In Praise of Shitty Weather


Friday was ridiculously hot. It was Zone 1 London in the summer hot, with that intimation of hosepipe bans and the feel that it could be one of those summers where fans sell out and people start whining about it being TOO HOT.



I don’t like to be a curmudgeon, and while my mind is of a cloudy turn, my body certainly behaves better in the warm, but now that we’ve moved house a fair few things have changed in the daily routine. On the Tottenham Riviera we were on the ground floor, it  was Zone 3, and on a river, and I didn’t have to have Pops on the lead for most of any outing. Here, we are in the microclimate of the centre of town, up four flights, and the parks are often FULL at the first sight of sunshine. Full, that is, of HAZARDS.

By ‘hazards’ I mean children, people eating, people trying to have some alone time lying down quietly, that sort of thing. All things a Bobbins likes to either actually disturb or threaten to disturb, which amounts to the same thing in terms of having to police her.

In the shitty weather we doggy types get the park to ourselves.

On Friday it was extremely hot and Poppet did her new thing of having to have several lie downs all the way home as well as a couple in the stair. And that was for the morning play. By the afternoon it was baking so hard and the park was so populous that there was no chance of play, and even without it she still played ‘old dog’ all the way home.

When I first got her she was estimated by All Dogs Matter as being about a year old, and thought to have been made to mate on her first season, the beginnings of her white muzzle being thought to have been caused by the shock of this too early breeding. By the time we were on the Riviera and we had a vet appointment she was nominally about four, and he said there was no way she was under seven. Usually if people ask her age I tell them I don’t know, that she was adopted, and I give them the parameters, but if I can’t be bothered or if I think they are really not interested (a lot of people ask a dog’s age, it’s a ‘thing’) then I’ve just been saying “seven” for the past couple of years. Despite her greying muzzle, I’ve continued to argue her youth, but now she’s doing the lying down thing I’ve revised it upward. Her age of convenience is now firmly ten.

Anyway, the weather didn’t do as threatened, and we are now back to the shitty weather we also complain about. However, today it didn’t take a moment to get her out and running about, and we had the park pretty much to ourselves and yesterday was the same, even though this is the weekend. I don’t begrudge the sun seekers their pleasures, but I am going to have to figure out a way around them with the dog.

I was going to write this yesterday but we got waylaid by a chap called Roland and his dog Crunchie. I’m shit at remembering names, but Roland is my brother’s name, and Crunchie is an excellent name for a dog. She was crunching on a stick when we met her. We also know a Harry and Barry, but I have no idea which is the man and which the dog, so knowing their names doesn’t help at all.

Hector’s Home, Prison Break, and PhD Braindeath


I wonder how Hector is getting on? You ask. I wonder if he is GROWING? You ask. Well, it turns out he is both growing and stretching… in a trick perhaps learned from Poppet he clearly has a ‘See this? This is ALL MINE’ streak a mile long down his back.

i’m too sexy for my super kingsized bed

Considering that when we first got him he slept on my neck, yep. I’d say he’s growing up to be quite the long leggedy hunk. I’m chuffed that Ryan chose to keep the name. He still looks very Hectory to me.


My current TV obsession is Prison Break. I don’t know who it was who turned me on to it, one of the Kirsties, perhaps? Anyway, it’s GREAT. It comprises of several series, it has a long story arc, it has eye candy and it has SCIENCEY ‘what have we learned?’ stuff.

“pretty” has to take his top off because, spoiler – his tattoo is a map!

…So that justifies his toplessness and we needn’t think of ourselves as OGLING. (Which we clearly are).

Like Breaking Bad, Prison Break involves problem solving. From BB we learn that some acids will corrode a body and metal but not plastic, and from PB we learn how good at problem solving engineers are. And sexy, clearly they are sexy.


I realize that I have been a bit AWOL. I’ve been a bit ill and a bit busy, and today I had my final important deadline – the resubmission of the PhD proposal. Because I’d been so ill and also dealing with the vile ESA paperwork (application for this year and appeal tribunal for last year both at once) I had failed to notice how quickly my PhD deadline was coming up. In the middle of a massive migraine yesterday I was looking it up and when I saw it was TODAY I thought I’d really messed up and that it would be impossible to do anything productive with it. Today, though, I  have spent all day reading the chapter the supervisor asked me to read, skitiching a reference to it into the proposal, looking at the proposal with fresh eyes and totally reorganizing it, murdering a few darlings, adding a bit of explanation, and finally sent it off.

I am now completely exhausted and await my dinner which is being crafted as we speak by Ten. Which is just as well, because I am ALL OUT of spoons.


OOh wait! Also, I made a tumblr the other day

Doggy Drama, Passport Photos, and Pork Pies


A-And they called it Puppy Love…

a break between bouts of fight club

There’s been ALL THE DRAMA with the Hector adoption. A couple came to see him and they were really keen and really nice, but they both worked full time. I did think this was a bit ambitious of All Dogs Matter since Hector screamed the place down at the vets, and not because of the snippy snip. He doesn’t mind going next door to Steve’s, but he does cry if I go out, and they had said they would want to take special care of his separation anxiety. Turned out there had been a bit of miscommunication, so the couple were sadly disinvited from adopting him. Better for him, but they really loved him and will be terribly disappointed. I am glad it wasn’t up to me to tell them.

They do have someone more appropriate lined up, but I’d rather they went with my neighbour, Brian, who has a staffie, Max, who likes Hector. He is retired and he takes Max massive walks every day. He says he is keen, but even if he phones today the guy who ADM like is coming to see him TOMORROW so there’d have to be something go wrong for him not to want him, I guess, and this guy does sound good… I suppose there’s another doggie who Brian and Max might like. Considering every time they post on facebook I repost with oohs and aahs, so they’re not short of lovely dogs.


In travel news, my friend Lottie has asked me if I would like to go on holiday with her and her sister and her sister’s kiddo. Why, yes, I would like to go stay in a lovely villa in Spain paid for by their dad, I most certainly would. As you know I am BRILLIANT at Spanish having bothered to learn “bathroom” for our previous trip, and managed very well with just that and mime. I think it helped that we were in deepest Spain, and I was twice the height of everyone else and blonde. I was probably like a cross between Boris Johnson and Big Bird to them.

Suddenly I remembered my passport had run out and I’d failed to fill in the form for a new one, so I got to it last night, and threw in a pair of photobooth photos with the application. It was only this morning that I thought that the likelyhood was that these photos were even older than my last 10 year passport so I’d better get some new ones done. I opened the envelope and retrieved the ridiculously young me photos and prepared to meet my face in the mirror. I haven’t worn make up for a really long time, but photo booth photos bleach your face out anyway, and since I have near invisible eyebrows and a pale face I though’t I’d better do some colouring in. Just as well, too, since the photos came out rather bleached anyway.

not a serial killer, just not allowed to smile for passport photos

Imagine if I’d gone up there bare faced? I’d have looked like a balloon in a wig.


On the 11th I go to the Headache Clinic at the Neuro Hospital. IF they bestow me regular botox I could be looking at having a significantly different prognosis. Also, going into the summer, if it’s anything like last year, I should at least get three decent months. Last year I just needed a break and I took it. This year, knowing that it would be forwardable, I would first of all be into dropping as much medication as possible (already started, CHECK) and dietary reform (already started, LIKE A BOSS). The problem with dietary reform is everything you aren’t going to eat any more becomes super beguiling. Even stuff you didn’t like before. One time I knew someone who was on remand in prison. Edgy, I know. Anyway, he craved pork pies, which, he said he never liked normally. Now that’s me, only without the prisony bit.

Four and a half Months, 500 Likes, and a Book Review


HecTOR is 4 1/2 months old now. We think.

Anyway, it’s a fortnight since we got him, and I have NO BRAIN LEFT. What I do have, now, though, is a new respect for parents. Okay, I do have one or two neurological conditions which make me predisposed to being super tired, but at least I get sleep, even if it’s not the super good quality sleep, the M&S sleep of the healthy. HECtor spends most of the night snuggled against my head, neck or face, which is sweet, if a bit non-breathy.

I only call him Hector some of the time. He never answered to ‘Ben’ which is his ADM adoption name, but I am aware that a new owner will want to name him themselves, and so I call him ‘puppy’ a lot as well as just squeaking *HEY* at him. (And growling NO!)

I note ADM have added a whole bunch of Ian Morrison’s fancy pictures to his profile – the main one being a black and white shot for all the world like an actor’s head shot.


They also have him down as a staffie mix, which I am not sure he is. They might know better, or they might just be hedging their bets, since the trademark body type and triangular head won’t arrive for some time yet. What I notice is his paws are nice and big, and his legs are as long as Popsy’s already. And he walks like he had balls the size of tennis balls, even though they are no bigger than marbles. Also, he has a lot of spare skin on his head which makes him look like he is frowning – I think the spare skin is for his triangle head. But I could be wrong, so don’t quote me.

Here’s one which reflects his Scrappy Doo ness.

scrappy doo

Ten’s observation that young Hector has a touch of the Scrappy Doos about him reminds me of a statue in Kew Gardens called The White Greyhound of Richmond which, tragically, Wikipedia fails to illustrate, so you’ll have to click here to read about it after you have looked at the stupidly arty picture on the English Heritage site. When I first saw it I just thought SCOOOOBYDOOOOO!!!!!! But this was pre digital camera, so I don’t have my own image of it. And Kew is bloody miles away from here, so I doubt I will be snagging one soon.



I fail to have much news to impart due to all the parenthood but I will do my best, since I love my blog and I love you reading my blog, my dear readers. I have just passed 500 likes, apparently, so that’s NICE and LIKEY.


At night I like to listen to Radio 4 plays and stories. There’s been a serialization of The Bell Jar lately, there’s always the Afternoon Play to catch up on, and I like The News Quiz, which is a satirical offering hosted by Sandi Tosfig and featuring Jeremy Hardy, both of whom I LOVE. What I didn’t love, the other night, was Thinking Allowed, which is hosted by sociologist Laurie Taylor. It’s not my favourite programme, but I do have a passing interest in things sociological, having done a postgraduate course in that area. Usually it’s pretty inoffensive. It’s not very challenging, but it sometimes airs some interesting things, and this episode promised a look at ‘neds’ – a sort of Scottish version of ‘chavs’, and for my American friends ‘white trash’ or for Grady – ‘zefs’. So far so predictable. Then he had another guest on, one Simon Harding, who has authored a book called ‘Unleashed’… a £70 tome about “attack dogs” and their owners. Priced presumably to catch that niche market ‘lawyers prosecuting dog attack cases’ he revealed his position to be an example of what, in sociology, we call a “common sense argument” – that is to say, ill thought out bollocks.

Relying mainly on statistics, Harding found that it was hard to get any qualitative research done since his interviews, designed to highlight these dogs owners as having ‘status deficit’ resulted in him having to RUN AWAY in the middle of them. Quel surprise.

What pissed me off was that my going to sleep cozy gravy of programmes had been RUINED by a spike of adrenaline as I listened to this smug tosser opine about the uneducated working classes.

He managed to make a strangled coda of ‘well, staffies are different’ but it was rather too little too late for my liking. My only hope, which presumably is his hope, is that having become an ‘expert’ in ‘attack dogs’ he will be asked to act as expert witness in dog bite cases. What will happen then is that the jury or, more likely JP, will discover what a total tosser this guy is as he reveals his ‘research’ to be merely prejudiced opinion.

You will hardly be surprised to discover that I wrote an Amazon review PDQ – although I had to fillet out all the swearing I had so creatively used in my facebook update on the same topic.

Hector’s House



Today might be the day I foster THIS DOGGY!!! And by *I* I mean WE… Poppet is hardly likely to ignore this little chap, Ten is staying today in the hope that he arrives – I asked him what he was doing today and he said “Sniffing puppy” and Stephen next door is pretty keen, too.

he doesn’t seem to have a name yet. i am thinking “hector”

I was going to blog about my new tumble dryer, because I know how interested you’d be in that, but when Ira from All Dogs Matter emailed to say that this little chap (4 months old) needed a foster home last night, it kind of pushed the laundry excitement off the front page. We’ve had some near misses for fosters before, but this one is looking very likely, and despite thinking I am crazy, Ten is pretty excited.


In case you are disappointed not to hear all about the tumble dryer, here’s what I was writing when Ira emailed.

For someone so clever, why aren’t I clever?

D’you know, sometimes I wonder at my incredible ability to be slow on the uptake. Years ago I discovered that no matter how many times I went to steam baths and how much I enjoyed going to them I would always end up with a killer migraine. Also, in the past I’d get quite bad arthritic fingers, and I often wondered if arthritic pain might be part of my headache problem. Since seeing my current neuro, he has drawn me in to his very pragmatic view which is if your neck hurts take a triptan.

meet b

This might not LOOK like the most exciting photo ever, but believe me, it represents a dramatic improvement in my migraine situation. Last time I had the botox treatment it was as if I hadn’t had it at all. I put this down to two probable causes, the fact that I had taken some codeine in the previous weeks, which it turns out can nullify the botox effect, and the general winteriness of the onset of winter. However… what happened was that I had a week or so of leaks from the labyrinth of pipework behind my dishwasher/sink/washing machine arrangement. Hence, you see, I wasn’t using the washing machine for a while… AND, for the first time in a few months I was not sleeping with wet washing in my bedroom.

I did feel like a bit of an idiot when I realized the connection. I hurried onto the interwebs and researched the world of tumble dryers. You see, this is the first time I have lived somewhere where there isn’t a window in the bathroom, so you can’t dry washing over the bath. I haven’t used it an awful lot, but I also haven’t slept with damp washing in my bedroom either, and I have been remarkably well for the time of year, which has stood me in very good stead over a recent dreadfulness with running out of medication – ALL THE DRAMA, and not the nice, puppy driven kind of drama.


It being Terri’s birthday I made a little tumblr yesterday for her. It’s heavily stacked in favour of pictures of animals, and has no fancy art in it, so if this kind of thing is your bag click through.

Princesses, Films, Dogs, and Shopping


So, here’s me and Poppet snuggled up ready to watch The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

many pillows in the viewing pit

Ten said I looked like a princess, so I let him take the photos. Although we all know who is the real princess in this house. Poppet is the young pretender. But she will have to wait, much like Prince Charles does.

all about the regal

And this is what it looks like OUTside the window…

the tottenham riviera

That’s at best, actually. Most of the time it’s been pissing it down. Poppet has had to get wet most walks, which means drying off, which she doesn’t like. It’s her own doing a lot of the time, since she actively walks into puddles and the day we found the dog she went into a really big one up to her middle. Of course, stray dog one upped her by falling in the canal, but in reality, it was Poppet who nudged her in. They were scampering about playing and stray dog was quite jumpy and lithe, and Poppet is a clumsy tank. It was bound to happen. Just lucky the little blighter didn’t drown.

Christmas is now over, with minimum fuss, and we still have The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest to watch today so I’m calling it a good one and will be ready to move on to the new year PDQ.

We are now bickering about lunch, and one of the options is salad and the other is Caribbean curry, so I think we are done with the Chinese theme of Jews Go to the Cinema Day even if we’re not finished with the viewing.

Ten and I both have TASKS to get on with, but I’m not sure we will get onto them today since we still have the trilogy to tidy up. All Dogs Matter phoned this morning, and it looks like we are going to be getting a foster dog after all. Or at least, we are going to try a dog with Poppet. She’s a pretty good hostess in general, but we’re narrowing the field to a calm male staffie type dog, just for optimization. ADM get a lot of staffies, so it’s not going to be a case of waiting for one to come along. I don’t know if we are cut out for fostering, but I’m quite into giving it a go.

My mum gave me a Kobo for xmas, which I asked for. It’s pocket sized. I don’t carry bags, so was quite drawn to the pocket-ness. My brother gave me money which, naturally, I have already spent. So now I am waiting for a parcel from Brand Alley. They do discounted stuff from a whole slew of brands, and this one is a fancy Danish one, so I will be appropriately attired when Borgen comes back on the telly.

I looked up the brand name DAY Birger Et Mikkelsen on Yelp and the two reviews were in Norwegian. I had google translate them for me and they were both really grumpy, not just complaining about the prices but also the snooty shop assistants. Ah, the joys of shopping online!

Ten, Dogs, and Cats


Ten is back on the Riviera. He has been secretly HAND WASHING everything that was in the dishwasher ready to wash ELECTRICALLY. Also, he wants to measure me for a bra. You remember yesterday I said I wanted the fancy sports bra, well he has decided that measuring must take place. Weird perverted creature that he is. Ten hates to be blogged about, so this is my revenge!


Plus, yesterday I offered to take one of All Dogs Matter‘s dogs that need fostering. Of course I see the little boo boos’ faces and want THEM ALL FOREVER but that is not realistic. Poppet must be number one girl, but we could have a guest couldn’t we? So I’ve said we could have a male. There is less likely to be trouble with a male – if he is young Poppet will treat him as a puppy, and if he is older she will treat him like a boyfriend. Experiments with socializing with females have been… awkward. But Pops is pretty much always successful at socializing with males. I did want to get her a kitten, but after the, shall we say “cat slaughter” or “aggravated misadventure” or “accidental death with knobs on” I thought better of it. She’s always liked a chase, but this one cat ran toward the river instead of away from it. Pops had it in her maw and when the cat gashed her face she let go, the cat stumbled back, fell into the river and drowned. Not a high point in our career as new residents of the towpath.

Of course if I was super rich and living in a massive place with grounds I could have as many dogs as I liked. I like the idea of having grounds. I like the plurality of it. I’d like to have a herd of staffies and have them race! HA! There might be nothing funnier in the world than a staffie race, they all run squintily, they all have different weird gaits, and if they run together they bump into each other constantly. It’s hilarious! Ten says we’d need a greyhound to train them, but I’d be worried for the greyhound’s mental health.


In case you were thinking “Well, that’s quite enough about dogs, what about cats?” I was clicking through this picture in the vain hope of finding out who made it when it led me to Tea and Kittens which has enough cat pictures for anyone, I think you’ll find.