Last Tarte Flambée @ Strasbourg

I love my Bella to bits and nothing will ever change my feeling towards her. However, the life with Bella the Dynamo tends to be full of unexpected mini drama and it can be a bit more than I am asking for. For example, I took her to our usual Regents Park run this afternoon and she came back with loose claws, one definitely on her right front paw and another suspect on her left hind leg. How did it happen?! Are you a trouble magnet or something? You are the trouble wearing fur, aren’t you?

Nothing was wrong with her then…

On our way home, I noticed that something was wrong with her. Normally, she was pretty chilled out on my lap after playing in the park. However this time, she seemed to be paying too much attention to her paws. I felt around her pads with my fingers, expecting some small twigs and leaves stuck between them but found none. And Bella didn’t like it at all. She never dared to sink her teeth in my fingers, yet she made sure I knew her discomfort. At home, I gave her a more through examination while Hubbie held her so she wouldn’t wriggle too much. Then, I discovered one of her claws was definitely loose. Oh dear, I will have to make an appointment to a vet tomorrow, I sighed. My heart sank because I was super committed and busy this Monday and a visit to the vet would be overladen my plate for sure. However, it has to be sorted and the life is like that, isn’t it? Continuous problem solving exercise…

Probably, the sky above the pavilion was telling me something…

There may be trouble ahead…

Anyway, let me get back to the evening my mum and I had our last tarte flambée aka the flammekueche at Strasbourg.

After leaving the cathedral, we sauntered southward, trying to find some inviting eatery along Rue du Maroquin.

‘What do you fancy, mum?’ She pondered for a while and replied, ‘How about Alsasian pizza with beer?’ It sounded very agreeable, therefore, we headed to Le Gruber la brasserie Alsacienne.

The restaurant was pretty full but soon their receptionist ushered us to one of their tables facing the street…

Since it was one of those summer weekends, Strasbourg was brimful of tourists from all over the world, especially from France and Germany, and we were a little worried as if the service could be slow because of it. However, the staffs, who must have been dealing with the tides of visitors on daily bases, seemed to be totally unfazed  and came to take our order fairly quickly.

Mum ordered tomato and basil tarte flambée and I ordered a ham and cheese one…

Mmmmm, tarte flambée and beer are the best bed fellows! The saltiness of the dish enhanced the flavour of the beer so well. We enjoyed our last supper at this historical city very much…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Feeling of being overrun

Bitter medicine never comes in small doses, I sighed. To my chagrin, I discovered that our old washer drier had packed up finally Sunday morning with a pool of water on the floor. 

That morning, Bella and I were supposed to be attending Bella’s doggie friend’s first birthday party at Kensington Gardens, and I was rather looking forward to it because of the recent unpleasant incidents. Oh well, I am annoyed but what can I do? Because I seem to have very little control of anything recently. 

Instead of heading towards Chelsea, I trekked to Oxford Circus with Hubbie in tow. And at John Lewis, we ordered an washer drier by Bosch. 

After coming home, I took Bella to Regents Park…

The ground was a full of weekend footballers. 

Because of the remnant of Storm Brian, it was very windy and I had to be extra careful when I threw a frisbee for Bella…

It kept on amazing me that she was very good at anticipating where the frisbee would land. 

Then, she lost it…

Literally, the frisbee disappeared! I combed and combed piles of the fallen leaves but never managed to find the frisbee. How weird, it just vanished into thin air!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Recent development

I apologise for my blog being updated rather sporadically recently. Nothing bad has happened to me or my family and we are all doing really great.

The reason behind why I’m spending much less time with my MacBook right now is because I’m concentrating on my girl Bella’s training. Over the summer, Hubbie and I were discussing how wonderful it would be if she could go off-lead completely in the park. If she will not be granted freedom because of the lack of effort on our part, it will be totally unfair on her, we agreed.

From the beginning of the August, Bella and I have been frequenting parks, mainly Regents Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, with a pouch stuffed with her favourite, cooked chicken. During the first two weeks of the training, I attached a 10m long lead on her and practiced recalling.

I was delighted to find that Bella really loved her new found freedom on the long lead but also a new routine of being rewarded with a tasty treat every time she returned to my side.

‘It’s an win-win situation for me!’

At the beginning, we stuck to a quiet part of the park, away from people and other dogs…

The area was so tranquil and peaceful, it could almost fool me into thinking that we were in the countryside if I chose to ignore the roofs of the slow moving traffic on Bayswater Road as they were almost obscured by the vegetation.

Then during the last bank holiday weekend,  I became confident enough to bite the bullet. While Hubbie looked on, I unhooked Bella from a lead…

She didn’t run away from us! Thank god.

We brought her favourite ball and played with her. For the first time, we chased after the ball without worrying about being tangled up with her lead and trampling on her…

She is a very skilled defender, I must say.

Her expression tells everything, doesn’t it?

I’m happy!’

Now, we head to the parks almost everyday as long as it is not raining. I am just addicted to see her being so happy, running and rolling on the grass and running back to me with a huge grin on her furry face. We have also updated our training using a small frisbee so she can practice fetching…

She impresses me with the way she anticipates where the disc will land. And 9 out of 10 times, she brings the frisbee back to me.

Another thing I have noticed is a change in her attitude towards me. I used to be very frustrated when she behaved like she was more into other people and objects. She got distracted easily and sometimes, she even ignored me. ‘Why does she behave like that? Doesn’t she know that I love her?’ I used to complain to Hubbie.

After a month of intense training in the park did change her (and me). She has become much more responsive, affectionate and less disruptive. And I definitely feel a bond of trust has been forged between us and it is strengthening every time we work together.

Isn’t freedom wonderful?

I am so proud of us, my furry buddy!

By the way, we saw a helicopter landing on a field nearby this morning when we were playing in Regents Park…​

 

The helicopter was in khaki green, therefore, it must have been a military one? I was hoping it would land near us but it didn’t happen. I guessed it was because there were too many football goal posts in the area…

P.S. I shall resume writing about my mum & daughter road trip soon as my memories of it are becoming less and less vivid! Oh no!!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Bella & Balloon

Is a dangerous combination.
She loves playing with it but it doesn’t last forever…

 

Her first encounter with balloons was at my neighbour’s son’s first birthday party which we attended recently. She discovered these mysterious objects – light, bouncy and elusive things, which were placed all over the room. First, she was alarmed and barked at them but soon she was hooked! Now, she plays with one balloon at a time, and I am rationing four balloons a day.

As you can imagine, the inevitable happens eventually. Hubbie and I were a bit apprehensive about a balloon bursting in her face for the first time. ‘Will she be scared for life?’

Our concern was needless because she was utterly unfazed! Instead of cowering, she appeared perturbed about the sudden disappearing of ‘the thing’.

Oops, you’ve slayed a balloon again…

 

Please do let us know if there is any Yorkie-proof balloon because it will save my money and lung…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

London Pride 2017

I must have a break from our road trip memoir today. There are yet bucket-loads to write about and I want to carry on while my memory is still fresh. However, today was a day for Pride in London, and Hubbie and I went to see the parade with Bella in tow.

Before joining a crowd on Regent Street, we decided to have lunch at SAID on Broadwick Street…

SAID has been a fixture of Broadwick Street for a number of years. They sell ludicrously tasty chocolates with amazing twists and also serve delicious Italian dishes. I just love the way they present their simple yet exquisite offerings.

I had SAID Salad – Honey coated roasted goat’s cheese with walnuts and dark chocolate shavings…

I must say, every mouthful was absulute joy. Who invented this amazingly moreish salad? Chocolate in salad? What a crazy but also wonderful idea!

The walnut had a hint of warm sweetness which went very well with the saltiness of the cheese. And the chocolate, it added another depth to the already colourful elements on the plate.

While we munched through our lunch, a group of drag queens were heading towards the parade…

 

 

They were gorgeous!

Later on, I saw them on London Live TV, performing in Leicester Square.

After lunch, we made our way to Regent Street via Carnaby Street and Beak Street. The street was really busy with the manifold of crowds lining along the barriers, waiting for the parade to commence.

‘Too many people here and can’t see a thing. Let’s move towards Piccadilly Circus!’ Hubbie suggested.

We weaved through the crowd, made a detour to an exhibition at Beetles + Huxley and eventually, made it to Piccadilly Circus.

Then, the party started!

 

 

Alas, I could only see moving flags and hear the beat and cheer.

‘Shall we move further down towards Pall Mall?’ We drifted along the crowd who seemed to have the same idea.

But our effort was in vain. Pall Mall was choking with the crowd too!

And Bella decided to sing along with the parade…

 

 

We ended up walking as far as Trafalgar Square but decided to throw in the towel. There was no way we could find any decent spot to see the parade properly anywhere along the route.

‘We should have planned it better.’ Hubbie and I agreed as we trudged towards Green Park tube station in the hot afternoon sun. Needless to say, Bella was fast asleep on my lap as soon as we were on our way home by tube…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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