Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Christmas was good!

I managed to get all my shopping done with 3 days to spare, although I was still making Granny's present on Christmas eve! (I got it done though, two lined shopping bags, one big, one small.)

Christmas day was nice. I went to Mum and Dad's so it was me, them, my brother, sis-in-law and 2 nieces. 7 in all. We all went to the pub before lunch (Mum and I had prepared the veggies and other bits the night before) then back to the house to finish cooking dinner. We sat down to eat about 2.30pm and finished about 4pm! Then we opened presents and then Mum and I went to visit Granny in hospital, she's got gall stones again and wasn't well enough to come home for Christmas. In the evening Niece#1's boyfriend came round and we played games until bedtime. We all stayed over, so everyone was drinking...!!!

Boxing day my sister and her family joined the party. This made it 11 people, but I wasn't feeling too good - no, it wasn't a hangover!! I went for a run in the morning and a walk in the afternoon thinking it might clear my head but it didn't (was a good run though!). Unfortunately, my nephews are noisy boys and being excited they were very loud so I ended up feeling quite unwell and headachy, and dozing the afternoon away. I did feel better in the evening though. We stayed over again although I didn't drink anything as I wasn't feeling good.

Today Mum, Dad, brother and I went to the pub and ate chips. We'd had enough of Christmas food! Then I walked the dog and have come home for a short rest before heading off to my brothers for turkey curry tonight!

I'm not back at work now until 3rd January so will be catching up on sleep and sorting out the mess I call home, for the next week.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Running, running, and more running!!

So I've done quite a bit of running since my last blog post!

I went on a weekend away with the club. It was a busy weekend but great fun. We stayed in a youth hostel so the accommodation was basic, but it keeps the price down which is fine by me!

We got there on Friday evening and went to the pub for dinner and for the rest of the evening. Saturday morning we did a 6 mile pre-breakfast run followed by breakfast. Then we had a talk on energy, and how the body converts food to energy, stores and uses it. Then we did an interval session (like we do at track). Next was lunch, followed by circuit training and a talk on nutrition. Then we went to the pub for drinks, back to the youth hostel for dinner and a quiz, then back to the pub for drinks again!

Sunday morning we did a 9 mile run before breakfast and then after breakfast we had a talk on sports massage therapy before cleaning and tidying everything away, then having lunch and heading home.

Tarka stayed with my Sister-in-Law and Brother. I was a little worried because it was fireworks weekend but she was fine, and by the sounds of it had a lovely weekend!!

2 weeks ago I did my first cross country race with the club and came 308 out of 350. It was fun, it was the first proper 'event' I've done and it was nice to do it with the club. It's an inter club league which we participate in.

This weekend just gone we had another league race on the Sunday morning, but the club was hosting it so I was marshaling instead of running. I also spent Saturday morning making sandwiches, so it was quite a busy weekend by the time I fitted dog walking in as well.

Tonight I've done a 5-6 mile run with the club, and run up some hills that I've not managed to do without walking before, so all in all I can see some improvements. I realised I was getting a bit too comfortable at the standard I'd reached and it was time to push myself a bit more, so I have been trying to increase my speed a bit and push myself on the hills and I'm pleased with how the last few weeks have gone.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Grand total...

So, my personal total from my sponsored run now that I've collected all the money is...............

(drum roll please!!!)


I'm so pleased, as I really thought I'd struggle to meet my target of £80.

A huge THANK YOU to all my sponsors.
I very much appreciate your support.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

A good Saturday

This is what a good Saturday consists of for me:

A nice, sunny but not hot day.
A successful morning picking up bargains in the charity shops.
A relaxing dog walk.
An evening of trashy TV.

Today is looking like it's got the makings of a good Saturday!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

We did it!!!

We completed our 8 miles in 80 minutes challenge!

It went really well, I did 77min 19 sec so I was really pleased with that.

And then we ate ice cream.....

And no aching legs afterwards either! Result!!

After the event....

Thursday, 6 October 2011

8 in 80 challenge.

This week is Guide Dog week. And, this year it's special because we're celebrating the 80th anniversary of the date the first guide dogs in Britain qualified - 6th October 1931.

Across Guide Dogs, people are doing challenges based on the theme of 80. So, in my wisdom I decided that myself and a few colleagues could run 8 miles in 80 minutes, and each raise £80 sponsorship.

I have managed to persuade the relevant colleagues to take part. We will definitely run 8 miles. We should do it in 80 minutes, give or take a few mins each side. We might or might not make £80 each,  but might hit £320 between us. (I have exceeded my £80 target but don't know about the others).

I've sorted the route and all the official stuff, we've just got to do the run now.

If anyone fancies sponsoring me, my 'just giving' page is:


It costs approx £50,000 to train each guide dog, yes, fifty thousand pounds per dog. Guide Dog Owners pay 50p. We receive no government funding and rely entirely on the generosity of the public in order to do our life changing work.


The run will take place on Friday 7th October. I will let you know how it goes.... I haven't actually run 8 miles before.... although I have come close with 7.6 miles.

Clean start.

So, I was going to write an update post, full of detail about what I've been doing these last few months. But then I thought, What the heck!! Hardly anyone ever reads it anyway, so if you really want to know then shout and I'll write it. For now, I'm just going to list a few of the things I did, then draw a line underneath and start again.

*Steam Fayres/Retrofestival - great fun!
*Still running.
*Still playing badminton.
*Pets all fine.
*Rory qualified with a young person, and goes to school every day!
*I broke my mobile phone. There's a whole saga surrounding this, but eventually I got it replaced.
*Went camping.
*Entered the garden society show. Got a couple of second places and a third.
*Niece #1 went off to university!
*I was a 'misper' (missing person) for search and rescue dogs again. It rained. Boy, did it rain!!! I got wet.
*We passed the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
*Went to Swallowfield show.

So, here's the line... followed by a fresh start!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


I've failed to keep up with my blog.... again!!!


I haven't got time now, but I'll write an update post soon. Don't hold your breath though, it's not that exciting!!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Quiet times

It's been a quiet couple of weeks with regards to things to blog about, although I keep busy as always. I've currently got my Sister-In-Law's dog staying and he's a sweetie, although suffers with some seperation anxiety which can make things a bit difficult because he barks when I leave him. He's fine if I go out of the house because he knows I've gone completely, but he wants to be with me all the time when I'm here. Since he can't come upstairs (he's old and his legs aren't great, and I don't allow dogs upstairs anyway since it upsets the cats) he doesn't settle well at night. Anyway, I've checked that he's not disturbing the neighbours and they don't hear him, so it's not a big deal.

It looks like my job has survived the forthcoming reorganisation at work. We don't yet know where our new office will be, but the areas they're looking at are all within commutable distance for me so I should be OK in the long run. Unless anything else changes...

Last night was the running club 'track challenge'. We were in teams of four, and we each had a short distance, mid distance and then 2 team relays. I did the 200m, 1 mile, and leg one of 4x100 and leg two of 4x400. I did OK for me, but I'm nowhere near as fast as the others. I was pleased with my mile time though, I did 7 mins 35 secs or something like that. (I'll check when the results get posted on the website) I've never timed myself over 1 mile before, I usually run between 9-10 min miles but over a longer distance. I definitely could not have gone any further at that speed last night! Our team came 5th out of 6, but the winning team was all fast blokes so I didn't feel too bad. We had one guy who's not run since January due to injury, a young lad about 12 years old, me, and one good runner. It was fun though, and I learned a lot, including that when I try and sprint 400m I run out of steam around the 300m mark....

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Go jump, get rescued!!

Yesterday I travelled across London to Docklands, where I jumped in the river Thames.... to be rescued by a Newfoundland dog called Beau!!

This was a fundraising event for Guide Dogs but it was a little short of people, so I got a last minute call to go and join in to boost numbers.

Now, I've met a lot of dogs in my time of all shapes and sizes, but I'm sure Beau is the biggest I've ever seen! He weighed a massive13.5 stone, which for my American friends translates as 189lb or 85.7kg. (For comparison, my collie Tarka is 14kg and the average Labrador at work is around 30kg.)

Here's a picture of me with Beau, and some video of the jump.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011


I haven't done any chainmaille for ages! The first attempt I made was a byzantine weave and I blogged about it here. My latest effort is an inverted roundmaille, and looks a bit different from the byzantine. I really like it. I've only made a bracelet though. The trouble is that the silver plated jump rings don't last very well, because as the bracelet rubs against the skin the plate wears away exposing the metal underneath. But, sterling silver is very expensive and I don't really like the other options available. I'm waiting for some info on 'silver filled' wire, which might be a suitable in-between.

Here's the roundmaille bracelet. I found a little 'capricorn' charm (my starsign) which I fell in love with, so added that too. (click on the photo for a bigger version to see more detail.)

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Oh, I got behind with blogging again!!

Once again, I've got behind with blogging so this will be a bit of a catch up post.

Steam Rally

I mentioned in my last post that I'd been to a steam rally. Well I've been to two now! The weather was good for both of them, warm, but not too hot and not raining! If you've never been to a steam rally, it's basically a field where people display their old steam traction engines. Most rallys now also have old cars and motorbikes too, and are big events with food areas, markets and craft stalls which makes the rally a whole day out. There is an arena, and the engines and other vehicles are brought in so you can see them working and moving around, then they're parked up so you can get close and chat to the owners.

A traction engine built for the fairground.

Ford Anglia. Not the shape I'm used to seing though!

Traction engines - probably for farm type work

Steam roller

A Red Kite came to visit too!


Running is still going well, although I've been struggling with the heat, and I think in future I'm going to have to be more careful about hydration as I'm sure I had a mild heatstroke/dehydration on Monday. It was still about 24degC when we ran, and when I went to bed I had a massive headache. Then I started feeling sick and ended up being ill. The headache intensified too and was extremely painful and I was just starting to wonder if I should be worried, but after I was ill it started to ease off, and in the end I slept ok and I have  been fine since. It was a lot cooler by Friday's track session but I'm going to have to think more carefully about how to run in the warmer weather.


My friend who does jewellery as a business, has started a jewellery club. We've only had one meeting so far, well the second was yesterday but I didn't go. Anyway, I was doing some wire wrapping and finished off a necklace in lime green which was a present for a friend. Lime green is her favourite colour, I'm not sure what she'll wear it with though!! Something black I expect! I was pleased with the necklace, although the photo isn't great.

I'm also trying to get back into chain maille again and am currently having a try at a round maille. I just wish sterling silver wasn't so expensive, the silver plated rings just don't last and I don't like the aluminium ones.


We've got some big changes coming up at work and have got a meeting on the 28th July to tell us what's happening. That's when I find out if I still have a job or not..... I'm fairly confident that my job will be safe, but I'm not complacent as I have been here before, however I do have a couple of other options to think about if I need to. I also did a fundraising event the other weekend. I ended up getting my picture in the local paper with Tex, a dog I trained and who subsequently retired (very) early! He's now been rehomed with one of our volunteers and does a grand job doing talks and fund raising events.

Me and Tex - scanned from the paper hence poor quality!

Annual leave

I'm currently half way through 2 weeks of annual leave. My plan was to have a really good clear out in the house but I've not even finished the kitchen in the first week!! Still, I have made a start which is more than I thought I would! It's that same old chestnut... lack of motivation!! If shops could sell motivation I'd be their best customer!


They're all fine, Tarka doesn't like being off work because she gets bored, but other than that she's fine. The cats are fine too, Molly is now off all medication and seems to have finally recovered from the cystitis that caused her so much bother earlier in the year.

So that about brings things up to date, Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Found it!!!...

I finally found the title box!! It was there all along, just it was attached to something else so it blended in and I didn't see it. Anyway, I think that means that I can finally stop harping on about the changes blogger has made, and get back to blogging properly again!

Today I went to a steam rally with my sister and two nephews. It was a warm day but not too sunny, although I still managed some sunburn - will I ever learn? I'll take the pictures off my camera later and will post some then.

Running is going well, it was very hot on Monday and I struggled, but other than that I've had some good runs this week, Friday at the track was almost fun.... almost!! We did an exercise where we all started and finished together regardless of the speed you run. As much as I honestly don't mind being the slowest on the track and everyone is very supportive of me, it's nice just once in a while to not be the last one finishing. And, I even got a compliment which made me smile for quite a while.

Yesterday I went to Costco with my Brother and Sis-in-Law. I bought loads of fruit and some couscous for my lunches this week, I think I'm going to be 'all fruited out' by Friday! I got a large watermelon which I have made a good start on already.... it's lovely!

On Thursday I went to visit the agility club I used to train with. I chose this week because it was the summer club internal competition which meant that people would have time to stop and chat between their runs, rather than trying to chat to people on another night when they were in class. It was nice to see everyone again, but it just re-inforced in my mind that I don't miss agility. Even if I got another dog I don't know if I'd go back to it. I find that very strange since it's been a big part of my life for 15 years!

So, one week ends and another begins, I'm hoping this week flies by though as I'm then on holiday for 2 weeks!!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Still not got the hang of this new blogger...

Blogger has definitely changed and I'm struggling to get used to it. I'm not very good at change, I know what I like and I like what I know!

Another good running week this week, Monday I wasn't really in the mood, but I did a short run to my friends house and back to deliver a letter, 2.6 miles. Didn't bother to time it. Thursday I was on my own instead of with the girls from work so I did a 5 mile run, in my best time for that particular route of 48 minutes! Yesterday was track night.

I played badminton Tuesday, but on Wednesday I went to my niece's school summer concert. It was really good, niece #2 plays saxaphone, piano and bass guitar. She didn't play the piano this time but had several sax pieces including some solo's! I did take some video on my phone, but I suspect if I post it anywhere on the net she will never ever speak to me ever again... LOL!

This week has been windy and rainy, not ideal for an outdoor job! Lots of cafe's, precincts and other indoor stuff suddenly seemed very important!!

I'm hoping for better weather next week. It doesn't have to be hot (the dogs don't like it hot anyway) but dry would be nice!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

New Personal Best!

I did a run after work today with a friend from work and got a new personal best! Of course it's not 100% accurate, I mapped the route on walkjogrun.net and timed the run on my wristwatch, but we did 3 miles in 26mins 43sec. Round it up to 27 mins and that's a very respectable 9 minute miles!

And the best bit? We had to slow down a bit on the last mile because my mate was starting to struggle... I could have carried on so could have been a tiny bit quicker still!! (Not much mind, it wouldn't have made a huge difference.)

I also bought some new kit and wore it today. It's comfortable, but I'm not convinced I feel 100% happy dressed in lycra... I'm pretty self concious!!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

A rollercoaster run!

Blogger is still messing me around, so my posts might be a little more sporadic than normal for a while... I think I'm really a bit worried I might lose everything I've written here. It's no great work of art but I find it interesting to go back and see what I was doing this time last year etc.

I went on the club run again on Monday. This week they did a route called 'rollercoaster' and I have to admit - I wanted to get off!! The start of the run is very hilly, lots of up's and not too many downs! I did have to walk some of the hills, but I stuck with it and completed the route. Once the hills were behind us I was able to run the rest. It'll be quite a celebration when I run that route without walking for the first time!!

I'm thinking about doing a 10k in July or August.... just thinking mind....

Saturday, 11 June 2011


So, my old style blogger dashboard is back, I can put titles on my posts, and I just commented on another blog.... will it last?

The only difference was to uncheck the 'keep me logged in' button on the log in screen as advised on a forum.


(have edited to add post titles to previous posts.)

Friday, 10 June 2011

More work photo's

I seem to have lost the ability to put titles to my posts... if anyone can help, please let me know! The box to type the title in simply isn't there! Also, the box to type in is really small and I can hardly see what I'm doing. And one more thing, I can't comment on anyone else's blog either! Help!

Anyway, I have a few more pictures of me working with one of my dogs. This is Bonnie, she's a German Shepherd crossed with a Golden Retriever. Her puppy walker is a friend of mine and came to see her, so I've nicked these photo's off her facebook album!

Running update June 11

Uh-oh.... not liking the new blogger dashboard layout!!

Anyway, a quick running update! I've been bragging to all my real life friends this week, so all you cyber friends can have it now!

I finally cracked the 10k distance!!!

I went on my first run on Monday with the running club that I've I joined. I've been going to the track for a few months, but I feel 'safe' at the track because I can stop if I need, and I don't hold anyone up because they can just go on at their own (fast!) speeds. On a run though, I thought I'd hold everyone up. However the coach at the track said I'd manage it fine, so I decided to give it a go!

Oh my!! It was further than I've ever run before, and although I could go at my own pace it was faster than I've ever run before!! Not sure of the time exactly but it was about an hour, just over probably, and about 6.5 miles!!

They have a system where everyone can run at their own pace, but at certain points the front runners turn back and 'loop' round behind the back runners, which keeps the group together.

Everyone was very supportive, and loads of people ran along side me for a chat and to offer encouragement!

I'm not sure if enjoyed the run, but I certainly did enjoy the company and I've been on a high all week, bragging about my achievement!

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

And, the winner is....


Here are the results (profit):

Niece # 2..........£12
Niece # 1..........£10
Sis in law.........-£2.80
Niece's boyf....-£3.22

Total profit.......£48.95
(not inc losses)

So, I presented Dad with his trophy, which everybody was suitably impressed with. Mum managed to find a very elderly wooden spoon to present to my sister as the person with the biggest loss!!

Dad then revealed the secret of his success. He'd bought items that the landlord of the pub where he drinks might like, and flogged them to him for over the odds. However, as part of the bargain Dad had to promise that if he won the prize fund, he'd donate it all to the charity that the pub supports. This went down very well with everybody and those who hadn't made a profit added a few quid each to the pot, bringing our total to £56.20 which went to Adam's hoofing hut fund. We all finished the day in the pub to present our prize fund to the landlord Mark, who was a good sport having spent his own money on Dad's items. He was very pleased with our donation and added it to the pot.

We have now decided that in future, the prize fund will be donated to charity, and the winner gets the trophy, and to choose which charity the money goes to.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Boot sale success!!

Yay!! I sold some more of my 'challenge' items today!

Sadly, the bracelet sold. I was quite keen to keep it, but gave in and sold it.

Here are my results.


Denim jacket......£0.50.......£2.50.....£2
Plastic necklace..£0...........£0.10.....£0.10
5x kids shirts......£2.50........unsold............


So, my contribution to the prize fund is the princely sum of £2.60!! I know I haven't won, but I'm not last either. And, it was fun....

I have made the most tacky, hideous trophy you can imagine. It's awful! The glue is still drying, so I'll photograph it tomorrow.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

New date...

... apparantly the man who decided the world was going to end last week got his dates wrong. It's now due to happen on 21st October..... Hmmm....

Anyway, I went to the car boot sale and made a small profit... £15.55 to be exact! My pitch fee was £6 so I actually took £21.55 which isn't bad since I was selling absolute rubbish!

Sadly, I only sold one item of my 'challenge' things, that was a plastic necklace which I found in the pocket of one of the items of childrens clothes! I sold it for... wait for it.... 10p.

So, now I'm only in debit to the tune of £4.90!!

I don't think I'm going to win this challenge.... I know some of the others are doing pretty well and have got profit already with items left to sell!

I have now put an ad for my stuff on facebook although only to my friends, and I suppose I'll be doing another boot sale this weekend.... and then I admit defeat and give it all to a charity shop! (except the bracelet which I love!!)

Saturday, 21 May 2011

End of the world!!!!

The world was supposed to end at 6pm today.

But since that didn't happen, I thought I'd finally update my blog.

Tomorrow morning I'm doing a stall at a car boot sale. I haven't decided which one yet, it'll be whichever starts latest and gives me longest in bed in the morning....

I have spent all afternoon sorting 'stuff' that I've had in boxes in the garage for years. It's not a nice job, everything smells musty and is dirty. However, it's all cleaned up OK so tomorrow I have to try and convince people that they want to buy it. Of course the real reason that I'm going is to try and sell the stuff I bought at the May Fayre..... hmmm, we'll see!

Wish me luck!

Monday, 2 May 2011

May Fayre

In the town where I grew up, the annual May Fayre still exists. I don't think the format of the fayre has changed at all in as long as I can remember.

May Fayre Boot Sale

May Fayre Boot Sale

Today though, had a new purpose. In response to my brother's desire to 'do something else' on May Day (shock, horror!! Something ELSE???) we devised....

The Inaugural Annual Family May Fayre £5 Bargain Hunt Flog-it In the Attic Challenge‏.

Basically, you can spend up to £5 on as many or as few items as you choose, items must then be re-sold by 30th May (bank holiday) and the person who makes the most profit wins all the profits. Here are the rules:

1. As a family, we do not cheat
2. Only items from the Car Boot Sale
3. Can spend up to and only up to five pounds
4. Can have multiple items as long as you do not exceed five pounds
5. Haggling is allowed
6. Items must be sold by 12 midday on the following spring bank holiday
7. No selling to family members
8. A photo must be taken of said item
9. Selling can be done by any means
10. If you wish to improve your property you can, as long as your total spend is up to five pounds.
11. If you need to pimp up your item by cleaning and/or repairing the total cost must remain under or exactly five pounds.
12. Challengers put profit into the kitty
13. The winner is the person that makes the most profit from their sale
14. The prize is all of the profit in the kitty and a trophy
15. Trophy to be retained for one year and one year only

(I think I'm in charge of making a trophy...??? )

So, today at the May Fayre car boot sale was myself, Mum, Dad, Sister, Brother, Sis-in-Law, Niece#1, Niece#2 and Niece#1's boyfriend, all trawling the stalls looking for bargains.

Everybody got something and spent most of their £5 allowance.

My purchases were:

1 freshwater pearl bracelet - £1
1 Bugs Bunny tie - 50p
7 items of childrens clothing - 50p each - £3.50

The childrens clothing is mostly Next brand, with one FatFace item and one Patch.

As a bonus, I found a plastic childs necklace in the pocket of a jacket!!

So my total spend is exactly £5. That means that I have no money spare for 'doing up' anything, but since all the clothes need is a wash and iron, and the bracelet just needs cleaning with soapy water, I don't need to spend any more.

Selling fees (e.g. Ebay, Paypal) come out of any profit.

I will post photographs when I take them, I will be selling on Ebay so decent photographs is a job for Wednesday night, I will get everything washed tomorrow.

(I've kinda fallen in love with the bracelet though, might end up keeping it!!)


I don't often post pictures of myself, but I was recently given these which are of me working Rory, the golden retriever currently living with me. His puppy walkers came to visit and these are the pictures they took of me and him. I was very pleased to have them, because I have very few pictures of me working.

Setting off.

Crossing the road.

Traffic training - asking the dog to 'forward' when his path is blocked by a car. 

Indicating the button on a pedestrian crossing.

It was chucking it down with rain that day, Rory and I were both soaked through! But, he performed well and his puppy walkers were thrilled to see him working.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Yet another update!

Another update post...

I spent most of Friday watching the Royal Wedding. It was lovely and I thought both of them held up well under the pressure of being watched by millions.

Tarka has been unwell. She's had diarrhoea for a few days and I am inclined to panic a bit when that happens due to her bout of pancreatitis before Christmas. With it being a bank holiday weekend I was also worried about the availability of vets if I should need one, as the out of hours practice is about 40 mins away and I don't know any of the vets there. Anyway, on Saturday I rang my practice to see if I should take Tarka in for a check up, and I had a long, reassuring chat with the vet on duty. He was very good and explained everything (yes I know I've heard it before, but I forget...) and I did feel much better after that. I need to remember in future, that diarrhoea on its own is UNLIKELY to be caused by pancreatitis, she would also have loss of appetite and vomiting if it's pancreatitis. Don't let me forget this again!! He also said there wasn't much point taking her in because I was already doing everything they would do so I kept her quiet, and low and behold she is a lot better today. She did a nice, almost solid poo today, much to my great relief!!

I have got a house guest for the next few weeks, Rory is one of my dogs in training at work and he's staying with me until end of May/mid June. He's a sweetie, but don't be fooled by his handsome good looks, he's very clever and good at getting his own way, he's going to need an owner who is very 'on the ball' who can keep him under control.

I too, am still feeling grotty. I woke up yesterday with my left eye sore and swollen. The swelling has mostly gone down, but I think it's either a blocked sinus or sinusitis. According to google, if I leave it alone it should resolve within 2 weeks, however it also said that the complications could be infection spreading to the eye causing blindness, or to the brain causing meningitis or death!!! So much for a little gentle reassurance!! Anyway I will see how I feel next week when all the bank holidays have passed and things are back to normal, at the moment I wouldn't stand a chance of getting a doctors appointment. I do find as well, that although all I want to do is curl up on the sofa, I actually feel better if I get up and do something.

Tomorrow is the annual May Fayre in the town where I grew up and my parents still live, so I'll be going to that, along with all my family. We've got a family challenge going on.... more about that in my next post!!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Under the weather

I've been feeling a bit sorry for myself this week. I've had a cold, and have been losing a battle with a migraine all week and finally took my tablets today. The tablets do get rid of the migraine, but they also make me feel really grotty and I usually need to sleep off the side effects of the tablets. Unfortunately I couldn't do that today as I had too much to do at work so I'll be having an early night tonight.

Tomorrow is the Royal Wedding, just in case anyone has managed to miss that little snippet of news.I'm not particularly interested in the Royal Family as a rule, but I am going to watch the wedding tomorrow. I've promised Tarka we can curl up on the sofa and watch it together.... I could do with a day of slobbing around doing nothing!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Ultimate Recall

You might have noticed I mentioned on my last post, I was doing a course called 'Ultimate Recall'.

This was a four day course, run by the excellent John Rogerson. He used dogs who do not come when called, to demonstrate exercises to achieve a recall response even in the most difficult environments. All of the 14 dogs on the course showed a significant improvement in their recall response, although the owners will need to continue to work with their dogs to continue their progress. This is not a 'quick fix' course, but a lifelong training method.

John has a very 'common sense' attitude towards dog training. He gets onto the dogs level and tries to see things from their point of view. He doesn't use any form of harsh handling or forceful training, but he's not a soft touch either! I went with two colleagues from work, and we have got a lot of food for thought to discuss over the next few days when we are back at work. Some of John's stuff we can use as it is, some we will need to adapt to suit our purpose, but all of it was enlightening and I will be trying it out with my current training dogs when I'm back to work next week. I think Tarka might become a bit of a guinea pig too!!

Objective: By the end of the advanced training period, my dogs will achieve the 'ultimate recall'!!

Oh and by the way...

Happy Easter!!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Time flies!!!

Crikey, is it really 2 weeks since my last blog post? I have had a busy couple of weeks.....

  • 11th April - Friend came round to see me do Molly's medication as she was looking after the cats while I was away.
  • 12th April - Badminton.
  • 13th April - Badminton.
  • 14th April - Took Tarka to my friend who was having her for the weekend.
  • 15th April - Travelled to Barrow-in-Furness (5 1/2 hours)
  • 16th April - Cousins wedding.
  • 17th April - Travelled home from Barrow.
  • 18th April - Unpack, do laundry, re-pack.
  • 19th April - Travel to Atherton (near Bolton, 4 hours) - see new training dogs.
  • 20th April - Travel home from Atherton (5 hours due to traffic) Badminton in evening.
  • 21st to 24th April - John Rogerson 'Ultimate Recall' course.
So, as you can see I really haven't had time to breath much in the last two weeks, although everything's been fun things that I've wanted to do. (Except for the travelling!)

I have fitted in a few runs, I went for a run while I was in Barrow which was nice as the Lake District is a beautiful place, albeit hilly!! Bolton wasn't so nice, however I managed to persuade myself to go out. I did miss track night last night though, because although I was home in time to go, I wasn't feeling well having been sat in a field in the blazing sun all day, and I have got a cold which was making me cough and short of breath.

We have had some fabulous weather these last few weeks, it's been in the low 20's (that's centegrade for my American friends) and it's been sunny as well. I hope this isn't all we're going to see of summer this year!!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Bath time!!

For Tarka! She wasn't impressed, but it's one of those things that's needed doing for a while and I've been putting it off, and since I'm going away on Friday and she's staying with a friend, it seemed like a good time to do it. And, it's a lovely sunny day for drying her off! Unfortunately I took my eye off her and she rolled in a patch of dirt... oh well it'll brush off when she's dry!


"How could you!!"

"Woe is me!!"

"Revenge is sweet - dirt!!"

Drying in the sun.

Friday, 8 April 2011


My last rabbit Teddy died today. He was about 9 years old, maybe older which is old for a rabbit. He started to lose control of his back end which is usually fatal in the nastiest possible way for rabbits (google fly strike - actually don't, it's really not very nice) and he couldn't use one of his back legs which was getting painfully urine scalded, so I took him to the vet this afternoon.

Goodnight sweet boy.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Lack of motivation

I've got a week off work, a huge list of 'things to do' and no inclination to do any of them!!

Today I went shopping, did a five mile run, followed by a 3 mile walk with the dog and then visited my Mum and Grandmother with their Mothers day presents (I forgot to take them yesterday when we were all together!)

Does anyone know how to cure lack of motivation? I should have done some housework or gardening. My house and garden are such a tip that I hide if the doorbell goes and won't let anyone in!! It's not like I'm doing nothing all day (see above!) but I'm doing the things I like, and not doing the things I should.


Oh well, there's always tomorrow!

Thursday, 31 March 2011

30 Day Music Challenge

I've been doing the 30 day music challenge on Facebook. I've really enjoyed it because it's made me think about what I like, and search for songs to fit the given categories. I thought I would have much more Matchbox Twenty in there because that's what I mainly listen to, but I have actually got quite a variety.

day 01 - your favorite song – Billy Joel – Scenes from an Italian restaurant

day 02 - your least favorite song – Los del Rio - Macarena

day 03 - a song that makes you happy – Santana featuring Rob Thomas - Smooth

day 04 - a song that makes you sad – The Rembrandts – I’ll be there for you

day 05 - a song that reminds you of someone – Acker Bilk – stranger on the shore

day 06 - a song that reminds you of somewhere – Richard Marx - Hazard

day 07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event – Righteous Brothers – You’ve lost that loving feeling

day 08 - a song that you know all the words to – Simon and Garfunkle – The Boxer

day 09 - a song that you can dance to – T Rex – I want to boogie

day 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep – Albinoni – Adagio in G minor

day 11 - a song from your favourite band – Matchbox Twenty – If you’re gone

day 12 - a song from a band you hate – Jedward – Under Pressure

day 13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure – Michael Ball – Love changes everything.

day 14 - a song that no one would expect you to love – David Bowie - Changes

day 15 - a song that describes you – Cat Stevens – I love my dog

day 16 - a song that you used to love but now hate – Michael Buble – Cry me a river

day 17 - a song that you hear often on the radio – Noah and the Whale – L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N

day 18 - a song that you wish you heard on the radio - Matchbox Twenty - Unwell

day 19 - a song from your favorite album - MB20 - Exile on Mainstream – How far we’ve come

day 20 - a song that you listen to when you’re angry – Kaiser Chiefs – I predict a riot

day 21 - a song that you listen to when you’re happy – Manic Street Preachers – Suicide is painless

day 22 - a song that you listen to when you’re sad – Stereophonics – have a nice day

day 23 - a song that you want to play at your wedding – Vann Morrison – Have I told you lately

day 24 - a song that you want to play at your funeral – The Escape Club – I’ll be there

day 25 - a song that makes you laugh – Morecombe and Wise – Bring me sunshine

day 26 - a song that you can play on an instrument – The Beatles – Yellow submarine

day 27 - a song that you wish you could play – Charlie Daniels band - Devil went down to Georgia

day 28 - a song that makes you feel guilty – Bananarama – Love in the first degree

day 29 - a song from your childhood – Brotherhood of Man – Kisses for me

day 30 - your favorite song at this time last year – Michael Buble – Just haven’t met you yet

Monday, 28 March 2011

R.I.P Jasper

Jasper was my neighbours 7 month old cat. I found him yesterday, dead at the side of the road.

I didn't realise it was him. I didn't recognise him. He'd had a massive blow to the head and I'm sure he was killed instantly judging by his injuries. I picked him up and took him to the vets for a microchip scan, and my neighbour called me later to thank me. Today they came round with flowers and a card.

He'd gone down to the busy main road. None of us have ever seen him go that far before, he obviously attempted to cross and didn't make it.

He was such a sweet little cat. My neighbours went to the vets to see him, they said he looked like he was sleeping. The surgery staff must have done a very good job of cleaning him up, because he certainly didn't look like he was sleeping when I saw him last! I'm now glad that I didn't realise it was Jasper when I picked him up because if I had, I might have taken him straight to the neighbours before I thought about it, and then they would have seen what I saw. I think it's better that they didn't.

Cats are such stressful pets! Mine have been firmly locked indoors all day....

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Another goal achieved!

I did my first five mile run today!

The estate where I live is built with lots of footpaths and underpasses, and I don't feel safe running there by myself in the dark. So, I drove to a nearby town and parked up and ran from the car today. It was a nice route, long straight stretches so no need to think about the route too much, and not too many roads to cross. I plotted it on walkjogrun beforehand and it was 5.1 miles. Some bits were a bit dark though as there was no street lighting so I will probably only do it in daylight in future.

I have been running 11.5 min miles so I was expecting to take about an hour, but I did it in 53 mins which is about 10.5 min miles, so I'm very happy all round!

Only 1 more mile now till I'm doing 10K - that's the next goal!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

On the increase...

I've managed to increase my running distance again!

I'm up to 4 miles now, still pretty slow at 11.5 mins per mile but it's consistent the whole way round, I don't slow down. I've done the 4 mile block twice now, I'm pretty sure I could do 5 miles but I'm going to leave that for next week and just consolidate the 4 miles first.

Once I'm up to 5 miles then I think I need to start looking at my speed. I'd like to get up to 10 minute miles if possible, but that's an awful lot to shave off my current time.... we'll see!!

The next milestone after that will be 6 miles - 10K!!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Bad cat!!!

Woody went missing last night.

I got home from work early at about 4.30pm and there was no sign of him. I was worried because normally he comes running within seconds of me getting home, whatever the time of day. I had a scout around but there was no sign. My neighbour said he'd seen Woody at about 3.30pm but not since. I went out a few times after that to walk and call for him, and I listened at all the garage doors in case he'd been shut in.

I went to badminton since there was nothing else I could do and I would have just sat around worrying even more.

When I got home I printed some posters and Tarka and I went round putting those up. I waited up till about 2am in case he came home and then got up this morning about 6.45 to try and catch the neighbours as they went to work, to check their garages.

When I got up Woody was curled up in the conservatory!! He's cold, but not excessively hungry or thirsty, I have no idea where he's been but strongly suspect he got shut in somewhere, he's such a nosey cat!! At least he doesn't seem any worse for the experience, but he's staying indoors for today at least! He's currently warming up in his favourite box which I've put in front of the heating vent for him. (Spoilt cat - I normally NEVER have heating on in the mornings!)

This is the bit of cat ownership that I really don't like - the uncertainty of letting them outside and just hoping that they're still there at the end of the day. Despite knowing that he was more than likely shut in somewhere, I still had all sorts of thoughts running through my head. I love my cats, but I really don't think I'll be getting any more after these guys. They're just too stressful!!

Monday, 14 March 2011

New shoes...

...yes, new running trainers...

But before that, a big hello to all my readers, old friends and new - I don't think I've ever said that before! You are appreciated, all six of you!! I'd hate to think I'm talking to myself  here... and if it's your first visit to see me, welcome!!

So, back to the shoes. Like any girl, new shoes is always an exciting event although with most girls it tends to be a new pair of high heels or similar that causes the excitement. With me it's new walking boots normally, but in this case it's running shoes.

I've been getting pain in my left calf - I think I mentioned it before....? I suspected my trainers were to blame so, as an experiment I ran last Thursday in ordinary trainers, the ones I wear for badminton. Got away with it, and calf muscle was fine. Point proved? Well yes, except I decided to repeat the experiment at the track on Friday night. Big mistake. Thursday night was a gentle jog with friends. Friday night was a tough training session, and boy did I struggle!! It's Monday now and my shins still hurt from the impact of running in unsuitable trainers!! So on Sunday I went out with my brother (who runs and who knows about stuff like this) and I got a pair of Nike Anodyne+ for £38, instead of the original price of £65. I did a test first which showed I am slightly pronate when I run, so these are supportive shoes to stop my foot rolling inwards. I did a short 2 mile block tonight (kept it short as my legs are still sore and I didn't know how the new shoes would be) and all seems fine with the trainers. Hopefully they'll be ok and solve the problems I've been having. Of course I will let you know....

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Glad to live in England

Recent events once again make me glad I live in England, even though I may moan about it from time to time.

Earthquake in New Zealand
Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan
Floods and fires in Australia
Famine and 3rd world conditions in Africa (highlighted again by RND Comic Relief)
....and all the other events in the past.

We don't get such extremes in this country. Yes we have had some natural disasters, but not on such a huge scale. (although of course they are just as devastating for those concerned)

I don't really watch TV but the pictures I have seen are horrific. I simply can't imagine the terror of living through an event of that nature, or the helplessness of having lost everything except the shirt on your back.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Another 'newsy' post.

I went running again tonight. My left calf muscle has been aching a lot since last Friday, although to be honest it's been sore for a while now. I strongly suspect my ultra-cheap shoes may be the reason, so I rested Saturday Sunday and Monday, played badminton Tuesday and Wednesday,then tonight I ran in a different pair of trainers. They're not specifically designed for running, but as my calf muscle is no worse than it was before I ran I think that confirms my suspicion. I think that a trip to a running shop for a gait analysis might be on the cards although I really don't have the money to spend on an expensive pair of running shoes.

I also need to buy a dress. I'm going to another wedding in April and need a new dress since the old one is 4 years old, has been to 4 weddings (including the one which was the brother of the cousin getting married this time) and has also got a tear/repair in it!! I'm going shopping on Saturday and hope I can find something in M&S since I have got a gift card for there.

Molly is still suffering from cystitis. She's better than she was, but still not right. She's had various tests but they're all clear (thank goodness) so it looks like ideopathic cystitis (meaning no identifiable cause).

I have got two commissions for my jewellery, I'm off to buy the beads etc for them on Saturday so will get started on them as soon as I've got all the stuff.

And I've just figured out that I won't be able to sit in and watch Comic Relief next Friday as planned, I'm going to see my neices school production of West Side Story. They're both in the band this time, not on stage. The school productions are normally quite good and I've never seen WSS so I'm looking forward to it.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Red Nose Day....

....is on 18th March, but today is the 24 hour Panel People. It's 24 hour non-stop game shows, all involving comedian David Walliams in one way or another. He's presenting some and is a contestant in others. It's also quite nostalgic as they are reviving some long dead game shows for the occasion - I've just watched 'The Generation Game' and it's all to raise money for Comic Relief.

Friday, 4 March 2011


....I found a running club that I like!

Tonight I went for my first session with a different club from before. The last one didn't work out because it clashed with badminton too badly and I couldn't make it work. Also, they weren't a very friendly club, the two nights I was there a total of 3 people spoke to me and one of those was the coach who was rude. There must have been about 30+ people there so that's not a good statistic in my book.

Tonight was different though. There were only about 10 people there but they all spoke to me and introduced themselves. They were looking out for me and made sure I was OK, and were chatty when it was feasable to be chatty!! At the moment I'll just be going to the track night on Fridays, but once I've got my distance up I'll join the Monday night runs. I need to be at 5 miles though. They do a shorter run on a Tuesday, but that clashes with badminton...

I do think I need a better pair of running shoes though as I'm getting a few aches when I run which I don't get when I play badminton. They're too expensive though so I'll have to make do for now. *sigh*

....better keep buying the lotto tickets....

Monday, 28 February 2011

Oh Yes!!

Finally.... I broke the 2.5 mile running distance that I've been stuck on for ages!!

Today I added in an extra bit and according to 'Walk Jog Run' I did 3.6 miles!!

I'm very happy about that, although my left ankle is slightly less happy and is aching a bit. Oh well, it'll be fine by morning I'm sure.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Too much!!

Too much food, that is!!

I seem to have done nothing but cooking and eating this weekend, and I have got food I can't fit into the freezer which is annoying - I do have the world's smallest freezer, but I can't get a bigger one while Teddy is still alive because he's living in the space where the freezer will go! (I know that sounds awful, when the rabbit dies I can get a new freezer!! I'm not wishing him away, the freezer can wait!!)

First it was ordinary bread then cheese and onion bread, then I did a huge food shop using some Tesco vouchers I had, then today I cooked beef in a red wine gravy which I had with roast potatoes and veg, and I even remembered the yorkshire pudding! That was followed by a huge slice of chocolate cheesecake which  I made as a treat yesterday and a handful of grapes to finish. I am stuffed!!

To offset all of this very slightly, I did finally go for a run today after over a week of no running, and I extended my normal block very slightly too. Today's run was 2.5 miles. *sigh* Need to do double that really, if I want to be able to join a running club.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Cheese and onion bread

I've been wanting to make this for ages, and last week I came across a particularly nice looking recipe on 'The Pink Whisk' blog. Today was the day to try it.

The dough rose well,

Then it had to be knocked back and shaped for a second rise,

This is it ready to go in the oven,

This is the end result!!

I seem to have eaten rather a lot of it already..... well, it's best eaten warm!!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

learning to FLY!!!!

Don't get excited, it's not in the conventional sense!

Ever heard of Flylady? Well I'm giving it a go although I'm not committing to too much at once. Basically, I'm picking one 'space' a night and clearing it. So, Monday night I did all the washing up, dried it and put it away (I normally leave it to drain) and cleaned the sink. Tuesday I did that again (but there was far less to do) and cleared the kitchen table. Wednesday I did the washing up etc, checked the table was still clear and did the worktop on the other side of the kitchen. You see how it goes? Tonight I will maintain the previously cleared areas and add one more. I'm not following Flylady exactly, but am using the idea and adapting it to suit myself. I'm going to get all the visable areas done first then start either upstairs in the bedrooms, or doing one kitchen cupboard a night until they're all done. I'm doing small areas during the week, and will do slightly bigger jobs at the weekends. The key for me is to keep the tasks small and easily achievable.

I haven't been running now in over a week. I was going to run with friends from work tonight but ended up taking Molly to the vet, then had to go to Sainsbury's to get a different type of food for her, then had to make a phone call.....  and by then it was gone 8pm and I was so hungry I couldn't face a run!! I'm still looking for a running club to join, the local one didn't work out as their club night clashed with badminton, the next local one hasn't got back to me so I'm still looking.

Molly has got cystitis. She had a bit of a scare with a dog I looked after this week, and the vet said the stress could have brought it on. Who knows. Anyway, she's in a lot of pain and feeling very sorry for herself, added to which I've had to shut her in the dog cage because she's pee-ing all over the house!! Now, I'm used to animals having the odd accident indoors, I've even got used to Woody scent marking indoors whenever I bring a new dog home, but having a cat dripping wee all over the house is quite another thing. It will stink very quickly, and because it is literally one or two drips at a time I'll never be able to find them all to clear it up so although it seems harsh on Molly, containing her is the most hygenic option. Hopefully the drugs will kick in soon - better get the insurance form filled in too!!


In April I'm going to Barrow-in-Furness for another cousin's wedding. It should be fun, I love it when the family get together. I'm travelling with my sister on the Friday again but we can't go until lunch time, I have to work in the morning.

On Monday this week I went to the South East Berkshire Gang Show, it was really really good. My friend's son was in it so I know they have done weeks and weeks of rehersals, and it showed. It was very well done, they did loads of skits and sketches, the scenery was fantastic and the costumes too. I thoroughly reccommend it if you're in the area.