Saturday 28 April 2007

Ellie's On

Coo - big news from Kent this morning (other than the "earth quake" of course) from Ellie's Mum is that Ellie has started her first season. I can't be far behind, and the humans are taking an unhealthy new interest in my "bits". They tell me nothing is happening yet. The only boys I'm interested in are, anyway, Haggis and Asbo, (and Felix the cat!) all of whom the humans describe archly as "harmless". It's all a mystery.

The earthquake, measuring, I am told, 4.3 on the Richter scale and centred on Folkestone, passed us by. We were all out walking with Dad and T at quarter past 8 and felt or heard nothing. Mind you, with the huge diggers currently playing out back, and frequently clanging their buckets down, it could pass un-noticed. Nope, the first we knew was when lots of people started phoning Mum and Dad to check we were OK. Que? Why shouldn't we be?

Nice outing today - off down to Hastings to see Matt's Mum (Pud lady) and Dad, plus brother Tom. It's always a good trip, and Pud Lady's garden is a wild exciting jungle of old trees and shrubs - a truly huge (70' ?) willow, an ancient quince with a 3 inch thick Jouiniana clematis trunk spiralling round it, and old gnarly fig, a huge crab apple that Dad and his brothers could climb 40 years ago when they were young. Piles of old wood and logs and heaped up compost heaps make excellent rat/mouse hunting territory, there are squirrels to chase and the odd cat wanders through.

Westie wonderland
Go Ellie!


Friday 27 April 2007

Scrap Metal

You know what a nut Dad is for his 2CV. We had to laugh today when in an article in the local paper describing the antics of a volunteer group restoring a run down allotments site, featured his beloved car behind a caption which said "The scrap metal which had to be removed from the site" ROFLMAO!

We have over to stay the Steak Lady's husband, "T", (= Mum's Dad) from Portmarnock, where we all were just before Christmas. He (T) is a lovely, dog-friendly man, who is missing his own little Yorkie, "Cracker" so he has lots of time for we dogs. Mum collected him from the airport yesterday, and he's been here since, joining in our comings and goings. We showed him the Challock Forest this morning - the bluebells are full on, and by the looks, stand a chance of still being good for dad's walk, which is a relieif.

Looks like it's gonna be a lovely weekend. We're all off to Hastings tomorrow for T to meet Dad's parents. Ahhh Human re-unions. Better than a walk on the Rec!

Have a great weekend


Wednesday 25 April 2007

Total Immersion

Sper-LOSH! The humans are instantly aroused from their dozing on the terrace drinking coffee and Calvados after supper in the warm evening. "Grab a towel" says Dad, racing towards the sound I've just made falling in, and hauling me out, covered in duckweed. "Bl***y Muppet" says Mum (no sympathy there then).

Look I tell you -it's a hot evening and this is just part of my exercise routine. Run up and down the garden a few times, beat up Haggis, then scamper round and round the rim wall of the small (Mum says "Italianate") rectangular pond, then (even though I haven't voluntarily leapt into water since the goose pond at Leybourne Lakes) dive in. I meant to do it... honest


Monday 23 April 2007

Carpentry for Pups

Mum and Dad are building Ikea bookcases. This is a marvellous opportunity for a pup to help, and I advise all pups to assist using the following skills

1) Balance: When dad is kneeling down to hammer the small pins through the hardboard back of the case, stand on his calves, bridging the gap. This will stop him falling over into the bookcase and also makes crawling about more fun

2) Sight: Your vision will be superior to any human vision, especially old git vision, so if you can get your eyes as close to the screw head or hole as possible you will be able to wag your tail when he is on target. Do not worry that this will position your big fluffy head and fruit-bat ears between his eyes and the holes. He is used to that and will cope

3) Taste: Dowel is good to chew up as it has a nice crunchy texture. If there is no dowel left in the bowl of screws, G-plan widgets and Allen keys, there will always be some wedged into the ends of planks which are waiting to be assembled, and these will only be loose in, easy to extract with pup teeth.

4) Hearing: Dog hearing is designed to cope with the sqeak and sqeal of expanded polystyrene packaging as it falls to bits. You may also enjoy ripping the tissue paper together that came between the sheets of wood.

5) Running: There will always be lots of running about involved - carrying tools upstairs, chasing back down to the shed for more tools or to put them away, taking packaging to the bin etc. Also in manouvring the finished item into position. This will give ample opportunity to get in the way and under the humans feet, which is excellent for their training in nimbleness

6) Wriggling out of a tight spot: If you p*** Dad off enough he may put you inside the newly completed filing drawer and threaten to slide it shut. This is your chance to show quick wits and lep' out before the drawer closes.

7) Lurve: Humans just crave your attention and you should lick their faces or arms at every opportunity - and there will be lots of these if they are kneeling down, scrutinising the destructions book which they have put on the floor, choosing tools or widgets from the bowl in the floor, or leaning down to adjust the screw-in feet of the unit. Lurve is, after all, the reason why they bought you, so it's your duty!

Get carpenting

Sunday 22 April 2007

Bluebells in Challock

What a beautiful day - blue skies, heat, no wind. A day for rolling the roof back on the 2CV and heading for Challock Forest to see how the bluebells are getting on. As you can see from the pics, they are getting towards their peak right now (which is a shame for Dad's "Bluebell Ramble", already advertised for the 13th May. We are definitely going to be looking at a load of spent seed cases!)
So, what do we have today in the pics department? First one is of Haggis having a picturesque roll (no respecter of picturesque carpets of flowers, our H, and me just about to leap on him and beat him up. The second is just Haggis looking very handsome (sigh.... my hero...). Then we have detail pic of the flower itself, and finally Dad just had to get one in of the blue car in the blue scenery. 2CV nutters are a breed apart.
Meanwhile, 2 habits that I probably should have grown out of by now....
1) Nicking stuff. Today, Mum and Dad are trying to put together an IKEA bookcase, and I swiped a dowel out of the end of a plank, just when they'd finished dowelling up and put the plank aside for later use.
2) Watching the flush water swirl away down the u-bend. What's that all about? Fascinates me though
And just when I thought I was getting over the embarrassment of the robin thing, a message from Asbo via Diamond .... "Deefer! The Robin! Respec' !". Thanks Ragworth - not helpful
Hope y'all had a great weekend. Enjoy the photo's
Deefer (Assistant Carpenter)

Saturday 21 April 2007

Rules is Rules

We dogs are creatures of habit - we like rules to follow, we must know our place in the world. We need a structure to our day, rythms and predictability. We get concerned when anyone, particularly the humans in our pack start doing unexpected things.
One of the best rules and structures , we think, are those surrounding when "sweeties" are dished out. If we're in the garden and we get called in, when we (eventually) come in, we are rewarded with a treat. This can sometimes be stretched to "one of us has just come in so we should all get a sweetie" but when it gets pushed to "OK we didn't actually go out because it's raining, but we looked out from the threshold and now we're back in" it usually falls over. Treats also apply if the humans are going out and leaving us.
Another is the sweetie at bedtime. This is so strict a rule it is now a "tradition". At bedtime we are chased to the back door, the door is opened with a cry of "Last Out!" and we all speed off down the garden to do our last patrols, checks and um... ablutions. The we all head up to bed and when all are assembled, sweeties are dished out, 2 each in the following order - Meg, H, Deefer and Mississippi. Felix is not part of this and not interested in dog sweeties.
My photo is of 3 very attentive westies, left to right, myself, Meg and the H-man. Missi is here somewhere but not in shot. We are attantive because it is just before our bedtime "sweetie"
Sweeties are, incidentally, only those of the dried-meat type, like Winalot rewards. The packet says "meat and animal derivatives, at least 55%" but only "at least 4% beef". Not sure if that makes them technically "dried meat" but they work for us. The other acceptable type are square "polo" mint ones which were made by hartz, but seem to be now made by someone else and come in a grey bag on the rare occasions when the local Co-op has them on stock.
All other retailed treats are looked upon with derision, especially if they contain "plant". H feels especially strongly about this, and will outright refuse any "biscuit" type treats, much to the consternation of well- meaning sweet dog walkers and little old ladies, to whom we must appear quite ungrateful. Meg will sometimes save the day by deigning to eat such offerings, and I (natch) will eat anything if I see Meg or H trying it.
May have been forgiven for the robin thing. Another robin was singing away in the beech hedge this morning, which put paid to Dad's little digs when we went out into the garden along the lines of "Hark! Silence! Listen to the sounds of small red breasted song birds NOT singing!"
My other 2 pics, as befits the Garden of England - the large pink single flower is Quince blossom, and the other is apple blossom, specifically James Grieves
Have a good weekend

Friday 20 April 2007

What a difference a day makes

Look at that cute pic to the right of your screen. Does that look like a wicked, bad girl to you? What a difference a day makes. In a plot twist worthy of a Kubrick film, I have gone from poor sympathetic character to the villain of the peice! One day lovingly carried to the vet because I was really really ill, the next yelled at and scowled at! Where's the justice in that?

Dad came home from work and the two of us trotted down the garden to check on the progress of seedlings in the green house. Bounding into the greenhouse, we panicked a small bird, which shot upwards, banged off the glass and fell, stunned into the patch of beans. 1000's of years of breeding took over and one of those tragedies that happen so fast you can only watch in horror exploded into reality.

I shot forward and grabbed small brid, who screamed. Dad roared and lunged forward, scruffing me, lifting me 2 feet off the ground. I yelped (well, no-one's done that to me since I was the size of that same photo!) and dropped the bird. Dad saw straight away it was a robin, but it was too late. He could only hold it gently while it expired in the palm of his hand.

He was not happy with me. They are mad keen on this "gardening for wildlife" stuff and the local robins had been singing and prospecting for nest sites, and Mum and Dad both had hopes. Philosophical now though - it's what terriers do, he says. It was small, squeaking, unidentified and cornered in the greenhouse on the floor. Just a rat with a red breast and brown feathers. I'm not pushing this line of argument at the moment though!

Anyway, the nasty man has got us all back. We were fed a small scrumptious chunk of cat food each tonight, and as our molars crunched down on the juicy morsel and we swallowed, our brains all went "crunched down????" . Megan suspects we may have been wormed. It's an assault without consent! Referee!

Disgraced "Murderess"

Thursday 19 April 2007

Owwooooo... Poorly Girl

Woe woe and thrice woe!

Woe is me. Although I seem OK to Dad as he breakfasts and then heads off to work, by the time Mum gives me the morning walk I am feeling a bit miserable and acting strange, circling and distracted as if decidedly uncomfortable. Back indoors I refuse breakfast. For a dog that will normally fight to win all three breakfasts, this is a major symptom and Mum is very worried. When she picks me up I have a little go at shivering - more of a full body tremor, so the humans decide to whizz me off to the vets

An appointment is booked and Dad drives back from work to taxi me. Of course I am so pleased to see Dad, I charge round the side of the house and bounce around on my back legs, like a fully healthy pup (oops), and lunge in a convincing manner at a proffered "sweetie". Mum growls - "You better not be faking it, you little rat!". Such sympathy. She even suggests that maybe I have a spelling test at school today and am trying to get out of it. (The voice of experience, Mum?)

Meg was found yesterday with a very skanky smelly version of that big knuckle bone you can see in our "carnivorous" post a few days ago. The same one - and you know how hot it's been in Kent! The humans, being mean, usually throw these away after a few hours of gnawing, but we managed to disappear this one, laying it down in the bone cellar to mature a while. The humans do not know where this is..... :-))

I am quiet enough and mopey in the car that you'd know all is not well. Ah well, I am off to the vets, where a very nice locum lady pokes, prods, manipulates limbs, takes temperature (ooh! They don't like it up 'em!), and can't find anything specific wrong. So I get an antibiotic jab and wormer tablets and Dad gets separated from a wad of money (He's not complaining too much!) and we return home. I am, incidentally, 6.8 kgs.

Mum opts to work from home to supervise me (We love that broad-band) and later that day Dad texts to ask how we are. Mum texts back "Lying out in the sun". Dad replies "Hmmmm - Exhausted from all that play-acting, I expect"

The Nerve!

Deefer the Really Sick

Sunday 15 April 2007

Tiny Dog, Big Forest

A scorcher! We go for two walks today, one early, before the heat starts to stifle us, and another later, when there's a bit of shade in the Forest, and we can keep a bit cooler. 26 degrees C, they tell me. The early walk was so that Dad could see the big notice and balloons the allotmenteers had tied to the picnic area fence saying "14th April - Happy 50th Birthday and Dad's name" . 50th Birthday balloons were tied all along the fence. Excellent!
Here are some nice pics from our afternoon walk. the big ol' stags head oak tree is not actually in Challock Forest, but close by the A251 on the way back to Faversham. It looks superbly ancient and last-legs in the slanting evening light, but it seems to go on surviving.
The beech woods one is rather fun. If you look central in the pic, half way up the track up the bank you might just be able to see me, looking very tiny against the huge beeches. The curious horn thing at the top of the slope is one of the sculptures done by Stour Valley Arts ( ). It is actually fixed to the top of a 30 foot deep concrete-lined hole, which is drip fed from a dew-pond type pool. The dripping water falls past an assortment of jangly wind-chime type bits, as I understand it, and the subterranean noises are amplified by the horn thing. It is called, I think, "Score for a hole in the ground" and the artist was the banjo player from Shane MacGowan's band The Pogues (Fantastic band, says Dad)

Finally a pretty bunch of primroses, just to make you feel all spring like and Kentish. The bluebells are starting to open, but I'll save pics of them till we get a goodly typical carpet of them, when they are at their most impressive. 15th April is, actually a bit early, and we are mildly concerned that the formal Bluebell Walk Dad leads in the forest will only be left with the tail end of them. Heigh Ho. There's no accounting for nature. Last year we almost had to postpone it because they were so late.
Hope you had a good weekend

Saturday 14 April 2007


Happy Birthday today , Dad. 50! Officially an old git! Nice cards from lots of people, but mean age-ist ones from his brothers!
He reckons on your 50th birthday you should do lots of things you want to do and nobody should make you do anything you don't want to do. He decides it's warm (hot) enough for us all to need a good ol' buzz over with the clippers, so out comes the wooden board, the patented non-skid sheet of left-over pond liner, and the tupperware box full of clippers, blade oil and bits and pieces.
We are rounded up one by one (I am last) and given the works. In Meg and the H's case, they also get a trim up around the feet, as their pads are so wide with fluff they look like snow shoes. Dad is, by his own admission, no expert, but he's getting neater with the practise and Meg and H say it's nowhere near as embarrassing to go out in public with recent efforts than it was when they were younger.
Anyway, I think I look quite neat and tidy - very smooth around my back, flanks, rump and neck - No 5 with the grain over most of it, against the grain up my neck, No 3 around my bum and a scissor cut round the head and ears and along the tail. I was very brave and did not object to it, except once when Dad disappeared round the back out of sight. I remember when he combed me once as a pup and caught a knot of tangled hair and made me yip. I thought it was going to happen again, so I yipped pre-emptively, but I was told to shoosh, and it went OK after that.
Cooler now in the sun
Look after yourselves. Humans are off to see chum Abdulk for a restaurant meal tonight, so we'll be left to fend, I guess

Friday 13 April 2007

Nearly an old git

It's official. Dad's nearly an old git. At midnight he turns 50, poor soul.

Meanwhile, they are trying a bit of a get tough policy on small dogs who persist in barking in the back garden, potentially winding up the neighbours and giving the Westie breed a bad name. At the minute, if ever I try it I am rounded up and stuffed indoors, while Mum and Dad sit sunning themselves on the terrace and Meg and the H lie on the block paving looking very smug and mouthing "Nah-Nah-Na-nahh Nahhhh" at me through the glass. Might be a fight I choose not to continue.

Happy Birthday Dad
(schmooze schmooze)


Tuesday 10 April 2007

Getting carnivorous

Today's treat, par excellence. A chunk of dead beast sawn up by the local butcher man (Thank you guys!) and each of us got a chunk. Beef I think.
Note the different attack styles. Big red bone is a knee end which Lady M keeps ripping bits off from by picking the weight of the bone up by the thin membraney bits and waving it around. Haggis is very neat with his "down" position, both front paws on either side of his elbow joint bit, which he then grinds away neatly at the top of as if it was a lollipop. Me, I go in for cheek-on-the-ground style, sometimes held down by a paw, but often (much to the amusement of Dad) with chin, shoulders and sternum on the ground, bum high in the air.
Kepp the supply of bones coming Dad and we'll be happy to entertain you!

Monday 9 April 2007


Bank Holiday Monday, and Dad only has to work till 10 am. Then we are FREE to go an enormous walk. Mum drops us of at the Old Sportsman pub in Seasalter, and we walk back home along the sea wall. 2 and a half hours nice and flat to suit poor aul' Meggie's tired old legs. She ambles along with a rolling gait, like a slow rolling run which she's favoured, I gather, since she went through the Cushings episode and her hips got a bit weak. She's Ok now on the daily Vetoryl, but never got back into that loping dog-trot that the rest of us use.

Dad took the binoculars to see what sea birds we could see, and watched 4 marsh harriers wheeling and soaring over the fields in the thermals, 2 pairs apparently squabbling over territory. Nice

Back at the ranch our old friend Cyril the Squirrel is back. He (or possibly she) sneaks up the fence line and launches himself into the Albertine rose growing all over the back of our house. We go mad at the scritching and scratching noises but to no avail. He's 10 feet off the deck and well surrounded by Albertine's wicked thorns. Megan can wheedle and plead all she likes but he will not come down for a game of chase.

He tends to stay there, once cornered till it's nearly dark, and then scurry off back to the old railway bank and the thick tangled sycamore woods. he's almost stopped coming once the building work started out the back of us, presumably put off by the diggers and cleared ground, but now he's back. The humans sometimes see him first, and whisper to each other "The "squ**" (pronounced "skwuh") is here", but we suss it fairly quickly anyway

We have foxes too, out the back, screaming their yowling-yappy bark at 2 in the morning and sending us racing downstairs to be let out to repel boarders.

Hope you had a good Easter


Sunday 8 April 2007

I stand corrected

I stand corrected. Thank you Cinquecento for your comment. T'was apparently Lord Peter Wimsey who went to Oxford, not PG Wodehouse. Still not a good enough reason, in Dad's mind, to support the Dark Blues, but Hey

Thought you might like this shot of Megan (left) and the H-Man in the sea at Camber Sands. Actually nearer Rye Harbour - we go up that end because there are less tourists. I love the way Haggis's head-fur is splayed out as he shakes his head, don't you. This was last year, so I'm not even born yet

We went for our walk nice and early this morning, rambling round the ex-blackcurrant fields south of the A2, behind Faversham's football ground and cricket ground. Misty when we started, it was warm sunny by the time we got back, and it's gone on getting hotter. The humans are crashed out in easy chairs on the new terrace, alternating between putting up the parasol, and then deciding it's not quite hot enough and lowering it again. Perhaps they're worried the chocky eggs will melt.

That's another thing. Why no choc eggs for us dogs?

Happy Easter


Saturday 7 April 2007

That Australia.. gotta be here somewhere

Fit and active types, that's what we are! Up early in the morning sunshine for a nice long walk, then with Mum and Dad around most of the day we're in and out of the garden. We're going to sleep well tonight. Dad was up the allotment first, planting peas and runners, sowing carrots, parsnips, salsify and chard, onions and leeks; then the pair of them were down here in the garden doing sweet peas etc. The pic is of me helping to re-empty a hole dug by Dad wheich he had carelessly refilled with soil. I am 6 inches deep at this stage and busted by camera. Looking for that Australia
We all adjourn indoors for the Boat Race which "we" won (so I'm told, by Dad, although there seems to be some debate on this from Mum, who favours the dark blues. She is of a literary bent and it seems PG Wodehouse went to Oxford, or so I understand it.).
My other pic is of Felix looking very handsome and "classic" in cat outline.
By the way, I am now trusted with the run of the house when humans are away, due to my (let's not tempt fate here) current low incidence of puddles in the hall and recent absence of Richard the Thirds indoors. They have even removed the bin-of-bricks that denied me access up the narrow passage to the cat flap to outdoors. This is good because it also means that the elderly Mississippi can come and go more freely, she being a dame in her Autumn Years and not happy to be leppin' over tall obstacles.
Have a Great Easter

Friday 6 April 2007

One for Sorrow

Good Friday, and we're all sitting around on the terrace. The humans are sipping a merlot and chatting. Uncle Jim from next door has dropped in for a glass of wine. They are commenting (How dare they!) on the fact that I am a bark-y hanimal compared to the quiet, chilled out Meg and H-Man, and I am just about to be quiet to show them it can be done, when a magpie flops in. It seems to be fully grown and fit enough but either can't or won't fly, so it swoops and hops from bush to bush down the fence line, "cha-cha-cha" ing to a band playing.

Well - that's just too much temptation for a Deefer dog, and I take off in hot pursuit, prancing around on my hind legs at the trunk of every tree and bush (and fence post) where the magpie is doing his stuff. Eventually he fly-hops back across the garden and disappears out through the beech hedge. The humans, superstitious lot, are all looking around for a second magpie to get from "sorrow" to joy, but maybe the merlot will see to that OK


Thursday 5 April 2007

Cleanest Dog in the Woods

Easter! Well, the start of it anyway. Dad's had a stressed out day in work so (gotta love this) he needs a looooong walk in the Forest to chill out. It's warm, dry (ish) and the bluebell foliage is coming on a treat. Mid May is the best time for bluebells there, so they're still just leaves at the moment. We like to do about 2 miles, but we also like to beat off the proper tracks and go through the trackless bits, always hoping we might come across some deer.

There are a few water-filled vehicle ruts and both Meg and the H love to wade - no problem when they're in the water itself but coming and going across the muddy margins, Dad despairs of the black tidelines and black majorette boots they develop. For some reason, although I am arguable the most un-ruly of the three, I trot nimbly around the puddles and come back immaculate, white, dry and fluffy-of-foot.

I have, though, a cunning plan. lately I am a terror for not going near dad as we get back to the carpark, the plan being to persuade him that sweeties would be a good thing to take on the walks as a bribe to get me to come to the car...... Might be working.

Monday 2 April 2007

As cunning as the fox?

Did you ever see a westie looking more like a fox? Breed standard? Straight back, tail high set and carried vertically? Hmmm. Mind you, I am looking particularly grubby in this one, due to the fact that I was annoying Haggis, and he decided to charge me and bowl me over in the mudiest bit, just by the pond where Meggie is taking her constitutional. The black feet are my fault, I must admit
When Meggie goes wading she's so ladylike, you can almost imagine her descending from one of those Regency "Bathing Machine" sheds on wheels, in her stripy cozzie and long bloomers
Gotta love her, the ol' girl