There has definitely been a change in the weather, not a day has passed without rain, it looks as if summer lasted just over two weeks, it’s an absolute bummer, I love some heat. I think my first few years here spoiled me, but it’s still better weather than back in the UK, I’ll just have to hope that winter is as short!

We have had a naughty week, it was our eleventh Wedding anniversary on Sunday, so we went out for lunch, to Terrasole Restaurante in Marinilla, it was our first visit there, a place we would consider for Special Occasions, my pension doesn´t stretch far enough to make it a regular haunt.

However we were both glad we went, it is an Italian / Mediterranean menu, pricey but worth every peso, these were our Main courses

the descriptions of each course would take half a page, suffice it to say it was delicious, and the Staff both knowledgeable and attentive. We both decided that we would renew our “Contract” for another year, just so that we can return!

Then yesterday, we had to go to the Registrar in Town before lunch, I also had a Dental appointment after, so decided to have lunch in town. Again a new Restaurant for us, El Portrero,

We only had menu of the day, but it was excellent value for the money, and nicely presented, which for menu of the day can be hit and miss.

After lunch, we headed back to the car, where I grabbed my toothbrush, and headed into the medical center, where I gave them a scrub before my appointment.

The Town Hall has decided to upgrade one of the rural roads near us, from dirt to concrete, not ours unfortunately, but it does mean that the access road for many is closed for five months, and all the traffic has to pass us. The Residents affected are being considerate, which is more than can be said for the Contractors, who are driving past in their Dumpers as if they are partaking in Formula One. The problem not only causes dust, but the vibration from these heave vehicles is causing damage.

Our entry Canopy, has tiles moving as a result

If not dealt with, they run the risk of falling on a passing Pedestrian, or worse still on top of the car, so this morning the ladders came out, and I have pushed them all back in line,

I’m sure it wont be the last time I have to do this, and may well speak with the Authorities for all the good it will do.

Finally for today, yesterday, I got the ball rolling, having rounded up all the documents I need, and applied for Colombian Nationality, now we wait and see, if the documents are acceptable, and if the Government will approve or deny the application. I anticipate that it will take months rather than weeks, so don’t hold your breath.


To be honest, I’m not sure how to describe the Seasons here in Colombia,. when I arrived and for decades before, there were four seasons, Dry, Wet, Dry, Wet, they were predictable, and each lasted about three months, so in effect we had two summers and two winters, but that has changed over the last couple of years, and now, it’s any ones guess, much like anywhere else in the world.

Two weeks ago, it looked like the Dry season was here to stay, it has been gorgeous, blue skies, nice and warm, even hot on some days, which up here at 2300m ASL is a bonus, but all that has changed again, two days ago, the clouds returned the heavens opened, and tropical storms were here. It looks like we are all going to have to buy a warmer wardrobe!

Life at home has been run of the mill, I’m not complaining, it’s been quiet, I’ve got on with the gardening, and done some repairs around the property. One of the walls in the Cabaña shower room had a patch of plaster coming away, so I scraped it out replastered and repainted it, whilst Maria Elena (Mother-in-law) is away, until next week at least, it was an ideal opportunity to get on with it.

The garden itself has to a large extent been abandoned, until Nala is a little older and less destructive, there really is no point in trying to introduce anything new, she would just destroy it.

One of my garden maintentance sessions last week was pruning our plantains in the garden rather than the orchard, after cutting down the ´trunks´I cut them up and pile them around the base to self compost, Nala had other ideas, believe it or not, with the help of Tito, much of that mulch is spread around the garden

She loves it, and if it allows the rest of the garden to survive, who am I to argue!

However in contrast, Nala’s training has come on leaps and bounds thanks to the prong/pinch collar, she is now walking to heel,

As for our morning walks, the pleasure is all mine! I can only hope that the rest of her training comes on so fast.

People keep asking me why in the past I referred to the bottom of our land as the ‘Abyss’, it’s hard to describe, and photos really don’t do it justice, but any steeper, I would need crampons, on our land the view is blocked by Avocado trees, but our neighbours plot is pretty much identical,

This shows about half way down the plot, the ridgeline before the land drops away, and then!

The land drops away, down to stream which forms our boundary, I haven’t been down for ages, due to my knees, but am planning to get down there soon, I just have to ensure I organise it, so I have everything I need, and don’t have to make multiple trips up and down.

Marcela’s Associate, Joachin, who maintains the Orchard, skips up and down like a mountain goat, it grates, but then he was brought up on the terrain.

He came around the other day, and said the current crop of Avocados is ready for picking, he thinks there will be about two tons, which he thought was down on last time

He has a short memory, Marcela checked her records, and the last crop was 1.1 tons, so nearly double, which is great, as the trees grow so does the crop, there are only two downfalls to this, the first, the weather, it is slowing down production, they aren’t growing so fast, so more time between picking. The second is that at the moment, everyone else is picking their Avocados, so the price has plummeted, therefore Marcela and Joachin, have decided to take the risk and wait a couple of weeks, hopefully, everyone else will have picked their crops, and the Suppliers will be hunting around for more, so the Producers will be able to name their price, within reason.

It is a risk, because the weather could turn even worse and ruin the crop, on the other hand the crop could suddenly ripen faster, and be beyond selling, but as we are a small business, not reliant on the income, it’s a risk worth taking.

We went out the other day, came back, checked, but couldn’t find any significant damage, until I sat down out on the patio in the evening.

One of the new Adirondack chair is alongside Narla’s patio bed, and she had been nibbling the arm of the chair, I wasn’t happy, but the following morning out came the sander, then my blowlamp, and unless you knew…

So for now, she has been forgiven, and yesterday when we went out, I sprayed the arms with ‘Bitter Apple’, it seemed to have worked, we couldn’t find any damage, holes, or stolen items anywhere.

My final piece of news this post, is that I have made the decision to apply for Colombian Citizenship, I have posted in the past, I tried at the end of 2016, having taken advice from the Departmental Government, a bit like County Hall back in the UK, my application was rejected, because due to a misunderstanding, I hadn’t had my Residents Visa long enough, so having studied for 3 months to take the exams, and paid the fees, it was all for nothing, and no, no refunds.

However this time I no longer have to take an exam, as I am over 65, so that is a major hurdle out of the way, now it depends on whether I have upset anyone in power over the last eleven years, I don’t think so, but who knows! I guess I will in a month or two.

Why do I want, dual Citizenship, when I have a UK Passport which gets me into more countries than the Colombian one? well I have lived here long enough, that I know, whatever happens with the Government here, that I am unlikely to leave this Country now, it is home, the people are great, the country has a lot to offer, especially for Foreigners, despite all the red tape, and corruption and violence. If you keep your nose clean, and stay out of the National arguement, it’s a great place to live. However, it would be nice, if I had the vote in National Elections, as well as Local ones, which I have at the moment, and not have to pay for a new Visa every five years. If I am going to end my days here, I want to feel part of my adopted country, and that means trying to citizenship, so we’ll see, I’ll keep you posted.

A Busy Week

Firstly an update on the Kids… call them what you want, in our case the dogs are our Kids!
Pepe has finally been enjoying short walks, now he has his new support, one person can put it on in seconds, and he finds it comfortable.

Pepe’s daily walk!

After about 200m you can see it’s time to come back, but a little more each day, and he loves it.

Yesterday, we met up with some of Pepe’s friends

unfortunately I didn’t get my phone out quick enough, but Pepe and this Nag were nose to nose, it was lovely to see.

Tito is another matter, he has finished his course of tranquilising tablets, and is slowly starting to show it, growling at Nala again, for no reason. The other day he went for her, Marcela and I both moved in to part them, maybe we should have stood back. Nala pinned Tito to the floor, and did nothing, Tito on the other hand was showing his teeth, unfortunately for him, he made the mistake of attacking Marcela, fortunately she had a thick jacket on at the time, otherwise he would have had a lump out of his arm, he was confined to the bedroom for a while, coming out very contrite.

Tito is going to have to change, none of the incidents are Nala’s fault, ours maybe, for bringing Nala into the family, but attacking us, wont win him any friends.

Nala, well she is becoming a success story, it’s taking time, and we are definitely not there yet, so I shouldn’t talk too soon, but we are making great progress.

Firstly I bought a slip lead, for training, it had some success, but wasn’t stopping Nala having a go at lunging at both dogs and passing vehicles, in particular motorcycles, when out walking, there was no way I could let Marcela take her out, she is too powerful.

Then yesterday, the new prong collar arrived, it has always been a devise I had thought of as being cruel, until I watched a Dog Behaviourist from the UK (Will Atherton Canine Training) on Youtube, and he changed my mind altogether.

This morning she went out with the prong collar for the first time ( yesterday, she had worn it about the house, to get used to it), it was like having a new dog, she walked to heel, after a couple of unsuccessful lunges, she, for the most part, ignored everyone and everything whilst in the lane, OK it’s early days, but a promising start, long may it continue.

Around all this, I have been spending a fair amount of time in the workshop, on Sunday, I finished the first Adirondack chair

I soon realised that is, if I didn’t get on, oil it, and start the next one, I wasn’t going to benefit from this work as Marcela declared it very comfortable! so I gave the chair a coat of Teak oil

The nice thing about Teak oil is that is it has soaked in enough to use in less than two hours, so I was able to try it out myself, it was probably just as well Marcela had tried it out earlier, rather than me, because I realised I hadn’t bolted the legs to the body of the chair!

I enjoyed a nice cup of coffee, whilst Tito took up his usual spot, I on the other hand contemplated a repeat performance.

Monday, I got stuck in, all the parts were cut, I just has the assembly and finish

My original plan had been for four of these chairs, but they take up so much space, that as comfortable as they are, I think two is the limit, unless I find a plan for smaller chairs!

Things are starting to change here, and not for the better, the Government announced a Plan whereby they will initiate a land grab. Where Landowners are leaving their land lying fallow, the Government will lay claim to the land, only giving the Owners a ‘Government price’, and then redistribute it to the poor. There are plenty of People who own land, because they can, not because they want to produce anything, as a result, they are now panicing, and selling off their land as small building Plots, down to about 400m2, some smaller, the law states a Plot has to be a minimum of 5000m2, but the local Authorities have big hands, and even bigger pockets, so nothing is said.

The problem will come with infrastructure, how will the small Water Companies that supply us, supply double the number of properties? also all the poorly installed septic tanks, if they even bother with them, will drain down into the water sources, contaminating the water supply.

These two fields in El Socorro, are adjacent to each other further down our lane, fortunately not visible from our house, but if they end up being vacation properties, the noise will travel, and you can bet the building will spread down the valley, it’s really sad, but when you have corruption on the scale there is here, you won’t stop it.

The only good thing at the moment, is that all the Neighbours on our side of the valley, farm their land, including ourselves, so there is no immediate threat here, hopefully, I will be long gone before it comes along this side. Oh well, that’s for another day!

Not a Bit of it!

I’ll come back to the Title in a minute.

Most of our time has been taken up the the Kids, the four legged variety! Pepe has been off his legs due to his cruciate ligament, he wants to go walking, but if he does, he can’t move for the rest of the day. Fortunately the new leg support arrived early this week, and it is far better than the old one, it doesn’t take two people to fit it, which is great. Pepe is still limited as to how far he can walk, but he is just happy to be able to get passed the front gate, without us leaving him behind.

Tito, has calmed down significantly with regard to Nala, he’s not totally there yet, but he is getting better

Wheras Pepe and Nala are fine with each other

Long may it continue!

Nala has become a total demon, she is like a mole in reverse, there are so many holes in, what was our lawn, I have given up counting.

I bought all three a treat last week, we were out of bones from the Butcher, so I bought Pepe and Nala a cooked bone, and Tito a chew from the Supermarket… big mistake! that night Nala had an exploding rear end, all over the kitchen, before any of them could do any more damage, I put them all in the bin, the bones and chews I mean.

Nala is still having difficulty getting through the night without an accident, we have taken to taking them out later, but it makes little difference, she wakes us, after the event!

I have made some headway with my Adirondack chairs, after cutting out the correct parts, well, nearly! (this time not my fault) I shou sugi ban (burnt) them, like I did to the bunkbed, and then yesterday, started assembly, only to find one of the parts was the wrong size, only one, all the others are fine, fortunately I had some wood left over, so cut out the correct size, burnt them (one for each of the two chairs), and today started assembly yet again.

Here I am going away from the plans, because the Designer calls for me to bang in nails, I don’t do nails, when it comes to furniture, so I am replacing those with pockethole joints, which involves hidden screws, it will take a bit longer, but will last and look better once done. I have bought a gallong of Teak Oil, and will be oiling the chairs before use. Maybe sitting on the chairs in our ‘Best’ clothes wouldn’t be such a good idea for the first week or two!

Marcela came to me the other day, and it appears our new President has done me a favour, Marcela asked if we could sell the house, currently rented out in Bello, something I always wanted to do. The current rental Agreement ends in August, so we can either wait, or buy out the Renter, who Marcela knows, and has spoken to about our intentions.

Instead of property, which is a precarious investment at the moment, we will invest the money in a ‘low risk’ area, and it will be there for Marcela’s retirement fund.

The problem is that the Colombian Government can’t seem to make up it’s mind what it is doing, from all accounts, the President and his Vice President are spending money like it’s gone out of fashion, on themselves, which they deny, but the allegations are there. Prices are skyrocketing, and since I have yet to find out if I am getting any rise in my pension this year, it is starting to hit my pocket. Petrol is shooting up in price, and will continue to do so all this year, as a result food and all goods reliant on transport are also shooting up on a weekly basis.

In two weeks time, we should have some idea how the Government intends to change the Health Service, there will be changes, and for many who do pay into the system, not for the better, if what is reported is correct.

The Government will not be contracting out the Health Service, instead managing it themselves, which has been done before, way before I arrived, and apparently that was the reason it was changed in the first place. The President has said that everyone will have access to the same standard of Service, whether they pay in or not, I think this is a pipe dream, because no one is going to pay in if they can get the same service for free.

Also they have stated the Service will be based on prevention, not the cure, with Doctors being sent house to house to do assessments, this will mean more Medics being required, and we are told, he intends to hire them from Venezuela and Cuba, that seems like more cost to me, not less. We just wait and see!

So with reference to my title, have thing changed or settled down, since my last publication… “Not a bit of it”.

With that, I will head off and put my feet up, as I am sure Nala will have us up tonight!


This Puppy lark is starting to wear us both out, for some reason Nala started pooing on the floor in the Dining area every night, at first we thought it was because I had upped the quantity of her food, but reversing that, made no difference, then I realised that, Nala had been trying to tell us, only she picked on the wrong person, she was trying to wake Marcela not me, and even a nuclear bomb wouldn’t wake her.

Therefore now every time I hear Nala moving in the night, I get up and give her the opportunity to go out, sometimes she does, sometimes she doesn’t. last night she first woke me (she has learned!) at 3.15am, and then every 45 minutes until I got up at 5.30am, at least there were no accidents! We keep having to remind ourselves that she is just a puppy depsite her size, and lasting the whole night, is a big ask.

Nala hasn’t been the little Angel we thought she was going to be

I could have killed her yesterday, this screening, had been providing privacy for the last two and a half years from the road…no more!

I removed the rest of the panel, and to be honest, I don’t think it will be long before the conifers have grown sufficiently to take it all down. With the trailer parked in the corner, unless people walking past stop and stare, they really can’t see anything.

For the most part, this week has been gardening, I cut the flowering hedge, and also cut the lawn

Taken using my new DJI Gimbal

Marcela’s work Associate with the Avocado business came to spray the orchard, we don’t think it will be long before the new crop is ready for market, with the climate change, it has certainly slowed down production, Marcela will be glad to have some return.

We wanted to get the Prado serviced, as it was coming up to time, Marcela rang the Mechanic, only for his Father to answer, and say Ciero had moved to Australia, that was a bit far to travel, so we then had to look for another, and think we may have found one. Erick is Venezuelan, and so are his Assistants, they work out of a car park, where bays are turned into Workshops, to be honest, some of our best reliable Mechanics have had this set up, and as they dont have the same overheads as purpose built workshops, the bills are cheaper. The only downside, now we are back to being a one vehicle family, is that Erick doesn’t offer the collect and deliver service Ciero did, Marcela took the car, and came back on the bus, to collect it, we had to walk to the end of the lane (taxis don’t like our lane!) and wait for a Taxi, the first didn’t come, and when Marcela called him, he said he had taken a more lucrative fare, the air was blue, so we had to wait for a second one.

We had to have all the fan belts (three) changed, they were cracked and worn, along with oil and filter changes, but I ‘was’ happy with the result, until the next day, when I had to scoot down town, and received a call from Marcela to tell me there was a patch of oil on the carport floor.

I went back to Erick, who after a while discovered, that the new oil filter seal was faulty, he changed it again, topped up the oil, but wouldn’t let me take the car until he has cleaned all the oil from underneath, in all he had the car another two and a half hours.

Whilst Erick was working on the car, I walked to the Timber Yard, and ordered the wood to make two of the Adirondack chairs, which I will collect on Wednesday, I am making two to start with, to see if we like them, if we do, I will make two more. I then walked back in the other direction, to buy some cans of dog food, used to disguise the medications for Pepe and Tito. Touch wood, the car is now fine, and will do another three or four months.

On Wednesday, we took Nala to the Vets for two reasons, firstly a wash and brush up, as that’s another service they offer, she was greeted like a Celebrity, since most of the girls there now follow Nala’s Instagram page (nala_loveandlicks). Secondly, we wanted her chipped, because of the three dogs, she is the one who might run off. However chipping here is an odd experience, very few official Authorities (Police, Local Authority) have Chip Readers, so you have an extended service, a Chip is inserted, but that only works if you go abroad, where other Countries have the Reader, in which case they receive details of your Vet, who then contacts you, for Colombia, you have a collar tag with a QR Code, and once scanned gives contact details.

To be honest, if I had known before the Chip was inserted, I would have cancelled the whole deal, because having a collar tag defeats the whole idea of chipping, a QR code tag is just as likely to get pulled off the collar as a name tag. We already have collars without tags, instead they have name plates riveted to the collar with their name and phone number. Oh well, it’s another safety feature I suppose.

This time next week the Mother-in-law is off to stay with her other Daughter for a month, it will give us all a breather, I know it’s difficult, she is younger than me, I do try to show her the respect due to a Mother-in-law, by the same token, I expect her to respect that I am older, but she doesn’t, and occasionally I blow and let it be known.

On a lighter note, Nala is trying her best to make friends with Tito

Tito was sleeping peacefully in the Recliner, when a Whirling Dervish flew through the air, and landed alongside him, I’m not sure if it was the surprise, or total indifference, but for 5 minutes Tito didn’t move, then there was a low growl, at which, Nala jumped off and disappeared 😂

On that note, I will sign off!

Patience is a Virtue!

Pepe now has a leg support that works, although it takes two of us to fit it, which isn’t ideal. However when walked with the support, he doesn’t seem to suffer afterwards, without it, he is off his feet for the day.

We made the decision not to continue with Pepe’s chemotherapy treatment, despite the ultrasounds giving a positive indication. The priority for us is Pepe enjoying his last days, however many that might be, and to do that, his back legs have to be our priority. We went and talked it over with our Vet, he understood our argument, and has put Pepe on tablets for life, to reduce inflamation, and help with the pain, so our decision certainly wasn’t financial, as this will take up most of the money we were already spending.

As a result, last Thursday, we agreed to attend a meeting with the Oncologist, who likewise could see our argument, but said that he would have continued with the treatment, I suspect that was a financial decision on his part, as it was him, who told us at the outset, that the chemotherapy would never cure this aggressive cancer.

Narla seems to have found her position in the household, she accepts that both Pepe and Tito are older, and higher up the pecking order, but still wants to play, which doesn’t go down well. She has started taking more liberties, yesterday, I tidied up the garden, so she lost some of her wood, which she chews on, as a result unseen by any of us, she went out on the balcony, pinched one of the chair cushions, took it down the garden, and ripped it to bits!

During one of their confrontations last week, Tito bit me, I didn’t think he could with his broken mandible, but he sank his teeth right into my hand, fortunately missing anything vital, I had 10kg hanging onto my hand, I wasn’t happy., it’s still painful, but healing.

As a result, we spoke with the Vet again, and he has prescribed a homeopathic tablet for Tito, initially three times a day for a month, in the hope of calming him down, it has made a difference, although we still have to watch him.

I decided on my next project, either two or four Adirondack chairs for the patio, since robbing the other furniture for the balcony, it is looking a bit bare, and the chairs we have there, are not that comfortable. The following picture is an example of what will be built, definitely not one I have put together.

Because it won’t be just a one off, I decided to make life easier, or so I thought, I bought Plans, which is unusual for me. There were three options for using these plans, the first to draw out a grid on timber, to make templates, and use that grid to copy the plan. The second was to set my Printer to print the plan full size, but unfortunately my Printer doesn’t have that facility. The Third option was to put the plan on a memory stick, and take it into town and find someone who prints ´Plotter´, that means they print way bigger than a domestic printer, in my case I needed 34″ x 44″.

After a couple of failed visits, we found a place that could help us, but it meant collecting it the following day.

I collected the Plotter print, and back home taped it on the wall to see what I was playing with

At this stage I didn’t notice the mistake!

For the templates, I decided to use old MFD boards, I had stored down the garden, I had them left over, from when I over-ordered shelving for the Larder, and had also used them as covering when constructing the decking on the balcony, so if not used, they would probably have ended up on the fire.

I cut out the individual patterns and spray glued them onto the MDF, which I then cut out on my Band-saw, I ended up with buckets of scraps for the garden fire

I then laid the template out on the floor, some of the template parts would end up being reversed, so not every part, or the seat slats had to be formed, but on laying what I had, out on the floor, I immediately saw that I had a problem.

It took a few minutes but I realised what had happened, the Printer had reversed the design on the paper, instead of printing 34 x 44″, they had printed 44 x 34″ so every piece was the wrong size, and couldn’t be saved… They made a nice fire!

I could have just returned to the Printers and asked them to print it correctly, but I suddenly have a brain wave, one I should have had at the outset, years ago I followed Jayscustomcreations with Jay Bates on Youtube, and he provided access to software called ‘Big Print’ ( ), at the time I used it a lot, but had forgotten all about it.

This program enables you to print plotter size plans, pictures, photos on your office printer, you just have to feed the dimensions in correctly, and then tape the printed pages together.

I had the program in my download folder, so installed it again, and Bingo! I had a new set of correctly sized plans.

The incentive was there to get the parts cut, before the tape pealed off the paper! I cut the individual parts out, some spanned three separate pages, so the tape did it’s job.

Again I used spray glue to stick the paper to the MDF (my supply has dwindled rapidly) and cut them all out on the Band-saw.

Now I have all the template parts needed, and when I have time, I will have to visit the town timber yards and source the timber for the chairs.

However there is no rush, and I have other interests calling for my time. I have decided, mainly due to Nala, that I want to do some more interesting photography using my Smartphone, I had already bought a 3m selfie stick, and now I have bought a DJI OM4 Gimbal, which I need to learn to use. Since I have never used a gimbal of any type previously, this is going to be a learning curve, thank goodness, for good instructions, and Youtube!

Must go… my Gimbal is calling.

Back to Normal

Now Christmas and the New Year have been and gone, I guess we can look at getting back to normal, whatever that might be.

On January 2nd, all our decorations came down, and were put into storage for another year, and no that wasn’t my decision! Marcela might be keen to put them all up early, but fortunately she is just as keen to take them down again.

Pepe is our main concern at the moment, he received his leg support earlier this week, but it still wasn’t right, the idea is that he has support for both back legs, it straps around both, and then there is a vecro flap that joins the two on his back, with another strap that the Vet tried to pursuade us went up through his collar and back again, to stop it sliding off, however it was too long, it just slid off his back, he said it needed some more velcro sewn onto the support, so it could tighten up.

Fortunately I had a supply of velcro, and with the help of my Mother-in-law it was attached. We weren’t able to try it out until this morning, because we had been going out, and leaving the dogs alone, which wasn’t an option until we were there to supervise.

This morning we tried to fit the support, but Pepe was having none of it, with the pressure put on his neck from the strap through his collar, he just sat down, which was understandable, I tried it with his harness, but the strap was again too long, and had to be tied off, leaving Pepe uncomfortable. Marcela is now in direct contact with the Supplier. However on looking on the internet, for dogs with a sloping back such as Pepe, you need a special harness for the support. I think it’s time our Vet went for instruction. So Pepe is back lying on his bed.

Tito is like Jekyl and Hyde, one minute he is fine with Nala, the next ready to attack, but he is getting better. I can walk them together on their leads, without problem, and at times they play

This was the start of their game of Hide and Seek!

Tito had jumped up into the back of the car, Nala followed, but lost him

Tito popped his head up to see where Nala was, it was hilarious to watch, I wish I had been taking video instead of photos

Pepe, who is unable to jump, just watched on, as if they were both loco!

Nala is slowly destroying the garden, I’m not bothered, I’ll put it right once she is settled, but I was a bit miffed to find that she had got at my Galan de la Noche…Again, despite the protection I have temporarily installed

Hopefully there was no permanent damage, the one she pulled out originally, died back, but is sprouting again, so fingers crossed, but as you can see, anything that she can chew with wood content she will take.

including the wooden posts and bamboo poles used to mark the Borders, they were put there over two years ago, Nala has been ripping them out double time, I think they have rotted beyond reuse, so probably wont go back.

She is so proud of herself

However on the plus side, because she is like Pepe, food orientated, she is taking to her training, I take the treat bag out on the morning walk, if I take her alone, and we do some training for 5-10 minutes, on the way out, and the same on the way back, we’ll get there, it will just take time. She has already learned ‘Sit’, and doesn’t get her meals, unless she sits first, but she is so funny, she now does it without asking when she shes either of us with her food bowl, she almost bounces off the floor, down and up. That will change once we have ‘Stay’, but for now… Little Steps!

Wednesday, we had the day out, it was my Birthday, Marcela seems to think 65 is an important step, I’m not sure why, the only thing it entitles me to do, is apply to dual Citizenship in Colombia, without having to take any exams, but at the moment with the current Government, I might just hold tight, and see what happens before jumping from the frying pan into the fire, it would be nice to fully partake in Colombian life, I’ve been here eleven years next week, and don’t see myself leaving. Anyway,we had a nice time, a bite to eat, some shopping and to top it off, sun all day.

Sorry if you are not Dog lovers, it has been a doggy post, but I have to involve my family.

A Very Happy 2023 to You All!

There really isn’t much to report, we have spent all our time keeping our Visitors happy, or at least trying to, and acting as Referee between Tito and Nala!

The weather has been a bit turbulent, considering we were promised that we are now in the dry season, we have had some sun, but late afternoon it has been cold, down to 14°C, which is not fun, and before some of you make a comment, yes I know some of you are in minus double digits, but you chose to live there, I didn’t! 🙂 any rain has been at night, but it still didnt get me in shorts and T-shirt.

Nala is settling in nicely, in fact for a puppy she has been a dream, mostly comparing memories with Pepe, who we had from 6 weeks, and had to house train. Nala knows when she wants to go out, even at four in the morning! She is turning into a good Security Dog, alerting us to any movements outside the boundary fence, which we are happy about, although I am not sure the neighbour agrees, however I am not bothered, his Sister-in-law has been there for the last ten days with her talking Parrot, which was hung up in the garden, if I had had my way, it would have been hung up… over a BBQ!

The only fly in the ointment with Nala, is Tito, he was calming down and stopping his attacks on Nala, but with a house full of Visitors, he has started again. The ‘Calming collar’ I bought online, impregnated with lavendar, arrived, and was a total failure, it was faulty, they had forgotten to impregnate it with anything, it just smelled of rubber, so it went in the bin. Yesterday, Tito bit Marcela and my Mother-in-law when they intervened in his attacks on Nala, thank  goodness he has a broken jaw, otherwise they would have had more serious injuries. On the plus side, Marcela said to me this morning, “There is no way I am sending Nala back, we’ve got to sort this” (In Spanish of course!)

Nala has been helping me around the house

But it wasn’t just the recycled timber she found, it was cut branches left at the bottom of trees, my garden shoes, Marcela’s trainers, Tito’s lead, in fact anything that wasn’t bolted down, however she was only interested in ripping the wood apart, everything else was abandoned around the garden.

It was even suggested to me that Nala should have her own Instagram Page, and more fool me, now she has one “nala_loveandlicks”, how long I will keep it up, I have no idea, but the girls at the Vet Clinic were cooing over his photos, so for the time being I have no choice.

Pepe, had a week of suffering, after his first of Round two Chemotherapy sessions, so when he went for the second session on Thursday we told them about it, and they have upped his Meds, which seems to have done the trick.  We are still awaiting the return of Pepe’s leg support, I told the Vet that I was far from happy when we saw him, out of the corner of my eye, I could see Marcela cringing, but I wont sit back, and watch him suffer. For some reason anyone over here with the Title of ‘Doctor’ in whatever field they work, seems to be idolised and put on a pedestal, I have no idea why, and there are plenty of examples showing why they shouldn’t be.

Last week, I had a phone call from a Doctor working for my Health Service Provider, SURA, saying she was revising the Medication I was on, and that my Family Doctor had not put me on the correct doseage of one of my tablets, and she was increasing it immediately, I had been on this tablet for years, with no apparent ill effect (high blood pressure), but aparently she knows best. Because she was talking so fast, I put her onto Marcela, so I didn’t miss anything, this Doctor said she was referring me to the Nutritionalist… I am glad she was talking to Marcela, because I refuse point blank to go and see one, I went about seven years ago, and walked out, and not complied with any of my Family Doctor orders to go and see one again, I wont be going this time. Marcela told her, and the Doc burst out laughing, and said that was up to me.

My Mother-in-law has had a bad cold for the last week, and as my luck goes, yesterday, I caught it from her, and in a matter of hours I was full of it, so mid evening I went to bed, only getting up to see the New Year in, I feel a bit better this morning, just a sore throat and sniffles, so hopefully, that’s the end of that.  In the mean time, I will toddle off and feel sorry for myself.

I wish you all a Happy New Year, and hopefully better than the last!

Now to get ready for another year!

I hope that you all had a great time with family and friends, we probably ate too much, and some drank too much, but on the whole a good time had by all, and now wait for New Year!

Lala has settled in to family life

We just have to remember and accept that she is still a Puppy, and does puppy things, she has to be watched, because she likes gnawing on things, so far, I have caught her before she has damaged any furniture, but it’s only a matter of time! More holes are appearing around the garden, I was always brought up to believe, that you couldn’t have dogs and a nice garden, fortunately it was something we never had to worry about with either Pepe or Tito, but now…

Talking about Tito, he is coming round slowly, we have identified the problem, it isn’t territorial, it is possessiveness, of us! so by a combination of giving Tito more fuss that he had before, and walking the two together at least once a day, he is becomning less agressive towards Nala, we still have a long way to go, but at least there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I have been able to spend a few minutes in the Workshop here and there, and finally have my router fence finished,

I can attach it to my Tablesaw fence using a couple of C Clamps, and I have set up dust/shavings collection with our old house vacuum hose, which I can now plug into both the new fence, and the hose to my workshpop vac. I am ready for action!

Christmas Eve, the ‘Experts’ informed us that we are now officially in the ‘Dry Season’ to most here, that means Summer, you could have fooled us! Christrmas Day, it was lovely until mid afternoon, then the clouds came over, and later drizzle started, then yesterday the heaven opened after I had finished washing the car, whilst I suppose, I was tempting fate, I wasn’t over happy, and this morning the drizzle continues. The family (Marcela, Mother-in-law, and Nephew) have gone off for a Medical appointment, some shopping, and the Cinema, leaving me to mind our four legged family, and act as Referee if required, so far so good.

I think this week, I am spending chasing around for parcels that I have on the way, I am back to pulling my hair out, the Courier Company in town that agreed to accept parcels from all Couriers, has reneged on the agreement, stating he never said that, however, both myself and Mother-in-law were present when Marcela went through the details with him, so Coordinadora, are now persona non grata in this household. Most parcels I have been able to redirect, even if it means to another town, but a couple, I suspect are going to be a financial loss and I will have to reorder.

Pepe is suffering this week, not only from his cancer treatment, but also the cruciate ligament injury. The week before Christmas, the support for his legs arrived at the Vet, unfortunately when we took Pepe to have it fitted, it was too small, and it had to go back, so we are waiting for a call, in the mean time I received a copy of the Bill from the company sending it, which was with the Vet, and I strongly believe the rubbish about the support being made to fit, was just that…rubbish! the receipt seems to show that it is a size medium, and on checking on Amazon, they can be bought there, the price is similar, so I don’t feel as if I have been fleeced, just mislead, and I will be taking this up with the Vet, when I see him tomorrow.

Pepe spent the first day and a half, after his last Chemotherapy, shaking, and on Friday, I found vomit, when I was cutting the grass, so I shall be monitoring him closely. He has certainly slowed down, and spends most of the day either on the sofa, or on his outside bed, the problem being, I don’t know if this is the cancer, or the ligament pain, it’s one of those times, you wish they could speak.

Oh well, since the family are out and about, I think I’ll settle in and watch a film or two, they cant have all the fun!

An Addition to the Family

Again it’s been a busy week, on Tuesday I had a Specialist appointment in Medellin to see if I was suitable for a partial replacement knee, I had been referred by my Hip Specialist, as she believed it would be a beneficial move. It was Pico y Placa, which means that vehicles, depending on their registration plate, are not allowed into the City limits, on that day it included us, we had to go by Bus then Taxi, it could have been worse.

Unfortunately the Specialist I had to see, turned out to be a total knob, and that is putting it politely, Marcela thought that with his attitude maybe he was racist, he had no interest whatsoever in my case, he said that my knee needed a total replacement, but not at the moment, because I can walk more than one Block, yes I can, because I have nerve blocks at least twice a year to kill the pain, and my Hip Specialist said there is a limit as to how many I can have. I was mid sentence when he said good-bye and kicked us out, saying he would see me again in a year… not if I see him first.

To be honest, I think the knee I have now, is the one, I will have to put up with, unless I ever leave Colombia. The President has stated his intention to change the whole Health Service, and spend the money on prevention not resolving current problems, if that is true, then I am stuffed.

On Wednesday, we had to take Pepe to our Vet for an Ultrasound on his Liver, this showed that the cancer has shrunk a little, so we gave the go ahead to continue Chemotherapy, whilst there Marcela made a point of telling me about one of the dogs that had made it’s home in the Vet, she is a Street dog, having been abandoned by a couple of Venezuelans, she and her sister were kicked out, the sister killed by a passing car, when the Vets heard the story, they let her sleep in the building every night, when they locked up, they had spayed her, she was given food and water along with all the street dogs. She was called Arenita, and was so friendly, she would jump on the sofa when Pepe had his treatment and sit with us, then Marcela let it drop that she was up for adoption.

I couldn’t pass up the chance, Marcela had repeatedly said she would never have another dog, but this was encouraging, so I pushed her, and she admitted that she was tempted, Arenita, I think is a German Shepherd cross, 9 months old, just a puppy. Marcela kept avoiding the question, I was ready to forget it, when later that night she decided to go for it.

On Thursday morning, I dropped Marcela and her Mum in town for a Nail session, and I took Pepe and Tito to the Vets, which doubles as a salon for cutting and bathing, so they met Arenita, and other than Tito’s usual indifference, there were no problems, so I asked the Staff if they would consider us for adoption, and knowing us, and our circumstances, they said yes.

We had decided that if the adoption was to go ahead, a new life deserved a new name, so Arenita became ‘Nala’, and when I went to pick up Marcela and her Mum later, we went on and collected ‘Nala’, signed the forms, had her vaccinated, and then back home.

Boy were we in for a surprise, I had forgotten what puppies entailed, and Nala is a big puppy!

The next problem was Tito, he refused to have anything to do with Nala, unless it was attacking her, to be honest, I am not too worried, we had the same problem when Tito joined the family, he didn’t like Pepe, now they are brothers, the difference here is the age gap, Tito is nine years old, it may take time, we’ll see.

However yesterday morning, Tito launched himself at Nala, and fed up with him, she retaliated, so I had to step in, before she did some serious damage

This was her teeth, but it was pure accident, she could have caused me serious damage if she had wanted to, unfortunately with age, my skin has become very thin, and injuries look worse than they are. However being teeth I was taking no chances, so it was disinfected and covered in iodine to avoid infection.

Yesterday afternoon, Nala enjoyed herself playing in the garden, that is lovely to see.

Unfortunately, Nala has decided to be a Puppy and make up for lost time ha!ha! This morning she woke us up at 4.30am, wanting to go out, yes, she is house trained, which is a bonus, when she came back in she jumped on Marcela’s side of the bed, which in our house is not allowed, so down she went, but then the cheeky bugger, jumped up on my side, snuggled back to back with me, and lay her head on my pillow, she had obviously done this in the past, but funny as it was, she wasn’t doing it here, so down again.

Later she went out, and came back with black paws, when I went out to see, she had dug up my newly planted, prized ‘Dame de la Noche’, fortunately in one piece, and then continued to dig down. I went and replanted it, on returning to the house, Marcela told me she was back on the bed, Marcela being slightly nervous, didn’t want to get her down herself, so I told Marcela what she had been doing, and as soon as I appeared, Nala jumped down, but blankets, sheets were all black from the soil! We are going to have to remedy this.

It was now 5.30am, so I decided to get up and get the dogs their breakfast, as Nala was clearly hungry.

Tito was still growling at her, but I think Marcela’s constant intervention was not helping the situation, I know she is worried one of them might get injured, but they are going to have to sort out their own relationship.

After breakfast, I took Nala and Tito for a walk, and although they ignored each other for the most part, they were both very good, and have been calmer since my return, I’m not saying the walk solved the problem but they have both been calmer, maybe just acceptance.

Marcela and her Mum have gone to do the Christmas food shop, I have cut the grass, and the dogs have been lying about minding their own business…Result! long may it last.

I think this will be my last post before Christmas, I therefore wish you all and your families a very Happy Christmas, may you receive all you wish for.