changeling times

trials and tribulations of eclectic chicken

Travels with a dog September 10, 2012

Filed under: out'n'bout — eclectic chicken @ 9:35 pm
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I had a lovely long weekend in Cheshire… I travelled by train. Something I hold out and try not to do – something to do, I think, with being stuck outside Leicester for about two hours on a train once and taking much of a hot sunny day to travel accross country.

This time…. just to make the journey truly awful, I took the dog who is likely to be sick.

But it was fine…. two and a half hours including a change and the dog was perfectly behaved.

Fine? Well…. not totally fine… but it’s still a form of public transport. ie. may contain members of the public.

On the way there I sat opposite an elderly white bearded man who worked his way through a box of fresh cream puffs. Having been marrried to a beard wearer once upon a time, were I in charge of public transport, the country or even the world, bearded people would be banned from eating anything containing cream (or custard… or copious amounts of sugar frosting) in public.

This goes double for when they sit opposite me and my dodgy gall bladder who havn’t tasted a cream cake in nearly two months (appointment to see the specialist in about three weeks).

Also starring in my journey was a young man sat accross the aisle who spent an hour writing a letter to an (ex?) girlfriend entitled “THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU”…. once purged of his venom he put the full side of A4 in an envelope and put his head in his hands for the rest of the journey. I almost felt like telling him ‘she’s not worth it’… but I wasn’t 100% sure he wouldn’t turn round and twat me one.

Still… the journey there was better than the way back in which I got thrown out of WHSmiths at New Street for having a dog… there was a sign that said ‘no smoking’ on the window (a bit superfluous as we all know smoking in enclosed public spaces is illegal)… but nothing to say dogs aren’t allowed. And there was nowhere to tie him up outside…. so I took him to stare at the sandwiches and salads in the Camden Food Co. shop instead. They didn’t throw us out but I still didn’tdare buy any of their healthy food ‘just in case’… but I enjoyed the acceptance and close proximity to a haloumi cheese with chilli panini.

I also ended up on the platform sat next to a woman so drunk her child had taken the day off school to guide her round the country. Slack jawed and incomprehensible she caused general consternation on the train when the trolley man served her alcohol. I think when it takes several attempts to understand she’s saying ‘woodpecker or strongbow’ it’s probably a sign she shouldn’t be served.

The weekend itself was lovely…. its very, very definitely Autumn… and I love Autumn. I walked the dog along Nantwich canal about eight ‘o’ clock on Saturday morning, the sun was breaking through the mist and the boatees greeting the morning were clutching mugs of tea to ward off the nip in the air… the leaves are turning… I could smell woodsmoke in the mist and when I walk now I feel I can walk forever… all’s pretty good in the world.



eclectic chickens brief guide to ‘getting a dog’* May 15, 2012

Filed under: thinks — eclectic chicken @ 4:43 pm
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1.When? The best time to get a dog is when you have the time to look after it. If you are out at work all day you could argue you have time in the early morning and evenings but most dogs would argue thats a bit shit and they’d like to see you at other times too.

Chances are you’ve left getting a dog until you become a family unit… but as dogs and small children are very similar in many ways it seems silly to double up. Unless you really like clearing up two kinds of shit… otherwise; pushing a pram round and round the block waiting for a child to go to sleep will keep you fit until the child is old enough to get out of the pram at which case you’ll get even fitter chasing the child.

It’s time enough to get a dog when your child asks for one (usually once they start seriously mixing with other kids at school). If you get a dog before this chances are they will want another dog (or something more exotic that no-one else has got)… leave it until your child has been consistantly showing interest for about a year and then get one and score maximum parent points.

And now your child is at school you can keep fit by walking the dog. (unless you are going back to work fulltime at which point you probably don’t have enough time to look after your childrens needs let alone a dog as well).

2. Size. This is easy. Look at your hands… if they are small get a small dog… if they are very big get a big dog. NEVER EVER get a dog whose poos are too big for your hands to pick up. I’ve noticed since being a dog owner that its mostly the owners of big dogs whose owners don’t pick up after them…

3. What breed? Unless you are going to show the dog… or need it for a specific purpose… get a mongrel. Unless of course you want to make a fashion statement at which point you can get whatever sort of dog is fashionable in your world… popular breeds at the moment seem to be a Chihuahua amongst those with more money than sense (a dog comparable ounce for ounce with buying saffron). Or amongst those who have more money (gained mostly from drug selling) than sense there’s the Staffordshire Bull Terrier…. great little dogs with kids… vastly maligned… vastly over represented in rescue homes but they do make people thing you deal drugs.

Whatever you do avoid the fashion for combining any two breeds of dog, giving it a silly combination name and charging £400 quid plus. The cockerpoo, labradoodle craze is basically out of hand. I could tell people my dog is a Yorkshire Parson but I didn’t pay enough for him and he’s no experience of judging jams and chutneys at country shows.

Go to a rescue centre… choose a dog that you like and take it home.

*I’d like to point out, for the literalist computer nerds out there (and the humourless) that this is slightly tongue in cheek and that other pets ARE available.


A dog, an owl and a bear April 19, 2012

Filed under: home stuff,out'n'bout — eclectic chicken @ 8:03 pm
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The trouble with not writing for a while is the backlog of life just becomes a jumble….


A dog: we found a dog from a rescue centre… they didn’t need a home visit just some pictures of the garden, some vet bills (to prove we’ve already been responsible owners) and a wadge of cash (a bit of a swizz as the dog had only spent one night in a foster home between his own home and ours… hasn’t been chipped or ‘done’)…. but he’s lovely, a terrier cross called  Lucky MacBatears       Michael (the space in his name is important…its a paws)… he came with his first name…we inflicted the rest on him.

I feel slightly guilty that I somehow neglected to photograph the river…. but as he is a small dog who walks round (or jumps over) puddles… I’m not worried about him making abid for freedom down the river and having watched the river bank carefully since the RSPCA lady warned us about ‘things’ coming out of the river, to harm any dog we don’t protect with a fence, I can safely report no pikes on bikes… no gun toting swans… no coots who kill.

We’ve provided a loving home for a little dog…. and in return he walks me so much I’ve nearly lost half a stone in a fortnight.

an owl: I’ve had all my locks chopped off… I’m now naturally grey (mostly). I’ve wanted to go grey since I found my first grey hair at 18. It’s taken a while – and I’m still not totally there yet but as I approached 45 (Jane got me the pooch for my birthday) I suddenly thought ‘why am i dyeing my hair when I’m happy to be grey?’  As I watch Jane turn all manner of cartwheels to be able to happily say ‘this is me’…. it feels so easy to just stop doing something I’ve done for years and just say ‘this is me’.  My cigar smoking bear thinks it makes me look like a wise old owl.

And last but not least the bear himself.

Another couple of days over there – a wonderful couple of days (unfortunately I couldn’t take the dog as he gets very car sick and we need to build his tolerance up or get some decent drugs for him). It was a hectic couple of days for the bear, he was mid crisis preceding a trip abroad… but I took a good book and  read when he was busy… and even better curled up in bed with said book when he was busy. Bliss… a place where staying in bed with a book doesn’t make me feel guilty.

Other than that, life goes on… easter been and gone… my birthday been and gone (possibly one of my better birthdays, a dog, chocolates, flowers, coloured glass)… my mothers visit…. school holidays…. Jane and i starting to talk through some stuff…

tomorrow I’m booked in for the start of a new block of therapy (cbt wasn’t cutting the mustard for me)… at the moment i feel on top of the world… but I’ll go and let them poke me with a pokey stick. Like a compost heap we all could do with a poke and a turn from time to time I guess.



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