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Oh Deer, Dan, Dandelions and.....are we there yet????????

Good evening. Hope you've had an amazing couple of weekends because it's that long since I've written a blog. I actually look forward to writing my blogs now, even though I haven't done that many. I find myself thinking about what I can write, what's going on in my life and things that have taken my interest.

In the past couple of weeks, I've been at A&E twice with our accident prone youngest - injured shoulders and suspected broken noses; I smashed the camera on my phone, even though I'd bought a special cover to protect it - yes, I stupidly left it open; and I made margaritas for my birthday celebration which Richard Branson is going to use to fuel the Virgin Galactic!!!

The dogs are back to normal....teeth checked, stitches removed and both as happy as can be. Having also changed their food a couple of months ago, they are looking so healthy. Our oldest whippet is so can't imagine. She has a special whine and a little bark when she wants tucked up in her bed, she had a different one when she hears Daisy the Dalmation pass by our house (honestly, she doesn't even need to see her to know she's there) and she whines non stop when she's in the car and knows we're going for a walk. Yesterday, she cried all the way to Doach Wood and as soon as my husband put the indicator on to turn into the car park she let out an almighty scream - she was soooo excited! It reminded me of the donkey in Shrek - are we there yet? are we there yet? are we there yet? are we there yet? are we there yet? are we.....YES, WE'RE THERE!!!!!

We are so lucky to have the most beautiful walks in this area. We don't do hill climbing but, even the lower level walks are incredible. Today, we went on the Threave Estate Walk (managed by the National Trust for Scotland but it's absolutely free) and also took in Lamb Island close to the Bridge of Dee. We saw a few deer, two that were well camouflaged in a gold coloured patch of long grass but one in particular got our attention. It was standing up on a hill watching us as we walked along the footpath with the dogs. It didn't move but we didn't expect it to be there when we returned. It must have been at least 15 minutes before we walked back along the was still there, still watching. It was only when it knew we were heading back in the opposite direction that it decided to move and make its way up into the wood. It was making sure that any possible threat from us or the dogs was gone.

The roadsides are looking particularly beautiful at the moment, especially the dandelions - they are amazing this year! If you drive into Castle Douglas from the West, they are abundant and stunning along the roadside in front of Carlingwark Care Home. Bright, sunny and cheerful. There are also lots of blossoming hedgerows and gorgeous little flowers appearing in the wood - dainty whites, pinks and purples and of course, the bounteous and bonnie bluebells.

I'm excited about my own garden too. I've put some fairy lights around my sweet pea wigwams, which will not only look pretty but also be an extra support for their delicate curly little tendrils. My sunflowers are also growing from seed as are my gypsophila - yes!!! I'm a bit disappointed with my nasturtium seeds though. I thought they would come through very quickly but no sign, as yet. Perhaps it's just not warm enough but, I'll wait and watch!

Having had my birthday recently, I received some wonderful home made gifts. Any gift is special but the homemade ones are something else, when you consider the thought, time and effort someone has put into making you a present. Firstly, I received a gorgeous little footstool which had been covered in fabric showing the beautiful face and chest of a stunning black whippet - wow - it's far too pretty to rest my smelly feet on! Then my friend made me a wooden star from whisky barrel wood - it's big, it's heavy, it's amazing and it's so cool!!!! She says she'll never make one again but she always says that about anything she makes me - haha! She's probably also saying she'll never drink another of my margaritas!!!! Finally, I was given a homemade Brunost Cheesecake which is the most delicious cheesecake I've ever had. Brunost is Norwegian brown cheese, it's so sweet and tasty and I love it - we're also lucky enough to get a brand of it in the Kirkcudbright deli Brambles. My husband plays in Against The Grain - a Rory Gallagher (late highly acclaimed Irish guitarist) tribute and he was asked to be involved in a festival in Norway. The kids and I were also invited along and that's when we first properly ..........

........stop for Line of Duty finale.......I'll be back soon!!!!

Oh wow! That was an exciting episode! Not sure if I quite believe the ending though. I'll be interested to see what other fans think on the LOD facebook page.

Anyway, as I was saying, we first tasted Norwegian brown cheese on a trip there in 2010. It was a favourite at breakfast time. We've been back to Norway many times since to stay with our much loved friends and it's always there at breakfast along with Nugatti - Norway's Nutella.

So those were my homemade gifts and this week, I made a homemade gift for a friend by way of a painting of her 3 beloved dogs - a gorgeous whippet puppy and her two beautiful terriers. It's so difficult to do a surprise painting like this for someone - furtively taking snapshots of each dog who soon realises exactly what you're trying to achieve and....moves... leaving you with nothing but a photo of a black or white blur of fur! It's all worth it in the end.

I've also been commissioned this week, through my friend in Texas, to paint another much loved dog. Commissioned work is so very nerve wracking, especially this one I did recently. Dan's mother-in-law commissioned me to paint him and his very handsome cat Baltar. It was hard work but extremely rewarding and I'm happy to say the recipient was very pleased with the result. I also have it on good authority that Baltar thinks sharing his painting is a great idea as everyone should appreciate his magnificence. So here is......Dan and the magnificent Baltar!

A commissioned painting of Dan and his cat Baltar.  Watercolour on paper.
Dan and Baltar - a magnificent cat if ever there was one

If you would like a commissioned piece, please feel free to contact me. Paintings will take between 4 to 6 weeks with prices starting from £100.

Don't forget to check out the cards and paintings in my shop.

See you all next time but, until then, stay safe and happy my friends.

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