Thursday, November 26

Surprise.....all is revealed!

Yesterday was my best friend Maria's 50th birthday! I had discussed wuth her what she wanted to do and she wanted lunch at her favourite restaurant in Guisborough, "The Cat's Whiskers".....OK I said, this is what we will do.........

Here Maria is wearing the hat we had bought for her present. We had spotted them in the Hiking Shop a few days ago!


Oh and I forgot to mention....I had mentioned the meal to Maria's beloved neice and nephew they came up for a surprise...

and way hey......our friends Dorothy & Keith flew over from France, just to join in!

2 of my nephews, Ben & Andrew called in too!

Maria loved every minute of it!

What a great time was had by all!

Maria normally goes to a local quiz on a Wednesday evening, and again she just wanted to do this!
First we had nibbles at Maria's....Then we all went round to the pub!

There was 4 of us in our team.....we won!

Oh and did I mention there was lots of Maria's friends and family there a surprise for the birthday girl!


I had managed to get the most wonderful pork pie which we lit with candles. I brought the cake out and announced....
"I'd like to say a few words about Maria.......
Maria, makes me laugh!

(Everybody laughed (as they had been hinted to do) and then we all sang along (I had provided the song sheets for everybody!)

How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you find a word that means Maria?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o'-the wisp! A clown!

Many a thing you know you'd like to tell her
Many a thing she ought to understand
But how do you make her stay
And listen to all you say
How do you keep a wave upon the sand

Oh, how do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?

It was a fantastic night, everybody had fun, and what is most important Maria loved every minute of it all!

Tuesday, November 24

S is for....shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

I love surprises!
The planning, the whispers, the giggling!
I love every bit of it all!

Right now I am planning a little something......but can't say anything yet!

Come back later!

Wednesday, November 18

Freida Nesbitt!

Today we legally adopted Freida! She is now ours.
Yesterday I took her round to my friend's house and as you can see Freida felt quite at home and snuggled up to Maria!

Freids is indeed a lovely natured dog! I am looking forward to sharing our walks and family life in the weeks and months to come!
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Tuesday, November 17

R is for.....River Cottage!

Over the years I have watched many cookery/lifestyle programmes on the TV. There have been many which I have enjoyed and in some cases re-created the recipes. The influence these programmes have on our everyday life can have surprising results.

I remember when Delia Smith used a certain dish people were flooding to the shops in their droves to buy that particular dish. When she used a certain type of white eggs in one of her dishes again all white eggs were being sold out at an alarming rate.

The one programme which has revolutionised my attitude to food and cooking has got to be River Cottage, specifically the inspirational Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Over the years Hugh has promoted and inspired us to

Growing your own vegetables

Cooking hearty meals with local produce

Keep Chickens, Geese and Ducks

Buy ethically produced foods

Preserving & Pickling what we grow

Make our own Cider, Beer and Wine

Make our own crafts

Manage our land

Discover and Harvest Wild Foods

Exchange seeds

All this had led us on the journey towards a simpler, greener life!
I have connected with some great people along our journey who are also inspired by this wonderful man.

One of the best places to exchange ideas and discover more about various issues is through a forum. A place where we can ask questions and connect with other people who are like minded.

I am so excited about a new forum I have been involved with I would urge you to check it out , it is called "The Handmade Life" and you can find it here!

Do check it out! You will be very welcome!

Monday, November 16

Meet Freida!

Freida Sunday 15th November

Here she is!

On Sunday we took both dogs up the lane, something we were never able to do with Elsie and Wilma, it has been so so many years since Jon & I walked the dogs together. We were out for about 40 minutes and the dogs were walking alongside each other, both to the left of Jon & I.

After lunch as it was such a lovely day we decided to try putting both dogs in the back of the van and take them over the moors. We put both in the van and had a cup of tea whilst they got use to the situation.

About 10 minutes later we drove up to Danby Beacon and walked along the paths. Freida was definately happier when we were in front as she was pulling when Jon and Elsie were in the lead. There were quite a few of sheep on the moors and Elsie seemed to be showing a bit too much interest, despite being on the lead so we decided to quit qhilst the going was good.

We put both dogs in the back of the van and headed over to Jon's mum. Mavis has 2 dogs so it was a good test. Again we kept hold of the dog's leads and all seemed to get along fine.

Returning home I fed the dogs and Jon let both out into the garden. The coming and going through the kitchen patio doors was always a place of tension as it was here the altercations would take place, but Elsie and Freida seem to manage, but under strict supervision! Just as Jon was bringing in the coal Elsie snapped at Freida. Now when this happened with Wilma there was an almighty scrap often resulting in a vet's bill, but Freida wasn't phased. Jon reprimanded Elsie and Freida carried on as normal.

So this is the current situation which we are working through.

Watch this space!

Sunday, November 15

Resumed......Normal Service

Fingers crossed please!

Last week we recived a phone call from Jill of Cliff Top Kennels, near Scarborough. A German Shepherd had been brought in by Scarborough Council who found it wandering the street. We know Jill well as this is the place we take our dogs. She always had a soft spot for Wilma as she is an animal trainer and behaviourist so she understood Wilma' problems.
Jill told us about the dog and left it with us.
We had a good discussion and told Jill we wanted to take it further. She suggested we take Elsie to the kennels and see how they got along. Yesterday we did this and all seemed to go well. Needless to say I was quite nervous due to the 3years of constant stress arising from Wilma and Elsie together.
As all seemed okay we brought the dog home. Her name seemed to be unclear, either Kia or Kiora. The story was that she had been a family pet but somehow found her way to neighbours who kept her. These neighbours then went on holiday and left her with some other neighbours who kept her but not securely, hence the warden finding her in the street! The warden took the dog to Cliff Top Kennels as they are a registered kennel for such cases in Scarborough. The owners, on holiday were contacted and the situation was explained. They would have to pay the kennel fee of £10 per day whilst she was staying there.
Basically they refused saying the dog wasn't there's really etc etc no, they wouldn't pay and didn't really want the dog back!
Various procedures had to be followed involving he kennels (Jill) The Council and the "Owners" at 5pm on Friday evening the dog became the property of the kennels (Jill)

Last night was her first evening with us and all seems okay.
Yes there have been a couple of scuffles but minor ones, just Elsie bullying her a bit and ascerting who is boss, as we expected.

This morning we took them out for a walk together, around the lanes featured in the photographs above and it was a joy to have a dog each wlaking next to us on their leads, something we haven't been able to do for the past 3 years.

Currently she is lying next to me asleep on the settee sleeping contentedly!

Her name...Frida! After one of my aunties.

So, for the next few days we are hoping she fits in and Elsie accepts her!

Watch this space!
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Tuesday, November 10

Q...Queer goings on!!

Well I was going to share lots here today, have some great pictures to share but there seems to be a problem!
Come back later...promise!

Tuesday, November 3

P is for Peace and Projects!

Elsie, taken a few months ago when we had sunshine!

The house has a sense of peace and quiet about it and we are enjoying it!
I was looking forward in taking Elsie out this afternoon but the weather of late has been dreadful. Elsie is quite content to lay by the door or lay by my feet if I am reading. This is new for her and she is getting use to being on her own.

Although we have always had 2 dogs we have decided right now to just keep Elsie and concentrate on getting the house sorted.

With the bad weather and cold months approaching Sundays will have fewer opportunities for bike adventures so DIY will be an ideal passtime for us.

We have quite a few projects on the cards and I will look forward in sharing before and after photographs on here!

Watch this space!

Sunday, November 1


Our Garden

I love Autumn! Walking round the garden this afternoon I became aware as I always do at this time of year, of the beautiful colours nature keeps for this time of the year.
In the shrubbery in the middle of the back lawn, a yellow rose has climbed high above the trees and shrubs to glow such a wonderful shade of yellow.

This is not a miracle, it is the yellow rose I planted in mum's memory...tomorrow, November 2nd would have been her birthday. It would have been Wilma's too. We do not know the exact date Wilma was born, but we know it was the beginning of November, so we thought it would be fitting to use November 2nd.

Over the past few days we have been thinking a great deal about Wilma and the journry we took together.
Wilma was 5 months old when we adopted her from German Shepherd rescue, Newcastle.
To this day I can still picture both her and her sister in the pen, desperately trying to get away from the humans who were peering at them. They had been rescued from a shed in a back garden, strewn with broken glass and rubbish. For the first five months of their lives they had been kept alone, with no human or animal contact. They had no socialising skills at all. One of the pups was spoken so we said we would give a home to the other one, subject to a vet check on our sutability.

A couple of hours later as we walked through the door the phone was ringing to say the necessary vetting had been successful and a pup was ours. We jumped into the car and travelled back up to Newcastle returning home with our 5 month german shepherd.
Over supper we named her Wilmahah, a sound german name.

Wilma as she was to be called, soon found a corner of the kitchen where she felt safe, indeed spending 2 weeks there, nervously peeping round the corner now and again.
The first few weeks saw her finding the courage to venture into the lounge and immediately return to her corner. Eventually she built up her visits from a few minutes to a few hours and eventually would spend whole evenings with us.

Her stable, down to earth companion was Max who kept her on the right track. Jon spent hours upon hours with Wilma, teaching her how to play, fetch the ball and to have confidence and fun.

Wilma would never be a normal dog but we loved her and watched her grow in confidence.
She would always be nervous about people and when we lost Max in 2006 we brought Elsie into the Nesbitt household. Looking back it was a mistake but hindsight is a marvellous thing!

Although initially they got on fine something happened during the December and both became hostile towards one another. What sparked this off we will never know but one thought I have is Wilma had jumped at Elsie as she did with Max and this set the ball rolling for the many scraps which followed.

Life for the past 3 years has not been easy here. German Shepherds are a large breed and to have so much energy between two bitches was a nightmare. Yes both Jon and I "managed" the situation but it affected Wilma which saw her anger spilling over in a way we had never seen before. Whilst she doted on both Jon and I and our family and friends, many who visited here were not at ease.

Wilma and I spent a lot of time together, walking and playing and being in the home together. All would be well and at luchtime Jon would take her to the workshop, leaving Elsie with me.

So now Wilma is not here, now she has peace.
No more worry, she is in a place where she has salvation from the perils she faced here.

Elsie is missing her, she must be wondering what is going on but together we will go forward.

For the moment it will just be Elsie as the Nesbitt dog and we can get our home back on track and have some peace and quiet and live in a calm atmosphere! Well as calm as the Nesbitt household will ever be!