Sunday, 25 March 2018

Isle of Dogs

The sun is out and spring feels like it's here - the washing is out drying, squirrels are roaming in abundance and it's a pleasure to be out walking. Snowdrops are peeping through the ground once more and the crocus flowers are even poking their heads out for all to see. Even the threat of Beast from the East: Part 3 seems ridiculous and a long way off...

So...naturally the highlight of the weekend was being sat in the dark! The Cameo Cinema chain decided to run a dog friendly preview screening of Wes Andersons new film, Isle of Dogs, and naturally we had to go along with Missy. It was incredibly well organised. We arrived for 11am and were handed a fleece to put over the chair so that Missy could sit between us for a cuddle whilst we all watched the film. There were water bowls all along one wall and the lights were kept on (very dim of course, but it wasn't total darkness) and I'm fairly certain that the soundtrack was a little muted.  

All of the dogs (and there was plenty of dogs!) were incredibly well behaved and, apart from the odd woof or bark, didn't disturb anyone at all. It was really nice to be with so many like minded people and to chat away before and after the film - the unanimous agreement was that dog friendly screenings should just be a thing, its perfect for those wanting to catch a movie but feeling guilty about leaving the pooch alone yet again during the week.

The film itself was brilliant. I preferred it  to Fantastic Mr Fox, which was the last Wes Anderson film I've seen and, although the animation etc was very similar, I liked that this was its own unique story and it really celebrated the loyalty of man and dog. Well worth catching!

In other news, I did it! 6 days in total and I managed to make my full-length wizards coat. Hubby had it in time for his magic show and he was the envy of the Magic Circle. There was a lot of new techniques to learn (Thank goodness for youtube with those welted pockets!) but I'm really pleased with the end result - as always the photos never do it justice. The show itself was brilliant, its really nice to see people taking pride in hobbies, especially one that brings joy.

Well, that's all for now. Its been a busy week and with Easter around the corner will only get busier. I managed to get my bonnet made yesterday for our family bonnet contest, so next update, I'll be able to show it off and say who won!

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Longings of Spring

Well, one good thing about all the snow and poor weather (because yes, we've had yet more snow) is that there's plenty of time to fit in some big craft projects and not feel like I should be out doing something. Missy is fed up with the ghastly weather too, but I suspect that has more to do with a lack of bunnies and squirrels to chase than longings of spring.

This is a bit of an off-the-cuff project as the fabric was a whim buy (on a very good deal!) when in Ramsbottom. I adore Peter Rabbit (the classic stuff, but I'll settle on the movie print since it was so reasonably priced!) and spent a lot of time playing about with ideas on this king size quilt before deciding that keeping it simple was best - the sheer scale of it was a challenge alone. I'm glad to say that I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and it's brought a touch of much needed spring into the house.

I've also been looking at ways to start using up my scraps and cobbled together these cute coasters - practical and stash busting! It almost justifies my need to keep every pretty bit of fabric more than a few inches big...

In the wings, I've been working on this years bonnet contest entry for Missy. I intend to keep hers simple and classic, but for myself I'm having to up my game and produce something truly over the top! I wont divulge details just yet, but with my sister coming up for Easter, everyone is making sure that our first full-family Easter in some years will be well remembered! I was also terribly pleased that I managed to make an Easter wreath with all the left over bits from bonnets past, so at least I can pretend spring is here!

In other sewing news I've been working on some pressies which I will reveal later and its a race against the clock to make a wizards coat for the hubby for the show that the Magic Circle are putting on this Friday - its my first shot on welted pockets so fingers crossed all the youtube videos I've watched has paid off!

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Camera Obscura and World of Illusion

With it being Year of the Dog, I've noticed a few places advertising their dog friendly status online, including a few that I had absolutely no idea would welcome our furry friends. One of these places was the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions - a popular tourist attraction and just the kind of place that the hubby and I love. We used the excuse of Mothers Day to get a small gang of us together and made our way up the Royal Mile in the chilly rain.
Yep, we've gone from the Beast from the East to the Pest from the West - I don't know if these PR people should be shot or given medals, either way, it was dreary and chilly and an indoor activity was exactly the right kind of thing we were looking for. Whilst the hubby and I are used to just ignoring the weather despite how miserable it is in favour of the dog, my mother and brother are not so well hardened!

It was an eventful day from the start - after joining the queue outside the building and being supplied with wonderfully bright, and well branded, purple umbrellas (great marketing idea right there, and a well appreciated one as they kept the worst of the drizzle off) the fire alarm sounded. As a fire warden at work (I know, how sad) I appreciate a well executed evacuation, and the crowd control was remarkably well done. The fire crew arrived swiftly, it was a false alarm and they were off and we were back in the queue.
I like to always state "X number of adults and one well behaved dog" when going somewhere unconventional as I think it puts everyone on the right foot - I have a dog, yes, but I expect her to be behaved and calm, so lets not stress about it. And from the moment we entered the building the staff were absolutely brilliant. It was explained to us that we could come and go, if it was too busy for her it would be quieter later in the day, she was allowed everywhere and the only exception might be the show if there was someone afraid of dogs in the group (a fair enough exception in my opinion, forcing terrified kids to be next to dogs doesn't cure phobias, and it usually just stresses everyone out, including the dog).

And then we were in. This is exactly the kind of place the hubby and I love - it's unconventional, it's unashamedly good fun and we both just adore the whole art of optical illusions. You start off with a bang doing the mirror maze and the 'bewilderworld', a large rotating drum of lights that disorientate and make you feel dizzy in all the best ways. Whilst I was in hysterics at my mother getting completely lost in the maze, the bewilderworld was not to Missys liking due to the grating on the walkway. She managed to get across but wouldn't pose, so unfortunately no pictures with the beautiful whirling lights! We did however get some fun photos on the illusions floor that she was very happy to pose for, so clearly she did enjoy the rest of the visit.

Missy, being the only dog in the building, was an instant celebrity and, as we skipped the next few floors to be sure we arrived for the show on time, we were stunned to be greeted by the waiting staff with a "Oh, is this the Missy we've heard about?" Clearly her reputation proceeds her! Again, the staff were great as they explained to us again that Missy might have to sit it out (no one objected at the sight of her, so clearly not a problem) and that if at any point we felt she was uncomfortable, we were just to ask and they'd let us out. It wasn't a problem at all, she did take a moment to settle as the hubby and I split up and she didn't know who she'd rather sit with, but once I sat with her she just curled up and enjoyed the down time.

The show is the camera obscura itself, and it's like a periscope that uses ye olde technology to magically project the streets outside onto a round table. With the weather being so poor it wasn't the best I've seen it, but I would hardly consider it grounds to complain about the day (we were told that if we were unhappy we could request a free ticket for another day, but no one controls the weather so I felt that would have been absurd). Everyone still had fun 'picking up' the cars and people so it was still worth seeing.
After that we finished looking at all the other floors and went to the gift shop. Missy had outdone herself with her good behaviour and quickly endeared herself to the staff. It was quiet and they had fun looking for excuses to pet her and pointing out special pet candles to us (we picked one up, Missy seemed to like the citrus best as I let her sniff them all) and we explained how we had come to find out they welcomed dogs and that it wasn't actually stated on the website.

We all headed for a nice dinner at the Whistle Stop Barber Shop (I've eaten there previously and knew they welcomed dogs). My family always find it a novelty being out with Missy and just the amount of attention she gains by sitting nice and quietly. We all agreed to take advantage of the pop-in-and-out ability with the Camera Obscura, its its very generous late night opening, and headed back again - I was really pleased about this as my brother wasn't originally keen on the idea of the Obscura, so he had clearly been won over.

All of us were surprised that it was still relatively busy. It didn't stop us all having fun, and all four of us spotted something new we hadn't seen the first time round, which in my opinion definitely makes it worthwhile. It was also nice to each point out our favourite bits to one another as we passed, and I was pleased that we all liked and enjoyed different things. As we left (via the gift shop again, my mum wanting to get a postcard) we were remembered by the staff and were assured that they were going to definitely update the website. Missy got some photos taken which will hopefully go up on the Facebook page, which, to me, makes her famous! 

With the rest of the family now saying they'll have to go and visit, I can see Missy and myself going back in the future, and I'm really pleased to say that my mum had a wonderful day - which was really the whole point! 

Till next time!

Friday, 2 March 2018

Beast from the East

Well...I was clearly speaking too soon last week with my hopes that a hint of spring was just around the corner, that the long dark winter had finally been broken...
Or I am just a massive jinx.

Whatever the case may be, I think it's safe to say that everything this week has been completely dominated by the "Beast from the East" and it hit us in the central belt hard. Tuesday was grim and I managed to get myself home safely from my abandoned dance classes, but I won't lie, it was tough going and I didn't get above 25mph. And then Wednesday arrived. I did actually think about going into work, but then I thought about all the other people on the road being frustrated at not getting to work and...nah. Not worth it.

So glad to have made that call. The hubby had work and braved it in only to get sent home at 2 (the shopping centre was shut down, that shows you how bad it was) and I spent 45 minutes having absolute kittens and desperately trying to clear the drive as he made the journey that we can normally manage in under 8 minutes. The worst. The absolute worst. My sympathy extends to everyone who's family got stuck out in the traffic, I think being the one waiting is worse than being the one in the car just about.

We did the altruistic thing of handing our number out to our elderly neighbours - and stressed that even if it was just for milk, to call us. There's no way an ambulance was gonna get into my estate and I'd never forgive myself if they fell in the snow for something silly. And then we took Missy for what's normally a 40 minute walk that, in all the snow, took us more than an hour (and from which most the photos were are done, I wasn't going to wrangle the dog and the camera at the same time). I had done two short walks earlier with her, but she likes the snow and the cold far better than her humans, so was keen to go again!

On Thursday I was sick fed up of the snow. All I could see was snow - out the window, on the news, on my social media - they wouldn't stop talking about it on the radio. We knew I advance that we were all havibg snow days again so I made the most of my improved "office" view and took some photos of the birds on the feeder during my tea break and insisted on doing the lunch walk in order to battle the oncoming cabin fever. Once the red warning clicked off there seemed to be more snow than there was during it. It just wouldn't stop. By this point the novelty had worn off for Missy and she was fed up wading through chest deep snow and being cold. She merely lay on the sofa staring out at the snow, her eyes clearly bemoaning the terrible state of affairs that prevented her from her life long squirrel destroying quest.

My improved view
Then Friday was another snow day. I'd made the call the night before as, even if conditions meant no more snow, it was so cold that it wasn't going to go anywhere and the car was going to need dug out. Hubby walked to work and it seemed like another day trapped in some bizarre apocalyptic zombie drama but without the zombies and, as I was finishing up for the day, I noticed a JCB rolling past my window - lo and behold, the community was rallying together. I soon joined the rest of the street in digging out what was left behind and the bad mood broke. Everyone was suddenly up beat and talking again. I got out with Missy and even she had a spring in her step, taking the time to play with every dog we met and bounding through the snow.

The weather warnings are back to yellow and it feels like we're through the worst. An odd week, not exciting but I feel its worth writing down. After all, its not every year that I get 3 foot of snow in two days.

*stops and anxiously peers through window as a lone snowflake falls past*

Perhaps I will leave it that and say no more, just in case...