Sunday, 29 December 2019

Keeping Christmas on the Rails

I think, maybe (possibly, hopefully) Missy is starting to cotton on to the whole Christmas thing. We decided not to do a tree this year (the below photo shows the extent of our festive decor) and Missy has been in generally better spirits than in Christmases past; certainly, I haven't had the panicked "omg, your home - you left forever ago!" that I was getting last year, which usually resulted in Missy running and jumping on me whilst trying to pirouette into a cuddle before slowly sliding to the floor to lie there, wagging tail between legs, on her back and whine crying. A phenomenon that only started when the tree went up and ceased when it went down again and, despite how funny the picture sounds, both hubby and I found very distressing. 
The correlation has been proven, no tree, no hyper anxiety, so that's us, no tree anymore. 

Missy got an early Christmas present after staring out her stocking for 20 minutes, and we spent the day doing the rounds. A dog walk with my brother (and of course Maisie in a wonderful Xmas bandana) and mum, and then a visit to the BIL who is doing well considering the year he's had. We then had the evening to ourselves and, after dinner, the three of us all cosied up on the sofa with a Christmas film and munchies. A good day.

I've said before that hubby works retail, so I had a few quiet days post Christmas to get the place back in order whilst he worked. I'd noticed online that the Bo'ness and Kinneil railway were doing a Diesel Gala Day the Saturday and decided that it would be a good way to get out and about again and burn off some of those Christmas chocolates.

Having a season ticket meant I could get one return ride as it was a special event day and I knew I wanted to have a shot on the DMU from the 50s. For those who aren't train nerds (and I certainly wasn't one until I got me annual pass!) a DMU is a diesel multiple unit, basically engine and carriage are one and the same. The one at bo'ness is so old and decrepit that it took the same time to run half of the line and back as the other trains take to do the whole thing. I had missed it at the 50s day in August, so was keen to try again.

My mum came along for the ride (no pun intended) and it was a good distraction from the news of last week when we lost my uncle. It was one of those funny days where everyone seems to want to know what breed of dog Missy is. I think those are the days my mum likes best, she loves talking to random strangers and Missy has raised through the ranks to be her favourite grand-doggy-daughter, so she loves talking about her too.

We had people in the cafe chat to us, and then two separate couples on the train ride itself as well as on the platform. Missy was in full tart mode, cuddling up to the legs of the people we were sat beside and demanding, via nose-nudging, for more pets. The return journey say us with a father and young son (5 yo). The boy was nervous but the father, who told us all about the rotties he used to keep, was quite keen for us to sit with them. Letting the kid give Missy some treats soon cemented that friendship and they were having photos taken together by the end of the ride.
A successful ride! 

We did the harbour walk afterwards and then it was home for homemade steak and ale pie before my mum left as we were losing light. The winter days are certainly too short.

I've been working away on the sewing machine, but this quilt was the last of my Christmas present makes. It's new owner (BILs girlfriend) was very pleased to receive it and I don't think will be parted from it anytime soon! She loves cuddling on the sofa in a duvet almost as much as Harry Potter, so this Hogwarts house themed quilt was a sure win.

We've always done Christmas for family and New Year for friends, so I'm looking forward to next week and will need to have a think in new year resolutions. Missy, after doing so well, broke her no vet visits resolution a few times this month, so I think we need to lower the bar for her! 

I look forward to writing again in the next decade! I'm looking forward to the 20s - I have grand plans for holidays over the next few years, and in a smaller time scale, some fabulous sewing projects (although part of me wants to get some vintage sewing patterns and really embrace the decade).

Until then! Have a wonderful New Year.

Monday, 23 December 2019

A Strange Christmas

It's been a struggle for me this year to get Christmassy. Each time I feel that I'm starting to get that way, and my mood lifts, and the cold dark days don't seem to everlasting, something comes up. My Christmas weekend with the in laws was blighted with some truly bad weather and the hubby's broken toe. Cheer from my mini Christmas was short lived as the brother in law had a bit of a scare with his post op life (he's OK, still not fine, but OK).

So I was determined. Absolutely determined that I was going to get christmassy this weekend. The Cameo Cinema was hosting a dog friendly screening of Its A Wonderful Life so I scheduled a girls day out with the cinema and a lunch planned and a walk along the canal. My friend and I had a good laugh on the walk to the cinema about the fact that our parents had been equally horrified that we had never seen the movie before, and how we had both had the same response of "well, that's because you've never shown me it before!".

The event had been organised by the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home who were also fundraising. I bought Missy a big bag of biscuits and she put on the charm to get pets and biscuits off everyone else. One of the staff recognised her as an" ex resident" and I got a proud pawrent moment saying that Missy had won best rescue this year in the open day. Then off we went to the show.

It was a sold out event. There was maybe 30 dogs altogether and they were all amazingly well behaved. There was the occasional chain of barks (one specific dog clearly had to have the last word) and an occasional grumble, but other than that, nothing. My friend was very impressed, she had expected the dogs to be doing laps around the screen or howling and barking throughout!

Feeling thoroughly christmassy, I switched my phone back on and found 40 missed messages. I just knew exactly what had happened - my uncle who had been very poorly had given up the good fight. I cancelled lunch with my (very understanding) friend and then spent the rest of the day on the phone. 

There was one good moment of the night, a rare coming together of siblings where my older sister came up with the idea of sending flowers, we all agreed on a bunch, my little sister picked some beautiful words and I then got it organised and they were delivered the next day (and very well received). Knowing my aunt has both her sons looking after her (and my mother, her sister, is already visiting to check on her) has alleviated my feelings of guilt about the unfortunate timing. They want to be left alone for the season and I respect that. 

Hubby had Sunday off and, bless him, did his best to get us back on track and in good cheer. There was Christmas music, we wrapped presents together and went on a lovely walk around beecraigs before having cream scones at Dobbies (whilst it's amazing they now have a dog friendly section in the cafe, the three tables given to dog owners were in high demand, so it would be nice to have a few more tables in future!) 

Missy humoured me and sat in the sleigh very nicely, and we then mooched about at all the Christmas tat. Hubby is on a quest to find a nutcracker but, whilst we say some ornaments that looked like one, they didn't actually crack nuts. How will we be protected from the seven headed mouse King of our nutcracker can't crack nuts? 

Yes, we've both finally read the nutcracker stories. Its a strange year this one. I think it will come together, I know my BIL is very pleased we are visiting him on the day, as is my brother who has been invited to join us in our traditional Christmas dog walk, complete with santa hats. Perhaps their enthusiasm will rub off. 

Not the brightest note to end on, but I'm sure there will be another update before the year is out. I hope that one will be more positive. The new year for me is a time to focus on what has went right and what has gone well, so I should be in a more optimistic mood. 

Think of family and loved ones, those who are with us and those who are gone, and be pleased for the company of those around us.

Have a merry Christmas all, we are all luckier than we think. 

Saturday, 14 December 2019

A Quick Catch Up

It's been a busy couple of weeks! So, as mentioned in me last post, hubby has fractured his toe so I've ended up taking on all the dog walking chores although this last week he's managed to slowly make their way around the park for the morning walk.

After a long week, we had the in laws through with Ruby Havok last weekend. My hubby's Aunt (MILs sister) also came for a visit with the intention of us all getting in the Christmas mood. 
Ruby is doing very well, she's only 7 months old but is now an equal weight to Missy, so they got along very well now they can actually play on equal ground. As you can see from the photo though, she's still getting the hang of having her picture taken! It took almost a whole day to puppy proof the house and we did OK, the only casualty being some air hardening clay (which she ate, threw up and then ate some more of... Clearly not the sharpest tack in the box!) 

We were supposed to be doing the lights at the castle, but they were cancelled last minute due to high winds. Then the Sunday was a wash out with some pretty horrendous rain. Sunday had always been planned as the dogs day, and Aunt had asked to see the Kelpies. Despite the shock of my sister who lives nearby (and rang me 3 times to say it was terrible weather and I was mad to go out) but as I said, dogs need walking and so we went anyway. 

Yes. It was very wet. But not so bad that it put Ruby off trying to swim in the canal! Both dogs were quickly snuggled up in dressing gowns (MIL has commissioned one for Ruby) and we all had a well deserved cup of tea when we got in. 

Monday was much more successful. We had booked the lanterns at the zoo and woke up to a hard frost and bright blue skies. I'm happy to do the cold, it's the wet that I hate. I made pancakes for us all much to the Aunts amusement - it had been years, she said, since she had pancakes for breakfast! 
The in laws went to visit BIL and the hubby and I had a quiet morning with the dogs. He hobbled around a nice slow dog walk (linhouse loop, it was the flattest I could think of with something resembling a pavement) and we enjoyed some time to ourselves. 

The lanterns were spectacular. My inner six year old nearly died in joy at the life size triceratops and smilodon. I wasn't sure about the theme originally as I feel dinosaurs are a bit over done these days - and as someone who wanted to be a palaeontologist as a kid, that's saying something. However, I absolutely loved it. The lanterns translated really well into the dinosaurs and, with a pause for a hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows, it took us 2 hours to get round them all. 

Tuesday was back to normal and by the time I was home from work the house was empty again. A lovely visit and finally starting to feel a bit christmassy. 

I didn't get a lot of time for craft, but I was very pleased with this quick project. This is Ruby's first Christmas and I felt she needed a stocking. It had to be girly and sparkly and full of fun treats. I just hope she likes it as much as the rest of us do! 

Sunday, 1 December 2019

December Day

We've had a quiet week. We'll, it's been a disastrous week. Missy has sprained her pinkie toe which has caused her to hobble - she's racking up the ailments this winter, clearly making up for lost time! One day this week I found myself cleaning her ears, giving her eyedrops as she wasn't opening one (suspect it was a bit of grit, she was immediately the better and its not returned), painkillers and cream on her toes. Whoever said mongrels are less prone to ailments than pedigrees never met Missy! 

On top of that, hubby has fractured his toe. The lengths a man will go to to avoid working black Friday (which didn't work as he still had to go in, but did office stuff instead of being on the shop floor). I have threatened him (playfully) with eye and ear drops as he seems keen to emulate Missys condition. Either way, it's made life awkward as I now have to do both dog walks, so this week is going to involve a lot of 5am get ups so I have time to walk her before going into work. 

Needless to say, there has been much snuggling under duvets to avoid the cold weather and poor luck. Thankfully we had some time this morning for December Day. 

So let me explain, hands up who has a family tradition that when mentioned, everyone thinks your crazy? In my household, that tradition is December Day. Held on or as close to the first of December as possible, my hubby and I exchange gifts. Now let me explain before you think I'm crazy or totally wrapped up in the commercialised mess that is Christmas, we swap Christmas themed gifts. I collect the ravensburg Christmas jigsaws, and theres no point getting a jigsaw of santa on the day when you aren't going to have time for another week to touch it. Then there are Christmas movies, cds, books, all things you want on the run up to Christmas. It all started one year when hubby asked his mother for JRR Tolkiens "letters from father Christmas". He was super pleased to receive it Christmas day but by the middle of January when our lives had calmed down enough to start it, we were definitely not in the mood for it! So, that's why we do December day.
Missy is above us in such festivities, but did get excited for her advent calander, so I'll call it a win win! 

I'm sewing news, it's all gone to the dogs this week:

(See what I did there?) 
These are the Christmas pressies for all the doggies in the family - most of it is stuff I was already making for the craft fair, and I felt a dog tote bag to put it all in would go down brilliantly. And don't worry, the cats haven't been left out:

I think it's safe to say that I do overindulge Missys furry cousins! 
Next week is due to be very busy, I just hope my invalids will be up for it! I'll tell you more next week! 

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Santa and Cthullu Cults

Dont let the title fool you, Santa is not a Lovecraftian creation! The contrast between my sisters life and my own is sometimes too amusing - read on to find out why!

It's that time of year where all the Christmas markets spring up and all the rehoming charities start fundraising again. The Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home did their annual Santa Paws visit and I was pleased that the madness of life allowed me enough time to take Missy along and my mother came too. 

For a dog that hates Christmas, she really does enjoy the fuss and attention of these events. She got loads of cuddles and fussing and stared out several stall keepers in order to obtain biscuits (and even had those without biscuits apologising to me). Her Paddington stare, as we call it, has only intensified over the years! 

Missy did me well as always and was perfectly behaved for Father Christmas. He had a great big tin of gravy bones that he was being very liberal with so she happily sat up beside him and worked her charm on him. After being deemed the "best behaved dog of the day" we were all sent off with a sweet treat each. 
My mother was proud of such praise and I could only laugh that Missy had clearly pulled the wool over his eyes. But hey, I won't mention the squirrels if you don't!

We walked along the promenade afterwards and watched the sea attack the storm walls. It was a pleasant day, and we certainly caught the best of it, but I think the weather is going to turn again. 

On a completely different end if the spectrum, and a break from Christmas sewibg: Cultist Robes.

(Hat knitted by my sister for her crazy Cthullu Cultist weekend, which is outlined here). 

Long story short, my sister and brother in law batted their eyelashes at me for some cultist robes that would a) look cool but not like something horrendous from the KKK, b) not give them rashes like the polyester ones they could find online and c) not bake them alive, hence the felt and not fleece choice in material. 

I was more than happy to take the challenge and used this Fleece Fun pattern which I liked best. I was keen on a multiway design as I wanted more used from them than one weekend, and my sister and her family are always game for laugh and dressing up. I've been sent photos of my BIL playing a out in his with a lightsaber, so it's clearly the right choice! I also liked this pattern as my sister was going for a goat demon (hence the hat) with a thousand young and we had bandied about the idea of putting eyes inside the cloak. I wanted something she could easily swish open to show off said eyes - I didn't get 1000, but there are 30 sets of eyes on there! 

So that brings me full circle to what I found so humorous. She's off taking her children to a Cthullu themed party complete with bonfire and I'm taking my furbaby to see Santa Paws. I dont know why I think that's so funny, but it is!

Although I totally think Missy could have pulled off some kind of hellish Lovecraftian monster very well! I've listened to a few of the stories and they do give me the absolute heebie jeebies, so I may have to outsource to my sister on suggestions as to what horror might suit Missy best! 

Monday, 18 November 2019

An blast of a weekend

It's been a crazy weekend, but a good one, so I'll keep the post short! Basically, my Manchester based sister, brother in law and two of their random mates snuck up to Scotland for a Britcit nerf event. They went to a skatepark event on Friday and on the Saturday we all did iCombat.

It was a great day. Our team won the day overall and the 'rescue the Bob' game was a definite favourite! Good day all round. And plans are already being spun for next year! My sister posted a full summary here.

Missy was very much the centre of attention amongst our visitors. My sister had hammed up just how lovely she is and clearly expectations were met. The little tart (Missy that is) clearly enjoyed the non stop petting and endless supply of treats!

On the sewing front, I've started the mammoth task of the Christmas gift sewing. First on the completed list:

A quilt-come-sleeping bag for my eldest neice. At 14 it's hard to balance cute and grown up, so I hope it goes down well! 

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Looking for Vampires

So, on last weeks ghost walk, the story of William Henry Millar and his truly bizarre burial was brought to our attention. Buries in a lead lined coffin, in a shaft 40ft deep, was this man who had a huge collection of occult books afraid of grave robbers, of vampires or...was he a vampire himself?

Set in the middle of Craigintinny, near to Portobello, the Craigintinny Marbles, a 30ft tall monument, towers over the little council built bungalows and bowling green that surround it. There were  no information stands nearby, so I was glad I had done my homework before my mother and I went looking for it. Millar had requested to be buried away from the population of Edinburgh and, in the 1860s, this would have been farmland so it would have completely dominated the landscape. Whilst interesting, I was disappointed at the way it has mostly been ignored, like a large inconvenient rock, and built around. I felt it deserved perhaps a small grassy park and some trees, not a high fence and a car park.

Either way, it's an impressive monument, and it's peculiar situation fits the peculiar man it was made for. 

I had suspected it wouldn't be a long visit at the monument so had already organised that there would be a trip to the seaside. Portobello was only 5 minutes away and, despite the chilly day, there were plenty of dogs out walking their humans. I always love the visual juxtaposition of a blue sky and sand with people in wooly hats and thick coats. I don't know why, but it makes me smile.

Despite best attempts, I could not coax my mother into having an ice cream on the promenade and so we headed back to where I had parked the car. I have walked that beach a hundred times and lo and behold, yesterday was the first time I had noticed the absolutly ginormous pottery kiln, neatly tucked away behind some flats. 

Clearly a day for finding odd giant things in bizarre places! We detoured off and had a look at it (I had originally thought it was perhaps an old grain silo from when Portobello had a proper harbour, but the sign corrected us as to the rich history of pottery making in the area. News to me, but fascinating nonetheless.

I've been making Christmas the last few weeks and prepping an army of doggy bows and bandanas for a craft fair I have next weekend. Don't let the photos fool you, there has been so much Christmas fabric that I'm almost bored of the season and it hasn't even begun!
I've been putting together squeaky heart toys too, so will get a more festive photo later. Having lots of little things on the go at once has worked well as I can easily pick them up and put them down again, although I am looking forward to getting my teeth into a bigger project soon! 

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Spooky Fun

Missy had her Halloween party on Monday and I won't lie, it was an eagerly anticipated event! As it was organised by the same company that does Missys dog walking and classes (just about finished level 3, she doesn't need them, but we approve of anything that will mentally stimulate her) we knew that there would be dogs and people she knew.

So it was a party, that means games, right? Well, there was Dookin' for (gravy) bones, various Halloween themed agility toys and games for dog and owner to partake in. We came in second with the game were we had to have Missy perform a obedience trick (sit, stay, paw, beg (a work in progress), lie down, stay, touch, back up and, strangely enough for us, stand (we need to train her to stand on command so we can work on bow which is turning into a disaster, but I honestly don't mind, there are worse things than a dog that is over keen to sit and wait for a command!) and then we'd take a little sticker off the wall with different pictures having different values. 

Amongst the games, there was time for making some new friends, including the above whippet who, had we stayed any longer, my husband was going to put in the back of the car with Missy to steal as our own! The costumes on the dogs were great, we had a Halloween onsie on one dog, another painted up as a skeleton (most of it had rubbed off by the end of the night, so he was absolutely fine), harnesses decorated with devil wings and Missy went as a triceratops. She's clearly hit middle age and has done that odd thing  some men do were they seem to get broader, not put weight on, but just physically become more broad in the chest. Most of her costumes are a bit snug around her neck and chest, hubby thinks it's muscle from all the squirrel chasing and I'm forced to agree!

Yesterday was a bit of a different dog walk - we had a two hour ghost walk in Edinburgh with Thistle Knights Tours. They were great in responding to enquiries about which of their tours, if any, allowed dogs (the ones that go into the museum obviously aren't!) and I soon organised a puppy play date for Missy and Maisie together. My brother is game for anything really and we also invited my mother, who then invited her sister who then invited their other sister...
I will confess that I was annoyed that my play date had been comandeered by the three witches of McBeth (and I mean that as in they dressed up as witches. Without telling me it was now a fancy dress affair.) Mostly I was concerned it would be a bit pants (its a free tour, X Files Edinburgh, and you just tip at the end, so I was naturally dubious of the quality) and I would somehow be blamed for dragging them all out in the cold and rain. By this point in the week I'd had to scrape frost off the car 4 out of 5 mornings and then the last 24 hours were solid rain. I was a bit concerned it would be a literal wash out.

Of the 18 booked, we made 6 of the final 7 on the tour. And it was great, I shouldn't have been so worried. The rain had stopped but the dense cloud cover had brought the temperature up away from 0C and had also brought in a dense mist, perfect for ghost stories in a graveyard. At each point we got a choice of three stories, so we could make it as Spooky, gory or silly as we liked. I got to have a shot at dowsing and we made a very slow circuit from Greyfriars to the Canongate. The chap doing the tour was great and very quickly sussed out the nature of us all so didn't scrimp on offering us big laughs and gory details. Definitely a recommend for something a bit touristy in the capital!

I also finally got a picture of Missy with Greyfriars, it's normally far too busy to try. A group of Italian tourists watched in stunned silence as I had her neatly sit and stay, at which point it suddenly sounded as though this was the most adorable thing they had ever seen as a wave of "Awww" and other such sounds were made. Missy tarted herself out afterwards as they all then wanted to pet and cuddle her. She's a daft wee thing, honestly! 

Maisie was worn through after her first bus trip and the excitement of town. So we all headed home afterwards to a relatively early night. 

Not a bad wee week! 

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Seeking a Metaphorical Umbrella

So, that little proverb about it never raining but pouring kinda sums up the last week or so.

It all started so well. We had a murder mystery planned to kick start our mini-break away and the weather was forecast to be cold but fair. All looking good.

Then the hubbies work basically blew up and I barely saw him for a week. When I did he was either a zombie or cross at something someone hadn't done and left for him.

Missy added a cracked claw into the mix with her pulled muscle (which is now almost completely better, but we're still being careful).

My sister then dropped the really bad news that her hubby was possibly being made redundant and they didnt know if he was even getting paid this month (update, he got paid, but currently we don't know if the job is safe or not)

So, I felt Missy, the hubby and I really deserved a holiday to take a break from the chaos and take a chance to get ourselves re-centred before going back out and helping support the family again. Not a lot to ask, right?

Fate deemed otherwise.

We got an early call from the Brother-in-Law who had had surgery earlier this year. He had had some stomach pains for a few days and had written them off as a pulled muscle from overdoing things. His fiancee had finally bullied him to go to hospital.
Hubby explained that it was morning rush hour, he should just get a cab as by the time we got there, it would be more than an hour to the house and probably that again to the hospital. Keep us posted.

We get down to Dumfries and stop at our first port of call, Sweetheart Abbey. It was a cold clear day and the first thing we noted was scaffolding. The hard winter had damaged the foundations so you could only walk around it and not into the property. We both quizzed each other as to wether we had seen that written anywhere (it is mentioned on the website under opening hours, but not in the main text, so we had managed to miss that).
Still, it was a nice little place to wonder about, and we explored the graveyard (Missy found no ghosts that we could see, but got very excited in the long grass - hopefully it was just mice!) and then we found our way onto a field where we could then give her a bit of a proper walk.

Next we wandered around the village of New Abbey and found the New Abbey Corn Mill which ironically ground oats, not corn. The site itself doesn't allow dogs so, after quickly discussing it with the nice gentleman in the gift shop, we managed a whistle stop tour in just over half an hour whilst Missy had her lunch and a nap in the car. It was probably the highlight of the day and we really enjoyed the old building and the water wheel. The pond is infested with an aggressive plant so the mill isn't currently working, but there was a video you could watch of it in action which was a nice alternative.

We called the day quits and, after tea and scones in a quaint little cafe, found our Airbnb. Missy instantly hit it off with the hosts dog, Willow, and we found ourselves in the most eclectic little granny flat I have ever seen. Paintings of men playing the piano hung beside sketches of naked women, copper teapots sat on the windowsill behind the bed and there were books on every topic available, from bulldogs to rubber.
There was no signal so we notified everyone that we needed to be contacted online and had an update that the BIL had gotten a bed, so we assumed that meant he was at least being looked at and wasnt sat waiting to be seen still. No worries.

Morning. There were panicked text messages from my mother in law. Missed voicemails that I was unable to achieve enough signal to receive. Hubby had the same. After much panic and trying to balance around the small house we sent the hubby out to try and find signal and see what was going on.
BIL had an abscess on his intestines, was being flushed with morphine and antibiotics. Surgery may be required. MIL was coming down the next day on the bus and didn't know where she was staying. The morning was spent researching how to get to the hospital (he'd been moved to the Western General overnight) and where she was best staying. A thirty minute bus journey from my BILs house won over the 1 hour and 40 minutes it would take from mine and she decided she was not staying at mine.

We decided to scrap our plans of going to a lighthouse as we didn't fancy the 2 hour drive anymore and had lost most of the morning. Lochmaben was scoped as our nearest castle and, whilst we knew there wasnt much of it left, we were surprised at how little remained. Again, that pesky winter had destroyed foundations and we were unable to view or wander about most of it. There were signs for a lochside walk and we decided to give it a shot. 
It started off well. There was a nice boardwalk and a bird watching hut. Then a little fairy garden.  But no signs to say how long the walk was in terms of distance. After half an hour and barely making a dent in the circumference of the loch, we finally spotted a sign - it was a two hour walk. By this point we'd run out of random conversation and small talk and I just turned to my husband.
"Do you want to go home?"
"What? No, you deserve a nice holiday."
We are both bad for that. Making ourselves miserable to make others happy. I pointed that out and was countered with a very vague shrug.
"We're just trying to kill time, neither of us are actually enjoying it. Lets go home."
He conceded and agreed it was for the best. By the time we got back to the airbnb and had the car packed (I messaged the host to explain the situation), he seemed in a much better mood. We had both agreed it was better to sit about and be anxious in the comfort of our own home than it was to be stressing about no phone signal and that something may had come up.

I cant say we were very happy about the choice, it was meant to be our holiday away together having a nice time with Missy, but at the end of the day it was only one night we lost out on, the plan having been to come back the following day originally.
Its been a weird little week. I was kinda thankful to get back to work on Thursday for the normalcy of it all if nothing else. And thats really been it. We've fitted in lots of nice local walks, but the focus has been on being on hand if we were needed.

BIL is now on oral antibiotics, and provided he keeps them down and doesn't have a seizure (I had it explained that this was the most common side effect, so they had to wait just in case) should be out in a day or two.

And that's been it. As a family unit, we're fine, its just the world around us is in chaos. It seems to calming down again, but I'm now on anxious alert mode for more trouble.

Does anyone have a sturdy umbrella I can borrow, just in case?

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!