Sunday, 18 October 2015

B'n'B for D'n'D

Make it count, Soldier. It is the last food you'll see till
tomorrow evening. 
We finally managed to nail down a vet to do the spay operations of 3 year old Westie bitch, Poppea and young tom-cat Soldier. They were booked into a practise in town for Friday morning so for them (and all other dogs and cats because it is easier that way) starvation from 6 pm on the Thursday evening. This is not a problem with the dogs who are not used to food between meals, but the hungry young cats live a life of harrassing us into feeding them at any time of day or night by just making nuisances of themselves, climbing the shelves, lying on your computer keyboard, pushing things off tables to see if gravity works, climbing all over your lap, shoulders and head purring madly. Subtle in their demands they are not and the only way to shut them up is to realise that it must be HOURS since their last feed. Days maybe. Weeks even....

Poppea, still very woozy from her operation gets sniffed
by the other two. 
Well, we held our nerve and managed to do a convincing job of being forgetful about breakfast come the morning. Come 9 o'clock, we extracted Blue from the cat basket so that we could put Soldier into it and got a collar and lead onto Poppea and her out of the door without the other two joining us, I ran Liz to work and went from there on to the vet's in Castlerea. The patients would be 'done' in the afternoon and we'd get a call to say we could come and collect them.

The makings of a very fine gumbo
We collected them at 5:30 pm, by which time Pops was trying to come round from the anaesthetic under a cosy heat-ray lamp in one cage, and Soldier was still sparko in his cat basket. The cat woke up that evening and was up and running, eating and wanting to go outside very quickly. Our little drama queen is a bit of a different story and is milking it over the whole weekend for all it is worth. She even went all day Saturday without eating and had her first breakfast this morning. We don't mind that. She's not going to suffer for lack of walking for a couple of days and we just have to keep the other dogs from being too boisterous around her. Poor little mite. Get well soon, Pops.

D and D in da house.
Main event this weekend, though, was a superb first-time visit from a second-cousin and her man, these two with very similar names so called, for the purposes of this blog, D and D. She is the daughter of one of Liz's very close, same age cousins from their childhoods, Cathy. Although Liz had met her a few times, she mainly remembers her as a pregnant 'bump' so this was going to be a nice chance to get to know D and her 'fella' better. D is young yet (well, compared to us!) but is madly in love with the idea of small holdering when she retires and keeping livestock. I expect there will be such a project in her future but she had read all about us on Facebook and in this blog and was really looking forward to meeting the animals.

Paté, then slow roast pork, then chocolate mousse with
raspberry coulis for supper.
D-the-man knew, obviously, that she wanted to come back to Ireland where she was born ( she left when she was only tiny) and had conspired deviously with various friends, contacts and family, including us, to organise this whole trip in secret. We had her completely fooled. She did not know till the morning that she was going on holiday and was a bit fed up with her normal friends for being all non-commital or "otherwise engaged" over what looked like being a lonely, boring weekend. D presented her with a simple map-of-Europe jigsaw  and announced that they were going on holiday to the country on the missing piece. Nice one, D!

D falls in love with the turkeys
They had a stop in Dublin to catch up on the friends and rels that end and then headed down this way to arrive about 3 pm. Liz LOVES all this kind of thing - hospitality and hosting and was ready with a menu fit for these honoured guests. They were going to have a quiche and salad stop-gap on arrival, then a superb supper of paté followed by slow roast pork with a dessert of chocolate mousse, raspberry coulis and cream. Breakfast was going to be 'dippy' goose eggs and toast soldiers and/or soda bread with smoked salmon. As many as possible ingredients were from our own produce and there was, naturally, a good but sensible amount of drink about the place.

D's "selfie" with Rambo.
They wanted a good show around the 'farm' and to meet the livestock. D thought she'd like the geese best but ended up being swept off her feet by our charming turkeys. They also seemed quite taken with her and followed her around chirruping happily and in one case even let her stroke his head. She was quite taken with Rambo too, who came loping over to see her every  time she appeared at the gate, 'asking' for her to stroke and scratch his head (Yes, now down a bit.... ooh, and just that bit behind my ear.... ). If a ram could purr, Rambo would be purring. D even took a 'selfie' picture of the two of them on her phone. D and D also asked if they could help on the first feed and release rounds. No problem, but I have to admit I doubted whether they'd get up in time. They did, and were even dressed and with wellies on. There's enthusiasm from a volunteer.

This rose bud came on a branch which had snuck in under
the shed roof so was in the dark out of the weather. 
We'll call that a successful visit, 'topp hosting' from us and perfect 'guesting' by D+D. Everything you could want from guests - they enjoyed everything we did, ate the food, fell in love with the animals and were pure pleasure to "entertain" (i.e. no bother at all to keep happy). Their next stop is Galway and then Bunratty Castle where they are booked in to a medieval banquet. We took them on a quick diversion out to the Sligo rebuild house to show them the more scary end of the "buying a place in Ireland" spectrum (serious buildering) and then set up their sat-nav for our scenic route to Galway through Clairemorris, Cong, Maam Cross and the mountains of Connemara.

Dippy goose eggs.
We went back home to a standard Sunday, dog walks and tidying up after a visit, gently recuperating the patients and sympathising with the turkeys who are behaving as if they have lost a close friend as well as enjoying all the Facebook stuff put up there by D+D. That is, I think, our last inbound visit in 2015, though we do have a couple of away-games to come. We do love these visits and the chance to do hospitality so a huge thank you to our guests and you know that you are always welcome back.

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