Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Introducing Leo

Regular readers might remember the demise of poor old Flicka, my parents’ dog back in November 08.

Several dogless weeks passed and then my sister spotted a notice about a litter of local puppies that would soon be ready for homes. She and our Dad set out to have a look. And that’s how they found him. Both parents are working dogs: Dad is a gun dog and Mum, a sheep dog. Leo is a love but I think he might be crossed with a kangaroo as well.

He has had a colourful few months at my Mum and Dad’s. At Easter he broke through the Fort Knox type gate across the bottom of the stairs and stole a chocolate egg. For anyone who doesn’t know, chocolate contains theobromine which is dangerous for dogs. Poor Leo was horribly unwell for three days. I’ll spare you the details, just in case any of you are eating, but the kitchen tiles had to be removed and destroyed … as you can see from the pic the floor has returned to some tiles I remember from my childhood.

There are four cats here. Two, HP and Ketchup, are my parents’ and the other two, Peanut and Custard, are my sister’s. Custard is sweet but aptly named: cowardy, cowardy Custard. He lives upstairs and accesses the garden through a series of catflaps that never require him to come face to face with a canine. HP and Ketch are elderly and pretty stoical about the bouncing dog; they’re buggered if they’re going to run from him.

A couple of days ago Peanut came over the stair gate and Leo appeared from nowhere, 0-80mph from prostrate. Peanut, claws attempting purchase on the lino, reacted with a run toward the kitchen, where Dad was making supper. On hearing the commotion of scrabbling paws, Dad turned in time to see Peanut take flight from nearly two metres away. He glided through the air, landing out of the dog’s reach, on the kitchen table, with one paw in the shepherd’s pie.

Last night Leo started obedience training.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hello again

I’ve had a lovely break but I think I’m back now.

I’ve been in the UK for a bit over a week and I have a bit under a week remaining. The weather – as you can see from yesterday’s post – has been beautiful though often chilly after the 40° heat I left in Bangkok. (Never have I been so grateful to get away…) The days are disappearing fast and I fear I won’t catch up with everyone I had hoped to see. Still, the kids and I are back at the end of June…

I’ve been doing some of the dutiful daughter tasks that are impossible to do from Bangkok. I took Dad to the hospital, the dog to the vet, then the dog back to the vet, picked up and dropped off nieces, shopped for my Mum… In between those duties I’ve managed two days in London.

One day I met friends at the London Book Fair (oh I can but dream…) and waylaid Becky Swift and Jess of The Literary Consultancy with whom I am doing my mentoring. It was so nice to meet them. I also met up with Leigh, who I already knew and SueG, HelenMH and DJ, none of whom I had met in the flesh before. We had a lovely, relaxed time among all things bookish. The following day I met another friend. We had gorgeous food which made up for the decidedly dodgy sandwich at LBF.

My sister and I made a 24 hour dash to Wiltshire to see our brother. We squeezed it in between dropping nieces with their Dad and getting back to the village for my sister’s band practice. The trip involved gorgeous food (more than I could imagine possible in only twenty four hours) and a hike up a hill, which I doubt offset the quantity of food.

Tomorrow I'll check in with news of my parents' gorgeous new puppy, Leo. Finally, a picture: I’ve had my hair cut (hurrah), I’ve bought a few bits of clothing and *cough* one or two books. One pile is new books and the other is secondhand.

Colours of Kent

Monday, April 13, 2009

Interruption to blog break

I'm just interrupting my blog break to say thank you for the comments and emails checking that we're safe. We are all safe, thank you, though it feels more volatile than before.

None of this has really gone away since the previous trouble with the yellow shirts last Autumn but it's been confined to the areas around Government House. This time it's the red shirts' turn. I don't tend to cover politics here and I don't want to start now, but if you're interested you can find out here what's going on.

On Saturday we were home in the apartment but could hear lots of racket from the street. Loudspeakers letting us know the fruit sellers are coming up the soi are quite normal so at first I didn't think much of it. Eventually I got up to look out the window. We're 25 floors up and could hear the hollering and honking clearly. It wasn't fruit sellers, it was the red shirts:

This is the first time the politics has been so close to our home. We don't live far from the PM's house, either, and yesterday on the way back from Sunday lunch at the pub, the streets around his home were full of police and soldiers.

It's currently Songkran here - Thai New Year. This is probably the most important festival of the year here. It doesn't feel so cheerful with these riots going on in the city and may even contribute to the temperamental atmosphere.

(I fly to the UK on Saturday night but confess to feeling nervous about separating myself from the family.)