It’s been a funny old year!!!!

Isn’t it funny, we get to every New Year’s Eve and wish each other a happy new year and then say “Let’s hope this year is better than the last….” Well you’ve got 365 days in which to try and ensure that it IS better than the last, but ultimately something has probably happened within the year that makes us say that same sentence year in, year out…. Well in our case, I really do hope that 2015 is better than the last few years!!!

The start of 2014 was thankfully quiet and just like any other, until we got to Easter and Kim having to go in for yet more surgery, but thankfully it was all successful and it’s benefits are slowly being felt.

The summer was pretty uneventful and just enjoyed the many hot days that we had, although some of them were a little too hot for our two long haired German Shepherds who were happy to lay in the lounge in front of two fans blowing at full tilt.

Then we got into Autumn and a visit to my mother-in-law (Kim’s mum) which was hot and I do mean HOT!!! That’s what happens when you end up dropping a freshly boiled kettle and cooking yourself; A whole new meaning to boil in the bag, but thankfully after a visit to a couple of burns units and a month of pain, I have healed incredibly well and didn’t require any skin grafting, thank god.

Before I come to more recent times, I’m sure a few readers have thought how come their blog is called Lullingstone Photography when the majority of posts are about Kim’s baking? Well just like people, a blog grows and develops over time and in fact can end up becoming quite a different entity to what you first envisaged. The same is true for our blog and this year I plan on splitting our blog so that one can concentrate on Kim’s baking and non photographic posts whilst the other is purely about photography. This does mean though that I actually need to get my camera out, dust it off and start shooting more images. If truth be told, I can’t remember the last time I actually pressed the shutter and have spent a good part of the year learning, in depth, Photoshop CC and finally getting to grips with Adobe Lightroom. It’s been a year of learning and the majority of the photographs that I have actually put through post production have been Kim’s work, so I look forward to the next 12 months and actually seeing what I can do.

Now I come to the end of 2014!!! We normally alternate each Christmas between staying at home or going and spending Christmas with Kim’s mum. This year it was the turn of Kim’s mum and so we departed for Somerset on the Tuesday before Christmas. After a very smooth and uneventful run down it was inevitable for us that something was going to happen and it most certainly did when we pulled up outside the house and I couldn’t get out the car!!!! It had nothing to do with mother-in-law jokes or not wanting to be there, but because my back had gone and I just couldn’t move OUCH!!! After taking some pain relief and giving plenty of time for it to work, we had the choice of either leaving me in the car over Christmas or having to call for an ambulance. Even my dear wife agreed that we should opt for the latter!!! LOL. So I get carted off to A&E and given some tablets as apparently falling down a flight of stairs on your back three months earlier can actually bruise your coccyx and there is nothing that can be done about that.

So I’m finally home and in my mother-in-law house and we’re ready to celebrate Christmas…. Yippee!!! HOLD ON, don’t be pleased for us just yet…. So I’ve been home a few hours and our two German Shepherds have been fed and we’re all sitting chatting and watching TV, when our dogs ask to go in the garden to the loo. It’s at this point I realise that my big lad isn’t at all right and behaving very oddly.

He was trying to vomit but producing nothing and his stomach was distended and rock hard. Thankfully Kim and I knew he had all the signs of a Gastric Torsion (GDV) / bloat (click here for information on torsions) and immediately contacted an emergency vet. Eight minutes later and he’s seeing this lovely lady vet, Beth Hayman at Delaware Veterinary Group, who examines him and with ultrasound confirms what we suspected. We will do a separate post about gastric torsions over the next month once I’ve done further research. In short, Beth gets him into theatre and starts emergency surgery. Whilst it was cold and dark outside, Kim and I sat together in the empty waiting room tears a plenty and just praying for him to be ok. After the longest hour of our lives, we got the best news ever… Our hairy hoolie had survived the operation and was, snoring his head off in a recovery crate!!!! Beth Hayman was amazing and kept us updated every step of the way.

Since then we have kept a very close eye on him as one of us has been with him at all times, even throughout the night we take it in turns at utilising our veterinary nursing skills!!! LOL.

So tomorrow is 10 days post-op and so the fun can begin as his usual vet will have the pleasure in removing his sutures which will most definitely be fun…. I wish his usual vet the utmost luck, she’s going to need it!!!!

It’s times like this that we appreciate our friends and family more; Our dogs are most definitely family to us. That being said, that one night at a veterinary practice in Somerset sadly made me realise one thing, how I’m going to feel the day I lose my big lad, how much it’s going to hit me and what on earth am I going to do without him? Thankfully that event has been put back for, what I hope will be, a good few years yet.

We’ve been through a lot over our time together, but we face everything together and our love strengthens and deepens. What’s the old saying about things making one stronger?

Kim will do a separate end of year baking blog shortly as I’m most definitely NOT qualified to do that on her behalf. We are not sure when the next bake will be seeing we are still munching our way through chocolates, Christmas pudding and Christmas cake!!!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has visited our blog and read our posts over the past twelve months…. With your help, you have all made 2014 the most successful yet with some 47,000 views…. WOW!!!

We wish you all a VERY Happy and Prosperous New Year and may 2015 be a great year for you all….

Advertisements

Welcome Home….

How did the poem start? “Oh to be in England…” God knows what Robert Browning was on when he wrote it, but it’s probably illegal nowadays!!! :0)

So we’ve been home from Canada for a week now and how does it feel?

Firstly do I include or exclude the dogs when answering that question?

Well I can hardly say I’m ecstatic to be back, although it is wonderful to have the dogs back with us, and I’m pretty sure they’re thinking along the same lines… LOL.

We have to thank Val and Peter for taking such good care of them. It’s probably fair to say that instead of just crying and wailing, that these two had a wonderful holiday too without Kim and I telling them to be quite, or to behave themselves…

So now we’ve got past the dogs, are we pleased to be back? Hummm well quite simply put….. NO!!!

We may have only spent 2 weeks in Canada, but we did find the Canucks to be generally very polite people and what was the one thing we noticed? There weren’t crowds of teenagers standing on street corners getting drunk and looking for trouble. Maybe there is far more for them to do in Canada? Maybe the education system is so much better?

It was strange, but we were told that truancy isn’t a problem out there because their education system works differently, but then on doing some research and reading up, it would appear that they still have a problem with truancy, just the level might be different and the reasons may well be different.

Given half a chance we would definitely just up sticks and move away from Great Britain Plc.!!! Let’s be honest here, this country seems to be going down hill more and more each year. Is the UK getting worse or am I just becoming older? Victor Meldrew maybe comes to mind… :0)

If we don’t get to live in such a stunning country then we’ll definitely be back to vacation. I personally would hope that a vacation in Canada is just the very tip of an incredible journey and life changing experience.

Lewis

Day 14 – Wednesday 21st September 2011

Our last full day and we left Kamloops with heavy hearts to drive to Whistler, our last hotel for this trip.

The drive reminded us of our first days which seemed more than 2 weeks ago now. We have adjusted to Canadian time, Canadian driving and the Canadian lifestyle and tomorrow we return to reality and resume our lives in the UK.

We stopped in Pemberton to use the rest room (toilet) and there was a coach load of English tourists who had just arrived and were obviously still working on UK time looking at the state of them…. The only worrying question was “did we really look that rough two weeks ago?”  These poor tourists looked shattered and as we walked out of the Gas station laughing, we felt like seasoned veterans!

Today has been pretty much travelling and the only time we stopped was to watch some of the salmon on their spawning run.  It’s a strange life being a Salmon, especially if your female!!!

We have had most seasons of weather in the last two weeks and today we have had our first rain during the day. Not just the first rain during the day, but god knows how many millimetres of rain…  Heavy was one way of putting it, but looking at the long range weather forecast it’s now rain, rain and more rain, so we obviously timed our trip absolutely perfectly..  Just imagine it was 30 degrees celcius when we landed and is probably going to be about 12 – 14 degrees celcius when we depart…..

This is our last Canadian blog, the next will be from the UK when we have arrived home and we have been reunited with our two beloved hoolies!  Have to admit that although we will both miss Canada dearly, we both miss our two hairy German Shepherds more…  I suppose the ideal combination would be to have the two hairy hooligans with us over here, although that would mean getting Michka a passport, as Bailey already has one…

Well thank you all for reading our blogs over the past couple of weeks and we both hope that you have enjoyed them and enjoyed some of the photographs that have gone with them.

Lewis & Kim

A Man’s Best Friend…

People say we assign human values and emotions to our dogs. It’s called anthropomorphism, a word often used when an older couple get a dog because their child has gone off to University and so the dog becomes the child substitute…

Anyway I digress. If we assign human values to our dogs, then what’s it called when our dogs assign their values to us?

Are dogs smart? Generally speaking, hell yes!!! Especially working breeds like Border Collies and German Shepherds.

Well Michka hasn’t quite figured out what’s going on, but our big lad, Bailey, knows something isn’t quite right. After all the human members of “his pack” don’t spend hours putting all their possessions in these big black cases; They certainly don’t bag up 56 bags of dog food and put them in one BIG bag….

You have the joys of going on a holiday, having an adventure, but this is the other side as Kim and I have to leave our two beautiful German Shepherds in a kennels.

It’s a rather strange experience seeing we have never put any of our dogs in kennels. Bailey may have a passport but just flying him out there is about the same as both of our tickets there and back!!! :0) Pets and planes is a ridiculously expensive past time so we come to who do you trust to look after your beloved hairy hooligans? Well this task has fallen upon Val and Peter at the Kennels who I know will take great care of them.

It’s going to feel strange being in a foreign country without our dogs, but then again it’s only for 2 weeks. I’m sure we’ll manage…