Sunday, August 9, 2020

Tennis Ball Tantrum and Moth in Flight

Olga and I were back on the Heath yesterday, having a good long walk. The "Lulu" trees are bright green at this time of year -- remember how pink they were back in April?

It wasn't as hot as it had been earlier in the week, but it wasn't exactly cool, either (89º F or 32º C). Olga seized the opportunity for a deep, satisfying mud bath.

Unfortunately, she lay on top of her tennis ball, which was then driven so deeply into the mud that neither of us could find it again. She spent the rest of the walk barking and looking at me expectantly, nagging me to produce her ball. I told her about a thousand times I DON'T HAVE IT but she didn't quite understand.

She found another ball, abandoned by some other dog, and I thought I was off the hook. But she shredded that ball within about ten minutes, and then nagged me again.

There seems to be some kind of conflict brewing on Sandy Heath about cycling. I used to see a lot of kids riding bikes through there, up and down the hilly terrain, but now signs at the entrance prominently say NO CYCLING. I don't know if this is a rule change or if that's always been the case.

Anyway, in one big open basin below some hilly bluffs, someone piled a bunch of logs -- both dead trees and recently-living ones. I found this indignant note pinned to a nearby tree. Did someone chop down trees to stop cyclists?! That does seem counterproductive.

Remember the Jersey tiger moth I posted yesterday? I mentioned how bright its orange underwings are. Well, I saw another one at the Heath and tried to video it as well, and though I only got a second or two of footage, between those two videos I had enough to put together an 18-second snippet so you could see what they look like when they fly. It's not going to win a Best Documentary Oscar but it's better than nothing.

Last night Dave and I finally went out for our belated anniversary dinner. We went to Gordon Ramsay's restaurant in Chelsea, where we had the tasting menu (beef for Dave, pigeon breast for me) and it was fabulous. It's the first fancy restaurant meal we've had in months and months. Was it safe, Covid-wise? I have no idea. The tables seemed well-spaced and service was at "arm's length," as they told Dave on the phone beforehand -- basically as usual, I think. The room didn't seem particularly well ventilated, but it also wasn't so crowded that it felt threatening. So who knows. Life is a gamble.

We watched a terrifically terrible '70s disaster movie two nights ago called "City on Fire" -- not to be confused with the novel I recently read of the same name -- starring Ava Gardner, Henry Fonda, Shelley Winters and James Franciscus, among others. It's about a saboteur burning down an entire city. I am a '70s disaster movie aficionado, and I'd never heard of this film until someone mentioned it recently in a disaster movie Facebook group -- apparently it was a flop when it came out in 1979 (Gene Siskel selected it as his "dog of the week"). Now it's on Amazon Prime for free. I can't exactly recommend it, because it is terrible, but it's also weirdly suspenseful in places and some of the effects are respectable enough. When I see movies like this I always wonder why certain casting and filming decisions were made. I'm blaming Quaaludes.


  1. You will be pleased to know that I have nominated the Tiger Moth wildlife video for The Best Documentary at the Condom Film Festival - Condom being a small town in the Gers region of France.

  2. A posh dinner our for your anniversary. Nice. I'm sure it would have been COVID safe. But you never know who the cooks have mixing with. It is all too hard at times. Trust your instinct, which I think you did.

  3. How wonderful that you and Dave were able to enjoy a nice dinner at a posh restaurant. The closest I've been to a restaurant this year is take out from Olive Garden. God Bless that Olga. Did you ever recover her ball? What is it about mud baths that dogs love? Olga sure does look like she's enjoying hers. Enjoy your day, hugs, Edna B.

  4. Great photos, as always!

    Pigeon breast in London--did they grab one off the street? (haha)

    '70s disaster movies seem just about right for now.
    An indie theater here recently played The Andromeda Strain, about scientists battling a virus from outer space.

    The scientists win, but the movie ends with these prescient lines:

    Dr. Stone: There's no guarantee that another "so-called biological crisis" won't occur again.

    Sen. Phillips: Hmm. What do we do about that?

    Dr. Stone: Precisely, Senator. What do we do?

  5. P.S. The novel The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton was published in 1969. The movie is from 1971.

  6. "I blame it on quaaludes."
    Maybe more like coke. If I know anything about quaaludes (and I used to) the very idea of making a movie while on them would have engendered a swoon and a nap.
    I loved the little movie. The butterfly looked like a flower blossom floating. And the music! Perfect. The speakers on my old Mac were blown and the ones on this new Mac are amazing.
    Poor Olga. Forced to do without her tennis ball for the walk. Life is cruel.

  7. I'm not sure I get the connection between no cycling and cutting down dead and one live tree. dead trees are a hazard and should be cut down. maybe the live tree was diseased or who knows.

    I'm glad you and Dave got to have a fancy meal out.

  8. I love that video. I was surprised by how orange that moth's underwings are. Wow! Thank you for putting that together.
    Do you have another tennis ball for Olga to play with? I hope so.
    Nice that you and Dave got out for a celebratory meal.
    Quaaludes... LOL!

  9. Since the early '70s, I have blamed EVERYTHING on quaaludes. Even that spectacular tiger moth.

  10. I love that video of the moth. I've never seen one before. I love how it looks so calm in its zebra like colors and then seems to erupt in flames when it flies away. Brilliant.
    The tennis ball story made me laugh. Did you tell Olga that's what she gets for lolling in the mud?

  11. The video was very cool! I like how it seems seamless, but the moth just appears in a difference place entirely.

    Olga is such a hoot. I’m on her side - you should be carrying an entire bag of balls with you so that she is never without one. Ha!

  12. So glad you got to go out for dinner! It must have seemed odd to be in a restaurant after all of these quarantine months. Did Olga need a bath after the mud stuff, or does it just come right off of her?

  13. I hope chef Ramsay wasn't at the restaurant, cursing loudly throughout your celebratory meal.

  14. The cuteness factor saved the day! Olga never fails, She is just the best dog ever- she has got it down.
    The tree must have been placed across the path , that would make anyone cranky!
    Job well done, the video with MUSIC!! SKILLS!
    Not sure about going out for dinner, you are confident/brave/ insane. I will say that being in stay at home mode since February has worn thin at best. Going mad!!We are still in so called phase One.

  15. Olga So Rocks - What A Strong Personality - That Mud Shot Is A Keeper - I Recommend You Print That Shot On Canvas And Give It To Mr Dave For The Holidays - Stoked You Two Had Some Quality Time Together - Stay Strong This Week


  16. How many disaster movies was Shelley Winters in, anyway?? (Poseidon Adventure comes to mind)

    LOVE the photos of Olga! That mud must have felt like heaven to her :)

  17. Some folks pay good money for mud baths. Olga simply finds the free ones. Love it--but glad not to be the one who had to wash her afterwards.