Say hello to one of our dogs.
We’ve had him about 18 months and he came from an Irish dog pound, his 7 days were up and if he hadn’t been claimed by a Heathlands Animal Sanctuary, a small but fantastic dog rescue, he would have been put to sleep.
He’s been a lovely pet, despite his less than ideal start, and my eldest daughter has been doing agility with him. They have both been doing well. But about 8 weeks ago he started to limp after getting up. He’s a very energetic dog, so we restricted his exercise for a couple of weeks and for a while he seemed okay.
But then he started to get worse and it became time for a visit to a vet. Everyone thought his pain was in his hips but the xrays showed that was not the case, it was his knees that were the problem. His cruciate ligaments, to be exact.
So on Wednesday I took him up to a specialist up the A40 where he had both hind legs operated on. Again, if you are interested in the details, he has had a bilateral TPLO. If you are wondering about the cost, our insurance company will hopefully pay out £5.5K. Thank goodness for Petplan.
Everything went well and we picked him up to bring him home on Friday. This is him in the car. To me it looks like he’s saying ‘Take Me Home’.
So we did.
Now he has at least 8 weeks of cage rest and on-lead walks only to look forward to. It’s going to be a long winter.
Every school day morning, our school run starts with a game of hunt the cat.
If we find him, we lock the cat flap so he can’t go out. But if he’s one step ahead of us, which is often, then he follows us down the road to school and sits on the side of a busy road and watches walk away.
A couple of times he has crossed the road to follow us further and scared the crap out of us, but has managed not to get run over so far.
And when I return he jumps out from under a car, or down from a tree and runs in front of me to lead me home.
He waits for me to open the front door and sometimes follows me inside, but quite often he loses interest once I’m safely in the house, and heads off to terrorise the local bird population instead.
This photo was taken from the top of one of the hills in Northala Fields, beside the A40 on the outbound side.
You have probably noticed these if you use this road at all, they are hard to miss. They are also quite difficult to get to if you want to explore them on foot, which is a pity as they are great for families and kids. You have to get on the the London bound side of the A 40 and get off at the Target Roundabout, then drive live you are rejoining the A40 but instead take the road to the left of the slip road. This leads down and under the A40 and you will see a carpark for the Fields to your right.
It’s not that close to us, but I had to drop one of the dogs off at a vet clinic nearby, and so I took the remaining hound up the hill to get one last look at London in the sunshine, before winter descends. It’s not a great walk for dogs, basically the path spirals up one of the mounds and there are a lot of people using the path who don’t like dogs and are horrified when ours appear.
This day, my walk was also complicated by a film crew who had taken over my usual car park, and were filming a group of uniformed teens traipsing up and down one of the hills. I don’t know what they where filming.
If you look closely at the horizon in that photo, you can see the City of London in the distance. There are boards at the top of the viewing hill which tell you what landmarks you are looking at and it’s also fascinating to watch the big planes land at Heathrow, one after the other.
The hills are artificial and are constructed from the rubble in the foreground, which comes from the demolition of the old Wembly Stadium.
It’s not just a great park for the summer, if we get any decent snow the hills make for some interesting sledding experiences!
Usually, when I get home from the morning school run, I am greeted by two hopeful dog faces wanting a walk.
A couple of weeks ago we changed the rooms in the house around a bit and converted what used to be my DH’s study into a bedroom, so that the kids can all have a bedroom each. This means we have a downstairs bed, and the dogs think it has been put there especially for them.
There is intense competition for it and the rule seems to be; You move, You lose.
So these days, when I return from the school run, I only have one hopeful face at the door. The other face is attached to a body busy snoozing, usually upside down on the bed in my DDs new room.
Such a great watch dog!
DS has a number of physical issues but the one that troubles him the most is his hypermobility.
His handwriting suffers most, in class he rarely manages to grip his pencil for more than 5 minutes before his hand hurts too much to write anymore. One of the things the occupational therapist has asked him to do is ‘play’ with some of this theraputty before he starts writing. It’s supposed to strengthen the muscles in his hands and warm them up before he starts work.
On Monday, I got a phone call from Welfare. ‘ There is no need to worry, but we just wanted to make you aware that DS has managed to get a bit of putty in his hair.’ I have to say this was a new call from the school about one of my children, so I have to give DH full marks for originality. But to say he had a ‘bit’ of putty in his hair, is like saying that the fate of the Titanic was a ‘bit’ of a disaster.
Everyone who saw it just shook their head and said ‘Oh Dear’.
DS had no idea how the putty got there. Apparently one moment he was holding it in his hands, the next it was in his hair. Surprise!
When he got home, I combed some out and then, once my ears had stopped ringing from the screaming, I did a bit of Googling. Apparently what we needed was baby oil.
DH bought some home and DS sat around for 30 minutes with half a bottle of oil dissolving the pink putty. Five lots of shampoo later, DS had some very clean, putty-free hair.
At least we didn’t need to cut it out.
I’m sorry to say it, but it’s *that* time of year ago. I know it’s early, but these slots get snapped up fast.
We always have our Christmas Day shopping delivered. In fact, we usually book two slots. Just In Case.
At this point we use bottles of very expensive champagne as place holders and put notes in our diaries to alter the order to something less indulgent before the order goes through.
I can’t remember the last time I went to the supermarket for Christmas supplies but I suspect it was pre-children.
How does everyone else do their Christmas food shopping?
This is DD1 and our second rescue dog, who she has taken on the task of training.
He was an Irish street dog and was rescued from a pound when his seven days were up. A very lovely rescue called Heathlands Animal Sanctuary brought him to the UK and fostered him for three months before we met him and took him home.
He’s a good old fashioned mutt. DNA tests have shown he’s got a labrador grandparent, and a husky grandparent, and the rest is a real mix. But he’s very keen to learn and is a good partner for DD1 in both dog training and agility classes.
Here they are practicing the ‘Watch Me’ command, where he is supposed to be looking at his owner and ignoring what’s going on around him. You can see the concentration on his face as he waits to be told what to do next.
He’s not perfect, and is partial to stealing food and disappearing after interesting smells when in the woods, but he’s a loved member of our family now and the thought that he was so close to being killed because no one wanted him makes me very sad.
We all have to make the most of the nice weather while it lasts.
We’ve just had the last week of our summer break and the weather has been lovely. After our washout of a summer holiday in Ireland, we had to make the most of it so got out and about as much as possible.
One of the places we visited was Knebworth House. We’d never been there before despite it only being 40ish minutes from home. It could do with a lick of paint but though it was a bit young for the 14 and 13 year olds, the 8 and 10 year olds had a great time on the slides and adventure playgrounds. Be aware there are some height restrictions on the slides, but DS is the shortest of us at 133cm and he could go on everything.
We got an icecream, which was reasonably priced and the younger two got a bit wet playing under the water feature, but dried off pretty quickly afterwards.
Then we drove up to the house and gardens (observing the 10mph speed limit so the kids could hatch a couple of Pokemon eggs) and had a stroll around the gardens and maze. DS liked the dinosaurs, DD3 liked climbing the hills and rolling down and the teens tore themselves away from their phones long enough to appreciate beauty of the house itself.
So, in short, it’s a nice place to visit especially if your kids are 10 and under. There seemed to be plenty of things for under 8s to do as well.
There weren’t too many wasps, I didn’t feel like we had been ripped off by the entry price and it was much more fun than school shoe shopping.
We’ve been on holiday in Ireland for two weeks now and can confirm that the weather is shite.
There is so much to do, and such beautiful scenery, but you will probably need to be wearing wet weather gear with a fleece underneath to enjoy it.
The flipside to this is that you never take it for granted when the sun does come out.