A Day out at Dunham Massey | Days Out

A Day out at Dunham Massey | Days Out

Years ago, I started a blog to show people where they could walk their dogs, high five to those who remember Haydock Dog Blog. 😂 Since then, I have blogged about various things, but I do still very much love a day out for a walk.

Today, M and I have had a day’s annual leave, which is usual for us at this time of year. Usually we would do this at the end of the month and go somewhere Christmassy to get us ready. Of course, right now, the UK in lockdown and so the only options open to us are places to go for a walk.

So we decided to make use of our barely used National Trust membership by going to Dunham Massey. (As National Trust Members, we got free entry, but if you aren’t members it’s £8 each.) The first new thing, was that due to Covid, we couldn’t just rock up and we had to book. This was done via the NT website and was relatively easy. We booked at slot to enter at 11:30 and turned up with 5 minutes spare. The car park was a bit busier than I would have thought, but not mad, which was a relief.

There were some changes as the shop and reception wasn’t open, but the loos and cafe were open, if only for takeaways. There was also a one-way system for entry and exit to the park itself and whilst most people were observing social distancing, the path is narrow and I would worry more about this if it were busier. As you would expect, face coverings are mandatory in the indoor areas, but once out into the park, then it‘s pretty much business as usual. M and I are very respectful when walking and we always try to move as far away from people as possible and today’s walk was exceptionally good as there were LOADS of deer out in the park! It felt like such a rare sight to see them just chilling out in the part whilst the humans calmly walk past them.. I wonder what they make of us?

We walked for about a hour round the park and it was glorious. There is something about being outside, the leaves, the fresh air and basically just spending some quality time outside the house and without a screen.

We finished our trip with a traditional car picnic, which is exactly what you would expect.i.e. Home-made sandwiches eaten in the car after washed hands and ton of hand sanitiser! #2020. 🤩

In case you were thinking of visiting, Dunham is here:

Proving that even during a panedemic lockdown, it’s still possible to have a great day out!

G x

P.s. before anyone decides they want to shout at me. We remained socially distant at ALL times and wore our masks in all the right places, including as we spoke to the person in the outdoor entry booth; we are very strict about stuff like that. This couple of hours out in a country park could have literally been prescribed for me on the NHS. Did my mental health the world of good.

US Election thoughts |Dear Diary

US Election thoughts |Dear Diary

2020 has been a lot hasn’t it. The first time in history when the entire global population has been through the same thing. But as I write today I am distracted by the election in the USA. Why? Mainly because I f*cking hate Donald Trump. Of course I live in the UK and it’s not my country’s politics, but his actions have global repercussions, and despite my efforts to avoid it, it turns out he has made himself ubiquitous.

He is just the worst kind of human being and the worst leader I have seen in modern times. He has no empathy, he is disrespectful to women, the LGBTQ++ community. He refused to denounce white supremacy or support the BLM movement. He has actively removed health care from milllions of people without a back up plan and whilst I believe he has made some positive economic moves, this shouldn’t be the only thing that he has done right after 4 years.

My dislike of him isn’t political, I just don’t like him. He is arrogant, a bully and even now as the votes are being counted, he is complaining in speeches that he has been cheated and there is fraudulent activity. All without ANY evidence. What a baby.

I rarely am so vitriolic publicly, whilst I rage at his antics privately, I have been called many a name for expressing even the slightest opinion, and I couldn’t be bothered by it all. But today, watching the results, I feel like I will feel better for writing this post now it looks like we will be finally rid of him.

He’s terrorised us all with his constant bile for 4+ years, let’s hope that by the end of the weekend, as if by magic, he’ll be done.

No dog, what now? |Life update

No dog, what now? |Life update

It’s human nature to look towards the future and ask what to expect or what might come next… essentially what now?

It’s almost 3 weeks since we lost our Daisy dog and life is returning to normal, albeit not as we know it. As I write this we are about to go back into local lockdown due to a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in my town and borough. I think that this was sort of inevitable as cases started to rise slowly once the pubs opened and dramatically once the schools did. *sighs*

One big thing that has massively improved is how much sleep we are able to have. We typically had about 6-7 hours whilst we had Daisy and she was well, but when she was unwell this was reduced to 5 hours on average. So last night, in particular, I slept from around 10:45 till 8:15ish. Bliss.

But we miss her, we still really miss her. Yesterday we had a facetime call with M’s parents and my heart sunk when I remembered the last time we had done this and us having to get up at least 3 times during the hour long chat to let her out whereas now… well…. she just wasn’t here.

But one of the ways I am dealing with losing Daisy is to just be looking at other people’s dogs and being a bit jealous. Someone I used to work with has just adopted a Border Terrier called Vinnie and he’s sooo ADORABLE, I’m obsessed:

I’ve gone down several rabbit holes at night looking at Italian Greyhounds, dog training videos, puppy training videos, border terriers and a whole host of dog-related loveliness. A common question is “will you get another dog”. The short answer is probably yes, the more complicated question is “when”. I can be impulsive and when getting new things, prone to just thinking “why not” but I a married to a man who is more cautious and has a totally different approach. It’s true that we level each other off; I help him be more spontaneous and he stops me from buying stupid things. But adopting a dog is a huge commitment and we are still hurting/recovering from looking after a sick dog for months and months.

I think for now, it might be time for a bit of time out and a time for us. Usually, this would mean a holiday somewhere warm, but with current COVID restrictions, I reckon that’s not going to be possible.

But for now, we are about to have some home improvements done, because one thing M and I have in common is that when we are sad, we spend money like no-one’s business. Look out for a post with a new kitchen coming soon!!

G x

Losing Daisy |pupdate

Losing Daisy |pupdate

Losing Daisy

1 week on

It’s a funny phrase isn’t it? “1 week after we “lost” Daisy. We didn’t lose her… it wasn’t like we went to Tesco and lost her somewhere down the Baked Beans aisle! We didn’t lose her, she died…….

But it’s over a week now since Daisy died and it’s been quite a week. Lots of crying as you would expect, but like most grief that I’ve unfortunately experienced, it comes in waves and sometimes when I least expect it.

The worst times for me are just before we go to bed and when we come back in from anywhere. M quite rightly pointed out that these were times when we had guaranteed interaction with Daisy, namely letting her out before bed and similar when we arrived home. We obviously did stuff with her on and off with her all day every day, but it’s those particular times that we 100% just focused on her.

It’s even simple things like using realising we won’t see our dog walker regularly anymore 😩 He’s been coming to our house a few times every week for the almost the entire time we’ve had Daisy and it feels weird now that that is going to stop.

It’s funny too how we had changed everything about how we lived in our house to accommodate Daisy. Once her housetraining broke down due to her Cushings, we couldn’t leave her alone in our living room for very long in case she peed. So basically we used to take it turns to do anything or leave her in a room with a pee pad if we had to go upstairs to do anything because that was another thing.

Daisy couldn’t get upstairs by herself, she physically couldn’t manage the stairs AND she would always pee on the carpet even when being supervised – the least said the better about her peeing on the bed one night whilst M was trying to get changed after work!

It took us a few days to adjust to the fact we could walk around the house without thinking about where Daisy was. It’s still very odd though.

I suppose the question that people might be wondering about is, would we get another dog? It’s a difficult one to answer – my impulsive side screams yes…… but my practical side then reminds me of how tying they are and how much work they can be.

At the moment though, we are still grieving…. still missing our little Daisy.

G x

Losing Daisy Dog, what happened |Pupdate

Losing Daisy Dog, what happened |Pupdate

If you follow me on social media, you might have seen that on the 1st September we lost Daisy, our Patterdale x-breed rescue. It’s fair to say that we’ve had a rough few months, all whilst enduring lockdown due to a global pandemic.

We adopted Daisy from Cheshire Dogs home in December 2018 and with little history other than she was from Romania and that she was 7 1/2. Everything started great and we settled into getting to know each other, within a few weeks mastering toilet training and loving life together.

We went to some Kennel Club training in early February and before long we had our Bronze Award. All good…. we introduced her to (what we assume) was her very first beach and she/we were so giddy. We had searched for the right dog to join our family for 6 months+ beforehand, so life seemed pretty cool at this point.

However, after just 8 short months we noticed Daisy was drinking way more water than usual and after a visit to the vets, we were told she might have a fatal disease that she would have picked up before she arrived in the UK. She had a biopsy and some tests and during a subdued holiday together in Wales, we found out that she didn’t have the deadly disease but Cushings disease, which wasn’t curable but was treatable.

By this point, due to her excessive thirst Daisy had started having accidents in the house, which we never really ever got sorted. We tried a few times to get her dry, but her Cushings always got worse and she went back to excessive drinking and not being able to hold it. In the end, we let her out multiple times during the day and used washable pee pads when we were out and overnight.

Between September 2019 and early 2020, her Cushings was up and down with her medication being slowly increased to a fairly high dose. In the winter months, Daisy had become slowly more reluctant to walk, right up to the point where she wouldn’t walk for more than 10 minutes before giving up. She was never the most active dog, so we assumed she was being lazy. We couldn’t have been more wrong. By April we hit a crisis. She wouldn’t walk. She had no energy, she had started to bump into things and then, we found a lump on her chin. Sh*t.

We took her to the vets and they told us that they suspected it was cancerous and if it was, it’s position meant it would be inoperable. Devastating news. We came home, cried and put Daisy on her favourite cushion. We’d been home about 10 minutes when we noticed that she was bleeding, a LOT! The lump had burst and after a panicked call to the vets, we put pressure on it and it stopped bleeding… hello the cone of shame and antibiotics.

After some further investigations, it turns out that the lump wasn’t cancer, but a cyst and Daisy hadn’t been walking for a plethora of very valid reasons.

  • She had advanced Cushings Disease
  • She had advanced Osteoarthritis
  • She had high blood pressure
  • She had a knackered Thyroid
  • She was blind!

This was definitely a pivotal moment for Daisy, that’s a LOT to deal with for a little dog. The vet also told us that she was convinced she was MUCH older than we were led to believe by about 3-4 years.

She was put on heavy medication, 7 tablets a day and we thought that whilst this was a lot, we would all adjust and carry on together. But then COVID LOCKDOWN. During lockdown, Daisy was clearly feeling rotten and so required our time and attention more and more the longer lockdown went on. She didn’t deal with losing her sight very well, despite us trying everything we could think of to help her adjust.

She started to howl, mostly when we were not with her, but sometimes when we were. Our office is on the top floor of our house and during the day Daisy has always stayed downstairs in the kitchen. This was her preference as she never liked stairs, but during lockdown, she started to like this less and less. This meant that whilst we tried to work we were constantly listening out for her howling and then running up and down the stairs to let her out.

She started to become less settled during bedtime, sometimes howling for 30 minutes after we left her to go to bed. But in the general context of things we thought this wasn’t “too bad” and we assumed it would settle down. At the end of August, we had 3 nights away and left Daisy with a trusted pet sitter where she has stayed before. But it didn’t go well. Out sitter told us that Daisy had struggled, cried overnight and despite the sitter going downstairs to sleep on the couch Daisy seemed to forget she was there 😢

After that, things went downhill rapidly. When we brought her home Daisy seemed completely disorientated and appeared in just a couple of days, to have forgotten the layout of our house!! She didn’t know where her food and water was, how to go out for a wee, the layout of the garden or where her cushion was. We had to really look out for her every move so she didn’t hurt herself bumping into things.

Then at night, she became REALLY unsettled culminating with us going to bed one night at 10:30 but then giving up trying to settle her after 2 hours and M going downstairs to sleep on the couch. We then changed everything around to try to help her. We bought her a big comfy new bed, which we moved between the office and our bedroom – so she could be with us during the day and at night. We had to put some flip chart paper near the bed so we could hear her getting up. She had NEVER made any noise to tell us she needed a wee… she has always just walked to a door… but this is hard to spot when you are asleep or on a work call!

We carried on giving her the 7 tablets a day, hoping things would improve but things deteriorated and she seemed so lost. We had struggled for months to get her to eat properly and she had gone down to 8kg, which was about 1kg underweight. She would eat treats, but just wouldn’t eat her food, no matter what we tried and believe me, we tried everything!!! The vet told us that this was one of the signs that something was really wrong, along with the getting us up multiple times during the night.

Daisy was very very unsettled, sometimes going out 6 times in an hour during the day. Things were no better at night with Daisy needing us a minimum of twice during the night, but sometimes 5-6 times. Each time she needed anything and we were in our office or in bed, we would have to carry her downstairs and either show her where her water was or let her out and wait near the door. She couldn’t always find her way across the patio to the lawn for a wee, despite it not being a large distance. She would regularly bang into the small wall we have in the garden or find herself up by the side of the house or wedged in a corner near the barbecue. It was awful to see her struggling.

She still loved a walk, even in her final week, but we are sure she was in more arthritic pain that we realised as her legs used to shake when we got back, even whilst she was asleep.

Shaky legs after a walk

In her final week, she stopped eating her food altogether and she continued to get lost in our living room. Sitting down in random places when she got disorientated and couldn’t find us or her cushion. Captured here:

Daisy lost

It was a tough decision to make as she didn’t have a huge obviously deadly cancerous lump, but she had SO much going on. We worked out that in 2020 it had cost an average of £400 EVERY MONTH at the vets in medication and treatment. Which would be ok if she was doing ok, but she really really wasn’t. We considered her future and eventually after MUCH soul searching and discussion between ourselves and the vet, decided it would be kinder to say goodbye.

We took her for her final walk around her favourite park, she had a sleep on her cushion, a cuddle on the couch with us both and then we took her for her final sleep. We gave her all her favourite things in her final few hours and then hopefully did the kindest thing we could for her.

I could write for pages and pages about how much Michael and I loved Daisy, it’s only a few days since she left us, so her loss is still very raw. Neither of us ever wanted children, but Daisy was our world. I don’t regret a second. Daisy was such a sweet-natured little dog, she was aloof and independent, but who knows what her life was like in Romania before she came to be with us?? She didn’t easily make friends due to her general indifference to others, but once you were in her gang, then she loved you like no other.

She wasn’t a dog that had ever played and wasn’t interested in any manner of toys or balls, but Michael taught her how to play “kicky feets” which was a daft game where she would wriggle around on her back whilst we tickled her belly and she kicked against our hands. I would make a “whooaaaa” noise which she took to mean “incoming belly rub” and she would wriggle with anticipation. Adorable…

It took her a whole year to “get” that cuddles on the couch were a thing and then she asked for them on the daily. Her favourite place in 2020 was lay between Michael and I on the couch, always touching both of us – most important bit.

That was our Daisy girl… just 20 months with us… but wow what an adventure we all went on. Heartbroken you aren’t here.. we already miss you so much. Glad we could be your retirement home.

We love you Daisy xx

Hello 46, who dis? | Life Update

Hello 46, who dis? | Life Update

Ok so having a birthday in lockdown was definitely different than normal, but actually, it was pretty great.

It started off with a lie in, which is a rarity as our Daisy dog needs drugs at around 7am every day… but just this once, M got up, gave her her medication and came back to bed – we figured she wouldn’t starve if she got her breakfast a couple of hours late!

I mostly asked for donations to Newton Community Fridge for my birthday this year, but M got me some beautiful gifts too! These were some shoes, some gorgeous beauty products AND the most amazing portrait of Daisy Dog – especially commissioned – I am a lucky girl. Even Daisy herself got me an M&S voucher!!

I then came downstairs to a birthday banner and some balloons!! I mean…. 46 or 6 you decide… birthdays in our house are still an EVENT!!!

After a rather standard dog walk, we commenced our 1st birthday activity. Originally I said I wanted to go to the beach, but the weather was rubbish, so we downgraded our beach and sea experience to a trip to Pennington Flash to have a look at the water. Except, when we go there, it was blustery and not really the kind of day for gazing wistfully at the H20. But the car ride and a brief glimpse of something other than our living room was a welcome change.

After this, we had a journey into St Helens to collect some food from one of our favourite eateries, Vigour. We ordered over the phone and collected by arrangement. We wore our masks and gloves and the whole process was stress-free as the floor was clearly marked every 2 metres. We did see quite a few people wearing masks, but unfortunately, most of them were sitting on their chins for some reason?!?!

After that we came home and chilled out – finishing the day with a FaceTime family call to cut my birthday cake – lovingly made by M and complete with cute birthday decorations!!

What a great day…. I was worried it was going to be a bit flat, but I had a wonderful day… thanks to everyone… to my family for the donations and to my husband for giving me the best lockdown birthday possible.

G x

p.s. I don’t really have many photos of my birthday, I just spent the time enjoying it.

It’s ma birthday!! | Coronavirus

It’s ma birthday!! | Coronavirus

Yes it’s true, today is my 46th birthday… aren’t I lucky. I am sure anyone and everyone that experienced a birthday or similar special occasion will remember this years event as an unusual one.

Lockdown has certainly has it’s up and downs, but one amazing thing that happened in my local community is that people bandied together and did some AMAZING things to support their friends and neighbours.

So for my birthday I would like to support one such amazing band of people, namely Newton Community Fridge. This is exactly what you think it might be;

No Questions. No Judgement. Nobody Should Be Hungry

Newton Community Fridge

So I know this is super cheeky of me, but if you have a spare £ then please consider donating, if not then please consider sharing this post so other people know about the amazing community fridge.

So this is me….46 and whilst i’ve hated the lockdown, I am still here safe because of it.

Happy Monday everyone! and thanks…

Gill xxxx

I realised I knew nothing | Black Lives Matter

I realised I knew nothing | Black Lives Matter

Hi! I’m Gill, a white woman, living in a borough where just 1 in every 47.2 people come from a Black, or otherwise ethnically diverse background. My primary/junior school was 100% white and my high school experience had a single Chinese girl that join my maths class for the final term.

Once I started to work and critically, once I could drive, I started to get out and about a bit more, experiencing different cultures as I went. But I realise that after all these years I thought I was informed, it turns out – I am really, really not.

I realise that racism has always been there – but those of us not directly affected by it have somehow grown to live with that particular mistreatment of people – and I don’t know how or why? I realised that I don’t know enough. That I have cultivated my social media without ever consciously thinking about it, which means I follow more white people that anything else. Again, I don’t know why.

IRL I treat people as equals, I am firmly anti-racist as I do KNOW that racism is bad and I genuinely don’t understand people that judge based on skin colour. BUT and it’s a niggly, annoying but… my lack of education and lack of cultural diversity in social interactions was wrong. So what could I do?

I believe that education is the key for me, so I have set about trying to find some people with good info to read. I’ve searched for good films to watch and good dramas to binge on from black creators. I have also reflected on a trip M and I took to Alabama in 2006, where we visited the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum and I remember the stark image of the “colored” water fountain next to the one for white people.

If I was going to recommend 3 things to watch or read I would go for:

  • Queenie, by Candice Carty-Williams. A great story about a black girl, living in London, who experiences poor mental health after a breakup (of sorts). This book was great and showed me some of the day to day issues that young, black women face.
  • Selma – a film starring Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo about the march from Selma in Alabama to Montgomery organised by Martin Luther King. This was an eye-opener for me as I sort of knew about this story in the abstract, but I had NO idea of what happened in reality. It made me cry to watch it and so it should.
  • I may destroy you – a drama on BBC about a late 20s black girl, living in London. I am only halfway through, but so far it’s a tale of how vulnerable someone can be in the blink of an eye. Be warned if you are thinking of watching, it does contain some sexual violence.

All I can really do is try harder, be more educated and speak up when and where I can. I am consciously trying to follow and listen to more black influencers, creators and activists to not only to see but to hear – really hear. You see, it DOES affect me – I have never been afraid of the police, I was taught to go to them for help. I thought it was the same for everyone… it’s not.

Black. Lives. Matter.

G x

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