Thursday, 23 July 2015

Keep on truckin’

Walking isn’t glamorous.  And it certainly isn’t exciting.  Ally seems to like it though.  Me- not so much.  I feel like we are certainly into the boring part of our quest.  We aren’t fresh faced adventurers anymore.  We’ve lost that fire in our bellies.  It’s all about putting one foot in front of the other and just keeping on going, knowing that one day we’ll get there.


I’ve worked out that if we do 31km a week, that’s how we make it.  That’s made it a little easier, working it out weekly, as opposed to daily.  On the days where I work 12 hour shifts, I tend to beat myself up over the fact that I only did 2km in the morning (or sometimes none!).  But this way, it doesn’t matter because even if I don’t do my daily total, I can always make it up on other days when I have more time.

So we’re back on track!  I think SURELY we must be near Rivendell!  Maybe it’s in sight??

Pic via here

Upon studying my notes, I have actually breezed past Rivendell!  It is 732km away from Hobbiton… and I have now walked a grand total of 779km!  So- Elvish dinner at Rivendell coming up :)

Friday, 12 June 2015

Bree to Weathertop

This is the bit in the movie where those scary ghosty things catch up with the gang- because some of the hobbits decide to sit on the top of a hill and cook dinner- basically lighting the way for the ghosty things.

I got there a month or so ago, I didn’t post about it at the time.  It means I have walked 387km.  For dinner, in homage to the movie where they are cooking bacon and sausages, I decided to make one of my faves- pigs in a blanket!  However… they turned out looking more than a little phallic so I took a photo to send to my friend and then I deleted it off my phone, haha!  They tasted great though.

I went and visited my dad in Middle Earth aka New Zealand.  I walked his dog and snapped this picture.  His dog Jack is just a pup and isn’t built for massive walks (PLUS I WAS ON HOLIDAY AND IN LAZY MODE!) so I only ended up doing a short walk with him.


Our next stop is Rivendell and from all my research, it seems like those elves like leafy vegetables.  Gross.  Not looking forward to that meal!

It is now a quarter of the way through the challenge and I am WAY behind!  Winter is well and truly here and by the time I leave for work in the morning, the sun is only just in the sky.  Which means I have been terribly slack in walking my dog.  BUT winter usually means that I start taking up running so that I can exercise and not have to be out for as long.  Instead of 45 minutes to do 4km of walking, it takes 25 minutes.  And running tires Ally out a ton! 

I have become really bored with our usual walks.  And I’ve only been in this area a few months.  I’m trying to find new, fun places to walk.


Thursday, 2 April 2015

Walking to Mordor… I made it to Bree!

Well I started this Walking to Mordor challenge.  I sadly relied on Internet intel and thought that if I walked 7km a day for a year, I could make the distance in a year.  When I worked it out for myself, It’s more like 8km.  And I started halfway through January… so basically it’s not going to happen.  But instead of packing it in like I normally would, I am going to keep going.  Considering I have to walk my dog every day anyway, I might as well keep a track of all my kilometres.  We do about 4km every day so I set a new standard of trying to reach Mordor in two years instead.  Sorry Frodo and co, you guys walk too darn fast!

And so I made it to the first stop.  From the Shire to Bree which is 218km.  And because I’m food motivated, I wanted to celebrate each milestone by having a special dinner that is representative of each place.

I FORGOT THAT I HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN TO THE START POINT OF THIS ADVENTURE!!!!  Here is a picture of me at the actual start point… Bilbo Baggins’ house in Hobbiton.


Bree is the town where the hobbits stop in at the pub, The Prancing Pony.  So I decided that a pub meal was in order.  I cooked sausages and mash and washed it down with a ginger ale.  I really should have had a pint of beer to be TRULY authentic but beer is gross.  The sausages were a special pork and apple sausage and were so yum!
(Do mashed potatoes ever look edible in photos??)

I have also decided to start an instagram for this challenge.  Why?  Why not?  It will mainly be selfies of me and my dog.  And maybe some scenery and the animals that we bump into.  WHY SO MANY WATER DRAGONS?!?!?!  So follow walktomordor for all your trekking needs…

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Walking to Mordor

I decided on a new New Years Resolution.  I usually have vague ones like “Be Happier” or “Be More Assertive” but I found this one a few days ago and I really love it.


(And yes I know that this gif is from The Hobbit!)

In The Lord of The Rings, the distance from Hobbiton in the Shire to Mordor to drop off that pesky ring is 2683km (or 1779 miles for the others out there).  If you walk about 7km a day, in theory you will walk that distance in a year.  This was all worked out thanks to this site.  It’s old but some of the links are still clickable if you want a look.  I can’t imagine how much work it took to figure this all out, so thank you!

I’m trying to walk my dog more.  She is an active girl and we go for one big walk a day, but I’ve noticed she is much more settled and content on those rare occasions we get to go for two walks.  So I think this will be just the thing to get me out the door for that all important second walk of the day.  I won’t be adding any of my “steps for the day at work” or anything like that, the only kilometres that will be logged are when my Fellowship of Two go out together.

PLUS, because I have to make it even more goal orientated to keep myself interested, every time I reach a major point on the “map”, there will be a food party!  Because I have always identified with those hobbits for a reason after all!  The first stop will be at The Prancing Pony at Bree… in 218km!!  Oh dear, we only did 6km today and Ally and I are a week behind to start with. 

I have tried before to read the Lord of the Rings series but didn’t make it.  And I struggled through The Hobbit which is a KIDS BOOK!  But I feel like I would get a kick out of reading more into it.  And from what I remember, Tolkein loves describing Middle Earth scenery so it’ll be cool.  And since I’m not walking the whole way (just to Mount Doom), it’s ok if it takes me a year to read the first book (and a bit).

And to finish…


Yeah I know, Sean Bean.  But these fools are going to try!


(Terrible selfie taken into the sunlight)

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Start As You Mean To Go On

I think that’s excellent advice for the first day of the New Year.  I get so excited and hopeful about new beginnings.  I am one of those people who do that tradition where you fill up a mason jar with nice things that happen to you throughout the year and then you open and reminisce on the last day of the year.

This year was different.  This year I was sick.  I had barely been able to keep my eyes open at work and then when I went home, I ate chips for dinner and then went to bed at 9.  I woke up in 2015 feeling much better for having slept through the night.  But still full of a cold.

But I had plans.  And I got to spend the first day of 2015 with friends and having fun.  Doing the important things.  Illness be damned!

I drove to see my friend Danielle, who lives only about an hour away from me but that is really far away when you are both grown ups and have to schedule hang out times.  We exchanged Christmas presents.  And she got me a One Direction advent calendar (because I will always be a tween at heart) and most importantly, a Doctor Who necklace.  She made me pizza which we ate before heading to the cinema.  Unfortunately the session to see The Hobbit was all sold out but we brought a ticket for the next showing in two hours time.

So we had two hours to kill.  We went to a cafe and on the way bumped into a friend of Danielle’s who I have become friends with thanks to social media.  It was one of those weird things where you meet someone who you have never met but it’s totally cool and you act like you’ve met each other a billion times.  We hugged like old friends and her husband was a bit confused that he had no idea who his wife’s clearly very good friend was.  I explained succinctly “We’re friends from the internet”.

It was a very cool moment because we’ve tried to meet up before but the plans have always fallen through, usually at the last minute.  And as Danielle pointed out, if we had gone to the original session of The Hobbit, we wouldn’t have met her.  So that made the meeting all the sweeter.

Danielle and I went on to the cafe and talked about lots of things and resolutions.  Important things and not important things.  All the sorts of things that you can talk about with best friends.

And then we saw The Hobbit and it was far too emotional.  I keep thinking about it at points during the day and feeling the wind go out of my sails just that little bit.

I drove home far too late and hung out with my dog, who is the best.

An excellent day and I hope to have many more like that this year.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

I got a dog

On the 8th October, I went down to my local RSPCA.  I took my friend Tara who is a vet that I work with.  She was going to be my voice of reason and stop me from getting carried away ie getting a Great Dane or getting an 8 week old puppy.  Spoiler alert… she failed miserably but I’m so happy she did :)

There were a few dogs that I liked the look of but nothing really stood out.  I really, really wanted to walk away with a dog.  I was going to have five days before heading back to work and that was going to give me enough time to settle the dog in- so in my mind, it had to be that particular day.

We had another walk around the pens and spoke to a volunteer who was making polite conversation.  She said that “Jules” was an absolute sweetheart and pointed at a cage that we had passed but assumed was empty.  I peered in again and a face with big eyes peeked around the corner of her kennel.  It was love at first sight and her tail wagged cautiously.

There were two other dogs that I wanted to have a look at but they are irrelevant to the story.  Jules was brought out to a nice open space to say hello but she was absolutely terrified.  It was suggested that we should maybe meet her in her pen instead.  We all went back inside and I crouched down in the corner and she went and hid behind me.  She snuggled into me while peering out from behind me at the other two people in her pen.

It was the fact that she seemed to recognise that I was her human and that I was the one that was there to protect her that sealed the deal.  And she had a fluffy beard like a wolfhound which is a breed I would love to have but can’t due to the size.

Tara murmured “You don’t think she’s too big..?” but I was getting carried away and nobody could stop me. 

As we signed the paperwork, I had a moment of “WHAT HAVE I DONE?!” but I quickly tamped that down.  When we walked her out of the animal shelter, a large guy was walking towards us.  The way the dog had an absolute panic at the sight of him confirms to me that she was mistreated. 

She continues to be incredibly nervous around people but especially around men.  I’m like “Same, girl.  Same”.  She’s a bit of an introvert and will take herself away from a crowd if she’s had enough.  But usually she isn’t found too far from me.  And I realise that this is because she has separation anxiety, something I don’t want to encourage, but I secretly love it when we meet a new person and she snuggles into me, like a toddler when forced to meet a new person.

I renamed her Ally and she is unbelievably the wrong dog for me.

IMG_6224 Our very first selfie together!

She is the most slobbery dog the world has ever seen.  Luckily no shoestrings of slobber though.  The beard was the thing that drew me to her, the beard is now the thing that I hate.  If she’s nervous (which is quite a bit), she pants excessively and the drool collects in her beard.  If she drinks water, the excess water collects in her beard and drops all over the floor.  If she rests her head on me, there is usually leftover drool on her beard which is transferred to me.  I hate it!!


She is a young boisterous big dog.  I should probably give her two big walks a day.  With my work schedule, I can really only manage one big walk a day.  And that makes me feel incredibly guilty.  If she was a different dog, I would hire a dog walker but at this stage in her life, that is not an option as she would be absolutely terrified.

I wanted a big(ish) dog because I like to go for runs when it’s early and often dark so I’d like her for, at least the appearance of protection.  Realistically, If there is someone coming towards us that she doesn’t like the look of (ie everyone), she cowers and sometimes stops in her tracks.

Her stupid tail really hurts when it wags.  Because she always seems to be standing right next to me, I get whipped by her tail.  And it really really hurts.


She frustrates me to no end.  Like when I come home and she has chewed something to pieces.  Or when I took her outside to go to the toilet and she didn't;t do anything but then came inside and did diarrhoea all over my housemate’s white carpet.


In her moments of fear, there is no aggression.  I have seen the sweetest animals turn into feral monsters because of fear.  There is none of that in my dog- and that makes me really proud of her.


She’s smart.  She doesn’t pick up any of the useful commands I try teach her, like ‘come’ and ‘heel’.  But she very quickly picked up ‘wave’, which she does with such goofy enjoyment, that I just love to make her do it.


You haven’t witnessed joy until you’ve seen her bound after a toy.  Or the lamb-like gambol that she does when we go for runs and she has to make a leap for the sidewalk.  Or the way she throws her toys (that she has lovingly nibbled all the stuffing out of) about and then pounces after them.  She has the weirdest quirkiest personality and I love getting to watch it shine.


She went and sat in the pool up to her waist by herself… just because.

The way she just oh-so-casually gets up on my bed when she knows good and well that she is only allowed up when she has been invited.  And there is no sneaking up when you are nearly 30kg big!  I’m like “Dude, I noticed”.  And the way she just rests her head on my bed when I wake up, like ‘'oh boy, you’re awake.  Hey, do you think I could get up now??”  Her tail starts wagging and the look in her eyes, you can totally tell that she’s smiling.


I went to the bathroom, and she was sleeping on her mat on the floor beside my bed.  Came back to this lady-like display.

When we’re sitting at the dinner table, she is big enough to nudge your elbow as you hold your knife and fork.  Just to remind you that she’s there… waiting… all night if she has to… in case you wanted to give her something a bit extra.

And how good she is with other dogs.  She loves bounding around and being goofy and jumping all over every dog and racing around like a loon!  And if another dog is grumpy, she just drops and rolls over on her back and goes “whatever, you’re the boss.  I’m just here to run around and have fun.  Smell ya later”


Ally and her BFF Bandit, Tara’s dog.  Dressed up in our work uniform after a big run outside.

So yes, Ally is a pain.  But she’s my pain.  And in the two months I’ve had her, she has come forward in leaps and bounds.  We went to our first obedience class today and she was a STAR!!  I know it’s because she wants to please me and make me happy, and you can’t ask for more than that in your dog.  I can’t wait to see how she turns out in the years ahead. 

To Ally’s previous owners… I don’t know your story, Ally was found as a stray.  You never came forward to collect her.  Maybe you didn’t care that she was missing, maybe you dumped her, maybe you searched and searched but never found her.  Thank you for taking care of my dog while she was a puppy.  Thank you for teaching her how to sit and shake paws.  I will always be grateful to you for taking care of my best friend for me. 


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Daybook ii

Trying to get back into blogging.  It aches a little to stretch these weary muscles so let’s start out with a nice exercise stolen lovingly from a friend.


Outside my window, I live right by a train station and they are doing some form of track work.  There is a lot of machine noise interspersed with the workmen yelling to each other.  I can’t make out what they’re saying but there’s a lot of bantering and laughing.  It’s probably a good thing I can’t hear what they’re saying, actually!  The weather has finally turned into something resembling winter.  Overcast skies and temperatures requiring jeans and hoodies.  My feet are a teensy bit chilly though.

I have been listening to Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.  I just adore Grace’s voice and I love their music.  It’s kinda rock, kinda bluesy and it’s great to turn up loud.  They recently came to Australia as support act for John Mayer and I was gutted that I couldn’t see them perform as they didn’t come anywhere near my hometown.  A song I come back to again and again is this one called ‘Timekeeper’ as I love the lyrics and can 100% relate to the feelings.  Here is an acoustic version performed by Grace.

I have been wearing mainly pyjamas.  My roomie is away for a while so I have been home alone and therefore, pyjamas.  Although to be real, I still wear PJs all the time when he’s here too. 

I am thankful for animals.  They are the best.  The love they have for humans and the way they show it just makes my world go round. 

I am pondering why my upcoming holidays are causing me more stress than pleasure.  Like, I know, I know… first world problems.  But seriously, why can’t I just enjoy the thought of my holidays instead of having stress dreams. 

I am reading a biography of Caterina Sforza (written by Elizabeth Lev), who was an Italian noblewoman from the 15th century who amongst other things led her own troops into battle.  This is the first biography I have read in years and it’s a bit hard going at the moment because my brain’s just not in the zone, despite the author’s best efforts and the awesome subject matter.  So to temper that, I’m also devouring “Dragon’s Blood” by Jane Yolen.  This is about a poor boy who works in the local dragon stables where the fighter dragons are kept.  It’s a lovely read and just what I need to balance out some world history.

I am creating an Irish chicken stew with dumplings.  I am very haphazardly creating it so it’ll be interesting to see if it is as tasty as it has been in the past.  I went a bit crazy with the dumplings, as they’re obviously the best part and I added WAY more than I normally would, so we’ll see how they are!  It’s bubbling away on the stove and has been for the last few hours.  It’s making me so hungry because the house has smelled of chicken soup for hours and I haven’t been able to eat any of it!!

And since writing that… my dumplings took over and took away all the moisture.  So there is like no soup in the chicken stew.  But it still tastes good!

A picture-thought I'm sharing is of my first little plant that I planted recently.  I am surprised to find that I quite like it.  The plants are not enjoying their slow, laboured demise but hopefully I can get better at not killing them.