Monday, 4 June 2012

RIP My Darling Husband

On 17th May 2012 my wonderful, handsome, incredible, sexy, gorgeous Husband was pronounced dead following a number of weeks of illness in a German hospital. He was taken ill during a conference he was attending.

I haven't had a conversation with my Hubby since Thursday 19th April 2012, the morning of the day he fell ill.

I have so much to tell him......

I am now an Uncle, the toilet's broken, the rambling rose fell off the side of the house in the night due to the heavy rain, I love him, I need him, I want him.

I miss his voice.
I miss his touch.
I miss the Love of My Life.



For the time being, this blog is 'on hold'.....until I get myself together, know where I'm going, know what I'm doing, know what I want from Life.

For the foreseeable future, you can read more about me (and the pups) here:

http://swimmingthroughcement.blogspot.co.uk/

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Bow Wow Wow Kernow!

As our gorgeous friend Heather (Mother of our God Children) said to me, "In the last blog you say how much you miss your Hubby while he was in the USA and then, only two days later, you bugger off (she didn't actually say 'bugger') to Cornwall without him!". Erm, well yes, this is sort of true, I DID go to Cornwall on my own, however I still missed him....honest! ;-)

It was a small plane!

On the Tuesday evening before the Easter weekend, I flew from Gatwick to Newquay in a little propeller plane (flybe.com are brilliant!) to spend a couple of days with the God Children in deepest, darkest Cornwall while Him Indoors was at work - he couldn't get the days off and so I saw an opportunity for a long weekend in Cornwall and quite frankly I pounced on it......wouldn't you?!?!?!

The view from my bedroom window

For two entire days I had the FGCs (Fairy God Children) all to myself which was absolutely splendid. We had tons of fun, we played, we laughed, we rock-pooled, we watched films, we ate sweets, they beat me up, they woke me up in the morning by bashing me over the head with a plastic baseball bat, it was blissful. 

Off to The Mount.....

Early on Good Friday morning we were all joined by Hubby and Max and Millie. The other FGF (Fairy God Father) had arrived and the Easter weekend fun could truly begin. The dogs LOVED the beach and ran, played and generally had the best time. Millie is now off the lead more than she is on it and it continued whilst in Cornwall.....off her little bum went while she explored every rock pool, every pebble - Millie had fun!

Millie and The Mount

Maximillian Sydney has been visiting Cornwall since he was a little puppy so the beach held no surprises for him, but all the same he showed renewed enthusiasm for a game with Daisy (the official FGC dog) or annoying Millie, as is his way. Both dogs were brilliant and it was marvellous to see them both off their leads running around having lots of doggy fun!

Max and Daisy on the beach

While we were in Cornwall I experienced a first in my life, something I have never done before and something I really want to do again.....

The FGCs have a 'Secret Garden" 

In the Secret Garden there was a bonfire

On that bonfire we toasted marshmallows
.
.
.
OMG!!!! They're marshmallow-tastically amazing.....YUM, YUM, YUM!!!

Give me that Marshmallow Jemima!!!!!!

As it was Easter, we decided that on Easter Sunday we would find a suitable place and have an Easter Egg Hunt (because Easter is all about worshipping the God of Chocolate, non?!). The FGC parents identified a truly wonderful place called Prussia Cove (which is incidentally where they got married - it's a beautiful, romantic place!). We walked for a while along the cliff edge, watching Fulmars skimming past, spotting seals and of course letting the dogs have a good run around.

Fulmar!

We reached a 'point' on the cliff that used to be a chapel (just ruins now) and we 'hid' the eggs for the FGCs to find......it did not take them long! I am of the opinion that children have a built in radar for all things choccy-related and will find them instantly.....the FGCs sure as hell did! 

To the victors, the spoils.....

When we go to Cornwall to visit the FGC Family we always, ALWAYS have a brilliant time. There's always fun to be had, adventures to have and tons and tons and tons of love being shared in abundance......

Says it all really.

I'll leave you with my current favourite record from the brilliant Gossip...


Sunday, 1 April 2012

Home Alone

What is it they say? 

Absence makes the heart grow stronger or some such nonsense?! 

Well, let me tell you, it doesn't make it stronger, it makes it ache and ache and ache. The Love of my Life, Mr. McEllis has been working in California for the last 10 days and he's HOME TODAY! It's been a long, long, long 10 days - He is the effervescence that fills our home and without it I am like a beanbag without the stuffing....flat (apart from THAT video on Facebook but that's a whole different story....I blame vodka!).

Awaiting Hubby's arrival...

In His absence, I have been ably looked after by a number of friends (Thank you Kay, Mark and Paul for the garden centre trips and the alcohol both of which are VERY necessary in life!!!). The weather has been nothing short of wonderful and it has been a joy taking the Kids out to the park in the evenings/weekends for walks in the unseasonably warm Spring sunshine....much fun they have had too....!

Millie-Moo gambling like a (fat) Spring Lamb...

Once again it's Millie that takes up much of this chapter. With Dad No. 1 being away she has all of a sudden realised that there's another Dad in the house. I have never had so many cuddles, licks or so much love and attention in all the time we have had her (which will be 2 years in August!). It will all end with the return of Himself tonight, but bask in it I have and will, until he crosses the threshold and Millie once again forgets who I am and I revert, in her mind, to 'the Lodger'.

Pile On!

Walking with Millie just gets better and better and she is getting braver and braver. I now let her off every time we're in the Park unless there's a situation that makes me less confident and then they remain on their leads - too many other dogs, football players by the hundred, etc, etc. She has been brilliant this week without Him Indoors and I now know that she will obey commands given by me. Only the other day a fox crossed their path in the cemetery and they both shot off at full pelt after it. I shot off at full pelt after them screaming their names.....Millie stopped, sat down and waited for me....Maximillian Sydney Bruiser McEllis did not!

There's a fox behind that tree!

Something else that has come out of Millie's improvement and being off the lead is how many other dogs walkers have noticed and have commented. There has hardly been a day recently where someone hasn't said something along the lines of "Oh wow, she's off the lead, how fantastic"....very heart warming it is and it just makes me even more proud of her (have I told you I'm very proud of Moo and how brilliant and fantastic she is?!?!)...

My wonderful, marvellous, fantastic 'Kids'...!

Little Maximillian has been his usual mad, loony, crazy self. He's never been short of cuddles and love and has continued to hand it out in abundance. It may be my imagination, however in Dad 1's absence Max has turned up the cuddle-o-metre and I've almost been smothered on a daily basis. Not that I am complaining of course - getting a cuddle from one of my dogs is heaven on earth.

Daddy's Little Cuddle Monster

I mentioned above that Millie will have owned us for two years in August. Well, in February Max passed his 2 years with us (I can't believe they're both 3 this year!!!!!!). As he gets older, Max definitely gets more gobby, confident and full of himself, he's a brave little soul and has no real fear - he'll protect Millie and Us at the drop of a hat. He is Max, hear him roar!

Maximillian at 5 months-ish...

All in all, it has been a brilliantly successful weeks with the Kids. I was dreading letting Millie off the lead on my own but I did it and she performed excellently. I really am going to bore myself with this soon but Millie IS amazing at the moment so apologies for the constant references, I will get over it eventually - I'm just so bloody happy for her! It will be interesting to see how she performs next week when we are on a beach in Cornwall with the God Children (we're VERY excited and can't wait to see Jemima and Ferdi) and their dog, Daisy......will she keep up the good work??? *Watch This Space*

Our FANTASTIC God Children.....and Us.

Now I need to go and prepare the home for my Hubby's imminent arrival....Me and the Pups are all very excited....M&M have taken up their places in the front window already!

I shall leave you with Max and Millie's favourite YouTube video:

Sunday, 18 March 2012

7000 hits!!

WOW, never ever did I think that when I started this little blog about Max, and then Millie, that I would one day reach the dizzy heights of over 7000 hits! I am truly grateful for everyone that visits and takes a peek into the lives of our two canine Lilliputians......from Max and Millie a HUGE thank you for taking an interest.

7000 and rising.......!

What makes it even more incredible is when you realise that this blog has only been going since February 2010 when little Maximillian Sydney Bruiser came to us. In comparison, the  Hens in the City blog http://hensinthecity.blogspot.com (administered by my handsome Husband) has been going since September 2008 and has achieved 7150 hits, so we really have been steaming ahead...(no, this is not a competition, it's not, it's not!)....

To celebrate - let's all boogie on down to a bit of Madge.....enjoy!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Playtime & Progress

We really honestly do have the best little dogs in the entire world, without doubt (Biased? Me?). They're both such a pleasure and a joy, bringing unconditional love and happiness into our lives each and every day. Be without them we would not!

My wonderful Family

Max continues to be the loyal yet ever so slightly bonkers little lunatic that we have come to know and love, however it's Millie that is soaking up the limelight at the moment. As you will be aware, we have been concentrating over the last 18 months on getting her to walk on the lead without ripping other dogs throats out and also, one day, letting her off the lead with Max so that they can both have a run around. Well, we have yet to reach the 'not ripping out throats' stage, BUT.............*drum roll*.............we have reached the letting off the lead stage....and how wonderful it feels to see our little 'Moo' running around in the park with Maximillian, just wonderful!

Miss Millie-Moo McEllis

We are (ok, ok, I am) getting braver by the day and now Millie is off the lead almost as much as she is on it. We've also introduced a new rule when walking them so that they are both on or off the leads at the same time which will hopefully have a positive effect on both dogs, being treated the same at the same time. Another positive effect of this new found freedom is that now she's getting more exercise our little Pudling is starting to lose some of her porkiness and becoming rather svelte and even more beautiful....

Princess McPretty

Last weekend we caught up with our good friends Bella and Muffin (Carole and John) who live in Ashtead, Surrey and own a lovely little fishmonger in the village. If you live in the area check them out as their seafood is fantastic!!! You can see their website here - http://www.ashteadfish.co.uk/. Bella and Muffin are owned by two dogs, Finley and Archie who are nothing if not boisterous!!! Finley is a Scottie and Archie is a Westie and they are old friends of Maximillian Sydney Bruiser, however Millie had never met them before.....until Sunday!

The Gang!

After the initial confrontations (mostly from Millie *surprise surprise*) everyone got on very well. While we were there we took all the dogs to Ashtead Common for a walk and they had a good scamper and run. As you can see from the above picture, we took the decision to let Millie off and let her have a good time with the others although I was just a tad nervous. I needn't have been, Millie pretty much led the way and the Boys all obediently followed Her Ladyship without any problems at all!!!

Millie admiring the handsome Aix galericulata!

So.......we most definitely have proper, bona fide progress and we could not be happier. It's been a long road with Millie and there are still some areas that need a little bit of fine tuning (ripping out other dogs throats springs to mind!), however we are getting there and she is brilliant and we love her and she's amazing!!!!!! Maximillian Sydney Bruiser McEllis continues to be the most lunatic of little dogs with the biggest heart and his only desire in life is to do nothing but play, play, play....what could be better than that?!


I'll leave you with the Adele/Daft Punk remix we are currently addicted to - a summery track for when the evenings are warm and barmy, you have a cold drink in one hand and the person (or dog!) you love and adore in the other.....enjoy!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Hello Egypt, Goodbye Dear Friend

تحيات القراء 


or as they say in English, Greetings Readers!


A couple of months ago we decided that the British weather just wasn't up to scratch and we decided that we needed a holiday, some sun, some relaxation. So, off we went on a week's holiday to Sharm El Sheikh. A week on a sun bed, with an iPod, a book and a cocktail or three was what we both felt we needed......and so we did it!


Flying over The Alps


We umm'd and arr'd about where to go and ended up choosing Sharm El Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt (for those of you who are geographically challenged). I'm not particularly interested in Egypt at all, it doesn't necessarily rock my boat, what I need to see I can view via the British Museum quite frankly. But, it seemed a little more exotic than the Canaries and we assumed we would have guaranteed hot weather, so S-E-S it was.


Our first view of the Red Sea

We stayed at a hotel in Shark's Bay (no sharks were seen!) called the Grand Rotana Resort & Spa which was literally 20 minutes from the airport, not that you would notice. The place is rather large, sprawling over a good few acres with more than 2000 palm trees. What you don't really know until you get there is that the hotel is in between the Red Sea and the desert/mountains, there's not much else!


The entrance to our hotel


There's nothing outside the hotel apart from other hotels, a road and desert. We did do some research on Trip Advisor however they were either liars or on another planet because it wasn't how it was supposed to be. Hey-ho, as they say you live and learn. Plus, a week on a sun bed is a week on a sun bed, non?

Believe it or not but it's a Kestrel!

For those of you that know us well, you'll know that we are both keen birders. Birds are our thing and when in a foreign country we like to go and find the local feathered inhabitants. In Sharm El Sheikh there are hardly any birds, literally a handful. In a week I think we must have seen a couple of dozen, the sky was empty of both birds and bird song (although we did see a couple of Osprey which was lovely. 


OMG, birds!


However, what we didn't see in the way of bird life was MORE than compensated for by the sheer overflowing wealth of fish!!!! O....M....G.....there were fish of all shapes, sizes and colours, they were amazing, gob-smacking, beauties of the sea and we saw A LOT!

A Picasso Triggerfish (I called him Pablo!)

The coral reef literally starts where the land stops. Our hotel had built a pier of sorts that you could walk along over the coral reef. You looked down and the sea was stocked to overflowing with fish of many sizes and colours. At the end of the pier was a set off 'swimming pool steps'. 


The Deep....


You walked down them, into the sea, and right there in front of you was the drop off. Very, very cool......and mind numbingly scary! Alas, I have a fear of deep, open water and it took me 3 days to even dip my toes in the Red Sea, never mind put my whole body in there!!!!!

The Pier to the drop off...... *eek*

Once I was actually IN the water it was a whole different ball game. Everywhere you looked you saw fish. Big ones, small ones, long ones, short ones, colours of the rainbow darting here, there and everywhere. It was truly incredible! However, what with the irrational fear, etc I didn't stay in long and left it to my Hubby, Mr John "Cousteau" McEllis to continue snorkelling and exploring the treasures of the deep.


Hubby, about to plunge in!

I really cannot stress how marvellous the sea life was. During the day the coral reef was literally teaming with life, there were colourful fish, loads and loads of jellyfish and corals and clams everywhere. At night the hotel lit up the reef right below one of their restaurants and this encouraged the local fish predators which you could watch stalking their prey - this included Lionfish which are STUNNING!


A Lionfish....honestly!

All in all, we had a lovely week away in the sunshine (although the week started off very cool and windy). We had the chance to recharge our batteries, think of nothing and no one and just relax. I've done Egypt now, I've been there, done that and have no desire to return. As this is the 'dog blog' I s'pose I should also mention that the dogs are fine. They were ably looked after (spoilt rotten) by Grandma and had a thoroughly good week without us - methinks they're missing Grandma!!!

Egypt, thank you and goodbye

While we were away we received some very sad news. Our dear friend Raymond Sawyer had passed away. Not only was Raymond our friend but he was also President of the Avicultural Society - he was the last survivor of the Golden Age of Avilculture. He was a man, who for me, made dreams come true. He was amazing.

Raymond and one of his pampered pooches

I grew up coveting his and his wife Ruth's stunning bird collection via a birding magazine called Cage & Aviary Birds. I met him through my Husband and he made the ultimate dream come true when he allowed us to hold our Civil Ceremony in the grounds of his home - he was of course and quite rightly the Guest of Honour. I am incredibly lucky to be able to call him a friend. Not only us, but the Avicultural Society and the bird world has lost a dear friend and a truly great and inspirational man - he will be sadly missed.


On our wedding day with the fantastic Raymond

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Will it snow, won't it snow.......?

Yes, it bloody well did snow!

I awoke this morning to a good 3 or 4 inches (much more than I usually wake up to!), it's like I went to sleep in South East London and woke up in Narnia. It is gloriously white, snowy and lovely out there. It's a little soft under foot so I'm not convinced it's going to be around for long. Getting to work tomorrow should be interesting!! I just wish people would remember that this is snow, not some impenetrable forcefield which means that your life comes to a halt....it's snow.....grow a spine you alarmist people of the media, it's called Winter for a reason!!!

We have snow!

As you can imagine, the urge to go out and 'play in the snow' was a hard one to ignore and so I literally dragged Hubby out of bed, we harnessed up the dogs, grabbed the cameras and off we went. I think the only thing that kept Himself going was the thought of getting back home to the fire, a cup of tea and a sausage butty. 

Max enjoyed himself!!!

We took the dogs to Camberwell New Cemetery, where we nearly always take them and as soon as Max was off the lead he was possessed. Absolutely, completely and utterly possessed, a loony lunatic (no change there then!). He was charging here and there, jumping in and out of the deeper bits, he really thoroughly enjoyed himself. He even tried to 'catch' snowballs......


video
Max takes one in the face!!!!!

Millie, being the less mentally energetic of the two took the snow in her stride and continued to concentrate on looking for local wild creatures that she could kill. This of course included any other dogs!!! We let her off in the tennis courts and had a bit of a scamper around in the snow, she seemed to enjoy it.....

Fun, fun, fun!

Talking of Millie and letting her off......watch this and be IMPRESSED!!!!!!

Can I have a drum roll please.......

video


It's taken what feels like a very long 18 months to get to this stage, but at this stage we are and I am very, very, VERY impressed with Millie-Moo....she is such a star! Obviously these are very early days in 'letting Millie off' but it can only get better methinks! I'm pretty sure it helps that she is so faithful and dedicated to her Dad, she adores him and the bond they have is very clear to see. I am one very happy Dad No. 2!!!

Millie walks to heel as well.....!


L...U...V...MADONNA!!!!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Happy New Vet!

2012 has started pretty much the way 2011 ended.....quietly! For this I am very thankful as I am still not quite up for a 'manic hell for leather' personal life. It's nice at the moment to be spending my weekends thinking about doing lots of things instead of actually doing them. I'm sure it's a seasonal thing and when the weather warms up so will I but until then, allow me to indulge in a blanket, a dvd, my dogs and a comfy sofa....if Max and Millie can do it, why can't i?!

Snuggles

Did I mention that we were going to France for Christmas with the dogs and that we didn't go? Did I? We were going to be staying with our wonderful friends 'The ShazzaNackers" and it was going to be tres French. Anyway, as we didn't see them in France we caught up with them recently and the dogs received a little gift. A little dog shaped Parka coat. It's hilarious seeing it on Millie as she's a tad 'podgy' and it doesn't go all the way around, unlike Max who wears it with pride and it's a perfect fit!

Lady about town.....

They haven't been out in public in the parka yet as we normally walk them in the dark due to working, etc and what's the point of having a new coat to show off if no one can see it?! Talking of seeing the dogs in the dark, I've bought them both new flashing harnesses which, although functional, aren't as 'flashy' as I thought they were going to be but at least we can now see the little buggers when they're scampering around the cemetery at night - unless of course you're Maximillian Sydney and you run off and disappear for way too long and give your Dad a mild heart attack until you return with mischief written all over your face!

Mischief (un)managed!

Overnight and this morning saw the first real frost of the Winter arrive in London and across the country. How lovely it was to wake up knowing it was actually cold outside with ice on the top of the chickens' water and pond and the leaves coated in a prickly white glow. Hubby was at work today so me and the dogs went for an early long walk, stopping off at the new Neighbourhood Veterinary Centre (http://www.theneighbourhoodvet.co.uk/) opposite Peckham Rye to register M and M as we're not best pleased with the previous vet! What a place...very modern and stylish with a coffee bar and a decent pet 'toy shop' from which I purchased a couple of treats for 'The Kids'. I have high hopes for the new vet and I feel confident that they will deliver.

Words fail me!

All in all I think we walked around 4.5 miles and very pleasant it was too when you consider that every dog we met Millie wanted to rip the throat out of - there were a LOT of dogs on Peckham Rye this morning all gambling around in the frost so Millie had quite a choice! However, we had a really good walk and as I type both dogs are curled up in front of the fire unable to move as, thankfully, they are both absolutely knackered! It's a rare moment of peace and quiet in the McEllis household and I am enjoying it.

Frosty paws on Peckham Rye

Finally, Hubby is not well. He's gone and got himself a chest infection and apart from looking rotten (in a handsome, man-about-town sort of way) he sounds like a drag queen that's been on 60 Woodbine a day!!! Max and Millie are doing their best to give him medicinal 'doggy cuddles' and it seems to be working......

'Medicinal' Millie

I'll leave you with my current favourite record by a young lady that SHOULD have won the X Factor, but didn't - the fabulous, soulful Rebecca Ferguson and a track that has been remixed by the mighty Seamus Haji - turn it on and turn it up *hands in the air*...

Monday, 2 January 2012

Bonjour from Cheshire.....

As you will recall, Max and Millie (and their adopted Dads) were really looking forward to a French Christmas, with French food, in a French house, feeling all French, in French, I mean France!!!! At the last minute our plans were pulled from under our (almost) French feet and we very quickly realised that we could not go. A number of issues presented themselves which meant that we were to stay in the UK. 

Are we there yet Dad???

Understandably, both Himself and myself were very disappointed, considering how long we'd both been looking forward to it and also how we'd been boring everyone that wouldn't listen with the "Oh yes, we're going to France for Christmas, it will be the dogs first Christmas abroad"stories...In the end it was almost inevitable that the choice we made was the best choice under the circumstances and so, with Max and Millie strapped in, the cases packed and a tank full of petrolicals, we made our way Oop North, to my Hubby's homeland, to Cheshire, to Nana's House.

Millie soaks up some rays at Nana's...

I have to say that our Christmas was, after the initial disappointment of not going to France, quite lovely. As soon as we found we weren't going Husband called Bunbury Village butcher who the family have known forever and got a fresh Goose, a huge lump of Gammon plus all the other essentials (we were of course going to do a Supermarche à la Francais!). The kitchen went into overdrive as my Man prepared sausage rolls (3 different kinds no less!), mince pies and other festive treats - all of them delicious! Yours truly got it into his head that he would cook for 5 people (Brother in Law & Wife and the lovely Aunty Joannie came over) and do main course AND dessert, which went surprisingly well, no tantrums or stress attacks....not one.

Mincemeat Treacle Tart à la Me!

Although we have been back to the house a few times since Mum died it was still a little sad however I am more than positive that I had a visit one afternoon or more accurately, Millie had a visit with me sat there like a 'window licker' (no offence Window Lickers!) saying out loud "Mum, are you there?".....if she was there, she didn't respond....she probably just laughed and that what a numpty I was!!! Still, we made it very festive ensuring that the house had the 'Ellis touch' with the old decorations coming out - the mini gold tinsel christmas tree on top of the TV has to be seen to be believed.

A small Sherry of an evening...

We did some amazing walks with Max and Millie. On Christmas morning they were adorned in their Christmas collars and we took them to Delamere Forest which is fast becoming a favourite place of ours to take the dogs when we're in Cheshire. Well, you've never seen so many people in silly hats and dogs strewn with tinsel, santa hats and the like!!!!! There was me thinking that Max and Millie would stand out from the crowd in their festive outfits....I was sooooooo wrong!!!!!!!

Millie, Max and Mr. Bracegirdle on Christmas Morning

We ate and drank like Lords-a-Leaping and we enjoyed ourselves so much that we had to call Aunty Kay, who was looking after the Girls, to see if she could do it for a couple more days as we delayed our return as long as possible. Needless to say, Max and Millie make us realise how much we need the countryside more than we do a life in London. I would be extremely happy to be able to offer them the country life but our jobs are here so until we win the lottery we won't be moving far.......yet!

Millie at the Cheshire Hunt on Boxing Day

All in all, despite the last minute change of plans, we had the best Christmas in Cheshire with Max and Millie, we really did. Perhaps 2012 will be a French Christmas, but let's not be making any plans just yet, eh chuck?! I'll leave you with my current favourite track by the fabulous Mr. Patrick Wolf - it's dancey, it's romantic, it's bloody brilliant.....!!!



Happy New Year from Us All!