Dougie, Doggies and What We’ve Been Doing

This is the first non-holiday blog in forever so let’s see if I can remember how this works.

Let’s start with the obvious update. Last Sunday morning little Dougie joined us and due to an arduous birthing process and one that we should not repeat please Rebecca, he and his Mum did not come home until Wednesday.

The thing that Rebecca had been yearning for was to introduce Dougie to his big brother who had been patiently waiting at home unable to visit the hospital, along with the rest of us apart from Tom, due to Covid regulations.

Here is the moment they met.

It’s fair to say they have been inseparable ever since.

Rebecca is recovering well after her emergency C section and thankfully all the drama of that is behind us. For those eating and/or a little squeamish that is all we shall say about that.

We got our chance for a hold and a squeeze of Dougie on Thursday evening and it was glorious.

So that’s a delight and a relief!

The last time I wasn’t doing trip report things here, we were just about to go away to Florida (maybe, depending on Omicron…remember that?) and Louise’s Mum suffered a stroke. She went into hospital in late December, which led to Louise staying home to look after her. Mary came out of the hospital in early January and came to live with us, under the expert care of Louise who has given up her job to look after her Mum.

It would take too long to go through all the ups and downs of this past almost six months now but safe to say it has been a mix of good times and tricky ones, both in terms of Mary’s health and the challenges presented in caring for her. She was back in hospital recently with pneumonia but is home with us once again now.

Outside of that, just to add some spice to life, we are halfway through getting our conservatory replaced and you all know how I love having jobs done around the house with all the mess and disruption that goes with them.

There is some sad news since we last “spoke” about our lovely Old English Sheepdog, Oli. Sadly we lost him unexpectedly in late January and we were all incredibly upset. Time helps, but I still get overcome with it at points when things remind me. Everyone says it, but he was truly a special dog and a huge part of our lives. It still hasn’t really sunk in that we won’t see him again. It happened so suddenly that I still feel traumatised by the events of that evening. All these months later I still find myself expecting to see him in his favourite spots around the house.

Our other dog, Bean, has been soaking up all the extra affection and attention (and food) since we lost Oli. In her bereaved state, Louise finally let Bean up on the couch and she seems quite happy about that situation.

In other animal news, and we have a lot, you may remember that Emily has pet rats? Well, there have been turbulent times there too with three of those sadly passing away in recent times. They all have a forever resting place in our field now and Emily has added a couple of new babies to her collection. They really are lovely pets and cute little buggers and if only pets didn’t pass away that would be great.

So with all that and my work being especially busy and stressful in recent times, it has not been a time of great peace and quiet, but when is life ever?

As mentioned towards the end of the trip report we unusually have zero holiday plans. Louise especially is in need of one, but that isn’t possible for now. I have finally watched a vlog now though. Only one, and perhaps it is quite telling that it was a Universal one, but maybe the urge to return is slowly starting to awaken from its slumber. However, the more I read and remember about the WDW park situation now, the more that cost and complexity just make me reluctant to go through that stress. I have enough of that in real life. We all know we’ll return at some point of course. I can only hope by that time it is recognisable as the WDW we love so much.

So there we go, a whirlwind recap and you are up to date I think. I have no doubt forgotten some stuff but that’s enough for anyone on a Sunday.

Till the next time…….

Birthday Bonanza

This week, in an attempt to reassure my bosses that I am competent I spent most of it reciting five random words. Several of them were not even swear words. I await my pay rise with tepid anticipation.

The world has indeed gone completely bonkers and I stare, mostly at Twitter, in a catatonic state of disbelief for large parts of my day. I need to get out more…oh wait….

Today is not a day for morbid bemoaning of world events, and political incompetence, instead, it is the time to celebrate the fact that I have had a daughter for a quarter of a century and am clearly very, very old. Emily’s birthday is today and probably much like you, I cannot quite fathom how she has the gall to be 25.

If there is anything to be thankful for about that, it is that of course that we are no longer infected and inflicted with a house full of noisy kids having a sleepover where nobody, including me and Louise, ever slept. I do remember one such event “fondly” which involved me trying to make our brand new kitchen floor less sticky for a good few hours after one lovely hyper child spilt a full two-litre bottle of coke all over it. Hello to Simon, wherever you are.

Instead, Emily is, of course, spending her day with her boyfriend and we are wishing her well electronically. As ever, this is the circle of life. Happy Birthday pud!

It also means that today is Oli’s birthday too. It is spooky that they share a birthday, but of course, Oli is not yet 25. We got Oli for Emily when she passed her GCSEs and I have walked him ever since. He and I are showing signs of age now of course and the walks that we do are more of me dragging him along rather than what was the opposite for many years. Bless him. He will probably never forgive us (well it was Louise technically) for introducing Bean to his a life a few years ago. She is the annoying younger sister every elder sibling loves to have.

Right now, Oli is spending his birthday in the the only way he knows how.

Next in line for a birthday in the household is me. As you can imagine, my anticipation of it has diminished considerably of late and I am contemplating just emulating Oli’s approach to it as I cannot be in my location of choice.

In the world of holidays, not much has changed. Florida, along with most of the US, seems to be embracing the Walking Dead approach to controlling a pandemic. With each passing week and each notch of the graph over which new records are set on infections, my hopes of our March trip take a bit of a dive. I cannot make any sense of it.

With our trip some time away, and with half of me expecting that we won’t go anyway, my interest in happenings in the parks has dimmed a little, but from the small snippets I have seen online, they look quiet. Very quiet. It has to be a worry that this can’t be financially sustainable for the theme parks. I’m not sure whether they were losing more money when shut or now that they are open. Whilst infection rates soar there can surely be no chance of international visitors being allowed in, even assuming anyone wanted to, and as if 2020 hasn’t been surreal enough, it is not beyond the realms of imagination that some parks don’t survive.

I don’t think Disney is at risk of that. I don’t know of course, but surely they have enough backing and other revenue streams to survive, I hope, at least, but some of the smaller ones could be in trouble. This, of course, must be the case across multiple industries and makes the unbelievably irresponsible inaction on the whole thing in large parts of the US unfathomable.

Having said all that about being disinterested in how the parks are doing and pessimistically downplaying our chances of going in March, it has not stopped me from performing some surgery to the plan. That surgery involved me cramming more food into our trip, like an LA plastic surgeon cramming triple DDDs into their client. Like them, I think I want it, but everyone else knows it’s just a step too far. (What? I have watched the odd episode of Botched!)

Somehow, ADR permitting, Beaches & Cream now sits on our plan. I am of course curious to see what it looks like after the recent extension but more than that I want a kitchen sink for brunch. Both are at least equally important.

Maybe I need to do more of this and employ the technique of positive thinking rather than moaning about stuff? We WILL go to WDW next March, there WILL be a working vaccine in place and we won’t need to wear masks and social distance and I WILL not put on a stone in two weeks due to massively overeating. I suspect I am being too aspirational with the last one of those.

I’ll let you know how I get on with that!

Till the next time…..

It’s Been Fur Too Hot for Oli

A bit of early bloggage this week, as I don’t want to be writing this thing at the normal time today as I will be watching the golf.

In the on-going soap opera that is the Williams way, it has been a fairly uneventful week to be honest, with the major events being as exciting as me being away with work for a couple of days, and Oli having a haircut.

With the weather as it has been for while now, what you don’t want to be is an Old English Sheepdog. As cute as he looks with a fuller plume, by the time he had kept Louise awake for three nights panting the hair had to go. I suffered a similar fate back in the late nineties and have never been the same since.

Cute but hot.

A few months ago, we invested in some decent clippers for Oli, as we were fed up of paying enormous fees to dog groomers. Having now shaved him twice, we understand that they are probably underpaid!

The right kit probably helps, as he is a wriggly bugger, and has some real issues with you shaving his legs. So after doing the easy bits on his body he then spends a couple of hours looking like he’s wearing wooly chaps. I can say there end the similarities between Oli and myself. My chaps are leather.

How very dare you.

So it took both Louise and I all of Saturday morning to get him to an acceptable state.  We then had more hair on us than Oli ever did.

Of course now he’s all ready for the heatwave, today it has been overcast and cool and he’s been snuggling up to anything with a temperature to keep warm.  I suspect we are not in his good books.

I’d like to do the same to both cats.  Not because they are hot, I’d just like to.

I timed my night away from home well.  It was officially the hottest day of the year, and to compound matters I was down south in Marlow, where everyone knows it is always at least five degrees hotter then the frozen north.

As I arrived at my hotel on Wednesday evening, it was very hot outside.  However as I opened my door it took me back to that first blast of Florida heat as you first leave the airport.  It appears that the central heating was on, and had been for some time.  With the outside temperature being over thirty degrees, inside it must have been knocking forty.

I wrestled with the radiators for a while to get them off, opened the windows, and stripped down to my undies.  Imagine a sumo wrestler on a single bed watching the telly.

With no breeze coming through the window I had to eventually leave the room and go for a walk as the outside temperature was refreshing compared to my room.  I did a good hours walk, worked up a nice sweat and went back to my room to find the place no better.  I stood in a cold shower for twenty minutes before going to bed where I enjoyed a good half hour or so of uninterrupted sleep.

My walk did allow me to discover a lot more of Marlow than I ever have before, which has pretty much been the office, my hotel room and Pizza Express, and it really is a beautiful place.  I couldn’t however even afford to look in the estate agent’s window.

I was back home Thursday evening, and we’ve been planning Emily’s birthday celebrations since.  We’re all out for a meal on Friday evening (about fifteen of us) once everyone has finished work, and then it will be a “gathering” back at our house for her to open her presents.

No doubt next week’s blog shall share the details with you, plus a few photos.

Right, time for golf.

Till the next time…..

Snot and success in unequal measure

I know that I may have mentioned my illness in semi-jocular stati this week, but bloody hell I have been rough.  The standard cold symptoms randomly brought their great mates heart burn and muscular aches, and just as I was hopeful of waving the bugger off over this weekend it has thrown one hell of a farewell party. Over the past two days I have experienced pain unlike any other.  I’d call it a headache, but it isn’t really.  It is more eye ache!

A searing pressure like pain right in the middle of my eyeballs.  It hurt…like proper big boy pain, and I don’t like it.  As you know I handle pain and illness well so you really wouldn’t have known had you been here.

Today has been a slight improvement with no such repeat of that, and apart from feeling like I have been battered with a big stick, there are signs of recovery.  I have done nothing today which has really helped.  Well, I took Oli out, and had the intention of cutting my toenails, but I haven’t managed that yet!

Being below par has been really frustrating.  I had a heavy week at work, with stuff going on that couldn’t be interrupted by illness so I took my germs to Marlow for two days.  What joy I felt in my deluxe suite in which I stay, wrapped in a blanket hugging the lukewarm radiator watching crap football.  Who says executive travel isn’t glamorous?  By the time I got to Friday I was no good to anyone and crawled home mid afternoon and went straight to bed for a bit.

Still, a productive week, with a key supplier decided upon for a very important project and a key person, with actual technical skills rather than my invented ones, recruited to help me do it.  Snot and success in unequal measure….there was much more snot!

So let’s put all that illness behind us (I hope).  Some regular sleep and less snot will help so fingers crossed.

Affairs of the teenage heart have been in play this week too, with some “stuff” going with Rebecca and her friend who is a boy.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it now, there is nothing harder than watching one of them going through pain and not jumping right in the middle and knocking heads together or off altogether.

I am biting my metaphorical tongue, and hoping it all gets sorted out without too much upset, and the need for me to remove limbs.

Talking about removing limbs, Oli also came pretty close to losing a couple whilst I was away.  It seems that he left a large and damp message all over our bed, and those of you who sees Louise’s facebook updates will have appreciated her slight displeasure at this.

Thursday saw me travelling about in London, and whilst doing so coordinating my parents and a cleaning company to all work together before we got home to make sure we had something clean to sleep on.

My Dad sorted the duvet to the launderette, and Chem Dry turned up to sort the mattress.  Apparently they do a lot of work for hotels, so are used to similar work but I suspect for different fluids!

There are lots of theories about why Oli would do this, as he is superb at doing his stuff only where he should, always has been, so we are a bit baffled.  I wonder if it is connected to me being away, and him marking his territory in some way, but to be safe he isn’t going upstairs again anytime soon.

Just to remind us not to kill him here he is looking cute and lovable.

Oli cute

By the time we did get home on Thursday we were mostly sorted, and even had time to nip to my brother’s for a drink and pie celebration of his birthday.  I had soft drinks and lots of pie, as you need to feed a cold of course.

The other bit of news to share with you this week will hopefully be in the happy to hear category.  After the bitter disappointment in the summer for my Mum & Dad who had to cancel their trip to Florida with us with days to go, they are now booked to go just after Christmas.  Alas, we are not playing host, rather my brother and his family.  The party will be a huge one, nine in total, with his two elder children each taking their partner, so I think they have hired a coach to get them around.  Good luck with that!!

All Aboard!

So I am offering some tips, mainly on where to find a donut burger, which my brother is slightly more interested in that my sister-in-law who I’m guessing won’t be partaking.

So here’s to a week of better health as we hurtle towards December.  Someone might want to tell the telly that it isn’t December yet, cos if I see another version of the same advert from a bloody supermarket in November I might go and wee on their bed.

Why have they all gone for the same advert this year?  A stressed mum being the xmas hero.  I have no beef (or turkey) with the idea, but once you’ve seen it 48 times before December starts a dirty protest is the only solution.  Maybe Oli was ahead of me there?

Till the next time….

Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

Time, they say, is a cruel mistress, a double-edged sword, a swirling maelstrom of contradictions, a thing that can feel the opposite at the same time.  OK, I made the last couple up, but time is a strange thing.  Not as an abstract concept, but more of a thing that can feel to pass so slowly, and yet in the blink of an eye all at the same time.

For example.

The last few weeks have edged along at a pace not seen since I last tried to run anywhere.  With “issues” to resolve, the pace at which the world responds to my efforts to do so has been painful to say the least.  I look into next week and see half a chance of finally sorting stuff out from a work perspective, and also with more than a mild feeling of trepidation that it will somehow be ripped from my grasp at the last moment, and I’ll have to wait yet more time to feel some sort of relief.

On the other hand, time on a grander scale seems to flash before my eyes as if it were nothing but a few seconds.  Two things this week have made think this way.

Firstly, Rebecca has entered the workforce.  It is, in the scheme of things, in a small way, but nevertheless, on Saturday she emerged from work beaming from ear to ear clutching the first £16 she had ever earned and feeling like a millionaire.  She has got herself a Saturday job in a hairdressers.  Said hairdressers is owned by my cousin, and she spent her first day at work shampooing, brewing up and cleaning the loos, thankfully not concurrently.

She seemed to enjoy herself, and was to be seen constantly looking at the sparkly money in her purse for the rest of the day.  But never mind that, how did it come to pass that my little girl became old enough to go into the working world?

This thought had been reinforced by the second point I am making, which is that we are in the process of clearing out all of our cupboards and drawers of all the accumulated pap that we have shoved into drawers and cupboards since we moved in ten years ago.  Much of what we are finding is photographic evidence that I used to have hair, Louise once had a really bad bubble perm and the kids grew up sometime in the last ten minutes to be nearly adults.

Packet after packet of photos bring back to life different stages of our lives, and along with that wistful smile that memories bring (or is it wind?), it has reminded me that I seem to have blinked and missed a decade or so.

I haven’t of course, I was just busy in that decade working hard, and planning for some big thing that never seems to arrive or happen.  At the risk of getting too clawingly sentimental, smelling a rose or two along the way sounds like a plan, until life happens, and the roses whizz by the car window as you drop the girls off at another party or school event for which we are always late, and having a row as we have had to do something at the last-minute as the girls failed to mention that they needed those ingredients, that T-shirt or their PE kit.

Such is life I suppose.  So now I share my house with two almost adult girls who still call me Dad, and when the need arises still rely on me to sort stuff out, but they certainly won’t be going on my shoulders anytime soon, and won’t be needing me to put that stupidly small dress onto their Polly Pocket for the sixth time this hour.

Time is relative.  Immediate issues that need addressing, like my current ones, feel like you are wading through a swamp with lead boots on, and no matter how hard you try, time drags on.  A bit like watching your countdown tick by till your next holiday.

The big picture stuff, which sees you changing nappies one day, and having yours changed the next is something akin to how you find yourself sat on the tarmac in Orlando waiting to head back to greyness and crap weather seemingly about seventeen minutes after landing there in the first place.

Ah well, my latter point proves that I shall no doubt look back on the dark times in the right now, as a small pot hole on the outside lane of life’s motorway when I look back on photos of us now, and remember what was going on.  Then I’ll ask one of the girls to take me to toilet again, and soil myself just before we get there out of spite.

So as you may guess, I am still somewhat in limbo, as my maudlin ramblings above may suggest.  Progress is slow, and very distracting, but as mentioned earlier, next week suggests that (to quote Lilly Allen) there may be a tunnel with some light at the end, or something like that.  I hope so, as these last few weeks are not ones that I wish to repeat at any time in the future.

Forgive me again for the elusive nature of this here post but I strongly believe that jumping any guns here would jinx the small amount of progress made so far, so, you shall have to return to later bloggings to be bored to tears by the full story, and be very let down by its mundane nature…so it’ll be like every other week’s blog then!

In other news, Oli continues to become fluffy again after his hair cut when it was back in the spring (or was that summer).  He is a cutie.

Oli nose
Oli nose best

We also went to the cinema today for the first time in ages.  Men in Black III was the film of choice, and we enjoyed it.  There were no great surprises, but I wasn’t expecting any, just a good entertaining family film, and that was what we got.  The real surprise of the trip was that for some reason I did not get any Pick n Mix, and instead got a small (yes, I said a small!) popcorn instead.

I tell you, all this stress and bother is causing me some obvious issues.  Fingers crossed that this time next week I can tell you of some resolution and a return to normality, not some crazy world where I order a small of anything.  Madness!

Till the next time……




It’s getting hot in here, so dig out my ill fitting shorts.

It’s been hot hasn’t it.  Aside from my scorched pate and realisation that the shorts are a little snugger than I recalled when they were shoved into the wardrobe last September, I have been appreciative of the weather, and the fact that I am not an Old English Sheepdog.  Oli has been feeling it this week, shaved or not, he’s a panting machine.

We have a fan just for him in the front room and he lies in front of it for hours on end.  He appears to be eternally tired in the hot weather.  We spent yesterday on a local park with the family, which included Baxter, Oli’s cousin.  He ran, played and harassed Baxter for around three hours solid, so when he got home, in front of his fan, he slept like a big hairy dog, who was tired and glad to be somewhere cool.

Baxter in the sun
Baxter in a sunhat of emotion

Today, Rebecca and I took Oli for a longish walk around the local golf course, and once again he is now sleeping it off, but this time on Rebecca’s knee being loved to death.

I am still in denial of certain real life events that I refuse to commit to bloggage at this stage.  I do confess to not being fully at the races in terms of my bloggage, and my usual inane ramblings on Facebook and Twitter, but hopefully soon this will all be done and dusted.   I will say it is work related, and that I hope to have things sorted out in the coming few weeks, but I am right royally pissed off with the situation, and in due course don’t worry I will piss and moan about it in great detail.  I want to get it sorted first though so bear with me.

So despite that dark cloud spoiling the virtual weather, we have loved the sunshine and I stand by my oft stated belief that the world is a different, and better place for a touch of warmth and sunshine.  I mean how much fun must it have been for Louise today to be able to do all the ironing out on the decking?  That is what dreams are made of surely.

This evening, a strange occurrence happened, in that the entire family gathered on the sofas to watch a football match.  Usually this is a solitary pursuit of mine, but with a team filled with the likes of Gerard (what accent have I got today) Butler, and Jason Isaacs Louise suddenly became all interested in football, and add to that two idols of the girls in Will Ferrell and Mike Myers and everyone had a reason to be watching.

On my head son!

Even Oli watched with us.  As you see, the warm weather resulted in my shorts being dug from the back of the wardrobe.  Steady yourself ladies.

As nice as it was to watch something as a family, Louise was on fire with her comments, which had us in stitches and with head in hands in equal measure.

Example 1

Voice over chap on the telly says that Roy Keane is the finest living Irishman.  Louise responds (to the telly) by saying “What about Tom Jones?”

Example 2

Robbie Savage makes a comment that Aston Merrygold from JLS should change his name to Martin as he is so quick.  Louise responds (to the telly) with “Who the hell is Martin Merrygold?”.

Example 3

The teams are lining up in the tunnel.  Louise asks who the big chap is behind Johnny Wilkes in the England team.  David Seaman says I.  Oh, says Louise, and what country is he from?

There were many others, and I can confirm that not one drop of alcohol has passed her lips today!  If this had been a competitive match, and even worse involving Liverpool, I fear I would now be filling in a big hole underneath the patio, and we don’t even have a patio!

You will have noticed a complete lack of me whittering on about Disney stuff and my endless planning.  As I said earlier, crappy real life stuff is keeping that on the backest of back burners for now, but as soon as I have this sorted, believe me, I will be back on that at full throttle, and you’ll be sick to death of it I assure you.

For now, I am getting my blog done whilst in the same room as The Only Way is Essex, and feeling quite proud of the fact that I have not carried out some form of dirty protest across the telly screen.  It surely is a crime against all that is vaguely intelligent.

So I hope you have all enjoyed your BBQs, beer gardens and burnt bits, and let us all play spot the pinkie tomorrow at work.  By that I mean those of us that have over indulged in the sunshine and not Brian in accounts with his todger out again.

Till the next time……


Spring has sprung and inevitable events.

It is always nice to get comments to these posts, and last week I was inundated with a comment, expressing a view that there haven’t been any Oli pictures and videos recently.

It is a difficult one, to know what to drone on about here.  Having said that, I seem to have managed to drone about work for the last few posts (I won’t this week!) so I thought I’d share some recent pictures.  For fans of Oli, I can point you in the direction of Pinterest, which is the latest social media site which has appeared to add to the collection of sites that are a distraction from doing anything productive.  On Pinterest I have a board dedicated to Oli, so if you are feeling the need for a fix of smelly mammoth, that’s your destination.

Anyway, here come the pics….

Yesterday after I walked him (again)

Oli 2
Looking for *that* toy

Oli 3
Making a mess of the couch

So there you go with your Oli fix.  He’s still behaving himself, unless you happen to be a cat, in which case he is constantly making every waking second a living hell.

There has been a distinct change in the weather over the past week, with the actual appearance of the sun.  Granted, it is still freezing, and there has been some snow in parts of the country, but actual sunshine has an immediate effect on the country and certainly me.  I am self diagnosed with SAD, so the dark cold winter months are not my favourite times, so at the first glimpse of the yellow round thing, inevitable events happen.

These events mean, unfortunately, that I immediately drop into “I want a holiday” mode, and my fingers are drawn inexorably to the keyboard, whereby I find them typing in letters such as K A Y A K.  This is NOT a good thing.  It matters not that I know we can’t go this summer, it simply cannot stop me trying endless configurations of flights, eventually even those via the Ukraine, in the hope of an Easyjet style price for a Trans Atlantic journey.

I also start to make other internet journeys, watching videos of the parks, and drooling over resorts and their fine dining menus.  This really is bordering upon an illness.

This is not one of my usual posts were I moan about flight prices, and then two posts later you discover in a flurry of gloating and guilt that  I have booked anyway.  Alas,unexpected inheritances from long lost relatives or lottery wins aside, we REALLY will not be going this year.  Really, I mean it!

This makes me sad.  I miss Florida, and I am truly sorry that we won’t be going on one of our adventures this year.  There is nothing that beats the thrill and excitement of that early morning at the airport on your way to WDW, when everyone is full of excitement, anticipation and over priced airport food.  The world is literally your lobster as the days ahead of you shine as brightly as your brand new white trainers with endless possibilities and about one million calories.

So as much as I accept our fate, I don’t have to like it!  There will be times a plenty in the future to get over there, and I assure you, we’ll be there as soon as is humanly possible, if not sooner.

I don’t know if we’ll go somewhere else instead to be honest.  This is for two reasons –

  1. I cannot summon any enthusiasm for other destinations
  2. I begrudge spending any cash on other destinations as it means we can’t use that cash to go where I want to go.

Hey ho, musn’t grumble and all that.  There are many worse off than us, who have never experienced the holidays we have, and probably aren’t likely to.  I understand that, but I still want to lie on the floor and kick and scream until I’m sick.

The week ahead has a trip to London in store on Wednesday, and as the streets there are paved with gold, I’ll just dig up a couple of blocks and that should sort us out for the holiday we want!

Till the next time….

It turns out, I am not the voice.

Another week filled with medical news and hospital updates for us.  After another four days sat waiting for further scannage, my Mum is finally home.  Hopefully now, she can enjoy a pain-free, non A&E Christmas!!  Let’s hope I need blog of hospitals, doctors or the like for quite some time now.

Oli at 8 weeks
He used to look like this.....

You haven’t had an Oli update for at least a few hours so I’ve done some videos of him for today’s post.  I am aware that I am becoming a bit of a bore when it comes to Oli.  We were out last night (more of that later) and I found myself showing folks photos and videos of him on my phone.  If that was you I apologise, and the search for my life continues!

Yesterday Oli and I ventured out onto the local park in the freezing cold and snow to get him nice and dirty ready for his bath when we got back in.  Post bath, once he’s shaken himself over every inch of the house we then always put the fire on so he can dry off nicely!  It makes him all sleepy!

Once he’d had a little nod and got all nice and fluffy again, he was ready for a roll around on the rug, and if you have the patience to stick with this one till the end, he does like to torment a cat or two when he’s in the mood.

Enough of me being a dog bore!!  Let’s move on to me being a bore about other subjects!

We had a night out last night.  That in itself is quite unusual, but in light of recent events and malcontent, it turned out to be what’s called a “nice change”, even if we were perhaps not the world’s most exciting company.  Our lack of practice at this stuff meant that Louise and I were ready for bed at around 10pm, and had to dig deep for a second wind, which spookily I rediscovered this morning on the loo after too much Guinness!

The evening started off with chatter, some lovely food, and drinkies.  It slid inexorably towards silliness through a Christmas quiz, boys versus girls, in which the male types prevailed (what do you mean I shouldn’t have been Googling for answers on my phone?  that’s called being resourceful), a brief stop at Pass the Parcel, which somehow involved taking shots on board with every layer removed, and then inevitably towards the messy car crash that was SingStar.

Having avoided the microphone quite well for some time, the fickle finger picked me out eventually, and as a decent representation of my luck right now, it was no easy ballad in my key (Wandering Star would have been nice) I was landed with a song that no male on the planet is able to sing without surgical alteration.

Thankfully, by this time, everybody was on the wrong side of sober, and didn’t notice me miming like some sort of slightly flabby, paler Milli Vanilli.  I then bowed out gracefully to witness renditions of true Karaoke classics, rounded off by the loudest version of Never Forget since the last time someone did it on Karaoke.  Somehow it became 2am, and we taxied ourselves home and fell into bed.

So today is one of those lazy days with Christmas films on the telly right now (The Grinch currently), with Emily and her friend Laura regressing from sixteen to six again.  Rebecca has gone back to bed after her night out at a party last night, and Louise also seems to have retreated under the duvet, having told me she doesn’t know why she is hung over!!  I suppose if you get so drunk that you can’t remember you were drunk then that makes sense??

I finish for Christmas on Thursday and never have I been so happy to not be at work, as I will be at that time.  I continue to work on my escape plan.  Next Sunday is the big day, and that means there shall be no bloggage on that day.  I warn you of that fact as I know you’d all be rushing to your computers to read it otherwise, sacrificing the Queen’s Speech for Mkingdon nonsense.  What else would you be doing?

As I’m going to be off work for the duration, you will never know when one of these inane posts will appear over the festive period.  It shall be like some unwelcome relative turning up on your doorstep unannounced.  You have been warned.

Till the next time….

A party, and people looking at a pair of puppies.

So as I come to fill another blank post with nonsense, I am on the couch, with Emily sat three feet from the TV, watching Peter Pan for the gabillionth time.  Her crush on the actor playing Peter is beyond measure.  The fact that he’s now 37, bald, and sixteen stone is something that I will keep from her for a little longer.

peter pan
and she hates Wendy!

I think that watching the same thing over and over is something that the generation younger than me have perfected.  It is only in the last ten to fifteen years that it has seemingly become acceptable to watch the same things again and again.  I suppose with advent of 24 hour TV and hundreds of channels, there would never be enough content to fill them all with unique stuff.  I admit to watching the odd episode of Champion the Wonder Horse more than once in my youth, but really, my girls have seen some films literally dozens of times, and still seem  happy to sit through them again.

It all started with Barney for us.  Every breakfast time, we were subjected to that overly sweet subject matter, and by the time they were ready to progress onto something slightly more mature, we’d seen every episode a good twenty times each.  As for episodes of stuff like The Suite Life of Hannah McGuire or whatever gets played on the Disney Channel, well, there are several episodes of those that I know all the words to.

We’ve just sat through most of Open Season, and all of the Grinch, as it seems today has been a relative day of rest following a very busy Saturday, and last few weeks.  This is because yesterday we hosted the party for Louise’s Mum’s 80th.  This involved over 40 folk cramming into our house for several hours.  It also involved about three weeks solid prep, and about six hours of the hardest work I’ve done in a while.  Constantly topping up everyone’s glass, warming and serving food, all whilst navigating a house made for four not forty is bloody hard work!

Mary's 80th party
See if you can spot me...

It all went very well to be honest, and the birthday girl was delighted.  All the guests seemed to enjoy themselves, and we kicked the last ones out (politely) at around 8pm, having opened the doors just after 1pm.  We were absolutely shattered!!

As you can imagine, this morning consisted of much tidying of all varieties.  We escaped with a small amount of collateral damage to the house it seems, and I’ll be ready to do it all again in another 80 years or so.

Today then, having reconstructed the house, returned the glasses we hired, and undertaken the big shop, the day has been quite restful.  This afternoon we went to a local park with Oli, and met up with my brother and his family, so that Oli could meet his cousin, Baxter.  He is a couple of weeks younger than Oli, and if Oli had a pocket, Baxter would quite easily fit inside it.

Still, they seemed to get on OK, after an initial bit of timidness on both sides.  Oli is a big softie, and when out for walks will sit down and wait for a car to pass as he isn’t keen on the noise.  This can make walks last about two weeks each.

Anyway, he doesn’t mind actually riding in a car, and here is about to set off for the park.  Ignore my hand showing at the top of the pic, I was trying to block out the low winter sun which was coming in right down the camera.

Oli at car
Mondeo Mutt

Once we got to the park, this is the calm, sedate way in which Oli and Baxter introduced themselves!!

With two little cuties with us, our walk around the park was constantly interrupted with folks wanting to have a look at the puppies and have a stroke.  Louise, and my sister-in-law Paula got very bored and quite chilly, and so declined most requests!!

So with my thanks to Ronnie Corbett for that last gag, I shall leave you again.  Frankly, I’m just too knackered to keep pressing these keys all the way down.  Luckily, work swings around again tomorrow, so that will make everything alright again.

Till the next time…..


Decorating and Digby the Dulux Dog

I suspect it is often quite easy to get a feel for my state of mind and mood by reading both in between and on the lines of these blog updates.  You could search every word for hidden meanings, and every sentence structure for implied nuances.  This week it is really easy to judge my state because….

I have been decorating!

Those four words tell you all that you need to know.  Now, before you have images of me buried in roll upon roll of wall paper, weeks into endless stripping, priming (I never prime by the way) and sanding, I must confess that I did about two hours worth of painting on Sunday afternoon.

The amount of time spent is not the point.  The fact that decorating is even happening gets to me.  Being a control freak Virgo with hints of OCD, the mere existence of disruption in the house makes me uneasy.  I like to make omelettes without breaking eggs if at all possible, and the kitchen and dining room being “upside down” whilst we give it a lick of paint is enough to drive me to drink!!

Louise has done most of the work, and I probably spent more time putting the room back together than actually painting yesterday, but I felt better once the room was as normal as we can get it.

So that is how the weekend finished.  It started with me going to the pub with a group of teenage girls.  This is not, as it may sound, some mid-life crisis episode.  Instead it was me, Emily, Rebecca and several of their friends going to the Railway Pub to see my brother’s band Mustard!

Emily and Rebecca have never seen them so it was overdue.  However, after feeling bruised battered and beaten following the usual working week, topped off with a Friday to beat them all, I did not feel like going.  Louise declined the outing based on the fact that if she were more than four feet from our toilet things might get unpleasant.  So it was left to me to either tell the puppy eyed daughters that I could not be arsed venturing out into the rain, or to bite the bullet and take them and their mates to the pub.

The evening was good once we were there of course.  Rebecca and her friend danced all the way through the first set, which in a pub which was not yet packed, takes more bottle than I ever possessed at 14, hell, even now to be honest.  Our milkman is quite confident though!

Surviving on nothing but pints of Diet Coke, I coaxed my tired frame through to midnight, and the final “Thank you and Goodnight”.  Louise had been home minding Oli, so she may have had the more tiring time of it.

Oli Growing
Not the best photo I know, but if you watch it long enough you will see him grow!

Speaking of Oli, he grows literally by the hour.  Normally when you see someone or something every day you can’t see a difference, but each morning he seems to have added inches and pounds over night.  Those of a certain age will remember the Digby film?  I’m quite concerned at this stage.

Generally though he’s been very good so far.  I do not want to talk too soon, but we are someway down the path now with the house training stuff.  This success has been built on the premise that he now knows that every evacuation, of any variety earns him a puppy treat.  So he is currently “going” about 27 times a day.  This may of course be fuelling the growth we are seeing, but I don’t care if it keeps the house wee free!

He has recently started “wanting to go out” rather than just deciding to do it where he stands, so this is a breakthrough.  Other than a few times when he has a mental half hour, and anyone in a mile radius of his needle like teeth is at risk, he has been very calm and well-behaved.  He is also fully injected up now, so from a week on Thursday he can go out into the big bad world.  We can’t wait.  The girls, as they want to show him off, and I, as it will get them off their backsides and doing some exercise, and it will burn off some of his energy, which might stop the bugger growing!

When we got Oli, my brother and his family came to see him, and their daughter (the one in the photo last week with Kelly remember) fell in love and asked if they could get a dog.  The expected responses of absolutely not were heard, but some two weeks later, they were as strong as I was in their stance, and they picked up Baxter on Saturday!

He is a cross between a Westie and a Shitzu (I think you spell it like that).  We popped round to see him, and he is indeed as cute as, well, a puppy!!  I’m sure he and Oli will be great friends over the years!

In a glass box of emotion (Anchorman reference!)

On Sunday I edged closer to the completion of the latest trip report too.  It has taken forever I know.  We left for this holiday in late July for goodness sake.  But work, the writing of stuff for WDW Dads and this blog have all eaten up time, as well of course as having a real life to do, and a new puppy, so I have plenty of excuses.

I have one day left to do, and it is usually the hardest as it involves the journey home, and the summing up of the trip.  It is at this point that I always say to myself that this report shall be the last, and the online world may heave a huge sigh of relief as they are saved from the onslaught of turtle head and toilet gags.  I don’t know, we’ll see.  It probably won’t matter all that much as we are more likely to visit the moon next year than Florida.  But as you all know, I’ve said that before…probably about ten times in the past ten years.  Anyway, I am stealing my own thunder for the trippie.

For those still interested, I’ll try to get that posted this week, and then my Virgo OCD side can relax knowing that loop is complete, that loose end snipped off, and one more thing is tidy and complete.  I’ll feel better for that!

Now, just the decorating to get finished….

Till the next time…..

And Oli makes five.

I still haven’t managed to mow the back lawn.

I trust you have all been enjoying the wonderful British autumn?  What was it that some famous poet bloke once said (I got an A at English Literature O level you know), it is the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness?  My arse.  Once we get into September it is just one long grey miserable drizzle filled mess until the snow comes.  I am sick to death of everything just being moist, dank and grey.

There are rumours of an Indian summer to come this week, which probably means a half day break in the drizzle.

There is only one topic this week to blog about and that would be the new arrival into the Williams household.  After four weeks of waiting, Tuesday evening crept around, and with the girls more excited than a hundred Christmases combined, we set off to the darkest recesses of East Lancashire to collect our new Old English Sheepdog.  The four weeks since we had seen him had resulted in him doubling in both size and cuteness.  His name has been settled since before we even chose him.  Emily had decided upon Oli.  Not Ollie, or Olly, certainly not Oliver but Oli.  This is important, as he is named after someone called Oli Sykes.  I include a photo so you can get some appreciation of what Emily’s bedrooms walls are like!

Oli Sykes
Our Oli is cuter

With a nervy drive home behind us (no-one wants a wee soaked Mondeo), we introduced him to this new house, and to be honest, he settled in straight away.  We were all ready for an interrupted night’s sleep, well, Louise was, as she had taken a few days off to help him get used to us, we did not hear a peep out of him all night.

This was partly due to the fact that Louise and I were not in for most of it.  Louise had been suffering with a painful foot for a day or two, and it chose tonight to flare up into what turned out to be a severe bout of tendonitis.  At around 2.30am, I joined Louise in being awake, and we toddled off to receive the necessary medical attention, in the form of an xray and medication.  If you do need to go to A&E, I would recommend 3.00am on a Wednesday morning as we were seen straight away, and with not one drunk in sight.

After getting a luxurious hour or so of sleep on our return, I zombied my way to work and somehow ambled through the day.  Louise began the constant supervision of Oli.  To be fair to Emily she was up at 6.30am that morning to look after him, and has been every day since.  Her body is in shock, and this can’t last forever!!

My main fear in getting a new puppy (I say main, as I had a few) was the horror of house training.  We’re still under a week in, so I don’t want to jinx anything, but the little fella is doing alright.  We are extremely vigilant in making sure he is taken outside at all the right times, but he is getting the hang of knowing when and where to do stuff.  He is also doing fine during the night in his crate.  All in all it could be a lot worse!

Aside from the chores of looking after him, it is safe to say we have all fallen for him, along with the extended family, and we’ve never had so many visitors as we’ve had in the past few days.  As you can see from the photos he is so cute that he doesn’t look real, and in real life he is all that cute and more.

My Dad in particular seems smitten, mainly as it brings back lovely memories of Kelly, the Old English we had when I was still at school.  I, like Emily, promised to look after her, and so by default, she became my Dad’s dog!!

Dad came round to see Oli, and brought with him a photo of Kelly, with my niece Sarah, who is now twenty years old by the way!!

Kelly and Sarah

The red fridge magnet is a recent addition, as that is where the photo now lives!!  Standby for Oli overload!

Oli 1
First night photo

Oli 2

Oli 3
He's found his spot

Oli sat
He IS real

Louise’s foot has improved a little during the week so she’s been able to chase after him well enough.  I’ve spent more time on our decking in the past week than in the previous several years since we had it built.  It has been drizzling for every single minute of that, and applauding and cheering at every “movement” could be viewed as a little odd, but it is, so I read, a key process in the training of your puppy!  I’ve also learnt that drizzle covered decking allows me to put on my own Bolero most evenings, as I skate around the thing, trying not to triple salco into the latest pile of “Success”.

Today is my turn to settle him in, so I have booked a day off work.  It is amazing how something as simple as that can change your whole Sunday!!  The retribution for that is on Tuesday in the form of a flying visit to London for a meeting.  Yes, four hours on a train, for one meeting….at 4pm!!

I shall leave you with even more Oli, this time in video form.  I will warn you that my camera technique may leave you feeling sea sick, and our decking is a wet mossy mess!  Enjoy

Till the next time…..