Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Gym Story #2

This story is about Grandad Ben. Ever since I posted about Swan Lake, I've been gently reminded  - just kidding, Grandad isn't a 'gentle reminder' kind of man - that Grandma has a blog post about her and he hasn't. And that he paid for me to go too, not just Grandma.

So here's a whole post just for you, Grandad Ben...

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Grandma and Grandad go to the gym for their 'old-timers' circuit class - basically, a class for the old people of Basingstoke to sit on the machines and chat. Some of them really go for it and some of them just go for the gossip. I see you, Grandma and Rita, by the rowing machines. I see you.

I decided to meet them at the gym, where we planned to have a drink after our workouts. Luckily there was a treadmill right behind Grandad, who was on the cross trainer. After spurring him on with encouraging words such as "Come on Grandad, put some effort in!" and "Bloody hell Ben, I think you could go a bit faster!", I thought it would funny to throw my jumper at him.

Unfortunately, there was a well-placed mirror, so Grandad wasn't taken by surprise. But it did land perfectly on his head.

Now, this may seem unkind, but we have a long history of throwing things at each other - mostly tiny bits of rolled up napkin when we're out to dinner. Obviously, I get blamed while Grandad laughs at me if the bits of napkin hit anyone. He also always aims to get them in Grandma's hoodie, bag, etc, and usually succeeds.

Grandad Ben was not going to take this jumper attack lying down. He threw it behind him, clearly aiming for me.

The jumper completely missed. It hit the lady next to me, casually chatting to her friend. She was even nice enough to pass me it, while I loudly chastised Grandad for throwing things at innocent gym-goers.

1-0 to me. 

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

An Easter Surprise...

On Good Friday, my brother, Maxx and I were playing Texas Hold 'Em at the table when Mum let out a sad sigh.
"Have you seen this?" she said.
"Yeah, don't read it out, I know what you're going to say. It's really sad." Gaz replied.
"What? What is it?" I said.

Mum read out the Facebook post from Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare (quoted from their page):

LONELY LARA...Lara has been returned to us after two years in a home. Sadly, her daddy is no longer able to care for her due to ill-health and her mummy did not have time for her. She has been poorly since she came back earlier this week but is on the mend now and is in our Sanctuary. Lara would love to go home for Easter. If anyone is interested in homing Lara, please come and meet her at the kennels or give us a call.

I mean, come on - anyone with a heart would admit that's a horribly sad story. We all felt touched and wished we could take her in. 
"It's not me you need to convince, it's your dad!" Mum stated.
This was true - but then he is number 1 dog-walker and lawn de-pooper (he works from home so takes them out around 4, when most people are still at work so he doesn't run into too many little dogs and before it gets dark in Winter). When we mentioned how feasible it would be to take Lonely Lara on, he pulled a 'I'm not sure' face, so we said no more.
I walked in on Saturday morning as Mum and Gaz were talking about Lonely Lara again. I joined in and, to our utter, utter shock, Dad said:
"Well give the kennels a call and enquire about her then."
We all stared at him. Mum was the most shocked. I ran off to call Denise at the kennels before he could change his mind.
She didn't pick up, so I left a message and Gaz and I went to the gym (back and biceps, if you're interested. I did 40kg on a close-grip pulldown - don't act like you're not impressed).
After a brief phone call, Denise and I agreed that we'd go up to see Lonely Lara at 2pm that day. Mum, Gaz, Claus, Princess and I piled into the car and drove to Hersham - it was a fun journey, and I think we were quite excited knowing that, really, it was a done deal. We couldn't meet a needy hound and leave her behind.
Well, out Lonely Lara bounced from the kennel. She was clearly excited to go for her walk, and after plenty of sniffing, we took the three of them for a little wander. It really depended on whether Princess could live with another girlhound, so we walked the girls side by side. It went well so we let them out in the paddock together. They had a few sniffs, but still no growly business.
It was settled.
She was coming home.
Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare
From left: Princess, Lara, Claus
Lucky Lara, as she's now known (as well as Lara Bingle - long story), has settled in really well and is particularly attached to my brother. There's only been one growly bear incident when Princess gave Lara an unwelcome sniff, and that's it. We've established she likes wandering about the garden, snuggling on the sofa and standing in the pond.

Our aim now is to get some weight on her - she's very thin. Denise warned me on the phone that Lara was a fussy eater and had had an infection, which was being treated, but that her blood tests had come back fine. She's nearly finished her medicine and has been eating and drinking more - she is fussier than Claus and Princess, but Claus was wary of unfamiliar foods at first, too. She loves meat and star-shaped Winalot biscuits, so over the next few weeks as she settles in more we'll find out other things she likes to eat.

We have no regrets about taking Lara. She's a wonderful hound and we can already see her playful side coming out - she's had quite a tumultuous couple of weeks, going from her home back to the kennels, being poorly, moving in with us and meeting all the family over the Easter weekend, but she seems to have coped very well.
Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare
Gareth and Lara snuggled up on Sunday night

Friday, 3 April 2015

Hurray! Lent is over!

As of yesterday - my Grandad Ben's birthday - Lent is over! My aunt and I have been trying to find the correct date and have both researched on a variety of different websites. The 4 (!) dates that are apparently the end of Lent are: Maundy Thursday (yesterday), Palm Sunday (last Sunday), Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Basically I decided that Lent had been long enough, so I chose Maundy Thursday. And it's what Google said.

Cadbury's TwirlLent 2015 was tough. I missed chocolate from week one. It got easier after a couple of weeks, but last weekend my aunt, mum and I were in Edinburgh, and every time we went into M & S to stock up we would walk soooooo slooooooooowly past the Easter egg displays. Luckily our resolve didn't break (we'd all given up chocolate so were suffering together).

I promised myself the first thing I'd eat on Maundy Thursday would be a Twirl bar, so on Tuesday I bought two of them and kept them by the side of my bed. I nearly opened one just to sniff it but decided that was too risky...

It. was. worth it. Delicious. Smooth. Sweet. All of the good adjectives.

However, I think I overdid it somewhat - or my ability to gorge on chocolate has decreased after my period of sacrifice. In 24 hours, I ate 2 Twirls, 1 creme egg, 1 Hotel Chocolat caramel bunny, 1 mini pack of Mini Eggs and 1 chocolate sponge pudding. I'm lactose intolerant, so yes, I did have a bad stomach. Again, it was worth it.

Luckily I went for a hack with lots of trotting and did a tough workout, so at least some of my gorging was burnt off!

Happy Easter everyone.