Sunday, May 10, 2020

My Old Lady

Yesterday was warm and sunny, so Olga and I ventured out to Hampstead Heath in the morning, starting earlier than normal to avoid bank holiday weekend crowds. We were somewhat successful. There were quite a few people out and about, but we were able to steer clear of them.

Above, Olga poses with the mysterious tumulus in the background. She rolled in grass and rolled in mud and carried her Kong and had a good time overall.

Although she was pretty energetic once we got to the Heath, getting her there took a while. She walks much more slowly these days, and there's a lot of sniffing and exploring along the way. Walking an older dog is an exercise in patience. At one point, we passed a little boy with his mother, and the boy acted frightened. I heard his mother say, "Don't worry. When it was younger that dog might have been scary, but now I think it's quite old." Indeed! I was indignant on Olga's behalf! She's only ten at most.

On the theory that she may be having some joint pain, we've ordered glucosamine dog treats, and we're going to see if those help her move a little more freely. I did give her paracetamol when we got back home, as I sometimes do after a long walk.

We went back to Athlone House to see the azaleas and rhododendrons, even though they've already faded a bit. Here's a close-up of the yellow one I mentioned last weekend. A rhodie, if I'm not mistaken.

Some interesting finds along the way:

This old bottle cap is interesting only because it's stamped "7 1/2 p" on the top. Surely that's not the price?! There's no sign of any maker or specific product, but that seems ridiculously cheap for any bottled liquid, even for back in the day. Actually, it looks like it might say "ED 7 1/2 p" -- I wonder if it's some kind of duty or tax? Do any of my British friends know?

Halfpenny coins haven't been minted since 1984, so perhaps that's an indication of its age.

Here are some other little odds and ends -- a few pottery chips and something that looks like a tiny amphora or jug. I think it once had a handle, on the right, but that's now broken off. I wonder what the story is there? It's solid, whatever it is, so it's just for show.

Last night Dave and I dined al fresco in the garden once again, with another dinner from Hide. It's a nice way to do something special during these crazy days! The menu this time: A crab and asparagus starter, poussin with fregola and romaine salad, and sticky toffee pudding for dessert. Oh, and a bottle of excellent Chardonnay!

Apparently we're in for a bit of a cold snap. The temperatures are supposed to drop to a low of 41ºF tonight and 38ºF tomorrow. I was thinking I might bring in the dahlias, with their brand-new tender growth, but I'm not sure that's cold enough to do them any damage, especially on our patio. I might just risk it.


  1. Gorgeous photos... and Olga, of course. I hope Olga didn't hear the unkind comment from that woman. So insensitive. We had an acquaintance who was a rhododendron hybridizer, apparently world famous. He had a home and gardens outside Seattle that were absolutely spectacular. He was more comfortable among his rhododendrons than among humans. I understand.

  2. I notice that my cats don't spring up the stairs like they used to, I guess it comes to us al as we age.
    People can be so insensitive sometimes but a the previous comment said, Olga would have been unaware of this.

  3. Lovely walk. Some people seem to thrive by dishing out unkind words or being blindly insensitive. Olga is a charmer, even if she is sometimes a bit cranky. I notice the same in my cat sometimes.

  4. The 7 1/2p would have been added to the price of the bottle of liquid - probably fizzy drink. Only if you returned the bottle to the purveyor could you retrieve this deposit. When I was a boy we often found used bottles and returned them to our village shops for extra pocket money. There was a lot of sense in the system when we now contemplate waste and recycling.

    P.S. Get Olga a skateboard and flying goggles - then her mobility won't be a big issue.

  5. Mitchell: I can see how some "plant people" might prefer their plants over human company!

    Briony: Yes, it happens to us all. Of course Olga didn't care. I was the only one who was shocked, and only because I don't yet think of her as old! Aging, maybe, but not old.

    E: It was a nice walk. And yes, we all have cranky tendencies from time to time, animals and humans alike!

    YP: But then why does the bottle cap itself say NO DEPOSIT NO RETURN? Weird. We did the same when we were kids -- collected bottles for pocket money. It was a good system!

  6. Those yellow flowers are simply gorgeous! My little dog is getting older too, fourteen years. He's tiny so he travels in his stroller when I'm out and about. I can see the difference in his steps too, and I have medicine to give him when he's having pain. I even have a basket on my walker for him to sit in when I'm using that. Olga might not fit into these things, but she will probably enjoy riding in a red wagon when the walking gets a bit too tough. You have a great day, hugs, Edna B.

  7. Olga isn't that old at all! My Ginger is turning 13 this year and there's still plenty of spunk in my girl yet. I was indignant on Olga's behalf when I read this.

  8. I'm wondering how the dahlia's did?

  9. It's a way of saying that the deposit is obligatory. You have no choice in the matter.

  10. Well, I think Olga has a lot of miles left in her yet. They may not be quite as frisky and they may not be quite as fast but they're there.
    Those rhododendrons are eye-feasts!
    And your al fresco take-out dining experience sounds FAR MORE DELICIOUS than what we got from Hamaknockers (not kidding you) barbecue.

  11. I think Olga looks good for 10. I'm curious about how she'll respond to the glucosamine. She always looks so full of energy and spunk in the photos.

  12. I wonder what made that lady think Olga was old. She always looks so spry and full of energy in your photos. Love those yellow blooms.

  13. Ah, an aging dog taking drugs and a risk-defying gardener. Good combination for "The Days of the Pandemic". (Coming soon to a streaming service near you.)

  14. you're having to start your pottery shard collection all over again. I may have mentioned this before but when my son went to Israel when he was 16? 17? their group went to an archeology site and they were allowed to rummage through a box of pottery shards and pick one to keep (apparently ancient pottery shards are so common that they are meaningless) and he found one with an intact handle and brought it home for me.

    when our old boxer started having pain from arthritis we would give her an aspirin which seemed to help with tha pain anyway.

  15. So, you got Olga soon after you'd come to live in London, right? so it's been 10 years that you've been an expat. How hard is it to hold on to your panhandle accent?

  16. Pavements are hard on paws..and feet. Not surprised that she is slower there, but she is obviously enjoying the run on the grass!

    We have the cold snap in the wind here. Back to jackets and fleeces!!

  17. We are definitely not having a cold snap in Tucson. I wouldn't mind one about now. Olga does not look old, some people are so rude with their comments! Dogs have feelings, too. Those yellow blossoms are just glorious.

  18. I live outside of Seattle where the rhododendrons grow easily and profusely and I’ve never before seen a yellow one. I’m so glad you posted it. Amazing.

  19. The comment about Olga is a reminder for us to think before we speak. As I get older I am astonished at how I am judged by my age. The next time someone asks my age I will say I am dog years. Recently someone asked me how old I was and I said "Eighty-six"...their reply was a serious "You don't look it!"

  20. What a beautiful day for a walk! It sounds like Olga walks like I do these days - slowly & looking at everything. I do not, however, roll around in the mud when I get to my destination.

  21. Ah, Olga ... I'm glad you had such a good time :)

  22. The yellow flower is an Exbury azalea, unlike a rhododendron they are deciduous. It is beautiful, they are in bloom here in western Oregon too.

  23. Edna: I actually saw a family rolling their staffy around in a baby stroller at the cemetery not too long ago. I said to them, "I'll probably have to get one of those too at some point!" (For Olga)

    Jennifer: Right?! I don't even think Olga looks old, so I was surprised when she said that.

    Colette: They seem to be fine. I went out to check them this morning and they look normal.

    YP: OK, not to belabor the point, but to me, "no deposit no return" means the bottle doesn't come with a deposit and thus can't be returned for one. So to then charge 7 1/2 p deposit, seems contrary to that message. You know?

    Ms Moon: Who comes up with these names?! LOL

    Robin: She's fine when she gets going, but sometimes she's slow to start, and then after she rests a while after exercising she sometimes has a little trouble moving around.

    Sharon: I know! I thought the same thing. But Dave says he can tell that some of her formerly white fur is now gray. I don't see it myself.

    Catalyst: We're full of drama around here!

    Ellen: My shard collection is still going strong. I only used a tiny fraction of them in the stepping stones. I could pave a whole patio! (Maybe next year!)

    Vivian: We've been in London since 2011. We got Olga at the beginning of 2013, and she was already two or three years old. My accent hasn't changed at all, actually, partly because I spend my days mostly around Americans. (I work at an American school.) But I also think once your speech is learned it's hard to change it, which is why you see Brits in the US still proudly carrying their British accents. I don't have a Panhandle accent, though -- I'm from Tampa, not the Panhandle. My accent is pretty much Midwestern standard American English, with some Southern word usage thrown in for good measure!

    GZ: That's a good point. Maybe the sidewalk is less comfortable for her?!

    Allison: I don't mind cool, but this is TOO cool for this time of year.

    Radish King: It surprised me too! I'd never seen one before. (Lea below says it is an Exbury azalea.)

    Penelope: Ha! I guess they were trying to pay you a compliment, but yikes.

    Bug: Do you sniff everything too?!

    Jenny-O: She loves her walks, as we all know!

    Lea: Thanks for that! I'd never heard of an Exbury azalea.

  24. Have you asked your vet if paracetamol is ok for Olga?? To my knowledge (from a Finnish vet) paracetamol and other painkillers meant for human comsumption are dangerous for dogs and cats.

  25. Hi Ilona -- yes, we were told by the vet that 1/2 a pill of paracetamol was OK. I have heard that aspirin and some other painkillers are harmful, though. We don't give it to her very often -- once every few weeks at most.

  26. The Old Girl - Such A Good Girl - Nice Call On Ordering The New Treats - They Help - Every Now And Then, Kinda Nice To Stop And Smell The Roses - Glad You Took Advantage Of The Warm Weather With A Delightful Meal - Stay Warm This Week