Wednesday 31 January 2007

Levee and the Creek

Great walk tonight, and a first for me. What Dad calls the levee-loop. About an hour and a bit North from here through the Abbey Fields to the Creek bank, which is a small levee - most of the fields round here are below sea level at high tide! The eastward along the levee and back inland, through Dad's allotment site, home. Rabbits a-plenty to sniff and chase. Bit sticky underfoot but drying out since the really wet weather

Mum and Dad having a laugh. You know how most people create the odd recipe from stuff left over in the fridge. M+D call theirs "Bottom of the Fridge Suppers". Only our fridge seems to be weirder than most. We have a fantastic local fishmonger (called Herman's Plaice - what a brilliant name!) which always has an impressive range, and Dad is on a mission, when ever he goes there, to get, as well as the usual stuff, something we've never had before - swordfish, barramundi, red tilapia, you name it, and this time a tub of baby octopusses preserved in oil. (Octopi?).

So we had some of them in the fridge, plus some cold roast pheasant, and some thawed frozen prawns. So, would you believe we had "Pheasant, Octopus and Prawn Risotto". How many people d'you reckon were eating that on Tuesday night? Indeed, how many freezers do you think have a portion of it left over in them tonight?

Good ol' beef stew tonight though, and we got some gravy. Yum


Tuesday 30 January 2007


I am one seriously grubby puppy! Have just had the time of my life romping around on the Rec' with my sister Ellie (that's her real name - but she was Beryl-the-Barrel when she was a pup, due to her (um...) plumpness, and has since been Ellie-the-Belly, but get's nicknamed Ellie Bezel, as a sort of half-way house. Anyway - last time we met we were all younger and I'd played (rough) with Haggis, so I kinda overwhelmed poor Ellie.

Now things are different. We're still the same size, but now we're equal in energy, playfulness and confidence. Ellie gets let off the lead, too, which means the that the lead-trailing circles we run in don't end up garrotting Megan or bolas-ing the humans. We ran and ran and ran - round trees, in and out of the kiddies play-furniture and their bike assault course, under hedges and nosing through the tennis court gate

I say the same size - I guess we're the same weight, but what with me having an inch and a half of fluffy scrag all around me, and Ellie being smoothe coated and slightly whispy, her legs and tail end up looking longer and her ears taller. I guess we'd look the same if we were sopping wet!

She, though, has now got all her new front teeth and lost 3 canines. I have 4 new front, but I've still got all my needle-sharp baby-fangs (All the better for grabbing you with, Haggis!)

Ah but one thing about Ellie. She hates being groomed but is a self-cleaning dog. Apparently, an hour in her own bed, all the mud's dried and fallen off her. Um... can't say that works for me. Still she'll need it. The Angel-Betty's hubby, calls her the Daz-Dog and swears her Mum puts her in the washing machine; she's always so pristine dazzling white. Not now! A hour of running around with me on the soggy Rec and she's got that "proper-dog", soiled grubby West Highland Brown look!

Go Ellie!


Monday 29 January 2007

One more from the snowy wastes

Another one from our snowy walk in Challock Forest, this time of me and Haggis (right) motoring down the track towards Dad's long lens
And while I'm on, that Stour Valley Arts outfit, that do the Millennium Yew Avenue are on
Coo... my first link!

Saturday 27 January 2007

Doctor Zhivago

A gorgeous pic of Meggie taken while we were out in the snow yesterday. Mum says she looks a little soulful, "like Lara out of Doctor Zhivago". More to follow. The snow's all gone now. We're quite mild and it's all melted away, so I'm glad we got a chance to run around in it yesterday
Dad's doing his "Big Garden Birdwatch", RSPB thing today, so he has to spend an hour looking out of the windows with his binoculars. Down here in Kent we don't have that "where have all the sparrows gone?" thing that has affected most of the country and the London parks. We've got millions. Well - we have once counted up to 77 in all the honeysuckle, jasmine and beech hedge, but not today. Best Dad could do was 16
So you can imaging how popular Felix was this morning when he trotted in with a triumphant look on his face and a greenfinch limp in his jaws. Birds, you want? I got one! Now he NEVER catches birds (too slow and old!) so why he chose today, nobody knows. Not even sure he caught and killed it. Probably picked it up already dead, and is just showing off.
Have a great weekend

Friday 26 January 2007

White Stuff

Hey! What a fantastic morning. There was a dusting of snow over night, and a freeze, plus Dad has the day off. So we all took off to Challock Forest to enjoy the white stuff. Here are a couple of pics to give you some idea. I love the one of me at speed!
Challock was fairly cold but not too windy, so we strolled around for an hour and a half, taking in the Cloud Chamber and the Millennium Yew walkway (actually a sculpture made (planted) in year 2000 by an artist called Lukasz Skapski as part of the Stour Valley Arts project. The avenue lines up with where the sun will rise in year 3000, but I probably won't be around to see it!). Dad had brought the long lens, hoping to get shots of the fallow deer, but although we saw tracks, we didn't even get a sniff of a deer
No matter, it was great fun charging around in the snow, especially as, being a weekday, there was no-one about (just a few human and dog tracks to show we weren't alone out there), so it was nice and quiet. We could creep about in silent stealth pretending to be steely-eyed killers, or romp about like eejits. Megan and Haggis showed me how to roll about on your back and make snow angels westie-style
I love that place

Thursday 25 January 2007

They're gonna eat Haggis!

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!

Very worrying developments in Deefer Towers. Haggis doesn't seem unduly concerned, but I've heard "them" talking about eating him. Mum and Dad, I mean. How could they? Apparently they do this every year, and yet he still seems very much alive. Perhaps it's like the pig in the old joke - where they eat him one leg at a time. So there's Dad (his turn to cook), schleppin' off to our local Alladin's cave farmshop (where you can buy anything, from Cajun seasoning fom the Deep South, to Frangellica, to weird Indian spices, pasta, exotic fruits, African game jerky, bulgar wheat and Mumma's apple pie) for neeps and tatties.

By the time he puts it in the pan to boil, he's pricked it all round the ends with a needle to let the steam out, but it still splits open where the metal clip is, so he ends up steaming it. They make some gorgeous onion gravy, and serve up, washing the whole lot down with a traditional Scottich Rioja (?) and finishing off with equally trad Metaxa, from Poros, where Mum goes on hols with Diamond

We even got some left overs, which all three of us galumphed down with relish. But hold on. If Haggis is eating haggis, isn't that canibalism?

Deefs (the noo)

Wednesday 24 January 2007

New Dad, Old Dad, Real Dad

It seems that old Dad, owner of Real Dad (Hector), is as daft as New Dad. The two humans were comparing notes on dog walking in yesterday's bitter wind, and both had gone out gloveless and hatless and contracted frostbite. No such mistakes today.

Flurries of snow and bursts of hail today, with more snow forecast. We snuck our walk in between these, so we kept dry. The hail though, was fizzing against the back door glass after we got back and sounded so interesting we all demanded to be let out to check out the noise. Meg, and H, wiser than me, slammed on the brakes at the threshold. I didn't realise and shot out onto the terrace. Ouch! That stuff is like a thousand hypodermics!. Rapid retreat of pup with tail between her legs!

When Old Dad first had us pups, his wise "better half" (I daren't call her "Old Mum"!) made him put chicken wire round the pond to stop us taking involuntary swims. They decided last weekend to take this up now. Surely Archie was now sensible enough not to try the swimming in such cold weather. Nope - straight in! Go Bro' ! The wire has been put back up!

Hope it does snow. Haggis was 8 before he even saw any sensible snow - just the way the weather works around our bit of Kent. When Meg was a pup, Dad can remember building her an igloo, which he'd then throw treats inside, so she'd nip in, turn round and come out headfirst (chewing) and Dad took photo's. But a year later, when they got Haggis, no snow, and then 7 more snowless winters (or at least so little snow that you couldn't build an igloo for a mouse, never mind a westie.)

Oh the weather outside is Frightful
And this fire is so delightful.....


Tuesday 23 January 2007

Back Seat Driver

Ooops - got scolded for this little stunt. Lots of stuff about maybe getting me a harness - free floating ballistic westies in the back of your head, even at 2CV speeds. Gotta give you a crick! I was only up there a couple of seconds, honest. Something about "You might be only a pup, but you're blocking my entire rear view!"
Hasn't it turned cold! Frost on the cars in the morning and frost bite of the fingers for humans who walk us with no gloves on, - hands out of pockets when we are on the leads. Nice walk though in the clear bright evening - up across the Rec, down through town and past the Sailing Barges (old "Greta", who Meg and H went sailing on last year, all de-rigged and parcelled up in her polytunnel, sitting in a dry dock for her winter maintenance), and back across the fields. Perishing cold! We are glad Dad has left us all shaggy for the moment, and not listened too hard to the talk of Global warming and an early Spring. Snowdrops might be out under the James Grieves, but it sure looks like snow to me!
Keep warm

Sunday 21 January 2007

Reculver again, with Asbo

The wind has turned a bit chillier, and the forecast is for Winter to finally arrive, but this morning it's sunny and breezy, so we head for Reculver once more. Here are the three of us in the 2CV again. Dad drove. Mum took off in the other car to collect Diamond, and the Lakeland terrier, Asbo. Not his real name - his real name is Ragworth (and that's another story. Get me to tell it one time). This time we (successfully) all met up at Reculver and went for a good ol' chase along the sea wall and down along the beach.

I've got more used to Asbo, now, so I'm not such a screaming drama queen when he passes within a few feet. I still cringe a little, but spent most of the walk actually chasing him around, my curiosity getting the better of me. Dad says he looks forward to the day we can play properly together. Asbo is young and fit, so it'll take some of the pressure off poor old Haggis (9) who sometimes gets to look a bit persecuted when I won't leave him alone
In the pic of all the dogs together, H is left, Rags centre, Me right and Megs bringing up the rear (as normal). Rags spends a lot of any walk running round checking that everyone is there. Diamond says he's such a ditz, he whizzes round counting to 3 dogs, then forgets and has to go back and check, then forgets again and has to check again, then forgets.... you get the picture. He's the same. apparently when Diamond is out with her three young neices, racing round making sure all 3 are present and correct
Have a good week

Friday 19 January 2007

Challock Forest (at last)

We got there at last! Dog Heaven. Challock Forest - about 5 square kms of English broad leaved forest. Historically a Royal deer-hunting forest and now owned by the Forestry Commission, it's mainly down to sweet chestnut coppice, although there are big tracts too of beech, larch, corsican pine and other stuff. There are ggod hard tracks all around and narrower muddier footpaths too. There are squirrels, pheasants and we reckon about 200 very dark-phase fallow deer.

Dad had the day off and, amazingkly after the gales and rain last night, the morning was sunny, warm and almost windless, certainly windless under the trees anyway. So we dropped Mum off at work (Poor Mum!) and headed for Challock. You can see from the pics , it was very sloppy underfoot, so we rapidly became "West Highland Black-Bellied Terriers", with our little majorette boots of shiny black. We are all let straight off the lead in Challock, so we can race about like lunatics.

We even saw some of the fallow deer - a small group of does, and led by Meggie, we tried to give chase, but deer are fast and long legged, and built for spronging through knee high brambles and bracken. Westies (especially pups) are only 4 inches long in the leg dept and built more for your mown lawns and shagpile carpet, so "gave chase" is a rather humorous optimistic description! Dad soon called us back

Fantastic place! We all love it, and it's Dad's absolute favourite dogwalk place. We'd reccommend it to anyone who lives in the Ashford / Sittingbourne / Charing area



Thursday 18 January 2007

German Bight, Humber, Thames


Coo! There are whole big limbs of trees coming down on the Rec. Bigger than a pup can pee against. We went for a walk but we came back very "windswept and interesting". Dad has the day off tomorrow, so we are promised a walk, finally in "the forest" - Kings Wood in Challock, near Ashford, in Kent. 6 or so square miles of Chestnut coppice (well coppice up to 2006, but now the paper recycling has been so successful that the last remaining pulp mill taking chestnut (in Wales) has now shut, so Kingswood no longer has an outlet for it's chestnut, and the poor old coppicers have all been laid off. One man's green success story, is another man's unemployment)

More tomorrow, when I've been to this mythical wonderland. Dad promises to take the camera


Tuesday 16 January 2007

Wintry Showers

Ugh - Wintry showers, so we have all cried off a walk tonight. We had one this morning but tonight we all looked out of the door and quickly followed Megan back inside. She is a lady who likes her creature-comforts and, in particular, does not like the feel of rain falling on her head. We are all now curled up in front of the fire - Dad is burning the last of our Irish peat-turf sods, brought back from Silverwood's house. He was wondering whether the peat-fire smell, drifting across the road, might have stirred memories in any passing Irish people

Meanwhile out the back of our house, where there once stood (before my time) a big fruit pack-house and there has been, ever since, some fox-rich, rabbit infested and pheasant-owned wasteground, building has started in earnest. An enormous auger drill thing taller than all these houses, spends all day groaning and grinding beyond the back yard. Trucks and builder vehicles move about and men call to each other. We dogs can't concentrate on sleeping, and we have to be let out periodically to race down the garden to repel boarders. Tally Ho!


Sunday 14 January 2007

Who you callin' "Gobby"?

Wow! For January 14th, amazing warm breezes, clear blue skies, sunshine. We arrange to meet Auntie Diamond and ASBO at reculver at 10 o'clock. That is, WE think we're meeting them at 10. They think we're picking them up from their front door at 10 to give them a lift to Reculver. 3 Humans and 4 dogs in a car (especially with 2 of them being Asbo and me), now that WOULD have been interesting! Ah well, we all got good walks, just not together.

For some reason I was in one this morning and decided to shout at a couple of people, in an attempt to preserve the westie's reputation for being "yappy dogs". Mum and Dad had other ideas. They prefer preserving the westie's reputation for being calm, well socialised dogs who don't yap and don't bark at anyone (see smug Megan and Haggis for details). Even so I had a try

One was an angler wheeling a great trolley of fishing gear and lugging umpteen fishing rods over his shoulder. No problem when he was behind us catching us up, or indeed as he overtook. It was when he was about 10 yards in front (safe distance?) I suddenly started shouting at him. Even when I was shut up I still wuffed and chuffed as we climbed onto the sea-wall and he dived into the bullrushes to find his fishing position, 100 yards away

A little later we came a cross 2 guys in hi-vis jackets, by a car, apparently waiting to marshall a 400-person run along the sea wall from Minnis Bay to Reculver. The one by the car was OK, but this other guy stood 30 yards off suddenly looked dangerous to me so I had a shout at him too. I got shut up, and stomped off huffing and gruffing, then looked across the sea wall at the other guy, who smiled and said "Yeah? What's up with you, Gobby?". Mum and Dad cracked up laughing. Gobby? I ask you. Dad said, "If the cap fits....."


Saturday 13 January 2007

Blackcurrant Fields

The weekend! Up nice and early (that is, "we got Dad up nice and early") for a nice long walk - dry but breezy. We headed south across the Rec and through the grounds of Macknade Farm shop, ending up on what they've all called "the blackcurrant fields" till now. Megan had told me in excited tones about 300 yard row upon row of blackcurrant bushes, with eager rabbits dashing up between the rows and sneaking through gaps into the next row.

She and Haggis could lose themeselves for hours racing up one row, nipping through gaps and down another row, with Dad charging up and down the head-land, trying to guess which row they'd emerge from. Sometimes they'd get so disorientated they'd go to the wrong end of the field trying to find Dad (which was a bit anxious for him, as the "other end" was yards from the M2 motorway)

But no more. All the bushes have been grubbed up over winter, along with the apple trees in a neighbouring orchard, the whole lot (25 acres?) fenced in as one field and ploughed. Neat, tidy, boring. I guess it's the economics of fruit growing in Kent. A man at the allotments this afternoon said that most local growers had their fruit, which is grown under contract, rejected anyway by Ribena after the hot dry summer, as being not fit for purpose, so I don't suppose that helped the economics

I've spent the day "helping" Mum and Dad who have been going crazy working thier way through a list of jobs. I've "helped" pull up the hall carpet (some say I'm the reason it has been pulled up, but that's another story!), "helped" wash the floor, "helped" with the laundry, "helped" dig the bed in the greenhouse, "helped" laying out spuds for chitting, "helped" lay a fire - ahh I'm so helpful I wonder how they ever did without me!


Friday 12 January 2007

Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger

Cyclonic 7 to severe gale 8, occasionally Storm 10. It's sooooo windy! The rain is not so much "falling" as travelling horizontally and occasionally hitting the ground - more often hitting the sides of westies, who are ruffty tuffty Scottish dogs and can handle it. Unlike their Mum who is a wuss and tends to hide indoors. A couple of very recent photo's for you. Remember those earlier photo's of me beating up the H-man ? Look how big I am now! More like a 1/2 scale model of a westie, than a pup. The face-on pic gives you a little inkling of the Hercule Poirot moustache, but Mum had just brushed me so I'm not as scruffy as usual
Off to the vets yesterday, but just along for the ride, accompanying Meg and Haggis (and the c*t Mississippi) who were up for their annual jabs, in case they needed their hands holding. Spent the entire visit standing on the floor looking up at the succession of bro's and sis's being poked and prodded on the table, whimpering for when it would be my turn. Did get a turn on the weighing machine though, so can tell you I'm 4.08 kgs
Dad turned quite pale writing the cheque afterwards - as well as all the jabs, Meggie has something called Cushings, which means a pill a day for the rest of her life. (Dad got a bit stressed one morning, when he dropped that day;s pill and I grabbed it and ran off with it. Didn't need to scruff me quite so hard to get it back. I'm sure I would not have choked on it!). He says - God bless Pet-Plan
It's the weekend

Wednesday 10 January 2007

Hercule Poirot

Ah bonjour mais amis! Zere eez talk around zees 'ouse at present zat I am growing ze big long moustachio's, and zat I look a little like Hercule Poirot

So be it. I am currently investigating this entire toilet roll for clues. This involves the most minute dissection there-of (Oy Dad! Give it back! It is a vital clue!)

Tell me why, when she comes in from work, Mum says "Hello, Pretty Girl" (to Megan) ... "hullo, handsome boy" to Haggis, and then "hullo rat" to me? She says it very affectionately, so I guess it's a term of endearment, but "rat" ????


Monday 8 January 2007

In the Doghouse for Cat-Based Crimes

Look at these two smug beggars! Felix on the left, Mississippi on the right. They are the cause of my current misfortune! Yes, the honeymoon period is over and I am in the doghouse again
I protest, Members of the Jury! It does not seem such a crime to chase Felix around and it really was great fun when he sprayed all over me and the .. um... main human bed. Not so much fun when I was discovered , but beautifully fragrant meantime.
Nor, indeed, to have a go at tidying up Mississippi's poo from the cat litter. I was only trying to be helpful, yer 'Onour, when I was seen scurrying down the hall with a great big hard "Richard the Third" in my mouth, heading for my bed
And that's another thing. I am, allegedly joint-owned by Mum and Dad, so why did Mum yell through to Dad "Your bl***y dog has git a lump of cat sh** in her mouth"
I hear on the grapevine that bro' Archie is recovering well from his leg injury and is back to all 4 cylinders. Also that, just like me, he loves to pester his Dad when same is sitting on the "throne" in the morning. Only unlike me, who tries to climb into the throne bowl - Archie's thing is apparently the bath. Dad has to lift him into the bath where he either attacks the dripping water, or curls up happily in the bottom of the bath and goes to sleep while his Dad concentrates. Also, allegedly LOVES being bathed - the water, the shower head, the splashing, the shampoo...... Are you SURE he's my brother?

Sunday 7 January 2007

Too busy for one dog

"You're to busy for one dog!" - a fantastic turn of phrase picked up from our Deep South westie friends, describing their very active young pup, Theo. Theo is a tad more sedate now (They used to call her "Theo-Whoosh") but the too busy thing definitely fits me, according to Mum and Dad. We get fed in one room, shut out from the kitchen where the cats get fed, lest we harrass the cats away from their bowls and pirate the lot (as if!). But once the cats have finished we are let through to lick up aby tiny gleanings. Unfortunately there are 2 bowls, several feet apart, and I only have one mouth, so Dad gets a regular laugh as I am torn trying to lick both before either Meg or the H can get any. Too busy for one dog indeed

Meanwhile, today was Frontline day. We had .. um "company"... but we were trying to keep them secret, but Haggis grassed us up by scratching and licking around his tail. The humans always seem to know, perhaps by the rusty coloured saliva stains where he's been licking. So the game was up, and Dad came at us with a liquid trigger pack. We don't really mind - after all, what's a thin parrafinny stink, when you're a connoisseur of fox poo and dead seabirds? The cats got it too, much to their disgust. they sulked in the garden and wouldn't come in for supper


Saturday 6 January 2007

For Chow read "Samoyed"

Now we've had a chance to look in dad's dog book, we see that Tammy (see 30th Dec) is not in fact a Chow. Chows have that squished in face, like they've been chasing parked cars. We now think (but are still willing to be corrected) that Tammy is probably a Samoyed, one of those spitz type things

Well, we got our first 2CV ride today, but didn't get to the forest - it's been raining all day, and the forest gets very sloppy underfoot, so rather than bring home 3 plastered dogs, Dad opted for the open close-cut grass of the Bishopstone cliff tops. This is the next dog-walk west from Reculver, and comes with the advantage that parking is free! Dire graphic notice boards depict humans falling to their deaths as bits of the cliff top peel away "Unstable Cliffs. Keep away from cliff edge!"

So - we got a lovely fast run-around, met yet more nice dogs and stayed relatively clean

The 2CV is Dad's pride and joy project car, recently tarted up and sprayed beautifully back to factory finish. We prefer it to the "real car" because the back seat is nice and high up relative to the rear windows, so we can see out. Luxurious smooth quiet motoring it is definitely not - all squeaks, rattles, lurches and wind noise. Proper driving! Mind you, Dad was not so sure me leppin' up onto the narrow eadge of the rear seat back was such a good plan. He drove very carefully for a while so I didn't plummet into the boot, or fall forward onto Megan or the H, and was very releived when I eventually decided to hop back down to safety. Wuss!


Friday 5 January 2007

It's a cold night, Dear

Don't you just love that (probably apocryphal) story, that the Inuit (story probably dates from when they were called eskimoes!) judge the coldness of the night by how many dogs they need to add to the bed. It's a cold night, Dear... chuck another dog on the bed! Well it's so mild here at the moment that these must be zero dog nights, but we are still allowed to sneak on board. It's a big bed!

Mum was joking with Dad that she'd be surprised if I didn't grow up thinking my name was 'K'off Deefer. The amount of times she shoo's me away with a choice expletive or two, and Dad, who likes a nice quiet sit on the "throne" in the morning (where-as I just have to try to get on his lap, or look over the side of the throne bowl to see where all the fascinating splashy noises and gorgeous (to a dog) smells are coming from) knows exactly where she's coming from.

Ah well - 'tis the weekend and I am promised a lovely walk in somewhere new, called King's Wood, if it's not tipping down tomorrow. Might even get my first ride in the 2CV


Wednesday 3 January 2007

House Arrest

Brother Archie progress report.... The vet has allowed him home today without his restricting leg bandage, but he is reported to be under "house arrest", and only allowed out into the garden for a wee on the lead! Poor little divvil. Must be driving him crazy, and probably everyone else.

We managed to persuded Dad to take us out the minute he got home from work, while there was still some daylight, so we went on a good hour's worth of off-the-lead rabbit snuffling. From our house you can be in open fields in minutes, and there's a lovely walk along the creek bank, part of the Sustrans bike-ride route, before we turn back south (inland) across more fields and through dad's allotment site back to our road. It was a bit sticky underfoot, so we're a bit grubby, and I managed to collect some huge burr-dock burrs under my chin, but we made it. I'm sooooo tired now though, I can barely beat up Haggis

:-)) - whoosh!

Tuesday 2 January 2007

Lost down the back of the sofa

At home there's a superb long sofa, which I like to jump up onto the back of and then sleep between the back-cushion and the house-wall, basically stretched out along the hard back-plank of the sofa frame. Here is a pic of what happens when you try this at Silverwood's house, where the sofa has a big gap between the cushion and the back - no "plank". I was tired, so i was fast asleep, and the rotters got a pic of me disappearing out of sight as the evening went on. I think that's my ear at the top of the picture

Meanwhile, a progress report on Archie, who is still strapped up but now apparently feeling a lot better, so has now to be limitted on his desire to charge about on 3 good legs and a strapped-rigid one, still trying to fight his Dad (Hector). His human parents can't wait till he's let out again! Driving them crazy. other sister, Ellie is off to pup-classes tonight. Her Mum and Dad are worried that without a Hector/Mollie or Megan/Haggis to play with, she'll not get properly socialised. maybe she'd like a go with ASBO ?


Monday 1 January 2007

Exotic smells, evocative smells and ASBO's

Happy New Year. Mum and Dad came home from the restaurant smelling of all sorts of exotic foods - stuff you'd only read about in Africa geography books - they'd been to a "Taste of Africa" night, where-at the owner and staff were all dressed in trad African gear, and the food was stuff like well spiced veg dishes, cassava, yam, rice dumplings, dried catfish - various offal-y stuff like gizzards and tripe, and either goat or lamb.
Mum and Dad were buzzing with the deliciousness of it all, and still hyper from the traditional dance/drum music. I'm tempted to post my first link, just in case you want to go see, but I need to check the web address first. Everyone, incuding "Auntie Diamond" came back to our house for a few drinks till the midnight hour, to help us through the fireworks!
While we're on evocative smells, while we were in Ireland, Dad loaded onto the car a big bag of proper peat "sods", traditional fuel when coal was hard to come by. Tonight we have a real fire in the grate (first one this year - it's been so mild), and we are wafting evocative peat-turf-fire smells across the street from our chimney
And I finally got to meet Diamond's dog "ASBO" (actually Ragworth). He is a young (2) Lakeland / Patterdale terrier in black and tan, given to wispy hair on his ears and Denis Healey eyebrows. Not used to small (cough) vulnerable dogs to play with he can be a bit rough, so we all arranged a meeting back on the beach in Reculver, as neutral territory.
Scary - he piled straight in bowling me over and making me scream like a stuck pig. So we were separated while he ran off some energy, then allowed back together in a bit more of a controlled way. Anyway - suffice to say that by the end of the walk we were getting on much better (me only squeaking a little bit when he charged too close, and him not actually beating me up), so everyone thinks it was reasonably successful and worth keeping going. By the end of the walk I was actually letting curiosity get the better of me and chasing him about (from a distance)
An interesting start to the year
Get well soon, Archie