Wednesday 23 July 2014

A Later Dog Walk

It's been so hot, we didn't take Jade for her afternoon walk till nearly 7 pm, and it was still baking up on the common above the beach. When we got down there, lots of dogs were in the sea, but Jade still won't get her feet wet.

In the photo, the car park is pretty empty, but this evening it was nearly full and I only just managed to get a slot. I had to drive because hubby had already had a couple of lagers. I hate driving him and he hates sitting in the passenger seat, so it isn't much fun. I always drive so much better when I'm on my own or with pretty well anyone else. Still we made it and had a slow meander round the circuit. I think everyone is glad to be home though. As I write I'm sipping a glass of white wine over ice. Bliss.

Next week we'll be away on our hols. I don't suppose we'll have this weather then.

Friday 18 July 2014

Singing Again

It was hot for singing today. But we just got on with it, like the troupers we are.
We tried a new song that took me right back to my youth.

Wednesday 16 July 2014

The Orchid on the Windowsill

This orchid was a present from my daughter a couple of years ago. It's about the fourth time it has flowered. The blooms hang around for a while before they drop off and when they are all gone, it looks as though it will never flower again. Then after a while it suddenly starts to develop these little pips, which grow into the exotic and fiercely alien looking flowers.

There's no doubt they are very beautiful, but to me they are also quite spooky, especially the snake like growths at the base. I wonder if there is a story about to erupt. (My stories usually wake me up in the middle of the night, making me go downstairs to type them up.)

Monday 14 July 2014

Good Brainstorming

I worked as a proposal adviser for a major international accountancy and management consultancy firm for over eight years. For a while we were a team of two in the London marketing department specialising in that area. We helped bidding teams in a number of regional offices and those in other European countries. I even went to Sydney, Australia on one memorable occasion.

photo by Lhixon

Among the techniques we developed was a way to organise brainstorming to get the most out of each session in the time available. We would end up with lists of ideas written up on flip charts and blue tacked up all around the room, so we were nicknamed the Flipchart Queens.

Lately I wrote an article with 10 tips about this to sell at Constant Content. It has already sold once but I retain the rights to it. Here is an excerpt - tips six and seven:

“6. Set one important rule: no immediate discussion of the ideas. That will come later. Anything goes at the ideas generation stage. Encourage contributions from everyone. Even the office gopher could come up with something you could make workable. If people find some humour in the exercise, they’ll start to enjoy it. Inhibitions will be lost and you’ll get more out of it.

7. If it’s difficult to get started, try turning your objective on its head and asking for ideas on how to put that potential client off, or whatever the opposite of your question is. Then you might be able to work out the positive sides of those negative ideas.”

Want to read more or buy my piece? Check it out at in my portfolio at Constant Content.

Friday 11 July 2014

Garden Sculpture

Looking through my photos for some inspiration for this post, I came across this piece of garden sculpture. I captured it on my digicam at the Wheal Martyn clay museum near St Austell on our 2012 holiday. I'd like to see what happens to it in heavy rain.

Wednesday 9 July 2014

The Dog Loving Community

Jade has introduced me to so many people since we got her.

The other day I was walking Jade by the lake in Ham Common which runs alongside Rockley Beach, and I saw a really huge fish sail by majestically with a languid wave of its tail in the shallow water near the bank. A solitary man was nearby, on his own with no dog. I was so excited by the size of this fish that I spoke to him.

" I just saw the most enormous fish." I indicated the size with my hands.

"Oh yes. There are some big ones in there. I used to fish here and come down with my dog, but we lost her a couple of weeks ago. She had cancer and we couldn't let her go on suffering." I made sympathetic noises and he made a fuss of Jade and then fell into step as we retraced our steps towards the car park. I felt a bit nervous then, as there was no-one else in sight, but I needn't have worried.

Over a couple of hundred yards before we went our separate ways, it seemed like I got his life story and he said, "We are thinking about getting another dog, but in 12 years time I'll be 72 and I don't know if I could cope." I had to laugh.

"We are both over 70 and we have Jade and it's fine. She gets me up in the morning and she gets us out every day." I hope I meet him again, walking another dog.

When Jade and I go to the local park in the morning, we meet a selection of dog walking neighbours. You always learn the dog's name first; then over time you might learn their owners'names. There is Max, the cocker spaniel who comes to work with his mistress in a factory on the industrial estate across the road from the park. She seems to start work at 7.30 after she lets Max stretch his legs and complete his toilet in the park. I'm not sure if she is called Heather or Vicky. We have to be early to meet up with them.

The first couple we ever met was Charlie, the springer spaniel, and his owner Olivia who is a dog minder, so a very useful person to know. Then there is Leo, the border terrier, who has had owners, Tony and Jeanette, very worried about his health but he is better now. Bobby is another smaller terrier who has  recovered from having a growth removed that turned out to be benign. I don't know his owners' names but they have a little boy who sometimes comes out with a football, and the dad cleans ovens for a living.

Rafa is a bit of a black and white mixture and belongs to Dot who always has a pocket full of small dog biscuits. If she puts her hand in her pocket, dogs appear like magic to sit around her as they won't get one unless they sit nicely. They live in a flat below Indy, a Jack Russell who was bitten by a staffie that we no longer see. The bite got infected and it was touch and go for a while but he pulled through ok. The newest bitch on the block is Tandy, another heinz type dog owned by Keith.

I didn't realise I knew so many nearby dog lovers until I started listed them here.

Monday 7 July 2014

Back Garden Growth

The first  roses are  fading, but they have quite a few siblings that are thriving.
The lawn has seen better days before the advent of Jade.

The lobellia are escaping the hanging baskets.

The bean flowers are the same shade as their neighbouring nasturtiums and a contrast
to the self seeded poppies, all of which I cannot treat as weeds.

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Bridge of Sighs, Venice

When I took this photo, I thought I was standing on the Bridge of Sighs as I was using a rather inadequate map. Now I know better. The bridge in question is the covered one high above this canal. It is said to be where convicted criminals got their last view of Venice through its windows as they passed from the interrogation room in the Doges Palace on the left to the prison building on the right. Its name is derived from the sighs of these unfortunates.

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