Sunday, April 29, 2012

A nation of dog owners

check the eyebrows on that owl in the back!

yes, this bird is wearing a helmet

If our time in the English Home Counties is an accurate reflection of the Engish in general, then they really chock-full of dog-owners.

In our first week in Blighty we stayed with the boy's lovely big sister, her husband and their cheeky 3 year old daughter. They took us out every day. On our first day after arriving at their historic Buckinghamshire home, they took us to a local country fair.

Having watched a number of episodes of Return to River Cottage on the telly, I was fully expecting to see home baking competitions, tables laden with unusually oversized vegetables, and pet farm animals. What I did see was a large number of hunting birds (pictured above - no idea what they are called, except the owl with the enormous eyebrows is called an eagle owl) and ferrets, pony and trap races, and assorted huntin' n' fishin' wares.

And dogs. There were dogs everywhere - all beautifully turned out as though headed for a show. But there wasn't one. They were just well-looked after and on an outing with their owners. We spotted one lady with a ferret on a leash, but mostly it was dogs. (But alas, I have no photo of any of the dogs!)

The boy's dad has a jack russell called Tia, and she was a super-energetic pup who is apparently prone to weeing herself when she gets a bit excited. The boy's brother also has a dog, a big'un called Daisy who liked me better than TLM for some reason (maybe because I'm a bit allergic to her).

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Half way 'round the world (and back again) in 18 days

We just returned from our holiday in the UK. Actually, we've been back since Monday afternoon - but I've been too jet lagged to blog about it.

Now that my body is back to relative normality (i.e. waking up at 4am and then falling asleep just before the alarm goes off at 7.15am) I can say - hi! It's great to be home again!

I'll follow up in later posts with photos and more details, but it was great and worth being in the air for about 26 hours (plus about 5 hours in transit in total) each way.

I did miss our bed (which is probably not surprising as the boy and I are no longer young), and some things were just outrageously expensive (15 quid for 2 burgers, 2 fries and 2 drinks at a Burger King off the motorway!!). But I guess the biggest downside was that we didn't have enough time there. We didn't get to visit White Horse Hill, for example, even though it was not far from from where we were staying near Aylesbury.

However - the boy's family were wonderful, TLM loved meeting her cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.

I also got to experience a part of the UK quite unlike that which most Kiwis get to know (i.e. London and surrounds), a place which I think I'd enjoy living in (if we could afford to live there).

And - last but not least - I was able to buy trousers that actually fit me.