Sunday, 13 December 2009

Just a quick update...

...since I've not been on here for ages!!!

Finally started Christmas shopping, I wanted to get most of it done this weekend but haven't done much at all!! I do now have a list though, which is helpful... (I like lists!!)

I haven't done much of the photography course, I've just been too busy doing 'stuff'. However I have got until 12th night to submit my pictures, so there's still plenty of time!

Got tonnes to do before Christmas, things to buy, things to make, house to clean!! I have got visitors for most of the week before Christmas, so I want to get everything done by the end of next weekend, before they arrive. It's gonna be a busy week.... I think I need another list!!!

Pippa's been ill this weekend, I suspect that it's due to the increased dose of her anti-inflamatory which the Vet said I could do, but which Pippa seems to not agree with. Sadly she's been lame now for 2 weeks but if she can't tolerate a higher dose of Previcox then there's not much I can do about it except hope the weather gets a bit better. She's always bad when it's damp outside. We'll see.... at the moment she's not on any meds until I'm sure she's not going to be sick again so she will be very lame for a while longer. At least her stomach is on the mend, she's been much brighter this afternoon and is eating again. She's still making some very very bad smells though....

Monday, 30 November 2009

12 Days of Christmas

This is the online photography course that I have signed up for, it's free which I think is really generous of Cheryl who runs the course. We get a photography task to do every day for 12 days, starting tomorrow. We also had a little pre-course preparation to do which was a festive self portrait, so here's mine!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

And yet more...

Just to prove that I do take photo's of other things too, and not just dogs!
















a few more favourites...












Hmmm, they seem to mostly be dogs!! Funny that...

Another weekend gone!

It's getting really close to the end of November, which means that Christmas isn't far away! I haven't done anything to prepare for Christmas yet, but I love doing my shopping in December because it has a really Christmassy feel to it.


This week/weekend has been filled with some quite mundane stuff that I'm not going to blog about, however on Friday I took one of my guide dogs up to London. I often take them on the tube from Richmond to Victoria to assess their reaction to the tube, however this was the first time I have worked a dog in Central London. My dog was a total star, she worked really well and coped with everything brilliantly although she was tired by the end (so was I!!). I love visiting London, we walked from Victoria Station past Buckingham Palace, all the way up to Oxford Street. I then stopped for lunch and walked all the way back to Victoria again!


Since I don't have any new photo's to post, here are some of the ones I consider to be my best. I have just signed up for an online photography course and on the application form it asked for a link to my blog.... so Cheryl, if you're looking this is the best I can do!!



















Saturday, 14 November 2009

Been busy...

...making chutney!

I've got a full shelf in the cupboard now, containing two types of apple chutney, red onion chutney and red tomato chutney. Some if it is for Christmas presents and the rest is all for me!!


Today was the second Winter League match. I've got a nasty cold and wasn't feeling at all well (that's my excuse for not doing very well!) but Cranbourne did OK overall, coming 2nd out of the 5 clubs which puts us second over all. Not bad... there's still plenty of time to regain the lead!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Maisie's visit

Maisie came to stay this weekend. She's my friend's dog and has stayed here many times. She came in, decided that she liked the cat bed in front of the heating vent, and she made herself at home! Doesn't she look comfy?


(p.s. the cat didn't mind.... he's gone off that bed!)

Thursday, 29 October 2009

It's back!!!!

Wednesday, 4th November...

SPOOKS IS BACK!!!



I've been waiting all year for this and finally it's starting! Here's a little preview...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqXGhtO-Jd4

Monday, 26 October 2009

Catching up.

This weekend an old school friend came to visit, bringing her 5 year old son with her. We went to the same infant and junior school but really became friends at senior school. It was the first time my friend has been to my house because they live 4 hours away. They came Sunday afternoon, stayed overnight and have gone off to Legoland today. I hope they've had a good time, the weather has been nice but I'm sure Legoland will have been busy as it's the first day of half term.

Of course, having visitors to stay required a huge amount of housework over the weekend... but it's so nice to have the 'junk room' almost clear of junk and usable as a guest room again!!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Missing!!

I went 'missing' today... well not really, but as far as the dogs of the Berkshire Search and Rescue team were concerned I was missing and it was their job to find me.

Armed with my old army sleeping bag, a roll mat, a flask of hot chocolate, a hot water bottle and a good book, I went out Swinley Forrest and by 8.30am I was officially 'missing'. Luckily the dogs are good at their job and I was found by Border Collie 'Molly' at 10am. Molly was far more interested in her tennis ball than in me and 'found' me several times so that she could have her ball again and again. I went out again a bit later and this time I had a much more enthusiastic greeting from Flat Coated Retriever 'Milly', who bounced on me, rolled on me and shook her wet fur over me.

Dogs... you just gotta love 'em!

http://www.k9-sar.com/

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Blackberry vodka!

Another experiment!!

I had about a third of a bottle of vodka in the cupboard which has been untouched since before I moved into this house...nearly six years! I don't really like vodka, it was bought when a friend came round one New Year's Eve and we made cocktails! That was definately in my previous house.

Anyway, whilst looking for sloe gin recipes a few weeks ago I came across blackberry vodka so finally got round to having a go. I didn't bother with quantities since I wasn't sure how much vodka was actually in the bottle so I just added 'some' blackberries and sugar.... well it will either work or it won't!!


Saturday, 10 October 2009

Winter League

Winter League is a competition between 5 local agility clubs, consisting of 4 matches spread over the winter. Match one was today! The clubs involved are Thames, Cranbourne, Cippenham, Vyne and Watford.

Tarka was entered in grade 1-5 jumping, 1-7 jumping, and 1-5 agility. We got a clear round in 1-7 jumping but the less said about the others the better!

Overall though, Cranbourne ended the first match in the lead!! We had some very good runs from club members, and just need to keep it up for the next 3 matches.

Go Go Cranbourne!!

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Collecting, finding and making.

Been collecting chestnuts this time. I've been collecting for a couple of days now and have got a quality street tin so full the lid won't fit! Just got to figure out what to do with them all now. I do think they look pretty just as they are though!


A few days ago I met this little guy whilst out on a walk. He (she?) turned out to be the caterpillar of the Pale Tussock moth. The colours were amazing, so bright! He posed happily for a photo and then carried on his merry way...


Today I made another bag. I wanted something to take my lunch to work in, as I am fed up of carrier bags and paper bags that always tear at the most awkward moment. So here it is, my lunch bag! It's about the size of one of those paper lunch bags you get from the sandwich shops, perfect for my lunch box and a drink. I can just grab it and go when I take the dogs out at lunch time.


Friday, 2 October 2009

Nature's harvest.

Recently, I have been out collecting blackberries, sloes and chestnuts. Tarka loves collecting things and can become a little obsessive, watching my every move and waiting for me to drop one so she can pounce on it. However, when it comes to blackberries she gets bored of waiting for me to drop one, and she's now learned to pick her own!! She's fussy too, only eating the best ones. (forgive the sound, it was a windy day and I was using the camera on my phone so not at all sophisticated!)

video

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Taggies!!!

Tonight has been spent on and off sewing a taggie blanket for a friend to give to her newborn nephew. It didn't really take too long to make, although I had it on the go most of the evening in between surfing the net and cooking tea. I'm so easily distracted!

Anyway, it's finished and I'm pleased with how it turned out. I've got two more 'on order', one for my cousin's little girl who I gave one to for her birthday but who needs another one. Apparantly she won't let it out of her sight and it needs a good wash...

The other one will be for my sister to give to a friend's baby that is due after Christmas, so I have got a little more time for that one.


Wednesday, 23 September 2009

A lot to be thankful for.

I read a couple of blogs that really bring home to me how lucky I am to live the life I have.

Jenni is quadraplegic following a car accident in 2002. She is amazing in the way she handles her life now and how much she gets on and does.
http://thesitethatbreathes.blogspot.com/

Greg is also quadraplegic following an accident in 1999. He retains a dry sense of humour and has a very philosophical outlook at times.
http://pittrehab.blogspot.com/

Karly has Rett syndrome. She has many physical limitations and cannot speak, but is able to communicate through the written word after many years of non-communication due to health professionals not believing it was possible for her. Karly may have physical difficulties but she spends her time finding ways to enrich her life, and the lives of those around her.
http://spiritdances.wordpress.com/

Have a read, I find these three people very humbling, I really don't think I could cope with their situations in the way that they do.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

It's looking good!!

The sloe gin is looking good, the sugar has almost all dissolved and after reading some more info on the net, I think the quantities will be OK. I've got some more sloes in the freezer, so once I've tasted this lot of gin and decided if it's OK or if the quantities need adjusting, I can make some more without having to wait until next autumn.

This batch should be ready around Christmas unless I decide to let it mature for longer....


.... I think this could be a very happy Christmas!!!


Monday, 21 September 2009

The Bood Donor.

I gave my 'armful' today (for any youngters, check out 'The Blood Donor' by comedian Tony Hancock). It was my 22nd donation, which I am very proud of. Only 3 more and I get my 25th donation award. 3 more donations will take a year though, so I won't get excited just yet!

I think it's really important to give blood and I got over a very deep rooted fear in order to do it. I figured that if I had an accident and needed blood to save my life, I was never going to refuse because I was too scared of needles!!

In my mind, if I was prepared to accept blood, I had to be prepared to give it.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

another busy weekend...

....starting on Saturday, when I went to the 'Stitch and Creative Crafts' show in Surrey. I was very restrained and didn't buy much, but came back with some good ideas and yet more inspiration!

Saturday evening I groomed and bathed Tarka, then groomed Pippa. Sunday morning I bathed Pippa. This was all for a charity photoshoot in aid of Many Tears rescue. I haven't seen the pictures yet but hopefully we'll have got some nice ones. And since I won't be able to post the professional pictures on the net, I took a few of my own to mark the bathing occasion!



Sunday afternoon I made sloe gin with the sloes I picked last week. I've made a whole bottle of gin's worth, at the moment the sugar is not yet disolved so it will be interesting to see how it develops over the coming weeks. I don't even know if I'm going to like it yet! It looks like a lot of sugar, but I am assured the quantities are correct!



Saturday, 19 September 2009

Sloes..

Well the sloes are picked, but are currently in the freezer not in gin! Apparantly that simulates the first frost, which is what they need before making sloe gin... you're supposed to leave them until then for picking but I noticed they were already getting picked and I didn't want to miss out. I've got 2 1/2 lb which I think is plenty, since I have no idea if I even like sloe gin!

Just need to get some kilner jars and some gin now...

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

A busy weekend...

...which started on Friday night with Dad's 65th birthday party. It was a beer and skittles night, lots of beer, lots of skittles, and a fab birthday cake made by Mum! It really was a fun night out.



Saturday I was at the Cranbourne Agility Show all day. It was a nice day, the weather was kind and although I made plenty of mistakes in my courses it was just such a lovely atmosphere you couldn't help but enjoy yourself.

Saturday was also the Yateley and District Garden Society show. I couldn't attend as I was at the agility comp, but Sis-in-Law took my entries for me. I entered bread rolls, chutney, lemon drizzle cake, a card and a photograph. I won second prize for my bread rolls and onion chutney, which I was very pleased with! Sis-in-Law did well too winning prizes for her flower arrangements and I'm sure she got something else too, and my brother got a second for his fruit cake. Neice #2 got a second for her lemon cake (although I'm sure mine was better really.... only joking!! :-) )

Sunday, I spent most of the late afternoon/evening making apple chutney. I finally managed to find some apples since my crop went bad on the tree, and I now have plenty of chutney maturing in the cupboard which should be just perfect for Christmas! I want to make some more of the tomato and the red onion chutney, and I want to have a go at sloe gin too. I have found some sloes, just need to pick them and make them into sloe gin!!



Monday, 14 September 2009

Aspartame

In April this year I had the worst migraine ever. So, I decided to try cutting diet coke out of my diet, and wow what a difference! The artificial sweetener in diet drinks is aspartame, which has a huge list of side effects and health problems that it can cause. 5 months later, I have cut aspartame out of my diet completely and I haven't had a migraine in 3 months (used to get 2-3 a month) and I generally feel healthier and happier. I wasn't even drinking that much coke so it just goes to show that you don't need much to have an effect. Also, it can take quite a few weeks to leave your system completely so giving up for a week or two isn't enough, you won't feel the benefits in that short time.

For more info, read this link or just google 'aspartame'
http://www.sweetpoison.com/aspartame-side-effects.html

I'm not getting into a debate here about whether aspartame is safe or not, I don't know enough about it to state publicly either way. I can however say with complete honesty that I feel 100% better since I cut it out of my diet and I haven't had a migraine for 3 months.

That's all I need to know!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Final post for today...

OK I know I said the previous post was the final one for tonight, but I couldn't go to bed without at least a mention of Pippa. Here she is during a visit to a friend in Plymouth. Pippa is old, arthritic, naughty and a little bit cranky, but she's still the same Pippa she always was, just in an older body. And to prove she's not past it yet, she'd had a good roll in some mud.... at least I think that's what it was!!!


Agility high point.

Last post for today...

This was the highest point in Tarka's agility career to date. Winning out of grade 2 into grade 3 at Vyne show, April 2009. She won grade 2 agility. To say I was speechless was an understatement, since I had no idea we'd even been placed, let alone won the class! Let's just say I was very proud of my girl!!





Agility - Tarka in action!

Tarka is still enjoying agility, this is at Newlands show in July 09. She was clear (no faults/mistakes), but unplaced.


video

Chainmaille

A few pictures since I'm in the mood, this is chainmaille jewellery.












Chainmaille is my latest experiment, and I really like it! It's made from individual jump rings linked or woven together in a particular pattern, and there are loads of patterns to learn of varying degrees of difficulty. This is the first one I've learnt and it's called 'byzantine'.

Back again!!

Yep, I'm gonna give this blogging thing another go...

I never was any good at keeping a diary when I was young, just kept forgetting, and blogging is no different. However it's my blog, and if it's sporadic then I guess that is just a reflection of myself.

I am currently full of great asperations to do loads of stuff, sewing and quilting, jewellery and chainmaille, sorting out my house (yeah right... that's gonna happen??) etc etc. So far, I'm still in the planning stage.... I'm good at planning!!

J xx

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Snow!!!

Yes, it snowed here this week! They say it's the heaviest snowfall for about 20 years or something like that, all I know it that it brought the country to a complete standstill as usual! No buses in London, no trains, limited underground in London, roads blocked, accidents, broken down cars etc etc etc. I made it to the office, but could not go to Essex to collect my new training dogs. That's now planned for next Monday. So, I've had a week of 'bits and pieces' and paperwork, catching up on overdue stuff. Hopefully, tomorrow and Friday I will get some work done on my current assignment. Wish me luck, and lots of motivation!

(Still no home computer, so snow photo's to follow!)

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Old friends

This evening (Saturday) I've been out to a school reunion of sorts. It was an informal gathering organised via facebook, and there were about 20ish people who turned up. I recognised most people, and it was a really nice evening getting re-aquainted with people I haven't seen for over 20 years.

I went to Tescos this afternoon which itself is not really a blog-worthy event, but I got a fab new cat scratching post. I've wanted to get a new one for the cats for ages but the ones I like have all been around £60-80. This one was £20. The cats seem to like it, Woody is asleep on it right now as I type!

Pictures of both the above events will follow, but right now my computer is with my Brother-in-Law being 'sorted out' after I tried to install some software that went wrong.... I am currently using my work laptop and can't download photo's from my camera onto it. Still, at least I can access the internet while my own computer is away.

Friday, 30 January 2009

It's been a while....

...but finally I've decided to return to blogging. Hopefully I'll find plenty to talk about, I usually do!