Autumn is one of my favourite times

I have been here some time now and have seen the seasons come and go. I love to explore as much as possible so I can see the colours changing in the woods and fields nearby my house. As I have said before, I am lucky to live on the edge of the Chilterns, a 46 mile long chalk escarpment to the north west of London. This year I am even more honoured as I have been able to show Lenny what it is like in the summer. Now we move into the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness (thank you Mr John Keats), I shall show him the beauty of the hills as they change. The summers here are kinder than the one he encountered last year in Cyprus, where he was rescued from. Now the skies become darker, the clouds thicken and the rain is falling at a steadier rate than summer. Fruit has been picked, the crops are harvested and the creatures are scurrying about making their winter larders full of tasty food to maintain themselves during the winter that is to come.

As green leaves turn to brown and come tumbling from their lofty perches among the trees, I feel like I am walking on a carpet of warm summer goodness whilst looking out for my friends, the squirrels, rabbits and deer that now forage for their winter stores. The fields are ploughed and the hedgerows rustle with the wind. The paths through the fields and woods become soggy and the grass is springy under my paws. The horses, adorned with their thicker waterproof coats, munch the last of the summer grass in the meadow as we stroll happily past them, giving a sideways glance to show our deference and friendliness. Every now and then I look at Lenny and he seems to be trying to comprehend everything so quickly. I try to get him to understand that he will have many autumns to enjoy, strolling in the cooling breeze and finding new sights at the turn of many corners. For now though he seems intent on filling his senses with as much as he can. I think he’s enjoying it.

The squirrels are this way

Lenny and I stroll through the lanes and byways and watch the belts of trees repeat their ever changing cycle of buds to green leaves and fruits, green leaves to brown and thence to the carpet of foliage on which we walk. He hasn’t seen this change yet, certainly not here in the UK. I’m looking forward to seeing what he makes of Winter.

My house is over there

Record holders reunion

We have known for a while that we were due to go to Beaglelandia at Capesthorne Hall, near Macclesfield in the UK. It was to be a celebration event for last years Beagle World Record of which I was a part. We were really keen to go so knew we had to work on Lenny’s worries about travelling in the car. We have been taking him in the car more often so he can become better accustomed to longer journeys. He was struggling when he took his first trip in the car. We took him out to Wendover Woods and Ashridge Common amongst others. He has come on leaps and bounds so we were becoming more confident he would be ok.

An early morning start with a quick stroll around the fields is always welcome, although I did have suspicious ears as to what was going on at 6 am on a Sunday. I am not sure if my parents realised there was such a thing as Sunday 6 am before Lenny arrived. Anyway our walk was followed by breakfast and I knew this was a little different to normal but didn’t let on to Lenny as it might have worried him. When the car boot opened I leapt in so Lenny would be encouraged to follow, however he seemed to realise there was something awry and had to be lifted into the car. Off we set, and motorway followed motorway. An hour or so into the journey, Lenny settled and curled up. I was still busy watching where we were going. It was great that Lenny hardly stirred during the trip to Macclesfield for some three hours.

We arrived at Capesthorne Hall and the man on the gate showed us the way to the parking area. As soon as the car boot opened I was greeted by the same, familiar smells from last years event. I was also greeted by the song of the breed filling my ears as it had done last year. When I turned to see Lenny he was sitting smiling and looking really excited to get out and meet as many of the beagles as possible. In fact Lenny was also arooing in my ear, which was a good indication that he was ready to have some fun. However being shackled mean’t we had to be restrained in our exit from the car boot.

Excuse me Ms Raffa, my name is Lenny.

I soon saw my good friend, Boot the Spaniel, and I greeted him as you would expect. Lenny was next to me sniffing the grass and enjoying all the sights and smells. I introduced Lenny to Boot. Moments later, we saw Griff and said hello to him too. It was quite a poignant time to see Boot and Griff as we had completed the walk the previous year with their brother, Charley Beagle, who sadly passed over the Rainbow Bridge a year ago this week. We made sure we gave Charley’s mum a leg lean when we got a tickle from her. Within minutes we saw Raffa which was great as I could introduce Lenny to her also. I had warned him that Raffa is an older lady beagle so he had to be mindful and have good manners. He didn’t let me down and was very polite and gentle when he greeted Raffa with a nose bump.

We were strolling across the field and suddenly mum and dad stopped to say hello to another couple of people. It turns out that the people were the mums of Tyrrell and Tink, who are two of our great friends from Australia. It was a total surprise for all of us and we were tickled, stroked and cuddled to within an inch of our furry lives by our “aunties Nic and Annette” from Oz. Everyone was very welcoming and they all wanted to meet Lenny as this was the first time he had been allowed out. I was, as usual, happy to let Lenny hog the limelight so he could be tickled, stroked and cooed over quite a bit. Then we were off again, strolling across the lush grass toward the stalls selling all manner of dog related items. Coming toward us were Dolly and Daisy, two more of our friends from Twitter. We said hello to them in our usual restrained manner. This was a great day, and we started to think it couldn’t get any better surely. Then it did get better as we bumped into Ruby who is a 15 year old beagle lady who is another of our pals from Twitter. We were very polite because she is another older lady beagle and, whilst we can be a couple of hooligans sometimes, we do know when to behave correctly.

Raffa and Ruby – 2 grand dames of Beagledom

We had a picnic with our pals under the shade of some lovely trees and the humans ate their food and chatted whilst we all rested and preserved our energy for afternoon shenanigans.

After lunch we went to the main show ring to see Raffa compete in the Best Older Beagle Category and watched aghast as she didn’t win. Another beagle won. We were shocked.

Hurry up Lenny, follow my lead.

After we had regained our composure, we walked around the route of the Beagle World record and I managed to pull dad round the entire circuit just like I did last year. We were overtaking people who moved aside as a result of my dad telling them “Sorry, hooligan beagle coming through”. Lenny and mum walked around at a more sedate pace, along with Boot, Griff, Raffa, Dolly, Daisy and Ruby. Raffa, Boot and Ruby went round the course in their chariots as they are older furs and they need to rest their bones more often than us young whippersnappers.

The Charioteers (Boot, Raffa, Griff and Ruby)

Once the walk was finished we tucked into our dinner with some speed as we were hungry. We had to eat quickly though, as there was a group photo of all the dogs who had taken part in the day. The camera drone was put up and we all waved our paws to make sure everyone could see us in the picture.

Drone? What drone?

Only after all the shenanigans did everyone decided that we had had enough fun for the day and made plans to return home. Lenny and I tried our best to persuade the humans to stay but they were adamant that we should get back in the crates in the car and return home. People said cheerio to one another and everyone set off home. I was tired and when I looked at Lenny I could see he was out on his paws too. I remember dad starting the car and I remember arriving home. I think I slept and dreamed of having great fun with all my friends. Lenny is good in the car, he managed both legs of the trip without incident and he was polite to all our pals. We loved meeting friends again and wondered when we would get the chance to do it all once more.

We shall sleep on that thought.

Wendover Woods again

Another early morning wake up call could mean only one thing. We are off for another adventure so I can show Lenny more walks and shenanigans in some of the lovely places around the Chilterns. We went for a whizz around the garden. It was a whizz for Lenny but a stroll for me as I have managed to damage my leg so I am on light duties. A quick breakfast and we find ourselves being loaded into the car and off we set. Who knows where? We know not.

Through the town and down the lanes, up the hill and past the pub sadly damaged by fire. The road winds and twists away into the distance as we travel in a direction I find vaguely reminiscent. Lenny leant on me through our travel crate bars and I reassured him that we were probably going somewhere fun and hopefully exciting. We were going somewhere good, as its turns out. Once the car stopped and the boot opened we both arooed as we could smell all the lovely scents of the forest filling our eager noses. This is Wendover Woods I told him. He looked at me blankly. We were harnessed to a human and gently allowed out of the car. When I say gently, what I actually mean is we leapt out and tried to run after the squirrel that had darted across behind us. Mum and dad weren’t particularly impressed.

Sniff, sniff this is fun

Off to the trails, we followed the path down the hill, turning left and right, sniffing all the while in the bracken and scrub which hugged the paths and covered the ground around the trees. There were so many scents here, we were both tired after a fairly short period of time. I looked at Lenny and he had a huge grin on his face, his tongue was hanging out and his eyes were trying to take in as much scenery as they could. We stopped to have a drink of water and found we were on the edge of the woods, with the fields and small villages beyond stretching away to the horizon. Lenny was loving these new scents and sights. I was quite enjoying it as well, to be honest.

This is great, just as you said it would be

We set off and immediately got onto an uphill section of the forest track. This is where our “four paw drive” comes into effect as we helped our respective human climb the hill with relative ease. Just as we thought the walk was over we heard the words “ooh look, there’s a trail to Boddington Hill Fort there, shall we go and see what its like?” We needed no second invitation so Lenny and I set off pulling the parents along the trail.

Is that a squirrel I see?

Back to the car and loaded in for the trip home and I can see that he’s not looking at me blankly any longer. We both fell asleep with “silly grins” on our faces. Another quick whizz around the garden when we arrived home and we were happily snoozing on our comfy beds.

Lenny and I can recommend Wendover Woods, its a great place for furs and humans alike. They even have things for the children to do with tree top walks and adventure areas. And there is the big scary Gruffalo looking out over the landscape. We didn’t see him this time so maybe next time we visit.

Return to Ashridge.

Today we decided that we would take Lenny to Ashridge. This is a National Trust estate between Tring and Berkhamsted, so quite close to where we live. We have visited Ashridge before Lenny arrived and given that it is now 2 weeks since his little operation, we thought it might be a reward for him not licking or chewing stitches whilst he’s been under house arrest.

Setting off in the car, I just dived into the boot so Lenny could understand that the car isn’t bad and, usually, there are good things when we stop and are let out to run around on the end of leads. He’s still a little sheepish about getting into the travel crate, but when he’s in, then he’s fine. In fact he is travelling better now and tends to lie down for a chill and relax. Mum and dad noticed that sometimes we sit up in our crates and lean onto each other as if to reassure ourselves that everything is ok. We are gradually getting Lenny more accustomed to travelling in the car. It was twenty five minutes to Ashridge this morning and he was really good.

When we arrived and the boot was opened I could immediately smell familiar scents. I told Lenny in no uncertain terms that this was going to be fun and it was a pity that we would be on the end of leads, as we would be able to run for hours. However we had to make do with pulling mum and dad around for a while, so this was almost as acceptable.

This is ace.

Across the common and round the edge of the woods we went. Lenny was enjoying all the scents and sights I had told him about. We were looking out for critters in the long grass, but I think they had been warned we were around today. The only downside was that we weren’t allowed in the woods as this was deemed to be “too exciting” for us. We were panting like a couple of steam trains but this doesn’t excuse mum and dad’s meanness at banning us from the woods. I mean, what could we possibly go wrong with a pair of beagles in the woods?

Wonder if that’s where the deer live?
Told you it was fun, didn’t I?

After a couple of hours it was decided we should return home. We slept most of the way back home so we had a great time and it was a good way to show Lenny another place we can enjoy. We took a slightly longer route home so it would test Lenny a bit more in the car. Forty minutes or so and he passed with flying colours.

Return to Jeffrey Johnson’s pubs

As many of my friends and followers will remember, I saw a blog a while ago on Spitalfieldslife.com relating to some old pubs photographed by a gentleman called Jeffrey Johnson. As a result in April 2019 I sent my dad off to London to investigate if the pubs were still present and, if not, find out what is there in its place.

There were a number of extra photographs in the collection held at the Bishopsgate Institute which hadn’t been published. So we decided it was about time dad was allowed another day off and we packed him off to stroll through the streets of London. Thirteen miles of walking later, this is his report on a number of pubs and other buildings some of which appear to have ceased any existence and others which have changed their use.

All the original photographs taken from the 1960’s – 1980’s are the property of Jeffrey Johnson. All the new photographs are the property of me, @rescuedogdexter.

Wheatsheaf, Stoney Street, London Bridge

The pub was rebuilt in 1840. It was given Grade II listing in 1998 and then closed temporarily in 2009 for four years whilst the top storey was removed to allow another railway bridge to be placed directly above. Sadly the pub was caught up in the London Bridge attack in 2017.

Fullers pub, Monument

For a Fullers pub, there appears to have been a dearth of information on it. We believe it was called the Monument and was present until shortly after 1987. It was redeveloped as offices, a bar and Boots the Chemist amongst other stores.

Mappin & Webb, Bank Junction

The old Mappin & Webb building was designed in 1870 by a gentleman called John Belcher. It had listed status. Despite such protection, it was demolished in 1993 to make way for One Poultry which was completed in 1997. The building stands on the corner of Queen Victoria Street and Cheapside. It houses offices and, at one time, a rooftop bar.

St Ethelburga’s Church, Bishopsgate

First recorded in 1250 as St Adelburga the virgin, the church was rebuilt around 1411. At some time during the 16th century it had a wooden porch placed over the entrance to house 2 shops in order that the church could raise more money. The church was extensively damaged in 1993 when an IRA bomb was placed around 30 feet from the entrance and caused major damage to Bishopsgate. It was rebuilt in its original manner after a public outcry over plans for the building to be removed and altered significantly. The church is Grade I listed. It is now a Centre for Reconciliation and Peace.

Magpie & Punchbowl, 86 Bishopsgate

A short distance along Bishopsgate from St Ethelburga’s was situated the Magpie & Punchbowl. It occupied a corner plot with one of the old alleyways prevalent in London through history, being Clarks Place leading to Wrestlers Court. This hostelry was another victim to the IRA bomb which devastated Bishopsgate in 1993. It was rebuilt and incorporated into an office block. However this was also subsequently demolished and is now part of the 100 Bishopsgate office project.

Aldgate office block

Aldgate is a ward in The City of London. It is bounded on the east by the line of the former London Wall, part of which remains and can be seen in an office just out of view in the photographs. The area bounded by Aldgate (the street itself) and Duke’s Place is now pedestrianised. The office itself is somewhat of a mystery regarding who owned it, or who was housed within.

The Rising Sun, Tower Bridge Approach

The Rising Sun appears to have been located in the Tower Hill, Mansell Street and Shorter Street triangle. The address was 12 Royal Mint Street, which is to the left of the old photograph. Due to the building of an office it was not possible to obtain a similar view to the original photograph, however the view toward Tower Bridge and St Katharine’s Way is clearly shown. The pub was closed in 1969 but was still present to be photographed in 1977.

Old Red Lion, 24-29 Whitechapel High Street, E1

Situated next to one of the entrances to Aldgate East Underground station, the Old Red Lion was built around 1835 and demolished in 1983. The older picture shows the pub between the Underground entrance and Lloyds Bank, and the P&O London office of Beagle House rising ominously to the rear. Now it is all swept away, with Aldgate Tower standing on the site. The entrance to Aldgate East remains (remodelled) on the right side of the latest photograph.

Christ Church Spitalfields E1

The church hasn’t changed since the original photograph was taken. However the surrounding area has altered significantly. The London Wool Exchange, in the row of buildings to the right of the church in the first picture, is now a glass office block with only a facade of the old brick frontage remaining. Spitalfields Market to the left of the pictures now houses a number of boutique shops and restaurants along with a market.

Turks Head, 308 Brick Lane E1

Located at the northern end of Brick Lane a pub has existed on the site since approximately 1790. Originally addressed as 1 Turk Street before Brick Lane was extended. The pub was still open in 1968 and demolished sometime thereafter. The location of the pub on Turk Street appears to be on the corner of Virginia Road and Chambord Street.

Manchester Arms, 155 Hackney Road E2

A pub was on the site sometime prior to 1872. It had a name change in 1991 and was subsequently closed in 1994. It became retail premises and has been a ladies hairdresser, a taxi office and currently is a barbershop.

The Sporting Life, Wilmot Street, E2

Located close to Bethnal Green Overground station, a pub has been present since before 1792. The pub was originally called the Lamb. Its name was changed in later years to The Sporting Life. It was closed in 1993 and converted to residential use.

Hat & Feathers 2 Clerkenwell Road EC1M

A pub has been open on this site between 1782 and 1990, then closed for around 17 years and reopened between 2007 and 2011. It is now closed again and there seems to be no sign of any re-opening. A former Taylor Walker pub.

Princess of Wales 1 Bridport Place, N1

This was a difficult pub to locate due to the lack of information available from the initial picture. There are a number of pubs called Princess of Wales. The pub was bombed in 1944 during WWII and was completely demolished. Left derelict for a considerable period of time, housing now occupies the site.

Blue Coat Boy 415 City Road, EC1

The pub was known as the Blue Angel at the time of its demolition in 1990. Offices now occupy the space, with a home-brew pub called the Brewhouse & Kitchen on the ground floor.

Kings Arms, Gard Street, off Moreland Street EC1

A Banks & Taylor pub. Appears to have been opened around 1810 and closed in 1974. Subsequently demolished to make way for flats.

Cannon Brewery 160 St John Street, EC1

Founded in 1720 by Rivers Dickinson, John Dickinson & Richard Dickinson. Two of them were then declared bankrupts in 1817. It changed hands a number of times more. In 1863 it was owned by George Hanbury & Barclay Field. It became a Registered Company in 1895 with 110 public houses allied to the brewery. The business was acquired by Taylor Walker in 1930 and became Ind Coope (London) Ltd in 1960.

The White Horse 90 Fetter Lane EC4

A pub was present by 1766 and known in the early years as the Oxford House as it was the starting point for the stage coaches heading for Oxford. It was rebuilt in the style of the first photograph around 1899 and subsequently closed and then demolished in 1989. An office was built in its place, which was again demolished and replaced by the office seen in the latest picture.

The Globe, 1 Hosier Lane, Little Britain EC1A

Locating this pub was interesting. It is shown as No.7 Hosier Lane, however records show it as No.1 Hosier Lane. The building believed to currently occupy the site is shown as No.23 Hosier Lane. Located to the south of Smithfield Market, the former Charringtons pub had been open between 1869 – 1961.

Old King Lud 12 Ludgate Circus

The pub was built in 1870, purchased by Isaac Levy in 1894 and became part of the Chef & Brewer chain of pubs, selling Whitbread beer. A couple of closures followed for refurbishments until it was closed permanently in 2005 and turned into mixed use office and cafe.

Baynard Castle, 148 Queen Victoria Street EC4

On the corner of Queen Victoria Street and St Andrew’s Hill just south of St Pauls Cathedral, the pub was renamed Cos Bar in 2006 and is now a bar and restaurant called Rudds Bar.

We hope you enjoyed our walk through some of the lesser known parts of London. Sadly too many of the establishments have disappeared from sight, however their presence is maintained through the photographic records.

Marigold, our friend

I was going to write a blog this week on another set of wonderful people who rescue dogs and bring them to the safety and security of loving homes here in the UK. However, I heard some awful news overnight about one of my dear friends, who I never met, but whom I felt I knew.

I am writing too many blog articles about friends who are going to the Rainbow Bridge. Today is no exception and it fills me with dread and quite some sorrow to be tackling the subject once more.

Marigold lived in Midwest America, she was 13 and a half which is a pretty good age for a beagle. Marigold was one of the happiest, laid back, most outgoing and friendly pals I have ever woofed with.

Marigold happy as usual

Marigold was always out exploring the lake, the park, the parking lot and even the takeaway section of the local burger joint. She loved life, she never had a cross woof for any body or any pal. She is a thoroughly decent, kind and lovely friend.

Enjoying a stroll by the lake

Everyone loved Marigold and Marigold loved everyone. She passed to the Rainbow Bridge peacefully and with a piece of her mum and dad’s hearts going with her. If I am truthful, she has taken a piece of all her friends hearts with her. It is an honour to know of you Marigold, and it is an equal honour to know that I am one, amongst many, of your friends.

Come on, the critters are over here

Run free dear sweet Marigold for you are out of pain and suffering. Farewell my friend until we meet again and you can show me the way across the Rainbow Bridge. Today I patrolled in your honour.

Farewell sweet Marigold

Farewell but never goodbye, Marigold my friend. The world seems a little emptier today.

I have something in my eye.

Rest easy Winston

Sometimes I come across a fur who inspires so many people to do so many things.

I had the honour and good fortune to be able to interview Winston the Brave a short while ago and what came across in our discussion was the strength of character, resolve and determination to make sure that perceived disabilities did not hinder Winston’s desire to live as fun a life as possible.

Winston, Bruv (Maxx) and Mumz were a gang, a unit, a band of brothers if you will. They were given some potentially bad news about Winston with regard to a cyst on his spine that needed an operation. There was scar tissue and the initial diagnosis was “it would be easier to have him put to sleep”. This infuriated Mumz who saw clear and irrefutable evidence that Winston wasn’t in pain and needed some assistance instead of going on the longest journey too soon. Thanks to Mumz perseverance and Winston’s sheer determination to be as happy as possible for as long as possible, he lived on for many years after the operation. He got about fairly well on his hot wheels custom made for on road and off road travel. He had Mumz to help him all the while which allowed him to set up Zombie Squad. Bruv was the henchman, the sidekick who kept most of the ZS troops in line, when he wasn’t on the Baileys.

Now, whilst the primary reason of Zombie Squad was to fight the evil scourge of the zombie armageddon which humans are clearly failing to do properly, there was also the secondary reason behind it. So many people signed their dogs, cats, budgies, rabbits, horse etc up for Zombie Squad that it became an International service for fighting the undead. What it showed was that people from all over the world could come together and show compassion, kindness and civility to each other.

Winston took the longest journey on Easter Sunday. He had been suffering quietly for a while and decided that the time had come for him to join Bruv over the Rainbow Bridge. Whether he will join Bruv in the bar is another question entirely. His passing was mourned with sadness by many of his friends. However there also seems to be a sense of joy that so many people knew of Winston, were part of Zombie Squad, enjoyed reading his tales of adventure, enjoyed his cheeky backchat about Mumz and saw what he was able to do through Zombie Squad. To bring so many people together to be pleasant and thoughtful is a wonderful gift.

I never met Winston in the fur. I feel sorry that I did not do so. But I feel gladdened that I had the chance to woof with him, listen to him and to get some understanding of the fine fellow fur that he was. Rest easy Winston for your work here is done. Your legacy will live on, I am certain. That a dog with perceived disabilities was able to have an influence on so many is wonderful. Disabled, my paw. He had so much ability, strength, resilience and love in his paws that it was scary to consider.

Farewell Winston sir, never goodbye. Until we meet again, rest easy. *Saloots.