Monday 25 February 2013

Scooby, the Guide Dog I'm Sponsoring!

Meet the gorgeous Scooby, a potential guide dog for the blind that I am sponsoring.  I was in Sainsbury's the other day and there were people there from Guide Dogs for the Blind trying to get people to sign up to sponsor puppies for their training - which lasts two years and costs £28,000 per dog.  It was something I had been thinking about doing for a while so I decided to sign up. There were two dogs to choose from, the other was a gorgeous golden "Andrex" puppy, but I chose Scooby because I thought not as many people would go for him even though he's such a handsome boy - it's that black dog syndrome  they are the ones least adopted in kennels too. I think he's fabulous with his luxurious, shiny, curly coat!

Sponsoring costs only a few pounds a month and you are regularly sent information - Pupdates - about your dog's progress and photos right until he/she graduates at around two years old and is matched with someone.  This is my first photo of Scooby he's a golden retriever/labrador mix and he's around six week old.  Once you have signed up they send you a little album to keep your photos in, along with a certificate, and a small calendar. I think it is lovely how you are able to keep up with your dog's progress in such a close way, and online there is even more, including videos of the dogs.

I think guide dogs are absolutely amazing, and I'm proud to be able to help in the training of Scooby in a small way. He has loads to learn, and I'll eagerly watch his progress - I'm sure he'll do well! I'll keep you updated.

You can read more about sponsoring a puppy here

Saturday 23 February 2013

The Year Ahead

Nearly the end of February, after that this month is over it's all downhill into Spring!  When 2012 turned into 2013 I had NO trips on the horizon at all, I hate that.  I have a big financial outlay for my home this year and I was going to be "sensible" and only go away to celebrate a special birthday in Dublin in October. Well, my birthday is actually in September, but this year I'm like the Queen, having a real and an official birthday lol!  I will be celebrating it with a stay in the penthouse at The Clarence Hotel with friends and family, what better way to enter a new decade!

Then saw Bruce Springsteen was touring again and I regretted not seeing him live last year, so I just had to go to see him in 2013. So I have a short break in Glasgow in June for that!

My friend Dianne and I have always wanted to go to Iceland for New Year, and seeing it was so far off I said I would do it.  But when I looked into airfares they were very expensive over the New Year.  So we changed our plans and are now having a two centred trip, New Year in Dublin (which is always wonderful!) and then on to Iceland for Þrettándinn, 12th night (or more accurately 13th night in Iceland) on 6th January, a time when they have bonfires, fireworks and parades.  Maybe catch the northern lights again and I want to fulfil  my ambition to go dog-sledding then too.  

I have two visits from friends to look forward to as well. My school friend Marian who lives in the south of the country is coming for a few days next month. It's always good to see her, we just pick up where we left off last time we got together!  Then in May my good friend Debbi is coming up.  It's ages since she's visited here, because we saw each other so regularly on our trips away together there was no need. But this year our only trip together will be my birthday one so we couldn't go that long and not meet up!

So, this year is now nicely filled up with a combination of trips away and visits from friends, good to have all that to look forwards to! And maybe we will actually get a summer this year and I can relax in the sun in the garden eh?! Got to be optimistic......

Monday 11 February 2013

Christmas Eve Busk Video

I'm a bit late putting this up, but I think you U2 peeps will enjoy this. It's a professional behind the scenes video of the 2012 Christmas Eve Busk on Grafton St, Dublin. It shows Bono rehearsing with the others earlier in the day and then singing Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) on at the busk. It also features a very chatty Sinead O' Connor singing Nothing Compares 2 U, plus songs from Liam O'Maonlai, Lisa Hannigan and Glen Hansard. It also has clips of Dublin and the ordinary people which just captures the feel of it all.

At the end Glen and some of the others are in Neary's having a pint and counting the money they got from the busk for the Simon Community. Shame Bono couldn't have joined them, I'm sure he would have loved to, but he was whisked off in a police car. Fame separates you. The video is about 15 minutes long and a lovely snapshot of the event.

Saturday 2 February 2013

First Signs of Spring

Well it may not be the most amazing of floral displays  but it lifted my heart to see these two winter pansies in bloom in my garden today. I always love to see the first signs of Spring. My snowdrops will be open soon and the daffodils are well on their way. Crows are pairing up in the tall trees, buds are getting fat and, of course, the days are getting longer. I'm not a winter person and I find January and February tedious months to say the least!  We've a little way to go, but Spring is starting to creep in. Every year it thrills me to see nature wake up like this.

It always amuses me, but even our shops seem to wake up, suddenly brighter coloured clothes appear on the rails, I wish we had them year round, why can't we? Holiday ads are on the TV and Easter eggs sitting there to tempt. I'm thinking ahead to my travels, though unfortunately I won't be doing as much as I would like this year as I've a big household outlay to fund. But I do have a trip to Ireland later in the year to celebrate a "special" birthday I have this year!