All dogs go to heaven and some of them are unlucky enough to be placed on earth which, depending on the country they are placed in can only be described as hell. In the UK we love our pets. They are named after cartoon characters, alcoholic drinks, football teams, condiments and sweets: all the things that we love. God created the hound and he/she can perform all kinds of acts for us. We can train them to fetch or to guard, they can roll over and play dead, but most of all they give us unconditional companionship and love.
In Cyprus the dog has a mixed life. In many cases they live out outdoors, which on the face of it sounds terrible but the temperatures here are warm enough to have a long pooch existence even in winter. Where we live there is a dog every two houses or so and they play us their own tune when we pass them as we walk Taz. Across the road, one is chained up all day and just barks and barks and barks. We saw its owner slap it hard making it yelp the other day and were torn between intervening and not saying anything. We chose the latter but we will be keeping an eye on both of them. As we sweep around the block, there is an Alsatian, good regular bark with just a hint of ‘get off my land’, some white looking mongrel with a pink beard which sounds like it was only blessed with half a bark as its a ‘woo’, instead of woof which is more in keeping with ‘Wheezy’ the Penguin (from Toy Story 2) than a fully fledged canine. Many of the dogs are not chained at all but the problem with that (as I mentioned in a previous blog) is that they run across the road without the green cross code. Where’s bloody Kevin Keegan when you need him? As the driving here is a mixture of haphazard and drunk -many drivers choosing to tail gate the person in front of them – a dogs life expectancy is much lower. In the final hours of the Skoda Skanks time with us, we observed Peg (from Lady and the Tramp) trot across the main road swinging her pants (average speed 50k plus) at a snails pace whilst we came to a complete stop.
Memorable things about 2014:
The emergence of the selfie stick
The ice bath and the associated nominations
The breakable and overly large iphone 6 plus
Robin Williams suicide – the warmest face, the biggest of hearts – a puppy in a man’s body
Signing messages with tweeps, peeps and ceeps
Ebola (very scary)
Favourite quote “feel the fear and do it anyway”
Russell Brand (from ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ to ‘Question Time’ and ‘Match of the Day’)
Game of Thrones comes up with its most macabre death scene yet when “The Mountain” gouges Prince Oberyn Martell’s eyes out. Eeeeuuwww!
Amy Stroup’s song – Finally Found Our Way. (Listen to this in the dark)
Lykke Li’s song – I Never Learn – acoustic guitar sounding amazing!
The Skoda breathed its last for us last night. We drove to Larnaca in it with hearts that were heavy. Michelle’s Dad and his wife Dee followed us so that they could bring us back. Originally, this was the time we were going to say goodbye to Sam but that was not to be so we used the trip to stop off in Dhekelia for fish and chips at the beach at a restaurant called Lembos. Without a doubt this is the best Fish and Chips I’ve ever eaten. This reminds me of how we invented the game of football and other countries like Brazil and ze Germans play it way better than we do. Even the games governing body doesn’t exist in the UK? How does that happen? Anyway, back to the cod and chips. Bootiful batter covering the whitest fish with slightly soggy chips, salt, vinegar and ketchup. A British institution, simply better abroad! Aaaargh!
On New Years Eve, spent 2 hours ahead of the UK, we not only got to kiss each other and light up the fields behind Mick and Dee’s house in Sotira with an inexhaustible supply of “not firework” sparklers (apparently you need a license for the real ones), but then got to sit and watch Big Ben chime in 2015 along with Queen and Adam Lambert. I’m still deciding whether Queen and anyone go together. Brian May and Roger Taylor can still play and sound amazing, but the sight of a keyboard player (darkened so he doesn’t look like he’s in the band) seems to be wrong. Queen’s frontman should be able to sing and play, “Deyo” with the crowd, pout and strut with a crown on his head. Now, I know Adam Lambert can sing. We watched him in 2009 almost win American Idol and maybe that is his problem. His union with Queen should work, it almost does, BUT, he’s not Freddie Mercury (only Mika sounds anything like him) and as soon as they played Bohemian Rhapsody interspersing a video of Freddie with the song, I felt a sort of calm descend on me, like this was how it should sound? I wish them all the best and I’m sure it will be successful but, to me, Mr Bulsara is, and always will be, the voice and heart of Queen.
Finally, to kick start 2015, I would encourage you to take a trip to a website and then a YouTube video. The website is the minimalists.com and the video is called “A Rich Life with less Stuff”. We began packing up last April and most of our belongings stayed in labelled boxes in the garage. We innocently, absentmindedly were following this doctrine.
Try it? And then see how much stuff you don’t need? Think of it like spring cleaning!
2015! What will you bring? The flights are booked! We start our travels on Feb 2nd 2015, starting in Dubai and then heading on to Australia and New Zealand.