Saturday, 8 March 2014

Dodger the Beagle. The 20 months update.

It has been a while since I last posted about my young beagle Dodger. One of the reasons for that is because he has calmed down quite a bit and is not quite so naughty.  Don't get me wrong - he's not transformed over night but he is a calmer dog.  Being a beagle he is still a dreadful food thief. Nothing can be left within his reach for even a second.

Dodger the Beagle enjoying a leap

Christmas time with cats and dogs can usually be interesting.  Dodger liked removing the baubles from the tree and running about with them with one us chasing him.  Very annoying when this started to take place about 15 times a day.  The Christmas tree ended up looking ridiculous with most of the decorations all at the top where he couldn't reach them.

Dodger at Christmas

He still has many naughty dog moments.  This week he dug up a plant in the garden and brought in the roots complete with all the soil which left a brown trail all down the hallway and into the lounge.
Despite this I would say that he has calmed down considerably and we all adore him.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Future Learn - on-line courses from UK Universities

During a lunch break at work, I was reading the BBC News website and found an article about Universities in the USA and on-line learning.  Some people believe that this could be the future of education as so many people can be reached via the internet.  I was very excited to discover that there are on-line courses from UK universities now available.

Future Learn is a private company owned by the Open University and all the courses on offer are free.  I quickly scrolled the list and found one that is right up my street - England in the time of Richard III.  I only have to put in two hours a week of study for a period of six weeks and you fit it around your life.  Other courses require a longer amount of study time.

I'm not going to get a qualification at the end of it but I will get a shareable page to show as evidence. I must admit that I am a bit nervous since it has been such a long time since I was in the education system and I'm worried that I will make myself look stupid and answer all the questions wrong!  I love history and this is a great opportunity to learn something new. My course does not start until the summer and I am really looking forward to it.

Useful Link

Future Learn

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Is it time for stricter dog controls?

Over the last week there have been two publicised incidents where babies have tragically been killed by dogs.  The latest is a six day old baby killed by an Alaskan Malamute. Both incidents involved large powerful dogs.

Once again many people are thinking that it is time to have stricter controls on large powerful dogs.  Those against further controls will often proclaim that there is no such thing as a bad dog, only bad owners.  This statement is to a certain extent true as a dog is not capable of an act of evil but instead acts purely on its instinct.  Sadly these instincts can make a dog potentially very dangerous when around very young children that they may feel are a threat to the stability of the pack (family members).  I believe that dogs (especially large powerful breeds) can never be trusted around young children unsupervised and should not be able to get access to an unattended child. I also believe that when you own a dog that has never shown any signs of aggression it is easy to become too trustworthy.  We can also feel great love and affection towards our pets and can forget the potential dangers.

The Alaskan Malamute is a very beautiful breed of dog and was originally bred as a working dog to pull sledges and is therefore very powerfully built.  I think it is time to consider whether such powerful breeds should be kept as family pets.  No one needs to keep a large powerful dog as a pet when there are so many smaller breeds to choose from.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Effects of School Bullying Continued

This is my second post about this on going issue affecting our family.  My daughter appeared to be making progress and was actually discharged by the child and adolescent mental health services as she was doing so well and they believed that she had learnt the skills to enable her to deal with her anxiety and would continue to progress.  Unfortunately, at the end of last year, her anxiety levels increased and she started to withdraw from the other children at her education centre and she became very depressed.

She is being seen again by councillors and has been prescribed anti-depressants by a psychiatrist. she has been on them for about three weeks now and we are starting to see some improvements.  She has started smiling and laughing again and we feel that we are getting our daughter back again. I am worried about her taking this medication.

Going out is still quite difficult for her as she sometimes has panic attacks.  The further away from home (her safe place) the more difficult it is for her.  With hindsight I think she was discharged from the councillors too soon.  She finds it difficult to trust people her own age and often tells me that she would prefer her friends to be older.

Hopefully she will continue to get better.

My other blog post about the effects of school bullying

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Why are Waitrose customers annoyed about the free daily tea/coffee?

There has been some negative publicity recently about the free daily tea/coffee for people with the My Waitrose Card.  The regular shoppers are apparently annoyed about it attracting the wrong sort of people.  Several newspapers have had reports about it and last week there was a phone-in on Radio Two concerning this issue.

I have mentioned this offer already in this blog in my Tea for Two section. I am lucky enough to work near one Waitrose and live near another.  I finish work early on a Friday so I nearly always go to Waitrose for my free tea and I usually buy a cake to go with it.  On other days I have occasionally got myself a free tea to takeaway.

I have noticed a change in Waitrose since this offer began.  The main change is that the cafeteria is now busy.  Most of the customers seem to be old aged pensioners and mums meeting up with other mums.  According to some reports, long term Waitrose customers are unhappy that the wrong sort of people are now using the store.  By this I assume they mean the social class of the  new customers to the store.  This is a disgraceful example of snobbery.  There have also been complaints about people walking around the store doing their shopping while holding a takeaway drink.  I have never seen this happen in the two stores that I shop in.

Local tea rooms have also been complaining due to a loss of custom and I do have some sympathy for them as they have lost my custom on a Friday afternoon, but they might get me back again with deals such as a free refill of tea/coffee or maybe a free tea if you buy a cake.  They could try to offer something a little different to Waitrose even if that is down to the general experience rather than price. There is always competition in business.

 I love this new idea of the free tea/coffee everyday, and long may it continue. I much prefer this loyalty card to the ones on offer from the other supermarkets. I think I must own all of them.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Having a Mammogram

When the letter arrived inviting me to go for a mammogram, I must say that I was rather surprised.  I was not expecting to have to face this until I was fifty.  It would seem that in my area they start at the age of forty-seven. Then I had that uncomfortable feeling of knowing that I face a new uncomfortable experience in medical testing.  My first thought being that I'm going to be squashed and clamped!

Last week my appointment date arrived and I did feel a little bit nervous.  Facing something new can often be a bit daunting and it's a bit embarrassing having to bare your body in front of a stranger.  I made sure that I was wearing my best bra.

I arrived at reception and was taken immediately into the scanning room.  There was one nurse in the room with me and she was lovely.  She had to adjust me slightly to make sure I was in the scanner properly and it is only mildly uncomfortable when the machine squashes down on you.  They take four images altogether so that they have a view from two angles.  The whole process is very quick and it felt like only a couple of minutes.

I received my results on Friday so that was after only eight days.  I'm glad to say my results are all good.  In three years time I will go again.  This is such a quick and easy test and for us in the UK it is free. This test, as I know from my own family, can be life saving and I must recommend it to all women.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

John Lewis , Norwich, Place to Eat

John Lewis, Place to Eat, Norwich is a good place to stop for some refreshment while shopping.  We were out this afternoon doing a bit of Christmas window shopping and as hubby has the new John Lewis membership card we decided to stop at Place to Eat.

We had 2 pots of tea and 2  large slices of Christmas Cake.  The Christmas Cake was very good indeed with just the right moisture level. I have pictured it below. The pot of tea was large enough for one and a half cups.  I must add that the cups were quite large in size.  The atmosphere is that of a department store cafeteria but there are lots of friendly staff making sure that everything is kept clean and tidy.  The service is of the high standard that I have come to expect at John Lewis.

As my hubby has a membership card which entitles you to one free hot drink and cake of your choice  once a month, we only expected to pay for one person.  We were very pleasantly surprised when we were not charged at all.  The receipt did say email promotion on it so maybe that was the reason or maybe it was because it was obvious that we were married.  Whatever the case, it made us a saving of £9.70 which I think is amazing.  Some of the other cakes on offer are fresh cream Victoria sandwich, carrot cake and a variety of muffins and cupcakes.

I have already been on-line to register for my membership card so that we can go again in December.

John Lewis
Christmas Cake at John Lewis, Norwich, Place to Eat