Saturday, 7 March 2009

Holiday Time!

Finally we're off on holiday today! I booked a cottage in South Wales for the coming week, near Cardigan, on the north coast of the Pembrokeshire peninsula. I actually won an auction on eBay for the week's rental, posted by the owner as a way of letting the property at the last minute. If you can wait that late, I can certainly recommend this way, the discount we got was huge on the regular price. Their website is here and we're staying in the Stables cottage. They have dogs, donkeys, pigs, chickens and goats, so both Mishka and Lara should have friends to play with.
We're staying tonight with my sister near Bristol, it will be very nice to see Lara and Lizzie playing together.
The plan is to mix up lots of fresh air activities, nice long walks on beaches, perhaps even have a try at mountain biking (without the mountain bit), with a day or two of doing absolutely nothing other than pottering round the cottage - it is a holiday after all!
Oh, any help with how to pronounce the name of the place we're going will be most appreciated!
The cottage claims to have wireless internet access, and we'll be taking Olga's Mac, so hopefully we'll post an update or two and some photos during the week.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Wednesday is Family Day

As I'm still using up last year's holiday, we were all at home today, and the nice Spring weather meant that after pottering around all morning, we went for a walk in the afternoon; I thought it would be nice to show Olga the Bourne End to Cookham stretch of the Thames Path that I walked on Friday with Mishka. Much as we try, we still can't convince Mishka that swimming is a good thing, he'll happily paddle upto his chest, but no amount of treats we throw into deeper water will make him swim. Perhaps we shouldn't have thrown him in the hydrotherapy pool all those months ago!
Lara was very accomodating this morning, she must have known Olga & I were on holiday, and she had a lie-in until 9am. In fact it was only Mishka who was awake and crying at 7am, but I'm afraid we just ignored him and he quietened down before he woke Lara. A 9am wake-up did throw Lara's sleeping and feeding routine into disarray, but every once in a while it's nice to buck the system, and we just fed her when she was hungry, and it didn't take long for her to go to sleep at 8pm.
Olga's back to work tomorrow, Lara's back to nursery, so I've got the day to myself... which of the ten million jobs on our list at home should I start but not finish?! Ah, thinking about it, it's Day One of Crufts and that means Terrier Day. The BBC aren't covering it, but the Kennel Club are streaming it live on the internet, so I'll try to remember to watch the Airedale judging, but the contest begins at 8.30am. One of our friends from Planet Airedale is showing her bitch, so I need to keep an eye out for her. We're going to see her and her two airedales in a couple of weeks time to let Mishka play with them, so maybe he'll be playing with a Crufts Champion!

Wildlife Update

Another sign that Spring is on it's way is that our first Green Woodpecker is feeding in our garden. I noticed him (or her!) yesterday morning, but he/she was back again this morning, and I was able to get the big lens focussed in time.

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Tuesday, 3 March 2009

The Weekend? Resting? No Chance

On Saturday the plan was to do a little bit of shopping for Lara in Reading, at ToysRUs and Mothercare, she has outgrown some of her sleepsuits (OK, I might have shrunk one too..) and Olga wanted her to have a little chair she could sit on for drawing at her table in the nursery, rather than kneeling in front of it as she has been doing. I was then hoping to make my first appearance of the season (as a substitute!) for the Prince of Wales Rangers in the afternoon, but to give me a chance to back out gracefully, I'd not told the captain I would be available in advance.
That turned out to be wise, as not only had I not known the kick-off time, but we were late back to Wycombe anyway as it took some time to load up the car with a new easel, chalks, quilt, pillow, pillow cases, pyjamas, sleepsuits and THREE chairs! There would have been a play-kitchen too if ToysRUs had the one we liked in stock!
Rather than force too many changes at once on to Lara, we didn't give her her new pillow and quilt at the same time, we started with just the pillow, and she sleeps in her new grown-up pyjamas in her old sleeping bag, but she LOVES her pillow. When we put her in her cot for a few minutes while we set up her bath, she voluntarily lies down and hugs it. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but I think her coughing in the night hasn't been as bad since she started sleeping with the pillow, so much so that we've had to listen quite intently to the baby monitor sometimes to make sure she's not suffocated by sleeping with her face in it! We'll try her out with her 4.0tog quilt on Friday night, that way if she has a disturbed night, we've got Saturday to get over it rather than having to go into work.
Lara took to her new easel straight away too. We can't leave her with the chalks unattended, she will eat them, but so long as we're there, she knows how to use the chalk and happily scribbles away on the blackboard. She's already a better artist than me.

On Sunday we went for a walk at Dorney Lake, between Slough and Windsor. This is a man-made rowing venue built by Eton College, and will host the rowing and canoeing events in the 2012 Olympics. I'd heard the tracks around the lake were ideal for roller-blading, and knowing that Olga has a pair of roller-blades in the loft, I thought we should go and have a look at it, and maybe we could make it a regular trip and get some more exercise than just walking with Mishka. The tracks are perfectly smooth, and access to the lake is free, which was a pleasant surprise. It's a 4km walk around the lake, so all we've got to do now is see how Olga copes with roller-blading while pushing the Quinny pram, while I either cycle or roller-blade with Mishka attached. That should be interesting. First I need to buy a bike or some roller-blades. I know, I know, I could just run.... but it's FOUR kilometres. I got cramp jogging accross the park on Saturday afternoon to watch a few minutes of the Prince of Wales Rangers match.
Here's the lake, anyway. You can just make out the rowing clubhouse (the light coloured building) 2km away at the far end of the lake.

Friday 27th February - Spring has Sprung

I had a day off on Friday, and I was very lucky with the weather. I'd intended to take Mishka for a walk around Marlow after dropping first Olga at the railway station, then Lara at nursery. There was blue sky and it was warm, even before 9am when we set off along the Thames towards Bourne End. It's a normal walk for us, taking an hour or so, then coming back in 5 minutes on the train. I did notice that Marlow Angling Club had put this sign up on the riverbank - they are obviously having trouble with Polish poachers!

Once we arrived at Bourne End, I was so enjoying the walk that I decided I'd carry on along the Thames Path to Cookham, the next stop on the railway line. Mishka hadn't met so many dogs in such a short space of time, and he was enjoying it too. It made a nice change to be able to walk him in nice surroundings without having to worry more about Lara. This extended the walk from 2 to 3 1/2 miles, but by the time I arrived there it was still only 10.15am, and I thought we might as well carry on. I'd always wanted to walk the Thames Path down to Maidenhead, it's well signposted (I didn't have a map with me) so this was the perfect opportunity to "recce" it before suggesting we try it out with Lara and Olga one day.
This meant that the "gentle walk around Marlow" became a 7-mile trek to Maidenhead, and a 20 minute train journey back to Marlow (hence the photograph of a tired Mishka on the train). I'd done it in just under 3 hours in wellies, which meant my feet were killing me - I'd not thought I was going to walk so far or I'd have put walking boots on.

Happy Belated Birthday Lucy

It was Lucy's birthday two weeks ago, and to celebrate Olga went over to Reading for a night out on the Saturday before last, staying over at the country house hotel where Lucy and Sergei work. Lara and I came over too for a drink before the party got underway properly, then we left them to it.
The hotel is a very grand place, to the Southwest of Reading, in Wokefield Park. I took Mishka along as well when we went to pick Olga up, and we went for a walk in the forest nearby, then decided to see how Lara coped with going to Pizza Hut. She loved garlic bread, and had bits of my Hawaiian pizza and some of Olga's salmon pasta dish.
There are some photos from Lucy's birthday in the New Uploads web album.

So, what's been happening?

Ohhh, where to begin? Maybe I'll break it down into several posts... let's just say it's been a very busy last 10 days or so.
Last week Olga and I were busy with training a new client to use our software, which is harder than it sounds, but doesn't really make for enthralling posts on a blog. Well, I was training on Monday to Wednesday, then Olga took over on Thursday and Friday. I had to work in London too on Thursday, but I've had to use up some holidays left over from last year, so I was off on Friday. I had to work yesterday, but I'm on holiday now until Friday, phew!

Lara - how's she? Well, she still has a cough and cold, I can't remember a time when she wasn't snotty, it's been that long. Her cough only really happens at night, and it's not generally bad enough that we need to get up to check on her, although occasionally we do get up and give her a drink of water. Other than this, she's absolutely great. She's eating a lot, and consequently looking very healthy (other than the runny nose and hacking cough!!); new things on the menu include omelette, ravioli and any other pasta, smoked salmon, prawns and ciabatta. She demolished a whole Tesco ham sandwich on Sunday when we were out walking! We rarely need to feed her jar food now, and we tend to save that for emergencies when we've stayed out longer than we intended to and she needs an impromtu feed.

Of course we've taken lots of photos in the last 10 days, as usual. They're all in the New Uploads album to the left of the blog, but here's one that I want to include here, it's Lara back in her bouncer on March 1st!

And for comparison, here she is on April 9th last year!

This video is worth watching, if only for Lara's dance at the end....

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Don't Worry!!!

We're still here! We've just been maniacally busy all last week, first with work, then running around all weekend, and it won't slow down for us until Wednesday. I'll hope to squeeze a longer post in tomorrow evening once Lara has gone to sleep (on her new pillow) and while Olga is at art class.
In the meantime, here's a photo of Mishka on a train. The full story to follow - don't miss it!