Born free!

Bella has been released from her confinement, and she is over the moon! She is running around with a ball and chasing after us like nothing has ever happened.

Over the past 8 weeks, Hubbie and I endlessly talked about the moment we were to open the door of her pen and to see her reaction towards suddenly presented freedom. Will she freak out?

Then came last Monday, It was Bella’s D-Day, and the latch of her pen was finally lifted. ‘Bella, come!’, we called her. But she hesitated like she was confused by the sudden change of the situation. She stared at our faces and the wide flung gate quizzically. ‘Are you sure I am allowed?’ Then, she leapt over the threshold like jumping over a paddle. Our Bella was free, EVENTUALLY!

During the past 8 weeks, Bella and I stuck together and the experience bonded us like a glue as we ended up in each other’s company far longer than normal. But I must admit that being home alone with beloved Bella was not always blissful. As she started to recover and to behave like a boisterous puppy, my worries were manifold. Sometimes, she hurtled herself inside the pen like a bullet, and it worried me sick. She was only trying to extinguish her excess energy, but I was worried if too much stress on her elbow could loosen the screws and the plate inside. Or my heart ached when I saw her looking so miserable behind the bars. Her pleading look was heartbreaking, and I ended up sitting with her inside the pen for hours until my legs and bum couldn’t feel a thing because of poor circulation. Another thing I found especially tough was the sense of isolation I felt throughout the period. Looking after her = keeping her out of mischief, was my first priority. Therefore, I couldn’t engage in my knitting as it would require 100% of my attention. As a result, I ended up watching TV like a zombie and fiddling with my iPhone all day long. The sense of FOMO was killing me!

Now, she is savouring every drop of freedom like any 5 months old pup does…

Even though there were sweet moments I would cherish forever during the 8 weeks, I am so happy it is all behind me. Let’s cross our fingers so Bella will stay out of troubles!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Patching it up

It is absolutely nothing like the flood which brought misery to the people around Camden Passage, but we were also on receiving end of the water which caused havoc during last May.

It took months to sort out the repair cost with the upstairs’ insurer, but finally, we received the cheque.

Our water-damaged ceiling…

The damage is not very obvious in the photo, but there were a few beige stains here and there. A seam of the lining from where the leak came down the hardest, was peeling off.

Nadim the decorator, hard at work…

He stuck the lining back to the ceiling and applied a fresh coat of paint. He did a good job, and the ceiling looked great.

Bella spent her day in a smaller pen…

She displayed some interest when the decorator started to lay dust sheets, but soon she curled up in her bed and stayed there all afternoon.

Another repair work needs to be done is restoring our stained floor. This, we will have to wait until the summer. The work involved will be stripping off the existing damaged wax from the floor and then laying down a fresh layer of wax. Sounds simple, but it is far from it in reality. Our floor is seamless throughout the apartment except the bathrooms’. That means the entire floor will have to be treated in order to avoid a patch-work effect. All the furniture will have to be removed while the contractor works and the flat will be out of bound for at least a day or more as the wax will have to dry. If not enough time is given for the wax to solidify, the floor will be marked. That is something we want to avoid at all cost. One thing which will help us greatly is warm and dry weather. If we can leave all the windows open and give good ventilation to the floor, the wax will set faster, and we can get back into the apartment sooner.

We will have to move out for a few days, Bella…

A new adventure?! Yay!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Ready for winter

So far, this December has turned out to be a rather mild one weather-wise. We even noticed a couple of cherry trees in full bloom on City Road in spite of being in the middle of winter. Nothing is 100% certain but the possibility of having a White Christmas this years seems to be very remote. Then, come to think of it, have I ever had any snow during Christmas breaks in London? No, I never had any. I am kind of vaguely hoping for snow so fully recovered Bella can chase snow flakes. But naaaa, it’s not gonna happen.

Why? I will be 100% ready!

Bella is fully clad in her new coat!

It’s very snug and she loves it…

During the weekend, our duvets were changed to the thicker ones just in case the weather decided to turn wintry. ‘I’m ok with the light one for now.’ Hubbie protested as he saw me removing the 4.5 tog ones from duvet covers so I could send them to a dry-cleaner. ‘It’s about time to change them.’ I carried on, ignoring his plea. Then, came our time to bed last night, I snuggled under the new duvet and immediately regretted about letting go of the old one. My goose down duvet was plush but also very heavy and uncomfortably hot. I must have kept on kicking away the cumbersome duvet semi-consciously during the night. As a result, I woke up this morning with cold like symptoms of a runny nose and a scratchy throat. I must buy a new lighter (but warm) duvet ASAP, I thought as I sipped tea, feeling rough…

Thanks to Amazon Prime, a new duvet is already on its way and arriving tomorrow. That means I will have to endure this “being pinned down” feeling only one more night. Phew!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

What a disaster!

Some of you might already know about it, but last Monday, a major calamity struck the south end of Upper Street. A large water supply pipe bursted at 4am and flooded the entire vicinity, causing millions of pounds of damages. The area affected by it included the beloved Camden Passage, a cobbled small street lined with antique shops and independent boutiques. I felt sick in my stomach and became very worried about the fate of all those charming shops which made the street so popular.

Because of my Bella not being herself after being shaved last Tuesday, I could not go out to inspect how the flooded area was like until yesterday.

How are they doing now?

I approached the passage from Angel tube station. As I got nearer to the street, an unmistakeable smell of damp got stronger. The scenery on Islington High Street seemed to be deceptively calm and ordinary as cafes and shops along the street were busy with customers as usual. A couple was walking in front of me, and as a result, I overheard their conversation. A woman was recounting how she was awaken by the water gushing into her room. ‘The water just kept on coming, and I have no idea why they didn’t stop it sooner.’ In fact, Thames Water took four hours to stop the leak. The woman looked very composed and somehow stoic about the calamity, but I really wanted to give her a big hug and to say how sorry I was.

Camden Passage looked badly affected…

It appeared that some shops were better off than others.

My favourite knitting salon LOOP was up and running as usual and so was its next door…

However, Kevin Page Oriental Art nearby was completely gutted…

And the cherished Pierrepont Arcade, in where so many delightful knick-knacks were displayed and sold, was completely out of bound to the public…

Not much could be done by anyone on time to save delicate vintage items as the flood happened in the very early hours. My heart ached as I imagined how the poor store owners felt when they saw the state of their shops…

After five days, the skips still were filling up with the debris from the shops and the houses…

It is terrible to be hit by this kind of disaster any time of the year, but especially now, just weeks before Christmas, it is devastating for the business because it should be the busiest time of the year. Not only they lost days’ of takings but also they had to spend their precious time instead for cleaning up and paperwork for filing the insurance claims.  Some worse-off people many not even have goods to sell.

Thames Water was still hard at work…

Please work fast and restore some normality to the area as soon as possible.

The south bound traffic was still suspended and I had no idea where they, especially buses, were diverted…

If the weather was not as bad as today, we shall visit Camden Passage for some gift shopping. We all must support our local shops, mustn’t we? I hope they will find their legs very soon…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Keeping her warm…

I think Bella is finally coming out of her shell.

Instead of behaving like a “too-good-to-be-true” kind of puppy like this…

Awwww, what an angel…

She was like this, this morning…

Ugh, what a pain in the a** you are, Bella!

Yes, Bella in full throttle mode can be a bit of nightmare to live with. However, I am very very happy to know that she has put her “bad hair day” behind and returned to be her usual gung-ho self. Cleaning up the mess is absolutely nothing comparing with having to cheer her up when she is so depressed like the past few days. It’s ok, sweetie. Carry on!

However, for Bella, losing her coat in the middle of winter is very unfortunate. Even though I am not into dressing up dogs generally, she will need to wear something to protect herself from the elements until her coat grows back.

These were all she had in her closet until this afternoon…

The tweed one on the right was bought at Pet London on Wigmore Street prior to our holiday in Dartmoor last month. The inside is lined with faux fur which makes this coat very warm.

The black one on the left, which reminded me a motorcycle courier, was the one I ended up buying on that fateful Tuesday for just covering her “naked” back. The shop we dropped in had a variety of coats but none of them except this one appeared to fit her frame. However, the problem with the coat became apparent as we started to walk home. It turned out that Bella was too skinny for the coat and one of her forelegs kept on coming loose from an arm hole where it should have been. Oh dear, we will have to wait until she is a little chubbier…

On a platform at Notting Hill Gate, on our way to Purplebone the pet boutique…

At the boutique, we managed to find what we both liked. A light fleece coat which was also reversible…

Bella seemed to be not minding it much when I tried the coat on her at the shop. I showed the coat to Hubbie when he came home this evening and he loved it too because it was simple and modern but also very cute.

There are never too many coat for a girl like Bella, aren’t there?

Oh well, let’s look for another one in Boxing Day sale, shall we?

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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