Wednesday 31 October 2007


A couple more pics of that Sailing Barge, cambria, now residing a few yards from one of our favourite walks, on the Creekside, at Standard Quay. Nipping onto the website, we found she was built by the Everard yard in Greenhithe in 1906, and was the last remaining sailing barge to be in trade, still under only sail (all the rest had had at least auxillary engines fitted) until 1970. She's 91.1 feet long and was registered as 79 tons.

Meanwhile, back at the Rec, we meet 2 nice new dogs tonight - 4 month old golden lab "Paddy" who is not yet trusted off the lead. We wanted to play but the lady was also bringing home from school a (someone else's) child who was not used to dogs, and wailed in terror every time our romping moved in his direction. This got too much for the lady in the end and she apologetically dragged Paddy away. Only when I was 20 yards off and back wrecking a plastic bottle (Coca Cola Zero) did the little mite quieten down.

Also, lovely tri-colour Jack Russell "Mac". He was new to his owner and she was wary of letting him off but at least she had him on a 20 foot lead, so he could run in huge, fast circles, trying to scythe humans and Megan and Haggis off at the knees at every rotation. Won't be long before he's off the lead, I think. He'll be as much fun to play with as Nelson the other day.

And, of course, it's hallowe'en, so an evening of doggie restlessness is forecast, what with Trick or Treat kids (we don't usually get many - we're always (I'm told) left with shed loads of sweeties), and some fireworks

Happy Hallowe'en


Tuesday 30 October 2007

Even older than Megan

I have no idea what order these 4 pics will come out on the blog - have to "publish" and then go back in and edit if I've said anything that doesn't fit with the pics!
Anyway, dad has day off work today so, other that when he is, yet again, trying to capture a good deer photo in Challock Forest, we have his undivided attention. We get a lovely walk round the fields and the boatyard. Housed there now is the old Sailing barge "Cambria" - poor old girl is in rather grim condition. More on her soon, but suffice to say now she was the last barge still in trade round these parts, eventually being pensionned off in the 60's, and is now in dry-dock at our boatyard pending (we hope) restoration. She's even older than Megan!
Out on that walk, I managed to find some ripe fox poo to roll in. The pic with my head in the shade shows well the amount I managed to get on my rump and right shoulder. Megan was looking on with murder in her heart, remebering, as she did, the mention of shampoo and "minging" at the weekend, and thinking we'd got away with it.

Well, my attempt to improve the doggie fragrance put the tin hat on that, and Dad wrangled us all through the shower, one after the other. Hence my pic of me looking all white and fluffy, completely devoid of fox poo (and street-cred!). The final pic, of all three of us, is just the three of us basking in the warm october sunshine at the back door, all damp from the shower. Megan is at front (out on the step), I'm centre and Haggis is at the back.
Deefer - West Highland WHITE terrier!! :-))

Monday 29 October 2007

Sentry Duty

There are plenty of perfectly good beds in the house - dog, cat and human. Felix though, has decided his favourite place of all is an old shopping box just inside the living room. Here he stands (or sits or lies) guard as if he was a sentry on duty.

We suspect this may be a "Diamond" thing. Perhaps she is secretly twisting her animals heads. Felix once belonged to Diamond, and Diamond's dog, the famous Asbo, has also spurned all clean, new, reputable looking beds in their house , in favour of a beaten up ol' cardboard box, into which he has dragged an old bit of dog-blanket and a few chewed toys. He loves it like nowhere else on this earth. The more tired and frayed it gets around the edges, the more he loves it. It is his spiritual home. He looks like he should have a bit of old bailer twine round his neck in lieu of a collar, and be lying (in his box) alongside some poor homeless soul under a sooty railway arch in Chelsea.

Meanwhile, here, we are deserted by Mum, who is in Portmarnock, and even the Angel B and Jim, so while Dad's at work, Ken and Jackie, neighbours from the other side, come and let us out for our lunch time "comfort stop".

Just for the one night though- Mum's back tonight


Sunday 28 October 2007

Alloments bonfire

Something a bit different - Dad's allotments site had its bonfire last night and we were allowed to go up and watch. Mum had been feeding Diamond, John and Den that afternoon, as it was Di's birthday meal (Happy Birthday Diamond!), and we'd already had our proper walk, so this one was optional, and Meggie glued her chin to the dog-bed and shut her eyes tight like a child pretending to be asleep, so the humans relented and let her away with it.

We love that allotment site - so many interesting places to snuffle about, potential r*t's in compost heaps and so on. Also, on that occasion, potential sausages falling off the food table... you never know your luck! Dad, being on the committee, had gone up there first with us, while the rest of the diners finished the fizz, chocs and cheese off. They lingered over the final glasses of fizz and we watched the fire burn down, and people started to drift away.

Eventually, Dad brought us home too, and as we came in the door we met Mum, with Meggie on a lead, Diamond and John, all togged up (nice new Hunter wellies Diamond!) and ready to go to a bonfire. Denis had already headed for home in a taxi, being a Gent of rather more mature years. Dohhh!

So we compromised, and headed for the Rec which is on Di and John's way home, and so we got 3 walks that day. Excellent.

This morning, now in GMT, Dad whizzes Mum to Gatwick to get her on a plane to head for the birthday of the first Theo in my life (Happy Birthday, Theo). It's an early start, so they're pleased that it's GMT and they've had the extra hour in bed. We get our walk, in which we return via the allotments again to check the bonfire site and kick all the edges into the middle. Detective Inspector Haggis spots signs of a break-in through one of the back gardens backing onto the site, so we have to summon Chairman Sandra who will contact the necessary people.

Dad's then off to Challock for the final Guided walk of the year, a "fungal foray". Needless to say he's already taken a few phone calls from people waiting in the carpark for what they think is 20 minutes after the walk's advertised start time. Forgot to put our clocks back, did we? Muppets!

These are not very interesting walks for dogs and involve a lot of standing around identifying mushrooms, when we would sit by whimpering at the frustrating lack of "walk" progress and annoy everybody, so we're walked first and then left behind. Dad just about gets that done when the rain starts in earnest

We are all happy to retreat indoors, for an "old git's lie-down" (= afternoon nap)


Saturday 27 October 2007

Ellie's Adventure

Ellie, we hear, has been up to escape antics worthy of my good self. While, as far as her Mum knew, she was tormenting a neighbour's cat through the tall 6 foot fences and 8 foot walls around the back garden (safe but noisy!), she had other ideas. Mum realised it had all got very quiet and then started to get that "it's VERY quiet,... wonder what she's up to" feeling that Mums (and Aunties and Uncles!) know so well.

Checking the back garden, Ellie's Mum was amazed to find an absence of Ellie. She can't have jumped the wall or fence, thought Mum, so she must be in the house. Thorough search of the house ensued.

Suddenly, on an increasingly desperate whim, she thought to open the front door and look up and down the road, only to find a man walking down the street with Ellie in her arms. "Is this dog yours?". It turned out that he and his wife had spotted Ellie dicing with the traffic, (this is tea-time Tuesday, so there was a good lot of traffic!). Wife giving chase only caused Ellie to scamper back and forth across the road - luckily the cars by now had sussed the problem and stopped. Husband eventually collared the dog, and was now wandering around looking for a panic-stricken owner.

Relief all round. A more thorough serch of the garden revealed a small space, no more than 3 inches wide between a fence panel and one of the posts. Sneaky! Runs in the family, obviously. (see my post called "Red Mist" a few weeks back)

Allotments bonfire tonight!


Friday 26 October 2007

Dukie and Theo

Dad home nice and early (Taking a "Poets" day) so we get a goodly walk, and in my case, another chance to escape in the Cemetery, when Dad is juggling 3 leads and a poo bag. I feel the flexi-lead handle thump onto the ground behind me. H and I have been pulling like mad anyway as we'd just seen a bunny dive for cover in one of the big shrubs (they're 10 feet+ diameter, so I guess they're more accurately "shrubberies" !). I'm off - racing for the bush and diving under it. Dad gives chase but is hampered by having to haul H and the unwilling Meggie along at ever increasing speed.

He sees me, then 8 foot of lead, then the handle, all disappear under the bush, and hears the handle clack-clack off a few trunks as I go by. Fearing that I'd easily become tangled inside the bush, he races round the bushes, only to see me emerge, unscathed, lead still in tow, behind, neatly traps the handle between a free ankle and a gravestone, he brings me to an invioluntary stop. Fun while it lasted though

In the Rec, we meet up with a magnificent, handsome young standard poodle called Dukie, and I am accused of being a "tart" (not sure what one of those is) when I roll around writhing on the ground under his nose, and bounce and run flirtatiously (whatever that is) all around him. He is out with his chum, a lovely shiny, beautifully groomed red setter called Theo. By comparison with these scrubbed, clean chaps, we are looking decidedly beige and Mum has been heard to utter the words "minging" and "shampoo" in the same sentences. This is a worrying development.

Of, course, on the way to the cemetery, we pass my Sister's house, Ellie Bezel, and as usual we see her though the net curtains. She's up on the back of a chair looking out of the bay windows, but sadly no humans are about, so we can only look in through the gate with our tails wagging tentatively, while she looks out a bit forlornly. It seems an age since our schedules co-incided - that's winter for you and all the humans grabbing dog walks in the short daylight, while they can

Have a great weekend


Thursday 25 October 2007

Luca the Lurcher

We met another nice dog tonight - Luca the Lurcher. Like all lurchers he's a hound crossed with a collie-type beastie - looks like his hound might be a greyhound, but his "collie" is something much more black-and-tan and hard coated. Enyway, he's full of beans and his Mum was launching a ball as far as she could with one of those 2 foot long springy, spoon-ended launchers and he was flying! She said that if she just threw the ball with her arm, he was there, drinking a cup of tea, feet up, watching TV, catching up on the gossip by the time the ball got there

We had the pleasure of Dad's company yesterday on a day off. coming and going all day - 2 walks, the allotment and an "old git's lie-down" in the afternoon (we love that. The humans crash out on the sofa and we all pile up all around them (cats too sometimes) while they catch a siesta). Quality time - sleepin' in a heap!

At one stage, mind, Dad took off with the 2CV and the good camera, to try (some more) to get a good pic of a Fallow deer in the forest. It's the rut, for those beasties so it's the best time to get deer all gathered together. But unlike at the weekend when it was bright sunshine, the forest had descended once more into drizzly cloudiness, so the chance of getting good pics of anything moving deep in the birch-bits where the rutting stands are, was nil (he said).

Frustratingly, he tells us, no deer would stroll out into the brighter clearings. Even worse, when he was fed up, relaxed, non-stealth mode, strolling home, crunching carelessly through the fallen leaves, he alsmost tripped over a resting buck - proababaly one exhausted by being Master-Buck for a while and taking a lie down. Dad saw movement just in front of him, realised he was looking at an antler, just about had time to think - "Oh dear! (pardon the pun) - a dead or injured one!", when the deer was up and spronging away. Dad raised the camera and fired off two shots but still had the auto-focus off and just got indistinct blurs. (AF no good among the trees - gets too confused and tries to auto-focus on branches this side of the deer).

So it's STILL Dad's ambition to get a good pic of Fallow deer from Challock in Challock

These Humans need something to aim at, I think


Tuesday 23 October 2007

Refreshers, Purple Hearts and Lollipops

Heh - we like a blog with an eye-catching title line!

Mum and Dad, being public-spirited type people always buy in a tub of sweeties, or a big tin of chocs for the Trick-or-Treat kiddies who come round on Hallowe'en. These are kept up on the hall window-sill, out of the reach of marauding dogs.

But today, Dad came home to a hall floor covered in torn up, partly opened and chewed sweeties, plus a spread of wrappers through the dining room to the back door, and even a small bag of multi-coloured sweeties, still closed, at the top of the stairs.

My reputation must precede me, because when Dad texted Mum along the lines of "Oh My God! Hallowe'en sweeties all over the floor. Some chewed and opened! I wonder what Refreshers do to Westies", (see.... no names, no pack drill), she straight way replied "The Little Demon!"

Dad was prepared to spread the blame wider but the top-of-stairs one effectively counted Meggie out ( - she can't get up the stairs any more), and then what do you know, I was grassed up by my own guts. Megan and Haggis, on tonight's nice long walk, produced normal firm... um.... output, where mine came out like a yellow cow-pat. Ooops - should've poo'd in secret!

Happy Hallowe'en! (celebrations have started already!)


Sunday 21 October 2007

Jack Frost

Good frost this morning, ice to scrape off the cars, and white grass on the Rec. We are out there for a nice early run around. We meet Gigot's crowd again, and find out that the brown lab is called Truffles, and the long-haired small dog is actually a Long Haired Chihuahua called "Storm". We already know a Storm - a big dark alsatian living up our street. Bit of a contrast. I get a run-around with mini-Storm - heh heh - I'm MUCH faster!!!

Mum and Dad are action-packed today, just like yesterday. Mum's off swimming, Dad's off to plant 2500 daff bulbs to beautify up one of the entrances to the town, for the "In Bloom" volunteers. Well, not him single handedly, but there are only 5 of them on the job, so I guess he can claim 500!

The 2CV won't play this morning, sulking from lack of use and frost, so Dad has to put it on the charger while he plays In-Bloom games. After that, of course and with the sun on its back it fires up first time, so Dad takes it for a blast to dry it out thoroughly

Then, we're gardening - weeding, pruning all the fruit trees and stuff. This is GREAT for dogs, as it gets us into all sorts of secret places we can't normally get at - behind the green house and all around the chicken run. The big old James Grieves gets a trim, then the 3 ballerina apples and the 2 plums, then the quince and the green gage. There's an enormous pile of prunings now drying for a couple of days before Dad fires up the shredder

Hope you had a good day

Saturday 20 October 2007

Poor little Gigot

It's the weekend, so the humans are flying about everywhere. Dad runs a "deer walk" in Challock Forest, where it's the rut for the 200 or so fallow deer in there. Westies, faced with a fallow deer tend to give chase, yipping in frustration as they fail to keep up, so we are grounded for this one and dad goes off on his own.

The walkers have a great time - "Probably the best Deer Walk ever!" enthuses dad when he gets back. Apparently, being a small group they were able to get some nice close long sightings, and listen to the big old bucks roaring out their challenges. At one point they's left the immediate area of the rutting stand and moved off to near some dense young chestnut coppice, when up one of the cleared strips they saw a young person (not one of their group) stroll through.

This person (probably completely un-awares) had worried all the deer off the stand, and into the chestnut. Suddenly one big full-grown buck with huge, fully palmated antlers came trotting out of the chestnut 20 feet from Dad's group, more concerned with avoiding the person, than looking in front of him. He spotted Dad's group and stopped, then turned with great dignity, antlers back, nose high, high-stepping front feet, and trotted off back into the chestnut. Dad says the whole group had stopped breathing at that stage. Awesome!

Mum and Dad have also been out and about shopping (mmm - dog treats!), and then came back and we got our walk, off to the Rec for a game of plastic bottle. Sometimes we play "plastic bottle" (Dad throwing or kicking, me chasing and nailing, then running around with bottle in ever increasing state of chewed, squashed-ness).

Sometimes we play "chase the seagull from miles away" - this involves me in full-bore, head down, gallop from good distances, bearing down on seagulls on the football pitches. Sometimes the 2 games get confused and I've still got the bottle ("Powerade" sports drink tonight) wideways in my mouth when a seagull needs chasing. The look on the gull's face as a madly charging juice bottle comes racing towards it with legs going like pistons underneath and a tail sticking up behind, is priceless

We meet "Gigot", a small Bedlington out with his new Mum and Dad, his new stable-mates a brown lab and a small long haired beastie. Poor Gigot is in a sorry state, having been rescued just 3 weeks ago from what sounds like a house of horrors. 3 weeks ago he was one of nine Bedlingtons kept by some awful bloke - all nine dogs were tangled fur, a mass of sores from parasite bites and swollen red feet from walking in their own excrement and wee.

They were cringing from the old owner, so that new-Mum had to take the dog straight out to the car while the new Dad did the paperwork "else I'd have killed the bloke", she said. Gigot's tail is almost bald near the base and his fur gives way to scabby patches here and there. They were (compulsorily) re-homed, one ending up with this family.

Gigot is now all trimmed and cleaned up, his poor feet (although still a bit pink) are nearly back to normal, and he's under the vet and anti-biotics for his sores and skin lesions. He's a gentle soul though and is slowly getting used to the fact that some men will treat him properly.

We dogs (we're quiet and careful anyway near any unknown dog - Dad seems to be very proud of us being on our "best behaviour" for Gigot, understanding that he needs gently socialising.) My Dad crouches and talks to him gently, and extends a hand to be sniffed. After a while Gigot accepts a bit of a fuss round the face and then comes right in close to Dad to be petted gently. His new Mum and Dad are almost moved to tears to see him being so "brave" and making such good progress. When they first got him he was very upset and scared at any unknown people or dogs.

We'll look out for you, Gigot - you are among friends. "Gigot", by the way, comes from the fact that Bedlingtons look very lamb-like when they are fully furred up and clean.


Wednesday 17 October 2007


What a dog! Tonight on the Rec we came across a beautiful female mastiff called Isobel. We are told she's not a Bull Mastiff, "just an English Mastiff - not quite as huge as the Bull version". Big enough though, and all soft and soppy at only 14 months old. She was on her way to dog-training classes where she does very well we were told. All three of us dogs, and Dad made a big fuss of her, as she wagged her lazy ol' slow tail and slobbered as only mastiffs know how!

Dad tells me that Meggie went to pup classes - held at the top of Detling Hill and organised by a police dog training guy. The well equipped training set-up included a fenced off field with gate, where you could let dogs off leads without any risk of them disappearing over the horizon. No sweat. Megan was, allegedly, a little star - top of the class for her sits, downs, long-downs, long-distance stays and then racing back to Dad on the command "come!". Teacher's pet

Till they left the field!

Once out of the gate all Dad's pride in his well behaved pup evapourated as Megan refused all instructions with a look that said quite clearly.. "Oy! No way! We do all "that" in there; not out here! Schools' out as far as I'm concerned!"

Also in the Rec we met Window Cleaner Mick's pair of westies, Misha and Jack. As usual putting us to shame with their immaculate Daz-white coats and neat trims. We have a theory that he cleans them with his window cleaner stuff, or maybe uses them as a chammy, or a squeegy!


Monday 15 October 2007

Tiny Milly and Nelson

We have now met what must be tiniest Westie ever. At 18 months old she is called Milly, and everyone, without fail, assumes she is a pup. She looks like a Westie, but is about two thirds the size of me, and I am about two thirds the size of Meggie. She has got to be as small as some of those little Yorkies you see, or even a Papillon. Feisty little thing though, at least on the lead. Might be more sociable off the lead, but the human is a bit wary of letting her off.

But tonight, my heart has been stolen away, by Jack Russell, "Nelson". At 2 years he is the same as me in all important respects - size, speed, manouvre-ability, strength, energy, playfulness. We met in the Rec tonight and bundled, ran, swerved, chased, wrestled, tumbled and played for ages. Megan did her usual amble about taking little notice (maybe bemused?), and Haggis joined in some of the time, but mainly to pounce on me from behind and knock me off balance, just as I was engaging Nelson from the front.

Exhaustion was therefore doled out as per Marxism - to each according to their need. Megan got a nice gentle (old girls) walk. Haggis was semi exhausted, as befits a middle aged chap, and I was run off my feet, as befits a young hooligan. It was fantastic, and we all hope to meet Nelson again (including Dad and Nelson's "Mum", who both got their dogs mightily exercised for the expense of very little effort on their parts which made, they said, a nice change!)

Extremely Tired

Sunday 14 October 2007

A Dog Too Far

Town Carnival last night and a good time was had by all. The carnival forms up outside our house and we, Mum and Dad always go out to chat to the people on the floats as they finish their displays and assemble their troops, occasionally helping out with lends of scissors, string, cups of tea or use-of-the-loo-for-the-little-ones before the "off". Last night it was a small army of Brownies dressed as Grannies, and their leaders, plus the Beauty Queens of a village "on the island"

We were allowed out too, on leads and milled about at the end of the drive, fascinated by all the lights and noise, music, chatter and the thrum of diesel generators, toffee apple sellers and bizarre-ly dressed humans. Plenty of them made a fuss of us as they went by or stopped to stroke us.

Then, once carnival had set off and our own evening-guests had arrived, we all adjourned indoors, and from here it got interesting. First, little Norfolk, Dylan decided to have a pop at the cats, so they had to be separated and the cats moved upstairs. Then, later my raeal Dad (Hector) and brother (Archie) decided to have a go at Dylan, so they had to be separated.

There were , briefly, two separate parties going on. Dad, First dad and First Mum plus we six westies were all out on the terrace (luckily warm, windless and dry), the other guests with Dylan in the front of the house, with people mingling between the two, carefully shutting the child-gate behind them as they came and went. I had a great time at this - made a big fuss of First-Mum and messed around with Archie who (someone has to do it) took a quick swim in the pond at one point.

Later, once the other westies had gone, we all moved indoors and fell asleep exhausted while the humans chatted and then, once Dylan had gone too, the cats were let back out and nornmality waas restored. Mum and Dad say we need to re-think the animal guest lists. These 7-dog do's sound great fun in theory, but probably we need to have Mollie, Archie and Hector over when they are the only dogs, and likewise Dylan. Maybe also, that old trick of a big long walk on neutral territory to wear everybody out and get them all used to each other, before we come back to one of the houses.


Friday 12 October 2007

Red Mist

Did I mention that I am now "wrangled" securely onto a lead well before we ever reach the Cemetery? This is due to a (briefly successful) cunning escape attempt engineered a couple of weeks ago. The Cemetery is a "dogs under close control" area, but the tarmac path alongside, coming down from the Long Bridge is not, and I was dancing ahead of Dad, knowing that once in the Cemetery there were free running bunnies.

On this occasion I was a good 50 yards ahead when we were a good distance still from the gate, and Dad thought he had ample time to stop me, grab me and hook me on, before we got there. Ha! Without warning I raced for the gate and was through. Hot rabbits scattered in all directions, and Dad could only look on helplessly as I chased one first to the right (no problem), then scything round to the left, towards the end fence.

It's one of those galvanised metal paling fences, 6 foot tall, and topped with each paling cut into a trident of sharp metal. It comes right to the ground. Mostly. But not in odd little bits, where the ground dips and there are 3-4 inch gaps. Just big enough for a young bunny to squeeze under. Normally enough to stop a Westie. A young lady Westie though, of fairly petite frame, and seeing only the white scut of a bunny through a red devil-mist, will risk a scalping and serious abrasions all along her back to get under that fence too, squeaking and yipping all the way. You try to stop her!

The other side of the fence is just a bramble thicket, all across the rough ground under the Long Bridge. Bunnies can zip through this without harm ,but a Westie, even with red mist in front of her eyes, can only get a few yards before she's a tangle mass of upset thorns and spiked paws. The chase over. The red mist clears, the bunny is long gone and a girl can now hear Dad whistling from the Cemetery behind.

It would be bad form to scurry back to Dad, so we take a bit of time to sniff about and bimble around among the brambles biding our time, as Dad starts to sound more and more anxious. Eventually, when it starts to sound like there might be killings, I try to get back to the fence and re-find the hole. I work my way towards the whislte till I can just see Dad and he keeps glimpsing me between the thick tangle of brambles. I yip in reply but have to backtrack several times and find another route. Dad is near where I got through in the first place.

Eventually, before Dad passes out from the stress, I do get back to the "hole". Dad slides a hand through the fence and grabs collar. He manouvres me to the hole and tries to pull me nack under. But the "hole" without the bunny as encouragement is now suddenly way too small and to drag me through would involve pushing me flat to the floor and scraping my head and back all along the bottom of the fence to get me under. No way, and Dad can quickly see that this is no good. For a while I think he is going to put two hands through and try to lift me up "the wrong side", somehow hand-over-handing me past the horizontal rungs. But there are brambles above me too.

He ties me to the fence and walks along his side to find a place where the hole under it is bigger. Then comes back for me, unties me and drags me sideways, hand-over-hand, never letting go of my collar, his hands getting lacerated by brambles and stung by nettles his side, till we get to the hole when, at last, he can steer me (relieved and very happy to be back "home") through. On the lead now, I am walked over to where Megan and Haggis have been, patiently all this time, tied to a chair. Happy reunion. Don't know what all the fuss was about. I'd have got back eventually.

For some reason Dad now puts me on a lead about a quarter mile from the Cemetery gate, when we're still up on the Long Bridge. There's no accounting.

Have a great weekend


Thursday 11 October 2007

Stew, Spuds and Sheps

Carnival time in our town, and with it an annual family event (first time for me, of course; I was only 4 weeks old this time last year)

(see pic)

- a "Stew, spuds and Sheps" party in the house as the carnival procession forms up outside in the road. "Sheps" is, of course, the local brew Shepherd Neame, much beloved of Dad, but not so much by Mum. She says, "Can it be ' Stew, Spuds and Shiraz' ?". Go on then Mum, what ever floats your boat.

For me, the promised excitement of Real-Mum, Dad and Brother Archie coming to visit. Plus Dylan the Norfolk Terrier of Mum and Dad's guitar-playing chum. Add to that the England France game, and it could all get a bit raucous round here.

Sounds like the famous town Carnival fireworks might not be happening though, which is a dampener.

Should be entertaining!


Wednesday 10 October 2007

ECHO Echo echo...

Accoustically challenged tonight on the walk. The Town Carnival is coming up and a funfair has started to assemble on the Rec. They take up about a quarter of it. One of the rides is a big lorry, which unravels into a big flat tall "wall" against which a ride "boat" will eventually do its stuff. It's called the Terminator. It's positioned to be seen from the diagonal corner of the Rec, just where we come and go from.

So I'm chasing around with Haggis towards the end of our walk, and I "yaff!" at him. Behind me an echoing "yaff" comes. YAP! .. yap! Naturally, I am taken by surprise at this and snap my head round to look, but there's nothing there - only the fair ground. I go back to chasing Haggis .... YAP.... yap (comes the reply). I'm annoyed now at the challenger, so for a while, me and the unseen "other dog" go YAP yap YAP yap YAP yap, much to the amusement of Dad and a few onlookers.

Could have told me about echoes off flat surfaces. Meanies!

Treat tonight - roast lamb bones from the neighbours. As usual we end up with cleaned (inside and out) tubes of bone shank, with all ends and internal marrow removed, like something you'd see in the dry ol' desert sun in a cowboy movie.


Monday 8 October 2007


I got for my Birthday, a present from First-Mum (see 17th Sept, top photo), a coit of red rope threaded through a number of plastic and hard-rubber balls. It's been a hot favourite thing ever since, and I have spent many happy hours chewing the balls up, which I seem to get away with. Not sure why this does not also apply to electric toothbrush tops, or the hoover "tools", but heh.

Haggis, as part of his welcome back to Mum or Dad has always brought them something - usually a bit of paper or wood from the terrace or floor, or a leaf or anything else that comes to hand. If he can't quickly find something as the humans unlock the door, he gets quite frantic, ranging in small rapid circles in his search. Sometimes my toy falls under his gaze, and he grabs it and uses that as his greeting gift. Once I too have greeted the humans, I have to retrieve it. Either he's put it down by then and I can grab it and take it back to my bed, or I have to home in on him insistently, grab the free end and pull (at which point Haggis happily gives it up).

If I've been chewing it (always in my bed) and it's fresh in my memory, and I leave the bed for any reason, I keep an eye on Meg and Haggis, and if either looks like heading for my bed I have to race in and past them, overtaking them, leaping back into my bed and re-claiming it. Not that I've ever seem Megan or Haggis show any real interest in it, but you can never be too sure.

Mum and Dad just hope I'll get nice strong teeth and jaws (and maybe keep clean teeth too)


Sunday 7 October 2007

Eddie, Freddy, Jack 'n' 'Arry

Another nice walk today in the warm breezy sunshine - we go down to the creek, then through the boat yard. En route we meet our mates, the Jack Russells Eddie and Freddy, and aged Doberman Jack. Poor Jack is showing his age now. As we westies chat with E+F, Jack goes off for a sit-down. Unfortunately, says his Mum, he can no longer get up by himself from his sit-downs, so when we've done, someone has to lift his back end into the standing position before he can continue

But he's a proud dog, and one with an interesting history, say Meg and Haggis. He was the star of a newspaper story long ago, where he was involved in the rescue of his Mum who had broken a leg falling over out in the fields beyond the allotments. Clever, brave boy. I think the air-ambulance had to be called in the end, she was so far off the beaten track.

In the boat yard we come upon collie-cross, boatyard dog 'Arry. We all think that is actually his name, as no-one has ever heard it pronounced with an "H", but it could just be the easy talk of boatyard folk!

The weekend continues in similar vein, Mum chugging on with the quince jam (which involves a series of boil-ups and then strains through muslin bags hanging from the window pole across the bay window), and shopping, Dad going in search of camping stuff (a good time of year, he says as everything's reduced!), and then up to the allotment for some digging. There's someone or other around at home all day. That's the way we like it.

Look after yourselves

Saturday 6 October 2007

Biscuit, Pickle and Edie

A beautiful, sunny, breezy day and we got our nice long walk at Seasalter, along the beach. We met a lady out with three Border Terriers, 2 boys called Pickle and Biscuit, and a recent rescue-bitch, Edie. Edie has, apparently got "issues" where she is playing one minute and attacks the next, without any warning signs, so she was on the lead to start with. We all started a 6-dog walk along the beach and Edie seemed to be going ok, and Dad could tell the lady desperately wanted to give her a chance off the lead. She's only recently rescued, and they are hoping to fully socialise her.

So Dad encouraged her with "Go on - I'm willing to risk it, if you are...." (Cheers Dad! It's not likely to be you that gets bitten!). So then we were all running around together, and nobody got killed by anybody. There was one anxious moment when Biscuit and Pickle chased me towards the water, and you could see Edie's ears go up "Yee hah! Fight! Fight! Fight!...." like kids in the playground, but I'm pretty good by now at doing "submissive" (ears down, tail down and run like hell!). B and P veered away and Edie with them

So it all went well - we walked together for 30 minutes or so till the lady decided to turn back, and nobody fought with anyone. We carried on walking westwards and killing a plastic bottle (Coke - 500 ml size) till we, too turned back and headed for the Old Sportsman, and the car.

Dad's since been up to the allotment and planted garlic and broad beans, so he's all pleased with himself, saying that the 2008 growing season has officially begun!

And Mum and Dad's "Abels' Acre" wine and wisdom went well to, so now they are relaxing with wine, and it will soon be bed time


Friday 5 October 2007

Free Weekend

Ahhhh.... a free weekend. One of those where we don't have to visit anyone, and no-one's coming to us, so we're free to chill out. I predict some nice dog walks, especially if the weather stays as sunny and warm as this. There is even talk of Dad persuading Mum to drop us all at Seasalter, so that we can walk home along the creek bank and sea wall. Some good lie-ins for Megan too; she does like her slow mornings. Really she should have been Mum's dog, and Haggis should have been Dad's, with all his leppin' out of bed and straight into action. Me? What ever humans are doing is alright by me as long as I'm not left behind!

In our town there is a nice bit of banked up rockery at the main "entrance" which was always maintained by the corporation and owned by the town. It was admired far and wide for it's lovely flowers and flowering shrubs, all well maintained; a real eye-catching beauty spot enhancing the town. In fact the main gardener at the time was a guy called Walter Abel, and the local nickname for the rockery is still "Abel's Acre"

The town moved on, the corporation got swallowed up in the borough, and the careful gardening ceased. the shrubs grew to tree size, the flowers gave up the ghost, and when Meg and Haggis were pups it was just a scruffy eyesore. But then grand-daughter of Walter Abel, who has an allotment up on Dad's site, decided to do something about it. Volunteers were mobilised and the serious task of clearing overgrown shrubs, re-invigourating the soil and re-planting began, and has gone on ever since, to the general delight of town's people

Even Dad has dug the odd spadeful up there, but his main contribution at the moment is to host "Wine and Wisdom" table quizzes in aid of the "Friends of Abels' Acre". There is one Saturday night, so our spare room is a maze of question sheets, answers, pictures, flip chart, stationery and general preparation. One good round is always the "dog walk" round, where Dad takes us for a nice walk through town and notes down things he notices - brass plaques, shop names, odd signs or eye catching adverts. These he converts into questions; some straight-forward ("What shop is to the right of Woolworths?"); some obscure (What cute view is to the left of the "Chainstore Massacre?").

Usually quite entertaining!

Have a good weekend

Monday 1 October 2007

Back to Skool

Poor ol' Mum. After what seems like a school summer-holiday's worth of time off (Narrow boating, then studying, then Greece, then more studying, then about 2 days of chillin') she's finally had to go back to work to earn an honest crust, to keep us in the manner. Fair play to her, though - gave us a nice walk in the morning and Meggie, deprived of the 6 miles yesterday was all spronging about and playful.

Salsify? The humans tell me that they have read that "its delicate flavour" means it's best not to spice it up with anything. Just boil or steam it. They do. Turns out to be reminiscent of (globe) artichokes. They are impressed. Good job - "we" have plenty up at the allotments. Dad will grow it again.

Archie (brother) is, meanwhile, in the doghouse for leaping onto a small white pup and trying to kill it, while out walking. Helped apparently by my Dad (Hector), so the two of them ended up on leads for the rest of the walk, and in deep disgrace. Real-Mum (Mollie) was no such problem, and nuzzled it, rolled it over to lick it and generally do mum-nursing type things. Ahhh sigh.

Tanking it down.