Saturday, 25 December 2010

Happy Christmas!

I just thought I'd stop by to wish everyone a Happy Christmas!

Tilly is very down in the dumps tonight, as she's lame again. Hopefully, a few days rest will get her back to normal, but it is a recurring theme with her - predominantly due to over-exuberance rather than her elbow problems. Santa has brought her lots of toys that she won't be able to play with properly, so it's going to be a disappointing Christmas morning for her.

Other than that, she's in fine fettle - still running rings around me, slurping strangers, and terrorising the local wildlife.

As always, but amplified due to the time of year, Prince is high in my mind. The opening line of 'Once in Royal Davids City', sung by the King's College Choir, always reminds me of listening to the carols whilst in the kitchen with him on Christmas Eve.

I hope you all have a Happy Christmas with those that you love - in person and in our hearts.....

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Treats, Sighs and Videotape....

In a few hours it will be three years since I said goodbye to my little boy. At roughly this time I was curled around him on the bed, propping him on his side so that he could sleep comfortably. I'll never forget how scared I was, knowing what I needed to do the next day. Every day since then I've wondered if I made the decision too soon, and if I could have just savoured an extra few hours or days with him. And every day I decide that I knew him well enough to know that he was simply too tired for me to expect him to carry on. He was so brave, and it was only during the last day that he gave any real indication that he'd had enough.

I've just watched some videos of him that I have never watched before. I took them when he was first diagnosed, and it was beginning to dawn on me that I was going to lose him. If you didn't know the context you would wonder why I'd candidly recorded such everyday activities - eating dinner, chewing bones, waiting for his Grandparents to visit etc.... but they were moments that I knew I could never get back. I haven't felt able to watch them until now; I've been too frightened about what I might see, how I might react, and whether it would set me back years in the grieving process. Now was the right time, and I spent most of the time smiling, rather than crying as I had expected. The volume of treats that were dispensed as part of everyday life was quite incredible, as were the number of sighs that I seemed to produce.

There was one particular video that I found very hard to watch, where I had set the camera up in the corner of the room and just left it running. I was sitting on the sofa with Prince, just talking to him in my usual 'baby-voice' when my face simply collapsed and I started crying as I hugged him. Seeing your grown-self fall apart like this is pretty disturbing, especially when I tried so hard throughout the time he was ill not to let him see me crying. That sounds so crazy, but it's true.

I can't imagine a time when I don't still think of him every day as I walk Tilly, and go through my somewhat odd ritual of talking to him and wishing him goodnight before I go to sleep. I'm glad I watched the videos though. It was the right time.

The Girl.....

I couldn't pop up after a year away from the blog without posting a picture of 'The Girl'. It may be three years since I lost Prince, but that does of course mean that it's nearly three years since Tilly arrived. She's been my absolute saviour. I genuinely don't know what would have happened to me of she hadn't come along.

There are times when she drives me nuts, but they're very few and far between. There are many, many, times every day when I almost suffer real palpitations in trying to express how much I love her.

It may seem ludicrous to some, but I still believe that 'mysterious paws' were at work in bringing us together. Prince was such a kind and generous dog, that it's not beyond my belief to think that he brought us together because he knew we needed each other.

I have no doubt that he's justifiably pleased with his work, and very, very proud of his little sister.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

The Tongue-Master General

It's been so long since I last updated the blog that I thought it only right to let you know how Tilly's getting on. She's fine - still plagued by intermittent periods of lameness, but remaining her characteristically joyous self.

She's calming down quite a lot now that she's reached the 'mature' age of four (!), but still runs rings around me. There's also been a refinement of her 'smooching' strategy and she's mastered the art of getting her tongue around the lips of any unsuspecting stranger who happens to bend down in her company. The washing machine repair-man discovered this a couple of weeks ago, as he innocently stooped to examine the machine. Sluuurrrpppp. He'll think twice before doing that again in a hurry. Bullseye. He loved it really.

She's still not a great fan of cuddling up at every opportunity, but gets incredibly soft at the end of the day when she's tired. The only time you can really 'get hold of her' is when she's in her bed, and of course, I take full advantage of it. She's been my saviour over the past couple of years - I really don't know what would have happened to me if she hadn't scampered along.....

My Boy.....

Two years have passed since I kissed Prince goodbye. Two years. We never spent two weeks apart, so to think that I haven't physically seen him for two years is hard to comprehend. In some ways, it seems a long time ago, and in others it seems like only yesterday that he was chewing bones on the rug.

I hear a lot of people saying that it gets easier, and that time is a great healer, and so on. I'm not sure I really agree with that. Yes, you become less raw. Yes, you come to accept what's happened a little more. Yes, you adapt to a certain extent. But heal? I don't know. Perhaps on the surface, but there's always that underlying feeling that there's something missing. Something not right. Something out of place. I know that I'll never be quite 'me' again without him. I miss him more than I could ever describe.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Sarah & George

Sarah left a comment on my last post, as her very handsome labrador, George, has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Many of the people who still check back on this blog know just what a devastating and frightening thing this can be, so please click through to her blog and offer any support you can.

We're sending lots of love and healing thoughts......

First Blackbird of Spring

The "wee bird" is enjoying the Spring sunshine, even if she chooses what looks like a very uncomfortable position to enjoy it in.....

We're getting back to near-normal walks again now, although I'm still really paranoid about her leg problems. We've had a few ups and downs, but she's fine at the moment, although she does get a little stiff in the evenings. I hope this continues to improve, as it's a little worrying for such a young and active dog to have such problems.... It's not in her nature to let it get her down though, and she continues to bounce through the day without a care in the world. We can learn at lot from our dogs!

This photograph was taken through the upstairs window, as she was checking for breaches in garden security - my neighbours cat is her arch enemy. You may need to click on the picture to see this, but just next to her is a blurred shape. The flash was switched off, but the likelihood is that this was caused by the sun reflecting off the window. Regardless of this, I like to think that it might just be my little boy, keeping an eye on us as ever....

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Beware Squirrels!

Whilst Tillys leg is much better, and I'm pleased that she's on the move again, I wouldn't like to see her doing what this dog can do.....


Thursday, 25 December 2008

Happy Christmas!!!

I should have asked Santa for a camera for Christmas. I sometimes wonder if my pictures would be less blurred if I used a piece of card with a pin-hole in it........

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Better Late Than Never.....

I'm sooooo sorry that I haven't posted for sooooooo looooong. Everyone's been leaving kind, helpful, and enquiring comments, and I've been nowhere to be seen.

The main reason for my absence has been that I've just started a new job. Well, I suppose you could say that I've started a 'new' old job. I've returned to a company that I left a couple of years ago, so it's kind of familiar, but not. I've been in London and Dublin over the past couple of weeks, so have had no time for blogging, Christmas preparations, or any sort of non-work related activity. Tilly has been at her Grandparents house for three or four days each week, carefully casting a spell over them. The magic has been very effective - she gets 100% attention, and whatever she wants. No change there then.

We're now approaching the sixth week of her incarceration and she's started doing some very limited walking. We started a week ago with five minutes a day, and we're now at the dizzy heights of about ten or eleven minutes a day. Both she and I are considering entering the Sumo world champtionships next year, we've put on so much weight.

Jokes apart, she's coped with this awful period far better than I have. Yes, she's been frustrated and a bit fed up at times, but she has an amazing ability to make the best of a bad situation. I've been going crazy without fresh air and exercise. It's wonderful to be out now though - even for such a short time each day.

Her leg seems to be holding out quite well at the moment. She had a couple of days of lameness a few weeks ago, but has been pretty much OK since. I'm taking the build up of excercise really slowly, as it would be simply terrible if we went back to square one at this stage. I'm sure she will have bouts of lameness now and again, and there are some things that we used to do that we probably won't be able to do now, but I'm looking forward to getting back to some degree of 'normal walking'.

I now need to do some Christmas preparations. Less than a week to go and there's not a decoration in sight. I do have a wreath on the door, but that's it. Like last year, I bought a second wreath that I'll take down to 'Princes Bridge' and put up for him. I'm determined to be happy and festive for Tilly this year, as it was so hard last year, but it's really tough at times.

I also need to catch up with everyones blogs over the next few days. Thanks so much for your kind and helpful comments, please don't think that because I'm useless at posting and commenting with any regularity, I don't appreciate them.

One final thing before the festive scramble begins......

Happy Christmas and love to you all - humans, the dogs at our feet, and those in our hearts.

Thursday, 20 November 2008


Bugger. Bugger. Bugger.

Tilly and I are nearing the end of our first week of six weeks of incarceration.

The x-rays she had at the end of last week led to some very disturbing news. Early indications would suggest that Tilly has Elbow Dysplasia (ED). I can't believe it. Of course, I wouldn't wish her to have any problems, but of all the problems she could have, this has to be one of the worst. Tilly thrives on activity, long walks and high-octane games. And here we are, starting six weeks of house-rest, with the prospect of ongoing lameness problems and limited exercise for the rest of her life. God, I hope they're wrong. I also hope that all the things I've read only apply to the most severe cases. There must be some good news stories out there, but I can't find many.

She's almost the opposite of your 'typical' sufferer of ED in that she's not a big dog, and without putting too fine a point on it, she's some way from being a pedigree.

She's coping quite well with being stuck in the house and resting, all things considered. Apart from the two or three hours a day we would have spent walking, we're also not allowed to play the active games we'd usually fill the rest of the time doing. Consequently, we now spend a lot of time looking at each other in bewilderment.

I'm sure Tilly must think that I've suffered a debilitating accident or something, now that I appear unable to throw a ball more than two feet, or indeed muster the energy to leave the house. She now spends most of her time looking a little sullen, looking hopeful, destroying toys, bullying me, or eating.

The latter activity worries me in itself. We'll need someone to come and grease the front door frame in six weeks time to squeeze us both out. Obesity problem in the UK? You bet.

It's not all bad - I've got an excuse to enforce more 'smooching time', and Tilly occasionally forgets herself and 'comes over all affectionate'. The very grainy picture above, taken in the dark with a camera phone, was an attempt at capturing the 'temptress' look she likes to give from the other side of the room if she feels that attention is lacking.

On another note, Saturday is Princes 'official birthday'. I've never known his real birthday, so the day I got him became his official birthday. Nine years ago I was getting awfully excited - only a few days before I could go and pick up 'the funny looking little dog' we'd met at the rescue centre. My little boy. My love.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Checking In......

Blimey, it's been a while. I may not have posted, or commented on anyones blog for a while, but I can assure you that I've been keeping up to date - just lying low.......

Unfortunately, I've been prompted to post by a couple of sad things I've come across over the past few days. I will, however, move onto more positive things later in the post, so please don't despair!

Firstly, I'd like to draw attention to Jenna, whose Mom recently commented on my previous post. Jenna has been diagnosed with Lymphoma but thankfully seems to be getting along quite well with her chemo protocol. I'm sure you'll join me in sending collective love and support....


Secondly, I was utterly horrified to read that Kerrio, and the family over at Blogs From the Dogs, have lost yet another member. Quite how they are keeping going after the year they've had is beyond me. Their grief must be beyond comprehension. My heart goes out to them.


Now, on to good news. Lots of my favourite bloggers have new members of the family - Joker now has Dave to mentor and Emily has a whole tribe of new and new(ish) canine companions! Ben has arrived to keep Bridget and Teresa company and Herbie's doing well whilst hiding from the fireworks.

Tilly's a little angel, albeit one with a sore leg again. Another trip to the vets is lined up for this afternoon, although hopefully she'll be better soon. The battery in my camera is flat, so I can't download a recent photograph to post - I'll try and add one later.

Finally, some fairly old 'news', but still exciting nontheless - my brother and his girlfriend have a dog!! Yes, they took the plunge a few months ago, and Scrappy is now a fully fledged member of the extended family. Scrappy is a six year old rescue dog, and I'm full of admiration for them taking on an 'older' dog - rather than doing as most adopters do (myself included) and aiming straight for the younger dogs. Like Tilly, Scrappy is of 'dubious' parentage, and has a lovely nature.

The two of them were getting on well before Tilly hurt her leg, but more introductions will be needed before we let them loose around the Christmas dinner table......

Happy Scrappy!

Saturday, 9 August 2008

A Happy Anniversary!

Today marks the day a year ago that a certain little black thing came to stay.

Tilly thought her new home was OK, and has been hanging around ever since.....

She's gone from being a nervous, scrawny, eel-like thing with a scarred leg, to being a confident little bundle of joy.

She's put up with tears, lunacy, and a fairly chaotic home-life. And that's just in the first year.

She still likes to be independant, and can get a little feisty with dominant bitches who don't show her due reverance.

She bounces around all day without a care in the world, happily accepting any attention I give her, and not really complaining too much when things don't go her way.

She's sleek, beautiful, cute, funny, fast, and frighteningly bright.

Best of all.....

She's mine.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

We Interupt This Blog To Bring You.........

......the dreadful news that Simon Gray has died at the age of 71.

I can't believe it. I don't usually give a hoot when a 'celebrity' that I don't personally know dies, but this chap was a genius in my eyes. An amazing playwright, author, and all-round character. I'm devastated.

Oh well, (ab)normal service will resume shortly. He did have dogs though......

Saturday, 2 August 2008

It's been a strange year. To say that I've been in an emotional maelstrom would be an understatement.

The first anniversary of Princes death was pretty tough, although I seemed to deal with it in my usual upside-down way. For the few days before I thought I was going to be OK, and was fairly philosophical. And then on the day itself, I fell apart without warning. Almost as though someone had whispered in my ear that it had just happened. I was as though all the shock, disbelief and pain from a year ago had been introduced again. One of the many things I've learned over the past year is that I'm useless at dealing with grief, and still don't seem to be able to accept what happened and move forward.

Whilst I'm on the subject of grief, I have to mention Brian and Kerrio over at Blogs from the Dogs. They've lost two of their wonderful pack in the space of a couple of weeks - Megan, and then Kubrin only a couple of days ago. How do you deal with that? My heart goes out to them - they must be falling apart at the moment.

Tilly has been my saviour over the past year. I'm now approaching a much happier anniversary, that of Tillys' arrival nearly a year ago. She's simply wonderful. An absolute joy. Unless you're a rabbit, of course.

I've lost count of the number of times I've been out walking, as miserable as sin, and I've glanced ahead to see her cavorting with another dog or simple streaking into the undergrowth, and smiled a truly happy smile. I don't do that very often now, and when I do it's almost invariably Tilly that prompts it.

She's made great progress over the past year. Gone are the days of her being scared of traffic, unreliable with horses, and a terror off the lead. Her recall is amazing, even if she still likes to be a mile ahead, and she's becoming a bit of a secret softy. But don't tell anyone.

Thanks for all your kind comments and ongoing support. I might be around a little more over the next few weeks, but I'll save that for next time. Oh, and I promise - no more overly maudlin posts!!

Saturday, 26 July 2008


1997 -2007

Missing you every moment, every day......

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Another Sad Loss....

I really shouldn't only post when there is bad news, but I read that Maggie lost her battle with Lymphoma over the weekend and thought that I'd continue the tradition of honouring these beautiful, brave dogs, and their equally brave and loving families.

My heart goes out to Maggies mom, Emily - who must be feeling like she's been hit by a twenty ton weight at the moment. Knowing that your dog has a terminal disease doesn't make it any easier when the time comes for them to move on - however prepared we think we are, nothing can prepare you for the pain and desolation that follows.

One glance at Maggies blog will confirm what a lovely character she was, and what a happy life she led - surrounded by love and fun. I'm sure she'll be continuing in that vein with Prince, Watson, Cole, Yogi and others helping to guide her on her new journey.

I'm sure everyone will join me in sending a lot of love and support to Emily, Angel, and the rest of the family..........

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Goodnight Cole

Teresa lost her beloved Cole yesterday, and I'm sure she's probably in pieces at the moment. Yet another wonderful and loving dog taken away by Lymphoma. Life is so damned cruel at times.

There's really nothing you can say to make things any better under these circumstances, but I'm sure we're all sending a lot of love and support in Teresa, Kevin and Bridgets direction......

Tuesday, 8 April 2008


Just a quick one to say a huge thank-you for all your very kind comments following my last post. I've been quite touched by the reaction! Now I'm considering 'doing a Tony Blair' and actually not going anywhere for a good year or two......!

Seriously though, I will be posting occasionally, when time permits, and following everyone elses fun and games as often as I can.

Tilly's feeling less than ecstatic following a soaking on this mornings walk....

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Au Revoir (ish!)

As you've probably realised, my postings have dwindled to the point that I've practically given up blogging. This isn't for any particular reason, it's just that I tend to have so little time to post, and so little of great interest to post about. This blog was originally set up when Prince was first diagnosed with Lymphoma as a resource for others, an outlet for me, and of course, as a showcase for the most special little dog on earth.

I'm not giving up entirely, and I may well appear occasionally to publish a post if something exceptional happens, or if I find myself with a few spare minutes, but it's unlikely that this is going to be a very active blog in the future. I've met (virtually) some wonderful people and their dogs over the past nine months and will continue to keep up with their blogs when I can, and comment where appropriate. Of course, those bloggers whose dogs are suffering with Lymphoma will be the most closely followed, perhaps because I think I can share some of their pain, even if I can't take it away.

One thing I've been meaning to do for some time is post the remaining links that I found during the dark days when Prince was ill. It's been horrible having to look at them all again to check the addresses, but they may be useful to anyone who stumbles across this blog whilst researching Canine Lymphoma. I sincerely hope that nobody find themselves in the postition where they do.

I'm going to scan (subject to the copyright owners approval) the two articles I wrote for Dogs Today, and some printed information that the oncologists at Liverpool University gave to me and add it to this post over the next few days - so check back if you think it will be useful.

I'm going to check what Princes 'sister' is up to now. She's being suspiciously quiet.....

Bye for now!

Lymphoma Resources

Liverpool University Small Animal Teaching Hospital

Animal Cancer Trust

Pet Screen

Lymphoma Factsheet


Pharmorubicin (Human version of Epirubicin)

Vincristine (Human)


Prednisolone (Human)

Haemorrhagic Cystitis

Petplan (I hope you've got GOOD insurance!)


Ludicrous. Frankly ridiculous. And no, I'm not referring to Emma Milnes' article in Dogs Today magazine, but the utterly idiotic reaction that it's caused.

I'm no great fan of Emma Milne, and I certainly don't condone her comments in the article, but the online reaction has been the most embarrassing display of opportunistic, unpleasant, and in many cases, downright vicious drivel I've seen in some time.

Emma Milne was stupid to file such a controversial piece, and betrayed the trust of Beverley and her team by doing so. Beverley, but her own repeated admissions, should have checked the copy before it went to print. But, the crap that's been written since has been ridiculous -veiled threats, blatant requests for financial 'recompense', demands for sackings, apologies, and a whole magazine full of greyhound worship. We all love dogs, or we wouldn't be reading this stuff. Greyhounds and lurchers are wonderful, and Dogs Today have supported them for a long time. Nobody who is a suitable owner for a rescue greyhound will now opt for a labrador purely on the basis of Milnes' article.

So - get over it. Continue doing the amazing work you do, and fundraising via the usual means - rather than trying to extort money and coverage from a magazine and editorial team that does their very best for the canine population year after year. If anyone can prove to me via audited figures that in twelve months time the numbers of dumped greyhounds have increased over and above the usual yearly incremental increase, or the numbers adopted have reduced on a similar basis, I'll donate £100 to EGLR. But, on the other hand, I'll probably make a donation anyway....

Sunday, 16 March 2008

She Likes It Rough…..

Especially with a handsome lurcher. But if you’ve reached this post through Google, you’re going to be very disappointed, because I don’t mean that she likes ‘it’ rough. Tilly likes rough games with her doggy pals – and it frightens the daylights out of me if I’m honest.

Tilly’s the sort of dog that tends to bounce, thank goodness. The more another dog cannons into her, the more she seems to enjoy it. She met up with some friends at Chester Racecourse a couple of days ago, and her favourite is a young lurcher who loves to chase her around the track at ludicrous speeds. Now of course, lurchers love to chase. And Tilly loves to be chased. She’s not at all worried about the fact that being ‘caught’ usually involves her being crashed into at speed, and rolling over several times before coming to a stop. My heart’s in my mouth the whole time, but whilst I’d love to wrap her in cotton wool and carry her around all the time, I can’t. She’s a youthful, exuberant dog who is totally consenting in these matters. So much so that we’ve decided to invent a new sport – ‘Tilly coursing’. It’s a bit like hare coursing, but with willing prey. She plays on the basis that when the time comes, roles are reversed, and she gets to chase her friends around the course and they let her ‘catch’ them occasionally.

And The Award Goes To......!!!!!!!

Thanks Fiona, that's really kind - especially when you have so many other things to think about.

Now, I'm going to cheat again and award it to all those who read this blog - you all make me smile with your posts and comments......

Friday, 7 March 2008

Weasel Work

This is Tilly, trying to convince me that a game with 'Weasel' would be preferable to work. Of course, she's quite right, but sometimes it's just not an option. The last few days have been a little like that - it's been hectic. My apologies to all those whose blogs I should have been reading and simply haven't had time visit - I'll catch up soon.

I did want to put a quick post up to echo Linda and encourage everyone to visit Fionas blog. She's having such a hard time at the moment, and whilst I can empathise fully with her devastation at having lost Yogi last week, I can't imagine how hard it must be with the added worry of her Mum being ill.

I also wanted to mention a lady called Teresa who left a lovely comment on my previous post which led me to her blog. She has two wonderful dogs - Cole and Bridget, and unfortunately Cole has recently been diagnosed with Lymphoma. Teresa has taken the brave step of choosing not to pursue chemotherapy treatment with her, but to make her as happy and comfortable as she can over the coming months. It's a route I considered with Prince, and a small part of me still wishes I had. Cole seems to be having a wonderful time at the moment, with visits to the beach and lots of cuddles. I'd encourage you to have a look - like so many blogs that have sprung up as a result of Lymphoma diagnosis it's peppered with humour (often the thing that gets us through) and I particularly like the 'Semi-Casual Look'!

Saturday, 1 March 2008

I'm So Lucky.....

Yes, I know that may seem to be a slightly odd statement. Especially coming from me, as someone who has spent a large proportion of the last year bemoaning his lack of fortune and the darkness of unexpected events.

So why on earth might I consider myself lucky? During rare moments of clarity, it's fairly straightforward. Firstly, I had the absolute privilege of spending nearly eight years of my life in the company of Prince. I was the richest man on the planet during that time, and no stock-market crash can ever take away what he so generously gave to me.

Secondly, I'm lucky because Prince introduced me to Tilly. Those of you that have been reading this blog for some time may recall that when I visited the RSPCA centre, Tilly was 'not for re-homing'. Orange paws were certainly at work when I asked why, and discovered it was a mistake and that she could indeed choose me to take her home if she so wished.

She did, and proved that in characteristic style, Prince continued to look out for me even after he'd moved on to his new adventure. And she's utterly fantastic. Buzzy, licky, dafty, bouncy, fantastic. Yes, she drives me crazy at times, but Prince couldn't have chosen a better sister.

Do you see? I'm the luckiest man on earth. I also have the best family I could wish for, even if they REALLY drive me crazy at times, and some damned good friends. I have a house that's reasonably warm, and struggle not to eat too much. I'm lucky.

The only unfortunate thing is that sometimes it takes others grief to remind you just how lucky you are.

A wise big brother......

And his little sister, maintaining the tradition of a cat-free garden.....

Tuesday, 26 February 2008


I've just read the awful news that Fiona had to say goodbye to Yogi this morning. Another beautiful, fun-loving dog, cruelly taken from those who love him by Lymphoma.

He was utterly georgeous, and an absolute credit to his 'human family' who helped to give him the strength and love to battle the disease so courageously. They were also able to provide the ultimate kindness in helping him move onto the next level when the time came.

It's horrendous to know that someone else is having to deal with the numbness, shock, and utter devastation that I went through when I lost my little boy.

There's nothing I can say that will help, so let's all just send lots of love and support to Yogi's family.

Have a safe journey, Yogi-bear, and if a little chap called Prince comes along to help guide you in your new adventure - tell him I love him.....

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Back in Blighty......

I'm back on UK soil, and Tilly is snoozing, upside down, next to me on the sofa. It's great to be back, but I think we've both had a good time. Tilly has clearly thoroughly enjoyed being spoilt rotten by her Grandparents, and I've had a great time in Paris.

As soon as I'd picked Tilly up I took her to her regular morning walking spot, to check the 'pee-mail' from her pals, and have a general blow-out. She was an absolute lunatic - which was great to see. Of course, I know that she's had oodles of exercise and games whilst I've been away, but if she'd been at kennels I would have been ringing them to rant furiously about them not having let her out the whole time I was away! I think she was just happy to be back on 'home turf' and running rings around me again.

She was also pretty jolly at having scored a 'hole in one' oral smooch with a lady who mistakenly bent down to say hello to her. Tilly provided the now trademark 'kiss' - nearly removing the unsuspecting ladys' dentures in the process.....

I seemed to fit quite a lot into my visit to France. Of course, I spent 90% of my time in cafes, people watching and ploughing my way through three books, but I also managed to visit a plethora of bookshops to replenish stocks, a few galleries and a couple of museums. I avoided Shakespeare & Co this time, having decided that it's simply an over-hyped, and rather hypocritical base for intellectually challenged, but pretentious, tourists. I did buy a couple of books from them the last time I was there though, so read into that what you will.....

Instead, this time I visited La Hune, Galignani and Librairie L7, along with a few others that I happened upon by chance - including a tiny English Language bookshop in St. Sulpice, complete with resident tortoise.

I mooched through another section of the Musee d'Orsay - having given up on previous trips, whilst attempting to see it all in a day. I also visited the Jardin des Plantes and its two key museums of natural history and comparative anatomy. I wandered through the seedy streets of Pigale, and paid the mandatory visit to the Cafe de Flore and Les Deux Magots in St Germain. I was determined not to visit these two cafes this time, having been to both before and decided that they suffered from a similar affliction to Shakespeare & Co, but I did crack in the end. Of course, I spent the whole time scuttering about people who don't even bother to learn enough French to order a couple of coffees, and then wonder why the waiters are rude. My French language skills are terrible, but at least I try......

Now, for some pictures. Of course, I've included only the vaguely cultural ones. It's not as though I spent most of the trip getting drunk on wine outside cafes......

The Musee d'Orsay.

Of course I wasn't missing my rural lifestyle.......

A Distant Relative......

The Jardin des Plantes, looking a little uninspiring!

Outside Les Deux Magots - drunk, hence the blurry image.......

Les Deux Magots, with the Cafe de Flore in the background.

St Germain Church.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Hey Fluffy Pants...

As I type, Tilly is roasting gently by the fire. It's a domestic scene that opposes that of a few hours ago quite starkly. On arrival home from this afternoons walk I wrinkled my nose gingerly, as the most horrific stench enveloped the room. Think ammonia, car-park stairwells, and used nappies. Yes, Tilly had somehow ended up smelling strongly of wee. I'm pretty sure it wasn't hers, either.

I've no idea how this came about, but the large labrador cross she had been playing with remains prime suspect. Anyway, she's been in the tub for the second time this week. Bath-time is not something she enjoys, but she does tolerate it quite well. And of course, it prompts that doggy phenomena of zooming around the house at break-neck speed when drying is complete.

As an added bonus, I get to chuckle at her enormous 'trousers' for the rest of the night. She is the proud owner of a fairly impressive pair of 'hairy pants' at the best of times, but after a bath they become all the more impressive. Tonight I swear they extended a good three inches out from the back of her legs. I'm not sure the picture below does them justice.

Anyway, talking of 'les pantalon grand', I'm heading to Paris for a few days from Friday, so I'll be even more elusive than ever on the posting front. Tilly's looking forward to looking after her Grandparents for a few days whilst I eat too much, spend too much time in cafes, oggle beautiful French girls and soak up some culture that seems woefully lacking in the UK nowadays. Of course, I shall be on the phone every day to see how she's getting on.....

Monday, 11 February 2008

A Bone to Pick....

....with all those who commented on my previous post. STOP ENCOURAGING HER!!!! She was so taken with the generally positive theme of all the comments that she's upped her game and nuked another couple of rabbits since. Thanks. A lot. The gods of Watership Down will be firing thunderbolts at us soon.....

Ball-on-rope hasn't been totally consigned to history though, she enjoyed a good game in the sunshine a couple of days ago. You can see from the picture that she was very much 'in the shadow' of the ruins of Beeston Castle, which you can just see on top of the hill in the distance.

The weather has been beautiful over the past few days though, and I managed to catch Tilly sunbathing amongst the early Spring flowers in the garden....

On a less bright note, I was sad to read that both Herbie and Yogi have reached the stage where the chemotherapy isn't helping them. Thankfully, it sounds like both are feeling quite well and enjoying the unseasonal weather we've been having. Reading about them brings back some really tough memories about Princes battle with Lymphoma. It doesn't matter how prepared you are for these things - I knew from the first time I took Prince to the vets with swollen glands that my previously held belief that he was immortal was going to be shattered. Despite this, the shock, numbness, depair and grief was, and is, unbearable. Lets send some collective love and support to them both - I really hope they feel well for a long time to come yet.

To close this post on a postive note - Maggie, who's also suffering from Lymphoma, is still responding really well to her treatment!!

Friday, 8 February 2008

Bunny Running.....

Sweet? Don't be Fooled....

Bloody hell. Tilly has discovered the joy of chasing rabbits. A few days ago (those of a sensitive nature may wish to look away now) Tilly caught her first rabbit, and she's been intolerable since.

Gone are the heady days of lazily throwing a ball around for Tilly to retrieve, and no longer can I amble along without worrying what she might be up to. Now, the unfortunate likelihood is that she's disembowling a rabbit in front of an audience of traumatised children. Recall has gone out of the window, as a running rabbit is invariably more exciting than me, and the once favoured 'ball-on-rope' is now discarded at the first hint of bunny scent.

As a terrier, Prince was the ultimate rabbit-hunter. However, as a terrier, he also had rather short legs and a typically male 'blustering' approach that led to a relatively low chase to catch ratio. People always say that a good teacher will produce pupils who end up achieving more than they have, and if Prince has passed his rabbitting skills on to Tilly, with her long legs and incredible speed, the rabbit population of Cheshire is in big trouble.........

And finally, we've won another award!!! Thanks very much to AOJ and The Lurchers for presenting us with this award.....

Now - I'm male, lazy, and tired. So I'm going to pinch an idea from some other bloggers (who shall remane nameless....) and dedicate it to all those people whose blogs I read - because if they weren't all excellent, I wouldn't read them!