Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Traumatic Tuesday........

It was Small Dog's turn for a bit of surgical trauma today, courtesy of a broken dew claw.

Early yesterday evening we noticed that she was constantly licking her paw, and further investigation revealed that the dew claw on her right leg was broken right through, revealing the flesh and nerves within.

A quick call to our vet secured an appointment for very early this morning, with the admonition not to feed her in case she needed sedation.

Anxious that she didn't knock it in the meantime, we decided to perform some rudimentary first aid. Needless to say she was a tad reluctant to let us examine it thoroughly, although we did brave her displeasure in order to put a bit of Savlon on the claw, and wrap her foot in a bandage to avoid further damage.

Fortunately, PP escaped with only a minor flesh wound, and once released, Small Dog limped, heart-rendingly slowly into the sitting room, holding up her paw and whining mournfully to be picked up and set on her comfy fleece blanket, where she remained for the duration of the evening, assiduously removing the bandage, strand by strand.

We were up at the crack of dawn this morning.

Well we were.

Small Dog blinked uncertainly in the early morning light then went straight back to bed, before being dragged out and carried bodily to the car, where she perked up somewhat, presumably thinking that she was going out somewhere exciting.

As soon as we turned off the main road into the driveway leading to the vet's surgery her ears went down and she began to whine piteously. By the time we were actually INSIDE the vet's waiting room she was trembling all over and looking extremely worried and apprehensive, in the way only Small Dog can.

Other dogs were sitting calmly, completely relaxed, but SD put on a bravura trembling performance worthy of a doggy Oscar, drawing concerned comments about her well-being from other dog owners, and reprehensible looks aimed at us for being so hard-hearted and callous as to laugh at her.

Once inside the consulting room, her trembling ratcheted up a few more notches so that I was sure that the vet was going to diagnose St. Vitus Dance who in an ironic twist of fate is also the patron saint of dogs.

We explained the problem. Then PP got Small Dog in a half nelson and I prepared for all hell to break loose as the vet, not our usual one but a locum, examined her and confirmed that the claw was indeed broken all the way through and very loose. He then went on to explain that the best course of action was to remove the claw completely, which could be done under sedation or a few whiffs of anaesthetic, but as it was so very loose he would simply pull it off.

Incredulously, I wondered if he had actually read Small Dog's notes in advance, which would surely have brought to his attention her extreme 'vet phobia' and ludicrously low pain threshold, which actually comes into effect several inches from any part of her body.

Grimly, and with no thought for her own safety, PP tightened her grip on Small Dog, as the vet selected a pair of forceps, and I moved slowly and quietly to the back of the consulting room. I did this partly to avoid having to witness such a traumatic procedure, and partly to avoid being in Small Dog's trajectory when she catapulted off the table, teeth flashing, like a whirling dervish.

And so I waited.

Then a very brief, yelp.

"Ha!" I thought.

"It begins......" I thought. Anticipating that this was Small Dog's initial response to catching sight of the forceps, and her warning shot across the vet's metaphorical bows.

"All done" said the vet, releasing the forceps to drop the broken dew claw onto the table.

I don't know who was more surprised........ PP, Small Dog or me.

Small Dog didn't even demur when he checked to see if she was bleeding!

I was even more gobsmacked when we were only charged a tenner! Cheap at twice the price.

Also, on the plus side, for the first time ever, we have been in the happy position of being able to praise Small Dog for her bravery and endurance following a visit to the vet and the house has been resounding to "Good Girl", "Who's our brave little soldier then? etc, while Small Dog laps up the unaccustomed acclaim, all the while insisting that it was just like having an amputation, with lots of stitches and no anaesthetic.

No doubt she'll be dining out on the story for days..........

Monday, 24 August 2009

Thank Goodness It's Monday..........

I have never been so pleased to see the dawn of a new week.

The dearth of posts last week was due to me being in a bit of a state in anticipation of a surgical procedure scheduled for Friday, and which was described to me by the gynae consultant as being 'uncomfortable'.


Even allowing for translating into layman's terms, ie 'uncomfortable' = 'potentially excruciating' I was unprepared for just how painful it was actually going to be, despite local anaesthesia.

In fact, because I was in such extreme pain and bleeding like billy-o, it was the specialist nurse who called time and decided to abandon the procedure, while I tremblingly attempted to pull myself together, mop up my tears and await further instructions.

In my defence, I do think I have a reasonably high pain threshold. I experience neuropathic pain related to my MS practically on a daily basis. Mostly it is bearable and can be controlled with heavy duty painkillers, but from time to time it gets out of control and I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of pain. However the pain on Friday was of a whole different level, and I was so relieved when they said they wouldn't carry on.

I will have to have it done properly, but under a general anaesthetic next time, which is what I would have wanted in the first place. However when I'm unconscious they can do whatever they need to and I won't know a thing about it.

I feel almost back to what passes for normal today, but it's as if I've lost the whole of last week to anxiety and stress, and the three days since Friday to pain and discomfort.

So, definitely a week to forget.

In other news, we are looking forward to a few days away, camping over the Bank Holiday weekend. Can't wait...........I can feel the stress dissipating already.

Monday, 17 August 2009

The C-word.............



I've said it.

No doubt sending shock waves reverberating around the blogosphere.

But I don't see why I should be up to my eyes in preparations for two pre-Christmas fairs while the rest of the country is still basking in what passes for the great British summer.

It just doesn't feel right to be thinking about, and working towards Christmas in mid-August, but that's the way it is. No matter how much time I THINK I have, I know that in the blink of an eye we'll be hurtling thought October and there will be just weeks till our next fair in November. Plus for some reason best known to myself, I thought it would be a good idea to do TWO fairs in November this year, so we have to have twice the amount of stock with the requisite number of new and exciting miniature toys to unveil.

Well that's the theory anyway.

The reality, as I am only too well aware, will probably fall way short of the mark.

However, undaunted, we have just put the finishing touches to a new range of wicker toy kits, the first few of which are now live on the website, as well as finally re-stocking on some new exotic vintage pullalong toys, which I've really enjoyed creating over the past few weeks, along with a few new little toy dolls.

All I have to do now is keep up the momentum and completely eschew all displacement activity.


Wednesday, 12 August 2009


Some mornings it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps.

However other mornings, small things happen which quite restore your faith in human nature.

I have just such a tale for you.

And no.

This is NOT displacement activity.

It is a heartwarming story of generosity and altruism, rare in our dog-eat-dog society.

As you know, I make miniature toys and dolls.

Really little wee things, designed to be 'played with' by doll's house children....... so roughly 1:24 scale.

I'm always on the lookout for ways to display them, especially when we exhibit at specialist fairs, so I recently had a 'Eureka' moment after finishing off a box of Green & Black's Miniature Bar Collection. The empty base, with its six individual compartments is just perfect to display my little toy dolls.


However, much as I love Green & Black's chocolate, the thought of munching my way through several boxes forced me to think of my burgeoning waistline, not to mention my shrinking bank balance, if I had to buy a number of boxes.

My first port of call was the wondrous Freecycle, where I posted a 'Wanted' request for any empty Green & Black's boxes in that specific size.

An odd request I'll grant you, but I've seen odder.

Within just a few hours I had a reply from a lovely chap in Hastings who currently has a full box and will keep it for me to collect when he's eaten all the chocolate.

What a star!

However I was still several boxes short, so I visited the Green & Black's website, and emailed their customer service department with my request for any empty boxes, more in hope than expectation.

A few days later I had a reply, saying that they had two empty boxes in the office and would post them out to me.

This morning, a cardboard box arrived, containing the aforementioned empty boxes, plus a lovely personal letter and an additional surprise treat...........

I was extremely grateful and really quite touched, that even in these straightened times, a 'big' business would take the time and effort to fulfil an odd (and rather cheeky!) request, and do so with such style and panache.

Bravo Green & Black's!

Carry On Working.............

Had a lovely weekend with wall-to-wall gorgeous sunshine.

Went to the Hastings Old Town Carnival with friends, watched the parade, had a scrumptious meal in an Old Town eatery, watched the fireworks then wandered round the funfair where I went on the Ghost Train and PP braved the Dodgems.
Finally back home for candlelight supper on the patio on a balmy summer's evening........

However, since then it has been solidly back to work.

Which is ok really........especially as I've been working on a batch of exotic animal pullalong toys, one of my favouritest tasks. For the past two days I've been transforming leopards, cheetahs, white tigers and Indian tigers into bejewelled versions of Victorian toys, with feathered headdresses, kaleidoscopic patterned leather saddles and crystal encrusted bridles.

The highly decorated wooden platforms in which they will stand have now been handed over to PP, who will paint the metal wheels in colour to match each animal's finery and painstakingly create the wheel assemblies, turned wooden handles and pull cords and assemble the chassis.

Hopefully the first few will be completely finished by the weekend and I'll post pictures then.

In other news, my primary task for today is tracking down various components on the internet and placing orders. Most will come from the US and will require negotiating labyrinthine websites with zillions of tiny components which will undoubtedly take AGES and make me lose the will to live, but we're running out of lots of different stuff so it has to be done.

So no displacement activity for me today.

No siree.

Absolutely NOT.


Thursday, 6 August 2009

Hotter than hell..........

It is HOT today.

Really, really, REALLY HOT.

Temperatures are hitting the low 30's Celsius, which is 90 degrees in old money.

And humid.

Boy is it humid.

So the sweat that is running down my back, having just come in from the 'surface of the sun' heat in the garden, is not evaporating.

I feel as if I am literally stewing in my own juices.

Undaunted, I've just put several beers in the freezer, in anticipation of a BBQ later when it cools down a bit.

Small Dog, having recovered from her fly encounter yesterday is lying flat out, attempting to catch what little breeze there is percolating through the house.

Even the flies are grounded in the heat........

It's like that old sci-fi film (heat addled brain can't remember the name of it.........) where the earth is heading for the sun and it gets so hot that even the rubber platens of typewriters in the newspaper office start to melt.


Wednesday, 5 August 2009

G-Force rocks..........

I have been waiting for over a year to see the new G-Force film.

Waiting with a mounting sense of anticipation and excitement which finally climaxed last night when PP and I took advantage of the rather marvellous Orange Wednesday promotion which provides one free cinema ticket free.

Not to mention Orange being in cahoots with Pizza Express to offer a carb-busting 'buy one pizza get one free, PLUS free garlic bread and dough balls (which are tastier than they sound)

So a great night out for less than £20........result!

We had to schlepp through to the mulitplex at Eastbourne as Hastings Odeon is only showing G-Force in boring old 2D, and I did not intend to be short-changed by missing out on the extra dimension.

Especially where guinea pigs are concerned.

We were first in the queue and elbowed small children aside in order to bag the best seats, slap bang in the middle of the cinema, clutching our 3D glasses, which were really rather swish affairs and looked just like proper sunglasses with smokey lenses. A far cry from the flimsy cardboard frames I remember from my last experience with a 3D film in my youth, which had one green and one red lens.

I was transfixed.




I mean to say.........guinea pigs!!!!

Starring in a major motion film!!!!!!!

In 3D!!!!!!!!!!


OK so the plot was.........well....... fairly uninspiring. Basically a crack squad of guinea pig special agents had to save the world from the supposed machinations of a rather raddled but still strangely alluring Bill Nighy.

There were lots of opportunities to be amazed by the 3D special effects which ramped up to an eye-popping denouement in the best tradition of action movies and all ended happily with the baddies getting their just desserts and the heroes having a celebratory party.

That's it really.

Of course they were always going to succeed with a few hiccoughs along the way, but that's not the point.

The point is that the guinea pigs were ace. I know they weren't real guinea pigs of course, but cunningly pixellated CGI jiggery pokery.

But that's not really the point either.

Guinea pigs are my most favourite rodents and throughout human history they've had a really bum deal being regarded either as an epicurean delicacy or the vivisectionist's animal of choice.

So it's good to see them celebrated for the gorgeous little furballs they are, with their eloquent vocal range of brrs, drrrs, wheeps, chutters and squeaks. Plus I have always harboured a sneaking suspicion that, if they chose, they could easily pull all the stunts of their celluloid counterparts.

I was also relieved that the guinea pig aficionados who made up the audience for the film were extraordinarily well behaved. Recently there have been reports in the media about 'cinema rage' episodes, usually involving badly behaved teenagers, who after being reprimanded over their constant talking/mobile phone calls/throwing popcorn/kicking the back of seats etc take out a personal jihad against the unfortunate person who politely requests that they desist.
I had assumed that G-Force would attract just such a clientele, but in fact we weren't the only adults there without accompanying children, and without exception, all the children behaved impeccably. Clearly guinea pig-philes are a cut above the usual cinema-going public.

So, all in all, an excellent night out.

Now I have to keep an eye open for interesting G-Force merchandise..............I'm hoping for a good range of collectible action figures so if anyone in the blogosphere comes across any, do please let me know.

Guinea pig heaven..........

I have been to see G-Force!

In 3D!!!!

Guinea pigs in 3D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am in guinea pig heaven!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Will post properly tomorrow when I've calmed down otherwise the exclamation mark police will be round to our house with ropes to restrain me.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Photo challenge........

I don't usually do these things but I'm between tasks at the moment and therefore up for a bit of displacement activity...........

I received this challenge from Mags at Mags-nificent Miniatures

Apparently I have to go to my photo files and pick file number 4 and then photo number 4, publish it here and explain a bit about it...

Now this sounds perfectly simple doesn't it? But I have no end of different collections of photo files so I've picked the one I've been using most recently, picked file number 4, photo number 4 et voila.

Over the past several weeks I've been working on a new wicker toy pram kit, which has necessitated the taking of hundreds of photos from which to select suitable images for the instructions, filed in a dozen or so different folders. It's just as well I didn't have to post photo 3 in file 3 as those are all fairly uninteresting (at least out of context) images of the wheel assemblies. Or photo 2 in file 2, which is stage 4 of the herringbone pattern weaving process. At least this one is of the finished item, which is a bonus.

Mind you, if I'd chosen any one of my multitude of other photo folder collections the likelihood is that photo 4 in file 4 would have been of Small Dog in yet another of her winning poses.

But as she is at risk of becoming seriously over-exposed media wise, perhaps it's all for the best.

Now the second part of my challenge is to pass it on to 4 other bloggers to see what they come up with.


Grace at TreeFeathers

Jean at Jean Day Miniatures

Erika at Miniatures by Erika

Rosanna at La Casa Rossa

Well, will you look at that........would you believe it's 4.40pm already. Just about time to down tools then.........

Seems like only yesterday..........

Isn't it scary how quickly holidays fade into memory. We only came home yesterday but already it feels as though we've never been away.

Well if you ignore the wreckage of our camping trip strewn throughout the house.

Thankfully there is good old traditional, 'back from holiday, back to work' weather today..... rather dull and uninspired. It would be just awful if the sun was shining fit to bust and I was stuck inside catching up with work.

It actually feels quite strange and alien to be indoors, after spending so much time outside and I can't quite get used to it. There is never a dull moment when camping and I miss the banter of passing fellow campers, the myriad chores (fetching water, emptying waste water, communal washing up etc), the shared BBQs, party nights, shopping expeditions, checking out other people's vans, strolling around the site of an evening, admiring the colourful and innovative lighting displays currently in vogue.

The past 10 days have flown by in a pleasant blur of unhurried activity and socialising, and being back in the relative isolation of working from home is going to take a little bit of getting used to.

However, as they say, a change is as good as a rest and I'm gearing myself up to writing some 'to do' lists for August, as before I know it we'll be just a few weeks away from our next two fairs in November.

But before I start, here are two of the most innocuous photos from our camping trip.....the rest cannot be posted for legal reasons and to protect the (relatively) innocent.

Small Dog assiduously relaxing on my sun lounger, taking advantage of a comfortable cushion to aid her sunbathing

Our camping pitch complete with 'essential' equipment including fringed beach umbrellas, tripod BBQ, plethora of solar lights and party gazebo. Just the bare minimum *cough*

Monday, 3 August 2009

I'm back.......!!!!!!

The wanderers have returned yet again from relatively 'forn parts'. Well westwards along the south coast which counts as 'forn parts' in my book.

Ten days away, camping with friends, has banished my lingering lurgy and I am now tanned a lovely nut brown after spending every waking hour in the great outdoors.

The campervan has been unpacked and the contents lie strewn in various 'piles' throughout the house, along with several bags of laundry.
Then there's the mountain of mail to sort through, not to mention the backlog of emails, although thanks to our new dongle I could at least field the most urgent of enquiries while we were away.

It's good to get away but it's also good to be back. I've had blog withdrawal symptoms, only partially mitigated by long, lazy days in the sun, punctuated by ice cold beers, BBQs and way too much witty banter.

More details and possibly photos too when I've had a chance to settle back in and download them all.

In other news, Small Dog has gone feral.