Sunday, 13 October 2019

Dancing and Spooky fun

Its October and time for all things Spooky! Today's post is a little backwards as I'll start with Sunday first. 

I had my Manchester based sister and her family up for the weekend and, after a very late Saturday, we decided to check out the Halloween festivities at Almond Valley. They had a scary skeleton pie making diorama that was a little too scary for the six year old so Missy helped solve it instead. 

They have now introduced alpaca feeding as a paid for event at the farm and it was a delight to watch my neice and nephew get close to the animals. 

So, as I've already said, todays post is actually a litle backwards as Saturday was the main event - my mother's 60th birthday. She was in the loop for the whole thing and, after some stresses (like having to find a DJ last minute), it all came together perfectly. Everyone had a lovely time, we all saw people we hadn't seen in years and, most importantly, everyone behaved themselves and my mother loved it. 

It was a fancy dress affair of dancing through the decades and here is my ensemble - fully hand made following the vintage 40s pattern for Rosie the Riveter. I was surprised at how few people recognised it, but those who did thought it was brilliant. 
And of course I had on the red head scarf! 

Just a very short post, it's late and I'm still trying to catch up on sleep! 

Sunday, 6 October 2019

High Impact

It's a term that's been used to describe Missy on multiple occasions. 

When she tore her fourth claw in a two month period: high impact injuries. 

After our eighth insurance claim in six months and I was sheepishly commenting that they must think I'm horrid to Missy: No, no, it's all high impact injuries, clearly you take her for lots of walks! 

Being told she had arthritis at 5 years old: not surprising for such a high impact dog.

And now that she has pulled a muscle and is incapable of jumping: it's a high impact injury, age obviously isn't slowing her down!

So Thursday continued my string of bad luck. I got home, took Missy on a quick walk and then had to nip off out again for my hairdresser appointment. She hadn't been left long all told, hubby has a late start on Thursdays, so I was perplexed at how clingy she was when I got back in. I invited her on the sofa, she crouched, squeaked and scrambled awkwardly up the cushions. Then stared at me and whimpered.
I almost died there and then of a broken heart. My instant panic was that this was an arthritis flare up but somehow in both knees. Or maybe her back and hips? 
My friends childhood dog has hip displacia and I could hear her clear as day trying to put on a brave face saying that her dog could no longer get on the sofa. Missy just stayed put, looking morose for the rest of the night whilst I tried to book her into the vets as soon as possible. She wasn't an emergency, at least not by the vets standards, and I had to hone back my helicopter parenting desires and accept Saturday would be the first opportunity to get it checked. I reorganised her dog walk to a visit (my dog walker is always amazing in an emergency) and watched her like a hawk.

She was actually better come Saturday morning having been put on strict short walks and lots of rest (she destroyed her bumblebee toy in protest) and the hubby and I finally put the jigsaw pieces together. It was probably a muscle, she wasn't stretching right. I was the last to see her run and that was trying to get up a tree after a squirrel. 
Typical Missy. 

The vet confirmed a pulled muscle, gave us some really useful advice on using the pain killers and stretches she should do. She recently learned spin and turn which perfectly fit the side stretching requirement and have been told to teach her beg and, once better, bow, for the other muscles in her back and legs. 
That's right guys, Missy needs to do some yoga! Once she's better. Her moping about sore and bored grates on my soul, so I'm praying for a speedy recovery.

As always when I'm stressed and/or stuck in the house, its been baking and sewing this weekend! I've finished all the sponges for my mother's birthday cake (after a detour to Falkirk today to get eggs from my sisters hens) and completed my niece and nephews costumes:

A poodle skirt would not do for Felix, so I made her a "pipistrelle" one instead. And Inkling is going as a punk rocker, so needed some skinny leg tartan trousers. His outfit is all about accessories, so I've cut up an old t-shirt of his into a tank top and will add some braces and some chains (plastic, of course!)

Missy did get out this weekend, we all went to the aqueduct at Muiravonside today and yesterday we did the Linhouse loop. Hopefully a nice quiet week and she'll be in much better shape for our visitors! 
It's probably a good thing she isn't allowed to my mums birthday party - pretty sure she would win best fancy dress! 

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Things come in threes

What a week of disasters this has been! I am hoping it stays true to the fact these things come in threes:

Firstly, after the Kelpies, the brakes started making a horrendous noise. Turns out that the brake pad had "degloved" and it was metal-on-metal. Two new brake pads, a brake disc and two new calipers required, literally before payday. 

Secondly, I noticed a puddle under the fish tank. Any type of water found free roaming near the tank puts me in a panic. After some investigations, it was discovered that the sump has a tiny slow leak in the connector. New one ordered and it arrived today (thanks Amazon!).

Then the icing on the cake. Went to run a well deserved bath last night, waters cold. Heating wont switch on. Boilers just clicking and not igniting. Call up and organise for the boiler to get checked and they came today.
Anxious hovering.
Its not the boiler. Boilers in perfect nick. You've got no gas.
No gas?! Back on the phone again, ringing the gas and electricity all ready to point out that I've paid my bills, so wheres the gas. More than 30 minutes on hold and an engineer is coming out.
...I may have told a little white lie and said I ha some very elderly relatives coming to visit....
Meters gone. Dead. Kapoot. Turns out, when you change supplier, your old one will disconnect the smart meter whilst your new company makes you wait a month before you can install a new one. Something to be said for analogue I suppose. Engineer was very nice and put an aalogue one in as a temporary solution until I arrange my new smart meter.
Cautiously glances at the electricity smart meter.
Will be making that call first thing tomorrow, just in case.

On the back of all the bad news, there is one good element to being trapped inside (literally when the car had gone, I was terrified to drive it), I've made a dent in a big craft project:

So this year is my mums 60th (big party is planned!) and she has been hinting for a while now that she would like a quilt. Everytime she spots one of mine they are fondly stroked and well admired - I even got a perplexed look of want over the dogs many, many quilts. I think it was the log roll border on one of Missys that did it and I found myself defending the technique as practice! So, with it being a big birthday, I thought I would push the boat out and include:

Elephants! My mother's favourite animal. And in addition to the four main elephants, there's a parade of them on the larger squares. I wanted to emulate an old fashioned charm quilt, the sort of thing her grandmother might have made, hence the squares made of tiny squares. At a king size quilt, it should be plenty warm enough for the oncoming winter! 

The other thing I've managed in my time stuck inside (apart from take photos of Missy looking stupid) is making a crack at all the easily freezable (or in the case of the tablet, long lived bits for her big birthday. We decided to split the buffet across siblings, my brother is providing tubs if sweets (as prizes for best dressed as well as the buffet), one sister (who is travelling up for it) munchies like crisps, myself the cakes and my last sister the mains (which I am a touch concerned about, but I honestly can't do everything so must delegate. I think there would have been a mutiny it I had passed baking to said sibling in order to do mains!

For those interested, I've unintentionally made a rather Scottish start to the affair - tiffin, classic tray baked shortbread and super crumbly tablet. If you are unsure of what tablet is, then when you do look it up, yes, the Scottish have found a way to add more sugar to neat sugar and call it a treat!

Fingers crossed for a more successful week next week! Missy hasn't minded a quiet one, her knee had begun to bother her again and she's now walking much better after a few days on shorter walks. I mean, two short walks is still almost two hours, but compared to the walk time she does when out at castles, that's nothing! 

Expect more birthday teases next week! 

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Busy busy!

It's been a busy couple of weeks! The blog posts have been staggered so I've not written about the last two weeks despite regular updates. 

I was away last week to Alton Towers as a girls holiday- the hubby is one of the honorary girls, which gives us all a good laugh and my sister managed a cheeky wee day off to join us too. We may have broken one friend (note, spinny rides do not agree with everyone!). It was all good fun though.

Missy was not left out, the in laws kindly house sat for us and Ruby came to visit. Despite best efforts I did not puppy proof the house as well as I thought I had - Ruby was very, very, *enamoured* with a fleecy cuddly sheep and ate half my coasters. Lesson learned and they are easy enough to replace! She got to keep the sheep, after seeing the poor thing being humped a dozen times she was more than welcome to it!

Ruby is not so little anymore!
Then it was home, a quiet weekend and a busy busy week at work. Friday was a reprieve as I got to go play with greyhounds at the Greyhound Rescue Fife - my company does a corporate volunteer scheme where we get two days paid volunteering, and I always make sure to use them! I saw a puppy greyhound for the first time and met some absolutely lovely dogs. If Missy were not so happy as an only dog she'd have been at high risk of a new sibling. As it was she insisted on spending the evening hugging and cuddling me, just to make sure I knew who I belonged to!

The weekend was wrapped up with a catch up with friends at the Kelpies. It's the last hurrah of summer and, at 21C, the place was mobbed. I made sure to keep Missy on the grass and got her in the water to be safe, and she was happy to trundle along with us.

I tend to share my sewing and not my artwork here, but I couldn't resist finishing with a few sketches. I finally got my sisters birthday present to her - a scrap book of our Disney holiday together. She loves holiday scrapbooks but with a young family has no time to make one herself. I really pushed the boat out and made sure every page was covered in doodles and little mementos we had picked up. I even included little cartoons of those moments you never catch on camera, like Donald Duck stealing my hat, or the kids on the Small World ride who adored every second whilst their parents were terrified on the cheesiness! So I'll leave you with a few of my favourite moments:

Monday, 9 September 2019

Inchmahome Priory revisited

Missy has previously done Inchmahome Priory (back in 2017!), but we weren't going to turn down a puppy play date just because we've been before!

It was my brother and Maisie, my mother, Missy and myself. My brother kindly offered to pick me up from the house and we were soon on the road. He was looking forward to trying Maisie on a boat, as she hadn't been on one yet, and he was hoping she would prefer it to the steam train. 
I just laughed and told him that I would have thought for her first boat he would have done a proper big boat. 
I swear, if he could have stopped on the motorway he would have. I was drilled as to what kind of a boat it was and, thinking he was concerned about Maisie, tried to play it cool by describing it as a rowboat with a motor.
Would we be given life jackets? He asked with some alarm.
Life jackets? For the dogs? Then it clicked. My brother cant swim. 
Yep. Enjoy the irony - I, the scuba diver, has a dog who will actively avoid water whilst my hydrophobic brother has a dog that will find any excuse to leap into it. The more I think of it, the funnier it seems!

Well, I wouldn't be writing the blog if we never made it. So despite his panic, the boat did not sink and even though I insisted I wouldn't judge him, he declined the offer of the life jacket. Maisie enjoyed it more than he did.
We got onto the island with no fuss, got our tickets and stopped for our picnic. Now, like everyone else, I'm trying to reduce plastic and waste and picnics are one place I find myself still seeking some plastic sandwich bags - not anymore:

Tada! A sandwich wrap (more photos on my instagram @missdaisysewing) - just simply put the rolls in the middle and assemble the velcro the right way and voila! I made a few earlier in the week so was pleased to road test it. Missy and Maisie were keen to share the spoils as we all enjoyed the unexpected beautiful weather.

The priory is a complete ruin. The foundations are completely intact and some of the buildings have most of their walls, but there is only one roof and that's the chapter house (Missy went on point in the completely empty, dark and chilly room so we didn't linger, just in case she had spotted a ghost).
What does remain is beautiful. Stone arches and tall plinths which are perfect for having dogs pose on (Missy and Maisie would not cooperate together, I have lots of nice photos of them individually, but they wouldn't sit nicely together!

As with all sites across the central belt, there is a lot of fuss about Mary Queen of Scots (she seems to have visited just about every castle - I'm waiting for the day I find a privvy with a sign stating "Mary Queen of Scots had a wee here") and there is a boxwood bower it is said she planted. My brother isn't a fan of the priory's and abbeys, much preferring the castles, so his highlight was the grounds of the island and its abundant trees. Despite only being half a kilometre long, there is a sizeable portion of 'woodland' which both dogs enjoyed.

Missy made friends on the boat ride back and Maisie decided to nap, a far cry from her excited barking going to the island. I was sat in the back with both dogs (they were harnessed in, Missy normally has the boot to herself) and they both fell asleep on the ride home. Definitely a worthwhile day out.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Trains and Rosettes

The 1940s and 50s day at Bo'ness had been on my radar for a while. I originally spotted this advertised when taking my friend to the railway earlier this year and have subsequently stalked Bo'ness and Kinneil railway through all their social media channels since. Ironically as I hated it as school, I've developed a real love and passion for history of all kinds in my old age and try and get along to all the reenactments that I can. This was obviously not a reenactment but a celebration of the time period with live music, dance displays, both steam and diesel engines and, of course, encouraging everyone to dress up. I love dressing up. Which is funny as I'm always in dog walking trousers, walking boots, a baggy jumper, tatty baseball cap and an obnoxiously bright hi-vis coat. My own mother today told me how lovely it was to be seen in a dress and my response was that they just aren't practical when walking the dog. But still, any excuse to embrace something bright and fun and I am there!

So, I've already said I wore a dress so the post today is a little back to front:

I actually made this nearly two years ago. It had not seen the light of day until now - not because I wasn't happy with it, I adore that I made something with a vintage pattern and the trials and tribulations I had as a novice at sewing at the time, but it's just so...fancy dress. It's bright and colour blocked and really in your face, which is exactly what I wanted until I realised that I had no opportunity to wear it! It was a vote two to one against a 40s vintage pattern outfit I've made (I'm keeping that for later!) and so off I went whilst wondering what I'd let myself in for.

My mother and I arrived in time for the first train of the day so we caught that and had brunch whilst the rest of the place was set up. We were both pleased to see three other women dressed up in our carriage having had a moments hesitation in the morning (whilst I don't care what other people think, the weather was changeable and I was concerned everyone else would be sensibly attired in macs). Missy had on her party collar and all three of us received compliments and we equally gushed over the other outfits.

Once off the train we jived a little and watched the dance demonstrations. We had already decided to skip the second train and decided to go warm up a little with some tea in the cafe. The staff all had on poodle skirts which I thought a wonderful touch. As we had our tea my eldest sister and her two (niece 14, nephew 10) arrived. I swear my birthday doesn't seem to be ending this year as I was handed pressies.
I noticed very quickly my niece didn't seem right. It clicked as we watched a group of flapper girls laughing in front of the pack of photographers - I had been actively trying to encourage all my family to dress up. My mother and myself were the only two to do so (credit to my nephew he wore a waistcoat and a flat cap to look a bit vintage) and had spent most of the morning explaining what we were wearing and that they should join in. My niece is at *that* age. She is very fashion conscious and doesn't like to break free from the herd and be different. She clearly expected my mother and I to be the only muffins dressed up and had instantly regretted that she had missed such an incredible Instagram opportunity. Those dressed up, I could see her little mind thinking, were clearly getting the most attention and having the most fun.

My sister had wanted to get me afternoon tea for my birthday but had lost out to two things, firstly that the buffet car is the only place you can have it and it's also the only place Missy is unwelcome, and secondly, you have to book months in advance. Even on days were there are no events it sells out right away. She had therefore decided to bring a picnic and we all enjoyed that on the next train. The ride was fun, my sister blagged me a shot on the foot plate at Manual saying it was my birthday and I got to hang out and play pokemon with my nephew.  A good day all in all!

After the excitement of the 40s/50s day, it was a day for Missy as we went to the Paws at the Prom event held by the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home. We did this last year and had a great time and, with the promise that this year was to be bigger and better than last, hopes were high.

In the car and off we went, picking up the entourage on route - my mum was coming as was Maisie; she was getting a wee day out without parental supervision owing to my brother working. We arrived in good time - I parked in Portobello and we walked over to the home, and both dogs were keen to say hi and meet new people and other dogs. They have recently built new paddocks on site and were using these as zones (Education in one, shopping another and so on) in addition to the arenas and stalls in the main field. It meant that even though this year was definitely busier than last (the good weather was most certainly the reason for that), it felt less crowded.

Gotta love a photobooth!
Neither Maisie nor Missy placed in Bonniest Girl and we decided to commiserate with lunch at the burrito van. My mum particularly loves the golden oldies category and, waiting for it to start, I got chatting with the "paw"rent of one of the competitors. I think they appreciated me checking if the dog was human or dog nervous owing to its harness being bright yellow with "nervous" stamped across it, and was told that it was a "generally everything" type nervous. We cheered them on, although we were pleased that a very elderly 17 year old dog won.
Following on from Missy completing her level 2 training, I had decided to place her into best trick as well. She decided that instead of spin and turn she would much rather lie down or give an unenthusiastic paw. Humiliated (but in good humour, Missy wasn't the only one to get performance shy), I returned to my mum and had to laugh that our new friends had stayed to cheer Missy on.

Maisie watching the competitions very seriously
We then went to the QandA session they were running at the Education Area and got some good advice to pass onto my brother about Maisies reactive barking. Then it was back to the main paddock for the last competition I had entered Missy in for: Best Rescue. The day had turned warm and the sun was out and Missy had decided that she didn't want to stand or sit pretty, she just wanted to lie down, sunbathe a little and have her belly scratched. Which is absolutely fine, but in a paddock full of dogs within a field full of dogs, certainly gains a lot of attention!
With the judges going through the names, I complied to Missy and gave her belly a scratch and she stretched comfortably and made herself very at home. I could hear people laughing at scene, even the DJ, when he clocked sight of us as he called out Missys name, laughed and said that she was clearly relaxed and enjoying herself. The judges deliberated for a while before announcing third place to the dog on my left, then second to the dog on my right. They clearly weren't going to pick all three dogs from the one corner so I was shocked when they called out Missy who "was clearly embracing her life as a rescue and showed perfectly just how wonderful a rescue dog could be".
Absolutely overwhelmed. Missy got to pose with her rosette and clearly didn't understand what the fuss was about. An over-proud doggy-grandma, my mum insisted we return to hers and celebrate (with tea, I was driving!).

Missy was glad to get home and fell fast asleep on the sofa (after I had put away the spoils of the day, you know, just in case I dropped some of the free sample dog biscuits). Her rosette and certificate are by her bed - a perfect end for the weekend.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

A Ruby in the Castle

As its the birthday run, the hubby and I took some time off work to go up and visit his parents in Aberdeenshire. We had originally planned on a sneaky trip to the borders, or maybe Oban, but with the stress of the bathroom and that going over budget, we decided that sneaking away to the countryside and being fed cake sounded like a very good plan.

We also got to meet Ruby properly, their now 16 week old puppy Visla. And she is gorgeous, and she knows it!

The weather was too kind. It was bright and sunny the whole visit. We started our trip with us all going to Crathes Castle where Ruby showed off her recall and we got her into the water for the first time. I had to take my socks and shoes off and wade in the river to encourage her to do so, and we had good results. Missy joined in for a paddle too, clearly taking the opportunity to cool off.

We stopped in at the cafe which was very busy and bought drinks and cake and dog-friendly ice cream for the dogs. Missy loves ice cream and, not being allowed dairy, it is a huge treat for her to get anything akin to it. Then we finished the walk and it was good to see them both interacting with one another - Ruby has mostly grown out of the typical bad puppy habits; she isn't jumping on other dogs faces and understands a growl means that the other dog wants space, so the visit in general was much easier than I expected!

The next day we decided to let the puppy rest and the hubby and I took Missy to Dunnattor Castle which has been on the to-do list for a while. Its a half hour drive to Stonehaven where the castle is situated and its impressive from the onset. You have quite a walk to get to the actual castle from the car park, but it does give plenty of opportunity to get some really nice photos!

It was a fairly intact ruin with some fun tid-bits of history. It held off Cromwell and had its fair share of scandals - including the "Whigs Vault" where 167 Covenanters were imprisoned for three months in a tiny vault. Some died whilst others attempted escape or where tortured. Its last Earl was also convicted of treason for supporting the Jacobite rising and the castle was subsequently seized by government. 

It was another glorious day and, whilst at first it was very pleasant, after a few hours it was unfortunately getting too hot. Missy does not do well in the heat despite her short coat and she started to hobble a little so we decided to see if she wanted to cool down by the sea. She dipped a paw in but wasn't interested so we called it quits and headed back so that she could cool down properly and have some sleep.

We finished the evening with a puppy walk at Castle Fraser and, as it had cooled considerably, it was much more enjoyable for everyone! Missy chased rabbits and Ruby delighted us all with some sprinting, although she really does need to grow into her ears! Shes at that really funny stage where she's starting to look like a dog, but isn't quite there. Her legs are too long and gangly and her ears are hysterically too large on her. She takes it all in her stride though and clearly doesn't care what we think.

On our way home, we all stopped at Stonehaven. The hubbys parents had decided to try Ruby in the motorhome (latest update is that she hasn't chewed it to bits yet, but has figured out that its tremendous fun to jump between the seats) and they decided to go with Stonehaven as, if it was a disaster, they could easily get home. We joined them for a walk on the beach and some ice cream before deciding to head home ourselves. Lovely as the visit was, its always nice to go home and sleep in your own bed.

This weekend has been a busy one and I'm aware this post has rambled on long enough, I'll update you all on this weekends adventures later!