Curiosity

Now that the elder dog (Bob) no longer can walk beyond the end of the next house’s driveway, Ellie’s morning walks are a little more varied. However, we do see some curious things as we saunter along.

Take this pair, they would not stop following us or cock a doodle dooing!

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Ellie shook her head at me and moved on.

Then we spotted this guy sitting at the side of the road:

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She positively glared at him and turning on her heel walked home for breakfast!

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Hot days, Cool dogs.

August is in and the days are rolling by, Bob is astounding everyone with his determination to reach his 14th birthday. It helps that he avoids exercise, seeks the coolest place in the garden or house and ignores those visitors who have a high energy output.

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We abandoned him last night to have a rare night out. We packed a picnic, rug, fold up seats and went to Tullynally Castle located just outside of Castlepollard. The aim of the evening was to be entertained by a Sherlock Holmes who dun it play. And entertained we were. So much so that few photos were taken. The evening was balmy, warm and not too sunny, perfect for eating and relaxing. The play was fast paced, funny and well supported by the enthusiastic munching audience.img_20180805_234228_9231074686668.jpg

 

Training in extreme weather

Irish heatwaves are a rare thing, but 8 weeks into extremely sticky heat and we are experiencing problems. For me and the four dogs, training now takes place at unlikely hours or at unlikely venues. We try to vary it as much as possible. Most days they are each given a task to do and so trained individually but then if the two-legged handler sleeps late, training takes place in the river. The dogs love this but I don’t as I generally end up the wettest of the lot.

 

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Ellie is on the left on the last photo in the slides she prefers to stand on the bank and manage the recovery – this collie only gets wet as the last resort.

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Sunny Days and Sandcastles

It was hot. We were hot and sticky so a trip to the beach was suggested and agreed upon.

Unfortunately, we were not alone. There was standing room only at the nearest beach to us and half of the county.   However, we did get to see some amazing Sand sculptures.  Let’s hear what you think of these,

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What if?

These are the questions being asked by those about me, and the answers are mixed. Some from Bob and some from me. I bet you can guess who answered what..

What if the sun burns itself out?

His next in command, the moon, will take over and our lives will be mellower.

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What if it doesn’t rain before September?

Irish people will become even more disgruntled and focused on the weather? Nothing new there. Their 4 legged tail wagging friends will wallow in the shade and be content with early morning walks in the woods.

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What if Breeze the ogre moves out of the wood in search of water?

More cupcakes for little old me!

 

 

 

The Beast and Storm Emma

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For the last five days here in Ireland, each time I turn on a radio or tv the topic is the same – the weather. It is proof that we are obsessed with the weather when;

Every supermarket is in danger of running out of bread and milk etc as the shelves are emptying as fast as they are filling.

Families are putting planned day trips on hold because the weather is going to be “horrid” bad.

And every double coated husky is being subjected to having to wear a coat or jumper!

Bob objects to wearing anything other than his own fluff! The closest thing he wears to a coat is a high viz mini coat to let traffic know he is out and about.

Ellie – well we would have to catch her first and that would take more time, effort and energy than it is worth.

In the meantime, both of them acted like it was their birthday when the snow finally fell.

.Nice snow, best present a Bob could get… he proved it as he began to eat the snow around him.

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The long and winding road.

May was busy, cleaning out the cupboard under the stairs. “It is like no man’s land in here,” she muttered. “And where is Ollie? Typical of him to dodge such a dusty dirty job.”

She stuck at it and an hour later stepped outside the small storage space to view all she had decided to chuck out, just as the front door opened.

“Hi, I have arrived in time to take the rubbish out, have I?” Ollie bent to give her a light peck on the cheek when a box full of colourful bottles caught his attention.

“We can’t get rid of these, Dad made them. ” His words sounded defensive and May bit her lip, she was tired of holding on to the bottles of homemade wines and beers.

Her voice was soft as she said it as she saw it, “well if we aren’t going to drink them they might be considered explosive by some people in authority.”

“We will test them tonight. If they taste foul we can clean the drains with them.”

So it was agreed.

At eight o clock, they sat before the tv set, ready to watch their favourite soap. On the coffee table, there was an assortment of dips, crisps and the colourful bottles. The back door opened and their neighbour and friend Liz trundled in, “my tv’s on the blink do you mind if I gatecrash your party?” She smiled at them and then looked pointedly at the assortment on the table.

“Not at all,” Ollie said scooting off to get another class and some peanuts.

“Delighted to have another person to give their opinion on Ollie’s dad’s wines and beers.”

So it began. The first bottle they declared was rank, the next a little bit better so they left the last one aside and began to drink. At 12.30 there was only one bottle left but as May declared, “My eyes are seeing four of you so I think it is time to end this party night. Ollie, will you see Liz to her front door?”

“Of course I will love. Come on Liz.” Pulling her to her feet he linked her arm and with a wave at May he left saying, “I’ll be two minutes, back in a jiffy, they don’t call me twinkle toes for nothing.”

Twenty minutes later there was no sign of him. May was worried.  She went to the front door and saw her husband and her friend arm in arm meandering across the road. Once they got to the other side, he released her arm and with a bow said, “Good night Liz.” Just then a car sped by and the blast of a horn had him wobbling on his feet.

“Ahh hang on Ollie who is going to see you across the road safely. It is like a flaming racing circuit tonight.” Liz bent towards him, linked arms and turned about.

When they got to the other side, Liz didn’t like the look of the stray moggie who hissed and spat at Ollie. “Just to be safe I’d better see you to your house now Liz, come on.”

May watched this performance happen twice. On the third occasion, she videoed it on her phone. Ten minutes of this and her patience grew thin.

She walked over to them. “Hi, Can anyone join in this walk or is it just for the lame-brained?”

“Ahh, you are funny. No. Yes, of course, you can.” Liz’s eyes twinkled at May as stepping between both of them she walked them across the road, and straight up to Liz’s front door. Not taking any chances,  May opened the door, gently nudged her friend inside, and then pulled it shut. After locking the door, she posted the key through the letterbox.

Taking hold of her husband she smiled and said, “Right let us go home.”

“I was just being chivalrous,” he said between hiccups.

“Of course you were love isn’t that why I love you as much as I do.”

Putting a broad smirk of delight on his face Ollie allowed her to lead him home.

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It’s been a funny old year.

We made some new friends, one (Willow ) who keeps nabbing my bed and lost some but lets hope 2018 is as good. (And that Maria doesn’t bring all 15 of the pups she has fallen for home with her!)

My one wish is she would stop finding all of theses silly hats for us to wear.

We don’t like them.

Happy New Year everyone.

A gift for Santa

The North Pole bustled and hummed with the sound of hundreds of elves calmly working through the last Christmas orders, while inside Santa’s house Constance Claus tried not to panic. The cause : she had no gift for Santa. Eleven hundred years of buying a present for someone makes it hard to surprise them.

Her dilemma had her in a snappy humour. It was noticed by Enda, chief elf. When he stopped to enquire for the fourth time in an hour if Constance was ok, it took all of her patience not to snap, “Course I am,” somehow she calmly nodded and smiled.

Time was running out, only twelve days to Christmas, she thought, why that is a mere flash of a few moments no time at all to create an exotic fun surprising gift.  Constance looked at Summer who was lying at her feet snoozing and dreaming. The cat’s tail twitched now and then as though she were re enacting a dream.

For the next week Constant spent a lot of her time considering a present for  the champion present giver. It was tough, but she knew if she persisted she would finally catch that elusive idea. With only three days to Christmas day she was a nervous wreck.

Finally exhaustion took hold, perhaps I should meditate on it, Constance settled down in front of the fire and closing her eyes let her mind drift. There was an awful lot of Christmas in their past, but as they flashed about in her head, time after time she returned to one Christmas. “ Problem solved”, she whispered to Summer.

Constance didn’t delay she went straight to the kitchen and began to cook and create. She worked at a frantic pace, not stopping to talk to Rudolph when he wandered in looking for a carrot. He reported back to the other reindeer “sorry guys looks like supper is going to be boring hay tonight.”

Enda overheard Rudolph’s comments and went to investigate

Constance first became aware of Enda’s presence when she counted the star shaped ginger cookies. “I could have sworn I cut out five dozen, where did the last twelve go?” She stared hard at Enda who was sitting on a stool at the table, the empty space in front of him provided the answer to Constance’s question.

“You ate a dozen?” She narrowed her eyes. “Help me make some more. I don’t have enough yet!”

Enda did as he was told and though he asked why they were baking such a lot of cookies, Constance refused to answer. When the final batch of cookies were baking, Enda slipped away to report to the elves. “She has lost the plot,”

Constance locked the door of her workshop.  “It is top secret, a Santa surprise. “ She told everyone and warned them under pain of being banished from the Christmas dining table not to go into the workshop.

Late on Christmas Eve , Constance seemed  fussier than usual.

“Constance, are you okay dear, you seem a little frazzled, ouch, Enda watch where you are shoving those extra toys.” Santa grimaced as the elf ignored him and pushed another train set into the gap in the back seat. “I wish the elves would do as I ask and sprinkle more magic dust on the toys, wouldn’t it be much better and safer if we made everything teeny tiny, just for the trip,” he finished.

“We tried that before, “ Sam replied. He was at that moment balanced on Santa’s hat and attempting to tie a sack to the back of Santa’s seat,  to anchor it.

Santa blushed and sighed, “It wasn’t my fault the magic wore off. The town square looked huge, but it wasn’t big enough to deal with the exploding growing gifts.. Lucky the reindeer were in top form and we got to hide them all on the roof tops. It was a long night.”

“It was for Bob he had to keep jumping off the sleigh to retrieve lost toys.” Sam slid down Santa’s hat, onto his shoulder, arms and tumbled onto the ground before walking away, happy his work was done.

“Well there is only so many times you can wind the clock back, so, don’t have any accidents this year.” Constance scolded as she handed him his warm gloves and fastened a hard hat over his santa hat, just in case. She wondered if she should sprinkle some pixie dust on him for a little luck then deciding it wouldn’t do any harm threw a whole sackful over him.

“Hoi,” Santa roared. The reindeers took it as his usual roar for go, leapt into action.

Constance turned about and raced back indoors.

That is strange Enda thought. Usually Constance stood watching the Reindeers fly into the sky and waited to see if their flight path would create a heart shape or a star. Tonight it was a glowing heart.

Constance finished her surprise with minutes to spare. The sun was peeping into the workshop when she made a discovery. Her present was too big to fit through the door.

“Bother, and triple bother. Now I will have to get help.” Summer stared at Constance and seemed to be smirking.

With a sigh Constance headed off in search of help. Minutes later her helpful elves, Enda, Slim, Noel and Sam stood and asked, “Why?”

“Because…well….it doesn’t matter but he will know, if he hasn’t forgotten.” Constance said with a racing heart and hoped that indeed Nick would remember.

“It won’t fit through the door,” Slim declared as he took out his tape measure and measured it for the fourth time.

“We know that you idiot.” His brothers sang at him.

“Perhaps we could take it apart and then put it back together.”

“No time”. Constance said.

“Bother, we will have to try the weave dance”. The elves sang and leapt into action.

Constance stared at them as they began to run around the giant gift. “If we run fast enough it will shrink.” They sang.

She grimaced. “ No it won’t but you guys will.”

They stopped running. “No. We are small enough.”

“Pixie dust”  Enda declared and ran to collect some. It took a while as the pixies’ were having a party before Christmas day and were not inclined to stop partying to work up a little magic dust even if it was for Constance.

However at last, with ten minutes until Santa’s arrival, they finished.

With a giant yawn each of the elves raced back to bed.

Constance sat and nibbled on a candy cane. She was too anxious to sleep.

There was a clatter of hooves, a few tired snorts mainly from Santa,  announced their return. She went to meet him and help get the reindeer settled. Bob, she saw was curled up asleep on the now very empty sack.

“Job done, all I need is a nice quiet day ..” Santa began and sighed, “but I am not going to get that am I?”

He produced a package from his pocket and handed it to Constance. She smiled, twinkled and whispered,” thank you but first I want you to see your present.”

Santa seemed to shrug off the tiredness as he walked quickly to the hall, he pushed open the door and stopped. There in the corner of the great hall sat a Santa Gingerbread House!

He put his hand on his belly and laughed, “Does it, will it?”

She smiled and said, “try it.”

Santa didn’t hesitate hand in hand with Constance he walked through the door of the gingerbread house and immediately a shimmering light surrounded it.  Ten minutes later the hammering of hundreds of elves feet announced their arrival into the great hall.

The excitement created by the gingerbread house was understandable as elves adore gingerbread however when they tried to reach out to eat a piece their hands hit an invisible wall. Inside Santa sat beside Constance with a grin on his face.  “A perfect present. You remembered what I wished for in the beginning and have been afraid to utter since… a few hours of rest in a peaceful silent room with not a yammering elf in sight. How long will it last?”

“As long as we don’t eat a piece.” She sighed and hoped the elves would forgive her but perhaps the dozens of gingerbread cookies sitting on the tables in the hall would help.

Afterall if Santa couldn’t have his perfect present once in a millennium then what chance would anyone have of ever getting their perfect gift?

The Christmas photo shoot was a disaster, all were grumpy, refusing to pose, the reason? I was working and late home.

Have a great and peaceful Christmas everyone..

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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