Sunday, 28 November 2021

A Crazy Fortnight

So... Last weekend we went on an impulse trip to Disneyland Paris. Hubby used to work for the company and it was a last hurrah for a bunch of our Disney friends - with 2 weeks notice it was a lot of planning but we pulled it off and had a great time.

Missy was boarded with our dog walker and we appreciated the daily photos - no matter how much fun your having, you'll always miss them!

So that was a 6am flight the Saturday, and got home 11pm Monday, up 6am for work Tuesday. Needless to say, we've been knackered this week! Missy has very much enjoyed being home and having us back, lots of cuddles, which I'll never complain about! 

This weekend brought snow, and marked the festive turn over in the house. The window is still a work in progress, I decided last minute I wanted a new wreath, and we got the presents down and wrapped, so my office looks like Santa's grotto! 

Today was a get together with a good friend. It was one of those catch ups where you walk and talk and, realise your suddenly hungry, so stop to eat and talk and then you end up back at the car wondering how on earth its 3pm and its now getting dark. 

I didn't forget about Missy in all the gossip, she feels the cold these days so was wrapped up warm, and I brought her little dressing gown to dry off and warm up in whilst in the cafe. I've long embraced being the crazy dog parent, so my friends laughter at Missys 3 outfit changes (coat, dressing gown and harness au natural in the car) was water off a ducks back.

A short post today, hopefully we'll get to enjoy the festive weather a little longer now we're all a bit more rested for it!

Sunday, 14 November 2021

Babies in Birkenhead

Its been another busy little week for us! We've started to venture out of our comfort zones a little and managed to get out and see a live music gig on Wednesday. At first I was pretty uncomfortable about the number of people, not in a "not covid safe way", just in a "I'm indoors and why is there people standing by me" kinda way, but I quickly eased into it and, whilst Hayseed Dixie is not to everyones taste, we had an excellent time.

Then came the mad dash weekend. 

Although, yes, covid tests first thing in the morning before setting off, just in case. All negative, so good to go. 

My Wirral based friend had her baby boy in August, and we wanted to go and see "Bear" (I love official nicknames, they make my life so much easier when writing about adventures!) before he was out of the newborn phase. After booking the weekend with them, we held off until the last moment to organise specific plans - I have 6 neices and nephews (some by genetics, others through the deepest friendships) so I knew there was no point in making grand plans as Bears nap schedule could change at any moment.

And yes, for those wondering, Bear is neice/nephew no 7. I didn't ask or hint, he was handed to us with the grand introduction of Aunty and Uncle. We're both very happy to have been bestowed the honour of the title.

Friday evening was the meet and greet and Saturday we went out for lunch at the Woodside Ferry Village. There was a bit of a squeeze getting us all in the car (thiers was down with engine trouble), but we arrived safe and sound and, being the one holding Ren, absolutely covered in dog hair. The hug was worth every single strand! We arrived to find a Christmas Market and excitedly ordered some very nice Japanese food. Missy and Ren are thick as thieves - they paired up on the sad eyes and Missy conducted lessons on her Hard Stare(tm). 

I bought a reflective poppy for Missys collar from the market (as if she needs more poppies, but I'm always happy to help the Poppy Legion) and the new parents bought a little fox baby grow. Bear was too little to meet Father Christmas, so Ren and Missy got to meet him instead.

Then it was back to theirs for boardgames and dinner and the most delightful homemade Biscoff slices I've ever had. A great wee day, and whilst (for us) very chill, it was nice to take things down a notch or two and just catch up.

This morning we hit the road early. But not after properly exploring Birkenhead Park. This Disneyland for dogs was less than 5 minutes from our Airbnb and, whilst we did walk it Saturday, we used Sunday to give it a proper explore. But why Doggy Disneyland? The squirrels. The sheer volume of squirrels.

Missy completely disregarded her days training on how to not chase them, and spent a solid hour stalking, sneaking on, dashing after and full on chasing the things. We instantly realised these squirrels had it sussed as Missy failed to get anywhere near them. I'm sure every dog in the Wirral must chase them as they executed perfectly planned escapes at great leisure. And not just the squirrels, the ducks and pigeons too:

An excellent way to burn beans before the big drive home. 

And that was it! Although, of course there was a sewing gift:

I couldn't find a small enough waistcoat pattern, so got some baby grows and just went for it. I'm sure these will be much easier than buttoning up a real one!

That's all for now, time for some well deserved tea and a biscoff slice... 

Sunday, 7 November 2021

Seven Lochs Wetland Park

Another busy little weekend! We hosted a long overdue Murder Mystery on Saturday which, between last minute charity shop hunting for a tweed jacket and giving the whole house a deep clean, took over the whole day. It was well worth the effort though and we now have 2 more friends converted.

After much humming and hawing, I studied the COP26 site and determined that there would be no demonstrations and a trip to Glasgow would be safe to pick up our wonderful pottery from a few weeks back. I then had a look at walks near to the area of Glasgow I had to visit and spotted the Seven Lochs Wetland Park.

My mum arrived at mine early with a collar my older sister had bought for Missy. It's not as random as it sounds, it being a poppy collar for Remembrance Day. 

It's unusual to see Missy out of the trademark pink, but she does rather suit the blue. The Seven Lochs Wetland provided a beautiful backdrop for some lovely photos of Missy!

The park itself was easy to find, parking was a bit tight but we found a space and the place was huge. My mother loved the paved paths best though as we spent an hour mooching about and exploring the little side paths. With all the recent rain I had been worried we'd need wellies, but the paths and weather held out for us as we strolled in the Autumnal scenery.

This week I've been busier than one of Father Christmas' elfs sewing and stitching, but I've been enjoying the challenge! I have quite a list to still work through, but I think I'm more than halfway through it! 

However, for now I'm going to take a moment and admire by lovely plate alongside my mums. She did try very hard to sneak off with both, but I held firm to Missys! 

Sunday, 31 October 2021

A Scary Halloween

It's been a good Halloween this year! Last week the weather cheered up long enough for Missy to have her Halloween photoshoot (I was glad I did it early, we've mostly been out for a swim this week, awful weather!). Her Houndour costume hasn't had a proper photoshoot since it debuted in 2017 and, with Nintendo running a pokemon themed pet contest, I figured that you had to be in it to win it. 
Not that I expect to win, I just like joining in the fun! 
It's the same reason I joined in the pumpkin contest with the family! Some good entries this year from the family, and mine was this rather last minute ghostie. 

At least he looks pleased to see the trick or treaters. 

The main event on the calander this week was helping out as volunteer zombies for Foam Dart Thunders Terminal Infection event. We've done a few of the events before with them as players and, after seeing a call for zombie helpers, I couldn't resist. I did have a panic moment just before the event that perhaps my hubby would rather have played than volunteered (the running joke being that we have tried and failed for years to do the event - we could never secure tickets and, when we finally did, covid came along!). My fears were put aside after our zombie training when he was enthusiastically trying to come up with a costume idea.
On the day itself, we arrived early, got suited and booted, had some very nice prosthetic wounds put on and anxiously awaited. I was concerned I was going to be a rubbish zombie - I felt my lurching pace looked more comedic than frightening and I just couldn't make an undead groan more sinister than a wheeze.
To warm up, a "volunteer" took a zombie put to show everyone and, at the last moment before they returned them to our little room, they attacked and we all dragged them into our room. We were officially zombies.

I quickly found my niche. Watching the other, more experienced, zombies, I realised that they were very much thier own kind of zombie. From one pacing in circles like a cat to one contorting on the floor like an extra from the ring, we could do more than the basic shuffle and grown. I spied my first victim, too engrossed in shooting someone to spot me, lumbered over (drag, thud, drag, thud) then a quick lunge and a hiss.
I have never been more pleased with myself at scaring a child. Then a couple of the adults. And then we started ganging up on our victims. Tremendous good fun. Between games we discussed tactics and how to be the most bothersome that we could and genuinely had an amazing time. 

The clocks kindly went back for us this morning. It was a late night and, being absolutely fueled on sugar and caffeine, we didn't get to sleep until even later. Hubby had lost his voice and was very sore and stiff. 
I dont drink, but I'm fairly certain despite 4 bottles of water and 3 cans of coke, I was hungover this morning. We decided that we all deserved celebratory pancakes from Stack and Still - Halloween style. 
I asked hubby what he thought of the event and was pleasantly surprised when, unprompted, he said he wanted to be a zombie again for the next one. His reasoning being that we play the same games in the other venues, so he wasn't really missing out being a zombie. I'm rather pleased to hear that as that was my thinking too! 

We were booked on for a #leadtheway walk at Cramond (being hosted by the person who attended ours) and, after watching hubby lose his train of thought for the sixth time over pancakes, I told him to sit it out and I'd go myself. 
Missy was pleased for the excursion and, despite the fading light, we made it to the island and back. 

I am feeling it now. My zombie lurch has caught up to me and so a well deserved bath is being run! 
An excellent way to finish a horrifyingly fabulous weekend! 

Saturday, 23 October 2021

An Introduction on How to Not Chase Squirrels

It's been a busy little week (as always, I suppose!). Between Missy slowly getting back to health and having one of hubby's cousins stopping over for a few days, there hasn't been much in the way of free time for exploring.
Cousin lives in Cambridge, and was visiting the in laws last week, so used us as a stopover to break the journey back down. Apart from a random visit 3 years ago, hubby hadn't really had a chance to hang out with his cousin since our wedding, so we were more than happy to put him and his girlfriend up. 
Unfortunately owing to hosting duties, hubby wasn't able to join Missy and I as we went to continue her education and attended a Prey Drive Seminar (or, as I preferred to call it, an Introduction in How to Not Chase Squirrels). This was meant to have been held almost 2 years ago prior to lockdown, and has been rescheduled twice in the meantime, so it was aobg anticipated event. To be honest, I had thought of cancelling our space as Missy had calmed down a lot recently.
Then she injured herself two weeks ago in a poorly executed murder spree. 
To be fair, I had thought she had calmed down a lot. Then after her injury, I did the maths and realised that, including small rodents like mice, Missy was close to an average of a kill a month. More so really since her paws were sorted out with her new meds. (I feel so guilty that it was such an easy fix in the end, those paws, it just took too long for the right vet to join the dots up on her allergies.) 
Nonetheless. I sat her down and explained that she needed to listen and try the exercises. On a serious note, it was very informative and very interesting. I won't go into too much detail but we concluded that for Missy, the reward of hunting was the catching part. We discussed ways to fulfil that reward that didn't result in the demise of small animals, and behaviours to practice to avoid her getting into the position where she could hunt. Being sneaky, opportunistic and very, very, clever, we have our work cut out, but it's nice to have some new tools to try rather than clumsily shouting and grabbing at her.

That's really us for the week. It was a long day for Missy, and we are still being mindful of that paw, so tomorrows plans of visiting friends to exchange birthday gifts will be about it for her (on top of normal walks, of course!)

I did squeeze in a Halloween photo shoot, but I'll save those for next week! 

Sunday, 17 October 2021

The Painting of a Good Weekend

It's been another busy run of things; between virtual meet ups, pre Halloween Spooky get togethers and the theatre (Woman in Black, 10/10 would recommend), we had to call Saturday a quiet morning. There was more get togethers planned: the cinema that evening and then my mother the Sunday, but we just had to pause. 

Missy has been on quite strict rest and short lead walks, so by Saturday had clearly begun to get frustrated. Deciding on a longer (but still on lead) walk, we made the most of the nice weather and Sunday provided the perfect solution: a dog friendly day out.

For my mums birthday I had organised to take her to Glasgow where we would meet up with her sister and go ceramic painting. My aunt is very artistic - my childhood bedroom was covered in murals she had painted from 101 Dalmatians, so the venue was a good choice. And, whilst not artistic, my mother loves to make a story out of a day, and to be able to show off the end point of the story is always a win (her house is full of odd little knick knacks she's proudly made). The day went off to a bad start however when my aunt pulled out owing to food poisoning.

The weather didn't help my mood as my mum, quite upset, broke the news. To her, the main point of the day was getting to see her sister and the painting was a fun bonus to get everyone out and doing something. I suggested we could detour and visit my aunt for half an hour (she was sick, it would be imposing to stay longer), and then do the painting.
Once in from the morning walk (read swim), I popped Missy in her new bathrobe and tried her new buster collar on her as we had to nip out to the shops to buy in a special dinner. 
The delightful sea of pink (above) was enough to brighten my spirits. I hadn't realised just how much pink she has - I think I might have a problem!

My mum arrived at 11.30 and we were on our way at 12, getting to my aunts for 1pm as promised. There was hugs and I handed out cupcakes (the best cure when feeling weak and poorly) and some small talk before my mum was given her presents. My aunt lamented several times about how unwell she had been and how much she had wanted to go (she was meant to be going back to mums to start a week long tour of the Edinburgh family). After promises from my mum to come visit later in the week if my aunt felt better, we headed to the ceramics.

On the drive we discussed our painting plans and both had a laugh when we realised we both wanted to paint the pets. Once we arrived at the Craft Pottery, I asked mum to scope out the available things to paint and was surprised to see her return with one small plate and a medium one for me (it was the last on the shelf). 
This would not do.
I took the plates, returned to the shelf and, spotting a pretty platter, picked up two. Showing one and grinning, I declared I was having the platter, and, unless she really wanted the plate, she should have one too. 
The smile was instant from her. A story had now begun.
I have a trait inherited from my mother whereby, if I'm going to do something, I'll do my darned best. I don't care if I win or what I'm doing is the best, so long as I have tried and done my best. That perfectly describes my mother painting that platter. Every aspect was discussed seriously, from the flower colours to the cats placement. And she painted the whole thing. I have a steadier hand, so helped with a few lines, but the bulk of it was her efforts. 
The distraction was perfect as she cheerfully laughed and showed off each addition to the platter.

Not a bad effort for an hour and a half! 

Although I think Missy would have been more impressed with a dog bowl...!

Once back, hubby had made us dinner and let mum tell her embellished story of the day. She was delighted at the curryvursts and German fried potatoes, and proceeded to tell us all about the food she ate as an army wife before she left to avoid driving in the dark.
Not a bad save on the day. It was just what Missy needed, something mentally stimulating for her, and she's now dozing happily. And my mum clearly needed it too. In a few weeks we'll be able to pick the peices up and she'll have the final part of her story. And something she hopefully looks on and smiles at, which I know I'll be doing with mine. 

Sunday, 10 October 2021

A not-so-Big Dog Walk

 So.... This happened.

Someone was trying for a hat trick of murder this month (one squirrel and one bunny so far, she's clearly offended at being considered an "oldie") and managed to tear her dew claw. Saturday was therefore an anxious write off as we first waited to get to the vets, and then waited for her to be sedated and have the claw cleaned up. Once she was home we cancelled all plans and decided that what she needed was a good cuddle on the sofa bed and to watch a corny monster movie.

(Our October tradition has become a "spoopy movie month" whereby we watch all the kids horrors and the old monster movies. We're on a spree of Ray Harryhousen films after going to the exhibition last week at the Modern Art Gallery, so it was the third Sinbad film we watched).

We were left with a conundrum in the evening on Saturday; we had tickets for the Big Dog Walk Glasgow the following day. We were going on Explorer duties, it was the last social doggy event on the calendar and, even if we wanted to give the tickets away, there was no one who could have made it on the short notice. In my excitement leading up to the day, I'd bought Missy a new collar for the occasion (not the new spotty collar above, but the new tartan one below) and we were all pretty bummed out about it.

We decided on a compromise. Weather was to be fair, that was the most important bit, if it was to be wet it would have been a no-go. Firstly, we'd see how she was in the morning. If all good, then we'd go to the event, do part of the 2km walk (she does need walking, just isn't allowed much), rest a bit, let her bat her eyelashes for biscuits from the stall holders, rest a little more, and see how she was doing before deciding on doing the fun dog show or not. It was as solid a plan as we could come up with.

This morning she was bright eyed and waggy tailed for us getting up. She didn't seem in pain, the nail looked great (I put a new dressing on it to be safe), and she was super excited for breakfast. On went the new collar, and off we went.

We arrived, got our goody bags, and went for the 9.30am walk. Truth be told, Missy wanted to go further (and much faster) than we did. She made friends with a Weimaraner puppy and tried to instigate play a few times but we quickly stopped that. Got back, had a cup of tea and Missy went into full charm offensive mode. After nearly eating out two separate stalls of all their treats, we ended up buying her a new drying coat and some nice boredom busting treat toys for during the week, which I feel will be needed. We sat down again and had some brunch and decided to give the dog show a go.

The show was a bit chaotic as everyone went into the ring at once and you put your hand up for the category you wanted to do. It was a last minute addition to the event (being announced 2 days ago that it was a thing that was going to happen), and it showed a bit. Best Rescue was the last category called and, whilst Missy enjoyed the judges attention, and we were flattered that they decided all the rescues should get a prize bandana, it was time to call it a day.

Missy making friends with the Judge

Its a bit weird to be home from an event before lunchtime, but Missy is the priority. She's dozing away quite happily, I've changed her dressing (everything looks great), and I think we managed it so that we all had a nice day. I'd like to revisit Chatelherault Country Park once Missy is better - the little we saw of it made it look like a nice day out.

This event was much smaller than DogFest (its the same people that run it), and honestly, was smaller than most dog day shows we've done before. Its a start though, I'd love a full sized DogFest closer to home, so fingers crossed for the future. 

In sewing news, this months Sew Darn Sweet sewing subscription box was Halloween themed. I felt these little applique gift bags would make excellent host gifts for our friends (one is hosting a games night next week and the other a movie night tonight) - I've put some sweets and chocolates in them, so they're bound to go down well!

The Christmas sewing is going well. Shant say much more except that one of the gifts would really be more fitting for this month but I dont want to spoil the surprise - you know who you are!

I imagine the next few weeks will be relatively quiet in terms of adventures, we're just going to take things easy and let Missy dictate the pace. Ironically, one thing we do have booked is a Prey Drive Seminar later this month, so Missy has been well warned that she needs to pay attention!