Tuesday 27 February 2007

European Eagle Owls

Biggest owl in the world - they're breeding wild in North Yorks; so said a programme on the TV tonight. Impressive, beautiful birdies, says Dad. Babies make an annoying noise, says I; and I just had to lep' off the sofa and go bark at the Tv screen from 1 inch away. Dad says he wished he had the camera, as he's never seen me do this before. Megan and Haggis love "Animal Hospital" and watch it, rivetted, their heads cocking left and right. The owls did it for me!

First-Dad - you finally got your pancakes, we hear, and Dad has now told me that we must not mention this again till next year. My lips are sealed, promise

Just a quick one tonight. A girl has Mummy's slippers to discipline


Monday 26 February 2007

The 2CV Graveyard

An adventure tonight. Not the normal walk. we are all loaded into the 2CV for a trip to the 2CV graveyard, also known as 2CV-Llew's workshop. Here to get a new exhaust fitted to Dad's car, but that's boring human stuff. For us dogs, it's an old farm yard with lots of out-buildings, rusting farm machinery and even more rusting 2CVs.
Hot and cold running mice (Llew even feeds one the corners of his biscuits at tea break, and this one's called Maurice. We were not allowed to chase that one.)
Beyond the buildings are fields and wild farm tracks where a dog can disappear for hours at a time, returning periodically to check the humans are still there at base camp. If we're gone too long and Dad has to whistle us up, we trot back practicing our looks that say "What's the problem? We knew where we were.. and we knew where you were???"
Mind you, I did cause a moment of amused (well, semi-amused) panic, when, unseen by humans, I trotted off with each of the rubber hanger-brackets for the exhaust and put them in various places around the workshop for safe keeping. Dad said to Llew - if this was home I'd know exactly where she'd have them - in her bed! But there's no beds here, so I put them carefully behind a car, or under a bit of axle stand or a ramp. They found them in the end, but it was fun watching them look.
And when Llew got cold lying on the floor, I very helpfully licked his face. He has his own dog, Rosie, a Jack Russell with tousled hair on her head and short hair everywhere else, so he's used to it. Also one of the other workshops on site has a Ridgeback, which comes and bounces on him and licks his face too, so he said he didn't mind me so much
Car fixed and kluxuriously quiet. Well... as luxuriously quiet as a 2CV can be

Sunday 25 February 2007

Wet through again

Off to reculver this morning, but the forecast had said showers with sunshine, and all we got was 10/10 cloud and cold February rain. We arrived, paid for our car parking, then sat listening to the rain drumming off the car roof, swooshing the wind screen clear every now and then with the wipers, looking out to sea, like proper British tourists, and waiting for the rain to stop.
It eased, we walked, and then it returned in earnest and we got thoroughly soaked. Dad texted back to Mum to have warm dog-towels ready (again), for when we arived with warm bread and croissants from the farm shop
I met two lovely children today, James and Eve, grand children of the neighbours. They both wanted to make a fuss of us, pick us up and stroke us. Eve, though, did not believe that I do this blog - she thinks someone else types it in for me. Dog's can't type, she says. That's her purple skirt and pink fleece I'm sitting on in the first picture. The other is of a very typical Megan pose - looking out of the door. She likes to have her bum in the warm and her nose in the cold. That's till she get's shouted at by either Mum or Dad "Come on Meggie - make your mind up! Either in or out!"
See you again soon, Eve and James

Saturday 24 February 2007

Haircut, Hastings and Shampoo

What a big day! We started off (at my 07:00 request) with a walk all around the Abbey Fields and the Iron Wharf. Dad likes to see the Thames Sailing Barges, although a lot of them at this time of year are in drydock, being fixed, or are under "poly-tunnels" of plastic, with their masts and rigging all lowered. We like this walk in the wet, as it's not too muddy, but we still manage to get dirty "skirts" through the puddly bits
Then it was time for a haircut. Megan and Haggis got a proper buzz-over (No 5) their necks, backs, flanks and bums, plus a scissor trim round their faces. Dad admits he's no expert, but they come out looking OK, and every time he does it he saves £35 or so per dog. There were HEAPS of cut hair everywhere. Then it was my turn, but Dad only gave me a light scissor cut to trim off my whispy, voluminous "hareem pants", round off my ears into the family uniform "teddy bear" shape, and tidy my bum, then buzzed the trimmers near to me without cutting any hair, to get me used to the idea. Then we all got a treat
The buzz-cut removes all the beige-grubby outer fur, leaving us stark white above the "tide-line", and only serves to accentuate how dirty were our skirts after the puddle-bashing. A shampoo-ing was threatening, but first we had to go to Hastings to visit Grandma and Grandad. Every Saturday for 50 years or so (probably longer!), I am told, Grandma has cooked steak and kidney pud, so Mum and Dad generally arrange visits for the Saturday! The only Saturdays they miss are Christmas (in which case the pud is on the 26th), or if they are away. They were great, although I had to have a gruff and bark at Grandad's wheelie-walker thingy. Scary. The garden is great, too - all old, long-established and wild. Even has a 70 foot, 40 year old gnarly old willow tree.
The shampoo came to all of us when we got back home. Dad lit a real fire, so we'd be able to dry out quickly, then dad took us one by one (me first) into the shower, while Mum was on towel duty on the landing. Now, you can see from the photo, we are all gleaming white, fragrant and fluffy
Soon change that!

Thursday 22 February 2007

Fabergé Egg

Ooops. After my conviction for the hair dryer job, was trying to keep a low profile. Duck a bit, dive a bit, be a little bit who-aooo. It all went terribly wrong tonight and I was back on the naughty step.

Many moons ago, Dad had seen something about a Fabergé egg (coo, look at me with my e-acute! No sweat - just hold down the Alt key and while you're still holding it, type 130, then let it all go) being given to some highbrow lady as a gift. Next time he was in the farm shop he bought a huge goose egg, "blew" it (as in a hole in either end and blow on one end to force the white and yolk out the other. Use for delicious omelettes) and decorated it with multi coloured felt pens. He then presented it to Mum with much ceremony (I'm told the reply was "You ******* eejit!").

Since then it has been rattled around in the stationery basket, along with the highlighters and staplers, but has survived many years, and has (um.... "had") become known as the Fabergé egg. A family heirloom. Part of the family jewels, yet. Priceless. A thing of beauty and a joy for ever...

Till tonight

It wasn't my fault - Mississippi the cat tossed it down to me. What was I to do. I am a toothing puppy. I chew. It's what I do. It's amazing how many acres of hall carpet you can cover with one goose egg shell !

I am forgiven now though, and am chewing on a more appropriate ox-tail bone out of tonight's stew

Grind grind... slurp slurp, gnaw gnaw

Had any pancakes yet, Old-Dad? :-))


Wednesday 21 February 2007

Romantic texts and Pancake Day

We were all deserted by Dad Monday night, as he was off on business to Bristol, so it fell to us to protect Mum from ghosties and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night. So when Dad texted Mum with a romantic "Good morning - I am missing you" on Tuesday morning, he got back something along the lines of "Yeah, and I missed you too at Oh-Christ Hundred Hours in the morning when the foxes were kicking off in the back garden". Dad guessed someone had turned off the "Middle-of-the-night-dog-releasing-button" (Guess who usually has to get up to let us out!)

Dad got back in time for the pancake party. Mum had got the batter ready but neither Dad, nor John, Denis or Diamond had turned up yet, so instead of just lemons and sugar, Mum had got bored and started getting out ever more possible fillings - choc spread, jams, segments of satsuma, sliced banana, Greek honey..... you name it. She'd made gallons of batter, so everyone was full to bursting.

Poor old-Dad, we are told, didn't get any, as first-Mum (daren't call her "old"!) thinks they are just for kids. When he found out we'd had them, he sent first-Mum a "written warning" e-mail with photo's attached so she'd know what lemons looked like. He copped such a telling off! Poor old-Dad. Hope he didn't get too killed when he got home!

Now Mum and Dad are into something awful called "Lent" when they jokingly challenge each other to go without alchohol for 40 days and 40 nights. Bet they don't make it. They want me to give up poo-ing indoors. Might. Might not.... Mind you, apparently, when you are an Irish Catholic (Mum says) you are allowed an exemption on Paddy's Night. Even Bono says so, so it must be true.


Sunday 18 February 2007

...has those teeth, Dear, and he keeps them..

...Pearly White.
In the first picture, fallow deer prints - a common sight in Challock Forest, and it's when you see a good few fresh ones on a path we all slow down and go very quiet, because as sure as eggs is eggs, there will be a small herd of the deer in the immediate vicinity. In this pic you can see the hind foot has slotted in practically on top of the fore-foot print. We are even told that if you know what you are doing you can easily tell the sex of the deer in question. The women are (ahem) slightly pear-shaped ( you just know this is gonna be a MAN tracker don't you!), so that the track of the hind feet is slightly wider than the track of the front feet, more so when the doe is pregnant. But we'll leave that to the experts.
My second photo is a macro-shot of my shiny new fangs. Scary, aren't they? In case you don't know what you're looking at, the long tooth in the right hand side of the shot is my upper left puppy milk-tooth (canine). Just to the left of this is the grown-up canine just coming through. Middle tooth showing is the lower left canine pointing upwards away from the camera, and the other two are grown-up upper left incisors. Won't be long before I lose the pup-fangs, I guess. We were cunningly designed to never be completely toothless.
Had a great weekend - more Forest today, nice and early but didn't see any deer.
Look after yourselves


Friday 16 February 2007

Everywhere and Nowhere, baby

Megan's impression of a hippo, and mine of a fox.... We were charging about like mad things this morning running errands and visiting places.
First job was the forest (where these pics were taken). We seem to be having a time for now of finding dead beasties. Another dead deer (no antlers this time, so a doe or a young buck), and a smelly old fox. Yummy
We had to visit 2CV-Llew, in the course of which we blew the exhaust and now sound like the GT model. We went to the tip, we taxi'd Diamond's brother to Molash, and we put in some digging up at the allotments. We even nipped to Caterbury Cameras to collect a new toy for Dad. Boys will be boys
Have a great weekend

Wednesday 14 February 2007

Reader, I knackered him

Here's a couple more pics, just for fun. A shot of Haggis fast asleep after I've tired him out. I am still too small to be able to lep' up onto the sofa, so he can escape me up there (and frequently does). Let's not forget that although he runs around and plays with me as if he was a pup too, he's actually a 9 and a half year old dog. Poor old boy!
Plus another one of me that snowy day in the forest - I love the stance. I'll never be a show dog with my tail curled round like that, but this looks abit like "Monarch of the Glen" from behind, don't you think?
The Humans are all indulging in a bit of soggy romance tonight - fizz, candle light, good food, chocolates and prezzies; St Valentine's Day, but at least we got a nice walk first. The forecast rain stopped just in time, though the Rec is like a swamp, and the night promises to be clear skies and frost. Dad's now sloped off to watch the Top Gear USA fly-drive episode, before he nips into the shower to try out his new "smellies" (Spanish fig and walnut shower gel anyone?)
Happy Valentine's Day
(maybe I'll have a young westie boy send me a card....... sigh)

Tuesday 13 February 2007

Seasalter Beach

A new walk tonight - well new to me anyway. Dad gets home from work at a sensible hour, and there is, as Mum says "a grand stretch in the evenings" now, so we're loaded into the car and taken to Seasalter Beach, out beyond Graveney, just west of Whitstable. The Old Sportsman pub, a few beach-huts, the high concrete sea wall, tide way out, bait diggers (lugworm?) and a million new smells to chase around and sniff at

It's a gorgeous dry balmy breezy evening, with no trace of the forecast rain. One or two people are also walking dogs - we meet two very muddy Springers. The beach, westward from the pub is a narrow strip of sand and broken up sea shells, only about 20m wide, but below that miles and miles of goo-ey tidal mud. Not a good thing to romp across when you have legs only a few inches long, unless you want to look like you're wearing majorette boots

It's nice to hear the calls of the wading birds - we see curlews, godwits and some kind of tiny ones - knot? sanderling? we're not very good on waders. We walk out for about half an hour and back for half an hour. Very pleasant indeed. The path from the pub out to the start of the beach is a bit muddy, so we sneak back to the car along the beach hut bit, which is signed "Private Beach" as there's no-one about

Busted, by the way for crimes against hair dryers. The cable was mysteriously chewed right near the plug and right near the dryer itself. My name was in the frame for some reason.... moi? Mum doesn't use it very often, so I think I may have done it a while back when I was a new pup..... maybe..... officer. Anyway, Mum is wearing a frown and the hair dryer is in the wheelie-bin


Monday 12 February 2007

Bit of a Muppet

OK - probably could have taken a more sensible picture than this one, Dad. I'm looking a bit of a muppet here, and a bit anxious to boot. Ears are back and hair over left eye is all a-wry
What an exhausting weekend. After the excitement of finding those bits of deer Friday we were out again all round town and the boat yard Saturday and Sunday. Dad is all frustrated again because we are back with the rainy weather again, so play has stopped up at the allotment for the moment - it's like a swamp.
Hands up, who thinks I need a hair cut?

Saturday 10 February 2007

Waistcoat and Hareem Pants

They are all much amused down here about the state of my fur, which is apparently growing very oddly. You can see from these pics of me taken from directly above, that the fur round my chest and ribcage is staying quite short, but that behind my diaphragm , and covering my back half, it is ever so long. (Please ignore the fact that one is taken while I am perched illegally on Mum's precious flower pots full of just-emerging tulips!)

According to Dad, it looks like I've got a neat little waistcoat on but then a pair of voluminous hareem pants with a very high waist. I'll try to get some more to give you a better idea
Maybe I am just trying to follow the family line of proud, pear shaped figures. Dad is never gonna get thrown off any catwalk for being size zero!
Have a good weekend

Friday 9 February 2007

Gruesome finds in the forest!!

Not the normal sort of cute pup shots you're used to on this blog, I'll guess! Dad had another Friday off and we all headed back to Challock Forest. Although the snow's all gone from here, there was plenty left, plus ice and frozen ground in the woods - they are the other side of the Downs and always have different weather.
So we had a really good charge around, but then we were amazed to come across a find Dad says he's never seen the like of in 10 years of exploring every square inch of the forest.
2 fallow buck skulls (yes, we have "bucks" and "does" in fallow deer - "stags and hinds" are for the Roe Deer and Red Deer, but we don't get those in Challock) locked together by the antlers, and with one of the front-facing prongs of one buck pierced into the skull of the other (actually through the top of the eye socket). Yummy! Just the sort of gruesome thing a small dog loves to come across, when she's forgetting she's meant to be a cute girlie!
A small amount of not-quite-rotted skin and sinew was still adhering to the skulls, and the rest of the skeletons were scattered about, presumably disturbed by the foxes, so we're all guessing these two boys died fighting in the 2006 rut. Let's hope the one died fast, injured like that, but God only knows the fate of the other, locked solid with his dead rival. Ugh!
Dad managed to pull the antlers apart before he realised what must have happened (and D'ohh!) now can't remeber how they were entangled, but we brought them home to photo and have put them roughly back how they were lying (quote from Mum... "You brought them HOME!!!??!!")
Dad was amazed and quickly e-mailed all his Forestry mates. He's been exploring in the forest for all that time and never found so much as a pricket-spike (one year buck's antler - single prong), then in 2005 he found a beautiful 7-8 year buck skull, and now this!
Sorry, back to the cute girlie tomorrow!
ps - I did spare you the loving close-up of the prong actually through into the eye socket!

Thursday 8 February 2007

Just enough snow to make Angels

A little bit more snow this morning - just enough to roll about in and make "angels" as taught to me by Megan and Haggis

Very little to say today - every-one's in a tearing hurry for some reason


Wednesday 7 February 2007

Ice on the Pond

A hard frost overnight, so the morning is full of the sounds of Dad scaping ice off both cars, and then shuffling them on the drive, so that he could take the 2CV, and leave Mum the "proper" car. The garden is white with rime and like a winter wonderland. Mum is clutching a coffee and we all race off down the garden. She comes to the top of the steps and sees me nosing this strange hard crust on the big pond.

"It's Ice, Deef. Don't go onto it or you'll go through". OK thinks me, and scurry back up the steps, but then curosity gets the better of me and I just go and have another look. Mum describes it afterwards to Dad - "All I heard was this quiet pinging crack of ice being broken and suddenly Deefer came scurrying back up the garden with a wet paw and a very worried look. "I told you if you stood on it, you'd go through!" A good lesson learned. Haggis tells me that in past winters it has frozen solidly enough for him to walk across, especially when snow disguises the pond's location

Oh - and just in case anyone was getting over-confident about me having not poo'd indoors for a fortnight. You spoke too soon! Come see what I've done on the landing!. When Dad tells old-Dad, he exclaims that exactly the same has happened to Archie (my bro'). A fortnight - everyone thinking "we've turned a corner"... then Ooops! An accident on the landing.

Still a pup, what ever you say!


Tuesday 6 February 2007

Fern and Meadow

Nice walk tonight, taking in Dad's allotment where we had a lovely romp around with Fern and Meadow. Fern is a Lakeland terrier but "red" rather than black and tan. She is actually Asbo's litter mate. Meadow is an older, wiser Jack Russell. Meeting Fern at first was like meeting Asbo - she charged me and bowled me over, so I did my drama queen "They're killing me!" squeal thing. Soon got used to her though - it's just like dealing with Asbo himself. Meadow, a tad less sociable, and got a bit of a grumbly curmudgeon on when made too much fuss of her Mum.

Great round the allowments, though, sniffing for rats in the compost heaps. Especially Fern - ladylike name? Not so ladylike the way she can scale huge high piles of um... compost (sniff) and emerge with a face lathered in um... compost.

Somebody's gonna get a ba-a-ath !!!


Baby-canine count 2 (upper)
New fang count zero


Sunday 4 February 2007

If you go down to the woods today

Everyone feeling in need of exercise today, after a lunch yesterday which featured (for humans, not for dogs!) sticky toffee pudding, so all the guilty parties (including Diamond and John) rendezvous'd at Challock Forest at 10 am. The frost was all gone, so it was a bit skiddy underfoot.
This is a pic of the 4 of us (l to r, Meggie, moi, the H-Man and Asbo (aka Rags). Mirror mirror on the wall etc.... I wish that, for a laugh, I could show you the shots surrounding this one on the memory card - dogs looking in the wrong direction, me leppin' off the bench. Maybe I'll put one up tomorrow.
Not all of us understand fully commands like "sit" and "stay" (or, for that matter - "WILL you keep STILL you little perishers?!!!". Rags (shame on him) is on a lead in this one, just while he was on the bench, because the dunce has solid bone between his ears and couldn't get the concept of posing at all...
Ne'er mind. All adds to the fun

Saturday 3 February 2007

Losing my baby-teeth

4 and a half months old now, and time to shed a few baby teeth. Most of my front incisors and my lower left canine have parted company, and new incisors are coming through. So I'm driven crazy by the teething itches and aches, and chewing furiously on anything that comes to hand (or mouth). Latest victim is a blue frisbee that came free with my "coming home bag", when Mum and Dad collected us from our pup home.... or was it from the pet insurance when we signed up. Can't recall

A heavy frost over night so the grass on the Rec is white and crispy. All the better to make snow-angels in by rolling on your back.

It has been noticed that I have not poo'd indoors lately - not in the last fortnight anyway - but no-one is saying anything in case they tempt fate. As to wee-ing, I mostly remember to do that outside, but there are still the odd indoor ones, which I mainly remember to do on the newspaper left by the "stable door" for that purpose. I have wee'd on some interesting people and news stories in the past, and Mum and Dad quite often laugh at my choices.

Princess Diana was down there for ages (full page spread in one of the weekend papers - there was some kind of inquiry going on) and I refused to wee on her. George Bush, Blair, John Ried, no problem. Gallons of wee. In one story recently about the "Sego-Sarko" race for the French Presidency. I wee'd mightily on Nicolas Sarkozy and avoided Segolene Royal completely. Mum calls that a vote for French Chic, and says I have great taste. Scare bleu! Leesten vairy carefully. I will say zees only once....

We had Diamond, and her man and step-Dad round this afternoon for a late lunch and they brought Asbo with them. Bit of a shock - and I squeaked loudly at being charged down in my own territory. We soon got used to each other, mind, and I guess he's welcome really.

Another frosty night tonight


Friday 2 February 2007

Allotment Widow, Goodbye Sam

Dad is really really happy today. The weather has been dry a week now and it is all warm and mild, so he's finally been able to head up to the alloment with his trusty spade. We got left behind and walked later, but I understand from M+H that we do get to spend quite a lot of the summer mooching about up there. Much nuzzling and rootling in the compost heaps, says Meggie, for mice, rats and hedgehogs (If you're lucky!)

But Dad didn't want me up there because of my current yen to "help" dig the holes. He is well behind, he says, on his digging, because it's basically rained solidly since November (well, OK, slight exaggeration, but he's not been able to get the Autumn digging done because the soil is too wet, and every time it's not he's held up on something else.). "We" still have spuds in the ground and quite a few plots still have the old trash and weeds left on them from the last year crop

But now he's happy. He can get up there and start turning areas over and making it all look tidy, sweet and productive again

Then (and only then) did we all get a lovely walk round through the boat yard and back in through town. So many people.

Sadly we learned today that old collie Sam, Meg's forst ever boyfriend and whom she used to play with on the Rec when she was a pup, had to be put down recently. We had wondered - we'd seen him in the vet's looking very old and grey around the muzzle, and not seen him at all in the Rec. Now the windowsill overlooking the road, where he used to lie and look out, and Meggie couldn't pass the house without looking up at the window to see if her friend was there (be still, my beating heart), sports a very smart big pot plant.

So we had wondered, and today in town we met Sam's "Mum" and she told us, and made a big fuss of Meggie. Meggie was sniffing all around wondering where the Sam smells had gone. Sam apparently had a huge stroke and was beyond cure. Poor Sam (Poor family too) - Bless Him. We'll all miss him and Meggie will probably wonder where he is for the rest of her natural.

Have a greta weekend