Another Life

Bit of the Guillemots for you this morning, with Get Over It

Got to love the handsome Fyfe Dangerfield.

My only criticism is that he doesn’t do quite enough stuff. I guess that makes what he has done so much more valuable though. I’d want him to release a new album every year. I wouldn’t even care if it wasn’t his best stuff. Well, I might, if it were very bad.

I think it’s been one of those weeks where you feel very much that the world is in retrograde and communication has been unusually complicated. I had a Monday morning last week of chasing up various organisations to find bills, sort out refunds, try and work out where I’m supposed to be and when – and none of them with any joy at all. I hate days like that, where you get so little done and all communication ends in a dead end. It’s frustrating when you can’t sort out plans because you’re waiting on a date to be confirmed or a venue to be agreed. I wouldn’t mind but these are huge organisations, so it does feel a lot like the world can’t be arsed at the moment or that it has too much on its plate to cope with. It’s the first rule of business: your communication has to be effective or else everything else suffers.

The week ended a bit like that as well, with a rather long conversation about a dog (when is it not?) and whether he could cope with this home or that home, only for it then to transpire that the person who I’m having the conversation with is trying to encourage me to let the dog go to a home that we have previously said is unsuitable. I don’t think it’s crossed wires when that happens. I think it’s the deliberate manipulation of a conversation, as if I’d made a bad decision in the first place. That makes me so mad. If you’re going to try to slip something by me and make me go back on something I’ve previously said by trying to manipulate me, then what kind of person do you think I am? Another person who now tells me that I’m hard-headed, unfeeling and stubborn. Join the queue. What makes it worse was all the unnecessary buttering up that went before and the endless questions about whether I thought the dog could live in this circumstance, or that circumstance, trying to get me to agree to a thing before adding a rather large issue in the fineprint. I’m sure now that the person went away feeling I am unnecessarily difficult and hard without thinking that I would have appreciated full honesty in the first place and it would have wasted considerably less of my time. Since when did direct communication become such a rare commodity?

I’m currently reading Marc Bekoff’s book “The Emotional Lives of Animals” which is a great book – all animal lovers should read it. It’s to prepare for my next assignment on the emotions animals feel. I know there is the notion that animals experience fewer or rawer emotions than we do. I’d revisited Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence to read it with animals in mind – a lot of it is irrelevant in that context of course – and in fact, I ended up not thinking about emotions at all and thinking about social skills. It really did make me think that animals are much better at communicating than we are. On Saturday mornings, if I’ve done the drop-off in Poitiers of our dogs travelling up to Northern Europe, I take Heston with me to drop the van off. He loves to go in the van and he loves to go to the shelter. The shelter is like a disco to Heston, full of girls to flirt with, new mates to meet and boys to size up to. As always it is interesting to see how much he prefers dogs to people. Where there are other dogs to be met, Heston doesn’t give a stuff about people. There could be fifty gazillion people there and Heston wouldn’t see them if there was one single dog. I love the dynamic when we get to the refuge – he just stands there whilst all the dogs come and have a smell. At one point, he was surrounded by Maya, Belle, Diva, Aglae, Cachou and Lulu all having a smell. He got humped by Cachou, the ancient poodle who is also out in the courtyard. I have no idea why Heston accepts being humped by a geriatric poodle with a heart condition but why if Amigo tried to do the same thing, he’d go mental. Dogs manage to master communication much more effectively often than we do. Even if it’s a very definitive “F@%k Off!”

I must say though that some dogs have often less effective dog-dog communication where humans have not done their job, especially if they’ve been deprived of the occasion to ‘chat’ to other dogs or only ever done it in being behind a gate. Féfelle is a bit block-headed when he is with familiar dogs, though he is perfectly fine around ones who are new to him. It’s like he’s very respectful at first and then, once he knows you, he’s like Tigger, bouncing all over you. He would absolutely love to play, but not a one of my dogs trusts him to do so. Heston does love to play, and has played with males bigger and badder than him, but he’s not having it with Féfelle. I think he understands it’d be a bit like boxing with Mike Tyson: you start off following the best of Queensbury’s rules and you end up getting your ear bitten off. That is an enormous shame for Féfelle, as play is exactly what he needs. Funny that dogs have a trust instinct and know who isn’t going to end up crossing lines you’ve drawn in the sand. And if dogs trust (and why wouldn’t they, since they can be suspicious?) I mean, those are complicated emotions that ask you to make judgements and predictions about future events. By the way, trust, suspicion and social bonding are all within a dog’s emotional remit, since they have oxytocin, the “social bonding” hormone, just as we do.

Marvellous, isn’t it? A dog knows exactly who’s trustworthy and who is not. And just like Heston and Féfelle, if you don’t get it right first time, you might not get the chance again. But if I trust you and you accidentally hurt me, then I might let you off.

So Much Love this Monday to the Animal Kingdom who may turn out to be much better at social stuff than we are. And Much Love to my crazy friends who have to put up with my outrage and misery when human communication fails.

Have a lovely week, all❤




I just wanted to know

Another Monday, and a bit of Monday love for you with the very lovely Kings of Leon and a bit of Notion 

Well, that was a week that brought me to my knees. By Thursday, I’d even run out of emotional steam. I got to 8pm and realised that nobody had meddled with my mojo. I don’t even know when I got through 24 hours without someone making me want to slap my own face to make sure I’ve not dreamed up their stupidity or lack of humanity. Suffice to say, when that happens, you should switch off the internet and go to bed, otherwise you can be sure someone will set the bees afloat in your bonnet.

We had a very lovely lunch on Monday with the ladies. I don’t get to see enough of my friends, and it was a rare privilege to actually get dressed up, put some make-up on and go out for something to eat with actual human beings. If I must be honest, I’m rather slightly pissed off that they didn’t bring some cake with them, but they more than made up for it.

Monday evening brought a couple of new clients which was fab too… I never get tired of discussing Literature with teenagers. I think every adult should have to spend a little time with teenagers just to remind you how amazing it is to have the whole of your future before you and to be so very eager to seize it with both hands. I do need to spend more time on my Madame Anglaise blog – it’s weird to realise how popular it is. I wish I had more time to dedicate to making podcasts to go with it.

It does feel like there are a lot of competing interests about at the moment! I don’t want to even think about some of those projects that need finishing off, though I did manage to finish off my third assignment for my canine practitioner course. I think that might be why I’d filled my boots on venom way before Thursday. Never, ever ask people what they feed their dogs. It’s a minefield! When there’s a lot of shouty rhetoric (and none of it from me!!) it’s time to go to the science. And when there’s not much science… you have very little to go off. I think, though, all things considered, that people who get their knickers in a twist about dog food need to get out more. The way some people speak, it’s as if the food they’ve chosen is some kind of medical superfood that will make their dog immortal for life.

That said, though, it was another interesting unit and I’m very much looking forward to the next. The next is on the emotional and mental needs of a dog. Tilly doesn’t have emotional or mental needs, just cake needs. Mimire just likes a comfy bed. Amigo needs cuddles. Tobby likes to pack his bags and vote with his feet if something upsets his equilibrium (because he IS the Littlest Hobo) and Heston… Ah, Heston.  I could have done with finding out about mental stimulation BEFORE I got him. He’s the only dog I know who makes heelwork look mundane. I was doing some ‘back end’ work with Hagrid on Friday to prepare him for obedience heeling, only to realise that he already knows how to move his back end and he knows how to obedience heel. He has the full-on goose-step heel walk. Well, I say that and then he reverts to biting your arm. Hagrid is back to full Hagrid strength and has started chewing the heels of the staff. I love working with him. He is both a handful and biddable. Heston’s distracted and biddable. His goose-step would be useless. He doesn’t put any energy into it. He loves the scentwork though. I’m guessing that’s what much of my next assignment will say: every dog is different! I’ve got a lot of reading to do first though.

So what else have I much love for?

Mostly, a good few adoptions at the refuge. It has been a long and hard summer. I would very much like a family for Féfelle though. Not fair on the big guy to be here, where he is in limbo until someone decides he’s what they’re looking for. In the meantime, he’s just biding his time. Busy with adoptions at the refuge and not so busy here!

Much Love for my lovely ladies who always make me smile and feel somehow less crazy.

Much Love for the late September sunshine and warm lunchtimes reading good books in the sun. I’m reading The Tenderness of Wolves and loving it. I finished Disgrace this week which I’d been meaning to read for a while. I don’t know why but I ended up feeling quite uneasy by the end. It’s a grower, that book.

Anyway, best get off and help my father up a ladder. I had some tiles knocked loose last week in the storm – it’s about the last bit of damage to be sorted out, apart from the dent in my bonnet. Bah to storms. I like them very much unless they take out my favourite trees or a piece of my property.

Have a lovely Monday and enjoy the sunshine whilst it lasts.

The Human Zoo

Well, it’s another Monday. A bit different than last Monday with 34°C, given that today I’m back in jeans and long sleeves; Bit of AC/DC to wake you up with If You Want Blood. 

It’s been a bit of an AC/DC kind of year. I don’t know what you make of that. I blame it on Supernatural. That’s a long time since I started watching Season 1, let me tell you.

I’ve moved on anyway to House of Cards, which is also excellent in a kind of Shakespearean villain kind of a way. I love Kevin Spacey. He’s a bit like Samuel L Jackson – you can be pretty sure that it’ll be a good thing you’re watching. It kind of makes up for the loss of Dean and Sam Winchester.

So what am I Much Loving this Monday? I’m loving my doggie pals and new doggie friends who came to the training day that I hosted here last Tuesday. I’ll tell you there’s a big difference when we had mostly shepherds here… someone should do a study on it. We were definitely supervised by all those dogs. At one point, three of us had walked up to the house to get lunch, we were quite literally shepherded by six of the shepherds. Not so much when you’ve got terriers and spaniels, let me tell you.

I’m not loving the dirty teenage storm that rampaged through my garden on Tuesday night. Turned up, wrecked some neighbouring trees, left them strewn all over my nice tidy garden and then left. The electric went off for a good forty minutes and the internet was down until the morning after. It was only Thursday though that I realised a stray branch had left a huge great big dent in the bonnet of my car. Plus, my garden was really tidy. It’s taken me almost all week just to clear up all the debris. Grrrr.

To be honest, the week went in a bit of a blur – back to school is like that. This week, I’ve got a few extra bits and pieces to do – and then a bit of a breather. I’m hoping to get started on a new assignment as well, having just about finished one. I’ve been reading like a demon at the moment – but I’m finding myself less and less tolerant of crap. I’ve turned into a 5* and a 1* reviewer. I’m getting very polarised in my old age. I finished All the Light You Cannot See a couple of weeks ago which I absolutely loved. St Malo is a great setting for any story. It really made me want to go back again. I think it must be 12 years since I was there. That was one of those breaks that really re-set my nerves, wet and wild as it was. Much Love for St Malo and those lovely, blustery coastlines. It feels like a long time since I saw the sea.

Sad news too about one of our dogs at the refuge, Cobby, who was put to sleep as he had acute leukaemia. The prognosis was terrible and he’d gone down hill very quickly. I’m sorry Cobby my darling. I had thought he had giardia and that’s not good for Tobby, who is frailer and more fragile than I’ve seen him since he arrived, otherwise I think I’d have found it hard to justify not adding another to the big old crazy testosterone-pack. I’d mentally chalked myself up to take Cobby before we knew what it was. Six big male dogs? What the hey. But even so, it was too late and not enough, and I’m so sincerely sorry Mr Cobby. You deserved so much more. I look at Dawson, Amon, Aster, Simba and Cleo every time I’m at the refuge and feel my heart hurting. They all deserve more. And Mimire is snoring in Ralf’s old bed… it’s not right is it? He deserves a home too. And Effel, who needs more than a six-dog house can give him. More adopters please, and more people who go “Give me a big old dude!” That will make my Monday much lovelier. Sometimes I think  we have a hard time remembering that we can’t save them all. We don’t have many at all who don’t get adopted, but it’s the ones who we fail that we remember.

Right, I’m off out to walk the doglets. Time to get Monday started.

Be just as kind as you can be

A bit of a Sixties classic for you this fine Monday morning with Bobby Vee and Take Good Care Of My Baby 

I must have a bit of Grease, Stand By Me or Dirty Dancing in my bones today. When you grew up in the 80s, everyone who made movies was looking back to the 50s and 60s. I wonder if you grow up these days, do people look back to the 90s? It all seems very near to me! It never ceases to amaze me that there are so many years between finishing university and ending up here.

What do I have Much Love for this Monday Morning? First, the sunshine (though give it up just a little and give us a little bit of rain… my trees look like they’re actually dying!) and the warm. It’s at that time of the year I just love – cool mornings, fresh breezes, warm afternoons and evenings. Because there’s been no rain for the best part of eight weeks, there’s been very little by way of stuff growing. Good time to tackle all the undergrowth and hedges before autumn sets in!

I’ve also got a lot of love for seeing my little students again. It has been fabulous to catch up. Some I’ve not seen for ten weeks, and it feels like an eternity. I can’t believe how much some have grown up – a couple who finish Terminale this year, a couple embarking on GCSEs, some going to secondary school or collège for the first time. It was quite a shock to have a door opened yesterday by one of my students who must have grown about a foot in the summer.

Much love as well for those ladies out there who are just really nurturing spirits. A message from them always feels like a hug and a kiss from my Nana. Hugs and kisses from Nanas are well-known to sustain your soul. There are a handful of ladies in my life who just have this super-calm loveliness and you never fail to feel nourished by their kindness and general sharing of the love. More please. And less of me feeling so very grouchy and grumbly. It’s kind of rubbish to just offload whatever random ranting has pushed me over the payload that day. I’ve got such a low tolerance for crap at the moment. I need a break from crappy people’s dramas and offloading so that I don’t turn into a crappy person who just has dramas and offloads!

Much Love for the Mr Heston who cleared a woody strip of deer and other wildlife before the hunters turned up. Gotta love a dog who shepherds deer to safer places. The hunt season started yesterday in earnest and for the first time in months we went to the proper forest. I can’t remember why we stopped – I had a cortisol vacation in mind for Heston. Too much stimulation is not good for a dog. You can’t be a dog version of an adrenaline junkie.

Much Love also for all the free stuff on the internet. I mean just WOW you can read a lot of stuff. I’m feeling a real regret that I didn’t breathe through the gruesome biology lessons and drawing cells. I’m just wondering what kind of life I’d have if I’d been a zoologist. That’d be a cool job. There’s nothing like getting to 43 and wondering how many other careers you might want in your life. I’m writing this listening to a free webinar, got another one lined up and my browser is FULL of science. Ahhhhhhhhhh. Too much to study! I love to study. It makes me so happy, understanding the world. Every time I learn something, it’s like another piece of the world’s jigsaw fits into the puzzle.

Not Much Love at all for having finally finished watching Supernatural. I think I started watching them in January, so it’s been a long relationship with the Winchesters. I feel a bit bereft. House of Cards up next, but you better be good Kevin Spacey, you better be good.

Right… better get a wiggle on.

Have a lovely Monday❤



Delicate and Wild

Bit of a late start – I’m trying to get there, I really am!

A bit of the Chili Peppers for you this fine Monday. Well, I say fine and we’re under grey skies here today. I love this tune. It reminds me so much of summer.

This weekend, my sister was here and it was so great to see her. There’s nothing like siblings. I’ve not seen her for two years, but it never feels like that long when I see her again. It’s like we only saw each other the weekend before last or something. We went out for a meal in Angoulême on Friday night. She’d never been before, even though she’d been here a few times. We went to the Lieu Dit, which is one of the best restaurants, although there are lots of really good one. I’ve got a few more recommendations that I’ve got to check out as well too. I need to stop going to the places I always go and try some of the other places which always look good but I never go to. The food is always good in the Lieu Dit, though I can’t remember the last time there was a change on the menu. That’s not a bad thing though.

It must be said that often, English people just want to meddle with eating and with menus, without taking the chef’s word for it that something is the way it is because – well, that’s the way it is. Nobody would think to into a shoe shop and say “I like these shoes, but can you take the heel off and put a wedge on instead?” which is what so many English speakers seem to want to do with food. We’re so used to customising everything. I guess it was the advent of the disgusting soft pickle at McDonald’s that brought that on. Mind you, I’m of the generation where we just scrape it off and leave it, rather than asking for a completely new one to be cooked sans gherkin.

Food is obviously a lot on my mind. My new assignment is about dog food, which is not the easiest of subjects to get to the bottom of, believe me. Amazing how far the tentacles of some businesses go though. Who’d have thought that toothpaste manufacturers would make a line of veterinary dog food, or that the makers of Dolmio and Wrigley’s spearmint gum would make dog biscuits as well? Kind of scary this global market. Anyway, the assignment was on the back burner this weekend.

Some bright spark – that’d be me – was reading a couple of comments on Facebook on Friday night about kittens. As you know, I’ve almost finished the calendar for the refuge, which has been some work, let me tell you. In fact, the photos are the very least of it. I could easily buy a crappy template and it would look average, but no. I like to do it by hand. 365 days that need marking out by hand. 365 numbers. 365 days. 365 lines. 365 pretty little circles. Add all the holidays, school holidays, fête days, grandmother’s days, open days and the likes and it’s a serious undertaking. Anyway, when I saw the comments about how well a refuge kitten calendar would sell, an idea hatched in my head. Changing the photos and making TWO calendars is actually the easiest bit. Finishing off the first is the tough bit! I wanted one that shows all the work that the shelter do, the dogs, the cats, the ferrets, the rescues, the adoptions, the oldies, the babies. A kitten calendar is cute, and it’s a big part of the summer, but it’s a bit too narrow for me to represent all the work of the shelter. That said, it’ll sell well, so why not? A calendar for our supporters who love all our work, and a calendar for our supporters who like cute kitten photos.

Nothing like making work for yourself is there?

On Saturday, we had our first meeting back at the refuge since the end of summer. It’s not that staff or the conseil go away but more that with so few volunteers and with some staff who do want to spend time with their children in the school holidays, it leaves us thin on the ground. The holidays are like a dead zone at a time when we really, really need people. It does leave us firefighting, trying to hold it all together. The lady who runs the cattery looked so frazzled before she went away. It’s very well, isn’t it, for volunteers to walk away and to say ‘no’, but the staff are the ones worrying that a kitten family will die if left at the shelter overnight, or that there is nobody to feed the orphaned kittens or puppies. Very tough. It makes me all the more thankful for the amazing people who step up and take a bit of pressure off the refuge even though they work and they volunteer too. More please! I ferried three kitten families to new fosters this weekend and I can’t tell you how lucky we are to have those homes helping us out. A stay in the pound is a stay tainted with highly contagious diseases at the moment. I think my current Help-Xer thought I was being draconian in saying she couldn’t touch one family of kittens in one room and then go to play with the others. It’s only through diligence though that lives are protected. I know it sounds massively melodramatic but until you’ve held a dying kitten, you don’t realise how important that diligence is.

This week is back to a bit of routine for me. I will be glad when it is Friday and the weekend, when things are in something of an order once more! Next week is a busy one with a few training courses here and there – definitely need some ‘me’ time next Sunday to recharge the old batteries!

Have a good rest of Monday and enjoy Universally Speaking.

Forget About Your Foolish Pride

It feels like Monday needs to start with a hard rock riff today, so here’s Aerosmith with Other Side.

Joe Perry – definitely a manly man who likes to do manly things. Not so sure about Steven Tyler and his lace addiction, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

It’s back to school this week, though the temperatures are still high here. It’s a strange end to the summer – so hot that it’s forced the trees into an early autumn. I can’t remember my Indian Bean tree putting down its leaves so early, though the poplars often lose theirs in late summer. I know last summer I’d wound up a lot of projects around this time – our website is now a year old for the refuge! I can’t believe it has been up for a year! I look back at last year and can’t believe how productive I was in August and September. I’d already half knitted a pair of socks and written a book by this point. This year I have at least done the refuge calendar and I’m glad not to have any additional events on the agenda like organising fêtes and the likes… just where has my August gone though? Scary!

Last week, it was a faffy kind of a week. I had to take Féfelle and Mimir back to the refuge for vaccinations, and had various appointments here and there. We also had our first truck of dogs go up to be picked up in Poitiers on their way to Germany – it’s been a while for that as well. Six dogs went up this time and given that it was 36°C on Friday, you can’t appreciate quite how lovely the air-con was! There’s another trip going on Tuesday with another good number. Friday’s trip was dogs who hadn’t been at the refuge very long, but Tuesday sees the departure of I’sasha, Manix, Eloy, Chouba and Gabin as well as three others. I’m really glad to see them go. I’sasha is a gorgeous setter but he’s 100 miles a minute and he can jump two metres without thinking about it. Manix is… well… exactly as his name would suggest. Eloy is a gorgeous labrador that nobody has ever even looked at. Chouba came as a three-month old baby with his brother and mum. He was brought back eight months later for one reason or another, having had that adoption chance stolen from him like too many of our puppies. That really makes me mad. If you adopt a puppy, do it with at least a little thought! Gabin is the last of the group I know really well. This guy is an excited little labrador and I love him very much. He’s in with Dawson and poor Dawson makes me so sad; he’s such a lovely labrador and he’s aged so much this last year. He just looks bewildered and lost.

This week looks to be less hot – it was getting stupid last week and by Saturday, I was just crabby and bad-tempered. When you’ve got stuff to do and it’s pushing 38°C, you just feel cross. There’s only so much you can do in a six-hour window in the morning and in the afternoon, I just sat around feeling cross and hot, trying to minimise outside time and get stuff done inside.

My lovely sister will be here later in the week and I’m so excited to see her. It’s been 2 years since I last saw her and it is far too long. I miss her so much. A weekend doesn’t seem long enough does it?

Right, enjoy your Monday. Autumn is here. How strange is that? This time next week, we’ll be wondering where those 38°C days went!

She sets the world on fire

Well, it’s been a while! Not sure where July and August went to, but here’s a little funkadelic for your Tuesday evening. I know it’s not Monday. That’s how out of sync I am. And I know I’ve missed a gazillion weeks as well. Oh well.

Well, what have I been up to at all?

To tell the truth, it’s been a whirlwind of catch-up. I’ve got foster dogs, foster kittens, articles, advertising, calendars, Christmas, publicity and assignments coming out of my ear holes. I’m longing for September when there will be fewer demands on my time. Is that wrong?

Féfelle and Mimir are still with me – my two rather large fosterees. I knew it would be like that. Luckily, they’ve had a good month to adjust before I’ll be back to full-time work. Their owner – God knows what the story is – but they are big old boys and big old boys don’t move quickly from the refuge at all. Mimir is blind and he’s advertised everywhere – UK, Germany, France… but when you’re 9, even if you’re not the slightest bit of bother, nobody wants you. It’s pretty shit. He is so easy and it makes me so sad that he has to be here, because you know, who wants an easy, loveable dog who’s not a stick of bother?! Féfelle is a bit more of a challenge since he’s a bigger boy and he’s like Curious George. I suspect he’d never even seen dogs running before!!

I’ve still got kittens in the bathroom as well, which they are not appreciating because today it’s 37°C and they’re bored.

The refuge calendar is well under way – a bit of a difference from last year’s calendar, since I’ve had more time to prepare and I have more animals in their homes. It’s been lovely doing photoshoots of adopted dogs outside the refuge. I don’t see enough of our happy dogs and it does get you down when all you see are the sad stories. We’ve had a really virulent strain of kennel cough at the refuge as well, which has meant fewer adoptions as we tried to contain it. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you about the puppies abandoned, the one-day-old kittens left in a bin bag on someone’s gate or the dogs surrendered for growling at kids. Every day, it seems like people leave their brains behind and have bigger and bigger expectations of their animals.

I’m also a good way into a diploma in Canine Psychology and Behaviour, which I’m absolutely loving. It’s not before time. Luckily, most of the things on the reading list are things I’ve already read, but those first assignments were tough and scientific! It’s a challenging course with sixteen 3000-word assignments to complete, case studies and a thesis at the end, but I’m enjoying it so much. The tutors are really inspirational and I feel very much in an environment that suits my own view of animals. What I’m loving is the leaps in knowledge that it drives me to make – you know me and how much I love reading and doing assignments! Everything had been very arse-backward for me with practice before theory.

My own four are their usual selves. Tobby is way past his sixteen-month anniversary and is as wobbly as usual. Seeing him being herded by Féfelle was quite comical. A herder herding a herder. Tobby didn’t get what was going on with that! Tilly has had infection after infection, compounded by a flea collar failure (grrrr! and grrrr to my own self for taking so long to really investigate the scratching, so now she is on an elimination diet of turkey and sweet potato. So far, scratching is little better, but at least the fleas have gone. Curses, Seresto, you monsters. That set me back a good 60€ in Advantix and another 20€ in flea spray. Mostly, I think it’s the kittens that bring them, since the last three families have been infested. I pulled 50 fleas off one kitten in one sitting a few weeks ago. Trouble is that they are so small and fragile, you can’t use a flea treatment. In the end, we decided that we had to – flea anemia would have killed them.

Well, I had planned to get a couple of new e-books out for GCSE English Literature, but I think pulling them together will be more of a winter-time pursuit. Still, my teacher blog is getting a LOT of traffic, which is great. Woof Like To Meet, my dog blog, is also getting a lot of traffic as well, which is even better. Very glad about those two things!

Anyway, it is time to give Tilly her Thanksgiving elimination diet and get on with a bit of poetry analysis in preparation for a long-overdue post for my teacher blog, which has gone sadly neglected for an embarrassing amount of time. Nothing like a bit of Shelley to get you ready for the new school term. I have to say though, with temperatures up in the 30s, it doesn’t feel like September, even if the trees are saying it is and even if the mornings are dark until 7am.

Have a good week and hopefully I’ll manage to get myself on track!

The story of where you came from

Bit of Kings of Leon for you this Monday – well, what’s left of it. I got caught up in a mire of exam papers and dog measuring!

Tomorrow, I shall mostly be sitting inside and staying out of the ridiculous heat. 38°C today and 40°C tomorrow. Silly hot. It was just lovely last week for about 5 days, where it was sub-30°C and  gentle breezes. Saturday morning was just perfect. Now we’re already all too hot and it’s hit ridiculous by 10am. I did a mad errand dash at nine to get shopping in and sort out the post and Tobby’s been panting like a crazy dog since 8.30 when it was already 24°C.

It is a good day to stay inside. Today, all set allocations for exam marking are finished and the rest of the unmarked papers are in a collective pot, so it’s a bit of a free-for-all. They tend to go very quickly and you’ve got to be on the ball to get many. I’ve been trying my best to get through some, but my stamina has gone and it’s too hot everywhere in my house.

I’m going to get a cold drink and try and plough on. I will be glad when there are no papers left and I don’t feel the pressure to keep marking! My fourth lot of kittens are at the vet tomorrow for their vaccinations and microchips – we’re at the point in the year where there just aren’t enough adoptions of kittens and too many coming in. I can’t even begin to tell you the sadness of the little one-day-olds found in a plastic bag. Only a few have survived. But they’re coming in thick and fast now – barely a day without arrivals. The dogs are too hot and kennel cough has hit epidemic proportions, meaning no adoptions unless the dogs are healthy enough to leave. No dogs going off to Germany, no dogs leaving… too hot for walks. Tough times indeed.

Roll on next Monday, that’s all I can say!

All the nightmares came today

Bit of David Bowie for you this Monday morning

Last week got away from me, what with the Brexit vote and the exam marking. Ironically, this year’s question asking pupils what they think the future of education should be is revealing I’d rather put my trust in the Foundation tier candidates than in the politicians. Reading them is making me very sad, but also very hopeful. If a hundred thousand foundation tier kids know what they need to help them in the future, I don’t know why we’re spending all our time avoiding listening to them.

Truth be told, I’m not sure what’s going on in the universe, but it feels like all hell has broken loose, globally speaking. Time to batten down the hatches, I think. I can’t remember the last time things felt so very uncertain. For those of us living in Europe, we’re living in a time of speculation and hesitation – nobody knows what will happen, if anything will happen, or when it will happen. Our fate for the largest part rests in politicians that we did not vote for and hold immense power over our future. No wonder I’ve got indigestion. It’s all gone a bit Shakespearean tragedy from my point of view.

The internet seems rife with petty spats and disputes, people feeling like it’s a great time to spew nonsense and generally air their grievances. I can’t count the number of fall-outs that have happened recently, the number of head-to-heads. I’m just staying indoors and playing with kittens. Seems the best thing to do. Tobby’s obviously feeling the global disturbance and has a wanderlust spirit because he’s got his wandering head on again. It’s been months since he toddled off out of one of his escape routes in the garden, yet he’s done a bunk twice in the last week. He’s obviously very sensitive to global unrest! That or he’s sick of me marking and spending very little time outside. Plus, I’ve been running backwards and forwards hither and thither for days – something that doesn’t seem like ending any time soon.

Well, short but sweet. No love at all for the most part this Monday morning, so feel free to send me a little of your leftovers. Here’s to friends who take a few hours out of their weekend for pop-up picnics, who bring new meaning to ‘re-education’, who make you laugh til your cheeks hurt and who bring you little boxes of joy. Most love to Game of Thrones which ended on a particularly dramatic finish, lost in the mire of all the politics. I think Boris Johnson did a more spectacular job of bringing down the ruling classes than all of Cersei’s wildfire.

Enjoy your Monday, you pretty things. I predict a long and stagnant summer ahead. Let’s have some sunshine, please. I’m tired of storm-clouds and grey skies.

No turning back

Bit late, but hey. Thank your lucky stars you have anything of me at all given the marking pile that sits in front of me.

What is Monday without a bit of thunder?

Given the disaster of Fat Axl taking over, I think it’s time AC/DC called it a day. I would, however, like to propose a suggestion. All AC/DC tracks should be covered by a variety of musicians once in their life. The same is true of The Who. I mean, My Generation doesn’t really cut it when you’re as old as dirt. The same for punk. 60-year-old punk doesn’t quite wash.

Thunderstruck is a great tune. One of the best. But you can’t beat a bit of flame-throwing bagpiping punkage.

Or a bit of hillybilly redneck thunder with an anvil and a banjo.

It’s the kind of week where we all need a bit of tenderness – I was watching the stormclouds on Thursday and it all felt a bit prophetic. The lesson finished with the news of the shooting of Batley MP Jo Cox. It really does feel that there’s an awful lot of stirred-up emotion globally, when it’s probably a good time to put down words and weapons and give in to a musical interlude.

Much love this Monday for the lovely people who took on a dog called Edith. Though she may have only had three weeks in her home before her health gave way, she was certainly loved. Anyone who takes on an oldie and doesn’t care how long they’ll have gets an A-plus in the world if you ask me.

Much love as well to the local vets. When you spend as much time as I do at the vets, you get to know how fantastic they are. Anyone who takes care of animals is also an A-plus in my book.

Much love to all the people in the world who realise how infinite our possibilities are, despite the restraints of the human condition. To the altruists, the kind, the neighbourly, the generous of spirit, those who give you a hug and put the world to rights. More please!

Have a great rest-of-Monday❤