Could it be?

I have asked myself this question so many times recently, it’s rather incredible how in such a short space of time I’ve went from wondering how long it would take for things to improve to wondering how things could possibly get better right now. In my last post I was truly ecstatic, I had just passed my driving test and got a job within two days. Now more time has passed I have my perfect little car and have recently changed jobs. The job I have now is everything I was searching for when I was unemployed and I truly mean that. When I sat and thought about what I truly wanted, this is it. I have no idea where all this good luck is coming from but, I am so appreciative of everything that has happened, good and bad these past few months.

Now we are at the beginning of March I have one busy month ahead of me! All amazing things I cannot wait for, spoiling my mam on Mother’s Day with a well deserved trip to the hairdressers for hair and nails done, my brother’s partners baby shower (yep, I am roughly two months away from being first time aunty of twins – a beautiful baby girl and boy) not to mention Smartie’s birthday at the end of the month! We are currently planning his birthday away in Richmond for the weekend in a pet friendly log cabin. That weekend is guaranteed to be full of walks, cuddles, toys and all-around Smartie fun!

Now that I’m working again and really enjoying each day as it comes I’m doing my best to plan ahead for evenings/weekends and any time I have that can be spent making the most of time with my amazing family. Like today, a busy morning out with my mam getting the paint and emulsion in preparation for getting the living room decorated soon, seeing and spending time with my grandparents and just generally enjoying a drive out with my mam, good music and nice chat. We then returned home to one of my dads super breakfasts which really set me up for tidying the degus out, tidying my room and cleaning my car! Nothing extraordinary, but, important details that really mean the world to me. Seeing my grandparents smile and listening to them tell me about their week and what has made them smile and laugh.

Now I’m nearly ready to pop out to a local restaurant for a slightly late celebration of my best friend’s birthday, I will still ask myself before my head hits the pillow later on tonight “could it be” and as I drift off I will think to myself it certainly can and it certainly is.

I am hoping for a trip away with Smartie soon so I can return with a great story and even better pictures! For now though we just enjoy the days given to us and currently he is enjoying having a snooze after a long walk with dad!

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Road to Success

Well, after two and half rather challenging months I feel I am back and ready for anything. My mind is currently in a very positive state and I don’t plan on having it any other way right now and despite recent tests of strength, I have had a phenomenal two weeks.

Without going into the gory details, I very sadly and suddenly lost my job in late October, now for any other go-getting 19 year old this probably would have been a chance to get up, move on and find a new and exciting challenge and although I did find my way eventually, I must have taken every detour road on the way. At first I thought “its fine, I’ll just look for a new job.” Unfortunately that soon turned into “this is actually pretty damn tough” and eventually plummeted into “you know what? I give up, I’m not good enough, I’m too young, I don’t have enough experience” and so on and so forth. There would be days where my mam and dad would give pep talk after pep talk and I would briefly feel more positive but, any positivity soon found its way back into the walking swirly vortex of doom that I had become.

The days had become painfully long and lonely, I would spend hours trawling through job site after job site, going through the application then finding out at the end that I had already applied for it and I would constantly see “must have a full clean driving license”, must have this and must have that. Utterly soul destroying really. Interviews would come and interviews would go and all of them ended in that dreaded ‘sorry you weren’t good enough’ call. I think that I had somehow managed to find the lowest and saddest part of myself, crawled inside and locked the door. People were making desperate attempts to reassure me that something was on its way and that things would turn around but, selfishly I remained in the cubby hole within my mind. Over the Christmas period I had realised how exhausting it must have been for particular people to be constantly trying to keep me chipper and positive so over Christmas I stopped looking for a job, I stopped worrying and stressing about it all and for about a week or so I simply enjoyed time with my family.

When January 5th arrived, I felt somewhat refreshed and once again ready to tackle unemployment but, with that burden my driving test was also hurtling towards me. I had 8 days to prepare myself for it, I think everyone was aware that passing my test would change my life in a vast amount of ways so, yeah – the pressure was on. Two days later, I had an interview and I guess someone, somewhere had decided I’d been through enough because the day after I received a call with a job offer. Elated, I started work on the following Monday and had my test on the Tuesday. I left the house Tuesday morning for my pre-test lesson and nerves were really starting to kick in. I tried to brush it off but, I think it was glaringly obvious to my instructor and the examiner. Things started off well but I was becoming increasingly aware of the small and very stupid mistakes I was making, about 30 minutes in I remember waiting at some traffic lights and shaking my head in annoyance at myself. Arriving back at the test centre there was a long, dead silence and I could feel the door on that dark place inside myself opening and dragging me back in. As I put my head in my hands the examiner turned to me and calmly spoke “well I’m pleased to tell you that you have passed”. I don’t think that there are words to describe how I felt in that very moment, everything I was trying to achieve had happened within the space of a week.

I feel a great sense of personal achievement now and to top it all off, I drove my gorgeous little Renault Twingo home from a garage in Sunderland yesterday morning. I literally don’t think I could be happier right now, my mam told me that everything I needed was just around the corner… and she was right.

Perception and Deception

The power of camera trickery, very easily done and often very unfair – when I first got my Canon 1100 DSLR I spent a while looking through the settings and seeing what would capture each picture best and of course I used Smartie as my test subject because he looks so damn handsome regardless. A while later I came across something interesting when I was flicking back through my practice shots…

What I saw scared me a little really because in this one shot Smartie looked like every other Staffordshire Bull Terrier people like to plaster all over the news and internet. Deliberately timed where these misunderstood creatures are mid bark with a firm stance making them look as dangerous as possible and hiding the truth about the breed. My camera was in sport mode at the time and takes pictures one after the other in quick succession – look at the pictures below and watch the transition happen.

I caught Smartie mid yawn and I could almost feel his soft nature fall away from him in the second photo then return in the third. The power of perception and deception.

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The return even though I should have never left…

 Back from an untimely and to be quite frank, unnecessary break from which I do not feel replenished or refreshed – just sad that I have been away from my blog for so long. It’s no secret that I struggle to carry a plate topped with many heavy, life related things… I apologise but, I have gathered a few Smartie stories in my absence. (I sincerely hope they make up for my being gone-ness).

So, with my most sincere apologies and my full attention from now on I decided to still do the part 2 from my holiday to Menorca however, my aim is to review and rate the hotel and location, not necessarily the holiday itself as I feel too much time has passed to fill you in on all the tiny details – some of which I can’t even remember now. My initial plan when I began blogging was to do the occasional review and I have not yet dived into that aspect yet which makes me a tiny bit sad. So, here goes… Menorca, Cala’N’Bosch part 2.

I would like to point out that the hotel we found ourselves in was not the one I booked 10 months beforehand… A few months after I booked the holiday I received an email from Thomson saying the hotel I originally booked would not be ready for May due to refurbishments, the alternative they offered was the Holiday Village. This of course did not help my pre-holiday panic but it worked out for the best really – we ended up with a better hotel at no extra cost to either of us

I’ll be honest, once Scott and I unpacked and decided where we would keeping things for the next week, we paused and looked at each other sort of helplessly, as if we had no idea what to do next and in fairness, we didn’t! I had the whole airport and travelling process planned out step by step but, I hadn’t planned the actual holiday… I don’t think my brain even reached that point. An awkward silence fell away from us and we hurried out the room to gather excursion information. We slipped back into our usual selves and wandered hand in hand back to reception, which was a vast square of marble floors, quaint sofas and towering pillars – the staff at reception were polite and friendly, they always wished us a good morning and flashed a warm smile behind the blue tiled counter as we went for breakfast and we exchanged “good evenings” when leaving the restaurant at night. 

We basically spent the first day finding out where everything was, firstly the main restaurant (because food first, obviously!), then where we would exchange towels and from there we had a wander around the hotel itself, finally we walked to the nearest supermarket to stock up on bottled water. Due to previous incidents thanks to heat exhaustion, I was under very strict instructions to drink as much water as possible – I also had Scott checking every so often making sure I felt hydrated and happy to stay out in the sun. I love the supermarkets abroad, how air conditioned they are especially after spending a good few hours in the blaring sun and how they greet you when you enter. Scott and I are major water guzzlers when we need to be so we bought four large bottles and said we would return when we started to run low. By the time we got back to the hotel it was drawing closer to our first evening meal so we got ourselves washed and ready to go.

The layout was relatively similar to other all-inclusive restaurants I had been too, a large room mostly filled with tables and chairs and the top part was dedicated to the food and its presentation. Two counters which were probably the length of half the room, one had the main meal options and the other had the starter options then there were 2 other small islands that had the drink options there. Now, I’m not going to complain about the food because all in all, it was great however, if you don’t eat red meat then you may occasionally struggle. The only time I thought to myself “there is literally nothing I can eat here” was at the snack bar which was available mid-afternoon for an hour or so – which in fairness is blatantly designed more for children than adults. Truth is, I’d just rather not eat hotdogs and burgers anyway… Anyway this was a very minor snag in an overall excellent holiday and I certainly didn’t let it ruin anything. Each night there was a theme for the evening meal, this was something that I hadn’t come across before but, it definitely worked. My two outstanding evenings food-wise was the seafood evening (although not Scott’s favourite) and the Mexican evening. I suppose the only issue I found with the evening meals was that the themes were great but, they didn’t really move away from them which meant if you didn’t like what was there then you were a little bit stuck. Thankfully we didn’t have this issue but, some fussy eaters might.

The Holiday Village is without a doubt, through and through a family hotel that caters for children and families in an incredible way. I get that children can be hard to please sometimes (especially in a strange place with lots of strange people) but the staff prevailed at every effort. I witnessed many parents asking staff for this, that and the other over the week for their children and every time the hotel staff provided whatever was required. On top of this, the animation staff were even more superb – each day there was different activities going on for kids whether they were with their parents or whether it was provided to give the parents a couple of hours break. Staff were frequently around the pool during the day doing quizzes and challenges, again involving the children and parents. This was occasionally overbearing but, Scott and I didn’t really spend a tremendous amount of time around the pool so we escaped most of the “oh they are doing that quiz again” problem. The evening was then topped off with Peppa Pig on a cinema like screen in the lounge – (for the children, not me).  You might be wondering why a 19 year old with no children is amazed by the amount of care and thought put into families in this hotel, I have been privileged enough to holiday almost every year to many different places, hotels etc. and I have seen a lot of hotel staff completely disregard families, especially young ones like they are a total nuisance when in fact they are there for no other reason than to enjoy their one or two weeks away from work and home life – just like everyone else. Which is unfair, nobody deserves to be treated in such a way for a family. So yeah, thumbs up to Thomson and The Holiday Village for looking after all the families there and overall, food was pretty good too.

Earlier on I mentioned that Scott and I had went to get some excursion information, we sat in our room and had a lengthy discussion over where we should go, then we realised that some excursions only happened on certain days so we had to have lengthy discussion #2 on where we could go. Anyway a little while later and we had picked two excursion that we wanted to do that were within our week of being there.

The first excursion started with a catamaran ride along the coast where we were given a talk through of the history of buildings as we went past also (this was obviously something that was recorded years ago and is just played on a loop for people) but, nevertheless it was interesting, I really enjoy knowing the history and facts. About 30 minutes later we circled back on ourselves and head to the port again but, before we did that the catamaran stopped for a few minutes to allow people to take pictures of the spectacular surrounding views. Scott and I went to the front of the catamaran and soaked up the sun and the picturesque views – it was truly delightful.

So we headed back to the port and got back in the bus, we waited for the coach to manoeuvre itself out the tiny car park and head to the capital, Mahon. If I’m being totally honest, Mahon reminded me a lot of Durham – cobbled streets, busy market and people stopping every 5 seconds to take a picture. We had a tour guide/historian waiting for us once we got off the coach which was an added bonus really, with the guide we visited what seemed to be an ancient cheese shop which had the strongest smell… It was phenomenal. We were offered tastes of the local cheeses and meats whilst given a breakdown of where it originally came from. Then we were taken on a small tour of the city whilst given the historic facts (yay for me), after 40 minutes or so the guide left us in the centre of the city so we could enjoy the rest of the afternoon at our own pace, I have fond memories of Scott and I sitting on a bench people watching and eating crisp sandwiches. After lunch we wandered around the shops, we found a really nice camera shop and I decided that once I’d got back home, I was going to buy a nice DSLR (and I can confirm that I did indeed buy a Canon EOS 1100D). It. Is. Gorgeous! Finally we visited the gin distillery just outside of Mahon, there was of course a lot of tasting available – however at 3pm in the afternoon I decided against it… I left with a selection of mini bottled gins and hoped they wouldn’t smash in the suitcase on the way home.

The second excursion was probably my favourite, Scott’s too – it was quite different to a lot of other excursions I’ve done previously, partly because it was just me and Scott but overall, they were unique and interesting. We drove off to the village of Binibeca – this was without a doubt one of the most abstract places I’ve ever been to. The village itself was tiny but, it’s most delightful feature is the tiny white houses all stacked on top of one another. Some are empty, some are being refurbished and the rest are rented out over the summer as small holiday houses… “Small” being the key word there. The walkway to each door was a very narrow, cobbled alleyway. When I put my arms out I could touch both houses and my arms are pretty damn small! The visit itself only lasted about 20 minutes because that’s all it took to weave our way through the TARDIS-like village, I’ll never forget it though.

Next we went to a quaint town of Punta Prima with a vast, stretched out beach accompanied by restaurants and cafés. We walked across the rocky beach avoiding rock pools and other various jagged rocks. After a 40 minute walk we stopped at one of the cafés for a tuna sandwich, this was typically British of us but, it was an amazing sandwich. Although there wasn’t an awful lot to see at Punta Prima, it was pleasant to walk across the beach and enjoy the sun before it started to disappear slowly. On the way back to the coach I bought some souvenirs, you know the generic tea towels, random things on a pebble and key rings before we left for the final visit of the day.

Finally, we travelled up to a cave that was turned into a nightclub. Yes, you did read that correctly… A cave that was turned into a nightclub. I was actually impressed at how they’d accomplished such a thing, I mean it was literally a night club inside a cave! Baffled and amazed, we sat and had our 1 free drink and then explored the rest of it. The lighting and décor were just amazing and it had fast become one of the most popular night clubs in Menorca, outside there were seated areas that were reserved for private parties. Situated on a rocky ledge on a drop that would send you into the depths of the sea, I am surprised that they don’t get the occasional tip over the after too much alcohol consumption but, I guess I’ll never know! That drop was enough to assure me that I would never drink there but, I definitely see the appeal – well done to everyone who made it the obscurity that it is!

So, that pretty much concludes my holiday – we had a safe flight home and of course I had a Smartie greeting waiting for me for when I got back! He gave me a brief cuddle and then decided to get one of his many toys from his toy box (yes, he has a box for his toys) as he had obviously decided that I had been away far too long and I owed him some serious tug of war – so I obliged in exchange for help with unpacking… However, he just sat and watched what I was pulled out of the case, thanks Smartie!

 

Like I said earlier I wanted to review the hotel and I return the current 4* it already has. Food, care, service and excursions were fantastic however, this truly is a family holiday hotel and I don’t believe I will return unless it is with children of my own. A big pat on the back once again to Thomson and all of their hard work.

 

Enjoy the pictures!

 

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Menorca, Cala’N’Bosch Part 1 – The Arrival

Looking back, I think it’s really amazing how quickly my holiday crept up on me and even though I had everything ready I had never felt so unprepared for something. Two days beforehand I was already double checking every document, all my clothes and everything else in between, Scott kept telling me to relax and that I was worrying needlessly. The holiday part wasn’t scaring me, it was the before and after parts that were – the truth is I have done the airport thing time and time again but, in this instance, my dad wouldn’t be leading the way. I knew I had to suck it up and to be quite frank, get a grip, I knew exactly what I had to do and when I had to do it “so just deal with it” I thought to myself.

The day before, I got up at 6:30am ready for one last day at work before my break, I partially regret not taking that day off as things were a bit of a nightmare once I’d got home but, at the time I just didn’t see the point. The day was relatively normal, I had a nice amount of work to clear before leaving, the phones were ringing frequently and everything seemed fine… Until about 12pm. A sneaky headache had made its way through and I started to feel sick. “Well that is just fantastic!” I blurted out not really realising I had said it out loud. The headache and sickness got progressively worse throughout the day and by 5pm, I was in a strange sort of achy agony. I left work to meet Scott and hoped that would just magically make things better but, even walking to the bus station wasn’t helping. With about 15 minutes left until the bus was due, I felt awful. I put my head against Scott and prepared myself for the worst, I felt everything drain away from me and had that all too familiar ‘I am going to pass out’ feeling. I somehow didn’t allow my body to completely shut down on me to prevent Scott from panicking and someone ringing an ambulance, I couldn’t be bothered to deal with that when I was only hours away from flying to Menorca. I stood there feeling overheated and generally quite useless, I could feel small beads of sweat appearing on my forehead. I was immediately regretting not allowing my body doing what it needed to do but, I could just see it causing a whole load of new and unnecessary problems.

The bus arrived what felt like 20 hours later, I walked slowly towards it, got on and sat down with Scott remaining closely behind me at all times. The rest of the evening consisted of consuming as much water as I possibly could and doing all of the last remaining things before the flight the next morning. I was concerned that I was forgetting important things as I still wasn’t feeling great and my headache was a thousand times worse than what it was a couple of hours ago. 9pm arrived and I had to just convince myself that I had done everything necessary and it was time for bed. My sleep was broken and I was restless but, I appreciated just lying down and relaxing before the alarm at 3am. I was awake a few minutes before that dreaded harp noise went off gently telling me to get up, I got dressed and double checked everything… Again. I had decided that if I hadn’t had everything then, I would have to do without. I said goodbye to my mam and Smartie and headed to the airport.

The roads seemed almost ghostly at that unearthly hour, at 3:45am absolutely everyone should be snuggled up in bed trying to get those last few hours in before getting up for work. I still felt iffy but, I was determined not to let it affect anything. We arrived at the airport just after 4am, got checked in within minutes thanks to printing off our own boarding passes (this is much easier and much quicker – I recommend doing this if you can!) we then thought that we may as well just get through customs and then we can relax before the flight. Again, getting through customs was really easy and a lot less stress than I imagined. This was obviously due to us being there at stupid o’clock in the morning but, still it was so much better.

Anyway, if you have ever been to an airport before then you know how unbearably boring they are so I will spare you all the details of how we sat and waited…

A few hours later and we had arrived in Mahon airport, I suddenly felt like I had a million responsibilities but, most importantly I felt very happy to be there. Transfer was only 40 minutes-ish and then we had arrived at our gorgeous 4 star hotel. The coach pulled up outside the Holiday Village, Scott and I (very maturely) threw our seat belts off and raced out the coach before anyone else. I do enjoy the odd small fleck of immaturity in our relationship. Scott grabbed both of our cases like some sort of holiday-mad superman and hurried up the stairs to reception where we were greeted with champagne, our all-inclusive wrist straps and room key. The holiday really began then, we were directed to our room which turned out to be a quaint apartment, it wasn’t just a place to rest our heads in the evening – it was a lovely place to prepare for the day ahead and even more delightful to relax in at the end of the day. I felt very content with it all and we hadn’t even done anything yet!

The adventure begins in my next post, I split it into two parts so it wasn’t one long stream of paragraphs and I was concerned that it wouldn’t hold anyone’s attention passed this point but, feel free to tell me I’m wrong.

Part two coming soon! It’s very good to be back.

 

 

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Degu Madness!

This post is largely centred on my five gorgeous ‘Gus, I haven’t given them an awful lot of attention on here – I’m not entirely sure why. The truth is, behind closed doors they have been my true focus for quite some time now. I hated Eddie being alone and I hated the cage that my girls were in overall these things meant I even hated spending time in my own room. That’s crazy isn’t it? No one should hate being in their room, it should be a quiet, happy place where you can spend as much time as possible just doing what you really want to do. That hasn’t been the case for me for about a year, both their situations just made me sad. Eventually I had to say something, whilst being totally aware of how idiotic it sounded, I told my mam about my ongoing degu sadness. Thankfully, this got the ball rolling and we started to research and plan what our next move was going to be and this was great but, everything seemed to take an age to accomplish. Unfortunately degu integration just isn’t a speedy process.

Eddie had to be neutered before anything else to avoid a rather large litter of degu pups, the operation isn’t cheap and it was touch and go as to whether he would survive or not. I know it sounds harsh and you may be wondering why I would go ahead if his survival wasn’t guaranteed but, the truth is integration with the girls is his happy ending and we had prepared for the best and the worst outcome that day. I spent the day pacing back and forth, checking my phone and waiting for the dreaded “I’m sorry to tell you this” call. To my relief, this was not the case. I received a brief text from mam saying he had survived and was recovering well. Now we had to wait 6-8 weeks to ensure full recovery, more waiting… During this time I had found an amazing website for custom built degu cages, I immediately showed the page to my mam and we sent an email to them with all of our requirements to have all five degus living in one area. A trail of emails and many weeks later, we had everything in place and we were ready to order! Another two weeks to wait for the cage to be expertly built, picked up then dropped off.

Friday 2nd May 2014, the cage arrived at 8:50am. It should 5 ft tall as a mass of gorgeous stainless steel and wood. Perfect. It was everything I imagined and more, my mam and I stood in awe probably both imagining the guys running around in there. It is a degu mansion! The next day we went to Pets at Home and spent a small fortune on toys for them, I wanted to deck each of the three tiers out before releasing them into their new home. A couple of hours later, old cages chucked, new cage in place, decked out and we were ready to go! Eddie was the first to go in, he has a tier to himself whilst the girls had the bottom two, and they all went in second. – Eddie and the girls need to remain like this for a week then they swap over so they are living in each other’s scents.

After my holiday they will be ready to swap tiers for the first time. I will continue to do this for the following few weeks until I feel they are ready to meet face to face in a mutual space. Exciting, right? Eddie is currently separated from them by a pop-hole shutter which basically slides along to allow access into the bellow tier. I hope I will be doing this by autumn time this year, meaning the integration process will not only be complete but, successful.

Now that they are all in one place, it has cleared a space in my room for my desk again which means I have a ‘place’ to do all my writing, blogging and music listening and even some PS4 playing with my fabulous five in sight. I am seriously happy right now, my holiday is only three days away and I have happy ‘Gus and am one big step closer to Eddie being with the girls. Perfect.

So, I am away early Wednesday morning – my flight is at 6am so that’s 4am check in and about 2/3am wake up alarm… it’ll be worth it though. I am very much looking forward to an all-inclusive week with my other half. My next post will definitely be after the holiday around the 15th/16th I imagine. I’m spending the rest of day checking through everything needed for the flight, packing, re-packing because Smartie has stood on everything in the cases and enjoying a lovely Tapas tonight with Scott, mam and dad! Like I said, so very happy!

Catch up with you all soon!

 

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WWF Draw The Line!

Morning all, 

A very quick one to ask you all to take a minute to sign this and draw the line! – http://www.wwf.org.uk/how_you_can_help/virunga/

Thank you to all who do, I will be posting this weekend to share all other news.

Speak soon!

Changing gears…

Happy Friday all, even happier since it has been a short week thanks to the gorgeous Easter weekend! I hope you all had a wonderful 4 day weekend, or at least 3 for some. I spent my days getting new holiday clothes, spending time with family and of course Smartzilla.

I’ve been super busy this week at work so it really has flown over. I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone what I do or where I work so, I am head of maintenance at an Estate Agency – my job is very interesting and exciting. It’s also giving me real life experience for the future, which these days is incredibly hard to find sometimes. It’s also allowed me to discover a genuine love for property, gaining a new house or even several houses in some cases from a landlord and seeing it as a total shell. Nothing but floorboards and brickwork and seeing it transform over a matter of weeks into a beautifully decorated property, ready to pass over to sale or rent. (In my case, rent as I maintain all of our student properties).

It’s amazing yet challenging, not only do I have to maintain these properties but, I have to maintain the happiness of each and every landlord and student. Tiring stuff but, ever so rewarding – knowing how to look after a property at 18 gives me great confidence when I have my own house someday and every day I learn a little bit more.

So yeah, that’s my job. I think it’s pretty cool considering I left sixthform with a sort of firm idea that I’d be going to uni then this opportunity came up and it turned out to be one of the best things to ever happen to me.

I had my fourth driving lesson tonight, the last one was a bit of a disaster so I think I may have redeemed myself, it’s crazy how much you do at once. Multitasking to the max! I think it’ll be an exceptional personal achievement one day and I am looking forward to that day ever so much.

So yeah, I’ve got a lot going on at the moment which is nice. I’m constantly busy and occasionally get a little while to myself instead of having too much time on my hands and doing nothing at all productive with it. I hope you all had a fantastic week – I am enjoying a relaxing evening with my fur brother and the Hunger Games.

That’s it for now from me and the little man – speak soon you lovely lot.

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Sometimes news can only be good

Evening all,

I have had a truly productive and enjoyable week, last Sunday was spent in Durham having a general wander and window shop and topped off with a delightful 2 course meal at Bella Italia (http://www.bellaitalia.co.uk/). We went a few weeks prior but, they have jazzed up the menu and now provide the quaint wheat symbol next to the gluten free meals. It’s a genuinely positive sign when I see this in restaurants. We decided that we would bring Smartie next time, socialisation is always a good thing and we discovered a few outdoor food spots where Smartie would be welcome.

So a few weeks ago, I received my provisional license in the post the other week and on Thursday I rang an instructor to book my first lessons – tomorrow 5pm-7pm. I am pretty excited, it would be nice to just pick up and go somewhere out of total spontaneity. Grab Smartie and head to Fence Houses or Scarborough or, take my grandparents to get fish and chips by the coast. What I’m excited about most is not spending hours on end buses. With people. I joke of course but, it will be lovely to have a little bit more independence.

Next productive thing… Oh! Yeah, I adopted an elephant for my mam. She loves elephants and I’ve always wanted to give something back, her name is Kiruba and she’s 40 year old with two calves. She is the matriarch of an “extended family” so she is in charge of, well, everything really. I think that’s amazing. Of course I am looking to adopt something for me as well – ideally I’d like to adopt everything but money kind of prevents that from happening. Some day, I’m sure.

I know this post isn’t exactly flowing well but, I’ve just received so much exciting news in the time I haven’t blogged – 20 days to my holiday with nothing but sun, sea, drinks and food – I love all inclusive. With the announcement of my position at work becoming permanent I have plans for small breaks away too. All very exciting stuff!

Smartie’s walk this weekend was delightful, he literally spends 100% of the time with his lead off, he just walks sort of sideways whilst keeping his eyes on the ball waiting for my dad to throw it. It’s quite impressive how he avoids all the trees and general shrubbery whilst doing this – anyway, the past couple of weeks have been as cool as cucumbers and hope you all received some good news too. Enjoy the photos of  last weekends walk and apologies for the crazy, all over the place post. I promise will get back into my usual Sunday posts (this Easter Sunday’s post will either consist of the pub or Smartie, hmmm).

 

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Have you ever…

Have you ever lost your dog? Have you ever watched your dog run down the garden, hop the fence and bound around the woods… Whilst you’re chasing it? 

I have. It definitely made the list of top 5 worst experiences of my life, currently still no.1 – although the entire ordeal only lasted about 10 minutes, those 10 minutes completely drained me. 

We officially got Smartie on the 3rd April 2013 and at this point we’d had him for a couple of months. I remember being fairly chilled at home so it must have been an early finish from Sixth Form day, watching the Simpsons, drinking tea and enjoying the company of my wonderful Staffie. He wandered over to the conservatory doors and jumped up at them aka, “I need to go like, now”. Like I said, we’d had him a couple of months so he had already received quite a lot of training for re-call and general good behaviour. So, because of this we started feeling comfortable enough letting him out in the garden without a lead. So, no lead was applied to his collar that afternoon – I opened the door and let him out, following him closely. He lingered around the top part of the garden for a minute or so then he bounded towards the corner of the garden where the fence is lower. 

If you have ever had an ‘oh crap’ moment then you probably know how I was feeling there and then. He hopped the fence with ease and went off into the woods, I stood astounded for a few seconds but, I couldn’t afford to stand there any longer – I had a dog to catch!

I hurtled down the garden, threw myself over the fence (with a surprising amount of class given the situation) and ran towards where I saw him last. No lead, no treats, no whistle, just a sickeningly frightened 17 yr old trying to get her dog back. At that moment, I had no time to feel ill or scared or anything I just needed to grab him – fast. 

He weaved around the trees darting from one side to the other, I felt like I was in a game that was set to the highest difficulty. I kept thinking about how much everyone would hate me because I lost the dog, my head was spinning, I was completely covered in cuts and I was 0% closer to catching Smartie. He disappeared briefly and came bounding back in my direction. “This is it” I thought, “he can’t possibly go through me now can he?” … I was very, very wrong. I was on the floor, gasping for air and trying to get Smartie in my sights again. I absolutely could not lose him. I tried to find my feet and stumbled over again, in absolutely excruciating pain I saw him zoom passed again. I felt bad, he was having the time of his life whilst I was trying not to throw up – that was the worst part of it all, he thought it was a game, a bloomin’ good one! and I felt like my entire heart had been ripped from my chest and it was no ones fault but mine. 

I eventually found my feet after urging myself to get him, I was running out of chances. Exhausted and covered in blood I wiped the sweat from my eyes and headed over the fence at the other side of the woods. Smartie in my sights, this absolutely had to be it. I had one single burst of energy left and it had to be for Smartie. I had to get him back. I darted through the trees, gaining more cuts as I went, Smartie slowed and wriggled his way through farmers field fence. I leaped and threw my arm through the gap in the fence tearing the skin. I had him by the collar. I put my head to the fence for some minutes to gain my breath back and some understanding of what just happened. “Thank god” I thought to myself. I realised how much worse the situation could have been if there was anything in that field, if he interfered with anything belonging to a farmer it probably would’ve resulted in him being shot dead. 

I pulled him towards me and helped him through the fence separating us. He struggled tremendously getting his huge head and shoulders through the gap. I don’t know how he got through in the first place. I hugged him as if he’d been gone for years and only just returned. All the energy I had left was going into this hug, he obviously had no idea what was going on but, he didn’t resist like he normally would. Tears rolled off my face, picked him up and carried him. A woman walking her dog stopped and gave me the most peculiar look. I didn’t understand at first and then remembered all the blood probably made me look like I’d just been involved in some sort of horrific fight. I suppose I had. I nodded at her and carried on walking, carrying Smartie hoping she would understand. I got around the corner walking down the path to my house – I saw my mam pull up outside the house and get out the car. She glanced in my direction and looked away, then looked again and had the most devastated look on her face. I wanted to apologise for losing the dog in the first place but, I suppose she was just glad we were both home safe and sound. Walked through the drive and into the house, I put him down very gently (I don’t know why, he wasn’t the one in agonising pain). I collapsed in the arm chair, breathing heavily. Everything was hurting me like I’d been severely beaten up. My head fell into my hands and Smartie shoved his snout between my hands and licked my face. “You little git” I thought, “but I love you” I said. 

I think that was the day I realised I had a total undying love for this dog, I would do anything for him. In one afternoon he had became my entire life and to this day our bond is the strongest it could possibly be. I did hate myself for not putting his lead on but, perhaps it all worked out for the best. 

Now, after he has completed his training and has ‘graduated’ he is free to roam the garden as he pleases. I still watch him closely, I imagine him jumping over the fence and it happening all over again but, not being so lucky this time. I know he’s a good boy, well behaved and loyal to his family. I don’t believe he’d ever jump the fence now unless it was for something really important.