Welcome to 2013...
4 May 2013
I have been behind with the work on the website, and production of new items due to a major upheavel in my personal life. Many of you have asked for more photographs of work that I do, so I am currently busy working on photographing work previously unseen on the website, this has meant not exhibiting at the Kensington Dollshouse Festival but I will however be back for the Christmas fair later this year.
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Meet my new work colleague, Max.......
14 October 2012
Max is the latest addition to the Pinchbeck Miniatures team whom we will hopefully have the pleasure of dog sitting on a regular basis when his owner goes on holiday. He is an 8 year old border terrier who is full of life and after a short spell in a rescue centre and in a dog foster home, he now has a wonderful permanent home with our friend, Carole. Max loves to go for a walk and play in the garden but the most important thing in his life is his tennis ball! He has happily fitted into my daily working routine and follows me around inspecting whatever I am working on at the time. I’ll keep you updated on Max’s exploits during his visits but as you can see, it can be a tiring job watching miniatures being made!We are now getting ready for our next show which will be the Midlands Dolls House and Miniatures fair at the Chateau Impney Hotel in Droitwich Spa on the 18th November. Do come and say ‘hello’ if you are planning to visit.
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The Olympic Games 2012...
28 July 2012
Wow! What an opening to the 2012 Olympic Games! I found myself sitting down and not moving throughout the entire extravaganza! The special effects were incredible but for me personally the most spectacular thing were the people of the world coming together representing their countries. One can only imagine what some of the teams have endured just to be here. As we all get behind Team GB, I would personally like to welcome everyone from all over the world, and wish them all the very best during the games.
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The Isle of Skye...
16 July 2012
Hi Everyone,I’ve just returned from my summer break and this time we stayed a little closer to home as I wanted to try out my new Brompton bicycle which I have aspired to own for many years!
The destination for the trip was the Western Isles of Scotland where we stayed in the grounds of Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye. The cottage we chose was once inhabited by the butler of the MacLeod family who remain in residence in the castle today. To the rear of our cottage was the walled garden which is a small part of the beautiful gardens and landscape surrounding Dunvegan Castle.As you may know the Isle of Skye has many single track roads that often lead to a dead end (mainly the sea or hidden lochs!) and these types of roads can often be a challenge in the car. The Brompton bicycle proved the right sort of transport to explore the island as, not only could we access these places more easily and appreciate the views, we could also feel the best of what our surroundings had to offer.
During our two week stay we had access to the castle grounds in the evening when all the other visitors had gone home and this gave us the perfect opportunity to view the resident wildlife at close quarters. A family of deer visited us every morning and we watched seals and their pups playing and catching fish in the loch at the bottom of our garden. It also meant we could capture the magnificent sunsets each evening which weren't usually until about half past ten!
On the miniatures front, as the economic downturn continues to bite, we have seized the opportunity to introduce some new items ready for launching this autumn. Designing and producing our new pieces has meant that some of our commissioned work has been temporarily delayed and I can only apologise for this and hope you will all understand.
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20 March 2012
This last weekend we attended Spring Miniatura and have to say how nice it was to be back there. We received a warm welcome from customers and fellow exhibitors alike and are looking forward to the autumn event in September.
It is lovely that spring is finally here but it is with great sadness that we had to say goodbye to Molly after what was thankfully a short illness. She will really be missed, especially this time of year as she used to spend a lot of time in the garden with me preparing miniatures.
I am now busy getting ready for our next fair which is the Summer Festival at Kensington in May and look forward to seeing you there.
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4 December 2011
Firstly I would like to take the opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas and to thank you for your continued support throughout the year! At a time when we are all tightening our belts we really do appreciate your custom. For all of you that have had commissioned pieces from us this year I would like to say a special thank you. Your ideas have pushed our creative talents even further!
I will now be working on some new products which I intend to launch at the Kensington Summer Dollshouse Festival next year and I'll keep you updated on progress.
Photo - Winter time in Pinchbeck 2010
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After the Kensington Festival...
13 July 2011
Hi everyoneI have just returned from my annual vacation. This time I travelled back to Malaysia for 4 weeks and visited Melaka, the Perhentian Islands, Kota Bharu, Penang and Langkawi. Whilst in Melaka I had the honour of meeting Miss Malaysia who took time out of her schedule to pose for photographs with me. She even took off her high heels so as not to tower above me!
I shall be posting photographs of this trip shortly but for the time being I have a back log of commissioned work from the Spring Kensington Festival.
Photo - Miss Malaysia, Melaka, 2011
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Exploring Kuala Lumpur....
17 October 2010
The capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, is the nation’s biggest city with a population of over 1.6 million people. A relatively young city, it has evolved from a humble tin mining town in the 1850s to the financial and commercial capital and gateway to Malaysia. It is home to some of the most modern and inspiring buildings in the world, whilst also having a rich cultural heritage which can be seen in its colonial architecture, temples and mosques.
We stayed at the Traders Hotel, overlooking the KLCC park, and right opposite the breath taking Petronas Twin Towers - a land mark synonymous with Kuala Lumpur. Our very comfortable, corner room gave us impressive views of both the KL and Petronas towers and at night time this was particularly spectacular.
Construction of the Petronas Towers began in 1992 bringing together some of the world's leading experts in engineering, building technology and construction. With each tower being a staggering 452 metres in height it is no surprise that over 160,000 cubic metres of concrete, 77,000 square meters of glass and 83,500 square metres of stainless steel cladding were used in their construction; which finally finished in 1996.
After our visit to the Towers we really wanted to get out and see the more traditional side to Kuala Lumpur. Whilst Malaysia is home to people of many different faiths, Islam is the official religion of the country. Over 60% of the population are Muslims and with this in mind our travels took us to the Masjid Jamek Mosque - the oldest in Kuala Lumpur. The Masjid Jamek is a beautiful red brick and marble building, with three large onion shaped domes, two minarets and arched colonnades, it was inspired by Mughal architecture. We were given a wonderfully warm welcome by the people at the Mosque. They wanted to take time to explain their religion and encouraged us to explore and ask questions. Surrounded by palm groves, with steps down to the water's edge it really was a peaceful haven in the middle of the City.
Next on our list was a visit to the KL Bird Park. As Kuala Lumpur is quite a sprawling city most places are usually reached via their very efficient public transport system. We had used this quite a lot during our stay, and, as the park was really only just outside the City, we decided to walk. The KL Bird Park is set within the 227 acre Taman Tasik Perdana gardens and is home to more than 2000 birds. It has one of the largest free-flight aviaries in the the world. Unfortunately, it also has only one entrance which happened to be in completely the opposite direction to the one we walked in! In almost 100°F (38°C) we ended up completely circling the gardens and the park before we found the entrance, but at least we did get our long walk!
Throughout Kuala Lumpur there are a dazzling array of shopping opportunities. One of these shopping experiences was a visit to the historic Central Market. Established in 1888 as a wet market it evolved over the years until in the 1970's it became a centre for Malaysian culture, arts and handicrafts. As you can see, I was tempted by a smaller version of a hand made Malaysian kite which now hangs proudly on my wall!
There are so many other things I could write about my time spent in Kuala Lumpur. The parades to mark the King's birthday, the colourful music and dance Tourism Malaysia Festival and the intricate pewter work at the Royal Selangor factory all made for an exciting visit to Malaysia's capital.
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The Batu Caves, Malaysia
20 May 2010
At the start of our trip to Borneo we spent six days exploring Kuala Lumpur and one of those explorations found us at the Batu Caves which are situated in a limestone hill approximately 13Km north of Kuala Lumpur. The caves are said to be approximately 400 million years old! It was as early as 1860 that Chinese settlers began excavating guano (bat dung!) from the caves for fertilizing their vegetables. However, they became famous only after being declared a place of worship by K. Thamboosamy Pillai. He was a wealthy business man, and leader of the Tamil community. He was inspired to start a Hindu temple in the caves in devotion to Lord Murugan – The Hindu God of War.
The temple complex now consists of three caves, the biggest of which is referred to as the Cathedral Cave. It has 100m high ceilings and features ornat e Hindu shrines and paintings. In 1920 wooden steps were built up to Cathedral Cave but these have now been replaced with 272 concrete steps which are home to families of macaque monkeys, ready to help themselves to anything edible you might be carrying! There have also been some more recent additions to the complex. A 132ft high statue of Lord Murugan was unveiled in January 2006, having taken 3 years to construct. It is the tallest Lord Murugan statue in the world and very impressive!
In late January/early February each year the Hindu community celebrate the Thaipusam (தைபூசம்) festival here and the cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India. It has become a pilgrimage site for not only Malaysian Hindus, but Hindus worldwide from countries such as India, Australia and Singapore. In 2007 the festival attracted more than 1.5 million pilgrims, making it one of the largest gatherings in history.In my next blog we will be having a more in depth look at Kuala Lumpur and the time we spent there.
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7 March 2010
Wow! What a winter we have all had!
As most of you may know this has been one of the longest cold spells since records began. Apart from the inconvenience it may have bought to everyday life it also has its own beauty. Our ritual of feeding the birds in the garden reaped rewards when I was able to take this photograph of our resident robin. The lack of food around made him even braver than usual and my Nikon 70-300mm lens made him appear closer still!
The river Welland flows through Spalding town and I have seen it frozen on several occasions in my lifetime. However the Coronation channel which branches off the Welland, and circles the town to prevent flooding, has never, to my knowledge, been frozen. As you can see by my picture this year was the exception and it looked spectacular!
Of course it wasn’t just our feathered friends who were out in the snow! Molly came to stay for a few days and, as you can see from this photograph, she also seemed to like the white stuff! On the miniature side of things I have been working hard on creating some new 24th scale fire surrounds which will compliment the Phoenix range of fireplaces and kitchen ranges. I am hoping to have these ready for Spring Miniatura.
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An Introduction to Borneo...
5 July 2009
The 48th scale house kit launch at Spring Miniatura went extremely well and we sold out of houses on the first day of the show and had to take orders on Sunday! Thankfully before Kensington we were able to complete the orders and replenish our stock levels. Kensington was, as usual, a very good show for us but we did find that this time a lot of our business was from European visitors.
After Kensington I took out the whole of June for my holiday. This time we travelled to Malaysian Borneo. Since I was a young boy of 10 years old I have always wanted to visit this country and it exceeded all my expectations! After flying with Emirates to Kuala Lumpur we flew out to Borneo to Kuching in Sarawak, we moved on to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah and then spent some time in Turtle Island National Park on the island of Selingan which lies off the East coast of Borneo. We finally travelled to Dubai where we stayed at the new Atlantis Hotel on the Palm before returning home.
I am now actively searching through the hundreds of photographs I have taken and I can promise any wild life enthusiast that they are in for a treat! From tracking a herd of around 20 wild pygmy elephants, to watching a green turtle (which measured approximately 1 metre from head to tail!) laying a clutch of 82 eggs, to being chased by an adult male wild orang-utan on our last day, it really was a fabulous trip. I intend to go into greater detail over the next few weeks about my adventures.On the miniatures side of things we went to Holt on 4th July and had a very pleasant day at the show. The homemade cakes and the free flowing tea that the dolls house club members provided for us made us feel even more at home. I collected a long awaited 24th scale ledge wagon kit that had been created by Bernard & Lynne of McQueenie Miniatures and I am now eager to start building this model. I will keep you up to date in the next few weeks on my progress!
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Autumn and Winter...
8 February 2009
After having a busier than expected autumn Miniatura we set our sights on the first Christmas Festival at Kensington on December 6th. Other than getting a ticket for accidentally driving in a bus lane (!) this was also a success.
At the beginning of November I started a ten week course at my local gym. As, since my trip to Vietnam, I have struggled with weight gain which I associated with my new medication for diabetes. The results have been promising (albeit a little slow!) and I have now signed up for a further twelve week course.
We then had company for Christmas of the four legged variety. Christmas morning was like having another child in the house!
As I write the cold spell is still amongst us. Other than the inconvenience it has given some great photo opportunities. I took this photograph on the 3rd February a few miles from where we live.
As the recession takes hold we are actively trying to introduce less expensive items in our range of miniatures whilst maintaining our usual high standard. As in real life I do know that most people are trying to do as much as they can for themselves. It is for this reason that we have introduced the first in the range of 48th scale, affordable dolls house kits that offer a blank canvas for your own creative ideas.
We are now working towards spring Miniatura where the above kit will be officially launched. As usual we look forward to seeing you all there.
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The Summer of 2008...
15 September 2008
As autumn approaches I have been looking back over what’s been happening over the summer months.
I had a very successful time at the Kensington Dollshouse Festival in May and it was nice to see so many familiar faces as well as some new ones. I am very much looking forward to the special Kensington Christmas show – details of this are on my fair dates page.
I have just returned from a trip to Italy staying in the medieval city of Bergamo. Bergamo is a beautiful city in Northern Italy at the foot of the Alps and is a short train ride from Milan and the lakes. I also visited the spa town of San Pellegrino (home of the Italian water!) in search of the Art Nouveaux interiors some of its grand buildings are famous for. The casino was alas closed during my visit and the grand hotel is now being renovated so although it was disappointing not to see what I had hoped, it is wonderful that the restoration work is under way and it is the perfect excuse to return!
Of course, no visit to this part of Italy is complete without visiting Milan and the famous Duomo. Built from the late 14th well into the 19th century (and in a sense, never completed as work continues), the Duomo di Milano is one of the world's largest churches, being second in size within Italy only to Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome and being the second largest gothic cathedral in the world. The stained glass windows were certainly impressive. My next show is at the NEC, Birmingham on the 4th & 5th of October and I am now actively working to get ready for this. I have posted the latest papier mache items on my Miniatura preview page.
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The Temples of Angkor Wat...
20 April 2008
I have had several emails about our visit to Cambodia and the lack of photographs on our album page! As we only had 4 days to visit Cambodia we spent this time exploring the very famous Temples of Angkor Wat and I have now added more pictures of this great architectural wonder.
For those who may not be aware Angkor Wat became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. Their official website describes it as follows
‘Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. Stretching over some 400 km2, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. They include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations’It's hard to believe that these grey stone walls were once covered with brilliant golds, blues and reds. Many of the artefacts would have been encrusted with rubies, sapphires and emeralds all of which were looted before the demise of the Khmer Empire. If you look closely at some of the photographs you may see traces of colour - this is all that remains. Not only were the precious stones stolen but souvenir hunters removed the heads of hundreds of Buddha statues. For transportation reasons this was far easier than trying to remove the whole thing. These are now either in private collections or on display in museums around the world.
Following Jayavarman VII’s death Angkor entered a long period of decline, lying forgotten as Thai invaders ravaged the land, and the forest took over. Evidence of the structural damage that this caused can be seen in my photographs. In the late 19th Century Angkor Wat was ‘discovered’ by European explorers and a period of restoration and conservation began which continues to this day.As I watched the sun go down over today’s Ankgor Wat I could only imagine in the shadows of the temples what this former city of gold and colour would have looked like.
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Happy New Year!
1 January 2008
Hello everybody and welcome to the New Year!
For those of you that have been logging on to my site on a regular basis you will have noticed that my blog hasn’t been updated since August. After attending Autumn Miniatura my mind has been focused on bringing out new models ready for 2008 and of course I have been on my travels again! This time we travelled to Vietnam and Cambodia and for those of you who may be interested I have posted some pictures of both places on the Photograph Album page of this website.
I am currently finalising which shows I will be attending in 2008. I will, of course, be at Spring Miniatura and the London Dollshouse Festival and I am busy preparing for these already.
This month I am also working hard at photographing more of my work and the new range of items that will be posted on the ‘What’s New’ page very soon.
May I once again take this opportunity to wish you a very happy New Year!
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Windsor and London...
29 August 2007
August has been a quieter month on the work front. After returning from Scottish Miniatura the shingles virus that I have now and again was triggered off- possibly due to stress - and although I thought I was over it I think it carried on into this month which affected my motivation. So I decided to take some time out and had a couple of trips out with my friend Sally from Miss Sally World.
On the first occasion we spent the day in London which was most enjoya ble. After attending to some business we proceeded to spend the rest of the day sitting in a café in Covent Garden watching the world go by! A couple of weeks later we met up again and after an eventful business trip we spent the rest of the evening in Windsor where I actually managed to persuade a nervous Sally to go on Windsor's version of the London Eye! We both had cameras with us and were snapping away at all the sights that Windsor had to offer and had great fun comparing our efforts. We finished off the day having a very nice meal at a Mediterranean restaurant with a couple of hours of people watching. Sally has discussed with me several new ideas that she has planned for the future so keep an eye on her web site for updates.
I have had a few emails asking about Molly. As most of you already know she visits us regularly and some of you have asked for more photographs. Have a look at this one but please don't tell her owner as she always arrives at our house whiter than white and I do try to send her home the same way!
As a final note I have now completed my version of the Phoenix washing machine! I will shortly be posting some photographs of this on my ‘What's New’ page. I would also like to thank everyone for their patience over what has proved to be a difficult couple of months.
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Behind the Scenes...
26 July 2007
This month has been a busy time behind the scenes!
The poor weather has meant that production has been slower than usual on the latest models. I have therefore taken this opportunity to look ahead and have ideas for new projects which I hope to launch next year. I have also been reviewing the layout of the web site. Lots of you have asked for more photographs and because of this I am now working on a new ‘slide show’ feature.
The next event I will be exhibiting at will be autumn Miniatura at the NEC Birmingham on 29th & 30th September and preparations are well underway for this.
On last months blog I mentioned my intentions to write a special feature on my visit to the World Heritage Site of New Lanark. After a lot of thought, I have decided to include the link to their web site instead as I feel this will be more informative for anyone that may be interested in planning a visit. I will however be including photographs of my visit in the new slide show. The web site is www.newlanark.org (Click on the link or go to my Favourite Links page for more information).
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30 June 2007
What a month this has been!
Still recovering from the Kensington show in May I got ready to make my way up to Scotland for Scottish Miniatura at Murrayfield. Having had atrocious weather travelling up to Scotland (rain all the way!) I was very pleased to get into my hotel room.
The show itself was not as busy for us as last year but I did manage to see some of my regular customers, one of which bought her newborn along! He was definitely a bonny but not so wee lad! What a difference a year makes!
The highlight of Scotland for me personally is simply that ‘Scotland’. I fell in love with this part of the world on my first trip as a lad with my local youth centre at the age of 13. We stayed at the small village of Killin on the shores of Loch Tay and it was here that I climbed my first Munro, namely Ben Laws, which is one of the highest mountains in this part of the Scottish Highlands (complete with canvas, metal framed rucksack!). As many of you may know this is now my passion albeit I now have a modern rucksack! I have climbed Ben Laws since (about two years ago) but a lot slower.
On the Monday morning after the show I set off on my ex plorations not knowing where they would take me. I ended up being only a few miles away at the UNESCO World Heritage site of New Lanark. As soon as I ascended on this fantastic working village I knew I wanted to stay here for a few days – only to find that the hotel was fully booked! After charming the receptionist (yes I do still have a little charm!) she handed me the key to one of the waterfront cottages for my inspection for the same rate per night as a hotel room. One look at this and I booked for 3 nights! The experience at this village inspired me to write a special feature for the web site which will be posted very soon.
On my way home I called in to see my friend Frank Hardcastle and his partner Elizabeth who live in Knaresborough. We sat outside with them in their beautifully kept garden and Frank took me on a tour of his 8 x10 shed where he creates all of that wonderful hand made miniature furniture.On returning home after a fantastic week I had a call in the early hours of the next morning to say that my mother had died in the night. She had been ill for some time. I would like to thank friends for their condolences.
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19 April 2007
Well! At long last I have finally found the time to write April’s blog! What a lovely month this has been. The weather in our part of the country (and most others) has been the best April since records began. This has meant a great opportunity for me to get outside and get a lot of model spraying done. Knights Hill Fair at Kings Lynn went very well. It was lovely to see the miniature needlework ladies exhibiting their work as they have done there for many years. The quality of the pieces they exhibit always astounds me.
This month I also managed to complete the Phoenix pram (photographs to appear shortly on this web site) and, as the box says, this is a very challenging kit! The delivery of the washing machine kit came a little late for this blog and I am currently working on it now. I also took delivery of the new 1940’s refrigerator which is next in line! As with the pram, photographs will be appearing upon completion. Most of the rest of this month has been taken up with preparations for the London Dollshouse Festival. I will be posting a special Kensington blog in the next week or two.Molly would like to thank everyone for the emails that she has received. She is back again with us at the moment. She also enjoyed the April sunshine in the garden as you will see from her photograph! That’s about it for now. This is a short blog but next months promises to be a lot bigger as it will include an extended section on the Kensington weekend.
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Welcome to the first Pinchbeck Miniatures Blog!
4 January 2007
First of all I would like to thank all of you that have sent emails and enquiries about our products. Last month was an extremely busy one for me! The completion of the web site and preparation for Miniatura makes the last four weeks seem like they have flown by……
Miniatura itself was a big success for us. We were extremely busy on Saturday and had a steady day on Sunday. It was nice to be there again and catch up with friends: traders & customers alike! I also met up with a friend of mine from school that I had not seen for over 30 years. She came on Sunday especially to meet up with me which made the show even more special. Whilst I was there I visited Peter & Cheryl Gidding from Phoenix Model Developments 2005 and I was able to have a close, look for the first time, at their latest model – a 1940’s washing machine which compliments other models in their range. I must say I was very impressed with the model and am eagerly awaiting my first delivery of these kits! Keep watching our web site for a progress report on the completion of the first one!
Now that March is out of the way I am starting all over again to prepare for the next two fairs. The first one is my longest standing fair which is at Knights Hill Hotel, Kings Lynn on 29th April. Although this is not as big as the international events it has played a major role in the development of Pinchbeck Miniatures over the last 13 years. For me personally the smaller fairs are very important to keep this hobby alive. Many of the new artists that join the scene are to be found here and indeed many of the well known artists that exhibit at international level would have started out at their local dolls house fair. For miniaturists who are unable to travel to the bigger exhibitions they are often the only way of keeping in touch with their favourite past time. These events do therefore need your continual support. The second fair, which has very special meaning to me, is of course the London Dollshouse Festival at Kensington on 11th, 12th & 13th May. I would like to thank Charlotte, the Festival Director for her very kind invitation to this prestigious event.
Last week, after an invitation from Barry Harris, I visited his home & workshop in the heart of the Lincolnshire Wolds. Barry’s passion is Kitchenalia! He scours antique events up and down the country searching out full size kitchen equipment which he then takes home, dismantles and then recreates as a working miniature masterpiece in 12th Scale. I will be talking more about Barry and his work in my ‘Artist Profiles’ page which I am currently working on.
For the last 5 minutes of typing this blog I have had a little West Highland terrier, called Molly, lying at my feet. I am looking after whilst her owners are on holiday so you will have to log on to next month's blog to find out more about our adventures……..
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