About This Blog

This blog was originally started as a thread on the forum pages of an animal rescue site. Now it's here!

The articles you find in here are purely for entertainment (yours and mine) and (with one or two exceptions) are all tongue-in-cheek chronicles of the World (my bit, anyway) as I see it.
No disrespect is intended towards anyone unless I make a mistake and make it too obvious.

I hope you enjoy my offerings. Feedback and comments of any kind are welcome.

Friday, 29 June 2012

The Frighteners!

Sometimes, not often, the cafe where my client and I have our mid-morning coffee is quite full.

Today it was full to the rafters, but we managed to find a free table and settled ourselves down before ordering a sausage roll and coffee (for me) and a tea (for my client).

Then two women of approximately my age asked if the other two chairs at the table were taken and would we mind if they sat there.

I said they were free and it would be fine for them to sit down.

We went through that initial awkward silence as they sat, followed quickly by an even more awkward attempt at conversation, before they settled to their conversation and we to ours.

Our conversation was, as you would expect when chatting to someone with learning difficulties, somewhat limited ... so I eavesdropped!

At first they talked about their kids and universities, before going on about shopping and prices.

Then the following was said:

Woman 1: I could have killed my old man last night!
Woman 2: Why? (there was a heavy sigh) What'd he do?
W1:          Nothing! He was just there!!! 
W2:          Ah!  One of those day's, was it?
W1:          Oooooo! He just sat there watching the football!
W2:          Men!!! Your's is no different to mine.
W1:          Then he said 'Get me a beer, love' and that was it!
                 I screamed and went to bed.

W2:          It's  (this next words were whispered with very exaggerated lip movements)
                The Change.
W1:          You think so?
W2:          Well you are of a certain age, Joan!

They then went on to scare the bejabbers out of me by going through the symptoms of the menopause.

    Let's go back, for a moment, to my childhood because, as I recall,there were many 'women of a certain age'
    around then.  I can remember 'The Change' being mentioned in that same half whispered mime by some
    of the females in our clan.

    I had no idea what it meant but when the words "I'm going through the change" were uttered, I thought 
    they were sorting out their pocketful of pennies, so I would always get my money box out.

They listed and discussed about 37 (thirty-seven) of the most prominent symptoms of the 'change'.

The symptoms, including depression, range from this ...

... to this ...
image borrowed from HERE
(I hope they don't mind)
Scary, isn't it?

And the most frightening of all is that one day, maybe soon, my wife (better known as 'She Who Must Be Obeyed') will become one of those 'Women of a certain age' and I will be in the cross-hairs of frustration.

I'm going to move into the garden shed when things get tough!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

A Re-Run Of Silly!

I was having my breakfast at teatime on a cold, dark sunlit morning when to my surprise I could smell the colour of the sound the door bell makes.

"Well" I said loudly to myself. "Who on earth could be banging my bell in that shade of pink"?

Curious as to whom my visitor may be, I sent the dog to the front door with a 50p piece and a note saying 'call me'.

A few minutes later the phone rang so I answered the door saying "It’s a little bit late to be phoning at this time in the morning isn't it"?

The lady at the door I immediately recognised as someone I didn't know.

"Sir" she said without a by your leave. "I am your local neighbourhood Avon lady and I have travelled many miles from across the street to save your legs from the terrible blight of hairy legness".

Had she seen me through the window as I paraded myself naked dressed as a man with clothes on? Had my wife informed her of my most deeply held secret during one of her weekly naughty knicker meeting in the church hall?

How could she know of my shameful secret that only a handful of people at 'Gossips Anonymous' knew?

"Come in" I spluttered at her "and wipe your face with this towel".

She entered by way of in and stood in the hallway as I closed the door in the direction of shut.

"Tell me," I said as the last drops of spittle were wiped from her chin "how did you come into possession of the knowledge which you know of my hairyness"?

"Sir," she said pronouncing the comma, "I must confess that I did not know of your hairyness and that I used that merely as a ruse to gain access to your home".

"Well it worked" I answered somewhat jealously as I did not have a comma in my statement that I could pronounce as well as she had pronounced hers.

"I am in fact your local neighborhood murderer from London" she stated calmly pulling out a huge knife of minute proportions "and I have come to extract revenge on you, Arthur Plunger, for sneakily telling the law publicly who I am."

"But I live in Cardiff and my name is Daffydd Murgatroyd!" I spluttered again handing her the towel.

"Plunger wasn't at home!" she said calmly.

I stood, nervously hopping from foot to foot and said "I have no more dialogue."

"Neither have I" she answered.

"Are we done then” I asked.

"Suppose so" she said.

We retired to the billiard room which wasn't there yesterday and agreed totally with each other that it was a peculiar ending to a promising start and mediocre middle.

"We should have done the 'Four Candles' sketch" I said.

"Been done" she answered bitterly.

Together we sidled from the page and out of view of the reader.

"That was embarrassing" we said together as the author closed the editor and saved his work.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Taking A Leak In Antwerp

Let me tell you about Antwerp.

It was early summer of 1981 and the Army had decided that I should learn to drive.

Learning to driving was not very high on my agenda at that time as I reckoned it could seriously hamper my drinking and general enjoyment of life.

But the Army had other ideas.

I expected to have to attend the Army driving school in Sennelage, just down the road from where I was stationed, but no ... I received my orders to attend the larger (and better equipped) driving school in Antwerp, Belgium.  It meant a journey of about 170 to 180 miles (approx. 300 Km).

When the day arrived for me to depart, I was grumpy. I hated (and still do) train journeys that are longer than an hour. But, as luck would have it, I spent most of that journey being entertained by an elderly, one legged German gentleman.  He showed me magic tricks with a coin that I just could not learn, pushed a cigarette through a piece of paper (another trick) without making a hole and told me riveting tales of his war time experiences.

Apparently he had been a bad boy as a youngster and at the outbreak of war had been in prison for theft and burglary. When things started to go pear shaped with the German's Russian campaign, he was one of thousands of prisoners that were released and sent to serve The Fatherland in a Penal (to do with 'punishment' not 'willies') Battalion.  With only basic training, his battalion was despatched to Russia.

He came very close to tears on a few occasions, as he skimmed over accounts of the engagements he and his fellow prisoners had taken part in.  Then he told me how he had lost his leg.

He and his unit were dug-in near Kursk when they were attacked by a very strong Russian force. For hours they fought off massed, and reckless, Russian attacks, until a German artillery unit managed to end the action by raining down shells into the advancing Russians.  It was one of those German shells that fell short of it's target that had killed several of his friends and removed his leg.

Of course, he told this story in far more detail, recalling his friends and allowing himself minor digressions as he did so.  He said that he recalled that even though his leg was missing and he was in great pain how pleased he was that his war was over. He remembered how on the day he was evacuated from the aid station, how his comrades 'congratulated' him on being able to go home.

At that time, he had said, we didn't know that 'home' was soon be the 'front line'.

He left the train before we crossed the boarder into Belgium and for the following hour or so before the train reached Antwerp, I sat alone and I, for the first time in my short military career, thought about what would happen if the Russians and their allies decided to take a stroll through the Fulda Gap.

By the time the train pulled into Antwerp's main station,I was busting! I needed to pee!

I raced down the platform, flashed my ticket at the gate and scanned the area of the main hall for toilets.

I found them located near the exit and I raced in.

As I ran in, I could see a long line of urinals along the wall on the right side. On the left wall there was a very long mirror ... or so I thought.

I dumped my case and kitbag, unzipped and uncoiled the 'hose'.


Relieved, I packed everything away in my trousers and turned to get my bags and head for the exit.

I stopped dead.

Before me were the upper torso's of at least seven or eight women.

What I took to be a very long mirror in my haste to lighten my load was, in fact, a very long hole in the wall to the ladies toilets on the other side!

Red faced, and accompanied by a round of applause from the ladies, I left the toilet in even greater haste
than I had arrived in.

It was then that I noticed for the first time a sign in several languages that stated:

Gentlemen's toilets closed for repair. 

Please use the toilets at the North exit!


Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Body That Popped!

There was a pause in the conversation.

I was once again being admonished for forgetting to do something.

For a moment I felt like a schoolboy receiving a severe ticking-off for forgetting my homework.

I shuffled my feet.


"Well what?"  I said, the pause now well and truly over and my state of confusion deepening.

"God give me strength!" came the reply. "What are you going to do about it?"

It was one of those admonishments that let's you know you have done (or not done) something, thereby causing your 'other half' great displeasure, but without actually giving you that key piece of information that let's you know exactly what it was that you did, or didn't, do.

I was tired after a long day in the workshop with a client and was not up for a fight of any kind.

"What do you suggest I do?" I asked, hoping desperately for a hint.

"Oh for goodness sake!"

There was another pause, then a pause that appeared pregnant and then, finally, that pop of a baby pause.

I was in the wrong but didn't know in which 'wrong' I was neck deep in.

There was nothing else to do.

So I body-popped!
This ain't me!

For the first time in my life, I body-popped!

God knows what I looked like as I did it. I don't even know if I did it right.

But the mood of She Who Must Be Obeyed lightened.  A confused expression passed over her face, quickly followed by giggles then raucous laughter.  Tears streamed down her face as she laughed until it hurt.

She never told me what I'd done wrong ... and I'm not going to ask either.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


I guess in the world of blogging that I am a bit of a 'lightweight' really.

I blog when I can, not when I want, so I'm there are days when nothing appears here at all.

I have no specific format or routine that I adhere to and I have no regular 'topics' or 'themes'. In fact ... and I have said this before ... I make it all up as I go along.

But there are so many bloggers out there (that I both admire and envy at the same time) that I always make time for.

I admire their ability to churn out amazing articles day after day, but envy them for having the time to do so.  I don't envy them their skill at juggling words ... I can do that (Hehehe! At times I can be pretty damned good) ...  but I envy the minds that think up and produce new articles faster than I can eat a packet of chocolate Hobnobs ... and believe me, I can eat choccy Hobnobs pretty damned fast!

So, if you are one of the 'prolific' dozen or so that read on a regular basis, consider your backs well and truly slapped and yourselves congratulated for a job well done. 

Although I have never met any of you, and probably never will, I consider you all to be 'my friends' and, from this day on, I expect to be added to your Christmas Card and Birthday lists and look forward to receiving loads of present and cards.

P.S. It is a tradition in this country that when someone declares you to be a friend that you send him, or her, $50 in the mail.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Don't Talk To Daddy Like That!

A few weeks back, on one of those really, really depressing rainy days, I was out and about with a client.  I was to take him for lunch and generally entertain him for the afternoon.

He was miserable.

I was miserable.

I did mention the rain, right?

Well, we were both soaking wet by the time we arrived at the Fox & Hounds for some well earned food.

As my client and I were waiting for our meals, a smartly dressed couple occupied the table just behind us.

The woman ... blonde, chunky and heavily perfumed ... sat with her back towards me. On the other side of the table, her husband ... herringbone patterned jacket, red tie and terribly baggy black trousers ... picked up a menu and perused.

After a minute or two, and after they had ordered (steak and chips for him and a chicken tikka baguette with salad for her), his phone bingely-bingely-beeped.

"Hello" he said. "Yes ... but I ... no, no ... now wait a damned min... who do you think... what? If you think... what do you mean "my fault"? Ah-ha, ah-ha, hmmm ... ok ... I'll be there in a minute. Yes. Wait outside so I don't miss you. Be right there".

He hung up.

"Who was that?" his wife enquired.

"Your damned daughter".

"Our damned daughter, if you don't mind!  What did she want?"

"Remember that message we took for her? The one where she was to meet her friends for lunch?"

"Yes.  What about it?"

"It was for tomorrow, not today. She called me 'thick' for writing it down wrong. Now she's in the village, soaking wet and wants a lift home".

At that moment their meals were delivered.

"Tuck in!" said the husband.

"I thought you said you would be 'right there' to pick her up" she said.

"What? After the way she just spoke to me? Not a chance!  She can wait until I've had some lunch" he answered.

They ate almost in silence; just the odd comment about the food or sips from their wine glasses passed their lips. Then, as the last morsels of food were chewed into submission, the woman said "I think we'd better go and pick her up now! She's waited long enough."

"No rush" he said.

"Why not?  Where is she then?"

"Standing outside the Fox & Hounds."

"But we're in the ... ."


Thursday, 14 June 2012

For My Girl Sox

Soul Salvation

(G. Turnbull, Feb 2011)

Hardship made you lose all trust,
and sorrow turned your heart to frost.
Loneliness through the cold hard days,
memories of a family long ago lost.
Fear and anger fill your soul,
as alone you sit inside a cage.
No salvation in sight,
just cold and bitter rage.
Day after day,
night after night.
Engulfed in sadness,
with no way to fight.

then ...

Come, said a voice
right by your ear, 
Walk with me,
and have no fear.
I'll show you life,
as it ought be.
I'll show you love,
just wait, you'll see.
I will teach,
but I too will learn.
For your trust and love,
I hope to earn.
Stay with me,
until the end.
Be my companion, 
my confidant and friend

and many years form now

I will ease your crossing,
and hold you as you sleep. 
And as I wish a fond farewell,
I shall promise not to weep.
But now,
I think it's that time of day!
Get your ball,
and let's go play!

An Old Dog's Plea 

(G. Turnbull, Jan 2011)

So tired, 
so weak.
Could you please help me find,
the peace I seek?
But bide with me,
til my time is done.
And be glad for me,
for soon I will run.
Into the light,
towards green fields.
Where I can be free for ever,
when this body yields.
But cry no tears,
feel no sadness.
I will be released,
from this earthly madness.

More than 'just a dog'

(G. Turnbull, June 2010)

There is no beginning,
there is no end,
my love is yours forever,
my little doggy friend.

There are no strings,
there are no rules.
And to those who think you are 'just a dog',
I say to them, they are fools!

They don't know,
and they can't comprehend,
how a 'just a dog'
can become more than a friend.

I tell you my worries,
I share with you my woes,
and you calm my fears,
with a lick on the nose.

You are always there,
you are always near,
and with you by my side,
there is nothing to fear.

More than 'just a dog',
that is patently clear.
You are my confidant,
and I hold you so dear!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012



On this day,12.06.2012, we said farewell to
our cantankerous, but much loved, Sox.

Due to the deterioration of her health and mobility and the discovery, this morning,
of a large tumour in the neck of her bladder, the decision was made to ease
her suffering.

She slipped into sleep and crossed The Bridge at 14.20 pm surrounded by 'family' 

Sunday, 10 June 2012

It Never Rains, But It Pours

Sym, Sox and Clover
Within the space of a few months Sox has become old!

It began with her food.  At times, she couldn't, or wouldn't, eat what was put before her ... even her favourite meal of tripe. 

Over the last six to eight weeks she has lost a lot of weight ... down from 20 kilos to12.5 ... and her back legs have become stiff with arthritis.  She can no longer sit, as she once did, to receive a treat. She spends her days walking slowly after me wherever I go or sleeping.
Now things are moving from bad to worse.
She is becoming increasingly more confused and, at times, seems to forget where she is or what it was she was about to do. At other times she seems to be her usual self, albeit stiffer.
Last night, for short periods, she seemed to lose a little control over her back legs and was very unstable. At 2.50 am we heard her cries of distress. I went downstairs and found her sprawled on the floor in a puddle of her own pee. I helped her back to her feet and cleaned both her and the floor up. From that moment on, she seemed fine and even took a turn around the garden. This morning, there are no signs of the instability that she displayed last night, but I fear that it will return. Soon, maybe very soon, we will have to make that sad decision help her 'over the Bridge'.

Sym, as I have written about before, has Lymphoma. He has had two courses of treatment over the last year and a half and, as I have also previously reported, only achieved partial remission after his last treatment .
At the moment, his lymph nodes are swollen but his condition is being held in check be a course of steroids.
It seems that there is nothing we can do now but give him the best possible care until the day comes when we have to make a decision to end his suffering too.

Clover ... a sweet and sensitive dog ... will then be alone.

And I worry greatly about that!

Clover, no longer a young dog ... we think she was about 8 or 9 years old when we got her in 2009 ... spent most of her early years locked in the kennels of a puppy breeder in God knows what kind of conditions, and when she arrived here as a foster dog, was accompanied by a whole host of problems. She was afraid of the outdoors. She was scared of parked cars and terrified by moving ones. White vans would make her stop as if paralysed. She would be sick at the very notion of actually getting into a vehicle. Sudden movements or the raising of an arm would make her cringe.
It became very quickly apparent that she was not the kind of dog that most people would want to adopt. 
So, as she seemed to like Sox and Sym, we kept her.
She has always taken her lead from Sox and treats her as ... excuse the expression, dog lovers ... as the Alpha female. She is also devoted to Sym and will follow him anywhere and everywhere. Through both Sym and Sox she has gained a confidence that allows her now to look forward to short car journeys, a walk, a visit to the park and a cuddle with her 'daddy' on the sofa.

She will follow them around the house and settle close to where they settle; always seeking their company; always seeking the comfort they provide.

And I worry about how she will cope when they are no longer around.

How I will cope? 

I know we will both find it hard!

Thursday, 7 June 2012


(Sorry! It's  a repost from 6.4.2010)

I've had some thunks of late ... some disturbing ... some pleasant ... some you ain’t not never gonna hear about. But some thunks are stickier than others. Like one about all them folks whose lives appear to revolve around their medical conditions and complaints.

In my job it’s a regular thing to listen to horror stories about, for instance, operations and the scars they leave.
Never, however, have I been witness to a loud “keeping up with the Jones’s” argument about whose operation had been the most dramatic/horrific/traumatic such as was the case when I visited Burger King at Culverhouse Cross, Cardiff.

It went something like this;

Woman 1: “Scar? I’ve got wrinkles bigger than that”
Woman 2: “But you never saw the size of the swelling I got from the infection”
Woman 1: “Don’t talk to me about infections! I was in the Heath (hospital) for a month because of the infection they gave me”
Woman2: “They kept me in for six weeks with mine”
Woman1: “Yeah, but I had to go in for another two weeks ‘cos it flared up again”

I couldn’t help but think of Les Dawson and Roy Barrowclough (not the one-upmanship video I was looking for,but still funny) as I listened, nay, eavesdropped on their conversation. But it wasn't really the medical discussion that sticks in my mind, but rather the ‘one-upmanship’ which I found very amusing.

In recent months and years, I have observed, and probably even got myself caught up in, any amount of ‘one-upmanship’ contests. They range from the absurd to the sublime covering such subjects as garden furniture, children, PC’s, religion and ... dare I say it ... dogs.

And it is dogs which drag me into the depths of ‘one-upmanship’ competition. Alas, like many dog lovers, I am incredibly proud of my dogs; their gentleness, devotion and skills at such mundane things as ‘sit’ and 'down’. And to my shame, I have uttered those dreaded words “Ah, but my dogs can ...” a number of times.

Anyone else out there ever done it? Go one ... admit it!

We ALL do it cos they are family, after all.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Morning Moan: Emails From Hell

It may surprise everyone to learn that I can actually see my feet whilst standing.

It may also come as a surprise to all those charlatan pharmacist's on the internet that my feet are not the only things I see when I look down.

I would therefore respectfully like to point out that their kind offer's ... of which there have been over twenty this  morning ... of assistance in the 'appendage' size department are completely unwarranted and unwanted!  I strongly suspect that they, or their agents, have been spying through the cracks of the wrong bathrooms and have mistaken me for someone else.

Oh, yes! To all those wishing for a quick sale of potency medication (and I use the term loosely) I would just like to say ... not yet, chaps!

And to that one particular company that persists in thinking that I am in dire need of the newest, most uplifting experience in mammary support garments, I say ... Even if I were handicapped by the presence of moobs (man boobs) requiring urgent and immediate support, your garment would still not make it onto my list of 'must have' underwear. 

To everyone  else that sends me irritating emails of  one kind or another I would like to say ... Please leave me alone! You are beginning to get on my nerves in a big way.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

A Damp Patch Of Reality

At 5.45 am this morning I sat outside in the garden and watched the dogs as they strolled around looking for the right place for their morning pee.

There was a strange silence.

No bird song, no sound of traffic, no sound from neighbours.


It was so peaceful!

I felt that I was alone in the world (except for my dogs) and I remember thinking this is perfect!

I looked around.

There was a spiders web industriously being spun by an ugly brute of a spider just under the top rail of the decking.

I could see small drops of dew glistening on the silky web.

I looked at the grass. Dew twinkled there also as the early morning light gained strength.

I looked at the patched up fence (damaged by high winds at the beginning of May) and thought it's about time I did something about that, and knew instantly that I wouldn't ... not for a while at least.

Then, as if a switch had been flipped, birds began to sing and the sound of cars could be heard.

A beeping alarm clock could be heard from an open window somewhere.

I heard a door open and then close again as one of our neighbours let their dog into the garden for his morning ablutions.

A chill to started creep through my bones.

Time for a coffee, I thought.

The return of sound had shattered that magical and serene moment and my garden became just another patch of grass.

I stood up and went back into the house. The dogs followed and went to their food bowls with an expectant look on their faces.

I went upstairs and changed my trousers.

Not only had I sat in seagull shit, but I had planted my arse onto a garden chair soaked with early morning dew that I had moments before thought of as glistening and twinkling, but now thought of as bloody wet.

Just a little touch of heaven and a damp patch of reality.

What a start to the day!