Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Awwww you guys!!!


A touching surprise at the park this evening, finding these banners being put up around to advertise a little soirée organised by our park ‘family’ (what else can you call them?).

Scout came for a final sleep over with Munson on Monday night. Noticing his dew claws were a bit overgrown, I trimmed them and nicked the blood supply on one of them. Thinking I’d staunched the flow I forgot about it until I woke the next morning to discover blood stains all over the bedding (Scout had curled up very close to me all night).

All the bedding went into the wash several days ahead of schedule, leaving me with a sleeping bag on a naked mattress for the night. This was a fortunate move as Sydney recorded its coldest June night in over six decades, yet my sleeping bag provided me with my warmest night’s sleep in weeks.


One week from now, we’ll be in the air en route to London. Only four more days for Munson at the park :-(.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lunch with Cleo

20100629 Brunch with Cleo

I met Cleo and her husband last year while they were walking their dogs. I can’t walk Munson past either of her stores without her rushing out to drag us in, coo over Munson, and tell me about whatever dog book she’s been reading.

Cleo’s all aglow and overwhelmed with the recent birth of her baby daughter Avery but wasn’t going to let us depart without a proper farewell. These are just the shots we got before her hubby, sister and Avery joined us.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday brunch

bird, cow, fish

@ bird cow fish, Crown St, Surry Hills

I’m going to miss Aussie breakfasts!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Packing: a stately dance

The removalists arrive to pack up the house in one week!

I have a tenant due to move in on the day I fly out, so with no more tenancy inspections I can now afford the messiness of pulling everything out of cupboards for inspection and possible discard.

I’ve got a bit of this ‘n’ that to do every day so that there’s less in total to be packed, and less of a jumble in the actual boxes. Next step is to pack the  travelling bags with my requirements for the next 3 months or so.

I think Munson has finally worked out that something is going on as there’s less floor space to flop down on with so many piles of crates, and open boxes sitting in nearly every room. More often than not he goes and sits next to the piano where he doesn’t have to dodge me wandering around the house with objects large and small.

Vance and Mêmé have generously offered me a bed for the final two nights. I’ll have Munson collected an extra day earlier by the pet transport folks so I can do last chores, and his food and exercise will be taken care of. It will only be a 3 day separation until I see him in London.

Nervous? excited? Oh yes.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

2 year anniversary

Munson and siblings

Today is the second anniversary of Munson’s arrival at his “forever home”.

This would have been a more appropriate image to show on Munson’s second birthday in April, but I only tripped over the printed image from the kennel this week while sorting out my filing cabinet in advance of our July move.

This evening we watched Hachiko, A Dog’s Tale, based on the true story of the Japanese dog who waited for his deceased master at the railway station each day for the rest of his life.  One reviewer wrote

If you choked up at Marley & Me last year, you may want to keep an ambulance on stand-by for Hachi

I was nearly drenched by the end of it, as if Sydney’s rainstorms had been resting in my tear ducts. For the last half-hour I sat with Bondi’s ashes cradled in my lap.

Like Eight Below, which was a remake of the Japanese film  Nankyoku monogatari (Antarctica), this is kind of a remake of the Japanese film Hachiko monogatari. The story of course is echoed in the case of Dzok in Krakow.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Running Interference

P6090013-16_stitch P6090021-25_stitch P6090027-29_stitch

Sydney’s experienced a few weeks of downpour, resulting in swollen ponds at Sydney Park. One of the bridges became submerged by last weekend - without raising any objections from the water fowl.

I'm getting an ice cream!?!?! Gelatomassi, King Street

The days since have been beautifully sunny, giving way to verrrry chilly nights. Luckily Munson has decided to stay on the bed a bit longer each night.

This evening Munson was playing in the park, chasing and dancing around some of the other dogs who were retrieving balls and frisbees. Someone commented : “There he is running interference again”. Quick as a flash I responded “yes, it’s his Indian name”.

Ah little Running Interference what we would do without ya?

Monday, June 07, 2010

Crossing that channel

This is one of my think aloud and post a lot of links posts. Enjoy!

20050916 - 1 Dover to Calais (9)I’ve been exploring the options for getting Munson from England to France next month which don’t involve me buying a car beforehand. I’m checking whether buying a used car might cause a multi-week delay if a full registration certificate from the DVLA is required to cross the channel.

Buying:  how will I pay for it at the time, as bank transfers from Australia will mean about a 2 day delay .

The Passports for Pets site indicates that there are very few surface crossings for foot passengers with dogs. The small-print says that it has to be a small dog in a carrier. Scratch that idea.

The ideal would be to take Eurostar and have a near seamless train journey, but they flatly refuse to participate in the PETS scheme, which I understand from listening to BBC Radio’s Excess Baggage program, is due to the personal antipathy of its CEO.

Mark Smith’s site The Man in Seat Sixty-One sets out many of the train/ferry options for pets.

Our options for the crossing now are:

  1. buy car
  2. rent car for the crossing and bring another driver who can return the same day and deliver the rental car back to its depot.
  3. rent car to cross channel one-way. Hertz minimum charge for same day use London to Calais is £350. Renting from Dover for 4 hours costs over £1200!!!!
  4. catch train to Dover and hitch a ride in someone’s car for the crossing. Theoretically I wouldn’t need to displace anyone as any other passengers won’t be in the car for the actual crossing (beyond some short squeezes at either end).

Once across:

  1. continue use of own car
  2. rent one-way car within France: Calais to Pau for about 100 euro
  3. take the train. Seat 61 says

“Dogs can be taken on all French trains.  Small dogs (under 6Kg) placed in containers not exceeding 45cm x 30cm x 25cm pay no more than 5.10 euros per journey.  Larger dogs on leads pay half the 2nd class full fare (even travelling in 1st class).  You can buy tickets for your pet at the ticket office.”

A train journey from Calais or Le Havre to Pau is somewhere between 9 and 11.5 hours.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Missing the boy

20100529 Munson, Old Fish Shop cafe, Holy Sheet

Five weeks to departure now. The most-repeated theme at the park in recent weeks is “What are we going to do without Munson?” 

Neither the oldest nor the biggest of the dogs there, he’s still the greeter of new pups, the policeman, the kisser of humans, and the dog who runs to farewell those departing. There’s a legacy of Bondi’s authority, but they’ve also seen him grow from eight-week old doofus to being described as “an icon” and “the safest dog in the park”.

Yesterday I had a call from Marrickville Council’s companion animal officer. She still had my number from two years ago when I called to complain about poor access to off-leash areas in this local government area (LGA), and in particular the greatly under-utilised Enmore Park. She promised me a copy of the draft animal management plan … and I’m still waiting for that.

In the meantime a draft plan for Enmore Park has been released and she’d called to see if I would make a submission.  I had in fact read this draft, noting that it:

1) acknowledges the park is popular for dog walkers, but makes it a high priority to not allow off-leash use, “in accordance with Council’s [unpublished] Dogs in Parks strategy.”

2) predefines dog use as a problem. No discussion.

3) fails to recognise any of the social benefits to residents of communal dog access.

I told her that I’d been making long submissions about dog access in the LGA and in particular for Enmore Park for two years, and that not once did the Council even acknowledge receipt of same. If I write through the same channels on development applications, or garbage or parking issues on my street I always get a response often within the week. Anything positive about dogs or critical of public spaces is ignored.

None of my submissions has been passed on to the animal officer. Other dog owners have reported to me that their correspondence on the same matters have been ignored. My guess is that there are anti-dog council officers who are suppressing these submissions so that only complaints are heard. This gives me reason for even more concern that residents’ wishes are being filtered to serve the interests of a few. Sad days. If one crosses a road to an adjacent LGA the access is much more open and balanced.