We’re now getting closer to the time when our European holiday begins.


In Australia, there are only so many places that people would dream of taking their dogs, and you wouldn’t think of seeing dogs in certain situations. Not so in Europe. People have an uxorious love of their canine Kinder to the point where I’m inspired to write a blog post about it. We’ve seen one little ratty mutt in jeans, a polo shirt and braces. Another day, we saw an elderly couple pushing a stroller along, and we assumed it was a baby. Think again. We’ve seen great Danes with their owners in shopping malls, and little darlings tucked under arms in butcher shops.

During the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in London, when people in their millions were pouring into the area around Westminster, and we could hardly move forward at all because of the teeming numbers of people, suddenly a poodle emerged in front of us, yanked along by a wiry young woman. Jean said: “What idiot would bring their dog out to an event like this?”. An older woman closer to us replied: “That’s our dog! I’ll thank you to keep your opinions to yourself!”. I thought it was quite funny.

I’d like to say sorry to those blog followers of mine – of which there appear to be many – who have wanted to see pictures included with my commentary. I’ve tried to upload pictures, both my own as well as ones from URLs, but to no avail. I contacted, and it may be that I don’t have html5 on our iPad. Don’t know for sure.

I looked at my blog’s stats yesterday and was surprised that, in the four or five weeks of the blog’s existence, it had been viewed 660 times! Today, a total of 670! Australians account for 330 of these viewings, 267 for the UK, 54 Germany, and even 17 in the US. Two people I’ve never heard of have posted comments, including a woman called Rhian in Jean’s home village in Wales when the Olympic torch came through the village. And a lady called Emily from the south of England ‘liked’ my blog during the jubilee celebrations in London. My blog has even been viewed by an individual in South Korea and another in Brazil. The busiest day for the blog was 25 May – 53 viewings!

Of all the atrocities committed in Northern Ireland during the long years of the Troubles, there was one that always stood out above the rest for me, and that was the one that occurred at the war memorial in Enniskillen in November 1987. Eleven people died that day, including a young, 20 year old nurse, Marie Wilson. Within a day, her father, Gordon Wilson, forgave his daughter’s killers. He said it was the Christian thing to do. It was highly controversial at the time; many people were stunned that such forgiveness could be possible. But I was impressed, and thought then that some day I’d like to go to Enniskillen to pay my respects.

In her Christmas message that year, the Queen praised Gordon Wilson’s courage, and commitment to his Christian faith. It is said that the atrocity at Enniskillen and this extraordinary act of forgiveness contributed to eventual peace in Northern Ireland.