Remembering a special birthday

Today would have been Maxi’s 16th birthday, roughly 112 dog years. I miss her and think of her every day, sometimes I imagine her still standing at the front fence, barking at me as I pull into the driveway. Although some memories bring tears to my eyes it is easier to remember the happy times now and I want to share them you. Happy Birthday my sweet Maxi girl, may you be happy and pain free wherever you are ❤

Our beautiful Maxi girl
Maxi hated selfies
A golden sunrise and a splash in the surf
Maxi’s favourite spot for an early morning run

She loved a good roll
Maxi loved the beach and rolling in smelly things
Running free by the water
Maxi doing her happy dance at dinner time

Advertisements

On this day…

On this day 3 years ago the hubby and I were celebrating my birthday in Paris, starting early at the Palace of Versailles and ending with a view of Paris lit up like a birthday cake. One of my most spectacular and memorable birthdays, browsing through my photos makes me smile and surprisingly I can still remember much of the detail.

Today was a quiet celebration at home with hubby and the two black dogs before heading off to work where my wonderful colleagues had organised a morning tea. A lovely day 🙂

Princess Maxi turns 13 today

Maxi the dog
A young and happy Maxi

Today Maxi, the number one black dog, turns 13 which is roughly 83 years of age in dog years for a dog of her size and weight. Princess, as we like to call her, was our first dog and she was purchased on impulse from a pet store – everything I am now vehemently opposed to. We were living in an apartment near the beach, no dogs allowed and Maxi spent her first few days hiding out in our bathroom and avoiding the so-called wee wee pads that are supposed to help with toilet training. Early of a morning and late in the afternoon we would sneak her outside for a walk and a play in the park, she was frightened of everything and absolutely hated stairs. Thankfully my sister in-law was able to look after Maxi for a few weeks while we went house hunting for a pet friendly rental. They had a border collie pup called Murray and she was a few weeks older so the pair of them played and slept together, Maxi still gets excited when we visit my sister in-law even though Murray passed away long ago.

We made alot of mistakes with Maxi, walking isn’t always fun and she is frightened of so many things yet will take on anything or anyone that dares come to our front gate and as Maxi has gotten older she has become less tolerant of other dogs. With her greying fur, wobbly legs and poor hearing Maxi still retains the most beautiful nature and is loved by all our friends and family. She is great with kids of all shapes and sizes, occasionally bounding across the yard with them until it all gets too exhausting or unless someone offers her a cuddle and a treat.

Maxi loves a walk, her favourite places are the beach and the local park where there is plenty of smell duck poo to roll in. Her happy face is contagious and we always have a good laugh when she hits the ground for a roll on the grass (minus the poo), the look on her face is goofy and yet delightful. For her birthday she will have a yummy chicken dinner and a walk around the duck pond, there will also be lots of cuddles and kisses.

Happy Birthday my beautiful Princess Maxi and thank you for 13 years of unconditional love and loyalty.

Happy birthday little man xox

Bundy the dog waiting for his liver treat
Birthday treat time!

Yesterday my little boy reached the ripe old age of 7, I joke that he is at mid-life crisis stage but without benefit of being able to drive a Harley Davidson or sports car although he seems pretty happy just to be able to hop in the back of our car and cruise down to the newsagent for the Saturday papers. The last time I wrote about Bundy’s birthday, he was five and looking back at the photos he certainly seems to have alot more grey around the muzzle and behaviour wise he is less likely to disappear into the bush next door as soon as the gate is open.

Celebrations were very low key this year, the dogs entertained each other in the morning and in the afternoon it was time for birthday liver treats and a new toy. Maxi didn’t miss out on the treats and she is no longer interested in toys (unless they have feathers and land in our backyard) so we played ‘Chuck a Duck’ rope frisbee with Bundy and eventually let him catch and kill his new toy, once he had that frisbee in his mouth he was off and racing around the yard in an attempt to keep us from getting it. We knew he loved his present when he opted to take it to bed with him and then spend time systematically pulling the frisbee apart, not satisfied until the toy was completely dead he kept returning to it during the evening. That night, prime position was between Mum and Dad as they watched television, lying close enough to ensure lots of cuddles and tummy rubbing.

Happy Birthday little man! We love you lots xox

Bundy sitting on Dad's tummy
Bundy sitting on Dad’s tummy
Bundy the dog with his present
The Birthday Boy with his present
Bundy the dog running in yard with toy in his mouth
You can’t catch me!
Bundy the dog running away with toy in his mouth
It’s all mine, you can’t have it!
Bundy the dog tearing his rope frisbee toy apart
The rope frisbee must die
Bundy the dog with his toy
I’m not coming any closer
Maxi the dog waiting for her share of birthday treat
Maxi waiting for her share of birthday treat

Early morning walk to see the sun rise

Nobby's Beach Newcastle
Nobby’s Beach Newcastle
Nobby's Lighthouse as sun begins to rise
Nobby’s Lighthouse as sun begins to rise

We had roughly 24 hours in Newcastle, timed so that we could attend the 90th birthday of a much loved family member, my husband’s Poppy and still make the most of one of the city’s popular locations: Nobby’s beach. The 90th birthday was an extended affair beginning at a local club for a long lunch and continuing into the evening at Nan and Pop’s home, most of the family was there and stories of WWII, cheeky children and spoiled grandchildren were shared over pizza and glasses of wine. It was a lovely day, the tears of joy were many as it had been several years since the family had been together for a celebration.

With the aim of getting some exercise and seeing the sun rise over the water, we awoke early and put on a few layers of clothing before braving the cold weather of an early winter’s morning by the ocean. Nobby’s Beach is a favourite among the locals for walking, jogging, exercising the dogs and surfing, not to mention the occasional backdrop for wedding photos. The only cameras we had were iPhones and I was madly snapping away as we walked towards the end of the break-wall, stopping so often that I had to jog most of the way just to keep up. My hands were icy and a beanie kept my head warm, but being by the ocean and witnessing one of most beautiful, natural events made it worth having ice cold fingers. All of us stood in awe, basking in the golden glow as the sun rose above the horizon, trying not to get wet as the waves crashed against the rocks and concrete blocks stacked on the break-wall.

Early morning walk
Early morning walk
The city of Newcastle
The city of Newcastle
Looking back
Looking back

Invigorated by the walk and the fresh air it was now time for coffee and a bite to eat, breakfast at a local cafe called Estabar consisted of Espresso and toasted sourdough smothered in Avocado with garlic, feta and sea salt – delicious! Before too long we were back on the plane and heading home, Newcastle is a city that is close to my heart, I went to University there and it was where I met my future husband, it was great to be back even though it was only a quick visit.

Popular place to walk and jog
Popular place to walk and jog
On top of the world
On top of the world
Feeling the spray of cold, salty water as we watch the sun rise
Feeling the spray of cold, salty water as we watch the sun rise
Family portrait
Family portrait
Interesting rock
Naturally carved rock, mother nature is very creative
Morpeth Sourdough and Avocado for breakfast
Morpeth Sourdough and Avocado for breakfast

Little black dog turns 5

Two Black Dogs sleeping
Two Black Dogs sleeping

January 19, 2007 a litter of puppies is born to a staffy at our local shelter, the Animal Welfare League, five weeks later we fostered two male puppies from that litter and they very quickly steal our hearts. The nicknames we gave them were Cookie and Buddha, two round bellied staffy puppies that walked with a wobbly boot, their tummies so low to the ground that they dragged along the grass. Cookie and Buddha played and and slept together, never straying far from each other and we delighted in their presence, when it came time to return them we did so with heavy hearts because both had been reserved by potential owners. The joy we felt when the shelter rang to tell us that an adoption had fallen through and to ask us if we still wanted one of the boys was immense, it was a great big yes and our happy family went from one black dog to two black dogs in an instant.

A very attentive Bundy
A very attentive Bundy
Play time for Bundy
Play time for Bundy

Cookie became Bundy, a popular drink in Australia and one of my husband’s all time favourites and life has never been dull with Bundy around. Maxi could have happily remained an only child and some times we feel bad because she has to share the love and affection with a rather demanding, often bossy, little boy. Regardless of their differences, they play together often even though she is now at the geriatric age of 10.

Waiting patiently at the front door
Waiting patiently at the front door

This week Bundy turned 5, which equals 35 dog years, with his penchant for chasing snakes and disappearing into the bush I worried that he wouldn’t make it to 5 so I have enjoyed remembering what life with Bundy has been like for the past 5 years. These are just a few of the strange, worrying and amusing antics of our little black dog:

  • I hear the chink, chink of glass as the dogs run around the yard, upon inspection I find a drinking glass lying on the ground with at least an inch of the rim missing. It had been chewed off, leaving most of the glass intact.
  • Barking incessantly at a carpet python making its way along the top of our fence into the neighbours yard, Bundy did not stop barking until the tail of the snake had disappeared over the fence.
  • Bundy loves getting in the car, once in the car it is difficult to get him out and he is happy sitting there while the car is washed or the lawn is mowed.
  • Chasing bubbles.
  • Barking at balloons and trying to catch them, when they pop he looks everywhere for them.
  • Sitting on my lap while I work on the computer.
  • Sleeping on his back with one fang bared.
  • Sitting outside and staring at the barbeque for hours, waiting for that pesky rat/mouse to appear even though it is long gone.
  • Snuggling into my neck and shoulder when he is not feeling well
Riding shotgun
Riding shotgun
Sleeping Bundy
Resting

I could probably keep going with Bundy’s list, but instead I’ll leave you with this short clip of Bundy playing with a squeaky cup cake toy that Maxi got for Christmas. Maxi doesn’t play with toys anymore and poor Bundy didn’t seem to know what to make of this toy that kept ‘barking’ back at him, usually he just chews things until they pop.

Video clip: Bundy playing with squeaky toy

It is a little late but Happy 5th Birthday Bundy! We love you 🙂

Chasing bubbles
Chasing bubbles

Birthday celebration at the Palace of Versailles

Golden gate of Versaille
Golden gate of Versailles
The entry to Versailles
The entry to Versailles

Our last full day in Paris and my birthday, attraction of choice is the Palace of Versailles to see the extravagance of the palace and the musical fountain display that only happens on weekends for some of the year, starting in April. We had planned to be up early and on the first train, the red wine the previous night and the fact that we had walked all over Paris since arriving in the city had resulted in us being exhausted and in need of a sleep-in. To get to Versaille we catch an RER train from Gare d’Austerlitz, it is a 15 minute walk from the hotel and the sun god was shining on us so we are keen to be moving around. Once we arrive at our destination we have to walk another 15 minutes to get to the palace, there are two queues, one for tickets and one for people who already have tickets – thankfully we have our trusty museum pass and only have to line up once.

The sheer size and extravagance of the palace and gardens blows my mind. The weather was perfect and being a Saturday the French were picnicking by the canals along with all of the tourists. We had traipsed up to the Grand Trianon, a small scale palace or residence that Marie Antionette had influence in designing/decorating. The gardens were not all in flower and the trees were a little shabby but it was still worth seeing and the ostenatious nature of Versailles was not as obvious here. There is more of Versaille to see, the hamlet that housed Marie Antoinette’s handbrushed cows and other farm animals but it is too much to cover on foot and we make the trek back to the grand canal for lunch.

Hall of Mirrors
Hall of Mirrors

I’m so glad that we were there in time to see the musical fountain show, they really are a spectacular sight, we had just caught the end of the morning session and the afternoon session begins at 3.30pm. Marty finds a spot near a small body of water and makes himself comfortable, the water show is in sync with classical music and runs every 10 minutes, the best place to be while waiting for the main event. Even though my feet are sore I head off in search for the roman influenced fountains and columns, they are not far from where Marty is resting and even closer is the Kings garden, a peaceful spot with flowering magnolia trees and shady spots well suited for a nap.

As 3.30pm approaches the crowd around the canal and the Apollo fountain thickens, cameras are out and all in attendance appear excited in anticipation of the show. It is very special, the sun shining and the water sparkles, the blue sky and rows of trees makes for an amazing backdrop, we wait, watch and then head back towards the palace, the show goes for an hour and a half and we want to beat the crowds back to the train. Again we realise that there is more to see, but we are ready to go back to Paris and see the city illuminated, hopefully we can make it back to Versailles another time.

The Apollo Fountain
The Apollo Fountain
The grand canal at Versailles
The grand canal at Versailles

 

Just a small part of the garden at Versailles
Just a small part of the garden