Two’s company, and three’s crazy!

OJ has been staying in my house for almost a week, and he’ll be here for another one. It’s great having him, even if the house is a lot more hairy! He’s still his usual silly lively self, maybe more attention seeking towards me than usual. He interrupts me when I’m typing by poking his nose in my side and lifting my arm up so that I have no choice but to pet him and laugh.

Having three dogs in the house is a bit crazy. They don’t go upstairs or into the spare room, so there isn’t exactly lots of space. They work out who sleeps where though, and when I’m here on my own, you’d hardly know they were here.

I’ve worked out a feeding routine in the morning and evening. They all get fed in different places so that they don’t rush their food and go investigating in someone else’s bowl. An ideal morning is when they all do everything they have to do in the run (the fenced off dog toilet) in the yard. It’s easier to have to clean it all up at the same time, rather than remembering who went, and who still has to go later on. I would need a never ending supply of dog poop bags!
After grooming yesterday, I had a bag of hair, leads and brushes in my hands, and accidentally dropped Sibyl’s comb into the wheelybin. It smells in there, so there was no way I was going in to find it!

Dougal is more shy than usual with the two bigger dogs around. I suppose he feels very small, and he can only make himself known by barking. Sibyl has been surprisingly more calm than I thought. OJ, even though he is the oldest, is the one who instigates all the playing, and if I didn’t stop him, I’d have Labradors running around my kitchen at high speed ten times every day. They were particularly hyper the other day, but when I took them to the park with my PA, they just stood looking at each other.

Sometimes I feel like I’m running dog kennels. I think I could do it no bother if I had more money and more space. It’s a bit crazy round here, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Hunting for Animals

Yesterday was one of those days where I had the chance to go somewhere with a friend, but with the weather being unpredictable, we had no real plan. I’m never bored and always find something to do, so it didn’t really bother me when she started driving. We came up with an idea that might tick off the ninth challenge on my list of 30.

One of the 30 challenges I set myself was to touch an animal that I’ve never felt before. This mightn’t seem hard, but I’ve touched lots! Since I was small, I’ve been very familiar with horses, donkeys and all the animals you might find on a farm. I’ve touched many different pets and types of birds, even an ostrich, and that was actually in Buncrana! I had a friend in school who kept many strange animals as pets, and he always enjoyed shoing them to me when I visited his house. I’ve been fortunate to have travelled to some interesting places, where I’ve had the chance to touch lots of amazing animals. I rode on a camel in Lanzarotte when I was eight. I petted a kuala bear and a kangaroo, (and got bitten by a baby one) in a big park in Sydney. I rode on an elephant and held a baby tiger in Thailand, and it was there that I also got to hold my favourite animals ever, (after dogs of course!) The first time we went there was just before Christmas. As we walked down the street on Christmas day to go and get dinner, we met a man coming towards us holding a small monkey. I thought my family were joking when they said I could touch it. I held the monkey and got a photograph, and he was so cute! The next time we were there I met one on the beach and fed it some pineapple. If there was a place you could go and spend a day playing with them, I’d be in heaven!

So after touching all those animals, it was going to be hard to find something different. I have heard of a lady in England who went to a sanctuary where the owner let her touch a wolf! That would be terrifying and amazing, but I had to be realistic and try and keep it as local as possible! So I went to
tropical world
in Letterkenny and held two lizards. I’d never been there before. They have lots of birds, reptiles and animals, including marmosets an lemurs, which I wanted to touch but I wasn’t allowed. One Lemur in particular was very noisy and seemed like lots of fun!

In the reptile area I had the chance to hold a bearded dragon, which is a lizard with spikey skin. If you rub your hand towards it’s head, it feels more spikey than if you do it in the opposite direction. The second one I held was a blue tongue skink, which sounds disgusting, but wasn’t at all. It actually felt like it was made from hard plastic, as it’s skin had little bumps on it. They have no teeth, but the claws are quite sharp, so I had to let it lie on my arm on my coat so that it wouldn’t jag me. Both were very still and calm, and really used to being handled. They weren’t slimy like you might expect lizards to be. The girl showing me them was very friendly and was able to tell us lots about them. I have some photographs and two videos, but the birds beside us were so noisy that you couldn’t hear anything else.

Sibyl came with us and behaved very well, although she was very curious. The animals were curious about her too! We are having a quiet day today, although it is her 3rd birthday. We went for a short walk and met a friend for breakfast. She had a chew and chilled out for the afternoon. She seems happy enough, I think as long as she knows that dogs are still, and always will be my favourite animals!

30 Challenges List

I’ve reordered the list of the 30 challenges, with the things I’ve already completed at the top.
I’ve made a few changes because I want to be excited about doing most of these things. It could change again, so suggestions always welcome.

1. Visit a city that I’ve never been to before. (Poland for my birthday)
2. Eat traditional food associated with a particular country. (dumplings in Poland)
3. Bake a cake. (Nephew Danny’s 9th birthday cake)
4. Do a short course to learn something new. (intro to CBT)
5. Take part in ‘darkness into light’ on 7th May. (lovely experience)
6. Do something historical in Belfast, since I lived there for three years and did nothing!
(I did the titanic tour with Nicky, thanks to part of my birthday present from the girls.)
7. Find Bruce Springsteen tickets for a Croke Park concert. (amazing gig!)
8. Educate myself more about mental health.
(Recently learned lots about ADHD through a transcribing job.
Also signed up for a workshop with Jigsaw Donegal but it’s not until October.)
9. Attend a musical or theatrical performance of a genre that’s not usually my type of thing!
Got this covered. People will be very surprised when they hear where I’m going!
10. Go surfing. Did I really write that? I’ll be terrified!
11. Touch an animal that I’ve never felt before.
12. Complete a 30 K walk in one day (a kilometre for every year)
I need to plan a route for this.
13. Work in the cottage bar
14. Walk the Croke Park Dublin skyline
15. Make a memory box from wood.
16. Shave someone’s head.
17. Learn a useful life skill.
18. Spend time in a recording studio watching how it works.
19.Go gliding!.
20. Do something (not fundraising) for a charity that I’ve never been involved with before
21. Something artistic or creative, since I’m not good at this stuff.
22. Work on a farm for a day.
23. Learn to make homemade pizza.
24. Learn to bake scone bread.
25. Climb Sliabh Sneacht
26. Learn to do a few simple hair styles (I can only straighten and curl it)
27. Do another outdoor activity Suggestions?
28. Learn to make homemade cosmetics
29: Get my ears pierced, and don’t let them close up this time!
30. Keep a diary. Write, blog and record as much as possible.
Use this to make an audio documentary of my challenges when I’m finished in February 2017.

I intend to do the final one anyway, but would love to end by doing something really special in February 2017. I just don’t know what yet.