Organising, socialising and remembering

Yes, it’s a bit of a mixed bag today.

Organising. Well. I got my scan results and I don’t need surgery, I’ve started physiotherapy (which is already helping) and I’m told it’ll take another 8 weeks or so but I should be walking normally again. I’ve booked a recommended hydrocortisone injection into my heel, but think that I may be cancelling it if the exercises continue to improve matters, as it’s both painful and not always effective. I was surprised to be offered my first Covid-19 vaccination on Friday (I thought it’d take a while longer), so of course I jumped at it. I’ve done a lot of reading and considering, and am happy with my decision to take it. I was one of the ‘lucky’ ones that got a few unpleasant side effects (aching bones, chills, fever, fatigue), but it lasted just a couple of days.

Socialising. Mouse has a lady friend in the neighbourhood called Lotti. She’s a small, pretty fine-boned white and tan/brindle greyhound who lives just a few streets away, and Lotti’s mum and I are good friends. Every few weeks (when the Husband is free on a Friday morning) we have the Happy Grey Social Club Coffee Morning. We meet at a local café, bring the doggos, their blankets and bowls, and the Staffs have coffee and the Greys have puppacinos. They attract a lot of admiring attention as they lounge about looking elegant, the café staff love them, they love the staff because they know where the puppacinos come from, and a good time is had by all. I thought you’d enjoy seeing Miss Lotti, who is clearly a girly girl – check out that collar 🙂 ❤

Finally, Remembering. Today is Anzac Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peace-keeping operations and the contribution and suffering of all those who have served. Today I also remember my grandfather and father, who served in the First and Second World Wars. The tradition is to attend a Dawn Service at your local war memorial, but last year the pandemic prevented us doing so and the nation lit up the dawn with lights at the end of their driveways and in their windows. This year most of us are once again permitted to attend an official ceremony, but as I’m still unable to drive to get there, I created my own Light at Dawn memorial, and Stood To at dawn to observe it as the Last Post was played all around the nation. You see here my grandfather’s war medals, including the Military Cross for Conspicuous Gallantry, and the Husband’s slouch hat from his 20 years of service in the Army reserves.

Lest We Forget

Hors de combat

Hors de combat (French: [ɔʁ də kɔ̃ba]; lit. ‘out of combat’)

I have been out of action for a couple of days. These days, I don’t often get migraines, but when I do, it’s a doozy. Sorry about the radio silence, but I was barely functional. Nurse Mouse was supervising me throughout, so I was in good paws, even if it meant that the available space in the bed was somewhat reduced… I’m through the worst of it now, so normal service will resume shortly.

I’m watching you. Lie still and be good.

Mouse appears to feel that the overtime he put in merits double helpings of frozen chicken necks. We are in negotiations…

I’m also doing something about the endless time this ankle is taking to heal. Tomorrow I have an x-ray and ultrasound scheduled, with a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon in the pipeline. My doctor agrees that it’s taking too long and is still too painful. In a sense, a swift spot of surgery would be welcome if it means reducing the endless hobbling about. We shall see.

Funny. I can be endlessly patient when I’m making stuff, but when it comes to my body mending itself, I’m constantly wishing things would just get a move on.

So, just a bit more Hurry Up and Wait…

 

 

Gimme shelter

Mouse Dog does NOT like thunderstorms.

He’d strongly resent my saying so, but he shakes and paces and pants and drools, his heart races and he’s up and down while the flashing and banging is going on. Afterwards, he likes to pretend nothing has happened, and where’s my meaty treat?

His favourite storm shelter is in our shower cubicle. The bathroom is a small room, central in the house. It has no external window any more, ever since some previous owner built the large extension (now my sewing room) on the back of the house, but it has a sun tube for daylight. It feels… snug, despite being full of cool, hard surfaces. Perhaps it’s this very centralness and lack of windows that appeals to him, but at the first sign of atmospherics, he’s in there, slinking into the shower and lying down, curled up into a sort of angular furry bagel. Not desperately convenient if you happen to want a shower, but I can’t see us evicting him when he’s so scared.

I’ve tried putting down his blankies and towels and so on in there, but the ceramic tray remains unfailingly hard on his poor bony limbs. I have therefore constructed a custom Doggo Storm Bed™ for him, designed to fit the space exactly, and backed with some of that tacky mesh you put in drawers to stop stuff sliding about, so no matter how much he scrabbles about in there trying to get comfy, it’ll stay put.

My friend Lyn gave me a large piece of this wonderful doggy print drill fabric, from which she made a bag she has also given to me (which is why I needed to patch in some fabric on one missing corner). It’s padded with several layers of the thick spill-kit felt batting I’ve mentioned before, which the Husband rescued from being dumped at work. It’s backed with small black & white gingham and bound with large red and white gingham, both scraps. I was not especially precious about either the quilting (minimal) or the binding (workmanlike). Mouse isn’t critical that way. Now His Lordship can be comfy while he’s taking shelter from the storm, whilst at the same time ensuring that his style standards are maintained… One less thing to irritate his already wobbly nerves, poor sausage.

Sorry about both the gloomy lighting and blurry photos. I’m rather wobbly myself at the moment, having no good feet to stand on while I take photos, and being rather distracted by the prospect of MRI results tomorrow morning.

I leave you with an ear-worm which has been running though my head during the entire construction process. And the lyrics that set it off?

Ooh, a storm is threatening
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Ooh yeah I’m gonna fade away…

An aside from Mouse

Hello people, Mouse here.

I thought I’d better interject as the Staff are being pretty slack about posting just now (possibly, but at least we’re not being slack about your feeding and walkies and bones and strokies – Mum). Mum keeps lounging about with her foot up on a cushion, and I’m not at all keen on those big sticks she’s using to help her get about… they make me rather nervous.

Dad thought it would be good for us all to get out of the house yesterday, and as you know, I like a nice drive in the car. So, anyway, the Staff got their errands done and then it was lunchtime. Now, normally, I don’t do lunch, I have a figure to maintain, but the Staff need feeding to keep their strength up to look after Me. Mum put in a request for sushi and Dad wanted the Noodle Hot Box, so Hot Wok it was… I have to say, the whole thing smelled wonderful. They picked it up, and we went to the beach to eat it, which is the Staff’s ‘thing’. I had not realised they had bought me a snack, until Mum served me up an unrolled Beef Teryaki nori roll, and it smelled so good I wolfed down the lot, nori, rice and all. I mean, seaweed! Yuck, right? Not at all! I shall look at green stuff with different eyes in future. Mum says she’s happy to report that there were no, ahem, unfortunate side effects, either….

While they were noshing, Mum spotted a cloud which she said was me chasing a bone she’d thrown for me. I don’t see it myself…. I was more interested in whether she was going to eat that California roll she was waving about, or whether I’d get to try it. You’ll be happy to know that the Starving Greyhound impression paid off once again, and I got the end of it. Also extremely tasty!

Mum does seem a bit more cheerful, although she’s still seriously lame, and her paw is all sorts of strange colours. Her knee is also not right, smells like it needs a good lick clean, but she says she can manage that herself, thank you very much. I ask you, gratitude… She’s going to her vet later this morning, poor thing. I hope hers is less keen than mine – it seems like the first thing that always happens is a thermometer stuffed you-know-where. (So how is that different from your nose up my bum, steering me towards the frozen chicken neck department? – Mum) (Enough of your cheek – Mouse).

Anyway, that’s it. Thought I’d just bring you up to date. I don’t have any travel plans coming up, so I’m afraid I’ll be leaving you to the tender mercies of the Staff for news and entertainment.

Nose boops,

 

 

 

 

Mouse.

The Travels of Mouse: saving the best for last

Yes, you read that right.

The very best of all the new camping places is also the nearest to home. The Discovery Parks Coolwaters at Kinka Beach, Yeppoon, is far and away the nicest we’ve stayed in on this trip. So nice, in fact, that Mum has suggested that we come back here for a short break later in the year. It’s only a short distance from home (360km, or 225 miles), it takes about 4 hours to drive rather than the 8 hours to Cairns, our most favourite place, and it’s very pretty, and very, very comfortable. The only downside is that the drive is on rather bad road and is very dull. But with this to look forward to, I don’t think any of us will mind.

OK, some facts. It’s 150 acres of Conservation Park, which means that native wildlife is encouraged and protected. However, doggos (but not cats) are allowed if fully restrained at all times. There are unpowered and powered camping sites, en suite powered sites, 4 levels of cabin accommodation and a fair number of people who choose to live here year round (can’t say I blame them – Mum). There’s tennis, volley-ball, function and games rooms, a swimming pool and water park, a bouncing pillow and playground, a BMX track, picnic and barbecue areas, 2 fire pits, 5 laundries… well, you get the idea. On top of which, it’s where Causeway Lake gives out into Shoal Bay, so there’s water on both sides. It’s beautiful, well cared-for and very peaceful. The potentially noisy stuff like the water park, playground and sports activities are away from the main camping area. The road outside isn’t busy.

Twice a week, a wood-fired pizza van pulls up outside and you can have your own creation made up to order, fresh and sizzling from the on-board wood oven. We managed to score a drive-through site with a deluxe en suite, and get this: we get our own private washing machine. No putting coins in slots! And a huge shower with boiling hot water and shower pressure that made Dad grin like a lunatic (I did not – Dad) (Yes you did – Mum). Whatever. Humans and their showers…

So, you can tell we all like it. There’s lots of walkies options for me, whether it’s within the park or just outside, down the road to the neighbouring boat ramp, or even any of the local beaches where doggos are allowed. It’s relaxing for the Staff; the onward journey home is very short, and we don’t have to rush to pack up, we can stay until 10am. Last night was beautiful, warm and breezy without being sweaty, lots of huge stars. I was very relaxed, enough that I let two small strangers pet me and stroke me without shying away, which is practically unheard of. The Staff sat about with their feet up, the neighbours were friendly, and all was well with our world.

And today, we’re going Home. We’re all looking forward to our own beds. The Staff have two more whole days off before Dad has to go back to work (days off being a very loose term meaning I get to unpack and clean the caravan and Dad gets to chop back the jungle aka our back yard – Mum). I will simply settle straight back into my normal routine of breakie, snooze, walkies, snooze, run round the back yard like a loony, snooze, dinner, snooze, etc.

It has been a nice trip. It was fun to see Uncle Kev and Aunty Chrissy, Uncle Jim and Aunty Shelley, Itt the Cat and young Shorty. We had some delicious food along the way as already posted, including an honourable mention for Mr Ed’s Coffee van between Bundaberg and Miriam Vale, where the coffee was great and the caramel slice was outstanding (according to the Staff, I didn’t get any of course). It was interesting to try out new places to stay. It was brilliant finding this one.

But it will be best of all to Go Home.

The Travels of Mouse: miles and miles and finally, pies!

Hello, zorsted Mouse here.

We’re all a bit weary, but of course, as Leader of the Expedition the burden of responsibility falls to me, and I’m tolly zorsted. For the past two days we’ve driven on dead straight roads through endless broadacre landscapes of human food and fibre, none of it suitable for doggos. Not a steer or a sheep or a chook, or even a juicy ahem, fluffy rabbit to be seen.

We drove through wheat stubble.

Through sorghum,

Through cotton.

And then through chickpeas, pumpkins, alfalfa, peanuts, potatoes, melons and barley.

There was light relief when we stayed at Crow’s Nest (a nice caravan park, big ensuites, lots of space for everyone and especially the doggos, on-site café with good reviews – Mum) and Mum served me proper food, thank goodness.

But the next day we were back amongst the crops. Oranges, this time, and more melons, and sugar cane, and corn. It was Awful.

But then we got to Goomeri and the source of earthly delight, the Bakery. And suddenly, the world came back into focus. There were Pies, at last…

Mum’s Angus Beef.

Dad’s Chicken, Bacon and Leek.

I got a whole load of the big meaty chunks out of Mum’s pie. Dad, the canny devil, had got himself a pie I wasn’t allowed any of, due to the leeks which are Bad for me.

Me. After Pie. A small snooze was required.

Mum says she feels the same way. Goomeri is now No. 2 on the Top Pies list, knocking the Cardwell Pie Van into third spot.

Tonight, we’re in Bundaberg. It’s OK, but Mum says she’s not recommending it. The area’s noisy, you have to share your en suite bathroom with another caravan – luckily no-one’s on the next door spot – and the road work outside the gate is horrendous, you have to go all around the houses to get in. We’ll give it a miss next time.

Tomorrow is Yeppoon. Paws crossed it’ll be nicer.

Till then.

The Travels of Mouse: signs and portents

Hello, Mouse here.

Well, it’s time to leave Uncle Jim and Aunty Shelley’s in St George. It has been an interesting interlude: I was able to roam around the whole yard at will, I could snatch snacks from Shorty’s bowl when the humans weren’t looking, I helped myself to Mum and Dad’s bed while they were still in it, a rather successful experiment, and I gave Shorty an excellent example of dignified amiability, as opposed to the waggy, wriggly, licky, squirmy approach she favours. The Staff have talked and talked and are now all caught up until next time.

We had a very peaceful day yesterday (well, you did, we were both knackered from lack of sleep due to Bony Elbows arriving unexpectedly in the bed and taking up all the space – Mum). St George isn’t very big, and there isn’t a whole lot to see for doggos, although if you’re a cotton farmer it’s probably just fine!

We had a walkies along the big, brown Balonne River, which Dad says is part of the Murray-Darling River system, which means it’s important to the water supply for a lot of Australia. We went past the Case farm machinery dealer and admired a tractor with tracks instead of wheels.

Dad wittered on knowledgeably, he’s a bit of a wonk about big units, whether it’s tractors, combines or prime movers. He agrees with Uncle Jim that Big Greens (John Deere) are better than Big Reds (Case). Um, whatever….  Mum had a big snooze in the afternoon, and I helped.

And then there was Another Thunderstorm, which I told the Staff was very bad organisation on their part, as it made me very nervous and put me off my food – for a while, anyway.

The good thing about it was the huge double rainbow which came out afterwards, very bright and clear. Mum says it’s a Sign the rest of the trip will be smooth sailing and trouble free. In the evening, she took the rest of My roast chicken and made human curry with it instead of giving it to Me, which was an outrage! The humans finished it up, too, which I thought was mean until Mum pointed out it would not have agreed with me. It hasn’t been a very eventful couple of days as far as post-worthy highlights, but I and the Staff enjoyed our brief time-out 🙂

We are packing up this morning and heading for Crow’s Nest. Isn’t that a great name? We’ve never been there and don’t know what it’s like (apart from the fact that there’s a cuckoo clock museum there and Mum wants to go to the antiques shop), so we shall find out if it’s worth adding to the list of good places to stop. Same with the next two after that… but that’s a story for another day.

Right, I must get on with the important business of sleeping. The Staff have a busy couple of hours ahead of them, so I must take advantage of the peace and quiet!

More from the Crow’s Nest!

The Travels of Mouse: Pie-lows and silos

Hello again, it’s me, Mouse.

What do you think of my pun, then?  Worthy of Mum, I’d say. OK, I do probably need to explain… The Staff made a quick and efficient job of packing up on our last morning on the Gold Coast, despite the fact that it was absolutely bucketing with rain. We won’t talk about the thunderstorm the night before, OK? I was very stressed, and the less said the better.

Anyway, back to yesterday morning. The Staff had arranged to meet up with old friends of Dad’s, Uncle AJ and Aunty Margaret. Uncle AJ suggested meeting at Yatala Pies! Mum was leaping for joy (hobbling is more like it – Mum). They have an extensive menu, a large premises, drive-through service and outdoor picnic area where doggos are able to share the meaty loot with their Staffs. It’s a historic pie-venue in the area and is also known as ‘The Pie in the Sky‘ because they have a giant Pie on a pole beside the road. Mum says her meat pie was barely OK. The pastry was good, but the filling was an oniony grey slurry. Bit of a shame, considering the place’s reputation.

(However, her dessert pie was outstanding!  They do a really good apricot pie, and it was so good she made Dad buy a family sized one for them both to eat later! But it doesn’t count in the pie stakes because it’s not an actual meat pie.)

Last night we stayed in a little caravan park in Warwick and the Staff had dinner with friends. I didn’t mind, as I had ensured I was fed and given treats beforehand. The park was great, lots of bushland round the outside, loads of great smells to enjoy. I made both Mum and Dad get up in the middle of the night so I could go for another sniff!  Today we went from Warwick to St George, which is a fairly long, straight and boring drive, but there was Another set of painted silos to look at!  I’ve talked about the really nice ones at Thallon before, but there’s more of them at Yelarbon, and the subject is different. Mum had obviously listened to my art direction tips last time, as I think she made a decent job of photographing them, don’t you think?

There’s a special viewing area where you can see the silos with minimal visual interference. There’s also an information board where you can read the story. Mum started to read it, but I was more interested in sniffing stuff, so she took a photo instead.

We’re here at Uncle Jim and Aunty Shelley’s for two nights. They have a new dog called Shorty, who reminds me just a bit of my mate Diesel Dog down in NSW. Shorty is just a young girl, who is nice, friendly and polite, unlike the previous dog of the house, who followed me around and wanted to interfere with me, which I couldn’t be doing with. (Poor Ruffy died and Mouse is being rather unfeeling, but Ruffy was a bit inappropriate, poor old boy – Mum). After this, we’ll be turning northward towards home, and will be staying in two new caravan parks we haven’t tried before, so it’ll be a bit of an adventure.

Right, that’s your lot for today. I can see my bowls are waiting and it’s that time of the day, so Mum has to stop taking dictation and start my dinner. I expect the humans will be doing endless yapping tomorrow, so I shall find a spot in the sun and instruct young Miss Shorty in advanced treat-extraction techniques…

Till next time.

The Travels of Mouse: loot!

Hello, me again, Mouse.

Mum wanted to take over and write this post herself. Imagine! Anarchy would reign. Travel posts are Always Mine and the Staff should remember that they are Staff and not Top Dog. I suppose in the interests of domestic harmony and Staff contentment I should convey what she was trying in her feeble way to say… So, here’s what we got up to yesterday.

It was a day of rest for all of us. Meals were of course served on time, and the walkies rituals observed, but I let them do their own thing apart from that. The result was that Dad wanted to visit somewhere to buy a new higher tow hitch and Mum wanted to visit somewhere to buy fabric. And we spent hours doing it. Well, OK, I exaggerate slightly (Surely not? – Mum. Enough of your cheek – Mouse). Dad was in the shop for 15 minutes. Mum was in her shop for 20 minutes, and apparently it’s “Epic, 4 big rooms of racks of fabric and an amazing work room where they do the quilt classes” (see below).

The rest of the time was driving. They thought it’d be fun to come back via the Gold Coast Highway, along the coastal strip, instead of the Pacific Motorway. As Dad said later “We’ve done that once, we don’t need to do it again”. And Mum agreed. The Gold Coast is an extraordinary place, but none of us would like to live there, even if we were millionaires.

So. Dad was unsuccessful in his shopping. Mum wasn’t. She was looking for fabrics for her other niece’s quilt, and I must say, I rather like the fabrics she selected, which are on the darker side of the colour scale. Rather like myself… She wants me to tell you that the dark shot fabrics are by Reece Scannell, and both are packs of 10 pieces of 20 x 20cm (about 8 inches). The Jelly Roll strips are Victorian Textiles batik strips, and each pack contains 40 pieces of 2½ x 44 inches. If you love art textiles, do go over to the Reece Scannell website, there are some absolutely beautiful things to drool over. OK, enough Mum-speak, I’m quite zorsted by all this excitement over bits of cloth.

 

We came home, the Staff had lunch and then we all had a nice nap, even Mum. And then, horrors! A massive thunderstorm!

(We’re the blue dot on this map). I absolutely hate thunder. (This is a major understatement, which is unlike my Lord and Master. He’s frankly terrified, he shakes and drools and paces. The only good thing was that we were in the caravan, I’d brought his Thunder Shirt, and lots of reassuring and back rubbing and talking to him kept him from bouncing off the walls – Mum). The Staff were helpful, and fortunately it didn’t last more than a couple of hours, but I was very, very zorsted after that.

Today, we’re going up to Mooloolaba to see Uncle Kev and Aunty Chrissy. Dad has located somewhere for brunch that looks promising, apparently, and is doggo-friendly. I hope there will be some sampling available, unless chilli is involved. Mum says she doesn’t really feel she’s on holiday yet as there has been No Meat Pie. I’m afraid I second that emotion. Ham sandwiches are all very well, but a meat pie is Proper Food.

Let’s wait and see. I can always make my feelings known in the car if necessary, heheheh

The Travels of Mouse: three time’s the charm

Hello again, Mouse here.

It has not been a trip of unalloyed delight so far. (I dunno, I just write what he tells me – Mum). We got away on time and seem to have brought everything we need as far as the Staff can tell. However, that is where the story starts to go wrong. At a distance too far to turn around, we discovered while refuelling that the Anderson plug connecting the caravan to the car (which powers the fridge/freezer containing supplies of MY food) had pulled out due to being a bit too short, trailed on the ground and been stripped down to its metal contacts by the friction of the road. Much language ensued. It was Sunday and we were nowhere near anything that could fix it for us, but we found a service station that sold electrical tape, and Dad got to work. Mum says it’s called MacGyvering.

He found a connector cord we had for one of the car fridges, which had an Anderson plug at one end. He spliced in this cord and plug, removing the car fridge connector at the other end. There was a lot of electrical tape and not a few cable ties involved, but it held until the next major city 300+km away, where he was able to buy proper connectors with shrink sleeves. It was quite impressive!

We got to our first camp site, Tannum Sands, at a reasonable hour.  This is where Mum managed to hurt her sore paw for the third time in as many weeks. Some lazy camper had left a tent peg in the ground because they couldn’t pull it out. Instead of hammering it all the way in to make it safe, they left the hooky bit sticking out and pointing up. It had gone rusty and couldn’t be seen against the browns and greens of the bush floor. So of course, she caught the sticky-out toe of the Boot on it, went flying and landed face first in the dirt. I was a Very Good Boy and stayed put to guard her, and some people came to help because they saw what had happened. One man was on crutches, and said he’d pull the hook out with a crutch, but sadly only succeeded in bending it slightly… I like Tannum, it’s quiet, it’s got lovely smelly bushland all around it, some really good places to walk, and Mum says so long as you wear your insect repellant, the sandflies won’t eat you alive aren’t too much of a bother.

The third and final upset was caused by the satnav. It kept adding time to our projected arrival time at the next stop. Dad was getting very worried that we wouldn’t get here before dark. Mum was a bit dubious, and did a cross-check with Google Maps. Satnav said arrive 7pm. Google Maps said 3.30pm. We reprogrammed the satnav. Turns out Google Maps was right! We’d been rushing like crazy, hadn’t stopped for anything except fuel and grabbing a sandwich, oh, and letting Me out for, ahem, “some fresh air”, for them, not me (that would be right, Mr Fluffbum – Mum). Turns out we could have taken our time a bit more, stopped for lunch, (not driven past several perfectly good pie stops – Mum), etc.

So, now that we’ve got the bad luck in threes out of the way, it’s time to enjoy ourselves. This holiday park is lovely! It’s the Gold Coast BIG4 at Helensvale, and while it’s right by the Gold Coast theme parks, you’d think you were in the heart of the country. There’s bushland, a huge fenced play park for doggos, lots of different types of accommodation from luxury cabins to unpowered tent sites, a water park and pool (with a movie screen!), a riverside walk, an activity centre where they do everything from colouring sessions for small humans to daiquiri tastings for large humans, plus it’s convenient for shopping for groceries. Normally, Mum says, we wouldn’t stay here. Going south, it’s too far from the previous stop. Coming home, it’s not far enough, making the next stage too long. But if you’re looking for somewhere friendly, attractive, well maintained and perfectly placed for family holidays, this would be it. The en suite bathrooms are lovely, the landscaping is immaculate, the staff are super-friendly and helpful and so far, all the campers and their doggos have been really nice.

It’s apparently going to be a ‘lazy day’ with not too much activity planned. I will be snoozing and getting my usual levels of public admiration from passers-by, Dad will be able to sit and paw at his plank in the shade, and Mum will cut fabric squares and hopefully avoid any further damage to that paw or any other paw.

Hopefully….