Miz Lizzie Adventures: before we go

We’re off!

Just a short trip, but it’ll tell us whether Mouse enjoys the road trip/caravan experience. We’re hoping, of course, that he’ll love it as much as we do, and make lots of new doggy friends along the way.

One thing Miz Lizzie wasn’t equipped with was a large dog bed. Mouse is not a small person, and when he sleeps, it’s usually with all four legs sprawled out. We weren’t about to make him sleep outside so sleeping accommodation had to be arranged. Between us, the Husband and I have come up with a Cunning Plan. The banquette seat opposite the Husband’s bunk is used once a day, tops, and often not at all. We’ve removed the fixed table, which was large, cumbersome and heavy, and have replaced it with a folding table which goes down flat most of the time.

So we’ve run a board across from under the cushions of the banquette to a ledge the Husband installed along the side of his bunk platform. It has stops to prevent it sliding about. On top, we have the option of using the seat cushions as a doggy mattress, or better still, a section of the old bunk mattresses we’ve replaced, with the backrest cushions at either end.

We lured Mouse into Miz Lizzie (less difficult than the first time), made sure we were both occupying the bunks to remove that option, and then encouraged him to jump onto this new doggy bed, now made comfy and familiar with his floor quilt and fleece blankie.  Once up, he did his usual spin in place, lay down and proceeded to snooze. Job done. Of course, being right beside him, it now falls to the Husband to provide the constant petting that will be demanded. If he neglects his strokies duty, he’ll get poked by a cold, wet, pointy nose. My bunk, on the other hand, is too far away for Nose Attack. Mwahahaha!

The trip ought to be a well-worn routine by now, but I can’t help feeling it’s going to be a totally new experience, thanks to our shiny black friend in the back seat.

Wish us luck!

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Orange and black

No, I’m not planning a Halloween quilt. Bear with me.

First, the orange. I’ve been given a shopping bag full of beautiful cumquats (or kumquats, if you prefer). The neighbours have a tree full of these tiny orange jewels, and the smell of them is intoxicating. I’ve always loved cumquat marmalade, about the only marmalade I do love, and I’d like to make some. But oh, the labour of cutting up and de-pithing and -pipping these tiny things.

They really are very, very, very small. So my question is, does any-one have a recipe for cumquat marmalade that doesn’t involve picking all that stuff out? Can I just cut up the fruit, leave in the pips and skim them off at the end? I’ll do it ‘properly’ if I have to, but the idea of standing at the bench for what will probably be hours is not enticing.

And now for a bit of black. His Lordship the Mouse is settling in nicely. We have the routine established, and it involves me getting up sharpish at 6am to give him breakfast.

I’d sleep in if I could, but a cold wet nose in the ear is a marvellous alarm clock. After he’s engulfed his breakfast, I let him out to, um, commune with nature for a minute or two, after which he comes screeching back up the back yard at greyhound slow gallop, and then he goes back to bed (his bed) for another hour or so while I catch up with emails and the blog. At 7am, I shower, dress, make the Husband’s sandwich with ‘help’ from Mouse, and around 8am I get a call to say the Husband is 20 minutes away, so it’s time to clip on Mouse’s harness and lead, pocket some treats and the zapper for the garage door, and off we go. Mouse is now used to Big Girl the truck, so we hand over the sandwich when the Husband pulls up at the bottom of the hill, and then go for a walk so he can check out all the smells and disdainfully ignore all the dogs stuck in houses and yards who bark at him as we pass.

And then he spends most of the rest of the day sleeping. And yes, he does ‘roach’, or sleep with all his legs in the air…

Scinteallate #12: one row to go

I actually managed to get a row quilted.

Pretty respectable when you consider I’m still very short of breath and coughing constantly and we have a new family member to settle in. One row still to be quilted, and then I can proceed to assembly. I should be able to hit my mid-August deadline. In case you can’t tell or haven’t seen this one before, it’s my old favourite, freehand wavy line quilting, which gives a nice rippled vintage texture, is close enough to make the quilt very robust, and is dead quick and easy because there’s no marking. Win-win.

In the Life & Times of Mouse, the Husband took him to the local Council Pet Registration Open Day, a jolly event which is held on the lawns of the council building. Hundreds of people bring their pets old and new, and despite being a very new member of the family, Mouse behaved impeccably. Not a bark, not a whine, not a misplaced dump or glare at a cat. He is now a fully paid-up member of the community. He was then introduced to the ladies in my Days for Girls sewing group and was patted and petted by all and sundry, putting up with this stranger-mobbing with good grace and only a little shyness. His final trial for the day was being left in the car for 25 minutes while we shopped for groceries. We parked in the shade, it’s a cool day and the windows were open a crack. He had a toy if he wanted it, but he was calmly lying down when we got back, and submitted to being surrounded by shopping bags on the short journey home without even feeling the need to investigate them.

He’s been keeping me company in the sewing room, the Husband company in the shed and both of us company in the living room. He doesn’t snuffle, sigh or snore. Just, every so often there’s a little jingle from his collar as he changes position. I will say, though, that he has laser-sharp hearing for a packet rustling or the fridge opening, and arrives as if by teleportation. The Husband’s back at work tomorrow, so Mouse and I will integrate his lunch-sandwich delivery into a decent morning walk. I hope he’s not too scared of Big Girl the truck…

Hopefully I’ll get the remaining blocks finished tomorrow.

News, good and bad

Yes, people, I’m still alive.

Although there have been times the past few days when that felt a bit dubious. The bad news is that I’m currently entertaining a host of bugs in my lungs, and my old friend legionella pneumophila is back. Yup, that old ‘walking pneumonia’ again. The cough is evil, I’m as tired as if I’ve run a marathon, and my lungs are, according to my doctor, making some pretty dire crackling noises. Antibiotics, rest, plenty of fluids. Yes, I know the drill.

The good news is much better. On Thursday afternoon the Husband and I are driving up to Townsville for a Very Important Appointment. At 9.30 on Friday morning, we’re being introduced to our new fur baby, to see if he likes us. He’s a retired racing greyhound, 3 years old, glossy and black and a little shy. We have passed our initial phone interview with the Greyhound Adoption Program of Queensland, and now we just have to be thoroughly sniffed and hound-assessed; for our potential generosity with treats, likelihood to let him sleep on the bed, ability to provide him with all the luxuries and comforts an extremely beautiful and graceful retired athlete could want, and willingness to provide endless strokies and pats. I’d say we were ready… We are disregarding his kennel and racing names, both of which don’t suit him at all, and His Magnificence will henceforth be known as Mouse (sleek, long pointy nose, beady eyes, etc). More photos will be available as of Friday.I’ve already made two dog beds, and a third will be needed (although possibly little used) for the bedroom. We have the bowls, lead and car clip, toys, treats, dental chews, kibble, wet food, and engraved name tag. We’ll need to get him fitted for a harness for walkies and for greater security in the car, he comes with his own ‘official’ Greenhound* registration collar, and I will of course be making him a variety of elegant coats for cooler weather, as his body fat is so low, and his skin and fur are very thin. That bit’s going to be fun – I feel something quilty coming on!

*Greenhounds are greyhounds which have passed a stringent assessment for socialisation, good behaviour around small animals and children, low prey drive (ie, they don’t chase small fluffy things), low aggression and territoriality, etc. They are awarded a numbered and registered green collar which they must wear at all times. Greyhounds must always be walked on the lead, since they can reach speeds of 65kph/40mph within three paces. Non-assessed greyhounds must wear a muzzle in public because they are trained to chase.

He’s going to be one spoiled puppy. I hope we can live up to his expectations!