The challenge I could not say outloud!!! – Challenge No 5

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This 50@50 Challenge I could not even write down, just in case I could not summon up the courage to actually complete it……Its a bit of an emotional one for me as I wanted to see Quella again.

How do you appease a teenage daughter who wants a dog, a husband who does not want a dog and a son who does not care…answer…….you have a Guide Dog Puppy for one year? And so Our beloved Quella entered our life.  

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She was a stunning looking puppy and we all fell in love instantly.  It was hard work as she was never ours, she had to be trained in a specific way, we were trained too….how to walk her and treat her and there were no cuddles on the sofa; but she loved to play and we became a dog loving family.  It was an amazing experience ( highs and lows) and when the day came that she left us I thought mine and Chris’ hearts would break.  However, an even harder day came when she failed her training ( a complete shock as she had been creamed off as one of their best potentials) and out of the blue we received a call asking if we wanted her back.  I knew, for a variety of reasons, that at that time we could not take her and reluctantly said no. ………And that decision has caused me heartache ever since.

The great news is that she became part of Roger and Margarets family and we keep in touch twice a year and I know she is well.  She spends half the year raising funds for the Guide Dog association….she is such an affectionate dog and therefore a huge draw.  The rest of the year she spends on a canal boat, enjoying the outdoor life.

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I have had the chance of seeing her before but balked at it, feeling guilty, but my mother in law has seen her and my son, daughter in law and granddaughter have all seen her.  So this year, knowing she was going to be at the Kent County Show I decided I should do it.  How glad am I that I did!! We were warmly nuzzled, licked and greeted…..but she did not recognise us….and that strangely gave me the greatest pleasure.  She had moved on, and so completely that my guilt was washed away, allowing me to move on too and look at the situation afresh.  We gave her a great start as a puppy ( she could not have been more loved) and after that initial hiccup at training when she left us she has turned into a fabulous dog, adored and doing some great work.  She leads a better life with Roger and Margaret than we could have offered her and I was thrilled to see how well she looked.  With the help of Quella, who will be 6 at the end of the month, and her owners their stand raised over £2,000 for the charity….takings are always up with the dogs there…not surprising when they are this cute ( and I feel absolutely no shame for the pouty, gushy, kissy face I am pulling!!)

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Moonlit walk – Challenge No 48

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I love being outdoors and really enjoy walking but have never walked at night (unless you count staggering home from The Six Bells every beer festival).  So I was really pleased when my friend Fran suggested for her 50@50 challenge to me that we attempt the 8 mile moonlit walk in aid of The Heart of Kent Hospice, a wonderful charity and such a worthy cause.

http://www.hokh.org

We arrived a tad early (sorry Fran) after she had cooked me a great pasta tea and we had warmed up by playing tigers with her son James, but no, being a newbie to these things we had not factored in the wonderfully exuberant Ricardo who was to guide us through a Zumba workout…we managed to complete this avoiding sprained ankles from tripping over the numerous backpacks, heart attack from over exertion and overheating by divesting our fleeces to proudly deploy our purple decorated t shirts.  Our flashing bunny ears were donned and lit and we were off.  The party-like atmosphere was amazing, we found our pace (fast enough to take us near the front, but not too fast that we could not chat the whole way).  The road part sped by as cars tooted and revellers called support.  The half way mark greeted us with smiling volunteers (in fact it was so well organised and there were marshals the entire way round) offering water and chocolate fudge brownies…oh go on then…if I must!! Pub goers in West Malling high street ( I had forgotten how quaint it is here) were surprised by our constant streaming past and heckled in a fun way. My favourite part however was walking through a field, the moon had dropped, the Stars were out, an ethereal mist clung to the grassy edges.  The path in front was illuminated by pale blue tea lights and flashing bunny ears, so beautiful and moving..a time to reflect and ponder just how lucky we are.

The time flew by and we were back in 2hrs 25 minutes to cheers and clapping. The walk was in aid of a good cause, I chose to donate rather than fund raise, which I did on just giving today.  I would most definitely do it again too.  However, I have to say one of the best parts was being able to spend such a lovely long time with Fran, chatting, catching up, laughing and talking seriously.  This was another aim of my 50@50 to re-engage with my friends in a memorable way and simply have some ‘time’ distraction free to do so.  So far all of my challenges have achieved that and I feel more connected to each friend, family member because of it.  

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