Smartingale…

I couldn’t resist, I’m sorry… Not.

Mouse is, obviously, a greyhound, which is a sighthound breed. One of the results of this is that his head is very long and narrow and his neck is wider and muscular. A regular dog collar doesn’t work so well, because he can reverse right out of it and prance off at speed, sneering at us for being so slow. Yes, that’s experience talking… Consequently, he wears a martingale collar. This is a collar with a second loop as part of its circumference, which extends and tightens when it’s pulled, thereby closing the collar up. There is a limit on how tight it can go, you don’t want to garrotte your beloved doggo, but at the same time, you don’t want him getting loose and into danger. Most of the time, it’s comfortably loose, so that you can get at least two or three fingers inside it.

Mouse wears a Greenhound Collar, which in addition to being a martingale collar, indicates that he’s been through some fairly extensive training to be socialised and safe around adults, children, other dogs and other animals. It has a registration number so that he can be identified, and wearing it permits him to be off-leash without a muzzle in designated off-leash dog areas such as dog parks. However, he’s been wearing it more or less non-stop since we got him, and it’s now seriously grubby.

Time for a wash. Also, I wanted to make him some posh party-wear*.

So I did.

I ordered some rather gorgeous woven smooth webbing online, and some titanium-rainbow effect hardware to match. Locally, I bought wide black webbing intended for bag-straps, and a pair of black square ‘rings’. The original hardware set was intended for bag making and did not contain the necessary additional rings, hence the extra purchase.

I measured his adjustable Greenhound Collar. Because this new one’s custom, I didn’t need to make it adjustable, and used the fitted, finished sizes. I subtracted length for the buckle, and added back in the fold-over at each side of the buckle and both sides at the front. I cut both lots of webbing to size and sealed the ends by rapidly passing them through a lighter flame (Be careful not to touch the sealed ends too quickly. Ask me how I know this…).

The assembly order is important. Assemble the bits either side of the buckle first. Then add the square rings at the outer ends. Then feed the two ends of the front loop through the square rings. Stitch the smaller webbing to the wider webbing, and stitch down the fold-overs for the hardware. Close up the loop at the front, ensuring you create a free section in the overlap to contain the D ring at the centre front. Stitch all fold-overs with a square/X seam, and the overlap at the front with close zigzag to seal down the free ends. I used a thread that co-ordinated with and enhanced the colourful  pattern on the narrower webbing.

To match, I made him a lead, also with the ‘titanium’ hardware and using the same colourful webbing. It isn’t quite as sturdy as the the thick woven cotton Greenhound set, but since it’s not designed for daily walkies but for swanking about in, I’m not concerned.

To finish the whole thing off, we’ve got him an engraved tag. The front has his name and my phone number (retouched out for privacy), and his local government registration and Greenhound numbers on the back. Black with silver engraving. Looks good with the rest of it, don’t you think?

He’s currently getting used to it. The Greenhound collar is going to take a while to dry, it’s very thick, and meanwhile, the swanky collar is a bit heavier due to the buckle, and makes a different noise. He’s shown no signs of wanting to get rid of it, which is a start!

I think he looks rather handsome. And yes, of course he’s spoiled rotten. That goes without saying.

But he deserves it.

*Just wait till you see what I have in mind for Halloween….

Domestic, er, bliss….

I have almost reached the bottom of the pile.

We got home late on Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday I unpacked, put away, cleaned, and did 4 or 5 loads of laundry. Mouse spent the entire first evening walking around the house and lying down on empty patches of floor, our bed, the sofa and his three beds, to re-establish his own personal ‘flavour’. He managed to be under foot the maximum amount of time, but the delight on his furry face at being back was so touching I hadn’t the heart to ask him to go and lie down.

Now that we’re back and I’m fully in the swing of domesticity again, I’m looking back fondly on some of the meals I didn’t have to make myself.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner, in that order.

How easy it was to keep the caravan tidy, the beds made and the dishes done. And how very good it is to have a bit more space again, despite the domestic requirements!

(A point of information: we don’t have a hot water system in the caravan. Until recently, I had to boil the kettle several times to get enough hot water to wash up. And then I had a brainwave! A hot water urn. It holds 8 litres (nearly 2 gallons) of water (enough for two loads of washing up) and can hold it at the boil if necessary, but also keeps it at perfect washing up temperature all day. It’s plastic, lightweight and can be stowed away for travel.

It’s good to be home, but I do still have my fingers crossed that the trip down to NSW we have booked in October will go ahead. It will give me a chance to catch up with friends and family, as well as satisfying my slight homesickness for the region we’re going to.

Just at the moment, it’s not looking great; the number of cases in Sydney is climbing exponentially as cases come into the country with returning travellers, and then run amok in the local population, some of whom are not especially compliant…  By the time we’re supposed to leave, we’ll both be fully vaccinated. Wouldn’t it be nice if that allowed us to cross the border freely…?

Once I’ve finished all the domestic stuff, I can finally turn my attention back to the sewing room and my newly-serviced sewing machine. Oh, and my plans to completely rearrange the whole sewing room. Eeek!

Looking forward to it 🙂

Evidence of (not much) industry

I brought handwork on holiday with me.

Of course.

About 75 hexies. I have all blue & white and some pale pink scraps with me.

But it’s only enough to keep my hands busy while my ears listen to a talking book or two. Trouble is, I’m now so fast at making hexies that I have a rather large pile made for the few hours I’ve worked on it. I have no idea what these hexies and the other scraps I brought with me will evolve into. Time will tell.

We’re having a wonderfully lazy time. In earlier times, I used to pack activities into our trips to Cairns, mainly revolving around food: the tracking down, smelling, sampling, tasting, enjoying and taking home of. These days, I’m someone limited in how much luscious cheese, hand-made chocolate, artisan coffee blends and succulent tropical fruit I can actually safely consume. I choose my meals…. sensibly although not boringly (see below!). It’s not quite as much fun, and importantly, the absence of gastro-touring leaves us free to do, well, nothing very much, and do it lavishly!

‘Fishy benny’: eggs benedict with smoked salmon and sautéd mushrooms on rocket and rye, topped with a lemony hollandaise

Before lunch today, we indulged today in a spot of bogus caravan-shopping. There’s one big caravan yard in Cairns and about half a million RV, camper van and camper-trailer yards, but none of the latter are of interest to us. We took Mouse and toured the caravan yard, went into every caravan (not Mouse, he inspected the outsides) and assessed it. All very slick and shiny, but just not, well, comfortable. The kitchens had large shiny appliances and sleek surfaces, but almost nowhere to do any work. Perhaps they don’t expect people to actually prepare meals, just heat up ready meals or reheat a pizza. They certainly don’t expect people to have books, or sewing machines, or sports equipment or a large collection of spices, or even, heaven forbid, a dog. There are buttons and switches and fold out this and drop down that, but the furnishings are nasty, there’s nowhere to hang a large fluffy towel or two, and heaven forbid you should have a coffee machine. So until we win the lottery and can have our ideal caravan built to our specification, we’ll stick to Miz Lizzie, who can comfortably and neatly accommodate everything we want to bring and use.

Mouse has written about his expedition out to dinner with us last night. I have discovered that if I reblog his posts here and then want to update the original, the updates don’t carry over. If anyone can point out how to do that, I’d be grateful. In the meantime, you’ll find it here if you’re interested.

‘Raunchy huevos’: omelette with chilli,spicy beans, avocado, roasted chorizo, roasted tomato and sour cream, with tortilla chips on the side.

And now I feel a large snooze coming on. Lunch was pretty delicious, and I shall join the Husband and the dog in our small but comfy and air-conditioned home away from home.

Tomorrow we have a small road trip planned. I’ll tell you all about it then.

Happy 5th birthday, Mouse-mouse

It is his Lordship’s 5th birthday today.

Wake up, birthday boy!

Breakfast of champions

We have a series of fun things to do and gastronomic delights planned. After a light breakfast and a saunter around the holiday park, he will be escorted by his Staff to ‘Brother Jenkins Café’, a very nice place a stone’s throw away, where he will be regaled with bacon and puppacino. A small snooze in the sun to allow that to digest, and then we will head out to Touch Park in Aeroglen, near Cairns Airport, where 3 or 4 acres have been fenced for the delight and leisure of Cairns’ doggo population. He will be free to romp, run and roam to his heart’s content.

Home again, and I will produce the Oinkers, a bag of porky delight: air dried anonymous bits of pig on the bone, sliced thin. He can make an Oinker last for at least half an hour… I also have slow-baked chicken tenders and beef and tomato jerky. So, party food taken care of, then.

If he’s in the mood, we might take him along to Ellis Beach on the Captain Cook Highway, so that he can have a good sniff about there, and a run if he feels like it. If he doesn’t, then snoozing on his Floof in the sun will be the order of the day. He’ll find a way to let us know…

It has been both a pleasure and a privilege to have our lovely boy to care for these past two years, and we hope for many more. Our recent visit to GAP has shown how important it is to find homes for these gentle, loving and rewarding dogs, to make up for the harsh and sometimes brutal lives they led before.

Wishing you many returns of this happy day, doggo. 

 

Mouse goes solo

Hello, people, Mouse here.

I just wanted to let you know that I’m going out on my own with my own blog. My friend Lotti and I decided that it was time for us to widen our social circle, so I briefed the Staff to make it happen.

You’ll be pleased to learn that the Happy Greys Social Club is now live. I am Executive Editor and Creative Director, Mum is Admin, Lotti is Guest Contributor. We are hoping to meet other greyhounds and their Staffs for coffee and conversation on a semi-regular basis. Mum has also helpfully suggested some Staff-inspired topics such as Forth-coming Events, Meet the Members, Resources and Information, Comment Protocol, and a full set of links to all my Travel Reports on this blog.

The Board Meeting. Much to discuss….

It’s an exciting day for all of us. Lotti and I and our Staffs had a coffee morning and Board Meeting to sign off on the details, and then we pressed the button to go live. I hope that if you’re interested in my travel reports here you’ll also enjoy our occasional posts there, so please do subscribe. My blog looks different from this one; you’ll find the menu in the small black bar above my logo – please click on the left hand icon.

I’d love to hear what you think!

Mouse.

The Adventures of Mouse: Life’s a beach

Although what’s wrong with being a bitch I fail to see….

Speaking as a doggo, of course. But Mum says this is more polite, and due to the nature of this post, appropriate. Oh well, in that case. The things I let the Staff get away with. (Gosh, his Lordship can be snarky at times – Mum)

Anyway, onwards. This place has a jolly fine beach. Doggos are permitted year round, off-leash before 8am and after 4pm, leashed the rest of the time. Mum says if I want another walk later this afternoon, we might arrange it to be after 4pm so I can Run. This is pretty generous of her, considering how, um, distressed, she was when I found a large dead fish head to roll in this morning. She pounced before I’d had time to do more than rub one cheek on it, but it was clear that I wasn’t going to be allowed to apply that particular eau de pong

Anyway, for the interested, here’s the view at Kinka Beach. Off to the left somewhere is Great Keppel Island. Bear in mind this is early winter, and although it’s a well-known holiday destination and the snow-birds are here, we had the place to ourselves…

 

I don’t suppose there will be much to report today. Now that the Staff are no longer rabid pie-hunters and Mum has to watch her intake a bit, things are much less interesting on the begging-for-a-taste front. Groceries are being bought later, I expect I’ll get a bit of cheese, but for now, I’ll concentrate on topping up the snooze-tank.

Till the next time,

The Adventures of Mouse: A short break

Hello people, Mouse here again.

Something had been going on for a few days, but the Staff had not informed me what… It turns out we were heading down the coast a little for a short three day break. Because it was short, Mum had not been fiddling about for days in advance, making me all unsettled. The Staff got everything done on the morning we left, with the unfortunate result that a couple of things have been left behind. Nothing critical, and nothing of mine, luckily.

Anyway, we are now at Kinka Beach, near Yeppoon. We’ve been here before, so it’s nice to revisit all the smells and the, ahem, message posts. The Staff have considerately brought my Floof and my privacy fence, so I will be able to lie comfortably in the sun without neighbouring small yappers trespassing on My Territory.

“What is a Floof?” you ask.

Floof is a doughnut-shaped, highly silky-fluffy stuffed ring with a soft padded middle instead of a hole. It is Me sized, so I can curl up inside or lie across it. It’s also light and, did I mention, fluffy? So it makes a perfect Fluffy Prey Toy, and I spend many happy hours savaging it, dragging it about and vanquishing it when it gets uppity.

I don’t think the Staff have big plans for today. Mum originally thought she’d be hand-stitching down the binding on the Floribunda quilt, but she didn’t quite manage to get it fully assembled before we left. But she says we have enough time to get it finished for the Show after we get back. Now, she says she’ll sit in the sun and read her new book (The CSIRO Low-Carb Diabetes Diet & Lifestyle Solution – Mum).

Oh, and I wondered why Mum kept popping in and out after dinner. It seems there is a Celestial Event in progress. A Blood Moon Eclipse!

I’ll pass, thanks. It’s much warmer and comfier inside. Even this sighthound isn’t tempted to gaze at the moon…

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…