Tag Archives: holiday

George’s Olympic Holiday

The Olympic Games ended on Sunday night, at least for a couple of weeks until the Paralympics start. We watched the Closing Ceremony with mixed feelings of joy, pride and sorrow that it’s all come to an end. It’s been hard work following all the events, but a thrilling experience nonetheless. A feeling of ‘hangover’ is predicted to sweep the nation over the next couple of days, until life returns to normal. We’ll see about that.

On a personal level, we’re planning to spend the two weeks (until the Paralympians take central stage) enjoying the rest of our holiday and reflecting on the Games gone. The 30th Olympic Games were all about inspiring a generation, and I think they’ve done it successfully. Our own daughter has been swimming for hours every day and is planning her own Olympic career for the years to come. If all the kids in this country and all over the world are doing the same, the future of sports is looking bright.

All this is very nice but, since this is a dog blog, you’re probably wondering about the whippet… Has he been inspired by all this sporting holiday frenzy? The answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’. George being George, he’s stuck in his routine and not very flexible when it comes to any major changes to his day. So he’s been running along the same paths, playing the same games, eating the same food and going to bed at the same time every day.

But there has been some improvement. We’ve taken him for more walks around the countryside, which has opened up a whole world of new smells for him. Whilst out and about, he’s made more doggy friends than ever. Thanks to the nice weather, he’s also been able to lie in the sun undisturbed – in his favourite camping chair – allowing his human sister to immortalise him in a work of art for the family collection

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However, the most adventurous thing George did in the past few weeks was to try out Brianna’s latest food discovery: Marmite crisps! The initial hesitant sniff was followed by a little lick with the top of his tongue, just to see what this brown, yeasty stuff was all about. The next second, the Marmite-smudged crisp was gone and the whippet was licking his lips.

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Although I had the camera ready in my hand, this is the best photo I managed to take. It took five attempts (i.e. five crisps) and I still missed the eating bit. He seems to really like Marmite… Who would have thought?

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The English Landscape at It’s Finest

As you already know, not long ago we spent some time in the Lake District. We’ve been going there for three years now – ever since Brianna could do some ‘proper’ climbing/rambling – and I don’t see this tradition coming to an end any time soon.

But what is this irresistible force that drags us back up there every summer? Why is it that we love it so much? Is it the hills, valleys and lakes, the long walks or the green grass? Is it the challenge of conquering a peak in pouring rain and blasting wind? Is it the fresh air? I reckon it’s all of the above, and more.

It is this “more” that I’ve been trying to put my finger on ever since we returned from our holiday. And, whilst pondering about it, I remembered two quotes from one of my favourite books, The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. I looked them up in the book – for accuracy – and typed them into this post. These words and the some of the pictures we took in the Lakes are – at least for now – the best explanation of what makes this beautiful region so appealing, not only to us, but to thousands of tourists from all over the world.

Enjoy.

The English landscape at its finest – such as I saw this morning – possesses a quality that the landscapes of other nations, however more superficially dramatic, inevitably fail to possess. It is, I believe, a quality that will mark out the English landscape to any objective observer as the most deeply satisfying in the world, and this quality is probably best summed up by the term ‘greatness’.”

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I would say that it is the very lack of obvious drama or spectacle that sets the beauty of our land apart. What is pertinent is the calmness of that beauty, its sense of restraint. It is as though the land knows of its own beauty, of its own greatness, and feels no need to shout it.”

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*** Note: I was going to edit some of the photos and brighten them up a bit…But then I changed my mind … Yes, it rained a lot and it was cloudy for most of the time. It was also rather blowy. There’s nothing wrong with that… In fact, it’s great! Rain, cloud and wind are, after all, ‘an English thing’. 🙂

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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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Doing What He Does Best

Hello, everyone…The holiday is finally over, the bags are unpacked and the camping gear has been put away until next summer. Which means everything is back to normal and I should have a bit more time for blogging.

Whilst I go through the hundreds of photos I took last week and choose the best ones to share on the blog, I leave you with a funny picture of George on the beach, doing what he does best…

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Off To The Seaside…

OK, people, we’re off again … It’s finally time for our last camping trip of the year, and I can’t tell you how much we’ve been looking forward to this one. If you think hard, you’ll find that you already know about this, since I mentioned it early in the summer, in another post.

The East coast awaits, and I’m not one to let it wait too long. We’re all packed and ready but, before we go, I’ll leave you with another photo of our dream destination:

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I hope you won’t miss us too much … We’ll be back before you know, with lots of new photos to share with all of you. Fingers crossed that we’ll have good weather…

Have a great week ahead, everyone!

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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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Happy Frontierado!

It’s Friday the 5th of August, which can only mean one thing: It’s Frontierado Day!!!

So put on your cowboy boots, hats and bandanas and head for the Frontierado headquarters, at Balladeer’s Blog. As the creator of the holiday, the Balladeer (aka the Blackwater Kid) will lead today’s processions and guide you through a series of fun events and customs specific to this cool holiday.

Lady London would like to wish all of you a Happy Frontierado! Have fun! Yee-ha!

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