Friday, 22 June 2012

Our beloved Sammie

Yesterday we said goodbye to our beautiful and faithful friend Sammie. She was 13 and half and we couldn't have wished for a more fantastic dog. I had been preparing myself for this day for 2 weeks as she had been refusing food which, especially for a Labrador, is not a good sign. This, coupled with excessive drinking, was an indication of failing kidneys and possibly an enlarged heart- both are  relatively common in older dogs. 

I am grateful for so many things. When I came downstairs and found her she looked fast asleep in her bed. It was me that found her. I didn't have to make any decisions about euthanasia. We weren't in Norway and we didn't have a houseful of family. I cannot begin to describe how I'm feeling right now but I have some wonderful memories to cherish forever. R.I.P. Pooch

This was the first ever photo of her with a couple of the litter. She was soon to be known as "Weetabix Head" because she got weetabix all over her head during the weaning process.

But we called her Samourai (she only ever had her full title when she was called by the vet)
Our first dog was called Dommie and at the time we bought Sammie a very small grey racehorse called Dom Samourai was leaping over high fences to nearly win races like the Welsh Grand National (2nd to Earth Summit)

Drake, now 22, on early morning duty!

Drakey's notes on choosing a Labrador pup.... yes Nem, they DO wreck your kitchen!

Even GG did garden duty when he came to Chester to stay.
(My Dad ALWAYS called Sammie "he")

Her first collar. Well OF COURSE it was SKY BLUE! PUSB PUSB!

(Look at her rounded head)

Christmas was always a mess of paper (such FUN for a dog)

She never did really grow up but this was in her slightly calmer days.

We had regular walks on the cricket club fields.

In her dip, with Woody.

When Husb bought new equipment for school, he liked to try it out at home first. But Sammie always wanted to join in too, and more often than not get completely in the way.

Then she got so excited she ran after the ball and came back with an apple.

She was a beauty.  A Black Spirit (Cubba backed Black Spirit at Royal Ascot today in her memory)

I couldn't keep her out of the water when I took her to the woolly cows.

She was just IN.

We adored her. And all she ever wanted was to be with her pack. Preferably on the settee.

She looked good in the snow, and always ran like something possessed, we presumed it was because her feet were cold!

In her "box"

She was eating so little when she died but her last meal was a couple of slices of 
(cricket tea) (whoopsie!!) corned beef and half a tin of Aldi chicken soup. There was always room for a titbit though, especially when out for walkies.

When I went upstairs she would lie at the bottom and wait for me to come down.

Her fur was sooooooooo soft. It also came out in handfuls all over the house.

I totally didn't care. Who wants a boring, tidy house?

Sadie was her very best friend.

She was the BEST DOG EVER and anyone who patted her was instantly her best friend too. 
I had Unconditional Love  for 13 and a half years. It is hard to imagine life without her now. 


Sunday, 17 June 2012

Next stop BERGEN

WOW another great day! I don't know where Husb got his "Be Prepared" attitude from because he was never a Boy Scout (or Girl Guide for that matter) but before we came away we bought a Bergen Card giving us access to trams, buses, museums, galleries etc. As we were only in Bergen till 3pm we had to make sure we got value for money with the card so...

ROOM SERVICE!! YEY!!!!! Breakfast in bed!! 

And we were more or less first off the boat.

We headed straight for the Fløibanen Funicular and what a good job we did because the queue when we got down was enormous (and we didn't have time to stand in a queue!) 

Thr Fløibanen Funicular is Scandinavia's only cable railway. From a viewing platform at the summit, 320m above sea level, we had wonderful views of Bergen and the surrounding mountains.

And what a lovely day for it - a gorgeous blue sky!

The angle of the train coming down was a bit like a roller coaster!

Naturally I bought a mug (because we REALLY NEED another mug) (NOT)

Same angle as the train WOO

Feeling VERY SMUG as we walked past the long growing queue (haha! Breakfast in bed peeps! Room Service! YIPPEE!!) we had a quick look in the Bryggens Museum which was built in 1976 over the excavated ruins of Old Bergen. Is is considered by UNESCO to be one of the world's most foremost showcases of the Middle Ages.

The Bergen quayside is full of brightly painted wooden warehouses reminiscent of medieval times. Tall and narrow and totally wonky and also featuring on my mug (same mug I hasten to add)

This looked much wonkier in real life.

Note to self... I took this to show how high the Fløibanen Funicular goes.
If you zoom in to the sky line by the building you can just make out the viewing platform.

Me : "So how much did we just pay for that cloudberry jam? 60p?"
Husb : "No, dear, SIX POUNDS."

Better go steady with THAT on my toast.

The Fish Market (Fløibanen Funicular again)

Looking across to a very clear Fløibanen Funicular track.

 The Bergen Card gave us entry to the Art Gallery to see Edvard Munch and Rasmus Meyer but we were more impressed with the Picasso drawings - he definitely could draw!

Time for a trip on a tram - free with the Bergen Card, where shall we go where shall we go???

Four miles from Bergen stands the Fantoft Stave Church. The original 12th century church built entirely in wood without using nails, was destroyed by fire in 1992 so this Stave Church is an exact replica.

It had a fabulous roof with ornamental dragons...

..and it was very nice inside but I didn't feel humbled and insignificant and in awe as I usually do when entering churches (and especially cathedrals) To me it was a wooden building in a church shape.

The altar

We had half an hour left so guess what.... TIME FOR TIGHT SCHEDULE!!!! again.

So we bombed it (good stomping) to the interesting looking Rosencrantz Tower, built in 1560 and climbed the spiral stairs to look out over the quayside.

Of course we didn't miss the boat!! There was even time for a photo on the stepping stones by the fountain. 

We really liked Bergen. It is the second largest city behind Oslo (238,000 people) with plenty to see. It was SOOOOOOO busy. Admittedly there were 4 cruise ships in, but it really was buzzing with people.
A great day and yes we got our money's worth from our card!  Husb just wished we had had time to visit Dolly Dimples Pizzas though. (!)