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.