Friday, 31 May 2013

Holly's First Year

This is the little sweetheart who’s been taking up all of my time these last several months! 

Holly came to us in August last year, at nine weeks of age.  The months since have been occasionally chaotic, very rarely frustrating, frequently funny and always rewarding.  The time I’ve spent buried in dog training, dog behaviour and dog psych books has paid off in spades.  At almost a year old, Holly is a delight.  Full of beans and with a huge personality, she is constantly entertaining and can be playful yet  still gentle.  My 89 year old father adores her, and she him.  She is incredibly gentle and patient with him and loves nothing more than to sit at his side. 

The biggest, and most unexpected bonus, to having Holly join the household is the amount of time we’ve been spending at the beach.  I have long maintained that I have mermaid blood, and Holly was born within earshot of the waves; an afternoon at the beach is the perfect excursion for both of us.  Throughout the winter months there weren’t many weeks where we didn’t pay a visit to the coast.  On one or two occasions these were very fleeting visits, but we got there nonetheless! 

Life around the old homestead has changed significantly too.  From being quite houseproud, I can now often be seen sitting with a cuppa while chaos reigns around me.  My motto these days is “it’s a house where a dog lives”!!  It only takes five minutes to do a quick tidy up, and another five with the vacuum cleaner to restore some order! Holly favours an outside feel to the living room so I am constantly picking up bits of stick, leaves, moss and occasionally muddy grassy clumps where she’s strewn them around.   

The best part of my day now are our walks.  It’s come as quite a surprise how bonding these walks are.  We wander along with me encouraging and praising her while she’s on the lead, calling her and keeping her close-by when she’s off the lead and playing with her when we get to the field.  Despite the mess it makes, and the time it takes to clean her off afterwards; watching her splashing and racing through muddy puddles and getting filthy just reduces me to laughter.  The look of utter joy and delight on her face is impossible to deny! 

The winter months brought their own joys for Holly; Autumn leaves to be chased along, and brought inside endlessly!  For one glorious week in January we had snow.  Proper snow, disruptive snow, drifts of snow, the snow I remember from my childhood.  Holly LOVED it!  I would find her lying outside, flat out on the snow all day, and all night if I’d let her!  She used to love running and jumping through it, catching snowballs and looking to see where they’d disappeared to, but most of all rolling and rolling around in it, making snow dogs!  Another bonus to the winter months were cosy early nights.  Holly and I would often take off for an early night, she curled up asleep at my side, I with my nose buried in a book!

At nearly a year old now she is pretty much fully grown, and is a lovely petite little lady.  She has a beautiful fine coat, with white ‘angels wings’ on her shoulders, white pants and mane.  She has a lovely sweet nature, loving and gentle, she is still full of mischief from time to time and has a huge personality.  For all of that, she is incredibly well behaved and loves to please. 

We’ve been on an incredible journey over the last ten months, and I have loved every minute of it.  Life now is very, very different – but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Holly my darling, here’s to many, many, many more years of chaos xxx

Tuna and Pasta Salad

Almost unbelievably, I’ve managed to get my puppy addled brain into gear, stumble into the kitchen and cook up a new recipe to share with you! 

Waking to a surprisingly warm and summery morning, I wanted something nice, light and summery for lunch.  This tuna and pasta salad fit the bill perfectly. 

It’s based around a recipe from the lovely Bill Grainger, but adjusted to suit my tastes, and what I had to hand at such short notice this morning!  This is a lovely flexible dish, and you can add whatever you have to hand, or whatever you want to.  You can increase or decrease the quantities, depending on how many you are feeding.  It also makes a lovely working lunch; made the evening before, popped into a plastic box and stored in the fridge at work until lunchtime. 

For two of us, this was what I used : 

1 small tin of tuna
1 ripe tomato
3 small spring onions
Zest and juice of a lemon
Appx 1tb of chopped flatleaf parsley
Ground black pepper to taste
½ tb of extra virgin olive oil
120g of penne pasta (or whatever you have to hand).


First drain the tuna and tip into a bowl.  Deseed and slice up the tomato and add to the tuna, cut the spring onions into generous pieces, grate the zest of the lemon and then the chopped parsley.  Add the lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, season to taste and give everything a good stir and set aside. 

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet.  Drain and add to the pasta.  Combine everything well and serve.