Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Do not disturb!

Day two of the holidays ... and we're not exactly off to an energetic start!
Of course, we don't need to be!  It is perfectly fine to take things slowly, steadily, lazily even.  Just "chill" and relax.
Maybe that's the summer motto!
As always there are photographs to take ... a dull morning here in Belfast but some stunningly beautiful flowers in the garden.
The fuchsia is called "El Camino" ... I bought it for the name.
 The blue viola is the backdrop to a pot of white flowers ... a gorgeous shade of blue/violet.
 So ... better get moving soon I suppose ... the dog's had his breakfast and now in the land of nod again ... perhaps I could join him for forty winks?

Monday, 13 July 2015

"The Twelfth"

Although it is the 13th!
It is just that, in Northern Ireland, the 12th July must be on a weekday ... so if the date falls on a Sunday then we simply call the following day "The Twelfth".  Simple really.
Dougal must be aware that holidays have begun because I was the first to rise today.  It was only six o'clock but that's the normal time and it will maybe take a day or two for my body clock to adjust to a few more minutes in bed!
When we saw the weather there was no enthusiasm from either of us to venture out ... the sodden washing can remain on the line (perhaps the sun will come out later?) ... and the walking can wait an hour or two or more!
Umbrellas are the order of the day.
 This rainbow one that I was given last year is a cheerful splash of colour on a very dull day.  The hanging basket adds its own highlights of pinks and purples as well.
 Today's pictures should all have a corner of umbrella as a reminder of a very wet morning.
So ... I'll just put on my holiday socks and read a book!
Wouldn't they just make you smile?
Dougal is in his normal place beside the aquarium ... tucked up and fast asleep ...

Saturday, 11 July 2015

More random bits ...

 Dougal has become accustomed to the daily photoshoot and generally poses when asked!
 The slightest noise will attract his attention until he's sure that all is okay.
 The aquarium continues to provide relaxation ...
 ... sometimes it is hard to spot the loach ... there are two of them but both appear to be shy creatures and prefer to live under the shells or behind the pots.  Just occasionally you can get a quick shot of one or other on the glass.
Whatever was going on in the tank recently the fish have managed to topple the obelisk!  
 Dougal remains the primary subject of photography with the garden coming in a close second.
 The reflections in the porch mirror caught my eye during a sudden blink of sunshine ...
 ... the hanging basket won in a raffle is now reaching the peak of its beauty.  Indeed there's a great deal of growth all round the garden.
 Trimming the willow bower has been left too late ... I did try to do a bit of pruning but the steps are just not quite tall enough.  I guess this will be a job for the gardener after the holidays.  It is a lovely cool and private place to sit or eat when (if) we have warm weather.


Still catching up ....

 This, being summer, means there have been a few days of rain ... the bamboo plant is always good for a picture or two; the multicoloured umbrella giving a good background to the dog.

 His new chew is an antler ... it was my hair stylist who suggested this as his dog loves it ... so does Dougal!

And the soft toys are a real hit ... the duck is now "dead" having had its insides and squeak removed within a couple of days.  The fox still has his irritating noise but since this photograph is minus an arm!  Dougal appears to enjoy the play and will fetch over and over until I get tired throwing the increasingly soggy toy. 
On a recent day off we took ourselves to Waterford to spend a day with a colleague, former student of Saint Nicholas'.  Apart from a short comfort break at Castlebellingham on the way south, and Lusk on the return journey, Dougal alternated between sleeping and watching the traffic.  He is a delight to travel with and just sits or lies quietly. 
 It wasn't long until he took over the Piltown Rectory, claiming all within the boundary as his right!   An unfortunate white cat discovered this as Dougal soon had her climbing the trees!
 If he could have done the same it looks as if he would!
 The barking was fierce ... and set off many of the dogs in the surrounding village!  You could (almost) feel sorry for the cat!
 Meanwhile there's a very large turkey tail fungus in the garden ... by the time I discovered it the light wasn't great for photographs.  Next visit I'll try again.
 Its official name is Trametes versicolor.
 What an unusual fungus!
So that was Dougal's first visit to Waterford ... hopefully we'll return to explore the wonderful beaches on the south coast.

Some time later ...

and I'm back here ... random thoughts over the past few weeks ... it is hard to keep up with all that happens ... the Tall Ships have come and gone ... summer has come and gone and returned and gone again ... and suddenly the holidays are upon us!
There are the regular walks in one or other of the parks ... and Dougal is hidden by the long grass ... the white tip on his tail being the only way to spot him!
The Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon park always provides interesting objects ... the Japanese garden is a particular favourite although it needs a lot of attention.









The Tall Ships ... what a spectacle and the entire event was free ... transport to the docks and internally around from basin to basin ... entrance was free ... stewards were helpful and knowledgeable ... the whole thing was simply delightful and enjoyable.
I was the very first person on the big wheel on the day the festival opened!  There are hundreds of photographs ... so the above few are just a sample of my impressions of the event.

Monday, 22 June 2015

This has been a day (and a half) ....

At least, it feels like a day and a half!  Managed to cram in a lot of visits ... hospitals and care home ... and the joy of the residential facility is that the location is Portstewart!
So, after lunch the dog and I set off.  I'd been told he didn't travel well in cars ... I'm not sure what that means as Dougal didn't stir from Belfast to Portstewart Strand!
There he had an absolute ball!
Let me bore you with pictures!
 We started with the lead ...
 And then I took courage and let him run free ... and he never travelled more than a hundred yards from my side!





 Sitting in the water and letting the spray blow over his face seemed to be the favourite moment.

 As soon as he was called ... Dougal came running.  That was a huge relief.  At one point he got to play with a long haired retriever ... what energy!


So ... the visit was done and the dog was exercised ... again ... he didn't move on the return journey ... I'd say he loves to travel by car!
A happy dog and now rather exhausted!  I suspect we'll give the bedtime walk a miss this evening.