Archive for March, 2007

Hearing Dog Molly won this year’s Friends for Life award. Well done!

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As I was starting to resemble a sheep, mum took me to my favourite groomer for a short back and sides. (It’s Robbie’s fave too). I’m quite happy to go there which is a relief for mum, as I bolted out of the last dog groomer’s premises I visited, Dirty Paws in Greenwich. Well, would you blame me, they left me in their dryer for too long. My previous lovely groomer had relocated, and it’s a job and a half for mum to do it herself. (mum interrupts – Have you ever tried to clip a dog? It’s pure murder. Even if there’s two of you doing it. And when we tried to do his ugly bits, Smudge wasn’t having any of it.) So I ended up being sort of half-groomed. Not exactly the height of fashion, is it?

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, who trained me, recommended a pair of clippers from Groomers, as they use these on their dogs. They are excellent clippers, fast, light enough for mum to hold for a while and fairly quiet.

I’ve been sulking hugely since my visit to the groomers. I met up with a bunch of friends today including Auntie Ollie, who always has some yummy chocolate in her bag for me. Nowadays I don’t even bother to say hello to Ollie, I just dive straight into her bag. Pardon me. Today, I felt so out of sorts, I didn’t bother to say hello to any of my friends (mum – so unlike him!) but I did manage to perk up at the sight of Auntie Ollie.

(mum – It’s funny how he throws a 3-week long sulk every time I spend £50 on him. A friend has just told me, like the old blanket in the basket, dogs don’t like change. Aaaaah. It all makes sense now!)

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We recently went for a 7 mile walk (well it felt like 20!) around the Lower Lea Valley as this was the last chance to see parts of east London that will disappear forever during the regeneration of this area in preparation for the London Olympics.

Our group met at West Ham and we walked in a loop around the development area. We wandered up Pudding Mill Lane into a wasteland site with views of Canary Wharf, destined to be the Olympic Park. The Lower Lea Valley has been designated a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation by the Greater London Authority’s Ecology Unit. It has European status as a migration route for birds. In spite of such importance to wildlife, the developers characterize the Lower Lea valley as a derelict area, and construction will mean the loss of some of the Valley’s nature reserves.

A £15 million lock and flood-control structure is being developed on the River Lea, which will be essential to the success of London’s Olympic 2012 site. It will be called the Prescott Lock. Prescott Lock will prevent sewage flowing into the River Lea, creating a barrier between the brackish water flooding in from the Thames and the fresh water flowing down the Lea Valley. A permanent head of water will be created on which barges can carry construction materials up the Thames to the new Olympic park and Stratford City, and bring London’s waste and recyclables down to Tilbury. There will be another, more important and down-to-earth function, in preventing the raw sewage which flows out of the East End’s pungent storm drains and into the River Lea just below there from reaching the manicured lawns of the Olympic park. Evidence of the sewage pushed back up the River Lea at high tide is seen in the fig trees which line the river banks – fig seeds survive and thrive after passing through humans. The scheme will restore navigation to the river for the first time in 40 years and be part of the foundations of the new city that will rise in the east along the river, the Thames Gateway. This is the most important waterway restoration project in the country, affecting transport, tourism, wildlife, heritage, regeneration and development.

The Three Mills include the house mill, the largest tidal mill in the country, built in 1776, and refreshments can be had at The House Mill Cafe. We walked along the River Lea and one of our group unfortunately slipped on the bank and broke her teeth, so an ambulance had to be called. I followed soon after, luckily one of the walkers was quick enough to pull me out of the river – not such a great adventure as it was so smelly! We stopped and had lunch at the Big Brother house, next to a nasty-smelling lock. It was unreal to see so much undeveloped land around us and the modern towers of Canary Wharf in the background.

We had an enjoyable river walk along Limehouse Cut into Stratford. There were so many properties up for sale – don’t think anyone wants to live here! We went past the Northern Outfall Sewer east of Stratford. This carries the entire sewage of north London to the Abbey Mills pumping station, which raises it by 40 feet (13 metres) so that it can be pumped further south to the treatment plant at Beckton. The Northern Outfall Sewer was a massive undertaking and is still impressive today. You can read about Bazagette’s work in The Great Stink of London: Sir Joseph Bazalgette and the Cleansing of the Victorian Metropolis. Several sections of the Northern Outfall Sewer now form the Greenway, a route used by pedestrians and cyclists.

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Luckily a friend told mum there would be a lunar eclipse, so we had an unexpectedly romantic ‘moonlit’ walk last night with plenty of rubber-necking. The moon was a very pretty copper, shame it seemed so small though! Our most memorable walk so far this year. Thanks Hei 🙂
I don’t think we’ll be catching the next one, it’s on 28 February 2008 at 0300-0400 GMT, a wee bit too early in the morning for walkies!

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Gits R Us!

Mum took me to the vet this morning to have my stitches removed. (Mum – He was good as gold, although he cried when the vet looked into his ears – such a big baby! The vet thought this was funny as he also had a thermometer up his bum at the time. Silly boy!)

We then went to Painsbury’s. As soon as mum put my working coat on, I refused to move. Yaa boo sucks!

(mum – the little git. He’s had a week of not wearing his coat due to the stitches on his back and I know he’d much rather not wear it. It was a job trying to get him across the car park. I didn’t see how I would be able to get him around the supermarket without popping him into the trolley like a toddler. Pfffttt! So I approached the assistance desk and explained the problem. It was fine to take him around the shop without his coat on, as he had his special lead on and I popped the coat onto the shopping trolley, so people could see he is an assistance dog. I noticed he did get a lot more attention from other shoppers than usual and boy, didn’t he play up to it!)

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