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Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Christmas is over, and the New Year around the corner.

Happy Christmas to all :-) 
This year for us was a new experience. For the first time in 20 years, we had our Christmas Day lunch at our best friends in their new home. We have always stayed home and been very private on the day, (apart from one year going mad and spending it in Dublin), but this year we decided to change the habit of a lifetime. Christmas morning we got up quite late. (Fern is 20 now so not quite the little girl waking us up at 5am!!) We fed the dogs and then sat around opening pressies, before Rog made scrambled eggs with smoked Salmon for breakfast. That is tradition, along with a glass of sherry. Weird how I never drink the stuff all year, nor do I normally drink in the mornings!! but just this one day it has to be done.

Christmas Breakfast!

Georges first Christmas

Twiggy enjoying the festivities.

George & Twiggy Christmas Morning.

We then walked the dogs, just on the farm fields, before loading them into our van and setting off to Gary & Estelles. 

Olli doing his farm pose :-)

Famous Five :-)
A really fun day with some amazing food, and great laughs. We had bought them a wicker log basket, which they wanted for the new fireplace, so in true silly me style, I decided to fill it with logs from our log shed, and not just that but I individually wrapped a log each for them too :-) That started the afternoon off with some giggles, and that's how it continued. It is so nice to be with great friends, laughing, everyone mucking in, and we actually came home with aching faces!! That's how life should be :-)
Boxing day Ferns best friend and her boyfriend came over and I cooked Goose & Turkey. The goose was lovely, and turkey done in true Jamie Oliver style was the best I have done yet. Fresh herbs chopped and squished by hand into a pound of butter, then pushed up under the skin of the bird before roasting. It was moist and subtly flavoured and we all ate far too much. Ben actually finished his first plate, and then completely filled it again!! Hollow legs!!

Boxing Day lunch.

We have played Xbox Kinnect a few times, both on Christmas day at Garys, and Boxing day Ben brought his over to ours, and I have muscles pulled in places I didn't know I had muscles!!! Always seems fun at the time, and I am far too competitive!! ....but I am also far too bloody old and unfit to flap my arms to fly around popping bubbles, chuck 500 balls at some pins, or do discus and javelin!! Very impressed with the way it works though, and with the keep fit program it has, we are off to buy one in the sales. That and the dancing should sort Fern & I out before agility starts at Easter!!

Hazel & Fern doing hurdles!!!

We have also got my Mums eldest dog staying with us until the New Year. She is 16 years and 3 months old, and we bred her from our first ever collie. Although slightly out of sync when she walks, and stone deaf, she is a remarkably well and happy girl. She knocked me flying as she ran to chase one of our cats across the lawn, has been playing with Twiggy and has told Georgie off a few times!! Its quite funny having her & Becki, with their slight wobble and wonky heads, but we do have to respect these old dogs. Titch was also the first dog Fern ever ran at agility, 11 years ago! I Don't think they ever managed a clear, but they had fun!
Cove looking after our elderly guest.
Its been a busy social time, and we still have a big New Years eve party to go to, and its fancy dress. Cant say what we are going as yet as only the chosen few know, but I am sure there will be plenty of photos to follow. 
Georgie is now a "Non male" and he has been a brilliant patient. I slept with him the first night as he was a bit freaked by the anaesthetic but after day 2 he forgot all about it, and healed so quickly. I did keep him on lead, and do it all properly and it worked. I removed his stitches yesterday, as it would have been Christmas Day that they were due out, and obviously the vets were closed other than emergencies. I have been taking him out on his own, doing heel work, and circle work, and he is such a lovely balanced dog, with an almost perfect temperament. No fears, no hang ups, and with his unique "talking" he will bring a smile to the face of the most miserable!!
Get in the wheelbarrow? Yep ok Mum :-)

 All the rest of the dogs are still enjoying their break, our eqpt is about to be stripped and re coated with rubber, and then training starts mid Jan.
Really looking forward to a new season, new challenges and a lot of fun with my good friends in the agility world. Lots planned, and we have entered our first show! First one of the year has all the Olympia qualifiers, and it will be our first trip in Walter the new, very handsome, very large caravan! :-)
Friends are so important, as are our family, and our dogs, and this Christmas has been all about them all.
Happy New Year to all, and stay safe & happy.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Another year nearly over.

Its odd not going to shows, so I am not filled with enthusiasm of events and stories I want to tell, hence my telling off this week for not writing my blog!
Thats not to say my life is boring in any way, but not necessarily very interesting for anyone else to waste time reading. 
So, Lily, Olli & Cove finished training at the beginning of the month, so they have a complete 6-8 week rest from agility now. Twiggy & George had a bit extra to do, but they are the real babies, so hadn't really had the full season the others had. I finished Twiggys season off with a fun night at Stretcholt with Lauren and the gang. We decorated the jumps with tinsel, the weaves were covered in tinsel, there were blow up Santas sitting by some of the jumps and the Christmas music was blaring out from the stereo! Mince pies, non alcoholic drinks and far too many chocolates made for a really interesting and different nights training. Last time we were there a month ago, Twiggy was scanning the arena, slightly concerned with the other dogs being there, and I was still aware that I was babying her. This time she was a different dog!! First run, and she was so excited on the start line. A lovely focused, determined clear round with great weaves and stop 2o2o contacts!! No scanning, no fear and I ran her like I should do. She is not a scared rescue dog any more and I have to remember that :-)
I also took Georgie in for a bit of environment training, and he was great fun. Playing tuggy, practising waits, and not in the slightest bit worried by the noise and strange men in red suits!! Lauren suggested trying a small sequence with him, a few small jumps to tunnel and jumps out again, so I did and he held his wait, and did it! Such a happy confident boy, who I know I am going to have a lot of fun with. He has 1 more training workshop tomo evening and then the dreaded op, before he joins the rest of them for a fun relaxing Christmas & New Year.
We have started doing normal things like Christmas shopping, visiting our friends who dont do agility, having friends over to ours and its fun. We sold Nellie our old caravan on Ebay this week, and got more than we expected so very happy with that! We are also going to deliver her to her new home, which will be our last trip out with the old girl.

Talking of old girls, Becki our oldest dog suffered a small stroke yesterday. She is about 15 yrs old, and a gorgeous girl, who on Friday was running me a merry dance as she hunted out a 22 acre field and the cover beyond, putting up about 25 pheasants! Fern had to take Cove, Lily, Dave & Twiggy home while George Olli and me hiked across the fields to get her. 
However she was off balance and confused yesterday morning. She ate her breakfast with her normal enthusiasm, and then I settled her on the sofa and she slept. I didn't rush her to the Vets  because I knew what was going on, and I was starting to think the time had come, so if I took her to the Vets she would not be coming home. She was fine but wobbly, so this morning I took her in, dreading the visit but knowing that without quality of life it is only me who can help her. She trotted down the garden path, excited to be going out in the van, her little stumpy tail wagging furiously. She trotted in the Vets, tail still wagging. After a thorough examination the Vet actually told me that she was so healthy, (apart from her lumpy bits, and her slightly manky teeth)
and she had suffered a mild stroke but a jab to help the nausea, and some tablets to help with the blood flow to her brain and she was in no way ready to be despatched just yet!! Becki then mugged her for treats, and was in no rush to leave the consult room until she saw a young cocky Hungarian Vizla in the waiting room. She strutted out, made herself as tall as possible and did what Becki does best. A very low grumble and a stare that says "I am in charge" and the Vizla stood back. Thats my girl, and all the time she is still there in spirit she will be by my side.
As I write this, the weather is violent outside, and all 8 dogs are snuggled up in the lounge with us in the warm, and I look at all of them and worry how much I would miss each and every one of them. For now though they are all fine.
Christmas just around the corner and I am starting to get very excited. I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!!