A tail of two Schitties (Schitzus)

Dog friendly places are a joy to find and Edinburgh is just getting more and more dog friendly. Initially keepers of the canine were used to being cast out to stand in the dreich weather giving the dog the evil eye for being so unwelcome  but now they are welcomed with open arms, bowls of water and a clap on the head. Joy.

Recently we were in The Raeburn in Stockbridge where they are welcome outside but also in the bar area. It was like a dog crèche. Big ones, small ones, multiple leads all tangled, spaniels, a pug, a scottie, two schitzus, two westies, a couple of labs, a labradoodle, 2 schnauzers and of course Charlie Chorizo Sausage dog. Fellow dog lovers understand the overwhelming love you feel for this hairy crater on the end of the lead and know only too well why you are not enjoying a drink in the pub round the corner after the barman barked at you “Nae dogs in here, oh for Gods sake just tie it up outside”.  Huh I think not.

So as the places we are all welcome multiply tails are wagging wildly.

The Raeburn on Raeburn Place Stockbridge, we would highly recommend and with the lovely summer months ahead but there may well be a queue of canine owners jostling to get in – including me – see you there!
 

The Kelpies sculptor work has been in our gaff for 10 years – until today!

 

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Its amazing the things you find or forget about. 10 years ago when we were designing and building the interior of Howies in Aberdeen we commissioned 3 pieces of cast iron work from a little known Scottish sculptor. They are stunning pieces of work 2 large screens fixed to the floor to separate off part of our large open plan eating area and a balustrade. They have been there since then, walked past, admired, used every single day. In the day to day business of a restaurant its all about the food, the customer, the service and so we sort of took them for granted. That is until this January when we refurbished the restaurant and a designer remarked on them and it was with eye popping surprise we remembered they are the work of Andy Scott – sculptor of the Three Kelpies. – yes those kelpies!

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They are incredibly heavy and stunning in their place – we just got so used to seeing them being part and parcel of our place and thus forgot to see them for what they are. Remarkable.

I expect its like living with George Clooney – after a while you get used to him so you don’t stare at him all day and all night.

In order to open up our space we had to move the screens so with a selection of strapping young men we did. So the screens are now wrapped in swaddling clothes and appearing in Edinburgh today for the Bonhams, Scottish Sale. Lots 540 and 541. Pop in and see them if you are in Edinburgh – otherwise have a look online…..

Here’s the catalogue   amongst some of the best art in the country – they find their rightful place.

So …..see you there?

And most importantly of all don’t forget – how easy it is not to see the wood for the trees.

Travels with a sausage

I have been dreaming of going travelling with a dog for as long as I have been upright and on this earth. It may seem a strange thing to those who are not canine lovers like myself but having been born and brought up with dogs and never been consciously without one in my life it is the only thing – other than a great Rogan Josh – that I truly truly miss when I away from home for any length of time.

So this is the year. With a new puppy on board – a miniature wiry daschundImage I am off travelling with my sausage.

I will update from France, Spain, England, Scotland and any other places we trek from the dogs eye view as well as my own. Its a diary for my own amusement and if you enjoy it, so be it.

 

 

 

Bumping my gums about Teahouse Transport….

Oops – my Mum’s bag was picked up over a week ago and it is………
well I don’t know where.
So please disregard the previous post.
In their defence it worked brilliantly on the way to Spain from Scotland but on the way back?
Well if you see a large blue case packed with jumpers a dog coat and birthday card drop me a line.

Lugging trunks on holiday are a thing of the past – hallelujah.

 

What you want to take.
s What you want to take.


So there I was gas and air getting my legs waxed just before Christmas chatting to the unfortunate girl faced with my hairy extremities. Trying to change the subject.
“So what are you doing at Christmas?”
Off to Poland
“God it will be cold there.”
Yes about -20 but I just take all my winter clothes with me.
“That must cost a fortune to put in the hold”
I don’t
“What do you do?”
I send it with a courier company.
“That must cost a fortune!”
No about £20.
*rip strip *

images-1My attention was diverted to my throbbing legs….yikes.

So I stored this information in my befuddled head until last week when my dear Mum was getting her knickers in a twist about travelling over to Spain. At 83 the thought of heaving and wrestling a large case full of clothes through airport security and then waiting hours at the wrong carousel for it to turn up at the other end of the arrivals lounge was becoming unassailable, then I remembered my waxing chat and decided to investigate the courier option.

Teahouse Transport were the ones my Polish friend used and so I got online put in the dimensions of Mums case, 30” x 20” x 15” and the approx weight 12kg and it came back as a princely £16 & VAT door to door.
Still incredulous that it would work I booked it online, they emailed a bar code within the hour for the case which was duly printed out and taped on.
When would you like it collected?
“Em tomorrow (Friday).” I asked pushing my luck.
OK between 1-5pm?
Well…. YES!
At 1.05pm the case was picked up from my very impressed Mother in North Berwick. Yes North Berwick! Not a big city, a post office or a designated shop – from my mums flat in East Lothian, East of Scotland.
They say it takes 3 working days. So here we are 3 days later in Spain. I have just received a call to say it will be here in an hour. I will unpack it and when Mum arrives tomorrow relaxed with her handbag and hopefully a bottle of gin for me,  her clothes will all be here waiting for her to start her holiday in a Zen like calm.
How do they do it?
I have no idea.
But they do.
And not being bent backwards over a trunk and shafted by the airlines for once is something I thought you might enjoy too!
£16 & VAT. Blimey.

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Teahouse Transport have a look!
Say goodbye to lugging trunks of clothing over the globe – they do it all for you, all you need to worry about are the laddered old trunks you have been trying to get your partner to ditch for 20 years. That may prove a lot harder. Good luck.

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Great British Painting Challenge.

Great.

Love it.

The judges are harsh but honest.

The presenter – Richard Bacon – has it really taken this long to forgive his early misdemeanour and invite him onto National TV?  Bright, intelligent and great to have back on our screens.  (I miss his Radio 5 live show so much I can’t listen to the station anymore)– but ….and this the point Una Stubbs?
She is a sassy, great looking woman so what on earth is going on? Unknown-1

She looks as if she has meandered from Call The Midwifes set? Tiny wee woman, swathed in hospital blue, large blouson long engulfing smock. Tiny tiny feet – can they really keep her upright those alleged real feet poking out from the hem of the voluminous tent?   Add to that, the cartoon round glasses and big owl like magnified eyes.

Gas and air.

With the top toeing and whispering going on I will need an epidural to watch the rest of the series…..

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Charlie Chorizo – sausage of love.

FtkyaAgRNTW_3bOnoSS5Z_0UQCIwifEn5T_Cl3ZPcgECharlie Chorizo has arrived. A sausage dog. The sausage dog. The ruler of our days. And nights.

Some may think it a little early after the demise of our dear old souls who were wafted off to doggy heaven just few weeks ago. But me without a dog is like Judith Chalmers without a passport, like Russell Brand without a lascivious look in his eye. Even as a child, a student, a scurrilous traveller I have never been without the companionship of a quadroped. In addition I have never had a pedigree chum. Ever. They have aye been scrappy wee unloved individuals from cat & dog homes, the side of the road, a drain, Battersea, Aberdeen, Edinburgh so at this stage in life as I intend to travel by car a lot all round the world I have employed the services of a wirehaired mini dachshund to be my faithful sidecar rider. I need a compact bijou pal and so I thought I will wait until next year before I take the plunge.

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Fate took over as that very day I met a hairy wee scruff called Snook in Aberdeen a stoating wee dog. The next question was where did he come from? The answer was the name of a breeder who I phoned several times and had no answer. Then last Sunday she picked up.

We talked.
“I have one 9 week old “ she said.

“I want a bitch” I replied. Birds of a feather and all that.

“Daxy boys aren’t like normal dogs “she said “they are very loyal and affectionate – more so than the girls.”
Sceptical I asked her to send me a photo.

She did.

On impact of course the heart began to beat a little faster.

A little chocolate drop. Tiny.

“Let’s will drive over and see him and have a chat.” I said to the long suffering husband.

“Of course if we go we will end up with him” he said rolling his eyeballs.

“Not necessarily” I said sounding as convincing as I could.

So we arrived into the home of 14 daxys. They were barking and jumping and squirming. “Quiet” the breeder shouted and they all stood silent watching us with their raisin like direct stares. “Lets hope they don’t turn on us” I whispered under my breath to the LSH who unlike me has not been in the company of the dog breeder madness that we were witnessing. The fact is if I wasn’t married I would like have at least 14 dogs and a few pigs but I chose not to impart that information at this particular moment.
“That’s the Dad” Elizabeth the breeder said pointing at this titian haired beezer. “He’s French”.

Now I am no dog show judge but he was a noble hairy faced wee man.

“That’s the Mum” she said showing me a hairy wee thing amongst the other yappers.

And there’s the pups she said pointing to the corner of the room where a small pen held two leaping pups.
One dog. One bitch. One heart lost. Mine.

CC Snuggle

I picked him up. He’s so tiny. And he’s not got any wire hair.

“His fixings are coming in” she said pointing out the small moustache that was growing under each eye. He was a wee bit shy unlike the girl who was running up the leg of my trousers and pushing him out of the way.

We talked about it and as Dave and I looked at each other we knew.

We would like to take him home.

And so…the new adventure begins with Charlie Chorizo Sausage Dog. He is so small if we cut the end of a sock he could wear it as a coat. That’s what I am going to do as he not over endowed with hair yet and clearly the Scottish winter is a hell of a time to arrive in the world. I will write about him again and display my new sock invention coat….but for now……he is sitting on my foot, demanding he is picked up for a cuddle. Hell someone’s got to it. Swoon.

Menopausal munching for Xmas

UnknownI have just consumed an entire Thomas The tank engine advent calendar I had bought for a friends son.

25 wee bits of shiny not very chocolatey chocolate – pop, gulp,  pop, gulp, pop, gulp , pop, gulp, pop x 25. All gone.
Well I need some comfort I have lost my voice.
A joy for my friends and family but a nightmare for me – the shouty one.

Some bright spark said go to bed and sleep until you feel better. I tried that but I can’t sleep.

I have been reliably informed that one of the side effects of the menopause – yes boys read the words and cringe – is ye cannae sleep.

If I can’t sleep. I must eat.

Lots.

Which I do and if I pause for too long

I become particularly grumpy.

Probably because my belly expands daily because I cant stop eating.

Because I’m not sleeping.

And lets face it  – comfort comes in the shape of chocolate, cheese , rum & coke. Not necessarily all in the same glass but hey ho never say never.

Hell maybe it’s just me.

The fact is I am a health freak in a dysfunctional middle aged womans body.

There.

Spleen vented I’m off for another Advent calendar.

Peppa Pig where are you?

 

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Heartbreak on 8 legs.

Desperate sadness surrounds this blog post and the person writing it.

My dear hairy friends, stalwart supporters, companions through thick and thin are no longer on this mortal coil.

Flora half haggis half womble and Sam nice but dim Labrador are gone.


P1080799Ever get the impression you're being watched?

The knowledge of adopting and loving and animal is one thing but the acceptance that to be their very best friend right to the end is the hardest thing a person has to do.

So as Floras eyes failed, her hearing went, her teeth became but a distant memory her joie de vivre ebbed away and was replaced by a look of uncertainty and fear.

Sam our delicious chunky lumpy Labradors wee back legs refused to do what she wanted them too. She slipped and fell, even a few stairs became an Everest like challenge and so she took to her bed with an expression on her face that still registered love but also one of deep unhappiness.

Their days of barking, wagging, running chasing a ball, chewing socks, jumping up to greet you, snuggling up on your feet under the table to snore had gone. But what a decision to have to make.

During the hard times they would rest their knowing heads on our knees and gaze into our eyes with a sense of empathy and peace that gave great comfort.

As part of the all encompassing lives we had together it was a decision with the help of our lovely vet Victor that was heartbreaking to make and yet the time had come.

THey had both reached the end of the road. One without the other would be Morcambe without Wise. French without Saunders. Little without Large. So fate decreed they were both at the same stage at the same time.

So Victor come round to the flat and they were cuddled and fed as they closed their eyes for the last time with no idea of what was happening.

So the house is empty. They are together forever.

Teenwolf at Unviersity.

Gulp.

So here we are ……………….what’s next?

IMG_0268 2011-08-14 16.11.35 P1080769 P1080171 P1080110 Flora phone P1070740 P1070220

 

Ebola. A question.

071014-MATT-web_3064092aI am not getting hysterical about EBOLA. Someone posted a brilliant statistic about the number of people who are killed by flu every year in comparison which put it all into perspective and as this article states brilliantly – it’s not all about us – at least it shouldn’t be. Brilliant article here.

BUT

Yup you knew there was going to be a BUT.

 

Watching the news this morning they said air passengers will be screened from Paris and Brussels coming through London as both these cities are hubs for West African travellers.

 

Edinburgh and Glasgow have numerous daily flights from here – so why aren’t we screening under exactly the same criteria?

 

Not hysterical.

 

 

PS Cartoon nicked from The Daily Telegraph’s genius MATT.