Sunday, 30 December 2018

The Last Post of 2018

Well, its that gap in the year between Christmas and New Year and it seemed a good moment to squeeze in one last blog post.

My sister, BIL and kids are safely back south after a terrific Christmas - since the last update we all managed Christmas itself including a lovely dog walk at Almondvale, a whole family Nerf battle and a visit out to butterfly world. We have certainly kept ourselves busy!

The Nerf battle is probably a highlight of the week; basically my eldest sister owns her own business and there's unused office space adjacent to her which we commandeered for the games. We started using Missys agility set as an obstacle course to warm everyone into it (and to ensure I got some good action shots of everybody) before chaos reigned and the battle started. I wandered about in a pocket of blissful calm behind the toddler, taking photos and ensuring no one shot at him, feeling very much a war journalist chauffeuring precious cargo through the war zone...
One of my big sewing projects ties into the family Nerf battle and that was a set of tacti-cool Nerf vests for my sisters whole family, including a teeny tiny one for the 18 month old! I've lined the kids ones with jersey to keep them warmer (a huge mistake in terms of sewing, such an awkward fabric to work with) and they worked out great in the end. 

The vests were a real item of envy, I've already had my older sister telling me that she and her eldest boy want one, and with talk of an Easter rematch, I think I may be skipping on buying eggs this year...

That's the only real sewing update, I've spent today working through the 'adjustment pile' - basically the stack of stuff that I've been given to hem, or I've picked up knowing the size is wrong but its an easy fix or sewing failures that I need to revisit when I'm less cross with them!

Well, I shall head off now and decorate my Hogmany cakes - we are going to see the bells in with friends and play some board games whilst eating too much cake and sweets. The perfect way to bring in a new year!

So, I raise a cup my cup tea to you and Missy and I wish you all a  Happy New Year.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Almond Valley

Its the most wonderful time of the year...

My house is officially full with my sister, BIL and niece (5) and nephew (1) and we are counting down the days to Christmas. Its the first year since I was about 19 that I have had the time in between Christmas and New Year off and I'm pleased to have family round to help fill in the days!

So today we did the Almond Valley Museum, Farm and Discovery Centre - more of a small city farm meets outdoor play areas. Its great, you can show the kids some sheep then move onto the trampolines then go and see the goats before playing in the sandpit. Despite a particularity chilly start, the day warmed up and, after a visit to Santa, everyone was warmed up and enjoying the day.
Apart from the cafe, everywhere in te heritage centre is dog friendly, so whilst Missy and I missed out on the Santa visit, she was able to keep up with her cousins looking at all the animals and running about all the different activity areas. I've done Almond Valley quite a few times now, and the favourites amongst my God-kids are the sand pit and the trampolines, so it great to discover that the sledge slide and the many play parks were the top priority of my niece and nephew. 

My sister was most pleased with the special Santa entry price, as well as getting to pet all the bunnies and my BIL seemed to just enjoy the easy going nature of the place - it was that perfect level of busy where there are enough kids about that the place doesn't feel like a ghost town and yet quiet enough that they aren't fighting over getting on things...

We've also managed to fit in some festive baking and, whilst I very much took charge, I am pleased with the joint effort of the cake I made with my niece:

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I have the joy of seeing what new traditions my sisters family have taken on - there is a much talked about 'Yule Cat' who is set to be a big part of tomorrow night and I've made some stockings to hang up for my niece and nephew. I hope they are pleased with the outcome!


As a final note, Missy finally got to meet her doppelganger in Cerberus form:

Until after Christmas!

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Summerhall Gallery

Its that time of year where no matter how hard you try, things dont quite work out to plan. Yesterday was the third attempt at getting out to the Summerhall Gallery to see their joint exhibitions: Invisible Spaces and Visible Girls: revisited. This gallery has been on my radar for a while now owing to the fact its dog friendly and I was simply waiting for an exhibition to catch my eye before heading over. With hubby working retail, our previous two attempts were cancelled as he was called in at short notice and I had warned him that Missy and I would be going ourselves if he was drafted in again.

Thankfully it didn't come to that! With our last "date" day in sight until after Christmas, we quickly filled it with glorious plans - a long walk in the morning, lunch out at the gallery and then the Christmas markets in the evening after a walk through the meadows. Firstly, owing to late finishes at work, the early start never happened. Then the yellow snow warning kicked in and, despite multiple layers, we were all frozen to the bone simply walking to the gallery and had to stop in at a shop and buy a jumper for the hubby. We could see that people were being made to queue to simply get into the markets and made a note that perhaps that wasn't going to happen. 

We did get to the gallery and the exhibitions really surprised me - I had expected to enjoy the Invisible Spaces one more, but the Visible Girls by Anita Corben was absolutely brilliant. Both the hubby and I lost ourselves to the wonderful portraits and were delighted to see that these punks and mods from the 80s had been, where possible, traced again and their portraits redone. I loved seeing past and present side by side, especially getting to see where such fiery and determined young women ended up. If it tours out your way, I highly recommend, its not a big exhibition, but you will find yourself reminiscing on times when everything was just a little bit rougher about the edges.
There was a workshop about archiving going on, and about how we should tackle that in a modern age. Getting to look though old negatives and slides was quite fun, but I didn't really feel like the statement being made was really that much of an argument. We discussed with the curator about whether smart phones have made us worse photographers despite better pictures, and what would happen with archiving a digital generation and then found ourselves drawn back to those portraits from the 80s and forlornly missing the days when you had your spool and the suspense of whether the photos would turn out or not.

Missy looking at the old negatives
We enjoyed some tea and cake in the gallery cafe and then shivered our way across the meadows. Even in her little fleece lined coat Missy looked miserable at being outside and we decided to call it quits whilst we were ahead of the game. Walking to the bus, we could see that the queue into the markets had only gotten worse and that the market itself was crammed with people. Getting home, cuddling up on the sofa with tea and hot chocolate seemed a much better idea, so thats exactly what we did.

I've been doing odds and ends of sewing today, cant really post too much about it (spoilers!) so I'll share some more of the Christmas crafts I've been doing, namely a new and updated wreath as the old one was getting far too shabby:

I've also started my Christmas baking (thank goodness for chest freezers) so there are cupcakes for my niece to help decorate when she visits, and some festive tiffin made. Next its White Christmas (an Aussie delicacy) and some short bread, and perhaps I may find the time to bake some real bread too. We'll just have to wait and see! 

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Getting Festive!

It has been a very busy week! I've had the in laws visiting (and going and coming back again as they have used us as a stopover on their York trip) which means that there just isn't enough time to get on with things.

The in laws finished their visit by taking us out to the Chinese lanterns at Edinburgh Zoo. We did this last year which had a traditional Chinese theme, and this year they changed things up a bit by making it a myths and legends theme, including some British legends to go alongside the Chinese ones. Seeing life size unicorns and a duelling Nessie and dragon was a brilliant way to start the weekend, despite the lashing rain and high winds (a given when booking anything in advance!) Below are a few of my favourite photos:

After waving the in laws off, Saturday was a quiet day in with a poorly Missy (someone was greedy and ate too fast and threw up before spending the rest of the day feeling sorry for herself). With a wee ear infection, we decided to keep a cautious eye on her and were pleased when she was back to herself this morning.

After writing all my Christmas cards and boxing up the gifts that need posted, I'm really beginning to feel festive. Today was another (yes, another!) visit to Santa Paws but this time raising funds for the Dogs Trust. It was very different to the Christmas Market the EDCH put on as it was more a photo shoot with a stall selling Dogs Trust bits and bobs and a table with some refreshments, but was still enjoyable as we were surrounded by dogs. Missy as always put in 110% to show up the other dogs and her reindeer antlers were much complimented upon!

On a final note, I did get some crafts done this week, namely a new towel/dressing gown for Missy. As big whovians, I couldn't resist an upcycle of a much loved and overworn dressing gown! It was a well timed project as her poorly episode yesterday was spent snuggled up under it and having cuddles. 

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Sneaking in Christmas

Well, after last week bemoaning those who are eager to get their decorations up and start the yuletide celebrations, the stealth Christmas has begun. I've previously mentioned that Missy doesn't like Christmas. Or rather, it's fine everywhere else except in her own home. 
Over the years we've down graded the tree, scrapped the lights and the bulk of the tinsel and, last year, finally found a balance that involved both keeping things low key and stealth. By stealth, I mean slowly bringing in the decorations, and keeping everything discrete and not impacting or moving anything of Missys.
It worked last year and so far so good. 
Missy is in luck this year in that, with my sister coming up to visit with the wee ones, we are scaling it back more. Basically, if I'm worried it'll get broken then it's simply not going out - so it's all Christmas soft toys and up put of harms way!

She barely knows its there!
It's been one of those busy weekends where there isn't much to say. The in laws are going to York for the weekend, so used us to break the trip up - taxi-ing people about and cooking for an extra two is surprisingly time consuming!  It's been a good weekend though.

I did manage to get the time to finish my latest sewing project: an Edwardian style boating blazer, reminiscent of Mary Poppins Jolly Holiday -

Its my first real shot at tailoring, and I'm pleased that on the hubby it's a perfect fit (it simply swamps my poor dress form!) I'll get more detailed shots up on my instagram @missdaisysewing later in the week.

And now with us officially in advent, one of my earlier projects: Christmas advent calendars; one for Maisie and one for Wee Ben since we can't leave the fur babies out of all the fun!

Just a short post this week!

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Santa Paws

Its that time of the year, the mornings are frosty, lights twinkle in the dark evenings and decorations start to appear in windows-
Wait, its only November.

So, Christmas is beginning its creep into our lives and, whilst I disapprove of Christmas stuff going on sale before Halloween, the whole nonsense that is Black Friday and the fact that yes, some of my neighbours have already started decorating, I do think it is the right time to get the Christmas Markets up and running. For the second year running, I've managed to get along to the Edinburgh Dog and Cat homes Santa Paws Christmas Market. This is where Missy came from, and its a charity that I feel is completely overlooked, so I try my hardest to get along to the fundraising events and join in.

A festive Missy

And of course, the fleet of dogs in Christmas jumpers, reindeer antlers and tinsel. One cant forget the real reason we go to these events! Cousin Maisie, who is now a regular feature here, is having a real push on her socialisation and desensitisation - so a market full of dogs we know in advance will be good with other dogs, in a place where we know no one is gonna be offish or afraid of dogs, is a perfect place to ramp things up a little. As expected, the little fluff ball was utterly adored, and Missy wasn't left out as her chilled back demeanour was praised alongside her little eyebrows.

The weather was  really against everyone. Rather than the forecast light rain in the morning and a sunny afternoon, it was pretty heavy squalls with a high wind. As we arrived, they had aborted the outdoor element to the market and were moving the stall holders all inside. We were assured that the pups would definitely get their photos with santa paws, and I'm pleased to say that they did. Missy, who is most definitely on the good girl list showed off her impressive sit and stay skills whilst Maisie was made to sit on Santa's knee. We suspect he will overlook her naughty ways on account of the fact that she's such a young puppy. Or perhaps she'll just pout until she wins him over!

We finished the day (after Missy sampled all the freebies, a pooch after my own heart) with a very bracing walk down the promenade and on the beach. After being on her absolute best behaviour, Missy was off like a rocket on the sand and bounced and bounded all about us. My poor brother was towed along by an exuberant Maisie who was desperate to keep up and then he and I ended up spinning in circles as we tried not to get tied up in Maisies lead and Missy ran laps around absolutely brilliant end to an enjoyable day!

I can't claim that this was Maisies first time on a beach, but it was certainly her first shot on sand and she took to it like a pro. I adore it when Missy deigns to play with her, she can play very nicely with puppies, although it's very much on her terms still!

In non doggy news, my latest (and most ambitious sewing project) is very nearly done, I just need to add the button holes. In the meantime, here's a sneak peak at my first ever double welted pocket with flap. Oh yes, this amateur seamstress is giving tailoring a go!

Sunday, 11 November 2018

An Official Puppy Play Date

But first of all, I encourage everyone to go to my sisters blog were Missy has been immortalised in wool - no spoilers, but its pretty awesome.

Missy got the all clear from the vets and, with Maisie finally good to go out and play having had all her jabs, we finally got that puppy play date. Keeping it simple, I organised for my brother to come to mine and we took them both around the local park. Pouty-Lip, as I have dubbed Maisie, hasn't quite got the idea of the point of a walk, and simply enjoyed meeting other dogs and being fawned over by the other dog walkers. Saturday was Missys first day of freedom from both cone and lead, so was far too preoccupied seeking out squirrels and weeing in all the off road patches to care.

Where are the squirrels?!
My brother is hoping the idea that the toilet is done outside will rub off on Maisie by seeing Missy doing so, and we had one successful outdoor wee, so fingers crossed. She is very much a puppy, chewing everyone and everything, and has yet to learn her manners around other dogs - one thing I know for certain Missy will teach her! It was a good day, and my brother is keen for more play dates, so I'm sure you'll all be seeing much more of the fuzzy ball of fluff!

I've been busy crafting away and, whilst most of it I will save for a more seasonally appropriate post, I will share this Slytherin scarf. My hubbys cousin (who has not read the Harry Potter books) is somewhat surrounded by family who are all a bit Potter daft (other cousins have produced small wizard-daft children, and both his mother and aunt (my MIL) are completely daft on the books). He has finally caved in and decided to get a matching scarf like the rest of us, and declared that he wanted to be in the "Naughty House", and thus:

The importance of the date has not escaped me. With it being a 100 years from the end of the war that was to end all wars, there has been a lot of events and articles about what happened then and since. There's also been a big push from Poppy Scotland and the Poppy Appeal and I've seen, for the first time, a lot of products being sold for dogs. Missy is too large for the bandannas that I found, and I wasn't keen on a dangly charm she would likely lose, but I was rather enamoured by the collar poppy. 
I'm sure there's an argument about projecting our political opinions on our pets, but Missy has received nothing but compliments on hers. And to make things fair, I put together a purple poppy for her to wear alongside the red. For those who aren't aware, and I only came to realise what it meant this year myself, the purple poppy represents the animals that have lost their lives to protect us in war, so I felt it fitting. I tried to find her an official purple poppy, but failed, so perhaps next year we will see some more animals remembering their kin.

So, for all who have served to protect this country, whether they have given their lives in battle or have taken those wounds home with them, we remember you.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

A Very Quiet Weekend

Well, this happened:

Lets rewind. My work allows us two volunteer days. After our superb Halloween weekend I took the Monday to help out at our local zoo. Whilst there I helped take up the floor of the porcupines (who were very disgruntled at being kicked out of bed) and then made a gate for a giant bunny (who unlike the porcupines, was glad to see me and kept trying to nibble my ankles). And then I finished the day getting to feed the lemurs:

Pretty epic day, right? Then I got home, clipped the lead on Missys collar to take her out (I'd been crawling about in a porcupine bedroom, goodness knows what I was covered in but I needed a shower so was just going to go straight out) and then spotted this bright red mark on her leg. Well, it was pretty large and down to the meat, so we went straight back inside and I rang the vet for an emergency appointment. Thankfully Missys misspent youth means that I own our own buster collar and so we arrived at the vets. A call to both the hubby and the dog walker has left me with the mystery of how she came to have such a bad cut, but we have all decided that whats probably happened is that it was so deep it didnt bleed (and was therefore not noticed) and then she's worried it open.

So on the vets orders, its been short walks on the lead. We graduated from 5 minutes to 20 after a stitch check and hopefully they'll be out Friday and all will return to normal for the next post! It has meant a quiet weekend for us all (which is never actually a bad thing, I have a bad reputation for burning the candle at both ends with work and adventuring). I decided if we were having  pyjama weekend that Missy should have some pjs too, and here's the end result:

I'm going to say now, I dont like trousers on dogs. I'll put Missy in coats and dresses but the line in the sand has always been at trousers - they look weird and they impact on movement. Well, with a cut to the thigh and a reputation for licking, I was at my wits end. Missy despises the cone of shame and I needed something to act as a deterrent so that I didn't have to stick the cone on her just to boil the kettle, and the hubby suggested a trousers.
I think it works paired with her unicorn t-shirt and they didnt turn out as terribly as I expected (although drafting the pattern took two evenings alone - a dogs natural shape does not lend itself to trousers very well!)

And that's been the weekend. Lots of sewing (photos to come shortly) and cuddles on the sofa. The hubby and I snuck off to the cinema and even managed to get most of the Christmas shopping out the way online, so there's a bonus too!

Fingers crossed the vets give her a clear bill of health on Friday and we can commence with the regular schedule - Maisy, the puppy, had her last jags and kennel cough, so I expect a puppy play date to feature next week!

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Happy Howl-o-ween

Well, Missy has been popular this weekend, not one, but two Halloween parties! My honorary niece and nephew have been insisting on a pirate Halloween party since we bought them costumes for their birthday and they insisted that Missy had to come too (at four, both have decided that they should have a puppy each and are working hard to convince their father. Their mother would like one puppy, and is also working hard to convince the father!).

We arrived at two and went on a woodland walk altogether, collecting pine cones and leaves and building forts. The weather has gotten very cold and we perfectly timed it that they both got to play with the Frisbee with Missy and we were back in the car before the rain started. Once back at the house, the kids had time to get changed (as did the hubby and I, much to their delight) and have a snack before their dad arrived and the party began. There was dancing and pass-the-pumpkin and soon they were off to bed. We grown ups then played elder signs until the small hours before heading back home, thankful that the clocks going back meant that we were getting an extra hour in bed.

Waiter, there's a hair in my tea!
Today was a Howl-O-ween doggy party organised by Edinburgh Samoyed Rescue. The hubby and I took Missy, my oldest niece (13) and nephew (9), their pup Wee Ben and my mum along and we prayed it wasn't going to be a complete wash out event which some Facebook advertised things can turn out to be. Being the first to arrive at the Golf Tavern (highly recommend) we set up shop in a nice sunny bit of the function room and were soon swamped by dogs. Set up next to us were two fabulous collies and their chihuahua buddies and then the Samoyed's arrived - there was at least five of the fluffy monsters bouncing about the place as more dogs turned up.

"Mini-Missy" the spider
We made good friends with another Missy, who won best dressed as a spider, and became absolutely enamoured with a bearded boy called Loki who, with his underwhelmed and laid back demeanour was an exact match to Missys temperament. To be fair, I could have stolen away most of the dogs - as the hubby said to my mum, people have a right to take a child anywhere, regardless of how naughty they are. Dog places are such a privilege that only those with well behaved animals will go.

Case in point, as we were organising to leave, Missy quickly dashed off to a small child (2 at most) who was giggling with glee and throwing dog treats at the ring of canines about her. The dogs were perfectly behaved as they waited for the treats and gently took them from her and no one was panicking about it or freaking out. Such a lovely atmosphere!

The two hours passed by swiftly and we were soon back at my mums for the VIP (Very Important Puppy) after party. Maisie still has another round of vaccines before she can go off and play with all the big dogs so we decided to have a get together for her and continue her socialisation. Missy worked with Maisie on her play bow as they played together for a little while and then Missy retreated to the sofa to let Ben take a turn. He is still very unsure of the puppy, but hopefully they'll learn to get used to one another soon. The best thing for now is to just keep trying.

She'll grow into it soon enough!
There was munchies and cake (of course there was cake!) and then we all played Say Anything before we had to make our leave as it was getting dark. Missy is fast asleep on the sofa after such a busy weekend and we've all really enjoyed it! I've finally convinced my family that dog parties are an official thing (and not really weird or twee) and here's hoping there's a Christmas one that Maisie will be able to join us at!
Till next time!

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Meet Maisie

So, Missy has a new cousin (courtesy of my brother) - a shitzu cross called Maisie. He didnt think about how phonetically similar Maisie was to Missy, but its too late now and we're all having a good laugh about muddling the two up.
And she sure is a sweetie!

We decided to risk it for a biscuit and get the trio together (Missy, Maisy and Wee Ben). Poor Ben wasn't very sure about a puppy in the house and Missy very sensibly watched the chaos from the sofa, she being the only dog who could get onto it! After a while Missy gave into the cuteness and played with the puppy for a little while, but Ben was very much unimpressed and hid in his crate. Maisy is a feisty wee thing and I think she's just about crazy enough to fit in!

Trust me, just look at the weird black thing and once it goes click, you'll get a biscuit...
I was also dog-sitting Ben today so, before losing the light, took him round one of my favourite local walks. Naturally I bumped into every single one of Missys pals, and had to laugh as it was commented yet again that Missy must have shrunk in the wash. I wasn't going to risk letting Ben off the lead, but he did his best to keep up with Missy and has thoroughly exhausted himself.

I trust Missy well enough that she was off the lead on her usual hunt for squirrels and Ben panicked every time we lost sight of her. Despite knowing one another all his life, Ben hasn't had many adventures with Missy, so isn't used to her phantom act. Although Missy did humour him for some of the walk and walked alongside him.

Well, that's all this week, I've been busy with crafts but nothing fitting to the season, so will share later. However, there's some fun plans in store for next week, so expect some fun Halloween photos in my next post!

Sunday, 14 October 2018

A Week up North Part 2

After a day of quite heavy history, our middle day was intended to be lighthearted and fun, with both Landmark and Clava Cairns picked out.

Landmark is an outdoor adventure park, and had come highly recommended by older sister and her children as simply the place to go and visit in the Aviemore area. It started off well, we were amongst the first into Landmark which was all bedecked for Halloween and decided to go on the red squirrel nature walk. We instantly realised the place had been oversold to us - the 'really big and long' walk was less than a kilometre long. Missy was on point for the whole trek round and, when we did spot the red tail of a squirrel, she was thankfully behind a screen and unable to see it, despite clearly being able to smell it. 
We took turns (no dogs indoors, although she was permitted in the big marquee beside he restaurant, so we were able to eat under cover) and did the little puzzle and optical illusions house, the butterfly and bird house and also the small roller-coaster and one of the water slides. There were loads of dogs accompanying their families and we took to opportunity to chat to some of them. By that point two coach trips of kids had turned up and the place was rammed with families and a further visit around the squirrel viewing walk showed that the glimpse of the tail was the best we were going to get as kids ran around screaming at each other (which I have no problem of children doing, but red squirrels are notoriously skittish, and will only be seen in absolute silence).
Impostor syndrome had hit hard and we decided that it was most definitely the kind of place kids would have a great time at, but I couldn't justify to myself waiting in a very long queue to have a shot on something when I was surrounded by masses of kids desperate to get on too. We decided to consider the experience as worth doing, but only to repeat when able to borrow some of my nieces and nephews!

The day took a downturn after that. Deciding that Missy would appreciate some peace and quiet, we decided on getting another Historic Scotland site out the way and visit Clava Cairns. Its one of the free sites that you just turn up at and, so long as everybody respects the rules, they are generally nice little sites. We'd got out the car and waited for another to park before making our way to the gate. No sooner had my hand touched the gate when the door of the car we'd waited to park popped open and, engine idling and finger wagging, some middle aged man started shouting at us that dogs weren't allowed in.
My temper gets the better of me in these situations and I invariably say something I shouldn't. I simply snapped back that the sign clearly stated dogs were permitted on leads and we recieved another tirade of abuse that is was a sacred site, the place was covered in dog muck (I barked back that I am a responsible owner and pick up after my dog) and he continued over me that dogs simply werent allowed and he knew 'the rules'.
My husband is far better in these situations. Calm as can be, he simply asked 'do you work here? Are you a groundskeeper?' and at the following response of 'what? No.' the hubby simply walked through the gate and we left the ghastly man behind. It was a lovely site but we took no enjoyment as Mr I-know-the-rules was stomping about the place also, clearly waiting for Missy to do something inappropriate like sniff a rock. Out of the safety of his idling car, he made no movement towards us again, but by that point the whole thing was rather ruined for us. The hubby told me off for trying to get Missy to pee on the mans car as we left and tried to figure out what to do with the day.

Stopping at the local shops to stock up on some ice cream and purchase a new Halloween costume for Missy, we decided to explore the site about the lodge we were staying at. We had been told there was a lake and weren't disappointed when we found the patch of water nestled in the trees. It was completely flat and still and, with the autumn colours in the trees, absolutely beautiful. Upon returning to our lodge, we tucked into the ice cream and made a bullet proof plan for our final day before playing some board games. 

It was time to hunt down Nessie on the Jacobite Loch Ness cruise. The weather was to stay dry but it was one of those formidable days that threatens at rain with dark skies and banks of low lying cloud. Perfect for hunting monsters.

A promising start on the hunt!
The boat ride was dog friendly and the staff were more than happy to Missy come aboard. She made friends with an american tourist who was missing her dog and a couple from somewhere European and they simply insisted on cuddling and patting her. Deciding that the world was back in alignment and that things were how they should be, we settled down for the hour long ride and enjoyed the commentary about the history of the Loch and the lore of the monster.

A formidable landscape
After being told that Columbus had banished Nessie in 500AD, and how Nessie reappeared throughout the middle ages and through modern times, it was quite understandable to reason how such a stark landscape and vast body of water could spark imaginations and tales of monsters. Despite low cloud and dark skies, it was pleasant for Autumn as we rode on the top of the boat and discussed with the other tourists about how the highlands truly were the best landscape to be seen in the world. 

The boat sailed to and around Urquhart Castle. Some people got off here to visit the castle and those from the earlier tour joined us. The site does not permit dogs and the reason is simple, in peak season 2000 people can visit the site per day, so its simply too busy and dangerous to allow them. Urquhart Castle was our plan for the day  after sailing so, after discovering all the loch side walks flooded, we walked Missy in the woodland above the loch for an hour before heading over. Leaving Missy with food, water and a blanket in case it got chilly, we headed inside and explored the infamous site.

That's not the jetty, that's meant to be a courtyard
Urquhart has a long history, originally being the site of a pictish settlement before becoming the now-ruined castle it is today. With a full sized trebuchet upon entering the site, it certainly has lots to see and we explored the tower and the citadel whilst quoting Knightmare and filling in our kids quiz. The visitors centre was full of artifacts that had been found in the area and a ten minute film condensed more than a thousand years of history and explained how the castle had swapped hands and sides before being blown up by its very owners to stop it getting into Jacobite hands. 

We returned to Missy and drove to the nearest village of Drumnadrochit to try and find a late lunch. Nowhere was dog friendly and also serving food, so we found a cafe with outdoor seating and laughed as we were one of six outdoor tables occupied by dog parents. Missy was treated to a buffalo ear as we had lunch before we popped into the information centre and enquired about local walks. A forest walk was indicated to us and we were soon trekking up an enormous hill through woodland. Missy ran about looking for squirrels and rabbits, all of whom were wisely out the way and we made it back to the car just as the weather broke.

And the weather certainly broke. With Storm Calum attacking Ireland, we had weather warnings for rain through the night and on our return trip. Deciding it wisest to just head home, we didnt have any outlandish stops but treated Missy to one of her favourite local walks upon arriving home.

And that was it! Why do holidays always pass so quickly? We've earmarked the highlands for another return visit, so it certainly wont be Missys last attempt at trying to find Nessie!