A New Laptop, Bear’s Female Colleagues & A Clever Pup

I got a really nice surprise present on Wednesday of last week. A new laptop. Completely out of the blue. The boy child received the Chromebook he’d wanted for his birthday and was perfectly happy all Sunday afternoon sorting it out and adding all his apps. I meanwhile have been struggling to get anything to work on my ancient Acer for over a year. It has to sit on a freezer block because the fan no longer works well enough to cool the CPU and other components and it’s RAM is only about 2 GB, so it barely manages to keep two tabs accessible and Chrome is a nightmare. Snails are faster. It has to be hard wired to the WiFi modem because it won’t connect otherwise and permanently plugged into the power because the battery is dead and won’t charge.

So when I got a knock on the door and handed a package addressed to me, I was somewhat taken aback. I hadn’t ordered anything and Bear hadn’t said anything about expecting a package. When I opened it I found a refurbished Dell laptop with Windows 10 and 4GB of RAM. Obviously I had to message Bear to find out what it was all about and was responded to with “You’re welcome.!” Okay. A sudden self-initiated flash of consideration from Bear. Far more surprising than the actual gift if I’m honest. So I’ve been, for the past 10 days, slowly figuring out how things work and getting used to the smaller screen, less compact keyboard and the positioning of some of the keys and trying to figure out why in the hell I went and deleted all my bookmarks from Chrome on my old laptop. Stupid.!

The Beer-tasting last Saturday went fairly well, but taking the pup was a complete pain in the ass. The colleague who hosted the beer-tasting lives in a tiny first-floor apartment that you couldn’t swing a kitten in, never mind host 5 people and an energetic puppy. So we all sat outside in the community area and had to attach the pup’s lead to a length of rope, which is turn was attached to a huge wooden column, so we weren’t constantly being dragged out of our chairs. Pup spent the entire afternoon, evening and night happily ripping the grass up by the roots, chewing on it and leaving huge clods all over the lawn, barking his ass off at anything that moved and trying to jump on all of us at opportune moments to steal food.

All Bear’s work colleagues were women, which kind of explains why he took me with him. Had there been any men among the beer-tasting colleagues, he wouldn’t have felt the need to invite me because he would have mentioned that there were men going. The fact that he didn’t made me realise they were all women, which doesn’t bother me at all. What bothers me is that he doesn’t mention that they’re all women. When there’s men involved in any of his work socials, he mentions them by name, when there isn’t, he calls them colleagues. It’s almost like he thinks there’s something wrong in spending time with his female work colleagues, so he doesn’t mention them as female. Like I might have an issue with it.

One of them was 23, another in her early thirties and the host is 50. All of them are beer drinkers, all of them his friends on Untappd and none of them remotely interested in a romantic capacity in Bear. They were more interested in me than him, having known him for a decade and heard all about me, but never having met me. It was an interesting evening, when we weren’t jumping up to rescue some poor wandering individual from the attentions of the nutso pup, who alternately treated people like friends and then enemies. We finally packed up at 2am and headed for bed, which for me was in the eaves of a tiny bedroom that you could only just get a double bed and the pup’s crate in. My nose was 3 inches from the ceiling, which for a claustrophobe is not at all fun.

I spent the night lying awake, listening to Bear snore and the pup fart, keeping an eye on that damned ceiling and waiting for the dawn to come, which it did at 4.30am with the usual morning chorus and traffic, which was surprisingly closer than I’d realised. Of course with so much light coming in the pup was awake and so was Bear, none too pleased to see the time… so as quietly as possible (in an apartment that creaks and squeaks and squeals at every turn), we got dressed and made our way outside with the dog to wait 4-5 hours for everyone else to get up before making breakfast. Pup slept like the dead for the rest of Sunday and most of Monday We slept really well on Sunday night too.

Puppy Training has been going okay’ish so far, with socially acceptable behaviour consisting of looking into our eyes and touching our hands with his nose, when told to. All things he’s been doing since we got him. He’s half Border Collie so he has an intense stare and he always touches our hands with his nose when he wants something, a trait in Toller’s apparently. Until this week I’ve seen little point in going to the lessons that only make pup anxious and over-excited. This week we’ve been teaching him to stay when he’s sat down and to lie down from a sitting position. We’ve decided to train him in Dutch from now on. Although he’ll still have the known English instruction at home, as he already understands that.

It’s getting too frustrating for Bear that the dog listens only to me because I’m the only one he spends an extended amount of time with every day. Bear’s trying to teach him in Dutch and the dog’s ignoring him, but when I command him in English, he does as he’s told straight away. So I agreed that the dog should be trained in Dutch and that I would practice his Dutch training at home too. He’s a damned clever little pup, already he lies down when told and stays sat down until told to come, even if Bear has walked to the bottom of the patio. As long as he can’t see the treat he’s going to get as we walk away, he’ll stay put. He’s also becoming a lot more affectionate. He comes to us for cuddles and tummy rubs and when I sit down in the evenings to watch TV, he comes and sits next to me and settles down to sleep.

A marked change from the racing around like a lunatic, bouncing off of us on his route around the living/dining/patio area. He only does that once a day now, instead of four/five times a day.

Teething, Beer Tasting & A Birthday

Our poor little doggo is teething and not having a very good time with it. He’s lost 4 teeth in two days that we know of and the discomfort is causing him to chew on everything he can get near his mouth, including us. He’s been through carrots, ice cubes and his Nylabone has taken quite the battering. He had some blood on his rope toy, so I’ve been keeping an eye on him, but other than a loss of appetite and being more tired than usual he seems okay. He hasn’t eaten properly for a few days, only accepting food when it’s offered from our hands and he’s been avoiding his water bowl too, hence the ice cubes to try and keep him hydrated.

His front teeth seemed to change quickly, but his back teeth are taking their sweet time. He was sick on Friday after losing two teeth in ten minutes and his breath has been vile ever since. I gave him some banana this morning to make up for the kibble he didn’t bother with at breakfast and he seemed to perk up a bit, enough to eat the kibble two hours later.

Bear has arranged a beer-tasting evening with a few of his work colleagues next weekend. I’m not sure about going to be honest because I don’t know the colleagues, having never met anyone Bear has worked with, except the tattoo artist. I’m not good at socialising and total strangers in a strange place, mixed with alcohol is maybe not a good idea. Especially as we’re taking the pup with us as we’ll be away all night. Bear says we’ll only be discussing the beer, but as they’re all work colleagues, work is going to find a way into the conversation and I’ll be playing gooseberry for the evening. Which I hate.

It’s bad enough I don’t understand enough Dutch to join in with these conversations thanks to Bear refusing to teach me his native language, but when they know I can’t speak Dutch they presume I have no idea what they’re saying and just carry on around me, when in fact Bear knows I understand a lot more than I can pronounce and do get the gist of the conversation. Plus most Dutch people can speak English fluently.

Today is the boy child’s 14th birthday and we’re off to The Mommy’s for a late lunch/early dinner. She’s made her speciality cake which everyone loves and looks forward to. The boy child will be receiving the new Hewlett Packard laptop he requested as a present, because he’s managed yet again to completely wreck the one he’s only had for 3 years, after wrecking the previous one after only 18 months. He’s been warned about screwing with the factory settings on this new one or the next one he’s buying himself.

We ordered in Chinese for dinner last night for him, as it’s his favourite and Bear played Monopoly with them until the boy child said he was just too tired to continue. They’d been playing for nearly two and a half hours and to be fair Bear was probably winning. I passed on playing as it gets too stressful with Bear whinging about not being able to do anything and getting stroppy if someone buys a property he had his eye on, meaning he’s not going to have any leverage at all and is only playing to support all of us… right up until he kicks our asses and makes out it was such a surprise that he won… again.! It’s no fun.

Puppy Training, Time Rifts & Genealogy

Last night was lesson 1 of Puppy Training, where we learned that pup was to be taught socially acceptable behaviour using treats and was not being taught to understand commands, as other trainer’s do. The first task was getting pup to make eye contact with us using the word ‘look’, which sounds a lot like a command to me. Anyway, once pup has made eye contact he gets a treat. The issue here is pup is well aware there are more treats, so he’s not going to continue sitting and making eye contact when there are a shitload of treats to be had and seven other dogs in the group. Instead he took to running excitedly around our legs, still attached to his harness and lead, barking madly, like there was a cat in the field, demanding more treats. Which of course he did not get.

Any chance of him paying any attention to us, the trainers or anything other than the other dogs was just not going to happen. Too much to see, sniff, bark at and eat, with regards all the lushly green grass the field was covered in. His attention span was nil. He sniffed the tiny King Charles spaniel next to him, who cowered and moved around behind his owner’s legs and cowered and hid behind Bear’s legs when the Bernese Mountain puppy lolloped over to growl and bark at him in greeting. It’s funny how he becomes all scared and submissive when a dog the same size as him and just as belligerent wants to play with him, but doesn’t understand why the tinier puppies whimper and cry and try to hide from him when he wants to play with them. His lack of socialisation is clearly visible.

On the plus side, he’s starting to enjoy the car rides now that he sits on the back seat (with me) and can have the window open to look out of. He ends up sitting on my lap, with his paws up on the window edge and his head and shoulders out of the window while I hang on to the handle on the back of his harness and loop the lead around my arm. He likes the smells and feel of the wind in his fur as we do 90 kph up the dual carriageway. He doesn’t drool very much at all and the stress yawning has stopped. Still not a fan of actually getting into the car, but once in he’s good.

I’ve noticed recently that there is a huge time difference in the time it takes Bear to get to work and the time it takes him to get home. When he goes to work, he leaves 15 minutes before his shift starts which is ample time to drive the 9 minutes it takes to get to work. When he finishes work, he doesn’t arrive home for more than 30 minutes after the end of his shift, sometimes more than an hour. Every time I’ve asked what time he finished work, he tells me ‘the normal time’… so somewhere between him finishing his shift and leaving work, and arriving home there is some kind of temporal rift in the space continuum that hasn’t yet been discovered by Elon Musk, NASA or the crazy sci-fi geek fan-boys, which is of some concern.

Time rifts in space are a dangerous thing when in the wrong hands and Bear’s hands are not the safest for spacial anomalies, especially as he barely pays attention to anything that’s not Twitter related. Aliens will get no joy from him when it comes to being taken to our planetary leaders. Unless they have an address that he can find on Google maps. Talking of aliens, I was contacted by a second cousin in New Zealand on Monday. She’s been delving into our ancestral history and found my name all over our family genealogy on however many sites she dared set foot, so decided to make contact. It seems her knowledge of our family is decidedly sketchy, lucky woman, and she was interested in the rest of the clan and the many offspring that she knows nothing about having immigrated with her parents in the mid-1950’s to Australia, and on to New Zealand.

I, in turn, don’t know a hell of a lot about her family after her parents divorce in the early 1970’s. I have only the information my grandfather provided up to 2007, when there were a few offspring from his sister’s son and a second marriage, but no names, dates, locations etc… and genealogy sites for recent Australian/NZ BMD data are dire. I managed to find my second cousin’s stepfather only by birth date… there is nothing after that. I’ve been looking for help with the brick wall I already have to try and climb over with my own great grandfather on my mother’s side. My mother’s parents were first cousins and as such were disowned by both families when they married. My grandfather’s parents were not married, although his mother used his father’s surname.

His father used so many names that no-one has a clue which name was real, as there are no birth records, marital records or death records for any of the names he is known to have used. So, he is basically non-existent legally. He was charged in 1932 of a road traffic offence but no record is now available. He is on the 1939 directory, but under a name that has already been confirmed to be fake. There is no-one left alive who might know something about him. His last three children were registered by their mother, who used a different maiden name. Trying to find even a crack in that wall is impossible, but I’m still working at it.

Drawing The Line, Coming Out & Doing A Nice Thing

Last night, when the kids were going to bed I mentioned the morning issues with the boy child to Bear, only to have the girl child chime in that Bear had told them about a year ago now that they COULD come downstairs before 8am if they wanted to. News to me.! So I gave Bear ‘The Look’ and was informed that it was possible that he had, and then asked what difference it made anyway. So I told him of the insolent bullshit I was met with that morning, which seemed to be more of an issue than the fact that yet again he hadn’t bothered to tell me of his change in the rules and has not only made me look stupid in front of his kids, but yet again has undermined my authority.

It’s no wonder the little shits barely listen to a word I say until they’re teetering on the edge of physical violence.! This is not the first, or even the fiftieth time Bear has over-ruled or under-mined me when it comes to his kids and yet he still expects me to look after them for him while he buggers off to work or to do his own thing. This is where I’m drawing the line. Tomorrow he has an early shift. It’ll be the last one he has with his kids here. I’ve had enough of his crap.

Since the debacle with my dear (not.!) father, I’ve decided to change Facebook profiles. My family are not speaking to me, the debates that are happening over the current BLM protests are just getting bloody stupid… 90% of people bitching and whining about their own white privileged rights have no clue what they’re talking about and things are getting nasty and when things get nasty I get very sarcastic and calmly but savagely honest. It’s a flaw, I know and one that becomes a compulsion when faced with dumb asses who think they know what they’re talking about and waffle off facts and statistics they read on some obscure bullshit website that itself hasn’t the first clue either.

Since I can’t block my family members nor remove them from my Facebook without exacerbating the issues further, I felt it was time to just walk away and leave them to it. So I’ve moved to my BDSM one, which believe me has been a whole world of fun, because in moving over to that profile, I’ve added a whole load of friends who have no idea about my BDSM past and have had to spend hours removing or hiding the 12 years of BDSM and sex related statuses, photos and URL links to relevant pages and websites that had been added.

While I haven’t hidden my interest in BDSM (I refuse to be someone I’m not), it’s going to be a case of slowly, slowly, catchy monkey for my (new) friends to get their heads around my interest in kink and the alternative lifestyle. Something I’ve kept well hidden for the past 10 years for Bear’s sake. So yet again I’m going to be ‘coming out’ and facing the consequences of being real to people who thought they already knew me while trying to keep Bear out of it. Still better than forcing myself not to respond to the whining of my white privileged snowflake family.

My ex- again contacted me via Messenger requesting my address, email and a contact number for his solicitors. I’m not dumb enough to believe he wanted those details strictly for his solicitors because the guy never does anything without an ulterior motive. He then messages me this afternoon to let me know that he’s asked our sons if it’s okay with them for him to send me old pictures and new of them, with our grandson that he’s taken. Now, you might think that’s a sweet thing for him to do, even for him to think of doing, but remember the ulterior motive, because there ALWAYS is one.

He’s doing the picture thing to make himself look like a precious little prince for his wife and the boys, because they all know he’s a massive asshole, and he probably has a ton load of shit to make up for and also because at some point he’ll expect something from me. Tit for tat always with him. Unfortunately that tat is going to hit a brick wall, because if there’s one thing the past ten years has taught me, it’s that humouring his manipulative bullshit is a no-no. The more he gets, the more he demands, the more manipulative he becomes.

He wants to be buddies again, so he has someone else to talk shit to when things aren’t going his way, which if you believe a word he says, is always. He wants to paint himself as the hero in everyone’s lives, the guy with the heart of gold who’ll do anything for anyone (for a price) purely out of kindness. What he fails to grasp is that I have a VERY long memory and an unforgiving nature, which he should, having been with me for 22 years and fighting with me for the past ten, have figured out by now.

Feeling Better, Teenage Attitude & Waiting On Baby

This morning pup is better. He’s eating, drinking and pooping normally. Bear and I have breathed a massive sigh of relief, after seeing blood in his mucus-y stool yesterday. I was envisioning a vet visit today and a whole battery of tests, but thankfully, all seems to be back to normal, although we’ll be keeping a close eye on him. We have the number and address of an emergency vet should we need one today. When we see our vet early next month for pup’s rabies shot, I’ll mention it and see if there’s anything we can give him in case it ever happens again.

The boy child has again decided to start pushing his luck with me. It’s already pretty tenuous and if he continues to mouth back at me, he’ll find out very quickly just how intolerant I am of bullshit teenage attitudes. The rule has always been that the kids don’t come downstairs until after 8am. I was up at 7.30am with the dog and was quite enjoying the peace and quiet until the boy child arrived at 7.53am. When told it wasn’t 8am yet, he responds with a sullen “So.! Are we going to make an issue out of seven minutes.?!” Yes, you stroppy, whiny little brat, we are.!! The rule is 8am, it’s not 8am yet.

They seem to take it in turns, although the girl child has learnt that there is no limit to the punishments I can come up with that her father is happy to use. She makes sure to keep me sweet. The boy child will come to learn the same thing, especially if he wants to continue watching Netflix on his phone all day long. I put up with enough of that crap with my own two boys. I draw the line at dealing with theirs. This is why I don’t want them here if Bear isn’t around to keep them in line. I don’t need their crap and I have no tolerance for the typical teenage angst that enters my front door every other weekend and sits on it’s ass doing nothing.

My niece is still in labour… as yet there has been no sign of baby Gracie making an appearance and my niece is suffering intensely painful contractions every 25 minutes, which don’t appear to be doing much of anything except hurting. She’s not due for another week and hopes like hell the contractions won’t last that long. She is only 2cm dilated so far.

A Sick Puppy, Toxic Plants & Being A Dick

Our poor little puppy is sick and it’s our fault.! The evening before yesterday, he started emitting projectile diarrhoea. I’d given him the last of his chicken treats in the afternoon and he was reluctant to eat it at first, but then he did… I put it down to the heat because we were pushing 30C that day and none of us were all that bothered about food. Now I wonder if there was something wrong with the chicken. He’d had no problems with the rest of it, just that piece which was the last of a packet of 9 real chicken pieces especially for puppies. I checked the date on the packet and it was well within the use by date, but I still think something might have been off with it.

Yesterday he seemed fine, just really hot as it was difficult to find anywhere cool to lie down in the 32C heat we suffered. Then this morning, not long after pup had gotten up, he again had projectile diarrhoea all over the patio… Now, the thing is, last night Bear made spinach pasta for dinner and dropped one of the frozen spinach cubes on the floor, which pup grabbed and ran off with and ate in about 20 seconds. Spinach isn’t toxic but it’s not something that’s recommended for dogs. After dinner Bear wiped his finger around his plate and offered it to the dog in his crate. For which he earned himself a Paddington Hard Stare and was asked if he’d put garlic in it, as he usually does.

Which he had. “Oh shit.! I forgot about that.” Garlic is of course toxic to dogs and in this case it’s worse because as well as adding garlic powder to the dish, it’s made with garlic cream cheese. I did think that perhaps doggo would react a lot sooner than he did, as he did when he’d been chewing on the hydrangea wood at The Mommy’s a few weeks ago, but by bedtime he seemed fine and had eaten his dinner, although he didn’t pee before bed which he usually does, again we put it down to the heat. This morning even after the projectile diarrhoea, pup seemed fine and was chasing geranium petals around the patio and eating them.!

Which made me wonder, as he’d been doing that over the past few days too… what with the wind blowing the petals all over the garden and patio… so I googled, to find that geranium is toxic to dogs… all of it.! For fuck sake.!! So for the past few days we’ve been poisoning our puppy by allowing him to eat toxic flower petals, feeding him garlic and giving him tainted chicken treats. Jeez.! 😥 I now have a much more updated version of the toxic plant list, thanks to the BBC, because the Kennel Klub one didn’t have geranium or clematis or lilies on it. All of which I have on the patio… Had on the patio, the geranium is now on the lower step on the other side of the fence.

My ex- is now subtly taking the piss, which doesn’t come as a surprise… the only thing that mildly surprised me was the fact that it’s taken him as long as it has to start. He sent me a message about the whole taking my name off his house thing, informing me completely unnecessarily that he is re-mortgaging the house, which is now only worth a fraction more than what he bought it for back in 2006. He paid £125,000, it’s now worth £134,000 (I checked), and that he has to pay £10,000 on top to get the house deeds in his name only because no solicitor, taking into consideration his circumstances, normally does that.

His circumstances being retired military, injured and not working or paying taxes, but receiving a monthly military pension and all the benefits. I can understand why no solicitor would touch him. In that position, on paperwork, he wouldn’t be able to afford to re-mortgage, but this is my hoarder ex-, who specialises in hoarding money away in secret little places only he knows about. He can well afford to re-mortgage, well afford to lose ten thousand pounds without it making a dent in his savings. He”s been hoarding money since before I met him and I very much doubt his wife has a clue where all his money is hidden. I didn’t when I was married to him.

He’s also added me (accidentally.? My ass) to a chat group on Facebook he shares with his military buddies. I’ve stayed silent and I’m not paying any attention to it because the second I do I know all kinds of spiteful shit will get said, which I will have no option but to respond to, and I’m not doing that online. He wants a spat, fine, but it’ll be face to face and he won’t win. Which he knows, which is why he added me to his group. I could leave but he’s added me for a reason and as yet I don’t know what that reason is. I know he’s just being a Dick, it’s his default setting.

My brother’s youngest daughter has gone into labour. She’s not due until July 4th, but as she’s had a lot of gynae issues over the years the doctors are not surprised she’s about to drop too early and have been ready for this for a few months now. She had a few issues back in March and was told she might need to be induced to save the baby as she can’t be given any anaesthetic, but she managed to overcome those issues and was on bed-rest for two months. Keeping fingers crossed that all goes well now.

The children are here for the weekend, until Wednesday… 😮 I knew this was coming because Bear mentioned it last week and told me he’d be working on Monday and Tuesday… to which I told him if he was working they were going home. I am not putting up with their shit alone, in stupid temperatures, all day just because he agreed to that crap to keep their mother sweet. They’re here, he’s here.! We’ve already got them for three weeks in a row in July/August and you know that’s going to stress me the fuck out in week one. There will be alcohol in this house, believe me. We’re going to The Mommy’s tomorrow for a BBQ, so at least there’s that. 😀

Heatwave, Next Day Delivery & Chocolate Mud Cake

The last few days haven’t been overly hot, only around 23C, but for someone who can only cope with temperatures below 18C, it’s been bloody ridiculous.! I wake up sweaty, get dressed sweaty and do nothing but sweat all damn day and then go to bed sweaty regardless of having washed myself down in cold water. I HATE Summer… goddamn stupid season, whose dumb idea was it to include hellishly hot temperatures in the wonderfully mild climate I’ve been languishing in so far this year.? Which dumbass was it decided to send out a heatwave on top of the crappy ‘Rona we’re all trying to avoid.? What is this, some kind of manipulative natural selection.?

You know all the snowflakes are going to be rushing to the beach and local parks and every public paddling pool and swimming area around, spreading whatever disgusting contagion they’ve been harbouring for the past 4 months… why is it only the stupid survive.? Doggo’s none too impressed with the heat either, he’s running out of cool spots to hide in as the heat rises hour by hour and the floor warms up. Poor little guy… yesterday it bordered on 27C so we pulled the blackout blind down at the front window and put the roller blind at the back halfway so he could still go out if he was of a mind to, but the afternoon sun couldn’t scorch us through the windows.

Today we’ll be hitting 31C… it’s not funny, it sucks shit.! The living room is so dark and just about staving off unbearable heat with the fan going at half-blast. The front door’s been covered to keep the heat out and all the doors and windows are closed. Still poor doggo is panting fit to burst. He’s had three ice cubes and two lots of cold water from the fridge… and after trying to help yesterday by wrapping the freezer blocks from the picnic bag in tea towels for him to lie on (they got too cold for him) we ordered a cool mat for him to lie on from a local pet company. It was supposed to be delivered today.

Bear hadn’t received a delivery notification from them this morning so phoned up, only to be told it would take two to four working days to be delivered, which is not next day delivery, as promised on the website. Debating the matter got Bear nowhere so he cancelled the order and has gone to our local Pet’s Place to get one, having already called ahead to make sure they had them. I’ve lodged a complaint with the pet company for false advertising… next day delivery means within 24 hours, not 2-4 working days. If they’re going to make promises they can’t keep, they’re going to get hell for it.

In lieu of birthday cake and because it was Father’s Day, despite Bear’s refusal to observe such consumer-influenced events, I made cake. I haven’t made cake since the girl child’s birthday last month and as my weight has refused to budge for nigh on two months, I thought ‘what the hell’ and made chocolate mud cake. Which is exactly what is says on the tin… thick, heavy, rich chocolate cake that drops to the bottom of your stomach like a stone and hangs around there until it finally erodes 24 hours later and you feel about 5lbs lighter. The addition of thick, uber-sweet chocolate ganache did not help matters, but damn was it delicious, even if I didn’t need to eat again for the rest of the day. 😀

Barking Mad, Cuddles & Persona Non Grata

I don’t know what’s gotten into the dog of late, but he just won’t quit barking. Everything sets him off, smells, sounds, presumed sounds and smells, anything that might look like it might be about to make a sound or smell different… and once he’s on a roll, that’s it… distraction doesn’t work, treats work for only as long as it takes him to wolf them down, and then he’s off again… barking at absolutely nothing. He doesn’t have a normal dog bark either, his is high-pitched and verges on yappy, even though he barks like a medium sized dog. We think it might be the Toller in him… some of them are known to have a high-pitched bark, that sounds like a scream. I hope to God he doesn’t develop that, the neighbours already hate us. 😀

He has started giving and asking for cuddles recently, which is a bonus. I discovered it when I was sat on the end of the sofa, sorting out the keypad for the Xbox. Doggo came jumping up on the sofa behind me and pushed himself under my arm and into my lap. Where he sat there nudging the side of his face against mine meaningfully. It took me by surprise, mostly because he didn’t bite me, which is the usual greeting for anyone and everything. I put my arms around him carefully, because I’m very aware of the advice to never force your attention or affections on your pet, and he snuggled in and lay in my arms, licking my hand.! Now it’s a case of advising the dog not to force his attentions and affections on me. !

Every time I sit on the sofa now he’s on me like a bad rash, trying to climb on me to eat my hair or lick my ears, or pushing himself on to me to be hugged, forcing whatever I have in my hands out of the way. I hope this latest u-turn in his behaviour doesn’t become an issue.

Today is Father’s Day in the UK, well, I think it’s Father’s Day everywhere actually, but Bear doesn’t subscribe to the annual conglomerate-forced consumer events, so Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and the such don’t get any attention in this house. Gazpacho Soup Day and Towel Day do though… anyway, as yet, having not made any mention of Father’s Day on the family Messenger group, I have received no arsey comments or jibes, or other such subtle crappiness from my ‘family’, which is a first. I can’t send wishes to my father, even if I wanted to, due to him having blocked me on Fb. I could make mention on the family group, but to be fair, it would only get thrown back in my face, so I’m not bothering.

Since my blow up on the group, the only person to say a word to me has been my sister, who sent birthday wishes. My brother and his wife have gone silent, as has my stepmother. It’s fun when you learn just how unsupported you are by your own family… again. It seems to be a theme in my life… the shit hits the fan and everyone buggers off and leaves me on my own. Even my own best friend has stayed quiet. Yet again I am Persona Non Grata… at this rate I should get a t-shirt printed with it on and maybe a badge.

Puppy Training, Skip Day & Birthday Peace & Quiet

No, you’re not seeing double. No, I didn’t post the same thing twice. No, I’m not mad… okay, I’ll rescind that statement… I’m a little mad, and a little frustrated, and a bit pissed off to be fair. Puppy training, as I said in my previous post, starts on July 7th, but I won’t be there for the first lesson. Bear’s going alone because the first lesson is theoretical, basically how they’ll be training the puppies and why they’ll be doing it that way. For a start it’ll all be in Dutch, so I’ll only understand about a third of it and secondly, we can’t leave the pup alone so one of us is going to have to stay home. We can’t take him with us because the lesson will be in a classroom, of sorts and he’ll be bored out of his brain in five seconds (as will I probably), so he’ll be whimpering and wanting to run around and shout at all the strangers.

Skip day is a no-no thanks to the woman at the end of our row (we live in a terrace) who when Bear asked, refused to allow us to place the skip in front of her garage (behind the houses) despite the fact she doesn’t use it and the skip will only be there for 12 hours. There isn’t anywhere else to place a skip because our street is very narrow and the car park is always full, so we’re screwed now. The only other option is to load the car up and take it all down the tip ourselves, which will take about 8 journeys and will require us to separate everything into nine categories… Grrr.!

My birthday was anything but peaceful and quiet. We went for a walk with the dog across the moors in the early afternoon and got sun burnt, despite it threatening to rain all day. Then we came home to rest, because after an hour and a half of walking up- and downhill on dirty sand with a fucked hip, I wasn’t in any fit state to do anything but collapse on the sofa with painkillers. I know… I don’t know why I do this shit to myself either, probably to prove that I still can, despite the agony afterwards. The dog wasn’t too impressed either and flopped on the floor and snored like a hog for two hours, after he drank a litre of cold water.

Once I got my shit together enough and had recovered a little we headed off to The Mommy’s for a bbq, where she took a guess at my age and allowed me 5 years and was very loved for it. She thought I was a few years younger than her youngest son, rather than the six months younger that I am. I was given a couple of bottles of a sweet rosé wine that I had there the last time we went and thought was lush. Unusual for me, I’m a beer drinker not a wine drinker, and if I do drink wine it’s usually red, but this was really nice. We came home stuffed to bursting and vegged out until we were able to move a little and then my eldest son called.

I know it’s bloody mean to say it, but I wish to God I hadn’t answered his call. Two and a half hours spent listening to him crying and ranting and raging and cursing a blue streak over his ex-fiancee and her lack of communication in explaining why she dumped him. He’s become obsessive and suicidal and is verging on mania and I have absolutely no clue what the fuck to say because when shit like that happened to me in my youth, I just walked away and left it in the dirt. I didn’t obsess over an ex-, I didn’t threaten to kill them and myself in some fucked up one-sided pact (don’t worry, he won’t do it).

I didn’t force my attention on them, demanding answers and whining about trying to fix things. I didn’t cry for days on end at the unfairness of it all. I just walked away and got on with my life alone. I’m also no kind of counsellor, I don’t have answers or fantastic advice to impart. I’m just his mother, and apparently not much use as that. He can’t deal with rejection. He’s so sensitive and honestly, emotionally unstable when he’s not getting what he wants and like his father, he can’t live alone. Being under lockdown for two and a half months hasn’t helped either. He’s probably got depression and I know he’s lonely, but I’m 540 miles away, what can I do.?

I’ve talked and listened and listened some more and made suggestions, all on deaf ears. He refuses to see a counsellor, refuses to talk to anyone but his ex-, who won’t talk to him and has now blocked him on Fb because he won’t quit bugging her, won’t leave the flat, but wants to move so he doesn’t have to live with memories of her in it, but he can’t afford to move. He’s still furloughed and he trusts no-one, so is avoiding all the friends he had because they were also friends with his ex-… So my birthday evening, which should have been spent snuggled up on the sofa with Bear and a good beer, was spent upstairs, listening to my adult son having a major barney over a woman, again, over Messenger with a warm beer and an increasing sense of dread. Fucking great.!

Puppy Training, Skip Day & Birthday Peace And Quiet

We finally have an appointment for puppy training.! \o/ It begins on July 7th for eight weeks and is an hour and a half every Tuesday evening. Bear’s going to change some of his late shifts for early’s so he can attend. I was a bit unsure about doggo being well behaved in eight weeks, but apparently they’re quite intense lessons, so the little gremlin will get schooled.! The mischievous little toad has chewed through the light cable on my bike and chewed the corners off of a fibreboard we put up in front of the BBQ, because he kept trying to eat the gas line.

He’s managed to obliterate his squeaky bear, squeaky ball, rattly rabbit and braided chew toy, and is in the process of eating his Nylabone. His blankets have all had the tags chewed off and he’s been quite content to chew off the threaded hems. All this amongst eight sticks and a hearty attempt at my rubber croc house shoes. Today we’re heading to the pet store to get more kibble and find some new puppy toys… something that will last more than a few weeks and be educational as well as fun and noisy. The gremlin loves his Kong-type ball that we put treats in and has already mastered throwing it himself.


I’ve finally managed to get Bear to commit to a skip, having gotten him to finish the sort out with the cupboard in the boy child’s room, which he got around to on Sunday. The skip is arranged for next Friday, which is his next day off. Amongst the interesting items he found up there was the paper he wrote the route instructions on when he came to collect me from my psychologically abusive marriage ten years ago. He didn’t have a Satnav back then and couldn’t get Google Maps on his phone, so had written down the road names and numbers. Don’t for a second think it was a sweet, romantic gesture. This is Bear.

He dumped the paper in a box and over the years has dumped other papers and personal detritus in there and forgotten about it, dumping the box in the cupboard because he couldn’t be bothered to go through it and bin stuff. He’s not a hoarder, but he can be lazy when it comes to sorting out the junk he accrues over time. I usually go through mine every two months, he’ll have to be persuaded to go through his once in a blue moon and most of the time there’ll be something amongst it that he’d been looking for for months, as there was this time. Roll on next Friday.!

On Monday, it’s my birthday, which I had completely forgotten about until Bear asked me what the day after Sunday was and I replied Monday, and earned myself a Paddington hard stare. So I checked the date, not having a clue what he was going on about to realise it was my birthday. Oh.! Well, never mind. It’s just a day like any other, it’s not like I can go to the bar or enjoy a celebratory meal at my favourite Italian. Thanks to the selfish, moronic people hell bent on spreading the ‘Rona all over the province again, like they tried to a fortnight ago when the city opened three bars in the centre, setting out tables and chairs two metres apart over the entire central plaza so more people could come out while observing social distancing and the whole dumb-ass lot of them started a conga line in celebration of the restriction lifting and weaved in and out of the tables, spreading germs left, right and centre.

I’ll take peace and quiet for my birthday this year. The children are here for the weekend and were supposed to be staying until Monday evening, but as the boy child has a play date (yes, I know they don’t call them that when you’re an almost 14 year old boy, but still) on Sunday afternoon and I objected to Bear having to drive 250 miles in one weekend, so they’re both going home on Sunday afternoon instead, saving 125 miles and the stress of having them here on my birthday, which would have involved cake, which I would have had to make. Sod that.! So I’ll take peace and quiet, a lion (in as much as the gremlin lets us sleep in) and a peaceful, lazy day with no bullshit.

Beer would be nice, chocolate would be welcome and maybe a few episodes of CSI or Doctor Who. I’d usually get a present from The Mommy and Bear, but I’ve told them I don’t want presents as Bear has commissioned a drawing from a Dutch illustrator named Dennis Baptiste, of Sir Patrick Stewart in his role as Jean-Luc Picard for us. It’s bloody expensive but so worth it, as the artist is well known for his beautifully detailed hand drawn works. We’re going up to Amsterdam to collect it when it’s done, which will also be bloody expensive, as Amsterdam is over four hours drive from us and you don’t just drive up there and back again.

A few examples of his breathtaking work. All hand drawn, nothing digital.


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A Family History in Letters

Letters from the women in my family to their mothers from 1910-1980.

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The art of losing

gingerale kitchen

My mission is to give the world a unique collection of recipes and inspiration

The Belfast Belter

The Life and Times of a retired Soldier, Boxer, Pilot, Husband, Father and Grandfather

Reading Between The Lies

tales of untruths

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My memoir. Where I cuss a lot.


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