Monday 30 June 2008

Broad beans

Dogs, we fondly imagine, are all derived from some ravening wild beastie, living as a hunting pack and roaming the Savannah plains in search of prey to bring down and kill. In Megan's case, she may well have come from a strain which roamed the savannah in search of..... broad beans.

Only this can explain her love for them and her doe-eyed look of longing when seated at her Master's feet while he pods out the latest carrier bag full from the allotment. Every dozen or so he takes pity and hands her a particularly big, greyish skinned, not-particularly-tender looking bean (Mum doesn't like these - if there are too many grey ones she starts to think in terms of blanching them and hulling them, only using the inner (cotyledon) leaves to cook with).

These she chews up deliciously, thoroughly enjoying every morsel. If Dad doesn't give her another bean frequently enough she will go hunting the few which inevitably escape between pod and bowl, and zing off onto the garden, landing hidden between leaves of Knifophia (but not hidden well enough to evade Megan's hunter-killer nose)

Either that or she's from the strain of wilde dogge which exists by barking up at the plastic tupperware box full of pigs' ears till some superior force opens the box and hands her one.

Gotta love that Meggie


Sunday 29 June 2008

Black and White

New kid on the block we meet out walking this morning, a Scottie named Pip. Lots of people we meet seem to think it would "be great" to own one of each - a Westie and a Scottie, like the little black and white dogs on the whisky logo..

In practise we meet very few Scotties, so they must be quite a rare breed around here, although we know of quite a few people who have multiple westies. Anyway, Pip's a good lad and we all have a nice chat with and sniff of each other, as we're mooching about the Rec.

Talking of black and white, and neatly segue-ing across to "pied" (ah - these radio-4 links), Dad is down all day at the Cambria sailing barge project, alternately manning the Visitor centre, and the barge itself. The barge sits in an old Thames "lighter" as a 3-year dry-dock while the restoration takes place.

Members of the public would not be insured to clamber all over the half-built barge, so the project has rigged up a solid viewing platform which is welded to the structure of the lighter, enabling people to get above the bow of the barge and look inside , down the length of her, through to the stern.

As Dad was showing a batch of people up the platform, the slight movement caught his eye - a pied wagtail nipping about down in the barge. It turns out that this bird has nested in between the inner and outer "wale" planking on the starboard bow, quite near to the viewers on the platform (but well away from the current position of the shipwrights, who are shaping the curved bits of serious oak which make up the stern.

Dad mentioned this to one of the guys ( he said they knew, and were avoiding the area, as well as thinking there is a wren nipping about, possibly also nesting on the boat). Hopefully this will not interfere with the proposed "Open-House" sessions coming soon.

It's all go!

Saturday 28 June 2008

Best Plot

A full Saturday, for all of us. For Dad the main event is the Summer Barbeque up at the allotments and the vote counting and prize giving for the "best plot" competition. Dad's lot have done this entirely democratically, with every tenant and member of the waiting list allowed to put in a voting slip for their first, second and third preferences.

On the day, Pauline wins (Yea Pauline - free rent for 2009!), with Tim 2nd and Derek 3rd - we know all these people and they regularly make a fuss of us as we walk through the site, so we're happy for them. Well done all three - it was a tough call with lots of good allotments to choose from. The best three now go forward to the town-wide competition, up against the best three from each of the town's other sites, to be judged by the "In-Bloom" judges as part of their tour.

Meanwhile at home, Mum is hosting a summer lunch and pink wine spree for a gang from her work, as part of a farewell to one of their number, moving to St Ives in Cambridgeshire. The lady who is moving is famous for a silly story in which she was here, and rather tiddly once, with her 2 year old son who was rapidly learning new words and expressions. Dad, mischievously, taught him to say "Mummy's Trolleyed", which he picked up with scary alacrity, and now remembers it and trots it out whenever Mummy reaches for the wine.

He'd be on great form tonight - the house is full of drunken women - though the lad himself is not here to pass comment! The pink wine has obviously been a-flowing freely. Mind you, Dad may also have had a couple of bottles of Shep's rather nice "Goldings" beer.

Every-one's trolleyed

Friday 27 June 2008


Here's a rather nice pic of the H resting in the shade of the project car "Mademoiselle d'Armentieres" at the recent 2CV camp. As you can see , she's almost completed (I don't know what Dad and the cronies will do with all their spare time when they've finished), although look carefully and you'll see filler that needs sanding out just behind the left front wing.
She isn't actually finished, but she's incomplete in ways you can't easily see. No back lights, for instance, is symptomatic of the need to replace chunks of wiring loom, and then there's all the registration and MOT-ing. Still, the boys have delicately scraped away some over-spray on the bulkhead and found the body/paint codes which tell us the exact year of manufacture of the shell, so registration will be easier.
Looking at the picture, the back suspension looks way too high, so that'll need adjusting too.
Meanwhile they've trailered her down to JJ's, and he's happily tinkering around with filler and wiring, so she could be on the road soon.
Our own 2CV ("Clara Bow") is now MOT'd and resplendent in a new navy blue canvas roof. Why do all these 2CV's have to have names?
And in the back garden , the view is still dominated by the 90 foot crane, swinging the flat pack wall sections of the H-f-t-B into place, and, tonight, great bundles of what looked like MDF planks. We can believe Bruce's predictions of the 3 weeks to the roof is on timescales. Tonight, as they park the crane up for the weekend, the wind is round in the NW, and quite strong (It's meant to be June, for Heaven's sake!) so the great long (100'?) jib is pointed away from the houses. The Angel B will sleep more happily in her bed tonight.
Uncle Jim, being mean and knowing B is nervous of the great tall crane "in the back garden", has been teasing Angel with his "Mmmm... the wind's getting up". Give him a good hard slap, Angel. You don't have to put up with that! :-))

Wednesday 25 June 2008

Dad proposes

Mmmmm... Dad likes a tub of yogurt after his supper. It was a late one tonight because they were out again judging villages, so the yogurt was Greek natural, tonight, and (Oh Joy!) Dad is singing around because he discovers a jar of Diamond's home made Rhubarb and Ginger jam, "we" didn't know we had.

He is half way through this when he decides it is so delicious he needs to text Diamond and propose to her. Immediately the phone rings and Mum (who claims to recognise her ring) answers without waiting for the caller to speak "Hello, Diamond. This is the home for abandoned wives!"

We dogs don't mind. We've already had some left over pasta sauce (mmmm creme fraiche, yogurt, salmon, lemon juice), and now Dad sneakily passes me the yogurt tub, unseen by Meg or the H. This way I can nip it between my teeth and scurry off to my out-of-the-way bed to give it a proper licking out.

The up-side of being small and insignificant....

Night Caller

What we have, at the bottom of the garden, throwing the Ikea flat-pack Home-for-the-Bewildered sections about is, by all accounts, a "Spierings" crane from City Lifting ( - nip onto that site and watch the freeze-frame movie of the beast being erected in about 16 minutes. Impressive. Dad has texted our on-site expert, Bruce, to see how actually tall it is, but the chap has not got back to us yet.

Meanwhile, at 02:30 last night our hedgehog comes a-calling again, undetected by Mum, Dad, Haggis or me, but picked up on Meg's radar. She was asleep downstairs (does she ever sleep?) and knew that he was on the terrace , and set up the required racket of woofing to wake the house. The noive!

We race downstairs but don't actually stop to look how close the hedgehog might be. Dad opens the door and we shoot out, accelerating hard, fixin' to get to the bottom fence, 100 feet away, as quickly as possible, treading over each other if need be.

Dad nearly wee'd himself laughing when we all had to stop 3 feet outside the door, nearly standing on our noses to brake in time, as the hog curled into a ball.

It's good to have him back and Dad can quickly call us off the "attack" but we wonder how many times a hedgehog will put up with nearly being swept away in a tide of white furry dog.

Have a great evening

Tuesday 24 June 2008

Garden Feature

Our garden has an impressive new feature - a huge red tower crane looming over our trees. Here for the constructing of the flat-pack Home-for-the-Bewildered (which our man on site Bruce says will only take 3 weeks till the roof is on) it is at least 4 times as tall as the Paulownia, so probably 80 foot!

We watched it unravel from it's neat HGV sized lorry, as if it was some kind of "Transformer" toy, the main tower being jacked into the vertical and telescoped out, and the long horizontal "jib" being swung out, seemingly over the houses, into it's final position.

Uncle Jim let us out at that point, so I had to race down the garden and shout at it. Well, you would, wouldn't you? Now it's being swung about hither and yon moving bits of H-f-t-B into position. Impressive.

Meanwhile we have Googled "Kes" and find she is an attractive blue eyed blond of alleged elf extraction.

We are not entirely sure why you'd name a scruffy long haired Jack Russell after her, but it kinda works.


Sunday 22 June 2008

Smelling of Rosie

Mum and Dad came back last night, very happy (!) with their Villa Toscana restaurant experience. (see....

for more info. It's an Italian (obviously) restaurant which has taken over where our friends Mr and Mrs Chef (of earlier posts), whose business went belly-up, used to have their place. It is probably more in line with the local need (less "foodie", less expensive) - well, it must be - it's always full and it's a job to book a table.

Mum and Dad eat well, and very reasonably, and are serenaded all night by a grand-piano player who is tinkling out medleys of classis, Elton John songs, chart hits, well-known opera tunes and even a snatch or two of London sing-along stuff. All very calm and pleasant. The menu, they say, is so extensive and varied, they'll need to come back a few times to work their way through it.

Today, we are abandonned while they go off to judge Headcorn village for the Village of the Year. They return for a spot of lunch, then Dad mooches off to John's place in the 2cv, where-at the project car Mademoiselle is now having her bodywork and wiring finished off. Mum heads off to find Diamond and then to visit Denis.

That's it for the 2CV for now. We hand it over to 2CV Llew (so Dad comes back smelling of Lew's dog Rosie) for a service and an MOT. By the time we see it again, it will have a lovely new (soft-top) roof in navy blue. Llew being Llew, of course, this may take a while.....


Saturday 21 June 2008

Pegwell Bay, Kes and Cambria

Yep. It's time for your regular shot of the progress on the restoration of Sailing Barge Cambria. Double click the picture to expand it up to full screen. You can see that all the frames and floor planks are now in, for the box-like mid section of the barge, and that the big long curved "inner wales" have now been put into place, helping to bring out the lovely curved shape of the hull, higher at the prow and stern than she is mid-ships.

These old girls, loaded with 170 tonnes of bulk cargo (wheat, cattle feed, coal, rock, bricks etc) sometimes sailed with only 12 inches of free-board at the mid point - ie any wave more than a foot tall would be lapping over the side planking, so they sailed with the hatches covered over and batten'd down - it was said that as long as you could see the stem, stern and mast, you were OK!

Mum and Dad are now in the thick of judging (assessing) gardens for "Gardening for Wildlife" and of villages for the Calor Village of the Year "Environmental Action" category, so this weekend is a bit of a come and go session. We don't mind. We get a sweetie as they leave and the joy of a welcome re-union on their return. So today they are off to do a garden in town, then back. Then off to do another at the old coastguard cottages in Pegwell Bay.

They come back enthusing about that one - there are not many gardens where you are a-top the cliffs, looking down at a kestrel nest in the cliff, and watching the fulmars patrolling up and down, eye-ing you suspiciously (and ready to spit that foul fishy goo if they think you're too near their cliff edge!).

Finally they're off to look round Charing village for the VoY thing

Only after that do we get our walk. We go down to the creek, and boatyard, and call in on the Cambria Visitor Centre, where-at, one of Dad's mates and his wife are holding the fort. We all troop in to be met by his long haired Jack Russell, 3 year old Kes (named after a character in Startrek, apparently - we'll have to google it, not being Trekkies).

We have a short shout but then we all settle down to schmoozin' up each others' "parents". Mind you we thought it was a bit cheeky when Kes, trying to love up Dad who was leaning back on a wall, jumped from floor to lap and then Dad's shoulders, looking down on him from the back of his neck as if she were on the back of a sofa! A new friend.

Mum and Dad are off to try out a new Italian Restaurant in town "Villa Toscana" - more on this next time.

The longest Day


Friday 20 June 2008

Lamb Shanks in Beer?

OK - but not deliberately. The beer in question was another of those "take home" beers that nearby pub "The Elephant"... in 2 pint tetra-packs going by the name of "Inacarton" ( In this case it was Dr Okells...

The pub is near Diamond's house, so John sometimes brings a pint or two (or 4 or 6) round when they come to supper, and in one case the boys had been unable to finish it, so Dad had frozen a spare pint in order to use it in a beef-in-ale pie.

This pint Mum de-frosted today thinking it was stock to use in a lamb-shanks recipe. Dad got home to discover the mistake , and used some of the beer anyway in the stock that went into the shanks.

We don't mind. When the humans have eaten the bulk of the meat off it all, Dad splits off the cartilege-y end of one shank to make three bits and we all get some. We don't care if it's a bit beery, and we can shlurp and grind away happily for ages. Special treat, once we've got the ends off and have the shanks down to a tubular bone-shaft, is when Dad sticks a chop-stick up the end forcing out the marrow. Yummy!


Sapeurs Pompiers

A girl knows how to stay cool on a hot day out camping - lie under some handsome French Firefighters. OK not quite. In this case it was a almost-fully-restored Citroen H-Van, now converted to a camper, but formerly a general-purpose support vehicle for the Sapeurs Pompiers (French Fire Brigade) in the town of Falaise in northern France.

Falaise is French for "Cliff", which turned out to be quite significant for the guy doing the restoration. He also happens to be "Dad" to Ben and Nellie, the collie-crosses we pictured a few posts back. Cute vehicle, cute dog, we say.

Well, now it's the weekend, and we are about to start chilling out. Mum is off with Diamond to watch "Sex and the City" at the local cinema. Meg (who adored the final episode on TV and was allowed to join the last-episode party, to sip drips of cocktail off the end of a finger and nibble minute bits of chocolate, and also seemed to enjoy (so we're told) having her toe-nails painted full-on tart-red) wishes she could go. Dad is swerving it all on the grounds of exhaustion following his adventures with the Beavers last night. Likely story!


Thursday 19 June 2008

Beavers in the Forest

No.... not the real kind, the baby Cub-Scout kind who, at 6-8 years old are not old enough to join the Cubs. Dad has volunteered to lead a walk round Challock Forest for the local Beavers. He tells them about the fallow deer, but doesn't expect to see any what with 30 screaming kiddies charging about the place. Amazingly, they do!

The kids come well shepherded, not only by the chief-Beavers, who have myth and legend names like "Neptune", but also by numerous Mums and Dads, who are also curious to get a nice walk in the forest. It's a lovely sunny evening, so they do the "bluebell walk" route. It's about and hour and a half, which is OK for most of the Beavers, but there are a few little sisters and brothers who struggle, and Dad ends up bring one little 4 year old Aaron home on his shoulders.

We thought we might go along, but Dad has visions of telling 30 children to stay put while he chases "us" (think he means me) back from some deer pursuit. So we get walked first, fed and parked, while he goes off. Mean, we say.


Monday 16 June 2008


Another of those 2CV camp regulars - this here is Barnaby. He's a staffie cross Jack Russell and looks for all the world like a huge JR, taller than any of us. Kinda meaty too, as if he's picked up some of the Staffie muscle genes. Great lad though and excellent for a chase about. Sufficiently careless of his bones that he left us a sneaky chew too.

All round good egg, then!

The Deefski

Sunday 15 June 2008

LB and Star

Nice chat this morning on the way back from our walk, to a new kid on the block, 11 week old red and white Springer pup, "L.B." They told me the "L" stands for "Little" but they'd not tell me what the B stood for, so I guess he'll have to stay just "LB". Lovely little fella anyway, and about to start puppy classes.

At the same time we meet up with smoky-grey German (we thought) Shepherd "Star" who we first met as a pup in the Rec in May last year. I say "thought" - there's been some discussion since, and the owner now thinks she may be a Belgian Shepherd. She's very slight, and apparently has been a bit of a problem with her nervousness, which has led to agressiveness with strangers. They have had to call in the dog "behaviourist".

As we stood and chatted, the owner commented that if my Dad had not had we three westies with him, Star would have been pulling away in fright. She is calmed, for some reason, by the fact that the stranger is with dogs. We are ladeeez of mystery

Mum and Dad, with Diamond, had a new experience today, taking a car load of tools and bits from Denis's shed to a car boot sale to sell. They seem to have enjoyed themselves, and came back smelling of Ragworth, and an unknown westie called Mollie who is 10 apparently. They sold loads of junk and returned via the tip to dump the rest. Diamond now has a nice clear shed which can be taken apart, sold to one of Dad's allotment chums, and she can reclaim the "patio" bit where the shed sat, for use in sunning and basking. Megan thoroughly approves. She likes a good bask.

Hope your weekend is going as well as ours


Saturday 14 June 2008

Ben and Nellie

These pair are Ben and Nellie, 2 more camping dogs, and probably our oldest camping friends. At 14 they are older than even Meggie, and Meg and Haggis have known them since they've been camping.

They are brother and sister from the same litter, so look very similar, but there's a good way to tell them apart, which Dad has to use. Each has a white flash (blaze?) down their forehead and nose - Ben's is Broad, Nell's is Narrow, so that's Ben on the right of the pic, Nellie on the left.

This is one from that series we described where Dad was trying to re-create the first shoulder-to-shoulder run back to their own Dad, by means of their own Dad throwing Ben's ball much further than Nellie's. Nell , being a bit more arthriticky and slow, could then loop out gently and be back in front of the camera as Ben streaking out and back, caught up and overtook her. Kinda worked.

Last night at 01:30, we dogs are all rousted from our beds by a hedgehog in the back garden. You'd be amazed how noisy hedgehogs can be, with their unforgiving spines rustling against all the dried leaves and grass. Stealthy silent hunters they are not. Even so, although doggie ears could hear, and knew something was out there, humans sleep on oblivious, so have to be prodded into wakefulness (or at least, a kind of numb, dazed verticalness). to come down stairs and let us out.

Dad did the honours, Mum slept on. We raced off down the garden and didn't re-appear. Dad got concerned, grabbed torch and ventured out into the garden in his jocks (not a pretty sight). That's when he discovered the hedgehog, by now curled into a safe ball of prickles, surrounded by confused, frustrated westies, pawing at the gravel and wuffing. Not for us the Hector trick of grabbing a mouthful and bringing it indoors!

Ah well, Dad rounded us all up and bribed us back in with a sweetie, but it took a lot of sitting back up on the bed and whimpering before I'd settle back to sleep.

Have a great weekend


Friday 13 June 2008


Once again, apologies for not keeping this up. There's been so much on we've barely had time to draw breath, but now, at last, a shot of the rather gorgious brindled Staffie, "Scooter". She has a rather fetching fuchsia coloured neck tie - her Mum and Dad say that this is to make sure that such a butch doggie is not taken to be a bloke!

Being dogs ourselves, of course, we have no such confusion but here she is at 2CV camp (that "corrugated iron shed on wheels" in the background is called a Citroen H-Van) and I managed to get well wound up every time she was racing around and I was loose.

Regular readers may recall that at a previous camp I tested her patience to the max and then got shouted at (which they all said I deserved) - this time was a bit easier and I got used to her more quickly.

I think you'll agree she is a beautiful girl


Sunday 8 June 2008

Hot work

Hot work today in the garden, as Dad decides to empty one of the plastic compost "daleks" which is as ripe as a good fruit cake, and which has been nibbled through by r*ts. For a while they were sneaking in there and tunnelling up through the body of the dalek to a void just under the lid, so were able to chew on anything new added to the "heap". This drove we dogs mad because we could smell the little varmints but couldn't get into, or even dig wider, the little nibbled hole in the plastic

Dad put a stop to the rodentiferous game with a spare chunk of weldmesh, but the dalek was still doomed, and today it has been emptied, its contents used to raise the level in the woodland glade bit. The birds are now having a merry time with a square yard of worm-rich smelly goodness.

This all had to be accomplished in small nips in and out of the compost area, because there are bluetits in a box near there, feeding babies. Every time "we" nipped in and started shovelling, within a few seconds the bluetit swearing would start - we were busted! - we had to retreat lest we make Mr and Mrs Bluetit desert the nest. Hope they're now enjoying the compost strewn about. Lots of food for babies.

It was hot work - there and before that up at the allotment weeding onion rows, parsnips and baby leeks. The allotment is near a railway, and both bindweed and marestail get extablished very quickly if not chopped off on a weekly basis. We are all sweaty, smelly herberts as we sit down to our cajun roast chicken and (allotment) broad beans (barely blanched and then tossed in a dressing of garlic and anchivies..... Yum (for humans anyway - we got the chicken-spine raw as Dad spatchcocked the bird.


Saturday 7 June 2008

Stir it Up

I am starting a new campaign. Bring "Chance" indoors. Poor aul' Chance, red and white mongrel, has been with the Silverwoods since they lived in Maidstone, and has known Megan and Haggis since they were pups. He's one of these rescue pups, discovered in a dustbin, and given a good life by the Silverwoods, first in Maidstone, then surviving while they moved to the Irish midlands, and on through the buying of new dogs "Sam" and "Dancer"

Now the Silverwoods have a posh new house extension and the dogs are outdoor dogs, confined to the garden bit beyond the posh new decked terrace, all be it in a "lovely warm" kennel with nice bedding etc.

But we think that Chance, now in the Autumn of his years ought to be allowed a bed indoors away from the clamouring youngsters. We say find him a corner, a dog bed in a corner of the kitchen where he can relax in the warm and not wake up stiff and cold and have to get himself painfully going in competition with the pups. OK in the Summer, but in the cold damp of an Irish Winter, he doesn't want to be an outdoor dog.

Go on Silverwoods........ He deserves it


Donna Noble has been Saved

Ah, the humans here love their Doctor Who. Mum is now all stressed out because the latest episode had the books on the library shelves as the place where the "bad guys' " microspores resided. Mum has lots of books, and you could see her visibly shift to leaning on the left arm of the armchair (the book shelf is on the right) when the Doctor sussed that the books were the problem

As I said, we were down at the Pud Lady's house today for lunch (proper steak and kidney pud - Dad thinks she's been cooking that every Saturday since he was born (1957) with the one exception that when Christmas Day falls on a Saturday we have the turkey on the Saturday and the pud happens on Sunday 26th). Gotta love that generation and their routines of cooking.

Pud Lady is a cause of some amusement. Very church-ified and "proper", she takes a mischievous delight in sneaking a glass of wine or sherry when Mum chooses to lead her astray. Today, we'd all spotted a very unusual spider in her garden - bright white (like A4 paper) but with bright orange Nike "swooshes" down the sides of her abdomen (we kid you not). Mum decided to take Pud Lady out to see it, and off they trotted.

When they got to the garden and the spider, Mum was still clutching her glass of wine, but Pud Lady had left hers behind. "I've not brought my wine" said Pud Lady, all concerned. "Ahhh" says Mum.... "You'll learn".....

Meanwhile, Dad harvests a shopping bag full of broad bean pods from the allotment. This, to Megan, is a sign of Summer. Megan loves her raw broad beans and sits attentively at the humans' feet while they pod them up, mopping up any that fall on the ground and scrounging the odd big one when none are falling. I tried. I really tried. I kept taking them but spitting them out, till Mum suspected that I was accumulating a pile of half chewed beans. It was always possible that the flavour would improve with each new bean. It never did.

Haggis, of couse, was no where to be seen. He doesn't do "plants"



My sitemeter tells me that we are only 7 page views off the 3000, and we have 1700+ visits. We have had a larger than normal number of visits this week. Just an observation. No idea why.

Today we are all off to visit the Pud Lady in Hastings. This is a good plan, because we get walked at the Firehills, in Fairlight, just outside of hastings - multiple bunny-grazed swards and gorse thickets. Terrier Heaven.

Catch up with you later - gotta go


Thursday 5 June 2008

Scarlet Woman

It's finally happened - at almost 21 months old I have come "on" for the third time. There are dark mutterings among the humans that because there are no plans for me to have any pups of my own, this might be my "last one". Small matter of a laundry issue in the bed linen dept (not to mention spotting on floors) plus the effect I am having on poor Haggis

The H is, of course, "safe" at this point (sorry - I'm trying to keep this suitably vague for our younger readers) but having tasted honey as a young man (with Megan), he is currently toying with the idea of forsaking his life-long love (Megs) in favour of the younger model, and has been testing the temperature of the water.

Too many metaphors, too many analogies.....

Dad, meanwhile comes home filled with unaccustomed carbs and e-numbers, the usual healthy diet shot to bits. First-Dad is about to celebrate his 50th, and their workplace has been a sea of chocolate biscuits, cream cakes, Dorito's and Crispy-Creme doughnuts. Dad and Mum are also starting out on the assessing of "Garden for Wildlife", so the evening is a bit of a flurry. We get walked early, via the allotment - Dad admiring the wilting collection of de-capitated marestail and bindweed left by yesterday's hoeing. Then we get abandonned while the assessing happens, and finally we get a treat of the bones out of a poussin, and a sit down to watch Springwatch.

Busy life

Wednesday 4 June 2008

Shouting at Springwatch

Ahhh... it's that time of year when we get to sit with Dad and chill out watching the antics of Kate Humble, Bill Oddie, Simon King and assorted other wildlife on Springwatch. Mostly this involves kipping on the back of the sofa, as baby birds still in the nest don't do a lot for us. But there is the occasional treat like tonight when they showed some pheasants displaying, calling and then sparring (or should that be "spurring"?)

Naturally we weren't having pheasants challenging us in our own living room, so they had to be told. This involved lots of bouncing around, standing on the nearest high point (Dad's shoulder and neck) and yelling at them to shut up. In Dad's ear-'ole.

And your point is?....


Tuesday 3 June 2008

...and the rest

..and there are the rest of the camping dogs

Scooter the Staffie cross who is always resplendent in a pink neck-scarf. She's a brindled colour and fairly fast, and if you recall the last camp I plagued her for ever, till her (very long) patience eventually ran out and she "GRAFFF!" -ed at me and scared me half to death. Everyone said I deserved it.

Badger the ummmm mongrel (I guess) - vaguely black, tan and white, vaguely collie shaped. Looks nothing like a badger anyway, although his Dad assured us he did when he was small. I guess Haggis looks nothing like a haggis either...

Janie, our old friend the ex-courser brindled greyhound who is as gentle as they come and has a long whippy tail that cuts you in half when it wags.

And finally a visiting scruff from Yorkshire called Kaira

Meanwhile, tonight, back at the Rec we come across old chum Luca the Lurcher (see 25th Oct and 17th Jan) - he has been in the wars and is only now allowed out again to run around, still with bright pink, naked scar showing the extent of his horrific injury. Running about in the scrubgrass and saltmarsh down by the Creek at his usual crazy speed, he must have hit something sharp hard front-on, maybe a bit of glass or metal, or other flotsam.

The sharp object sliced clean through his "armpit" muscles (pecs I guess) and opened up a great 6 inch chunk of chest wall, luckily not penetrating his rib cage or going through any big arteries or the neck, oesophagus, windpipe etc. He was in big trouble and in shock as he staggered back to his Mum, who grabbed him up and raced him to the nearest vet. There he was stapled up and dosed with antibiotics as an emergency treatment.

Next day he was taken to our own excellent vet, John for proper patching up and treatment. That was 6 weeks ago and only now is he allowed out to run around in a limited way. Limited for a lurcher of course, seems to mean only 25mph, not 50. He's missed the social life, though, what with being confined to house-rest, so he was delighted to see us all and we were a mad pash of wagging tails and grinning faces.

Good to see him back in circulation
Go Luca


Monday 2 June 2008

Those camp dogs

Ah... those 9 dogs I listed yesterday

Ben and Nellie; black and white collie cross litter-mates, still fairly lively at 14, and we've known them for ever. All 5 of us (we three and these two) had to be tied up out of the way while Dad and B+N's humans tried to play "boules". I kept trying to stroll off with the small (wooden) jack-ball, and all 5 of us were milling around the Jack looking like we might try to catch the 720g stainless steel boules.

Later, when we were playing fetch with a matching pair of bright tennis balls, "we" just failed to swing the camera up to capture Ben and Nellie racing back to their Dad shoulder to shoulder, the bright balls and the paired dogs making a lovely picture. We then spent 20 minutes trying to re-create the close-running neck-and-neck effect but Nellie is much slower and showing her age, than Ben, so their Dad was trying to finely judge the two throws so that Nellie could make her slow out-run, and Ben chase off on his huge fetch, so that they then returned past the camera perfectly aligned. Never really worked, but we tried.

Murphy the Red Setter you'll remember from previous camps, when he took me "to the shops". This time he was enjoying rather too much the small lake that formed in one part of the site during the rain Thursday, and every time his owner took his eye off Murphy, he'd slope off and re-appear with obvious wet "skirts" and legs.

Socks the alsatian we've known for ever, but this time we owe him an apology. We were asked to demo our balloon-killer trick, and didn't realise quite how freaked out he'd be by the bangs. Sorry Socks. We stopped as soon as we realised, but the poor boy by then was cowering in the corner of the marquee, trembling. Luckily no permanent damage done.

Barney was a cracker - a Staffie cross Jack Russell, he actually looked like a twice-too-big red and white JR. Brilliant dog. Shouldn't have left his bone under their car though, so that we could all have a thieve of it when they drove off on a shopping trip. One of those times when Dad slowly realises he is not in sight of all of us and it's gone suspiciously quiet.

More soon

Sunday 1 June 2008

12 dog; 12 2CV

What an adventure we've all had. It's 2CV camp time of year again, and we've just spent the last 3 nights living "en famille" with a whole group of 2CV owners and their multitudinous dogs and vehicles. Some have named it the 12 dog 12 2CV camp because the dogs almost out numbered the cars.

There were, in no particular order

We three
Collie crosses "Ben" and "Nellie"
Red Setter "Murphy"
Alsatian cross "Socks"
Staffie cross Jack Russell "Barney"
Staffie cross "Scooter"
Collie cross "Badger"
Brindled greyhound "Janie"
Elderly mongrel from Yorkshire, "Kaira"

More of all these guys, and the camp in future posts. Now it's Sunday morning and we are back indoors because Dad is off to play on Sailing Barge "Cambria". It's been a real blast. Rained hard Thursday and had some pessimists saying "Oh, no.... not another Hoppers Camp with typical weather.... gloom gloom". But the sun burst through on Friday morning and the rest of Friday and Saturday were blazing hot sunshine.

The humans all have healthy tans and I have the traditional well oiled (sump oil) back from creeping under old French cars to find shade from the heat. Superb barbecue yesterday, too. The humans all cook communally on a big barbie cobbled together from (among other things) a 2CV bonnet and a shopping trolley, and they always cook too much, so we can schmooze them up into giving us the end bits of sausages and nibbles of burger. The non dog-owner ones anyway. Dog people seem to "know" dogs and can be very un co-operative

More soon