Sunday, 25 September 2011

Welcome to our new Family Member: Patch Hurley

Patch Hurley
This is Patch, our new family pet.

He is from a rescue kennel and is 18 months old.

So far he is fitting in really well (if a bit excited by the chickens).

He is well behaved, not at all noisy and we can't believe how lucky we are to get him.

He is a Jack Russell cross breed, we're not sure with what, but another Terrier of some sort we think.

He was so well behaved on the drive home and we've taken him for a couple of walks already.

Yes, it's all very exciting in the Hurley home.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

It's Bilbo Baggins Day - Hello to all Hobbits

A very Happy Birthday to Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

Especially for a hairy footed Welshman who betrayed everything and moved to... London. Home of Saruman & Co.

I went on a long adventure, there and back again, and now I'm home, in The Shire with the other halflings.

Oh Hobbits in the foul, unfolksy places of the world, don't give in to Saruman and his McRubbish. Drink Brains Beer* and eat Clark's Pies* (except on Fridays). Defend civilisation!

*I am always open to sponsorship.

Clark's Pies - Lembas Bread in all But Name

Four Paws Animal Rescue: A Very Bad Experience

A sad and perplexing tale this week.

On Sunday (18th September) we went to a dog show and purposefully went to the stalls for dogs homes as we had decided for some time that we would try for a dog to be rehomed.

After gathering information from the Dogs Trust we went over to the Four Paws Animal Rescue stall. Being "novices" at housing a rescue dog we were intent on gathering literature. On getting talking to one of the volunteers, she called over to a young lady who brought two dogs over.

Our youngest immediately fell in love with one of them called Cooper and asked if we could "get it now." Both we and the people on the stall said 'no - that's not how it works' that there would have to be forms filled-in and a home check etc.

So we told them that we were very keen on Cooper and would be going home to fill in the form that very day. It was then that the young lady in charge of the dogs, having seen how keen we were, said 'fill out the form with your number and as soon as I get it I'll give you a call.' She said that she was in charge of the two puppies and would be handling the case.

So whilst we knew it wouldn't be a shoe-in, we knew we would be in with a fair chance, especially when we told them that we would not leave the dog unattended at any time during the day. We had been promised an immediate phone call and so felt assured of fair treatment and the high possibility of homing Cooper.

We went home full of joy. The little one looked online and got pictures of Cooper and the older siblings were duly informed. There was a buzz of excitement.

Monday afternoon and she paced the floor ready for the promised call... nothing. Then I phoned and was told there were a lot of enquiries for the puppies (Cooper and his brother) and to be patient.

OK, I thought, they promised to phone and then there will be the home check etc. - no problem. Perhaps we would be contacted later in the week (I asked this whilst on the phone and was told - yes, within a few days) and then the various people would get home visits etc...

The next day (Tuesday) we received a standardised email stating that Cooper had already been rehomed. A kind of 'thanks but no thanks' impersonal round robin.

Now I understand how the world works and you have to be patient, but try telling that to a young one who had been promised at least a decent possibility of being in with a chance, was promised a personal call immediately on our details going in, and a home check.

We received none of these, and I had to say as the "grown up" comforting a crying child who had hoped for the best, to be ignored after we were promised at least a fighting chance and a personal contact from the young lady immediately in charge of the two puppies, we felt very let down by Four Paws Animal Rescue.

Forum post announcing Cooper's arrival Sept 19th
I felt that the decision had been made on the hoof, with no apparent fairness. When I phoned to ascertain what had gone on I was told the puppies had been available "for weeks" and so there were many people involved, yet the forum on their site announced them as available from the 18th September - the morning of which we saw them! (see screen shots).

I do not expect anyone to get preferential treatment, just a fair crack of the whip. And as people with all the right conditions (enclosed garden, someone always home, able to walk the dog daily, living near a beach and large parks etc. etc.) you would think we would at least get the courtesy of a call or a visit.

I am not suggesting something dodgy went on, that a friend of a friend turned up later that Sunday the 18th, or phone up on the Monday when the images were put online on their forum (the 19th) nor even that the person on their contact line lied when she said Cooper had been with them for fostering "for many weeks" when it says on their forum that Cooper had been with them for fostering since Sunday the 18th of September (the day we saw him).

But what I am saying is that to promise to phone, and plan a home call etc. etc. and then announce on the Tuesday that the dog has already been homed smacks of favouritism and/or of ignoring "normal" customers.

There was something not right in the way this was handled, with friendliness and promises of a call and "personal handling" of the case on the Sunday, to ignorance, non-contact and then a standardised email saying the dog had already been homed 48 hours later on the Tuesday.

It has left us with a very bad experience of Four Paws Animal Rescue.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Don't You Love That Personal Touch?

The email sent to me
When you get an email from a business, you tend to know that you are one of many thousands receiving it.

The same is true of mail shots, pop-up windows etc. etc.

The addition of your name may make the immature or gullible feel that they are being specially targeted for the special offer or services being promoted.

But the truth is a million miles away.

How refreshing therefore that Thomson Local sent me an email that deviated from the norm.

Just call me [Firstname] Hurley!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Happy Birthday Uncle Maynard - Darn Tootin'

Back in the day... touring his land
Very important birthday in the family this week... yes, of course today is Maynard's birthday! I wondered if he can get 92 candles on a cake, moreover how can he blow them out in one go? No jokes about being a blowhard, or being full of hot air.

Having the right to bear arms means means being able to blast those bad boy candles, not wearing a sleeveless dress.

But serously, sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch, cussing at passers by and carressing a blunderbuss is no way for a nonagenrian to pass the time, especially in a gravy-stained Dukes of Hazzard shirt. And getting your chewing tobaccy-stained inky shots of spittle in the spittoon just once, would be a Godsend for all concerned.

So happy birthday you old varmint! I know, you're "one day younger than me." Here's to another, and a year of non-pc behaviour and speaking your mind to all and sundry (not to mention offending liberals) in the meantime.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Billy Connolly the Cannibal Tours America?

I turned to our youngest and said "That looks good, Billy Connolly's new series is about travelling across America."

She asked "what does he do?" (I don't think the question was meant in a metaphysical or existentialist way).

"Oh," says I, "he meets people."

Perhaps it was the shock of just watching Wales lose their first match in the rugby World Cup, to South Africa by a single point, but her startled reply was "He eats people?"


Now, I know he swears a lot and I think he has dabbled with Buddhism and he has turned his back on Catholicism.... but I don't think he's quite that bad! Is he?

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Dolphins Are Gay Sharks

Political Correctness is alive and well.

When I saw the t-shirt DOLPHINS ARE GAY SHARKS for sale I just had to buy it, in preparation for our visit to a U.S. themed water park.

Lo! verily I doth hand over the readies (shock!) and purchase said shirt, then I wore it to the animal-containing water park.

Cue lots of shocked faces from liberals and the easily offended. Cue lots of grins, thumbs up and comments - specifically "great/cool shirt" - from those who haven't had a sense of humour by-pass.

The staff at said water park seemed especially pleased by the shirt. Strangely enough African-Americans seemed to like it most. Is that cultural? I don't know.

Just an after thought. On seeing a show of performing animals, we were treated to a fanfare of salutes to American servicemen who, we were told, were delivering freedom around the world, then lots of saccharine footage and music to inform us we live in "one world" etc. whilst imprisoned animals performed stunts for food as tourists looked on sipping Coca-Cola.

Hmmmm. Lots of socio-political un-pc thoughts crossed my mind as those two facts clashed in my sun-dazzled brain. Luckily I could just look down at my 'gay dolphins' shirt, smile and plan the next roller-coaster to go on.

Cardiff City Fan Mikey Dye RIP - No Football Rivalry

I'm so glad to hear that the Cardiff City fan, Mikey Dye, who tragically died at the England V Wales match on Tuesday was not murdered as the result of a Swansea-Cardiff rivalry. It seems some UK tabloids were too quick to jump the gun and suggest that is what happened. In all honesty I feared the worst too.

I enjoy football and have supported Cardiff since I was knee high to a grasshopper, I think I was 10 years old when I first went to see them play Leyton Orient, and I think that must have been in the old Division Four! Ah those halcyon days in the limelight.

I also have friends who are Swansea fans and we have good fun ribbing each other, winding each other up and delighting in each other's misfortunes. But there are, sadly, too many people who cross the line and for whom this rivalry boils over into terrible and merciless violence, at the drop of a hat.

The death of anyone is always a tragedy for the family involved, but I am relieved that it appears there was no Cardiff-Swansea violence at its core. It will be interesting to find out just what did happen, but in the meantime let's all take a moment to say a prayer for the repose of the soul of Mikey Dye.

None of us knows when our moment will come and its an awful (in its real sense) thought that at the drop of a hat we'll have to meet our Maker. At least being a Cardiff City fan must buy you some time off purgatory - we seem to have suffered enough in this veil of tears.