Firewirks over Sydney Opera House

Firewirks over Sydney Opera House

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Change of pace

So, the symbolic mini run yesterday evening WAS a good idea after all (despite how it felt at the time which was sore...).  Having broken the running seal I managed to go for a much longer run first thing this morning and now I feel peachy.  Well, worthy and healthy at least.

I'm pleased too because I've been irritated by my inability to make myself go running in the hot weather and now I know that it really was just the heat putting me off not my lazy chimp.  It was lovely and cool this morning and I actually enjoyed it!  The dogs did too; they've been struggling a bit in the heat but the overcast (comparative) coolness this morning set them off running like puppies.

We've had a quiet weekend really despite the fact there have been loads of big events on round and about.  I blame Rich's golfing commitments!  It was President's weekend at his club so we played in a fun Texas Scramble competition there on Friday evening and had a meal afterwards thus missing Reverend and the Makers headlining at Tramlines in Sheffield (we MIGHT have gone....).  Then it was the proper competition yesterday with a more formal meal afterwards which meant we missed a charity disco in our local and/or Carnival night in Bamford.  Both sound like they would have been great nights but, as Rich is captain it was duty first. 

To be fair, much as I like a good night out, I'm quite enjoying being quiet and not pouring vast quantities of booze down my neck as I'm sure I would have if I'd gone to either of the big night's out.  I very much doubt I would have been out running this morning anyway!!

This afternoon there is a 30th birthday do down at the golf club (where else?!) but I suspect we'll be having a few and then heading home to catch up with The Open, The Ashes and The Tour de France!  If Lee Westwood and the England cricket boys can do as well as Chris Froome it could be an awesome sunday for British sport!

So, I need to push through with this running malarkey and, more importantly, make sure that if I can't go running, I do something else like swimming or training.  My personal trainer is back from his hols now so sweating in the gym will get back on track after a few weeks' hiatus too.  I really want to push on with my dull but worthy progress and get a stone and a half off by the end of this year.  It can be done!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Aaand breathe

The weather has turned a little cooler and instead of getting out for a longer walk or (whisper it) even a run, I'm inside mooching around, surfing, doing chores and watching the Ashes and the Open!!

So, I'm going to do this post and then get changed and GO FOR A RUN!!  It will be a short one but it will be symbolic and hopefully will assist with another dull but worthy lb next week???

These pics are from my walk with the girls yesterday afternoon.  I didn't really want to be walking at 2pm but had to work in the morning and was golfing at 4pm so afternoon heat it was.  I chose a riverside walk for all our sakes!

Golf was a Texas scramble up at Rich's club for his President's weekend.  It was great - I played with 3 oldtimers and we came in third so a very creditable performance.  A nice meal afterwards and suddenly it was 11pm.  How did that happen?

I played another round up at Rich's club with my pal Fran this morning.  She's never played there so we had a round and really enjoyed it.  It's a different challenge to my club, in one way much easier as shorter and smaller greens but in another really tricky!!  The fairways are very tight and the rough and woods everywhere!  We had such a laugh though and when we got in chatted with all the men about to set off on their President's competition round.  A lovely morning and blessedly cool too.

I wish I had Smellovision on this blog as the smell of freshly mown grass in this field was gorgeous!

An empty field but even the swallows were too hot to fly.  Minty ran around looking for them but no luck.

The field was roasting so we retreated to the river for a cool down.  I paddled down chucking sticks for Shelagh to swim for. Greeeeen.

Then back out to the field.  I'm surprised it hasn't been mown yet.  It's looking very brown now.
High summer.

A final swim before turning back.  The ducklings are nearly grown but that didn't stop the mama duck from being very protective of her charges.  She shepherded them downstream while Shelagh had yet another swim and I had another paddle.

Shelagh wasn't tempted - it's all about the sticks with her.

What ARE you doing in the river Mum??

Too hot for me....

Mama duck is still watching us even though her family are miles away now...

Friday, 19 July 2013

Counting blessings

Hello again.  I've been around just not posting much - too sunny to be indoors!  Isn't it gorgeous?  It raises my spirits on a daily basis to wake up to yet another gorgeous day.  We're lucky out here in the sticks that we can keep the house cool enough in the nights to be able to sleep reasonably well and my work and home offices are both pleasant too.  Commiserations to all of you who may be struggling in the heat though - I hope you manage to enjoy it over the weekend.

Weight wise, I managed another dull but worthy lb off this week so that is a total of 3 off so far.  I'm suspecting a lack of concentration this week and possibly a reversal on its way so MUST get back to exercise to stave this off.  The problem with this has been - too hot to run (how lame is that excuse!) and until very recently I couldn't swim due to dog bitten paw!

However, the wounds have healed now (although my index finger is still swollen and numb and needs to be checked out by the doctor) so I could swim.  Early mornings methinks to miss the crowds.  I'm battling with the finger to continue to play golf though and doing lots of walking so not all bad.

Other blessings I am counting include my lovely man.  He continues to be so sweet and thoughtful.  Even though he has big issues down at the golf club to resolve which are taking a lot of time and brainpower, he still never lets me feel left out or neglected.  He has suggested a weekend in London in a couple of weekend's time (3/4th August) - staying with my pal Natalie, doing touristy things on Friday, the first match of the season on Saturday and maybe meeting up with other pals on the Sunday (you around for Sunday morning/lunch Peri??).

We've had some lovely rounds of golf and a few nice evenings out, just the 2 of us.  It's so nice to be with someone who walks the walk as well as talking the talk.

Below are some pics I took at the weekend.  We picked a shady, watery walk round Dale Dyke Reservoir as too hot for dogs and hills and it was just stunning.

We spotted  a couple of townies on their summer holidays.

Shelagh swimming  with her stick.

The noisiest field full of sheep ever.  They just did not shut up for the whole walk.  No idea what they were on about.

4 teenagers swam across the reservoir.  I was quite envious.

This is as far as Minty goes into the water....unless I push her!

Rich posing nicely on a lovely (if somewhat tattered) Victorian bridge over the slipway.

The slipway, dry as a bone.  I think we do need some rain but can we have it at night please??

I don't remember a year when the foxgloves have been so lush and bountiful.

Look at that bank of flowers!!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Not all doom and gloom

I feel guilty leaving my last post as one entitled "Sad Day".  It implies that I'm still sad which (apart from the odd moment) I'm really not.  I didn't feel like posting for a few days after little Gordie's last day as I just wanted to move on and not dwell.  Writing the last post really helped though as I said everything I needed to say about what happened and sort of closed it off.  I think it would have been helpful for Rich as he struggled for a few days longer than I did, poor chap.

Obviously I've had to talk about it non-stop to all and sundry as having bulky dressings festooning my hand is a bit of a conversation starter!

The dressings are off now and all the cuts have cleared up apart from one.  My index finger is still swollen, numb and pins and needley though.  I can't bend it fully due to the swelling which isn't helping my typing or my golf either!

What of weight??  Well, I weighed in last Monday and had dropped another dull but worthy lb.  No complaints but...., honestly,.....snooooooze......  I feel like I'm on track for another similar week this week too.

Exercise has reverted back to walking and golf only *gnashes teeth*.  I was just getting back into more strenuous aerobic exercise with the swimming and running and then have been set back.  I have not been able to go swimming due to the wounds and haven't felt like running due to the heat and the added complication of the dressing.  (I know that sounds rubbish but if I take the dogs, then it is tricky running with them and dealing with leads with sores paws.)  Today was the first day when I found myself thinking - "I could go for a run".  I didn't cos I'm meeting Kerry very soon but at least my mindset is getting back on track.

So, I'm pleased I've weathered the storm without losing my focus or being derailed, to mix some metaphors.

I'm looking forward to my morning out with Kerry today.  I'm not golfing today so had a free Sunday for a change.  I have played last week but only 'cos I was already signed up and it was President's Cup and it didn't do my hand much good so I decided to give it a rest today as Rich and I are playing in an Am Am tomorrow.  So, Kerry and I decided to do the countryside earth mother thing.  We're going to collect some elderflowers and make elderflower cordial.  If we have time we might also try our hands at some elderflower fritters and maybe even some elderflower champagne!  We're going to exploit the hell out of those gorgeous, fluffy, white blossoms seeing as there are so many this year.

Just to warm up my earth mother genes (and to use up a hand of overripe bananas I'd forgotten about in the fridge) I chucked a banana and choc chip loaf in the oven while doing my chores this morning and it is smelling gorgeous!!  Can't wait to come home to that after our walk.

So, just the washing to hang out and dogs to round up and we're off.  Enjoy the sunshine everyone - isn't it the best?!

PS.>  Just texted Kerry and mentioned the cake.....she replied "Oh Christ - WI here we come!"   Yikes....she may be right....

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Sad day

While the sun beat down on a happy Britain yesterday, we were all set to have a lovely day and then it all went wrong.

I met 2 of my friends with their 2 kids (each) and a dog and we had an idyllic Saturday morning walk.  It was all nice kids, nice dogs, sunshine, chats, fields, river, cafe, icecreams.  Bliss.  Then off home full of hope for Gordie as he had been such a good boy over the last few days.  I'd even let him off the lead in one field and he'd come back without incident.  A few spats but warning had been given and we'd managed to get through them without it kicking off.  We both felt that he had potential and that, with a lot of work, he would be a great dog.

So we're sitting out in the front garden.  I'd given all 3 dogs a bone each but he'd finished his and it was about a foot in front of his nose and he was stretched out on his side next to my chair snoozing in the sun, thumping his tail from time to time.  He had a holly leaf on his belly so started nibbling at it and I idly reached down to pick the leaf off. 

Which is when he went for me.  No warning given, he just snarled and dived straight at my hand and grabbed my little finger and didn't let go.  I have a picture of his face snarling up at me with my little finger stuck in his teeth.  I eventually dragged it clear and then he lunged again and got my forefinger.  Eventually I yelped and he dropped my hand, grabbed his bone and ran for his crate.  Rich locked him in and we started to clean up the wounds at the sink.  It was so violent and shocking that I fainted.  I was standing at the sink running water over the wounds when I said to Rich "I'm going to faint" and just buckled.  I came round to him saying he didn't think he could hold me up much longer!!  Poor bloke.

So, it was off to the minor injuries unit at the Hallamshire in Sheffield.  They try not to stitch dog bites so as to let any germs get out so I just have dressings and antibiotics.  It's my left hand and the index finger is badly swollen and sore.  The punctures are deep but luckily no tendon or ligament damage.

Then we had the sorry task of taking Gordie to the vet in Buxton to be put to sleep.   When we got back from Sheffield he had reverted back to being the sweet, cute, loving little dog we had fallen for.  We got him out of the crate and got a muzzle on him without too much difficulty and then drove over the hills to Buxton in my car with the roof down.  He was loving the fresh air and cuddling up to Richard.  So devastating.

Even at the vet there was no aggression, no fear, just a sleek, healthy young dog full of curiosity prowling round the surgery and playing with the vet and his lovely nurse assistant.  But they told us this is typical of Cocker Rage.  A switch flips from time to time and once it is ingrained there is very little chance of change.

The risks were just too great.  Both Rich and I were clear on that.  Our blood collectively ran cold thinking about our respective walks out with children and to the pub and what could have happened.  Better my fingers than a childs' and as he gets older he will only get bolder and less controllable.  He might have started going for Minty or Shelagh and we couldn't have a dog that had to be muzzled and that you couldn't trust, that is no life.  Nor could we risk rehoming him, even if that was possible.  I would never forgive myself if someone else was attacked and the damage was worse than this (which is pretty bad).

So, he was sedated and then put to sleep and it was all very peaceful and quick.  We have both wept buckets for such a nice dog who was wired wrong,  In fact I'm crying again as I type this.  (And Shelaghy and Minty have noticed and are over here licking my face and making me feel better.)

Poor Gordie.  But we know we've done the right thing and taken the responsibility that his previous owner should have taken.  We know that he had 5 happy last days, lots of walks, treats, dogs to play with, a garden to run around (which he adored) and he wasn't dragged off somewhere else and didn't have to try and make sense of yet another new place.  No more fear and insecurity or inexplicable rages which unsettled him so much.

So, that's that.  RIP little Gordie.

I should have been golfing right now but a working left hand is prettty handy for a golfer so I swapped with a friend and then had to stand in for her litter picking at the local Car Boot Sale.  NOT as much fun as golfing!  But I'm going to get changed now and head up to Rich's golf club to watch the Wimbledon Final and cheer for Andy Murray!!  "Come on Andy"

Have fun in the sun everyone.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Fresh air

 I don't know why I haven't tried this large photo format.  What do you think??  Better or worse?

These were taken a couple of weeks ago on a sunny Sunday morning when I didn't have any golf and Rich did.  I took the dogs up Bradwell Edge for a hilly spin.  It is a STEEP hill but great for views.  This is the relatively benign start to the walk, don't be fooled.

We've already made some height and can see our little corner of the village nestling in the valley below.

And now the whole village and the Hope Cement Workswith Mam Tor beyond are spread out before us.

Minty waits patiently in the sunshine.

Below us is the massive field at the end of our road.

And the raod heading off towards Tideswell, known locally as The Dale.

It must have been a good day for paragliding as there were already several up in the air.  Now I like fresh air more than most but I have so far drawn the line at launching myself off a steep hill into it.  Looking at them while out walking though, maybe I'll give it a go sometime??

I've often seen this sign but never actually "followed the contours" for Abney moor. But on that sunny aimless Sunday I gave it a go.  It's harder than it sounds to follow contours.  We headed down too much at the start, lured by the lush green valley ahead and then had to clamber up a steep hill to get back towhere we needed to be!

The photos don't do it justice; this little fold of the hillside was magical.  No footpath, no people, just bright greenness with windswept trees and a tiny brook.  Gorgeous.  I'm going to head up there someday with a book and a picnic and just spend the day!!

Okay, I liked this tree.  It had character and presence!

We've hauled ass up the hill now and find ourselves on the top of the moor in acres and acres of nothingness.  no sheep, no paths no people.  The dogs set off after swallows!

After a while, we came across some sheep.  They weren't impressed by us.

I liked the look of these chunky lambs.

And this perfect straight (and somewhat pointless) wall.

Down the dusty path looking towards Win Hill.

There are now MASSES of paragliders up in the air, clouds of them.

Does that look like fun to you??

The village of Bradwell - what a contradiction.  Farming, mining, quarrying, factories but tucked into stunning limestone countryside.

What a handsome beastie - looks like a prize winner to me.

The modern Peak District - dog walking, paragliding and mountain biking all in one shot.

A tandem paraglider against the blue, blue sky. Nice to have company up there.