Nearly a teenager

Tomorrow I will be twelve. At least, I think I will be twelve as no one is completely sure about my actual date of birth. My microchip says 2010 but being a rescue I don’t really know for sure when my birthday is.

In any case I will celebrate it with my usual aplomb by eating my breakfast, having a walk or two, playing bitey face with Lenny and getting plenty of treats from my parents. Just like last year I wont be doing anything special as I have everything I want or need. I will enjoy my day because I know I am loved and I am safe. I also know that Lenny is safe and this makes my day happy.

That is the best birthday present I could have.

A change of scenery

I am aware that I haven’t blogged any of my adventures recently. In order to rectify this situation I made sure I was accompanied by a responsible adult and they took some pictures.

It was a bright and warm morning to explore the lanes to the west of the village. We set off at a quickened pace to ensure we didn’t miss any rabbits, squirrels or cats that may want to stroll across my path. We turned right at the end of the road, avoided being run over by the Sunday morning traffic and then right again onto the lane which took us to the edge of the village and beyond. We are lucky that there is a belt of greenery around the village and once past the houses, we can look across the fields toward the South Downs. Along the lane we marched, all the while with my nose no higher than 3 centimetres from the ground.

Up the hill we went, one of us scenting and the other puffing. Past the church and turn right again at the top of the hill.

This is where we would ordinarily continue to Thakeham which is the next village along. Here the instruction was given to me that we would only go to the first gate. I would usually squabble and pull a bit, however I was already warm and feeling a bit tired so I compliantly turned for home. I did managed to eat some greens though.

We managed a quick view of Chanctonbury and then descended the hill and back toward the village.

A sharp right meant a quick stroll through the village itself and I could try to introduce myself to a certain tabby cat that sits in a garden. Sadly he wasn’t around so the walk went without a hitch.

We returned home and a quick session of beating up Lenny ensued before our breakfast. It must be my age though, as I was pretty soon fast asleep on the floor.

A good walk was had. I wonder where I will go tomorrow.

Same breed? Really?

It has recently become more obvious, to me at least, that Lenny and I are very different.

We have been going on our walks and meeting various other four legged pals around the village. We have some new buddies called Bear and Loki who are a Chocolate Labrador and a Caucasian Ovtcharka respectively. At this point you may need to look up Loki’s breed as I am not sure how to describe him, apart from fun, large and boisterous. Bear is a big lad and a friendly happy dog to boot. I don’t mind happy pals and I’m content to try and play rough house with them, albeit whilst shackled to one of my parents. Loki is only four months old but is already twice my size and twice my weight at thirty kilos. He is going to be an even bigger lad than Bear. In any case, I met both Bear & Loki yesterday and I was quite happy to see them. Fast forward to this morning and Lenny is out for his stroll with dad. As they turn the corner of the road, Bear & Loki are coming toward Lenny. He sounded the alarm immediately and tried to hide behind dad when Loki came to say hello. The fur near his tail was raised and Loki’s mum gently put Loki back on the lead. Lenny doesn’t like boisterous dogs, either puppies or adult. Yet he is quite happy to be boisterous with me, as can be seen from previous blogs where we spend the majority of our waking hours have extended snout jousting in the garden. Yet he meets Bear and Loki and retreats behind his human for safety. We are still trying to work out the difference between rough housing with me and with other pals.

That’s just one example. Another occurred yesterday when Lenny watched a squirrel run across the road ahead. He stood and watched a squirrel, without a sound, without a leg quiver as it scampered left to right, five metres ahead of him. I would have been doing an impressive impression of the Town Crier if the tree rat had been in front of me. Now, whether he knew he couldn’t get to it or he was just stunned to see one, I don’t know. I will be having words with him though.

Finally, for the time being, I submit the following evidence that my brother is a strange sort. He has just had his dinner and is now curled up snoring in the cave bed you see in this picture. He likes to be covered and have the sunlight removed so he can snooze. I actually wonder if this confirms my fear that he is a vampire.

Compare that to this picture where I cannot handle being covered in any way, preferring instead to remain in the sun, with merely a blanket and a throw to keep me comfy.

I have never liked being covered by blankets or have clothes put on me. Only if its freezing cold or pouring rain will I reluctantly allow a jacket of some description to be attached to me. Sometimes I am not sure he’s even a beagle.

Strange boy my brother.

It’s dry, let’s go.

Lenny decided that he would take dad on a mystery tour on Friday. We split up as usual and Lenny pulled across the road toward the village whilst I ensured mum and I made good time on our way toward the stables. I shall let him tell you about his little adventure.

Along the lane and up the hill toward the church which sits looking south toward the north flank of Chanctonbury. Normally we turn left and descend into the hollow amongst the gnarled trees replete with squirrels and rabbits. I decided that we would turn right and explore the lane leading to the farm at Thakeham. There was the expected grumbling about it being muddy, having the wrong footwear and me having four-paw drive, that I knew this may only be a temporary detour. Only to the first gate I was told.

It’s dry, let’s go.

As I strolled along, pulling the reticent parent behind me, I saw that the quagmire that used to resemble a track had dried out. The farmer had filled in some of the larger holes with broken house bricks and, thus, the path was navigable. Oh joy of joys, we can go through and get to Thakeham for the first time in around three months.

Lovely Raffadils

Through the gate, along the track, through the next two gates and finally we are back on the tarmac and I can see St Marys church sitting resplendent to my right.

St Mary’s Church

I resumed some serious pulling on the lead as we strolled along the little back lane toward the green.

On The Green

Left onto the green and then down the steep steps and we are back on The Street. I was determined that we wouldn’t turn for home as that would be really boring so, trying not to listen to the constant grumbling about “only going as far as the little path”, we turned right and headed toward the end of the village. We went through the small wooden gate onto Woodland Walk and I made myself ready to stroll quickly down toward the mushroom farm. Foiled again, there was a big tree across the path. This gave dad the excuse to turn around, which he grabbed gleefully of course.

Ugh good grief

Retracing our steps, we marched briskly along The Street and thence back through the farm toward the wonderfully named Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Warminghurst. Before we got to the church I wanted to take another detour to have a look over the brow of the hill, so I dragged dad around the edge of the field to see if the view was any good. It was ok, I suppose, but was obscured by a large and overgrown hedge. My tummy was rumbling by now so we headed for home.

Once I had got home, I couldn’t wait to tell Dex about my adventures. However he was more interested in playing snout jousting so I gladly obliged, of course. I had a good day with a decent walk that I will repeat when the weather improves enough for the track to be passable every day. Hopefully I will be able to go along the lane with Dex next time.

What a let down

Today I noticed that Lenny seemed to be eager to get out and about on his walk. Its strange as he is usually somewhat hesitant about getting his harness and double leads clamped around his person in the morning. It’s something to do with feeling restricted and uncomfortable in his harness. Apparently it’s for his own safety and so he doesn’t run off “like an idiot”. Yesterday he went to Knepp and saw some big deer and he was keen to see them again. Dad took his camera in the hope of getting a decent picture, instead of the grainy images we have become used to.

Off they set along the road and down the lane, whilst mum and I went in the opposite direction for a few miles of sniffing squirrels and rabbits. Lenny said the scent was high as they strolled along the lane, past the stables and the farms and then across the little bridge over the river. Turn right into the farm yard, say hello to the horses in their stables and then the fun was to commence. Dad told him to shush as they didn’t want to frighten the deer although he seemed to have forgotten that he was wearing a bright yellow jacket so the drivers could see him and Lenny as they walked along the road. In any case, they ventured through the big gate, along the stony track and turned left onto the bridleway. The scent was still high as Lenny pulled this way and that, with dad trying to keep as quiet as possible. With his hand poised on the camera they trod carefully, scanning side to side for signs of deer. They went along the track to the lookout landing which people use to have a hidden view of the wildfowl on the little lake. Nothing, not a sausage, was seen so they decided to retrace their steps back to the farmyard. As they exited the big gate they looked at the sign which had been pinned up after Lenny and dad had gone adventuring which said “Keep to the paths, Deer cull in operation”. That would explain why they deer weren’t coming out to play this morning. Sadly they plodded back along the road and after a seven mile walk returned home downcast.

I tried not to laugh at their misfortune but it was difficult. There was only one thing left to do, sun puddle and sleep off our exertions. Oh well, maybe another day.

The aftermath

Having survived the wind yesterday, we decided we should go and explore the lanes to see if there were any trees down or blocked roads. We know there was a tree that fell over close to our house yesterday afternoon as we heard the chainsaws chopping it up. The pieces of trunk were stacked, Jenga style, alongside the road as we left this morning. Our parents decided that Lenny and I should go our separate ways and I went with mum toward Knepp whilst Lenny accompanied dad southwards along the lanes.

At this point I will hand over to Lenny as dad took some pictures whilst mum was busy taking me for a walk and ensuring that we avoided trees which might be a bit loose rooted or had already fallen over. So, with much trepidation, Lenny it’s all yours.

Hello everyone. I decided to take dad for a walk along the lanes today to see if I could find some fallen trees to play amongst. Don’t worry, I was on lead all the time and he was very careful. Anyhow, we wandered along the lane and hadn’t reached the top before the first large tree piece was laying in the road. It was surrounded by cones but wasn’t being chopped up and removed. Maybe the authorities thought that the cones could chop up and remove the trunk?

The super chopping up cones.

On we plodded, up past the church, and we were just about to drop down into the dingly dell when the next branch was laying in the road. This one had been pushed to one side a little so it was easier to get past. I wasn’t allowed to explore it to sniff out squirrels because it was on a dangerous corner of the road and dad doesn’t want me getting run over. He’s no fun.

I hope we can get past the trees.

In any case we turned the corner and saw a tree with loosened roots so we quickly walked past that one and down the lane.

I wonder if Hobbits live there?

There weren’t any trees down but there were plenty of branches and tree tops that had been removed by Eunice yesterday. As we made our winding way past I made sure I sniffed all the tree pieces to see if there were any traces of squirrel. We turned for home just as we reached the bottom of the next small raise in the road. This was my chance to double sniff all the places I had walked past. As we started to climb the hill toward the church I spotted a squirrel and started to pull on my lead. I didn’t need dads encouragement to “squirrel get it, go on, get it” but it was welcome anyway.

We retraced our steps passed the debris and back along the lane past the church. As soon as we got back to the edge of the village I caught scent of a c-a-t which sent me into wild eyed overdrive. At this point I think dad decided we had scented sufficient creatures and it was best for me to get home quickly so I could rest. I didn’t agree with him however he’s bigger than me and I was attached to him.

We saw Dex and mum just as we approached home so we had an impromptu bout of bitey face snout jousting. Dex & myself I mean, not our parents as they are quite dull really.

We hadn’t been in long before the rain started. I can sleep and dream of my fun morning walk. I need to recuperate and then tell Dex what to expect tomorrow. I think we are swapping over our walks.

Eunice sounded so lovely.

As we were tucked into bed last night, we were told that there was an early walk on the cards due to a visit from Eunice. We aren’t averse to early morning strolls, however looking out and seeing the strong winds and lashing rain, our fervour for a stroll was lessened. Being rufty tufty beagles we braved the elements which, thankfully, had eased and we had only the wind to contend with. Usually I like the wind as it blows all the scents into my nose and I dont have to work too hard sniffing them. Today was a little extreme though and it felt like the scents were being propelled by a leaf blower, on its highest setting.

We returned and ate our usual (small) breakfast, we ran around the house playing, got told off by being noisy and then quietly laid next to each other silently chewing on our opposing ears. This of course was noticed and we were told off again. Ugh, boring. Then I heard it, a whistling and rumbling, all around the house and across the garden. The wind had picked up considerably and was blowing heavy stuff about in the garden. One of the benches was being moved almost as if a poltergeist was present. Dad went off to move the bench, flower pots and other heavy items to places of relative safety. We were allowed out to explore and we noticed the strength of the wind in our ears. Lenny was into the garden and then back in the house quickly whilst I was strolling about having a good snooter. Back indoors and the wind whistled and rattled around the house. I heard crunch and crash as a tree fell over outside and within ten minutes there were tree fellers cutting up the remains of the tree to take it away. No one hurt and no damage so all was good. It wasn’t even lunchtime and I was wandering around worrying about the wind. I hate the noise it makes. For some reason it really unsettles me. Lenny, on the other paw, couldn’t care less, snoozing away in my chair.

I cannot smell squirrels in this wind.

After lunch we returned to the garden, had another explore and found loads of sticks and twigs to chew and play with. The wind still howled at times, although I was more comfortable outside in the garden than I was in the house. Apparently I am a strange boy sometimes. As the wind abated my fears receded and I could relax a little. I thought I could relax, but Lenny was still occupying my chair so we had to have a session of noisy bitey face snout jousting to sort out who’s chair it was. I lost so slinked away on to the sofa to get complimentary ear tickles from a parent.

Up a bit, and left a bit.

Eunice seems to have disappeared now, although her legacy will last for a few days yet. The possibility of trees being weakened means that it is unlikely Lenny and I will get walks in the woods for the foreseeable future. Hey ho, we will just have to make do with pulling our parents around the usual routes.

Nice knowing you Eunice, but feel free not to call again.

Just like London buses

Two come along close to one another.

We set off early this morning in the crisp pre dawn air. I decided that I would help mum jog along one lane whilst Lenny had plumped for dragging dad along a different road. I seem to have mastered the art of beagling whilst not stopping too often. I can sniff and scent whilst keeping moving. I can pull gently to one side or the other again whilst keeping my legs going in a forward direction. There are of course certain things that require me to stop although we will gloss over those for the sake of this missive. It was lovely and quiet along the lane toward Knepp this morning. We made our merry way through the trees and alongside the fields, where no doubt critters abound. The chill air seems to hold the scent at ground level so I fill my nose with the aroma of familiar foes. I am usually home a little before Lenny as he hasn’t quite mastered the “sniff and stroll” technique. My twenty minutes without my brother is usually filled with being cleaned and then running around the house safe in the knowledge that vampiric fangs are not travelling toward my appendages and extremities.

When he does arrive home, and has been cleaned, then it is time for bitey face shenanigans to take place until the parents decide they’ve had enough of us “annoying the entire road” with my incessant shouting.

Lenny did tell me that he had dragged dad down a very muddy country lane and it wasnt until they were well on their way that dad realised it was too muddy and was turning back. Lenny said that he will try again next time they are down that way as he is determined to make sure dad knows what it is like to be a beagle in mud.

Always find time to sniff the flowers. Tomorrow they may have gone.

The sun showing its face is always welcome as we can wander about the garden and get some warmth on our fur. Sadly we are normally accompanied by a parent who keeps their eye on extensive snout jousting, for fear of it waking the neighbours. As if we would do such a thing? So this mornings stroll around the grounds was augmented with plenty of standing about, pointing our faces at the sun, sniffing the air and wondering when lunchtime was.

Squirrels live there. Just over there.

Live life every day pals, as tomorrow it may be rainy and dull.

That wasn’t my idea of a big day

On Thursday last week I overheard that it was going to be a “big day” on Friday for me. I went to bed with a smile on my face and wondered what I was going to get up to.

Friday arrived and I had my same walk with dad in the morning. We returned home with the rest of the day ahead of us. The excitement built, and then fell, as lunch passed without incident. Lenny and I had our tea at the normal time and still it didn’t seem to be much of a “big day”. As time marched on toward Biscuit O’Clock I suddenly found myself being harnessed and I was leaving the house for another walk. Maybe this was the “big” part of the day? Along the High Street, past the small store and down towards the bottom end of the village I ventured with dad. As soon as we reached the end of the street, we turned up the little steps and I was presented with a view of a door. Sadly the door led to the vet. I had been tricked. Hoodwinked! It was time for my annual check up. According to my dad, it was a check up from the neck up.

The nice vet lady asked me to sit on the scale and made note of my weight. She looked at my pearly whites, felt my ribs and tummy and listened to my heart with a stethoscope.

Then it started; the divulgence of information on my recent bodily habits. Thanks dad! I didn’t authorise any of the details to be made public so I sat there looking embarrassed whilst he told the vet all my innermost secrets. I have been having tummy troubles recently. I had a few days after Christmas Day when I struggled to keep food in my body. This seemed to clear up after three days and all went along as expected. Then it all seemed to start again. I was visiting my garden about four times a night for a few days and then making numerous visits another 4-5 times a day. As a result I was starved for 24 hours to make sure it wasn’t a parasite or other nasty creature. When I went back to food, I noticed that there were certain items missing from my diet, such as fish tiddlers and gravy bones. My food was predictably bland, consisting of tasty kibble and tasty chicken. Sorry, I meant to say boring kibble and boring chicken. I was still being watched pretty much all the time just in case I had an accident in the house. Unfortunately the revised diet and 24 hour starve didn’t seem to have the desired effect and I have been somewhat under the weather.

As a result of my entire biological history being divulged to the vet I managed to avoid getting a jab in my behind, at least for a few days. I am having some antibiotic tablets, that I apparently know nothing about, in my food. The gravy bone supply has completely dried up. My food has been bland, dull and extremely boring for the last two weeks or so. The vet lady said I didn’t seem to be too bad when she was examining me. Just because I was wagging my tail, arooing at her and not listening to dad when I was told sit, I am not sure what gave it away. I thought this means I am being a beagle. One good thing to come out of it all is this though. Dad has to collect some “samples” from me when we are out on our walk so I get to try and run rings around him, tangling my leads. That’ll teach him for giving the vet all my personal details. I am going back on Tuesday for another check up. If I am better then I fear the javelin in my feathery behind.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

I think I am just getting older and my body is changing. I cannot tolerate as many foods as I could a few years ago. I knew this time was coming and I am, of course, taking it all in my stride without complaint. I will eat my kibble and chicken without grumbling. I know that I am still here and I am, overall in good order and condition. I will have to try not to listen to Lenny crunching on tasty biscuits whilst I am on bland kibble. I shall soldier on, as always.

Good morning! Sometimes.

Since the news that our furry cousin, Minnie, went to the Rainbow Bridge there has been a bit of a dampener in the house. Not greatly helped by the weather yo-yo-ing between awful and terrible. Walking in the rain is a fun thing to do, I can vouch for that. Lenny isn’t as gleeful as I am when it comes to looking out of the door prior to our morning stroll and seeing the rain tumbling down. In fact he doesn’t much enjoy walks through the muddy fields either so I am a little worried that he isn’t really a Beagle at all. He even allowed a squirrel to stroll nonchalantly along the fence and never told me.

Saturday 8th January 2022

So our spirits were lifted somewhat this week as the weather has cleaned up its act and we have been able to stroll, sniff and try to eat field food just like we wanted to. I’ve been on shorter walks compared to Lenny although we have walked in the same direction, I generally turn around before he does. He needs the exercise more than I do. Since it is January the weather is changeable from one day to the next. We like it when its dry and cold as the scents tend to remain at ground level and we can bay loudly when we are on a trail. I’m not sure our parents are as happy as us being on a trail, as their arms tend to grow at different speeds. In any case we always try to stop every now and then to soak up the beauty of that which surrounds us.

Monday 10th January 2022

We went from a beautiful sunrise over Chanctonbury (as above) on Monday to a real pea souper this morning over Shipley (as below).

Thursday 13th January 2022

I actually managed to get to see the pea souper this morning as I had the privilege of walking the male parent, even if I did have to listen to his grumbling about me pulling and jerking on the lead “like a toddler”. Apparently I’m eleven and a half and should know better.

A lovely day to relax.

What I do know is that cold, crisp days are great. May I see many more of them.