Saturday 31 January 2009

Too Easy

Bam! Too easy! Cyril is in the trap within an hour. Now Dad has a problem - how to keep a squirrel reasonably happy in a trap right through the night and round to morning when we can take him away from here sufficient distance.
Naturally, I offer to help - that's me looking up at the loft-hatch from the bottom of the ladder "calmly" offering to assist. (Mum says more like dancing around, squeaking and pleading to be allowed to come up into the loft where the daft humans have a squirrel in a trap which they actually want to keep alive !! How absurd is that?)
I'm shut in the loo while the animal is brought down the ladder. Mum and Dad decide to release him on the back terrace hoping he'll flee and be so upset by the trapping experience, he never comes back. Ha! He scampers right, dives back into the Albertine rose, up the back of the house, out round the soffit and gutters, and over the roof, headed, we guess, straight back to the hole (now blocked) back into his nice warm loft.

A pic here, too of him in the trap and, for good measure, one of the tiny hole down into the gable end above the bay where Dad (not a small bloke) has to crawl in order to get at the starling/squirrel hole.
A friend on one of Mum's Internet chat sites happily informs us that we have just broken the law - the release of wild animals "into the wild" is forbidden by the Countryside and Wildlife Act 1981..... oops

Since the release day (Wednesday) we have heard squirrelly scrabblings only once, and we now think this is what has happened. When Dad blocked the holes on Sunday, Cyril may have been hidden up in the loft, keeping quiet. He was then effectively trapped in the loft, unbeknownst to us, round till Wednesday without food or water. When Dad set the trap, he must have been starving, and dived on the offered cheese and peanut butter, heedless of the trap dangers.
By trapping and releasing him outdoors, we probably saved his life. Anyway, so far, other than those quick scrabblings, which we now think were him outside the blocks trying to find his way back in, it's all gone quiet. My Client humbly submits m'lud, that we did not release him "into the wild" as he was set free on the very civilised terrace table and, anyway, our actions were well intentioned..... (gulp).
For now though, the trap is up there, re-set, and armed with a peanut butter-smeared walnut, and all ears are prick'd for the sound of squirrelly feet on the loft boards again.
One down-side to this, of course, is that the starling are also excluded from nesting in that gable this spring.

Wednesday 28 January 2009

He's Back !!!

Just for fun a couple of pics of a bit of successful growing - an Unwins indoor mushroom growing kit Dad got for Christmas, now pushing out resonably sized cups, very fresh, firm and tasty. Can you have food-feet instead of food miles? These walk just about 10 paces from cut to kitchen!

He's Back! Last night, any thoughts Mum and Dad had that my deterrent scamperings round the loft, and Dad's shoring up holes with expanding foam and weldmesh would stop Cyril the Squirrel were blown away by the sounds of squirrels line-dancing upstairs. Probably only one in fact (though one squirrel can manage to sound like a soccer squad on a boarded out loft space.

Plan-B. We still have, in the shed, a live-trap Dad used to use for r*ts when they (I wasn't born yet) first had chooks. I gather that Meggie became much more effective at despatching r*ts than the trap was at ever catching them, so "we" soon changed from dropping them off at the top of Detling Hill, alive and kicking, on Dad's way to work (15 miles from here!), to quietly disposing of chewed, skeletally challenged... um... corpses.

This device is now baited with cheese and peanut butter, and set up in the loft space. It will, of course, be checked regularly, but we are hoping we can export yet more livestock in the direction of Detling. Mum and Dad will be lying in bed tonight waiting for the loud and metallic "Ker-choingggg!" the thing makes when sprung.

Megan and I were. of course, given another carry up the ladder and a chance to run around in the loft, sniffing under and behind boxes just in case Cyril was in residence. He was long gone!

What fun!


Sunday 25 January 2009

New Pond in the Forest

The 25th - Burns Night - a day for the "H" to feel a bit nervous as all these humans talk of eating haggis. No matter how many times you tell Haggis that this is a foodstuff beloved of Scots, and is spelt with a small "h" he never looks that convinced till it's bedtime and he has survived again.

Our lie-in with the humans reading the papers, is interupted by convincing squirrel scampering noises in the roof space above our heads. We've had starlings nesting up there every year for the last few, but lately there's been scamperings and rummagings too big and heavy (and too keen to venture away from the nest-hole, into the roof itself) to be starlings.

Dad and I are sent up to explore while Mum, in the bedroom is put on listening watch. The theory is that as soon as Dad pops the hatch open "it" will be heard scurrying for the entrance, and may be seen by Mum exiting the hole above the bedroom window and doing its acrobat-bit round the soffit and gutters, up onto the roof. That proves to be the case. I am carried up the ladder and let llose for a fantastic explore among the boxes and junk - it's an Alladin's cave up there! The have a devil's own job persuading me back out once the exploratory investigate is done.

Dad is despatched to B+Q for expanding filler, which he will frame with 3/4 inch weld-mesh into an effective block on the hole.

It rains all day. We do a short walk with Meggie in the Rec but later, despite the rain, we are off to the forest for a voyage of discovery. The "Friends of Kingswood" (of which Dad used to be Treasurer) have had a 4th pond constructed all the way down on the north side of the forest in the bit called "Cutler's Valley" (O.S. savvy readers might prefer "TR041521").

The forest is mainly on chalk, although bits have glacial deposits of "clay with flints", so there is little standing water for the Fallow Deer, and the FoKW have had 3 ponds built over the years to help out, now with a 4th. Previous ponds have been made with a puddled 2 feet deep layer of local clay, but now, since foot and mouth etc, there are big hoops to jump through moving soil and substrate about, so it was cheaper to embed an artificial liner - like industrial strength butyl rubber sheet.

Meanwhile, poor ol' Mum is struggling through the weekend with an OU assessment involving producing a profit and loss for a "case study" business. It's not going smoothly and she occasionally emerges muttering "Gah" and dark swearings to any dog foolish enough to cross her path. Sums is Hard, she opines.

Being a dog is sometimes the easier option ...... zzzzzzzzzzzzz


Friday 23 January 2009

Let that be.....

...a lesson to all of you. You doggie readers... This is what happens to a dog if he doesn't heed the warnings to not nibble at his stitches after an operation to remove a small cyst (Rags followers will be pleased to know that the cyst was benign), and then tries to tear off his lampshade and rub his wound raw on the hard furnishings in the house.
Quite gruesome in the end, according to Diamond; the wound is in a fairly mobile flexible bit of the leg, so when he sat in one position the de-stitched wound would close up almost invisibly, but as he moved it would gape open revealing lots of red and pink biology that the non-medical eye should never see.
So now the "brave soldier" (we're sworn against saying "poor-poor-bunny") is reduced to a re-fitted, tight-to-the-collar lampshade, and a tee-shirt to stop him rubbing the re-stitched wound back open. Only for another week, though Rags - just think of the relief when the vet clears you for take-off and you can do away with all that paraphernalia and be free to have a damn good scratch.
For some un-accountable reason, I was the perfect patient when I had my spay, and never even so much as licked the wound or the stitches. Mum and Dad were supplied with a lamp shade for me but I never even tried it on. I know. Most unlike me to have a chance to smirk in a superior manner at old chum Rags. Even more unlike me not to capitalize; but the sight of the brave soldier charging round trying not to destroy the house with his lampshade even had me sympathetic.
The other pic is first flower from a recovering orchid in the stairwell. Over a year ago Dad was given an orchid in full flower and, as usually happens, the flowers eventually finished and all looked lost. But by careful nurture and husbandry, Dad eventually encouraged new shoots to appear and now... well look!

Tuesday 20 January 2009

Global or local?

Mum is mad keen on American (or any other) politics, so she's home from work early to watch every minute of the Barack Obama inauguration. Dad knows his place, and that's to shop for suitably celebratory victuals, so he turns up with good Fizz, cheese and spring onion "Pringles", Green and Black's "Maya Gold" chocolate and, for that American flavour (to drive Meggie wild) blueberry muffins.

Yes, Barack - we toasted you with Piper Heidsieck's red label Brut. Good luck ol' fella. We especially liked old Rev Lowery's prayer at the end

" us work for that day when black will not be asked to give back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right."

More parochially, Dad is off to the local "In-Bloom" Committee meeting, where the town's comp itself is safe enough but where Swale Borough budget cuts have done for the town's South and South East in Bloom entry.

Meanwhile, two of Dad's work colleagues have independently snuck out to buy Staffie pups. Photo's soon. One of these is Xena, or "Keira" fame - see earlier posts. Keira grew rapidly into a big black shaggy bouncy GSD, which was all too much for live at home grandson (3). Xena made the hard decision to rehome Keira. Now the grandson is a bit bigger and the staffie will be smaller, so they are fervently hoping that the two get on because, says Xena, this time it will be the grandson who gets re-homed! Go Xena!


Monday 19 January 2009

Toy of the Month

First a nice pic of the stream running through the Abbey Fields. That's me down on the right bank. Dad is standing on the flat concrete bridge to take the pic. It's a walk we do quite often, and in the Summer we nip down a little earth "slip-way" for a wade. It's a good stream for water cress as it's so clean.
The disreputable ball thing in the 2nd pic is current favourite toy. I spend hours chasing it when it's thrown about by Dad, take it to my bed, and get so distracted when it's taken off me that I can't concentrate on supper and Megan steals my food. I think it was once roughly spherical, but it's previous owner has chewed one of its three rings off, so I'm left with an axle bit and 2 rings. It's all stipply, so it's presumably mainly for teeth cleaning.
All the best

Sunday 18 January 2009

New Steps

A beautiful sunny morning, but now after the thaw, very sloppy underfoot. We go for a gorgeous walk all round the Abbey Fields and behind the allotments. Sunny it may be, but still rather chilly in the wind, so why then does Megan still like wading in the puddles. When it's hot you can understand it, cooling off the dusty, foot-sore pads, but in January?
In the "No accounting for dogs" department, it's up there with "Why does Haggis take himself off upstairs to the humans' bed as soon as they sit down to eat, only trotting back down when he hears the meal ending noises - scrapes of chairs and crockery/cutlery?" No-one has ever told him to or even asked him to. The humans just got used to the start of each meal being synchronised with him disappearing, and a quick search would always find him up there, curled up.
As part of that walk, there was always a bit of fun at the end, negotiating the hazardous steps back up from where the monks' carp-ponds used to be, up to the allotments level. The steps were uneven, faced with mud, fronted with protruding wooden risers and "protected" with a very dodgy looking scaffolding-pole hand rail. The steps were all of different heights and of very different depths, and everyone was always amazed there were not more accidents.
Many people over many years complained to the Kent Rights of Way dept to try to get something done and finally, this Christmas, a size-able crew of guys showed up with machines, wood, concrete and a porta-loo (!) and a week later we have this magnificent, solid, even, safe flight, with treads of grooved, non-skid concrete and a nice wooden handrail either side......
And that's me at the top, checking them out

Saturday 17 January 2009

On my List.....

Dad is concerned at power loss (hah!) in the 2CV so we're off to Llew's workshop this morning to get new points and plugs for "Clara Bow" (why do all 2CV owners name their cars?). Clara Bow, for those who don't know, was the original "it" girl, star of 20's silent films and famous party-going hedonist. Remember those honky-tonk piano backed flickery films where a girl gets tied to the railway lines and rescued at the last minute. That was probably her!

We agree to meet Llew at his house , then take him out to (Kent village) Beltinge to collect another customer's plums-and-custard 2CV, before Dad and Llew drive in a 2 2CV convoy through what's gonna sound like a list of Kent villages - Hillborough - Highstead - Chislet - Upstreet - Grove Ferry - Preston - Elmstone - Hoaden.

Finally we arrive at Llew's workshop, which is part of a farm / glass house complex, where we are let out to scurry about for 2 hours amongst the buildings, junk, old oil tanks, shed and green houses chasing a variety of what is gonna sound like another list - possible Terrier prey animals - while Llew and Dad fix up the car.

Chooks (but mind that Rooster - he's a magnificent boy and belongs to "Polish Dave" and he don' back down for no-one. A girl could get her nose seriously pecked by that fella - better to divert off into the greenhouse and pretend that's where you were going anyway), mice, rats, rabbits and blackbirds. Also the occasional creaking wind-blown tree that sounds like a chicken. Anyone can make a mistake.........

We head back to Llew's house where Rosie, tufty-headed Jack Russell is a bit grumpy about her kitchen being invaded by we three un-invited guests. Remind you of anyone?

Now we're back here and while Mum and Dad enjoy a nice Rioja, we all watch a brilliant DVD called "Reeling in the 80's " - a collection of news footage, music related items and comment from Irish TV station RTE1 (Mum is Irish, and this was a Christmas Present) we all chill out on the sofa. A big ol' free range organic chook has been spatch-cocked (so that we could have the spine raw) and is roasting and French bread is chopped up awaiting it, some salad and roasted vegs for supper.......

Have a great weekend

Thursday 15 January 2009


The Rec again tonight and again we meet shaggy nearly-all-black alsatian, Battersea rescue dog, Lucy. Tonight we only shout at each other for 5 seconds or so before we realise no-one is impressed and we should maybe talk to each other. Yesterday, Dad reckons, that was 6 seconds.

Dad and Lucy's owner now have a theory, that if we all meet up the same time each evening, we might only shout for 4 seconds tomorrow, then 3 on Saturday, then 2, and by Monday we'll be able to greet each other in a reasonably decorous fashion.......

Yeah - right-oh Dad!

Also on the Rec tonight, fit young JR "Bindy", who we like to have a charge about with, but who we haven't seen lately. Another evening for getting muddy then!

Never mind - he obviously still loves us, as some raw pork ribs fall into his shopping on the way home tonight, and we have them for a treat for supper

Look after yourselves. Weekend's comin'


Wednesday 14 January 2009

Better off the Lead

Regular readers may know that I have taken against very few dogs that we meet, but that one such is a very dark, rather shaggy alsatian who gets walked in the Rec at dusk, and whom, if she looms out of the dark or mist at me, I can't resist charging. I shout and yell, and the alsatian kicks up a din back as I chase round the poor dog walker hanging onto the lead and the alsatian dances round in circles trying to get at me. It's a din that can be (and has been) heard the far side of the Rec.

Well, readers, let me teach you a humbling lesson in why a dog should not go by first impressions - or indeed a human (Dad has to hold his hand up to having thought dark thoughts and muttered mutterings about badly behaved unsociable dogs and owners who don't properly socialise their dogs when they are pups.......)

Tonight, it's a foggy evening but Dad (for the first time since before Christmas) is back in time to walk us our entire walk in daylight (all be it foggy), so we're in the Rec and I'm chasing the yellow frisbee, then a tennis ball, then having a chase about with collie cross Ben (I'm getting very muddy below the plimsoll line at this stage), and then the two Bichons we know - Billy and Bugsy.

Out of the mist looms the said dark shaggy alsatian, with owner, and I spot him, freeze, then charge. But the dog is off the lead, so she can lunge back at me, and there is a very brief shouting contest, but now she circles round and allows me to sniff her bum (like we do), and suddenly we three westies, and Ben, and the alsatian are all quiet and getting to know each other. I'm not saying we're all bestest mates, but we are in the same bit of Rec and not killing each other.

The bloke turns out to be nice and friendly, and comments that "There! I knew she'd be much better off the lead!" The dog we now know is Lucy, a Battersea Home rescue, who was 9 yesr old when the guy rescued her, and who he has now had for 2 years or so. Coming to him with "issues" she's been slow to socialise, hence he always has always walked her away from places and times when most people walk their dogs.

It also gives Dad a chance to apologise for my "attitude" (oh the shame!) and the humans agree that "There's always one! - These two (indicating Meggie and the H) are as chilled as anything and always have been, but Deefs here (indicating me), 2 years old and full of it!".

So, now we know the human and the dog and we are suitably humbled and apologetic for our intolerance.

Still reckon she needs telling!

Sunday 11 January 2009

Chim- Chimunny...

A decided thaw - warm winds and the top smear of soil un-freezes and becomes very wet and slippery. The water butts and pond start to thaw, too, and except for in the most shaded places, all the white rime turns to wet.

On our walk in the Rec we meet a lovely rescue Greyhound called Polly. Only 6 weeks out of the racing game she's still a bit nervous of "normal" social, doggie gatherings, so she's getting used to the likes of us. She was well treated, though, by the syndicate who owned her, and they carried on paying for her keep right up to the moment she was "rescued". She's a lovely Weimeraner-style mousey-grey with white patches.

Very reserved one minute, her natural dog socialising skills burst out the next and she skitters off on a "showing-off" run, as she did whenever Dad threw my yellow frisbee ring. I'd take off at full speed after it, and she'd see this and blast after me, quickly (obviously!) over-hauling us and racing on ahead, then seeming to remember herself and curving round to come loping back to her own Dad with a mischievous playful glint in her eye.

Bit of fun today, as Dad sweeps the chimney out. Lots of exciting smells and curious activity, a foiled chance to get sooty, and a lovely sneaky chance to thieve the roll of masking tape which Dad put down in between taping up 2 corners of the dust sheet. Dad is left completely confused, unable to find it when he's just put it down a second ago, till I hear him say "Where's Deefer?" and the game is up. Can't imaging how it got out onto the terrace.... can you?
Some luck might rub orfe if I shake 'ands wiv youuuuuu.... ah!

Saturday 10 January 2009

Ice Plant

A couple more shots illustrating how cooooold it is. The temperature all day never gets above zero. The first pic is a group of frosty birches in Challock Forest, which we pass en route a shopping errand to Canterbury for (Yay!!!) 4 x 24-pack dog meat tins and a replacement yellow plastic, hollow centred frisbee. The third of my career!.

The second pic is just an old seed head of a sedum ("ice-plant" - how appropriate!) in the garden.

Tonight, thankfully, we're away from all that. Dad has lit a nice coal fire and we're all curled up or stretched out in front of it in the warm, while Mum and Dad are chillin' in best Saturday afternoon tradition. Mum's been to a day-school as part of her Open University course. All about finance, her head is spinning with accruals, pre-payments, P+L accounts, cash flow statements. "It's like a foreign language!", she protests.


Farewell Gigot

The coldest night of the year so far, with temperatures down in the minus 7 and 8 area. A beautiful frost, turns the garden and the Rec trees into a Winter Wonderland.

We meet Gigot's family, whom we first met in Oct 2007 - look back at posts for details. Poor Gigot, a young Bedlington, had not had a very good start in life in an abusive family, and when he was rescued and re-housed by the RSPCA and Police he was in a very sorry state. But for once in his life he got lucky, landing up with a very lovely family, and joining the family dogs, Storm (a long haired chihuahua) and Truffles (a chocolate Lab).

With these people we saw him improve in leaps and bounds, learning to play and be a sociable dog, and lapping up the love of his family, building up trust. Sadly, his bad start and an ongoing genetic problem meant that despite all this, he became really ill and had to be put down in Autumn 2008, so he is no more. We hadn't met the family lately - it's always more difficult on these short evenings, when lack of day-light or poor weather squeezes you off normal walking schedules.

Farewell Gigot - you'll be missed. Welcome aboard Tali. The family were firmly converted to Bedlingtons by Gigot, so have now bought a new Bedlington pup, Tali. She is 13 weeks old now and was out on the frosty Rec today in a very natty red puffa-jacket style coat, with black elasticated "waist" and "cuffs", and a smart pink leather collar. She was dashing about everywhere and we played with her for quite a while.

There is someone in the world now who may be even more of a drama queen than me! She bounced at me one time and I shouted "RAFFF!" at her. She ran away behind Haggis squealing as if I'd hurt her. I never touched her, honest!

Who said "Dear kettle, Thank you for your message... signed Pot"

Still the original Drama Queen

Friday 9 January 2009

Shaken, not stirred

"You know your dogs" - it's an expression many dog owners use between each other; the suggestion that humans are so close to we dogs (we are like their children) that they can immediately sense when we are not "normal". The smallest nuance, the tiniest flinch, a change of stance or gait which would be imperceptible to anyone else, gives a clue to the owner that the dog might be unwell, ill, in pain or just uncomfortable.

Big changes, then, are easy - "Problem" writ large, shouted from the rooftops. Hence Dad's instant concern at the vets when the H started shivering with (?) fear as soon as he was placed on the vets table for his exam, and how he relaxed as soon as he was taken off. As far as anyone knows, he's not had any traumas at the vets, not been hurt or upset in any way - Mum or Dad have always been there, so they'd know.

Once, as they say, is an accident.... twice is carelessness... and you know where it goes from there.

Tonight Dad is concerned at the bit of a limp Megan is showing, and picks her up to have a good poke about between her toes and pads, probing with gentle fingers looking for sore bits, the tops of embedded thorns, chunks of hard mud among the fur, bits of ice etc. She's 12 and a half and it's an action we've all been trained to accept since puppy hood - we get flipped on our backs and we have to accept human fingers between our toes, round our eyes and ears, in our mouths. Far easier to get a 9 week old pup to accept it than a fully grown, proud adult dog!

The dog-trainers call it the "alpha-roll". We must know our place. We must know that humans are "alpha" and we are at best "Beta" (2nd best). If a human wants to poke and prod us or roll us over and tickle our belly, just like if they take our bone away, we have to know they are boss, and accept it, trusting them not to hurt us, and/or to give the bone back when it suits them. We, all three have had this and it's part of life.

So, having done this to Meggie a thousand times in their 12+ years together, with no reaction, he is surprised when she suddenly starts shivering just like Haggis on the vet's table. She is most unhappy and upset and doesn't stop trembling till she's put back upright on the floor. Now he's really confused. What's changed? What's causing this?

Later, to reassure himself, he lies Meggie, on her back, on his lap, while we watch some TV, but this time he only strokes her belly and chin, doesn't go near her feet. She's cool with that, relaxes and falls asleep.

What human can understand what goes on in our heads? It's a worrying time.......


Thursday 8 January 2009

A Thaw and some Fog

After a succession of icy days which kept the frozen snow on the ground, and made walking a bit interesting, today we have a bit of a thaw (3 degrees) which clears up the residual snow, but leaves the ground hard except for a greasy smear on the surface. That's my cue to race about and get muddy again, at least below the plimsoll line. Yes, ruined the new "hair-do", is what. I have managed to remain pristine white since Saturday, but you can safely say that is no longer the case.

Tonight, in the dusk on the Rec, there's a pea-souper fog, and I am frequently in trouble for exercising my voice at any figures and dogs looming out of the whiteness. One is really embarrassing - as I charge full tilt at a big shaggy Alsatian, only to find it's our good buddy Storm. Ooops.

Dad's come out in sympathy at our shorn bodies, and had his own hair cut, so now he knows how we feel in this weather, and has been seen wussing out in a hat. Welcome back Geordie roofers, back at work on the Home for the Bewildered out the back of here - they've been on hols for about 2 weeks all across the break. We've missed all the "Why aye, man!" stuff and the reggae music (one is a mad keen Bob Marley fan, and if he's not playing it on a ghetto-blaster, he's singing "a cappella"..... Noooo Woman, no Cry! etc)

Jammin' in the Name of the Lord

Monday 5 January 2009

White Stuff

We wake up to about an inch (at most) of snow. Not having been paying attention to the forecasts, this is a pleasant surprise, and I race up and down the garden as soon as Dad's alarm gets him up to let me out. Megan and Haggis stay put on the bed.

As is normal for Kent, most of it has gone by evening, so there are no photo-opportunities, and the Rec has just enough for a dog to roll on her back and play snow-angels. Were you worried that in our new short clipped fur, this snow and cold would be unwelcome? Fear not. We are a ruffty tuffty Scottish breed. Och Aye!

The Rec was full of like-minded strollers, enjoying the snow, such as it was - old faithful, rather portly Jack Russell "Patch" was there (whose Mum I always remember as being a source of dog-sweeties from those cavernous pockets), and Spinone "Tosca", beagle Molly and a small black terrier (Scottie? - we're not sure, some sort of cross, we think).

Meg, though, seems to be suffering a bit from lameness in the front left. She's OK on dry tarmac, but does not like the frosty earth and grass, or icy patches on the paths. We are taking it gently and we'll keep an eye on her. Poor aul' love.


Sunday 4 January 2009

...and After

Here we all are again - and look at us now! We are sparkly white, silky, fragrant and clipped to within an inch of our lives. Everyone says we look beautiful and The Groomer, we know, is delighted with the results. We are not so sure - of course, you know that a Westie's natural condition is kind of beige with muck and gruft, and redolent of squirrel sh**e, but we always know we can get back to that some day, and it makes the humans happy.

You have, in order, my head, on the frozen Rec', Megan's head, reclining on a brown cushion at the Groomer's (and the Guitarist's) house, where we all had supper last night), the three of us (l-r Meggie, me and the H) on the Groomer's sofa, with one of their Norfolks, (our friend Mollie) completing the line-up. Then, finally, there's the H, also stretched out on the furniture.

That frozen walk on the Rec in the morning was just to give Megan a breath of fresh air. With Haggis clipped off, Mum was worried to note that his usual skinny frame and definite waist and "cut" behind the ribs, seems to have submerged under a slightly portly layer of fat. In short, she described him as a bit of a porker. Nothing for it, then but to push on with these planned "leave Meggie behind" walks. So today we are loaded in to car and buzzed off to Reculver, for one of Dad's route-marches. Haggis feels much better for that, thanks - he's now asleep. The frozen ground is good for keeping westies clean, but the wind don't 'alf cut through your clipped fur!



Saturday 3 January 2009


As you know, we're all off to The Groomer today to get turned into posh dogs, so (inevitably) here are the "before" photo's to show you just how "shaggy and minging" (Mum's words) we are. Natch, we see ourselves as warm and comfy, but we have to admit to a bit of curiosity to see what a job The Groomer makes of us.
We're all very different, as Dad knows, to work on. Haggis's hair is so fine and dense that only the best, sharpest clippers will not grind to a halt, and his trimmed fur is as smooth and dense as suede or felt. Megan has a much coarser coat, and the nearest of any of us to the proper pedigree "double coat" - fine warm soft stuff undernieth and the coarse hard terrier guard hairs poking through. If you trim H to 2mm he is bright white - do that to Meggie and she looks almost bald pink!
Me, I'm silky fine and "blow-away", so Dad's never really been able to get any shape into me, but this Lady's had "The Trainin' " and might be made of sterner stuff. We'll see.
So - there you have us, from the top Haggis looking full face at you and slightly woe-begone, Megan looking round your left shoulder, myself, never gonna stand on the table and get pictured - Dad has to chase me round the garden, and finally just my head (Dad gripping my collar to prevent escape!).
Meanwhile, it occurs to Mum and Dad that today is the first time they've both been together indoors without us for about 12 and a half years! They tell me they missed having us under foot all day, looking pleading whenever they went to the fridge, following them from room to room, trying to trip them on the stairs, demanding a lap as soon as one of them sat down......
Can you believe that?

Friday 2 January 2009

Le "superbeau mec"

Mum, some of you will know, is a fluent speaker of Francais as well as an avid reader, so it's normal for her to pick up an attractive book when she sees one for sale, be it in French or in English. One caught her eye in Paris recently, which features her own name in the title. When she turned it over and read the cover summary she was delighted that it turns out to also feature Dad's name! What a coincidence - a romance linking their names.

Dad (not anything like so good at French) also liked the sound of it, when he read the "blurb" and saw that "(Dad), c'est le superbeau mec de trente-cinq ans, un brin reserve, avec le petite touche d'humour qui fait toutes craquer."

A cold shower of rain brought in on a Nor'easterly sends us scurrying for cover from our walk tonight, sprinting home to light the fire. We are all warmed though by thoughts of Summer, when our receipt comes through for the deposit on this year's narrow boat holiday. Yes, folks, back to Sowerby Bridge and the Rochdale Canal.

Posh Grooming Day minus 1 (and counting)
Have a great weekend


Thursday 1 January 2009

Happy New Alfie

The humans are all a bit jaded today, so there's a lot of sitting around watching rubbish on TV, and not a lot of inspired leppin' about. We do, however, get taken on a reasonable walk all around the cemetary and back via there Rec, where we meet 12 week old Staffie, "Alfie" out for only his 2nd walk in the outside world.

As always, we have a good but gentle romp. He's up for it but very soppy and gangly, unco-ordinated in that pup way of a boy who's only been able to use his legs for about 5 weeks so far! It is always good to see new owners letting their pups socialise like this, off the lead and enjoying the outside world. If we can help with that, then we are delighted.

We meet, too, sis Ellie, as always immaculate and groomed looking. Ha! Come back Saturday, when we've all been done by "The Groomer". We will knock spots off you, Ells. Soon, Mollie, young Rottie owned by son of Ellie's owners shows up too, and we all get a good chase about, but by now it's all a bit more boisterous. We gather that Ellie's Mum is a tad "tired and emotional" having karaoke'd last night away. Whoops.

Ah well, welcome to 2009, and a Happy New Year