Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Power Struggle

There is a power struggle going on in this house, hence the long time since my last blog.
We have just taken in a springer spaniel from a rescue centre in Devon to keep our howling dog company, only to find the old dog hates the new one. It's getting better, but there have been fights every now and then, whenever the old dog thinks the new one is getting attention and he isn't. And when I say old dog I don't mean my man. My man is surprisingly stress-free, although he starts to swear when he has to clear up the crap from the patio. I have cleared up several bloodstains from the kitchen floor but lately the two dogs have been cuddling in to each other. It's only when a familiar human comes on the horizon the fur starts to fly. We have been told new dog has a wonderful pedigree, so we're hoping its field trials ancestry will come to the fore when we go beating in the autumn. Until then, I am doing my damndest to keep the bloody thing under control on a lead. I cannot believe a family in the middle of Plymouth thought the city was a good place to bring up an energetic dog like a springer. What a mad world.

Breaking news
It has taken me half an hour to drive into town, a journey that normally takes me ten minutes. As I rounded the bend this morning, a car was stuck out in the middle of the lane, its hazard warning lights on and a bloody great lorry in front bearing the company name: 'YoungTurk', all the way from Instan-F-ing-Bull. What the hell was this doing in our quiet lanes is a mystery, although probably has something to do with the way SatNav technology directs drivers through the so-called 'quickest' route. Quickest, my arse. The irony is I've just finished drafting a moving piece of life writing about my grandfather who fought the Turks in Gallipoli in World War One and then get holed up by a Turkish lorry on my own doorstep. YoungTurk in bloody deed.

Three friends, my man and me and stepdaughter, 16, had a curry night on Saturday and then we all fell asleep watching Hot Fuzz. Curry from the local takeaway was fantastic, especially as it was free. They were so busy, they forgot to charge us. Had I been there, I would have said something but I wasn't so I couldn't. I had already seen Hot Fuzz before and loved it and this time managed to stay awake until the gunfight scene in Wells high street. I awoke under a blanket on the sofa to the sound of my own snoring.

My stepdaughter has been given antibiotics, yet again, for a cold. She seems to have three to eight courses of antiobotics every year. I thought doctors were meant to be stopping doing that? It's no wonder all these superbugs have taken hold. And surely all these antibiotics in one body can't do anyone much good, can they?

The village still hasn't got used to the new arrangements for recycling. It seems if one puts their box out, they all go out. Sheep!

That's about it
Love Maddie X

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

A day at the races

Rah, rah rah! Point to point season hits this area with a rash of signs 'to the races' here, there and everywhere, as the thunder of horse boxes and cattle lorries reverberates around the village. This is a social event, high on a hillside overlooking the Axe Valley and several stately piles. Tweed is the order of the day here - with hats, trousers, jackets and even suits jostling for attention. Some are handed down from generation to generation. Barbour jackets are so yesterday, dahling, in these surroundings, as are Wellington boots, in the main, a poor relation to the Game Fair boots that cost £200 and up. Red cords are teamed with yellow shirts, public schoolboys and girls play rugger in between the parked cars and every one kisses each other twice on the cheek. If you don't have a four by four here, dahling, you are an absolute nobody. Because it is not possible to have your hamper, rug, six directors' chairs, sturdy table, tablecloth, linen napkins, enough smoked salmon to feed an army and a case of champagne and copious crystal glasses in a clapped-out hatchback. The racing itself is secondary, although the bookies, as always, make a profit. The ground is either too soft or too hard (in this case too soft) for all the runners to turn out and the odds are very short indeed. Here and there, an ordinary farmer, with a lovely, quizzical Dorset voice, chats with a friend, having been given free tickets because he has allowed the hunt to use his land. There is also the occasional pleb, white heels sinking into the churned-up mud, comparing their cocker spaniel with a ground-scraping daschund and wondering what the hell they are doing here. Next year, we need an upper class twits' race to round off the proceedings.

Breaking news
The point to point has resulted in several, up-market, designer label scarves being blown around the village. I picked up a pashmina from the middle of the road and put it on the pavement and then went back to see if it was still there. It is now in my laundry basket, awaiting a good wash. Another scarf with zebra markings has been tied around a rose stem in my neighbour's front garden.

A change to rubbish collection and recycling days has sent many into a spin. As the bin men whip through one street, a man looks at all the bags outside his house in horror as the bin men forsake him for their next collection point. Just four days later, we get another collection and it is rather worrying to see just how many wine bottles can accumulate in less than half a week.

A number of houses are up for sale and there is no sign the market is picking up. However, a 1930s red brick bungalow, which requires modernising and has a lovely garden with views to nearby hills, is snapped up in a fortnight. The guide price is £270,000 and with £50,000-£100,000 spent on it will make someone a quick buck.

The lighter evenings and birds singing make it feel that spring is really on its way. When Scooter Boy wears a lighter jacket and shorts, summer will be well and truly here.

That's about it,
love Maddie X

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