Saturday, 26 February 2011

Black And White Dog, Black And White Toon

Well, who'd have thought yesterday that this would be on the cards for today?! We bit the bullet and went back to the beach, no flashbacks (as far as I can tell) or nasty experiences. Phew! We didn't take a ball, but as Dash helped himself to someone else's, we reckon he's on the mend.
This afternoon the menfolk joined up with the Toon Army and went to the match. 1-1 draw against Bolton Wanderers. Much enjoyment had by all.

I started Early - Took my Dog - 

I started Early - Took my Dog -
And visited the Sea -
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me -

And Frigates - in the Upper Floor
Extended Hempen Hands -
Presuming Me to be a Mouse -
Aground - upon the Sands -

But no Man moved Me - till the Tide
Went past my simple Shoe -
And past my Apron - and my Belt -
And past my Bodice - too -

And made as He would eat me up -
As wholly as a Dew
Upon a Dandelion's Sleeve -
And then - I started - too -

And He - He followed - close behind -
I felt his Silver Heel
Upon my Ankle - Then my Shoes
Would overflow with Pearl -

Until We met the Solid Town -
No One He seemed to know -
And bowing - with a Mighty look -
At me - The Sea withdrew -
Emily Dickinson

Friday, 25 February 2011

Cutting A Dash

With us a month now, Dash has been doing really well. He's full of energy and just can't get enough walks - racing to catch balls and any toys we throw for him. I had him weighed at the vet's on Tuesday and he's lost 2.2kg since he came to us, which is remarkable going. He's still got a bit to lose though.
As it's half term we're up in the Northeast for a couple of days. We went down to Tynemouth yesterday morning and he was thrilled to be on the beach, running and running, on the sand and in the sea.
At teatime we took him down to the beach at Whitley Bay and again, he had a whale of a time. The tide was coming in fast, so we went up to the promenade near a local landmark, the Rendezvous Cafe, to walk back to the car.

 Dash trotted ahead of us then, to our complete horror, ran back at the low sea wall, and jumped it, oblivious of the twenty foot drop on the other side.

He landed on the rocks with a gut-wrenching thump and a yelp. Panic-stricken, we ran down to the beach and Pete carried him up to the car - no mean feat.
We took him to a great local vet's. They kept him in overnight for intravenous pain relief and observation, and booked him in to an equally great animal hospital to have his leg and jaw examined today. The concern was that the upper jaw was split and leg ligaments torn. None of us slept well last night as we were still in shock at what had happened.
After a day in hospital, undergoing general anaesthesia, CT scan and x-rays the good news is that he's home and only needed to have four broken incisors removed. Unbelievably, nothing more radical. We can't get our heads round how lucky we've been not to lose him - he's zonked out on the floor, sleeping off his awful ordeal.  And thank God we'd decided to opt for insurance, praise be for Petplan...

Wednesday, 23 February 2011


Within the remit of the NHS breast screening programme, women over 50 and under 70 who are registered with a GP are called for a mammogram every three years. 
The first invitation arrives between the 50th and 53rd birthdays. My invitation arrived a couple of weeks ago and I went along today for the procedure which was straightforward and completely painless, I didn't even find it particularly uncomfortable. Going to the dentist's - for a check-up (!) is far worse in my opinion. I'll receive the results within two weeks and I hope it'll be a straightforward all-clear. 
A number of women poets have written about their life-changing experiences of breast cancer. Here's one from Helen Farish, whose poems I find moving and very powerful.  

I'm running away with my breasts
to Barcelona, the Canaries.
They've a fancy for some seafront life,
fishermen, local wine.
I'm leaving no more of them at the hospital.
I understand the lump now,
how the cells got together
in a crescent like a young moon,
a smooth-sea boat, a hammock.
All these symbols of longing:
if I had taken notice
they would not have taken shape.

Helen Farish

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Money Well Spent

Four Poetry School classes this term and four poems in the can - I'm pleased to be on such a creative roll!  
Week 1 was the deconstructed sonnet (Rilke). Week 2 inspired by a piece of 'bad' art (Elizabeth Bishop). Week 3 an interaction with a gallery (WH Auden) - mine was the Whitworth, above and below which, when I visited, featured a wonderful fairytale forest (fairytale in a scary Babes in the Wood way). 
In week 4, after looking at some of William Carlos Williams' poems including The Hunters In The Snow (after Brueghel), we write our own about a Brueghel painting - in words of one syllable! Mine is done. I'm now engaged with the drafting, v. enjoyable as I can be fairly obsessive. 

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Spring Round The Corner (It's Official!)

Today Punxsutawney Phil DID NOT see his shadow, so we have only two weeks more of winter. (By saying we I am aligning us with our cousins in the jolly old US of A).
Three cheers for the Groundhog and Groundhog Day!! (click on the clock!)