Today I saw something that made my heart warm and brought a smile to my face.
Dad had to run an errand and Lenny was whimpering a little whilst he was out. When dad returned, Lenny bounced along the path in the garden and greeted dad with a wag of his tail and the usual standing on dads leg so he can get closer for tickles and ear rubs. I always got the feeling that Lenny liked living here but now I can confirm it.
Dad has been taking Lenny on some longer walks for a few days a week recently to try and get Lenny more accustomed to some different places and scents. We have been restricted during the quarantine period as to where we could go fairly safely and not bump into too many people in a close proximity, for instance on a narrow path through the woods. On the walk Lenny gets plenty of praise if he does something right, such as being polite to another dog, not arooing at humans, walking closely if they’re on a steep downward slope and returning from the end of the lead when called. I think it has worked. When Lenny saw dad come home, his whole demeanour changed.
I had praise and tickles when I first arrived but I don’t think I necessarily appreciated or understood what they were for. I always though they were a precursor to more shenanigans and pulling like a bucking bronco at the end of my lead. I know I am happy and have a forever home here. I think until recently Lenny was still slightly hesitant. The last few weeks he has come on markedly and feels more attached to us all.
He’s found his forever home too. I, for one, couldn’t be happier.
Today I am allowing Lenny to write a blog. I will be checking to make sure it is all fine and dandy later. Anyway I will hand over to Lenny.
Hello everyone, it is I Lenny. Today I decided that I would explore one of Dexters favourite walks. Mum, dad and I conspired to keep it quiet from Dexter so he wouldn’t get too jealous. He went out with mum as he’s still on fairly short walks and I went off with dad.
So, let me take you on a little walk. Across the little bridge over the tube line and up the steep slope to the big field to Dungrove Farm.
We went through the gate into the Alpaca field very carefully and quietly but they were clearly not at home today as the field was empty. Across the next field and around the edge of the barley crop. Down the slope toward the byway and turn left into the tunnel of trees. This was fun as there were so many scents of squirrel and rabbit here. I was very happy. We turned right and went into the big field which is Dex’s favourite field anywhere.
As we crested the hill I thought it would be fun to go for a jog through the woods, so dad had to jog through the woods with me. Eventually we arrived at the path where we should turn right and head back downhill. Not today, let’s turn left and see if there are any squirrels running down the path ahead of us, I woofed. Dad had no choice in the matter and we immediately spied a squirrel running down the path ahead of us. This was my lucky day, a squirrel to chase. Once I had finished chasing said squirrel and the pace slackened somewhat, we came out into a small lane with some nice houses. Turn right said dad and we can go back via a little quiet lane which will take us towards home. We ended up dodging various cars and vans on our way down the hill. I thought dad said it was a quiet lane.
Anyway, we took the opportunity to get off the lane and onto the footpath across the fields towards home. One last road cross and we were at The Moor. I ventured into the raging torrent of a river to quench my thirst after all my exertions. Ok, maybe the river was about 4 inches deep at the edge but I am still learning about water so it felt like I was being brave. All in all, it was six miles of fun.
When I got home I couldn’t help but tell Dex where I had been and what I had got up to. He was a bit jealous of me but said he had a nice walk too with mum. Then we were back to chasing each other around the garden, snout jousting and generally being silly.
As my readers will undoubtedly remember I had the privilege, nay the honour, of showing Raffa and her mum around London before Christmas last year. Ok, Lenny and my parents came along to carry bags and pay for coffee and buns, but I did most of the work on the day. We had a lovely day and saw so many places that Lenny and I slept like the proverbial logs on the tube journey home.
When I woke up the next day I realised that Raffa hadn’t ticked off all the sights she wanted to see. We had missed seeing a Yeoman of the Guard, also known as a Beefeater.
This bugged me for quite some time in the weeks and months that followed. Mum and dad could see there was something preoccupying me and we decided we would do something about it. We wanted it to be a surprise for Raffa and her mum. Sadly Raffa then made her longest journey to the Rainbow Bridge. This only strengthened my resolve to finish Raffa’s tick list. We decided to try and contact the Tower of London people to see if they could help us. I dictated an email for dad to send to the Tower of London and we waited to see if there would be a reply. To our surprise we got a really fast response which said they would be only too pleased to help us and we should correspond further to make arrangements. Once dad had made concrete plans, I had to rein in my enthusiasm until the day I could escort dad on the tube back into London. We had to be quite quick as the pandemic was beginning to affect travel and people so we knew we wouldn’t have much time.
The day arrived and we were on our toes early towards the station. Onto the train, and before we knew it, we were through Marylebone and heading to the park. I had done it a few times before. I felt like a professional commuter.
We successfully negotiated the tube journey and found ourselves looking out at the Tower of London. Suddenly my ears were being tickled by a tall gentleman in a colourful coat and hat. Yeoman Sergeant Towell was standing smiling and we went off for the photo to be taken. Whilst the picture was being taken we had a chat with him. He was very welcoming and generous with his time, given that there were still some people who also wanted his help in being shown around the Tower. He was a beagle owner previously and also told us that there is a beagle who lives in the Tower, but I didn’t get to meet him. It was great fun and I walked back to the tube station with a spring in my step.
Within a couple of days, the pandemic intervened and it took some time to get a nice frame for the photo which we would send to Raffa’s mum. We hoped she would be happy that we had completed Raffa’s tick list. I gave the picture a kiss and we sent it off. Now we had to wait to hear if we had done the right thing.
We had done the right thing. Raffa’s mum loved the picture. Phew. She said it was wonderful and lovely and was a fitting reminder of the day. Phew once more. We couldn’t let you down by not finishing the postcard, Raffa.
We must say thank you to the Tower of London as they were unbelievably helpful and happy to help us at short notice.
We only went and had another adventure this morning. I suppose it helped our cause that we jumped up and down on dad at 6 am. We made sure he couldn’t lay in bed and be lazy. We were then released into the garden early and chased off the squirrels who dared to play on the premises whilst we were sleeping. The first half of our breakfast was served and then we were duly harnessed up to our various parents. For my sins I was attached to mum so I knew I had to behave.
Out of the house and along the lane, across the road and down past the river with the rock snake (a snake like line of rocks not an actual scary serpent). We went past the pub and then towards the paradise of a nice quiet walk around the lanes of Pednor, sniffing the rabbits and squirrels as we went. As it happens, there was a road closure so cars were being redirected down our nice quiet lane. What a liberty, do people not realise we had walks to do. Anyway, we continued over the little hill and checked out every single hedge and tussock of grass for scents of rabbit and squirrel. Sadly we didn’t manage to spot the rabbits playing in the field. We found out the rabbits were there because mum and dad saw them and “forgot” to tell us.
We decided to turn left at the bottom of the lane. We had arrived at the strangely named Herberts Hole. No one seems to know how it came by its name but I am pleased we know where it is, as it’s traffic free and the views are very pleasant.
We walked past the old barn and then up to the next junction where we could have climbed up the path to Blind Lane. However dad was still feeling a bit lazy so we decided to stroll back along Herberts Hole to the road.
We turned right and then left through the gate and onto the diagonal path across the two fields. As we went into the second field the horses were mooching about, eating grass and generally doing horse type things. Lenny shook to show them he was friendly. I think they just ignored him. I try to do the same, but he usually bites me to attract my attention. At this point we spotted about twenty rabbits who scattered very quickly as Lenny decided to test the bungee strength on the lead. Dad wasn’t for moving though.
Out of the gate and turn right back onto the lane. I gave Lenny the nod to warn him we were on the way home and he duly applied the beagle brakes. Sadly for us dad is a bit more impatient than mum and we tend to find ourselves moving a bit quicker than we would prefer. So it was back past the pub and within a far too short period we were at home, just in time to run around the garden chasing each other and getting very dirty paws. Again, we had beaten the 9 am time limit for our shenanigans. Today though we were content to be back early as the sun was out and the weather was really rather warm.
Where shall we go next? Will we have fun? I suspect I already know the answer to the second question.
Introspection has had its time. Whilst I enjoy thinking about things I also enjoy having a good walk and snooter about in some of my favourite places.
This morning I was shackled to mum so Lenny had the pleasure of walking around the fields with the immovable object, aka dad. A quick check to make sure the coast was clear for social distancing and we were on our way. “Let them decide which way they want to go”, says mum. A wink and a woof with Lenny and we decide to go the fields. There will be plenty of deer, rabbit and squirrel trails there. Its Monday morning and the trails will be fresh.
Turn left and along the footpath, then left again, through the trees and sit at the road like the good boys we are. Through the gate and into the first field. Breathe in. Smell the scents, the heady aroma of fun and frolicsome adventures. And let the daily pulling on the lead session begin!
Around the first field and then straight on through the second, left at the hedgerow and we get the first refusal from mum as we want to go along the tree line where we know the best deer scents are and we do our best baying. We are told some guff about it being early and waking up half the town when we smell the deer so we are forced to turn right. Sadly for mum, we smell it anyway as we skirt the barley in the field. The hill is alive with the sound of aroooo. I’m sure there’s a song in there somewhere. To the next hedge, turn left, then right at the other end to make sure we cover both sides of it much to the exasperation of mum and dad.
Thence to the big field, the mile field, the best field as it holds the most scents and we can bay away. We can also shark our way through the barley, which bends and springs back once we have woven our way through on the trail of mice and small critters. As we emerge every now and then, we have wet bonces which makes mum and dad laugh at our “stupidity”. Also our silly grins confirm we are enjoying ourselves.
Out of the field and we are suddenly at the top of “Squirrel Alley”. This is more usually known as Penn Grove and a wander through always provides the fun of chasing the little furries back up their trees. We are not sure mum and dad enjoy it as much though, slipping on the loose gravel as we pull and yank in so many different directions at the same time. I was particularly impressed with Lenny’s “pancaking” this morning. His ability to splay all four legs and lower his trajectory to almost scrape his belly, in pursuit of the elusive squirrel, was admirable, as was his ability to kick up dirt and gravel all over dad. Oh my, how we laughed.
Once we realise we are on our way back, I give Lenny the nod and he starts to apply the “Beagle Brakes” so the return is slowed considerably, much to the frustration of our staff who need to get back as they have “things to do”. The brakes are applied more readily as we get closer to home but we then speed up again when we realise we are going through Duck Alley (this one is actually called Duck Alley). I always leap into the river for a cooling paddle, whilst Lenny usually dips his toe nails and stands in the mud along the edges. Yesterday he managed a full “up to his belly” stroll through the river although mum did have to go in as well, in her wellies. Through the little wood and back to our house for food and shenanigans around the garden. All before 9 am.
We are lucky to have this on our doorstep. We will always enjoy it. I wonder where we will go tomorrow.
Another warm and sultry day starts in my home town. The weather is set fair, the parents are going to be busy, so Lenny and I are on our toes early. We too have supervising to do in the garden, when we return from our walk. Ok we usually have our eyes shut, or we are playing bitey face in the middle of the lawn, but we are still aware of what is going on around us.
We are suitably shackled to our respective parent and off we go. We pass the pub, cross the road, wade through the river which crosses the lane and still hasn’t been fixed despite many, many calls from people to the local authority, to find ourselves with a view of the countryside becoming greener and noisier with the birds and creatures in the hedgerows and fields each day. The Lapwings swoop and circle, the geese sit on their precarious nest, the rabbits run scared back to their burrow and the foxes watch it all with anticipation from their hiding places in the woods. Along the lanes we march, sniffing and scenting all the time, in the vain hope that our parents won’t be looking when we dart into the hedge and come back with a live rabbit. Sadly another day passes without any prey actually being caught. Maybe I am losing my touch, who knows.
Off the lane, along the path past the barn and then turn left up the steep hill. This is the section where our parents are glad that we pull and yank on our leads as we drag them up to the top of the gravel path and into the relative calm and quiet of the stroll through the woods along the edge of the field full of wheat swaying gently in the summer breeze.
Descending we are reined in fully so as not to go too wild eyed if we see a squirrel cross our path. Cross the lane and into the field with the horses. Lenny has learned that if he is quiet and respectful then they are actually quite friendly.
He used to bay at them, however, now he whimpers a little and shakes to let them know he’s friendly. We are getting used to the kissing gates at the edge of the fields and then it is back along the road, through the river, past the pub which mum and dad will visit once it re-opens. Alongside the river and soon we are through the door to our house. We have our paws and bellies wiped clean and then its time to squabble until breakfast is served.
Time for supervising in the garden. Our various beds are put out in numerous locations on the patio, however we ignore them for the first twenty minutes or so, as we are still busy chasing each other around the garden having fun. We are baying at the top of my voice, barrelling into one another, fighting in a heap on the grass and then end up laying next to each other exhausted. I think this maybe a subliminal message from mum and dad that if we are tired we are quieter. Anyway, once we have made sure that the garden is secure from invaders and all scent trails have been relentlessly pursued we settle down to ensure that our grounds are tended to our satisfaction.
Lenny will get pieces of twig and small branches and deliberately chew them in the middle of the lawns. This ensures that the grass is cut regularly. I will make certain that all the holes we kindly dug over the preceding days and weeks are in exactly the right places for a beagle. Whether they’re in the correct places for mum and dad to plant flowers and shrubs, well, thats not my problem. Lenny has recently started to check on the growing rhythms of the carrot seedlings which were put out in the vegetable patch earlier this week. For some reason he keeps getting told to “get off the soil and stop trampling on the seedlings”. We are always on hand to help with the watering of whichever shrubs and plants look like they need a bit of a dousing. We have been known to do the watering whilst mum or dad have been on the plant nearby. Again they don’t seem too enamoured by our assistance.
Lenny and I are proud of our efforts to make sure the garden is kept neat and tidy, fully stocked with plenty of pollen fuelled plants for the bees and ensure that the tracks across the flower borders which are not the racetracks that Lenny and I use regularly to maintain our fitness are kept weed free for mum and dads access. I suppose we are lucky to have a nice garden which we enjoy. I don’t take it for granted by any stretch of my imagination as I know there are others who cannot enjoy a little bit of colour outside their house.
We will continue to try and ensure that our garden is up to scratch. It’s difficult as one parent in particular doesn’t seem to listen to our advice. He seems to believe we are messing about and squabbling in the middle of the lawn, when we are actually giving him guidance. If only he knew.
I think this quarantine is getting to me. As people will know I have some favourite walks and some of them are off limits at the moment. Much as I would love to go and ride the tube into London, I cannot. We can, apparently, jump in the car and go somewhere “for the day as long as we return home before dark”. This sounds to me like something worrying happens once darkness falls upon the land. I already know that Lenny bites me in daylight as well as at night so I am not sure what could happen that is worse. Anyway I am going off track slightly so I shall return to the point in hand. Or point in paw in my case.
We were out on a stroll recently and were being buzzed by cars, cyclists and runners. Every minute or so, Lenny and I were being hauled in as people were approaching us and the lane was fairly narrow. Due to recent restrictions the number of other people out and about has greatly reduced. Do the cyclists and runners not understand that we are supposed to be sniffing the creatures in the hedges and fields. We had been on the outward leg for around 2-3 miles and it was fun despite the regular reining in we had to endure so we weren’t run over by cars, cycles or runners. We had even managed to find the dead rabbit carcass that had lain by the edge of the road for about six weeks. Sadly we were not allowed to play tug with it. Anyway on the return leg we were still getting hauled back, so I decided to take matters into my own paws. I told Lenny to hang a left on a particular corner so we could walk through a field that I know is pretty much always empty. Its bliss usually, and so it proved again. Just the parents, Lenny and I. And the buttercups and daisy flowers.
The horses in the next field looked up half surprised to see anyone wandering through and then continued with their grass eating activities. Lenny saw the rabbits in the hedgerow and became a crazed, wild-eyed, rabbit catching fiend in an instant. I joined in with the pulling on the lead as it seemed like fun, but my favourite prey is deer or squirrel so it was a bit of a muted effort from me, I am afraid. He calmed down eventually.
We strolled on through the next field and out onto the small lane back towards home. Through the little river that is currently running across the road and past the pub we wandered.
When I got back I wondered to myself about the little detour. I hadn’t been in that field for some time and I had almost forgotten how quiet it was. It made a nice change to just do something a bit different. Maybe this quarantine is dulling my senses.
Tomorrow I will look for another detour or, maybe, I will send Lenny to find one. He’ll enjoy that.
I loved my grandad Chas. He would tell me that I was ‘andsome and give me some of the best ear ruffles, chin tickles and back scratches I can remember. Sadly he went to the Rainbow Bridge in December 2017 and I miss him quite a bit. I told Lenny about him. I think Lenny had something in his eye when I had finished telling him what a good bloke grandad Chas was.
Anyway, grandad Chas took lots of pictures and most of them have ended up in my house on something called a computer. We were having a look through them and saw there were a large number of Malta, where he was stationed during his National Service between 1958 and 1962. National Service was like a conscription into the Armed Forces of your country and you could be sent, or stationed, in many different places. Grandad Chas was ground crew for some RAF planes, mainly Shackletons, stationed on the island of Malta. Anyway here is a little tour of Malta from around 1958 – 1962 courtesy of grandads camera. Not sure if he actually did any work whilst he was there, mind you.
This gate was originally constructed in 1720 with one arch and has survived many conflicts. The second arch was added in 1868.
This is a late 19th Century defunct Methodist church, now a state owned building on Triq Sarria.
The tower was part of an aqueduct system bringing water from higher ground around Mdina and Rabat to Floriana and Valletta.
The Grand Harbour would have been the centre of life in the post war period along with the late 1950’s as the island was continuing to rebuild after the conflict of the Second World War.
The address looks like 56, Save Street or 56 Sane Street. It could be 56 St. Anne Street but I cannot be certain and cannot find it on any contemporary mapping service. The picture is interesting as the road seems to come to a dead end at the steps, however it turns left and then seems to disappear into a tunnel. This makes me think it is in the oldest, more fortified part of the island, likely to be centred around St Anne’s or St Julian’s in Valletta.
I wonder what these streets and buildings look like now. I wonder if anyone knows where the unknown street is located. Sadly grandad Chas isn’t around now to ask.
I am lucky as I have a large number of friends on Twitter. In fact it is difficult sometimes for mum and dad to keep up with all the tweets. My friends and I all have fun together, look after each other and give each other a shoulder to cry on, or paw of comfort, when needs must. It’s nice sometimes as we feel like a big family and we know that, despite not meeting the vast majority of those friends, we hope we can still count on each other as pals.
I had already met Raffa, one of my best pals, when I was on holiday in the Lakes. This was in my previous blog. She was so nice and friendly, and even made me blush when we nose bumped to say good bye. We had great fun. I then heard from another pal, Charley, that there was a large gathering due to take place before Christmas 2016. I gave my humans those eyes that only dogs can give and a plan was hatched with Charley and, his brofur, Boot. They told me the annual gathering was somewhere near Sheffield. When people were there, baubles were hung on a special tree to commemorate those furs we have loved and lost over the years. Charley’s mum said it would be fun if we could go along and to keep it a surprise for the other furs, all of whom I woof with regularly. It is quite a long journey for us so we thought about it, and I continued to give mum and dad the “eyes” to persuade them. We said we would try to come along and agreed it would be a surprise for everyone else who was there.
Fortunately the weather was set fair for the particular day so we set off very early in the morning to try and get there on time. The sad thing is that we had just lost another pal who had gone over the Rainbow Bridge in the week prior to meeting up so we knew that it might be a bit emotional.
Having arrived 5 minutes late, we strolled nonchalantly towards all my pals who were being readied for the stroll around the reservoir. I am afraid I might have given the game away by arooing rather noisily. Charley’s mum wondered aloud “Oh, there seems to be another Beagle here, I wonder who this could be?” Everyone seemed quite happy to see us, and we were happy to see the rest of my pals and their humans. We think it was a nice surprise, we certainly hoped so. Auntie Sarah, who had lost her sweet beagle Boo the week before the tweetup, got leaky eyes when she saw me. She also told me that my messages for her were lovely and had helped her with her heartbreak. I managed to give her leg leans to reassure her that what I had tweeted was a true story. I did have to woof to her to stop giving me tickles and making me feel sad and get leaky eyes as well. Did she not realise I had a rufty tufty image to maintain here.
I got to meet Eddy, Tean, Nut, Oggy, Raffa, Charley and Boot. We all walked along woofing at each other, and enjoying all the sniffs and scenery in this lovely part of the countryside. The humans were chattering away too. I found out that Oggy is a rescue beagle from a laboratory in Hungary so he was very scared of many things. This was bad and I had leaky eyes when I walked next to him. We all tried to look after him as much as possible. At one point there were some motorbikes which were going to whizz past, and he had to be picked up and shielded from the noise and smell. I had worried ears for him, but auntie Sarah cuddled him so tight to protect him. However the further we walked, the calmer he seemed to be and we had a good woof as we wandered around, up hill and down dale. We unfortunately missed meeting Bryher, who is Teans sister, as she wasn’t very well and had to stay home. Eddy is a good lad too, bigger than me and pulls on the harness as much as I do. We woofed about life in general. Raffa was in her chariot for most of the walk, as she had damaged her cruciate ligament and was being told to rest up and be safe. Dad got the honour of pushing her chariot again for a while, just like in the Lakes. Charley and Boot strolled along taking in the scenery. I found out that they live in the countryside so they are used to having lovely views and scenery. We got to the tree, people hung their Christmas baubles and had their quiet thoughts to themselves and we continued our walk around the reservoir. It was a lovely place and we chatted for a long time.
We all ended up at a cafe and the humans had cakes and buns and coffee. Apparently it was a bit cold for some of them, and I must say mum did look a bit blue and frozen. Then the final surprise was that I got some cards and presents from my friends which was very nice, and very unexpected. I didn’t have anything to give them in return and I had guilty ears about this. But they woofed that, because I had come a really long way to see them, they would forgive me. I knew immediately that these were good friends and would be friends forever.
Dad drove home and I slept for most of the way, even when the trucks and coaches were driving so close behind us, that I could read their number plates.
What a great day, what great friends. I had so much fun I wanted to do it all over again. I would have to sleep on it though.