Saturday, August 26, 2006

Missing Dogs Scare!

Well we've just had an almighty scare! I'd been at work all day and Ian had gone down to Salisbury to pick up the kids who are staying for the weekend. The boys had been left out the back in their fenced off area on the patio. I got home at 5 o'clock and went straight out to see them, but there was no sign of either of them. The wire fence panels had been forced apart and there was a hole under the wire fencing in front of the hedge where they had obviously squeezed through into one of the adjoining gardens.

After knocking on the doors of all the houses that run along the side of our garden with no luck I traipsed the length of the road down to where the path to the river bends off and tracked round along the riverbank and into the big field behind us, where we have found Pepsi on a number of previous escape attempts, but this time there was no sign.

After checking out the opposite bank, again with no luck, I traipsed home in the rain. I had rung Ian by this stage on the mobile and let him know what had happened, but he was still a good 20 minutes away. As soon as I got home I tried finding the number for the local dog warden, but couldn't find anything in the telephone book and ended up calling Birmingham Council emergency hotline, where they very kindly gave me the number after I explained the situation. But on ringing all I got was a recorded message that the office was closed until Tuesday (as this was Friday and Monday was a bank holiday, this wasn't much help!). So then I rang the police in the hope someone may have reported them and again was given another number to ring for the local station. The officer made a note of the details but couldn't help any further. By this time Ian had arrived home with the kids, who he had told the grim news in the car.

What happened next must have been inspired. After searching through the telephone directory in desperation I came across a number for something called Petsearch and thinking I could at least report them missing rang the number given which was in Solihull, a town in the next county. Almost immediately an elderly ladies voice answered and on my giving the dogs details she told me to ring a Mrs Moore and gave me a number which I assumed was the contact for my area. She then said 'she's got them' it took a few seconds for what she had just said to sink in, but once it did all I could say was 'thank you, thank you' before bursting into tears of relief as I put down the phone. I had to hand the phone to Ian so he could ring the lady as I was in no fit state to talk to anyone. Anyway we found out that they were safe and well and about a mile away, having gone down the length of Middlemore Road and onto a busy crossing, turned left and carried on up the very busy West Heath Rd, where apparently Max seems to have been clipped by a car as they crossed the road. Fortunately he has shown no signs of any harm or damage since then and has certainly not lost his appetite! so we are assuming his bulk saved him and he probably just glanced off it.

It was with great relief that we went and fetched the two errant boys and of course a great fuss was made of them once we got them safely home with lots of treats and hugs. Needless to say we are having to rethink the garden security as I found Max climbing the fence on Sunday and only just managed to grab him as he reached the top and was about to launch himself off to the other side. At least we now know how he has been getting out!

Friday, August 25, 2006


Our present big project is redecorating & recarpeting the hall, stairs and landing. We have already ripped up the old carpet and underlay, and what a job that was! it was all so old the black rubber underlay (which obviously dated from the 70's) had in large part turned to dust and what hadn't was stuck to the floors and stairs! After getting all that cleared up and thrown out Ian has got on sanding down the door frames and skirtings (fortunately because we have replaced all the doors they only need painting!) and has now nearly finished the painting.

We have chosen a nice pale coloured wallpaper with a terracotta (more flame orange actually) motif to go with the carpets we are getting once all the decorating is finished. These will match the colour we have in all the main bedrooms so the floors wil be thesame throughout. After reviewing the situation a couple of weeks ago we made the decision there was no way we could do the wallpapering ourselves due to the high ceilings above the stairs and long drops required, so we have found a man to do it for us. I wanted him to just stick it up over the existing woodchip, seeing no problem in this method :-), but he has insisted on stripping the woodchip and then wallpapering. I foresee problems ahead because I dont think the condition of the walls is that good and I think this is going to cause more harm than good and turn into another expensive repair job! (like most things we have attempted in this house!). Anyway he starts next month after we get back from our trip to Ireland so we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Talking of our trip to Ireland, we are off to County Cork, in the South West, taking the overnight ferry from Swansea to Cork and then driving west to Schull (pronounced Skull). We wanted to stay in the Skibbereen area as that's where my paternal family originated, but couldn't find any rental houses that would accept two dogs. We finally found a brand new detached house (which sleeps eight!) in Schull, a very pretty fishing village not far from Skibbereen. We are off in a couple of weeks and I can't wait.

Friday, June 30, 2006

At last! We have a bathroom!

Hurrah! at long last our cloakroom and bathroom have both been finished. It has taken a lot of time and money to get to this stage (not to mention mess and inconvenience) and for four weeks we were completely without a bathroom and were showering in a gazebo on the patio, with one end of a a push on shower tube attached to the kitchen taps and the other end coming out through the window and taped up to one of the gazebo's roof poles, with a couple of duckboards on the patio for our feet to stand on! It was like something from MASH! I have pics of Ian taking a shower but they are definitely not for public consumption :-) Fortunately this was during parts of May and June so although it was raining on a number of occasions it wasn't particularly cold and even when it was the hot water in the cold air was quite invigorating!

We are very pleased with the results however and I can't believe the transformation from a very dated 1970's bathroom with a pink suite and brown tiles (yeeugh!!) and a shower that just dripped, to a sparkling white and black paradise with a D shaped shower enclosure, a lovely large vanity unit and modern bath and toilet. We had the old suspended ceiling (what was that all about!?) ripped down and the dividing wall between the toilet & bathroom demolished, making one spacious, light & airy room.

Downstairs we extended the cupboard under the stairs to make a lovely cosy cloakroom with a corner basin and modern w.c. We had the floor tiled in a lovely mottled terracotta with faint traces of blue and the walls half tiled in a pale terracotta, while the rest of the walls and ceiling was painted in a very pale soft apricot. I have to say it does looks lovely and its so nice not to have to go upstairs every time you need the loo!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Latest list of Destruction!

These are the latest additions to the trail of destruction the boys have left behind them!:-

bluetooth headset totally destroyed
a watch
USB cable for external hard drive
new vinyl floor in utility room
extension cable
hose pipe
Another dog door
large sponge & chamois leather from car wash kit (you wouldn't believe the area of floor one of those big sponges can cover when its been reduced to crumbs)

As I said in my last blog we have moved to a new house in a new area of the country and Pepsi has managed to escape at least a dozen times before we Pepsiproofed the garden. He seemed to prefer Sunday mornings for his escapades and we have spent many a merry hour chasing round the neighbourhood and knocking on doors! If nothing else its a good way to meet the new neighbours (although I'm not sure how much they appreciate being disturbed on a Sunday morning to find a little white dog digging up their garden!!).

Our new garden is a lot bigger than the last one and surrounded by trees including two large oak trees which both have squirrels dreys and at least 2 squirrels living in each one. We have Tony & Cherie at No 10 in one, and Bill & Hilary in the White House in the other one. This also has a pair of Magpies we've called Dennis & Maggie living in the Penthouse as they have just built a large nest at the very top of the tree. The squirrels come down into the garden to forrage several times a day and drive the boys wild! but the squirrels have learnt that they cant reach them as they are confined to the patio area. They also like to run around in the tree which over hangs the patio and of course this drives Pepsi mad. There are a lot more birds in this garden as well and its very entertaining watching all the comings and goings. We have put up a hanging stand for a bird table and peanut feeder and get many visitors to these.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Time for an update I rather think! as it's been so long since my last post. Lots have happened and I simply have'nt had time until now.

For a kick off we've moved house to a completely new part of the country - from beautiful Poole in Dorset to Birmingham (When I tell people this they always ask 'Why!'). Actually its not so bad, because of the price differential we were able to afford a much bigger house and still have money left over to do it up the way we want it. Its on a lovely tree lined avenue with a beautiful garden and backs on to pretty riverside parkland so we're not overlooked. The boys have much more room to roister doister in and lots of space for pell mell! They are being very good at the moment so no tales of horror to record.

We have big plans for the bathroom which is very dated and have been having great fun choosing and buying a new bath, vanity unit, shower cubicle ( we got a D shaped one) and want to put in a ground floor cloakroom under the stairs. This is going to cost a small fortune as we have to get planning permission (costs!), get new drains put in (costs a lot!!) Extend the cloakroom area into the utility area (costs more!) and then get the toilet and sink plumbed in (more cost!), then of course the electrician has to put in the extractor fan and lighting (even more costs!), the plasterer to finish off the walls (costs!) not to mention the cost of flooring and tiles! And all this just for a downstairs loo!!!!! and this is before we even start the bathroom!