Friday 31 August 2007

Tramp of the Worst Order

"Poor Haggis", says Mum, "Sexually harrassed before 9 o'clock!". We were out (Mum tells Dad) for our morning walk on the Rec and Haggis, mid walk climbed onto Megan for his daily, morning, half way round the Rec, half hearted "loving" (a few pathetic pelvic thrusts and a slide sideways off; Meggie either stands there and wonders why the earth is not moving like it did when they were young (Ahhhhh I reeeememmmberrrr eet welll...), or she gets the 'ump and gruffs at Haggis to speed his dismount. Either way it is not the stuff of steamy hot passion....

Anyway (goes on Mum), I happened to be right there and immediately snuck my snout under H's "bits" and gave him a slurpy lick. H looked horrified and stunned, and backed off, but suddenly I was reversing towards him, tail sideways, and sticking my "Lady garden" in his face. The poor boy was totally non-plussed and ran off to hide behind Mum's legs. I am not on Season (blimey - it is only 3 months since the last one!) so I'm not sure why this happened, but Mum is now calling me a tart and a floozy. When someone explains these terms I will let you know!

Nice walk tonight, though, with Dad, all round the boat yard, up through town (preparations for the weekend's Hop Festival are a-foot), and back across the Rec where we met a lovely Golden long-haired retriever. Dad says this was his dog of choice before he ever had dogs. He always dreamed of owning a Goldie and still thinks they're gorgeous, if only we had a utility room to bring the muddy wet version home to. Our back door opens into the dining room - not good for a dog to shake him/her self dry in just back from a walk.

So, when Mum and Dad were first living here and joined a pub quiz team (Shepherd Neame league!), and got to know a real old Scotsman, salty sea-dog merchant navyman, Joe Cosgrove, they fell in love with his aged Westie "Gertie" (he said it Gerrrrrrtie with a rich rolling Scottish "R") and the rest is history. Sadly, old Joe is no longer with us (and we have lost contact with Gertie, if she is, indeed, still alive), but Mum and Dad often think of him, especially when they meet Goldies and think about the change of direction

Have a great weekend

Thursday 30 August 2007

Sparrowhawks and Red Mason Bees

Mum and Dad are pleased to see that the female Sparrowhawk who used to come through regularly before all the building work started out the back, is now coming through almost daily again after a break, presumably while she was put off by all the unaccustomed activity. Regularly when we are sitting out on the terrace the outcry from annoyed and upset sparrows and starlings makes our heads turn in time to see her blast through or shoot off either empty "handed" or with a small bird in her talons.

It's a shame, I guess, that these birds have to die (Rich coming from a Robin-killer, says Dad!) but it's all part of the food chain and the ecological diversity. Our garden must be, though, one of the most song-bird rich in the area. Looking up and down the neighbours from upstairs here it is the fullest of cover and high trees and bushes, the best supplied with bird feeders and the most swarming with spugs and starlings.

Not boasting here - it's not everyone's cup of tea. More people like lawns and borders, and non-native (often double-flowered or exotic, so sterile) plants, and think that "wildlife gardens" are untidy or lacking in firey colours. We go the berries, cover, shelter, local and native species route.

So too, Dad is on line today re-stocking the Red mason bee nest box with cardboard tubes ( For five years this plastic tube full of smaller card tubes was totally ingnored by all but spiders, but in 2006 we suddenly had mason bees and leaf cutter bees everywhere, and the whole nest was taken with a procession of bees to-ing and fro-ing. Dad put the box in the shed over winter, then out again in spring, and all the tubes then hatched out and are empty. Not sure if spent tubes are re-used, Dad is investing in another box for 2007.

Meanwhile, tonight is the last night for the green Picasso. Off it goes to the big Picasso auction in the sky, and neighbour Jim can at last have his driveway back. Good man, Jim, and thanks for the use of. And over the road, we have spotted a new Westie on the block. We'd all thought over here, it was a pup, but no-one had yet had a close encounter. Jim has now met the guy and found out that, in fact, it's just a very petite 18 month old. Can't wait to meet him/her. Bound to, soon!

Have a good evening

Tuesday 28 August 2007

No Decorum in the Forum...

Diamond is just back from her long weekend in Italy, staying in Napoli (not impressed - too grubby, dirty, full of litter) but mainly there to check out Pompeii (very impressed - fantastic to look round and visit the sites, plus had she known there was actually a small town there (not just an archaeological attraction) she'd have given up on Naples and stayed in the town. )
The photo is, of course the local wine and fizz connoisseur sniffing round Mum's birthday tipple. She is, we think, impressed.

Monday 27 August 2007

Happy Birthday, Mum

Happy Birthday, Mum!!! Even as I type she's out on the hot sunny terrace chillin' with a glass of Moet with a few fresh raspberries floating in the top. A purist would probably say "ruination of good Moet" and a pedant would say "Should be strawberries" but when it's your birthday, you get to choose.

News comes that bro' Archie and Real-Dad (Hector) are in the dwang again. On an early walk this morning (fortunately) they took agin' a small Yorkie in the park when they were all off the leads. They said a pleasant "Hello" apparently, but then the growling started, and the Yorkie fled. H and A took off in pursuit, and the Yorkie dashed under the park gate into the road, with H+A in full cry behind, and First-Dad charging along behind yelling!

Eventually the running stopped, and 1st-D caught up, grabbing westies under arms and on leads and Yorkie under the other arm ,returning to the Park and a very upset Yorkie-owner (with good reason!) Who should be sitting at the park gate, tail wagging and an expression that said "Please note, I was not involved in that show of unseemly behavior" but Real-Mum, Mollie, now known as "Miss Goody Two-Shoes".

Luckily (says 1st Dad) it was early becuause that road is quite a busy one.

This week the green Picasso goes back at the end of it's lease, so Dad has been today to try out one of those American-style car washes that are springing up, these days almost entirely staffed by non-English-speaking Eastern Europeans. Dad came back singing their praises - what a fantastic job. the car went in a real state - 4 years of dog transporting with very little cleaning (Dad's not a one for the Sunday morning homage to the God of Chammy Leather and Autoglym)

8 young lads descended on it in quick succession, soaked it, jetwashed it, soaped it and jetwashed it again, cleaned the wheels, hoovered it, polished windows inside and out, cleaned the dash, took out the rubber mats to jetwash them, swabbed them dry and even splashed some shiny stuff on the tyres. The list price for all that, in about half an hour was only £12 (though admittedly, Dad thought that deserved a reasonable tip). It's like a new car all over again. Shame to hand it in!

If any of my readers live in Canterbury - it's the one on the Ashford road out of town - highly reccommended.

Best go check on Mum before she dozes off!


Sunday 26 August 2007

Possession is Nine Tenths....

A dog needs a good bone to chew on every now and then, and one's nice clean bed is as good a place as any. If that stupid cat comes too near, he's gonna hear me growl at him (even though Dad says he'd be lucky to be able to lift the thing, never mind steal it.)

Actually this one is (was) Haggis's but he'd had all the good bits off it and couldn't be bothered with it any more and walked away. I had my own bit but... heh... you know the grass is always greener. And now it's in my Haggis-proof shelter. That's Meg out on the terrace with hers - she NEVER gets bored with them. A pup could grow old waiting for her to leave it alone.

They are, by the way, chunks of cow leg - you're looking at the shiny cartilege surfaces of the knee joints.

Another gorgeous hot day. We got our walk nice and early, before the sun got up. We met old John and his elderly collie-cross Maxie. "We" have known John since Dad has had dogs - it was John, in fact who was the first human outside family to make a fuss of Megs as a pup, on their first Rec walk at the age of 12 weeks or whatever. John is one of those blokes who always has a dog-treat in his pocket, so he became a firm favourite with Meggie

The Mum and Dad were off to the forest to help lead a guided Reptile Ramble, properly led by kent reptile expert Dr Lee Brady of Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group ( . We were left behind. Dad has this theory (can't think why) that inquisitive pups and warmed-up adders are probably not a good mixture. Dad says they saw adders (incuding some nice bright big males - bright because they had recently sloughed skin), lizards and slow worms

They came back via the Goods Shed Farmer's Market in Canterbury
for supplies of meat (and bones for us). Since then, Dad has been mowing at the allotment and picking raspberries, and we are all now chillin' on the terrace.

It's a good weekend

Saturday 25 August 2007

Summer's Here!

Out of nowhere, Summer's here at last. I am told that things usually happen the other way round - weeks of sunshine while the humans are stuck in work, end in a downpour as soon as the words "Bank Holiday" appear in the calendar. Not this time. It is stupifyingly hot out on the terrace, and at some stage we all retreat into the cooler parts of the house to recover.

But it IS gorgeous weather, so our dog walk takes us on a nice circuit of fast-drying places that have been impassable quagmire for so long, and "we" get out in the garden to start attacking that pruning. Mum also picks the last of the greengages as the weekend papers have a nice recipe in them for plum crumble, and then picks the last of the damsons, with a more alchoholic intent. She is down there even now, as I type this converting them, plus a bottle of "Absolut" and some sugar, into damson vodka. Similar to sloe-gin, but a lot easier to make if you don't have sloes or gin.

The humans were off to the "Chefs" (see last Sunday for details) place for a Birthday lunch. Yep, Mum is 21 again, so the pair were off to sample the crab and avocado salad, baby squids, beef Wellington, steak, tarte tatin with calvados, and/or citrus tart. They came back smelling beautifully of all these ingredients, and all we got for supper was Chum. Where's the justice in that?

Enjoy the heat

Friday 24 August 2007

Another 21st

I can happily report that the Mum and the Dad are a small amount "tired and emotional" tonight. They have, at last, reached the final episode of the boxed set of "I Claudius" (aka "Clavdivs") which they bought when "Rome" ran out earlier in the year. Claudius is dead and the Sybil has sent him on his way to find the ferryman.

In this state, the humans have done that thing they do every now and then, which is to arm up with a glass of wine and "tour the estate". OK the "estate" is only 100' by 25' but they stroll up and down looking at what's growing well, what's destined for the chop, and what they might plant in the future. On this occasion, the following might want to save up their coins to pay the ferryman.....

Flowering Cherry-tree (triploid) - very stressed and mis-shapen after the drought of April 2007;

Myrtle bush - nice healthy bush but too close to the house, so that the top garden "finishes" out of line on that side, compared to the rest of the width;

self seeded greengage tree too close to the zebra grass;

Choysia - another nice healthy bush originally planted over the grave of dead stray cat but now "doesn't really go" next to the beech hedge

Massive acanthus - looks OK when small and vigorous in Spring but by now is a mess of dying leaves and lurching fruit stems. besides - where it is could be a nice Spring bed

Meanwhile, wish Mum a happy (another happy) 21st on Bank Holiday Monday. That's what she tells me she is in age, anyway, and being a small innocent pup, only 11 months old, who am I to query this?????

Have a great weekend

Thursday 23 August 2007

Don't be Mean with the Beanz, Mum..

Don't want to seem ungrateful, but why do so many of our walks now come home via the allotment, where Dad gathers ANOTHER carrier bag full of French beans for the freezer. He gives wads away to neighbours and still the freezer is bursting with them - yellow ones, purple ones and green - we got all colours.

The walk is good but the standing around in the allotment is boring. There's not much to do except chase Haggis around the plots, rootle in the compost heaps for rats and mice, "challenge" (= tentatively bark at but not so much they's actually come back at you!) passing dogs on the foot path, steal the strawberries and harrass Dad for fusses in between the attempts to pick beans.

My but it's Autumnal - 8/8 cloud, blustery wind, driving rain, gloom. Season of mists? It'd have to stop blowing a gale before there was any chance of mists. Felix has developed an autumn cold and sniffs and sneezes his way through the day. There is talk of the vets for him, but because he's only an inherited "foster" cat, he's the only one of us that's not jabbed up annually known to the vet since birth.

All the best

Wednesday 22 August 2007

Nobody here but us chickens

There is talk round her of "keeping chickens again". Mum and Dad used to keep chickens in the fenced off bit of the garden still called "The Chicken Run". I am told they were great to keep and used to yield a good supply of free range eggs but there were, then, 3 problems.
  • Rats: - it's very difficult to completely avoid waste food because it's always tempting to put down too much and not clear it up again, and chooks are messy eaters, so spilt grain gets under the ark and in come the rats. Meggie, in fact got really good at ratting, and killed 30-40 in the time we had chickens, but realistically, she couldn't chase a rat in open pursuit, she got them when they cornered themselves in the greenhouse
  • Mites and lice - once established in a wooden type ark these were a menace to control - we were sure they are there in our local wild bird population, so you could strip down the ark and coop as many times as you like - you never completely eradicated them, especially Norhthern Red Mite which are worse than fleas for making your skin crawl - they are slow moving and you only have to see one to start imagining itches all over
  • Garden destruction - OK -we got, by mistake, some full sized chooks rather than bantams (more of that in a minute), but 4 of them seemed able to reduce the run to a brown, plantless waste ground, so we let them out into more and more bits of garden, till eventually they were wrecking the whole site. They could wipe out a seedling bed in seconds, seeming to clear acres with a few side swipes of their big feet during "dust-bathing" or scratching for grubs. The garden was looking like it might end up supporting only chicken-proof plants like daffs, alliums and rose of Sharon

Hmmm... the full sized chooks. Yes, "our" breeder was a bit vague re what made a bantam and what wasn't - and managed even to mix up some tiny chicks of bantam Rhode Island Reds with full-size Rhodies. We got one of each. We had (I'm told) a black and white Leghorn which was allegedly a bantie, but actually quite big. And we had a big ol' Marran too. Nice size eggs, but really these were full sized chooks and did full sized damage to the garden. Dad's favourite was actually a bantam - a Partridge Pekin with big feathery feet. Whenever she was thinking of going broody, she'd fly up to land on Dad's arm, like a falconry bird, and he could walk around with her. She was named "Madame Poule" as she was always busy - named after a waitress in a restaurant near the "Les Puces" flea market in Paris

Soooo... the talk of chooks centres around DEFINITELY having only bantams sized ones and confining them to the chicken run. Plus (we think) getting one of those new "Eggloo" plastic houses which might be a lot easier to keeop clean of mites and parasites.

Westies, Meg and the H tell me, are able to live perfectly happily alongside chooks, once the dogs are used to the birds and vice versa, and the humans have plenty of photo's of M+H mingling happily in the garden with the chooks, each wandering happily in and out of each others' territory. Haggis tells me he was once pecked summarily on the nose by the bantam Rhodie and it quite put him off chasing them. Just in case we got oo attached, Mum had them all named as chook recipes - "Maryland", "Korma", "Tikka Massala" etc

We'll see


Monday 20 August 2007

2CV Forklift

This beastie flies around in the big building site behind our house, chucking pallets around, and it's body shell is so obviously 2CV shaped (well, according to Dad anyway) that it has become known in our family as the "2CV forklift" . Even more so when being driven with the side door swung back to complete the curve of the roof. Barking!

We needn't have worried yesterday about the "coals to Newcastle" thing. A and B Chef were charm personified, loved the food Mum and Dad put in front of them, had seconds (we dogs would say "sadly" here, because it was roast beef and there was little left for us!), got stuck into the wine and were great company. "A" Chef was OK with dogs, too, which was an added bonus, although "B" was not so keen. Still, you can't have everything.

Meggie is almost completely cured, the abcess gone and her foot returned to normal colour. Her walking returned to normal speed and comfort, too. Like good infection-control citizens, though, Dad is making her finish the course of anti-biotics, which still has 3 days to run.

All the best

Sunday 19 August 2007

Coals to Newcastle

Sunday - meant to be a day of rest, but not in this house today. Mum and Dad are stressed - we have some friends round this afternoon for a meal, but these are no ordinary food guests. He ("A") owns and is main chef in a restaurant close to here, so it's a bit like bringing coals to Newcastle. They're sure he won't be critical, but it's still a bit awe inspiring for "us" hoping our food will be up to scratch - this is the first time they've been round for food. Let's call them "A and B Chefs". No pressure then!

Mum's also insisting on a cleaning blitz, so it's all human hands on deck, and all dogs better shut up and keep out of the way. Suits me - still tired from yesterday's adventures and actually feeling a bit under the weather. Actually "we" don't even really know how these people are with dogs. We'll have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, it's now tanking down. We snuck a walk in earlier, before the rain, but Dad was sent up to harvest some good veg for the guests and got caught in the most horredous rain shower. For a while he was taking shelter in a neighbouring plot holder's shed, but in the end the needs of guest cookery overcame the need to stay dry, and there he was, gathering beans with the rain sluicing down, digging young leeks and potatoes, trying to pick fruit without too much accompanying rainwater. He came back looking like a drowned rat, and was sent straight to the shower by "she who must be obeyed".

They are now enjoying a brief (all-be-it slightly tense) respite before the Chefs arrive

Good luck Mum (and Dad)

Saturday 18 August 2007

Attempted Murder

Attempted Murder! That's what Mum is accusing me of re the incident of the male doggy who fell in the pond in the middle of the night. What a suggestion!

Meanwhile, we all met Ellie yesterday on our way back from a walk in the park, and very beautiful she looks too. Well recovered, after 2 weeks, from her spay.

Today, our first chance to ride in Dad's new car. We are all off to visit the Pud-Lady in Hastings, and we are stopping off at the Firehills in Fairlight en route. See also . This is a great place for dogs - and we meet lots of friendy ones who all want to race about with us. Especially little Charlie, the Jack Russell pictured here, with whom I was especially taken. There is a suggestion that I am a tart. How rude!

Now, back home, Mum and Dad have picked all the greengages and jam is being made. Very "Good Life"

Have a great weekend


Friday 17 August 2007

Moonlight Swim

Those ol' foxes are still creating noise on a nightly basis and about half one or so each night we have to wake Dad and get him to let us out to deal with them. You never KNOW with foxes. So here goes Dad, all bleary eyed chasing us down the stairs and crying "Havoc". We three race off down the garden barging each other to stay in front, and as we dissappear down the steps, Dad can hear the spray of gravel as we pass the big pond, then usually a bark as we squeeze through the wooden arch shoulder to shoulder, turn right next to the chicken run and then left down to the greenhouses.

As we bark Dad often imagines one of us being barged off course and into the pond, but we always re-appear happily a few seconds later, job done

Except last night.....

Haggis didn't come back. No sweat, for a while - one of us is commonly distracted by the needs of a dog, or by things that go bump in the night. But seconds dragged onto minutes, and then 5 minutes. Haggis is usually first back, so Dad's getting a bit concerned at this point. So he grabs a coat and torch and comes looking, only to find Haggis standing in the end of the pond, back end in the depths, only his shoulders out of the water, covered in duckweed and not quite able to spring up out. (There are plenty of excape routes out of the pond, but not that one!)

Dad helps the H out and races for a doggy towel. No harm done - H is dried off very thoroughly before he's allowed anywhere near the bed again.

And Dad..... don't do that back garden thing again in your wax-jacket waistcoat, jocks and wellies - it's not a good look for you - all white legs and knobbly knees. Soooo embarrassing! What if the neighbours had been watching. I'd never be able to show my face in the town again!

Get fresh at the Weekend!


Thursday 16 August 2007

Brave Girl

Big sighs of relief round here tonight. Megster has been relieved of her grass dart and now stands a chance of proper recovery. Dad had been worried - 9 days of salt water foot-baths and antibiotics, and she still had an obvious abcess. So tonight they were all off back to the vets. poor Meggie - she used to love the vet's, and ran happily to the door, nosing the door, keen to get inside and see her beloved John, our vet since Megs was a pup. Not any more!

Dad lifted Meg onto the table and a vet-nurse (not Dad's Finnish dog-wrangler this time!) grabbed her back end, while the vet muzzled her, and Dad held her chin up and leg extended. John poked, prodded, teased and squeezed, while brave Meggie shivvered - obviously upset, but not about to crack and show these humans any defeat - no growling, no yipping or crying and no trying to bite! Suddenly the abcess gave and the dart plipped out onto the examination table.

Everybody relaxed - even Megan immediately seemed to know it was all over, but she wasn't about to wag her tail till the muzzle was off, and she was back on the floor and walked back round to the friendly receptionist who gave her 4 (count them!) treats.

So now we hope Meg will be able to get quickly and cleanly better. As for me - extremely worried when Dad loaded up Meg and left me and the H behind in the house, and delighted when a few minutes later Mum came home, but I suppose I better tear up this formal complaint written in haste. We know they do all these horrible things to us for our own good really. Just doesn't always seem like that!

Get well soon, Meggie!


Wednesday 15 August 2007

Bouncing Pointers

Just up the road from here live 2 energetic, young (not sure of the age, but adolescent rather than old, anyway!) bouncy pointers in that lovely chocolate brown with the white flecking across the back. We often see the owner on the way back from our walks, who lets them out into his front yard (gate closed) and then tries to get leads onto them while they bounce around in excitement. Much adverse comment is forthcoming from the owner

Tonight this coincided with us being almost at that point on the pavement. His fence is 3 foot tall, with the fence and the gate having a lattice top, square holes starting at about "westie-reared-up-to-full-height" height. Well the bouncing and panting got me and Haggis all curious, so as one, using Dad's un-noticed slack in the leads, we stopped trotting obediently to heel (ha!) to bounce up on our hind legs, intending to get a look/sniff through the holes in the gate, to say hello.

We were a bit surprised then when we found the gate was actually unlatched, and our lunge had the same effect as the storm troopers kicking the door open. Bang! The gate swung back and suddenly there was a 3 foot wide nothing between us and the pointers.... You rang? they said. Luckily the man had just got them onto leads and he laughed, as surprised as we were! Dad apologised and we all greeted each other. Nice introduction!

More careful with the weight of the front feet next time, maybe

Tuesday 14 August 2007


The talk in our street has been all about dust. The big building site behind us, with its comings and goings of lorries and tracked vehicles, and the breeze, has left all the cars permanently pale brown, and we all squint as we walk to stop the dust getting in our eyes.

Suddenly this problem is gone. A day of heavy rain has wrinsed all the cars and laid all the dust. Unfortunately, heavy stuff tonight put paid to our walking plans, so we've all been confined to quarters. Dad, who did manage to get out to 2CV club tells of deep standing water in the lanes around Howletts (Zoo Park) threatening to strand the cars. The Perseids are no doubt doing their stuff, but with 8/8 cloud, they're on their own.

Have a good 'un


Monday 13 August 2007

Stir Crazy

Lame she may be (and Dad is still mildly worried about this abcess not deflating under the antibiotics; a return visit to the vet and the Finnish wrangler may be called for), but Megan is going stir-crazy with not being allowed out for walks. Each day she sees Haggis and myself collared up, and then she gets distracted by Mum with some pretext, and when she looks round, we, and Dad have vanished.

Poor Meggie - she looks sooooo longingly at Dad when he grabs up the leads for we two. So tonight Dad relented, and let Meggie come along. We just went a short gently one to the Rec, where Dad knew Meg could amble about to the limits of her discomfort, where I could chase Haggis and plastic bottles about and work off some serious energy. Orange juice flavour today. there were no "Frijj" chocolate ones, but you can't have everything.

Well, we made it right up to the top of the Rec, and even had spare energy to chat to a white Staffie (who was also meant to be taking it carefully on a poorly knee) and, later, a young Alsatian from whom I stole a pretty blue ball. Alsatian didn't mind, but Dad made me give it back.

Come on Megster - get well soon


Sunday 12 August 2007

Little Swimmer

I like to be a constant source of surprise to these humans - you know; keep them on their toes. Mum and Dad have "had westies" for 11 years (ie Megan's and then Haggis's lifetime) but still find new things that amaze. So today, in one of the ponds in Challock Forest, I decided to wade in and take a swim. I swam out across the pond for about 10 feet, then curved gracefully to my left round a floating log, and swam back. Like a swan - all serene and smiling above water, legs going like demented pistons below the surface.

That adds to the list of things I do, that the others do not - including voluntarily leaping up into the car when the doors are opened, and jumping up via the terrace chairs onto the terrace table.

Meanwhile, here is pic of Dad's wheelbarrow, well loaded with this year's allotment crop of onions plus you can probably make out courgettes, chard, beetroot, garlic and a packed-lunch box full of blackberries, strawberries and raspberries. It's a good year up at the allotment and Dad is very pleased with himself.

Incidentally, for that steam railway yesterday, try

Have a great evening


Saturday 11 August 2007

Steam Trains and Morgans

The Citroen Car Club boys are off on another adventure today, in convoy from Folkestone across to Tenterden for a bit of lunch and a look at the old steam trains, and then on to Rolvenden for a look round a collection of old Morgan sports cars. It's hot and there'll be nowhere to park at Rolvenden, and we won't be allowed in the museum, so we leave Meggie behind to chill out on the terrace. She seems perfectly happy with that and keeps Mum company while she studies.

We have a nice run round. The roof is rolled back on the 2CV and we bowl along behind Janey (greyhound)'s Mum and Dad in their 2CV, in a convoy of 9 cars. At Tenterden we find some nice grass and park up, and we have a bit of wander in the fields while people variously lunch, watch or ride in steam trains etc.

The pics are of me driving the 2CV (well, maybe not), and keeping watch over an old Citroen "H" van - looks like a corrugated iron shed on wheels. Reminds everyone of Inpector Clouseau films

Excellent day!


Friday 10 August 2007

Digger Land

It's like Digger Land out the back of ours at the moment. A great big caterpillar tracked digger is screeching and rattling up and down just the other side of the beech hedge flattening a mini-mountain of crushed rubble to make a temporary carpark for the builders' cars, while they lay some road through the bit they're using at the moment. We are now so used to this racket and the dust (all the cars in our road are permanently pale brown!) that we don't even bother to race down the garden to shout at them any more. They should use some grease on those tracks though.

Meanwhile, excitement at Real-Dad's last night. Real dad (Hector) and bro Archie have been up to their old tricks hedgehog wrangling again. First-Dad reports that there was a real cacophony going on in the dark, and H+A charging around in the back garden with a hedgehog between them. They were barking and yelling, covered in mud and spattered with blood. First-Mum was having a fit trying to separate dogs and hedgehog with a broom

She eventually got the dogs inside (and the hedgehog outside), got everybody calmed down, and washed the dogs clean of blood and mud. Neither dog seemed to be at all injured, so she guesses that it was, in fact the hedgehog which had been wounded. But search the garden as they might they can find no sign of injured hogs, so they are hoping the injuries were more bloody than serious, and that hog skulked off to lick his wounds and fight another day.

What is it with those 2 and hogs? I've never met one, but Haggis tells me "we" just shout at them from 2 feet away. They are spiny, as every school boy knows, and not anything you'd want near your soft lips and tongue.

And, back at the ranch, although Meg is still licking her poorly foot, it's nearly back to normal flesh pink and she's putting a bit of weight onto it. Dad bathes it, and she promptly licks all the salty water off, but she is on the mend.

Have a great weekend

Thursday 9 August 2007

Megan on the Mend

We hope we're not imagining it, but Meggie appears to be on the mend. Her toe looks a lot less "angry" and the regular warm salty foot baths seem to be keeping the wound open, so that her vigorous licking is easing things. All the best Megs, get well soon.

Meanwhile, we hear that my Sis, Ellie is now "done". She was off to the vets about 2 weeks ago and is now fully recovered. We see her often through the net curtains when we all walk by, but generally when her humans are out - so she bounces about on the window sill and woofs silently through the double glazing, but we can't do anything about it. We all look in unable to understand why nobody lets her out to say hello. Soon maybe, we'll meet again on the Rec for a proper chat and a romp, catch up on the gossip. Dad met her Mum yesterday and she asked after Meggie. "The Scottish Patient"?

Meanwhile, everyone has gone back to work, so we've had the Angel Betty and Jim to talk to and look after us.


Wednesday 8 August 2007

Sea Dog Alfie

This is Alfie - seasoned sailor sea-dog on board Sailing barge Greta. He gets on really well with the three of us when we meet on the quayside, and said a nice "Hello" to Mum and Dad when they came on board yesterday. The kennel is a new feature on deck, and has now been adopted by Alfie after a long time of ignoring it. Steve-the-Skipper says that the No Smoking sign is because it is Alfie's "place of work", as per the new regs

Poor Meggie, meanwhile, has gone lame, with a pink inflamed middle toe on her front left foot - probably a grass-dart type injury. She is let off the walk today and booked in at the vets. With the "old girl" out of the picture, Haggis and I get treated to a good fast long walk in the forest - lovely and quiet - we didn't see another soul

Poor Meggie gets taken to the vets, where she is given a thorough check up ("For an 11 year old dog with Cushings", he says "She is brilliant"). But there is still the thorny problem of the grass dart / puncture wound. She gets muzzled, grabbed at one end by Dad and wrangled by a blonde Finnish vet nurse at the other (Didn't hear Dad complaining about that one!), while da Boss does his work with local anaesthetic and a lancet. Ouch. Poor old Meggie. Now she's on antibiotics and salty foot baths.

Have a good 'un


Tuesday 7 August 2007

Happy Birthday Haggis (10) and Dad

Happy Birthday to You

Happy Birthday to You

Happy Birthday Dear Haggis

Happy Birthday to you!!

Yes, the "H" is 10 today. Our "birthday cake" is a couple of big meaty raw pork ribs each. Megan and the H set to, to chew theirs to destruction on the terrace. Being a dog of very little brain, I race down the garden with my first one to bury it in secret (In the chicken run under the James Grieves, but don't tell any one!), racing back to be ready in case there is a 2nd one on offer.

I sit and wait while Meg and H eat theirs, looking on longingly, with my stomach rumbling. You'd think I'd learn. the 2nd ones only get given out when M+H have finished their first ones, and again M+H eat them on the terrace while I race off to the chicken run. I am sure Meg will not find mine there. Are you?

Net result is that I've had no pork yet, and have watched, drooling, while M+H have slurped and cruched through 2 bones. Am I doing this right? Dogs bury bones, surely? It's what they do.....

Meanwhile, Dad finally gets to enjoy his 50th birthday present from Mum, a day's sailing on the lovely old Sailing Barge, "Greta". More of this later. M+H were allowed on last year, so they've done the trip all round the wind farm in the Swale and the Redsands WW2 forts. But there is this scurrilous suggestion that I would be over the side in 10 minutes, and every 10 minutes there after, so we all got to stay at home this time. More later, but for now feel free to click on which will give you some idea



Monday 6 August 2007

Misha and Jack

It's hot hot hot. Again. Yesterday, we hear, London made 33 degrees C. We get walked later in the evening. We meet, on the Rec, Misha and Jack, the westies of "The Window Cleaner". They are similar ages to Meg and the H and the four have been friends for ever. We always draw smiles and comments when all 4 (now 5) westies are charging about; sometimes it's even more, when various other westies join us

Tonight's walk is the two-bridges loop and , no, I still haven't got used to the short bridge's wobbles and vibrations. I still slink across all low-bellied and droop-eared. My tail is down as I scurry across, anxious to get to the relatively stable stairway at the far end.

Well, we thought we'd got away with the bath and that the humans had forgotten the Frontline. But, no, they got us tonight - all 5 animals rounded up and sprayed. They do Missi first because she gets in such a tizz seeing anyone else go first, it's easier to take her by surprise and get her over with. We dogs though, know that there is a payback - there are rules. One rule says that any brushing, grooming, cutting, buzzing or in any way interfering with our coats, results in a dog treat each. Tonight's treat was a chunk of raw chicken-spine, Dad scissor'd off a chook when spatch-cocking it.

Almost worth being Frontlined.


Sunday 5 August 2007

Feel the Breeze

Just for fun, a couple more pics from our trip to Dylan's a couple of weekends ago. The first is on the steps of the summer house, me on the left, Meggie on the right, and you may be able to spot Mum's skirt and a bit of bag behind us. In the other pic, Dylan himself. Ahhhh sigh!

In that pic we are looking quite shaggy. We had, allegedly, also started itching and scratching too much for comfort, so today we have all three been blitzed to within an inch (or more accurately 5mm). Despite temperatures soaring up towards 28 degrees, Dad wrestled all three of us into submission. We are buzzed over with the No 5's, and then we were serially showered and shampood with the old "8 in 1, "White Pearl" with pearlescent whiteners" No less. Only the best for us (Says Dad, although I suspect he grabbed it in Pets Are Us just 'coz it had a westie on the front) - made in Hauppauge, NY 11788 ( see ). Aren't we the posh ones.

I strongly suspect that this white scented brilliance may be shortly replaced by the stench of "Frontline" and it's parrafin-y solvent, but for now I'm swanking around dazzling everybody with my immaculateness.

Mum and Dad are soon off to Diamond's for a bite of lunch. It's too hot to walk, so I expect we'll be abandonned.... AGAIN.

Deefs, Designer Babe

Saturday 4 August 2007

Metal Dog

Coo - twice in one day. trying to make up for the missing days no doubt. The Neice is now collected by her gang and we have the house back and the terrace to ourselves to chill out in.

My pic today is of a superb scrap metal dog who "lives" in the garden of my new chum Dylan, and his Dad the Guitar Man (Wham a lam a lam a lam a Rock and Roll is King!). His legs are made of bent copper pipe and his neck is a long twangy spring, so it nods gently in the breeze.

Had to laugh today. Megan, when relaxing on the terrace, before she rolls over on her side and falls asleep completely, sags down onto her belly with her back legs forward (unlike H and myself who stick our back legs out behind). Only Meggie, as she's got more ancient and venerable, and of rather more "solid" proportions (OK, some of it's to do with the Cushings), her belly is now a tad pear-shaped, so the legs, instead of sticking truly forwards, end up splayed around her belly, a bit like a frog.

Neice's Mum commented that she looked like a spatchcocked chicken. Dad was delighted, and thinks this description may well stick, and be added to the canon of dog positions.

For example

"Baby seal" - where the dog curls up one way but then lies their neck in the opposite direction, ending up looking like one of those baby fur seals about to be clubbed in the anti-cull posters

"Flat Dog" - where the dog is on the top step or landing with chin and both front paws at the edge, looking down at you.

"Hot Rocks" - the afore-mentionned hot day, after a run, collapse on some shady ground with front legs forward and back legs backwards, the better to cool those parts of the under-carriage that only Heiniken can reach.

Hot innit?

Have a great weekend


Dirty dancing

A long gap since we last posted. We have had company - a visit from the 16 year old niece from Swindon, up here for her birthday treat over the weekend. Not too much entertainment for dogs then , just "human stuff" that mainly involves us being given a treat and told to be "good dogs" as the humans depart.

Friday saw Mum, Diamond and Neice heading for the local shops, then Mum, Dad and Neice heading for London to see "Dirty Dancing". That was a late one. Luckily the Angel betty and Jim came round mid point to let us out - the dirty stop-outs were not back till 2 am! Some old excuse about the Aldwych being evacuated for a fire alarm, and engineering works on the railway this side of Sittingbourne

Beyond that there's been lots of sitting around on the terrace now that Summer is finally here, a bit of shopping in Canterbury, and a decent walk along Reculver. Neice doesn't really do dogs, but she copes and goes along with this family where dogs are probably centre of attention! I have failed so far to completely seduce her with my undeniable charm and cuteness. Puzzling......

Back to proper transmission soon. Neice's Dad is coming to collect her again lunchtime today. It's been a gas