Bob & Friends

It takes all sorts to make a family.

These few words prompted an idea for a photo with Bob.

But he wasn’t having any of it. As you can see,

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Just when I had them all set – he starts this, head shaking – him who normally never moves!

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Even Ellie looks annoyed with him.

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My Favourite things

I should have added and not of a chocolate kind. The reason being there was a time when I was addicted to chocolate.

Back to the topic.  My top five favourite things:

  1. Reading with the company of two foot warmers (Ellie and Bob)
  2. Writing with the encouraging sounds of musical snores from Bob and Ellie
  3. Walking on a beach regardless of the weather. We have even done this as a family on Christmas day or St. Stephens day mainly due to asthmatic son.
  4. An evening out with friends
  5. Receiving a review for a story or a book.

Pretty straightforward and simple, and the weird thing is I believe if I won a huge sum of money, they wouldn’t change.

So what is your top 5?

Have a great Halloween.

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Our favorite things, by Bob & Ellie

Some of this list will not be a surprise to many people.

Bob’s top 5 favourite things

  1. A soft cushion to lie on – important for aging creaking bones – even if I sometimes roll off it.mde
  2. A bone to crunch on – the crunching reminds our two legged friends that we are still here.
  3. Sunshine and kids, – Sunshine provides much needed heat and the kids provide much needed treats. (M has me on a diet again.)
  4. Dinner – I dream in food in particular, strawberries.wp-image-1108616780jpg.jpg
  5. A hug – who doesn’t like a hug?

Ellie’s top 5 favourite things,

1 . She doesn’t care what size or colour but specifies there should be plenty of tennis balls

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2   Play time –

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3. Working, particularly in wooded areas

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4.  Boat trips, they come in handy for collecting lost in the river tennis balls.

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5.  Bob!

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Where did I get the idea for my first childrens book?

  The Runaway Schoolhouse, or the idea for it, simply didn’t appear in a light bulb moment. It sort of crept up on me. I was working as a Children’s Athletics Development Officer for 20 hours a week. I was part of a team of three. I loved the three years that we travelled the highways and byways, (some of them in circles as I frequently got lost) to promote kids to get active. The three of us were and still are passionate about the advantages of taking exercise no matter your age. Anyway, the most frequently heard comment on a Monday morning from a class of kids, was, “I wish I didn’t have to come to school.” I heard it so often that I began to play with the idea of what would happen if they arrived but all was not as it should be.

Until one day I casually asked, “what would you do if the school was not here when you arrived!”

The look of disbelief, followed by pure joy at such a possibility,  was enough to convince me it was a mad idea, but mad enough for a book.

And so it began a three-year stint of writing, editing, sending out letters searching for an agent, publisher or any passing alien to show an interest in my whacky book.  And it is a little crazy.  Here is an excerpt:

CHAPTER 4

CLEARIE was learning to make the most of every moment. He liked sitting on the smooth sand but a tiny part of him envied those with fingers and toes because he longed to experience the tickling feeling of sand and water. Still, he reasoned, this is an adventure.

He didn’t like the conversation between the adults who remained outside discussing the “problem.” They considered taking him apart and carrying his bricks back onto the hillside or getting a giant crane to move him. Both methods sounded nasty to him.
He tried to ignore them by concentrating on the sound of fish jumping in the water and birds hopping about on the sand; but he found that their loud voices carrying on the wind, made it impossible.
You would think with all their education they would question WHY I moved.
He waited to see what would happen next.
To his amusement, Mrs Brown got on her knees beside his front door to peer at the gap beneath his floor. He wondered if she were silly enough to think he had grown feet! When she stood she realised her knees were sandy and complained loudly about the horrible, gritty feeling. Clearie wondered what gritty felt like.
At breaktime, he noted that the children, unlike the teachers, were barefoot on the beach, but they put their shoes and socks back on their feet when they went back to class.
Clever children, silly teachers, he thought.

 

True or False?

On our travels we have learnt to treasure those unexpected moments that could be seen as potentially disastrous or something else. We always choose something else.

Dubrovnik.

Our trip was a much planned guided walking trip of the islands. We began in Dubrovnik

On Sunday 24th September we were to walk to the museum situated at the Imperial fort on Srđ mountain. An arduous climb to the top but we were assured the views would make it worthwhile. All went well until we were a mere 60 meters away from the top of the mountain. The rain arrived in lorry loads, drowning those of us who wore rain jackets. We sought refuge in the museum and then the restaurant at the top of the mountain.

I was a little relieved to hear, “the van is coming to get us and we can continue in the old town.”

“Great” everyone of us eight minions replied.

However, when we were dropped close to the entrance of the old town, the rain didn’t lessen ……it intensified.

We ran from the van to the nearest largest shop… an ice cream shop. The owner was calling people in from the rain and then apologised that he would have to close the concertina glass doors. So here we stood, five deep, eating ice cream watching the rising rainwater creep towards the door of our shelter. Some, led by Pirrka, danced happily to the music provided.

I had my back to an inner kitchen door. The owner brushed past me apologising, again, for the rain, and then hastily pushed one employee who was dressed from head to toe in professional rain wear outside. Next came a large panel of timber. To much cheering the poor young guy stood before the entrance holding the timber at an angle to divert the racing river from the doorway. IMG_7849

With a toss of his head and a sigh, the owner vanished into the back room again. There was  the sound of a loud discussion followed by the entrance of another young and very fit looking employee (as noted by every woman) carrying yet another board. However, this guy was dressed in jocks, teeshirt and socks!

After the initial shock the watching crowd of minions cheered as one as he bravely  pushed his way out into the now seven inch high river of water walking out of sight away from the shop, carrying his board. All the while his fellow employee stood outside diverting the tide from the door.

One ice cream later and the door opened. Scantily dressed employee re entered grabbed another board and vanished. On his third journey outside, a debate broke out amongst the watchers.

“Where the heck is he going? And what is happening to the boards?”

This one thought echoed around the spectators. A lone Irish voice beside me declared,

“There can only be one sane answer. He is running a surfing school and the eejits he is teaching are coming off the boards so he has to keep restocking the equipment!”

I mean what other explanation could there be? Thoughts as usual will be welcomed and answered.

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Maria’s Kindle Deal

Starting today and running for seven days Moving On is on Kindle deal on Amazon.com 3DBook-Promo-Mockup

The first two chapters are available on Bob’s site to read. The links are: Chapter 1

And Chapter 2

For readers, writers or those who prefer Author.

Writing tips from author and pop culture writer Jennifer Keishin Armstrong.

via Advice from Bestselling Author Jennifer Keishin Armstrong — Discover

How Children Learn From Dogs.

A very commonsense and logical post,

Waggy Tales

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 A relationship with a well trained dog  can teach a child

Manners

Caring

Trust

Gentleness

Responsibility

Empathy

Patience

Compassion

However, some important points need to be considered before introducing a pet to small children.

The child must be old enough to respect the dog’s space and to not accidentally hurt him by pulling fur etc . Never leave a child and dog unsupervised no matter how much you feel you know your dog. Animals are unpredictable, accidents happen. Also, a young child can’t understand a dogs behaviour and body language like an adult can.

Dogs have a pack mentality. Usually, they would consider an adult in the family the pack leader, with children lower down the family hierarchy. A dog may perceive a child to be on the same level, or even lower in the pack order, as himself. This might mean that the dog has difficulty taking instruction from a child.

Teach the child…

View original post 175 more words

Say Yes and …

I was asked to enter Ellie in a contest called Nose of Tralee. The idea behind the contest is to let people see the amazing lives these animals who are re-homed or rescued can have with their new forever families.

Saying yes, was the easy bit because then I learned that a photograph or photographs of her were needed. That meant giving her a bath, which means I have to catch her, bath her, blow dry her and then clean the bathroom and finally clean me.

So it was done. Then to my surprise many people voted for her and she is now her County Nose of Tralee. Great I thought, until the sash arrived and more photographs were needed, which meant another bothersome bath. Being Ellie each photo session meant more and more items were gathered by me to persuade her to sit still until I ended up with this…

 

It took forever to get her to look at me but when it was done, I went in search of the main man -Bob. He had given up waiting for his photo to be taken and was snoozing. I woke him and this is the awful look he gave me!

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Go away, I am not moving.

 

If you have a moment, because after all the washing and bathing I would appreciate a vote, the link to vote for her is: Ellie

Thank you,

Ssshh, Don’t tell Fred!

I help out in a local kennels as some of you know. Last time the owner was going was on holidays a problem developed with one of the pups, he had a mild skin condition. “Don’t worry, ” we were told, ” he has finished his medicine and he will be fine.”

He was correct the pup was fine, because – Peggy and me held a conference which entailed the dietary needs of a young dog who was getting over the trauma of losing some of its hair. The result was a special diet and a bath in oatmeal water. It worked, the pup’s coat was the softest we had ever felt. He moved on to his forever home and from what we hear he is never leaving.

Last week just before Fred took off on a few days break, one of the labrador’s was very ill. His weight plummeted. He visited the vet, was diagnosed and antibiotics prescribed.

When the antibiotics were finished, he still  had no appetite,

” Don’t worry,” Fred began. Peggy and I – looked at each other, and tuned out.

The plane hadn’t taxied out of Dublin airport when the debate started.  This time we tried coaxing him to eat by trying tasty foods first.

That is by working our way through all the things we did to coax our kids to eat. The result was a visit to our local health shop, butchers, organic vegetable grower and fishmongers.

A little scrambled egg, no go. Special vegan dish featuring broccoli and carrots – no.

Yoghurt and Manuka Honey, separately then mixed together still didn’t get a result. (Why Manuka? Well we couldn’t find any local honeycombs for sale.)

Organic beef stew – (no onions of course) No.

We were desperate but Peggys last suggestion was a tad different – Jelly but no icecream?

Needless to say, the lab eventually gave in to our coaxing (demands?) and began to tuck into his hot roast chicken dinner, even if it looked a little like an all you can eat buffet for one.

Still It worked. So we admit we are both relieved that this four legged friend is now eating a little more each day.

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I know we sound a little bit nutty, (Crazy) but if it works ??