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….

Tis the Season to be Jolly !!!!

So where do we start about the last 12 months?

It’s certainly been an interesting time.  Lewis had every intention of posting far more blogs about photography, but since completing his photography qualification he hasn’t actually taken that many photographs.  This MUST change for 2013!!!

Kim sat and watched The Great British Bake Off, oh god what a mistake that was!!!  After watching a few episodes, Kim thought it would be an excellent idea to buy Mary Berry’s baking bible and then choose one recipie a week.  Well what’s the point in setting yourself a challenge if nobody knows about it? This is where Lewis came up with the idea that Kim should blog about her baking experiences and share it with those who were interested and wished to read or follow the blog.  Hence Kim’s account on WordPress was created…….

Has it been a success?  Well we certainly think so and we would both like to thank our new followers, not forgetting our existing ones, this year and hope that this blog has bought some interesting reading as well as enjoyment.

So what about Lewis?  Well in January he required surgery on his right shoulder and even now it’s still not fully resolved.  It was such a re-assurance when the Consultant said to him “oh it can take up to 18 months for a shoulder to fully heal….”   Oh cheers, thanks for telling me after the surgery!!!! :0)

Due to having a lack of function in his arm, Lewis hasn’t really done much, but hopes to be far more active in 2013.  Lewis hopes without a doubt that not only will he be able to take plenty of beauitful images, but that people may even wish to purchase the images created by Lullingstone Photography, better known as Lewis & Kim….

So what else has happened?  Oh yes, we nearly forgot.  Lewis’ parents decided to downsize from what had been his childhood home and so where do they move to?  Well of course it has to be next door to us!!!!

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “You can’t choose your parents….”,  well guess what, you can’t choose where they live either !!!!   LOL  :0)

Joking apart after a 16 week re-development project, we both hope they have many happy years in their new home, although we’re still waiting for them to actually move in……

Then of course we have the Olympics and Paralympics!!!  WOW is basically all one can say about that.  Whether you like sport or not, no one can deny that we have had the most incredible year of sport.  The achievements of our various sports men and women in their respective disciplines has been absolutely incredible.  The Olympics seemed to be over in a heartbeat which is something we can’t say about the build up to it.  How many years did we have the media bombarding us with Olympic gems?  Far too long would have been the answer.

BUT….. then the Paralympics Opening ceremony began and slowly people were amazed at how a legless man could run, or how someone with one leg could actually ride a bicycle and STILL whip the butts of your average able bodied person!!!  Sure there were plenty of jokes going around; Some were tasteless and some were just down right hilarious…    On that note, we really have to praise the Australian Adam Hills who presented the programme “The Last Leg” which was incredibly funny.  One can only applaud Channel 4 for allowing such a programme that really did break down barriers between disabled and abled body.  We would urge anyone who missed it to try and download it.  It must be on the Internet somewhere :0)

So the whole of the UK were in awe of the competitors and for very good reason.  They were ALL truly inspirational, whether they were winners or losers…  In our eyes, they were ALL WINNERS !!!!

Generally speaking it has actually been a rather quiet year, until we got to December.  Kim had been having some pain and so goes to see the GP. After some investigations, she finds herself with a rapid referral to the hospital and told that surgery is needed…..

So we’re waiting for a date for surgery on the NHS….  Well that’s likely to be a few months then right?  WRONG !!!!

A letter came through from the hospital a few days ago and the date is…….  Yep, it’s New Year’s Eve!!!!  We certainly won’t forget this year in a hurry.

This obviously means that Kim’s baking blog is going to suffer a hiatus for a few weeks whilst she fully recovers.  We both hope that 2013 brings a better year for the both of us in many different ways……

Bailey & Michka - Christmas 2012There are two things that keep us relaxed and relieve any stress and those of course are our two hairy hooligans Bailey and Michka.  It’s wonderful to say that they have both managed to stay in good health.  Without a doubt they will provide Kim with plenty of comfort and love when she comes out of hospital in the New Year…. :0)

We wish you all a very joyous and Happy Christmas and hope that you have a prosperous New Year.  We hope that 2013 is good to you all and is even better than 2012.

Lewis, Kim, Bailey & Michka  :0)

Breed Specific Legislation

Lennox - A girl's Best FriendI know I haven’t blogged anything for over 6 months now, maybe that’s because not much has gone on in my life that I felt anyone would wish to read about,  but this subject has angered me so much and made me sit down and start typing….

What is Breed Specific Legislation?   Well it’s basically exactly what it says on the tin, although it mainly focuses on “bull breeds”.  In the UK this is particularly the case for the American Pit bull, to name just one.  So why the fuss?  Well the law doesn’t actually state Pit bull as such, it in fact says Pit bull TYPE and that is where the issue lies.

Over the past 2 years the biggest case has been over a dog in Belfast, Northern Ireland called Lennox.  In Belfast all dogs have to be licensed with Belfast City Council and in Lennox’s case his license stated that he was a BULLDOG, no mention of the word Pit bull anywhere !!!

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OK so from birth Lennox was classified as a Bulldog until 2 years ago when Belfast City Council’s dog wardens, whilst “raiding” the house by mistake, decided to take a tape measure to Lennox’s head and so decided he was of Pit bull Type and therefore was an illegal dog.  Whilst Lennox’s owner, the Barnes family, refused to turn Lennox over, the council applied for an injunction and returned to seize Lennox and lock him away in an undisclosed dog kennels, where he would then become the responsibility of the Council for his welfare.

A Dangerous Dog???Naturally the Barnes family were not going to give up on their “young man” and so the legal battle began!!!  A legal battle between the owners of a dog who just didn’t look right and a local government authority, Belfast City Council…   After battling it out through the courts the council won their right to put Lennox to sleep, a decision which has created World Wide anger even with a 200,000 named petition to save this poor dog’s life, but of course councils being councils weren’t going to back down and wanted to make sure they were going to get their way….  According to Belfast City Council, Lennox was humanely put to sleep on Wednesday 11th July 2012 at approximately 7:00am BST.

There is far to much about this case for me to write and re-write what has already been said.  To be perfectly honest I don’t see any point in re-inventing the wheel, not to mention that it’s difficult enough for me to write about this as it is, but I would draw your attention to the editor of Dog’s Today magazine, Beverly Cuddy’s – Cold Wet Nose Blog where Beverly has written some interesting articles about the whole Lennox case.

Someone else whose work and comments on this case are extremely important is Jim Crosby, a Canine Aggression expert from the United States.  The article he has written makes complete sense to me and the video he shows in the of Lennox’s behaviour certainly does NOT show a dog displaying any kind of aggression or any aggressive tendencies.  I urge you to go and read this gentleman’s article by clicking on his name.

Maybe by reading Jim Crosby’s article in addition to the numerous other articles floating around the internet regarding Lennox, well maybe then can you make an informed decision on this question:

Is Breed Specific Legislation Right?  Or should it be punish the Deed NOT the Breed?

Thank you for taking the time and having the patience to read my article.  If you wish to post any comments then please do so and I will try and reply to them all as soon as I can.

Lewis Brown