Dennis Moon needs gloves

Today, as Emma chased her ball all over the squishiness that is Farnham Park, we came across Dennis Moon’s memorial bench. While his bench isn’t particularly new to us, the gloves were.


It wasn’t as bleak in the park as it has been lately because it was a reasonably nice day. Mind you, most days it’s the sun low on the horizon thing that makes everything look like it’s just half an hour off sunset.

Still, the Avenue managed to look lovely and, almost inviting.


On the other hand, the hill leading down beside Badger’s Wood had tyre tracks that were not inviting at all.


Apart from walking Mirinda to the station then walking home then walking into town with mum then walking around the park with the dogs, my day was mostly spent organising Mirinda’s references for the essay she’s currently writing for her DBA. While I write like walking, I prefer using Endnote.

Dog-tastrophe averted

While mum was preparing to come back from Jackie’s, having a day on the laps of the available (and sometimes not available) men of Camberley…

Mum and her new boyfriend, Derek

Mum and her new boyfriend, Derek

…I was happily lying on the sofa having taken a first sip of my newly made coffee. It wasn’t raining and the girls were playing with their usual lack of restraint.

Before I could take another sip of my coffee, this peaceful and typical Sunday scene came to an abrupt halt.

Emma started scratching at her muzzle, making unusual wimpering noises at the same time. I watched as she started rubbing her face frantically on the rug. She was clearly distressed about something so I called her over to join me on the sofa.

She sat down on my lap, looking up at me balefully. She then stated with the muzzle scratching again. I also noticed that she was moving her top jaw sideways. It was a bit odd.

Suddenly, as if just realising there was something wrong with her playmate, Freya leapt onto the sofa to sit and watch.

Unfortunately Freya’s timing could have been better. She say down just add Emma stretched out, which knocked Freya off the sofa.

Freya’s positioning could also have been better. She was swept straight onto the small coffee table, sending my all but full mug smashing across the tiles.

I now had the situation where I had Emma in obvious distress on my lap, a puddle of coffee littered with shards of ex-mug to keep the other two clear of and the remains of last night’s sleep to get over.


Remains of the mug

(Please note, this is not a favourite mug and we still have plenty in the cupboard.)

Emma was actually lying motionless on a cushion so I cleaned up the mess while holding the sofa back. I should mention that Day-z was completely oblivious to all of this.

Eventually I returned to Emma who had restarted her efforts on her muzzle. I figured I’d check her mouth to make sure something wasn’t lodged between her teeth or around her gums. I couldn’t find anything. I even shoved my fingers down her throat, searching for an obstruction but obstruction there was none.

I then started thinking about the emergency department of the vet. The one where Mirinda took Carmen and I took Day-z. I didn’t fancy it and if Emma could just hang on until 10am, the vet would be open properly. Almost as if understanding the importance of waiting, Emma went to sleep on my lap. About ten minutes later Mirinda woke up.

I took her usual cup of tea up and explained about Emma who wasn’t her usual boisterous self. Mirinda put her n a headlock and opened her jaws and declared she had something wedged in her palette. She couldn’t get hold of it so, with Mirinda holding Emma’s head, I reached in and managed to find the obstruction. With care and deliberation I pushed it backwards and it came free.

It was a stick and it was wedged in tight between her teeth. This is an inept artist’s representation of what it looked like:


The black thing is the stick – it had a knobbly bit in the middle.

Emma was instantly cheerful though somewhat subdued. I showed her the offending object and, not for the first time, cajoled her about trying to eat bits of the garden. Clearly she’d forgotten the stone incident of last year.

Anyway, disaster averted and her she was looking a bit happier.

The 55th photo of Emma on the blog

The 55th photo of Emma on the blog

Relieved, I went shopping (after a special Sunday breakfast of griddled leeks, eggs and ham) and mum returned from Jackie’s.

After lunch, we decided to take mum to Chawton to show her around Jane’s village. She loved it.


Changes in the landscape

Established in 1908, Swain and Jones has been a huge part of Farnham and East Street. It was reported in the paper the other day that after all these years they are going.

Actually, they have gone as I discovered today while walking into town for the second time. I don’t normally walk into town along the main road but was racing the bus today (I won) and so decided to check out the dealership as I passed.

And I can report that while the showroom remains, cars there are none.


Swain & Jones

They were, until recently, selling Jaguars and Land Rovers after a long franchise agreement with both companies. Now, according to their website, they will be selling second hands cars.

There was no evidence of them selling anything today. Maybe they’re on holidays for a bit waiting for stock. Maybe the website is a lie and they’ve actually gone out of business. I don’t know but will keep an eye on it.

While I’m in this unattractive neck of the woods, I feel it would be remiss of me not to include a photograph looking along the awful Woolmead.


The 1970s at it's worst

This will, perhaps, change one day if the East Street Development every gets off the ground. Planning has been going on for nearly as long as Swain and Jones have been around.

Who knows, I might get another photo in the same location but completely changed, sometime in my lifetime. Though I’m not holding my breath.

Last will and wishing tree

While Denise and Tracey were stepping foot back in Brisbane, swearing they’d never fly with Etihad ever again, I was back at work.

I bequeath to my monkey, my dear and amusing Jacko, the sum of £10 sterling per annum, to be employed for his sole and exclusive use and benefit; to my faithful dog, Shock, and my well beloved cat Tib, a pension of £5 sterling; and I desire that, in case of the death of either of the three, the lapsed pension shall pass to the other two, between whom it is to be equally divided. On the death of all three, the sum appropriated to this purpose shall become the property of my daughter Gertrude, to whom I give this preference among my children because of the large family she has, and the difficulty she finds in bringing them up.

I accidentally came across the above clause in the 1828 will of a man called Garland. I was looking for information on Henry Wimshurst in the Illustrated London News but thought the clause far more interesting. It does make me wonder what ever happened to Jacko, though and whether Gertrude killed them all in order to get the money.

I did manage to find a few small bits and pieces about Henry (or ‘Old Man Wimshurst’ as Nick at Work calls him) but not as much as one would expect from the man who built the first ship with a screw propeller!

More interesting was the new tree at the V&A. It stands at the main, Cromwell Road, entrance.

Kalpataru: The Wishing Tree by Sahil and Sarthak Sengupta

Kalpataru: The Wishing Tree by Sahil and Sarthak Sengupta

The Kalpataru is an Indian mythological plant upon which you can make wishes and, if you’ve been good, they may be fulfilled. This piece is inspired by it and goes together with the current slew of Indian exhibitions at the V&A.

I have to say, it makes a lovely bright alternative to the usual Christmas tree.

Then, imagine my joy when I discovered this engraving after a Hogarth which features, among other things, Sadlers Wells! It’s the doorway on the left near the fashionable lady.

Image from V&A

Image from V&A

This is part of a series called The Four Times of the Day and depicts Evening. In 1783, when this represents, the blossoming middle classes would pop out of London to the favoured drinking hole that was Sadlers. It was started by a Mr Sadler who was a surveyor. He had recently opened a music house sometime around 1683 and then discovered a spa! What a bit of jolly good luck that was!

The place rapidly became littered with hypochondriacs hoping for a cure from the Wonder Waters of the Well. It became a bit of a farce with the smart people realising how stupid the stupid people were for believing it actually did more than make Mr Sadler wealthier than his surveying work could ever make him. This culminated in an actual farce being written by George Colman in 1776 featuring the well.

Even royalty visited in the early 18th century with Princesses Amelia and Caroline often spotted there in June, being nauseated by the bitter spa water.

There was a lot of non-curing going on and the place took on all the verve and zing of the famed Vauxhall Gardens. Sadly for the owners, this didn’t quite catch on to the same, lascivious degree of the south of the river venue. What did catch on, however, was the establishment of a theatre company close by to the well. At first performing in the open air, this eventually became the Sadlers Wells theatre we know today…and where we saw the Peking Opera on Thursday.

The miserable woman of Waitrose

Today, while Denise and Tracey were heading to Abu Dhabi having not been upgraded to business class, I tried to teach Freya to go through the puppy door. I wasn’t very successful. Even using doggie treats in her favourite flavour didn’t help. On the other hand, Denise and Tracey were fortunate in getting an empty seat between them.

And if being frustrated by a ruggedy cockerpoo wasn’t enough, I had to contend with the worst check out woman in Waitrose.

I always try and avoid her by hiding somewhere until she’s so busy I can use another one. Today I found myself outwitted by her being on the basket check out.

She insists on being outraged and is always negative to the extent that I feel like cutting my own head off after taking to her. This was today’s exchange:

Her: How did your dinner go?
Me: Good. Yes, I had to cook for nine. Never done that before. So it was quite an evening. Plus it was family. And my family is noisy.
Her: Well, you are all Australian.

And this was my mistake.

Me: Actually, no. Apart from my little sister and my wife, we’re all English. We were £10 Poms.
Her: I hate that expression.
Me: £10 Poms?
Her: You know where it comes from?
Me: English people immigrating to Australia for £10?
Her: When we go out in the sun our skin gets blotchy like a pomegranate.
Me: [after a suitable pause] Well, in all seriousness, there’s worse things to be called.
Her: [dismissively] I won’t argue with you Gary.

Not the best start to the day but, boy, did it end a whole lot better. For tonight we went to Sadlers Wells to see the China National Peking Opera Company production of Warrior Women of Yang.


Listening to the Archers on my way to London

What an insane hoot it was. Absolutely mental. Mind you, the sound of amplified chipmunks takes a bit of getting used to. In fact the woman in front of us spent most of the first half with her fingers in her ears. Still…


Sadlers Wells

The costumes were just extraordinary and the energy non-stop…a bit like the band.

It is customary in Chinese opera for the audience to show their appreciation at odd moments by yelling out HAO! and clapping with wild abandon. We took part in this show of approval with great gusto.


Curtain call

But, of course, we can’t be allowed to have too good a night out. South West Trains decided to ruin the last bit by cancelling our train, without a reason, and making us wait almost an hour for the next one.


Saga of the giant poo

While Denise and Trace were enjoying the sunshine at Buckingham Palace, things were a little bleaker here in Farnham.


Though given the early morning Freya antics, this was absolutely beautiful.

Freya is still quite small. She is certainly growing but like all creatures she has to go through small before she gets to large.

While her size isn’t generally a problem in most things, this morning it was in a big way…pun intended.

It was first thing and she’d gone outside with the other two for the usual ablute while I made tea and coffee.

I had settled down on the sofa for my obligatory first thing in the morning laze about when I realised I hadn’t seen Freya for a while. Emma was chewing a bit of stick on the rug and Day-z was chewing one of her various lumps but the little one was nowhere to be seen.

I figured she was down the back investigating something of great importance and left her to it.

It was about 15 minutes later that I had to go outside when I found her.

The old pallet side fence had fallen over in the huge winds we had had overnight and Emma had scrambled over and was barking in the general direction of Mr Sandals. I quickly called her back and replaced the barrier. As I turned back to go inside, I spotted the forlorn figure of Freya, straining and struggling at the top of the terrace steps.

It looked like she’d started to go to the toilet up the back and then very gradually, while still in that distinctive dog poo crouch, staggered her way to the terrace to share her distress with the rest of us. And she was struggling.

Her eyes were plaintive and begging but Emma and Day-z were keeping their distance while I told her she’d have to do it herself. Eventually she did and I could see why she’d had so much difficulty with its evacuation. It was almost the same size as her.

Naturally she’d retained a certain quantity of the evil stuff, matting her trouser area hair which required immediate hosing down which, still half asleep, I managed to do. I then successfully disposed of the giant turd, though, at first, it was difficult finding a plastic bag big enough. It really needed a shovel and wheelbarrow.

It was not what you’d call an ideal start to the day.

Things did improve. Mum and I went into Farnham to shop then walked back. After lunch Terry came and picked mum up to go to stay with Jackie for a few days and I took the dogs for a long awaited if somewhat bleak, walk.


Yay! It's all gone! I'm free!

And Freya managed to bounce back from her monster poo quite quickly.

Sushi Tuesday

Just about every Tuesday is sushi Tuesday for me but it’s never better than when I get to buy it at Itsu.


Which is what I did this morning as I made my way to the flat.

It was a very early start (though not as early as Terry) in order to meet the Sliderobe guys for 9. I easily slept all the way to Waterloo courtesy of South West Trains and despite Stephenson and his stupid narrow gauge, before joining the morning crush to Canary Wharf on the Jubilee Line.

Starbucks and sushi in hand, I headed against the human traffic to the flat.



I thought I’d better get a photo before they started in order to record in perpetuity how it originally looked.

In the interests of fairness, I’ve also included a photo of the old cooker as we had a new one of those installed today as well.


Another before

As usual Sliderobes did a fantastic job. They were also finished by 1pm. I was shocked. When I booked the date I was reliably informed it would probably take a day and a half. When I rang up today in order to pay, I was told they like to factor in a buffer of long-time proportions.

She asked me if I was pleased with the job. I told her I was jubilant. And I was.



I was particularly pleased because I could start moving everything back into the bedroom…which I started as soon as the guys had left the flat.

Then the cooker arrived at about 2pm. Another couple of chaps (these two from Premier Electric) whose training has obviously included ‘How to really please your clients by giving great service’ arrived, removed the old cooker, installed the new one and were gone by 2:45pm.



Okay, this doesn’t look very different but it is because it actually works.

Premier Electric is another company I’ve used before, was very pleased with the service and consequently used them again. If companies are interested in return business, they could learn a lot from both of these organisations.

Anyway, I applied myself to the mammoth task at hand and was finished by 3:15 and on a train home by 4pm. This was a very good thing because I really don’t want another ridiculously early start tomorrow.