Interesting skies this week. Not necessarily nice, but interesting nonetheless. Just before three on Wednesday afternoon, the sky looked like this. I know what you’re thinking; haven’t we seen this image before? You haven’t, but you have probably seen one very like it that was taken last August. That one, however, was taken later in the day and the near-sunset sky was a different colour. OK – confession time. We love these clear double rainbows, and that crock of gold is so close.
A few hours later, whilst we were walking the dogs, the sky seemed to us to be rather strange. It was dark, heavy, almost stormy, but with diagonal streaks of thinner, paler cloud and, just to make it really weird, a line of fluffy white clouds of the sort that one expects to see against a clear, blue sky. Of course, we didn’t have a real camera with us, so I did what I could with my phone, zooming in a bit, just to make sure that the resulting image was as cruddy as possible.
This photo doesn’t do the sky justice, but it’s the best I have.
We did enjoy some sun earlier in the week. On one afternoon, we were in shirtsleeves walking the dogs; one of only three days recently when it has been warm enough to leave the fleeces at home. During that afternoon, Clare was very excited about a butterfly she had seen in what we euphemistically refer to as the wild part of the the garden. I know, I know, but if it’s OK for me to get excited about a never-before-seen bird [link], then it’s OK for Clare to get excited about a never-before-seen butterfly. We, and others, have done some looking up, and can only seem to identify this as a Zebra Swallowtail (Protographium marcellus). That, however, is native to the eastern US and is closely associated with pawpaws, being only rarely found far from these trees (Wikipedia). Confused? We certainly are.
Monday evening, following a reboot, my PC failed to recognise any USB devices – yes, that included wireless keyboard and mouse! It is a laptop, so I was able to continue, albeit with none of the devices that are permanently connected, and using that awful built-in trackpad. I spent almost three hours on Tuesday morning searching for solutions and tried various suggestions, none of which helped at all. Finally, in desperation, I uninstalled both USB host controllers from the machine and rebooted. During boot, it reinstalled the self-same controllers, and all was OK again. Go figure, as they say.
On Wednesday, I went to see the doctor. He assumed I had wanted to talk about the latest blood test results (I didn’t) and launched into a soliloquy on the unusual nature of the error in the first test, confirmed to me that I am quite fine, sugar-wise; no sign of diabetes and asked again if I was sure that I was fasted for the test. I said that I was – both sure and fasted. I didn’t say of course I was; had I not been, the cholesterol results would have been skewed as well. I then told him why I had called. I had noticed that what I thought to be a long-standing mole on my back had suddenly become tender and almost painful. He examined me. He declared that it’s nothing and that I must have scratched it; a possibility that I can concede, although I’m not aware of having done so. Having said it was nothing, he then proceeded to attack it with liquid nitrogen to freeze it, following which he came at me with what I can only describe as a miniature cattle prod, with which he attacked it from every conceivable angle. Interestingly, the first time I said ouch, he stopped. Perhaps he was testing my threshold, or this was some kind of punishment and he needed to know that it had hurt properly. He put a plaster on it, then said something I totally failed to understand but that was probably quite important. Hey-ho.
Last week, I said that Clare’s car is almost ready. That bears repeating, if only because nothing has changed. We identified the (very small) parts that need to be sourced and did some looking. We want a single special banjo fixing bolt for each side. The best I could find was offered by a supplier in the UK that said they couldn’t supply just the bolts, we would need to buy the full brake hose with fittings. Each hose (remember we need two) costs £27.54, plus £19.99 shipping. That means a total, depending on whether the shipping is per item or not, of either £75.07 or £95.06 for two little bolts! Jan found another vendor who were prepared to sell just the banjo and bolt for £4.99 plus £2.90 shipping. Again, depending on how shipping charges are applied, that makes either £12.88 or £15.78. That, I can live with. I now just need Jan to give me the banjo bolt thread size and the hose internal diameter, then I can order the bits.
I am hoping that we can have Lizzie back to work fairly soon. I quite fancy going away for my sixty-fourth birthday and the following weekend, provided the weather holds.
You remember Ulysse, don’t you? He’s the one we don’t say too much about. It is unusual for him to do anything spectacularly bad, or spectacularly good, for that matter. He is, for the most part, a reliable, well-behaved, biddable and responsive dog. His image doesn’t appear on this blog as often, partly because he does little that is sufficiently bad, cute or downright weird to be remarkable, but partly also because he’s not as pretty as Trevor. Clare tells me I am shallow, but I think pretty matters. This week, Ulysse decided that we should have something different to write about; something not involving Trevor. I shall let Clare tell the story:
“We were doing our usual 5km walk with the dogs and were almost home, when they both decided to dart into a field of cereal crop, about a metre in height. We screamed at them to come out, but only Trevor appeared. I scanned the field and couldn’t see Ulysse, so we did our usual thing, which is to walk off and expect him to follow. That always works – if he thinks we are abandoning him, he rushes to rejoin us as quickly as he can. This time, he didn’t. I had seen nothing to suggest that he had gone very far into the field (you can normally see the crop parting and moving as they pass through it) which left me thinking that he must have had a fit.
I didn’t want to clamber under the rusty barbed wire and into the field to recover him, because it would have involved damaging the crop (and myself!), so I just waited for him to come round and make his way out of the field and back to us. He generally recovers in ten to fifteen minutes. When he hadn’t come back after twenty minutes, I started to think that he must have run off after all, so I set about looking for him in earnest.
About an hour later, whilst I was driving around the area looking for a dead body on the main road – you know how your mind starts to think the worst after a while – my mobile phone rang. It was Keith, who had stayed at home in case someone called to say they had found him. He called to let me know that Ulysse had just nonchalantly sauntered in through the front gate from completely the other direction!
We have no idea where he had been or what he had been doing, and whether or not he had suffered a fit. I was relieved to have him back, though, I can tell you.
He has these seizures about once a month. The vet said that we shouldn’t worry too much, although if they become frequent he will have to take some sort of medication. The fits are usually worse for us than for him; I don’t think he is aware whilst he is fitting. We just try and keep him safe whilst they are happening and let him ride out the storm. The trouble is, when he comes round he is usually confused and very wobbly on his legs. This is what makes me think that he may have stumbled off in the wrong direction.
Anyway, all’s well that ends well and we can breathe again.
Footnote – it’s a good job that Keith phoned me when he did. At the time he called, I was outside the gendarmerie on the point of telling them in my very best Franglaise that our dog is missing – now THAT would have been funny, I can tell you!”
About 107 days until our next big trip.