Monday, 20 December 2010

Birthday & Caerlaverock

I really am useless at starting these things off and then not managing to keep up with them :-( so here is a bit more info about October, November post will follow shortly..... maybe ......

Mark took me to Scotland for the weekend at the end of the school holidays to meet up with some of his friends, do some walking, bird watching and drinking!  Being as it was also my birthday weekend I thought I'd go up to Derby beforehand to spend the day with my parents.  We had a lovely day van-hunting as I want to swap my VW transporter - have decided I would like a Vito next, but 3-seats in the front leaving more boot space for dogs and equipment/food transportation.  Mark arrived later in the day and we had a lovely evening meal.

We set off early on the Thursday morning for the long drive to Scotland, after saying a big goodbye to my dogs who were staying with mum & dad for the weekend (feel gutted I am missing Gypsy's birthday!).  It was a fairly un-eventful journey, taking us just over 4hours including a stop and we weren't even the last to arrive!  We were staying at Caerlaverock which is a Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust Centre (hence no dogs) in a lovely big house with it's own conservatory over-looking the reserve.  Mark and some of his friends went out investigating the centre and for a spot of bird-watching whilst I stayed in the warmth and un-packed a bit.  Went out for a walk to find them, spotted some "birds" or duck-ducks in Holly-language (we understand each other you see!) as well as some deer, and then came back to the warmth with Bea.  Evening meal was delicious, followed by port and the ability to badger and fox-watch in the warmth of the conservatory.
I think the warmth, food, alcohol and the long day got the better of most people since everybody was early to bed!

Friday dawned a bit wet!  After a lovely breakfast cooked by Mark and Gareth there were many discussions on what to do for the day, due to the weather not being great for too much outdoors with 4 children.  Whilst discussing, the rain eased and it was decided to go for a walk in the woods, hoping the trees would protect us from the worst of the rain.  It was a lovey walk, probably only about 3 miles, but there were HILLS!  Spent some time on the walk spotting red squirrels as well as having fun playing with the camera - really wish I had more time to get out and about taking pictures.

A late lunch at a cafe/tea rooms was followed by Mark and I heading off into Dumfries to find a tourist information shop and a bit of a nose-around - didn't much like the height or ferocity of the River Nith.  Fianlly headed back to the centre before dark for Mark to go out bird watching and me to curl up with a good book.  Another lovely meal followed by more port made for an entertaining evening, especially with 8 slightly drunk adults trying to, quietly, blow up birthday balloons!  Think the girls even told us to be quite at one point!!!

Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) - © Stuart Elsom
Saturday dawned a much nicer/brighter morning and I got to open my pressies!!!!!  Had a gorgeous pic of Tally at her first flyball comp, a fat face sweater, some lovely books and CDs that I had asked for as well as some nice surprises (including a cup of team in bed!).  Going downstairs there were more presents for me - thanks guys!  Lottie, who shared my birthday, was already up and about so after wishing each other happy birthday she got on with the important task of eating breakfast so that she could start opening her presents (how come a 9 year old can wait so patiently to open her presents, when I, at 31, can't!?!?!).  Mark and I spent a nice day mooching around, went to a pottery shop, saw some waxwings (see, I'm diversifying), had a lovely pub lunch and a nice drive around the Scottish countryside.  Photo on the right is a waxwing, kindly provided to me by Stuart Elsom ( as all my pictures had small black slodges in trees and could have been anything to be honest!/
Got back in time for badger/fox-watching and a kinda-joint birthday meal with Lottie.  Managed to even find some phone signal to phone my parents and wish Gypsy a happy 7th birthday (my baby girl is getting older.... :-( )

Time to head home on Sunday, back to Derby and then on to Ely, all in one day!  We ended up leaving at about 10:30am but had decided to call in at Gretna Green on our way past for 11's and some shopping (nothing else I swear!).  The rest of the drive home was uneventful except for the approx 1hr traffic jam on the M6.  I was a bit of a jittery wreck though as I knew some of our juniors were competing at a Crufts 2011 YKC flyball qualifier and I really wanted to be with them!  Luckily, Helen, Emily & Nat kept me up-to-date with the goings on and were all happy to let me know that the Demon K9s are heading to Crufts 2011 to compete!!!  I just hope we are lucky enough for them to not draw the Cambridgeshire Colts in their first race!!  Well done guys and sorry I couldn't be there with you all!!
A quick stop in Derby en route to collect my babies, followed by a stop in Chatteris to get Mark's baby and we were finally home for about 6pm.  Just time to unpack, feed dogs and settle down for a nice eve in front of the TV for me, whilst Mark re-packed to go and spend the night dog-sitting!

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