Grandog Day!

For those of you who follow my blog you will know that I have just been blessed with a lovely healthy grandson.  We are all so thankful for the safe arrival of Arlo Frank and Im sure our roles in his little life will gradually find their definition, but while mum, dad and baby are learning the ropes of parenthood I am left with a very different kind of role,  that of looking after my grandog!

A couple of weeks before Arlo frank was born, my eldest sons girlfriend lost her best friend during childbirth.  Sadly having just given birth to a healthy baby boy and having held him for a few minutes there were complications, and mum lost her life.  This was shocking on so many levels, heartbreaking for the family, devastating for Shona and of course with the awaited arrival of a new baby in our own family it was deeply shocking. The funeral is today and my thoughts are so with them all as they say goodbye to such a young and beautiful life.  We could ask so many questions, but I think the best way forward is to love and support those who need it, and my part in doing that for now is looking out for this little chap for the day as they say their goodbyes.


This is Elvis.  Sausage dog extraordinaire!  Looking a little serious in this photo but don’t be fooled, he’s a little scamp.

Elvis came along at a good time.  When family spirits for various reasons are a little low there is nothing quite like a four pawed furry friend to add a bit of spice and laughter to life, especially a puppy that needs lots of love and attention which for at least a short while removes us from our own worries.


Elvis taking time to ‘smell the roses’ or in this case apple mint.


Hmmm this little chap seems to have a thing about flowers! although something tells me he might have had a little help from the photographer to get in there as those little legs are really not built for climbing.


Everything in Nonnas’ garden is so exciting and so worth a sniff and an explore.


Luckily there is someone a little older and wiser to keep Elvis in check every now and then.  Thanks Jess.


Phew!  All this adventure is tiring for a little chap with little legs.


My favourite pic, and Elvis..thanks for keeping me well and truly entertained, and for bringing lots of pleasure to all who know you.  I know that you will work your magic over the coming weeks as you bring your unique sense of fun and joy into the lives of those who love you.  Your cheeky presence will be invaluable in the healing process of hearts that are broken.

Your one ‘Houndog’ for sure!



Love Alison x







Mangetout and the menagerie

For those of you who havent read my post Cottage life. I live in a mid terrace on a part owned council estate in the midlands, but to me it is my cottage in the countryside. It comes complete with the sweet sound of humming as the bees lovingly collect their nectar, and is surrounded by trees which exude birdsong from morning till night.  My two hens cluck happily away as they scratch and peck at the ground, and I happily consume their fresh produce for my lunch most days.  I have a lovely dog named Jess, a family of sparrows in the eaves and my two hens Ginger and Cilla.  Generally we all tick along with each other just fine.


Well I did say generally!!  Jess is normally a little hen-pecked by these two, but on this occasion I’m afraid  ‘sharing’  wasn’t an option and Jess was definitely the ‘cat that got the cream’  if a little more canine than feline.

Even with just two hens there is a pecking order, and Ginger likes to think she is ‘Top Dog,’  cheekily pecking both Jess and Cilla if they get in her way,  and often found trying to escape.  Jess knows where they should be and has started coming to fetch me when this bundle of feathers is doing her dare-devil act.


I have always wanted to grow vegetables, but with my love of chickens in a small city garden this has never been easy.  This year I have managed to grow my first lot of Mangetout against what is affectionately known as my ‘Mexican Bar’,  a pallet construction which primarily serves to keep my dog away from the neighbours’, and although my feelings aren’t totally shared, I rather like it, especially now that it lights up at night.


Having never grown vegetables before, I was filled with a childlike excitement on finding this beautiful flower yesterday which I’m guessing is a good sign that my Mangetout are developing as they should, although some more hastily than others.


I was struck by the vibrant colours, symmetry and sheer beauty of this flower,  and no way are those greedy hens gonna destroy this little moment of victory.  They have on two occasions already tried to make a quick meal of my Sweat Peas which I try to grow every year.  This year they are planted in an old pine kitchen cupboard, which with the door taken off and placed on its back,  has made an excellent planter.  It should last a good few years, and was even given the seal of approval with a “that was one of your better ideas”!!  Hmmm!


I love finding new uses for things that I’m not quite ready to throw out.  This chopping board has made a cute little shelf and was saved from the scrap heap for a little longer,


and for anyone who has read my Who sacked the Teapot? post you will know that there is always a use for a lidless pot.


I love my little garden and its inhabitants, and the things I’m learning in my small corner of the world.  Yes of course I have dreams,  but learning to appreciate what we have and being able to make the most of it is so life enhancing,  and definitely the way to contentment.

And anyway don’t we all know that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side, although something tells me that Cilla would beg to differ!





Love Alison xx






The sheer bliss of a furry friend.


Having blogged a little about my life and family,  I thought that over the next couple of weeks I would introduce the furry and feathery friends that make life in my ‘city cottage’ so much more fun.  This week I would like you to meet Jess my Spaniel Patterdale X, and maybe you would even like to come for a walk!

I follow a lovely  ‘blogger’  on the Word Press site and am inspired by both her fashion tips and her thoughts.  During our conversation this morning she suggested that a long walk might help reignite the inspiration that I felt was lost.  It wasn’t long before I had my wellies and duffel coat on, and was having the usual wriggly contest as I tried to put the lead on a very enthusiastic and bouncy Jess, who still hasn’t worked out that if she would just sit still,  we would be on our way with greater speed!  I have to say  ‘Dominique’  that you were right,  and the exercise and fresh air worked wonders.  Do visit her blog if you get the chance.

I guess I already knew the benefits of a good walk but sometimes we just need a little push which is one of the reasons being a dog owner is so beneficial to our health.


Having a dog gives you that extra incentive.  Going for a walk alone can seem a little unnerving at times, but with a furry friend by your side, or in Jesse’s case eagerly pulling you along as she has squirrels to chase, the whole experience is much more fun and its a good way of meeting and talking to people, as well as increasing your step count for the day.


I have to say that it is very hard to refuse this little face every morning.  Out of all the dogs we have had as part of our family she really is quite a character and full of boundless energy and unconditional love, so long as there is a hot dog sausage on offer and actually even when there isn’t.  That is the great thing about owning a dog, they are always there, happy to listen and offer a comforting paw, and always very willing to snuggle up and be your friend when you feel a little alone.  Even when they are not supposed to get on the furniture… “JESS”!

Sometimes I’m left wondering if my children come home to see me or Jess,  but I guess it all amounts to the same thing.  We all love going home for the comfort and safety it brings and I’m pretty sure that Jess is part and parcel of that feeling.

There are so many health benefits of having a dog that I could mention,  but from personal experience, I just think they add a lot of Joy and laughter to life.  We so often find ourselves laughing at Jess, her antics and the fact that at times she seems almost human, and although some members of the family might not fully appreciate the smelly furry black bundle due to allergies and maybe a few unwanted aromas.. we love her and I can honestly say that she loves us right back.


Love Alison x




Ps. I do worry occasionally!!!