A place to hide

Lately we have noticed that in the hotter days of Summer (yes, we do get a few here in Ireland), both dogs appear to disappear.

So I investigated. His loud snoring does have one advantage.

And discovered a really neat house.

The weeping willow has grown and its drooping curtain of branches forms a perfect hideaway for both dogs. Though, I did get the impression someone was not happy that I discovered their secret.

 

Bob on exercise

We took the (home made) agility gear out and Ellie did her usual, raced over jumps, through the tunnel and kept on going for a few laps until she had taken the tunnel apart.

the best way to use buckets.

We spent quite a bit of time trying to persuade the Bob to have a go. There was no treats in my pocket so the best he could manage was – a roll over!

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Summer Fruits

The problem with a big garden is you spend most of your time in it weeding. Sitting in it and reading are dreams of the future when life calms down.

So with June’s great burst of sunshine we were happy to discover fruit! Strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants trotted out – together. I am not complaining and neither are my two four legged friends who, as you can see, enjoy the fruits of the summer.

Bob, loves strawberries and Ellie loves raspberries, so we generally get to eat all the blackcurrants!

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I know she dropped one

 

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If I am very quiet…then…

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Caught!

 

What we brought to the School visit,

We brought a lot of goodies, a lot of preparation (which went straight out the window) and of course the main attraction – The Schoolhouse.

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Once the 2nd Class students saw him, it was question and answer time. And all of the good advice we got was spot on.

We did need plenty of water, tea and coffee afterwards.

The questions were interesting, “Did you always want to be famous?” This one had us dancing on the moon.

“Were did you get your idea from?” This was asked of both Sara and myself, along with, “How exactly do you pronounce your name?” and then out of the blue, “What is your favorite color?” & “I scored for our football team last week.”

Yes it was a fast and furious session.

We were impressed by the fact they all expected a sequel to the book, in fact many.

Colin, their teacher had set them all interesting projects to work on – for example they each had to draw one or two of the smaller characters featured in the book.

It was a terrific learning session for both of us and we enjoyed our visit. In fact we learnt as much from them as they did from us. We left feeling ten feet tall.

I would like to thank the Principal Ms. Ava Boyle and Colin Wickham, for allowing us the opportunity of meeting such a great bunch of kids. And yes I would encourage other authors and illustrators to step out from behind the pages of their books to go meet their readers.

Their review has since appeared on Amazon.co.uk

5*

Absolutely brilliant! Great novel to use for school children.
Review written by:
Second Class Navan Educate Together NS

We are a school in Navan, a town in Ireland. We read “The Runaway Schoolhouse” by Maria Matthews in May 2017. The pupils in our class are aged 7, 8 and 9 years old.
We could not be happier about the book. We found it extremely funny. There are lots of exciting adventures that the Schoolhouse Clearie, the teachers and the pupils get up to.
We all really enjoyed reading the novel and would recommend it to any child, teacher or school who wishes to use it for lessons.
“The Runaway Schoolhouse” even made some of us cry with laughter.

Would definitely recommend the book to any teacher to use it for English and Art lessons, it’s jam packed with a creative, funny and unpreditable story line and the pupils in our class were captivated by the novel.

As a teacher I will certainly be using this novel again in future classes!

Dogs are always pups

For some dogs never grow up and we have plenty of shredded evidence. I bought Bob a soft rug . It lasted two days, so I resorted to making dog duvets for him from old (washed) duvets. 

Now I don’t know what to try next, as you can see she (Ellie) shreds everything. And  Bob? He patiently waits to see if he will be left with anything to lie on.

Double Trouble for Constance Claus.

Double Trouble for Constance Claus.

Constance Claus loves Christmas as much as she loves her husband but, every year from November until December 26th a disaster happens. And at his tremendous age, Santa hated problems. Constance tried to plan ahead as, let’s be honest; most people like to have a trouble free life.

Last year it was the missing gingerbread recipe. The recipe was ancient, almost as old as the cook who had the job of baking five million perfectly formed gingerbread houses. Every inch of the North Pole was searched. This meant the elves were hungry, a lot more than usual and so Constance spent most of her days cooking and preparing meals. If, she often reasoned afterwards, if she hadn’t been busy feeding the hungry elves, then she would have solved the puzzle earlier.  She found it – under the cook’s hat. It had risen as high as his pastry and was stuck to the top of it.

This year she began her anti disaster plan in July. The first thing she did was to make certain there was a copy of the recipe on her tablet. Next, she checked there was an awesome mountain of buttons for the Minion’s dungarees,then, enough paint for the rocking horses and on and on her list went. But she with the help of chief elf Enda,  worked their way through it.

So by the second week of November she was wondering if she could finally relax.

The workshop was thundering through the long menu of toys and electrical gadgets that needed to be made. The new computer department was turning out to be a great addition as the technicians had rigged up a mechanical serving belt which brought the food straight from the kitchen to the tables at lightening speed.

“Too fast for me,” moaned Santa as yet again he was too slow to collect his dinner off the moving belt and it whizzed on to Slim who snagged it.

But dear you are looking all the trimmer for it,” Constance said.

She was sitting before a pretty log fire with Summer, her cat, snoozing on her lap, when her walls began to shake and rumble. Strange, thought Constance. However, when the rumbling increased she jumped to her feet and went to investigate. Summer slid to the ground, shook himself and went off to find a more reliable less jumpy cushion to snooze on.

Constance wondered if Santa and the elves were playing a trick on her so she was a little wary of opening her front door. This was just as well, because when she opened it a chunk of snow slid off the roof and landed on her doorstep.

“This won’t do,” Constance muttered and picked her way through the mountain of snow.

Then she stopped and stared. She giggled because she couldn’t help it. The reindeers were playing dodge the snowball. And due to their very heavy appearance they were making the ground shake and groan under their hooves.

She frowned. “This is terrible, Rudolph you are looking a little chunky tonight.” She mused and then stopped and sniffed the air. He smelt of chocolate and something else. She stared at him.

“Is that marshmallow sticking to your coat?” He backed away and looked at her with huge sad eyes.

She went back inside but instead of sitting in her comfortable chair she peeped out the window.  She noticed some of the reindeer sniff the air and stroll off towards the elves living room. Constance decided to follow.

In the  elves living room she discovered the elves were having a snack. They had taken their shoes off and were sitting before a huge fire toasting smores. “Where did you learn how to do that?” She asked Santa who was managing to toast four at a time.

“Internet.” He said, “Try some. They are delish.”

She tilted her head to one side, “how long have you been doing this?

“Oh only a week or two. It’s just that we get so hungry with the extra work. It is a nice way to relax and we tell stories then head to bed.”

She looked around the room and noticed many of the elves were already asleep in their chairs. Just then the door opened and a young reindeer entered. He walked straight to a sleeping elf and very gingerly took the uneaten smore from the elf’s hand before moving to the next elf.

Constance did not want to be a spoilsport but she was worried. The reindeer needed to be fit and Santa, she knew would eat until his suit was close to bursting.

Over the next two weeks no matter what she did, the reindeer always found a way into the elves sitting room. She wondered if they were paying the elves to leave a door open. No, that is totally silly, she decided.

It was December and the workshop was producing toys at a frantic rate.

There was a “bang” followed by a “pop” and everything stopped. There was a shocked silence. Enda shouted, “lets find the fault.” An hour later they knew the problem. The generator couldn’t produce enough electrical power.

“We need to produce more electricity.It’s knackered.” Was the final statement from their workshop maintenance team.

“Right early lunch and lets chew on it.” Santa said.

Constance went for a walk. She always thought better when left to think by herself. Rudolph accompanied her, with Summer sitting on his back.

“I know you are trying to get fit and slim Rudolph but it is not working. You need a high intensity work out. Cross fit for Reindeers, I think.”

She let the thought rattle about in her head for a while and when she returned to the workshop she called the maintenance team to her.

Three days later the workshop was breaking all production records.

Enda said, “Thank you Constance for your brilliant idea.”

Constance beamed at  him. “You are welcome. I think almost everyone is happy.”

Enda grinned. “Well if Santa insists on eating so much then he has no choice. He can’t have it all his own way, even if his name is Santa.”

They both looked over at the line of reindeer waiting their turn to get on the exercise wheel. Beyond the exercise wheel there was another line of reindeer happily munching on smore flavored hay.  Santa walked alongside the reindeer. A giant pedometer declared, “well done Santa just 5,000 more steps to earn a whole smore this evening.”

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Santa wasn’t too worried as he had a date on the 25th with a dog called Bob who was currently stashing marshmallows in his Christmas stocking in exchange for jelly babies.

 

 

 

Progression report from a 50 something gym attendee

Progression report from a 50 something gym user.

I was persuaded by a friend, Moira G, to take her Kettlebell classes a couple of years ago. I did, she was a tough but great teacher and I enjoyed it. Since then things progressed.

My husband became more health conscious and started coming to T-rex classes with me, then he went on to strength and conditioning. I was persuaded to try these classes and we enjoyed the classes. We thought we were doing well, getting fit, strong and more flexible.

Then we were persuaded to try  Crossfit…. which is another realm of fitness entirely. I thought, ‘what the heck, I’ll give it a go and no doubt they will snigger at this hopeless inflexible Irish eejit, I will blush and retire gracefully.’

The first class was an eye opener, learning how to lift correctly, learn new techniques, and learn what a WOD is (basically a fifteen intense – killer- workout). We left feeling very unfit and the next morning very sore. Far from being sniggered at we were applauded by the younger generations for trying it. Yes, we decided we need more of these classes.

Since then I have seen the world from a different angle (standing on my head).  Learnt the difference between clean, clean and jerk, snatch, dead lift etc. More importantly I have learnt my limits and accepted them. I am happy to achieve a level of fitness and attempt to stay healthy and fit.

Has anyone else become a crossfit addict?

Because we have and we are not the oldest members in the gym, though we often feel it.

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Here is a picture of some of the younger enthusiastic members with the two coaches showing off either side of the group.

Maria’s Stuff: Mission Statement – Do we have one?

I have been reading a lot about blogging, and have stumbled upon a simple enough statement that makes sense on reading it – Every blog should have a mission statement. It, I am told, will help keep us on track towards our goal. This led me to ask: what is my goal? What is Bob’s goal?

I looked at Bob

Hisilicon K3

and smiled. His goals are simple; eat, sleep and be hugged.

Ellie’s are different, as everyone knows, her life revolves around tennis balls, socks, being busy and…. Bob.

ippellie large with socks in mouth

Which leaves me.  I sat at the keyboard fingers poised struggling to find the elusive mission statement.

Thoughts were flitting through my head working on a treadmill as I struggled with a mission statement.

I started blogging to get me writing, improve my photography skills and have fun. In the past ten years my children have flitted past the ages of 21, so I reasoned, I should have plenty of free time. However, time is being gulped up by many part time volunteering ventures, working part time, dog training for S & R, and all the usual wifely duties. I wonder if I am doing too much flitting and not enough focusing. Trouble is what do I cut out to make time for writing etc? They are all good causes, and worse still – I have fun attempting to do what I can.

So I will start again:  My blog is about finding fun while helping others and writing about it because at the end of the day age is simply a number it doesn’t define us neither should it limit us or stop us exploring this incredible world. Phew! It is a mouthful.

Perhaps I should try again?

Does anyone have a simple mission statement?

Besides Bob!

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Funny things happen in the rain in Ireland

For one thing, we are so used to rain that we just continue on as normal. If we get wet, well then eventually, we will get dry and then wet again. So on it goes in a circle.

Even dogs carry on as normal, in their own particular way as you can tell from the following pictures.

Ellie continues on as normal looking for anything to play with, then cools off in the river.

 

Judy, just heads to the river to swim, chase balls, sticks and generally have fun.

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And Bob, well, he just finds a nice quiet spot, where he can watch the fun and they can come back and talk to him.

 

Strange things happen in Summer

Irish Summers mean many things to many people but in this house Summer makes dogs do unusual things.

And we seem to attract them in all sizes and shapes,

This one loves….

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Wheelbarrows

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And some are a mystery, in this case  a wet pup

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His missing sister solved the puzzle of how he got wet

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It was bath time,

which explained why Bob was last seen

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Running!

Yes strange things happen in Summer