Footscray meadow frolicking

Spring would appear to be just around the corner. Today’s sunshine felt almost warm and, if you look closely enough, there are traces of a green fuzz on the trees. Or maybe that’s wishful thinking. 

Anyway, it’s half term and as I had no music school commitments for a change, I accompanied the boys on their walk to Footscray Meadow. They seemed very happy today and enjoyed a good run about. It was a good opportunity to find out about the rapid shooting capabilities of my new camera. It takes dozens of pictures in a second so you never miss the perfect action shot. The trouble is that you have to sort through hundreds of shots to find the perfect frames. Here are a few of them. 

Going to the dogs

What’s up with Raffles? He doesn’t seem to have been quite himself for a couple of days now. Having recovered from last week’s tummy bug, he was walking stiffly with an arched back in training class on Monday. I hadn’t noticed anything was wrong and, to my shame,  it had to be pointed out to me. He seemed to like his back being massaged so I did that and he rested and he seemed to be OK after a day or so.

And then, on Tuesday night, he had an altercation with Oscar over a piece of cooked broccoli. Protesting loudly, and at length, Raffles seemed to have recovered, but yesterday he growled when the OH went to put on his lead for his walk, and trembled in what we thought was fear. Following his walk, he spent the whole afternoon on his favourite sofa. 

This morning, there he was again, gazing into the middle distance. Even the act of putting on his favourite coat didn’t seem to rouse him. Poor dog has the cares of the world on his shoulders. Perhaps it’s something specific; perhaps it’s SAD at the dull, grey February; perhaps it’s just a feeling of general sadness and malaise. Who will ever know?

And here’s Lola. She’s often there at the entrance of the park, sitting on the grass and waiting while her owner walks all of his other dogs (and dispenses treats – whole Schmackos) to any dog who happens to be around. 

Lola is an elderly lady but I have never had the discourtesy to ask her how old. She doesn’t walk very well but if she sees a friendly human, she’ll pull herself slowly upright and toddle over to them arthritically to say hello. Generally this elicits a treat, a quick rub of the head and a few kind words. 

Lola is smiling here. Though elderly and no longer steady on her pins, she’s not worried about much. 

To many of us, it would seem like we’re going to hell in a handcart. We’re like Raffles. Perhaps, though, it would be better to channel Lola, at least from time to time. 

Raffles and the bone

Dear Boywonder

I think you’re playing a hockey match this evening and we’re off to see LalaLand, which isn’t about your sister’s bedroom, presumably, so I thought I’d update you. Call tomorrow if you like.

The boys found something very smelly and nice to roll in at the Warren Avenue Rec on Thursday morning. Oscar helpfully drew attention to it first, but, hey, after last week’s decomposing fox, how much worse could it get, and besides it was starting to rain so I thought that would wash off the smell. Then Raffles went up for his turn. He had his coat on – we were expecting snow –   so I wasn’t particularly concerned that he’d be covered in smell but he picked up the object and would not let go. Of course Osc then had to try and commandeer  the thing, but every time he approached, Raff would just take off, yelling at him with his mouth full. It took me three tries to get Osc to sit and stay long enough for me to go and put the lead back on Beaglefeatures and I was quite cross by this time. It occurred to me that he would have to complete his walk on the lead because, after last week’s escapology shenanigans, I couldn’t risk him running off to hide the bone. So off he trotted around the park for almost the whole hour and a half walk. 


What a pity that, having carried it for the whole duration of his walk, Rafflu had to have the bone wrestled from his undoubtedly aching jaws because we can’t let dogs gnaw on cooked bones like this as they can splinter and cause all sorts of damage and pain. Raffles crept into a ball on the sofa in sulky protest for the rest of the afternoon.

We came across Maksym at High Elms on Wednesday. I think it’s the first time he and Raff have really spent any time together, and Raff was delighted. Maks kept going up and sniffing Raff, and Raff would turn back to him and snap a bit and howl at the same time. Then he’d give him a “chase me” look and Maksym, intrigued at this small ginger thing, kept obliging, Was funny. 



msalliance | MsCellany

Creps, apparently.


I’ve had to get myself some new trainers with more padding in them because of this Zeros to Heroes running course I’ve started. It’s going well so far – it’s very early days – but my shins really hurt during the run and my heels afterwards in an exacerbation of my plantar fascistitis. I know other people spell it differently. So off to the Runners’ Shop I went and a nice young man, Younger Than You, helped me to some dayglo coral trainers. Apparently it’s like running on a cloud. I’ve done my first homework run in the new trainers now and they do feel much more comfortable and much less like running with oven trays on your feet.

Apparently, the City of London is now giving up its fight for post-Brexit financial services passporting. The European banks have maybe realised that they prefer to be in civilised Europe with great food and infrastructure and lower costs than on this rainy fascist island, I don’t know. Still, you know how difficult all this is for me. Just as I start to sort the house out as I’ve always wanted it, with the only kitchen I’m ever going to have, really, that is designed to my spec alone, we’ll have to leave and goodness knows when we’ll come back. People seem to forget that we’ll be renting someone else’s house for the next goodness knows how many years and it’s not the same as having your own. Now, some people have waved this away, saying that I’ll adapt and it will be fine to have an exciting new adventure and I do take this on board, but it’s not easy to leave your friends and the life you’ve made and start again in your 50s. Those damn Brexiters who thought they wouldn’t be directly affected by this have no idea, do they? And they will be affected when they realise how the fall in the pound is affecting their own tiny worlds. It makes my blood boil. It makes me want to weep.

We picked up Ellie’s new Visual Strain glasses today but they seem to be the wrong colour, with too much blue in the lenses, and the words still pop and fizz for her on the page. Poor thing is so disappointed, and frustrated. Luckily I managed to cadge an appointment with the optometrist on Monday so we can go and see if we have to change the lenses. Perhaps she was hoping that the coloured glasses would magic away her visual strain, hoping for a miracle, and when it didn’t happen she was disconsolate. But I’m sure we’ll get it sorted out eventually. School are being naughty and, having given her extra time and use of a wordprocessor for her assessment exams this week, are now saying that she can only have one or the other. So now we have to go in to school and have a fight with them. I’m dreading it. It’s like the time I had to fight about the earrings, or when I wanted you to move down to Croissy. To me, this smacks rather too much of #AllLivesMatter, you know, if they give her what she needs then it somehow disadvantages everyone else but of course it is not a zero sum game. Still, there’s a question of pride at stake, and pride and hubris run the world, as you know.

How are you getting on with the camera? It does take lovely pictures but you know how I don’t cope well with extended menus and I never got to grips with all of the functions. I hope you’ll be more successful than me. You know I said I was planning to buy a new camera? I’m waiting until I’m in the depths of misery to buy my new one. I have made sure not to buy anything in the sales so the camera will be great retail therapy,  until I have to settle the bill. It helps that it hasn’t been released yet to give me time to save up for it. I know dad said I could borrow his, but that has a viewfinder and I haven’t got used to the shutter yet so some of the pictures I swore I took didn’t come out. And it’s not the same as one’s own camera, of course. 

Anyway, that’s all from me for the moment. Wrap up warm. Speak soon





How my dogs smell

I’ve always been fascinated by the superpower of the dog: their nose. You might remember that our beloved Oscar was struck down a few years ago by a mystery Thing that has eaten away the inside of at least one half of his nose, both bone and soft tissue. He still smells, though.


I found this TED Talks video on Twitter and I’d like to share it here.

Old and new in Greenwich

Old and new in Greenwich


If you can overlook the divot in the red jumper I like the subject matter of this photo.

I hadn’t walked the dogs for nearly a week so had cabin fever this morning and was raring to go. We had to deliver some overlooked presents to my cousin-in-law in Greenwich (it seems such a long way away but it’s only next door to Lewisham: a scant 20 minutes by car) and we walked the dogs in Greenwich Park which, if you’re not familiar, consists of a pretty steep hill surrounding the (former) Royal Observatory, with Blackheath at the top of the hill and Greenwich and the river at the bottom.

The Greenwich Maritime Museum is the building with the colonnades (is that what they’re called?) over my right shoulder and beyond that you can see the former Royal Naval College, now Trinity Laban, where I did my singing exam a couple of weeks ago.

But look beyond it to the new(er) buildings of Canary Wharf and, to the left of them, St. Paul’s Cathedral. It’s a good juxtaposition of old and new, I think.


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