You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2009.

Maddie the agoraphobic terrier has given birth to six beautiful puppies.

puppies1 jul09

According to m’sister, they were about the size of mice when they were born three weeks ago. She has been weighing them regularly and most of them are now a lovely, cuddly, pound and a half. Take for example, this lovely little bitch with the black ears, below.

puppies2 jul09

I think we should get one so Sparky has a canine companion in the house. M’husband is doing his best to insist that one dog is enough, but I’m losing my heart to that little pup.

And then there’s Lester. M’sister has only named one pup, and she has yet to give me a coherent reason why she has called him Lester. She insists that she won’t be keeping any of the pups but I have my doubts about that.

puppies3 jul09

Lester is the pup who takes up all m’sister’s spare time and devotion, for he tips the scales at a mere 11 ounces.

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horseboxes jul09

On Sunday evening we dropped the caravan off at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate. It’s the first time we’ve planned to stay over in the caravan, and we were amazed to find out how busy the showground was when the show itself didn’t start until Tuesday. Exhibitors had been arriving since Friday and there was a temporary city of caravans, tents, horseboxes and livestock trailers.

horseboxes2 jul09

Here’s the vehicle for a team of Clydesdales. That’s temporary stabling in the background, but I don’t think the Clydesdales will be staying there. They’re so big, they need something rather more solid.

On Tuesday after school, Third-and-final Son complained of a headache. He took a paracetamol and it went away.

He came home from school on Wednesday with the same complaint. The paracetamol had no impact. I went out to teach that evening, and came back to a son with headache, sickness and chills. My heart sank. What if it’s swine flu? I’m an antenatal teacher – I’ll have to stop working! I’m self-employed – I’ll be down at least £500 before I’m out of quarantine! Panic! Horror!

I went online to the NHS swine flu symptoms checker. It wasn’t working.

I phoned NHS Direct. I got a recorded message saying they were very busy with swine flu. You don’t say!

I fretted and panicked all night. In the morning I phoned my GP surgery and the receptionist said to take his temperature – over 38C. Aargh! “The doctor will phone you after surgery,” said the receptionist. “Don’t go anywhere.” Aargh, aargh, aaaaaargh!

At lunchtime the doctor phoned. He spoke calmly – good job one of us could. “No cough? Then I think it’s just a stomach bug. Plenty of fluids, no solids until things have settled down, and come and pick up a bottle for a stool sample.” Oh, yuk, yuk, yuk, but also tremendous relief.

poorly jul09

So Third-and-final and I spent a relatively pleasant few hours together, him watching a Harry Potter DVD and me reading my book. That doesn’t happen too often these days. After that he snuggled down on the sofa with Sparky and Mort the black cat and slept for several hours. He’s nearly better now. Panic over.

grass1 jul09

Green and silver beauty. To be found in luscious shade under trees.

grass2 jul09

It’s the Great Yorkshire Show next week! I am so excited! I’m 42, I think, and maybe should get a grip… but no! I like this thrilled feeling! It doesn’t happen often at my age. In my mind’s eye I can see the beauty of the horses, hear the commentary down by the sheep shearing, and smell the fresh air on the showground. I drove up to Knaresborough the other week and the traffic signs were up already. Thrill!

jug jul09

So, on to today’s picture. It’s a milk jug, and a very cute milk jug at that. It’s relevance is that I bought it at last year’s show, on the Taylor’s of Harrogate stand (if you’re on the the showground, and feeling peckish, head there – they do great cake samples). There is a teapot to match but they’d run out by the time I got there. So, on Tuesday morning, I shall be hotfooting it to Taylor’s. I just hope it’s in the same place as last year. It was up near the Women’s Institute building.

The world can be grinding you down, and then you go and rest your eyes on a productive allotment, and all is right once more.

allotment1 jul09

I am extremely envious of the luscious lettuces growing on a nearby plot.

allotment2 jul09

The pampered strawberries fruiting across the path.

allotment3 jul09

The thick patch of peas climbing up their netting.

allotment4 jul09

And the fact that someone had the time to make a scarecrow to watch over their brassicas.

allotment5 jul09

Beetroot. Oh how I love beetroot. Both its beauty whilst growing in the garden, and its flavour on the plate. We put a row in, but only two seedlings have come through. So I buy it on the market and admire it on other people’s plots.

Next year, says SarahP. Next year Little Fish will be bigger, and we will start sooner. We will plant our broad beans in January and they will be even bigger than Terry’s! Next year, I add, we will have beetroot and rainbow chard. Yes, yes, YES!

allotment6 jul09

In the meantime, I plant and pick what I can – Terry thinned our two rows of parsnips for us, and donated his swede thinnings so we have a row of those – and admire the self sown beauties. Such as this poppy, nodding at me in the allotment car park.

allotment7 jul09

And when I have admired all I can, I walk to the edge of the plots and drink in the view.

We are severely behind on the allotment but the strawberries keep fruiting regardless. I dragged Son-in-the-Middle along with me one weekend to pick some for breakfast.

strawberry1 jul09

I handed him a colander when we got there and he gave me a Look. “I thought you were picking and I was talking to you whilst you did it.” Afraid not, darling boy.

strawberry2 jul09

Sarah has planted three or four varieties so there’s a range of sizes and flavours to try.

strawberry3 jul09

We’re also picking broad beans. Ours don’t look anything like as good as Terry’s, next door, but they taste just fine. Even M’husband, who generally screws up his nose at them unless I spend hours popping them out of their skins, says they’re good.