Is it just my kids who come home from the school fair with the biggest second-hand soft toy they can find?
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.
This week I spent a couple of days at a conference at the ExCel Centre in the London Docklands.
It’s about a two hour tube journey each way from our house, and I really wasn’t looking forward to the 8 hours of travelling over the two days.
But then someone suggested I think about staying the night in a nearby hotel, instead of schlepping back and forth during rush hour, so I did. DH worked from home and ran around after the kids for a couple of days while I had 36 hours off from parenting.
I stayed in the nearby Novotel, caught up with a friend who lives in the area for dinner and enjoyed having a room all to myself. And I got to see this lovely sunset, over the O2 and the Emirates Skyline.
Did I mention the peace and quiet? It was almost deafening.
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.
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!
Christmas is only 8 weeks away and I’m very busy needle felting items for a couple of Christmas markets I’m planning on doing. I’m hoping this might be a good time of year for me, so I’m trying to spend every spare minute making something for my stall.
I’m making a mixture of hanging decorations,
Small 2D pictures of robins suitable for framing or cards,
It’s hard to limit myself to making things I’ve made before. People keep asking me if I make badgers or camels or bears, but I need to focus on making a few of the same thing at the moment.
Now is not the time for experimenting, that will come later, but it’s just so much fun!
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!
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.
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?
I’ve never been any good at crafts like sewing, knitting or crocheting. I can do them, but they always seemed like such an effort and I’ve never really enjoyed them.
Last Christmas, DH bought me a needle felting kit and I seemed to get on with it from the start. Most importantly, I enjoyed it.
A lot of people don’t know what needle felting is, but basically you use a specially barbed needle to stab bits of wool into shapes or patterns. It’s very therapeutic. Some felties contain wire or pipe cleaner armatures, or skeletons; wool is wound around these in layers to create the desired shape and colours.
I’ve had a go at making all sorts of different things and now I attend a local craft market every month. People ask me to make them things, usually animals or figures, and mostly seem to like what I produce.
Last week someone asked me to make her some small pictures for Christmas cards and this is the first of those. I’m pretty pleased with it as I love robins.
If you are interested in seeing what else I make, check out my FB page and if you fancy trying a (new) craft, can I suggest needle felting? But be warned, it’s very addictive!