Dad’s tour of London

As a result of me meeting auntie Carolina and showing her around, it was decided that I would send my hudad back to London on Wednesday. I couldn’t go into many of the buildings that we walked past the previous day on account of me being a furry hound. So we hatched plans to try and show auntie Carolina & auntie Karen around some places. So, I instructed Dad to go into London again.

They all met at Tower Hill tube station and firstly went through St Olave’s Church, Hart Street. St Olave is the patron saint of Norway I believe.

Graveyard of St Olave’s Hart Street

Thence up to the Monument for a really good view of London. The Monument was built to commemorate the Great Fire of London of 1666. It is said that if you were to lay the Monument down upon its side, the fire ball would touch the spot where the fire started in Pudding Lane.

Next was Leadenhall Market which is one of the oldest markets in the City of London originally selling meat, poultry & game. Now it is home to a number of boutique shops and restaurants. The architecture of the Market itself isn’t really altered so maintains much of the older charm.

Leadenhall Market

Then they went to the Royal Exchange. The building was founded in the 16th century by Sir Thomas Gresham. It has twice been destroyed by fire and the current building was designed in the 1840’s. In its various guises it has held the Lloyd’s Insurance Market for around 150 years.

Royal Exchange

Next on the tour was St Pauls. I showed auntie C the outside of the building the previous day. The present St Pauls was started in about 1670 and finished in 1708 apparently. It was officially declared open by Parliament on 25 December 1711.

When they went inside they were all in awe. Well, they were in St Pauls but you know what I mean. It was apparently the most lovely place with fabulous painted ceilings, statues and wonderful architecture. They seemed to spend ages inside marvelling at the sight.

The views over London were pretty good. Dad managed to climb all the way to the Golden Cross to take these pictures.

Once they had finished exploring St Paul’s it was off to Blackfriars tube station and then out of Westminster Station for a tour of Westminster Abbey. Everyone said they were impressed with the architecture of the beautiful building. There were also quite a few famous people including princes, kings, queens and poets interred and commemorated within the Abbey.

They finished their day with a stroll through Victoria Tower Gardens, for the best views of the Houses of Parliament.

They departed with sore feet and happy faces. Everyone said they had a nice time.

I hope so. Auntie C had travelled a long way to see London. I think she enjoyed it.

On the viewing gallery of St Pauls

Aventuras de Londres

Tuesday morning dawned and I was quickly on my paws around the fields with my hudad. In and out of the hedgerows, through the woods, around the edges of the ploughed fields and then a quick circuit of the big field. Just over 4 miles and home for second breakfast. Suddenly my harness is being waved in my direction and we are going for another walk. I will not complain as I get to sniff around in the park, woods, lanes or fields again.Once harnessed, I saw there was a very colourful bandana attached to my collar and it had my name on it. This time I was with both my human pawrents so this gave me suspicious ears. Along the road until we arrived at the train station. I remembered I had been here previously. The overground train arrived and we jumped on board. I like adventures and this was going to be a mystery tour for me.

Are we nearly there yet?

Arriving in London some 40 minutes later I tasted the same type of stale air that I had tasted some 5 months ago. My ears were still suspicious as we walked briskly through Regents Park. Sadly there were no squirrels. We descended onto the Underground and took the train to Aldgate. Up the steps and into the maelstrom that is the edge of the City of London. I had not been here before, this was a new adventure for me. We seemed to be late as I was hurried down various streets only to arrive at a view of the Tower of London. When I stopped gazing in wonder at the Tower I felt a different pair of hands giving my ears a really good tickle. There was my auntie from Argentina. What was auntie Carolina doing in London? Why was I getting ear scroffles from an auntie who was supposed to be 11,514 kilometres away. I no longer had suspicious ears, they were now happy. Very happy. She does great ear tickles to be honest.

We set off on a great adventure. I took the lead of course. We went over Tower Bridge and then along past Hays Galleria.

Honoured to have my ears tickled

We walked under London Bridge and past Golden Hinde and then to Shakespeare’s Globe. Now we decided to go over to the north side of the river so we crossed the wobbly Bridge, with St Pauls Cathedral looming in the near distance.

I’ve been here before

Through Paternoster Square and we strolled down to Blackfriars tube station. We got off the tube at St James’s Park for a stroll about.

Am I allowed to water these flowers?

Everyone sat down on a park bench to eat some food whilst I was quiet and reserved as usual.

Are you sure the sandwich hasn’t got my name on it?

Fortunately there are quite a few squirrels in the park so I managed to introduce myself to some of them just after humum had finished her sandwich. After a while we allowed auntie Carolina to go about the rest of her day and she took a London Tour Bus around the city for a few hours.

I left with sad ears as I had a wonderful day with a lovely person in a great city. I slept all the way home on the tube train. Well most of the way.

What a great day I have had.

I will never, ever forget this day. I was honoured to show auntie Carolina around a small part of London.

Catch me if you can

Recently there was a dog that was lost quite close to my house and I managed to drag my human dad around the local countryside to see if we could help find the lost dog. Fortunately the dog returned after some days exploring and has been reunited with his owners. Dad & I had some nice walks, whilst hopefully trying to help find a fellow dog in distress. However it got me thinking of one of my earliest escapades when I arrived here. This was a fun April day in 2014.

One day soon after I arrived, it was lovely and sunny. The humans decided that we would try to do some different things and I was promised a walk in the park with my dad. This was great. When we got to the park there were so many people, numerous other dogs, and trees as far as my eyes could see. I didn’t know which way to look first. I was really excited to see and smell everything I could. I wanted to go and run about and play with the other dogs. Sadly dad decided that I was to stay on the lead and harness. This was extremely boring and I kept on pulling to try and find a way of doing my own dexplorations. Someone stopped dad to ask about me and I thought it would be fun to wrap the lead around his legs. I was really bored. When dad had finished speaking to the person he tried to untangle me from his legs and pulled on the lead. At this point I decided to back out of the loose harness. I could not believe that I was free. Dad looked at me and looked really scared but I just ran away as fast as I could towards the woods.

There were too many smells and sights that I needed to see. They were much more interesting than being restrained with a harness and lead. Dad initially chased after me but I was far too quick for him. After a short while he realised that chasing me was a game and that I would always win if it came to running around. Then he cheated. I heard him asking other people if they had seen me, and if not, could they look out for me. I still couldn’t believe I was free to roam around and explore places that I could only dream about. I kept on seeing dad so I knew people were looking for me. I managed to duck in and out of the woods to keep them all on their toes. Then I got the fright of my life when I saw mum advancing across the park towards me. This wasn’t fair as I knew that now they meant business and I would be surprised if I was recaptured before too long.I knew I had limited time to explore so off I went. The undergrowth held many smells and intrigue for me. I managed to chase a couple of Muntjack Deer which unfortunately gave away my location. I could feel the net closing around me. However there was still fun to be had. My senses were full, there were so many rabbits, squirrels, deer and birds in the woods. I was so focused on chasing them that I completely missed seeing the barbed wire fence until I had run through it. I yelped as it really hurt me. Unfortunately this gave away my position once more. It was only then that I realised I had blood on my face, ear and foot. Fortunately the blood on my face and foot was from my ear, due to my excellent ability to flap my ears. The blood was also dripping from my ear onto my paw. Whoops.

The adventure ended when I was nosing about in a copse and a very nice lady managed to grab my collar when I wasn’t concentrating. I paid her back by dripping blood all over her coat cuff. Whoops again. Mum and dad looked really relieved to see me again and I went straight back onto the collar and lead. However there were still squirrels to pester and I tried to bolt again. Dad wasn’t very happy when I started baying, pulling wildly and trying to chase the squirrel. By the time we got home I had managed to shake blood over both my parents and we looked like extras from a zombie film. However my escapade didn’t end there sadly. Mum and dad decided that I needed to go to the vet which didn’t sound very good. They were worried that I might have an infection from the barbed wire cut and said something about tetanus. Apparently if I had this tetanus, I may not be very well. When the vet lady checked me over, she found the cuts and said I should be ok, but for safety I would need an injection. Now, I’m not very good with  needles so I squealed and wriggled far too much for them to stab me with the needle. The vet lady decided that it would be easier for me to have painkiller pills. I have no ill effects, thankfully. In fact I think I may have got some extra food in my bowl the next day, just to make sure I was ok.

I was away for three hours whilst numerous people were searching for me. Apparently mum and dad were really upset and worried about where I was and that I wasn’t safe whilst I was cavorting around the countryside. I was having a great time whilst off lead but I realise now that I probably did scare them by running away. I do not want to think of how much worry the owners of the recently lost & found dog felt. He was gone for 9 days. His owners must have been unable to sleep at night.

Stay safe everyone.

From here to there. And back again.

Another bright and sunny, but chilly, morning dawned over Chesham and it was time for a walk. Having explored Pednor recently I thought it would be good to go for a brisk stroll around White Hill toward Ley Hill & Botley. It’s only a short walk from my house to the edge of the first field, albeit including a wake up call of a steep climb over a railway bridge then through some woods. The view is worth it though.

Chesham is down there – in the valley

The winter brassica’s are still in the ground so plenty of nitrogen is being replenished for the crops to come. Through the little gate, turn left, turn right and then through 2 more gates and I really am on top of the world. Well, I am on top of White Hill in Chesham, but you understand the sentiment.

White Hill toward Botley

Always keeping to the edge of the path (mainly because there are squirrels and rabbits in the taller grass and hedges) the view towards Ley Hill & Botley stretches away into the distance.

Down the path to Bottom Lane

A sharp left, down the hill and we join one on of the old byways which criss cross the area. Left along this old track between the fields and then right, through the gate and climbing to the top of the hill. I think this is my favourite field as the views are fairly panoramic. When the early morning sun is in the right place and the mist and dew are just lifting it gives the fields and surrounding woods a certain aura.

Across the fields to Chesham Bois

As we circumnavigate the field I can see back into Chesham Bois and along the valley toward Latimer.

Enjoying myself?

We took a small detour this morning and came out of the field to walk down hill via another byway. It always reminds me of Sleepy Hollow.

Sniffing out headless horsemen

Down to the lower part of the valley and back onto the aptly named Bottom Lane, thence through the first gate and swiftly uphill to Hill Farm. Suddenly I find myself looking back toward my house, across Waterside and the woods at Chesham Bois.

Hill Farm

It’s not far now as I need only to cross the road, wade through the river enjoying a drink of lovely cold chiltern water and then back onto the Moor. It may only be four and a half miles but the views are great and the scents are great. I am a lucky lad.

From here to there, and back again. I need to top up my vitamin D with some sun puddling.

And relax!!!

A Pednor Loop

I am fortunate to live close to some lovely countryside. To be able to explore the many places on a regular basis is a bonus for me. One of my favourite walks is a place called Pednor.

As a bit of history, Pednor is a small hamlet and comes from the Anglo Saxon for Paeda’s Slope. In 1541 during the dissolution of the monasteries the lands were surrendered to the 1st Earl of Bedford. It even has a medieval moat recognised by English Heritage at Little Pednor Farm. To me its a great walk in the countryside.

The road loops from Chesham via Pednor Bottom, up to Great Pednor, through Little Pednor and then back via Pednormead End. The views are great and I always enjoy my 10k walk around it.

If you want a walk, on the edge of the Chilterns and close to London, come and have a wander around Pednor. I think you will like it.

Snow Day Shenanigans

Wake up, wake up. It’s snowed and I want to explore. Come on, hurry up, get out of bed. Arooo, arooo, arooo.

Straight away to the fields and dexploration is on the cards. Dragging a human around always slows me down however, I am not allowed off lead outside of my garden. It is a problem that I must bear furever it seems.

Hurry up! No time for pictures

The snow is up near my knees and sometimes deeper so the belly plate on my harness scoops up the top layer. I am cold, then soaked as the snow is melting against my fur but it doesn’t matter as I am outside and getting so many scents in my nose. I don’t actually care one jot.

Charge!!!

Up this field, turn right, down the steep bank, along the treeline and sense a deer or three in the woods. Sadly my human braking system decides we are not going into the woods just yet and we detour around the next field and into the biggest field on the walk. The wind is somewhat bracing and the snow is swirling around us. The scents seem to be sitting on top of the snow and my nose is like a beagle snowplough. What’s wrong with having a small pile of snow on the end of your nose?

Look, that’s where all the critters live.

Out of the field at somewhat of a gallop and towards the woods, all glistening with their white snowy coating. I know there are deer and squirrels in there but will I chose the woods or the meadow of wonderful aromas. Turn left, into the meadow and see a pal ahead. Arooo arooo arooo. I think I will stay in the meadow and leave the woods for another day. Unfortunately the untouched snow is deep and the harness belly plate is scooping up rather a large quantity of snow now. Lets just say its a tad damp on my undercarriage. Through the meadow, turn left down through the woods. Deer!! Deer!! Arooo arooo. Ugh good grief I am shackled and cannot get it. Appearing out of the woods I am panting heavily but smiling from ear to ear.

By the time I get home my other human wants to know “where the devil have you been” as well as “How have you got the harness so wet?”.

Sssshh dad, our little secret.

And relax!

Where I live

As some of you may be aware I live in a place called Chesham in Buckinghamshire, UK. I arrived here just before Christmas 2013 so I am almost part of the furniture I suppose. Given I have explored the town and a considerable proportion of the surrounding area, I would like to regale you with a quick tour of the town that I call home.

Chesham appears in the Domesday Book in 1086 as Cestreham and seems to have been split between 4 Lords or Overlords who all had their own share of the land, people and the agriculture. The total population was 59 households and 15 Geld units. Through the ages the town has grown somewhat and now stands with a population of some 22,000 people. It was known in the more recent past for the 4 B’s – Brushes, Boots, Baptists and Beer. The trade of brush making was rife in the town from around 1829 until it fell away due to cheaper markets overseas. Bootmakers abounded too in the early to mid 1800’s with the tanned leather being moved up from London to be worked on in small workshops. Again the boot makers trade fell away due to cheaper manufacturing methods. The Baptist movement arose around 1640 and a number of places of worship remain to this day. We have even had a person burned at the stake for being a heretic (Thomas Harding in 1532). Moving on to the Beer, I have seen that in 1937 there were 53 pubs, beer houses and off-licences serving a population of 14,000 (A pub for every 264 people). Now there are 8 pubs in Chesham itself (A pub for every 2,750 people). I am basing my research on book called The Pubs & Inns of Chesham & villages (see below) which didn’t include the Black Cat or the Hen & Chickens, both of them being located close by and which are also still open.

Chesham is now a town mainly of small independent businesses some of which have survived through many generations. Our local bakery is run by the Darvell family, who also ran a brewery in the 1800’s. The bakery was opened in 1838 so some 180 years ago and it is still going strong. The hardware store of Pearces was started in 1937 and still thrives to this day. The town is full of smaller shops, mixed in with a few of the High Street names people know better such as W.H. Smith, Cafe Nero, Costa, Waterstones and the supermarkets of Sainsbury’s & Waitrose.

Chesham from Lowndes Park

Surrounding the town is a belt of green and pleasant lands. The majority of the town lies in a valley leading out on all sides by hills all accessible by lanes and roads. The nearby areas of Chartridge, The Vale, Ashleigh Hill, White Hill, Waterside and Chesham Bois are all well served. I have been lucky enough to stroll around the entire town in my time here and it is wonderful that there is access to much of the fields, moor, farmland, lanes and byways. The many paths and bridleways allow walkers, riders and cyclists to be out in the countryside, yet be within minutes of the town centre. We live in the lee of the Chiltern Hills so we have access to them, along with The Ridgeway, fairly close by.

If you want a good walk, in the countryside and in easy reach of London, come and see what it’s like around here. I think you will enjoy it.

Penn Grove
Waterside is just over there
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955470745 – Pubs & Inns of Chesham & villages

A chilly morn in the fields

Wake up, it’s time for a walk. I don’t mind that it is only just above freezing, there is a world of dexplorations out there.

We set out for a brisk walk around the fields at Mayhall Farm. We are lucky as there is permitted access kindly granted by the farmers.

Chesham from Mayhall Farm fields

The sun was still fairly low in the sky and the woods cast their shadows across some of the fields. The early morning frost covered the still shaded grass. To me it is ideal as all the scents are held on the surface and my nose is filled with the aromas of the wildlife I wish to meet. I don’t think the wildlife wants to reciprocate however. I am raring to go but my hudad is still a bit slow and takes some time to get into his stride. It is a lovely crisp sunny day however so we march on.

Snootering in the hedgerows

Every now and then we take time to stop and look around at the lovely views we have from the tops of the hills. We wonder where everyone else is? These are ideal walking conditions and even I am a little confused as to where all my fellow dogs have got to. Anyway back to sniffing the paths and fields for the rabbits, squirrels, deer and foxes which are all hiding away from me. As we continue our walk, the Chaffinches and Great Tits scatter ahead of us from their perches within the hedgerows.

Within a couple of hours we have strolled around 6 miles and find ourselves heading home to a hearty breakfast. My brain and nose have been filled with the sights, sounds and scents of the local fields.

Early morning shenanigans

I am a lucky Beagle Harrier. All this on my doorstep and I can walk it whenever I want. Rain or shine, I love it.

Dexter enjoying his walk in the fields.
Happy hound

Old Amersham Stroll

In pursuit of my dream of dexploring all the lanes, woods, fields and paths around my house I decided it would be a good idea if my parents had a gentle 8 mile Sunday morning stroll recently.

Starting through the fields at Mayhall Farm, we crossed a road with big houses and through Hervines Park. We very carefully walked over the railway crossing. Down the pathway and through the fields bordering Rectory Hill we went. This was exciting as I had never been here before and I was anxious to introduce myself to all the wildlife living in the copses, hedgerows and fields. Unfortunately I was shackled to my mum so I didn’t really get the chance to woof hello up close.

Hurry up, Old Amersham is down there

Past the football club and into Old Amersham we went. I was enjoying this. Somewhere I hadn’t been before and new sniffs abounded. I saw some lovely old buildings and quite a few people. Old Amersham has a Market Hall built in 1682 and it is still used today. Mum & dad seemed to be more interested to discover that there were quite a number of hostelries in the town that they seem not to have visited. Hmmm.

Left into Church Street and past St Marys Church. Taking the next right we strolled along the river Misbourne and through the fields. I was taking in all the scenery and looking forward to what was around the next corner.

Sadly it was the road which took us out of Old Amersham, up to Amersham on the Hill and back towards my home.

Zzzzzzz

Eight miles and plenty of sniffs later I was snoozing gently in my bed and dreamed of another dexploration just like this. Hopefully soon.

2018 – Year of Dexploration

As the year draws swiftly to a close I wanted to reflect on what I had encountered through the last 12 months. It appears I have enjoyed myself greatly with the assistance of my Personal Assistants and quite a number of my friends and their pawrents.

January

It was quite a cold month and I spent most of the time either running around to keep warm or trying to complete the crossword puzzle. January was quite a sad month as my pawrents had to go to my grandad’s funeral so it was fairly subdued to be honest.

February

I was lucky to get a trip to Blandford Forum in mid February and I took the opportunity to have a really good sniff around the River Stour. Thankfully the weather stayed fair. Back home it was essential that I continued to ensure that the fields and byways around my house were clear of squirrels.

March

Brrr. Much of March was cold as a result of the Beast from the East. Not that it stopped me from patrolling every day through the snow and chill wind. There was a stark beauty to the countryside near my house as I strolled the fields and woods.

April

The sun made an appearance and continued to shine for the majority of April. This was the signal for a hearty rendition of the “song of the beagle” on regular occasions. I even managed to get in a surprise visit to the Beagle World Record walk in Macclesfield. I am proud to be part of the world record for a single breed of dog walk along with over 1,000 of my friends and their pawrents. Sadly I did not realise it would be the last time I saw my wonderful friend Charley Beagle who went to the Rainbow Bridge early in September.

May

The merry month of May. The sun continued to shine, the rain clouds stayed away and the grass grew. Flowers proliferated in the garden and the meadows making for some wondrous smells on my daily patrols. I was nearly half way through another year and I sometimes took a moment to reflect on my lucky situation.

June

Still the sun refused to be hidden by rain clouds. This was what summer should be about. Warm days, bright evenings getting longer and all with the beauty of the flowers and shrubs in my garden surrounding me and making me so happy. The lanes, fields and woods near my house grew drier and dusty. The shade from the trees was welcomed as the temperatures climbed and walks became earlier each day. My June was saddened by news that a good friend Nellie the Beagle had passed to the Rainbow Bridge. Everyone loved Nellie.

July

With the sun still showing its face from early morning to late evening we were all getting hot and bothered. We decided to take a few days in Dorset to take in some views and some sea breezes. West Bexington and Puncknowle were chosen and we enjoyed being away for a few days. Back at home the early walks continued so we could avoid the hottest part of the day.

August

Patrolling in the parched fields around my house had become the norm recently. Whilst the scenery is wonderful at all times of the year, I certainly missed the greenery of the growing crops to run through whilst sniffing out critters. We managed another trip to Dorset for a day. This time we were in Christchurch and I made sure I got a walk along the beach. Sadly another friend, Tommy, from Argentina also crossed to the Rainbow Bridge.

September

With the summer pretty much finished it felt like a good time to think back over the shenanigans I had got up to this year. I was happy to recall all the fun I’d had so far. Little did I know that there would be a wonderful trip to London for me, courtesy of my hudad. I got to travel on the train, the tube and I saw many of the sights of London. Apparently I behaved impeccably. Very sadly Charley Beagle went suddenly to the Rainbow Bridge and everyone was sad for he was a great friend to all.

October

We met with my good friend Raffa Beagle on top of the northern Chilterns at Dunstable Downs. A lovely day was had by all as we strolled and watched the gliders floating silently across the skies. Not content with one outing I managed to wander around Ashridge Estate. This was great fun as the long grass held many critters and smells which were intriguing to me.

November

We lost a great friend in early September 2018 and a large number of friends all chipped in to buy a permanent and wonderful reminder of Charley beagle. We were lucky to be there when the stone bench was delivered. Later in the November I was lucky enough to get another tube ride and this time it was with both my pawrents.

December

December arrived and the cold chill of the Arctic wind made the grass frosty and bleak. The low sun played its rays across the fields turning them into gold. Walks around the woods and fields were done with the usual gusto albeit also with a view to getting back home into the warm.

My year has been wonderful. I have been to places I could never have dreamed of, I have met friends and had great fun with them too. I have had a year of dexplorations which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I feel reassured that I am safe and loved. I know I have a great life. I am very lucky.

Happy New Year everyone. I hope 2019 is good for you.