My Sunday Photo

This is DD1 and our second rescue dog, who she has taken on the task of training.

He was an Irish street dog and was rescued from a pound when his seven days were up. A very lovely rescue called Heathlands Animal Sanctuary brought him to the UK and fostered him for three months before we met him and took him home.

He’s a good old fashioned mutt. DNA tests have shown he’s got a labrador grandparent, and a husky grandparent, and the rest is a real mix. But he’s very keen to learn and is a good partner for DD1 in both dog training and agility classes.

Here they are practicing the ‘Watch Me’ command, where he is supposed to be looking at his owner and ignoring what’s going on around him. You can see the concentration on his face as he waits to be told what to do next.

He’s not perfect, and is partial to stealing food and disappearing after interesting smells when in the woods, but he’s a loved member of our family now and the thought that he was so close to being killed because no one wanted him makes me very sad.


watch-me
Sunday photo

My Sunday Photo

Astro slide Knebworth
We’ve just had the last week of our summer break and the weather has been lovely. After our washout of a summer holiday in Ireland, we had to make the most of it so got out and about as much as possible.

One of the places we visited was Knebworth House. We’d never been there before despite it only being 40ish minutes from home. It could do with a lick of paint but though it was a bit young for the 14 and 13 year olds, the 8 and 10 year olds had a great time on the slides and adventure playgrounds. Be aware there are some height restrictions on the slides, but DS is the shortest of us at 133cm and he could go on everything.

We got an icecream, which was reasonably priced and the younger two got a bit wet playing under the water feature, but dried off pretty quickly afterwards.

Then we drove up to the house and gardens (observing the 10mph speed limit so the kids could hatch a couple of Pokemon eggs) and had a stroll around the gardens and maze. DS liked the dinosaurs, DD3 liked climbing the hills and rolling down and the teens tore themselves away from their phones long enough to appreciate beauty of the house itself.

Knebworth House
So, in short, it’s a nice place to visit especially if your kids are 10 and under. There seemed to be plenty of things for under 8s to do as well.

There weren’t too many wasps, I didn’t feel like we had been ripped off by the entry price and it was much more fun than school shoe shopping.

Sunday photo

My Sunday Photo

This is an orchid I got for Mother’s day in 2015. It had blue flowers then, obviously dyed, and I knew if it ever flowered again the blooms would be white.

The flowers lasted for ages, but eventually died and the plant lost the stem and leaves and looked like it was dead. I tried a few different things to get it growing again, and in desperation moved it to the very sunny kitchen windowsill, chucked some water at it occasionally and left it alone.

Of course, because it was being neglected it grew two new leaves, and when I got back from holiday I found it had flowered. This is one of the flowers but it now has five. My kids think the centre looks like a Pokemon.

Orchids really are very awkward plants.
Orchid from Tesco

Sunday photo

My Sunday Photo

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We’ve just spent three weeks driving around Ireland in the rain,  but it was all worth it because I got see one of my bucket list sights in the sunshine.

When we got to Dunseverick, in Northern Ireland, and visited The Giant’s Causeway,  it didn’t rain for two whole days.

The Causeway is a foreshore area that is made up of interlocking polygon rock columns. They make an amazing sight as they disappear into the sea.

The coast in this area would be glorious in any weather but it was so nice not to have to wear wet weather gear.

We visited the Causeway after the visitor centre closed, so had to walk down and back up again. The kids were not impressed with this, but it’s worth visiting early or late so you can avoid  the crowds. Once we got down to the stones,  they admitted the Causeway was ‘okay’.

My grandparents visited Ireland decades ago and came home with photos of this area.  I’ve always wanted to see it myself and am pleased that neither weather nor whinging children stopped me from doing so.

Sunday photo

 

My Sunday Photo

One of the advantages of getting a new car is that we can now sneak up on our cats.

They used to recognise the old one, and when it pulled up they would be sitting on the path, crying and waiting for us to get out. If we didn’t get out quickly, they would walk onto the road which is not the best idea if you are a feline.

But now, they ignore the new one, and seem surprised when we get out of it.

This is our ginger cat on the roof when we came home the other night. He seemed quite comfortable up there, and watched us go into the house, but joined us with a frog in his mouth 10 minutes later…

cat on roof

Sunday photo

My Sunday Photo

More new car photos! I am learning to love our Seat Alhambra.

Firstly, the dogs have finally learnt to jump in the back instead of being allowed to ride on the second row of  seats as they were in the old car.

For the first few days I had to actually had to physically wrangle them into the back, which wasn’t easy as they are both Labrador sized. I was very relieved when they started jumping in on their own.

The one on the left is particularly unimpressed as he doesn’t like the way the boot closes automatically but he’s worked out that car= walkies so he puts up with it and just makes faces.

dogs alhambra
Secondly, the fun bit about getting a new car is finding out what all the bells and whistles do.

This car has heated front seats which will be lovely come winter and it’s useful to know exactly how long I can leave it before having to find a petrol diesel station.

But the best thing so far are the little symbols that tell me whether the kids have put their seat belts on or not.

They haven’t worked out how I always seem to  know yet…

Alhambra seatbelts

Sunday photo

My Sunday Photo

This week we finally got a new car. We have been  discussing it for a couple of years now but it’s been difficult because we felt that nothing would truly replace our old Toyota Previa.

She was almost 11 years old and was showing her age. If we could have, we would have just bought a newer one but they stopped making them in the UK 6 months after we bought ours.

We needed something big enough to carry 2 adults, 2 teens and 2 kids, plus two lab-sized dogs on occasion.  We wanted sliding doors and a decent sized boot with all the seats in use. It had to be an automatic as we do a lot of town driving and we preferred a petrol engine. We also wanted a backing camera to help with parking. It was further complicated as DH didn’t want something that looked like a van.

In the end we settled for a Seat Alhambra. It’s okay. There isn’t quite as much room in it as there was in the Previa and we’ve had to have a diesel engine. The boot is pretty much non existent with all the seats up and you can’t take the spare seat out to create more room.

But the worst bit about getting a new car was saying goodbye to our old one. I felt like crying when DH drove it off to an appointment with We Buy Any Car dot com. And DS insisted on giving her a hug goodbye before he left for school. It’s the only car he has ever known.

car hugger
He’s adjusting to the new one okay though. The automatic doors are helping, as is his integrated car seat.  I like the dashboard that tells me the kids have put their seat belts on and I know the heated seats will come in handy next winter.

So we are coping but I do still feel guilty about the old car. That’s not normal, is it? I mean , it’s not like she was a member of the family or anything…

Sunday photo