Speeches and chocolate mice

I’ve been writing my wedding speech.  I’m in total panic as I realised this weekend that it’s ten weeks on Friday that we’ll do the marrying thing.

(I know it’s not normal for the bride to do a speech, and usually talking in front of people is my idea of hell, but the people coming are all very lovely, there’s not that many, and I am not the sort of person to sit back and let everyone else do the talking…)

I cannot tell you how excited I am.

I also cannot tell you how much has to be done in those weekends.  Or actually in way fewer weekends because we are away for a couple, and there is a step sons birthday…and party.  And a weekend we thought we’d have family to stay and have a big barbecue so they can all meet before the wedding.  One where I’m visiting friends, one where we are looking after the neighbours two dogs who are as nuts as ours.  And the one I’m going alpaca walking with friends, obviously.  I think we have one weekend free between now and the marrying. Gulp.

So, I started writing my speech.  It just came to me – like I’d already written it.  It was short, sweet and probably entertaining enough not to bore people.

I was proud.

I may have been a bit smug.

Then I checked through the website we created so that people could RSVP online and realised I had already written it.  On the site there is a section called ‘Our Story’ and I’d done a briefer version for just that.

So, I guess it’s back to the drawing board.  Or maybe I’ll just assume that actually, probably very few people have ready it, and even if they have, after a few drinks they won’t remember anyway.

And now, I have to get going – finish crocheting a brides head before I start work for the day… :o)

PS:  These are chocolate mice.  I bought a huge bag for the wedding.  I have now almost finished the huge bag.  I’m hoping the lady altering my wedding dress can perform miracles to hide this small ooops…

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Dog poo gate

Do you ever have those moments when you get so grumpy you almost step outside yourself and become someone else?

Last week I was walking Percy and noticed seven, yes SEVEN bags of dog poo in a pile at the nature reserve where we walk.

The back story here is that the council removed a dog poo bin from this spot a few weeks earlier as to empty it the bin men had to park on a really bust roundabout which wasn’t safe for them or other drivers.  It wasn’t a big deal as far as I was concerned as there are alternative poo bins very close, but based on the posts on the local village face book page and the local dog owners page, you would have thought the council had removed every single one of the dog owners human rights.

So when I saw the disgusting mess left by those who presumably felt they were getting one over on the council by being complete idiots, I became a bit of a keyboard warrior (which I’m not sure I’ve ever done before), and posted this to the dog owners page:

I expected a few people would tell me where to go.  I thought maybe more people would dump poo and I’d have more to clean up.  But no…

17 comments in support of what I said and 30 positive reactions.

And NO dumped poo!  I have walked past that spot twice a day for the last week and it seems that my rant plus a bit of fellow dog owner pressure did the trick.  Hooray!

Sometimes pretending to be someone else to achieve a specific goal is really effective.  But that’s probably a post for my hypnotherapy blog…


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Feeling (very, very) guilty

So, having Covid is a bit rubbish.

Managing to possibly give it to both your parents doesn’t come close.  I mean, we don’t 100% know that it was down to me, but I looked after Mum on the Monday – feeling fine -, coughed a fair bit Monday night and tested positive on Tuesday.

Well, actually, I did four tests because they couldn’t seem to find any consistency between them with one positive, one indecisive, one negative and another positive.  But the PCR test 9the big one) was positive and that’s what mattered.  Mum and Dad didn’t test positive for a few days, then…argh.

Dad didn’t seem too bad.  Mum was offered special treatments because she is still having chemo, but multiple phone assessors agreed she wasn’t poorly enough.  Which is great and not so great in equal measures.  Of the three of us, Mum suffered the most, but thankfully is now feeling back to normal, happy that her ten days are up, and dad is taking her out for a coffee and a scone today.

I’m just writing this post for posterity really.  Which is funny as I don’t really want to remember the utter panic and the ‘was it me?’, but it feels important in some ways.  And being quite good at reframing for my clients, I have managed (now I know I’ve not killed them) to turn this into ‘by giving them Covid, I’ve actually given Mum and Dad more defences against it’.  I think…

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That flowery time of year

When I was born, Mum and Dad bought a pink rhododendron.

It’s moved house a few times with them and I think it was only when Mum and Dad moved to where they are now that it made it out of its pot and into the ground.

It’s grown with me and it’s flowered around my birthday every year since,  (I’m in awe that anyone can keep a plant alive as long as we’re talking!) and I’ve had my photo taken with it pretty much every year.  Yesterday was this years photo, and as I posted a suitably embarrassing photo of my oldest friend on Face book for her birthday this morning, I realised that the rhododendron was in that too – back in 1982.  In fact, it might have been my party (that was my party dress and party shoes and just look at those ribbons in my friends hair!)

So here you have 1982:

and 2022:

And I’m not sure my parents have ever been part of this tradition, so yesterday I rectified that:


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Fun and games with Pop up Sue

I started writing this sitting at the back of a village hall watching twenty older people taking parts in an Age Uk strength and mobility class.  That particular class was focussed on strength and coordination; watching Mum was like watching a small child. She was trying so hard but finding some parts very tricky.

The class is run by ‘Pop up Sue’. That’s how she introduced herself when I called to get mum booked on. She went to great pains to tell me over and over how they ‘have a great laugh’ and a lot of things that happen are ‘hilarious’. It sounded terrible. I thought Mum would hate the enforced jollity. I thought we’d both be gritting our teeth in a matter of minutes…

Mum loved it though. And I was the one who burst out laughing when her resistance band pinged off her foot and towards the middle of the circle. Twice.

I started writing this sitting at the back of the hall, then realised that Mum needed a bit of one-to-one help as resistance bands and throwing bean bags around were a bit beyond her for the first session, and she looked a bit lost.

By the end I was holding the back of my chair just like everyone else, doing squats while balancing a bean bag on my head.  It was more than a little bit surreal.

Pop up Sue is happy to have Mum back though, so we’ll be returning in a couple of weeks (with a bit of practice in the week between, using the handy leaflet that was given to us.  I can’t see that going wrong at all…).

I never anticipated that  a chair based exercise class would be something I’d be taking Mum to.  I certainly never anticipated that she’d enjoy it, or that she would be the one in the room to struggle the most with following the instructions.  I guess there is a lot in life we don’t anticipate.

That evening I went to my circuits class and as I bitched and moaned about how hard it was as sweat poured down my face I caught myself for a moment – I wonder if actually for the ladies and gentlemen at Pop up Sues work harder in their class than I do in mine.  Then I reminded myself – they at least get a drink and biscuits (and good ones too!) for their troubles – that has to make it worth it ;o)

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The pheasant story

On Wednesdays I do a writing course / session / something (I get up and write with a group of other people who also get up and write so we are all held accountable) from 6-8am.

Percy usually gets up, sits on the sofa next to me and snoozes until Himself gets up.  This week though, Percy wouldn’t settle.  I sat on the office sofa as usual and he kept on rushing through to the kitchen, out the cat flap (yes, he still fits), into the garden and back again…only to repeat it all again a few minutes later.  I came out to the kitchen to check on him and the only unusual thing I could see was what looked like a small log in the middle of the garden.  We’ve recently had big storms so that almost wasn’t even noteworthy.

After around an hour I could hear Percy crying so rushed out again to see him lying by the backdoor, looking outside and…crying.  I looked outside…

It turned out that the ‘log’ was actually half a pheasant (head and one wing, since you wondered), I assume, caught by Mr Fox who lives in a den the other side of our fence at the bottom of the garden. Percy had brought it up as far as the back door, possibly to keep an eye on it so he could protect me from it, but wasn’t very comfortable about the whole situation. (I love that puppy).  As soon as I’d disposed of the remains, Percy was very happy to come and sleep next to me on the sofa while I tap-tapped away on the keyboard, until 8am rolled around and he realised his walk was very late this morning, all potential feathered intruders forgotten.

And that is the story of why at 7am on Wednesday I was wrapping half a pheasant in newspaper and lobbing it over a fence in the general direction of our dustbin.

It also might be why the local facebook group who have posted very regular sightings of the village pheasant in various gardens for the last few years have had no such posts since Wednesday. 🤦‍♀️

PS.  I have a photo of the pheasant, but it’s not very lovely, so here is a photo of brave Percy looking mortified in his new Equifleece – meant to protect him from mud and tics, but actually just destroying all credibility he ever had with the local pups :o)

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40 years ago…

…I was sitting  – age five, nearly six – in a school music lesson when I saw my Dad run up the school drive.  I must have caught his attention somehow and he burst into the lesson to tell me I had two sisters – twin sisters!  It was The Best Day EVER.

He rushed off again and Miss Holland –  our music teacher – told the class off for making so much noise.  I was cross with her – didn’t she realise what an important day this was?

I’m not sure I did actually.

My sisters have always, always been able to make me smile and laugh…






































…even today.  I met them for a 40th birthday brunch to find them wearing 40th badges, sashes, crowns and tiaras.  And when I gave them the fairy wings I bought them to fulfil a fairy wing need that they had recently discovered, they put them on too.  And left them on as we ate, chatted and wandered around the nearby shops; of course they did.

And I fully expect them to be doing exactly the same when we celebrate their 80’s.

Happy birthday, Sister 1 and Sister 2.  Thank you for being the sunbeams in our family and for all the tears (of laughter).  The last forty years would have been very boring without you both :o)


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The spots didn’t change after all…

Himself has gone on holiday.

I lived on my own for years and I was going to say ‘without incident’ but as I walked Percy just now, I realised that The Pog Blog came about due to the sheer number of incidents, and when I got all growed up and moved in with Himself the incidents seemed to disappear – or at least morphed into the ‘joys’ of learning to be a step Mum, then hypnotherapy-ing, then…well, life.

So Himself left a little over twenty four hours ago and so far I’ve broken my one decent grown up vase, smashed a plate and caused a small fire with flames and everything in the kitchen.  There has also been an incident with a dead pheasant, but I’ll save that for another day.

He’s away until Sunday.  It’s anyones guess how much house will still be standing by then and if the fur balls or I will make it through.  It turns out that this Pog has not changed her spots after all…


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Historic wormholes

As you probably know, it was Valentine’s day on Monday.  If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll probably understand the level of excitement I felt realising that the next one I will be a married lady!  Me, the one who had a blog reader who used to refer to me as ‘Bridget’.  Hell, I used to refer to me as Bridget.  (Until she ruined it, and got married, and could no longer be my role model).  My engagement ring is from the 1920’s or 30’s and I spend a fair amount of time wondering how it’s previous owner lived and what her life was like.  I love escaping down little historic wormholes…

Back in the present time, yesterday was a looking after Mum day and I was met with the announcement that she has started knitting a cardigan again – something she used to practically do in her sleep but since her stroke is now more like following directions to build a space ship while tying soggy spaghetti together.   We spent a long time talking the pattern though, explaining where she was on the picture, talking about the fact that no, it wasn’t too big and yes, she was following the right sizing…and she was only fifteen rows in.

After some fun and games looking after Mum last week, Dad had left out a bag of old family photos for us to look through to entertain us and keep the peace, so after setting Mum off on the next steps (‘ten more rows, exactly the same’), I took out the photos and while Mums needles clack-clacked, I drifted….

It might have been helped by the fact that for our Valentines evening I’d treated us to dinner on the Golden Arrow – a stream train made up of restored Pullman carriages – so the night before we’d been in the first class ‘Fingall’ carriage, originally built in 1924 and while the train chuff-chuffed it’s way through the Sussex darkness, we were served food in stunning surroundings with the whiff of steam making its way in through the window, transporting us back in time.

We wondered what people who had sat there ninety odd years ago would have talked about, thought about.  Whether those with the means to travel first class would have day to day worries or whether conversation would have been about the ‘frills’ – dinner parties and hunting.  I realised about then that my limited insights into the possibilities had mostly been brought to me by Downtown Abbey…

So looking through the photos with Mum it was slightly spooky to find this photo:

It’s my great grandmother who was born in 1900.  She would not have been from the same class as those people who travelled first class on the steam trains of the era, but she had a hell of a life. I knew her as she outlived all my grandparents and made it to around 98 when I was in my teens. (I say around 98 as there was some confusion over her actual birthday.  She was a woman who created a lot of confusion in her life based on some of the documents I’ve started to pull together!).

Anyway, Nina, or ‘Nin’ as I knew her (or ‘Maude’ according to her passport 😬) was clearly beautiful, so perhaps it’s no surprise that men featured a lot in her life.

This photo had writing on the back:

‘I said goodbye, 1917 Clapham Junction England

Met again Sunday April 14th, 1963, Easter Sunday at Uplands Ottawa airport

After 46 years’

In with the photos was Nins’ passport, stamped as passing her medical and immigration to enter Canada on 14th April 1963.

The story goes that in World War 1 Nin met ‘The Canadian’ – one of the troops sent over to England.  Aged 17 she had apparently waved him off as he went back to his life in Canada and got on with her life here in the UK.  She married a few years later, and when he died, she married again.  When her second husband died (and there is a whole heap of stories within those two marriages), she emigrated to meet up with the Canadian soldier and ultimately married him.

Just as a side note, when he died, his brother proposed…. but Nin came back to England.  Clearly even she had some limits!

Nin would have just started her first marriage when the train I sat on for Valentine’s evening started ferrying passengers around the country.  She wouldn’t have had the means to travel like that, but if she had, I wonder if her thoughts would have been filled with the excitement and new-ness of her first marriage, or the longing for her Canadian soldier.

We’ll never know.  But there are more photos and some more documents Dad has found and I’m going to try to put some meat on the bones of her story. Sometimes we get caught up in the now, don’t we?  And it’s easy to forget that all the things we’re going through – good and bad – have been experienced and survived by generations before us.  And those things shouldn’t be forgotten; they should be remembered, celebrated, and smiled about.

And yes, that does say ‘pyrotecknist’.  She worked in a fireworks factory from the age of 14.  Of course she did.  :o)

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Tangle-y words

For a hypnotherapist I’m scarily good at getting my words in a tangle.  The good news is that ‘confusional hypnosis’ is a thing so when my words come out wrong I can confidently convince myself that it was what I’d intended all along…

It works in hypnosis, but less so in actual real life.  Like Monday.

At the top of our road is a nature reserve.  Every year the council bring sheep onto it – it’s  called conservation grazing as the sheep keep the brambles under control and encourage the wildflowers to grow.  It works fantastically as there are so many wildflowers up there in the summer – it’s like nowhere else I’ve been to.

Now the only slight downside of this is that the nature reserve is a regular place for people to walk their dogs.  The sheep graze in three sections and each section is fenced off which makes it better but last year I saw some people who clearly didn’t know the sheep had arrived and there were a few incidents with dogs chasing the sheep.  But there is a local dog owners facebook page so last week I thought I’d post pictures of the sheep’s arrival so people had a better chance of knowing.  Some people love the sheep and all they do.  Some are miserable and hate that their dog walk has to be minimally changed.  One of the latter responded to my post. I ignored it.

And on Monday I spoke to the park ranger who was putting up the fences and asked him a bit about the sheep, who owned them (on loan to the council from a local former for the purposes of conservation) and whether they actually ate the brambles (not the big old stuff…they remove that before they go in.  They eat the young shoots though, which controls the brambles for a bit of the year and stops them taking over)

I told him about the moany person when I’d posted the detail to the facebook group.  He thanked me for doing that and asked which group I’d posted to.

‘The village dogging site’ I replied.

He looked slightly scared.

No no no…noooooo

I did tell him I’d meant to say the village dog owners group.  But I suspect he had stopped listening at that point….

Bloody tangle-y words.




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