Sunday, February 28, 2010

Camping, trials and so much more....

So the new agility year has officially begun with our K9 twilight trial that was last night. As always, it seems to prolong into a late night, so we didn't get home till 1am.

Prior to beginning agility again, we've been showing our guts out. Crazy thing is I've struggled for 3 years to get points on Kinta, and yet, this time last year I think Miss K picked up about 50 pts, and she's done it again picking up about 45 points on our summer stint of showing. She really is maturing nicely.

Kinta gained her Australian champion title on the valentines weekend which was a nice birthday present. Naturally, since then she's also picked up an extra 20 points... always the way isn't it!

We are now going to take a bit of a break from the show ring. Zara needs to mature and grow into her legs *vbg* and Kinta can have a well deserved break. Exciting news is that the VCA have since developed a NEW title by the name of NEUTER CHAMPION so you can guess which spunky boy will be going for that once July hits and this becomes effective! I can't wait!

Agility trial last night - no passes but working on speed and motivation. I was pretty happy for their efforts. Silly handler made some mistakes, which tends to happen when you have 3 courses running AT ONCE!
MJ - Leo - under time (!!!!) but 2 bars down and a handling error where I almost took the wrong jump...
ExAg - Kinta - not bad, just a few poor handling errors. Should have FC before the weaves instead of RC..
OJ - Leo - missed the distance challenge (tunnel was WAY too tempting!) which put me in the wrong spot fo the weaves, so that slowed him down.
MA - one good, one an absolute dog's breakfast!

here's the vid:

So - how goes obedience? Lets see - on some levels.... great... on others... falling apart yet again! Kinta is doing well training for her Open and Leo is progressing in his UD, yet we still struggle with the seekback... gah! I'm sure we'll get there in the end, but it's more the lack of training than anything else! Gotta put on the training boots again ;-).

On another note we will be going to Warrnambool for an agility trial next weekend which will be my FIRST ever camping trip (woot woot!) I can't wait! Am nearly all ready for thist (rather expensive!) venture and had a test run putting the tent up with Laura today.

Going up was no issue:
Yet the packing up prooved to be a little more difficult:

luckily however, after several attempts we finally got there!
Our little palace should be plenty of room for me and the furries to relax and stretch out in style! Can you tell I can't wait?!!?!?

Been pretty busy otherwise with dogs, work and house hunting, two of them fun, and one becoming extremely frustrating!! Sooooo hard to find a place that seems to fit everything I'm looking for..... Gah - soo frustrating!

Monday, February 01, 2010

The new training year.... 2010

Ok so our new training and trialling year has begun. I'm very excited about this year, not in the way of gaining titles or anything like that, but more on improving on our foundations and learning so much more about training. What's more as I (sort of) have a new dog to train. Zara is coming out of the cupboard ladies and gents.... at almost 10months old we are beginning to step up her training. Initially I was going to leave this to dad, but with his Foundation (agility) class starting soon, and given this club is full of people who have started agility and competed years before with multiple dogs, I figure a bit of a head start won't hurt!

I've also started some obedience work with Zara and I'm really impressed at her beginning stages... Not bad for a 9 month old pup and only 3 short sessions!!

first session:

third session:

I think I might pull her out and do obedience afterall if we have time!!!

Leo and Kinta are doing well and have already had 2 'mini' trials this year. Kinta also has only 6pts left for her Championship title, so I hope to get that soon! Leo has 2 masters agility passes and Kinta 2 excellent jumping passes :). Go the Pawsitive dogs!

Anyway here's a vid of their most recent trial:

I was pretty pleased with their efforts. So what are our aims this year?!

To get Z geared up for agility - we are going to work on some foundation stuff such as circle work, nose touches and driving towards a toy before we even begin on the equipment. I want a dog that really understands to drive ahead. Some exercises so far include:
*nose touches to a target
*circle work a la greg derrett style
*drive forward to a toy/ lead out then get toy
*run around a cone.

I am excited to see how she will develop in this area, as this is the first dog we will have done it' right' from day one LOL!

I would also like to use more toys in our training and develop that a little more with the older two, as well as continuing to work on our distraction training.... including for obedience.

All in all - I'm mostly out to have fun, but I'm also really looking forward to what lies ahead!

Hopefully I'll also be a little more reliable with updating in here!

New years resolution - tape more runs and training sessions so I can keep tabs on my errors!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Our Parisian Experience

Ok so it's been a while.... so how my memory fares on this topic will have to be left to fate I think.... well that and looking back at a few photos to see if that jigs my memory!

But as promised - I can' continue onto future posts until I post about Paris... because that wouldn't be fair... right?! All of you... 3 or 4 people who still read my blog will be hanging off every word to hear about what acutally happened in Paris!

6 days in Paris was perfect. Enough time to really soak up the atmosphere I think... especially seeing as there really is SO much to see. Up well before the sun was we caught the 6:20am train from Munich to make our way to Paris. This generally involved a little bit of sleeping and a whole heap of reading and ipod listening. The book I was reading on this trip was just fascinating, so I certainly would recommend "The Book Theif" by Markus Zuzak to anyone. Absolutely loved it.

Our location within Paris was ideal. After much talking up by Scott and Lily about the wonderful location and how modern this apartment was we were all pretty excited to see it. Situated on the Rue Saint Martin, just a few blocks down from the Center Geroges Pompidou or "Inside-out building" as we liked to call it, we were pretty central to everywhere you would want to be, while still getting the very local feel on Marais.

Upon entering the apartment, we all looked at each other wondering if we were in the right place. Even Scott had to ask the guy who let us in if this was the same place that was in the ad. Apparently 'comfortably sleeps 6 people' to Parisians means something a little different than it does to us Australians!

Let me paint you a little picture... to the Right we have the bathroom.. which basically means that you have to reverse into the toilet to use it... no possibility of moving around and stretching out in there! then we are welcomed with a lovely frosted glass door to the 'change room/ shower'... but more about that later!

Right infront of the front door (so next to the bathroom) was the kitchen, which yup, didn't leave much room, and then the living room, which would only seat... 3-4 people at most... Yup - you guessed it - sofa bed to fold out at night. Next room was bedroom #1 which had one of those fold down beds that you always see on cartoons where in the middle of their sleep someone is shoved back into the wall as the bed springs up... you can imagine the dreams we had about that!

Next room at least had a 'real bed' but there wasn't room for much else! Alas - our humble abode would do - I mean who sleeps in Paris! Too much to see and things to do!

Now... back to that apartment story... Yes, it was small, but one would not think that you could get THAT aquainted with your family as we did in this place. We all became experts at getting changed descretely *in* the shower (after all, if you didn't then EVERYBODY would be able to see your birthday suit!)... the toilet however was another story... yes, it wasn't all that foreign to use, the flush button may have been a little difficult to find, but boy was it tempermental! We found that this toilet was perhaps not best suited for a 'comfortably sleeping 6 people' appartment, as it just couldn't deal with the pressure and would often go into over-drive. If nothing else, it certainly made for some great toilet humour, a great way to 'get to know everyone' and of course made for some exciting breakfast entertainment.....

We spent most of the first day wondering around the Marais and enjoyed the sights and sounds of Paris. We were lucky enough to fine THE BEST crepe servery every in Marais, and all through Paris were yet to find one that compared. yumm!!!! Even their savoury crepes were delicous... much more than you would expect from what initially looked like a pretty ordinary, shabby little place..

One thing that amazed us was the size of the queues during the winter. We certainly didn't expect queues quite that big! I mean who in their right mind will queue for HOURS in the freezing cold just to see one teensy tiny little landmark.... loads of people I guess.

After a cosy night in, we went the next day toward the bastille, after scaring ourselves that we would need to pre-buy all of our tickets to the important museums, to save time on the queues. In the end it didn't really work out all that effective since we had to walk in the opposite direction to get these tickets. After finally picking all of these up, we went ahead to Notredame. The queue to go up to the top was huge, so we figured we would see enough of Paris from the other main monuments and sites for views. Notredame was absolutely beautiful, so little photographer in me snapped out her good ol camera for a few snaps around the place... that was until I was 'told off' for using a tripod... ah well!

Ater notredame, we had discussions about whether or not to head to Eiffel tower seeing as the weather was nice, but decided the queues were too long. So off we head to Musee d'orssay to see some of the famous artwork. Spent most of the afternoon wondering around and taking in some of the magnificent pieces of art... some tasteful, and some..... not so tasteful ;-). Lets just say... some of those coffee tables in your living room would certainly spark discussion.

I have to say also that our meals out in Paris were certainly delicious! While perhaps not good for the waist (just how do those Parisians stay so thin?!?!) they certainly were good for the tastebuds! And of course, you would go to Paris for a delicious Belgian meal of mussles right?!?!?!

The next day we went to see the Opera house which I think was Mum's highlight. This Opera house is the basis of "Phantom of the Opera" so mum really was in seventh heaven. It really was gorgeous and I think we all enjoyed it more than we thought we would. Once again, little photographer me had a lot of fun here!

On from the opera house to Galleries La'Fayette where we spent our millions.... or perhaps not...

since it was late in the afternoon now (gotta hate those early setting sun in winter!) we headed up to Sacre Couer and even though my legs were exhausted (we even did a detour past Moulin Rouge) we still climbed those steps as the cable car was just much too long a wait. The view was fantastic as it was a nice clear day and as always it is fun to try and guess what you are looking down on.

Next day we all have a lovely sleep in (for some on this trip, this is particularly hard!) and headed to the Eiffel Tower for a lovely 3hr queue (in the freezing cold.... I couldn't feel my toes anymore!)... or there abouts! now - 6 years ago when we went to Paris, we couldn't see squat from the top, as it was clouded over... so again.... yup you guessed it clouded over! Seeing as the weather was only going to get worse, we decided that we might as well go up now rather than later. So once again, I have a trip up the Eiffel which results in seeing nothing from the top... (well the pedestrian crossing looked like stairways to heaven, but...) Next time - I'm going in summer!

After a bit of a siesta we head out once more to enjoy the sights and sounds of Paris New Year celebrations. Walking down the Champ Elysees which presented quite a nice atmosphere, but interestingly, nobody really was stopping to relax. We make our way down to the Eiffel tower (which by now you can see the top of!) and amazingly we can get a pretty decent view. We decide to stay to watch the fireworks.

11pm comes and the tower does it's hourly 'night sparkle' this happens while we settle ourselves down, and wonder if we'll last an hour seeing as the temperature is dropping quite dramatically. White christmas or not... at least in Australia you can stay outside without turning into an ice block!

11:30pm comes and the tower begins to get a little bit more exciting and starts to sparkle and dance... wow! we think.... this fireworks display is going to be pretty amazing!

11:59 comes and closer and closer the new year of 2010 comes. the tower begins to 'count down' (a la light display) and then... 'hourly sparkle' comes on, before the tower goes completely quiet. We wait. (all the while cheering Bonne Annee or 'happy new year') nothing happens.... other than a few 'amatauer' fireworks. We wait some more.... still nothing.

Yes, that's right ladies and gentlemen.... all we got for new years was a sparkly tower! that's it! no fireworks or anything! But what of the atmosphere? I hear you ask... surely the atmosphere must have been somehting! Well as soon as midnight came, everyone packed up and went home! I kid you not!! So while it was an experience, it certainly didn't rate compared to what we are used to at home!

The train ride home was 'interesting' to say the least. Nothing orderly or organised about it. The officials just 'shoved' you on and hoped for the best. Lets just say - I was glad the people 'next to me' (or was that ontop of me!) were not p!ssed enough to spew all over you as that certainly wouldn't be pleasant.

Another sleep in and we head out again for a wonder around the lourve area. By the time we got to the Lourve it was SO cold that we couldn't feel our toes. By this stage it had started snowing, so we decided to slowly head back and try and de-thaw.

Victor Hugo museum was another site for us to visit. We didn't really know much about him, but it certainly was interesting to learn more about one of France's more popular authors.

All in all a great (albeit busy!) trip to Paris. After catching the eurostar back to London (Yes! It worked this time!!) I spent a few days back in the UK before heading home and once more the weary traveller resides in her Australian home!

Monday, January 04, 2010

The Europe trip

Ok.... so I failed.... miserably!

I promised all I would keep this blog up-to-date with the latest happenings of our trip and I left you in the lurch!

Firstly it wasn't as easy as it seems to find some internet locations, secondly, when we did have internet connection, with 4 other people wanting to use the same computer, and limited time before we head out on our next adventure, a 2 second update on FB was FAR easier than writing an essay..... and I am sure you are all aware of how much I can chat and write!!

I think it goes without saying that eventually.... yes, we did leave London and got to head off on our round-a-bout Europe trip, so I will try and wrap it all up as much as I can in one blog for you all to sit and read ;-)

Getting up at the break of dawn after my last post, we arrived at Gatwick airport ready and raring to go. All seemed to be going to plan, the airport was open for one, the planes were delayed but going. A few hair-raising moments where all the screen said was 'please wait for more info' and some gruelling hours sitting in those remarkably uncomfortable airport seats while listening to the 'Gatwick x Factor' (think karaoke at the airport) with some great singers and some.... not so great... we FINALLY were able to board the plane and jet-set off to Salzburg.

We arrived to a land of white. In a world, Salzburg is spectacular. Right up my alley with lovely mountain views and a nice country feel. Very 'Austrian' atmosphere. Our apartment was covered with white, and seeing as the temperature the previous day was -12degC (despite the fact the weather was currently +15deg C) we were still relatively confident we were going to get our white christmas.

The Salzburg Altstadt (Old town) is really lovely. With the backdrop of the fortress and Christmas markets to wonder around, soak up the atmosphere and practice our German (not to mention the challenge of trying to order something authentic yet having not idea *exactly* what it is!). There was a lot to see in Salzburg. The Untersberg Mountain/ cable car which is to give some spectacular views of Salzburg was great, although we HAD to go up on the only cloudy day where we couldn't see a thing! The Sound of Music tour, where we got to see where they filmed all of those famous scenes. I have to say our tour guide on this one really made it all.. She was fantastic and made the trip really enjoyable. The funny thing is that we later found out after the trip (thanks to my wonderful detective skills!) that we actually were staying NEXT too the actual Von Trapp house.... hows that for ironic :p. The fortress was also magnificent, giving you spectacular views of Salzburg itself. Another highlight, which we didn't get to enjoy fully were the Mozart Museums explaining more about his life while in Salzburg.

Now here's a cheeky conundrum for you. We initially chose Salzburg as a destination place because of the lovely views and that it was pretty much destined to be freezing cold and heaps of snow. I mean, where else would you go for a lovely white Christmas as a bunch of Australians who will never get to experience such a thing at home... Why is it then, that each day we were in Salzburg, they days got warmer and warmer, the snow melted more and more... so that when we awoke on Christmas day, there was scarcely a drop of snow to be found!!

No matter we said, we shall head up to the ski villages for surely there will be snow there... We can go for a Christmas sleigh ride and enjoy the sights, the village and have a lovely christmas lunch. So we book our tickets on Christmas eve to head up to Schladminng for perhaps some taboganning and some snow fun.

Imagine our surprise when we get there and not only is there NO snow, but the only snow on the slopes is FAKE snow!!! I kid you not, when I went up to Buller earlier this year, we had BETTER snow!!! Now when would that ever happen!!! So with not much to do at this ski resort, we head down for a lovely lunch. Continue with the irony that when we were driving away from Schladminng, yup you guessed it, it was snowing a gale.... thanks..... one day late!

Still.. we were able to enjoy our snow moments in London (where it seldom snows), we were able to *see* lots of snow, and we still had an enjoyable Christmas! Just.... not exactly the way we planned.

Onwards now from Salzburg, to a 2hr train ride to Munich for our next stop. Munich we were to spend only 1 day as a quick stop over before heading on to Paris, our next destination. Munich was a pleasant surprise. Unsure what exactly we would find here (other than beer halls!) all of us found that this charming place exceeded all of our expectations with what the city had to offer. In the morning, we went on a rather.... informative Third Reich Tour which told us about the beginnings of Adolf Hitler and WW2. You can't really say it's enjoyable, but it certainly was interesting and informative to have this little piece of history told. I'm certainly glad we went. None were more surprised than our parents, who upon travelling to Munich 20 years ago found that there was very little information they could find about the war or about the concentration camps etc, whereas now they are all very open about it. In the afternoon we explored the city and all of it's haunts.

I have to say though the highlight of Munich was in fact the beer halls. The first night we of course went to 'Hofbrauhous' the most popular of all beer halls. To paint a picture, this place is like.... a mess hall or a massive cafeteria. There is no waiting around for tables, it's grab-it-where-you-can, sit with who you can!!! The food was ok, the beer fantastic, while my brother, continued with his age-old challenge of trying to get me drunk. I must say that after 1L of beer (a stein in Germany is the 'normal' size of beer and is 1L) and feeling none the worse for wear, he was a wee bit impressed thinking that his conservative sister 'doesn't really drink all that much ;-)'.

Enjoying our experience so much at the Hofbrauhous, we decided to visit another beer hall for our final night in Munich, but instead, going for a more 'local' feel. We certainly succeeded, finding a Beerhall a little out of the way, but certainly filled with locals, good beer and great food. It was great getting recommendations from our neighbours about what was 'good food' there and also trying the local cuisine. Consuming just as much beer for a second night in a row, I think it's safe to say that I might be a converted woman.... might be.....

So Munich got a definite tick on our list of places to go, and we head off in the early hours of the morning, for our 6hr train ride to Paris.

Looks like it's almost time to head out again though, so I might continue with our Parisian adventure at another time.... so until then....

Au revoir!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Let it NOT snow

So things are still looking a little bleak here.

Eurostar is still grounded so, we abandoned ship on that idea. The next plan was to catch the ferry to Calais, but again, we abandoned ship on that idea. Lucky we did as it's absolute mayhem down there with everyone who has been unable to get to France via Eurostar, now trying to get across with the boat.

So our plans are to fly out tomorrow to Salzburg, spend a few days there and then train back to Paris on the Eurail via Munich. Lucky for us, we got the last 5 tickets on *that* train ride!

Now all we have to do is sit and wait... and HOPE for good weather so that we can fly out tomorrow! PLEEEEAAASSEEE everyone join us in hoping for fine flying weather to Salzburg tomorrow morning. Perhaps not looking definite since it is snowing, as we speak... at this very second outside!!!

I just hope we can get there as I have always wanted to go to Salzburg and this will be my last chance for a while!

On a 'positive' note, the snow here is like nothing I have ever experienced before! It is SO soft, fluffy and just all around gorgeous! Certainly makes you feel lovely and christmassy!

Off to see Avenue Q tonight in what we hope will be our last night in London for a few weeks.

Update - am downloading photos to post on here, and it seems the road outside is not blaketed in snow :(. Noooooo!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

More advenutres of the unlucky traveller.....

Well it seems regardless of when or where we travel, bad luck always finds us! It always seems to be centred with ME too since everyone else in the family without any hitches.... is there a greater being trying to tell me something?!?!?!?

As luck would have it, we got our wish - a white christmas and some lovely white blanket of snow around London which was exactly what I ordered.... only.... I ordered it NOT to interfere with our travels either.

After a lovely christmas lunch with my uncle and family at their house in outer-london, blanketed in snow (it was like a postcard) we find that the Eurostar which we were set to be on NOW has been cancelled due to the passengers on Friday being stuck in the rail underground for SIXTEEN HOURS! Sounds pretty scary since some of their warnings was not to breathe too heavily as they may run out of air :-O. Not exactly what you want to hear!

Anyway, because of that our train is/ was no longer leaving today and we don't know when the Eurostar will be back and running.... which, means we are stranded in London.. Not that bad it may seem, but now our hire-car for Europe has fallen through... as not only will they be unable to hold our car, we didn't know that in Austria you need mandatory snow tyres or winter tyres.

So now.... while we may be able to get to Paris tomorrow (either with the eurostar back up and running, or catching the boat from Dover to Calais (including me getting travel sick :o) ), we don't know how to get to the REST of our trip... which included Germany, Austria, Salzburg, Munich and then back to Paris.

To say we are disappointed would be an understatement, but what can you do right?!

The other plan is to base our travels in Paris/ Salzburg, but obviously with it being Christmas/New Year weeks, finding Eurail tickets at a reasonable price is next to impossible....

But fingers crossed that it all works out in the end.

Maybe this is a hint for me that I should keep my feet firmly planted at home and not travel... seing as every time I have set my feet overseas something bad has happened!! This is SO not fair!! Ah well - stories to tell the 'grandkids' one day right?!

so everybody keep their fingers crossed that everything works itself out in the end!

Friday, December 18, 2009

A photographic expedition.

So it's now day 2 on our Europe expedition and since I haven't been suffering too much from jet-lag they have been action packed. Beware - this blog is also 'action-packed'.. so make sure you're comfy!

I arrived at 6am on the 16th December, after around 24 - 30hrs in transit. Needless to say, I was happy to be moving about and not cramped on an airplane anymore. Arrived at Scott's place safe and sound, and then, feeling pretty ok, decided to head down towards Oxford St for some retail therapy. Didn't find much that was of interest to me, but it was nice heading up and down the streets of London browsing the stores. Naturally it's pretty cold here, but I seriously don't remember it being this cold 6 years ago when we were here for Christmas in 2003. It's absolutely freezing! Thank goodness for my ski jacket... that's all I can say. It's certainly making sure I'm staying nice and warm.

Whilst wondering around shopping, I was able to experience my first real snowfall yesterday. It didn't stick on the ground, but hey, it was an experience all the same. I was like a little kid smiling to myself as walking the streets, and I was half tempted to tap the passerby's on the shoulder and say "hey do you know it's snowing... like actually SNOWING!!" but I figured I would probably be looked at with some pretty strange expressions so I kept it to myself :).

By the time it came to head over to the Battersea animal shelter, walking 15mins from the tube station to the shelter in blistering cold with snow blowing on your face, the fascination had worn off. Add to that nearly slipping a few times whilst walking, I was trying not to think of the 35deg temperature that you all are having back in sunny Melbourne!

Battersea was fantastic. Similar and yet different in so many ways to the RSPCA. I had a great time asking a million questions and having a look at every aspect of the shelter. Needless to say I am a little jealous of their 16-man behaviour unit, compared to my one man behaviour unit!

By this stage (5pm) my jet-lag was setting in, so I called it an early night and headed back to the Scott and Lily hotel for an early night in.


After a good 12hr snooze (and then some ;-) ), I woke up late and decided to complete some walks from the book "Walking London" that Dad had gotten from Scott and Lily for Fathers Day. I wanted to see the main sights of London today and try and take some photo's, practicing what I learnt in my recent photography classes. Some I wanted to be a little 'different' (ok... well not really) but some I wanted to be the key landmarks. All the while, doing this walking around London and soaking up the atmosphere. I think I'll say here is that BOY am I glad that I decided to buy and bring along with me a nice little lightweight tripod! It's really made all the difference (even though I do feel a little like a fool setting up my tripod here there and everywhere!). Either way... you better appreciate these photos. Need I mention how COLD it was?!?!?!

I think it must be said here that my sense of direction is squat. That's right... you can always count on me to make every wrong turn possible. If ever there was a person in mind when the GPS was invented it would be me! Now before you all sit there and pity me, or say HOW can you get lost when all you have to do is head right out of the station and head down this road, keep in mind that there are like a zillion exits to one station, and yup, it would have to be ME that takes the wrong exit.... every time! I guess it add's to the experience... right?!

So - after finally heading in the right direction, first port of call was a walk along the Thames and the Christmas markets there. Was nice to have a little wonder around here and begin to feel a little 'Christmassy'. With all that's been going on of late, and organising to come on this trip, it left us little time to actually get organised and feel anything like Christmas... let alone a little under one week away!

From there I also tried to take one of those "Merry go round" photos where you get the blur of all of the lights, but to no avail. I couldn't get it quite right, so we'll leave it out of this entry as I sure have plenty to share :)

Here we also saw a variety of buskers. One that caught my eye was this guy here who was dancing with a 'dummy' or manequin, whatever you want to call her. He made her look quite life-like and it was interesting to watch :).

Now of course, walking along the Thames also meant that I had to take the token "Big Ben" picture right?! Well talk about taking a million and one of the one bl**dy building as I just couldn't quite get the exposure right... too light, too dark, too... something! With the sky being quite overcast, it did make it quite difficult at times to snap a good pic! But... here of course is a sample of some good ones I actually snapped.

This one here is to try and show you the quick change in weather. It went from just 'cold' to 'bl**dy freezing, so windy I can barely breathe, hailing in my face' in just a matter of seconds! Naturally.... as soon as I found shelter the hail ceased..... *sigh*

And some of the clocktower (just a few minutes after the hail storm.... and they pick on Melbourne's weather!!!)

Thankfully... getting a decent shot of the London Eye was a little easier... otherwise I'd never have been able to finish off my tasks for the day ;-). Oh and this was also taken about 5 mins before the hail-storm!

Next up was Westminster Abbey... I got a few different shots of these, as I love the slow shutter speed and the effect of the cars on the image... gives a nice effect I think!

This here is your token "London phone box" photo, but I love the effect of the tourists stopping to take in the sights while the busy Londoners walking by... hehe - yes I became a little 'obsessive' about the slower s/s!

So from here, the only natural place to continue my walks was through the "Central London Parks".. so basically St James Park, Green Park and Hyde park.

This was a lovely little cottage I saw in the middle of St James Park... so yes.. a little random..

Another random here... well, I am an animal person, and I couldn't help snapping this. Said squirrel would come up to everyone, including climbing on my shoe and stick his nose in the air to see what you were up to! Gave quite a few tourists a fright! Unfortunately most of the time he was moving way to quick for me to respond with my camera (hmm... I'll blame it on the gloves....)
A few more 'random's in the park' trying to practice my photographic expertise... with minimal success... not *exactly* the 'feel' I was going after... but I still like them!

And of course... this also meant a stop-over for a quick visit with the Queen... I mean, we were literally walking by....

Naturally we couldn't stay long with the Queen, as we had many things to do! So onwards we travel, with the next logical stop being Wellington Arch and the Australian War Memorial...

Onward to Hyde Park, where lo and behold there is another Christmas market! This one a little more exciting than the last. Feeling a little weary and hungry, I stopped here for a bite to eat and some delicious Hot chocolate, which I got to enjoy while standing outside and watching the ice skaters go by on the outside skating rink. Something I've always wanted to do is skate outside in winter.... especially around christmas time! I was however, too chicken to go by myself. Perhaps while in Europe I can con one of the family to come with me!?!? But, Kylie, just for you I have included a snap in here :)

By this time the sun was beginning to set (yes, at some ridiculous hour of I thinkabout 3:30pm!! How do they live like this?! So I begin to make my way out of the parks and head towards the warmth of Harrods...

Along the way I came across this lovely sight of Christmas decorations... not sure what hotel (at least I think it's a hotel!) is, but it sure does look pretty!

After NO wrong turns, I make it to Harrods which of course leads to the token 'harrods' shot outside the store... mm... green lights.... have they always been green? or is this a christmas special?!

It seems Harrods have their own version of the 'Myer Windows' with these year's theme being the "Wizard of Oz"... not sure if this is just for Christmas or not, but it was quite amusing, given that there was very much a Harrods 'plug' in each of the windows, ensuring that each part of the story entailed that all the Wizar of Oz characters were extrodinarily happy with their "Harrods" goods! *vbg*!

By this stage I was getting pretty tired, so with only one stop left to go, I headed on my way to Trafalgar Square for a happy snap with their Christmas tree in place. Have to say, I was a little disappointed with the tree as it wasn't really much to look at! I remember thinking this also back in 2003, but I figured that was just because the tree in Lucerne was just so impressive... but still... thinking this time the tree was not much chop!

Once again, I found these photos a little hard, trying to get the exposure *just right*

Oh and of course I had to play around with the effects of the fountains too! You can also see how windy it is in some of the pics with the direction the water is falling!

After that I hung around the Square for a little while, soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the sound of the carollers. By this stage the wind had picked up again, so I decided to call it an early night and head on home!

Phew... that was a looongg post! Don't expect another one like this in a hurry! Might need to break it up a bit!! LOL! Can't see myself doing this again for a while. Photos, yes, blog yes, but marathon blog?! I think not!

Supposed to snow tomorrow! Hopefully this means good news for a white christmas at Salzburg! Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Travelling again

Well I thought since the reason I started this blog over 3 years ago was because I was heading off jet-setting, it seems only right that I re-start the blog with my next big travel.

Lets hope I don't let it slip by the way-side again ;-). Facebook is taking over :P. but then so many of us are blaming facebook for everything these days!

Well I only have 7 mintues left as I sit here at the Melbourne Airport waiting until it's time to board. Where am I headed?!

Basically we are crossing our fingers for a white christmas. A first for me!1 LOL! I'm heading to London and staying there for a few days where I hope to get the opportunity to have a look around the Battersea Animal shelter for work purposes (and general interest!), then heading off to Europe. Where exactly, I am not sure as I'm mega- lazy at planning things, so I'm just 'going with the flow'. Big Brother & co. have organised it all so I am sure it will be great and I will leave it in their capable hands.

All I know is that we will be in Salzburg for christmas day and Paris for NYE. Sounds nice doesn't it!! LOL!

Not looking forward to the long flights and sitting for around 24 hours on a cramped plane..then having to go through a whole day in London before rest (I arrive at 6am!).... should be interesting!

Well - I'll keep you all updated! My time is almost up, but keep checking back, I'll keep posting with my travel-stories!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Yeh Gods....

Can it be true?! Is it really happening?!?! THE BLOG LIVES!!!!!

Has it really been that long since I've posted? I guess life has a thing of getting in the way doesn't it.... either that or Facebook....

Still I miss writing about our recent happenings, and I think most of you know them by now anyway :).

Dogs are all doing well. Zara is growing like a weed and we've told her she can slow now and concentrate on fixing up her little faults PLEASE! At nearly 7mths old she's all legs and no substance, including a SHOCKING rear end which is making me shudder every time I see it. Where it came from I have no idea seeing as her lines shouldn't be producing something like that. I mean her 3/4 sister is Diva, a gorgeous, gorgeous blue girl who won BOB at the Melbourne Royal! I swear I got the short end of the stick :o. Alas, we shall wait and see how she develops.

Kinta is absolutely ROCKING the obedience ring since her return with a lovely 198 and high in trial at her first trial back, followed by a 191 the week later. Fingers crossed we can get that title in the trials before the year is out. She has really matured and is looking nice for the show ring, so fingers crossed those 15 pts come soon. With two passes also down in Novice agility, one would hope we can pull off the last one for that too, but hey, lets not ask for too much ;-)

Leo is also doing well :-). We've done one UD trial now and I was RAPT with how he went. This boy is just so awesome... just when you think 'ah you're nothing special, he pulls off something amazing'. Agility is also going really well for him to and hopefully we can finish of his ADX shortly.

Looking forward to the summer break though where we will spend the majority of the time at the beach and just having some fun in the summer sun, rather than training ;). I'm sure the dogs will love it (just don't tell them I'm going away to London for 3 weeks over xmas!).

As for me... I'm loving work and that's keeping me very busy at the moment. Am actually house-hunting now which is quite stressful trying to find something that I like and meets all of my criteria. In my (spare) time I'm just lazing infront of the tele! Nothing overly exciting!

Lets hope I get some new piccies soon and can innundate you all with new photos from the continuing photography experience :)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Photography... and other stuff!

So my camera has been having quite a work out lately especially because of my photography course no doubt :). I think I'm slowly improving, getting a better 'eye' for subjects and things I am familiar with (read dogs, portrait type shots of flowers etc), but I still SUCK big time at landscapes and also at portraits and 'casual' shots of people. You know how people can just 'snap' photos of the most mundane things or moments and just make the photo look absolutely amazing?! Well I certainly am not one of them! LOL!

Well last week I had a meet up with my little (now almost FIVE months old!) puppies! Minus Kinta of course, who is still sporting a 'woe is me attitude' and having to stay at home due to being in season. Gosh life is tough for some mistreated animals.

It was a great meet and to see how my pups are growing up and developing. I'm SO pleased with them.

Anyway - some piccies of the little ones ;)

Yesterday I went to the State "Top Dog" trials to see the top 10 dogs of the state competing for the top agility/ jumping dog of the year title. There were many great runs made by many great dogs ;). Once again I practiced my photography skills and tried to snap some shots of the dogs doing their runs. Rather than post heaps in here again, I will post the link instead!
If you watch it in slideshow it's much easier/ better ;)

Today I took the dogs down to a park near us to see if I could get some happy snaps of them as well. Now and again I do these challenges on an 'online forum' to practice your photography. This month is 'landscapes' so it was a good place to practice.

I managed to snap some good shots of the dogs too - so here are a bit of both ;)

Over the coming weeks I have a few trials coming up, but when one of them will be obedience I have no idea!!! LOL! Nothing much else happening at the moment... well worthy of writing about really ;)