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.

End of times

Well, it’s my end of year review to be more honest. I know that many people do these, however I suspect they don’t do a review from a canine point of view. What a tumultuous year it has been for Lenny and I.

In JANUARY we moved kennel from north west of London to West Sussex and closer to the seaside. Not that we were thinking of the sea, sand and balmy beaches at the time as it was freezing cold and raining. All of our belongings had been packed away and we had lived in an almost empty house for the last week of the month. It was a strange time, within the strangeness of Covid times.

In FEBRUARY we were trying to unpack all our belongings, become accustomed to our new home, explore new paths and seek out new civilisations, to boldly go where few beagles have been before. I fear I may have strayed into sci-fi with that last section. Having said that we met another beagle on our first walk, so that was a good result. We also made our first venture to the beach.

I hope it gets more exciting.

In MARCH the sun came out, we were allowed to explore our garden and we slept, having become more accustomed to our new house. We explored more paths, smelt more squirrels, greeted more dogs and generally made more of a nuisance of ourselves.

In APRIL we explored further afield, Lenny saw a stag in Knepp Estate, we smelled the bluebells and played in our garden. The mists lifted and the area looked prettier so we decided to stay for a while.

In MAY we took another trip to the beach, we ate dead stuff that had washed up and this gluttony meant we had to wake our parents up at midnight, 2am, 3.30am and 4.30am on a couple of occasions. We explored more of the lanes and byways whilst having a fun time. We also saw more bluebells.

In JUNE the sun was still shining, our grass was growing prodigiously, we lazed and sunbathed whilst also fitting in walks each day. We sniffed the flowers, played bitey face in the garden and enjoyed the start of the warmer summer months.

In JULY the warmth of the summer sun meant that we could go in the car and visit Borde Hill Gardens which was great, and we managed our first ascent of the season of Chanctonbury. The views from the top were great. In between we managed to laze about and play in the garden.

In AUGUST we decided to rein in the adventures for a few weeks. We only explored the lanes and byways, found some new woods to bother some squirrels and celebrated Lenny’s birthday. All in all a quieter month but one of rest and recuperation.

In SEPTEMBER we needed all our energy as we had a special visitor. We showed Raffa’s mum our new kennel, showed her the pub and then, the piece de resistance, our best bitey face in the garden. We think she was impressed. The week after we went off exploring in the car and then on the train back to London for a quick stroll around the City. Lenny tried to eat pavement food and got told off. We rested and chilled out for the rest of the month. We were exhausted.

In OCTOBER we found ourselves back at the beach so we had to eat more dead washed up creatures, thus allowing us to ensure our parents couldn’t oversleep. Lenny missed me dreadfully, apparently, when I was away for the day having my teeth cleaned and polished. One tooth fell out so I received sympathy but no extra food. We ascended Chanctonbury again but didn’t get as far as we wanted to, as bulls and lively older beagles aren’t a good mixture.

In NOVEMBER the mists returned as the sun lowered in the sky. Beautiful mornings gave way to rainy days and we dodged showers on our walks. We found some new fields to wander around, although the lack of squirrel bothering opportunities was worrying.

In DECEMBER something called Christmas was going to be celebrated this year. A tree suddenly appeared in the corner of the room, we were warned to stay away and not to play near it. Our walks became muddier, the sun seemed to disappear earlier and we didn’t get any leftovers from Christmas dinner.

Yet again however we lost many friends, colleagues and buddies. We all know that, one day, we will make our longest journey. We know that we will travel with love and affection permeating every part of our existence. However, the pain does not lessen with this thought. Too many friends have left an indelible paw print on too many humans. Maybe next year will be different. Maybe not so many of us will make the journey. Maybe we will be able to meet up, explore new places with old and new buddies. I hope so.

He’s only done it again

It was a bit chilly around these parts this morning. We set off for our daily walk together and managed to negotiate one of the local roads that some drivers treat like a race track. Sadly our normal path through the woods is cut off by an enormous tree which has fallen across it. In any case we managed to cross the road a few times and avoided being pummelled by the speeding cars and lorries.

We turned right onto a quieter road and climbed the short hill away from the hubbub of the morning rush. Squirrels darted left and right as we advanced upon them. Our parents complained that Lenny and I were in competition with one another to try and get to the squirrels. As we descended past the stables the lane stretched away and we strolled (pulled and yanked) along enjoying our walk. I was attached to mum and Lenny to dad so we were on opposite sides of the road and could scent and sniff to our hearts content. Dad told mum that he and Lenny were going to walk on a little further as Lenny had been on fairly short walks recently and needed a bit more scenting than I did. So, off they went, as mum and I turned and headed for home. I didn’t mind to be honest as it meant that I could zigzag across the road and scent both sides without the interference of my little brother.

When Lenny and dad returned about thirty minutes after us, Lenny could hardly contain his excitement. He had walked further and seen a lovely view across fields and sheep in the farthest field. They had turned for home and the sunlight drifted through the early morning haze and made the trees look all spooky.

I feigned indifference to his tales but secretly I was jealous of him having another walk with brilliant views. I suspect my walk also had good views but I was too busy with my nose to the ground.

Lucky Lenny’s view

Tomorrow we go again on our walks. This time I intend on making sure I keep Lenny firmly in my sights so I can also see the lovely views he gets to see. I just hope I remember to look up from my sniffing along in the grass.

We only went and did it again.

The week after we had shown Raffa and her mum around London, we were asked most politely to show some more pals around the capital. Lucy lived in the US. Arizona to be exact. Her mum and dad were in the UK travelling and seeing all sorts of wonderful places as well as many friends who live here. It was our pleasure to be the final furry pals on their trip in December 2019.

We had another early start on 8th December to make sure we got to the station on time. On this occasion Lenny was up with the game and knew what we were doing. We’d only just recovered from the previous weekends shenanigans with Raffa but we made sure we had best bib and tucker on for this latest expedition.

Pfft, the smelly tube.

We arrived in London, alighted at Barbican and strolled down Aldersgate Street towards St Pauls Cathedral. We announced our arrival in the usual beagle fashion and made auntie S and uncle J laugh at our antics. The day had started well. We tried to show them things that were a little off the beaten track and that visitors wouldn’t normally get to see. We wandered through Postmans Park, went around the back lanes to Spitalfields via the Bank of England and the Royal Exchange.

Some of the brave people in Postmans Park (with a strange dog)

We strolled, chatted and showed them around. I aroooed at some police horses and the lady riders laughed as I was so loud that it reverberated through the empty streets. We were doing the breed proud as we marched on.

Arooooo!

When we had lunched we took them to the Tower of London and sadly had to say goodbye.

Me and Lenny with auntie S

We had fun again that day, our paws ached and we slept most of the way home on the all stations tube journey.

When they come for another visit hopefully we will be able to show them other places.

Rainy days and Tuesdays

I suppose I am lucky to live here. Safe, secure and loved I live in a nice house which is warm and dry. Looking out at the weather for the past couple of days, I am very fortunate.

I know it’s winter here in the UK so there will be wind and rain but, come on, that’s two storms one quickly after the other and it’s not even Christmas. My garden is flooded in places and the paths through the woods that usually contain some great scents are now muddy slides with added slippery leaves on the surface which make for fun viewing as one or the other parent goes sliding around. You need four paw drive dad, just like Lenny and I.

Early morning before the rain sets in

We walk earlier in the morning at the moment so we have predominantly missed the worst of the rain over the last few days. We have also been walking the lanes so as to avoid the muckier sections of woodland paths which we normally enjoy. I knew my parents were mean to us by not allowing us to mess about in the mud. No that it matters much as the verges are soft and often I find myself wading through puddles up to my elbows. Lenny on the other hand avoids walking through puddles for fear of getting his paws wet. Strange boy.

He’s bored. Dry but bored.

We are restricted to quick garden excursions between the rain so we can do our business and then return to the safety and security of a sofa each, all the while with a human leg to snooze against. We are pretty bored to be honest but that pales into insignificance when we look outside and see the rain lashing against the windows. Also it is dark and dreary so this suppresses our need for running around like a couple of crazed hounds, so our parents are fairly pleased.

Go away rain. I need to do things.

I think I will stay here as being just bored is better than being bored and soaked, needing a towelling down.

Thinking of things past

Being busy with the day to day chores of keeping parents and my brother (not biological but I allow him to live here) in check, I have missed an anniversary of a wonderful day that Lenny and I were privileged to take part in two years ago.

It was a chilly morning under our paws as we walked swiftly up the hill from our previous house to the train station. We were on a mission to show an excellent pal around London. The scenery whizzed past the window as we sped into London. A walk in the park, a trip on the tube and then the anticipation built until we heard Raffa and an entourage of adoring people walking up from the platform at Euston Station. Another quick tube ride was all that was needed to take us to our starting point.

What do you mean I’m too young to be in the pub?

Guildhall, Bank of England, Royal Exchange, Tower of London, London Bridge, Tate Modern via Shakespeare’s Globe was followed by a wobble across the Millennium Bridge for a photoshoot outside St Pauls.

Off to the pub for a cheeky half and thence along the Strand, where dad made everyone wait at the traffic lights by sternly telling Lenny and I to wait for the green cross man. It’s lucky he didn’t say “Sit”. Trafalgar Square, Houses of Parliament, London Eye, Horseguards and then Buckingham Palace. A black cab ride back to the station for a fond farewell to Raffa and her mum.

Nice to meet you Raff, you are as lovely as Dex said you are.

We slept all the way home and I think it may have had something to do with the half marathon we had walked to see the sights. What a day, what an adventure, though sadly not to be repeated as Raffa took her longest journey in February 2020.

I will get back to London, and I will take Lenny again. We will show more friends around London so they can enjoy it as much as I did and still do. It goes without saying that I will tell you all about our adventures.

In the mists of morning

Lenny and dad have been going out separately to mum and I recently. I don’t really need to have as long a walk as Lenny. Also we seem to be bouncing off one another when we walk together with it being more like a lead pulling competition than a walk. So, it was decided over the last couple of days that Lenny would hit the lanes west of the village with dad whilst mum and I went north.

Lenny came back this morning with tales of awe and wonder. I didn’t really believe him until I saw the pictures. However it seems that his walk was indeed stuffed full with lovely views.

As autumn rolls in and the mornings become cooler and more moisture laden, the views across the fields and hills should become much more atmospheric. He was a lucky lad to get these vistas today.

Chanctonbury and the South Downs

I was busy chasing squirrels and had my nose to the ground according to mum.

Maybe I will get to stroll the lanes to the west. Maybe tomorrow.