Timber!

I sometimes think my life is really dull and boring. You know the thing, you just plod through your days dragging a parent out on a walk whilst looking at trees and fields. When I get back, my brother is usually there readying himself to attack me in the style of the vampiric Beagle that he is. Anyway, this is how it all started on the Saturday just passed.

The parents woke up later than usual and decided it would be a good idea to go for a walk across the fields. It had been raining for the last few days so the ground was fairly wet. Lenny and I knew this meant there would be plenty of mud and puddles to splash about it, as well as drink from. Off we set, going via the alleyway where there is always a black cat that sits there goading us into trying to have fisticuffs with him. We try to entertain the feline mauler but we forget that we are shackled to a human and they are fairly adroit at spotting said furry hooligan. Turn left at the end of the alleyway and up the hill towards the fields. As we go through the gate the pastures stretch away in front of us and we are allowed to roam, pull and wander about at the end of our respective leads. Rabbits scatter for their burrows and the deer in the field to our right look up, no doubt sighing, and wander off to a safer place to eat the farmers crops. Straight through the first of numerous large muddy puddles and we skirt the edge of the woods at the top of the hillock only to come back down to earth and into the first ploughed field. We see another dog along the top path and say hello from across the field, much to the non amusement of the parents. Along the path by the hedge and just as we enter the second field we turn sharp left then right and take a walk around the edge of Penn Grove. More of Penn Grove later in the tail (see what I did there). We arrive at the opening in the hedges where the gravel track crosses, at which point we see the mile field ahead. Let the fun begin. We manage to pull and jerk on the leads so much that the parents are slipping whilst trying to regain some degree of control. It’s only when they notice that we have seen a deer some way off in the field that they realise why we seem to be entering a competition for “Best Sled Dog Beagle Team in Bucks, UK”. Having regained our composure as the errant deer strolled away we navigate our way around the field all the while ensuring that all the muddy puddles are navigated centrally with all our paws as well as the wellington boots of the relevant parent. I am sure they will thank us at some point. We manage to circumnavigate the field and find ourselves near the burn site where the farmer makes ash from various hedge cutting activities. It is starting to rain so the parents decide it’s best to take the direct route along the gravel track, through Penn Grove and back towards home. I give Lenny the nod and he applies the beagle brakes whilst attached to mum. We get into the wooded area and Lenny is still applying the beagle brakes, somewhat to the annoyance of mum and much to my pride, that I have taught him well. Dad and I marched on ahead and suddenly heard this Crack, Whoosh, Thud as a tree in front of us falls directly across our path. Timber! It wasn’t a big tree, maybe 70 foot tall (that’s about 21.3 metres to you metric aficionados). We stopped and looked back at mum and Lenny. They were aghast and agog whilst we just had silly grins on our faces with the excitement. With the swish of his catlike tail Lenny had turned mum around and was walking swiftly back the way we had come, so we could take a treeless detour and not have any tress falling on our heads. When we got to the other side of the horizontal tree we could see that the root was very shallow and very waterlogged. It was now that we heard and saw our pals Charley and Bromley, accompanied by their mums as usual, telling us that a tree had fallen down. Don’t we know it pals, it nearly hit us on the heads.

Home and a race around the garden chewing each others ears was clearly needed. I don’t live a quiet and dull life, sometimes excitement is just around the corner. On this occasion, waiting to fall on my head.

The joy of life

I was going to call this article “The Joy of Dex” but that may attract a different type of reader.

I’ve been watching my brother recently and noticed that he has settled so much faster than I did when I arrived. I am forever on the go, I need to see whats happening, when its happening and why. If someone goes out of the room, I will be right there dutifully trotting along behind. It has come to my ever increasing notice that Lenny just stays on his bed, lazily opens one eye to survey the scene and then falls back to sleep again.

Chalk and cheese we are referred to. The rare times upon which he will move swiftly usually involve food or going into the garden to run around like hounds possessed.

On our walks around the local lanes Lenny has started to find his own trails more often although we still sniff the same scents now and again. When we look at him, he is trotting along with his tongue hanging out, happiness writ large over his cheery little face.

Today I was in the office with mum whilst she worked away and dad made dinner. Lenny strolled to the door and asked politely if he could go outside, so dad obliged. Within five minutes there was a quiet bump on the door and Lenny was playing happily with a small unripe apple that had fallen from one of the trees in my small orchard. He picked up the apple, tossed it onto the patio and play bowed with it. He was so engrossed with such a small thing that brought him so much joy that he hardly noticed dad watching him.

Apparently he is a little heart melter just like me. We may be the same breed but we are so different in our nature. He is the epitome of a rescued dog living his best life with love and security showered upon him.

Freedom. Of sorts.

I have been very busy with one thing and another. As a result I have failed to let you know about some shenanigans that took place last Saturday and which were wholly unexpected. Sometimes they are the best ones so I shall seek to remedy my omission now.

We had heard mum and dad last week hoping that the weather at the weekend would stay reasonable, however we couldn’t quite find out what they needed good weather for. We were out on our paws early on Saturday last week which was a bit strange but a walk is a walk after all, whatever time it was taken. Upon our return we had a quick breakfast and found ourselves bundled unceremoniously into the car and off we set. To where, we knew not. Around the motorway and down the road, around the roundabout and across the cross roads. Up hill and down hill we went, on our merry way. It was only when we pulled across the driveway of grandads house that I realised where we were. Maybe the fact that I slept most of the way there didn’t help with my navigation skills. Lenny seemed eager to see this new place, despite him being here in December last year.

Having been released from our travel crates we went to explore the local playing fields and then the inside of grandads house. We remembered from our previous visit the best places to play which included but weren’t restricted to standing at the top of the stairs and baying at each other followed by running up and down the stairs. According to mum and dad this isn’t acceptable behaviour. Who knew? Anyway, we got a bit bored after a few hours of playing indoor snout jousting so it was decided we would get back in the car and go to the beach. Fortunately it wasn’t too far away so we only had to put up with dads driving for a short time. When we arrived at the beach it was windy. Very windy. I knew how windy it was as my ears were flapping behind my head like a world war one fighter ace. Tally ho, off we go.

Great ear flips Lenny. Pardon?

We strolled with the wind at our backs and watched as the sea crashed upon the shingle of the beach. Lenny and I were each harnessed to a heavy parent so we wouldn’t float away, which was quite possible. We went up to the edge of the waves and I stupidly forgot that seawater tastes awful. Lenny just laughed at me. We wandered along smelling all the new scents for a mile or so and then were told we would return to the car which sounded very boring as there were still many scents. However this is where the fun really started as we were now walking into the wind which was whipping up the sea spray and blowing it all over our faces and fur, even into our eyes. Mum was the only person to forget her sunglasses so she suffered quite a bit with “sea spray eyes”. Fortunately we could walk behind some shrubs which had established as a windbreak along a section of the beach and thus gave us some respite. When we got back to the car we were all covered in a salty film of seawater spray. Lenny and I were able to shake most of it from our fur and then lick ourselves clean. The humans accompanying us on our adventure were not quite as fortunate. A short drive later and we were back at grandads house. We ate our dinner and then for some unknown reason felt very tired, almost as if we had just had an adventure along the beach, all the while pulling and scenting.

Wonder what time we get dinner around here?

We knew our adventure was over when we were returned to the car for the homeward journey.

Snooze.

We slept most of Sunday, our brains and paws overworked with sights and scents. We were dreaming of another escapade and hoping it would come soon.

It was a day of freedom of sorts. We had been able to do shenanigans for the first time in a while and it felt good.

Do vampires have birthdays?

Happy birthday to my younger brother, Lenny. He’s two today as far as we know. He is a rescue just like me, although he is from Cyprus and I think I am from Wales.

Lenny has been here for sixteen months now and he has settled in very well. He has his paws firmly under the table. We play nicely and noisily in the garden which is always great fun. Whether it’s fun for the parents, who knows. When we go for patrols in the lanes and fields he is learning to sniff his own scents instead of trying to muscle in on my scents, like he used to do. Its good that he and I can walk side by side without too much interference. He has chilled out far more in the last year and now knows that this is his forever home. We can shenanigan in the garden pretty fairly now as he seems to be a bit quicker than his old brother, however I know all the shortcuts. He’s been to London twice, met Raffa, travelled to the Beagle World Record Reunion, been on many car rides and even went on the tube for a few times in the last year. He’s become more adventurous as well as more confident in his life here.

I’m glad I allowed him to come and live with me. We make a good team and I have taught him many of the things he needs to know about living here. However he did learn to stand on dads kidneys at six in the morning all by himself, so I can’t claim the credit for that little escapade.

Have a good birthday little brother. I am pleased you are my brother and proud ears that we get along so well.

Attached

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.

Come on dad, the fun is this way.

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.

Glad you are my brother.

On Dexters patch

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.

There are definitely squirrels here

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.

Is that where we’ve been, or where we’re going?

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.

Do not disturb.

It’s a hard life.

Off with his head.

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.

Nearly all ticked off.

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.

Dad, can we make this train go faster?

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.

This is for you Raffa.

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.

Pulling our parents around Pednor

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.

Rabbit Central, next stop

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.

Fields of Barley & poppies

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.

This is fun.

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.

Do you think they’re watching us?

Where shall we go next? Will we have fun? I suspect I already know the answer to the second question.

Fun in the sun

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!

The hills will be alive with the sound of arooo.

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.

Let’s go this way then the other.

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.

Dex Dex, there’s mice in here.

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.

Different day, different field

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.

Lenny, the rabbits aren’t at home.

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.

I feel on top of the world

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.

This is fun. Ooh look, rabbits!

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.

You’ve missed a bit. Yup, just over there.

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.

All this supervising is exhausting. Go fetch me a cold drink please.

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.