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27 October 2007

It's a Red One!

Today was the last South East England open obedience show of the season. Nothing now for about 6 months. It was also one of the few shows I had managed to enter this year. We had a disastrous beginning and I was all for writing the year off but as the this show at Ardingly in Sussex is a kind of tradition for us to end the season on I decided to enter anyway. Just as well I did because the 'boy came good'. We have won our first Beginners class. We need two wins in this class to move up but the second will have to wait for next season. I am over the moon and now feel more motivated to continue next year. Mind you, I have to say I didn't think he worked that well but I deliberately didn't hang around to watch the others compete and by all accounts they weren't up to much. Now I just have to buy cakes for everyone at the dog club. It's about time I got to buy the cakes :-)

16 October 2007

Clouds do come with silver linings

Yesterday the weather men warned us that today would be really wet...all day! "Great", I thought, as I envisaged walking a muddy dog in the rain and hosing him down before allowing him back in the house, "nothing I like better!" Hey ho.
This morning loomed dark and gloomy as I peered out from under the covers. Dark and gloomy yes but rain, no. OK, I can do dark and gloomy. As I fetched Brac in from his kennel the first few drops begin to fall. Ummm. I devise to get some breakfast and see if it develops, if not, I'll take him for his walk early. It didn't get any worse, just a fine mist of dampness so off we go to the heath. When I got there the car park was full. Seems like all of Wilmington and half of Dartford had had the same idea. There were dog walkers everywhere. Normally I might only meet one or two other people but this morning there were dogs everywhere which was good because Brac loves to socialise.
I advertise on the side of my car for my pet portraits and as we returned to the car I saw a man there waiting for me. He was interested in getting a portrait done for his girlfriend as a Christmas present. The full car park was an obvious bonus, may be I should have some brochures available that people could help themselves to while me car is parked there. I don't like the idea of leaving stuff under peoples wipers as that is tacky and invasive but I'm sure I could exploit the advertising a little more effectively.
By 10am I was back home, ready for a cup of coffee and with a clear day ahead and another job on the books. All thanks to a miserable weather report.

14 October 2007

Christmas countdown

It's official. The Turner house has gone into Christmas countdown mode. Normally I avoid thinking about it until December! Yes, that's right, we generally leave everything to the last minute. This year things have come together to force me into early action. Mum is off to visit her family in Australia tomorrow and won't be back until 2 weeks before Christmas so that means my sisters and I needed to come to some sort of agreement as to who what and when for Christmas so that mum could have some warning. Kim, my youngest sister lives the furthest out and they have a 5 month old baby so expecting them to do Chrismas lunch this year was possibly not ideal. Ann, my older sister normally likes to have everyone over for boxing Day so that left me.
I like to make my own Christmas puds and as October is the traditional time to make them so they can mature, that is what I have been doing today. The house now smells all full of Christmas spices.
The next job will be to make the Christmas cake. I plan to get that done this week as like the puddings the cake needs time to mature.
We also went out today and ordered some new furniture for the lounge. We had been looking for some new stuff since I decorated it in August and I've just sold my old sideboard and the coffee table we have is falling apart. I also wanted to get rid of the CD racks and have them hidden away so they don't collect dust plus we needed a nest of occasional tables so that anyone sitting in the arm chairs that are out of reach of the coffee table wouldn't need to put their drinks on the floor. We had managed without them up to now but the thought of not just having an excitable dog in the lounge with us but a crawling baby as well highlighted how having drinks on the floor might not be a good idea. Luckily we managed to find everything we wanted to match in solid light oak. The shop promised to deliver it before Christmas...Ummm I'll believe that when it comes.
Ideally I would like to get the hall decorated before Christmas but as I am the main painter and decorator that might not happen unless my shoulder makes a miraculous recovery. It would be nice though. :-)

13 October 2007

Wilmington's Big Day

This weekend is the high point in the Wilmington village calendar. It's the annual Model Railway Enthusiasts Exhibition. Yipee! OK so I know people interested in this kind of stuff can get really enthusiastic but this event is held in a small village hall with no parking and people comes from a good 30 mile radius to go to it. The highlight is the arrival of a full size traction engine that makes trips around the village. OK, I don't mind that bit, it's actually quite nice hearing the steam horn sounding as it goes up the road. I might try and get a photo when it passes. Does that make me sound like a bit of an anorak?. Help.
Needless to say parking is a major headache in the village and will be until Sunday night especially tomorrow morning when the same parking spaces will be required for people attending the church next door.
In fairness, I have to say I have never been to the Railway Exhibition even though it is only a few hundred yards down the road, so maybe it is something to get excited about! Ummm. It certainly seems to put us on the map. No, I think I'll give it a miss at least for another year.

09 October 2007

Every Home Should Have One!

Chances are, if you don't like creepy crawlies or spider then you won't like this one but if this is the case then this is exactly what you do need. A House Centipede (scutigera coleoptrata). OK, I'll admit, I didn't know what it was when I saw it other than to have a pretty good idea it was a centipede. We don't get these in the UK as it's too cold but they are apparently common in the southern half of Europe. This is only the second one I've seen and it was in one of the ch√Ęteaus we visited whilst in France. They love shady dampish places and prefer indoors to out especially if the temperature is a bit cool. OK, I know what you are thinking..."Why on earth should we have one if this is exactly the kind of thing we can't stand?" I admit it does seem a bit bizarre at first thought but this creature is apparently an amazing hunter of all things creepy crawly. You are not ever likely to become infested with them as they are fairly solitary and they will kill and eat anything from spiders to flies. They can apparently run fast enough to catch a fly before it can take off!

Personally, I think they are amazing creations that look like something out of prehistoric times. For this reason I could not resist having a play with this image in Photoshop for uploading to flickr. Here is the result. Much more impressive.

01 October 2007

Just what the Dr. wouldn't have ordered!

It was our wedding anniversary last weekend so we decided to take a long weekend away. We didn't finalise where we would go until Thursday as the weather was so unsettled everywhere. Finally we decided to fly ourselves to Tours just to the south of Paris on the Loire. Friday morning was dismal and cold here and I really wasn't expecting much better in France but I could not have been more wrong. We flew through loads of cold wet clouds but they all cleared away just before we landed and the weather for the whole weekend was glorious.
Tours turned out to be fantastic for a city break. The old part of the city is medieval and packed with restaurants and bars. There are plenty of museums to visit but best of all the region is crammed with fantastic old Royal ch√Ęteaus. These are all out of town but you can hire a minibus for a day or half day to take you to them. We visited two, Chenonceau, pictured above, and Ambois.
Typically with any city break there is always plenty of walking to do. Since I got kicked I had been using a walking stick whenever I went for a walk of any distance. Without it my leg would ache so much and my limp would gradually get worse and worse. I forgot to pick it up as I left home so had to endure walking around Tours without it. By the evening of the first day, Friday, my leg was really hurting and I was beginning to wonder how I was going to cope for the whole weekend.
That evening we found a busy square with a bar selling Champagne cocktails. We indulged whilst watching the world go by. Later we wandered off down the road checking out the menus of the various restaurants until we found one we liked. We ordered a bottle of the local Touraine wine and notice there was a drink on the specials board being sold by the glass. We asked what it was and was told it was a local speciality of fortified wine and honey. We ordered some of that as well out of curiosity. By the end of our meal our drinks were all gone and needless to say I was feeling a little the worse for wear. Time to wander home. As we made our way back to the hotel I suddenly realised I couldn't feel any discomfort in my leg. We joked about it and I felt sure I would feel the full force in the morning.
Next morning, not only did I not have a hang-over (much to my surprise) but my leg still felt fine. In fact, it was not until that evening after another full day of walking that it started to ache again. Easily solved by another bottle of win at dinner:-)
OK so the weekend and the indulgence had to come to an end but even now, a good day and a half after the last bottle, my leg still feels fine. Not completely back to normal but a good 90%. I can't imagine any Dr. prescribing getting plastered on wine as a remedy but it certainly worked. Unfortunately it had no effect on my shoulder but you can't have everything.