I was quite startled - indeed, my gast was flabbered (sorry, but I couldn't resist) - to discover that I'm nominated for an Irish Blog Award. The rest of the nominees and other information can be found here. What's most interesting about said nomination is that it's provided a handy list of hitherto unknown-to-me culture blogs that I can explore at my leisure. Thanks very much to whoever put forward my name!
Anyway, in lieu of the usual type of thing that I tend to blather on about, I'd like to post the following picture, which registers very highly on the Cute-O-Meter.
This is our misfortunate hound, last seen at risk of being swept out to sea here. Last Saturday, my partner and I noticed that his testicles (which I will hereafter refer to as his "bag", for those of a delicate disposition) (and apologies to Flann O'Brien fans, who may have different associations for that word) were extremely red and inflamed looking, and he was licking them an awful lot (even for him). So off to the vet we went, where we discovered (after listening to the most hideous shrieks and yelps coming from the surgery - the vet emerged with a huge bite on his forearm and a look which said he was seriously questioning his chosen profession) that he had picked up an infection, and would have to take antibiotics and wear the above-pictured lampshade around his neck to prevent him from getting at his bag and indulging in his usual enthusiastic tongue-work. Once the giant, Elizabethan-ruff style plastic collar went on, he was sent into a Slough of Despond so deep that he refused to eat or even move without encouragement for oh, at least thirty minutes, after which he was back to his normal demented self (he's an amazingly adaptable and good-natured hound). Later in the week we discovered that the collar wasn't large enough, and he'd figured out that, by angling himself like a particularly elastic contortionist, he could just about reach his bag with his tongue, and went at it with the energy born of several days' pent-up frustration. So off to the vet we went again, and he now has a lampshade so huge that he can barely fit out the door, and is even more hilarious looking than he was before. The poor hound!
(This happened last Saturday, while the house was being turned upside-down by the plumber installing a new heating system. But as well as that, our washing machine broke down (unrelated to the plumber's work, I hasten to add) and a stream behind our house burst its banks and headed in a torrent towards our kitchen door, necessitating two hours of furious digging by myself and the plumber to channel it away. Every day I put between myself and last Saturday is very, very welcome, I must say!)
(Update: the stream behind us is again overflowing, but the system of gullies we put in place appears to be holding. However, if the rain doesn't stop, or increases in volume, this may change, and then we're in for a most unpleasant evening. Time will tell...)