The Aristodogs

As you might imagine, having a home with a golden retriever in it I tend to seek out blogs that feature goldies. One of my favourites is The Daily Golden. There’s always something in there which is informative, interesting, makes me smile or just makes me say “aaaaaaah”.

I read with interest the other day this  articleabout cream golden retrievers.  As you all know, having seen about a million photographs of him,  Douggie the doggie is a cream coloured golden retriever.  “Well I never” I thought “fancy that” I said, “I had no idea” There was me thinking he just happened to be white and all along he’s really been an ‘English Cream Golden Retriever’ or  a ‘Rare White European Golden Retriever’ or  even an  ‘Exquisite Platinum Imported Golden Retriever’.  Better temperament, better health and altogether  a superior type of goldie? 

Blimey. I’d better not tell him he’s from aristocratic stock, he might get too big for his boots.

You can see it if you look closely, can’t you? Here he is on our walk today.

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Exquisite, eh?

I don’t know why he’s looking so blooming happy with himself.  No he hasnt found out he’s supposed to be from the upper classes. He’s  just been having a good old romp with Wilf the spaniel and they found a muddy ditch to wallow in. STINKY!

We popped round to Lashes’ house for a cuppa this morning, of course he and Teddy had a great time.  Looking for mischief.

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You are what you eat, or breathe

Ok, I’m not going to claim that my body is a temple, more of a kebab house really but I have always tried to be careful about what I eat as I do believe passionately that you are you eat. In the days when I had the luxury of doing such things I would always shop organically, my children were all brought up an a good organic, relatively non processed diet with the occasional sin thrown in to keep things exciting. I mean, who doesn’t love the occasional Maccie D?

As a parent I fretted over the state of the environment, what my kids were breathing in and what kind of a world they and their children would inherit. When a motorway was built right next to the boys’ school I was horrified. Have the Government no idea what damage heavy metal ( lead, not music. I’ve no issue with heavy metal music) emissions cause to young people? Particularly with Lashes, as her perfect state of health can be balanced on the thinnest, sharpest knife-edge.

For years I fretted about it all, while researching ways to keep my family safe from such things.  One day I may tell you about my long running battle with the hospital doctors who wanted to treat Lashes with treatments that would eventually cause her more harm than  do her good.  One of my finest hours, I’m proud of that.

Of course in the 80′s this kind of talk was dismissed as hippy nonsense. In a supermarket I once asked there they kept the couscous only to find myself directed to “the crank section”. Charming.

Now it would appear that all my pseudo hippy ramblings and reading have been vindicated. I came across this article on the BBC News website this morning. I’m trying really hard not to thumb my nose at all the nay sayers and say “I BlOODY TOLD YOU!” Y’see, I was just way ahead of my time.

Read and inwardly digest.

Did removing lead from petrol spark a decline in crime?

A snapshot of this week

It’s been a busy old week one way and another. Here’s a snapshot of it.

Batty and I did a photo shoot in the woods. Actually, it was a pre shoot  for a bigger production pre-raphaelite shoot we’re planning. Ain’t she gorgeous?



While I was blog surfing the other day I came was reading Little Dogs Laughed and there was a BRLLIANT double exposure photograph of her dog. I liked it so much I had to have a go myself, so I found myself an app and got busy. Go and take a look at her blog, it’s a really good read.  Here’s my first double exposure attempt;
10012806_10152319627451206_3359902881674357528_oAnd here’s the second:


Heh, I like it!

The next task was to take on old and manky table:


Jet wash it and con one of your grandchildren into putting a coat of undercoat on it


as well as on the garden chairs


Apply a coat of paint and Bob’s yer uncle: new garden furniture!


You can see I went for a low key approach it it.

While I was doing that Boofuls was entertaining our guests


Munki won the Easter bonnet competition at school


We went to St Anne’s for a ride out. There were some chaps on the beach flying kites.

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Boofuls fancied a bit of scone on his butter. I wonder why he’s put weight on?


I took a photo of our house from a walk I was on with Douggie. What do you mean you can’t see the house, it’s right in front of you.


On Thursday lashes, Batty, Dangerous and Munki came round for a bit of fun in the studio. You might be thinking what a mess. We were thinking Jackson Pollock haha.


It turns out that Dangerous is a brilliant model. Even covered in paint she’s fabulous.


Mind you, Munki wasn’t half bad for a five year old.


I love my girls!


Douggie wasn’t getting enough attention so he sulked.


Pity he sulked in a splodge of wet paint, he spent the rest of the day with a pink and purple tail.


I’m just seeing all of last year’s brides and grooms through to the end  and getting all their albums and slideshows finished and then I’ll be an ex wedding photographer.  I must say that I quite like the sound of that.

Over the last few months I’ve been working hard designing albums and now I’m down to the last two I’m rattling their cages to get the  image choices off them so I can get it all finished.  While I’m working I like to have a bit of music on quietly in the background.

I like to think I have an eclectic taste in music. All I really don’t like is rap and I’m not overly keen on folk music, it’s  bit dreary for my taste. Everything else from heavy rock to classical I’ll happily listen to and it whiles away the hours whir I’m getting artistic with wedding albums.

One of our couples came yesterday, yes, Good Friday, to pick up their album and they were thrilled to bits with it. I love it when they fill up with tears and have to go through it all a dozen times because they can’t stop looking at it and every time they do they see a new detail I’ve hidden in there. Ok, I will miss being a wedding photographer a little bit.

On Thursday one of my couples needed a bit of help picking their photographs so I invited them into the studio. They are …ahem…. a slightly older couple. he is a lay preacher and she is a retired school teacher. Very nice and very refined, I can’t imagine why they picked me to shoot their wedding but pick me they did and they were thrilled with the results. All I can say is that I earned my money that bloody day!

Anyway, in a fit of nostalgia they decided they wanted to see every picture again and would I run the slideshow. Normally I have it all set up ready with music cued ready to play but as I was only expecting to look at a couple of dozen photographs I hadn’t done it. “Ok, it’ll be a pleasure, just give me  a minute.”

I got the slideshow ready, only a minute of a job and went to pick the music. As the laptop was linked to the big tv screen they were able to see what I was seeing and saw the playlists. “We don’t want the babies playlist, they said with a laugh.  “Well, I’d better be careful what I choose here, you’d be shocked if I put on  some the music  I listen to.” I said with a laugh as I clicked on the ‘top 25 most played’ thinking to myself that that would in fact bring up the babies playlist with it’s innocuous choice of music as that was  in fact the most played.

The first few photographs, the scene setters, the ones of the flowers on the lych gate at the church, the church itself and  the lone piper were all lined up like little soldiers waiting for the first few lilting notes of Jack Johnson’s ‘Better Together’ to begin the slideshow.

Imagine my surprise and utter horror as what actually came out of the speakers was:

OHHHHHHHH SHITFUCK!  Followed by a guitar riff and then shit fuck shit fuck!

“OH MY GOD!” I nearly died.   It was  Reel Big Fish. You don’t play that stuff in front of anyone never mind your most genteel clients.

I nearly knocked my laptop off the desk in my haste to turn off the offending and offensive music. “OHHHNOOOOO! That’s the last thing I wanted you to hear!”

Luckily for me they took it with good humour.  Me? I nearly died with embarrassment.

This isn’t the exact song, it’s a gentler, much nicer  version of it.   I couldn’t find the other one on Youtube but it’ll give you the idea.





National Extraneous Apostrophe Day

In fact, I think it must be National Extraneous Apostrophe Year as I’ve see so many of them around.

The local sun bed shop has had a new sign made:  ‘SUN BED’S’

The local greasy spoon has a sign up saying the now sell Holland’s pie’s.

So in honour of the occasion I’m going to litter everything I write today with extraneous apostrophe’s.

I may tell you about the dog’s at the dog club last night, all rehearsing a formation dance routine for a demonstration on Sunday. Douggie the doggie and  I had to drop out after Douggie had a fit, a shaky one not a hissy one. That meant at training last night we were put with the beginner’s. Ok, there was only one beginner but  I couldn’t get an apostrophe in. Phew! It’s harder than I thought, this.

Since it’s harder than I thought I’m going to spell potato as potatoe and tomato as tomato.  (Damn, now I have to think of thing’s to say that include the words potato and tomato).  I think I’ll add  extraneous ‘e’s to any words I can get them in as well to make the job easier.

Anyway, you get the idea. Everywhere I go my eyeball’s are assaulted with ridiculous mistakes that even nine year old’s shouldn’t be making.  What  on earth has happened? How did we become a nation of semi literate idiot’s? Rant over.


Booful’s and I decided to drop into B & Q to pick up a few item’s to beautify the garden for our potential buyer’s, who aren’t exactly battering the door down I might say.  While we were there I had occasion to use their er.. facility’s ( aaaaargh, my eyeball’s!!!). You’d think in a shop stuffed full of bathrooms they’d be able to replace a broken toilet seat in their own loo’s rather than hold it together with tape. Eeeeeeww.

As you may have guessed, the Douggiemobile, aka my CRV is a bit of a tip. It’s ( heh :-D) become a bit of a shrine to Douggie with a back seat guard, a tailgate guard, spare lead’s, poo bag’s, treat’s, towel’s and toy’s.  IT was quite a balmy evening last night so while I was driving north for our HTM lesson last night  I had the window’s open to keep Douggie cool.  I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw what looked like a bat flying around in the boot. OH MY GOD. WHAT’S THAT??  Note to self: It’s not a good idea to stare into the back of the car whilst driving at 70 mph on the M6, or indeed any motorway.

The bat then landed on the tailgate guard. At which point I could see it was in fact a black poo bag which had been caught up in the draught and taken flight.  Oh! Be still my beating heart!



Pooh bear

Douggie the doggie, like most family pets I suppose, has a basket full of toys. When I say a basket full of toys what I mean of course is an empty basket and the toys are strewn all over the house. He doesn’t really do tidy, Douggie.

No one told me that having a dog would involve my house looking like a creche but hairier and smellier. Oh, the stuff I’ve found out since he landed on our doorstep. Towels, for instance, no one mentioned the endless washing of towels, did they? Oh no. They kept that one under their hats.  And the hair, I was expecting hair but with the amount he’s dropping lately I’m surprised he isn’t totally bald, how can he lose that much hair and still have so much left? It’s  all over the floor, rolling round the dining room tiles like tumbleweed, it’s in my food and all over my clothes.  Twice daily vacuuming is barely keeping it to a tolerable level.

Oh yes, and then there’s the  slobber. there’s another secret you don’t find out about until the pooch has taken full possession of your heart and there’s no way out. Geez, it’s like having a giant, hairy, four legged baby who needs massive amounts of exercise and entertaining.

I’ve been teaching him how to tidy up but he hasn’t quite got it on command yet. It still involves half an hour of training and ten pounds of sausages to get him to put the toys away, it’s cheaper, quicker and easier to do it myself. We’ll keep working on it and I’ll amaze you with a video of it when he’s cracked it.

The trouble with a big dog like Douggie is that he does tend to eat his cuddly toys. Our floors are garnished with kapok, little piles of it sitting like snowballs among all the white hair. It looks a bit winter wonderland ish in our lounge sometimes.   As you can imagine he gets through a steady supply of toys and I’m regularly seen lurking in  the charity shops of the borough stocking up on new ones for him.  I always check that there the eyes and such are sewn and not screwed in or anything  before I buy them but children’s toys  are generally stronger than the ones made for dogs  and last him a lot longer and of course they are loads cheaper. Not that I’m as tight as a duck’s backside or anything.

One of his favourite toys of late has been his Pooh Bear. He loves Pooh Bear and regularly sits nibbling at Pooh’s ears before grabbing him by the throat and ragging him mercilessly. Poor Pooh.

I walked in the other day to find that Pooh Bear had been murdered and eaten. His innards were all over the floor and I think it’s fair to say that Pooh was no more. I was surprised how little of him there was left.

The following morning I discovered why. Out for Douggie’s morning ablutions I was a bit surprised that it was bright orange and fluffy. Oh no!  Pooh Bear has become poo bear.

Poor Pooh. Or do I mean poo?



The law of attraction

Do you believe in the law of attraction?

The idea that whatever it is you really focus on the universe will provide, good or bad.  It might be that you unconsciously change how you do things or your attitude to life generally. I don’t know how it works but my experience has been that it does. I’ve been lucky enough to have been surrounded by many positive, inspiring  and enlightened people in my life. Hard working people who don’t believe that anything is given to them on a plate and who are open to new ideas and ways of thinking. I have always found these people very easy to be around and over the years some of their positive energy must have rubbed off onto me. Ooh, I love a bit of positive thinking, me!

What am I on about? Well, dear reader, let me tell you.

There have been some strange things occurring at Boofuls Towers recently. Doors have been closing and other doors opening in a very timely fashion clearing the path for our big adventure, the details of which I’ll share with you soonish. Suffice for now just to say that there are some major life changes on their way for us.

Right out of the blue Boofuls and I have both taken phone calls from agents asking us if we want to sell our respective businesses, exactly at the time we have spoken extensively to each other about doing just that.

About a month ago, I was doing a lot of soul searching  about whether it was time to  retire from photography. As much as I  love doing what I do I felt it needed to go in order to make space for our new adventure.  Well, blow me down, just a few days after our discussion about it I got an email saying that my baby photography contract was being changed. For the worse. Decision made!  The universe provided me a get out clause. All I have to do now is see the clients I have now through to the end and then I won’t be a photographer any more. Gosh! That seems strange.

Boofuls and I are changing direction and going down a different path and it’s all starting to feel like it’s moving from a dream to a plan, a plan that’s rapidly gathering momentum.  Exciting and scary at the same time, like a roller coaster. Not that I’ve ever been on a proper roller coaster, I’m far too much of a wuss for that. The most exciting ride I’ve ever been on is the caterpillar ride at Camelot with the babies from nursery when Lashes was little.

Pop back tomorrow and I’ll tell you about yesterday’s very, very weird day.






That was the week that was……..

My birthday! Happy birthday to me!

I’m one of the few people who can truly say is British since my Mum was Welsh, my Dad was a Scot and I was born in England on St Patrick’s day which of course was on Monday of last week.

We do birthday’s in a big way in our family so of course, in true Boofuls Towers stye, the celebrations started early with a party last Staurday for close family and friends. Funnily enough, it’s never crossed my mind to have a St Patrick’s themed party.

Instead we had a pirate themed party to get us in the mood for May’s  pirate festival in Brixham.  Aaaaaaar.  The pirates’ provenance was a bit mixed with sea shanties from Cornwall, (miserable dirges they were, they lasted about two minutes before I put something more cheery on), Caribbean inspired food, cake, costumes and drinks along with a few eye patches, swords and hats and a lot of “Aaaaaarrrrrrr, ye scurvy dog” completed the theme.

One day we might put on a sophisticated soiree and surprise everyone. Nah, only kidding!

Sunday was a recovery day for most of the party goers. Me? I was annoyingly chipper having spent most of the previous evening on soft drinks. Boofuls and I went out to get some new curtains and rugs to give the house a bit of a lift for spring.

Monday. The big day! The day started with Boofuls bringing me a cup of coffee in bed and Douggie the doggie jumping on the bed and giving me a big sloppy kiss.  Two minutes later I was holding his head ( Douggie’s not Boofuls’) over the waste bin to catch his vomit and prevent it going all over my brand new cream coloured bedroom carpet. I don’t think the vomit was anything to do with the big sloppy kiss he gave me. I hope not, anyway.

Next up was lots of pressies and brekkie at at the new eating and drinking emporium in town with my bestie. Full English breakfast? Don’t mind if I do! WE were absolutely gobsmacked to see people drinking actual achohol at 10.00 a.m.  The venue was split into two definite parts. One part being the ladies who meet for coffee and men who meet for beer – and never the twain shall mix. We all stayed at our own end of the pub and looked across disdainfully at the other side.

Monday night, Boofuls went out to his club and I met some clients at work. Oh well, can’t have everything.

On Tuesday I went with Douggie the doggie to a choreography session at our club. We are doing an exhibition for a local-ish charity soon and the club has been asked to do something special, so we’re doing formation dancing for dogs. Cool!

Wednesday. Oh Wednesday.  What a grim start to the day. The light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be the taxman’s torch.  Sigh. A nice tax demand took the edge of my celebrations but not for long.

On Wednesday afternoon I went to see a medium. Whether you believe in it all or not, I do. Fervently. Difficult not to when if you have to put a title onto yourself that title would be ‘spiritualist’.

I’m not going to share anything that was said there – yet. I’m saving it for a big announcement to come soon (ooooooooh, exciting!!). All I will say is: Bloody hell, has she been stalking us and bugging our phones? This woman is gooood.

One of my birthday gifts from Boofuls was tickets to see Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace in Dance ’till Dawn in Manchester. Funny, entertaining, amazing dancing, obviously. It was fabulous. Go and see it immediately! What? I now you’re at the other side of the world. Don’t make excuses, go and see it. It’s worth it!

Thursday was a recovery day.  

Friday was the day I’ve been waiting for. Lashes and I went to a spa for the day. It was a Christmas pressie from Boofuls and I’ve been saving it.  What a fantastic day. I can cope with massages, facials, long, leisurely lunches and a bass or two of wine. What a fantastic day we had. Made even better by the fact that Boofuls dropped us off and picked us up o there was no driving involved. He and Len picked us up at the appointed time and then they took us to The Clog and Billycock for dinner.

What’s theClog and Billycock?

It’s a  restaurant, not too far away from here that is owned by the well known chef Nigel Haworth. I’ve been wanting to go for some time, so we did.

You must go there, immediately. You can do it when you come to see Dance ’till Dawn. With it’s deceptively simple menu and homely surroundings its a lovely place to spend and evening.  I thought it would be a bit pretentious, I expected to see beluga caviar served on a sturgeon’s fin nestling on a swan’s left ear but it was exactly the opposite. Lovely simple, tasty and wholesome food.  Good grief. I was so full I could hardly move.

You know the food is good when you are stuffed to the gunnels but when they ask if you want a dessert you say yes and eat every last bit of it. Last time I was that full was the ‘nine puddings’ incident in Hong Kong. I’ll tell you about that another day. Here are a couple of photos for you. One of my Lancashire hotpot and one of my dessert, a lovely, light lemon possett.

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They’re alright these birthdays. Weeks like this I can deal with. Happy birthday. It certainly was. Thanks to everyone who made it all happen.  Now then.  Where are my elasticated trousers?


The Kids are Alright


Interesting reading. It always amazes me how much people expect of their dogs when there are children around. Time to educate the parents?

Originally posted on The Science Dog:

childhuggingdog   Baby sitting on dog   baby with pit bull

child and dog 3  dogkid5  childwithdog


Disclaimer: If you are not horrified by these photographs (even worse….if you think they are cute), you are probably not going to like what follows.

A few statistics: According to the CDC, approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Of these reported bites, a large victim demographic is children under the age of 10. Children are most likely to be bitten severely enough to require medical care or hospitalization. They are also most frequently bitten by their own dog or by a dog who they know, such as the dog belonging to a neighbor or relative. Bites to the face and neck are common in children, most likely because of their size and the types of behavior that they engage in with dogs.

Why is this surprising? Really now. If I can find…

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