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  • FIRST POST
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 16th Jul 16, 8:03 PM
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    *Robin*
    Blowing in the Winds of Change
    • #1
    • 16th Jul 16, 8:03 PM
    Blowing in the Winds of Change 16th Jul 16 at 8:03 PM
    A brace of raptors soaring in the breeze over the Nest just after dawn on Solstice morning gifted me the title of this, my reprise into MSE's Diary-world.

    I'd had little sleep. Partly because, well, Solstice is a special day and the night had been filled with memories of happier years, and partly because it seemed that my faithful companion was rushing towards The Light, her paws galloping in the air as she dreamed contentedly beside me.
    I was exhausted. Fear of what might come to pass if my dear girl's last, eternal bed had not been prepared before she was ready to cross Rainbow Bridge loaned me energy I could not afford; each day a single bucket of stony earth was added to a pile beside the chosen resting place.
    Dear Vet had nothing more to offer beyond comforting words and her promise to attend should the need arise, any time day or night.

    DS1 rescued me. He called to offer salutations not long after sunrise; apparently I was making no sense at all on the 'phone which led to a prompt visit - tools in hand - and the job was completed before the day's end.
    Bless him.

    Although resigned to the inevitable at that point, Clever Dog was not in pain so I decided to delay departure from the Nest until she had no more need of my staying. Her behaviour in the van suggested she would not welcome another long distance adventure and obviously, I did not wish to cause her any distress during her last days in this realm.** Despite Divo Four and Dear Relative's increasingly urgent requests for my presence at homehome, the weeks passed and each day the mercury in the thermometer rose higher.

    Meanwhile I have not been paying attention to financial matters since giving up m' previous diary: A bank card expired so I could no longer check that account. The gizmo for signing into another stopped working, but CD and I have been living comfortably on our £400 per month allowance - half of it spent on her medications and the best diet, another £50 on storage for the camper-van, and the rest - well I can't really remember, but there always seemed to be funds left in our 'daily' account when it came time to turn another page on the calendar.

    There's nothing praise-worthy about that though; it's easy to rack up NSDs when one has no energy to go out except on essential missions, and there's a plentiful supply of veg in the garden (mostly planted for me by a couple of winter visitors).
    "Garden" is perhaps no longer the right description for the wilderness which surrounds the Nest; I have not had the strength to undo Ex-Gardener's neglect (I forgave him, vastly overpaid him, but he lied and then stole from me so there was no choice but to terminate his employment, alas. I still feel very sad about that ending).

    Eventually DS4 lost patience. He 'phoned with two pieces of wonderful news: A double-first [justifying his decision to rack up a relatively modest student loan], and notification of his imminent arrival!

    We brushed the spiders gently out of camper-van, and went for a trial night away locally. CD amazed me; apparently quite happy to travel and potter about when we stopped. Maybe her vocal objections to being in the other van [**] were due to the fact that most of her trips out this year have ended at DV's clinic, being prodded, poked and stabbed (for blood tests)?

    Plumber put on his Mechanic's hat to check camper-van's travel worthiness, resulting in a trip to the garage for a little preventative maintenance and a service - which wiped out all the cash saved by living parsimoniously over the last six months. Plumber was incandescent at the size of the bill when he saw they'd replaced some good parts while failing to fix the actual fault; must say communication between the booking-in chap and mechanic was appalling, especially given that this was at the regional main dealer.
    <sigh> Not very MSE but I just wanted to get out of there so paid up (after they replaced the faulty bearing!). Oh well.

    The thought of driving all the way to the Chunnel filled me with trepidation - just don't have enough strength for such sustained effort these days, and DS4 hasn't held a full licence for long enough to be covered by insurance abroad.
    So I called the ferry company. Usually, pet-friendly cabins are booked up half a year in advance, but CD is still remembered (it's partly due to her Houdini behaviour in bygone days that pet-friendly cabins were introduced).
    Result: They found us a cabin on next week's boat!

    Now I am [supposed to be] packing. Camper-van is parked in the village; CD and I slept there last night, and I started this diary to help m' poor-ol' brain-fogged mind keep track.
    The acquaintance who outed me at the beginning of the year has not been in touch since, although half a dozen RL mates around the World did express their regret that I'd given up my first MSE diary. So much for anonymity - have decided I really don't care, because the support of all you MSEers is of inestimable value..
    Last edited by *Robin*; 29-07-2016 at 1:20 PM.
Page 3
    • NoOneAround
    • By NoOneAround 30th Jul 16, 4:38 PM
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    NoOneAround
    Just caught up
    Hope the Bee keeping course is going well Robin - something I've always been fascinated with. We have bees of our own - they live in our roof under the tiles and have been there for many years. We called someone out to see if they could take the queen bee away, but it would have meant stripping the roof and lots of cost!
    I have no idea if they might damage the roof. or how big the colony (is that the right word?) is now, it's been there as long as we have - over 2 decades!


    NOA
    x
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    Health/Fitness Challenges Priority#1 Stay Fit and healthy - whatever it takes
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    • tunathe cat
    • By tunathe cat 30th Jul 16, 9:50 PM
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    tunathe cat
    have joined your new thread x your thread has reminded me of Winnie the pooh getting stuck in Rabbits house for over eating the honey.

    Wishing you and your boys lots of happy adventures and a posh frock for yours sons graduation what about hiring one if you would not wear again! or mse a posh area charity shop for accessories


    with love
    tuna
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 31st Jul 16, 9:15 AM
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    *Robin*
    Good morning everyone; welcome to Kazwookie, carolbee* and great to 'see' you again Tuna
    (* - very appropriate moment for you to join in, given your name & my current location! ).

    NOA - have sent you a pm re your interesting dilemma.

    This course is fascinating!
    Yesterday we learned about the anatomy and life cycle of the bee, and the differences between Queens, Workers and Drones. Then followed a history of bee-keeping, modern trends, and different types of hive.
    Every couple of hours our hosts brought us more food and drink - so much that I had trouble doing justice to the wonderful variety on offer (not a problem shared by DS4, who's only just beyond the 'gannet' teen years of course ).

    At last we were released from the classroom and ushered outside to the first paddock, home to an assortment of hives.
    Most of our fellow students brought their own bee-suits so there was a delay while they kitted up, and I regretted not having the foresight to bring my own (but as we only booked to attend last week it would have been amazing if I'd thought about it while packing in Spain, of course)..
    The lecturer handed out spare veils to the few of us without protective clothing but he didn't bother suiting up at all. When I realised how friendly his bees are and that it was difficult to hear his voice while wearing the hat, I dispensed with it - no problem! Yes, there were thousands upon thousands of bees from a dozen hives flying around us, but no more than come to the Nest's West-facing terrace to drink on hot days so I wasn't worried about being stung despite having bare head and arms - we were only looking at rather than doing anyhing to the hives, no smoke was needed to distract the bees..

    The classroom sessions lasted rather longer than CD was comfortable staying in campervan by herself, so it was just as well I'd brought her crate. She wasn't very happy about being confined in that either though, and sulked for a while once released - but I simply didn't trust the free-range geese who are much too interested in CD to leave them unsupervised together in the field.

    Time to go - the rest of this post will have to wait!
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 1st Aug 16, 9:56 AM
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    *Robin*
    Good morning World,

    Wow; I'd forgotten how much energy is required for brain-work..
    Still, it's worth feeling exhausted in exchange for learning enough bee-keeping basics to get started confidently - although we now know it would be foolish to set out with less than two hives. Happily, we were taught how to build our own - several different designs - and we spent enough time looking at the Flow Hive [which is what I've already got] to understand how to get the best from it.
    Amusingly, the only person to get stung was the most experienced student in the group - although I did use a veil when we were practising moving a colony from a "nuke box" into their new home - but the bees were more curious than aggressive even then (and yes, I did talk to the ones which came buzzing near m' face ).

    DS1 'phoned; reminding me that the course leader has the same name as a very old friend of his Dad's from thirty years ago, so after the obligatory end-of-course group 'photo I posed the question (did wonder m'self but we've all changed so much in that time I just wasn't sure - he'd given no sign he recognised me).
    Amazingly, yes - the same man! So we then spent an extra hour or so reminiscing after all the other students left, and he's accepted an invite to come out to Spain for a free holiday at Divo One's posh rental villa in exchange for setting up some hives on the land there!

    The weekend could not have gone any better; we have learned a lot, will keep in touch with the hosts and at least three of the students, as well as re-connecting with a valued old family friend.

    Being so close - fifty miles - to the Eden Project, DS4 and I have driven down to get another visit out of our annual passes before they expire, and hopefully fit in a walk around the Lost Gardens of Helligan (which we missed out on last year).
    Unfortunately the weather has turned against us at last; rain is pattering down on camper-van's roof and the forecast doesn't look good at all for the time we have available. Still, we've got coats and a brolley so we'll do our best to make the most of this side-trip in Cornwall.
    Of course today there's no power being generated by camper-van's solar panel, so I'd better stop writing for now - replies to everyone who posted the other day will - alas - have to wait a bit longer.

    Spends:
    Cheap Cornish fuel - £58 (just under a full tank - about £30 less than the same quantity in East Anglia ).
    • joeyjimbles
    • By joeyjimbles 1st Aug 16, 11:06 AM
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    joeyjimbles
    That sounds a wonderful course, and how marvellous to remeet an old acquaintance - serendipity is wonderful.
    I do hope you get to Helligan. And if you can manage the paths being slippy, then it is even more beautiful after the rain. We've been several times over the years, both DSs enjoy it, and its very special. We like the Eden Project too but they boys find it a bit too samey year on year.
    Last edited by joeyjimbles; 01-08-2016 at 11:08 AM.
    • please-let-me-be-lucky
    • By please-let-me-be-lucky 1st Aug 16, 11:17 AM
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    please-let-me-be-lucky
    What a wonderful coincidence that you knew the course leader! Some things are meant to 'bee' .

    Have a lovely day Xx
    Debts @ LBM £23,729.31. Debts @ 08/04/2016 £0

    NSDs achieved in December 1/5
    Lbs lost 10/107.
    • Sun Addict
    • By Sun Addict 1st Aug 16, 8:26 PM
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    Sun Addict
    How lovely to meet up with old family friend by chance like that, talk about fate. Enjoy Cornwall - hope the sun shines for you
    Virtual Sealed Pot 2018 £20.70
    December 3 NSD
    Weight loss 2/7lbs
    Mr SA finally in remission December 2013
    • Dansmam
    • By Dansmam 1st Aug 16, 8:45 PM
    • 535 Posts
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    Dansmam
    Serendippybee. Sorry, had to share that thought...sorry, sorry, slopes off in embarrassment.
    Pops back in to share another thought. Don't suppose you got a look round that campervan did you Robin? Bit of an obsession of mine...
    Hope you got round Heligan in the dry, such a special place.
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 2nd Aug 16, 1:21 AM
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    *Robin*
    Catch-up time:

    as a long time sufferer of campervan envy please post details if they let you look in. Weeding day here today and I'll keep a bee count as DD posts on some insect research site.
    Originally posted by Dansmam
    Posh mo-ho was a German A-Class, six berth. Very well finished; nice facings on the cabinets, but a little disappointing that underneath it was the same ol' mdf (- is that what I mean? Wood-substitute made out of squashed, glued sawdusty-stuff. Suppose it is lighter than solid hardwood, which is important when considering payload and fuel consumption).
    One double bed lowered over the front seats, a pair of singles or another double could be constructed from the dinette + side-facing sofa, and there was a fixed French bed at the rear above a 'garage', next to the bathroom (which was a decent size with seperate shower).
    Must say am not so keen on the models with living area for'ard; four people can sit at the dinette with another two 'behind them' on Captains' chairs (the driver's & front passenger's seats swivelled around). The sofa is more comfortable, but can't be used while travelling and when camping, anyone moving around the 'van is obliged to step over the legs of those relaxing on it.. The models with a living area at the back always seem more roomy to me even if the 'van is actually smaller.
    This particular mo-ho boasted two TVs and a microwave - none of which would really be a hardship to live without on holiday, but I was a tad jealous of the fridge - twice the size of a standard 'van one, and had a proper seperate freezer above. There was no gas oven though - instead it had a 'cadac' which is a posh gas barbeque that plugs in outside, and apparently can be used for roasting if required. The kitchen area was situated between the dinette and the French bed.

    It was very nice, but I'd not have swapped it for m' dear ol' camper-van. The extra length would be a hassle, and I bet it's much less economic on fuel (automatic gearbox too). I'd be terrified of damaging it inside and out [spares very expensive], plus there's the not insignificant matter of the hefty price-tag these A-Class mo-hos command..

    ..Is that the sort of detail you were hoping for?

    How was your bee-count, Dansmam - do you know where the closest hive is?
    Last edited by *Robin*; 02-08-2016 at 1:24 AM.
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 2nd Aug 16, 2:01 AM
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    *Robin*
    I lurked on your old thread, posted evey now and then, as I love your style of writing.
    Originally posted by kazwookie
    Aww, thank you Kazwookie, you are too kind..

    I love reading about the Nest, and so wish I had been nearer to k**k the !!! out of the old gardener who you left in charge............
    Originally posted by kazwookie
    Young gardener, not old.. Trouble was, he'd been bullied so badly by his Mum that independant, constructive thought was much harder for him than I realised; his defence to any mishap was lies and avoidance - thought he realised he didn't need to do that with me; while I was over-seeing his work he learned pretty well, but once left in charge of the garden his fear of messing-up became a self-fulfilling prophesy, alas.
    Stealing cash was the final straw - couldn't keep him on after that. Sadly he's fallen further into undesirable habits recently, already bringing himself to the attention of the Law.

    If you ever need any where to park up for a day or two, my drive is available, well it, will be if I move cars and motorbike, think near Milton Keynes type area, and there is an aldi near by!
    Originally posted by kazwookie
    Thank you for such a lovely offer, that's really very kind of you Kaswookie! If I need to stop off near MK, I'll get in touch - happy to help play musical vehicles to make 'em all fit neatly, lol.
    Last edited by *Robin*; 02-08-2016 at 2:05 AM.
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 2nd Aug 16, 3:17 AM
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    *Robin*
    I too love your writing style, but also want deal sternly with those who cross you, you sound too lovely to upset. love to hear about the Divos, could we have a quick recap of what they're up to, and you too! for the benefit of us with bad memories and new readers?if you feel comfortable sharing that info?
    Originally posted by carolbee
    Another very kind comment, thank you Carolbee.
    ..Could use some help dealing with people like ex-Gardener's Mum - she tried her nasty tactics on me too; all I could do was repeat parrot-fashion:
    "I won't let you bully me!" ..Until she gave up and went away. Now I just don't have anything to do with her - which is a bit of a cop-out really.

    The Divos. Hmm, might be most politic not to post a potted history at this point, as the last thing I want to do is offend any of 'em by sharing details they'd rather keep private. But they're all doing well, turning adversity into opportunity when it strikes, and making me proud to be their Mum - doubtless snippets of news will escape here & there..
    Last edited by *Robin*; 02-08-2016 at 3:32 AM.
    • NoOneAround
    • By NoOneAround 2nd Aug 16, 10:44 AM
    • 1,610 Posts
    • 7,760 Thanks
    NoOneAround
    What an amazing coincidence - here's to making new friends and finding old ones again
    Have a lovely day
    NOA
    x
    Feb2014 Total unsecured debt £72,520>>01/06/16 £68166>01/04/17 £66,996=7.62%PAID
    Mortgage Jan14=209,800 Jan15=£200,300 Jan17£180,700>OCT17 £173,200
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    Wombling Free Cash May2016 £51
    • Dansmam
    • By Dansmam 2nd Aug 16, 9:02 PM
    • 535 Posts
    • 1,821 Thanks
    Dansmam
    Hi Robin and thanks for indulging me in my campervan obsession. Perfect level of detail thanks and food for thought on the seating arrangement. It sounds an absolute monster of a motorhome and I shall keep my dreams to more modest proportions! One day I will hit the road in my own little van and enjoy the freedom - a wage slave for a little longer but time will fly I'm sure. Bee count was a max of 15 in 20 mins which is pretty good going for round here. Nearest hive I don't know - nearest beekeeper is just round the corner but he keeps his bees out in the wilds.
    So where's next for your travels? Safe journey and may the wind propel the van on its way, sun be always on your face and solar panels and CD at your feet - just not when you're driving ����
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 3rd Aug 16, 8:23 AM
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    *Robin*
    Good morning,

    Phew - crazy couple of days! Images: Rain, rain and more pouring rain pounding on camper-van's roof; was every single holiday-maker in Cornwall visiting Eden at the same time? ..Felt like it; poor CD buffeted by a million legs rushing towards all the indoor areas. Getting soaked. Exhausted. Found a locals' pub with a kind landlord who let us stay in his car-park. Woke up to find ourselves surrounded by mourners arriving for a wake - shifted fast - more rain.. Bad visibility on roads with roundabouts every couple of minutes - which exit? Stop. Painkillers. Divo Four in charge:
    "You're too tired, Mother - no more walking or we won't get to our next destination." He's right - sad to miss Helligan yet again but Joey's tip about slippery paths sealed the decision.
    Crowded spray-bespattered motorway; why do people drive so dangerously close together? ..Leave a safe distance behind the vehicle in front and five cars swerve to fill it - aargh!
    Pause at a service area with a humorous name I can't remember while DS cooks a meal - more painkillers then follow Snoopy's directions a hundred tedious wet miles to safety; friendly faces at last. Issued with wristbands in blue, silver and gold - how is CD supposed to wear hers (- a dilemma we have yet to solve!)?
    Park in the dark, on slippery long grass - will campervan sink before we can sort ourselves out in the morning? A midnight visitor; yup we're in the wrong place:
    "'Tents only' here, Missus. Ok for tonight but could you move over by the fence first thing tomorrow." Anything you say, mate - just please let me sleep on this flat bit for now.

    Blessings be; dawn through the roof-light shows a square of rushing clouds with blue patches scattered liberally - it's stopped raining, hooray! Sleep has fled but nobody else is awake yet - I love this time. Rolling parkland stretches into the distance, dotted with magnificent trees. Beyond the fence a race-track, on this side a few tents and campervans scattered around, plenty of lush green grass between 'em. Ha - that won't last long!
    Wriggle feet into soaking wet shoes, make mental note to visit J's wellie-boot stall at the earliest opportunity - better investigate 'the facilities' before the morning rush []..
    Last edited by *Robin*; 10-08-2016 at 7:15 PM.
    • joeyjimbles
    • By joeyjimbles 3rd Aug 16, 11:03 AM
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    joeyjimbles
    I'm so sorry that you missed Helligan again - I feel a bit guilty that it was because of my comment, but I know that when we last visited with my parents, my mother had to keep firmly between DS1 and OH so she could grab either on some of the slippier slopes and it had only been showery the day before. I do hope you'll get there before long.
    • Brightspark87
    • By Brightspark87 3rd Aug 16, 4:03 PM
    • 1,405 Posts
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    Brightspark87
    Robin! You've made my day. I have your new diary saved and SO have enjoyed reading about you and CD again. I did miss you lots.

    You've been through an awful lot though haven't you? Sending licks and love to you both can't wait to hear the next instalment xxx
    Sealed Pot Challenge 373 - Target £300- Total £56.78
    married in 2014
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    • milasavesmoney
    • By milasavesmoney 3rd Aug 16, 5:36 PM
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    milasavesmoney
    CD's wrist band can be hooked through the collar. It will be stunning.
    Overprepare, then go with the flow.
    [Regina Brett]
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 4th Aug 16, 12:04 PM
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    • 12,776 Thanks
    *Robin*
    Good morning,

    Thanks for popping in, everyone who has done so over the past few days.. Sorry but can't spend much time scrolling back and forth to respond to all comments because heavy cloud and rain yesterday means am a tad short* on solar-battery power.
    (* That's an understatement! ).

    I'm so sorry that you missed Helligan again - I feel a bit guilty that it was because of my comment, but I know that when we last visited with my parents, my mother had to keep firmly between DS1 and OH so she could grab either on some of the slippier slopes and it had only been showery the day before. I do hope you'll get there before long.
    Originally posted by joeyjimbles
    Please don't feel guilty, Joey; it's really not your fault that I've been overdrawing my energy-banks since leaving The Nest!
    Divo Four was quite correct when he insisted we should turn around, abandoning the trip to Helligan. I was already so tired it was verging on being unsafe to drive, and am used to having to make choices about which activities are achievable and what is simply stupid to attempt, when deciding how to spend m' limited daily "spoons".
    As it was, had to use m' cane when walking and return to bed after each of three short wanders around site with CD yesterday. Did revive enough to put dinner in the oven while DS4 was at the stewards' induction meeting though - so count the day a resounding success (by ME standards ).
    Found some old friends, met our temporary neighbours for the week, and CD began collecting new fans (she is such a popular girl, wherever we go! ..Must say she's looking stronger and healthier with each day that passes; she still loves travelling it turns out, although am certain being away from the Spanish summer heat is helping a lot ).

    CD's wrist band can be hooked through the collar. It will be stunning.
    by milasavesmoney
    Yesterday I just carried CD's gold band (trust her to be given a gold one - very appropriate for such a princess! ). Having had near-disasters in the past with dogs almost strangling themselves when they've got caught up on an unexpected hazard, I now only use 'easy-release' collars - anyone could get CD's off with a quick tug.
    But some people have smuggled their pets onto site - there are already more here than the total number of available dog-tickets - so this morning I've reinforced CD's ID and sewn it on to her harness [which is definitely not easy or quick to remove]; hopefully that will keep it safe, and her 'legal'.

    Hello Sparky - now a fellow dog-owner; well done - you're in for so much fun over hopefully many years to come!
    Glad you've 'found' m' new diary - missed you too (gave you a wave as we drove towards the Severn Bridge the other night, lol).

    Right. Must stop typing, give the solar panel a chance to charge lappy properly, and put away the last batch of groceries we picked up just before arriving here.
    Later today we are looking forward to something of a family reunion because DS3 & GGF, and DSD1 plus family are all inbound - but at the moment there's only enough room for two people to sit down in campervan comfortably..
    Do hope DSD1 brings her own vittals, but feel relieved Divo Four spotted a 'Calor Gas Here' sign at a garden centre - allowing us to replace the empty bottle - and thence guarantee supplies of hot tea.

    Spends:
    Gas - £23.05 (I think?).
    Groceries for four / Dawg food / a bottle or six for the booze drinkers - £60
    Last edited by *Robin*; 04-08-2016 at 12:07 PM.
    • Sun Addict
    • By Sun Addict 4th Aug 16, 8:27 PM
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    Sun Addict
    Glad to read CD is doing well. My little dog has developed an allergy to pollen, the vet says it's quite common in dogs under five. So any tips from you would be most welcome. Bought her some Yumega to add to her food but it takes up to six weeks to work.

    Hope you enjoyed your family reunion.
    Virtual Sealed Pot 2018 £20.70
    December 3 NSD
    Weight loss 2/7lbs
    Mr SA finally in remission December 2013
    • Brightspark87
    • By Brightspark87 5th Aug 16, 10:54 AM
    • 1,405 Posts
    • 3,766 Thanks
    Brightspark87
    Hi Robin

    Our bedroom overlooks the Severn Bridge! (from a distance so not noise)

    Lovely to hear that CD has so many admirers. I am so loving having a dog. It seems to being positive reactions when you are out and about too -
    never had so many smiles and understanding when out walking by myself.

    Hope you are enjoying yourselves and well done on the harness sewing - what a good idea! xxx
    Sealed Pot Challenge 373 - Target £300- Total £56.78
    married in 2014
    Paid off all Catalogues 10.10.2014

    Debt Free July 2016
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