Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The Barklife Way

The above portrait of Moll was done by my very talented friend, Carol, nearly a year ago now and made me think of this book I was sent recently, entitled The Barklife Way - Life Lessons from a dog

This is such a lovely book about what we can learn from our dogs based based on the author's observations of her own dog called Cooper.

It's a fantastic read for anyone who loves dogs, with wonderful illustrations that are worth framing in their own right.

Each chapter, or section, has a bit about what Cooper does - i.e. his delight in a new day, all the wonderful new smells he encounters, so each trip is unique, exciting and packed full of novelty and fun, bursting with opportunities.

The next section asks what we can learn from, in this instance, our daily trips to work, or to the park, to the beach, wherever we walk our dogs, with the idea of not taking things for granted. Open our eyes and look and see who's around us, what the birds and trees are doing; what flowers are out. The pink balloons by someone's gate, the peeling paint on an old house. All the little things that we take for granted, or don't even recognise. We should, for we miss so much otherwise, and miss everything that's strange and special, all the delights and enjoyment that our dogs use every day, every moment.

This is a lovely study for anyone who loves their dogs but it also carries some very good life advice with the most fabulous illustrations. There's also a section about how the author wrote this book and information about the illustrator.

I can't honestly think of anyone who wouldn't enjoy this book, but if you have a dog, and you enjoy illustrations, this is a must.

So instead of New Year resolutions, I would just get this book, take the advice - and see how much more enjoyable your life becomes. Just like your four legged friend!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Keep It Small

I'm sorry but if I receive one more press release or see another "inspirational" post on Facebook about new year's resolutions, I might scream.

I'm not quite sure why the end of this year was so dire, but in large part is due to huge volumes of water cascading from the sky accompanied by gale force winds that have been hitting the south west since Christmas Day. I've given up listening to the weather forecast as it's more of the same.

Then there's that awful feeling of having to drag ourselves out of bed for work, having been idly cocooned in duvets with no special get up time at all for what seems like months but is only a week. It's amazing how quickly the brain can atrophy, isn't it? One minute, if not sparking on all cylinders, at least it was working - then - bang - complete shut down.

So no, as I said to a friend suffering similarly yesterday, I am not making any new year resolutions. Getting out of bed was quite an achievement. To actually get some work done after that was nothing short of a miracle.

So my motto for January is to Keep It Small. Getting out of bed is a good start. Eating breakfast - excellent. Walking Moll first thing - part of my wake up routine. Though bless her, she has something wrong with her left back leg so have to take her to the vet later. Enough of that - think positive.

Next step - turn on computer. Brilliant! Transcribing a walk - brilliant. Making a call about an interview - my god! I think a few brain cells have woken up from hibernation. And frankly, whatever works is good. And if it doesn't, well, it will again soon.

I remember reading a piece when I was once having a really tough time and it advised to get out of bed. And breathe.

Sometimes that's all we can do. And you know what? Sometimes that is a hell of an achievement. So whatever you aim to do in January - Keep It Small. And achievable. And celebrate just putting one foot in front of the other. That's one hell of a good start.