Riding into the sunset of my twenties…

I completed another item off my ’30 things before 30′ list. I went pony trekking! Those of you who don’t know me very well, do not realise what a great achievement that is… During my (almost) 30 years on this planet, I’ve barely been able to climb over a fence or gate – let alone climb on a horse, stay on it for an hour and then manage to get off! (Well it took 4 people and a lot of heave ho to get me off… and there is video evidence, so there is one friend who I have to be very nice to in fear of this video ending up on social media 😉 )

So I rode through the forest with the greatest of ease, my hair blowing in the wind whilst the horse’s mane swished from side to side….
OK, maybe not. In reality, I climbed up a plastic step, managed to get myself balanced on Skye – who was the loveliest, calmest horse , I’ve met (even though, to be fair, that isn’t many!) She started stepping towards the edge of the field straight away. I was moving! Argh! Turns out, whereas I was the one who could have easily pooed my pants, it was Skye who wanted to unload her waste… ahem! She has a regular spot and always does a poo before a trek apparently. I liked her organisation and preparation immediately!

Our lovely, calm ride didn’t extend to the rest of the group. The rest of my few friends were fine; the Japanese students from the local Grammar school were not. We were told that they’d been attending every week. At this point I thought, “Great, I’m bottom of the class!” But as they set off on the trek, a new horse from the field reared up at one of the horses carrying a Japanese student. His horse jumped up in reaction, consequently knocking him off! And another student next to him! I was horrified then, but there was no going back!

One thing that made me laugh in the trek, was how the instructors referred to us by the horses names. I heard one say to the other “have you been through trotting with Skye yet?” I was thinking, ” I’m pretty sure Skye knows how… It’s me who doesn’t and I don’t think I want to!” Skye was more interested in eating plants to be honest, but did have a little trot when encouraged verbally by the instructors. I then had no choice but to bounce and “trot” along too!

As I said, Skye took her gentle time. She completely backed off at one point and the instructor asked her why. She’d not seen what I’d seen: the horse in front doing a fart! Honesty, the tail wafted up and everything! That’s why Skye backed off and I didn’t blame her for a second!

I enjoyed my trek. The clippoty clop motion, the gorgeous autumnal leaves (the ones Skye didn’t eat!) and fresh air. We even saw a deer.. though I must admit my only thought there was “Oi Bambi, don’t scare the horses!” Yes, it was a great experience. Not sure I’ll become a regular rider or anything, it even go on a horse who makes it past the “trot” phase in all honesty. But I’m glad I did it.

I admire the outdoorsy people who bound about on these horses; no care in the world ; covered in mud. On the other hand, I screamed when we slightly brushed into a tree it fence. I guess I’ll always be happier tucked up with a book…or at the cinema alone 😉

But I’m a trot further to my 30s 🙂

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Stan the super student!

Stan realised that humans think far too much about things!

Stan realised that humans think far too much about things!

In addition to being a teaching assistant, I’ve started some tutoring on the side. Today, Stan the dog joined my boyfriend’s brother Steven and I for a bit of ‘Verb, Noun and Adjective bingo’. He sat at the table and looked at the cards I held up. He even licked the one that said ‘lick’ for the verb example and jumped away when I held up a ‘fish tank’ example! So I think, he knew exactly what we were on about 😉 But he probably also thought;

‘Why do these humans make everything so complicated? Walks, games and treats… are all anyone needs.’ 😉

But if you have any dogs that need tutoring in the language of human, then let me know 😉

And take a look at what else Stan has been up to on his own blog (he really is an intelligent creature 😉 ) http://tinaholmes.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/sorting-stuff-out/

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Barking Mad!

I have had an interesting day yesterday. I volunteered at a Rescue Dog Weekend event at a store called Just for Pets. My boyfriend’s Mum is the volunteer coordinator for the Border Collie Trust so she naturally ropes me and other family members in at times 😉 It is very interesting and I don’t mind getting stuck in from time to time – even though I must confess that I am not a dog lover as such.

You would be amazed at how many dogs get abandoned/abused/thrown out (literally, in the dog’s case that I am about to mention). So, I urge you dog lovers out there to consider rehoming a rescue dog. They need homes, you want a dog. Everyone wins.

The star of the weekend was a dog called Frankie. Only just over a month ago, little Frankie was thrown from a moving van. The worst abuse possible? Sort of, but up until that moment he had been neglected and pretty much starved. So even though him being thrown from a van was an awful, disgusting, inhumane action – it actually did Frankie a lot of good in the long run. He was with my boyfriend’s Mum for a good few weeks as a temporary foster home. He was taught to eat properly, got his strength, had operations and had numerous chances to socialise with their two dogs  – amongst others. He now has a ‘forever’ home, as people in the dog rescue world call it. So a happy end to a sad tail 😉

Frankie is now a strong and happy puppy in a good home

Frankie is now a strong and happy puppy in a good home

He was at this event this weekend you see, with his new family. He showed the local people how well he had come along and was a perfect example of the brilliant effect decent people can have on rescue dogs. I’ll take this opportunity to share my boyfriend’s Mum’s blog with you: http://tinaholmes.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/franks-happy-little-tail/ You can read more about Frankie and other dog related stories there – and they will be more from the dog lover’s perspective and with lots of canine knowledge 😉

Along, with the dogs this weekend came the humans. I’d forgotten in all honesty how hard it was to stand for a full day and serve the general public (I used to do this on a daily basis when I worked in retail!) I was really tired by the end of the day. The public can be great – they can also be not. For events like this though, we are lucky because most people want to be there and have chosen to come. Therefore, they are friendly and approachable. I remembered though from when I worked in shops, that you get those people who are demanding, unhygienic and a little annoying. Let me just say that I was ever so slightly reminded of that yesterdayday 😉 I’ll say no more….

Even with the unpredictable public,  I recommend volunteering to you all. It can seem a bit of a drag when you have to give up your day, I’ll admit. But I always feel happy when I have done it. I’ve contributed to something, helped to raise money, talked to the lonely woman with her dog, made another volunteer a cup of tea or just been there to make other’s jobs easier. You don’t have to spare a lot of time, the odd day here and there, or even the odd hour. Because we don’t always have to give donations of money to these causes, sometimes we can give something much more precious – our time.

On a final note of this one-off, short, doggy blog…… the other celebrity of the weekend who combines dogs and humans: Lauren/Olly Paws aka Olly Collie:

A dancing Collie to attract dogs and humans!

A dancing Collie to attract dogs and humans!

Yes, Olly the Collie helped to raise the £423 for the Border Collie Trust! Whether Barking mad or not – the furry dressed, dancing human worked! 😉

Woof woof for now. 😉

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Two legs in charge; Four legs not!

Hello people…

I seem to be involved with animals a lot over my holiday and I’m trying to make a stand against them! Firstly, I’ve told you about the walks I’ve been on with my boyfriend’s Mum and her dogs. Well that first walk, the little, ever so cute puppy took me for a run remember?! And it got me thinking that animals can take over if they so choose. My boyfriend’s Mum keeps telling me, ‘you are in charge, not them!’ This was repeated again when that oh so darling little border collie took me through the deepest part of the mud puddle! I have never had cats or dogs as pets so didn’t really think about the fact that we need to teach them who is boss… I only ever had a rabbit, mice and a budgie when I was younger and them being locked firmly behind bars spoke volumes of who was in charge! Obviously, with my title, you literature fans will notice my play on Orwell’s Animal Farm’s famous quote of ‘Four legs good, two legs bad,’ where a group of pigs take over the humans in order to run a farm. That novel has the whole allgoric idea of the Stalin era leading up the second World War. But I’m not getting into all that… I want to think of this literally and what if animals did take over? Could they if we didn’t train them or put them in their place? Crazy thought I know… well it is Friday!

The cute little puppy who tried to take ME for a run!

I thought about this the other day when I was at my boyfriend’s brother’s house having lunch with him and his girlfriend (this was after the Club Land Dvd that I discuss on the Exercise is Dangerous part 2 post!) Their cat tried to jump onto his lap whilst he was eating his salad and they discussed how the cat is getting more like that lately and thinking she is the boss of the house! She (the cat) had to be told numerous amounts of time to not lick the plates after we had finished in order to know she couldn’t just do what she wanted! I then had this image of what may happen if they never disciplined her like this?… would she start getting food from the cupboards and learn to walk upright like they do in Animal Farm? Haha….best keep an eye out on your cat this weekend 😉

The cat… with partner in crime… ready to take over the household!

For saying I do not have any of my own animals.. so I don’t get the cuddles and stroking and all the good bits (but not the vet’s bills either come to think) I still get plenty of visits from cats. Remember how we got rid of our shed? (See Shed Light on the Garden post if you didn’t). Well, I think the cats in the surrounding houses think it is their new playground! It has plenty of rubble and long grass to play in.. much fun! I don’t shoo them yet.. which has got me thinking that I should. Because when the garden is done and we actually have living things in it, I won’t want them  around and maybe by letting them now, I am giving them chance to mark their territory, make a home, invade… or whatever it is that cats do!

I went into the garden yesterday to hang out some washing and noticed a black cat curled around the top of our water butt. They often do this as it seems the perfect shape and size. (except for the big, fat ginger ball one that normally sits there. I swear one day it will buckle inder his weight and the garden will be flooded!) I’d never seen this black one before and as I walked towards him/her/it (you can tell I don’t have a cat!) it hissed at me!! I should have hissed back to ne honest or scared it off in some way but instead I told it off like I would a kid at school! It seemed I’d missed using my ‘teacher voice!’ I shouted at it, ‘How dare you hiss at me in my own garden! Now sit there quietly or you can leave!’ Haha! I really hope the neighbours didn’t hear or there will be crazy rumours going around…. on the bright side they may keep their cats away!

My neighbour actually mentioned how his cat sits on my water butt… I don’t know if he means the ginger giant or the horrible hisser (see an animal lover would ask!) but he said it was nice that they have somewhere to sit. ‘yeh, I thought, ‘great… I’m really glad your cat can visit my holiday retreat to relax!’ He then said he had a problem getting him to come home thought yesterday to go to the vets. I offered to put something on it to stop them sitting on it… I was thinking of tar.. or glue… or poison.. (No don’t call the RSPCA.. I’m joking! I’ve said I don’t mind them being there as long as they don’t hiss at me!) He said that wasn’t necessary but could I move the water butt a foot closer next time so he could reach it??! I hope he was joking.. as I might as well just set the sunbed up next time just inbetween the two gardens so he has the best sunny position and can still get home for his appointment!

Before you write me off as a complete animal hater… I am a little bit in love with the tiny, grey kitten next door (the other side). He could definitly take over the world and get to the top purely on looks and charm! He is adorable… and I’ve actually been scared that the neighbours think I’m trying to take him. He keeps comin to our gardern everyday… probably plotting for a destruction! But Kitty, the garden already looks like a bomb has hit it! When we were cutting down trees the other night (sorry did I say WE? oops) and the cat kept scampering about and getting in our way… another way that these four legged lovelies take over. We had to keep stopping work (doh said ‘we’ again!) in order to make sure the cat wasn’t where the tree was about to fall or in the big pile of leaves that we were going to set fire to! Really held us up… he owes us at least an hour of labour!

So watch out for your four legged friends… they may seem to be ‘cute’ but they are actually just distracting you.. they may seem to be sunbathing.. but they may be trying to drive you out or your own garden. Or they be trying to squash your water butt! Or take you on a run at a ridiculous time of day!

Take charge… two legs good, four legs bad!

Woof and Meow for now,

See you tomorrow.. unless the cats hijack my laptop!

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Shed some light on the garden……

It’s gone! It’s gone! Not my sanity…. well not just yet anyway (give me a few more weeks without work and it may go). The shed!! The shed has gone!! Oh let me fill you in. Since we moved in our house 2 and 1/2 years ago there has been this big, awful shed right in the middle of the garden, blocking a good foot of land on one side and totally pushing sunlight away from the rest of the garden. And to top it off, it was bright turquoise! (or blue as the blokes were calling it today; men just can’t see in different colours like women can I swear!) I have been yearning and anticipating this moment ever since then.

The problem and also the solution was my boyfriend’s twin brother wanted the shed (yes he has an identical twin brother, which I’m sure will supply us with some funny blogs in the future and no I don’t get them mixed up and no I don’t fancy his brother) . So this was why it had a) not gone to the tip. b) been used as good bonfire material or c) been thrashed by me in a ‘oh I hate my garden’ mood frenzy. He had been looking for a shed that size for his upcoming ready-for-use garden and wanted to do it up. This set of a chain of events because he couldn’t take the shed off our garden giving hands though until his garden was sorted and ready for it. Also, we have a nice, little, brown wooden shed to put up, which is being kept at my Mum and Dad’s, which we couldn’t get until this one was gone. Confused? God me too…..basically a lot of gardening being prevented, which I suppose with all the floods has been no bad thing.

But yes it has now gone and after my 5 min of elation as I hopped around the ma..hu….ssive spiders… I realised that the garden now looks even worse than before. We are left with A. Lot. Of. Crap. I now have no excuse either…. for two years, I’ve been saying ‘We can’t do anything to our garden til that blasted shed has gone!’ Well the time has come. Gloves, weedkiller by the bucketful, spades, wellies and a bottle of vodka at the ready.

Last time we had a weed killing session (around the then standing shed) I found a pair of trousers, two shirts and some shorts buried in the undergrowth. I prepared myself for a dead body (which funnily enough  I also thought may have been under the base of the shed today) but no. Nothing. We clearly had a naked gardener as a previous occupant…. you hear of naked chefs so why not gardeners?

Oh the spiders. I know I just mentioned them but I’ve gone all itchy and twitchy about them…….one thing you should know about me is that I hate them. I detest them.  There is no other creature on earth that I would wish that horrible shed as a home on…. yuk. When my boyfriend and his brother (plus three other lifting companions) were.. well lifting, I very quickly made sure the back door was shut. And all the windows. Eeeek.

Anyway I hope the shed has a very happy life at its new home….. apparently its going to be painted up as a summer house in a coat of blue and white. Very nice. But for now……until we actually do the gardening….. I am happy to have some light in the garden!

See you tomorrow,

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