Friday, 9 September 2016

Water Baby

Last week Izzi and I had a "Grand Day Out" in Norfolk, principally to do some shopping at the wonderful Roy's of Wroxham.  Apparently it was "essential" to buy lots of "stuff" before the new University term, although I'm sure it wasn't like this in my day.

Needless to say, The Dumb Blonde came along too; and, given that we had some time to kill before lunch (and serious shopping), we decided to head to Salhouse Broad: one of our favourite locations, and a great place for canine swimming.  It didn't take long before Amber went headlong into the water...

Sometimes, the similarity between Amber and Winston Churchill is uncanny.

Although Amber is a retriever through and through, she's never quite got the hang of handing back what she's just fetched.  I suppose blondes are allowed to play hard to get.

Gradually worsening arthritis means that Amber is now getting rather "limpy" on land, but this hasn't dampened her enthusiasm for diving into water (no pun untended).

I only wish Salhouse Broad were a bit closer to home, as it would do Amber a huge amount of good to swim on a regular basis.  I suppose we'll just have to visit Roy's again soon...

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Wimpole Estate Park Run

On Saturday morning I accompanied Izzi to Wimpole Hall where she was taking part in a Park Run.  Coming from a school where cross country running was used as a punishment, I was completely ignorant of these events which are happening weekly - and completely free - all around the country.  It's an astonishing piece of organisation, and clearly very popular with the participants.  Here are a few pictures from the event, starting with the obligatory stretching in the September sunshine.

Not having been to one of these events before, I had no idea where to position myself for the start of the run.  I got it completely wrong, of course, but the sight of so many people setting off was pretty impressive - even from a distance.

Having met a fellow Fuji enthusiast, who was there supporting his girlfriend, I decided to head for a spot where we could watch the runners as they returned to the Hall.  I chose a spot on a hill overlooking a gate with the lake and folly in the background, but didn't get quite as far as we'd hoped since the race leaders were already well on their way to finishing.  The majority of the runners had yet to reach the gate, though, so Amber and I sat down in the grass and watched all the people who were more energetic than we were.

It has to be said that some people didn't look like they were enjoying it very much.  Perhaps they went to a school with a similar running policy to mine?

Lots of people were running with their dogs, and I love the Weimaraner who clearly couldn't wait for his owner to stop fiddling with his watch!

Izzi soon came through, and it was a proud moment to see her running.  I don't know where she gets her atheticism genes from, but it certainly isn't from me.

Once the race was over I went back to the stable block to meet Izzi.  I also bumped into the race organiser who turned out to be someone who lived in Harston until she and her family moved to Barton.  Debs and Scott used to walk their collie, Guiness, and I would often bump into them when I was out with Amber.  As a piece of nostalgia, here are three pictures from February 2009 when we all ended up with an unexectedly free day at home owing to snow.

Guinness and Amber are now both now starting to look (and feel) their age, but they seemed to remember one another despite not having met for six years or so.  Guinness (below, on the left) now has a younger playmate - Swift - who has a very definite twinkle in his eye.

It was lovely to catch up with Debs and Scott again, and the chance encounter proves (perhaps) that running isn't so bad after all.  Not sure you'll catch me doing it any time soon, though...

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Fenland Country Fair

On Bank Holiday Monday we decided to visit the traditional Fenland Country Fair at Quy.  We've been several times before - the first occasion being ten years ago when Amber was a small pup - and it's changed very little over this period.  Lots to see and do, and extremely dog-friendly into the bargain.  An ideal opportunity to take the camera out too.

Very soon I ended up with a crack in my lens, however...

It was a gloriously sunny afternoon, and lots of people were sitting on straw bales watching the entertainment in the arena.  I don't think their pooches were too impressed, though, and one or two of the older audience members also started to nodd off.

There was always the ferrets to look at, of course, and it was lovely to bump into Yvonne and Geoff Evans from Cambridge Camera Club there.  I knew they were ferret fanciers, of course, but I had never seen them plying their trade before.  The two poeple below are not Yvonne and Geoff, but two a couple with a young child who clearly thought that ferrets would improve their chances of a sun tan.

In common with all country fairs, there were lots of things on sale.  This ranged from the bespoke, in terms of both tweed suits and pet homes, to rather more esoteric offerings.  I'm not sure I'd want anyone to Put the pet's [sic] in my petshop, and certainly not Simon or one of his eponymous rodents.  Well, not until they'd learned to punctuate properly, at the very least.

As for the assorted plastic avians available, I'm sure there were bargains to be had if only one knew what to look for.

Personally I've always wanted a turbo-charged flapper, so it was lovely to see them on sale...

The fair also had old-fashioned entertainments such as swings, a helter-skelter and a rather wonderful carousel.  It was no surprise that the children wanted to have a go, but Harriet decided to re-live her childhood as well.

Country shows are also great places to see livestock, although the choice was rather limited on this occasion.  I remember going to shows in Yorkshire as a kid which were full of cows, sheep, goats, geese, ducks and the like - along with lots of improbably sized vegetables.  On this occasion we had to make do with a few chickens in cages (not illustrated) and some rather beautiful heavy horses.

Since last year's show had been a complete wash-out, the warm late-summer sunshine was a welcome change for everyone.