Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Police dogs die from heat stroke.

SGT Craven, from Egham, Surrey, was slated by many national newspapers at the start of the week after 2 police dogs were left un-attended in his car, Belgian Malinois bitch Chay and 4month old German Shepherd pup Tilly both died from heatstroke.

SGT Craven left both dogs in his private vehicle without ventilation or water parked at the Metropolitan Police training unit in Keston while he attended a meeting in Stratford East London on June 26th. It was there at 11am in 30'c heat officers were alerted to the car, and broke into the vehicle to try and rescue the dogs. Chay and Tilly were rushed to an emergency vet but both later died. SGT Carven went missing shortly after the incident on Sunday and was later admitted to hospital after throwing himself from a collogues car, he is apparently now a patient at the psychiatric unit.

In July 2004 a cocker spaniel at the training centre where Ian Craven was attending died from heatstroke but it is unconfirmed who the PC responsible was. He was later made a Sargent and then acting boss of the Metropolitan dog centre in Keston, Kent.

The recent deaths follow those of two German shepherd police dogs, who were left to die in a car in extreme heat outside Nottinghamshire police headquarters in July 2009. The dog handler responsible PC Mark Johnson was handed a six-month conditional discharge after he was found guilty of animal cruelty.

Working dogs often have to be contained in cars and vans in order to attend incidents and do their job but all police vehicles that transport animals are fitted with special features. There are ventilation systems & cooling packs for water bowls as standard and in many even air conditioning to keep the dogs safe and healthy in all weathers - even a heat wave. Private dog owners and private dog handlers (like myself) know that it is irresponsible to leave a dog in the car, particularly in hot weather.

Whilst out working my dog Monty is often travelling in the car but always safely, he has with ventilation, available water and we stop for regualr breaks. I would never do anything to put my faithful K9 partner in un-necessary danger. A spokesperson for The Dogs Trust said "It can take just 20 minutes for a dog to die and temperatures can reach over 40'C in some vehicles." with weather like this in baking sun and a British heat wave with temperatures from 28-31'C its easy to see how an unventilated car can heat up quickly. If you love your dog don't leave him to suffer in a locked car!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Summer means Jam making ^_^

Making homemade jam—or chutney is a great way to preserve the best fruits of summer. Strawberries this year have been amazing, either from your patio, allotment or at the pick your own farms over the south east of England. Later in the year there are plenty of wild blackberries along the lane where I live which are best in the late summer and autumn. Its very easy to make jam and using fresh fruit with no preservatives makes it taste so delicious, you just can't beat it on scones with cream and a pot of tea ^_^ it is simply divine!

The trickiest part of jam making is how much pectin (the settling agent) is in each kind of fruit. The high sugar temperatures can be a little overwhelming aswell but this can be easily overcome. I use a cheat, jam making sugar from silver spoon which has added pectin from apples : D

For soft fruit jam follow this easy peasy recipe!


400g Soft fruit can included strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches and blueberries etc
(I use a blender and add vanilla to blueberry jam ^_^)
500g of Jam sugar

1tsp lemon juice

1tsp of butter

Method: For traditional English jam mash your soft fruit with a potato masher, or if you prefer American style jelly you can use a blender to remove lumps, although the later wont work so well with seeded fruits such as raspberries - you still get the seeds!

Using an old saucepan (incase you burn it!) on a medium heat to bring your mashed fruit to a rolling boil, not spitting but gently bubbling over - my husband calls it my cauldron ;)

Add lemon juice, butter and/or vanilla at this time. Add the jam sugar and stir constantly, you dont want any one part of the jam to get too hot and burn. Boil it for a full 3 minutes to ensure all the pectin and sugar are combined with the fruit.

Using a tea spoon take a small amount of the hot jam out of the pan, leave it to cool for a few minutes and if it sticks to the spoon when you stick it upside down then your jam is ready :)


If you use recycled jars be sure to sterilise them first or if you prefer you can buy them on-line. Warm your jars gently on a low heat (80') in the oven or in a saucepan of boiling water and then put the hot jam into your clean jars.

Carefully screw on the lids - the hot jars with hot jam will create a natural vacuum seal that will last 9-12 months. With a printer and some adhesive paper you can easily knock up some smart labels, I'm sure friends and family will be very impressed.

For beginners domestic goddess Delia has some very
handy tips.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Celebrity babies

I don't usually follow gossip rags or pay attention to celebrity "headlines" but the news that Natalie Portman has given birth to a son made me smile. I'm not sure why this story has interested me, perhaps it is my love of Star Wars? I'm guessing there was also a girl, but she's been hidden and squirrelled away to some remote peaceful planet with no weapons. But most likely its because I think she is such a wonderful actress bursting with talent and also my own leap into motherhood that attracted me to the story.

This woman has such a great head on her shoulders! She is very smart and I love how she wants to take a step back and take care of her family . . . a real breath of fresh air from Hollywood.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Lunar treat for you

I post on Monday about viewing last nights lunar eclipse on-line. Additionally Visit the Google home page today and you'll be treated to a playable movie of the eclipse, which turned the Moon a scary blood-red colour.

Drag the scroll bar underneath the logo to view individual stages of the cosmic event. Google updated its homepage through the night to feature the very latest image of the moon, using the Slooh space camera, which collects user photos of space events, and is partnering with Google Sky to map space.

Last night's eclipse was visible rising over South America, Africa and Europe, and was also visible from Asia and Australia. It was the first total lunar eclipse of the year, and lasted a total of 1 hour, 40 minutes and 52 seconds. It was a particularly dark eclipse too, because part of the moon passed through the very centre of the Earth's shadow. These rare total eclipses are known as Central lunar eclipses.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Lunar eclipse

On Wednesday at 21:25 there is a chance to see the lunar eclipse, (no its not a shiny vampire movie) the type where the moon passes behind the earth so that the earth blocks its light.

It is the last one to be seen in the UK intill 2042 so worth a few minutes to take a look . . . if you can actually see the moon that is! Good old British weather has forecast rain rain and more rain! It will probably too cloudy to see this interesting phenomenon but fear not; the age of digital astronomy is upon us! Head over to where there will be a live feed from satellites of the eclipse.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Car booty!

I just I'd share a few of the goodies I've got for sale at the moment, as we are having a big clear out. Its amazing how a priority like having a baby on the way can make even a hoarder have a brutal clear out, I'm sad to say good bye to some of my cool junk but it needs to be done.

The first and biggest lot is a complete Wii bundle with 12 games (Zelda, Tomb Raider, Lego Star Wars, Mario etc) and a host of official accessories including a travel bag, boxing gloves, zapper & driving wheel. All have original boxes with instructions and are in great condition £150 ono for the whole lot, a bargain as these were going for nearly twice that at Christmas. (I missed the boat there >_>)

I also have an N64, Dream-cast and Game-cube (original box) all with corresponding cables and games for very cheap prices, from £5-£15 :) Plenty of some older PS2 games available as well at £1 each :)

Rock Band instruments for XBOX360 are in a dusty but good condition, we'd like £50 for the set. The Stratocasters whammy bar has a loose spring but other wise they are in good working order, not shown is the original drum sticks and microphone, the set is less that 2 years old but unfortunately mere months ago my DH threw out the original boxes! I have Rock Band 2 and Beatles games for the XBOX. I also have Guitar Hero games I&II for PS2 with its original box for only £20 (I am usually good at keeping boxes ;)

Since Mr Toffee passed away we have a large indoor pet cage (which was £80 new on its own) with loads of accessories from mixed animals, a large wheel and ball in "rat/chinchilla" size, a ceramic heat lamp, small pet carrier (suitable for any small mammals) and a mixed collection of ferret and cat toys with bells etc. The whole pet bundle for £50 would be great :)

This lovely Jug has never been used in our house, its a beautiful piece which has 4 very fine glasses to match in bright blue, sadly the set has been gathering dust. We also have 2 goblet style glasses which are not shown in the photo and we would like £15 for all 7 pieces.

We have lots of games, comics and books that will go to a car boot this Sunday and some of my home made costumes for sale too over at Some of the things are quite new but don't get used very much, we need space for all the new junk that comes with parent hood (it seems babies need an awful lot of kit!) and the extra cash it will raise is a bonus.

All prices are negotiable make me an offer and I'd be glad to have my cool junk go to a new home :)