The Last Furlong

Comments on the race of life.


Oh, whooha whooha – masks and holidays

Why do people HAVE to go on holidays in this country? Everyone seems to feel absolutely devasted if they don’t get their hols in Spain/Greece/Ibetha/Timbuktoo, wherever. Flying somewhere seems to be a human right! What a performance we see about that.

When we first arrived ‘back home’ where we hadn’t lived since our childhood, Mr Furlong and I noticed how fixated the Brits are about their ‘hols’. It’s quite unnatural. Really it is. A holiday abroad is a human right? You’d think without one, people would suffer some dreadful consequence, like saving money, or actually experiencing their own country’s geography.

And then we’ve got our human rights being attacked because, like every other European country, we are now ‘forced’ to wear masks. It’s getting some people really churned up. I’ve lost patience with it all. Wearing a mask is such a small thing. It’s what has been done by medical staff since last century and even during the plague years! Why would all these people wear masks if they had no effect? For generations! Right now, the medical staff who are (not) treating patients who have (not) got Covid19 (because there is not a pandemic, its a scam) are robed, masked and helmeted for many uncomfortable hours. So are many other workers. Are they complaining?

No, they are enduring.

So, the Government, (who wants to destroy me and my rights for some reason unconfirmed) demands I wear a mask.

So what?

Most of the rest of the world does!

It’s a very small inconvenience.

And anyway, it covers wrinkles, which, in our case, is a benefit.


The dowager and the pea

Night before last, I couldnt get comfortable in my very best bed in the world. My bed IS the very best bed in the world. It’s the most comfortable I’ve ever had, and even guests tell me its a great little bed.

I have to sleep with Mr Furlong if we have a guest. Guests mustn’t stay too long as a result. Mr Furlong and I have both got a bit of arthritis in our shoulders which makes sleeping together when we need the whole bed just to get our arms comfortable a bit difficult. We are both becoming a little stooped. Not quite dowagers humps, because we aren’t widowed, but on the road to it.

So night before last, I  just couldnt settle. The rib I was lying on, my rib of course, developed a sharp nagging pain. Shifting around helped a little, but then the pain would develop in a different place. A little stabbing pain. So eventually, I felt underneath me, in case I was lying on something. But I discovered nothing. After a lot of shifting, the pain went. I figured if it was lung cancer it would return in good course. So I eventally slept.

Last night, on smoothing my bottom sheet in preparation for the nightly bed leap, that I look forward to with great joy every evening, my fingers discovered a tiny tiny thing. I could hardly see it, but I could feel it. I recognised it immediately by the feel. It’s something that drives me crazy everytime I have to clip it on to the back of my silver earrings. Its the tiniest earring back that you have ever seen. And someone thought it was clever to manufacture such a miniscule thing.

My fingers might struggle with earrings and clasps and such like things, but there’s nothing wrong with my ribs. They can feel pain. Tiny, tiny pain. That’s great!

It means I’m not dead yet. I bet I could feel a pea, UNDER my mattress. There’s life in this old girl yet.



On our walks, I often see large rats dashing out of the undergrowth along the sides of our path, as Bass, the dog, dashes in. He never sees them because he is hunting inside the bushes but the inhabitants have left.

Rats are not stupid.

When the children were kids, we had white rats. They were actually my rats, and they gave us great fun with their cleverness. As usual with most of our animals, they were not caged, only ‘contained’. They used to ride around on our shoulders and be involved with whatever we were doing. We had to keep them away from our Jack Russells. Jack Russells are brilliant rat killers. We lived on a smallholding, so keeping one set of animals away from another was quite normal. As was having wild rats hoping for chowdown on some other animals’ feed.

Bass has got Parsons Russell in him. He’s not a rat killer. Not like the Jack Russells we had, that could kill a rat stone dead in a mid air leap. No Bass is well, pathetic, actually.

Wild rats are not cuddly clever sanitised pink eyed white rats. They are scary! The ones I see bursting from the bushes on our walk are big sinister criminal looking bruisers. I bet they bite.

We need a rat killer for our garden. A big bloke from the bushes has invaded our garden. He’s stealing the bird food. Will Bass be our saviour like our hunting Jack Russells? No way! Bass believes discretion is the better part of valour.

We’ll have to set our humane rat catcher cage out instead.

And I’ll let the bugger free where his gang hangs out. He’s not welcome here.


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 Beatrix Potter ‘Miss 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 humans 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.