Tag Archives: northern lights

You know your dog has taken over your life when…..


You know your dog has taken over your life when…..you get woken up by having a big wet fluffy bear thrust into your face by a grinning dog who’s decided you’ve been asleep long enough and now it’s playtime.

I accidentally left the bedroom door open one night last week which meant that Douggie was able to get in and alert us that he was about to have a seizure – giving me enough time to get his homeopathic remedy into him in time to stop it in it’s tracks. Good eh? Since then we’ve left the bedroom door ajar at night and he’s taking full advantage of it. Now it’s slobbery kisses in the middle of the night, sighing, flopping around trying to get comfy – and that’s just Boofuls hahahaaa.

You know your dog has taken over your life when…..you change handbags to match your outfit and discover a sausage that in there you’d bought at the local sandwich shop a day or two previously to use for training treats and forgotten about.

You know your dog has taken over your life when…..by saying ‘match my outfit’ (see above) outfit you mean a different colour of track suit bottoms or jeans since skirts and dresses just aren’t  practical for walking, training and playing with a big uber slobbery hound. Ah, those were the days when I used to swan about suited and booted, perfectly groomed and coiffed on a daily basis. Now it’s an event. If only my image consultant ex colleagues could see me now. One extreme to t’other!

Yup. There’s no doubt about it. The dog has taken over my life.

The other love of my life, Boofuls seems to be a bit distracted at the moment. During a conversation the other day I said to him that we could go to Devon for a few days when all of our current mayhem subsides a bit.

He looked at me bemused and said. “Why? There’s nothing we have to do down there is there.”

Me: “No, love. Some people might call it a holiday.”

Poor old Boofuls looked at me stunned for a moment as he realised what he’d said. It’s a poor do when you’ve forgotten the concept of a holiday, isn’t it?  Here’s a little reminder, Boofuls.

 

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Source: internet
Source: internet

 

 

One year ago today


Exactly one year ago tomorrow Boofuls and me set off onto our Big Adventure. I say ‘our’ but I really mean ‘my’ big adventure. Boofuls, bless him would no more have chosen to come here than fly to the moon ( actually, he’d probably love that) but being the man he is he willingly went along with my dream of travelling inside the Arctic circle in the hope of seeing the northern lights.

We got off the plane and stepped into a magical land.  Where dawn and dusk merged for a couple of hours into a dreamscape of blues, pinks and purples and where the night sky danced and twisted in shades of green and purple.

On the coach journey to our hotel, right on the border between Sweden and Finland, I stared out of the window transfixed as I saw what looked like strange and mythical creatures lining our route. Dragons, gremlins, weird and wonderful shapes of the trees bent over and carrying a heavy coat of snow fuelled my imagination. I really felt like I’d stepped through the wardrobe into Narnia.

This is where I experienced one of the most terrifying events of my entire life; husky sledding in the pitch black.  The only light being from the torch attached to the driver of the sled shining onto the reflective strip on the suit of the driver in front.  I loved it!

I didn’t love it quite so much when it was my turn to drive. Those dogs are fast! I may have sworn once or twice while I clung on for grim death as the huskies galloped at breakneck speed down what looked and felt like a bobsleigh run, slowing down occasionally to fight with each other.  I was convinced we were going to die. Luckily we didn’t so we repeated the exercise again a couple of days later.

There are so many highlights of this trip that a post about it would be the size of War and Peace. I’ll let the photographs give you a feel for what it was like.  You get a gazillion brownie points if you can tell me what is special about the church.

Ow! Ow! Ow!


Flipping heck!

The weather’s a bit uninteresting here at the moment. Certainly in comparison to other parts of the world and even the UK. All we have weatherise  in Littletown today is a grey nothingness .

That’s not a complaint. Grey nothingness, while it’s certainly not my favourite weather, is preferable to howling gales and rain. What’s my favourite weather? Mmmm, let me think. Snow has to come top of the list followed by a lovely crisp frosty day with bright blue skies. Sunshine is always good but not too hot. I’m a tender flower and I wilt in the heat.

Right! You at the back. Stop that guffawing immediately! I AM a tender flower! Tsk. 

What’s your favourite weather?

It’s exactly this time last year that Boofuls and I were making the final preparations for our trip to the Arctic. I like to say Arctic as it sounds so much more exciting than the Swedish/Finnish border but we were inside the Arctic circle so it qualifies. Poor old Boofuls doesn’t half put up with some stuff from me. Given the chance he’d always head south to the Carribean. Me? Let’s head north! The whole trip exceeded my wildest dreams. I’ve already blogged about it so I won’t repeat it all again but if you’d like to read about it or look at the photos you can find them here.

Several years ago a past life therapist told me I a was  a Viking in a previous life. I’m not altogether sure she’s wrong. I do love that part of the world and definitely feel an affinity to it.

Anyway. Where were we? Oh yes, grey, gloomy weather.

Douggie the doggie and me set off for the nearest park this morning. It’s the best place for a boring weather day as it’s quite an interesting  walk with the park, woodland, cemetery  and moors  all within a few minutes walk from each other. In a nod towards my new year ‘get rid of the half a stone I’ve put on recently’ campaign I set the workout monitor to track the walk and set off at a brisk pace.  We walked up through the Victorian park, through the beautifully scented fir forest, over the fields until finally we walked along the top of the cemetery on our way back to the car. What a brilliant walk. I felt refreshed, revived and at peace with the world.

Douggie met a new friend. A golden labrador called Milly. Round and round they ran while I chatted to Milly’s human. Suddenly my eyes widened with horror as two wildly galloping  dogs headed straight towards me. OH MY GOD!!! With no chance of getting out of the way I stood terrified while Douggie skimmed past me but Milly ran at full speed into my legs. OW! OW! OW!

I tried not to cry as I sank to the ground, unable to put any weight on my right leg. Poor Milly’s owner was distraught, offering to carry me back to my car, call an ambulance, get help and anything else she could think of that might be helpful. What he hell are these dogs made of? Reinforced concrete? I felt like I’d been hit by a sledgehammer.

Eventually I managed to get back onto my feet and hobbled back to the car. Douggie stayed by my side all the way as good as gold. They really do understand when something is wrong, don’t they? Well, it certainly messed up my workout pace. I hobbled back at the rate of half a mile an hour. It’s sore and there’s a cracking bruise appearing but I don’t think it’s any worse than that.

It certainly livened up a grey day.

I’m back at home now,  ensconced at my computer to get on with a bit of work before all the family come round later for an end of the festivities festive meal. I’m sure I have grounds for getting someone else to cook it. I’ll just smile wanly, wince  and exaggerate my limp as I walk to the kitchen. Oh! The mileage I could get out of this.

Every cloud, eh?

 

The BIG Adventure


Sigh. We’re back. Back from one of the best experiences of our entire lives.

So good in fact that I’m getting teary just sitting here thinking about where to start telling you all about it. I suppose the best place to start is at the beginning, so here goes….

Some months ago a florist that we have met at many a wedding fair over the last few years told us she wanted us to photograph her wedding. At the last wedding fair she arranged the date – for the day before our Big Adventure.  Bit of an issue there as we were planning to set off on holiday that day for an early flight the following day but hey ho. let’s just incorporate it into the plan.

The day of the wedding arrived and we packed all the camera gear along with our passports, suitcases, boots and all the other paraphernalia involved in going away. After the wedding Lashes and Len met us to take the bulk of the camera gear home and we headed off down south. Yay, it’s happening – we’re on holiday!

After an uneventful journey we arrived at our destination, Narnia. What? Not Narnia? Well, it looks like Narnia. It’s definitely magical.

Ok, it wasn’t actually Narnia, it was Sweden.

On the coach journey to the hotel I was mesmerised by the way the trees were so heavily laden with snow that they bent in half, bowing majestically to us as we drove past.  Other trees assumed the shape of snow dragons, trolls, birds…..hang on. Are you sure it wasn’t Narnia?  I couldn’t believe that somewhere on this earth could be so beautiful. For the whole of the two hour journey to Karesuando I was transfixed and enchanted.

I was almost sad when we reached the hotel, until I stepped off the coach to an even more magical place. The paths were lit by candles and the trees, glistening with snow jewels were lit from deep in the woods giving an ethereal, magical effect. My eyes got wider and wider to try and take in the beauty of our surroundings. As an adult I felt like I was in a fairy tale, I can’t even begin imagine how small children must feel when they come here to see Santa.

I’m going to let the photographs tell you the story. I may chip in from time to time.

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Silent night….ssshhhhhh I said SILENT night!


Living, as we do,  on top of a mountain in  (almost) the windiest part of the windiest country in Europe, the actual windiest place is Scotland, we get used to it being, well, windy.

The thing about wind is that it makes a bit of a racket with it’s whistling, howling, roaring blustering windiness. We get so used to hearing it that we don’t even notice it any more, unless it’s a really rumbly, house groaning type of wind in which case we pull all the curtains shut , snuggle down under a blanket and say, “Ooh, hark at that wind. Glad I”m not out in that.”

Very rarely we get a day that isn’t windy. Guess what? The silence is DEAFENING!

Today was one of those days.

As I walked Velcrodog down the foggy and silent lane we spoke in whispers to each other since the silence was quite intimidating.  Speaking in a normal voice felt quite wrong. The atmosphere was one of a doctor’s waiting room. What do you mean, what do I mean? Of course the dog and me speak to each other. I’d just be a mad woman with a dog if I walked down the road talking to myself. Well, alright. he doesn’t so much speak as look at me and nod sagely as I waffle on about heels, by me’s and good boys but it all counts.

So. Moving swiftly on as I’ve just realised I do sound ever so slightly mad…….

While we were walking I realised that part of the reason I like fog and snow so much is that it muffles sounds and makes everything peaceful, calm and still. That’s a real treat these days, a bit of peace and quiet. I hope we get a few more days of it before we return to the howling and blustering.

 

It’s now only a few more  sleeps till Boofuls’ and my BIG ADVENTURE!!

Just in case you’ve been on Mars and haven’t heard about it – We’re off to the Arctic!

Thermal knickers and socks were the order of the day for Christmas presents this year in preparation for the trip. I’ve even invested in a super duper new camera especially for the trip  – a Canon 5D MkIII.  OMG!!! (as they txt).

Just for the camera nerds – and I do know there are at least two of you reading this. I used one of these cameras at a freelance wedding job I did last week and it was amazing.

It has  an incredibly high ISO of 104,800!!!  The wedding shots with ISO of 800 or higher were completely noiseless! (Ok, I know I’m sounding a bit excitable now but I am excitable – and I can’t seem to leave the ! key alone!). That means, dear non nerdy readers – and well done for keeping going this far – that I can practically shoot pictures in the dark with little or no noise! Perfect for the Arctic in January and for the much hoped for northern lights. *Thinks* Arctic in January ? Are we totally bonkers?

Gotta go! Gotta pack!

 

 

Booked it, Packed it…..


Booked it. packed it but not f**ked off yet. Not till January.

Ten points to you if you know where the comment above comes from. Answers on a postcard, please.

So finally The Big Adventure is underway. I’ve booked the hotel in Abisko in northern Sweden for January for our northern lights trip. WOOHOO!!!

Now all I need to do is work out how to get to a smallish town in northern Sweden in the middle of winter. I think I’ve worked out it’s going to take a minimum of two planes and two trains to get there. It isn’t going to be an easy trip this but if it goes according to plan it will be one of the most exciting we’ve ever done and I can’t wait.

Boofuls and me decided against a night in the Ice Hotel.

We discovered that the bathroom facilities are located in the main hotel, which does make sense, I suppose. It might be tricky flushing a toilet made of ice.  Then I realised with that kind of cold and our age we were likely to be up and down all night!

I didn’t fancy walking backwards and forwards to the main hotel all night so we decided to do a daytime tour instead.

Ah, the stuff you learn when you research these trips.

So other than that have I got any exciting news? Nah.

It’s been surprisingly quiet round here this week so I’ll be back when I’ve something interesting to tell you.

Have a nice Sunday.

Garlic bread?  Garlic……..? Bread…….?

Teehee

Evil Eye


As I’m sitting and staring at my computer screen wondering what delightful things I should write about today, I can feel a prickling on the back of my neck.  I sneaked a nervous peak over my shoulder a moment ago.  I say a nervous peak because I’m all alone in the house and yet the feeling of being watched is overwhelming.

Yup, I’m being watched alright. Our fluffy cat is sitting on the back of the armchair in the living room giving me the evil eye because the back of the chair is where he goes when he wants to be brushed and I’m ignoring him.

His beady, bright blue, gimlet eyes are practically boring a hole in me.  Tail swishing angrily, I can see he’s not a happy cat. Oh well, he’ll get over it or I’ll give in and go and brush him which is probably the most likely scenario.

Now. I need your help. For mine and Boofuls’   Big Adventure to see the northern lights we have narrowed down our location to one of two places: Tromso in Norway or Fairbanks in Alaska. Which do you think we should go for? Answers in the comments section please.

Attempting to work out which currency  will give us the best exchange rate left my poor blonde head all confuzzled the other evening.  Norway, we already know is ludicrously expensive but will it work out in the end to be cheaper than travelling halfway cross the world to Alaska or will Alaska be better value even taking into account the distance we have to travel?  I’m not  used to having to take all these things into consideration. I just want to take photos.

Culturally, Boofuls might be better in Alaska. A week or so in Norway could very well see him starving to death, he needs food he can readily identify. When we went to Hong Kong a few years ago he lived on ham sandwiches from very westernised hotel we were staying in.  He came back from that particular jaunt as a shadow of his former self. Not much chance of that happening to me, I’ll have a go at just about anything. Just tell me again why I’m not a size 10?

Me, Mrs Woofy and Gembolina were on the moors before 9 o’clock this morning. A lovely brisk walk in -2 temperatures blew the cobwebs away and set us up for the day. Lovely!

Ok, I can’t stand it any longer, I’m off to groom the cat.

Human 0  Cat 1

Bag balloon moon


How frustrating it must be when you are desperate to tell a good story but you just haven’t got the language skills to do it.  What do you mean, I should know? Cheeky!

Lashes and the family had been out for tea on Sunday before popping in to see us. Baby Bunting came running up to me all excited, practically jumping up and down on the spot and shouting. “Moon, balloon, sky BALLOON sky, moon, balloon!”

Being well versed in the language of baby, I worked out what was going on with a bit of help from Lashes.

“Did your balloon fly away?”

“Yes. SKY, Nanny. Balloon sky.”

“Did you cry.”

“Yeeeeeeeeeeeeees.” (sad face)

“Where’s your balloon now?”

“Moon.”

It’s obviously getting a bit untidy on the moon as the next day a carrier bag was whipped out of my car by the ridiculously strong wind that almost took the car door off. I was putting baby into her car seat at the time. As the bag whipped past our faces she watched it horrified as it flew away.

“BAG!! Sky. Moon, Nanny? Bag, balloon, moon!”  Bless.

Everyone she met that day she told the same story to. Everyone listened attentively as she tried her best to tell them. A far cry from when I was a child and children were seen and not heard. If we tried to speak, adults would just speak straight over the top of us. I’m so glad those times have changed. Children have interesting things to say as well.

Baby will be staying with us this weekend because it’s Len and Lashes Big Adventure Weekend.  They’re off to London to go and see Chicago The Musical.  They’re leaving Saturday morning and coming back Monday evening.

Wish I was going, I haven’t been to London for ages and I’d love to see Chicago. Sigh. Soon.

At the moment I’m getting excited about the  next Big Adventure for me and Boofuls.  I’ve managed to extricate a promise from him to go and spend a couple of weeks in Norway in winter freezing our backsides off in search of the Northern Lights. Hopefully we won’t actually freeze our backsides off,  * thinks*  hmmm  I really could do to get rid off it, maybe freezing it off is the answer.

Enquiries are already underway now that I’ve established the best places to go.  I’m really excited about this one, it’s been a lifelong dream of mine to see the Northern Lights. Boofuls, as normal, tolerates my nutcase schemes, just quietly sighing to himself and saying, “Yes, love.”  and letting me get on with it.

He’s not a lover of cold weather holidays. I can’t stand the heat. We’re like Jack and Mrs Spratt. How the hell have we managed to stay married so long?