Friday, 30 November 2007

Fire Places and other stuff

Haven't had much time for blogging this past week so thought I'd do a big update.

I sound like a worn out record when I keep saying how busy we are, but it's true. We have a first phase plan of stuff we want to get done on the house and once we've achieved that we'll take a breather and chill for a bit before starting phase 2!

So, last week after Andy had built Dan and Mac's new fire place we started to discuss if it was feasible for him to re-build our own fire place before Christmas. Andy decided it was possible and so decided he would go for it. More mess to come ... and more on this subject later.

On Wednesday of last week my friend Jane came for lunch. Jane is one of my oldest and closest friends and we hadn't seen each other for a while so it was lovely to catch up. Jane is always very busy and had just got back from a trip abroad. She is always on the go and up for different projects. She and her husband Mark have just bought some apartments abroad (that will be let out) and she also announced that they've bought a pub in Scotland that Jay (Jane's son) will manage. As usual I was out of breath just listening to all the stuff they're up to! Jane had bought us a house warming pressie and she brought this with her. I've wanted these garden geese for ages and now I've got them but as it's not very nice outdoors so they're living in at the moment! Meet Bill and Ben ........... I was going to call them Hex and Zen but thought I might get in trouble!!

Bill and Ben

On Thursday I did a training session with a Ulla and her rescue collie 'Nina'. Ulla has had Nina for only two weeks and we didn't expect too much attention from her. However we were to be surprised. She was amazing and quickly picked up the different exercises we tried. We had thought she might manage half an hour but she kept going for a full hour and a tub full of tit bits! I suggested to Ulla that Nina would probably be very tired after the training session as it was probably the most she had ever used her brain. Ulla e-mailed the following day with this lovely photo of Nina who slept all the way home, when she got home and for the whole of the evening. She is a lovely little dog.

Nina after her training

Nina staying awake just long enough to pose for the camera!

Then on Friday Karen came over for lunch. We did a bit of training to work up an appetite! First of all Karen and I trained Naughty Niamh and Jess. They were good girls and did some nice stuff. We had a run of each others' dogs. I think Karen ran Niamh better than I ran Jess!
Then Andy and Karen had a session with Kizzle and Toddlet. They were brilliant and did some complex little jump combinations and some excellent dog walks with Karen and Andy layering the dogwalk with weaves between. Very impressive! Andy is trying to persuade Karen to have a fire place built, he will not give in and will irritate her about this until she agrees!

On Saturday Al continued with the outdoor wiring. We now have electricity right down to the summer house which is great as I'll be able to use it through the winter for clicker training and stuff.

My usual beginner group came for their agility session and had a really good time as they can now do almost all of the obstacles and the general foundation training is starting to pay off. Then Kate came along with her gorgeous little poodle Tickle. We thought we'd do twenty minutes or half an hour as it was the first training session we'd done together. An hour later she was still going strong having done ladder work, down plank of the dog walk, sendaways to her toy, left and right turn exercises. Kate and I were exhausted but Tickle was still up for more!

Anyway, part of my reason for rambling on about Saturday morning was that by the time I got back up to the house Andy had demolished the old fire place. There was thick dust everywhere but no more horrible white bricks in the sitting room! Sadly I haven't got a very good photo of the old fireplace but you can see a bit of it from the photo below. It was actually made from rather nice sand stone bricks but somebody had painted them white (yuk) and the mantle piece and hearth were made from left over granite from the kitchen work tops (more yuk). So these photos show the original fireplace (partial view) and after it was demolished!

The old fireplace with small pointed thing basking in front

There it was gone! Andy has opened up the fireplace so we have a much wider aperture for the wood burner to fit in.

On Sunday I went all the way to Ipswich for a training day. Well, training morning really. It was taken by Jill Spurr and was good fun. Niamh and I really enjoyed ourselves and got some good feedback on one of our main weaknesses ... the down dog walk! The training session was held inside a huge indoor school so we were in the dry. I was lucky with the weather for the journey. It had been forecast to be really bad but most of the foul weather was further to the west and we missed it. By the time I travelled home the worst of it had passed over. Niamh slept all the way home and fell in her basket when we got home. When we went through to the sitting room all she wanted to do was have a good suckle on her special Prongo toy however she kept being interrupted by a long pointed nose interfering where it wasn't wanted. No points for guessing who this might have been!

Poor Andy woke up on Sunday with a migraine. He got up to see me off to Ipswich but had lots of blank patches and couldn't see very well. This is the first one he's had for about a year. It was a bad one and he couldn't get on with the fire place so instead put together all the flat pack kitchen units ready for Dennis to fit in the new utility room.

On Monday evening we went to the Dartford Agility club to do a training evening for them, we're doing another one in two weeks' time. We always enjoy these as they're such a nice bunch of people.

Andy's headache has lasted a long time and last night (Tuesday) at training he was very sick which is hopefully the migraine coming to an end. He managed to train Kizzy and she did some great stuff. Andy's been working on her turns. She has a tendency to sweep wide out of tunnels and around wings (all that running in circles around the coffee table I reckon!). He's been training her the 'steady' command as he wants his left and right turns for a more general turn rather than wing wrapping. She is responding really well to the 'steady' and you can see her gather her stride and start to turn over the pole. It's most satisfying to watch!

The fireplace is now work in progress (hurrah as we have Bernadette and Dennis coming for supper on Saturday!) Andy decided to take a couple of days off work to carry on with the fire place. This is a good idea as drawing isn't what he needs to be doing with a migraine attack.

Here is a picture of the work in progress. I'll post a picture of the final product in due course (soon I hope!!)

The new fireplace in progress

We're having an oak mantle piece for the top and the wood burner rather than an open fire. I love open fires but the wood burner is far more efficient and Poppy likes it because it's quiet and doesn't hiss and spit like an open fire. Poppy hates loud bangs and I hate the fact that she won't come into the sitting room when the fire is alight. The sad thing is that she loves the heat but is too scared to bask (unlike Kizzle and Niamh who queue up to get in front of the fire). Once the wood burner is up and running then little Pops will be back in the basking queue!

Well think that's enough for now!


  1. phew what a week youve had ! lunch was yummy and I thought jess was really good for you ! you ran her really nicely. Poor Andy hope his head is better soon, as the fire place is looking more appealing !
    lol lol

  2. You had a busy week! Maybe Andy fancy doing me a fireplace one day? Hope his migrane has gone.

  3. WOW i wondered what you'd been up to! No wonder poor Andy has a head ache, perhaps he should have a rest. Don't work to hard and thank goodness the winter is nearly half way through. See you soon

  4. Blimey I'm tired out just reading what you've been up to.
    Migraines are awful so I hope Andy feels better soon.

  5. Haven't been on computer for a week so need to catch up - fireplace coming along. It is gonna look great with a woodburner. Everyone should have a fireplace (hehe) - they are fab. Ours (and its w'dburner) is MUCH appreciated by the hairy ones.Hx