Friday, 1 August 2014

Saying goodbye is the hardest thing...

Yesterday we said goodbye to our 18 year old son, for 2 years...

Having just completed A levels in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry he has a place at Manchester University studying for a Masters degree in Aeronautical Engineering.
However he has chosen to defer his place for 2 years, the reason? 
He has opted to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He applied for his missionary service around Christmas time not knowing where in the world he would be sent. The application process involves interviews, medicals and more interviews. In April he received his assignment to serve in Greece and Cyprus. He instantly felt it was the "right place for him" and in between studying for A levels has been getting to grips with basic Greek and reading things like
The Iliad and Odyssey.

So yesterday we dropped him at the Missionary Training Centre where he will be spending 9 weeks to learn Greek and missionary skills, then flying to Athens. Once in Athens he will be paired with a more experienced missionary and live among the Greek people.

As members of the Church ourselves we always knew Jacob would probably decide to serve a mission, I did myself 25 years ago. But nothing prepares you for the day you wave goodbye. We know he will be safe, we know we will exchange emails every week, but we will miss him being around. 
I will miss my "best mate" but at the same time I am so proud of the man he has become.

If you would like a peek into the life of a "Mormon" missionary, that is a little less weirdly edited than Chanel 4s "Meet the Mormons" documentary. Please pop over and take a look at the blog we will be keeping of his preparation and adventures.. 

Saturday, 24 May 2014

I married the girl of my dreams TWICE

My Princess

This weekend we celebrate our wedding anniversary.. We have enjoyed 22 years of married life and I think part of the reason for our success is that we got married TWICE.. Yes you read that correctly we had two wedding ceremonies.

On the 23rd of May 1992, Joanne and I married in a civil ceremony at our local chapel in Oldham. It was a regular wedding, we had a best man, bridesmaids a walk up the isle and a reception in the church hall. It was a wonderful day, with all our family and friends around us

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a problem with a regular church wedding, even our own. Every wedding service I have been too included the phrase "For the period of this mortal life" or "Til death do us part" Think about that for a minute. 

We were and are, madly and passionately in love, we didn't want a built in cancellation to our commitment. We believe in a life after death, but as the song by Queen asks "Who wants to live forever, if love must die"

Fortunately death, however far away it may seem, does not have to be an end. There is a place you can go to be sealed for "Time and all Eternity"  Love does not have to die, we can be families forever.
That place is a Temple.

In our case, in 1992 the only temple in the UK was in London and it was closed for an extended period to be refurbished. We didn't want to wait for its opening, so as part of our wedding plans we had organised to have our honeymoon in Franfurt Germany, where the next nearest Temple could be found.
(There is now a second UK temple in Preston)

After our civil Wedding on the Saturday we went home to the house we had bought in Ashton-under-Lyne. Then on the Saturday we drove to London, stayed over night and took a flight to Germany.

On the 26th of May 1992 we entered the Frankfurt Temple and in a room not dissimilar to the one below we knelt facing each other at the alter and were married a second time, by someone holding the authority to seal us together for Eternity.

It was a complete contrast to our civil wedding, we traveled to Germany without our family,
there were no bridesmaids or receptions, just us, a couple of witnesses and our beliefs.

Outside the Frankfurt Temple
This short video with comments from living apostles explains more and shows the sealing rooms better than a photograph can.. Please take a couple of minutes to enjoy it.

Of course being sealed doesn't mean you face no problems, you still have to work at a relationship, you still have trials. However I think having a LONG term ETERNAL plan makes your realise what matters most and gives you a different perspective and perhaps a greater desire to make it work.
Do I love Joanne as much as I did, no.. I love her much more.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Garden Railway

It was a Saturday, the sun was out, the dogs had been walked, the errands run... 
So why not run some trains in the garden

March the 1st 2014... Has Spring Sprung ?

Monday, 3 February 2014

Eighteenth Birthday

No not my 18th Birthday!! (I just think I'm 18)
 Today our boy became a man and turned 18.

Land mark birthdays in the life of your children make you pause for thought, hence the video. Jacob is not our eldest, our daughter Rachel will be 21 this year. It doesn't seem like five minutes have passed since some of the pictures were taken.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Houdapitt Cottages Bude

On the first weekend in December Joanne and I took a short 3 night break in the outskirts of Bude, North Cornwall. We stayed in a beautiful farm cottage that was part of a small group of cottages converted from farm buildings. Only a mile from Sandymouth Bay and very dog friendly, they are an ideal retreat.

We love the beach and were not disappointed by our first "winter" visit to North Cornwall. We had to wrap up warm but in return we had various beaches to ourselves. Much like being the first person to leave footprints in fresh snow, it was fun to look back and see only our prints on the sand.

Max and Jessie had an amazing time, although Max was not to keen on getting wet

Jessie however is a real water babe !

When not on the beach we took a trip to Tintagel Castle and enjoyed a warming bowl of home made soup in the English Heritage cafe (dog friendly) We also visited the fishing village of Port Issac which is probably more famous now as the film set for TV's "Doc Martin" than it is for fish.

As the daylight hours were short we spent the evening relaxing watching TV and enjoying Max and Jessie's new pastime of eating out at local dog friendly Pubs.

Above the dogs relaxing after dinner in front of the London Inn's log fire

Below hoping for a chip, under the table at the Kings Arms


To say both these pubs were dog friendly is an understatement. They are more than welcoming and served excellent home cooked food, at good prices for big meals. 
Both pubs also handed out generous amounts of dog biscuits, Gravy bones being a favourite of Jessie

All in all we had an excellent 4 days to relax, play and recharge, cant wait to go again !

If you haven't seen enough picture already here are the rest in a video

This post originally appeared on our other blog 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Economic Growth

When there are no more resources 
for an economy to grow,

Do the RICH get more 
by taking from the POOR?

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Dog Food

We have other blogs, one of which is all about our dogs, Jessie the Cockapoo and Max too.

A couple of recent entries on the "Dog Blog" have been about dog food, whats in it and why we are unwittingly feeding our hounds that they cant digest... The vast majority of modern dog food is high in grains and low in meat. Which makes for food a dog is not designed to digest. Back in the day, when I was younger, dogs ate table scraps  which were probably meat and two veg ! But for commercial reasons manufacturers have convinced us that our dogs should eat grains, why, probably because they are cheap to produce and have a pretty good mark up.

We have done a fair bit of research and we now feed our dogs EDEN Holistic dog food

Launched in September 2012 it is the first pet food with an 80% Meat content. 
The remaining 20% is made up from Fruit, Herbs, Vitamins and Minerals. 
Basically it is all the foods a dogs ancestors would have had access to and therefore what a dogs digestive system is designed to cope with.

Note Eden Food contains NO grain or Gluten which is cheap and often used to bulk out commercial food, but has no food value to a dog.

The following is from the Eden Home Page

Based on the Ancestral diet of your pet with a diversity of meat, fish and eggs
Biologically Aligned with 80-20-0 profile
Nutritionally Aligned complete food with a high content of quality animal protein
Formulated without Grain or Gluten
Freshly prepared meats are prepared to an equivalent human food grade standard
Salmon and Herring packed with Omega 3
Low Carbohydrate content with fruit and vegetables
Prebiotics to support digestion
Health supporting Herbs, Vitamins and Minerals
Additional Joint Supplements
Made in Britain and very proud of it!

Our decision to use this food was based on considerable research into dog foods and nutrition and we have found both of our hounds are thriving on it

We would strongly recommend that you visit
which is an independently run site aimed at advising owners about the content of the food they use. 
Check out what you are giving your dog !
Interestingly Eden is the only Kibble to gain a 5 star rating.

A Typical Meal

Both our dogs eat the same food, Eden is not breed or age specific. It is highly nutritious and you don't need to feed large quantities. The only problem we have found, is that having changed from a high grain content food, the dogs think they need more food than they do. For that reason we add additional raw chicken to add some volume. The Chicken is minced and includes meat and bone to further enhancing the dogs Biologically Appropriate diet.   

The pink bowl is Jessies and contains 70g of Eden 
which is one of two meals she gets each day as a 9.5Kg dog.
The blue bowl is for max the puppy and has a little less. Note he has an anti gulp bowl... 
He likes his food so we need to slow down his eating !
The white bowl is some chicken mince to add in. 
Note both bowls of Eden Kibble also contain boiling water to soften it and release the smell.

Above the meals are ready to go with the chicken mince added

Jessie use to pick and choose at her old food, 
she is now really keen and so we slow her eating down by making her 
eat around a large pebble

As you can see above, the smell is captivating ! 

The picture above is not out of order, its not the before but the after, 
you can see they don't leave anything

Above is the bag of frozen chicken mince we use. Many Eden users add extra chicken in the form of a couple of raw whole chicken wings per week, we are honest and say we are a bit squeamish at that thought.

Out of interest at the same time as switching to Eden we bought a set of scales to weigh the dogs. We wanted to be able to adjust the feeding to keep weights as they should be.

We found that switching from a feed with a high grain content resulted in a dip in Jessie's weight. This was only brief and as she replaced a bit of lost flab with muscle, the weight came back. She is now more toned and lean. Max being younger hadn't had a chance put on any excess, as his graph shows he is growing at a very steady rate.

We did experience a period of detox during change over ( A few days of loose poops) Several articles we have read point out that many commercial feeds contain twice as many preservatives as a BigMac ! So its not surprising really ! Plus if the feed they are having contains grains and fillers they cant digest, at some point they will come out ! 


Eden sounds like a luxury food, it actually works out cheaper than the Royal Canin the dogs were on. 
Cheaper per Kg to buy and as the portions are smaller its lasts longer too.

It is considerably dearer than a food such as Wagg, but when you read that foods contents, you may as well feed them the bag it came in. The hidden saving is in vet bills. More and more people are realising the cost in health that feeding inappropriate foods brings. Allergies in dogs is rising along with skin complaints and all manner of other ailments. Hardly surprising if we continue to feed inappropriate foods.

Our dogs eat a healthier diet than we do, but that's because we can choose what we eat, they don't have that luxury so its our responsibly to make wise choices for them.  

Further info about our change over ..

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