Friday 29 April 2011

Royal Wedding day

So today is Royal Wedding day and a public holiday.

I have been massively interested in every detail of the big day as you can tell.

The Man Of  The House didn't get the day off as his newspaper is working on another Royal Wedding supplement.

The rest of them are off to the theatre soon as the Boy Of The House has two performances of Jesus Christ Superstar. Thank you all for your good wishes - by the way - he's having a great week.

I'll just wait here and look forward to a quiet night in with the MOTH.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Jesus Christ Superstar

Today the Boy Of The House is back at school after the Easter holidays - yes, I know it's a bit early, and the neighbouring Derbyshire schools don't go back for a few days yet.

Anyway, he won't be able to concentrate much because tonight he and the rest of the LTC Youth theatre open in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

It's on for all the rest of the week at the Brewhouse Arts Centre, Burton-on-Trent.

Here's a picture from the dress rehearsal. You can perhaps see the BOTH second from this end on the second row wearing a brown t-shirt with a yellow tie-dye circle on the front.

You can see him on this one too, on the left - doing some serious acting.

It's a very moving show about the last week in the life of Jesus. The musical was written by Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice and LTC Youth are proud to be the first amateur group in our town to secure the rights to perform a full-length Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical.

Break-a-leg to all the cast and everyone backstage and front-of-house.

Monday 25 April 2011

An egg hunt? Really?

Hope you had a nice Easter Sunday. We did. This was the centrepiece of our dinner table. But before we could eat there was the little matter of the Easter Egg hunt. This is a tradition in my family - apparently. I wasn't here last year so it was all new to me.

They started looking in the living room, and they said: "Come on, Winnie. It's fun. Come and join us".

"Really?" I said. "You need me to get up?"

Then the trail led outside. So I stretched, and kind of joined in. If it had been a turkey hunt, or a rabbit hunt, or a cat hunt or a squirrel hunt I might have been more enthusiastic.

It seemed the Girl Of The House had found something. Let me see....!

They were just little nests with pretend chicks and eggs in. But all the searching did result in chocolate treats for the GOTH and the BOTH.

And I got my turkey dinner - so I was happy too.

  • Can I ask any of my blog friends who've not visited JD and Max's commentathon to pop along and leave a comment? They want to raise £200 for the Crossed Paws organisation which helped pay the vet bills for a brave little fella called Richie - who sadly died last week. For every comment left on their blog post about this between now and April 29, JD and Max's mum will give £1 to Crossed Paws up to £200. So please go along and offer your support.

Sunday 24 April 2011

Happy Easter Sunday

Here's my little Easter card to all of you wishing you a lovely, peaceful and happy Easter Sunday with your families and loved ones.

Friday 22 April 2011

All ready for the Easter bunny

I suppose the Lady Of The House thinks it's funny to get me a collar with rabbits on for the Easter weekend.

Do you want a closer look?

 Do you think I make a good model?

Actually, I think I quite like it now.

I know I can't have the human chocolate, but I am hoping the Easter bunny brings me something nice after I've gone to all this trouble of wearing this new collar.

My family are having a turkey dinner with all the trimmings on Easter Sunday. I'd settle for some of that, actually.

Thursday 21 April 2011

G'day and good luck to Josie

Just a quick, quick post to wish Josie in Adelaide, South Australia, good luck meeting a two-year-old greyhound who might become part of her family.

She told me about it on my Facebook page and she said seeing my blog on Facebook had "convinced them even more" about getting a greyhound.

I was so excited! I hope Josie and her family and the greyhound made friends.

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Wildlife adventures in the Hollows

Hope you are all having the sort of lovely sunny weather that we're enjoying at the moment. I'm loving my walks in the sunshine.

We went down to Brook Hollows in Rolleston the other day. There were lots of ducks as usual - but I don't bother them, I'm too busy sniffing all the great smells.

The Lady Of The House was straining to get a picture of this lovely heron who was right over the other side of the water. She had her phoney-camera thing on bigify but this was the best she could manage.

While she was distracted with that, and I was busy sniffing, I heard a hissing noise and looked round.

Ooo-err! This swan had swum at top-speed right across the water to make sure we weren't going anywhere near his partner's nest. We weren't, because it was a long way across the water (like the heron) and we know they like to be left alone - but we didn't stay around to explain to him in case he came out of the water at us. He sounded very angry.

When we came out of the woods and on to the pavement, a couple of people out with their grandchildren asked the LOTH if we had seen a big black creature in the Hollows. They said they had seen it and it looked far too big to be a cat and far too slinky in its movements to be a loose dog. The man said he thought it might have been a panther (Ooo-err again!). But we think he was joking.

Even if it was a panther, I think Mr Swan might have been a match for him.

Thursday 14 April 2011

Remembering our animal friends at the National Memorial Arboretum

It's been so busy round here lately that the Lady Of The House has only just got round today to sorting out her pictures from her Mother's Day trip to the National Memorial Arboretum here in Staffordshire with her friend Alyson on April 3.

It was a guided walk - led by a very knowledgable volunteer called Gary - walking round part of the huge 150-acre site to look at some of the memorials featuring animals, or about animals, or about incidents that involved animals.

The first memorial they stopped at featured a lifesize eagle and was a memorial to the Berlin Airlift which happened after the Second World War.
Then they saw a memorial to the 9/11 terrorist attacks which included fragments of rubble from the Twin Towers that had been donated to the Arboretum by the authorities in America. Gary told them about guide dogs Salty and Roselle who led their owners to safety down the stairs of the towers and were later awarded the Dickin Medal.
There are many young trees and recent memorials on the site which has been going just 10 years. This little tree was dedicated to "all the horses, mules and donkeys who have suffered and died in wars in the 20th century".
Police dog Az was remembered by this tree and plaque. Gary believed he was killed by a car as he chased a suspect across a road. Az died on 22nd May 2009 but the LOTH hasn't managed to find anything about him on the Internet. If you can find anything else about him, please let us know.
There was another memorial with a picture of a lovely German Shepherd dog on it which said: "Dedicated to the memory and faitful service of Police Dogs in the United Kingdom. 'Beauty without vanity, strength without insolence, courage without ferocity and all the virtues of man without his vices'." Isn't that a lovely quote about animals in general?
The LOTH thought this carousel horse made a nice tribute to the men and women of The Showman's Guild. Gary said it divided people and some visitors loved it and others thought it was a bit too garish. The LOTH liked it because our home town of Burton-on-Trent was the home of two wonderful, talented men - George Orton & Charles Spooner - who built some of the greatest carousels and fairground rides ever in Victorian times. They also employed amazing artists like Sid and Albert Howell who did some incredible painting on carousel horses and fairground rides.
Thie beautiful wren carved out of wood sits on the memorial to the Women's Royal Naval Service - also known as the Wrens. That is Gary the guide standing next to it.

Dogs worked bravely for many years in Northern Ireland alongside soldiers doing search and rescue duties and sniffing out arms, ammunitions and explosives. They are remembered, alongside the men they served with, at this Red Paws memorial which says: Dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives serving with the Army Dog Unit Northern Ireland. It makes special mention of search dogs Oliver and Ben.
Nearby was a special plaque remembering Air Dog Bruce and AES OC45 "Res" who were killed in action - Bruce in 1973 and Res in 1992. It also paid tribute to "all our dogs who worked with us so diligently whilst serving in the Army Dog Unit Northern Ireland 1973-2007 - Guardians of the Night". 

This polar bear was an impressive sight on another World War Two memorial. He is carved out of wood.
There is a special stone memorial to all the animals who served with the civil defence in the UK during the second world war. There were many dogs who bravely searched through rubble after homes were destroyed in the bombing of The Blitz to find survivors, and in some cases, sadly, to recover bodies. This memorial says "remembering all the animal friends who served with such loyalty and bravery". It is placed just in front of a larger memorial for the men and women of the civil defence teams.
Do you know that only one cat has ever been awarded the Dickin Medal? He was called Simon and a sailor smuggled him on board a ship called HMS Amethyst where he boosted morale and also did a great job of killing rats and mice. The ship was one of those caught up in the Yangtze Incident where a lot of sailors lost their lives. Simon was injured but survived.
Gary also told them about the homing pigeons who did vital work in the Second World War carrying messages when there had to be communication blackouts for security reasons. Lots of pigeons were awarded the Dickin Medal including one little chap called Gustav who was the first pigeon to get back to headquarters with a message that troops had landed safely on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944.

There was also a dog called Judy who went to a prisoner of war camp with British soldiers and survived the war to go safely home at the end.

On the way out there are a lot of "rolls of honours" on the walls which have been saved from buildings after they have been demolished. This final one was made by some carvers who used to make furniture and always incorporated a little mouse somewhere as their little distinguishing mark. So they even popped one on this roll of honour that they made.
Dogs can walk round the outskirts of the Arboretum - which is surrounded by lovely countryside - but not right in among the memorials so I stayed at home with the Man Of The House.

But I felt very proud when the LOTH told me all about it to think that animals did such important work.

Friday 8 April 2011

Grassed up

So this man comes to the door and says to the Lady Of The House.

"Good afternoon. We are Green Thumbs and we are working in your area and we can send a lawn expert to your home - free of charge and with no obligation. He will examine your lawn and tell you what is wrong with it and how any problems have happened."

The LOTH laughs and says: "Thank you - but I think we know exactly what is wrong with our lawn and exactly WHO is responsible!"

I said: "Yeah!! Too right!! It's those new bunnies of mine. I'll have a word with them".
Bad bunnies!!

Sunday 3 April 2011

Fair thee well

So yesterday was the Spring Fair organised by the Lady Of The House and her friend Alyson.

It was a very windy day so the first challenge was for the LOTH to make the Retired Greyhound Trust banner she'd been lent stay firmly attached to the wall outside our village hall.

I didn't help because at this stage I was strolling along from our house with the Man Of The House.

As you can see, thanks to lots of string she eventually succeeded.

The format for the fair was that the LOTH and Alyson had invited five craftspeople along to sell their wares and alongside that we were doing a tombola, a bric-a-brac stall and collecting donations instead of charging admission and THAT was the money that was going to the RGT.

It was my first meet and greet so I was a bit nervous, but the MOTH had brought me a familiar furry blanket that I lie on at home and I was soon happily saying hello to people as they arrived.
Apparently, inside the fair it was really busy and the LOTH didn't have chance to take any pictures, she said, until it had quietened down a bit.
Outside, I soon had some company. The LOTH's friend Jane bought her two greyhounds, Jack and Sophie  - and a friend of the LOTH's from primary school (who she hadn't seen for 20 years!!) also turned up with her greyhound called Lulu.

I'll be honest, at first I wasn't sure about them. You may remember that although I love people I'm not the most naturally sociable when it comes to other dogs. I told Lulu (pictured left above) that this was MY show and would she please get her nose out and stop poaching my customers.

But the MOTH told me that we were ALL there to show people what great pets greyhounds make - and I should stop being so unfriendly.

So I closed my eyes and sighed heavily and then decided to slap on a smile and be friends for the greater good.

We were all good pals by the end of the afternoon and we made a great team along with our folks. The GOTH and the BOTH did lots of work inside. The GOTH made tea and coffee for everyone and the BOTH helped on the tombola as well as collecting donations at the door.

And when we got home and counted up the money the bric-a-brac, tombola and donations had made £178 - which the LOTH was very pleased about. We're planning to make it up to £200 - one way or another - this week before we send it off to the RGT.

Thanks for all your encouragement before I did my meet-and-greet. It did help to know you were rooting for me. Huge thanks also the the stallholders who supported us and to friends Dawn and Dom - we couldn't have done it without you.

To make the weekend even more special I was the week's featured blogger on Pet Blogs United which is so lovely and exciting and has introduced me to some new friends already.

If you've not visited Pet Blogs United already - do stop by and say hi. They do a wonderful job of creating links between pet bloggers and highlighting good causes.