Monday, 15 October 2012

Been A While

Regular readers (don't laugh!) will be aware that the Three Bears and I have been somewhat absent of late. Apologies. I have neglected the blog world over the 'summer' (it's been a bit wet). I must be honest, I have dillied and dallied about whether to continue this blog. Life has been busy, my thoughts have been elsewhere and time has been short. Ultimately, I enjoy reading other people's blogs - why do everyone else's antics always sound so much more exciting than my own?? However, I have decided to step back up to the plate and have another swing! (Almost sounds like I know something about sport there doesn't it?!)

Over the last couple of months changes have taken place here at Bear Central. The tiniest bear is making giant...well, steps really, mastering the art of walking! She is still much more confident with a steady prop but after weeks when I thought she may still be traversing the world sideways and around furniture forever, she finally made the leap. Or step. She now roams freely around the house...with a cheeky grin as she tries to evade capture!
Ted supervising deck construction
There was a grand family party to celebrate her 1st successful year among us. Her main present from Me and Daddy was a lovely deck in our garden, to give her somewhere safe and clean to explore outside without too much bothering from the other bears.

Bear on deck!
Monty and Ted Bear have enjoyed a busy summer....mostly behaving themselves. They have coped very well with the increasingly mobile baby in the house. She takes their stuff, she sits in their beds and she loves to try and stroke them (we have had extensive lessons on how to stroke gently rather than just whacking!). Mostly they look on all this with resigned disinterest but occasionally they seem to enjoy her company.

Creepy Crawly Birthday Cakes - hand decorated by the guests!!
Anyway, I have spent the last week catching up on all the other blogs I enjoy so much. In my next post, I will  ( I promise) do something about the Liebster award so some of you may be on the receiving end! It's nice to be back.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Holidays!

I have been missing in action for the last couple of weeks because we have been on holiday! Hopefully you will forgive me. I must say it was a much needed break away as the daily grind had become a bit too grinding in the last few weeks, I guess it becomes even more noticeable when you are counting down to something exciting.

So, we set off on the 18th and headed to Shrewsbury to stay overnight at Grandma and Granda's house before completing our journey into North Wales to Snowdonia. In total about five and a half hours drive and we took the beautiful scenic route through the mountains rather than plodding up the motorway. I won't bore you with 'what we did on our holiday' in minute detail but have just sorted through some photos so will allow you to judge for yourselves. Incidentally, there are no photos of Ted Bear as we decided to send him off for a special holiday at other Grandma's (or The Spa as he likes to think of it!) since he really does not cope well being around other dogs and we were staying in a group of cottages where there were many (17 at a quick head count!). He is now back in the fold and seems to have had a great time so no hard feelings.


So this is how you play fetch!


Does my hat look big like this?!

Good spot to cool off!



Look, mum, I found a seaweed swamp!


The view from our cottage!

Llyn Cwellyn




Bardsey Island seen through the mist from Llyn Peninsula

Well done if you made it through all the photos! Next time, I will post a couple of videos too. That's all for now, while I go and see what the all the bloggers I follow have been up to while we were away. Next time I will also do something about the Liebster Award that Fizz has kindly given me and I will thank her properly!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Drought or Flood?

Wet, wet, wet...that's my overriding impression of the drought so far! Just a few sunny days scattered between hours and hours of rain. It's certainly the first drought in my memory where wellies and waterproofs have been so necessary!

A brand new water feature in the fields!

Wish I'd worn my waders!

High tide at the local pond.
We have managed a few lovely family walks with all the bears but the majority have been conducted with shoulders hunched and wellies sloshing through squelchy fields. At some points, even the dogs have looked pleased to be back at the car, ready to head home. I guess we're all creatures of comfort at heart.

Aside from walking and getting through the day to day, we have all survived another bout of lurg. The small person in particular had a lot to put up with as she developed a full coating of spots! Not very pleasant but they only lasted a few days and the doctor assured us it was just a virus. Obviously a very clever virus since her cousin once removed (or second cousin??!) up in Yorkshire had the same thing!

Despite all this, however, the smallest member of the household has finally worked out how to crawl and how to stand up holding on to whatever is handy so now nothing in the house is safe! She's very pleased with herself though!


Monday, 30 April 2012

Splish Splash

It's been lovely weather for ducks....and dogs this week. Rain on and off all week and then  torrential downpours over the weekend has not put Monty and Ted off their exploration of the great outdoors. Ted is happy to be out whatever the weather, Monty is a little more reserved and prefers only to get wet if it's for a proper walk - he will hold on and hold on for hours without answering the call of nature if it's raining. He must have a very strong bladder!

On the understanding that we were going out for a 'proper walk', he agreed to venture outdoors at the weekend and then chose to get as wet as possible. Why walk on the dry bit when there's a nice puddle to wade in?

video

Afterwards, the call of the sofa was too great to resist....after a thorough towelling off by yours truly thankfully!


Hopefully he will enjoy our holiday in a couple of weeks time - he'll be able to paddle in the sea! He has explained his objections to actually swimming many times (it makes his fur all frizzy and he gets cold), but he does like to just get his feet wet! Can't wait:)

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Special Branch

Ted has a rather woolly coat, presumably a result of his mixed heritage (Springer Spaniel and Corgi). As a result, on our walks he is often to be seen sporting various bits of 'camo'; plants, twigs and brambles which we jokingly refer to as his 'special branch'. As it is spring and the undergrowth is becoming increasingly dense he has been decorating himself with all sorts recently. Here he is sporting an attractive tiara of 'cleavers' or 'sticky plant'. Apparently one of the other common names for it is 'sticky willie' but I won't dwell on that thought!


Hopefully, over the next week or so the problem will decrease as the time approaches for the 'Annual Spring Clip'. This year, my aim is to get him all clipped and tidy in one day so that he doesn't have to face the world with one half shaggier than the other like last year! Poor lad.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Stile Council

No, I haven't spelt it wrong and no, this post is not a tribute to eighties pop. In light of recent reports on the plans of Dartmoor National Park Authority to remove all stiles from Dartmoor in order to ease the access of 'the elderly' and 'larger people', I have been thinking about countryside access.


Most of my forays into England's (and Wales' and Scotalnd's come to think of it) green parts involve stiles. The fields we visit most often are actually used for cattle through the spring and summer months and the public footpath routes are scattered with all sorts of stiles and gates. I don't really mind them, despite being no sort of athlete myself, I manage to get up and over with only slight loss of dignity and since it's usually only cows and dogs watching I don't see the harm. My only real grumble comes when there is no way for a dog to squeeze underneath - Monty is too big to lift at around 40kg and he refuses to clamber or jump unless there is guaranteed bunny on the other side! Ted isn't a problem since he sees any boundary as merely an interesting challenge to be tackled; over, under or through, he will find a way.

Since the advent of the small person in our lives, walking has had an added challenge as I've said before. We quickly realised how limiting a push chair could be and so moved on to a baby carrier - first a front mounted BabyBjorn and now a Bushbaby backpack. These make the outdoors much more accessible, even when stiles cross our path. A lot of extra caution is needed to climb over a stile with a baby on your back and you have to be very aware of overhanging trees and brambles (in fact He recently went out round our favourite route with a pair of secateurs and cleared the way!) but it is manageable, especially with two adults, one acting as a 'spotter'.

This long grass will soon be feeding the cows
For 'the elderly' and less able bodied people I am sure stiles are a real problem and a barrier to their enjoyment of the great outdoors. On a group dog walk in the Forest of Dean a few years ago we were accompanied by a lady in a wheelchair who had been assured by the organiser that the route was all gravel paths. What the organiser had forgotten was the part of the route where we had to cut across a ditch and then a stream! However, since we were a large group with three or four strong blokes (Him included) we managed and it was in fact a lot of fun for all involved! Stiles certainly do avoid having lots of gates for thoughtless people to leave open, causing hassle and angst to farmers and danger to livestock. I guess the debate will continue.

video

I do know that I love being out in the countryside and would hate to be barred from it completely. For everyone's safety, we avoid close contact with farm animals - when they move in to 'our' fields for the summer, we move out to pastures new. The main reason being that Monty is scared stiff of cows, not too sure about sheep and terrified of horses while Ted sees all other creatures as potential food and/or a challenge to his personal dominion, regardless of size. He once got into a barking/mooing stand off with a cow through a fence! As a result, the fields above will soon be off limits to us until October when the cows go to their new homes...probably in someone's freezer! So, I guess it depends which side of the stile you are on and what role the countryside plays in your own everyday life. I quite like the countryside the way it is, stiles and all. I hope to eventually have my own bit of it and may have to deal with the general public walking across it. And one day, I will be elderly and I hope to still be enjoying those green fields and parks with the Montys and Teds of the future.


Friday, 13 April 2012

Olympigs

It's been all go on the birthday front this week; Monty on Wednesday and then me! Rather worryingly, a few days ago I was thinking about my birthday and suddenly realised I was a year older than I thought! It seems I have reached the age when you can't remember how old you are without doing sums! Lets hope it's just my baby brain and will wear off.


I was very spoiled for my birthday (note: I am carefully not mentioning age!). A lovely day out visiting one of my best friends, a nice lunch, flowers, a bottle of something nice and chocolates....Then a nice day visiting my parents.....then a lovely evening with Him and the bears, more presents and lovely food. I may have mentioned before that my birthday has recently become known as 'Day of Pudding'. This is because a couple of years ago He asked what special meal I would like, after some thought I explained that I was really not too bothered about the main course but would like a really sinful pudding (as ever!). His response was to prepare not one but three puddings and no main at all - bliss! Anyway, this year was a little more restrained since we have just spent a weekend of indulgent mealtimes with His parents but we did manage a late afternoon cream tea, a lovely salmon main course and then a slice of delicious chocolate birthday cake. Lucky me.

Talking about last weekend, I must say it was great. Bears were all well behaved and in good form. Grandparents were charmed and impressed in equal measure - watching the small person practice her almost crawling, admiring her fine motor skills, and donating small bits of their meals to her ever increasing appetite for new foods.

Pork Belly simmering with LOTS of garlic and chilli.
We took the opportunity of a captive audience to experiment with some new food too. He was given Thomasina Miers 'Mexican Food Made Simple' for Christmas and this was a chance to try out some of the excellent recipes. We were not disappointed and Mexican food has retained its place as one of our favourites. On Saturday night we went all out with the following menu...

Classic Margaritas, Nachos and Salsa

Tamarind & Chilli infused Belly of Pork
Hot Chorizo Salad with Butternut Squash and Baby Tomatos
Red and Green Rice

Layered Passion Fruit, Blackberry and Blueberry Jellies with Creme de Cassis

Some of the dishes were a little bit time consuming - the pork had to be boiled a day ahead and left to dry out before roasting and the layered jellies had to have time for each layer to set but it was so worth it. The meat was tender and full of spicy flavour, the salad was a very good accompaniment and the jellies were a great light finish. The Creme de Cassis was our own addition but worked really well with the blackberry and blueberry jelly making the dessert much more grown up. My only regret is that I forgot to take pictures of the finished meal.

Olympig about to compete in the high jump!
We also celebrated our joining of Pig Club with a very silly game of Olympigs...silly partly because it involves pigs doing Olympic events and partly  because we had opened the liquers by then! Each of our plastic pigs competed in the 'Pig Put', High Jump and Long Jump whilst trying to escape the efforts of other Olympig competitors to sabbotage their performance. Completely bonkers but fun.


See you next time....