Just over six months ago, this beautiful creature became a permanent fixture in my daily life. She had been living with my brother, his fiancée and my two nephews, but the burden of giving a dog the attention it needs was just too much with two children aged two and under and they had no choice but to give her up. I couldn’t see her going in to a shelter, and as she lays here next to me, head on my pillow and snoring, I know I made the right choice.
That isn’t to say that I don’t think shelters do a good job – I think they do a fantastic job and more should be done to support them, where possible – but I recall seeing an older dog on the website of one of my local shelters, and he was on there well over a year before finally being adopted earlier this year. I didn’t want that to be Treacle’s fate. She loves people and wouldn’t have coped well in a shelter. Treacle was abandoned approximately three and a half years ago, found by my brother, and housed with him until her owner came forward. They never did. The anger I feel towards this person I have never met cannot be put into words. I will never understand people who can treat animals so cruelly. I also feel sympathy for them, as they will never know the quirky, sensitive, protective, outstanding character that is my dog. They will never understand the small joy of waking up with her curled between their legs, or climbing under their covers for ‘snuggles’ when it’s a bit colder. The joy she brings as I walk through the door and experience her greeting is unparalleled. The way she insists on sticking her head out of the window of the car to feel the breeze, or carries her Pedigree® DentaFlex® wherever she goes (although I don’t usually let her take it on walks with us), or has made herself at home on the back of the chairs in the living room so she can watch the world go by and wait for my return are some of her characteristics I love and cherish in her. She loves being outdoors and I only wish I could spend more time outside with her. She loves to chase a ball or frisbee, although she’s not too keen on actually fetching it – more chase to chew and destroy! She loves exploring a new place and would run around all day if I let her. She demands my time and I feel rejuvenated following a long walk with her. I have experienced new places and made new friends and yet I also cherish the solitude of our individual walks. I didn’t previously want the commitment of a dog, but now I really don’t know what I’d do without her. She is my family and my whole world, and I think I would be lost without her.
I think of New York often. With so many television shows or movies set in the city, and friends and colleagues planning or returning from trips there, I have daily reminders that I am not there.
Travelling to the U.S. from England is expensive, and having done so approximately once a year since leaving in 2006, I have had to make the decision not to go this year. Money is not the only factor in this decision though – I have desires to see as much of the world as possible, and continually returning to NYC is preventing me from achieving this goal.
Having said all this, my heart aches from not being there. The freedom and confidence I feel whilst there is unlike nothing I have felt anywhere else. I feel at home and I feel like ME. I am myself there more than anywhere else. Whilst I’m sure people are judging me – it’s in our nature after all – I do not feel judged. I can spend the days and nights wandering the city streets with no destination in my mind and still end up where I subconsciously wanted to be all along. The smells, the sights, the people – they all feel like one thing, and that’s HOME. Despite not being born there and not having visited until I was a month short of 21, it feels natural and comfortable to me.
I long to return, to see the familiar faces that have been a part of my life for nine years now, to wander the streets and see the sights and smell the smells and just bask in the wonder of it all. For now, I am some 3364 miles away, dreaming of returning and attempting to get through the misery I am presently feeling at not being there and not knowing when I’ll be returning.
My heart will always belong to the city, no matter how far away I may be.
Just imagine, you’re in the Berlin airport staring down the barrel of a five-hour layover. Fortunately, you came prepared. You fire up your Netflix account hoping to while away your downtime watching House of Cards only to be greeted by a message saying you can’t watch anything from your current location.
One of the annoying inconveniences of traveling overseas is the inability to stream domestic televisions shows while outside the country. License restrictions generally prevent services like Netflix and Hulu from working internationally. Sure, you can buy a Game of Thrones episode off Amazon’s Instant Video service from anywhere in the world, but you won’t actually be allowed to watch that video until you’re back in the States. Even otherwise free content from the big broadcasters, like NBC, won’t stream overseas.
These are Charbonnel et Walker Sea Salt Banana Caramel Truffles. They are, if I do say so myself, absolutely moorish, but they have divided opinions amongst my friends. Unfortunately the banana flavour is the artificial kind, so this put them off, but at £12.95 for 10 truffles, I am not too annoyed that I am unable to share them! I do not mind the ‘fake’ banana flavour, and teamed with the sea salt and the sweetness of the caramel, each truffle makes a mouthwatering good couple of bites. Whilst I bought them from their Leeds store (located in the Victoria Quarter), they are also available to buy online.