Monthly Archives: September 2016

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.