Adam & Eve it!

First thing this morning (well, actually ‘second thing’ because I set up the fan over the path first) I took Day-z up to the vets and left her there. She wasn’t that keen, giving me a heartbreaking, “Please don’t leave me here,” look over her shoulder as she was led through the door.

Emma was very confused. In fact, all day she was a bit confused as to where Day-z was. They’ve not really been apart for more than a few hours so a full day was a new experience. Late in the day, when we picked Day-z up, Emma went mad with joy, leaping all over her and wagging her tail like a propeller on a New Zealand powerboat.

Without Day-z, the day was full of cleaning the extension and training Emma to sit, lay down, stay, wait and eat treats. That last one she is very good at. Actually, she’s getting very good at all of them.

And then, there was a ring at the front door bell and Builder Dave arrived ready to prime. At first I didn’t believe it, rubbing my eyes and pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t having a happy little dream. But no, having surprised him with my rather odd performance, he came in and set to work with the very foul smelling primer.

While he primed away he told me about a friend of his who has helped invent something really amazing. So amazing, in fact, that I’ve been sworn to secrecy. But, to give a clue as to how important it is, Dave wore a suit to go and see a bunch of scientists talk about it yesterday. Now that’s amazing.

While on the theme of amazing, Mirinda interviewed a woman today to take over a part of the college that has been causing her a lot of unnecessary stress lately. I was hoping this woman was going to turn out to be perfect…and she was. Mirinda offered the job in the afternoon. Now I’m just waiting for the deep cloud of gloom to lift off my wife’s shoulders and go somewhere else.

Meanwhile back at the coal face…Builder Dave finished and announced that he’d be sending Clive to come tomorrow to put down the gravel and resin. It’s not supposed to rain and he’s just as keen on getting the job finished as we are. (That’s Dave, rather than Clive.)

The only fly that could land unceremoniously in the sweet ointment is if there’s not enough gravel. According to our calculations, we have (more than) enough bags but Dave has never been 100% sure. Tomorrow will tell.

Late in the day, I went back to the vet to pick up a rather doped Day-z. She was fine walking back to the house. In fact, she trotted along remarkably quickly, clearly wanting to regain the back of the lounge. Which she did almost immediately after arriving. Actually, when the nurse brought her out to reception, she went over to the wrong person who exclaimed “I was expecting a Staffie!”

The vet said they’d managed to clear out her ears and ascertained that her eardrums and ear canals were fine and just needed a bit of treating with cream and antibiotics (my job).

I was told to make her something bland for dinner so she was given rice and boiled chicken. Now that’s bland! Even so, so wolfed it down almost as fast as Emma…which is saying something because Emma can eat her dinner before I actually put it in her bowl.


Listening to Radio 4 tonight, I heard the wonderful bit of African advice when it comes to avoiding catching ebola: ‘Don’t kiss any corpses.’

Dopey Day-z

Continuing on from last night…having had just a few hours sleep because of my worrying about Day-z’s ear, I saw Mirinda off to work then rang the vet at 8:30 to get the earliest appointment possible. They managed to book her in for 11:50 so I did a bit of housework before Skyping with mum and dad.

Because Day-z was feeling poorly (and basically asleep on the back of the lounge) I Skyped from the extension, using the tablet. It was a perfect opportunity to show mum and dad our new chairs. Mum’s favourite colour is red (even her bridesmaid’s muffs were red at her wedding) so I knew she’d like them regardless.

They told me all about poor Norm and his deteriorating brain and also about some cutting edge stem cell brain surgery that may help him start remembering things again. Apparently it has worked before and might in his case. Let’s hope so. It’s a bit trying when he doesn’t remember anything and swears all the time.

I also heard about Denise’s almost completed move to her new place. That seems to be going great guns and, hopefully, she’ll be happily living alone again.

It was all too soon for me to leave for the vet so off the three of us trotted, poor Day-z unaware of where we were going. not that she’s ever really bothered by the vet though she’s never had to stay there on her own.

We only ocassionally get the same vet (I have no idea why) and today was no different. The woman who looked at Day-z didn’t stop smiling. Her teeth were almost Ross-like in their whiteness. I know this because, not only did she not stop smiling but she did it with her mouth open. It made her appear very pleasant and yet vaguely odd at the same time.

Anyway, she knew her stuff and told me that Day-z will need to go in for sedation and ear grinding. Unfortunately it couldn’t be today because they’re chockers with other surgery requiring pets (possibly an influx of hamsters or chincillas) so she’s booked in for tomorrow morning first thing. The vet then gave Day-z another dose of the Dopey Juice, saying she’ll be a bit dopey for a bit. That was a surprise.

Back at home she spent almost the day on the back of the lounge looking into the garden. When the sun went down, it didn’t stop her looking out into the garden it just proved she was actually looking at something different entirely. Possibly generated by the drugs soothing through her veins.

I had a note from Builder Dave saying he’d be coming round tomorrow to prime the step tops. We shall see. Mind you, the rain has held off for a few days and the noisy blower has been doing its job admirably. My fingers are too sore from their almost constantly being crossed so I crossed my hands instead.

More chairs

Our new dining chairs arrived today. They are red and very comfortable. As everyone keeps saying, there may be a bit of a fight over who sits on them at Christmas.

For the royal buttness

A couple of stories I heard today:

Silvi is a barista at Starbucks and she’s pregnant. She had a pretty hard time through the morning sickness phase and then was beset with mood swings. Now, just as she’s started to level out a bit, her husband comes home from work and tells her he has to go to China for four weeks and has to leave in two days time.

She was not best pleased. As she explained to Chantelle, had she not been expecting, she’d have just gone out partying every night but because she is, it means she’ll be the sad old pregnant woman stuck at home. Alone. With an empty glass.

We both felt very sorry for her.

One of the regular women who serves me at Waitrose and is pleasant, is called Sue. She served me today and told me how she needed to buy a new front door (she asked about our extension). I asked her why. She then told me that she and her husband have a rental property with a tenant who has been living there for 23 years.

He was an elderly single man who was never any problem. And then, suddenly, he died. He was in the house at the time.

The police were called by a concerned neighbour and, when they turned up, the police were forced to knock the door down in order to get to him. Clearly he wasn’t going to answer their knocking. And so now, Sue and her husband have to get a new door as the present one has been hammered into the frame to make the property secure. At present they’re forced to access the house by the back door.

That’s a problem one doesn’t normally think about when they rent out a property.

Back at the house, I had another go at making the ma’amoul pastries (yesterday’s failed attempt wound up in the bin) and they worked beautifully……


While they were (are still) delicious, it was only after I realised I’d sprinkled them with corn flour instead of icing sugar once they were cool enough. When Mirinda tasted one she said they were much better but could still be sweeter. I tasted one and agreed.

It wasn’t until I was making dinner and reached for the corn flour, that I realised my mistake. I quickly dusted the pastries off and re-dusted them, this time with icing sugar. Mirinda was much happier with the taste and pronouned them infinitely better. Stupid Gaz.

And you’d think that everything would be fine wouldn’t you? But, as I always say (quoting Joe Orton) “Just when you least expect it, the unexpected always happens.”

Poor Day-z started going a bit mad. Her ears were bothering her (she acted as if something was buzzing in there, trying to get out through her head) and she was in quite a bit of discomfort. I quickly took her up to the emergency, 24 hour vet.

The vet said she has a secondary infection from her stress rash and she’ll need it looked at in some depth and while under sedation. She told me to come back to the vet in the morning and see about getting something done urgently. She then gave Day-z a shot of something quite powerful and clearly fun.

The rest of the night was spent nursing her as she went on a drug induced trip to canine drug heaven. A pretty rotten end to the day.

Abject failure

Yet another crappy day, weather-wise. I think the weather gods are paying us back for the lack of rain in September and teaching Builder Dave a lesson about putting things off. Every time I look at the big sheets of black plastic on the step tops, I think about how it could so easily have been finished yonks ago.

Still, we made the best of it. Mirinda had her usual Skype with Bob and Fiona and I went shopping.

After lunch, we went to a furniture store in Ash Vale to look at their recliners and sofas. Mirinda had visited their store in Farnham and fallen in love with some of their furniture and wanted me to see them.

It seems that the store in Ash Vale caters for a much older and less modern clientelle. Because of this, the pieces she wanted me to see are not in their shop. Worse than that, they have a ‘carpark’ sale on Sunday’s so most of their customer carpark was taken up with dining tables, lounge suites and chairs. This meant we had to park on the main road, a bit of a walk from the shop.

Logically, I would have thought that the weekend would be their busiest time, given most furniture purchases are made when both members of a partnership would be available. These people would more often than not, drive and would need parking. I can just hear the general manager saying how this would be the perfect time to fill up their parking area. Particularly given there’s not a lot of off road parking in Ash Vale.

So, on the way back (Ash vale is only four miles away), we popped into the Farnham branch so I could see the options that Mirinda had fallen in love with. This emphasised what a complete waste of time going to Ash Vale was.

The lounge she likes is wonderful. I laid down on it and didn’t want to leave. Beautifully comfortable and long enough to fit the wall and my legs. The recliner was equally comfortable with the added benefit of having a swivel base. This makes it very easy for Mirinda to swing herself round to look at the garden rather than the TV if she wants.

Speaking of the TV…Mirinda discovered the other day that we can now access Netflix through our BT Vision subscription. This means we don’t need a new smart TV! We celebrated by watching the second Hunger Games film.

So, at the moment, the furniture list is a lot shorter than it was a few days ago. Now it’s just a matter of choosing the leather colour. It then takes about 14 weeks to get the furniture made and delivered. It’s not going to be a quick thing.

Back at home I started making some Middle Eastern sweet pastries. The fill (dates and walnuts) was perfect. The same cannot be said for the finished product. The little pastry cases were too thick and too bland. I know the problem and, because I have a lot of the filling left, will try again tomorrow.

We finished off the delicious almond fingers after dinner instead.

Zombies at Frensham!

Zombies that way

What an exciting morning walk we had at Frensham today. And I took the camera.

Ignoring the thick layer of fog that cuddled the pond in an almost impenetrable duvet of whispery grey, we set off, following the same path as we did yesterday. The pond looked fantastically moody, particularly the lone cormorant standing guard over its roost in the middle of the water.

There were fishermen galore and enough dog walkers to fill a stadium. Emma was like a small child at Christmas, running here, there and everywhere as people and puppies vied for her attention. You could almost see the sparks of excitement crackling around her head. Day-z, naturally, took it all in her stride, seeing as she’s a bit above all that sort of frivolous behaviour.

Then we reached the camp.

Zombie 62nd Regiment

The 62nd Zombie Regiment had set up in order to try and defeat the undead menace. Piles of bodies showed the results of their constant battle with the evil that was abroad on the heathland.

The dead dead

We carefully made our way to the big gate that allowed access to the wider world beyond the small camp. Although the warning was writ clear, we decided to risk it. Given I’m a devotee of The Walking Dead, I guess Mirinda felt safe in the knowledge that I know how to stop a zombie with nothing but a stick and a strong arm.


Even so, the second sign we saw made it plain that the only way to kill a zombie permanently, is to stab it in the brain.

How to kill a zombie

Beyond the big gates was a scene of devastation. A row of carriages showed the hell that had been visited on this small stretch of road. Luggage was strewn all over and there was no sign of life…or death. Mirinda, concerned for the fate of the Bennett girls, naturally peeked into a few of the carriages. She assumed that Wickham had probably been fighting the scourge and where Wickham is, Lydia can never be too far away. Fortunately (possibly) there was no sign of the flightiest of Bennett sisters.

Looking for Lydia

Living near a number of places regularly used as film locations is fantastic! It’s just like Skyfall all over again. And with zombies! Brilliant.

It doesn’t get better than this. It also means that the unthinkable will happen. Because of the association with P&P and because of the fact that it is bing filmed at Frensham, Mirinda is going to watch the movie when it comes out! Who’da thunk it?

Oh, and there’s more (and better) photos on Flickr.

Time and motion

Work was very quiet this week. Nick at Work was off, gallivanting around the country somewhere and Emma not our Puppy was at the store at Blyth House. This meant there wasn’t the usual chit chat and Monty Python quotes.

Susanne, who replaced Lucy is quiet and Terri who replaced Leona, was too busy to give any of her strange thoughts (she once claimed that asbestos probably tastes really good and the fact that no-one is allowed to touch or breath it is a conspiracy so some people could keep it all to themselves). So, it was quiet. Howard tried to inject a little noise into the day by discussing a small wooden model of an engine mount with me but it was a small effort and didn’t last long.

My work wasn’t very exciting, given I had to research about ten of the wooden ‘forms’ which were almost as boring as baby feeding bottles and nipple shields. At least they all came from the same maker and each one mentioned different ships. So, basically, I did the same job ten times and added quite a few new ships to the database. I also discovered that Caird and Co were not on the database.

Caird and Co were, at one time, the greatest shipbuilders in the world. I was a bit surprised at their omission and quickly corrected the situation.

At lunchtime I popped upstairs to the Measuring Time exhibit and discovered a chap called Lewis Mumford. He claimed that it was clocks and time that heralded the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

He was a historian who specialised in urbanisation (given I studied this at uni, I’m surprised I hadn’t heard of him…mind you, urbanisation wwas a bit dull and I think I slept through a lot of it) and dabbled in other areas. He was also a prolific writer and once said that the human race would eventually use electricity and mass communication to build a better world. He also believed that humankind would begin to use technology in a more environmentally responsible manner as technological development progressed.

He knew a lot of contemporary thinkers, including Vannevar Bush who foresaw Wikipedia…or something very much like it.

Mumford lived to the ripe old age of 94, by which time he’d changed his mind somewhat. From his assertions that, in order to create more efficient benefits to civilisation, humans needed better resources, like fresh air and water and would strive towards a cleaner, more manageable environment, his later work was more despairing as we moved towards the 21st century.

Poor Lewis. It almost sounds like he went from Optimistic Oscar to Negative Nelly throughout his long life.

Great streaking comet, Batman!

On Monday, I felt quite humbled by the sheer quantity of poppies at the Tower. Today, I woke to the equally amazing news that we had landed a probe on a comet.

Imagine setting out to make 888,246 ceramic poppies. Imagine setting out to land an object on a rock moving at 41,176.47 mph. Mind boggling, both.

I think humans can be extraordinary when they want to. Why on earth they also sit around dreaming up ways to kill each other over belief in bollocks, is beyond me. I despair when I realise that if religion had its way, we’d have probably never gone beyond banging rocks together.

However, enough of that!

This morning the day was without rain so it was decided (upon my return from the shops) to take the dogs to Frensham Little Pond. Apart from the fact that we love it there, I had yet to see all the changes.

And to our surprise, there was a film crew there working on a movie. According to a chap we passed, they were killing zombies. I have since discovered that they are presently making a screen adaptation of the best selling novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I am seriously going to enjoy it when it is released…for so many reasons.

All we saw as we walked by was a load of tents, a couple of flags and some sort of wheeled structure on the hill. Sadly, I didn’t take my camera. Maybe we should return on the weekend.

Needless to say that as soon as we finished our walk and started for home, the sky turned black and the rain returned. Typical.