Saturday, 31 December 2016


 As the epic adventure of Kilimanjaro in now only days away a last ditch effort was made to lose 4 stone and get fit. This entailed teaming up with other members of team Kandoo, who arranged our trek, in Llanbedr, which for the uninitiated is just east of Crickhowell in the Black Mountains. Aim of the day was to complete the horseshoe walk start and finish at the church. In perfect weather we waited while one of the group rectified a navigation error which took her to St Peters Church, Llanbedr, but not this one, she was outside Builth Wells 40 miles north.
 Finally we set off in the frosty sunlight.
 9am and the sun had yet to clear the flanks of Sugar Loaf
 and as we climbed we could see the fog in the valleys.
 For us though it was clear sky and perfect visibility all the way.
 First take five stop saw one of the group head back, the route ahead looked very intimidating so she bottled it.
 I had Mrs Bear as my wing dog, she loved it despite being on a lead all day.
 The way ahead, all the way to the horizon, across and back again.
 Up here the elements are a challenge to flora, these trees show how much of a struggle it is to grow.
 More perfect views
 in every
 direction. Mrs Bear and yours truly sat and waited at the halfway point for the team to catch up.
 So Mrs Bear relaxed.
 Team Kandoo arrived, suitably dressed for the freezing weather and we had a quick lunch break.
 Mrs Bear tried to liberate sandwiches from an unwary hikers rucksack.
 I took the opportunity for a pose.
 13 mile mark and Mrs Bear attended to her paws, a bit sore now.
 I looked at the modern art left by a previous hiker.
 The final peak finally hove into view, but the sun was now setting
 so it was now a race against time to find the right route around Table Mountain before darkness engulfed us.
 Team Kandoo closed in on the summit
 while I explored the stone shelter
 and in the light of the setting  sun the mountain began to look a bit alien.
 Team Kandoo pressed on
 heading towards home, the peak of Sugarloaf rising above the fog.
 Another pose before wending our way back into Llanbedr
 in total darkness. A fantastic mountain day.
 Back at the ranch the apprentice reached another developmental milestone
by providing the tooth fairy with extra work.

Friday, 30 December 2016

The morning after the day before

 A quick stroll
 up to Hergest
 got the day off to a fine
 Poor Reuben who has lost his scalp had a great time, more about what happened to him in another post but suffice to say he looks like a K9 Monk at the moment.
Pronto looking after the hill, its all his now, at least he thinks it is.
So Christmas part deux saw us chase off up to Manchester to see grandparents and sibling and once again
the boy's love of carpet could not be suppressed!

The Longest Day

 05.25 heard the thunder of little feet and the excited shouts of "Santas been!" emitting from the apprentice who then tried his best to stay calm until a more reasonable hour of 06.20 to rouse rug rat mkII and so the day began. The usual routine had to be done before presents could be opened, dogs let out to empty bursting bladders and so on, but soon the present fest began. Once the boys had been retrieved from the blizzard of shredded wrapping paper and some semblance of order was restored to the cottage the final preparations for the feast that is lunch began all aided by a bucket of bucks fizz. Lunch on the launch pad I checked my watch to find it was still only 08.50 so with everything in place this looked like the most organised Christmas day ever. Beth and Supergrandma arrived and once again the cottage was filled with squeals from small boys and a forest worth of torn paper. Having bulldozed this out of the way again lunch began. Usual Christmas fayre with all the trimmings plus a veggie option of a pasty type thing stuffed with leeks, buton mushies, shallots, brie and walnuts. Having been veggie all year yours truly decided that free range and until the 20 December happy turkey was acceptable scoff, as did Sven one of the Berners who found the remains of the bird as pictured above and ate it. Losing your leftovers to massive dogs is something of a Christmas tradition now as is the Queens speech and once that was done the traditional fall asleep too full was avoided by walking dogs in the woods. Having all declared we could never eat again room was found for a light supper of cheeses and the like washed down with lots of happy juice.
 One particular highlight was finding this home made present from a friend made via pig club.
Happy to say it had no adverse side effect.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Lets get this party started!

 Christmas Eve was very hectic, as usual, but not for the usual reasons like yours truly finally realising that tomorrow is the day and presents need to be bought for loved ones. No, breaking the habit of a lifetime I managed to get my present purchases squared away 4 days previously and had even wrapped them. So with a feeling of smugness at job well done I set off to do other jobs that made the day a long and busy one. First the bags of goodies needed to be taken to Hereford's homeless at a temporary shelter in the city centre. This was nice to do but also sad seeing so many down on their luck. Normally hidden from view its quite a shock to see so many under one roof needing help.
 Then it was to the local supermarket where I was roped into bag packing. This I adeptly avoided by standing holding a bucket by the exit into which people felt compelled to bung in lots of money. Job done it was time to go home and get our Christmas on track.
Unbelievably by the time it was bedtime everything was under control and prepared for the forthcoming festivities. Never had such an organised Christmas Eve. Even the critters behaved and didn't cause me any upsets. I'm sure they are planning something, but while it lasts I'm going to enjoy it.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Comfort blanket

The news hasn't been good of late. Hence my comfort blanket.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

A different sort of horse

Normally I wouldn't put Trevor on a pedestal.....

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

No good deed should go unpunished

 As many already know we are helping out a dog rescue centre in Romania, currently lashed by winter storms etc etc so to be extra nice we got together four foul weather outfits and boots for the workers plus some goodies and a tiny bit of whiskey to raise their spirits. We also offered to foster a poor doggie over the Christmas hols
 called Stanley, or Satan. Quiet as a little mouse and very timid we were told.
 Well he went nuts in the back of yours truly's truck, coincidently called Stan, bit his way out of a steel cage and
 set about redesigning the interior of my cab. He chewed the window catches off, tore the lining off and
basically made it damned clear that he wasn't a happy bunny so we took him back to the kennels. My Stan is now in the garage with a huge repair bill waiting to be paid.