Category Archives: Animals

Location, location, location (or, ‘How technology saved me a few hundred quid yesterday’)

Yesterday, I lost my glasses. This is perfectly normal, and happens on a regular basis. One of my roles in life is to provide the opticians of South Cambridgeshire with a healthy and predictable revenue stream. What was much less typical about yesterday, though, was that I found them again!

Despite some of my recent posts, this was nothing to do with Apple AirTags, because I don’t currently have those attached to my spectacles. (I thought I looked rather dashing with them dangling about the ears, and many of the chaps at the Drones agreed, but I noticed that Jeeves had become particularly frosty recently, and found himself unable to extract me from a dashed sticky situation involving Madeline Bassett… but I digress. No AirTags currently adorn your correspondent’s brow.)

Anyway, yesterday afternoon, I was out walking Tilly, in a gentle rain, and I decided to take a photo of the view across the field in the mist. “This shot would be easier to compose”, I thought, “if I were wearing my glasses”, and I reached into the pocket of my coat… to discover that they weren’t there.

“Bother!”, said I, contemplating the last couple of miles that we had walked, the branches I had ducked under and the ditches I had leaped, any of which might be clues to their likely location. But then I remembered I’d received a phone call just a few hundred meters back, and had been able to read the name of the caller with ease, so I must have been wearing them then. I started to retrace my steps, gazing without much hope at the long wet grass, and thinking how easy this would have been if it weren’t for Jeeves.

After a couple of further passes over the relevant stretch, in the fading light, with a bemused (but useless) scent-hound trotting behind, I was about to give up hope, when I suddenly remembered: Hang on a minute! I had taken one other photo! It was after the call, but before I had noticed the glasses were missing. Surely I must have been wearing them then, and removed them afterwards because of the raindrops gathering on them. I bet I dropped the glasses at the location of the photo!

The problem was that it hadn’t really been a great photo; not many distinguishing features in the view. I was along one side of a big field, on a wide path, and I had paid little attention to my surroundings. Looking back at it now, I realise that I could probably have got those two rows of distant trees in the same relative alignment and located my former position quite accurately, but I was trying to view it on a small and decidedly damp screen… without my glasses. I was having enough fun just trying to tap on the right photo.

However, of course, all my photos are geotagged. I spent a while trying to work out how to see its location in the Photos app: not easy, even when you can read the text and make out the icons. (Hint: you need to swipe up from the bottom.) But eventually I found it. Not entirely helpful for precise location.

By tapping random blurry things, I managed to get into satellite view, and that was much better:

However, you have to remember that, at the time, it looked more like this:

And there are quite a lot of bends in the path with big trees beside them.

The Photos app doesn’t show your current location, only the location of the photo. I switched into Google maps, where I could see the moving blue dot, but the trees and crops looked completely different; the photo had been taken at a different time of year, several years before. Not much help.

But Apple Maps, of course, used the same satellite imagery as Apple Photos, and I was able to switch to and fro between the apps as I walked, until the blurry image with a blue dot seemed perfectly aligned with the blurry image with a yellow square.

I looked down, and there, nestled in a tuft of long grass, were my glasses. I had passed them three times that afternoon since dropping them, as had Tilly, who can track a pheasant at a considerable distance, but takes little notice of her master’s most valuable possessions right under her nose.

“At last!”, said she. “Come on! It’s dinner time.” And we scampered off towards the car.

The heat of the action

In the evening, we watch gripping Nordic Noir episodes, and our spaniel sleeps soundly through the gunshots, stretched out on her big bed in front of the fireplace.

During the day, though, this kind of action will have her sitting alert and quivering with excitement at the patio door for hours!

Who let the dogs out?

Dogs are not subject to the same lockdown restrictions as the rest of us.

They’re clearly making the most of it, and heading out for adventures in their campervans.

Spotted outside Sainsbury’s yesterday. I’m guessing they were just stocking up on sausages to go in the fridge.

Squelching in the Rain

After Rose and our fluffy-pawed spaniel Tilly came back from their walk across the muddy fields this morning, Tilly composed the following and asked me to share it, because it might help other canine readers to know they are not alone.

A Muddy Spaniel’s Lament

Rose’s supposing my toeses need hosing
Shows Rose is supposing erroneously.
‘Cause nobody’s toes can need quite as much hosing
As Rose is supposing my toeses to need!

Good Morning!

Everything is muddy at the moment. Some of us just know how to glide above it.

Untested?

I’m somewhat confused by one of our recent purchases, which proudly proclaims on its packaging that it hasn’t been tested on animals.

Jolly good, I thought. Always keen to do the right thing if I can.

There’s just one problem.

It’s dog food!

What’s more, it’s made of chicken! So it’s made of animals, and fed to animals… but at least you can rest assured that it’s not tested on them. What sort of a daft marketing department…?

Ah well, never mind.

Well, Arden Grange, I can report that Tilly, on being given it, wagged her tail enthusiastically and wanted more. So that’s good news for your marketing.

But I’m afraid this means that it has now been tested on animals, so you’ll need to remove the label.

Excuse me… were you invited to this party?

sheep

Today we’re heading for Cornwall. Normally, that would be a major undertaking, but fortunately, we can see it from where we’re staying.

It’s just over there:

Cornwall

Looks nice, doesn’t it?

Round robin

Our friendly neighbour has been back…

He turns out to be particularly partial to small pieces of raisin.

If you ever want to invite a robin round to tea, I can guarantee that raisins will be a welcome accompaniment.

Leaping Tilly 3

I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that, as she approaches her 11th birthday, Tilly is still enjoying her favourite pastime.

She was doing much the same thing 9 years ago and 6 years ago. Different fields, different crops, but clearly intended for the same activity.

Persistent Visitor

We have a friend who keeps coming to visit, despite the lockdown…

He does maintain appropriate social distancing while here, though.

Helps himself to food…

Always politely interested in the conversation.

“What’s the time, Mr Wolf?”

Generally a very pleasant companion.

Disdain

Pigeonhole

At the Drop Redoubt fortifications on Dover Western Heights

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser