Monday, 30 November 2009

A-Z Monday~ Letter F

F is for Family and Friends.
I Fly oFF to England in just under Four days.
The day beFore Friday to be precise.
Yes on Thursday I fly to England for 3 weeks.
Leaving Mike and the 3 Hounds together here in Germany.
It's rather a long time.
But I did so want to see my Grandson in his first school Christmas production.
I couldn't miss that could I?
And coming back was determined by other circumstances
which I will tell you about on my return.
I hope to post some photographs whilst I'm away
and I'm planning some scheduled posts,
so I hope you continue to call in.
As I love to read your comments.
I have been a bit slow in replying to some of your comments of late and posting on my blog.
Mike has been commandeering the computer for business purposes,
and he's also caught the blogging bug.
I can't get him off now!

For more A-Z fun call in on Jen.

Monday, 23 November 2009

A-Z Monday~Greyhounds

G is for Greyhounds
How can I not write about Greyhounds when three share our home?

Known for being fast, they can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour, they are generally bred for racing. They are working dogs. They earn money for their owners, if they're good. If not then ... it is too dreadful to say what happens to some of them. Even for those that are succesful in their career, their life doesn't always fare much better.

We have 3 Greyhounds all of whom raced. Rufus won thousands of pounds for his owner yet he was kept in a dark shed on an allotment. He suffered an injury which brought his racing career to an end. He was taken to the rehoming kennels where they had to clean up his teeth. They were so matted with grass and gunge. One of the first things that we did when we adopted him was to take him to the vets to have his teeth cleaned and he had one out. This procedure was repeated when we were in Sweden. He most probably will loose more of his teeth, despite regular brushing. His brother arrived at the kennels a while ago. It seems he was also good at winning races. All his teeth have been extracted. He also has poor vision. He has what is called Panus. A condition that can be brought on by living in the dark. Yet what beautiful, friendly, trusting dogs they both are.

Mike and I feel very passionate about Greyhounds. The fact that they work hard for their owners yet often their welfare is disregarded.

Greyhounds were in the UK news a few years back. It was discovered that a large number of Greyhounds at the end of their career, or if they had an injury through racing, or because they were not up to scratch, were being taken to a farmer and being shot. This was happening in the North East of England. An area where Greyhound racing has a strong tradition. The owners of the kennels where we got our 3 were devasted to find that 4 greyhounds they said they would take in a few days, were taken to this farmer and shot because the owner couldn't wait that long. Lots of people in the UK were appalled at this treatment of otherwise healthy dogs. 10,000 greyhounds retire each year from racing either at the end of their career or through injury so the kennels are always full.

And yet it wasn't always so.

Once upon a time only people of nobility could keep greyhounds. And to kill a greyhound was punishable by death. Both Queen Victoria and King Henry VIII kept greyhounds.

Although bred for racing, greyhounds do not need a lot of exercise. They are sprinters, so run fast over a short distance. But they love their home comforts, and spend most of the day dozing. They are popularly known as 45 mile an hour couch potatoes.

Most greyhounds don't sit.

This is an unusual picture. Rufus occaisionally sits, but only for a short time, and never on a chair or a sofa! I don't think I have ever seen Jewel sit.

They make beautiful pets as they are friendly and faithful. But also their coat is short and odourless so they can be suitable for people who have an allergy to dogs.

They are also good travellers. They have probably spent a lot of time in a vehicle over the years being ferried to the racetrack. They generally retire from racing at about 4 years of age, unless they are injured.

I haven't shown any of our 3 running, something that they love to do, because those photos are on the other computer and are inaccessible at present. But you can see some from when we were in Sweden here. We don't let them off here as we don't have a safe enclosure to do so.
They make lovely pets. They are generally adaptable, loyal and intelligent. Even though all they have known are racetracks and kennels, they fit into home life very well. They may not have seen a hoover or stairs before, but they quickly learn, and are responsive to what you ask of them only too willing to please.

For more information about greyhounds, take a look here, here and
For more A-Z fun take a look here.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Christmas is Coming

Well we did get to the Christmas Market
and what a treat it was.
I took lots of photos
just for a change!
We arrived when it was still light and after stopping to buy a glass of Gluwein
we made our way to the main market square.
We took the Gluwein with us as you pay a deposit on the glasses and can return them to any of the stalls selling the Gluwein.
The first thing we heard was a band playing Christmas Carols.
Then I looked around the square.

We saw them working on this house on Thursday.
I thought perhaps they were putting up lights
and changing the window boxes.
I never imagined the decorations would be so creative.

This Hansel and Gretel House below
is just off the market square.

Can you see the witch outside the house
and Gretel at an upstairs window?

Mike took the photo above standing next to the Hansel and Gretel House.
Doesn't the square look pretty?
The band stopped playing.
The square was full of people and there was an air of anticipation.
So we hung around.
Then the trumpeteers sounded.
A speech or two were said.
And a choir of young children sang.
One of the carols was in English!

In the photo above you can see the trumpeteers in the upstairs window.
They were dressed in Medieval costume.
We moved around to soak up the atmoshere and take in the different views.
I found myself next to a cake stall
and couldn't resist,
so I bought myself an Apfulstrudel Beliner.
Beliners are like a doughnut.
Mine was flavoured with apple.

We then wandered up out of the square where we came across a horse and carriage.

What lovely horses they were.
Waiting so patiently
and looking so fine.
Can you see Saint Nicholas in the carriage?

The carriage then made it's way to the square that we had just left.
Led by the small band below.

Mike waited patiently as I tried to get some decent shots.

I just had to try and get another shot
not easy with people milling around
but the horses were gorgeous.

We passed a number of cosy looking bars
and cafes.
I am peering through a restaurant window
to get the photo below.

And I had to take a photo of people in Santa hats sitting outside this cafe.
It has come out more hazy than I intended
but I still like it.

Can you tell what the blurry shot is below?

Can you see it now?

A chicken
sitting above the nativity.

We eventually made our way back through the town passing some different stalls in another part of town.
It wouldn't be complete without seeing some of these confectionaries.
I must find out what they are called.

I'm not sure why there is a toy dog poking his head out of a suit of armour......

The suit of armour was stood in the street near to this antique shop.
When we passed the shop the other day it was empty
but although you can't see from the window,
it is heaving with people inside.

And so down to the river where we had parked the car.

Where I couldn't resist taking a few more photos.

Can you see the castle in the background?
It looks as though it's floating in mid air doesn't it?

Such a lovely visit.
It makes Christmas even more special when it is as pretty as this.

Friday, 20 November 2009


The mornings here are starting very misty.
And damp.
But not as wet as it is in Cumbria today.
Cumbria is in the north west of England and is the county that borders onto Scotland.
And yesterday it rained for 24 hours solid
flooding some of the towns.
We have been watching the news for the latest updates,
and my sister has been keeping me informed via email.
Their village has had a flood warning
but I think she is far enough away from the river to escape any flooding.
But I do know that she had to make a detour in order to get home from work.

So I hope that the water continues to subside in the flooded towns.

Below is a photo of the village church.
You can just see the river to the left of the spire.
This is a walk that Mike and I have been doing more regularly this week.
It is nice to look down on the valley.
And see the changing colours.

In contrast,
Mike and I took a trip into our local town.
It was a lovely afternoon.

There are many old buildings in the town.
There was a line on one of the buildings showing how high the floods had been in earlier years.
One of them was unbelievably high, way over our heads.
It was difficult to imagine.

The Christmas Market starts this weekend
and we could see the townspeople busy getting ready for it.

Part of the decorations.

A pretty shop window.

A decorated doorway.

A bright shop sign.
It seems to shine more in the fading light.
We plan to visit the Christmas Market over the weekend
just as the light is fading
as I'm sure there will be lots of twinkling lights.
Another photo opportunity!

Monday, 16 November 2009

A-Z Monday, Hexagons

H is for Hexagons.
I have a thing for hexagons.
I wrote about my grandmothers flower garden quilt last year.
And joined the Great Hexagon Quilt-Along to prompt me to get going with it again.
But I ended up making some smaller hexagons and stitching them together in order to make a cushion cover (or two).
But I haven't finished them either!
For more A-Z fun visit Jen.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Misty Mornings

I took this photo of our village in the mist earlier in the week whilst walking the Hounds.
It's been a damp week, not necessarily raining , but muddy underfoot.
And on this particular day, Thursday it started off very misty.
After walking the Hounds all week along the river, I fancied a change so drove them up through the vineyards so that we were overloooking the village.
The Hounds always appreciate a different location,
with different smells.

I found a couple of new places to walk.
One of which took us past an enclosure containing deer.
The Hounds could smell them but they behaved.
The deer were at the furthest side of the field where they couldn't quite see them.
On another walk the Hounds became very alert, sniffing the air and pulling at their leads.
I found it quite spooky because I couldn't sense anything there but knew they must have smelt deer. So I was on my guard as I know what a handful the Hounds can be when they see something they can chase.
As we came to the top of the hill we saw a deer.
It was so surprised at our appearance it just stood staring at us.
The Hounds stared back not really believing what they were seeing.
Until it decided to run away.
We were in an open area so the deer was visible for a while before disappearing into the wood.
Jewel leapt about barking trying to run after it.
The two lads just watched the deer with interest.

Mike arrived back home from the UK later in the day .
The Hounds as you might imagine were very pleased to see him.
On Saturday morning the sun was out so we drove across the river.

The walk climbs up the other side of the valley.
We were able to look down on a small formal garden.

A bit further on Mike decided to take a photo.

You can see from the next photo the path climbs up a bit.

So much so,
that it tired Rufus out!