Tuesday, 16 August 2022

A Week in the Life of a Betty

 A week is a long time in the life of a little dog.

    Last week, Betty was introduced to a small part of the Great Outdoors, which proved to be a huge success. The main success, as far as we were concerned was that she quickly picked up that outside is a lovely place to do your toilet stuff, not always, we must admit, and especially not at night (she hasn't yet managed the dog flap), but by far most of the time.

    Now we must also admit that not all of the chicken wire fencing was as taut as it could have been. Particularly the bit into the left hand side of the garden. So it soon became obvious that some of us had learnt to pull the fence down and scramble over it. Still no harm done, Betty and Tallulah were having a great time playing together, and that seems a secure part of the garden.

    Of course we have had to try and keep the fencing at a level which Betty couldn't get over (....) but Tallulah could. That didn't work out very well. Because when Tallulah goes Boing! over the chicken wire fence, she is followed by a small dog who can also go Boing! over the chicken wire fence. 

    We found this out when Graham was collecting dog droppings and found some Betty sized ones near Holda's Hut.

    Then when he went to put some rubbish in the bin in the side garden, he realised that something was chewing his sock - hello Betty. So she could leap all the bits of fencing designed to keep her contained.

    So that was a waste of time.

    Of course the thing is, Betty is growing at a fantastic rate. You can almost see her doing it!

    Each day she seems to be able to scrabble higher up.

    At lunch time (midday meal, dinner time as I know it), Graham brings stuff through from the kitchen into the living room where our table is, loaded on a tray.

    Yesterday he put the tray down on the kitchen chair, while he turned the kettle off. By the time he turned back, a small dog had her head in the cheese and was giving it a good and very enthusiastic nagging. 

    This time last week she couldn't have reached!

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

And Then There Was One

 Well we knew it was going to happen.

Angela had a hospital appointment in the area last week, so called in to pick up the three sable babies and take them off for new adventures.

    So now we are left with Tallulah and our little Black Betty, or Betty Boo. She is a little sweetie (although not as cuddly as Singer, he will be a lovely and loving companion for some lucky person).

    Angela said all the puppies were pretty, but as soon as she saw Betty, said 'That one is Show quality.' which made me feel a bit guilty for picking her as the one we would keep.

    We took Betty to be microchipped on Monday. Graham carried her into the vets expecting this to be a quick, in-and-out visit, but it was a bit longer than expected, as all the staff had to come and say 'Aaawwww!' to Betty. 

    She was duly microchipped, had a vaccination and was examined by the vet who pronounced her fine.

    To be honest, Angela had seen her and she would have spotted if anything was amiss. In terms of collies I reckon Angela (from Wicani Collies) is the fount of all wisdom, and probably knows more about the breed than a vet would.

    Anyway, now we are down to Betty and Tallulah, things are a bit more settled, and rather a lot less frantic. There is also a heck of a lot less crap and wee everywhere.

    We have rigged up a fenced off area outside the back door, so that Betty can now get outside whenever she fancies (although 'outside' is HUGE to a small puppy, so that is taking a bit of getting used to). We also hope to encourage her to understand that crapping is an outdoor activity - rather than going upstairs to do it under my chair in the office!

    Tallulah is also encouraging Betty to play with her. Tallulah dangles a toy in front of Betty, until Betty gets hold of it, then gently drags Betty round the room, allowing Betty to have a chance at pulling back too.

    Tallulah has been a fab mum, and still is showing to be so.

                    Ooooo is that 'outdoors'?


                    It seems a big place



                    Can I get over this HUGE step?


Thursday, 21 July 2022

This is not an excuse

 Hi folks this is an apology if you have been waiting longer than usual for your order.

    But sometimes stuff happens, and sometimes it happens all at once so here goes:

    When we put a Mail Shot out, everyone gets it at the same time, and because they know that a lot of the stuff we sell is of limited quantities, EVERYBODY orders at the same time, so instead of our normal work load, we may literally have ten times the number of orders.

    This is lovely, and I would not want to put anyone off ordering, but it does mean that we can't get through them all as quickly as we would like to, and therefore some people will end up having to wait longer than usual.

    Now, this last Mail Shot was an update of our own publications, which should have made this very quick to deal with orders. But unfortunately just as we got the Mail Shot in the post, that very week our suppliers decided to deliver our brand new photocopier. Yay!

    Well not quite as Yay! as we were hoping because they brought the new copier, plugged it in and took our old one away. They did not install it on my work pc - which is not attached to the internet for security reasons - nor did they show me how to use it.

    After several phone calls to our supplier and being put through to the IT department several times, where I explained (several times) they could not do anything remotely to the photocopier as it and my pc ARE NOT attached to the Internet. They finally decided that an engineer should be sent out to do the installation and give us a tutorial. That would be 'in the week'.

    Needless to say, no engineer turned up that week, so I rang them again on Monday morning. So it was the Wednesday of the following week when a nice young man arrived and attempted to install the photocopier.

    Eventually he got it going and explained the basics of using it to me. It was working lovely so I was ready to start printing books, fact sheets etc on Thursday. On Thursday, the photocopier refused to speak to my pc, nor did it want to photocopy double sided nor collate (put the pages in order).

    After another phone call the nice young chap turned up again and after consultation with another engineer decided I needed new drivers, which sorted that problem out. But it was now nearly two weeks without a usable printer! And I had a printing list as long as my arm.

    Anyhoo I got most of the printing done over the weekend so I only had to put them together on Monday.

    On Monday the big Heatwave started, and upstairs where my pc and photocopier are, was not somewhere you wanted to be!

    I could only stand it so long, then I had to go downstairs and get in a cool bath. The heat was making me feel quite strange - so I'm afraid that made getting the books together a much longer job than anticipated.

    So if you are still waiting for your order, I do apologise, but we will get it out to you just as quickly as we (me and Graham) are physically able.

Saturday, 2 July 2022

Introducing the Babies

 Tallulah's babies are three weeks old today, and are already developing their own personalities.

    First here we have Sun Dancer, known as Dancer. He has very distinctive facial markings and is a little explorer. He is also the puppy who actually sits and howls when he wants his mum, wants to go out of the cage, wants to go into the cage or is just generally bored. Dancer may well become an escape artist.

    Next we have Dawn Singer (Singer) he is the most placid of the pups (at the moment) and seems very good natured and easy going. He has got himself settled and gone to sleep on Graham a couple of times already.

Here we have Morning Glory (Glory) who is the biggest of the puppies and manages to have a feed whenever possible. She seems happy and friendly, but always first to the milk bar! She also seems happy to have a stroke and a cuddle (as long as mum is nowhere about).

Finally we have Black Betty (Betty) who is the only tri-colour of the bunch, the others are all sable (the boys will possibly be shaded sable - having a slightly darker colouring). Betty may well be the weirdo of the bunch also, and probably because we picked her as the one to keep.

    She has learnt to make a very odd, deep rumbly noise, not exactly a growl. The first time she did it, she was mooching about in the back of the cage on her own, and everyone stopped and looked at her in amazement.

As you can see Tallulah got in on this photo and you can see just how much the puppies have grown in only three weeks.

Sunday, 26 June 2022

The Joy of Puppies

 Ok puppies are gorgeous, they are sweet. They don't so a lot (at two weeks old) except eat, sleep and crap and pee, which in general their mother deals with.

    Except on a Sunday morning when we are eating our breakfast and I notice one of the puppies (without eyes open yet) standing near one of its siblings with a sort of look of concentration on its face. A look which every parent of a new baby recognises - with a baby human it is the look they get when you have just put a new nappy on them, and they are concentrating on filling the new one.

    Yes the puppy was having a crap.

    On one of the other puppies!

    I alerted Graham, who scooped up the asleep, but crapped upon puppy (Glory) and hurried off to the bathroom with her to clean her up.

    Of course Glory had no idea what was going on and awoke to find herself, being washed with water, not something she had experienced before, and began screaming as if she was being murdered. Tallulah shot out of the living room after Graham, who was obviously murdering her puppy and also began yapping and screaming in the bathroom. 

    Glory was being extremely loud - I could clearly hear her at the other side of the house, so it must have been bedlam near to. So Graham cleaned her up as best he could then hot footed it back to the living room, where I was handed Glory wrapped in a towel and still screaming. I showed her to Tallulah, who could then see that Glory was alive and began to calm down, as did Glory who could then smell her mum, while I gave her a quick dry and then popped her back in with the others again.

I have no doubt that this scenario will be played out in various ways over the next few weeks and months.

We love puppies.

Some of the time....

Monday, 13 June 2022


 We have been waiting, Waiting, WAITING! for our very pregnant Tallulah to have her babies.

    In the last couple of weeks her nipples have got big, and she has even developed some definite boobs! Last week she began to leak milk, so we knew (hoped) things were getting close.

    On Friday morning (10th of June) Tallulah was definitely very restless, moving around the house but not settling. We did wonder when we popped out to do a quick shop, if we would have babies when we got home. 

    But no, just a very pleased to see us Tallulah.

    As the afternoon wore on, she again grew restless and began nesting in various places upstairs and down.

    She tried the sofa, her dog cage, upstairs in every room, downstairs again in various places around the living room. Eventually in the evening she wandered upstairs again and we could here her nesting in the games room (where we have our gaming pc's) under the spare bed.

    Getting on towards 9pm Graham went upstairs, just to check on Tallulah, as things appeared to have calmed down and gone quiet. When I heard him shout 'Chrissie! Babies!'

    I hurried up to join him and saw two squirming puppies, obviously very newly born. But Tallulah was doing all the necessary things she was supposed to do: breaking the birth sacks, washing them to stimulate breathing, chewing through the cord and eating the afterbirth.

    We were gobsmacked and took some photos to send straight to Mike.

    We stayed with her for some time, then went back downstairs as she seemed to be doing fine.

    At about 11pm we went up again, and two more babies had appeared. Again mother and babies all seemed to be doing well, so we left them to it and decided to try going to bed. Even though, like children on christmas eve, we were too excited really to think of sleep. We left the landing light on, so there would be enough light to see by should anything need doing.

    We hadn't been in bed long, when Tallulah decided to change location and appeared in our bedroom, carrying a baby. So Graham went and fetched the other three. We all settled down and things went quiet, and Graham and I managed to fall asleep for an hour or two.

    When we awoke we found that sometime during the night, Tallulah had had another two babies, but saddly at the same time she had laid on two of the puppies and they were dead, when she stood up. I felt so guilty that two of the babies had died, but when I spoke to Angela later, she said it was something that every breeder would experience sooner or later. It is never easy, but it happens.

    So we still had four very vocal live babies.

    In the morning we moved mum and babies downstairs into the puppy cage, so that they can't roll all over the place as they seem to be determined little explorers. I've been surprised how much the puppies move about!

    We thought originally that we had one boy and three girls, but it might be two and two, hopefully we will be able to get a proper look as they grow a bit.

    And from the amount of licking Tallulah does, they are going to be some of the cleanest puppies ever!

Mike took the bottom picture on Sunday when he visited with Cherise and Eden, who had been longing to see the puppies!

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Yes I have been Crocheting


Yes I have been busy with the crocheting over the last few months, but it has taken me a while to get used to taking photos with the new camera/phone thingy.
I couldn't get the blasted thing to work, no matter how I pressed the button. It would zoom in and out, and when it did deign to take a photo it would be dark or wobbly.
So eventually I asked Mike (feeling an idiot for not being able to get the damn thing to work when 'it is sooo easy!') It turned out I was stabbing the button too quickly! You have to let your finger rest a tad.

    So here we have the first offering, which is a yellow shrug/shawl using a 'pineapple' pattern which I really wanted to try. Graham had bought me several enormous balls of this bright yellow wool, so it seemed appropriate to try. 
    This is a pattern I found at The Spruce Crafts called Pineapple Doily Shawl. Now I went wrong a few times when I was trying this. There was much swearing and pulling back of the pattern. 
    I suspect I still didn't get it right as it seems much fuller than the illustration on the web site, but I think it turned out ok, and is definitely wearable.

This next one is a variant on a Boho style 'vest'. It is basically a round shawl with a couple of holes in you can poke your arms through. I couldn't find exactly the pattern I wanted, so I decided to have a go and see what happened.

One of the problems I have with most patterns is they are designed for skinny little lasses, and I am of generous proportions, so they are never going to be wide enough. But this one (modelled here by Graham) does fit and I am chuffed with it. It is mainly a sort of 'fishing net' pattern, lots of loops of chains, with the next row of chains joined to the middle of the previous row loop. Increasing was a bit of an experiment, but seems to have worked out ok.

This is one of my latest projects, a fun shopping bag, and is based on free patterns found at Attic 24.

There is a pattern for a Crochet Bag, which is lovely, but for me was a bit too big diameter at the bottom - and I think I might have been using too thick wool as well which made it even bigger. So I used the idea and made my variation on it. 

The bottom is nine concentric circles, then to make the sides, when you have got the bottom the right size for you, just crochet round without increasing, and you will make a tubular shape. I did increase slightly on a few rows as I wanted the top to flare out a little bit. The two handles are just strips 5 stitches wide, make them as long as suits you, and make them the same length (obviously).

I have decorated the bag with flowers which is another pattern from Attic 24, Triple Layer Flower. I made some flowers with just one layer, some with two and some with the full three layers of petals.

I found it surprisingly quick to make.

And just in time for the Platinum Jubilee I have been crocheting some decorations. So here we have a string of bunting made in red, white and blue. These are a very simple Granny Triangle and it took no time at all to make a pile of them which I joined together with a chain stitch ribbon

Finally I decided to have a go at a sort of Union Flag. Which actually turned out to be more fiddly than I expected. The central bit is Attic 24's Triple Layer Flower again, with the four arms made up of single colour flowers. For the triangular pieces I used the central part of a Triangle Motif from thechillydog.com The 45 degree red and white bands are my own bits of 4 stitch wide red ribbons, bordered by double crochet (English treble) on all sides

I know it isn't exactly oblong, but I think it gives a recognisable impression of the flag, which is what I was after.

So there you have it, a variety of crochet things, which were all fun to do - and I have loads more I want to have a go at!