Saturday, 24 February 2018

Treasure Hunting in Linlithgow

This is actually our second attempt at the Linlithgow Treasure Trail - we were snowed off the first time after 6 questions and decided to go sledging instead!

For take two, we had the in-laws through for a visit and, as it finally felt like spring was on the cards, we decided to give the treasure trail another go. As I've said before, we always do the kids quizzes when visiting places, so the idea of following a list of directions and clues in order to solve a puzzle at the end was right up our street. Getting to walk around and really explore Linlithgow for the first time was also an added bonus.

We all started just outside the palace and followed the directions given to find the solutions to each question. The trail took us up to the canal, back to the old courthouse, across to a church none of us knew existed before going around the peel (giving both Missy and Flash a chance to stretch their legs) and finishing up where we started. At a little over two hours (we did stop to read all the signs ) it made a very good dog walk for us all that was a bit more interesting and different. The company makes loads of them for just about everywhere, so expect more of them in the future!

The rest of the week has been taken up with a trip to London and then straight back into work and off to see friends! Speaking of friends, Missy is to have another 'cousin' - some very good friends of ours are getting a shiba inu puppy and I absolutely cant wait for the play dates! At 8 weeks old, we're going to have to wait a bit first, but I'm already super excited about it. Missy is terribly good with puppies (she just lets them wriggle all over her and mostly ignores the attention) so I'm looking forward to it.

Not much else to say this week, just a quick post. Was at a 'stash clearance' craft fair and may have bought some fabric and very old dress patterns from the 80s, so I think I'm going to start putting together a new project before the day is done!

Hmm...perhaps a puppy blanket...

Friday, 16 February 2018

A Wee Trip South

With some holiday time due to us, the hubby and I decided to pop down south and see my sister before she goes back to work from having her baby. With her menagerie (3 cats, 1 tarantula, 1 snake and 2 small children) we did discuss about bringing Missy and, based on her good behaviour on her last visit, we decided to give it a try and stay for a long weekend.

We decided to spend our first full day together at the East Lancashire Railway - they were running a steam event which is always a fun day and, being dog friendly, meant that we could wear Missy out. We all enjoy steam trains, Missy is always made a fuss of, both the men are engineers and kids just love steam trains.
We may have accidentally brought the bad weather with us. No one expected snow so our plans of the adventure park on route were canned and we settled for trundling up to the end of the line before coming back and stopping in Ramsbottom for a wander and lunch. We found some craft goodies (sister is an avid knitter and I got some nice fabric) before we found an absolutely wonderful pet shop where we were recommended a pub that was both dog and child friendly (often easier said than done!) Then it was back on the train and a trundle back home.

Dust bunny cupcakes
We are all massive geeks and our evenings once the kids had went to bed were spent either playing on the Switch or trying out a role-playing game called No Thank you Evil, which I picked up for my sister to try with my niece. They wanted to trial it before playing with her and the hubby and I agreed to be guinea pigs and give it a go. As she normally does cthullu type role play, I did my absolute best to make it saccharine sweet - I think a purple two tailed fox called Sugar-Star who manically produces cake from her hat and makes people cuddle just about broke my sister, but she managed! My hubby settled on being a lost sock with his dust bunny companion - since the characters had been mocked up in advance, I put together some dust bunny cakes and 'compassion cookie's' from my character - both game and treats went down very well, I'm pleased to say!

With the poor weather, we decided on the Blue Planet Aquarium for the other full day. Missy was tired from her day on the train and so I gave her a good long walk in the morning before she was safely locked into the conservatory. I need to stress here that it's actually the cats picking on the dog that was the concern, so for her own safety we picked a room that could be securely shut!
The aquarium has been on my hit list for a while now, and I was very pleased with it. There was lots of exhibits and tanks for the wee ones to run between, and plenty enough in them to satisfy the adults who are actually looking at the tanks. I think the aquatheatre was the highlight for me - you could actually appreciate the size of the fish and sharks without them being distorted by the acrylic tunnel. My neice decided that the sting rays were the best bit and nephew appeared to just like all of it!

Tuesday was pancake day - so before setting off home we had to do pancakes. Brother in law is diabetic, so as I had commandeered the kitchen, we decided on savoury crepes and just ran with it from there. I'm a traditionalist and it has to be sugar and lemon juice, my sister and neice dabbled with chocolate spread and bananas and the boys had bacon. Brother in law invented the Elvis pancake (peanut butter, banana and bacon) and I think Missy was the only other one who fancied it! My nephew slept through his first pancake day, but there will be plenty of opportunities in the future!
Certainly, the trip went well enough that I think we'll be down again in the future!

Friday, 9 February 2018

Time Flies

Four years! This week marks four whole years since Missy waltzed into my life and decided to make herself the centre of it. I had a look through my previous adoptiversary post, and even on the very first post of the blog, and realised that I have never actually relayed the story of how Missy chose us.

The hubby grew up with greyhounds and lurchers and, whilst I have a soft spot to mongrels owing to the little mutt that was my childhood pet, I liked the idea of getting a dog and knowing what I was going to get. There are several rescue greyhound centres about the place, so we decided that the time was right and we'd go window shopping at some dogs and see if there was anyone who would fit into our lives perfectly. Of course, I over analyse everything, so by this point I had put more thought into this greyhound that I was going to own than most people do about having children - I'd scoped out dog walkers, I'd decided on what would be the best local walk and the nearest nice bigger walks, I had a short list of names and had exactly where I wanted the bed and the bowl to go.

So we looked at the greyhounds, had a very nice chat with the people running the place and they effectively matched us to the dogs. We took a lovely black pair on a walk and said we wanted to think about it before committing, but I didn't get that feeling of window shopping. I remember vividly the day my sister and I walked through the kennels staring at all the puppies before we were struck the need to have just that one there, the wee one with the diamond...
And I never got that feeling. The hubby too, I could tell something was up and relayed my thoughts. I was surprised at his response.
He wanted to go get a real rescue. Something from a pound. Did we have one of those? He too recalled walking through kennels and looking at all the sorry dogs wanting homes, but rather than that element of finding the right one on sight that I had longed for, he wanted to find the right dog he wanted to rescue.

So to the Edinburgh Dog and Cat home we went. I laid down ground rules on route, knowing my hubby is a complete sap and would pick the most flea bitten thing he could - no projects, I understand whatever we pick will have issues, but no long term projects, we did not have the time to train an aggressive or mentally upset dog, we needed one we could trust near children and other animals.

And so we walked through the kennels. First the boys and then the girls. There was dozens of excited little faces and wagging tails. The noise was terrific and then, in all the chaos, sitting peacefully on her own and just watching us calmly, was 515. Fresh off the streets and not yet named.

She's friendly. We were assured. The rottie that shrunk in the wash was the joke. I was smitten already and didn't want to get too close - I hadn't thought until just then that we might take to different dogs. The hubby popped his hands through the bars and the little stray looked at him before hopping onto her back feet and gently putting her paw into his hand.

Yes, you two will do, was written plain as day across those little brown eyes.

I think it's safe to say that none of us have looked back since!

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Gotta Love a Bargain!

Firstly, it was farewell to the baby plecs. Our original estimate of 80-100 was wildly out, and we handed in something more in the region of 150 - 200 babies. It took almost an hour to get them out of the nursery tank and I'm already dreading the job of fishing out the next set of babies will be for the much larger, full of lots of stuff, main tank. Yep, no sooner have I handed these little guys away when a new clutch of eggs have been laid. The male has cottoned on to my idea, and this time had the female lay her eggs on the glass, so there is absolutely no way to retrieve them out.

Plecs 1 - 0 Me

Not much to talk about out-and-about-wise, the weather has been gruesome and its finally beaten us all, even Missy cant be bothered with the rain any more. She's still walking plenty, and chasing all the squirrels, but we just haven't managed anywhere new or exciting. With the hubby working this weekend, I decided today was the perfect day to get cracking on with some projects - namely a new tee-pee cover:

So this was my bargain. I found two single bed sheets at £1.20 each in Asda, which gave me enough fabric to make a spare cover for the tee-pee. I'm always on the look out for cheap sheets - generally I wouldn't make anything super-detailed out of sheets, but they are great for projects that need a big chunk of fabric (petticoats, the underside of quilts, general lining etc etc).
Whilst I prefer her white one cover, Missy has managed to shake mud all over it and it sorely needs washed. Its still far too cold to just leave her bed bare and open to the night time elements, so I had to make another cover before I could wash the old one. Whilst I loved the butterfly print, I quickly panicked that it may have been too loud for the hallway, and perhaps the purple underside would be better. The solution? Why, make it fully reversible!

Fortunately, my panic was for nothing, and the butterfly side isn't nearly as loud as I thought it was going to end up being. Making it reversible was worth the extra effort as I'm really pleased with the final finish of this one, the seams are neat and the top stitching has come out perfect. And who knows, I might fancy it fully purple another time! I had another bonus with the fabric, there was a pillowcase with each sheet, and a sizeable enough portion of scrap fabric left. What to do, what to do?

Make a matching quilt of course! So, for 3 hours work and £2.40 (I had scrap batting lying about), that's a tee-pee cover and a quilt. I kid you not - this dog of mine has a cooler, more coordinated bedroom than I do! Spoiled rotten doesn't come close enough.

Missy hasn't given it a road test yet, she's quite happily sleeping on the sofa. She takes her job of quality checking all my fabric (read that as walking over and lying on every piece I place on the floor) very seriously, and has worn herself out!

Just a short post today, hope your all having nice weekends!