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Wednesday, April 13, 2022



I sincerely hope that bastard Putin's army are all so incompetent!

I also submit an idea for local councils to change the front of their dog waste bins.

Monday, April 04, 2022



A "Hello" from Pippa (to be known by me as Pips). I have had 6 dogs over my adult life, but my last, Roxy, sadly had to be put down last July.

For some months I was just bereft, but after Christmas the urge came on me once more to get another companion. Never can such be called a "replacement" for a previous dog who can never be  "replaceable". After much searching of rescue centres, where suitable mature small dogs were gone before I could even apply for them, I decided to consult the private "dogs for sale" adverts. Again, most were gone before I could get to them.

At last, a week ago, an advert came up to sell a 6 year old Jack Russell, which was reluctantly for sale by a mature lady who was no longer mobile and was going into a one bedroom council flat where dogs were not allowed. I rang the number immediately and was told that she had had many enquiries (I should think so as many dogs are for sale at £2000/£3000 where this one was priced at £100) but no one had yet arranged to call to see her. I said I would be there by 4.00 pm - it was now 1.00 pm and snowing heavily at that time and accordingly I made the 70 mile round trip to Tunbridge Wells.

I was met by the lady carrying a towel-wrapped dog. "I have just bathed her to show her to you at her best" she said. The animal at once wriggled free of the towel and enthusiastically attached herself to me, tail going at 20 to the dozen. "Oh, she likes you. She has never done that to a stranger before" the surprised owner gasped.

I was sold! My daughter, a confirmed "dog person" has always said, "When the right dog wants you it will find you". Well this one obviously did and has.

She is a Jack Russell terrier in body, but her head is definitely Chihuahua, with her fine skull and pricked up ears. It is an excellent combination though and makes for a good looking dog. She settled in immediately, although would not eat for the first day. No problem, as she is overweight through overfeeding and lack of execise. "I just put a bowlfull of food down for her each morning and she eats it all day when she wants it", said the owner. That will change......

She goes to the vet tomorrow for a check over, vaccination and to get her over long claws clipped (lack of walks on road surfaces).

She is a quick learner and has become my little shadow, following me everywhere - but she can be a tart at times.

Saturday, February 26, 2022


 A cold January morning, but the sun shone and a bike ride beckoned although time was at a premium.

A favourite run when only a couple of hours is available is to St. Rumwold's Church, Bonnington (a bench to rest on is usually available in churchyards). On reaching my destination I walked up the church pathway and these views convinced me that I needed to change my Blog Title from "Winter" to "Spring" (where this church is part of its scenery).

Daffodils were starting to bud and the Narcissi were in bloom on the yachtsman's grave. Note his grave "stone" is made from a single piece of oak - as is the memorial bench nearby, with this Stevenson quote engraved on it:

"Home is the sailor, home from the sea"

I always make use of it when I stop here and today a flask of whiskey laced coffee was very welcome whilst I enjoyed the utter silence of the landscape around this little Romney Marsh church.

Then home, refreshed, to get the lunch ready for my invalid wife.

Monday, September 13, 2021



A few posts ago I mentioned that , after nearly 65 years of  riding "proper" motorcycles I had joined the dark side and bought a new "twist 'n go" scooter .

However all those years have so much engraved themselves on my riding that I found the scooter bored me solid. Everything worked, nothing to fettle and the ride was about as involving as a kitchen chair on wheels! So I sold it and bought this "barn find" (6 years at the back of an old garage). A 1997 "classic" with a bit of a difference. Uncommon in the UK but very popular in the USA and OZ. A Suzuki TU250x with 20,000 miles on the clock. Just surface rust on chrome, paintwork good, sounds and goes like a MOTORBIKE. And something with which to get my hands dirty again.

So I fitted a couple of new tyres (old ones cracked with age) and while the wheels were off new chain and sprockets (adding an extra tooth to the front sprocket to drop the revs a bit) and new front brake disk and pads. 

It will chug along sweetly at my preferred 50 mph around the lanes and cruise easily at a legal maximum 60 mph on country main roads with enough in hand for brisk overtakes (it's top speed would be around 80 mph). Motorways I avoid as totally boring.

Yes, that left foot gear change gives me a challenge since my stroke left me with neuropathy in left leg and foot,  but at least it is a challenge and something to practice and smooth out. That scooter felt to me like one step away from an invalid buggy. 

It's wonderful to be back! As long as I can hold it up I'll ride it.

Monday, July 12, 2021


Roxy came to us in 2016 as can be viewed in this link. I had been used to German Shepherds, but, following a stroke and wanting another dog, I did not feel I could manage another Shepherd. She was a perfect little bitch who quickly became my shadow, following me everywhere and sleeping outside my bedroom door.

Recently she stopped eating and lost 3 Kilograms - a lot for a little dog whose normal weight was only 14.5 Kilos.The vet checked her over and said they could do x-rays and body scans. It would cost £500 and they could do it in about 10 days time and to go away and think about it. A crafty move. For two evenings I watched her panting and refusing to take tit bits. Not bearing to see her like it any longer I decided to take her back again to be put down (the final act of love for a much loved dog).

In the past she has walked quite happily into the vets but this time she pulled back on her lead and refused to walk up the path. In the end I had to pick her up and carry her in. Somehow she knew - weird!

The same vet saw her and said he had detected swollen lymph glands on the last visit, but had given me the option of further tests. I said I thought we both knew that the trouble was probably tumours - he did not reply but gave me a "meaningful" look.

Her end was peaceful and remarkably quick. A simple injection and she "went to sleep" with me stroking her head and murmering "Good girl". Would that humans could have this option to a peaceful end to life.

I am bereft and the house seems empty. Should I get another rescue dog? I am 82, would it be fair to the animal if I died soon and left it without me? Maybe another mature dog (Roxy was about 7 years old when she came to us). We shall see....

I have done mostly what most men do,
And pushed it out of my mind;
But I can’t forget, if I wanted to,
Four-Feet trotting behind.

Day after day, the whole day through—
Wherever my road inclined—
Four-Feet said, ‘I am coming with you!’
And trotted along behind.

Now I must go by some other round,—
Which I shall never find—
Somewhere that does not carry the sound
Of Four-Feet trotting behind.

                                                               Rudyard Kipling. 

Wednesday, March 31, 2021


 Spring has truly sprung this week and a morning ride on the ebike meant that I could actually leave off a couple of layers of clothing; sun pleasant and warming on my back.

I decided on a complete change of route and abandoned Romney Marsh for a wander in the Kent Weald. My route took me into the Wealden village of Smarden, a lovely spot best described by this quote:

"This enchanting village was established in around the 14th-century at the time when the forests of the Weald of Kent were being cut down to make way for permanent villages. Smarden, is little more than one street, yet it has a host of attractive properties including large half timbered houses built by prosperous wool merchants during the 17th-century.

At the time when the forests were being cleared to make way for sheep, King Edward III chose to grant Smarden a charter to hold a weekly market, his thinking was, that this would encourage the wool trade, and how right he was. Wealthy merchants came to do trade and they settled here and built magnificent homes for themselves and their families. They also donated generously to the church. The charter granted by Edward III was endorsed by Queen Elizabeth I and hangs in the church to this day."

Being in the edge of what was once the Wealden forest of Anderida the whole village is built of wood. The large merchants' houses referred to above and the village street full of weather-boarded cottages.

I entered the village and made for the church, since experience tells me that one usually finds a bench in a churchyard and sitting on the ground is OK but getting up again is difficult without something to hold onto these days.

Ensconced in the cosy corner seat to the right of the blue porch door I settled down to enjoy a pork pie and a flask of tea. The church is in an angle of the village so the paths across the yard are used as a shortcut. An upright old gent came by and stopped. "I see you are enjoying sustenance on this warm day." His exact speech and dress complimented the overall image I had formed.

I had parked the bike on its prop stand on the other side of the path and he was obviously interested. "I have considered one of these machines to get around the village" he said, poking it with his walking stick as a farmer would poke a favourite pig.

I said that this was my fifth ebike since a stroke and it was a marvellous way of getting about and keeping active.

 "I have a car and seldom use it, but walking is beginning to get tiresome. Are they expensive?" he queried, beginning to explore the handlebars and their controls.

The upshot was that I provided him with the contact details of Ebikes Direct, my supplier at not too far away Bodiam. I think I must ask them for commission on any referrals since the amount of interest I get and conversations generated on stops is quite encouraging.

A "working lunch" indeed.

Thursday, January 14, 2021



A parable for these times.

Keep going, folks!