Sometimes a break in a working routine for Ellie, and me, works wonders.
Please note the snazzy jumps.
Bob had a more gentle workout.
It took twenty minutes before she called time out.
We, are celebrating another full year of blogging. Thank you to everyone who has connected with myself and my chunky, cuddly dogs.
I was away for a few days and Bob (and Ellie) were being taken care of by my son. He took pity on Bob who does not have a very exciting life and brought him to work with him for a day. The pictures below show a very relaxed chilled out dog, letting the exertions of everyone at the gym wash over him. He was only interested in hugs, or so they thought.
However, during the afternoon, Bob decided it was time for him to take a little creative walk.
He set off, unknown to those working out.
Another athlete walking into the gym couldn’t understand why his remark created such a fuss. “I have just seen a very nice looking husky sitting patiently outside the cupcake factory door.”
Yep, you guessed it, Bob decided his new best friends were going to be the makers of some very nice cupcakes. And everyone thinks Ellie is the smart one!
I’m staring at my arm. I blink. Blink again, in the hope that I will wake up. I have to be dreaming. The painful, carefully drawn dragon that I paid good hard earned cash for some days ago, has vanished.
It began this morning. While showering, I noticed that the ink was fading.
I attempted to reason the hows and whys of this happening. Had I been conned? Money exchanged for a simple cheap tacky job. But no, I couldn’t call it either tacky or cheap and it hurt.
The tattoo was to mark the turning point in my life. I was free from him. My husband. This was to be the start of my new life and to mark it I went out and did something incredibly stupid. I got a tattoo. I had always said tattoo’s were pointless and not for those over thirty. But here I was at thirty eight complete with tattoo.
Except for one small puzzling fact. It was disappearing.
I decided to return to the scene of the crime – the tattoo shop. It was small, crowded and busy.
A fact not to be ignored given that thousands of us (Irish people) rant and rave about taxes and the loss of income, many of us compound our misery by acquiring a tattoo.
Anyway, the door bell jangles as I enter. He looks up. Squints, at me, which should have been off putting given his employment asks for keen eyesight. He scowls, then flicks the cigarette butt into a can sitting on a shelf and grunts. The current victim sitting in the chair is young, pale faced and clutching a tin of alcohol. I grimace, turn from him and face my problem.
“Lo.” He grudgingly acknowledges my presence and waves his implement of torture at me.
“I….” Clearing my throat I start again. “We have a problem. The tattoo you gave me is disappearing.”
He smiles. This is not a pleasant smile. It is a horrific metal smile. Cool and ugly.
“I want whatever you are on.” His throaty reply brings a squeak from the boy in the chair.
“Can I have some? Does it make the pain go away?”
I ignore the artists latest victim and focus on my problem.
I stare at him but he is staring at my arm. I l discover, that once again, I have a tattoo of a dragon on my arm.
“I think you should go for a sleep and relax. It looks like a nice clean job, swelling has already vanished. You will be fine.” He dismiss’ me and turns away.
I am staring at the dragon and feel the blood drain from my face. ” It’s back.” I whisper ignoring the giggling of the other occupants. I leave as quietly as I can.
However two minutes later, cutting through the park, I glance down. No tattoo. This is madness. I head for a park bench.
“I must be crazy.”
“You are not but I wouldn’t class you as being un-crazy either.” The voice is pleasant, elderly but pleasant. I look around and see nothing. Not even a cat lazing in the bushes or a bird tweeting in a tree.
Now I know I am losing my sanity.
I feel a tweak of heat on my arm and I glance down. The dragon stares up at me. He is approximately three inches tall and is breathing fire at an amazing rate.
“Please don’t do that.”
“Why? I’ve lain amongst the pages of that blasted book for ever and now that I’m free, why not?’
I shrug my shoulders and consider my answer. To give him his due I can understand his need to escape. “But it’s my arm and I would rather not be burnt.”
He smiles at me . “I’m George, by the way.” As he speaks the fair hairs on my arm are singed.
Grimacing with pain, I lean over and pluck a leafy twig from the nearest shrub. “Try this.”
He does and is happy with the result which is a black shriveled up mess in my hand. How do I know he is happy? Because he begins to dance, tap dance by the amount of pain he is inflicting on me, all the way up and down my arm and finally moves along the seat I am sitting on.
A shadow looms above me and I look up. The park keeper is standing glaring at me. “Why would you do that?”
“What?” I am really puzzled.
“Set a twig on fire.” He has yanked off his cap and is mopping his brow. His bald head is a shining example of cleanliness.
“I didn’t..” I begin.
“It was me.” George explains as he jumps onto the arm of the bench. To re inforce his point he lets out a bellow of fire that catches the end of the park keepers hanky that protrudes from his hip pocket. It goes up in smoke. He looks at me and at George. He faints, landing on the ground with a nice thud.
Standing up, I step over him saying, “looks as though life has lost its boring factor. How would you like to meet my ex husband?”
George smiles and I leave the park with him sitting on my shoulder.
Story originally posted on CC as part of a weekly challenge. – Maria.
It is really Christmas now! The internet is working and Maria can post these pics of me, Ellie and our Christmas Eve surprise.
A new house!
She of course had to try it out first,
Because I knew this was only the start of it!
Better, tastier things were yet to come,
“I am sick of red and white,” Mrs Constance Claus grumbled. Summer, her snow white cat ignored her as she was busy washing her fur.
Constance noticed the snow falling in thick clumps and the cheery red lights from the workshop didn’t lessen her bad humour.
Enda, chief elf, scurried by with the inevitible list dangling from his hand. He stopped, pivoted about and stood before Constance. “Speaking of Red and white …we are out of both,” his grin was wide.
Constance used to his sneaky sense of humor, and trickery glanced at the red ink on the white paper and said, “I suppose you mean red ink and white paper.”
“Blast,” thought I had you fooled, “but yep you are correct. Could you order some please?”
Constance smiled, nodded, and promised she would order both red ink and white paper.
That evening Constance broached the topic of red and white with her husband. He was staring morosely at the beetroot salad and poached chicken on his plate.
“I’m not happy” she began.
He frowned. “Neither am I.”
He cleared his throat, indicated his plate with what he hoped was a look of disgust,, ” with this dinner it is very …” He scratched his beard and searched for a suitable word. “Bland, boring, tedious there is only so much beetroot and white chicken one can take.”
Constance agreed adding, “Yes that is the way I feel about red and white but what can I do about it?”
“We can start by making a few changes around here” Nicky stared at his plate. “I would like to possess magic that would turn this in to steak and chips or Guinness steak pie.” He wondered if the elves would swap dinners with him.
With a start he reaised Constance, his constant Constance, was having her version of a melt down. He watched with interest as she stood then taking both plates of dinner she handed them to Bob, the dog.
Bob delighted with being remembered on such an auspicious ocassion as dinner, accepted both in two generous sized gulps. He then licked Nicky’s hand and wagged his tail at his benefactor.
Constance didn’t notice she was busy pulling out the laptop from under a mountain of lists. It opened with a grunt. She ignored its creaky protest and said,”I will start right away, no time like the present.” She raised an eyebrow challenging him to disagree only to discover her usually slow moving husband was standing before the giant fridge eyeing up today’s treat for the most productive elf – sticky toffee pudding cake.
When he returned to her side minutes later it was to present her with a slice of cake and a tub of her favorite rocky road icecream. Minutes later she was smiling. “I spent some money” Constance declared.
“Good,” he raised his eyes from his spoon long enough to ask, ‘what did we buy?”
“A microwave, a steamer and not a red or white purchase was made.” This was the only cryptic remark she made for the rest of the evening.
Nick snoozed with happy thoughts of deep fried garlic mushrooms, fish in beer batter and dough-nuts a banned treat for the past six months, since he won the dough nut eating contest to raise money for a save the reindeer charity.
However Nick’s dreams did not come true. The next evening he was staring at chicken salad. He looked from the plate to his wife and back again. His beard wobbled with sadness.
“It’s a salad.” Constance told him, ” A smiling happy rainbow salad.”
“Oh great. ” He stabbed the carrots, cucumber, and began to chew while dreaming of steaming pots of cheese fondue with stacks of potato crisps sitting on the side.
One week later there was a delivery made to the north pole. This, the elves declared was not good. They were in a twirling mess because products left their store room. Nothing ever came back, ever. The triplets, Slim, Noel and Sam were arguing about whose shoddy work was responsible for such a disaster. Enda’s voice silenced them. “I think this is the first time in history we received a parcel, not to mention a whole truckful of parcels and none of them are for us, they are all for Constance.”
Twenty four elves swivelled about in their seats to catch a glimpse of Constance and Summer who were making their way across the square into the giant storeroom.
Constance looked happy, more than happy, Slim thought she was about to cry with happiness. “Ohh they came. I am so happy, please put them in my workroom.”
The curious elves did as she requested though some tried to linger after the parcels were lined up in her room. For the next two days everyone was far too busy to wonder about Constance’s mysterious parcels. Christmas was about to happen and in the north pole this meant every elf was acting like a super hero elf. As Enda reminded them, “In this highly populated world it is our duty to make sure every child receives something. And we will not fail them. The production line must move faster, breaks will be shorter. Elves we have only 36 hours more to Christmas Day.”
“Turkey day,” the triplets said and sprang into action. For the next thirty six hours they worked around the clock in shifts of twelve hours with a five hour break to eat, and sleep.
It was a close finish but they managed it.
Their last chore was to squeeze Santa into his sleigh and persuade Bob that perhaps he would be more useful as an anchor dog in the back keeping a protective eye on the goods to be delivered.He didn’t look impressed. He was sitting in the front until a large bone landed in the back of the sleigh and Bob moved to the rear.
The elves waved their delivery sleigh off and sank into an exhausted heap on the workroom floor. Constance appeared with a generous sized tray filled with cookies, donuts, hot chocolate and reindeer shaped marshmallows. She didn’t relax until every elf in the north pole was snoring their hearts out. Then she picked up her phone and dialled her friends.
When Enda walked into the great hall the following morning to inspect the green christmas tree and its silver and red decorations. He let out a roar, “Vandals.” Before Constance could stop him he alerted the elves. Thirty seconds later they stood before the tree, distressed, crying and in shock. For the glitter filled hall looked like a rainbow coloured scene from a Disney movie.
Summer had been given a makeover as well, she was a delightful shade of blue. She seemed to like it and strutted about waving her tail.
“Why?” Enda bellowed.
There was silence.
Then Constance stepped into the middle of the hall. “Why not?” She held up her hand to silence the outburst of answers. “We have carried on this tradition for over six hundred years. Six hundred years of red and white. I am the custodian of the hall and I have decided from now on , each year one elf will be chosen to create a different scene in the hall. Why we could even put on a play”
The elves were not appeased.
She continued,” We are becoming stunted and stuck in a rut. Let us remember how to have fun. Wander around and see what I have done then after breakfast you may each seek me out and make your complaints.”
Slim stood staring up at her. He adored Constance, she could do no wrong in his book. “I am game to give it a shot, I am not boring or stuck in a rut.” And he marched off, behind the giant multicoloured tree. Seconds later his laughter filled the hall, “catch me if you can find me.” Enda looked high amongst the rafters and smiled. “I want a go.” Because Slim was paragliding high above them.
Soon the hall was filled with the sounds of elves having fun. Like penquins a group were sliding down a huge slide to land in a pile of multi coloured sweets and treats of a chocolate kind. Others were climbing a candy rock wall which filled the lower hallway. Hours later they were a little worried when they couldn’t find Sam. The elves were having a rest sitting on the edge of a giant warm water pool. A gurgling sound from the pool alerted them, they swung about to find Sam, wearing a dive suit complete with mask and snorkel. “Can you not see what I have found down here, magical marshmallows. ” He held up a giant sparkly marshmallow and then lifted his mask to allow him to take a giant bite. “Delish. And there is tons more of them.”
Marshmallows kept the fun going for a few hours. Exhausted and sticky they gathered in the middle of the hall. The same dreadful thought arrived in each of the elves heads as their stomachs gurgled.
“Dinner, we didn’t put it in the oven!” Their thundering feet echoed through the building. They met Constance licking her lips walking from the kitchen. “No panic I cooked dinner last night I simply need someone to finish setting the table and we are all ready to go.”
But to her dismay no one moved. “I can’t eat cold Christmas dinner today is not the 26th. Cold leftovers are for the 26th not for Christmas dinner.” They wailed.
She merely smiled at them and said, “You got to start trusting me. I am not a fan of cold Christmas dinner and todays is piping hot, I promise.”
Minutes later the air was filled with loud pinging sounds. Constance emerged carrying huge trays of piping hot turkey, ham and huge vats of stuffing and potatoes. “A giant microwave or several if I am honest.”
So it was that Christmas 2015 became a turning point in the elves life for it wasn’t only children who got to have fun and stay up late. Santa was a little preturbed that nobody thought to wait for him but a few rounds of the obstacle course and many many marshmallows later he was smiling as brightly as any star.
Bob was happy nobody had thought to remove the marshmallows, his challenge was to eat as many as he could without bursting.
Halloween was full of scary surprises
Firstly no internet, secondly loads of callers to my door so Bob received no treats.
I hope you all had a great Halloween.
I enjoyed Christmas, the Turkey was awesome but something even better happened this morning. Jack frost is back….
Though some dogs do get a little excited about it
But not this cool dog.
Because I know where the day is always heading…..
But using me as a cushion is a tad too much, don’t you agree?
Have a great New Year see you all in 2015,
a little lunch, a little wine, a LOT of talking!
Food Photography & Recipes
the musings of a long distance Aunt