The Last Furlong

Comments on the race of life.


Hedgehogs, human and animal

It seems to me that social media is infested with hedgehogs. These creatures appear attactive but hiss and attack, violently hunting any prey that might feed their ‘right’ to take offence if they wish.

Years ago, when I was teaching computers, I remember standing outside with other smokers, discussing how dangerous passing a law was that made taking offence legal. If you FELT offended you could legally challenge the person who had been offensive, whether other people thought whatever it was was offensive or not. The then government had just done that. It was a grave error I think. It has led to the infestation of aggressive human hedgehogs in our world. Anyone now, has the right to feel offended. Except certain groups, like white folks, women, men, and all manner of other creatures. They are the fodder of offended human hedgehogs.

I’ve just done a good deal of research into the wild European hedgehog. I was astonished to discover that far from being the cute Betrix Potter ‘Mis Tiggywinkle’, they are quite a nasty bunch of creatures. They are unfriendly nomads that roam around under cover of night, eating anything edible from corpses to other living things. They have few enemies, except large birds. Most large birds are not active at night, except owls,

They are agressive towards each other, fighting, biting, butting, shaking and charging. They do it loudly, hissing, growling, shrieking, clicking. They bite. Once they were considered vermin, especially because of their egg eating habits. They were a food source for the poor, delicious when packed in clay and roasted over a fire.

Now, they are a protected species, except in New Zealand where they are a pest.

They are not super intelligent.

Human hedgehogs are also a protected species. And they ARE a pest. They too roll into a ball of political correctness if any other person ‘offends’ them. They are confident in their protected status and we can watch them everyday in the media hissing, growling, butting, shrieking, clicking. And biting.

Hedgehogs are voracious animals. Really. Yet us himans feel blessed to find one in our garden.

We have found ourselves blessed!

Here is our hedgehog, seen twice, recently. Isn’t it cute?

The Furlong Hedgehog

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Damn Harvest Mites!

When we came to England over twenty years ago, I had been bitten by just about every insect in Africa. Mosquitos love me especially. I survived them all. Annoying, yes, but never too bad.


I had never met a European Harvest Mite!

I had never encountered the bite of this creature to whom I have the most dreadful allergic reaction.

Every year I get bitten.

They like me.

Mrs Furlong gets bitten, but they leave Mr Furlong alone.

My bites turn into huge white tight blisters shining through a red sea of swelling and inflamation like little islands of itch that drive me crazy. Not only that, but I feel like I have flu too, off colour and hot.

But I have the solution. This is for everyone who reacts to harvest mite bites like I do. LISTEN UP!

Harvest mites are little mites/spiders that are burying themselves into your skin. They are sucking on your juices (lymph actually) and injecting you with chemicals to do it, to which your body is violently reacting. No cream, nor potions work. I have tried them all. You have to KILL the little buggers before they make life a misery.

GO TO THE PHARMACY AND BUY A CREAM FOR SCABIES. Scabies is a different kind of tick/mite, but the cream kills harvest mites too. Apply it once or twice on the harvest mite bite. In the summer, I put it on any red itchy spot that might be a bite,

just in case.

The best scabies cream I’ve found is called ‘Lyclear’. It’s expensive.

But I’m WORTH it!

It’s the start of the harvest mite season (mid July through August). I know it is, because I’ve been bitten. Twice.

TWICE already.

Damn harvest mites!

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Rising sun, August moon

I’m not sure how on earth the two bird feeders in our garden got their names. It was possibly because they look slightly oriental. Like little Pagodas.

Mr Furlong made them.

We call them ‘the Teahouses’ of the Rising Sun and the August Moon. We can notify each other by yelling “Look in the August Moon!” or ” There’s a mouse in the Rising Sun!”. They are very specially designed by a genius.

Mr Furlong is the genius. They have roofs we can open to fill the food trays on the floor within. The roofs are supported by a collonade of dowels spaced apart in the exact dimensions for tiny birds to get through, and keep large birds out. The Rising Sun is attached under the normal bird feeder, whilst the August Moon has three legs and stands amongst our plants.

I watch The Teahouses from my bedroom window and Mr Furlong can see them from the kitchen where he potters about. Mr Furlong is a kitchen creature. He has one of his computers in there and produces the food we eat here in this ‘house’. The birds are most active in the mornings. And the Woodmice come to feed too.

Having the Teahouses has stopped the Wood Pigeons chowing all the small bird’s food, and the rooves on them protect them from the view of overflying seagulls and raptors. And protect the food and the birds from the rain. Blackbirds often feed underneath them, picking up the bits. Blackbirds are a little too large to get in. And there is no ledge provided for the bigger birds to stand on if they attempt to stick their heads through the collonades which they do.

After the baby robins left the nest, they were in and out of the Teahouses all day. We haven’t seen them there for a while. Maybe they have found a better chef! But, Rising Sun and August Moon are the most popular eating establishments in our garden.


Is my dog racist?

The Furlong dog Bass has a good deal of Chihuahua in him. We know that because we had his DNA tested when we first got him. That is going on two years ago. Knowing what is in your dog can really help in understanding what they do.

The Furlong dog Bass, is what you’d call a mongrel, a mixed breed.

We like him.

He’s not like any other dog we’ve ever been owned by. He has strong Chihuahua traits.

Chihuahuas are different to all other dogs. They have a different evolution story. In fact no one is even sure of what that could be. But here are some guesses and interesting information about the pure Chihuahua.

On our walks, I have noticed that Bass is far more delighted with dogs that are Chihuahuas, or like him, are Chihuahua mongrels, than just ordinary dogs. I am told that many dog owners think their dogs prefer certain types of dogs over others, and that is a figment of our imaginations, just like we imagine our dogs love us.

But I’m not falling for that scientific rubbish.

Our Bass loves us.

And furthermore, I think he’s racist. He has some kind of genetic memory of his ancient heritage that he recognises is different and yet the same as his, in the other dogs he meets.

He prefers his own kind.


My first outing

When I was teaching in a primary school, a popular topic for writing letters was “Write to your aunt/grandma/uncle/grandpa telling them about…….”

“Dear Aunt Emily RIP,

My first outing after lockdown was pretty disappointing. I lost it.

In public.

And I was very rude to a stranger, which I regret.

What happened was this.

Mr Furlong drove me and the dog, (sorry, the dog and I) up to Asda so that I could choose a few plants for our garden which is now mostly weeds. (or should which be that?)

The dog was on a retractible lead.

I chose a trolley which (or possibly that) I spritzed well with my isopropyl alcohol 70% spray, and started off to the outdoor plant section. Somewhere deep inside the Trolley Bank, the dog found a large dried out (or dried-out) chop bone with spiky points that people call T bones. The dog was delighted, but I was horrified. It’s exactly the very bone we would never ever feed him. (Or should I have written, the very bone, rather than exactly the very bone?)

I yelled “NO”.

He dropped the bone. I kicked it out of the way. He ran after it. And I ran after it too for I’m not a good kicker at 75 (or should that be seventy five) and don’t kick that far. So I kicked the bone around for awhile, yelling all the time. Eventually the dog won the match and chomped the bone up while (or maybe whilst) I stood over him beating him over the head and yelling some more.

During this dignified performance, a man took advantage of my mental health problem, by snitching my meticulously cleaned trolley.

I’m afraid, Aunt Emily, I did not behave well.

I do not wish to tell you about it. But the man looked surprised.

Anyway, I did actually walk the dog home, and fortunately, half way home, it absolutely bucketed down with rain. (Not sure if bucketed is a word). It was fortunate, because it took my mind off things as (or should that be because) I had no raincoat or brolly with me. ( or should that be nor?)

That is all I have to say Aunt Emily RIP,

Hope to see you soon,

Your niece,



(Or perhaps the XXXX is wrong)

With love might be better?

Hope to see you soon,

With love,


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Its not just the bally bluetooth

I am not at all surprised that Covid19 trace and tracking via mobile phones has been a flop in most countries that have it.

I could have told you so.

The rule for smart phones and computers is to turn the bluetooth OFF. Who wants snoopers digging around in your devices? Most people have been taught to keep the bally bluetooth OFF. We do, unless I’m transferring files. So the idea that now, we all have bluetooth turned ON, seems to most of us, to be a bad idea. Its a bad idea.

I could have told you so.

Now, we must turn on bluetooth so that it can snoop on other peoples’ phones and tattletale from ours. As a result, you might be quarantined for two weeks and muck up the lives of every other person your phone has “informed’ on. Does that sound nice? No, it sounds horrible. Do most people feel safe doing track and trace? No, they feel threatened. Thats why they are not co operating. They do not like it.

I could have told you so.

Am I going to do track and trace?

No, I’m not.

World governments should have asked me first before someone in them thought track and trace using mobile phones was a good idea and saved them the disappointment that it flopped. I could have told them.

Its not just the bally bluetooth, its the whole bally idea!


Talking Stella

I haven’t much to say, so I thought this might be entertaining.

I didn’t know Starlings could talk, did you?


We’ll meet again

Vera Lynn has died. She was a wonderful performer of the most tear jerking songs in a time when most people were dealing with shock, horror and grief.

She was 103.

Thats a good age. We heard her singing quite recently and she wasn’t half bad. No quavering wobbly voice. She still ‘had it’ as they say.

Even now, her songs will make people with any nouce of history tear up.

Maybe her songs helped win the war, the war that the white priviledged fought, so that all people could have freedom, whatever their race or colour.

Young people dont know her. The reference in the Queens speech about lockdown to ‘we’ll meet again’ probably went over their heads. But us oldies knew. Us oldies know that ‘we’ll meet again’ means much more than the end of lockdown.

We’ll meet again means profound things, love, commitment, patience, hope, community, resolve, determination, faith, optimism, and implications of the eternal.

Thank you Vera Lynn.


How Clothes Are Made Meditation

This is a meditation for today!

Have you ever watched/contemplated the ingenuity, care, and absolute miracle of The Industrial Revolution in action? Do we have reverance for the tee shirt, the jeans, the dress or skirt that we are wearing today?

Our ingenuity is actually fantastic in the scope of miraculousness, to me. No longer do spinsters sit at their doors spinning yarn all day. No longer do serfs do the heavy tilling and ploughing. No longer do slaves pick cotton in the South.

Machines do it. Machines intricately designed by the skills of civilisation – Science, Math, Engineering, Investment.

I think it’s bloody amazing!


Barking mad

I have been reduced to writing about dogs and birds and other inconsequential stuff, because they are almost the only sane things in life at the moment. I once actually posted stuff that I was thinking about, like a bit of politics, or a bit of history once in a while.

I have decided thinking is bad for one’s health.

I still have Post Traumatic Stress after the shock of almost world-wide Lockdown. The horror and enormity of the danger of the “deadly” virus that could incapacitate the planet, seemed unbelievable. Literally unbelievable. Beyond imagination.

But we’ve got used to it. The world response seems crazy now. We are not cowering in shock and awe. We are going into the discontented phase.

Then there arrives, here in the UK, again, Black Lives Matter. They are relieving their discontent by defacing monuments, toppling statues, attacking police, firing rockets into crowds, terrifying the horses, all the while chanting abuse about white priviledge. Everyone is going down on one knee to pay tribute to a violent criminal killed by an equally violent policeman in a whole nother country.

In China, the Chinese rule the country. The Chinese are the priviledged. In Africa, there is no white priviledge – only Black Privilege. The rulers of any country make the rules. In Europe, the people were white. Their history and culture come from thousands of years of being white. They are called “Europeans”. European still implies you are white.

But according to Critical Race Theory that is taught in our new, fair, education system, it’s white privilage, that has caused all the problems for black people. White Might has been a dreadful thing and it still lurks in every institution they established, every order they brought to the West, every advancement in health, technology, science, investment, conservation, philosophy, religion, education, meritocracy, democracy, all knowledge. All recorded History.

White Privilege, yes. They have made the world in the West. And ruled. In typical fashion, white people brought their culture, their law and order, health systems, transport systems to the countries they groomed to better those places and for their own greed, true.

Black Privilege, yes. Everytime a black person is hired without merit, that’s it. Everytime white people bend over backwards to promote Critical Race Theory ideas, for the victims of White Privilege, that’s it. Everytime we work on an equality of outcome system, that’s it. When institutions hire, promote, encourage, uplift, subsidise, enable Black people and so on, that’s it. When your colour brings you benefits, thats it.

Should white people, dump science, technology, law, order, their history, their institutions, monuments, gollywogs, toys, computers, mobile phones, jeans and tee shirts, culturally appropriated clothes and food? Should we demand compensation from all the European countries that invaded and took priviledge from each other? Should we destroy all Roman, Greek and Egyptian architecture? Should we beg forgiveness for being white? Or apologise for being black? No we bloody shouldn’t.

Right now, the world has gone barking mad. Totally. I’ve never known anything like it. I must stop thinking about it. Thinking has become bad for my health.

I prefer birds, and dogs. They are always up for self promotion one way or another, but they never make a fuss. They just wheedle their way into our hearts. Quietly.