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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 9
    • mummytogirls
    • By mummytogirls 27th Jan 17, 8:48 PM
    • 5,287 Posts
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    mummytogirls
    So sad to read about CD Robin, I'm gutted for you. We lost our chocolate labrador last year and were still not over it. Massive hugs to you xx
    Mummytogirls x

    £23164.32 - 12/12/10
    £7586.76 - 31/05/17 - 67.25% paid off
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 29th Jan 17, 4:16 PM
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    • 12,635 Thanks
    *Robin*
    It's a strange time; caring for someone who is approaching the next World, comforting them at the apogee and then dealing with the aftermath. Doesn't matter whether it's a person or beloved animal companion, the process and feelings are similar. Like being in a bubble of spirituality; shimmering with bright colours, edges bulging sometimes but held in place with the strength of love and trust..

    A week ago the almond trees were just bursting into gorgeous pink and white blossom, attended by myriad bees. Now fallen petals are everywhere (inside the Nest too - they blow under the front door).

    I'm still making mistakes; had trout for dinner the other night and without thinking, put the wrappings and skin by CD's water bowl for her to lick up. Being surprised over and again when walking into the living room and CD's bed isn't next to my chair. In the garden, subconsciously listening out for her voice calling..
    Hardest is the loss of routine; missing CD's cheerful but insistent demands to go for a walk in the afternoon sunshine, suddenly realising I haven't "done meds" today, and no more waking up to find m' duvet being pulled onto the floor because I've not responded quickly enough to CD's desire to be sniffing the air outside..
    She never lost her dignity or made a mess [apart from shedding fur everywhere]; in many ways the last few weeks was like looking after an elderly, much loved and respected monarch..

    I tried to post some 'photos to share with you all; wasted hours on this task actually, with no success whatsoever.

    At first Divo Three was checking on me at least once a day; bless him, I've had to go through this so many times in the last decade he needn't have worried, but it is lovely that he cares so much. Every time he brings something useful; flowers and a gorgeous "Lion's tail" bush for planting on CD's grave, a huge roll of irrigation pipe, building materials - he's making a new firewood store and cold frame - and even a bale of straw (the latter made me laugh; DS3 uses straw as mulch at the old house, but up here on the hill gusty winds would playfully scatter it within moments! ).

    The day before yesterday DS left me the van - it was the first time I've driven it since getting back to the Nest. What a novelty doing my own shopping - unsettling to realise it was also the first time I didn't have to think about hurrying back home; nobody was waiting for me - that hasn't happened since I first became a Mum.

    DS has been translating at hospital as well as keeping an eye on me last week, so he quickly retrieved the van because they had to go and collect results. Not good; another very dear old friend "on the road to Glory" (as they say here). Still, given that the country is supposed to be bankrupt and without effective government, the health service is wonderfully efficient: In the UK the patient would probably still be waiting for a GP appointment. Here he was sent to hospital on the same day he decided to visit a GP; during the following couple of weeks has already had blood tests, scans, scopes, and been given his diagnosis.

    I have stayed out of the way thus far; Old Friend has plenty of loving support already, and I need to be in a different mental and physical space before doing my bit on his journey.

    I have another problem to deal with first.
    [Edited:] Two, actually: Liquidity and the annual tussle with HMRC. Second is most urgent. Triple check numbers, nothing forgotten then press send. Why do I always leave it so late?

    Oh - and a belated "thank you" to everyone who has shared my sadness at losing CD..
    Last edited by *Robin*; 29-01-2017 at 9:20 PM.
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 6th Feb 17, 9:40 AM
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    *Robin*
    Suddenly it's February; month of spectacular sunrises, unusual cloud formations, whistling winds, very chilly nights - and the blessed relief of having dealt with obligations to HMRC!
    ..The latter is most reminiscent of waking up to discover a battering three-day migraine has vanished overnight.

    Tax return was more stressful than anticipated; simply could not get into the site.. All log-in details checked - correct - no access. Maybe too many people trying to do the same last-minute thing? The figures were not complicated this year so no reason I shouldn't input them m'self.. Avoid Accountant's fee - use the cash saved to pay vet and this month's rent for camper-van's safe parking.
    Good plan eh? ..Not to be.
    By the time it occurred to me that Accountant must have changed my HMRC log-in password, he had already left his desk. Figures finally filed by him eight hours after the deadline - resulting in £100 extra for the fine plus another bill from him. <sigh>
    Luckily there was still some credit in my account with HMRC so the eventual demand was less than I'd been dreading, and has been paid.

    Most of my income vanished when T1 was evicted** so frugality is the theme for February. Bills [bar the two mentioned above] are covered though, the store-cupboard looks ok so long as I don't start throwing dinner parties, and of course supplies for CD are no longer required. Sadly must put m' charity tithe on hold for now which is a shame and rather upsetting; hopefully will be able to make it up later.

    Luckily someone has repaid a large loan from before Xmas - Tribal Family Support System - which should be sufficient to keep me going this month plus help out DS3, who is doing quite a lot of work at the Nest.

    Now I'm on the other side of our TFSS because all savings have been soaked up in the backwards process of buying new house before proceeds from sale of flat are available. Skin of the teeth job given that am not mortgage-able, but - amazingly and with everything crossed - it seems to be coming together.

    ** Wish I could tell you all about T1's shenanigans because it makes hilarious reading - although very annoying to be part of! The plot will make a great play or comedy tv programme once everything has been sorted out. But Divo Four will do a much better job of writing it than I could, so you'll have to wait to hear about that until it's published.
    Haven't heard from DS4 since last week because he's away on a junket to Eire; collecting yet another award for his work.

    Today am grateful for wonderful friends, beloved family, and this beautiful place with caring neighbours who look out for each other.

    I tried to post some 'photos to share with you all; wasted hours on this task actually, with no success whatsoever.
    Originally posted by *Robin*
    ..TUG members may have recognised CD last week.
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 6th Feb 17, 4:00 PM
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    *Robin*
    Forgot to add earlier, alas am no longer debt-free. Not for the next few months, anyway.
    • Sun Addict
    • By Sun Addict 6th Feb 17, 4:49 PM
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    Sun Addict
    Good to hear from you, glad you're getting things sorted. I struggled to log on to the HMRC site to file Mr SA's tax return and I work there!
    Virtual Sealed Pot £424.05
    Weight loss 0/7lbs
    Mr SA finally in remission December 2013
    • please-let-me-be-lucky
    • By please-let-me-be-lucky 6th Feb 17, 6:24 PM
    • 8,061 Posts
    • 44,491 Thanks
    please-let-me-be-lucky
    If Divo 4 is better at writing than his Mum, then he must be phenomenal!!

    Lots of Love Xx
    Debts @ LBM £23,729.31. Debts @ 08/04/2016 £0

    NSDs achieved in August- 1/5
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 12th Feb 17, 11:37 AM
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    *Robin*
    Sorry. Yesterday I was too tired to cut out the prideful bits of m' last post so zilched it all. Still got PEM after recent exertions.. What drives me bonkers is the way brain-fog nibbles away at coherent thought..
    • Dansmam
    • By Dansmam 12th Feb 17, 9:40 PM
    • 513 Posts
    • 1,769 Thanks
    Dansmam
    Dear Robin
    You must have a lot to be proud of then! If you can shed the brain fog long enough to tell us I for one am intrigued! x
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 14th Feb 17, 10:28 AM
    • 3,176 Posts
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    *Robin*
    Good morning MSEers,

    Sun.A - Thanks for making me feel less stupid.

    Lucky - DS4 has a rare talent (far surpassing anything I could achieve).

    Dansmam - Sorry, that post has gone forever (I hope!).

    Divo Four has just arrived at his brother's house. The clan is gathering to bid a loving farewell to OF.
    GGF and I will join them tomorrow.

    DS3 brought back my van so must use it; think an offering in honour of OF is in order, so am going to nip out and deliver it now.

    Hold your loved ones tight, dear friends. Today and every day.
    • please-let-me-be-lucky
    • By please-let-me-be-lucky 14th Feb 17, 7:20 PM
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    • 44,491 Thanks
    please-let-me-be-lucky
    You have a lot to be proud of Robin and shouldn't be ashamed to admit it (please don't take that as any kind of slight on your beliefs).

    I hope OF's passing is peaceful and you are ok Xx
    Debts @ LBM £23,729.31. Debts @ 08/04/2016 £0

    NSDs achieved in August- 1/5
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 19th Feb 17, 2:02 PM
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    *Robin*
    Hello Stormy Sunday. Up half the night while a huge thunderstorm circled overhead - lightening flashes lit up my room even though the shutters were closed, which made it easy to count the seconds before each thunder clap. This morning the ground is spongy with all the rain it's absorbed, and the river below the Nest is churning brown froth - hurtling down towards the coast.
    As usual after rain, my bathroom floor is puddled because the window doesn't quite fit - somehow this job never reaches the top of the To Do list as it's a wet room anyway - easier and cheaper to brush puddles down the shower drain than buy a new window.

    OF achieved his desire to leave this plane peacefully, so next week is going to be busy with mates flying in from all over the globe for his funeral. Think all the bedrooms in our family houses are already earmarked, plus the local AB&Bs, and it's likely that both my and DS1's camper-vans will also have to be pressed into service after local mates' spare rooms are filled.
    Someone had the bright idea of taking over a bar that serves food for the gathering afterwards, which means we don't have to worry about catering.

    DS3 and DS4 have both given me earache in the last few days because I'm missing CD so much, have been talking about giving a home to one of the thousands of pups in rescue here.. They think I should make the most of having no dependants for a while; take a long distance holiday to visit Gourmet once the house / flat situation has been sorted out.. Tbh am not really well enough to do that - where's the fun in lying in a darkened room for weeks just to get over the flight? Plus the money such a trip would absorb could certainly be better allocated on replacement windows for the new house (desperately needed).
    Whereas another dog would not only be company, but also ensure I get into the fresh air every day. Choosing the right dog is the problem though; much as I love snow-dogs, am not fit enough to take on another (except perhaps a senior like CD - but don't seem to be any in Spanish rescue centres atm; yes, I've already checked). There is a special-needs Podenco [Spanish Greyhound] girl who has caught my eye, but she's only a year old and I've no idea whether she's house-trained. She has little chance of being adopted unless by someone like me who isn't afraid of her disability, so she's really pulling on the ol' heart-strings. Can I commit to another fifteen years for her? The way my health has declined in the past decade suggests the odds are rather against me surviving that long.
    Head says it would be better to take on a middle-aged dog whose owner has died, one used to living in a home who'll suffer in kennels. But so far all the appeals I've seen for such pets have been for little, terrier-types. Apologies to all terrier lovers, but I need a dog of at least knee-height so I won't trip over it, and if necessary it could be a deterrent to anyone trying to break into camper-van when we're living in it during the summer.

    Being practical nothing will happen in that direction for the next couple of weeks, so I've got plenty of time to think about it.

    Had two days with spends since posting last; £60 on the donation in OF's honour, some organic veggies and fuel in the Spanish van, then a tenner yesterday on eating out with family. Two more TFSS loans were repaid last week [without prompting] so haven't had to touch the bank account.

    Am grateful for a roof that doesn't leak, Divo Three's efforts in the garden which are minimising food spends, and those friends who remember I have MCS* - so omit wearing perfume, aftershave or clothes drenched in fabric softener when they visit!
    * Multiple Chemical Sensitivities.
    Last edited by *Robin*; 19-02-2017 at 10:04 PM.
    • Sun Addict
    • By Sun Addict 19th Feb 17, 3:38 PM
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    Sun Addict
    I don't blame you for thinking about getting another dog Robin. I would do the same, they are such good company it must be hard to live without one. It would be lovely if you could rescue one - what a wonderful time you'd give it - all those adventures
    Virtual Sealed Pot £424.05
    Weight loss 0/7lbs
    Mr SA finally in remission December 2013
    • maddiemay
    • By maddiemay 19th Feb 17, 4:15 PM
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    maddiemay
    Pleased that OF achieved wish of a peaceful passing.

    I truly believe that the right canine companion for you will present his or herself as soon as the time is right. OH and I have had our lives blessed with 6 rescue/rehome canines over the past 36 years. After the appropriate time of mourning we have somehow been made aware of their need and began a new partnership, luckily each lasting a great many years

    Gentle cuddles and tail wags to you from Miss MM.
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 20th Feb 17, 1:55 PM
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    *Robin*
    Thanks for the support, Sun.A and Maddie. Get what you're saying about 'the right dog arriving at the right time' Maddie - problem here is dodging everyone who's desperate to re-home the 'wrong' dog with me.. If not careful, could easily end up with the last two pitty pups who featured in m' Xmas post! Many reasons against that idea, not least the impossibility of travelling to the UK with 'em! (Still favour the special-needs Pod - might go and visit her tomorrow, but not take travelling crate etc., just meet and find out more about her).
    Sun.A, hadn't thought much about giving a canine companion an 'adventurous' life.. The UK breed rescues I've approached about taking on another [senior] snow-dog have all knocked me back due to m' lifestyle, which is somewhat upsetting given that I've got well over twenty years of successful experience. Hohum.

    TFSS arrangements are becoming extreme. Am running up a bill with our legal expert. Hohum again.
    No news from Agent re flat yet.
    • Bubblesmum
    • By Bubblesmum 22nd Feb 17, 12:24 PM
    • 1,054 Posts
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    Bubblesmum
    I don't blame you for thinking about getting another dog Robin. I would do the same, they are such good company it must be hard to live without one. It would be lovely if you could rescue one - what a wonderful time you'd give it - all those adventures
    Originally posted by Sun Addict
    Mrs SA has said what I was thinking. I respect your thoughts about taking on a young dog. I must admit I now try and live in the moment, having lost two cats in recent years who I thought had years ahead of them and didn't. I now have one oldish and one young, and I must admit it is a delight to have the joy of a young animal, with all their enthusiasm for life.

    I also know that I have family and friends who would care for any animals if I couldn't.
    Mrs B Debt £1857 @ 13/06/2017, £1790 16/06/2017
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 9th Mar 17, 1:13 PM
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    *Robin*
    Hello MSE World,

    More weeks have flown past. The funeral was even more chaotic than I would have thought possible. One mourner drowned her grief in alcohol - not helped by there being a bar at the crem - swigging beer, dropping a bottle during the service, and swearing at the Celebrant who was so inept that he got sacked in the middle of the service, leaving DS3 to take over (who did a much better job!). Then there was a bus load of sweet Spanish neighbours who didn't understand a thing until Divo Three took charge.. Our Dear Departed must have been looking down and splitting his sides, well pleased that his departure was truly unique!
    I didn't go to the bar afterwards; was exhausted by the time the service concluded, so Current Tenant [in DH's cottage] took me back to the Nest before joining in with what was apparently the best party of the decade.
    Ay, so it goes; the end of an era. Can't help wondering how long it will be before it's my turn. Just climbing the steps up to the house leaves me breathless, and I've made a bed on the sofa because am needing to rest so often - fed up with waking in the middle of the night freezing cold after passing out in front of the Box..

    Two days ago DS3 left me the van, so I went out for a couple of hours; transferred most of my cash into the bill-paying a/c then gave him the last 20€ note on his return, which he spent on irrigation bits and bobs. Didn't tell him it's left me brassic. I have plenty of food between freezer, store cupboard and garden, so hopefully will manage until the big money tangle [house / flat] sorts itself out.

    Haven't been well enough to go and visit the shelter where the special-needs Pod is - now wondering whether I could cope with rehabilitating her? Divo Three brings the Grand-pup to visit which is lovely; I've babysat for him several times and it's wonderful how pleased he is to spend time with me. In fact he won't leave unless he's carried, which makes us all laugh.

    Am grateful for bright, sunny days filled with buzzing bees and birdsong, for my dear boys who make time to keep an eye on me, and those good friends who stay in touch despite my not being able to join in most social activities.
    Last edited by *Robin*; 09-03-2017 at 3:15 PM.
    • tunathe cat
    • By tunathe cat 10th Mar 17, 12:22 PM
    • 321 Posts
    • 1,215 Thanks
    tunathe cat
    just sending hugs to you x
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 19th Mar 17, 3:36 PM
    • 3,176 Posts
    • 12,635 Thanks
    *Robin*
    Hello MSEers,

    Thank you for the hugs Tuna, and thanks to everyone who makes the effort to comment on my meandering progress (or lack thereof). I really appreciate every single post.. But sometimes when I come on here, am struggling with brain fog and simply need to set down whatever is on m' mind at that moment. Then the post gets so long I just forget to acknowledge some of the responses to previous updates - for which I apologise, most sincerely..

    So where am I now? Still missing CD terribly; got her last 'photo as the screensaver on lappy and every time I see it, the memory of burying my face in her so-soft fur as her soul flew up towards the Bridge is almost overwhelming.. The flowers we planted on her grave are flourishing; every day I spend a few minutes sitting there, just remembering what a very special companion she was - it's hard to believe another dog could ever take over where she had to leave off.
    Meanwhile I am not walking enough without a dog to follow (or tow me as required). Some rather frightening symptoms of physical deterioration are cropping up, which am attempting to control myself - with promising results so far. Reason being that I know from experience I'm allergic to the allopathic drugs for treating this issue.

    At least am losing weight at last due to being brassic - eating from garden and store-cupboard stocks which don't include much sugary stuff since DS4 left (am keeping the last packet of ginger biscuits to offer guests with a cuppa ). Every day I wander around the verdant meadow my garden has become, picking veg for dinner. Salad stuff, artichokes, wild asparagus and broad-beans are on the menu. Divo Three planted lots of heirloom seeds, some of which have grown into unfamiliar forms and caused amusement; he laughed when he found poppy leaves in my salad one day (I thought they were some kind of spinach! ).

    Had a look at the finances. Taxes all paid for the year, utility bills covered for the next three months although I still owe the parking yard £100, while m' wallet contains precisely £35.53, 7cts and an Iranian coin which someone passed off as 10p.
    Our British solicitor confirmed that the house paperwork has gone through, so am now in more debt than I've ever had before (until the flat sale goes through).

    Haven't spent anything on m'self since posting last, but the Grand-pup had an emergency which resulted in "borrowing" 50€ from the bill-paying a/c. DS3 brought him up the other day with his best mate, a rather overweight staffie. They tore around the garden for ages, having a whale of a time, but then Grand-pup came to find me. He wasn't breathing right, had something stuck in his throat! Luckily he's still small enough for me to perform the canine Heimlich manoeuvre on him; an object the size of a walnut flew out of his mouth - which he promptly swallowed again as soon as I put him down. Then he curled up behind me - poor thing's feeling a bit shocked, I thought, and sat cuddling him for a few minutes. But it was soon obvious something else was wrong; Grand-pup couldn't stand..
    We high-tailed it down to Dear Vet's clinic. Five minutes later another emergency case burst through the door and I found myself wielding an emetic-filled syringe while DV assessed the new arrival.
    Grand-pup was the lucky one. Both dogs had eaten poison; the other owners took much longer to notice and had to leave in tears without their pet.
    Grand-pup spent the night in intensive care on a drip, but he came home the following evening and after being subdued for a while, is now fine. Thank goodness. Divo Three was dreading the bill - hence my contribution (which actually covered it - Dear Vet is such a lovely, generous person).

    Today am grateful for my beautiful wild garden which feeds me, the wonderful climate here that makes it grow, and Grand-pup's return to health.
    Last edited by *Robin*; 20-03-2017 at 10:06 PM.
    • Sun Addict
    • By Sun Addict 19th Mar 17, 4:19 PM
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    Sun Addict
    Lovely to hear from you Robin. A sad start to your post (which brought a tear to my eye) but a happy ending. What a scare with the pup, glad he's ok now. How sad for the people who lost their dog, good job you noticed pup was ill in time to save him.
    Virtual Sealed Pot £424.05
    Weight loss 0/7lbs
    Mr SA finally in remission December 2013
    • please-let-me-be-lucky
    • By please-let-me-be-lucky 19th Mar 17, 6:04 PM
    • 8,061 Posts
    • 44,491 Thanks
    please-let-me-be-lucky
    Oh Robin, I don't like to think of you being brassic with not much to eat .

    So glad all turned out ok with Grand-pup. How scary!

    CD must be a huge miss Xx
    Debts @ LBM £23,729.31. Debts @ 08/04/2016 £0

    NSDs achieved in August- 1/5
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