Living Arrows 24/52

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

Kahlil Gibran

As my regular readers will know BattleKid has been enjoying afternoon swims in the pool. He’s been getting more confident going under the water too as I shared last week. However one day last week we were just a little too late to head down for a swim and he wasn’t happy. So, what’s the next best thing to visiting the pool to a 3 year old? Turning on the sprinklers in the garden of course!

He has taken to calling it “do the rain” and he had the best fun running through the sprinklers, getting soaked and trying to coax BattleDog in, who was having none of it! I shared a video on my Facebook page which highlights his delight but here are some pictures I managed to take before we turned them off.

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The Portugal Diaries #2

As I sit here on my parents decking, it still hasn’t quite sunk in that we are now four weeks into our Portuguese adventure. Our arrival was not without its bumps along the way.

The day before leaving we fitted the dog cage to our Land Rover and that took some figuring out, even reading the manual. We had bought it soon after buying the car but had never fitted it and were going to get rid of it. However, I felt it would be better to have it installed in case the dog thought about joining BattleKid in the back seat. Or God forbid if we had an accident. After almost an hour we got it in.

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Dog guard installed!

The next morning, after some last packing, signing of papers for the sale of our first house, and clearing the last of furniture out of the house to buyers, we left South Wales. Sunny as it was that Tuesday, following the trucks containing our belongings until we passed Abergavenny, we passed over the Severn bridge with a little bit of emotion. We headed for Portsmouth, stopping at Leigh Delamere services to grab some much-needed food before containing on.

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Following the contents of our house in the two trucks in front
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Goodbye Wales, until we meet again

Five minutes down the road we heard “mammy I need a wee wee” and into the next services we pulled. He’d only done one in the previous services! Toddlers, hey! Bladder emptied, we soon turned off from the M4 and headed south along a route we hadn’t taken before. We arrived at Portsmouth just before 3 as we planned and checked in.

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Nearly at Portsmouth Docks
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On our way to Spain

Both our own passports, as well as BattleDog’s, were checked and we even had to use a micro-chip scanner to prove his microchip was still there. I was quite impressed by the Port Authority’s thoroughness. At 4pm we started heading to our ship, the Pont-Aven, a very nice looking Brittany Ferry indeed. Once on board, BattleDad got BattleDog up to his kennels and soon came racing back for his bed, which we had stashed in the back. Dog settled, we headed upstairs to find our cabin and unload our things for the 24-hour sailing.

I must say I was very impressed with the ferry indeed. Two cinemas, several restaurants and cafes, a large shop and even a pool (unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to try it out). Ferries have certainly come a long way since my overnight trip to France as a teenager for a school trip.  Even the dog facilities were better than I expected although the kennel could have been slightly bigger for our large German Shepherd.

I had been quite worried about how BattleDog would travel after reading some stories but he was brilliant. Some dogs around him got sick, one had a bad stomach the other end, and some just didn’t stop barking the whole time. However, he was fine, just excited to see us when we went up to him to walk and toilet him.

We even got some great compliments about him, especially in the late evening when it was just me and him. BattleDog was trained by Chaperone K9, a company we have dealt with before when we got BattleDog #1 (who sadly passed away last September). BattleDog #2 is fully obedience trained and is also a personal protection dog. He is so chilled and relaxed but hugely loyal and obedient.

During this particular visit to the dog walking area, there were lots of dogs and owners so I kept him close to me and just walked around in circles. It soon started raining and everyone cleared the deck except us. I took the opportunity to do some extra training and heel work off the lead, and after a few minutes another owner arrived to walk their dog. I put BattleDog back on his lead and carried on with heel work.

She was very impressed and asked if we did Crufts! I said no, that he was trained to police standards (which he is) and she then asked if I was police woman! She was mightily impressed by how good he was and how well he walked to heel. I went back to BattleDad to tell him, all chuffed with myself.

The next morning we had breakfast and took BattleKid to the soft play area which was nice enough. While there, I stupidly faced backwards and soon started feeling ill. A cup of black tea and two packets of salt and vinegar crisps soon settled my stomach. We chilled out mostly, allowing BattleKid as much screen time as he wanted. I did get a snooze in the early afternoon as I hadn’t been able to sleep much thanks to a sweet cake and caffeinated tea after 8pm, which is always a no-no for me. Caffeine and sugar after 7pm does nothing for my mind switching off at bedtime.

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Selfie with my boy on board the Pont Aven

The most exciting part of the trip was seeing hundreds of bottle-nosed dolphins swimming off the port of the ship. They were amazing to see, jumping out of the water and swimming alongside the ship.

We docked 30 minutes behind schedule and were unfortunately the last ones off the ship. We made our way through Santander and headed for the motorway which connects Santander with Bilboa, as we were staying an hour outside of Santander in a dog-friendly hotel I had managed to find online. After refuelling, we were on our way, heading into the mountains of Northern Spain….

To be continued…

Cath x


Be In The Picture 5

Well, May has been and gone and boy oh boy was it busy. It started with our last weekend in Wales, during which time BattleKid got to bring the class bear home with him. He was the first one as nursery didn’t want him to miss out before he left. So, as you do, we took him dragon hunting in Abergavenny Castle. After we’d found the dragon we showed him how to roly poly down a hill and also how to blow Jinny Joes (dandelions). BattleKid loved him and nearly didn’t want to bring him back!

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Then came the biggest change to our family as we set off for our new life in the sun. This entailed a 3 hour trip to Portsmouth, a 24 hour ferry trip to Santander, and a 13 hour car journey after an overnight in a gorgeous hotel, which I’ll be reviewing very soon. We just about made it, as those of you who follow me on Instagram will know. Car trouble!

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On board the Pont Aven Brittany Ferries ship

Since then we’ve been staying with my parents while we waited until our new place was finished off, ready for us to move in. While BattleDad has been in Paris with work, BattleKid and I went into Tavira with my parents and also visited Ayamonte, Spain with them.

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Sunny selfie in Tavira

Once BattleDad was home (in between trips) we all visited Vila Real de Santo Antonio which is a gorgeous town on the river border with Spain.

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Checking out the fish in the marina at Vila Real de Santo Antonio

I also had to admit something very silly since we’ve been here. To know more check out this Instagram post!Be in the Picture 5

Aside from that we’ve been relaxing and enjoying ourselves on my parents decking. We can’t wait to go exploring even more this month!Be in the Picture 5

Be in the Picture was created by Kerry of All About A Mini Norris and Alana of Baby Holiday in which they encouraged us to get in front of the camera instead of always being behind it. I’m guilty of this and by joining in with Be in the Picture, it ensures BattleKid will have pictures of me as well of himself when he grows up.

Living Arrows 22/52

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

Kahlil Gibran

Last week we had quite a bit of sorting out to do to get our new home ready for the movers who were arriving from the UK with our stuff last Friday. However, after gaining access on Wednesday and cleaning the new place, we took a break on Thursday and headed to Ayamonte in Spain with my parents.

To get there from Portugal, the easiest and quickest way is to drive to Vila Real de Santo Antonio and get the ferry across the river, which takes 15 minutes. You don’t need your passports nor do you come across any border controls, unlike the land border.

During the trip over BattleKid seemed to enjoy himself and even tasted the air as we crossed a time zone from Portugal into Spain. He’s a crazy child sometimes!

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Linking up with Donna of What The Redhead Said. If you’d like to take part or see some other Living Arrows posts, please click the badge below.

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