Tag Archives: family

George Had Guests

After long weeks of atypically warm and pleasant weather – so warm and pleasant that it even tricked the neighbour’s fruit trees into blossom – we’ve finally had our first few days of proper winter. The weekend came with negative temperatures, extensive frost, slippery pavements and strong winds. Perfect conditions for staying in, according to George, who didn’t seem too enthusiastic about going out for his walks, especially in the morning. His dislike of the cold is so strong, that he even tried to send his dad out on the field without him!

Such extreme circumstances called for a family meeting. We had to decide – rather quickly – what we could do to entertain the whippet. Indoors. So we asked my parents-in-law around for a cup of tea. As you may expect, George loves his grandparents. Normally, them coming to visit is entertaining enough for George. But we wanted to make it extra special for him, so we issued a request: Bring the dogs!

George loves the dogs. They are his best mates and partners in crime. Usually, their crime consists of running around our feet and the furniture at break-neck speed, stealing each other’s toys, jumping on the sofa, playing roughies and making a lot of noise. Nothing that we can’t cope with for a couple of hours. For their sake. Because we love them and we want them to have fun.

So who are the dogs? They are Blaze the handsome long-coat chihuahua and Ishoo the scruffy-yet-cute Yorkshire Terrier whom you’ve met before. Both tiny creatures with big personalities. Both cheeky and playful. Both perfect companions for George, who doesn’t seem to mind the size difference. But then, dogs are never bothered by such insignificant things.

I think that’s enough talking. I’ll let a few of the photos I took talk for themselves and tell you about the lovely afternoon George and his guests had playing.

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Ishoo posing nicely for the camera...I bet you wouldn't have recognised him now that he's a big boy!

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George and Blaze taking a little break ... Smile, boys!

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"Ok, so what shall we do next?"..."I've got an idea, guys, gather around..." ..."How about..."

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Ok, so Blaze stole the bone...Ishoo wasn't too bothered, but check out the look on George's face!

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George takes checking Blaze out too far... Of course, Blaze is too absorbed by his bone-munching to notice... Being of a more delicate nature, Ishoo restricts himself to sniffing George's ear... Cool dogs!

Then it was time for Ishoo and Blaze to go home, and for George to crash out on his dad’s chair, exhausted and happy. What a great play afternoon!

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P.S. I’ve just noticed that this is my 100th post!!! Hip hip hooray!

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A Quiet Morning in the Run Up to Christmas

Today I left the kids alone in the living-room, while I went about the house sorting out a few things. Here is how I found them when I returned:

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The twinkling of the Christmas tree and my two kids cuddled up together in an armchair, reading a book – to me, this is the perfect image of a quiet family day in the run up to Christmas…

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George’s Sand Holiday – Part 2

It’s time for the second (and last) instalment of our seaside holiday tales. So, what else did we do when we weren’t digging? Not much…

George took us for a sunrise walk on the beach at 6 am every morning. So much for having a lie in whilst on holiday…

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Come on, dad, hurry up!

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Isn't it beautiful?

Brianna took us to the fair at 8 pm every evening, and made us go on everything. Her dad did not escape the bumper cars, whilst I had to go up and down on a giant slide a million times, tucked in a piece of old rug which Brianna poetically called ‘Aladdin’s carpet’. So much for having a rest on holiday…

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Down the monster slide she goes, tucked inside her Aladdin carpet...

She also spent a few pounds in the amusements, winning herself a toy ice-cream van – which apparently she’d always wanted and really needed! – at the 2 p machines…

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Ice-cream, anyone?

…. whilst I busied myself around the trinket, art and gift shops, looking for treasures and bargains. As a result, three geckos are now crawling up our living-room wall. They took forever to put up, but aren’t they cute?

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Our three little cuties...

We also had a lot of ice-cream and a couple of barbecues, plus a few hours reading whilst sitting around the tent. Yes, when we eventually reached the limit of exhaustion, we forced the kids to sit quietly for a bit…

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Brianna, how long do you think we've got to lie here for?

We didn’t do much else but, before I end the post, I’d like to thank the weather gods for being so generous and spoiling us with good, dry weather so that we could do everything we wanted.

With all the camping gear packed away, I can’t help dreaming of next summer…

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George’s Birthday In Pictures

It wasn’t my intention to dwell on George’s birthday too much. My plan was to make a big deal of it on the day, enjoy it and then move on. The day after anyone’s birthday is just another ordinary day, right?

But then, some of our blogging friends asked me to post a few birthday photos and I promised I would, providing that they’re any good. Well, to be honest, I don’t think they are anything special, but I’m posting them anyway…At least you’ll see what George was up to on his day, and I can move on to other things that I’d like to post about.

So…August 19th, 2011…

Birthday boy spent some time in the garden, sunbathing and sniffing the air (please notice George’s trademark wonky ears)…

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…opened his present….

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…was presented with the birthday cake…

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…ate it all up…

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…had a lovely walk (in spite of the weather suddenly turning against us), played with his sister and redefined the rules of frisbee…

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…and went to bed exhausted after such a busy day and all the excitement!

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I wonder if he’s dreaming of all the adventures he’d like to have in his 4th year on Planet Earth?!

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The Day George’s Legs Turned To Jelly

It’s finally time to tell you all about our big adventure over the peaks of the Lake District. To those of you who have been kind enough to follow our camping trip, a big thank you for your patience. This is the last installment so, after today, you’ll hear about the Lakes no more … At least, until next year…

After starting the week with a few gentle walks (as warm-up) and a rest day (to catch our breath), on our last day we set out for the higher peaks. Brianna wanted a victory photo on top of Heron Pike and Great Rigg, so we set out from our camp site to the picturesque village of Grasmere, where we left the car.

The route we took started with a gentle 20 minute walk through the forest…

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…but started to climb, quite steeply soon after that:

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Half-way up that path, a group of fell runners caught up with us and we decided to stop and let them pass us. This way we got to have a rest, got out of the way and had the chance to admire an impressive display of human will and determination. As all the 152 runners went past us (no I didn’t count them, but I read the numbers on their vests), I felt not only inspired, but almost tearful at their effort to run up the steep mountain slope. I could hear their heavy breath, I could see their red, swollen muscles and the sweat dripping off their faces. But I could also see the determination in their eyes. Some were young, some were middle-aged and a few were quite old. None of them wanted to give up. It was not about coming first, it was about doing it and crossing the finish line. I would have loved to take a picture, but then I didn’t want to disturb them. I didn’t think they needed a nosy camera stuck up their faces, so I chose to take a mental shot instead. I am glad Brianna was there to witness their efforts…She was impressed and we used this experience to lecture her about always doing your best, not giving up when things are hard and pushing yourself to the limit in order to achieve your goals…Hopefully, this will pay off one day.

With renewed energy and motivation, we set on the path again. It turned out that George ‘the mountain goat’ loves a good climb and prefers to be in the lead.

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When the steep climb ended, we walked from one peak to another, following what felt like a nice, manageable ascending slope. The view got better and better as we got higher and higher.

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Unfortunately, the higher we got the more unstable the weather became, and we eventually ended up in a cloud.

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We struggled ahead through the rain until we reached Heron Pike…

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As the rocks were becoming dangerously slippery (even for our rambling boots) and the rain was getting heavier, our common sense and sense of responsibility as parents prevailed over our sense of adventure and we decided to turned back before we reached our final target. But we are not defeated…We’ll go back to conquer Great Rigg another time.

On the way back, we had the most surreal experience ever. We heard barking on the peak ahead of us, and then we saw 4 dogs running towards us at the speed of light. We froze. My first thought was that they were shepherd dogs coming to attack us in an attempt to protect the dozen of sheep grazing peacefully around us. I had had a similar experience before, and it hadn’t been pleasant. On that occasion, we had to sit down whilst the dogs surrounded us and wait for them to determine that we were harmless and then go away. Which they did. Since we couldn’t think of any other solution, we did the same this time, trying to hide George behind us so that they couldn’t see him (as if that could fool a dog’s nose!).

As the 4 dogs got closer, we realised that they weren’t shepherd dogs. Then about ten other dogs appeared from over the peak, in pursue of the first ones. Seconds later, it became clear to us that we were witnessing some sort of dog race. The dogs had numbers painted on their chests and took past us in a blink, without even looking at us. They were muscular and skinny looking dogs, almost whippety in shape, but with big floppy ears. My guess is that they were some sort of gun dogs in pursue of a scent, but I couldn’t be sure. Their running at full speed and shrilly barks got George very excited, and he started to pull on his harness. Although not a ‘tracking’ dog himself, his chase instinct must have been aroused by the sight of the other dogs. He seemed so keen and up for it, that he most likely would have gone after them if we had let him off the lead. So we grabbed him tighter than before and waited for the runners to disappear from sight and for George to calm down.

Again, I would have loved to take a picture. But we were first too surprised and worried, and then too fascinated by this frantic race to think about the camera. I hope my description is enough to help you envisage this encounter to some extent.

The rest of our walk down and back to the quiet village was pretty uneventful, although more difficult than the ascent. The rocks were slippery and we were tired, so we had to stop for water and energy snacks. But the weather was getting better and we felt good. Apart from George, who started to struggle. Remember when I said that George loved the climb? Well, he hated the descent. I don’t know if it’s because his muscles were aching or the rocks were hurting his pads, but he was getting slower and slower and seemed to appreciate the little breaks we took more and more.

We eventually returned to our car, seven hours after setting out for the peaks. George jumped in and fell asleep instantly, whilst Brianna seemed to be buzzing with energy. When we got back to the tent, George managed to jump off the car seat and get in the tent, but then he didn’t move until the next morning. What a baby…Maybe he needs more training?

The end.

I hope you enjoyed reading about our trip in the beautiful Lake District. Thank you for staying with us until the end. Have a fabulous weekend!

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Best Seats In The Field

This is my second post (out of 3, hopefully) about our trip to the Lakes, and the shortest one. Just a couple of pictures to show you what happens to us every time we go camping…

The kids always get the best seats…

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…especially the youngest one:

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We’ve only got two of these chairs …Which means that the adults are left with no other option but to balance on the tiniest (although pretty comfortable) stools in the world (see arrow)…

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But then, we do tend to walk our kids for miles and get them rather tired, so I guess it’s only fair!

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Back From Our Mystery Holiday

 OK, folks, we’re back from our one week break from civilisation. No computer, no telephone, no worries…plus fabulous weather (no drop of rain), perfect for long family walks/expeditions! What more could one want? We came back recharged, sun-tanned, fitter and a lot more relaxed than we’d been for ages.

I could write volumes about this trip, since every second was special to us. I will, however, refrain myself from boring you to death and try to concentrate the whole experience in a couple of posts containing fewer words and more photos. Hopefully, you’ll like them.

First off, I’ve got to keep my part of the bargain and disclose our mystery destination. As all of you guessed (I wonder if I’m too good at giving clues?!?), we went to the beautiful Lake District in Cumbria, to a camping site near Lake Windermere called Park Cliffe. What a fabulous place…Well run, very picturesque and the perfect base for day trips and adventures of discovery. This was our second visit there, and we’ll definitely return a few more times over the following years, as there are a lot more things to see and peaks to explore.

Here are few photos of the site and its surroundings…

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View of Lake Windermere from the top of the hill

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View of the site from higher up

…as well as a few other photos taken during our gentle, ‘recovery’ walks:

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Lake Windermere and its boats

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At Moss Eccles

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George having a rest

At the kids’ request, we also ventured on higher peaks for a bit of ‘extreme training’. However, due to space constraints and my picture overload tendencies, the recount of our one-day adventure on top of the world (well, not really, but it felt like it) will be the subject of a future post.

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