Haircut day in Siena

Jean and girls in the campoGroom day in Siena was a major family outing. We had found a groomer just a few metres from the Campo and they would take one girl at a time. So we spent the afternoon sitting in our favourite bar firstly with one girl and then with the other.

This was no hardship and gave us ample opportunity to check some emails, watch some people and do some shopping – as you do in Italy.

Cheese glorious cheese

Cheese for PoppieIn New Zealand buying Parmigiano Reggiano usually means buying small pre-packed slices, at great expense from the super market or deli. In Italy it’s different – as can be seen from the Parmigiano available at our favourite alimnetari. You give an indication of  how much you want and it’s sliced off the round – right there in the middle of the store.

These were also the rounds that Poppie and Daisy used to sit next too when they were in Positano waiting patiently for the shop keeper to cut off a wee slice as a treat.

Poppy still enjoys the taste of Parmigiano – she obediently sits and waits for a taste every time I use some in a dish at home.

From one generation to the next

One of the things that our dear old dog Daisy used to enjoy was standing on the arm of our couch, looking out the lounge window to the street, and barking at everyone that walked past.

She taught Poppie and now, it seems, Poppie is passing it on to the next generation.

On Friday I photographed Poppie and her barking apprentice Bella, on the arm of the couch, waiting for a new victim to come into view.

It reminded me of a similar photo from 2005. The only difference is 8 years and a new couch.

The year that was


This gallery contains 41 photos.

Everywhere I look the last 12 months are being reviewed – news, sports, politics – the best of, the worst of – clearly this is the time of year for reflection. Never being one to miss a trend, here’s our … Continue reading

This is a post I’ve been dreading

Yesterday we lost our wee girl Daisy. After fifteen years and seven months her big heart finally gave out and she slipped peacefully away. We will miss her terribly but we will always remember the stubborn and determined, but intensely loyal and devoted little girl she was.

Our lovely vet Laura has, for the last year or so, referred to her as our medical miracle – which she was.

We will think of her simply as our Daisy, our little girl.

Daisy  1997 – 2012.

Daisy asleep in the cottage on our clothes – Tuscany, June 2011

Two in a basket

Two in a basket beside the desk

Yes gentle reader, another gratuitous dog shot makes it’s way into the blog.

Our old girl Daisy (on the right) has now reached the unlikely age of 15 years and 6 months. Despite her heart condition, her deafness and her bad eyesight, she continues to battle on. In recent weeks she decided that all the old foods she used to eat and enjoy are boring and unappetising and she effectively stopped eating. Now she will only eat all the things that are bad for her. If it’s high in salt and low in vitamins and minerals, she’s into it.

That means McDonalds McNuggets, Cherrios (cocktail sausages to all non-kiwis), store bought meat pies, pretty much everything that we would have been horrified feeding her before. But after talking this through with our lovely vet Linda the general feeling was – if she’ll eat it, then that’s good. Because if she stops eating, well, that’s very bad.

Having said that, tonight, along with Jean and I, Daisy enjoyed fillet steak – medium rare – cooked in garlic butter.

Daisy spends most of her time sleeping these days, in her basket, next to my desk in the study. It’s a safe, warm place and a friendly pat is never far away.

Yesterday I came into the study to find Daisy at one end of her basket – and our other girl Poppie curled up at the other. Poppie has been watching the extra attention being lavished on Daisy and maybe this is her way to remind us not to forget her.

Mental note – fillet steak for 4 tomorrow night.

It’s all about looking out for each other

Daisy the dog had a rough night last week. Part of her heart condition means that sometime she can’t pump enough blood around her system and without enough blood to her brain she faints.

This isn’t a pleasant thing and when she faints we always wonder if she will recover and be her old self. So far she has.

Before we moved back into our home she was fainting regularly but the return to familiar surroundings and routines has meant this had become a thing of the past – until last Wednesday night. She fainted twice and we were up until 3am making sure she was comfortable, relaxed, sleeping and, most importantly, still breathing.

And that’s where looking out for each other comes in.

Poppie is Daisy’s partner in crime when barking at the gate or begging for food but not the rest of the time. That changes when Daisy is unwell and then, somehow, Poppie knows.

Like last Thursday morning when Daisy was recovering. Poppie is the one on the right.

How quickly routine takes over

We’ve been back in our house for nearly three weeks and it’s amazing how quickly the daily routines of life take over. Having said that, in the last fortnight we’ve had a family wedding, my sister staying for a few days and the arrival of painters to turn the house into temporary chaos so maybe that’s not exactly routine.

The girls have settled back in as if they’ve never been away and are back terrorising those who dare to walk past our front gate. If you have seen our dear old Daisy in the last few months you would not recognise her now. Since coming home she’s had a new lease on life – in the video she’s the wagging tail on the right.

Coming home

Daisy rediscovers the delight of sleeping on our bed

On Friday we moved back into our home. It is almost a year to the day since we moved out and already that year seems like a blur. Since arriving back in New Zealand with five suitcases, two carry ons and two boxes of freighted stuff we have clearly accumulated some more as it required a small van to move us from the home of our friends to our place.

We arrived home with a little more than we left with

It was fascinating seeing the reaction of the dogs when they walked through the front gate. They knew this place – and immediately set about rediscovering everywhere they used to go and the things they used to do. Those that say dogs just live in the here and now are wrong, our girls remembered everything.

Even old Daisy with her heart condition, failing eyesight, deafness and tendency to collapse at a moments notice gained an added spring in her step and sniffed out her old haunts – immediately starting to bark at those poor passers-by who dared to walk on the pavement outside her front fence. I could almost hear them curse “those bloody barking dogs are back”.

As I write this Daisy is curled up in her basket beside me asleep, at peace with the world. And that’s a good thing.


A few days ago the girls completed their quarantine in Levin and were released with a clean bill of health. We are currently staying with friends and the girls have settled in quickly.

Heading home

After the best part of 11 months living la dolce vita, the Mowday family are moving on. That meant a tough decision between opportunities that have come up to spend another summer in Italy or a return to New Zealand. And, ultimately, the decision was made by the health of our girl Daisy.

At 15 years old and with her heart condition, we felt she only had one big trip left in her and after some soul searching we felt that trip should be home.

That’s meant fixing flights for Jean and I (the easy part) and booking the girls in for a return journey and a battery of tests and treatments to ensure they aren’t carrying anything nasty back into New Zealand.

We also had to find someone to freight back the bits and pieces we have collected on our travels including Jean’s famous Italian vacuum cleaner.

The big question-mark over any planning was Daisy’s health and her ability to make the trip. That came down to a health check a day or two before we flew. If the vet decided she wasn’t well enough to fly, we were staying in the UK. Like the trooper she is, Daisy passed the health check and the girls departed on the same flight as us from London via Los Angeles to Auckland.

Thankfully they arrived in New Zealand none the worse for wear after their 36 hour flight and are now in quarantine in Levin. For my non New Zealand readers that’s a small rural town about a one hour drive north of our home city of Wellington. We’ve moved into a nearby motel so we can make sure Daisy gets her twice daily medication and to be able to spend some time with the girls as we countdown to freedom in 10 days time.