Thursday, 21 December 2017

On solstice day

Thank you all so much for your lovely words on my last post, they were moving, kind and very  much appreciated. I have gone back to read them several times. Thank you.

Life is galloping on towards Christmas here of course. The littlest boy finished school on Tuesday. He had to do two more days than the big boys, which did not go down well. I have been typing furiously on my laptop whenever there's a peaceful moment, finishing off stuff as soon as possible. The biggest boy asked me if I was still working on my website. Did I tell you about that? I think I did. I deleted it, with the thought that it would be quick and easy to re-do with a website building package I have. Turned out, not so much.

Anyway, he helped a little, then I abandoned it put it to one side for a while. Don't worry, it still has a prominent spot on my To-Do list. Here's a snippet of our conversation today.

Biggest boy: Are you still working on your website?

Me: Yes, I am. Well. You know. I will be.

Biggest boy: If you bought yourself a new laptop I could have your old one and I could do your website for you.

Subtle no? I declined his kind offer.

When I'm not doing writing things on the laptop, I'm dog walking (or hoovering up the leaves that attach themselves to the dog during said dog walks). On the dog walking circuit there are rumours of local dog poisoning. All very third hand. I don't know what to do with them. Do I mention them to other dog walkers, thereby spreading what could be a ridiculous made-up thing, or do I not mention them and leave people in ignorance of possible trouble? First I heard that a dog had been sick. Then I heard that three dogs were dead. In a park just spitting distance from where we walk. It's troubling stuff. But no hard evidence and nothing in the local news.

Nothing either on the grapevine at puppy training. Last Saturday was the Christmas party. Oh yes it was. A dozen dogs, some in fancy dress, in high excitement, doing all of their training things. A fat little French bulldog, all rolls of chubbiness, was dressed as a Christmas pudding. If ever a dog was born to be dressed as a Christmas pudding, it was him. We took food and the littlest boy made it his mission to eat it all.

When we arrived, someone had left a tray of the most beautiful little smoked salmon pinwheel sandwiches on the edge of the table. Perfect, dainty curls of salmon and cream cheese. Bertie made a lunge for them.

Me to biggest boy: Watch the dog, he nearly got the sandwiches!

Biggest boy, looking in derision at the tiny, exquisite daintiness: Those are not sandwiches.

Between them the three of them made a good dent in the buffet. They never let me down.

The fridge is stuffed with food right now. I fear I may have shopped too soon. As it happens however, there is no room left either in there or in the freezer for any kind of beast ready for roasting. I am wondering if I can get away with nut roast all round on the big day.

The younger two have some sort of virus at the moment involving a temperature, headaches and very pale faces with dark rings under their eyes. I have told them that if I catch it I shall take to the sofa with a hot water bottle and they will have to spend Christmas Day preparing me an assortment of tempting snacks. Be careful what you wish for.

Wishing all a peaceful solstice, with light and warmth and contentment. CJ xx


  1. Food at a puppy party is asking for trouble, surely? I can just see it....

    Poppy overtook a pug wearing a Christmas jumper at last year’s Christmas Day Parkrun. It did look rather sweet (and warm by that point in the run). Poppy herself had declined a pair of antlers so we settled on tinsel for her bra (running harness) instead. Any thoughts of fancy dress for Bertie? I’m still tempted by the cardinal outfit link you sent Ted.

    Glad all well apart from poorly smalls. Hoping it passes quickly and you avoid it. Food shop done here too. Wild horses couldn’t drag me back into the shops now xxx

  2. Lots of lurgy around at the mo, Claire - Chest infection for me last week with a root canal finisher, and grown up son had mild flu and sore throat. Hope your family recovers to enjoy the festivities; I think they're all exhausted at the end of term. My niece's littlest boy succumbed at the end of term - high temp, etc. Bedrest, Calpol + the christmas dancing and tree decorating by his siblings seems to have got him back on his feet. Know what you mean about stuffed fridge, I find that every week, let alone christmas. I hate shopping so try to do it all in one shop. This year I suspect I'll be getting the xmas meat on xmas eve - along with the rest of North London. Bah, humbug. Wishing you a happy xmas and brilliant 2018! xx

  3. A little bulldog dressed as a Christmas pudding. What a glorious thought! Hope everyone is soon on the mend. Wishing you a very happy Christmas x

  4. Heidi is being a pat dog at a residential home tomorrow...tinsel and antlers...she's far too big to be a Christmas pudding x

  5. Yes I spotted the same problem vis a vis fridge capacity and the imminent arrival of great lumps of raw meat and poultry today. The garage would have been cold enough last week, but we (and I suspect you by the looks of littlest on the cliffs) are Basking. The virus and chest infection is circling but not yet making contact. I suspect my youngest may deliver it tomorrow when he gets off his flight from New York.
    Have a Happy Christmas Claire with everyone restored to full health in case you aren't.

  6. glorious pics, as usual....

    sorry to hear of The Germ...i'm fanatical at this time of year, i keep my own hand towel stuffed in a drawer so as to reduce the risk of microbe transmission from the germ factories known as my children.

    i'm all a-grin over the Christmas pudding dog...ah, happy times.

    all the very best of the Chrimbletide to you, lovely Claire...and i hope it's filled with all of the magic. xoxoxoxo

  7. Lovely photos - is it Brean? A puppy party sounds fun, and we got rid of a freezer this year, so are forced not to hoard too much Christmas fare in our fridge-freezer. I'm determined not to succumb to any bugs this Christmas - I hope you stay virus-free.
    Cathy x

    1. Sand Point; you can see Brean from there. CJ xx

  8. I'm just wondering if I can face another supermarket trip tomorrow to pick up a few last minute items. I suspect that I will just think 'Sod it' and we'll manage with what we have. A Christmas Pudding dog?! Next time, see if you can sneak any photos! I hope your sons' lurgy passes quickly and that you remain germ free for the big day. Wishing you all a very merry Christmas. xx

  9. Just a little word of warning.originally I used an online website builder to create my website. It’s quite a large site and so when the company folded I had to recreate the site again using another service. All the original pages were held online and would disappear after a given period so I had to recreate my site quickly before the original disappeared involving lots of copying, pasting and reformatting. Now I use a piece of software to create and maintain the site as this way all my pages are created and stored on the hard disk of my computer. This way I feel more protected.

    1. Eek, that must have been a nightmare. Thanks for the warning, I'll have a think before I proceed. CJ xx

  10. A most enjoyable post and lovely pictures. As always Bertie's antics have me smiling. I hope that the boys are better soon and you're all okay for Christmas. xx

  11. Great dramatic pictures CJ. Makes my woods look rather boring. I am no good with techno stuff - glad you have a couple of sidekicks to help. ;)

  12. I always enjoy seeing your fur ball racing through the amazing countryside near you. Our little fur ball is curled up on Richard's lap. I think we have shopped too early as well but I am beyond caring. We are having a barbecue on Christmas day so all the floppy veg can be turned into kebabs or something. We have the snuffles here but nothing thankfully, except Richard who has been really unwell for weeks with a mystery illness. Happy Solstice to you, too. xxx

  13. You are always racing forward full speed my friend. Ugh, sick children this time of year is a disaster. I went to one home this week for three separate visits with the Mother sick with the flu. It would have been fine had she stayed in her room but no she was out with the children. I felt bad and stayed there to work on the kids and frankly help if I could. I washed up the dishes, got one boy ready and off to school, cripes I am a therapist not a maid but I felt so bad for her. Well let me say I was feeling a bit bad for myself too, just hoping those nasty flu germs were not attaching themselves to me. Merry Christmas CJ, you are a delight.

  14. I would love to just lie back on the couch on Christmas Day, and have someone else take over!! You sound like you're pretty organized, though. I solve the problem of a fridge packed with food by storing items in our garage. It's not heated, but is attached to the house so it might be a little bit warmer than a detached garage. For safety, I place items in the back seat of my husband's car. Not sure if that will help you at all. Even an insulated cooler might help outside your back door as long as you don't go below freezing.

    The doggie party sounds so much fun. Our vet has a little event where you can have your pup photographed with Santa. I don't know how all of these beasts can be contained in a small waiting room. I sometimes stroll around outside until they are ready for my dog's appointments. As far as the poisoning, perhaps you can check with your vet-if dogs have been sickened, they may have had a few patients.

    Thanks always for your visits. I feel pretty good that I got the baking finished and packed up for friends and family. What gifts I had not wrapped, I boxed and marked names on. So I just have to finish that up on Sunday and my youngest daughter will be here to help if I bribe her! I worried a little too much, I think. I have a terrible back, but when I'm under stress, the muscles in my neck tighten, and not only is it painful, it's very hard to turn my head. I got my muscle relaxants refilled at the pharmacy today. Those and aspirin are helping a lot (and a glass of wine!).

    Sending love to you and yours this Christmas. I am so incredibly happy we met this year. You really are lovely. Oh-I so enjoyed your photos tonight, they are like a travel brochure for England! Someday I'll get there! :)

    Jane x

  15. Wonderful pictures of Bertie and the boys,n it's not the dog that needs the exercise! Hope you are all fit and well in time for Christmas, have a good one. Sarah x

  16. The Christmas puppy party sounds ace! We haven't done any puppy training classes yet, just our own haphazard training in the garden. Mainly I just cope with having one more thing to remember to do after work. But maybe I should enrol, just for the parties. X