A few weeks before his end, we collected another young (18 months) cocker anglais from a Froggo refuge. He had been bred by an elevage/breeder as a stud dog but didn't take to the work, it seems. As a result he was left in an outdoor cage for over six months before being released by the refuge. He's still very nervous at times but is steadily improving on a daily basis. His Froggo name was 'Goliath' - a less appropriate moniker would be hard to find. Initially he refused to walk and had to be carried in and out for pees etc. To overcome this problem, we took on yet another similar cocker from another refuge, an eight year old dog known as Benito. Benny soon got Golly (as we've renamed the pair) off his butt and out and about. So things are improving for both dogs.
Charlie, my all-time favourite cat from Sweden has never returned or been found. Although we now have three others, including his old Spanish buddy, Rocky' - and two from another refuge, Sally and Ginge - I still miss him. He was virtually impossible at times but for me he just had something special about him that I loved.
The veg garden/potager proved to be immensely successful last year. We had huge crops of cucumber; melons; peppers; strawberries; broccoli; onions; pots; toms; lettuce; aubergines; courgettes; beans (French and Runner); Cauli; Garlic etc. Over winter we've had, and still have, Sprouts; Cabbage; Brocc; Cauli; Leeks. It's mostly under manure now, and as Spring seems to have just about arrived, will need turned in and prepped for another season. A job for J. I do only grass-cutting. Our freezers are still groaning under the amounts of stuff from last year, but it's all very handy. We have mountains of plums in the bushes/trees surrounding the garden, both Victorias and Greengages, always a favourite, so have loads of jam. The Pear, Apple and Cherry trees planted seem to have survived and in a few years should literally be fruitful. Ditto the Black & Red currants and Rasps. I plan to plant a Peach tree in a few weeks time, when the ground has warmed up a bit more. They grow prolifically hereabouts.
It's an odd thought but having listed this crop I can't help recalling the limits of what could be produced in Sweden: Carrots; Peas; Cucs & Toms ( both of the latter Greenhoused); Apples and Berries of all kinds. Here we seem to have difficulties with Peas - of all things - and have yet to try Carrots, a project for this year perhaps.
Our daughter, LVP, is still having problems over contact etc with her son/the grandsprog, despite the conclusion of proceedings last year. His father remains a total A**hole and is constantly obstructive. J is going over to UK and Wales to see her in early May and hopefully some progress will again be possible. We've suggested Hamish comes out here for a holiday at our expense this summer during school hols but the father is far from supportive of the idea, although Hamish has had many hols with us in Sweden, France and Spain over the years without issue. We will see what can be arranged!
I'm now writing reviews/features etc., for countless music titles across the English speaking areas of three continents from USA; Canada; UK; and some in other tongues) France; Germany; Netherlands; Sweden (of course!); and Australia. I receive literally hundreds of CDs for review and Passes for events all over the place. I was in Glasgow recently covering a great music festival, Celtic Connections for a couple of titles. A great fest, I hooked up with both friends and family while also meeting-up with a number of performers including a couple of my personal favourites from the Nashville country/Americana machine, Rodney Crowell and Tim O'Brien, the latter always a genuinely lovely, decent, friendly sort of guy. Nest month is a Froggo fest nearby which should also be great followed by another in Denmark, at Tonder, that I've fancied for many years. With Passes arranged for these, and others, it should keep me occupied for a bit.
Well, that's enough for now. Time to get the mutts out for a walk in the sunshine. A bientot.