Friday, July 27, 2012

London Olympics 2012 - My plan!

I'm excited. I admit it. I really love my sport, so it's no surprise that I love watching the Olympics.

The opening ceremony is starting in just over an hour and I'm at home poised to start watching it.

My support is of course, firstly for Team GB, then Team USA and finally team France. Today we were lucky enough to go to USA House, where we visited the shop and bought a few pieces of memorabilia.

Here is CC with top US athlete Darvis "Doc" Patton. He's a top sprinter, and I hope he inspired little CC today.

Unfortunately we were not able to secure tickets for any events. The lottery system meant that you could sign up for tickets, without knowing what you were going to get. I didn't see the point of that.. This means then that we did try to get tickets for athletics and cycling. And failed. So, tomorrow morning we will travel to the Surrey countryside where we plan to get a roadside spot to see the cyclists go past. It should be good.

Other than that, I also plan to go to Hyde park to watch the men's triathlon, and I also plan to watch some athletics on the big screen in Hyde Park so I can revel in the atmosphere and seeing the sport on the big screen.

I walked through Hyde Park at about 3.30pm and I have to say the atmosphere was electric. I'm looking forward to being part of that over the next few weeks.

Less than an hour to the opening ceremony now - Bring it on ! How are you planning to enjoy the Olympics in London ??

Monday, July 16, 2012

Getting A Rescue Dog - My little DD

Believe me when I say that I'm no dog expert, but I'm slowly getting there. Little CC had wanted a dog forever-and-a-day, or at least five years, which is a long time for a child. We had already indulged her 'need' for a pet when we bought Sandy and Pebbles, our beautiful guinea pigs, back in April 2011. They are a delight. But, I wasn't quite ready for the commitment of a dog.

People said to me 'You can't have a dog, you work!' and 'How will you cope?', 'What will happen when you go to France..?' whilst all around me, on the school run, and on holiday I saw working people, with families and dogs, damn well getting on with it. Why not us too, I thought ?

So we got a dog. I wanted a rescue dog. I knew we couldn't get a puppy, they really are too much work if you are at work. Although, saying that, I did find a place that will come and see your puppy during the day if you need it. I tell you, if you have the money, you really can get anything done for you and your pet.

I also wanted a dog that would fit in with our lifestyle of running and activity. A relatively youngish dog then.. hopefully with not too many 'problems'. We registered with some rescue centres, we never heard anything back. We called rescue centres, having fallen in love with a dog we had seen on-line, only to be told that said Pooch was in Spain, or had already gone to another family, or just anything really. I started to feel fobbed off... We looked at a lovely greyhound, but he was too big and powerful for little CC and would never be able to be let off a lead and would probably need a muzzle. I knew it wouldn't work.

At out local rescue centre's open day, where we had seen the greyhound, we saw a cute little white terrier and registered our interest. 'We will consider you..' said the staff at the centre. For two days we held our breath, and then the call came 'We're really sorry but the terrier has gone to someone else as they were at home all day ..' I think I cried when I got off the phone. 'I'm going to bloody well get  a puppy!' I said to BB feeling forlorn, overspilling with mummy-doggy-love.. I looked into the place that would come and check your pup during the day. I knew it could be done. But I knew I didn't really want a puppy, I wanted a dog that needed a good, loving home. And then the call came.

'We've got a dog that we think would suit you'. He's a lakeland terrier called 'Dusty'.' His previous owner was working long hours and couldn't give him the time and exercise he needed. He doesn't know his name, so you can rename him if you choose. Oh, and he loves running.'. I paused, was this really the right thing to do, the right time to get a dog ? He was gorgeous and just the dog for us, but I was still apprehensive. Then CC met him, and BB met him, and I went for a run with him and all was perfect. The nice lady from the rescue centre came and did a house check, all was fine.. Fences secure, places for doggy to sleep etc;

We all saw him for a final time on Saturday morning, and as there was an  open day the next day, so we arranged to collect him the following Wednesday. I had made my mind up, this little doggy was going to be ours! We carried on with our usual Saturday, CC went off to her dance class, and we were headed for the supermarket. We went via Pets At Home as I wanted to see what I needed to get for doggy's arrival .. We were back in the car when my phone rang. 'It was the centre, if it's OK with you, we don't see any reason why you can't pick up Dusty today'. Well, I could have cried, we arranged to go back at 1630, and we dashed into Pets At Home and got a bed, toys, a blanket, food and water bowl, food etc. I already had a lead I had bought the previous weekend.

CC was still at her dance class. She knew nothing of this. All of the items were at home ready and we went to collect her from dancing. 'Why are we going this way home Mummy?' I fobbed her off,  'I need to quickly pop to the supermarket ..' 'Why are we turning in here then?' she asked as we approached the centre. 'CC, I said, guess what? We're getting your little doggy today, right now'. We were both so thrilled.

We got our little man and brought him home...

That was four months ago. Dusty, aka Dusty Dog, or DD on the blog here, is a clever boy, who totally knew his own name, when given a little time and attention. He sits for treats, is perfect at night and loves to run. He also pulls on the lead (we're working on it..), and bites holes in the fence if he gets a sniff of fox from the other side, but you can't have everything right ?

This is him in my arms on Sunday with one of his home-made treats. He's a beautiful dog, but animals are expensive. His insurance is £30 a month, annual check up and vaccine is another £50 approximately. Our trips to France incur another vet visit both before we leave and before we return which is about another £60. That is before he has eaten any food, or been groomed, wormed or de-flead. (is that a word?) I was and am prepared for those costs, but I can imagine it could come as a shock if you hadn't counted it all up. That's one of the reasons that the family pet is the first to go when a family's financial situation changes...

All in all, although there are advantages to training a dog from a pup, I'm glad we went with DD, our beautiful  little rescue pooch. Dusty Dog, we are your forever family, and we love you.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My Week

I've just taken this photo, so you get the idea of how I'm writing this. Yes, I'm tired, it's Saturday evening, 8pm to be precise, and I'm slumped on the sofa with my laptop, well, on top of my lap. Clue's in the name as we say in this house.. and I'm typing ...

So, what have I been doing all week? Nothing really out of the ordinary to be honest.. So, I worked five days, I ran with little DD to collect little CC from school on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. I took CC to her disco last night.. We got up bright and early and cycled a loop of Boxhill, which incidentally, is where the male Olympic cycling race is happening next month. We cycle there every weekend, but do you think we could get a ticket to see the road race there? Not a chance. Since we signed up to the Olympics website, we keep receiving what I can only describe as 'teaser' emails saying 'More tickets for sale now', so you log on to the site, agree that you'll spend £200 odd quid on a ticket, and then try and 'Check out' and it then comes back with a message saying, 'Tickets not found' or  'No such tickets for sale'. It's happened about three times, and it's really starting to hack me off now.. I mean really, really, really hack me off.. Therefore, we will go and watch the non-ticketed part of the cycling, to which we will cycle, as the roads will be all but blocked to normal traffic, and I would also like to see some triathlon in Hyde Park which is also a non-ticketed event, but that will depend on the day/time and whether I am working or not...but I digress.. where was I?

Ah yes, what else this week ? I didn't do much cooking. I did make the chocolate and berries cake that I saw on the Foodbuz Top 9, and I even have some still hanging about, but I've not time to talk about that now.. I have a back log at the moment of recipes to post or try.. here they are:

Lemon and Lime curd (from  site)
Jubilee Chicken Pasties ( a recipe from TGBBO book)
Chocolate Berry cake (a recipe from Food buzz top 9)

I'm embarrassed to admit that I also have photos of other 'Mystery Meals' but I can't for the love of God remember what the recipe was... such a waste!

Tomorrow we will entertain friends, I am going to cook Leg of lamb. Actually, I don't like this meat much, it taste too 'animally' for me, but Chinese Ruth and my BB like it.. so there you go. I will tuck into Yorkshire Pudding, and Roast Potatoes and asparagus and sage and onion stuffing and carrots and green beans. All topped off with Apple Strudel and Custard. To start, I am going to make some tiny crostini with smoked salmon and philly. To drink I bought some Tsing-Tsao beer, if you haven't tried it, I would definitely recommend it.

Before that, I am going to take my little DD on nice long run with me. It's rained all day, so I think we will be getting nice and muddy, which is good ! Oh yes, CC got her school report - it was excellent - of course. :o)

A couple of last notes, since South End half marathon I don't have any races on my 'to do' list, so if anyone 'out there' has any recommendations, please leave me a comment.

I know some of my UK readers read  The Saturday Times, today in 'The Magazine', Robert Crampton was talking about booze and having 'dry' days. I was wondering how you control your alcohol consumption? I am currently drinking a glass of rose (cheers!) but I don't really drink that much these days.. I drink more when in France at my Labour of Love (or LoL). I definitely don't drink before a race, and abstained for about 3 weeks before my first marathon. I found that it made a big difference to how I felt and I seemed to have more vitality. In the same magazine they talk about coffee and our addiction to it, and how much we spend on it.. I think I'll have to leave talking about that for another post.



Monday, July 9, 2012

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

I had nearly run out of shop-bought dog treats, and little DD (Dusty Dog) so enjoyed his first batch of treats that I had to make him some more.

I was looking for a simple, quick, non-meat recipe and found a recipe that completely fitted the bill on-line here and it was just SO simple.

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (or a different flour..)
  • 1 cup rolled oats  (I used oats with added bran)
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter, chunky or smooth (I used chunky)
  • 1 1/4 cups hot water

Additional flour for rolling
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F
  2. Mix dry ingredients together.

  3. Mix in the peanut butter and hot water. You may need to add more flour if the dough is too sticky.

  4. Knead the dough well.
  5. Roll out the dough into 1/4" thickness and cut into shapes with dog cookie cutters - or in my case a man cutter.
  6. Note - This recipe doesn't call for it, but you can brush the biscuits with egg or egg-wash to give them a sheen. I didn't brush mine.

  7. Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet for 40 minutes. You can leave them in the oven to get harder over night, but I didn't and they were plenty hard enough for my DD.
Cool them on a wire rack before serving.

As you can see this recipe makes a good few biscuits for your little pooch.

Look at the anticipation on his face! I hope your dog enjoys these if you make them.

As soon as he had his biscuit he ran off to his blanket to eat him in peace. He's already devoured a head and an arm ! Bless him.