The Last Furlong

Comments on the race of life.


Sleeping with the dog

The dog does not sleep on beds at night. Mr Furlong and I sleep alone. Our arthritis is the reason. In that respect we are tweedledum and tweedledee. And the dog was obviously trained not to sleep on his human’s bed when we got him as a rescue dog three years ago. So he never has.

No, thats a lie!

Once, about two years ago, there was a really frightening thunderstorm with rain hammering at the windows, wind moaning through the chimney and the letterbox hammering open and shut. Bass, the dog, leapt on my bed for comfort.

Recently, I have woken at four in the morning. The dog and I have attended to our ablutions, and then got back into bed – MY bed. He curls up behind my knees on top of the bedding. Trouble is, he has the ability to treble his weight and stick to the duvet which I need to cover my ears.

Bass is a quick learner. I pull on the duvet so he is forced to move, which he does like an immobile rock. He waits motionless until I have got comfortable. Then he snuggles in again. Trouble is, that pulls the duvet off my ears, and the rolling of the stone starts again.

I’m a quick learner too. I have now learned that if I am going to sleep with the dog, I must wear a hoodie, or a Hijab to do so.

It sorts everything out. No pulling, tugging or manoevering is needed. My ears are covered and we sleep the last few hours together in perfect harmony.

I like it!

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New fashion sheet

Mr Furlong has not been well. He had a tooth out. It has bled at night and ‘lost the clot’ since last week. We have now discovered why. Mr Furlong is on anti coagulants. He takes a pill in the evening and sure as anything, within an hour or so, the clot which he is carefully trying to preserve has gone! He bleeds instead. We know his anti coagulants work. They do not ‘allow’ clots.

So on one of the bad nights for Mr Furlong , I woke up terribly hot. I was cooking as they say. I knew a sheet would be nicer than my summer duvet. But the linen is stored in Mr Furlong’s room. I did not want to disturb him.

I lay and thought of possible alternatives. What was large enough, thin enough, and light enough to use as a sheet that was stored in a place I could get to without waking Mr Furlong (or the dog).

Ah! The English Flag! It was stored in a drawer in the lounge (‘living room’ as they strangely say here in the UK). But when I examined it, it felt polyestery and hot. God knows where we got an English Flag the size of a bed sheet, but we have one.

And then the solution came to me. We downsized from a large house with a large dining room table in the dining room. We owned table cloths stored in a chest of drawers next to the kitchen.

I found the perfect twenty year old many times laundered pink cotton damask table cloth in the drawer there where it has lain since we moved here.

I slept well under it and dreamed of many very happy times.


They toil not, neither do they spin

My sister and I were brought up to know about literature. The Bible was literature as well as Dickens and other stuff. Sometimes little phrases pop into my head.

We went to a famous garden at eyewatering expense the other day. I wore my new red shoes which was a mistake. I am still recovering. And we wandered around from the formal gardens to the wild gardens.

The formal sections included the Topiary. There we found gardeners of all kinds watering, snipping, checking every detail, working hard. The gardens between the topiaries had the beds neatly planted out with seedlings lined up like little soldiers all in a row.

Control, control, control. Man’s authority over nature seemed somehow sad to me. The ancient topiaries, artistic and beautiful as they are, have been constructed over hundreds of years.

My red shoes complained as we wandered through. There were benches there but my sister, who is older and frailer than me, never once suggested we sit down. She had her walker thingy to assist her.

But the wild gardens were the most wonderful of all. They were, well – wild! There were no gardeners there, only butterflies and bees; and wild plants and flowers. And exuberant joy.

It was worth the exorbitant gate price just to see those.

I forgot about my new red shoes. And something popped into my head.

Consider the lilies of the field how they grow,they toil not,neither do they spin, yet I say unto you even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Again, there were benches. But we never sat. I could have sat there for hours contemplating, absorbing, breathing beauty. Instead, I shuffled around behind my sister in my new red shoes feeling the pain. I bet Solomon made sure he was wearing comfy shoes at all times. He was a wise man, not vain, not silly like me.

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An embarrassing situation has arisen in the Furlong home.

The lady over the road takes our dog Bass out daily for a walk. We can see her house from the bay window in our lounge. So can Bass.

Every time she pops out to water her front garden, someone notices. Every time she stands chatting outside her house to her neighbour, someone notices. Every time she gets in her car, someone notices.

Someone in our house has become a curtain twitcher.

The curtain twitcher is especially vigilant at walk time. He can see her coming out about ten o clock in the morning with the girls he walks with. They start to cross the road and someone in this house goes ape shit with excitement.

Curtain twitcher has different types of barks. Ape shit is just wild abandonment. We can forgive ape shit.

But then there’s the “look at me” bark. That’s the embarrassing one. The curtain twitcher often sits at the window and calls “look at me”, ” look at me “. Once, the dog walker came over and took him for an extra walk because she felt sorry for him!

So now we are trying to stop this embarrassing event ever happening again. When the curtain twitcher is yelling “look at me”, we yell


and he stops.


Colour and gender blind

The old fashioned Martin Luther King idea that we should all be colour blind and take a person by character, not the colour of their skin, has gone for a Burton. Now we must NOTICE colour.

Mr Furlong is very slow to catch on.

Every day he says “That brown bird is back at the bird feeder” and every day I say ” No, that’s a blackbird.”

Every day he is not noticing that if you are brown, you are called black, even though you are brown. He is not noticing that being female makes black brown, or if you are male, you are black.

But, then, of course, we don’t know if the black blackbird is gender neutral, cis, or LBGTQ.

The brown blackbird might call herself they/them.

So, the solution is not to notice any visual characteristics in anything at all.

Tomorrow , Mr Furlong can say “There is a bird on the birdfeeder”. And I will say, “How do you know its a bird? It might be a trans-squirrel.”

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Length – 6 to 8″

I am constantly astonished at the Seasons every year here in the UK. I love them.

What, to me is incredible, is how quickly plants grow when they start doing it. Every winter, our garden appears dead. Every summer, it is simply packed with plants that have resurrected themselves.

You don’t get that in Africa or tropical places. Every day is a nice day. The garden is simply green. The plants flower at various times, not distinguishable from any other time. It’s same, same, same.

You don’t notice quick growth amongst the growth.

Here, I watch birds from my bedroom window. At the end of winter we did a huge cutback of dead vines. The first big prune for many years I think. So the birds have feared the exposure without hedges or creepers to hide in. But now everything is growing. The birds are back.

The old stumps of the creepers have sent up new vines that are growing at a mind boggling pace. Every morning, I can see how much they have grown in a day.

And no joke, it is six to eight inches a day!

How amazing is that?