Thursday 31 May 2018

Crocodiles and carrots ....

On Wednesday, Ruby went to spend the day with the trainer. He got her out of the car and she sat trembling, head down at his feet, looking up at us with her best puppy eyes. We had a quick chat, he had already had an email regarding her biting and jumping up, then we left.

We went back at 5pm only to be told she had behaved impeccably! He cancelled the 1-2-1 as she was too tired and we’ll arrange it for another day if necessary. She tried to bite him once and he corrected her. She tried to jump up once, again corrected. Obviously we are not doing things correctly.

The previous day, as an aid to her teething, we filled some vegetable chews with kibble, and along with some carrots, these were added to the freezer:
She takes about 5 minutes to work her way through a chunk of frozen carrot. Normally, an empty vegetable chew, takes 10 - 15 minutes, hopefully, these will take longer. She has one of these chews twice a week as they are not only good for her to munch on, but also help keep her teeth clean.

Wednesday 30 May 2018

Front Garden...

The front gravel garden is changing almost every day. This was a few days ago:
The purple iris siberica has finished. Again just one bunch survived. There was another but it appears to have been invaded by ants and looks most odd.
The Aqualeiga on the right has now finished and I have begun to deadhead the seedpods. I sprayed the roses as last year, all the new ones succumbed to various diseases. After all the rain we have had, I felt they needed a little something to try and ward off such things. We shall see.

Tuesday 29 May 2018


Yesterday was cooler but pleasant here, about 16C with sun. Now that the patch beneath and behind the compost bins is clear, we went to look for plants.

We chose a nursery a 20 minute drive away. As we approached, it was surrounded by mist and the thermometer on the car showed a drop in temperature down to just 7C! Fool that I was, amongst many others there, was just in a summer top and we were all frozen. The staff were all wearing jackets!

Only two plants bought plus a bag of compost to boost the depth of soil. I shall have to dig up and move some plants from elsewhere to fill it up a bit more.

Monday 28 May 2018


We have just had our 37th wedding anniversary. Don’t do much nowadays, but walked down to a local eatery to have lunch. DB had hunter’s chicken and a pint of Guinness. I had a fruit juice and ham, egg and chips. We walked a longer way home to walk off the calories!

Our 19C weather yesterday turned into 26C. We had our hot lunch outside then all came into a slightly cooler interior of 22C! Ruby didn’t know what to do with herself so we put her in her crate and she fell fast asleep.

DS, DDiL plus grand dogs (and great grand puppy D.) are all down south. He mentioned on social media they had thunderstorms all night and the following morning. I forgot to mention that Ruby is actually our great grand dog as she was from a litter from grand dog Miss M.

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Friday 25 May 2018

Lovely jubbley

Heavy rain early morning has thoroughly watered the dust dry garden. Later on, I should be able to apply the nematodes, which are currently stored in the fridge. I have decided to use half and then the other half in three weeks (its use by date). It’s supposed to be applied again in 6 weeks but that will have to do.

Normally we don’t use them but there were a few in the compost bins when we emptied them, no doubt eggs present as well.

Dog training for Ruby today. I am so stressed at the moment with her, that I might well have to hand her over to DB and go out to calm down! Tough if the trainer doesn’t like that.

Being so windy lately, like children, she has been over excited at the slightest thing. Stopped training yesterday shortly after arriving at the cricket pitch, as she wasn’t co-operating at all. DB walked her home whilst I took the car back.

Got another sowing of beetroot, carros, radish, lettuce and beans done yesterday. I also sowed some nasturtiums for salad use.

DB managed to fix the fruit cage door which had dropped and was scraping on the floor. All in all, a good days pottering, working whilst young miss was asleep!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday 24 May 2018

Out and about.....

Whilst out and about we called into a pub in Gayton. We have eaten here before and always enjoyed the food and prices. Oh dear, new people have taken over and we won’t be going again.

Prices are fine but no more buffets of lovely, proper food, no more sandwiches plus a complete change of menu. There were no blackboards up advertising dishes of the day or special offers to tempt you. All the staff had changed and were very young. The music was old pop beating away in the background.

The restaurant which is normally full, was almost empty. Dogs are still allowed although Ruby wasn’t with us. However, half the pub was closed off for a funeral so other than the restaurant, just 4 tiny tables were available for everyone to use.

We ordered 3 different rolls to test them out and some gourmet chips. DB had two thin slices of reheated beef in his plus a bit of salad and half a pot of gravy. E. had two small goujons of cod plus lettuce in hers. I had hunters chicken without bbq sauce which I don’t like. 3 x 2” slices of reheated dry and frazzled chicken were inside plus 1 thin slice of bacon and a bit of melted cheese. A small salad came with it.

The 10 or so gourmet chips, were served in a small enamel pie dish. We couldn’t tell whether they were fresh or frozen but there was nothing gourmet about them.

We had to go into the closed off area to pay. An older waitress asked if we were part of the funeral party, we said no. We were more or less given orders to go into the other half. I informed her we were paying the bill. She ignored this comment and then said, “where the heck are they, they’re late”. Obviously referring to the funeral party.

We made a point of commenting as we left that we wouldn’t be back.

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Last night....

Just before going to bed, I checked the weather forecast for today, similar to yesterday it said. Nope!
It is far colder, with a brisk cold wind blowing, and currently 9C, but feels far colder. I am wearing a jumper as I type!!

We finally got the rest of the compost, from our given away compost bins, onto the garden where needed. It was full of worms and hopefully, slugs notwithstanding, will benefit the soil. I ordered slug nematodes for the first time, and shall use them when the wind dies down and temperature rises a little.

The smaller 4th raised bed, on the patio, now has its own mini compost bin in situ and completes that final in situ bin task. I do have ants in the new one in bed 2, but hopefully, turning it every day (or every other day), might disturb them enough to go elsewhere.

How is your garden/allotment doing?

Tuesday 22 May 2018


Just removed a tick from a rather uncooperative Ruby. I hate them. Stamping on it didn’t kill it so I whacked it with my rolling pin!!!

I get them occasionally on me, blasted things. Cotton thread works quite well but as we now have a choice of two removers, shall use one of them in future.

Glorious weather isn’t it. Unfortunately, 3 out of my 5 peonies didn’t make it through the winter. First time in 31 years I have lost them, so it must have been wetter than normal, even in our gravel garden.

Monday 21 May 2018

Who knew....

I had a lovely phone call with DS yesterday to chat about general things and some of the issues we are having with Ruby. It was a lovely discussion and a great help. We later had a Facetime call. Luckily Ruby was playing up in the way we had said and he got to see it.

He then took us through the correction methods they use and it seemed to help. However, later that evening, off she went, jumping up, snapping, tore a hole in my jeans, a hole in DB’s shirt. She was corrected many times and was contrite for a short while before beginning again. In the end, a houseline was put on, to keep her at the side of DB, as she would not leave my ankles alone.

She has now been booked for a residential training day with our dog trainer, followed by a 1-2-1 with us. Other than these two bugbears, she is lovely and will be a great dog. We will spend what is needed to get on top of things, even though at times, I could hand her back!

His puppy from the litter, is eating her poo. They now put 3 tiny pieces of pineapple in her food, she had a poo, goes to eat it and promptly spits it out. Apparently it makes the poo taste disgusting. Doesn’t work for all dogs, but does for her.

Thursday 17 May 2018

Look into my eyes....

Apparently, a liver and white springer spaniel, should have amber eyes (or rarely they can have very bright blue like a husky). Maybe the eye colour of Ruby is still changing as for now, we reckon her eyes are more hazel green, than amber, what do you think:

She is growing in leaps and bounds and now weighs around 6.3kg. She has had all her injections, is out for short walks and undergoing training. When asked, she will sit, most of the time. Her recall is coming along nicely, especially to the whistle and she will retrieve but not always bring it back!

She is for the most part, toilet trained to go outdoors, but still has the odd accident indoors. She is dry at night and sleeps through the night.

We are monitoring her daytime sleeping as left to her own devices, she would nap rather than sleep and certainly wasn't taking the 'normal' amount of 16 - 20 hours in a day (including nights). We now put her back in her crate, with a few bits of kibble, several times a day and after whining/crying pitifully for a few minutes, will then fall asleep. This seems to be helping her quite a bit.

However, her one bugbear is biting and biting hard. She doesn't seem to have developed as much bite inhibition as we think she should have. DB's trousers have some extra vents in them now, as do quite a few of his jumpers. Being on blood thinners doesn't help as often she draws blood:(

This was expected but oft times, she seems to go overboard and works herself into a frenzy of snarling, biting and leaping at you. Again, apparently, all normal.

She just won't stop jumping up at us when we try to sit down and that is when she really goes off on one of her tirades! We stand up and ignore her, ask her to get off. She gets down, we praise her for getting down, we sit down she jumps up again. This scenario happens quite a lot. Today she discovered she can now get up completely on the chair and launched herself when I had a full mug of hot tea in my hand - it was a pretty close call, for both of us.

The vets recommend time out, trainer isn't too keen on it but time out does seem to calm her down (usually the second one). It is the one thing that really irritates us, and upsets me,  about her and we sincerely hope we can get her out of it soon. Other than that, she is a joy:)

 Have a grand weekend folks, hope the weather proves nice for you all.

Wednesday 16 May 2018

A change to composting....

Now that 3 out of the 4 raised vegetable beds have their own compost bins, we have decided to get rid of our 2 freestanding black round ones. There was only one half full with almost ready compost plus hundreds of worms.

Each bin in the 3 beds was given a good shovelful, most was put into the fruit cage and the small amount leftover, has been raked over and left for the birds to pick through for their hungry offspring.

This last bit will get used on the few tomatoes and bean plants.

It was a hard decision to make but quite frankly, we both finding emptying, riddling, then transporting, buckets and buckets of it around the garden, just too much work for us both.

If and when I need manure, I shall only have to buy one bag.

The bins will be put out front for anyone who wants them. We are still looking for the correct sized bin for the 4th smaller raised bed.

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Am I still frugal?

It is a question I asked myself the other day, especially with having Ruby!

It is true, that in some ways, we don’t need to be as frugal as we once did, when DB had retired and I had to give up work due to illness. We lived on the same amount of pension money for 5 years before he started to get annual increases. That is why we wrote our war diary.

Now, we live on his work and government pensions, both of which are not huge, amounting to a lot less than most people might envisage. I am still a few years away from my pension due to the government shifting their goal posts. This messed up our plans, resulting in our own goal posts being kicked into touch!

We menu plan and try to keep our food/toiletries bill to less than £40 each week. Any money left over from this pot, at the end of the month, goes into savings. Those along with monthly savings from being careful, allowed us to save up for Ruby, pay pet insurance and for training. Her food comes from these same savings as does a holiday, if we take one. Holidays are not expected but considered a treat.

We shop around as each utility comes up for annual renewal. We are careful with electricity, water and spending willy nilly which results in money being frittered away.

We both believe those extra frugal years reset our financial mind set and in our eyes, that is no bad thing.

Monday 14 May 2018

Front Garden

I don't know about you, but I find the arrival of the verdant spring green to be positively uplifting. Especially after the long, cold, damp and most awful wet winter for a long time.

The front garden is changing daily. Here it is on Friday:

Over the weekend it has grown even more. I will post more photographs as it develops further.

Sunday 13 May 2018

To Sue

Sorry to hear about Colin. Sending hugs to you and your delightful family.

Friday 11 May 2018


I don’t know about you, but if people advertise themselves as dog trainers, have a contact form to fill in, then don’t get back to you, I find it very irritating to say the least.

We filled in two such forms when Ruby was just 5 weeks old, no reply. Phoned them, left messages, no reply. Finally I found another one in Ashill and Brockdish, who trains by rewarding good and correct behaviour and not using food treats. They train to various levels in different disciplines, no money upfront, just pay on the day. Ruby had her first class today, I think I was as tired as her by the end. Good session though!

He actually answered our email within an hour of finishing a training session!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday 10 May 2018


Last night, I had a cry. When overtired, Ruby loses self control where biting is concerned. It is no longer play biting. She was sat across the room from me and as I crossed my legs, it started her off. She ran full pelt at me, mouth wide open like a striking snake, launched at me, clamping onto an area a bit too close for comfort, near my nether regions.

I screamed which really started her off  then raised my voice. She stopped for a split second then launched again. DB came in to help and she attached herself to the top of his trousers and stayed there whilst he went out the room with her. She then had a time out in the hall!

Didn’t really help so 4 pieces off kibble was thrown into her cage and when she went after them, the door was shut. Within minutes she was fast asleep. She was her usual sunny self on waking. It would be funny if it wasn’t so painful. Training for us to help her methinks!

She was overtired for puppy socialisation a few days ago and actually went for the vet nurse, who said, 'blimey, I see what you mean". I don't think she believed us about this type of biting, now she does!

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Kitchen safety gate installed

We finally found an extending safety gate for the kitchen archway. It was supposed to be a quick and easy fit but our archway has skirting boards and for some reason, we thought we had to accommodate those in the measuring.

Once we realised it didn't matter (after watching a video online), it was indeed a quickish fit:
DB couldn't fit the bottom left catch as there simply wasn't room so he made this nifty bracket which works perfectly:
 This is a lift and swing style gate. The top of it originally had a swing lever. However I found it very difficult to operate it one handed so he removed it. Now I can simply lift with one finger if required, so much easier:

Tuesday 8 May 2018

11 weeks old...

Ruby was 11 weeks old yesterday and as she has now had her jabs, also had her first walk to a green patch close by. Boy, was she excited:
The grass (and weeds) were very wet, but she ran around in circles, still attached to the lead. She came home with grass and dandelion stains all over her. We gave her a quick rub down to dry her off a bit and within 5 minutes, she was fast asleep!

Monday 7 May 2018


Got a small row of carrots, radish, lettuce and beetroot sown. Also went to buy five tomatoes, Ailsa Craig, Shirley, Moneymaker, Golden Sunrise and Alicante, plus two chilli peppers, un-named! The tomatoes were ready to go into their next sized pot and as I haven’t got a mini greenhouse for this year, will go outdoors during the day, then come in at night. Same with the peppers.

Whilst out doing that, we stopped to admire a field of cowslips, just starting to go over:
This field has been planted by the farmer and is getting better every year. Some have even escaped into his other field.

Ruby was quite warm indoors yesterday evening, so she went to lie down on the cold hearth:

Thursday 3 May 2018

Double ouch....

Just been prescribed antibiotics as I have an infection in my big toe! Partly due to the toenail starting to poke into the corner and a small circle of a pressure sore on the end of the toe. I had been uncomfortable in bed for a while with the duvet feeling like a heavy weight on my toe, now I know why!

Second ouch was courtesy of Ruby, though it was my own fault. She was stalking a toy when I stupidly bent down to look, mid launch. A nice tooth mark on my upper lip and another at the top of my nose. I immediately washed both with soap and water, followed by antiseptic cream.

On top of that I have dry eye so have been given drops for that.

I know ‘they’ say pride comes before a fall, but I thought 2 years ago how well I was doing, only have one or two items on prescription, now I have quite a few.

By gum, its a sod, this getting older business. Have a great weekend folks, enjoy the sun and the Bank holiday for those of us in the UK, who can get the extra day if lucky.

Wednesday 2 May 2018


DB got my raised bed net toppers down yesterday in readiness for sowing outside. Indoors I sowed, a bit late, a few dwarf runner and french beans. For now, I could only sow 3 of each plus one pot of very late tomatillos, as that is all the pots my little electric warming tray holds. Once they are through, I will do another 3 of each of the beans. Never grown dwarf runners so that will be interesting. Outdoors, after the rain today, I shall sow carrots, beetroot and lettuces.

Also managed to get 3 loads of washing dry which was a bonus.

Ruby attended her first socialisation class last night. She wasn’t fazed at all, little tail wagging furiously for the most part. Mind you she wasn’t happy getting back in the car and whined for a few minutes. She ate her late tea and then turned into a very annoying furball. Poor DB got bitten again and it was hard to calm her down. In the end I raised my voice and she calmed down, but sat at our feet chunting away passionately!

Wet newspaper this morning for the first time in more than a week despite getting her out to toilet before bed time. We hope to remove her side toilet pen soon and just have her in her crate with water and a bit of newspaper, allowing us to get the lounge sorted out. Onwards and upwards!

Tuesday 1 May 2018

What rain......

I know rain fell very heavily in parts of the country yesterday but not here, thank goodness, despite the horrendous forecast.

Mind you, it was very windy and very, very cold in the wind. We have had to put the heating back on!

We took a trip to Stamford to visit a small family vet practice for Ruby’s next vaccination. Her first jab at 8 weeks was by another manufacturer and had different products in it.  Our vet said it was okay for us to go, as they wanted to start her again, with an L4 included (which won’t mean anything to those of you without pets), which we felt was just too much. This vet practice used an L2 which means she is safe to go out in selected places in a week. She will have her final jabs in two weeks, at that practice, then she can go anywhere - yeah. Again, three lots but hopefully less of the L (leptospirosis) element.

She weighed 5.1kg, we have no idea if that is okay or not. She is putting on 1lb a week, is full of energy, has a waist, we can just feel her ribs, and she appears to be the right shape for a puppy of her breed!