Thursday 30 April 2020

Wales is Closed ... and Broken Spoons

We're all told not to travel except for essential journeys, we actually have stricter guidelines here in Wales than the journeys allowed in the rest of the UK.  Including no driving to anywhere to begin a dog walk or start your daily allowable exercise.

Roads into Wales from every point of access have professional and homemade banners stating that Wales is Closed. 

Every week Visit Llandudno share photos on their Facebook page, clearly stating Wales in Closed and asking people to stay away.  They share beautiful photos of places that will still be here and available for all when travel restrictions are lifted and we can start to get back to normality, and every week without fail the Police are having to track and catch up with people heading to coastal areas and to Snowdon to walk, hike and try and holiday.

  Last weekend for instance saw 10 people from London in two vehicles stopped at Bethesda, just half a mile from their chosen area for their 'daily exercise' ... they were on their way to climb Snowdon!!  A five hour drive, 245 miles and then they were turned round by the Police just half a mile from their destination of choice and escorted out of Wales.  

Serves them right ... and what a disgrace that they thought rules didn't apply to them.

Stay away from Wales, stay home drink gin, wine or the beer of your choice.

So many of us are doing our very best to stay within all of the guidelines and then we have the few who try and ruin things.

Stay safe, stay home, and don't forget to Clap for the NHS tonight ... I broke my wooden spoon last week, I was so enthusiastic  😄

Sue xx

Wednesday 29 April 2020

Suky / Doggy Update

Thank you so much for all the comments yesterday.

Yes, we were so relieved that we managed to get Suky to the vets, if we hadn't she could have lost the eye.  Hopefully it will respond to treatment, and we'll see how things are improving, or not .... but I am optimistic ... tomorrow.  

She is getting resigned to us pouncing on her six times a day to administer her antibiotic eye cream and the moisturising eye drops.  She must be starting to realise that things feel better afterwards.

Both dogs have been down recently.  Playing out and running from one end of the paddock to the other is not the same as a good walk along the prom in Llandudno meeting and greeting other dogs and people.

Just look at Mavis ... this mornings photo sums everything up so well  😢 

Last night we recorded a show especially for the dogs on ITV ... How to Keep Your Dog Happy at Home ... and they loved it and were glued to the screen for the full 30 minutes, including the adverts in the middle which were predominently animal based or featured animals in them.  We've decided to keep it on the Freesat box and let them watch it at least every other day, we're also recording tonights Paul O'Grady's for the Love of Dogs, another of Mavis' favourite shows.


Before I go I was asked about Suky's name yesterday :

Google answer: Suky as a name for girls and has its root in Hebrew, the meaning of the name Suky is "lily". Suky is an alternate spelling of Sukey (Hebrew): pet form of Susan. This was totally coincidental, in a weird as weird can be sort of way, as I named her Suky in honour of Alan's Mum Jessie, who referred to loving, cuddly lap dogs as 'sooky sooky dogs'.  Suky was born the day after Jessie died.

Sue xx

Tuesday 28 April 2020

A Hair Trim, and a Visit to the Vets

It had to be done!!

My fringe was over my eyebrows and all wispy and weird, so I got out the old hairdressing scissors.  Before I started using them I looked at them and realised that, gosh these must be at least 40, yes FORTY years old.  I used to cut my fringe all the time in between hairdressers visits when my hair was long in the days before my boys were born.

I jokingly shared my photo and tagged Margaret, my hairdresser in it.  We're friends on Facebook, so she saw it straight away.  She said I had a done a good job but to make sure I kept Alan away from the clippers, he's jokingly said in the past that he'll give me a number four cut with his hair clippers and Margaret my hairdresser has said DO NOT LET HIM ... in no uncertain terms 🤣   

In other news ... much less amusing news ... we had to rush Suky to the vets yesterday.  She had had a runny eye for a few days last week, but over the weekend it had worsened and her eye looked milky and sore.

After a bit of a tussle with the vets receptionist on the phone who was saying over and over again that it was genuine emergencies only and the vet would not be able to see us ... even when Alan described exactly what was wrong.  In the end Alan said 'so you call a Pug potentially losing an eye a non-emergency?' and she relented and gave us an appointment for 10.30am.

The new procedure is that you pull into the car park, ring to let them know you are there and the vet comes out of the locked surgery door to talk to each person when it is their appointment time, taking the animal back into the treatment room to check over or treat if necessary.

Sadly the people waiting to see the vet before us with a dog with numerous shaved bits on it's fur on both sides of it's body, had brought their beloved pet to be put to sleep.  We couldn't help but hear the sad conversation as the vet told them how hard they had tried with all the exploratory work for some unknown disease or problem.  They were doing the best for their beloved pet, who although beautiful and obviously quite young, looked worn down and weary  How hard not to be able to cuddle your fur baby when it takes it's last breath in these sad Coronavirus filled days.  

I had tears in my eyes when the vet reappeared to see Suky.

While the vet was with Suky Alan took Mavis for a little walk along the country lane by our vets, and I waited by the car for the vet to bring Suky back out.  She said it was a good job that we had brought her in as this was a serious eye ulcer, one which had eaten through layers of her cornea.  She is now on antibiotic cream and another eye moisturising cream to try and help her eye heal itself.   Once you have your animal back and the medicines it needs you once again ring the surgery number and pay for the treatment over the phone.  With a return trip for a check up booked on Thursday, at least we now know the new routine. 

Already after a few doses of her antibiotic eye cream she is much better in herself, and they are both not quite as stir crazy after being out in the car, even if it was only for a short while.

Sue xx

Monday 27 April 2020


But then I already knew that really.

These strange days only serve to reiterate what we already know.  

We are managing with so much less, nature is nurturing us as never before and life has slowed to a virtual standstill for most of us. 

 While the key workers push themselves to their limits still working day in day out in medical, caring, emergency, food wholesale and retail and other vital roles ... of which Alan has one keep our country's wheels turning and us all safe.

We have a lot to be grateful for,

And we are

Grateful ❤

Sue xx

Saturday 25 April 2020

The Rest of My Present Off Mum

The second part of my birthday present spending with the cheque off my Mum arrived yesterday.  Queue much excitement and taste testing.  

Alan likes them all , so of course I will share.  😃

It's going to be like having a little shop in the cupboard.

These are a real treat because of course I could have made flapjacks ... but birthdays are for treats, and this is mine.

I need a bit of cupboard rearranging to fit in the last two boxes but its looking like a very healthy treat cupboard for us both.  We will be making them last as they have really good dates on, so perhaps one pack each per day ... or two in an emergency 🤣

Sue xx

Friday 24 April 2020

Mum, These Are My Birthday Presents

My lovely Mum sent me a cheque for my birthday and at first I was racking my brains to think of something to buy.  I stopped racking and just got on with things.  Then the other day while I was making some pies and as usual cutting out the circles I needed for bottoms and tops with the lid of my cookie cutter set and then having to roll them out bigger anyway as no cutter was big enough ... it came to me ... I needed a larger cutter!!

A true extravagance as I know I could have continued to do it 'my way' but what is your birthday money if not for extravangances.  So I Googled large pastry cutters and one of the options that came up was for Lakeland, one of my favourite companies anyway.

I was on the website in a flash and while I was on there I stocked up with some more of their dishclothes, they really are the best, some rubber gloves and I always, always, always order some of the liquorice when I place an order ... it's delicious.  Needing to slightly bump up the order to avoid paying postage I added four tins of marmalade making mix, oh and a packet of freezer labels to stop me from writing on all my tubs and freezer bags with permanent marker!!

And then yesterday my parcel of birthday goodies arrived.

Included in the parcel was this note.  I loved the wording of it, they really are and always have been a company that cares for its customers and its workers.  I know that from inside knowledge as two memvbers of my family worked there for years.

The main reason for my order.

How satisfying are they!!

And how satisfying was this 🤣

I couldn't stop playing!!

Every size cutter I could possibly ever need 😃

After reading  the packaging I gave all the cutters a quick wash and left them to quickly dry on the top of the Aga, it takes minutes on there as it's so hot.  The only thing I was dreading was getting them all back in their tin in size order.

I am brilliant at telling you if a picture or shelf is straight or central to within a millimetre ... but me and shapes within shapes do not compute.  I used to dread my boys going to bed when they were small and leaving all their shape sorting toys out ... it used to take me ages to get it right.  Square in square yes, circle in circle yes, hexagon ... forget it lob it in the toy box and go a make a coffee.  🤣

And I've just had an email to say that the rest of my birthday present is arriving today ... Yay!  This one is from somewhere totally different.

Sue xx

Thursday 23 April 2020

It Affects Animals Too

Mavis' face sums up this post so perfectly!!

It really is starting to affect the animals now this long lockdown, staying at home and not meeting any other dogs or animals is really having an effect on their mental health.

Here in Wales the rules are strict, we cannot drive anywhere to start a dog walk.  So although our two are getting plenty of exercise and lots of fresh air running round the paddock twice a day and sitting out with us whenever we down tools and leave the office for a coffee break, they are not getting the important social side of their lives that they are used to.  Walking dogs is not after all about just the actual walking, it's about the sniffing, the meeting of other dogs, the interaction with humans other than the ones that they live with.

Our dogs have always been social butterflies, coming with us to shops, to cafes, on days out and long walks.  They interact well with other dogs, and all other animals and birds and love to play and sniff their way around their world.  

And all this has only really come home to us this week seeing how lethargic they are becoming.  Sleeping the day away, in their various beds, out on the patio, on the sofa, on our beds upstairs.  They move from room to room, from inside to outside as though a change of space is as good as anything they can find to do.

We know exactly how they feel  🤣

I was overly excited yesterday to get next weeks Radio Times through the post.

And have just spent a leisurely hour over breakfast circling the things I want to record next week, we record virtually everything we watch so that we can watch at our time of choice, and also so we can  izzy whizzy through the adverts.

This made me smile, I love the follow on ...  

... if Paul Hollywood Eats Japan he will be joining Britain's Fattest People for sure!!

I think we need to give this a watch, we might be able to pick up a few tips.  Although I have a sneaking suspicion it will involve teaching your dog new tricks to keep it's brain active and unfortunately our dogs don't do tricks.  

Suky gives you that look as if to say 'Don't be so stupid ... why would I want to do that!'  We have tried a few times to teach her 'fetch', but she just runs after the ball and sits next to it, as if to say 'here is your ball, you threw it if you want it come and get it ' ... so that's exactly what we have to do. 

Mavis is too nervous after her appalling start in life and then the horrible theft episode, and sees every attempt at training as an attempt to belittle or upset her.  You can literally see her retreating into another place and shutting down when she doesn't understand what you are asking of her ... however nicely you ask it.  

It takes me an average of two months to teach her a new word or thing, and it all has to be done gently and slowly.  She can now almost 'shake hands', she can wink, she can go around and around to untangle a lead or move in another direction and she knows a lot of words.  The obvious ones ... dinner, bones, caravan, home, car, grannies house, sheeps (yes she knows them with an S) ... and the names of her favourite people Dad, Mum, Jason, Suky, Ginger and Ethel.

She knows enough, and that makes her and me happy, any more would bring down the shutters.

So we will probably watch the programme and see if we can pick anything up, at the very least it will have lots of dogs in it ... and Mavis and Suky both like to watch dogs on television.

Meanwhile, we were eating our lunch on the patio yesterday and Ginger treated us to a full on bath time and grooming session.  

Alan commented ... 'I could use lockdown time to master the art of that!!'

Sue xx

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Why This is So Easy

And this is why this lockdown is so easy for me.

I'm one of those people  💚

Even seeing the smaller amount of cars whizzing along the road that borders or land is making it feel busy.  God help me when things go back to normal and there is real traffic.

I love the calm, the simplicity and the peace of it all at the moment.

Pottering in the Net Tunnel yesterday was easy in the dappled sunlight that shines through the netting.  I was just planting up the end beds with the old Blueberry bushes, there's not a lot of life left in the old bushes but along with the Lavender planted on this side ...

 ... and a few baby Strawberry plants on this side, it helps the Net Tunnel look nice and productive.  

The rest of the beds are going to be planted up with this years vegetables as I've decided to leave all the hillside beds covered for this year and concentrate my growing in the undercover areas instead. 

 There's only so much you can, or even want to do if you are hoping to be away in the hopefully not too distant future, but it is nice to be able to go out and potter each day.

Sue xx

Tuesday 21 April 2020

See You on the Other Side

I was over in Chicken World to clean out the henhouse yesterday and to check things over as I do most days, when I noticed how pretty everything was looking so I decided to take some photos, but from different angles to the more usual ones you get to see.

So many times I have shared the view of Chicken World as seen from the house, so this is the chickens views of their world and back at our house.

The inner fence was put into place shortly after we moved in, when there was a warning about a fox spotted in the area, but in the almost seven years we have been here we have never had a problem with foxes.  The inner sanctum did come in handy when Avian Flu hit this country and all birds had to go into lockdown and undercover.  We simply draped the whole area in tarpaulins and nets to keep the wild birds out and it worked a treat. 

Now they are free and we are in lockdown!!

Although the fence has stayed in place, the gate on the other side is permanently wedged open and they have the run of a huge area.

Looking back towards the house and the hills in the distance.  The hedge on the right separates us from the main road, a slightly quieter road at the moment thank goodness.

This is the view if I turn right around, and shows the homemade laid fencing separating our land from our neighbours.  The big tree on the righthand side of the photo is the last one on our land.  The rest of the V shaped wooded area is Mary's and backs onto her big field.

Looking over that fence you can see the lovely wooded area that the chickens forage in every day.  Here's one of the girls coming down the hill to see what I'm up to!

It's hard to make out in the photos but it is currently carpeted in Bluebells, it's looking so pretty and yet so rustically simple.

I turned back around after taking this photo ...

... and headed towards the Chicken Shed.

The shed where we store the food bins, chicken supplies and bedding etc.

With a high shelf for their medicines and treatments.

One final photo as I step out of the shed to turn right to go back to the house, and another lovely view of the dappled sunshine ... and Dancer one of the cockerels wondering what on earth I'm doing loitering for so long on his patch.

The large black thing is a feed hopper, not really necessary now that we have only six chickens but they are used to it, as is all the local wildlife so we continue to use it.  The long feed trough that Dancer is stood at was picked up at an old farm sale and is used for their daily treat of corn or leftovers from the house.  

The upside down plant pot is over a ventilation pipe for our septic tank.  Living in the country there is no main sewers so every property has it's own septic tank.  We are lucky in that ours is a soakaway type system which is really easy to manage.  Once it was registered as such we don't need to do anything to it as it's completely self-maintaining.

One final thing Your Maj ... you forget to send me a card, so I didn't send you one either ... and I see you pinched some of my wine!!

 Happy Birthday anyway  👑

Sue xx