Saturday 29 June 2019

The latest thing I am failing to do

Glastonbury's looking pretty good this year isn't it? Good to see a rap artist headlining, I love the choices they make there, and I love the support for Greenpeace. I hope the fields aren't left full of 'disposable' tents though. For a thing that was originally all hippy, festivals have lost their way a bit on the environmental front. I have been doing my bit by watching Stormzy in my living room with a reusable mug.

The garden has gone all unintentionally purple. I love the dark plummy shades in particular and the centre of the flowers that look like blackcurrant bleeding out into the white petals. I wouldn't mind an afternoon out there with a book, but alas I will be trotting along to a football event. I've got some work to do anyway, so even if I was at home I probably wouldn't be out there. But it's all good, one day I'll manage it. In the meantime I'm ripping through the odd chapter as time permits.

I've just finished reading La Belle Sauvage to the urchins. It's set before Northern Lights and tells the story of when Lyra is a baby. I loved it, there are many depths to a Philip Pullman novel, and it will definitely bear being read again. In fact, the start of Northern Lights is popped in at the end of La Belle Sauvage. One of the urchins commented in horror that we might just end up stuck in a neverending loop of Philip Pullman's books. They like to torment me about my adoration of him. Do I care? I am his biggest fan and they cannot stop me.

The littlest boy has tried out big school for size. He had to take a pen and pencil and his lunch. He forgot the pen so he had to borrow one from his new tutor. I can't help feeling that there is a list somewhere with his name on it and a cautionary mark against it.

The dog went to the vet's for his annual booster. There was the customary squeezing and prodding and then the weigh-in. He'd weighed ten kilos at home a few days previously. At the vet's he somehow weighed eleven and a half. I tried valiantly to explain it away - he's just had his breakfast and it's very wet out, look, his fur is all damp - but you could tell they weren't really persuaded. Then they looked at his teeth and weren't happy with that either. Do you brush them? Um, no, not really. Would he let you brush them? No, he definitely wouldn't. Do you have toothpaste? No, not really. Toothpaste?! I found out later from a friend that there is apparently chicken-flavoured dog toothpaste. Honestly, life gets more complicated by the day. They gave me a leaflet entitled A Guide To Brushing  Your Dog's Teeth and we scuttled home, collective tails between our legs. We still don't have toothpaste or a toothbrush. Is there such a thing as a dog toothbrush? I suspect there must be. I cannot see it being a winner. Rather it will be the sort of thing that gathers dust on a shelf somewhere, silently reproaching me every time I notice it. Sigh.

Wishing all a splendid weekend of sun and relaxation. I shall be googling ethical bamboo dog toothbrush and herbal dog toothpaste and enjoying a little Glastonbury without a nylon tent in sight.


  1. Hi CJ, it's been a while since I looked in here. Don't take it personally, it's been a while since I looked at any blog posts including my own! I know all about life getting more complicated by the day.
    Re the dog's teeth, I have no idea as I don't own a pooch, but surely it'll be on YouTube? Everything is these days.

    I can hear the yearning in your voice about you enjoying reading a chapter of your book in the garden, and it will come. Although, even though my family are grown, (but haven't fled yet!) you'll find other stuff will try and takeover your time.

    It's my experience, that my generation (late 50's) are in a pickle. We still have our offspring living with us, and okay they aren't as needy, but we also have elderly parents to care for too, who are a whole lot more needier. Whereas, our parents got rid of us anywhere between eighteen and early twenties, we went off got married, travelled or had careers. And their parents were either no longer around, or living in reasonable care facilities. Leaving them free to enjoy some years doing just whatever they liked.

    So...what I'd say to you, is 'steal back time' now - most definitely grab some hours for yourself. Don't tell the family if necessary, they'll only think you're stocking up on food from the supermarket or some such thing anyway, and what you could actually be doing (after you've done the shopping of course) is sitting in a tearoom enjoying a chapter of your book.

    I enjoyed catching up with your goings ons, and I'll try not to leave it so long before I come back again.

  2. I’ve noticed vets love to make you feel guilty . My aged cat has mingy teeth according to my vet. No way I’m going near with toothpaste, I value all my fingers. He’ll just have to Ming! Like the sound of your weekend, with a little touch of Glastonbury. We’re in the wilds of Suffolk at the moment surrounded by ducks and their offspring. All very rustic and rural!

  3. Yeah, vets are more challenging when one's pet gets older. Luckily, our current vet has been wonderful, telling us doing certain "health" things aren't really worth it since he's in his final year estimated for his breed.

    Beautiful photos. I really love them.

  4. I imagine that your family won't be fighting amongst themselves over who gets the pleasure of cleaning Bertie's teeth! You made me chuckle about the list with your son's name on it. I imagined a similar fate for E who managed to get lost and was late for her first uni seminar - she arrived just as the tutor said 'So, to conclude...'! Enjoy the rest of the weekend and good luck sneaking the odd chapter or 2. xx

  5. Jack never had his teeth cleaned.... the vet commented on his good dental hygiene at the last check up and I thought it wise not to confess that his dental hygiene routine is essentially chewing sticks. All our children have a cautionary mark on that elusive list.... the plus side is that come parents evening, the teachers will always remember them because they are a bit different in one way or other. Have a lovely weekend! I must dash off and do some packing as we are going camping tomorrow. xx

  6. Dear CJ, I have just finished working at a large university where I supervise exams in a room of 110 students. Most of my time is spent supplying pens, pencils and erasers to students who come without them. They also leave at home their water bottles and tissues too. They get quite annoyed when I offer them tissue from a toilet roll as the university does not supply tissues, and I am not buying them out of my money. As well as that, one girl last week had only been sitting in her seat 2 minutes when she demanded to go to tbe bathroom, but I had to ask her to wait for the first 20 minutes as students are unable to leave the room with a supervisor in the first 20 minutes. I wish I could write lists with the names of difficult students!!!!!
    Now to Bertie. Those teeth look O.K. to me. What a lovely closeup photo. Thanks! I think I would be keeping my fingers away from his mouth! I am finding some businesses wanting to take more cash out of your pocket with extra things they suggest you buy. I wouldn't feel guilty - he looks loved and looked after to me.
    Love the floral shots.
    Regards, Robyn

  7. Dog toothpaste!?!? Yikes. My vet recommends Patch chew on soup bones or a big piece of steak that he has to rip for his teeth. They seem to be fine and I think we're both happier with that option. Love Bertie's cheesy grin. xx Susan

  8. A delightful read and lovely pictures as always. Trying to brush Bert's teeth conjures such wonderful images.
    Thanks, and for you too. xx

  9. Glastonbury from the comfort of a sitting room sounds much preferable to actually camping there! And big school for the littlest. Yikes - how time flies.

  10. Ha! The very idea of brushing my lot's teeth with a toothbrush, and any variety of toothpaste, leaves both me and them chortling with laughter. No. Its the same with those miraculous necessities of life known as Dental Chews, guaranteed to prevent dental caries, bad breath, plaque, curly hair, ingrowing toe nails - you name it - if you only buy plenty of them, at whatever price all the advertising/packaging/more advertising of them demands. I wonder how much the total cost of a daily dental chew over a lifetime would cost ? Add toothbrushes and toothpaste - and while we're at it, how about teaching Fido to gargle with special doggy mouthwash - into the equation, and I bet you've got a number there that'll make your eyes water, never mind your mouth. In my experience, dogs are not overly fond of menthol, eucalyptus, or anything else herbal, even if a nice portion of charcoal has been thrown in for good measure. And just how fresh does your mouth feel after a leisurely polish with chicken (0.05%, actual chicken, that is, probably feet) paste ? Yum ! Quite apart from the fact that my lurchery boys will let you put your fingers, or anything else for that matter, into their mouths perfectly happily. But then expect to be allowed to attempt to digest it, after a bit of good old fashioned fangery. Not for us. I know. I sound bitter. As if my youngest boy's last surgical procedure could have sent my vet and at least two of his assistants to Barbados for a fortnight ? (Young, slim, attractive assistants with nice nails. And good teeth.) Grrr. Ah, the joys of motherhood.
    And speaking of motherhood, the idea of you sneaking off to a tea shop, for tea, cake, and a couple of uninterrupted chapters, all on you own, fills me with a little warm glow. I'm not all bad. You need to give yourself that little bit of down time in order to keep all those plates spinning on sticks. Its not a luxury. Nobody runs well on empty, and while you're busily lubricating the wheels of everyone else's life, its easy to shove yourself to the end of the queue, and subsequently forget you had one.
    In my humble opinion, you seem to be doing a great job. Time for a perk !

  11. We’ve never brushed a dog’s teeth -,we just use dentasticks which are supposed to do the job and have had no complaints from the vet.

  12. We've had dogs our whole lives and have not once brushed their teeth. I admire those who can do that and it might be nice to take them to a dentist once in a while.. but don't let it make you feel bad if you don't. That dog of yours is a delight. I am intrigued by your author.. which of his would be the first you'd read? ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

    1. Northern Lights is the first in a trilogy, and he did another great series which begins with The Ruby in the Smoke. Both excellent. CJ xx

  13. The vet very earnestly said the same thing to me and was surprised when I burst out laughing. Brushing a dog's teeth indeed! I have not and don't intend to. xx

  14. I remember my vet saying I should clean my 2 cat's teeth. I bought a baby toothbrush and started off by gently brushing the side of their mouth, allegedly to get them used to it. That's as far as it got! The toothbrush languished in a cupboard for a couple of years. Just give your pooch something crunchy to chew on - much easier and more pleasant for both of you.

  15. Our dog has carrots to chew, that is about the size of it over here! My girl is at the end of her first year at Big school and has adapted to organising her stuff quite well. Jo xx

  16. I used to brush my Max's teeth, and yes there is dog toothpaste, but the puppies I have now, no way! I give them bones to clean their teeth. Really just taking them out and brushing them, making sure they have food and water seems to consume my day. I read The Woman In The Window, it was very good. Enjoy!

  17. I seem to have been struck dumb in comments boxes. I don't think I have left anything so controversial as to be moderated off. So here's another go. Please don't go up a ladder!