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Ah! That’s better.

The calm after the storm is all the sweeter for having weathered the storm. I think the heady combination of multiple celebrations back to back and the lunar eclipse had quite a disruptive effect on me over the past few days.

Fortunately I’ve learned that these storms do pass. Sometimes you have to ride them out, and other times you need to give yourself a good talking to. Today was ‘talking to’ time.

Pup was hitched up to her lead earlier than usual. She looked at me as if to say

“What’s up Mum? We’re headed out way earlier than usual and you have a ‘look’ that says this is going to be a speed march!”

“It’ll do us both good, pup. I need to have a strong word with myself, and your walk route is the best place for it. Nobody to overhear me.”

An hour later, my move target on my Apple Watch completely smashed, we trooped back in, hot and bothered but happier. Well at least I was. Pup was thirsty and gave me a bit of a reproachful look.

Filled with a renewed sense of purpose and energy, I decided to bake bread without using my mixer. Normally I chuck everything into the bowl, attach the dough hook, and let it do the work. Not today. I was on a mission. There’s nothing quite so much fun as getting your hands into the flour, fingers in a claw shape, and giving everything a good squish. Tactile fun with the added bonus of decent bread at the end.

Next was the kneading… the bit I’m usually happy to leave to the machine. I’d forgotten how tiring it can be. It was almost a full upper body workout! In the past I used to pretend that the dough was a person who’d annoyed me. Great for getting you through the tiring muscle bit. Not today. Today I wanted my bread filled with renewed energy, love, and happiness, so that’s what I focused on as I thumped the poor defenceless dough into shape.

With the weather still warm, the warming wasn’t needed, just a disposable shower cap over my mixing bowl and time.

What to do while I waited?

Listen to a Deepak Chopra talk followed by a pedicure. With everyone one out of the house I had the peace and quiet I needed to listen to the talk. I did not do anything else at the same time… just listened. I used to pride myself on my ninja multitasking skills. Now I see that as not paying attention to what I’m doing. At last I was a human simply being, in the listening state.

It was a great eye-opener… lots of ‘aha’ moments as well as being timely (thank you again, universe).

Then I dug out an unused Christmas pressy… a pedicure kit. An hour later my tootsies were smooth, trimmed, and Barbie pink and my bread dough was ready for knocking back and shaping.

After another Hay House talk the dough was ready for the oven. It would seem that a good talking too was just what I needed.

By the way, the bread turned out delicious.

Wishing you all a terrific Tuesday xxx

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Mmmm. Tasty!

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It’s official. My pup is weird!

I feed her top quality dog food and training treats and yet she seems to prefer crap. Yesterday she was in full on scavenge mode. Whilst I have a cast-iron stomach for the gruesome, I was pushed to the limit of endurance on yesterday’s walk.

Within seconds of being released from her lead, she was off like a shot, nose to the ground, tail wagging. Minutes later she strolled back, grinning (a cool trick of hers) and jaws occupied. Her revolting haul included a decaying rabbit, some dried cow poop, and flattened mouse. Removing each vile find from her vice-like grip took every bit of nerve I had.

Bleurgh!

Needless to say, I was not at home to Mrs LickMumsLegs or, even worse, Mrs GiveMumaCheekyFaceLick! Well not until I’d seen pup drink plenty of water. I was sorely tempted to rinse out her mouth with the garden hose!

By the evening my stomach had recovered its composure. Since the hot tub installation back in May, we usually end the day with a bit of a soak and a good chat… and it was while floating around that I told Mr D about pup’s revolting tastes. He laughed and pointed out that her revolting tastes seemed to include ‘human consommé!’

The little furry blighter had sneaked up the steps and was sampling the water!

Instead of telling her off, Mr D snapped this photo. Mind you, one look from me was enough to send her off to her bed. I do good “bad pup” stares. It’s quite similar to the “naughty child… time out!” stare. I’ve even been known to deploy “the look” at inconsiderate drivers.

I’m pleased to say today’s walk went off without an iota of yuk.

Long may it continue.

Happy Friday Eve everyone xx

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Lunchtime Aerobatics

Air Show

Lunchtime dog walks are usually a quiet affair, unless Molly takes off in hot pursuit of partridges or pheasants, refusing to come back. Today’s walk started out as normal, Molly walking me at top speed as soon as she sees the entrance to the fields. She only stops long enough for me to unclasp her lead before rushing headlong into the waist-high meadow grasses.

Moments later I was aware of a high-pitched whine overhead. Squinting into the sky I could just pick out a red dot climbing rapidly, spiralling as it gained height.

Then silence!

Holding my breath, I watched in horror as the red dot grew bigger, plummeting to earth.

Had the engine stalled on the climb and not restarted? I know nothing about flying but this didn’t seem normal. My heart was hammering in my chest as I watch the plane dive. At the point where my mobile phone was in hand and poised to dial the emergency services, the engine roared into life and the bi-plane barrel-rolled. Shaking with relief, I guessed that this was a stunt plane and the pilot, oblivious to my panic, was probably having the time of his/her life! Phew!

The plane faded into the distance as my gaze scanned the sky a tree altitude. On the way earthward, I spotted a more natural aerial acrobat… a Red Kite. They were extinct in my neck of the woods until recently. I wasn’t so scared watching it dive to the ground after its lunch. At shoulder altitude a pair of partridges took flight, flushed out by Molly, their alert warning some lapwings to take to the skies. It certainly was all about flight this lunchtime.

Even the ground altitude was not clear of flying thingies. Butterflies, bees, and beetles filled the air in front of me. I counted at least five different types of butterfly and three types of bees. Don’t ask about the beetles as some of the flying bugs were a little too keen on biting me so I beat a hasty retreat… I suspect they were horseflies, not beetles.

Apart from the ground-dwelling birds, Molly was completely oblivious to the insect display. She didn’t even notice a butterfly landing on her head. It’s a shame I wasn’t quick enough to photograph her.

Lunchtime dog walks are climbing up the ranks of interesting and amusing chores round here. I wonder what I’ll see tomorrow? With final practices taking place across the UK for the RAF centenary fly-past later this month it could be anything from Tucanos to Spitfires, Hercules transporters to Hurricanes. I may need to swap my bird guide for a plane guide!

Wishing you all a terrific Tuesday xx

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If only I had a camera!

Well I did. Our latest trip to the beach was so much fun with the tide full out. Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved exploring the rock pools revealed at low tide. The beach we visit offers both caves and rock pools, only accessible once the tide has receded.

Exploration was further enhanced by the presence of Molly. At 18 months old, she’s now more bold than ever. Her first visit to the caves saw her scrambling over rocks, chasing thrown stones and barking at her own bark echoing in the cave chamber.

Meanwhile, I was busy exploring the nearby rock pools. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted moment in the seaweed, a crab. Armed with my GoPro, I plunged my hand into the pool, gently parted the weed and got a wonderful close-up of Mr Crab having a mid-afternoon morsel. I was captivated by the sight and unaware of my family having exited the caves until Cost Centre 1 (my daughter) dive bombed the rock pool. My peace was shattered.

Ah well. The stroll back to our beach tent involved throwing a tennis ball for Molly to fetch. It stops her from marauding the other defenceless dogs, minding their own business.

I was first back to the tent, Cost Centre 2 (my son) on my heels. He suggested I turn on the camera again and capture hubby, Cost Centre 1 and Molly playing with the ball.

CC1 was holding Molly on her lead and for some unknown reason, hubby threw the ball. Molly launched herself after it with such force, she yanked CC1 clean off her feet. Poor CC1 landed with an inelegant splat, face down in the sand, in clear view of the other beach visitors and the Life Guard look-out post.

CC2, giggling hysterically, said “You’d better have got all that on camera. That would make a brilliant video for “You’ve Been Framed” (UK tv show based on viewers footage). We didn’t find out the results until our return to the cottage and it’s WiFi service.

I have captured every frame! I haven’t decided whether to send it in or not. I may keep it as leverage!

One thing is for sure. I am really enjoying my birthday present.

Have a terrific Tuesday everyone xx

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Life lessons from my pup

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Molly on her best behaviour!

It’s over a year since my pup joined our family and what a year it’s been. To sum it up, Molly is a furry wrecking ball.

Today, while striding across the field for walkies, Molly racing around like the proverbial headless chicken, I was struck with how simple her approach to life seems to be. Her requirements are few. Apart from the obvious needs, here is her list as I see it. Things need to fall into the following categories –

  1. Is it fun?
  2. Is it edible?
  3. Can I rag it to pieces?
  4. Can I hump it? (Yes I know she’s a girl but that hasn’t held her back on the leg humping front!)

If a thing can satisfy any or all of the above criteria she’s a happy pooch. If a thing does not fit, she does not waste time trying to make it fit her needs, she pretty much ‘marks’ it (you know what I mean… yuck!) and walks away. She doesn’t waste emotions on regret that the thing could not be made to fit her needs. She gives not one jot!

Maybe the reason Molly has joined my family is to show me a better approach to post-menopausal life. I may have to adapt some of her criteria, especially number 4, but I like her attitude of chosing the things that make her happy and walking away from stuff she doesn’t need in her life, without the slightest regret.

Good puppy!

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Friday fun in the sun

How much fun is it being able to make a snap decision and take the day off? The weather is just too beautiful to watch it from the office window. It doesn’t happen that regularly in the UK that we can afford to pass up the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. As the old saying goes “Make hay while the sun shines.”

I planned to sleep as long as I needed. Didn’t happen though. The cuckoo had other ideas.

Clearly, it is a master of long distance travel and to be commended on its endurance. I’m sure it has other talents, but time-keeping is not one of them. At around 5am it started to cuckoo. By 25 o’clock I thought it might stop to draw breath, but no. It was going for the world record for non-stop cuckooing! By 5:40am it decided to call it a day, by which time I was now wide awake.

Not willing to waste a lovely morning trying to get back to sleep I slipped into my running kit and headed out. Initially I was only going for a short run but the conditions were too good to resist, my legs felt great, and I kept going until I’d completed 5K.

Once home, the run data transferred from my Apple Watch app to my phone, and to my astonishment, I’d knocked off 2 minutes 30 secs off my previous best time! Go me! Time to celebrate with a post-run yoga session on the sun deck. It seemed only appropriate that part of my routine should be Sun Salutations. The only slight blot on the horizon was dog shaped. Molly was so eager to join in the fun. She has Downward Dog off to a fine art but is absolutely rubbish at Bridge, and Corpse pose. She’s also rubbish at letting me do these poses unmolested!

After much face-licking (the dog, not me) she gave in and let me carry on. With the sun well above the horizon, I was able to have breakfast outside while I planned the rest of my day.

My trip to the beauty therapist was excellent. She doesn’t just do my nails and waxing, we exchange news, and generally set the world to rights while having a seriously good laugh. By the time I was ready for home I was in the best mood I’ve been in all week. I think this is why these wonderful people are called therapists.

And now?

It’s mid-afternoon. I’m in the shade of a majestic weeping willow tree, with a big glass of minted water (soon to be Gin and Tonic), listening to Dark Side of the Moon while I write this post.

This is the best Friday I’ve had all year.

Wishing you all a chilled and fun weekend.

Cath xx

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Celebrating one year with Pup!

It’s a whole year since Molly joined our family. Although the title says ‘celebrating’ it would probably be more accurate to say ‘surviving’.

It is almost impossible to go through a day without muttering the words “That damned dog!”

How can something so cute and fluffy, turn into the female equivalent of Marley, from Marley and Me?

The wildlife in our back garden is terrified to show a feather for fear of being captured and played with. Her reign of terror is not just limited to defenceless birds, it even extends to the plant life. Sunday afternoon I caught her playing tug-o-war with a quince bush. This particular bush is armed with inch-long thorns for heaven’s sake. Undaunted, she stripped the thorns and leaf buds with her teeth, spat them out, before continuing her game.

If plants and birds are not to paw, she will find entertainment elsewhere. This morning after breakfast, she appeared in my office wearing a grin! My first thought was not “Aw, how cute!”. It was more along the lines of “Oh hell! What has she got in her mouth this time?”

Sensing her game may be up, Molly rocketed round the house, maniacal grin in place, with me trying to tempt her back with a multitude of tasty morsels. Eventually I cornered her, prized open her jaws and discovered the source of her grin.

A few years ago I developed bruxism (thanks for that, menopause) and have to wear a mouth guard to stop my teeth from breaking each other as I clench when I sleep. Every morning I clean it when I brush my teeth, and place it in a safe place to allow it to air dry, ready for the next use. Small they may be, but cheap they ain’t.

Molly was wearing my mouth guard, hence the grin! I have no idea how she got it as she would need opposable thumbs to get to it!

“Aargh! Damned dog!”

Fortunately she didn’t chew it. However, it is now having a bath in some sterilizing fluid!

And where was Molly’s favourite chew toy? Abandoned outside in the back garden, underneath a tree.

Does anyone know how long the daft pup stage lasts in labradors? Do they ever grow up? Or, like Marley, do they simply become larger versions of their pup selves?

One thing is for sure, life is never dull round here!