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27 June 2007

An English Pub

My bread machine failed this morning, or rather the mixture I out in it did. The yeast must have been off because when it bleeped to tell me it had done it's job all I found inside was a shrivelled, dark brown blob. Dam, no bread for lunch and I had not planned on doing any shopping as I had other calls on my time.
by midday my most pressing jobs were done and I look out the window to see the sun was trying it's best but there were clearly rain clouds gathering in the distance. Best take brac for his walk now and maybe I won't get wet. I give mum a ring to see if she wants to join me. she is having to do more exercise on doctor's orders so joining me on dog walks is ideal. "give me 10 minutes and I'll meet you in the normal place". I hang up and wander into the kitchen to pick up my car keys. I remember I don't have nay bread for lunch. Back on the phone to mum, "shall we get a pub lunch?" "Great, that would be nice."
There is a 14th century pub, called 'The chequers' about a mile and a half away with a reasonable area for walking next to it by the river. The pub is quite rustic, nothing fancy, plain but good food, beams, open fire in winter, tables that don't have little brass numbers set into them, friendly atmosphere and happy to accept dogs. Basically the quintessential English pub. I collect mum and we head for it. the rain clouds are building so we decide to walk first and eat after.
The walk does wonders for my appetite and we are quite looking forward to getting back to the pub. We walk in and purchase some drinks, puruse the menu and order some food. We sat down at a table opposite the bar and Brac lies down at my side. I was vaguely aware that the girl serving was new but thought little of it.
The people at the next table start making a fuss of Brac who is all too happy for the attention. He often gets a fuss made of him here, even the chef would come out and give him a hug as he liked Border collies. but things have changed. we are about half way through our meal when an older lady comes over to us to ask which of us owned the dog. "I do" I said. "We don't allow dogs in here when people are eating" she replies as if it has always been so and I should know.
"Since when? I've been coming here for years and there has never been a problem?"
"It's the law".
"Only if you class yourself as a restaurant. It's no illegal in a pub." I respond.
"Well it our rules."
"Brac was always made a fuss of by your staff before"
"That was the previous owners, we've only been here 3 month. You can take him outside in the garden next time." but I had already decided there wasn't going to be a 'Next time'.
We finished our meal and left. No coffee or desert and no intention of returning. Dogs make pubs, they are part of the fixtures and fittings in my book. As traditional as an open fire.
Before we left the people at the next table made a big show of fussing Brac some more. I knew they felt the same as me.
Now back to that bread machine.

We Girls Rock

Hey, I've just been tagged by s'mores and margaritas as a 'Rocking Girl Blogger'
All I need to do now is nominate & tag 5 other of my blogging girl friends who can then copy this logo to their blog. They in-turn get to do the same for 5 of their girl friends respectively (but only if they want to, no obligation). I wonder how long it will be before all female bloggers are tagged? Not long I'm sure. Still, here goes.
Frenchless in France - a very talented photographer living and absorbing France to the full.
Downsizing in Minnesota - her sister living in the US with some very cute pets.
An Aussie, a Frenchman and a Burmese - well mainly an Aussie living with the rest in France with an eye for nature.
Manic Mom's Mental Myriads - a publisher mum with a great family.
LittleSpoon - A soon-to-be-wed secretary with a cute new pup in her life.

23 June 2007

Not Feeling Lucky

Brac and I had another obedience competition today. Each class is divided into two sections. There is the heelwork section that you do individually that involves heelwork, retrieves and recalls. The other section is the stays. these are done as a group so all the dogs in the class have to sit stay and down stay for a given length of time with you standing away from them. When you book in to your class you need to make a note of the time the stays for that class are being held. I booked in and noted my stay time 12.50 which I wrote on my competitor number tag so I wouldn't forget. I worked Brac in and when I was ready entered the class. Brac was really good and I knew as we were going round that we were in with a good chance of winning. When we finished the round the judge told me we had only lost 2 points which according to the score sheet put us in the lead with only two more dogs to work. I checked the stay times, 12.50. It was only 11am so I had plenty of time so went to get a drink. I sat there sipping thinking to myself 'did I check those times correctly? Could it have been 12.30 not 12.50?' I had to check again so I wandered back to the ring. I noticed now that all the dogs had competed and yes we were in the lead. Doing the stays for him was just a formality. I look at the time, yes it is definitely a 5 not a 3. I go back to my car and sit and read for a while setting an alarm on my phone for 12.30 to remind me. The time drags so I take Brac for a quick walk. I bump into a friend and we compare notes. I keep watching my watch mindful that I have missed my stay time once before because I was engrossed in conversation. 12.40, I need to be waiting by the stay ring. I go there but I don't recognise anyone. Another class is in the ring finishing their stays, when they come out I ask the steward to confirm that this was Beginner Dog Stays to which he replied, "No, it's Novice Dog part 2 Stays now." My heart sank so I asked him what time were the Beginner Dog Stays. "12.05" was the answer. I had read it back to front and each time I had re-checked I had just seen what I expected to see and not what was there. The result is we were disqualified and once again returned home empty handed. I can't believe I could have been so blind. Hey ho!

11 June 2007

Feeling Lucky

We flew up to the gliding club again this weekend. Paul took Friday off and so we were able to go a day early. The weather was sultry and hazy. Visibility in the air was poor to say the least so we decided not to do any gliding. Gliders are tricky to see in the air at the best of times and when it is hazy they become almost invisible so the risk of a mid air collision increases especially as once you find a good thermal other gliders get attracted to you to share in your good fortune. Powered aircraft like to keep away from each other but gliding frequently happens in a gaggle so you need to keep your wits about you and your eyes skinned. As my medical expired and is not now due to be renewed until the 27th, I was grounded anyway.
Luckily, our gliding site is in the Midlands on the edge of the Cotswolds. If gliding is not an option there are so many other things to do. For any of you that are not unfamiliar with this area is an area of outstanding natural beauty. It's also Shakespeare's country as Stratford-upon-Avon is only a few miles down the road. It's a great part of the country to simply chill out and 'smell the roses'. Which is precisely what we did. The photo above was taken just above a neighbouring Cotswolds town of Broadway. We walked down this hill into the town where we called in for a cream tea before walking back again. As I walked through this field it occurred to me just how lucky I was to be able to enjoy all this almost as often as we want. I felt like simply laying down in the grass and listening to the buzzards calling overhead, but the need for refreshment was a stronger desire so we wandered on admiring the view instead while Brac chased pheasants out of the long grass.
Can't wait for next weekend.

05 June 2007

Egg On My Face

A couple of days ago I used 2 egg whites in some cooking I was doing. Not wishing to waste the yolks I put them in a cup with enough water to cover and placed them in the fridge. they will keep this way for a couple of days and can be used in cooking to richen various foods. As we went away for the weekend they didn't get used and I forgot to use them yesterday. Instead of throwing them away I thought I would give them to Brac on his breakfast. He used to have eggs with his puppy food when we first had him. I then had second thoughts. what if they have gone off and give him diarrhoea? I decide to poach them first so they are well cooked. to do this I put them in the microwave in their cup of water and give them 2 minutes on full power. I check them, they are not fully cooked, still a little soft so thought to be safe I should give them another minute. the microwave pings and the water in the cup is frothing over the rim. I reach in and take hold of the cup handle. As I lift it out I'm thinking I'm going to have to wait for them to cool a little before I give them to Brac when suddenly there's a bang. In that instant I close my eyes, feel the cup go light and something spray across my face. My hand is still in the over holding the now very light cup handle and my eyes are still tightly shut. "Oh sh*t" I'm thinking, "that wasn't a microwaveable cup." My next thought was "If that cup has exploded that close I'm lucky to still have my eyes" Even thoght they were closed I could feel they were OK. I open them, yep, they're OK. I look towards the oven. It's a mess. Then I notice the cup still intact in my hand. It's just the contents that have exploded and plastered the oven. My eyes wander further only to realise it's not just the oven that's plastered; it's the whole kitchen including me. I the see Brac. He is sitting outside the kitchen peering in with egg yolk dripping from his eye lashes. That's it for me. We have just entered silly world and I know if Paul had been there to watch he would have been gripped in an uncontrollable bought of laughter. I look in the mirror; I have egg all over my t-shirt, splattered across my face and welded to my hair. How can 2 yolks go so far?
It's all cleared up now but I know I will still be finding bits of egg yolk in odd places in the kitchen for weeks to come.

04 June 2007

My Weekend

Now our aeroplane is fixed we are gradually getting back into our old routine. That is to say, 50% of our weekends during the summer we fly up to a gliding site in the Midlands and go gliding. We are both very rusty so have got a lot of ground to make up. Still we did get our glider out of it's box and Paul flew it both days. My medical has expired :-( so I can't fly solo until I get that sorted hopefully in another couple of weeks. Instead I flew as navigator in the back of a two seat glider for a cross country exercise. This is a photo I took of Paul (not doing as well as us) from the back of the two seater. The gliding airfield is visible in the top of the picture just right of centre. I although I enjoy navigating and there is a lot to learn flying with someone else it does tend to cause me to get travel sick. I get travel sick map reading in a car! Luckily it didn't get messy but I was aware of the possibility all the way around but wasn't going to let on. Luckily, I'm not affected by it when I'm do.uing the flying but then I don't get the chance to take photos.