Monday, 17 December 2018

Auditions are open

 Mrs Bear has been the action Berner for a while now and due to her age faces retirement. The veteran of many a challenge and mountain since Spotty's demise this brave dog now has to face perhaps her toughest challenge, staying at home while yours truly takes to the hills in 2019's Wheely Big Challenge. Yes despite having wheels in the title its going to be on foot.
 Mrs Bear is still super active for a Berner, especially an old one, and she is helping me choose the right K9 for the role. There are quite a few to choose from here at Rock HQ and on today's jolly to the summit of the Bonsai Mountain some keen hopefuls were put through the opening audition.
 I would like to take a Berner but this big lad has the spacial awareness and manners of a Tasmanian devil on acid so any idea of him being in a mini bus for 480 miles with a team of exhausted amateur mountaineers would be foolish.
 Leading the field at this stage is Shadow a 1 year old Golden Berner (yes he's almost totally black despite the name) who has a lot going for him, stamina, brains, an ability to make himself very small and
Lets face it he is a handsome lad.

A wheely big challenge

 Those who know yours truly may have kept up to date with his previous physical challenge fund raisers. The one planned for next year is something quite extraordinary (as if the previous ones were ordinary) and requires a new level of fitness as it involves not only getting my fat arse up and over the 3 highest peaks again but this time taking some lucky victim in a wheelchair along for the ride, push, pull and freewheel. 
 As there are limited hours of daylight and maximum time is spent looking after work projects, children, smallholding, animal welfare (the idea of cutting back took a major hit this week, more about that later in the week, pig club anyone?) and repairs thanks to the attention of critters, training such as there is takes place at odd hours and in no matter what weather.
 Which is why yours truly was out on his trusty steed, another new one (N+1=ideal bike number) in a hurricane and facing some testing road conditions. Yes it was also raining.
 Thanks to luck and some judgement I got through the training session unscathed, this is the face of joy at dismounting and finding sanctuary in HQ and a coffee.
Not so cheerful in the morning when it is discovered the naughty donkeys have altered the pristine paintwork on the workshop. Buggers have chewed the woodwork just above the bikes saddle if you look. 

Anywhere he likes

In case anyone wonders where a dog the size of Reuben sits, the short answer is anywhere he likes.

point blank refusal

 Pronto the incredibly good looking but intellectually challenged Andalusian created his own spot of bother a couple of days ago, you might remember this is the equine who got himself trapped in a gateway by a piece of string (admittedly bailer twine which as all smallholders know is unbreakable and fixes everything from broken fences to space shuttles) and and to help him over this trauma has been given a lovely stable with room service. 
 Confronted by the puzzle of a closed stable door the dozy boy somehow managed to chew it off its hinges over night hence its current location, but then in an apparent effort to prevent the use of a well worn proverb
Pronto refused to bolt. He also refused to hold the power tools and saw required to fix his mess.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Like clockwork

 The weekend was very hectic, as per usual, but this one required to the minute timing to get it done which is why early doors by torchlight (don't ask.....the lights in the kitchen went BANG and more on this saga later) the pups were bathed (read scraped clean)
 While they were drying off yours truly got on with the chores outside and pondered the merits of looking for the pot of gold at the end of this one
 and instead wondered how a horse had managed to crap on Stan's windscreen.
 Talking equine mid morning was spent catching the beasts and helping them have a manicure.
 Naturally where ever there are animals food is involved so the donkeys had to be kept occupied with tasty treats while the horses had their feet done.
 This little horror is Misty although its hard to tell
 as she has been stood at the feed ring under Pronto so his messy eating habits have
 done wonders for her hairdo.
 Will.I.Am was next and looked pretty magnificent while performing his balancing act.
 Back indoors the pups were ready for their parade.
 First off Alexandra went to Mark and Carrie in Cornwall.
 An hour later Freya and Beau took Thor to north Wales.
 A slight paws...get it?
 Aphrodite here went to Leeds with Chris, Stephanie and Layla but in all the tooing and froing yours truly forgot to take their pic.
 But fear not she left the building in good company.
 Leaving Sally to bond with Persia
which left us only the task of entertaining the electrician who came to fix the lights and then the Hi Fi repairman called to sort out the record deck. By early evening all we could do was muster the energy to watch strictly.

Had better weeks

 This lovely dog is Dotty or most commonly called WooZah and just 48 hours after her brother died she took a dramatic turn for the worst.
 Something was clearly wrong and the new meds were not working.
 By Friday afternoon she couldn't stand and was crying in pain if you tried to move her so we had to make that horrible decision again and get the Vet to send her on her way to join the rest of the clan waiting over the rainbow bridge.
 It was all very quick and peaceful and unbelievably sad.
 As a puppy she was pretty wild, and an unusual shade of black, different from her litter mates.
 She grew into a magnificent Berner but her hips and elbows were not good enough to breed so she never made a mum.
Now she has gone she joins the rest of this group, top left her mum Reba, then Dotty and Aunt Montana, front row left Spotty, Bliss and her dad Rocky. Only Mr Bear is missing from this group, he was still living in Ireland at the time of this pic. Lovely dogs, short lives, well lived.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Once in a blue moon

 Every once in a while we get to play at being grown ups and go out.
 So here we both are at our first heavy metal gig since the children were born waiting to see two bands
 one of which I have been waiting since 1980 to see, clue is in the picture,
 whos hit single "I want you to want me" was blasted out of the Police training school jukebox every night along with the better B side "Clock strikes 10!"
 I bought the 3 million copy selling bootleg album Live at the Budokan which catapulted them to stardom in 1978. I got quite emotional listening to the classics as they belted out one after the other.
 Its the original line up save for the drummer so considering each band member is pushing or over 70 they
 rocked the place
 and he still plays the worlds only 5 headed guitar.
 headlining were Def Leppard with Hysteria 2018, the album Hystria was released in 1987 and I saw them that year at the NEC and they were less than good. But for old times sake I decided to tag along to this gig and as the album is a classic and they were playing it all it sounded promising.
 It was to say the least
 astounding. The band played such a tight set and it was devastatingly loud, enough to mush your internal organs. Amazing night out and even when we were trapped in a NCP car park because the barrier would not lift and stayed there until someone more impatient than me smashed the barrier off (people still then put their tickets in the machine....why?) it did nothing to spoil the evening.
Great night.....if only I could do it again.