Antibiotics and steroids

30 October, 2009

piglet exhausted

Poor Piggly.

The vet says the patches on the fronts of her legs have been infected, and that it’s a kind of dermatitis, probably caused by the rubbing of the coat. He also confirmed that she’s come into season, 2 months earlier than expected. Apparently dogs’ immune systems are a little lower than usual when they’re in season, and he said that because of that she may well have reacted more strongly than she otherwise would have done to the rubbing of the coat.

He also removed a tick from the side of Piggly’s face. I found it this morning as we were having pre-vet cuddles.

So, Piglet’s now on antibiotics and steroids for a week. The purpose of the steroids is to reduce the itching, but if she can’t stop licking her legs in the next few days then she’ll have to wear a collar too. In the light of all that it’s clearly a good job we came home.

It just goes to show that it’s impossible sometimes to know what to do for the best. I thought the little softshell coat would have been just right–certainly it kept her bone dry on Loughrigg despite some truly horrendous wind and driving rain–and perhaps it would have been had it not been for Piglet’s depressed immune system. I now wish we’d stuck with her little Equafleece, though, which doesn’t extend down her legs and has no cuffs.

I got P a nice Herta harness too before we left, but I’m dumping that because the buckle rubbed some fur away behind her elbow 😦 I do think she needs a harness in the Lakes, but perhaps we’ll take a closer look at the Ruffwear one, which seems to be more padded. We met a Parson’s Jack Russell wearing one near Coniston Old Man two days ago, and the owners said it was great.

Interestingly, the vet does believe it’s important for small dogs like Piglet to wear coats in foul weather. I got her a coat because she sometimes shivers without one when we’re walking. It seemed obvious that she was cold. Doh… But over on the BT website that I regularly read I was promptly lambasted by a few moronic unimaginative owners/breeders who seem wedded to the idea that Borders have waterproof coats and should Never Have To Wear Anything Else. One of them–both a breeder and a judge–actually referred to dogs who need extra insulation as “cissies”. Um, hello?? I felt transported straight back to infants’ school. Then again, I suspect that many of their dogs never walk more than a mile, and only in decent weather. They’re show dogs who spend much of their free time standing around on tables in halls, simpering at judges.

So, once again: poor Piglet! I really thought she’d love the Wainwrights, and believed I’d done everything possible to kit her out properly. Now it turns out that I failed to notice the beginnings of the problem with her legs, because clearly it can’t all have happened the day before we came home.


29 October, 2009
Exhausted Piglet relaxing with her rat

Exhausted Piglet relaxing with her rat

Well, we’re home, and both pretty relieved about it.

The journey was much less painful than it might have been: only 2 hours from Windermere to chez nous. A friendly assistant at Booth’s in Windermere held Piglet in the porch for me for 10 minutes so that I could zip round and stock up on salad and chicken and goat’s cheese, and now I don’t have to nip into town to get something yummy for dinner. (Pity I forgot the milk, but c’est la vie!)

On the way from the station to the house we popped into the vet’s but Piggly’s favourite isn’t in until tomorrow, so we’ll go in the morning and see what he has to say.

Piglet seemed overjoyed to be back in the house. She raced from room to room and then into the garden, and it was only when I spotted her dashing past like a brown and black blur with something pink in her mouth that I realised she’d grabbed a poor soft piglet from a place she isn’t normally allowed to go, and tossed it around in the garden. Wee monster! The poor thing is now muddied, but recovering with a stiff gin and the company of the other piglets on top of the drinks cabinet.

It’s a shame we didn’t complete the walk, but it became clear to me fairly quickly that (i) the exercise was going to take longer than I’d anticipated, and (ii) that Piglet wasn’t wholeheartedly committed to it. I think I was, but I’ve learned quite a lot in a short space of time, and one of the things I’ve learned is that reining in/dragging along an alternately over-enthusiastic/reluctant wee terrier on an extending lead adds considerably to the burden of what at this time of the year up there is already quite a challenging day.

Having to drag Piglet along is simply not what walkies is supposed to be about, and when I woke in the night on Wetherlam to find her shaking–not cold, but frightened (I assume) by the way the wind was buffeting the tent–I felt it really wasn’t fair. When the following day I realised that what a couple of days earlier I’d assumed to be marks left by a tick on one of her front legs had actually been the beginnings of a large sore created by the rubbing of her coat cuff on her leg it seemed clear that it was time for a re-think. I was unsure last night about what to do for the best, but despite the improvement in the weather today I’m quite sure now that I did the right thing. Despite having purchased a new rucksack. Doh… Does anyone want an Osprey Ariel, size small?

I have to say that even if I’d not had Piglet with me I’m unsure about whether I’d have been able to complete the Wainwrights in the sort of weather we encountered up there. Bad weather is only to be expected in the Lakes at this time of year, of course, and I did expect it, but it’s demoralising when it happens every day; and it’s also very clear that the exercise requires much more planning than I put into it. The Joss Naylor route is a great one, but it’s clear to me now that it doesn’t really suit a person with a penchant for regular descents to pubs with warm fires, restorative beers and bowls of crisply sizzling chips. Maybe I could have done it, or maybe not. What I *do* know, though, is that as I struggled along in virtually nil visibility, with my boots slipping and sliding on rocky ascents and praying that my pack wouldn’t tilt to one side so suddenly that I was unable to correct it, with the consequence that it dragged me off the side of the hill, stranding Piglet alone and unprotected, I thought many times of what Steve Perry achieved on the Munros back in the winter of 2005-6, and marvelled with a whole new insight at his fortitude and determination.

I’m still keen to complete the Wainrights with Piglet, but I think we’ll approach it as a series of day walks instead. As I was travelling home it occurred to me that a camper van would be a very nice way to do it, but since I haven’t got a camper van yet that’ll have to remain a pipe dream for now. In the meantime, Piggly and I will be delighted to go walking up some Wainrights with any of y’all who may be up for it from time to time.

Right! Now it’s time for a shower, and then I’m going to cook something to eat. After that I’m going to see whether I can find any episodes of The Restaurant on TV on Demand. I was horrified to realise that I’d left home without setting the cunning wee device under the television to record it for me… Kate, watch out! I warned you that MTP was just the thin end of the wedge… Raymond Blanc is coming next!

Thank you to everyone who offered advice, encouragement and kicks up the bum, in whatever form. Sadly my email wasn’t working on the phone, and I suspect that I may therefore have missed a few messages, but both Piglet and I treasured every text, telephone call, meeting with friends (thank you, Martin, Brummie Dave, Susan, Alan and Phil) and posting on here as a most welcome connection with home and great friends. And now that we’re home we’re both very glad to be back ♥

3 in a bed i Grasmere…

25 October, 2009

This is the way to do it! Lord Elpus and I braved a closed M6 and bowled through the Trough of Bowland to finaly make the Lakes by late afternoon. We hooked up with the amazing Heather Rhodes to be treated with tea and cakes and a quick treatise in the biomechanics of the hominid.

You see, this is an educational blog this morning as I have hijacked Shirls blog. (now you wil see her readership tumble) Ooh, you probably need to know that its Alan who is writing this…

Anyway, Heather is half of the team behhind ‘Pacerpoles’ and we were dropping off essential suplies for Shirl who was having an incredibly tough day trying to buy a replacement lead for Piglet who had chewed through her old one in a last gasp desperate bid for freedom. It has to be said that when we did eventually catch up with Wiggly she was very happily ensconsed at the Royal Oak, having already having treated herself at the in at Skelwith Bridge.

She seemed to be in good spirits…

After supper at the Unicorn we eventually found our way to three in a room in Grasmere, where we are now enjoying breakfast before heading off into the hills…

Alice In Wonderland strikes Cumbria

23 October, 2009

Well finally I’m writing from my tent up in the hills. P is snuggled into her fleece suit lying on her down gilet and wrapped in my down smock. How come she always ends up with my down smock?

I’m going to tell u an impossible story now. I can’t believe it, anyway.

some of u may remember that I decided to order a paired Of expensive down trousers. The makers very kindly agreed to make them in time 4 my Lakes trip, which was v. Much appreciated. Unfortunately, when I collected them from the PO in Ambleside they’d accidentally sent me a size large rather than the medium I ordered.

I rang. It’s not easy to get through on the phone sometimes, but finally they rang me back. They apologised and arranged to send a M to my BB yesterday. The package arrived just as I was going out to dinner–I’d thought it mightn’t be coming as it was then 6pm–but I was delighted to get them.

After dinner I opened the package and the label said M. I was relieved. When I tried them on they seemed a bit big but I was dashing to bed by then, so this morning I packed them up and set off.

30 mins ago I unpacked them and put them on. This timed they really did seem big but I realised I had them on back to front and thought maybe it wa jus the bum That was large. As I wriggled out of them‚ though, the internal label caught my eye, and yes: you’ve guessed it. They’ve sent me another Large.

it’s hard 4 me to believe they could do this twice, accidentally. I’ll have to wear them as it’s cold and I brought my lighter sleeping bag because I knew I’d have the trousers. Naturally it’s Friday now, so I won’t be able to contact them until Monday. Unbelievable…
And then I’ll prolly listen to audiobook, as I had no room 4 a real one. Oh, and I need to check map re tomorrow.

I hope you’RE ALL having fun!
other than that it’s been a good day. I was relieved to learn that I can still carry a 15kg+ pack: I think the last time I carried so muc weight was prolly on the Pennine Way. It wasn’t too bad, though.

P got very wet, and shivered for some time after I’d settled her in the tent. I made her kibble up with warm water, though, and fed it to her by hand after she’d lapped up the juice‚ and that semed to make her feel better 🙂

I‛m going to make soup soon and eat a sandwich (coleslaw in white roll–yum!)

Re-suppky sorted

23 October, 2009

Two of the kindest people u could ever hope to meet–Heather and Alan who created PacerPioles–are going to look after them 4 me. Eternal thanks to them! ♥

Sitting in lovely Baldry’s tearoom in Grasmere now. Think it’s the only one that allows dogs. P was greeted with big cuddle.

Raining out but glad we’re almost on our way.

Large man just trod on P’s foot. She screamed. I hope she’s okay. Felt lije crying myself.

p.s. weighed pack at BB. 15.6kg with week’s food. Uh-oh…


23 October, 2009

I couldn’t face another dessicated veggie sausage today so I’m vaving bacon and egg. Good job Piglet’s upstairs!

Claggy morning

23 October, 2009

Pretty yukky out today.

Planning to pick up Joss Naylor route today but have to solve resupply depisit problem first.

Finfers crossed everybody, please, for a solution.

Going well

22 October, 2009

We had quite An exciting day yesterday. Forecast grim so we aimed 4 Tarn Crag above Easedale and planned 2 take it from there.

A steep haul got us up and then we dropped down to Codale Tarn. From there we went up towards Sergeant Man but soon walked into the clag. Visibility was almost nil and I needed the GPS to confirm we’d arrived. I was in 2 minds about continuing to High Raise because I could hardly see the hand in front of my face and battery on the phone was dead‚ so no GPS. Eventually we went on‚ but there eere some anxious moments until eventually the trig point loomed up in the mist.

Rview of map suggested best way down was 2 retrace our steps. Very slippery underfoot: almos fell several times. Got down in end though and popped 2 Rd Lion 4 celebratory drink.

I got P a can of sardines 2 go with her kibble. She was tired but it’s hard 2 judge her energy levels at times‚ so we”l have a shorter day today.

beautiful morning. PHD have come up trumps and are delivering replacement down pants today so I’ll post te other back.

MTP quite tense last night I thought. GO MARIANNE for the Final tonight!

Piccy – towards Keswick from Steel Fell

21 October, 2009

Mixed fortunes

20 October, 2009

Well, it’s been a day of mixed fortunes.

P and I started out this morning at about 10am, a bit lte But a consequence of staying in B B and waiting 4 breakfast. I’d planned about 10 Ws but our day was truncated by the need to go to Ambleside and collect my down trousers before we start camping. We therefore did 4 hills and dropped down mid afternoon.

I got the trousers and we returned by bus. P was shivering, wee lamb, so as soon as we got in I fed her and took her out 4 a poo, and then she settled down on bed with chew and TV as I went into village to meet Martin Banfield and 2 challengers. It was lovely to see them, but eventually I had 2 go to check P and watch MTPs.

I thought I’d missed most of it (!) but it turned out that I’d only missed a couple of mins. I note in psssing that Marianne played another blinder…

I eventually unpacked my down trousers, only 2 find they’re te wrong size Doh. will have