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Showing posts from September, 2014

Tuesday morning

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Sadness has given way to excitement after a fruitless search through the reputable breeders in the UK I have found a litter in France.  As you know we are close to the channel and it would only be a 4 hour journey the other side to Calvados and half the mileage to Scotland so not a problem.  Importing apparently is easy once the pups are old enough for a rabies injection they then have to wait 21 days before being imported. These very early days are vitally important in socialisation so the breeder has offered to help with that.  My previous breeder has vetted the pedigree and is happy they are good dogs.  In fact she judged the bitch at crufts and the dog is a real cracker.  



I am now organising to go to France at the end of October and make a choice.  Then pick up day will be just before Christmas.  Could anyone wish for a better present.  I'm glad you think, as I do, that this is the best possible therapy for me.  Next problem will be choosing a name that is appropriate for an…

Monday morning

Good morning all I am up a bit late this morning the emotional weekend really knocked me sideways. But I have made the decision to actively look for another Spinone but sadly it is no easy task as they have started to become popular and the breeders are all inundated with requests.  I have also got my name down with the rehoming people.    You may think this is a bit odd so soon after my loss but the hole in the house and the one in my heart need to be filled.  It also gives me a positive focus.  I waited well over a year for Basso so it could well be a long haul.  In the mean time I would like to thank you all for your kind words.  Most of my friends are dog owners so they know what it is like to lose your best friend.  James stepped into the breech and made sure we were all fed and watered and Tubby has rallied and is eating again.  Life goes on in its own mundane way.  
Today being Monday I have the usual huge pile of washing and I also need to plan out what we are going to eat fo…

Sunday morning

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A lovely bouquet of flowers which were delivered to me by my Japanese friend and neighbour who is a dog owner and understands the distress we are going through.  Tubby has taken it very badly and stuck like a limpet to James all day and refused to eat.  I had a quick ring around to tell everyone what had happened to save any difficult moments of people asking how Basso was getting on.  My conscience is clear but my heart is broken.  What a way to say goodbye to our lovely vet who has been in practice for 54 years and is finally retiring at the end of the month.  Even Mark the gardener texted me to ask about Basso.  
Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
Basso, a Dog
Lord Byron put it rather well.  This epitaph is actually quite long so…

Saturday morning and the worst day of my life

None of us has slept well last night as today I have to fulfill the obligation I made with Basso the day I brought him home.  He has lymphoma which is cancer of the lymph nodes for which there is no cure.  There is chemotherapy which might extend his life for a short while but why put him through that only to find ourselves at this point some way down the line.  In the end it is quality of life rather than length which is important.  He will suffer no more and die in my arms after which I will fall apart.  I am writing this now as I know I will be a basket case afterwards.  James will accompany me and he too will fall apart, after all it was Basso who saved his life and they have been great mates ever since.  The five years we have had together have been some of the best and I console myself with the fact that he has had the very best of life.  He has fulfilled his potential in every way and I can't bear to see him suffer a minute longer than necessary.  Though it breaks my heart…

Friday morning

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After a very scary day with Basso we were at the vets bright and early having put all the dogs in the car.  Basso had another blood test and some anti inflammatory as well as a broader spectrum antibiotic injection.   We then had a slow trip around the shops and a little walk for the other dogs so that the guy had freedom to do the carpets.  Well the carpets are clean and Basso is back off to the vet this morning once I have managed to get another urine specimen from him.   As the carpet was damp we had an early brunch and evacuated the dining room to leave the carpet to dry fortunately the weather was kind and we left the furniture in the garden until it was completely dry before putting it back. Sometimes the weather is on your side.  By the evening Basso had brightened up and had started to eat again and we all breathed a sigh of relief.  He is as weak as a kitten so I think this is going to be a long haul to get well again.  I have already said I will not be attending the shoot t…

Thursday Morning

Good morning all, yesterday was a bit of a trial with Basso having very bad day and refusing to eat.  I tried to tempt him with everything I know he loves but he was having none of it.  Not even frankfurters would tempt him.  Fortunately he is still drinking so at least he is not dehydrated but he spent most of the day lying under a bush in the garden.  We are off to the vet this morning so we will have to see what he says.  I have to keep reminding myself that getting over pneumonia will take time and it has only been just over a week which is no time at all.
Mike got his assessment from the psychiatric nurse who was a really very nice chap, who I will call T. I filled in some of the background detail of what has been happening and then he went on to speak with Mike.  Yes he is very depressed and the advice he was given is exactly what I have been trying to tell him for months.  Perhaps he will now see it as advice rather than nagging.  Anyway T is going to visit on a weekly basis t…

Wednesday morning

Good morning all it is raining here and we are forecast a wet day.  I for one am not complaining as the garden really needs a good soak.

Denny came and did her thing so we are all nice and tidy but today is going to be a busy one.  Len and Margaret are coming to visit Mike so that should cheer him up a bit.  I am not sure if Shiona is coming too.  Then we are expecting the psychiatric nurse to come and assess Mike at 2pm, however to confound us all he has made an effort and even did some washing up.  Perhaps the threat of the assessment has kicked him into action.  Frankly I don't mind what works just so long as it does.  
Basso had a bad day yesterday and was very reluctant to eat however he did make a pig of himself the day before so maybe he didn't feel he needed it.  I managed to get the last of his antibiotics into him with the one thing he cannot resist Frankfurters.  He is very weak and has trouble getting back on his feet if he slips over.  I think this is going to be …

Tuesday Morning

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Well as you can see from the photos the gap has now been trellis filled and once the plants have covered it we will be afforded a degree of privacy.  My neighbours keep their compost directly behind the little fountain and as they are keen gardeners they are constantly using it.  The line of sight is directly into my dining room and kitchen but this should act as a sight screen.  It will also shade the small pond and so keep the water from turning green.

This is Clematis napaulensis which I hope will cover the trellis quite quickly.
We had shot out bright and early to the vet with Basso who is very weak and very thin.  He seems to be improving and only has one more day of antibiotics then we are back to the vet on Thursday morning.  In the mean time we are trying to feed him up so he is being fed like a puppy with about 5 meals a day.  He is being spoiled rotten and given anything he fancies.  Last night he had his antibiotics with salami which he thought was great.  I had boiled a …

Monday Morning

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I have been itching to take some cuttings of the fuchsia but there is not a single shoot that isn't flowering.  I had a good look at it yesterday and I think in the end I will have to take cuttings from a flowering shoot and hope for the best.  It has made a magnificent show of colour and though it is supposed to be hardy I am doubtful.
Basso is improving slightly he is panting less and coughing a bit more which I hope is his lungs clearing.  The lump in his neck has reduced from the size of an orange to the size of an egg so that too is a hopeful sign.  We are off to the vet first thing this morning so I hope for some good news. Fortunately he is still eating well provided it is not dog food!!!! Yesterday he had a big bowl of rice with poached chicken which he demolished with gusto.  
The medication the doctor gave me is, doing exactly what is says on the tin, it is making things worse. I was woken at 3am having a nice panic attack so it is going to be fun getting through the in…

Sunday morning

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Chilean guava
I ordered two of these plants but three arrived so I handed one on to Sandy and the photo is her plant in fruit.  Mine have done absolutely nothing perhaps next year.  They look very like blueberries but taste more like strawberries.  Having tasted some of Sandy's I hope mine do better as the fruit is really lovely and as they are hardy down to -10ÂșC they should survive the winter.  My garden has suffered this year as my priorities have been elsewhere.  
I think Basso is improving slightly he is panting a little less but yesterday he refused his food in the morning so while I was out shopping I found a piece of rump steak going cheap.  I frightened it with a frying pan and then chopped it up once rested and this was acceptable.  I also bought a cheap chicken which went into the pot with the stock from the last hen.  The resulting broth was lovely and did us nicely for supper.  Today I will pull the meat off the carcass and we will be sharing it with the dogs.  For u…

Saturday Morning

Good morning all yesterday was a bit of down day in this house with no one feeling the full ticket apart from Tubby.  Basso is still very unwell and I have set an alarm to make sure he gets his antibiotics evenly divided.  I personally think this is important with antibiotics as it keeps the blood levels even and the bacteria don't get any time off to regroup.  My visit to the doctor was strange I saw some unknown doctor so he needed filling in on the situation.  I explained that I had just about reached breaking point and had been advised to see the primary carers counselling team.  He recommended that I try a quicker route and gave me a number to telephone.  This I did and left a message on their answer machine at 12 midday - now I am waiting for the return call.  He has also given me some sleeping tablets one of which I took at 2am so it gave me 4 hours which is not bad and better than nothing.  He has also put me on some tablets to reduce my stress levels but when I read up a…

Firday Morning

Good morning all.  I was awakened at 3am by a big downpour it only lasted a couple of minutes but it came down in buckets full.  Basso is still a very poorly boy but we have moved on to tablets instead of injections.  Then it is back to the vet on Monday morning.  Shiona came over and we had a nice chat she is a very sensible person and I do listen to her advice.  She was in need of some shopping so we hit Aldi for a few bits and bobs while the chicken roasted itself in the halogen oven.  I had done some mash and peas, really imaginative, and gravy.  However, given my general apathy, even that was a miracle.  The cold chicken got chopped up and mixed with some chopped ham and mayo to make a nice filling for some sandwiches for supper.  The carcass has left me with some lovely stock and a plateful of bits of gristle and skin for the dogs.  Basso still has an appetite which is good but he is not too keen on dog food however chicken is irresistible.  I bought a packet of cheese triangle…

Thursday Morning

This morning will start with a visit to the vet as usual but at least we have an idea of what we are dealing with.  Basso now has a diagnosis of bronchopneumonia as his white cell count was completely off the scale.  He is still running a fever but he just looks for cool places to lie and rest fortunately his appetite is still good so we are giving him quite a bit extra to help with all the calories he is burning in his effort to fight off this infection.  In fact he had a donner kebab for lunch yesterday as Mike left most of his.  I am working on the principle that the sick need good nourishing food if they are to recover well. I know I was going to roast the chicken for lunch but I just plain ran out of gas having been up from 2am.  By about 11am I was like a wet dish cloth, coming down from an adrenalin high leaves you feeling very tired.  
I did virtually nothing yesterday but what the hell I am on holiday!!!!! The washing that had been on the line for 24 hours was still quite da…

Wednesday Morning

Well the good news is that after constant pestering I have managed to arrange an appointment for Mike for next Wednesday.  I am seeing some unknown doctor on Friday so I can fill in a bunch of forms which may get me some counselling to help me cope better with the current situation.  James is now back from his friends house so at least I have a bit of help around the house.  At last we are no longer in limbo land.
Basso is still unwell and we are off to the vet again this morning.  His temperature has come down  a bit and other than being a bit off colour he is showing no other symptoms.  He does however think I am a pervert.  The vet wanted a urine sample from him so I have had to follow him around with my receptacle.  He tried hiding in the hedges and kept looking over his shoulder at me with a look of consternation as to why he could not just relieve himself in private.  Anyway it is a good job no one had a video camera or we would be making money from "You've been Framed…

Tuesday morning

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Just when you think it can't get any worse.  Yesterday morning was spent at the vets with Basso who now has a high fever and a large lump in his neck.  I think it is a lymph gland and I am hoping it is swollen in response to an infection.  I can't even begin to think of the other more serious things it could be. Fortunately my wonderful vet is still in practice until the end of the month so lets hope things are sorted out by then.  He had a blood test and an antibiotic injection but despite the fact that he is eating he has lost half a stone in weight.  Anyway that is where we will be starting this morning so we will be at the vets at 8.30am and hope that it is good news.  I say we because James has volunteered to help and drive me to the vet.  This is a great help as parking at the vets is all but impossible so it helps to have a driver, plus the fact that Basso doesn't want to get in the car and it take two of us to manhandle him into the back.
I chased up the advice to…

Monday morning

Yesterday I had a busy morning dog walking and getting a few bits sorted at home then filling the car with diesel before setting off to Sandy for Sunday lunch.  How lovely to have a meal cooked for you for a change and what a meal it was.  Roast lamb with a huge assortment of lovely vegetables all from her new allotment.  She had also made a lovely crumble but I was too full to participate.  
I know I am late but I had a really rotten night and didn't get to sleep until about 4am which is  when I usually get up.  Anyway James has come round and taken the dogs for their walk while I slowly come to consciousness over a large mug of coffee.
I am hoping that at some point today I might hear if and when they will be coming to see Mike and hopefully do something to help him.  I too am going to investigate a counselling program for people who are dealing with difficult home situations.  I am not too proud to accept help if I can find some but I believe I need a GP referral so that is wh…

Sunday morning

Yesterday was one of the longest days of my life.  It seemed like a good idea to have a pampering day but in fact it gave me hours to think and ponder on the situation.  In the end I came to the conclusion that no matter which way the cards fall I am going to be hurt.  I have been piggy in the middle for 40 years and that is never going to change.  James and Mike don't get on and never will. Neither of them is well enough to live alone so every time there is a clash I am left to pick up the pieces.   I had made contingency plans for Mike to be cared for while we were on holiday and I needed James help with the caravan as it is getting too much for me to handle on my own.  I had expected a few ruckshions but I didn't expect the lengths Mike would resort to to make sure we didn't go.  I'm sorry if this sounds like bleating and whining but I am between a rock and a hard place with no room for maneuver.  On the plus side I am very clean as is the bathroom and Sandy has in…

Saturday morning

Yes it is the crack of dawn but I have been asleep for many hours.  By about 6pm I had completely run out of gas.  I had spent the morning trying to get some help for Mike via the psychiatric teams, age uk, the GP, but it is like wading through treacle.  Each phone call just leads on to another phone call and then on to the next.  Anyway, the upshot of the exercise is that I have an urgent appointment for a psychiatric assessment which may be as early as sometime next week.  So presumably I just sit and twiddle my thumbs until they come - no date, no time nothing to indicate if or when.
In the afternoon I met up with James and we took the dogs for a walk.  He has done the right thing by getting out of the situation before it impacts on his health which has been improving so dramatically of late.  I was so worried that all the work we have put into getting him back on his feet would be damaged by Mikes deteriorating mental state.  Unfortunately I cannot extricate myself from the mess …

Friday part 2

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Photos from yesterday
 The pack
 Yoda Luke

Friday Morning

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First of all many thanks Joy for the offer of a bolt hole.  I am very fortunate that I have lots of friends who have offered me sanctuary. I think I will take up Shionas offer as she has the room for both me and the dogs. The dust is beginning to settle - the holiday has all been cancelled and James is still with his friends but we are going to meet up today and take the dogs for a walk.  Which will give us a bit of time to talk over what is the best course of action for all concerned.  
Yesterday morning I shot off to Sandy's house with the dogs in the car and after I had been treated for "shock" with a large mug of hot sweet tea and a slice of toast and bovril we took the dogs out for a nice long run and ended up on a bench in the churchyard where we sat and chatted for a while.  Sandy took some nice photos of the dogs but as yet she hasn't sent them through to me.  When she does I will post them for you to see.  Sandy has lived in her village all her life so the …

Thursday Morning

I managed to sleep last night knowing James is staying with friends, but where we go from here is anybodies guess.  Today, I will set too and cancel the holiday and I will make arrangements to go and stay with Shiona when she gets back from Scotland.  She did suggest I go and stay in her house now but frankly clattering around her house by myself would just give me time to think.  I really don't need to be alone at the moment. The one good thing is that I can take the dogs with me when I go.   What was a mess, is now a full blown disaster for James I believe the crisis intervention team are going to come and see him today but it is all out of my hands now.  I as usual am caught fairly and squarely in the middle and am emotionally torn in two.  However, if there is blame to be attached then Mike can take that.  Provoking wounded animals is a recipe for disaster. We all knew that these living arrangements would need some give and take from all concerned but it seems to have been a …

Wednesday morning

Well the shit has really hit the fan - I knew that Mike would cut up rough and try to scupper our holiday.  Suffice to say it looks like he may have succeeded.  He successfully provoked James into an explosion and he took off before blood was spilled.  So I will sit here and wait to see what happens. We have a few days for things to calm down before we are due to leave but I have a sneaking suspicion that it will take more than that to sort things out.  In the mean time I have had a completely sleepless night and I am sick with worry and fuming with anger that 6 months of hard work rebuilding trust and confidence have be shattered with a few well chosen words.  On the plus side I have shorter hair, a clean house and a nice tidy garden.  The bins are out for the bin men and I am going to get stuck into a big pile of ironing which will keep me occupied while I wait to see what is going to happen.

Tuesday Morning

What a lovely day yesterday was it was sunny and warm.  The dogs got their regulation walk and had a grand time.  We had been so lucky with our training session as we needed long grass to hide dummies in and by yesterday the whole field had been cut for hay so we only just made it.  My laundry dried well on the line and I managed to get my chores done by 1pm which meant I could go and have a rest.  I got my new sim card but as of last night is was still non functional but I know it can take 24 hours before they get it switched on.  Anyway lets hope it functions a bit better in Suffolk once we get there.  
For lunch we had the ostrich steaks that I got in Aldi and I must admit I was very surprised at just how delicious they were.  They were in a marinade of some kind and the instructions said to fry for one minute each side then add the marinade for a further 30 seconds so total cooking time 2.5 minutes.  Given the thickness of the meat I was a little sceptical but they were perfect a…

Monday morning

Yesterday was a day of restocking the freezer  now that it is back up and running smoothly and I had a trawl around both Aldi and Tesco.  Having spent a large proportion of the morning in the shops lunch had to be a sort of quick meal.  I made some small meat balls which I cooked in the swedish style, that is simmered in some broth.  Once the meatballs were done I fished out a portion to freeze and to the remainder I added some soba noodles and some finely sliced cavolo nero and carrot.  It sounds a bit weird but actually tasted very nice.  Light but tasty and remarkably filling.  The meatballs were  made with 50/50 beef and pork mince with added breadcrumbs garlic and herbs.  For supper we had an old standby; a piperade with scrambled eggs and toast.  I have a portion of the peppers left so they will make a nice accompaniment for our ostrich steaks which we are having for lunch today.  They were on special offer in Aldi and I am a sucker for a bargain. I think a jacket potato would …

Sunday morning

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After all the stress of the freezer problems this week I feel fairly shattered but at least today the freezer will be back up and running.  I switched it back on late yesterday when I had finished cleaning it out and today it will be time to refill it.  I am going to try to fill it with some sort of order so it stays tidy.  However, I think this is a vain hope as I am sure it will end up in the usual muddle in no time at all.  In my life I have had both upright and chest freezers and find it hard to decide which is best, they both have their advantages and disadvantages.  When I had half a pig to deal with the upright was all but useless but chest freezers are prone to the loss of small things which will fall to the bottom and get forgotten.  In an ideal world I suppose one of each would be good or better still a walk in freezer but that will have to wait for the lottery win.
The big pile of turkey livers was duly made into liver cake for the dogs.  I blitzed them in the thermomix an…

Saturday morning

Sometimes thing work out for the best and what looks like a disaster actually turns out to be a benefit. The freezer engineer too one look at the freezer and told me it was jammed up with ice following my inadvertent leaving of the door ajar.  The cure is to empty it and leave it switched off for two days while it melts all the ice then switch it back on and start again.  As luck would have it I didn't have too much expensive stuff in it so I managed to cram the best stuff into the other freezer took out some bits to cook and the rest got binned but I think we are only talking about £20 worth of stuff.  Now this is the best bit the guy was on a £95 call out fee but he refused to charge me, for which I was duly grateful.  
In the process of emptying the freezer I discovered things I didn't know existed and stuff that had been in there for more than a year so it was a good exercise to clean it out completely.  I have always wanted to have some rationale for the freezer so as to…

Friday Morning

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Yesterday's training session saw Basso retrieve from water for the first time ever and that was purely because he had some competition from young Luke.


Sandy and I had a nice walk down by the estuary.  The tide was out so there was only the paddling pool to do water work.  However there is a huge field with long grass which is ideal for hiding game and sending the dogs to look for it.  I'm glad to say that the dogs got on well together and soon realised that they were work colleagues not rivals.

After our training session we took ourselves off to the pub for lunch then as the pub is near the M2 Sandy went off home and I returned home with my very happy dog.
This morning I am expecting the engineer to come and look at my freezer and I must admit I woke in a cold sweat at the thought of it.  I could be in for lots of expense and loads of work still maybe I am just being a pessimist and it will all turn out fine.  I just want it sorted so I can move on!!!!
I have a pasta bologn…

Thursday morning

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Yesterday I spent the day organising an engineer to come and look at my freezer which is definitely on the blink.  For this reason the door has remained closed in the hope of saving some of the contents. Any meat which has defrosted will have to be cooked before refreezing but there are plenty of odds and ends which will no doubt end up in the bin.  Unfortunately I couldn't get anyone until tomorrow morning so I will just have to wait and see what the outcome is.
I did however make a big pot of borlotti bean and pasta soup made with the chicken stock from the sunday roast chicken.  There is still a portion left for today though the pasta has soaked up all the stock so it will need to be let down with some more stock or water.  For once the local takeaways may come in handy.  
Sandy is coming over with her new dog for a training session and we are going to try him with cold game.  I have a hen pheasant which has been in the freezer since last season and is now defrosted so that wi…

Wednesday morning

Whatever was ailing Basso seems to have passed and he was much brighter yesterday and eating normally.  I took my car to kwik fit and they had a look at all the wheels but could find no reason for the intermittent squealing.  They did the tyre pressures while they were at it and were happy that it was safe. Now what did they charge me for this service ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.  I was flabbergasted, getting anything for free is so rare these days.   
Just to make my life complete my freezer is playing up so this morning I will be contacting Bosch and try and get it looked at before it packs up completely which would be a bit of a disaster which I am trying not to think about.  I am sure it will pack up while I am on holiday so I had better get it sorted out now.  I am hopeful that it is just the electronics that are having a bad day as the food is still frozen, however, it is difficult to tell if it is all slowly defrosting and I am almost afraid to go and check it this morning.  Please kee…

Tuesday morning

Happy days I managed to get all my monthly chores done and even finished the ironing.  Then it was a buzz around Aldi to resupply the fridge.  However, that was no easy task as it was absolutely heaving and it took me 20 minutes to find a parking space.  Of course I forgot it was pay day and everyone was out shopping.  Fortunately it was a cold lunch of gravlax and potato salad and once that was done I saw it was just starting to rain so I shot out and lit my bonfire and got that all burned off very quickly as it was all nice dry material.  On the other hand I then smelled of bon fire so it was into the shower for me and my clothes into the washing machine. It rained quite heavily last night so I got the stuff burned just in time. Supper was a frikadellen with some baked beans and an egg so again nothing too taxing then early to bed after a satisfying day.  
This morning I have to be at kwik fit at 8.30 when they open and they are going to have a look at my wheels.  I have an annoyin…

Monday Morning

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I think the chicken recipe was a big success and a very pleasant change from a bog standard roast. The recipe can be found on this site  http://www.channel4.com/programmes/gordon-ramsays-home-cooking/articles/all/roast-chicken-with-chickpea-stuffing-and-salad-recipe  It is a bit involved though not difficult.  I used only one chilli as I know mine are blow your head off hot and in the eating between the salad and the chickpeas the chicken almost becomes superfluous.
After my walk with the dogs I needed a darne of salmon to make gravlax with so as the fishmonger was closed I thought I would try Tesco's fish counter.  Would you believe they refused to sell me anything less than the entire fish.  I was not much in the mood to have a knock down fight so I just informed them that I would go to Morrisons.  However, when I got home, with my salmon, I was still seething having had to drive several miles out of my way so I rang Tesco to inform them that their staff were trying to lose the…