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Thanks everyone. Spotty indeed was a character, a great escape artist and this very morning I observed the probable results of his escapes over the years. No less than four carbon copies of Spotty in various parts of town. The same short coat, similar markings,quite obviously 'part lurcher' and all Spotty.

It was two year old Arlo that was wise and perceptive yesterday. He didn't mention Spot not being in his usual place...four inches from any food Arlo might be eating...not until Ellie moved Spot's bed out of the way and gave a little sob.
"Is it Spotty Grandma?" asked Arlo cuddling his grandma. "He was old and very poorly Grandma." he said simply and cuddled up with his Grandma to watch Lucas The Spider for the ten millionth time.

Edited to add: Driving to visit Ben Gunn and Nanny yesterday afternoon, Ellie mentioned that she felt euthanasia should be available humans. She was looking at me quite intently. On the off chance she's done a deal with the vet I'm on my best behaviour, doing as I'm told, trying not to shed, yet I still have a concern that should I ever have an accident on the carpet...

 

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So, I was on the phone to a professional Yorkshireman I know when I locked my keys inside the shed. I didn't know whether to be annoyed, pleased or ashamed that it only took me seven minutes the follo

Operation Cat Crap will consist of a three pronged response to the current situation. First of all will be the tracking and testing phase. Next will come an attempt to flatten the curve and limit the

I burned the midnight oil last night and strangely enough I was awake bright and early and busy in the workshop before the beagles had woken up. As always I couldn't resist 'finishing' my project.

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1 hour ago, Timbo said:

Ellie mentioned that she felt euthanasia should be available humans. She was looking at me quite intently. On the off chance she's done a deal with the vet I'm on my best behaviour, doing as I'm told, trying not to shed, yet I still have a concern that should I ever have an accident on the carpet...

 

I would be very afraid if Ellie started talking about Spotify.

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1 hour ago, Timbo said:




"Is it Timbo Grandma?" asked Arlo cuddling his grandma. "He is old and very poorly Grandma." he said simply and cuddled up with his Grandma to watch Lucas The Spider for the ten millionth time.

 

Become worried if you ever overhear Ario speaking about you in the same way!

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On 13/11/2020 at 11:06, Hylander said:

I know I am bringing up the rear here - well someone has to - what the Dickens is a Firkle?

 

On 13/11/2020 at 11:15, Poppy said:

Firkle -  to rummage or search.

"He was firkling about in his tool box, looking for his soldering iron."

My dialect is a bit of a weird one. My family hails from the farmland between York and Doncaster. I'm an Isleonian from the Isle of Axholme, a small inland island that is bounded by Doncaster to the west, Scunthorpe to the North and Gainsborough to the South bounded by the rivers Torne, Trent and Idle. Its the only part of Lincolnshire north of the River Trent. Just like The Broads it is a landscape of fens, meres and carrs, farmland and peat diggings. Pumping stations at strategic points keep the Isle from flooding as most of the land is below sea level because unlike the Broads it was drained by Vermuyden. 

Our dialect is very 'strong', much stronger than a Yorkshire or even Norfolk accent, laced with words of Norse and Dutch origin. 'Incomers' would be hard pressed indeed to understand a 'local yokel' type at one time. It's more another language than an accent but it is very close to how English was spoken before the great vowel shift between 1400 -1700. The accent is starting to die out though with just the odd phrase or word left hanging around. But back in the late 1970's walk into the local pub and you would struggle to pick out one word in twenty.

So 'Firkle' from the Norse yrkja meaning 'to work'. In medieval English 'firk' to move about or carry quickly or to cast out. "I'll fer him, and firk him, and ferret him."  Shakespeare Henry V Part IV.

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45 minutes ago, Timbo said:

So 'Firkle' from the Norse yrkja meaning 'to work'. In medieval English 'firk' to move about or carry quickly or to cast out. "I'll fer him, and firk him, and ferret him."  Shakespeare Henry V Part IV.

 I love this background. The dialect in Holyhead is a bit weird too. It wasn’t until I went to Uni that I realised that some of the expressions that I used weren’t exactly standard English. One of my English friends was completely bemused when I told her was was ‘going to town to get my messages’.  When I thought about it, I realised that the Welsh use the same word for sending a message and going to do shopping. 

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58 minutes ago, YnysMon said:

 I love this background. The dialect in Holyhead is a bit weird too. It wasn’t until I went to Uni that I realised that some of the expressions that I used weren’t exactly standard English. One of my English friends was completely bemused when I told her was was ‘going to town to get my messages’.  When I thought about it, I realised that the Welsh use the same word for sending a message and going to do shopping. 

Messages is also used in central Scotland, as words for shopping.

So my sister went for the messages to make her late hubbies piece..  which he sometimes blew up...

 

translation,

she went for he shopping to make her late husband's sandwiches...which as a mining engineer he was renown for leaving behind, at the site of the next big bang...

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So it's been a harrowing night for me.  Dylan the Starboard Beagle has been confused since we lost Spotty last Wednesday. By Friday Dylan was being physically sick. Saturday he had a couple of seizures. They normally come in twos with several weeks in between. Yesterday he had six seizures and by evening we were at the vets for an emergency appointment with Dylan needing to be sedated and kept in Doggy Hospital overnight.

I telephoned the vets this morning. 
'Come and collect your brute'. In the background I could hear Dylan barking.
"How much do I owe you?" I asked.
"Your house!" said the vet.
He wasn't wrong.

Dylan had one small fit at 2 am in the morning, but nothing since. His phenobarbitone levels were very low and his dosage has been upped from 30mg twice per day to 60mg twice per day. With a Sunday surgery fee, 2 vials of diazepam, a hospitalization fee, fee for taking blood, a phenobarbitone level test and another prescription of his medication on top of the vets fees we paid for Spotty this week...it means the end of my boat.

 

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It's 4:03 AM and this is Dylan Watch!

I've just been awakened by Dylan who was standing beside me on my bed starring at the headboard. For the umpteenth time since he came home, I got up and let him outside for a pee. I need to get some batteries for my torch as once again the council have decided to turn the street lamps off in the winter, after leaving them on all through the summer, and it is pitch black out there.

Although it is a relief to have Dylan back home, he is a very different dog. Having six seizures in one day on Sunday has really taken its toll. With instruction from the vet to keep him calm, quiet and for him to rest and sleep as much as possible, it was several hours before I could coax him into sleeping. Since arriving home he has been constantly pestering for food, trying to eat anything and everything whether it is edible or not. He's barging down bolted doors to get to what he thinks could be food. He's also drinking for England stood starring at walls, appears to be totally blind in darkness, sits by me whining all of the time and refusing to sleep. Apparently this is to be expected.

When I did manage to get him to sleep this afternoon, no sooner had he closed his eyes than there was a hammering on my door which woke him up. It was the chemist delivering my medication. With Dylan awake again, my only recourse was to take him and Toby for an extra walk to try and tire him out. 

Walking with both dogs on the lead, as Dylan is so disorientated he can't me trusted off the lead, we strolled across the remains of the medieval ridge and furrow at the end of the street and into the woods. As we completed our circuit and skirted the edge of the school field Dylan and Toby pricked up their ears and started to wag their tails. Dylan had spotted someone or someones he recognised. Flying down the path from the school, long hair streaming behind her was my Gracie. Stumping along behind her at full gallop in his wellies dragging his Teddy Mr Floppy Ears behind him was my Arlo.
"Timbo! Timbo! My Timbo and Dylly and Toby!" shouted Arlo.
Gracie launched into our usual after school banter.
"Timbo, today I wrestled alligators and had a bed making competition with a T-Rex!"

Later I collected Ellie from work and upon returning home discovered Dylan had managed to rip the bolts out of the door to barge his way into the kitchen. I set too sorting out the rehanging of the door, willing the clock to get to 17:30 PM so that I could give Dylan his evening dose of Phenobarbitone so that he would sleep.

I started to make my own evening meal. Very difficult with a beagle wrapped around your legs. I filled a pan with cold water, tripped over the dog and dumped the water on him. Expecting him to go into  a fit, relieved he didn't, annoyed at him under my feet and then struck my the horror of this happening with boiling water, I built a temporary barrier to stop Dylan's access to the kitchen. While my food was cooking I took the dogs out for another walk. When we returned I gave Dylan his tablet, fed both dogs and tried to gulp down my food shut in the kitchen while the dogs were eating.

I finally managed to get Dylan to sleep for a couple of hours until Ellie popped in to see how we were. Fortunately I managed to get Dylan to go back to sleep around 22:00 PM until he woke me starring at the headboard. He's now wide awake, pestering for food, drinking for England, pestering to go outside for a walk, but it is too dark for me to be outside. His next medication is at 08:00 AM.

I'm tired.

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There's good news on the beagle watch from Timbo Towers here at Much Firkle on the Trent. Although its like living with Rainman at times there are signs of improvement in Dylan. The most obvious changes are one of his eyes has gone a bit 'Marty Feldman' and, only detectable when he walks indoors, a slight dragging of one of his feet. My thought is he's had a stroke during the seizures.

Over the last couple of days he has calmed down though. He is still constantly at my feet, but he will now toddle off to bed for a sleep. I had been contemplating sitting in the car to eat my meals, but last night I managed to eat my tea without Dylan barging the door down to get at my food. I did cut some door wedges whilst firkling, but they were not needed.

I suppose the hardest adjustment for me has been the change in his sleeping habits. When on board RT my 'furry hot water bottles' are a boon. Dylan has always slept in the crook of my knee and Toby will snuggle between my back and the side of the boat. The command 'assume snuggle position' and both beagles zip to their respective positions and stay there all night. At home, this translates to a constant battle for the duvet. Dylan spends the night nipping under the duvet into the crook of me knee and then sliding back out of the duvet, dragging it with him, when he gets too hot. Dylan has now totally changed his sleeping routine to sleeping on top of the duvet so I can't move at all. Usually annoying, this morning the familiar jab of cold wet nose to get me to lift the quilt, and it was a comfort when Dylan assumed 'snuggle position', promptly farted and forced me out of bed.

Last night's walk was funny. Dylan decided he was going to caper about the field just like he did as a puppy engaging in mock battles with me and grabbing my trouser leg to trip me up before scampering around me in circles.

I managed to get some firkling done yesterday. Ellie is THE HARDEST person to buy presents for. When your other half works in an emporium of 'goodies', whole rafts of possible gifts for SWMBO's get crossed off the list. But several times this year she has complained that people keep pinching her pen. She keeps buying pens that are easily identifiable only to find them missing and someone claiming they bought an identical instrument. So I decided to make her a pen from wood. Sounds simple?

I've been hankering after a lathe for some time now, but a lathe is well down the list of essentials. I've measured the space I have available to accommodate it. I've seen the model that I want from Axminster and ordered their catalogue. In that most amazing publication of all things manly was a made of pen kits. So I bought a couple. I mean, surely there was a way to make a pen without a lathe?

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Glad to hear Dylan is settling down again. Must be so stressful! Gracie and Arlo sound delightful, as ever.  I love hearing about their antics.

Don't talk about Christmas presents. I have a horrible feeling I should already have got myself sorted on that front, but still don’t have a clue what to get for any more of my family. I enjoy Christmas. It’s just the bit leading up to it...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dylan has been much improved. Almost, almost back to his old self. He's still very clingy and won't leave my side...but then that's his job. He put himself back to work several days ago and was giving every indication of me being unwell. At first, as I felt fine and dandy we ignored him. But as my headache increased in intensity we realized that Dylan was back on the ball.

On Friday morning I heard the sofa begin to shake. Dylan was under my feet in his new usual spot. Poor old Toby was now having a seizure, and a big one. After some considerable time Toby came around. On the advice of the vet we gave him half of one of Dylan's tablets. 

I got an early Christmas present on Friday. Ellie had bought me a new mattress, duvet, pillows and bedding. At three thirty Saturday morning Toby barfed on my bed. I hoiked him off the bed and dragged on my trousers as I ushered him down he hall and outside. As I got to the back door I pulled my trousers on to discover...he'd puked in my trousers before he'd climbed on the bed. With Toby sat by the fridge with Dylan begging for food...I was in the shower and the washing machine was on.
"How did you sleep in your new bed?" Ellie asked.
My reply contained a number of consonants, vowels, several exclamation marks and a hash tag!

Toby is now feeling much better but has initiated a war over my new pillows. He is under the misguided impression that they are somehow his pillows. To stop his machinations I removed my pillows and replaced them with an old cushion. Toby fell for it and claimed the cushion...but soon realized his was a hollow victory and decamped to the sofa.
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Firkling has taken a back seat at the moment. By Saturday night I felt shocking and Ellie staged an intervention. I was sent to bed, with some tea, and a double dose of my meds. I have managed to complete the prototype of Ellie's present though. It turns out you can turn a pen without a lathe...but it will be slightly 'out'.

I started with a piece of RT's old mahogany cabin side measuring 25 mm x 25 mm x 150 mm. I should have remembered from making Arlo's train that drilling a hole square through the centre of the 'pen blank' would be extremely difficult. On my second attempt I managed what seemed to be a hole right through the centre of the blank. It was 0.4 mm out of square but I thought that this would be accurate enough right? Wrong!

I glued in the brass tubes that run through the centre of the pen before I threaded the two halves of the pen blank onto a 6 mm bolt and chucked it into my hand drill. I then spun the blank in the hand drill over the bed of my bench sander to round everything.

Well chuffed with my success I then chucked the bolt into my drill press. Although spinning centrally close to the chuck, my makeshift mandrel was waggling all over the place at the point furthest away from the drill chuck. I took away one half of the pen blank and worked on the blank at the point closest to the drill chuck.

I started with the top of the pen as this was going to be the most difficult. I had to get the circumference of the pen blank to exactly match the gold pen clip insert from the pen kit. I also had to cut a 5.6 mm x 2 mm tenon on the lower end of the pen top to accept the gold banding. Without turning tools I used a flat file to grind against the pen blank as it spun in the pillar drill. It worked well. The tenon was going to be harder. In the end I used a quarter inch bench chisel to cut this and was quite pleased with how clean it came out. Going through the grits I used strips of sandpaper to get the pen blank to its final dimensions before repeating the process with the lower half of the pen.

Assembly was quite simple pushing the parts of the kit together using my bench vice. This is where the 0.4mm came to bite me in the bum. Over the length of the pen the 0.4mm turned into 2.5 mm and I ended up with the top and nib being slightly out of true. Not enough for someone to notice, but I noticed and it is irritating the hell out of me! So is forgetting to take photographs of the process. But here is the finished prototype pen anyway. 

Honduran Mahogany from RT and 17kt gold plated fittings.
20201120_205530.jpg

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