A disappointing day at the sanctuary

Yesterday I went to the festive open day at Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary; I would normally take my friends Lin and Dee but Lin was full of a cold so didn’t want to go out and Dee was working so I went on my own – and to be honest I don’t know why I bothered as the afternoon turned out to be quite a disappointment in more ways than one.
In previous years the whole place has had a real Christmassy feel to it – coloured lights decorating the buildings, Santa’s grotto, some of the staff dressed as elves, a stall selling mulled wine and mince pies, a reindeer parade with proper reindeer, and lots of other festive things – but this time it’s been completely changed. Next Sunday will be a special Santa’s Workshop day aimed more at kids, with the reindeer and other festive attractions then, so yesterday was more like a normal open day – in fact if it hadn’t been for the Christmas songs being played through the sound system I wouldn’t have known that yesterday had anything to do with Christmas.
Of course the recent bout of bad weather hasn’t helped – it’s rained on and off here every day for a week, periods of sunshine have been few and far between and on Saturday the surrounding hills and moors got a covering of snow. It was raining again yesterday though it had cleared up by late morning and the sun came out, but obviously not soon enough for the sanctuary. Most of the stalls and attractions which would normally have been outside were completely non existent, and with nowhere near as many visitors as there would usually be the whole place seemed to have rather a flat atmosphere about it – even the donkeys looked miserable.
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Scout Moor above Bleakholt
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This little one didn’t have a kennel name
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Twinkle in the kitten section
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Part of the ‘oldies’ room
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An ‘oldies’ resident
Once I’d looked round the stalls in the barn I did my usual rounds of the kennels and the cattery where I spent some time with the oldies, then with nothing much else to see I made my way back to the van and came home. It’s a shame that the current weather had literally put a dampener on the day so I hope next weekend’s event is more successful – and I hope too that next year they revert to having the sort of festive open day they’ve always had as even disregarding the weather this one was really disappointing.

It could be true what they say….

That men are from Mars.
Yesterday afternoon Michael was going to our local Asda store ten minutes walk away so I asked him if he would get me a Kingsmill Thick Wholemeal loaf  – a simple enough task, and it would save me calling in there on my way home from work just for one item. I went out before he came home but when I got back from work I found that he had indeed got me a thick sliced Kingsmill loaf but it was white – and I don’t have white bread unless there’s absolutely no alternative. He said he thought at the time it was strange that I should ask for white so obviously he’d misheard me but never thought to question it, though I don’t think the word ‘wholemeal’ sounds anything like the word ‘white’. I actually used a couple of slices of it for toast this morning but it’s just not the same.
Today he had to go to an HR meeting at work and on his way home he called back in Asda to get me the thick wholemeal loaf I really wanted, although I hadn’t asked him to – well he came back with a Kingsmill loaf and yes, it’s wholemeal, but this time it’s only a medium! I haven’t said anything to him as I don’t want him to think I’m ungrateful but I’m now wondering – if I sent him out again would it be third time lucky and would he finally come back with the right combination?? He’s a wonderful son but sometimes I really do wonder which planet he’s on!


Progress of sorts, and a trip to Ireland

Just a couple of days after Michael’s last hospital appointment two weeks ago he got a phone call giving him a date for the CT scan on his ankle – the 22nd of this month. He went back to Ireland that evening while I kept an eye on the post for him and over the next few days he got three letters – for a physio appointment yesterday, an MRI scan on the 17th, and a confirmation of the CT scan on the 22nd. So it seems that things are finally moving along and he arrived back from Ireland on Monday, however the physio appointment yesterday turned out to be a bit confusing.
The physiotherapist that Michael saw (a different one to last time) seemed to be quite puzzled as to why he was there and asked who had sent him. Michael showed him all three letters and the guy said that really there was no need for him to be there as the physio would only start once he’d had the CT scan and a decision had been made about an operation. However he did examine the ankle and had Michael doing various contortions with it, then made him another appointment for the 20th of this month – which totally contradicts what he’d said only a few minutes before. So Michael is effectively ‘grounded’ now until he’s had the CT scan, however once that’s out of the way and he knows whether or not he’ll need an operation he’ll be going back to Ireland – and I’ll be following him at the end of this month.
When he arrived home on Monday evening it was with the news that on December 2nd there will be a special evening mass in remembrance of his dad and uncle Jimmy as it will be twelve months since they both passed away. Of course I would like to be there so on Tuesday I looked online for flights and got some really good prices, which I didn’t expect, so once I’d arranged a few days off work and asked my friend Lin if she will look after the pets for me I made the booking. I’ll be flying over at noon on Thursday the 30th of this month and coming back in the evening of the following Monday – I don’t normally take time off work during the winter months as I’d rather save the days for better weather, but this is rather a special occasion, and to be honest I’m really looking forward to going back home to Roscrea even if it is only for a few days.

A canal walk and a few photos

After fine but heavy rain which lasted through most of yesterday afternoon and last night today turned out to be gloriously sunny, and with just a light breeze it was perfect for a dog walk. As I had to call at a store which was south of the town centre I decided to stay in that direction and go along a section of the Manchester, Bolton & Bury canal which I’ve been along several times before. My walk started in Moses Gate country park and after doing a circuit of the wildlife lake I made my way via a short bit of road and a footpath to the upper part of the canal.
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The canalside path was extremely muddy in many places so I was glad I’d changed into my wellies before I left the van; there were a couple of spots where I had to be careful I didn’t slip and fall into the water but other than that it was a really pleasant walk. About halfway along I came across a pony grazing quietly in a rather waterlogged field, then a bit further on I was greeted by a family of three swans who glided along to say hello; they weren’t impressed by the dogs though and one of them hissed at Sophie. It was this section of the canal where the recent incidents concerning the other two swans had taken place, and other than a few ducks it seems that these three are now the only residents – I just hope that they are left alone to live their lives in peace and tranquility.
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Eventually I came to where the canal had been blocked off to make way for a wide bridle path and though I could have gone further I didn’t want to run out of sunshine so I made that my turn round point and headed back the other way, then with one more photo taken I left the canal itself and took a path down through the nearby woods which eventually took me back to the country park.
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By the time I got back to the van our rather muddy walk had taken its toll on both me and the dogs – their legs and undersides were completely black and soggy and my trousers, which I hadn’t  thought to tuck into my wellies, were wet round the bottom and splashed with mud right up to my knees. It had been a very enjoyable walk though, and both the dogs and the trousers could easily be cleaned up when we got home.