Friday, 16 February 2018

Can dogs catch colds?

The dog and I both have colds.

She's listless and lethargic and has a runny nose. It hurts my head when I cough.

What a pair we make.

I'm fed up with this darned virus. I had it for three weeks before Christmas and then for five days a few weeks ago when I should have been enjoying the Caribbean sunshine. And now I've got it again.

I had to Google 'can dogs catch cold?' And yes, they can. I'm reluctant to take her to the vet because I've spent so much money lately on pills and potions for her sore skin and gunky ears that I'm in danger of becoming the Imelda Marcos of animal medication.

So I'm following the advice I've found on the internet about treating dogs with colds. And it seems to be working. 

I've been keeping her warm and dry and limited the time spent outside during cold weather, which actually suits me fine because I'm doing the same.

But we ventured out into the sunshine today, me with my new, red wellies on after my purple ones sprang a leak, and Arty with a new spring in her step.

Hot boots for a cold morning.

We strolled briskly through the rain-soaked fields. Well, I did while she got to grips with sniffing in her surroundings with the aid of a blocked-up nose. It turned out to be a good walk as far as she was concerned as she managed to find badger poo to roll in, much to her deep joy and my annoyance.

I knew I'd have to give her a wash when I got back but hearing a woodpecker drilling in the copse, watching a wren rustling her feathers and then singing the sweetest song ever sung and seeing the catkins bobbing over the babbling stream gave me a new spring in my step, too.

The sky was a clear, block blue and the frost on the grass made the ground shine like a million diamonds. Our shadows made us look like giants.

Have a great weekend.

That's about it.

Love, Maddie x

Friday, 9 February 2018

Why I've given up watching Coronation Street

I've long been a fan of Coronation Street

According to my mother, the first music I ever hummed along to was the theme from this long running soap, which came to life in 1960, a good year before I was born. I'd forgotten this, as I always thought ITV was banned in the household of my childhood.

But apparently, I was brought up with Corrie.

A self-confessed telly addict, I've dipped in and out of it over the years - watching it with my parents in the 60s and 70s and then gorging on it with my flatmate in the early 80s. In those early days, the sharp comedy provided by characters like Stan and Hilda Ogden and then, latterly, Jack and Vera Duckworth, were what I enjoyed the most. 

That regular delving into an 'Oop North'  lifestyle seemed, to me in the rural West Country, as comfortable - and funny - as an old coat with tricks up its sleeve.

Mr Grigg and I used to watch Corrie religiously. But then the humour diminished and the writing became flabbier. People you felt you'd known for ages suddenly did things that were completely out of character.

And then the Pat Phelan storyline.  Like the rest of the nation, it initially had me gripped. When would this evil piece of work finally get his comeuppance? Well, it went on and on and on.

And it's still going on.

At the end of 2017, ITV decided in its wisdom to broadcast the soap six times a week - for a whole three hours. Episodes began to get sillier, samey and drawn out.

But what finally turned me off it was the shocking death of one of the most likeable and honest young characters Corrie had seen for many years.

When Luke Britton was brutally murdered by the villainous Phelan at the beginning of January, I decided there and then that I'd had enough of Coronation Street

The nasty Pat Phelan (left) confronts poor young Luke.
So I stopped watching the show. 

I was genuinely outraged that the programme makers could kill off a kind and decent character just for the sake of ratings.  I was mollified slightly when I found out that Dean Fagan, the actor who played Luke, was actually leaving the show anyway. But I didn't like his exit one bit.

I was amazed at how deeply upset I was at the demise of a fictional character. It's only telly for goodness sake. I couldn't believe I felt like it.

And then I confided in a friend in the village about my feelings. I knew she'd be a Corrie fan as her late husband was a member of the cast. I felt a huge surge of relief when she told me I was not being silly at all and that she'd stopped watching the show two years earlier when Kylie Platt was murdered on the cobbles.

'I realised,' she said, 'that there was more to life than watching other people's fictional misery and investing so much fondness in a character, only to have them cut down in front of your eyes.'

So now, when I hear that theme tune and Mr Grigg settles down to watch Corrie, it's my signal to go out of the room and read a book. Six hours of reading a week, all to myself.

I just wish I'd done it years ago.

Books, the doorway to another world.
That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Of Supermoons and mobile phones

Picture: Dave Doe, Flickr
It's not the Supermoon (and a blue one at that) everyone is talking about around these parts today.

No, Supermoons are ten-a-penny. You only have to turn on the telly or tune into the radio to hear that this or that planet can be currently seen in conjunction with Elvis going into the pub for a pint of Palmers Tally Ho! or that Cassiopeia has been spotted, romping hand-in-hand through the meadows with Shergar.

But I like to think that perhaps the magic of the Supermoon has rubbed off on mobile phone coverage in the village. Because I can suddenly get four, wonderful bars inside my thick-walled house. Previously, I had to balance on a chair, breathe in deeply, stand on tiptoes and hold my mobile phone up as high as I could in the corner of the conservatory to get a chance of any signal at all.

This means I can now receive texts at home. Which would account for Arty chasing her tail today - I'd forgotten that my text notification on my mobile was a dog barking. The kitchen sounded like Battersea Dogs Home.

Not only does the moon impact on the tides and women's menstrual cycles, it means my phone now works without the aid of WiFi.

Or it could be to do with the new mobile phone mast up on the hill.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

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