Contract, renegotiated

I have decided to adopt Dave.

I have not taken this decision lightly, and I have done so in consultation with and with the blessing of my previous owner. After several chats with her recently, it is clear that Dave needs someone to look after him and keep him on the straight and narrow, as it were. I feel I am best suited to do this and so I will be moving in permanently.

As a result, the contract that was in place, and which I told you about here has been renegotiated. I say negotiated, I mean it has been changed by me. After all, I know best in these matters and Dave would only get confused and wander around in circles. He’s getting on a bit, you see.

Rules concerning the bed, sofa and food remain the same, i.e. they are mine. But now I have had to add a clause about the bed that Dave uses. It’s a bit big for him on his own, so I will also take ownership of it, with the understanding that for the time being he can use it whenever he wants. (I find that when there is thunder and lightning around, he gets a little nervous, so I join him on the bed to settle him).

I’ve noticed Dave has put on a few pounds recently and so I have introduced a clause in the contract that states that he must exercise, under my supervision, at least five times a week. It’s for his own good. Poor weather is not an excuse, although to hear him moan and groan you’d thing the rain was going to melt him. I have a number of excellent routes for him to train on and it is only coincidence that they allow me to explore my world and leave my mark on lamp posts, trees, bins, walls, bushes… ahem.

The standard of food must improve. I like a variety of meals and have recently enjoyed Mediterranean Chicken and Italian beef stew. I see no reason why this standard of cuisine should cease.

For the time being, that is it but the contract is quite fluid and over the coming weeks I expect to put a few more clauses in, for his own good of course.


Rufus and Me

Me and Dave on Cefn Bryn







I’m Rufus.You’ve probably seen me on here before when Dave talks about me sometimes.

Dave takes me out all the time. I think its because he need to exercise or he’ll get fat. Fatter than he is already. Anyway, it’s always good fun when we’re out as he’s so well behaved. I’ve spent ages training him to feed me snacks and treats, throw stones and find the best stick for me to chase. He never runs off and always comes when I call.

It’s been a hot summer and I tend to over heat unless I’m allowed to play in the river. In fact, any water will do, but I prefer the River Tawe as there’s so much of it, and so many stones for me to rescue from the water. It’s starting to cool down now and that means it’s hill climbing season again. I expect I’ll have to drag Dave up the steeper slopes and encourage him to keep going when he starts to slow down.

Below are a few photos Dave took to show how dashing and active I really am.

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Elephants in the Room

As part of the ongoing development of my bathroom, I’ve been trying to decide what to put on the walls. The development was halted earlier in the year with the realisation that the guys that had put in the bathroom (in the 70’s) had made such a hash of the walls that I would have to take the walls back to brick to get it done properly. The house has black lime mortar which crumbles if you stare at it to hard, so trying to take tiles and wall paper off is a nightmare. Removing the tiles would have been easier and less destructive of the mortar if I’d used small amounts of gunpowder.

So I went on the recommendation of the guy that put the shower in and decided on aquaboard as a facing on which to tile. I had some vouchers to spend in a DIY shop by June, so today I calculated the number of aquaboard panels necessary and went to get them.

DIY! I don’t understand the attraction. The purchasing experience was a nightmare. The trolley was knackered but it didn’t start playing up until I’d loaded the 17 sheets onto it. Then it wouldn’t turn. I had to drag it around corners. The board was heavy – it’s made of cement to be waterproof. The board was as far away from the checkout as it could be. The trolley squeaked and wobbled it’s way down the aisles. Negotiating the car park was hard – there was an uphill slope and several corners. The board wouldn’t fit properly into the car so they were piled up in the boot with the lid partially open and held in place by bungees.

Back home, I had to carry each board up from the car to the house. Each board now weighed the same as a small African elephant (although to be fair, it was easier to hold and didn’t struggle so much – my African elephant carrying days are now long gone but the memories survive). I had 17 of them and to make matters worse, dark rain clouds loomed and I didn’t want the boards to get wet before I’d sealed them in place on the bathroom wall. My hall and kitchen now have aquaboard everywhere but at least they take up less room than the elephants did.

In exercise terms, I’ve had a good day.


African elephants, disguised as Aquaboards, graze in my hall.


In the interests of healthy living and a general need to remove excess body fat, I joined the gym in work. It’s a fantastic resource filled with the latest bits of equipment, housed in a recent build addition to the campus and, more importantly, it was purpose built from the beginning to be a gym, rather than converted as an afterthought.

Last week I went for the induction. It’s a health and safety requirement. After the induction, I realised why. My whistle stop tour included 7 machines that all looked the same but which had subtle differences. Each had a seat but some faced forwards, some faced back and two were sideways on. There were levers and handles and keys and buttons and displays and lights and heart rate monitors, most of which emitted a beep of some sort. The only thing I felt confident about being able to operate was the door to get in.

Last night, I had my first proper session. The instructor was very helpful and offered to create a personalised programme based on my requirements (body fat loss and preparation for the trek). In the mean time, he unleashed me onto the machines. I decided to start off slowly and build my confidence. He suggested using the step machine and I finally figured out how to make it work. I managed 1000 steps/330m ascent/15 minutes (I haven’t decided how to measure my performance yet). Then I went on to the exercise bike. How hard can an exercise be?

I couldn’t even adjust the seat. I tried all the levers I could find and then looked for ones I couldn’t see. I pulled, pushed and twisted. Then I did it again. I was conscious of all the gym professionals and how they’d pick me out as a gym virgin straight away. Eventually, the instructor saw my plight and helped me out. The secret is to jump on the seat while pulling the lever and hope the spring isn’t strong enough to launch me across the room. I managed 15 minutes/3 miles on the bike.

But, despite misgivings about gyms in the past, I enjoyed the experience and I can see myself going back on a regular basis.





A Stroll in the Park

With the sudden onset of summer (only three months late) I decided to go for a stroll through Singleton Park and down to the bay. It’s about 1.5 miles from my house and in the early morning, it’s a pleasant walk.

When I was growing up, we’d often stay with my grandparents who use to live just down the road. The highlight of any visit was ‘going to the sands’, which is what I called Swansea Bay. I can still remember one horrendous day when we got to ‘the sands’ only to find that several JCBs were loading up the sand onto big lorries. I was devastated and convinced that the sand wouldn’t be there the next time I visited. The sand was being taken to Blackpool!

This morning I made my way through the park, past squirrels searching for the last stores before winter and dogs eager to get to the beach. Across the empty main road, I sat on a bench with the sun in my face and watched the waves gently lapping up against the shore. The tide was nearing its highest point; the sea was flat and calm.

I love watching the different people as they walk along the sea shore. Today, most people were walking dogs although there were a number of joggers as well. The style of jogging varies between the serious sports person, pacing themselves and the recreational jogger, barely moving faster than a medium paced walk. I have, in the past, overtaken ‘joggers’ with little more than a strolling pace. There are sprinters, those who only jog a few hundred yards and then turn back; others who treat it as a marathon and who are probably running the entire south coast of Wales judging by the sweat and puffing and panting. Few people just walk, like I was doing. I wonder what people watching me think?

I walked along the sand at the edge of the sea for a mile or so before taking another break to enjoy the atmosphere. By now the sea had come in as far as it was going to and over to my right I could see a sandbank on which were a number of birds, including a young heron. Herons have always proved elusive for me but I thought I’d try and get a photo of this one. I set about slowly approaching it. I lined up with a bush on the shore so I wouldn’t stand out against the sky. I walked slowly and diagonally towards it. Every so often I stopped to take a photo in case it decided to fly away. Of course, it did eventuall but I was pleased at how close I got.

The walk back was more strenuous as I pushed the pace and it was all uphill. According to my heart monitor, I burned up 440 calories, 11gm fat and my peak heart rate was 142 bpm.

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