14 December 2014

Every year about this time our bird-loving neighbour Sally puts some bird seed and fat balls on some bird tables and in the branches of the tree in her front garden. Every year about this time Molly eventually discovers the new self-service café on the neighbour’s front lawn and ambles out regularly to hoover up the discards. As well as the left-overs, of course, she also hoovers up the bird droppings left behind by the previous diners. This inevitably results in an upset stomach with accompanying explosive diarrhoea leading to repeated loud and penetrative “barks” in the middle of the night for someone to let her out so that she can use the facilities of the back garden. Now, when I eat a dodgy burger I learn the lesson (until the next time, of course). Molly would quite happily repeat this sequence of events several times a day if she were able. So, Tuesday morning after a decidedly disrupted Monday night I went out to shut the gates (which are normally left open because she has never wandered further than next door’s front garden) and thus prevent her access to the dining service next door. While I was doing so Molly watched me closely with a look that could kill and an expression which clearly said, “you f***ing b*****d!” I am only doing it for your well-being, sweetheart.

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7 December 2014

Brrr. It’s been a chilly week – so chilly that Ms Playchute has finally demanded that the electric blanket gets installed on the bed, much to my disapproval. It does have two controls so I don’t have to have my side of the bed switched on but I would sooner do without it altogether. A blanket and a duvet is just too much! I’d also probably have the bedroom window wide open at night if I were allowed. Still, it must be working – this morning I awakened to find that Penelope had flung all her blankets off and, at some point during the night, had stripped off all her pyjamas which were lying in a huddled heap at the side of the bed. I told her it was too hot! Continue reading “7 December 2014”

30 November 2014

I have to confess to feeling a certain degree of nostalgia and/or envy this week (not sure which). Thanksgiving, of course, is not a holiday we tend to celebrate in the UK. Not that we don’t have plenty to be thankful for, I assure you! But, last Thursday when our American readers were settling down to their respective tables, each sagging and groaning with the weight of their Thanksgiving fare (the tables, of course, not our American readers), I couldn’t help but remember those times when all of us Stragnells/Tolls/McCombs, etc. gathered beside similarly laden tables. We were always on the “kids’” table, of course, but there was still more than enough to eat and plenty to be grateful for. Is this where my love and affection for fine food was fostered? Continue reading “30 November 2014”

23 November 2014

I guess winter is on its way. We’ve had a pretty dreary and miserable week with the notable exception of Tuesday morning which was glorious – bright sunshine, clear blue skies and a crisp easterly breeze which was positively invigorating. Sadly, it didn’t last and it’s been another grey and cloudy, cool/cold, misty and foggy, wet week.

From “The Other Coast” by Adrian Raeside Continue reading “23 November 2014”

16 November 2014

It’s been sort of a “good cop, bad cop” kind of week. There’s been some lovely sunny weather, a bit “crisp” and autumnal to be sure but still very fine. Those lovely moments have been interspersed, however, with some miserable, wet moments which the dog hates and I hate too. We come home caked in mud and, I think, Molly feels quite cheated when the morning walk has to be curtailed due to the “flood” in the railway cutting. Even worse, she is not allowed into the lounge to recline in front of the French doors until she has dried out. I know the rain will fill the reservoirs which we need after the exceedingly fine summer we had. Still, if we are going to play good cop, bad cop couldn’t we just arrange it so that it rains at night and is bright and sunny during the day? That shouldn’t be that difficult to organise, should it? Continue reading “16 November 2014”

9 November 2014

Good morning – I hope it’s fine wherever you are. We’ve finally shaken off the jet lag and, alas, the warm tranquility of the California sunshine is rapidly becoming just another fading memory. It’s certainly been “tranquil” here but not quite perhaps so warm. Compared to southern California, it’s been positively parky which has necessitated the deployment of the central heating as well as two evening fires in the wood-burner in the lounge this week. So far, though, I have managed to resist Ms Playchute’s requests for the re-installation of the electric blanket. Continue reading “9 November 2014”

2 November 2014

Bad news – your vacation is over. We’re back from an outstanding expedition to the States and the price you pay for two weeks of blissful silence is to have to wade through a bumper edition of the Befouled Weakly News. I would stop now.

The “excuse” for this holiday was the occasion of my 45th high school reunion, the class of 1969 of the Webb School of California. Doesn’t time fly when you are enjoying yourself! Of course, we couldn’t make the trip out to southern California without stopping at various other destinations enroute – Hanover, New Hampshire to see my folks and brother Steph and his family, Lake George to visit with brother Sandy and his wife, Pam, Boston to visit with a good friend from Yale and his wife not to mention an opportunity to catch up with our Ben and Donna in LA, sister Sallie and her husband Rod in Escondido and a cousin and a favourite aunt along with the dozens of decrepit degenerates from that class of 1969. Continue reading “2 November 2014”

12 October 2014

In spite of the dire forecasts for this week’s weather, I have to concede that it wasn’t as bad as all that. The first part of the week was assuredly wet and windy (floods and storm damage in various other parts of the country), but the tail end of the week has been tolerably pleasant. Fresh, to be sure, and definitely continuing the autumnal theme we’ve been working on. But after the showers raced through on Wednesday and Thursday it’s been bright and sunny and dry. Can’t complain. Continue reading “12 October 2014”

5 October 2014

It’s been a very good week indeed! The weather has continued to be splendid – misty, autumnal mornings followed by a good bit of sunshine and very pleasantly temperate temperatures in the afternoon. Indeed, the weather has been so splendid over the past weeks that we have just enjoyed the driest September since records began. The local reservoir is almost as low as we’ve seen it with the occasional small island appearing out of nowhere attracting the attention of all the local gulls. All of which suits me fine, thank you very much. Having said all that, yesterday we had what is described by the weather reporters as “light rain” for most of the day and the forecast for the rest of the week isn’t looking too bright!

WeatherHey, ho. I guess we need to replenish the supplies again. Let’s just hope that October doesn’t turn out to be the wettest since records began.

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28 September 2014

Good morning and “Happy Autumn” to you all. We’ve had a pretty decent week of weather – the mornings have been quite autumnal with mist and heavy morning dew but we’ve generally maintained good temperatures with some lovely sunny afternoons. You can tell it’s Autumn, though – our Boston Ivy is exhibiting its finest crimson red foliage and it gets dark earlier and earlier. On Wednesday I had to put the outside light on for Penelope for her return from an evening of jumping about at the gym – it’s dark by 8.00 pm!

Boston Ivy Continue reading “28 September 2014”