My Sunday Photo

Last Thursday was my birthday. It was also the first day of the school holidays for us. This was not a good combination as the kids were overexcited and over tired and DH didn’t get home until almost 9pm as the Metropolitan line fell over.

I has to wait the entire day for my presents. Three of the kids took gifts DH had bought and wrapped, and claimed them for their own to give to me.

But DD2 is 13 and used her own pocket money to buy me this cup from the local shops.

I have to point out that I turned 46 on Thursday, so was NOT born in 1995, but apparently ‘It was the oldest one they had’.

This makes me feel very old indeed.

Happy Birthday to me!

born in 1995 cup

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

My Sunday Photo

The girls had a petting zoo come to their guides group last week. I was on the rota as parent helper, so had to take the two smaller ones  with me- what a shame.

They had a ball and DD3 loved the little bantams. She spent quite a lot of time hypnotising them and placing them in various places.

hypnotising chickens
Then she had the idea of putting them on the donkey’s back and giving them a ride.

chickens on a donkey

Luckily neither the chooks nor the donkey minded.

Sunday photo

My Sunday Photo

My youngest daughter has always wanted a pet bird but neither DH or I like the thought of a bird stuck in a cage for 10+ years. Plus, we have cats.

On Monday there was a post on a local parents’ page saying someone had found a budgie, had anyone lost one? And if not, could anyone take it and look after it as person who found it was asthmatic. I waited a bit to see if anyone more suitable replied, but after a couple of hours dropped the finder a PM. He replied quite quickly and  told me that the bird was being kept in a plastic box. It was quite safe and well, but obviously needed more suitable accommodation.

All we could offer was a smallish hamster cage with perches made from apple tree twigs but it would do until the bird’s owner was found. The kids were ecstatic and have named him/her Charlie. The cats were also over the moon and had to be persuaded ( with a water bottle) that Charlie was not some sort of environmental enrichment activity for them.

Blue Budgie
Charlie has been with us almost a week and I’ve registered him/her on a load of lost bird/pet sites. I’ve had one reply from a lady who lost a blue budgie a week previously. She lost her bird about 6 miles away so it’s certainly not too far away, but hers was a mature male, while Charlie is probably 5-9 months old and most likely a female. So from now on I’m going to refer to him/her as ‘her’.

I think Charlie most likely comes from an aviary or pet shop. She is not scared of humans or cats or dogs but isn’t hand tame. I’ve had to hold Charlie a couple of times to move her and I haven’t been bitten. And budgies can bite quite badly if they put their mind to it!

So for now, we have a bird. DD3 is very pleased, I like having the little chirper in the house and even DH has just ordered a new cage for her so it seems that Charlie has  her little feet firmly under the table.

Sunday photo


My Sunday Photo

Years ago, I used to frequent this local park. It has two playgrounds, lots of room for dogs to run around and a great slope for scooting and balance biking down.

But when all the kids started school, I no longer needed the playgrounds and started to walk the dogs in the local woods instead. But we’ve started to go back to this park for dog training classes on a Saturday morning and it’s nice to see it again.

It hasn’t changed too much but the council has installed a line of old fashioned Victorian-style lamps along one of the paths.

And someone has started digging up patches of the turf and sowing wildflower meadows. It did look a bit bare at first but now this is the result. Swathes of poppies and cornflowers and some other orange flower I can’t identify creating great splodges of stunning colour across the park. And the whole thing is buzzing with bees. It’s lovely to see.

It makes me want to dig up our lawn and try the same thing at home. But of course, it’s unlikely to have the same effect in our back garden so maybe I’ll start with a few individual poppy plants instead.


Sunday photo

My Sunday Photo

We have two rescue dogs and we do agility with both of them.  Actually, when I say ‘We’, I really mean DD1 and DD3.

DD1 has taken on the training of our newest dog and I used to train our older dog myself but I’m too slow for him. So DD3, who is 10, has taken him over and she is doing a brilliant job.

She’s been running him for about a year now and they are probably almost ready to start competing. It’s been a steep learning curve for her and she found it hard  at first taking directions from the lady who takes the classes.


She’s had to learn how to use her body language to give her dog the signals he needs to know what’s coming next.

She’s had to learn to think about the dog’s point of view.

And the rules involved in tackling different bits of equipment.

L&B 6
Most importantly, she’s had to learn to cope with making mistakes and disappointment in a way that keeps her dog’s tail wagging.

I think agility is a brilliant sport if you have a dog of any shape or size.

It’s loads of fun for dogs and owners, even if you end up relegated to the sidelines and function as a mobile hitching post. watching your daughters do all the work!

Sunday photo

My Sunday Photo

My eldest girls did Brownies, then moved onto Guides and both still attend now. They are 12 and 14 and DD1 is about to move on to the Senior Section.

DD3 did the Brownies thing too, but then she and a friend wanted to join cubs as well.  Now they are both 10, in the next month or so they are going to start the move to Scouts.

Part of the reason DD3 wanted to go to Scouts is because they do real camping in tents their parents they put up themselves. The Brownie and Guide groups around here tend to do indoor camps where the girls stay in dorms or perhaps already-erected tipis.

DD’s kit listed included ‘up to two soft toys’ to make bedtime easier. These are the two that DDs chose, AND I had to evict a 4 foot snake and 3 ft teddy from the black bag under the sleep mat.

She wouldn’t give up the wolf or the lion though and we drove them out to the campgrounds and lugged them across the fields to the site. I was expecting Akela to say no, but the other girl DD3 was sharing with didn’t mind, so the soft toys got to stay the weekend.

Next time I think Akela may be adding dimensions to the kit list.

Cuddly toys for cub camp

Sunday photo