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Thursday 26th November



I can't think of a suitable title so yes, I have used Toms naming convention. I have had to try and make time for myself to do this blog again. I still seem to be running around quite a lot and not spending much quiet time at home, except in the evening and by then I am quite tired and its Orry time. That isn't a good time to be bashing away on a computer keyboard as I could lose most of the keys in seconds. He is very quick to nick a key and it sometimes takes an age to clip it back on. My return key is hanging on by a thread at the moment as I gave up trying to put it back properly.

The family get togethers have found another lovely Sunday lunch venue at the Old Courthouse in Douglas. We went a week last Sunday and everyone loved their extremely generous and beautifully cooked dinners. When I say generous, that isn't an exaggeration. The chicken dinner had a full half of chicken. We didn't realise that actual meals were served and thought there were just bar snacks, but there is a lovely restaurant and the staff were attentive and charming. So if you fancy a bit of a change on a Sunday, it is well worth the £12.95 that we paid.

Last Sunday I decided to cook dinner myself and so I cooked a joint of pork the night before and was going to take my time preparing it all on Sunday morning. My friend Anne phoned to see if we should go walking on the Sunday morning and as we hadn't been for a while with the bad weather, we decided we would give it a try even if it was a gale force wind. After all, the dogs would still need walking. It was blowing an absolute hooly so we thought we'd walk to the end of Castletown beach and back, being blown into each other as we went. By the time we made it to the end of the beach we thought we'd walk a little further and the more we walked, the more we wanted to walk. Our eyes watered, ears stung and we forced our way through the gale, imagining the calories we would be burning with the sheer effort of forcing ourselves through the weather. The sea was mountainous, the dogs loved it and we felt totally exhilarated. There weren't many birds about for obvious reasons and we couldn't hear anything but the wind. We walked around Langness and eventually back to the beach. If we felt exhilarated, the couple of guys who were kite sailing (if that is the right terminology) must have felt on cloud 9. The wind blew them from one end of the beach to the other at an unbelievable speed, with massive waves smashing into them as they went. Sometimes they appeared to be tossed in the air and somersaulted back down into the foaming sea. It was a great sight to watch and that is as far as I would like to go with that one. Anyway, by the time I got home, I hadn't left myself enough time to do lunch and was stressing. Then I thought, "Why put yourself though this" and I promptly phoned the Flying Club and booked is in for dinner there. I didn't know if we would manage to get through Shore Road to Derbyhaven as the tide was coming in, but we managed it and by the time we'd had lunch and relaxed in the nice friendly atmosphere in front of the coal fire, the tide was on its way out again.

This week has been pretty stressful with animals and people. It started on Monday morning with me catching a hen that had looked depressed for a few days but resisted all attempts to examine her. Yes, hens do get depressed and when you know hens, you can spot a depressed one. Basically it is when a hen is not well but like all birds they do everything they can not to show they are ill as the other birds will pick on them. If they appear very ill, it is often the case that the flock will turn on them and kill them if they can. So by the time you notice a bird sick, it is often very sick. In the case of the hen, it was crop bound and so the food it had eaten for a few days had stuck in its crop. It will starve to death if it isn’t cleared and it can be difficult to shift. I have had to put Liquid paraffin and hot water with a syringe into the crop and keep massaging it to try and clear whatever is blocking it. I'm still not sure if I've one the battle yet and it has been some days. I am also having my carport roof lifted to accommodate the motor home. Graham, who is doing it, nearly took his thumb off on Monday afternoon and we spent from 1.30 until 6.30 in A & E. It was thought at first that he's cut through the tendon, but luckily it was just the muscle. It was a very serious cut and my home looked like there'd been a massacre.

Tuesday morning I took Suzie to the Onchan vet who it the heart specialist over here. I had to leave her whilst she had a heart scan and x-rays. Toms mum Nell also wanted me to take her to A & E as her hand looked inflamed where she had stitches the previous week to remove a suspect growth on the skin. She is diabetic and I was concerned that the wound was getting infected. I Picked Suzie up at 2.30 pm and then took Nell to A & E. We arrived just after 3 and she was seen at 3.30. The male nurse confirmed that her hand was infected and he said it was because the stitches were in too long. He informed Nell that a doctor would have to take the stitches out but she'd have to wait a couple of hours. It was 6.45 by the time she was seen and she was told it was all fine and to be expected. I couldn't believe I'd spent another afternoon in A & E and in this case, it was all for naught. I felt I'd seen enough of Nobles and vowed it would be some time before I offered to go there again for quite some time.

The vet phoned me over Suzie and she is close to congestive heart failure. Apparently its common in Cocker Spaniels and for the moment we don't do anything. With animals they treat the symptoms as they happen. Anyway, we will meet each thing as it comes along and for now she is having a wonderful time and appears to be as fit as a butchers dog as long as its daylight. She is totally blind in the dark and so at this time of the year I have to make sure she is walked before nightfall.

Wednesday morning I received a phone call from my friend Eileen. Eileen is coming to Dublin with us next week when we go over for Nels (Toms Mum) 82nd birthday. She chatted for a bit about Euros and then she said "You haven't forgotten bout Friday morning have you?" A deathly silence ensued as I hadn't a clue what on earth I'd promised. There was no point in trying fib, as she sussed me straight away. "Errm, to be honest, yes." "You said you'd take me to the hospital for my checkup." I stood there stunned at just how quick my vow was broken and my mind flicked to the other people I'd also promised coffee with. "You're busy aren't you?" she asked. "Don't be daft, of course not. I'll have you there on time, don't worry." So that’s that. My memory is rubbish and I have to check my iphone diary everyday. Obviously I forgot to put that one in!

Friday evening I am having a sort of belated goodbye get together for my friends at Zurich. I've also invited quite a few friends around and am calling it my early retirement do. I think there are about 40 or so coming to the garden room at the Viking and I have a hot and cold buffet for everyone. It will be nice to meet up with everyone and say goodbye to them after my years of working with them and introduce workmates to friends and Tom’s family. I wouldn't mind, but I'm already browsing the jobs column in the newspaper in case anything interesting comes up. I like people and animals and would love to look after either. My programming days are over. I want to do something to help and make a difference somewhere.

Today is the calmest day we've had for a while. Its only strong wind today and that’s great. I will have to go and look after my menagerie now and I will leave you some pictures of Sundays walk.

This is Barbara on the wind and rain swept banks of the Silverburn River.

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Aaahhhh, loved reading about your walks! I remember us hiding behind the fort from the wind and it blasting us the moment we stepped out! I can't wait to get back and do it again! XXX Cher :D

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