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I’m returning…

WordPress & I have decided to give it a break and I’m returning to my original blog “Being Released”… When it comes to blogging I seem to shift about a lot, sorry if this means you need to change your links again!

So this morning is was lashing down, there was very little wind but it was absolutely bucketing.  So I cancelled my run knowing that this afternoon it was forecast to be dry.  This afternoon arrived and whilst dry there where 15mph cross winds.  Now I hate the wind especially cycling but if I wanted to train today it had to be this afternoon I no longer had a choice.

It was a great wee run which I enjoyed and I’m thankful and a little proud that I pushed myself out the door.  Another point of motivation was the fact that I recently bought a Garmin for tracking my speed, cadence, heart etc.  My mates have been using them and I’ve been impressed by how detailed it lets you get in over viewing your training.  There however presents a new dilemma, which website will I use to record all the stuff.  My two favourites are RunKeeper & Strava but which one will I stick with… who knows???

Changing the subject a little I bought new brake pads this morning.  I decided as a hefty bloke I could use all the stopping power I can get my hands on and so I bought Swissstops.  I’ll review them soon and let you know how I get on with them…

*It would appear that WordPress doesn’t support iFrame links other wise I’d publish my recent rides through Strava etc… Time to change blog provider?? Surely not again… 😦

For the past 6 to 12 months I’ve not been cycling or exercising as I should.  I’ve literally gone from one injury to another whilst the weight has been piling back on.  The irony being that I’m sure the injuries are the bi-product of being very overweight for years and yet to lose the weight I need to exercise with which being injured makes it a struggle.

Cycling is my first love and my previous blog was full of the journey I made from just playing about on a mountain bike and doing infrequent and small mileage to buying a road bike and doing 50 – 70 miles a week.  Alas but my weight yo-yo’d throughout that period and has continued to this very day.

I’m back to 20 stone and I’m keen to get down to 14 or so.  I have a number of close friends who similarly enjoy their cycling and the last few weeks have seen me going back out with them.  Nothing serious but enough to rewet the appetite.  I’ve also been watching “The Biggest Loser” on channel Pick.  It’s the American series but to be fair I find their version FAR superior to the British one.  They provide a great source of inspiration and this has also served to rewet my appetite for getting back in shape.

So without further to do I’m announcing that I’m back in the land of blog to record the next phase of the weight loss/cycling journey.  Complimenting this will hopefully be other points of interest like dogs, hill walking and fishing. We’ll see…

Who’s up for journeying with me?

Deed not breed…

It is an obligation…

Cycling with your dog…

I’m part of a group on Facebook made up of Border Terrier owners and a member recently talked about cycling with her two.  As you can imagine my ears picked up as I thought about what that would be like once Lola grows up.  I’m keen to hear from anyone with experience of cycling with their dog and especially keen to hear what devices they use.  This is one I’ve come across – Walkydog.

It’s been a strange couple of weeks without a dog in the house.  We knew we wanted a pup we just weren’t sure when but over the last week or so I just knew a pup would have to arrive soon.  I’m just the type of man who finds life happier with a dog in his life.

With Barney passing away we decided we would never be a 1 dog family again. It hurt too much and so the plan is now to get two or three dogs who would be a year or two apart in age.

Jane (my wife) wanted a Border Terrier, I wanted an Airedale Terrier and our eldest wanted an Irish Terrier. We also had mutterings around getting another Cairn Terrier at our family meeting. I guess we are just a Terrier family lol. To be fair back 14 years ago I picked and named Barney and so Jane won the toss for the first purchase and today we got our wee Border Terrier “Lola”.  I have to say I’ve fallen head over heals for the breed.

Lola (Glencarraig Marianne Mozart)

We’re based in the North of Ireland but couldn’t find any pups available round these parts. Eventually we found a breeder (Julie Bryan) in Dublin who had a bitch left from a litter of 8 and a 10 month old boy called Finn. Originally we wanted Finn as he’s a fantastic dog with an awesome temperament and personality but couldn’t find the window to travel down. We were hoping to get him this week but a retired couple took him early last week. Although we understood we were disappointed. Julie offered us the bitch but we really wanted a boy. We wanted a boy so that when our Airedale came we would get a girl. A girl Airedale we thought might be lighter, more of a home bird than a boy and generally easier to handle. However I asked Julie had she any pics of the girl pup and when we seen her the rest was history so to speak lol.

I have to say Julie (GlenCarraig Kennels) is the best breeder I have ever come across. Her pups are so well socialised its unbelievable and the support she gives is real and tangible without being interfering. We’ve never shown a dog but at this stage and its early days yet Julie thinks she should make a great girl for the ring if she continues to develop so well. She was last to be bought but actually to Julie’s eye there was very little between her and the bitch Julie kept. I have a good friend who breeds Irish Terriers and has done exceptionally well in the ring. He has seen her photos and has agreed she has all the potential for the ring. However as I say I have never shown and whilst I’m curious I’m undecided and under confident to say the least.

Lola’s Dad & Mum

The story goes now that the Airedale boy pup will arrive in 18 months and will be called Charlie. Have you ever seen the kids TV programme Charlie & Lola lol. Charlie is the big brother and has a good sense of humour – perfect for an Airedale me thinks.

Farewell Lad…

Today we lost our Barney. 14 years ago my wife and I came home from honeymoon and having never lived in a house without a dog (my mother and sister owned the family dogs) I went out and bought Barney. A wee Cairn terrier who was the smallest in his litter and last to leave his mum. He was an amazing wee dog who had an incredibly way of making you laugh when you where sad and comforting you when you where down.

One toy was never enough lol

Our Barney as a pup – one toy was never enough!

He loved to dig and one of our funniest moments was finding him digging between to closely placed sheds. I couldn’t reach him and thought it best to try and crawl up the gap to get him and in the process getting myself stuck. My wife was in stitches at the two of us. I loved the way he never left your side and if my wife and I were in different rooms he would lie patiently in the hall exactly half way between us. I’ll miss his never say die attitude as seen yesterday even in the midst of what was a very dark day for him. Yesterday as he struggled to walk and in a very weak state he thought it only proper to find the effort to go out to the garden to tell our neighbour off for cutting his grass, funny to the last. I’ll miss the welcome he kept for me each and every morning, at the expense of other house members and most of all I’ll miss him beside me on the sofa. Over the last year or two he had grown to like placing himself as tightly as he could between my leg and the arm of the sofa. We think he loved the heat of it but Barney being Barney when he was too warm he kicked you until you moved a little away from him and when he was too cold he would stare at you until you closed the gap and moved closer.

Over the years our family has had many dogs. Since I’ve been about we’ve had Airedales (I was so young they are hard to remember), Boxers, Poodles, Westies, Yorkies, and Labs and by far the biggest personality and the most fun to be with was Barney.

Barney it was a privilege to know ya, we’ll sorely miss ya, rest in peace.

I seen this recently on a forum I visit every now and then and thought that it was worth sharing.  

“Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa , and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said,”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The Six-year-old continued,

”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right. Think good thoughts for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is part of LIFE…Getting back up is LIVING…

Have a great life.”

So I walk into my dad’s today and he says he’s got a treat for me and places a long lost photo on the table.  It turns out to be not only of one his childhood dogs but his favourite.  It’s was his first Airedale, the infamous “Rinty”.  It was taken in August 1963… How’s this for cool?

My dad went on to share a few stories about him.  Apparently he was an escape artist of the highest quality and would regularly disappear.  It was common for someone to waken in the house in the wee small hours to hear a thumping at the door.  When they went to open the door, Rinty who had been thumping the door with his tail bolted up the stairs and onto my dad’s bed.  He immediately curled up and by the time the person had got to the top of the stairs Rinty was pretending to be a sleep.  Legend!

Having spoken with my dad for the last few days about Airedales I can understand why he has a twinkle in his eye for the breed.  What I don’t understand is why I’ve never had one lol – a situation that I hope to rectify over the next year or two.