and said, ‘He exaggerates. He’s never even been out of the garden.’

The  story, of course, is not true, but it gave me an excuseto post some photos of  the late, great Frodo the Faller, my velcro dog.

Wokingham Rocks

Wokingham Rocks

Clicking on the photos enlarges them - usually.

While walking in Simons Wood one day last week we noticed a coloured pebble in a tree. Clearly it had been placed there deliberately. We examined it and were curious but thought little more about it. A few days later we saw a few more painted pebbles and then met a fellow dog walker and her little girl. They told us about Wokingham Rocks

On their website they say, This is a 'just for fun' community art activity where you can paint what you like on rocks and hide them around Wokingham.’

It has added a new dimension to our walks! It is fun for children and adults alike to paint and hide their works of ‘art’ and I think it’s something Frankie might like to try. We shall see!

Some have been painted by children, others by adults. On the back they have 'Wokingham Rocks', the date and a link to the Facebook group page.