Wednesday, 16 September 2009

I've been a busy bee

I've spent the past half hour trying to think of all the places we've visited on our 'lets appreciate what's on our own doorstep' trip, since we last spoke. That's the trouble with intermittent blogging you can soon lose whole days and never find them again. So rather than trying to list everything chronologically and in the process bore you into total rigidity, I thought that I would just ramble on and try and remember stuff as I go along.

The Tatton Park Show was a totally surreal experience. For someone who is totally comfortable in a city and has been in exile in a semi rural environ for the past 18 years, it still comes as a shock that country folk really do wear Burber Jackets and green wellies and spent a lot of time training dogs to fetch birds that they've shot or rescuing birds that their friends might have only winged or perhaps made orphans. Maybe it's something do to with the climate or the fact that they don't have Sky tv, but an awful lot of them seemed fascinated by the chainsaw wood carving competition and were queuing around the show field to taste the ostrich burgers on the bbq. Not one to be phased by all this rural nonsense I decided to enter Bella into the beautiful dog competition ('No prizes ladies and gentlemen, this is just for fun') though when I say I decided that's no strictly true, it was more of a dare, because as you may know, Bella is probably the scardiest dog in the history of Golden Retrievers. She is terrified of little children, baby buggies, diggers, buses, electric lawn mowers, hoovers, vet's waiting rooms, riding in cars, in fact any new experience has her heart racing and her jumping up on me in the ridicules hope that I will carry her (remember she is a Golden Retriever!) Why we thought that trotting around a parade ground looking beautiful would be a fun thing to do, was, with hindsight, a totally mad proposition. She slunk around the ring and refused point blank to sit facing the judges, in fact she showed her total contempt for the whole thing by facing me and showing her bum to the bemused panel and even my whisperings of 'please Bella show the lady your pretty face' only resulted in her jumping up and planting her paws firmly on my chest with a look that said 'get me out of her now before I take myself off to the Dogs Trust and claim asylum'. The spectators (and Dave) were crying laughing and to add insult to injury she wasn't even in the final three! I think that her chances of becoming a show dog are nil!!!

The one thing that both the dogs enjoy doing is swimming and last week they had a fine old time when we took them away to Ullswater in the Lake District. The campsite is right on the banks of the lake and only a short stroll into Pooley Bridge where there are some very fine hostelries serving some very potent locally brewed real ale. We were really lucky with the weather, it was glorious, but we hadn't realised quite how bad the rain had been the previous two weeks. The ground was sodden and we were all soon caked in mud, some of us worse than others. Fortunately the dogs washed off most of the mud swimming in the lake but it took two days to get the smell of damp dog out of the campervan, the smell of those animals can make your eyes water!

We left the dogs at home when we went over the Bank Holiday to the Wirral Food Festival, which was probably a very good idea. Murphy would have run amok if he'd been within a mile of all the wonderful food on offer, everything from local Buffalo to organic veggies and artisan baked bread. It was a veritable feast for all the senses and with bags groaning with exotic delicacies we managed to find room in the freezer to keep us going in in all things wholesome for the next few weeks.

In the middle of all this we have been flying up and down the motorway to Manchester helping to move Lesley into her new student flat. Our very brilliant daughter has beaten the recession and won herself a research fellowship at Manchester Uni and will be starting her MSc next month. So now Dave and I are all on our own again, well apart from the dogs, cats, fish and visiting herons. The move down to Kent is still on, despite Solicitors (don't ask!) but we are still waiting for a date. In the meantime we will carry on with the 'let's appreciate etc' trips, we're not even half through the list yet!