The Cypriot Vampire

As Lenny has been here for a calendar year, I thought I would sit down with him in between bitey face and garden shenanigans to see what he’s made of the last twelve months of living in my house. So, grab a gravy bone or ten, fill your bowls with Adam’s Ale and hopefully enjoy our woofs.

Lenny. Lenny!! Over here, yes it’s me, Dex. Hello!! We are supposed to be catching up on your first year.

Oh hello Dex, what’s up brofur? Oops sorry, I’ll just stop eating this stick. Right I’m all yours, what do you want to know?

Good grief. Right, first question. When we first met in Jo’s house in Essex, did you have any idea what was going to happen next?

Erm no. Not a clue. I was happy to be in the UK and to be having walks every day and the chance to practice my bitey face skills with the other dogs at auntie Jo’s. I hadn’t been here long from Cyprus and I was getting used to all the different things. Then you showed up, we went for a walk and I got to woof with you whilst we strolled across the park. You seemed quite a nice fur.

Erm, thanks. Did you find it difficult to adjust when you arrived in the UK?

I don’t know. As I say I hadn’t been here that long, I was still getting used to things like lots of grass, all my new buddies in Essex, the climate and different food. To then be whisked away and deposited in your house was a strange moment. I had been on an aeroplane and in cars so I suppose I just thought it was another adventure. What an adventure it is though!

I hope I like it here.

So, when you got to my house what did you think?

Well I had met you the week before and to meet you again was a bonus. I remembered we had played in Essex and you were pretty good at snout jousting. We were allowed to go out into your garden straight away and we just chased each other. You were making a lot of noise in pursuit of me. I was happy as your garden is big so we had plenty of space. When Jo and Amelia left I didn’t really register what was happening as we were having so much fun. I suppose I didn’t realise they had gone. When it did dawn on me, I was a little bit worried as this was all very new and unfamiliar so I wasn’t wholly certain what was happening.

I think we will get on well.

Did you struggle with the language?

No, I understood your woofs quite quickly. There is a common language of Beagling so I had the basics already in place. It just took a while for me to fully understand these “commands” things we are supposed to respond to from the parents.

We spent quite a while in the first few weeks “playing”, did you feel that you were settling?

Not really. At first I think I was still trying to find my paws in this new house with you and our parents. It was all quite strange for me, and I don’t think I quite appreciated how much of an upheaval it was for you too. I didn’t know you were an only child before I arrived so I suppose I didn’t understand what effect my arrival would have on you and your life. I was waking up quite early and wanting to go out, I was trying out all your beds as well as mine and I didn’t quite comprehend that you eat from one bowl whilst I eat from another. Things like that really. I didn’t have any set routine but that came fairly quickly so I started to settle soon.

You know that our parents were concerned at us two going at each other for the first week, don’t you?

Indeed. I got the impression that they were struggling a little with our tendency to continually squabble throughout the day, even down to not being able to sleep on different sofas. I suspect that the first elongated session of bitey face after a week did us the world of good though as I was whacked out after that. I think it was about two hours chasing each other around the garden and the parents were looking at one another grimacing with fear and trying to suppress the urge to step in. We just stood there panting and grinning at one another.

However I also think one of the seminal moments in the first week was when I had an accident in the house. I was worried that I was in big trouble but it was all just cleaned up and life went on. I think I even got some ear scratches. I could see that we would all get along ok after you and I had got our squabbles out of the way.

We got better eventually though, once you started to settle down.

Yes, we do get on better now, although we still do excellent bitey face games in the house and garden. I like learning from you, it’s fun. I’m quicker, but you have all the shortcuts worked out.

Hmm, anyway, moving swiftly on. What did you make of the short series of training sessions you went to?

I thought it was good, an excellent way to teach Dad how to feed me treats for a little effort on my part. As you had woofed, he is a pushover when it comes to sit, stay, lay down and wait. And the frankfurter treats were very welcome. I was with a group of other pups and I think I was the oldest. It was interesting to see what was required of me. I hope dad doesn’t read this bit about being easy to persuade on the treats front! We continued our training on the patio and in the garden at home so I think I got something out of it and now I am much better. Apparently I still need work on my recall outside, as they want to let me off in some places.

I have no idea where those places are, as the outside is full of scents, squirrels, rabbits and foxes. Oh and deer too.

This is true, and I wouldn’t mind being let off in the woods to be honest. Having woofed that, I suspect I wouldn’t be seen again for quite some time.

You didn’t like the car when you first got to ride in it?

No, I am afraid I felt really ill and got car sick. I went to see a nanny and when we arrived dad saw I wasn’t feeling great. Unfortunately he didn’t quite manage to get me out of the travel crate quickly enough and I was a bit ill. Again though it was all cleaned up without fuss. It was just about ok when I was going to training class as the journey was about 20 minutes but, when I saw nanny, we went round this motorway thing and it was quite a long journey. I enjoyed myself at nanny’s flat though. I don’t think dad was looking forward to the return but I managed to hold it all in on the way back. Mum and dad worked it out that it was the peripheral vision that was causing me problems so they sorted that out. Also I now travel with you in the car and we can while away the time playing cards, drinking beer, playing video games and watching sports. Oops I meant to say we just make sure each other is happy and then we go to sleep.

Well, you were certainly better when we all went to the Beagle World Record Reunion in September 2019 in Macclesfield near Manchester.

Indeed, I had got used to the car by that time and I was travelling with you so we were, erm, able to sleep and just not worry about anything. That was a great day, I loved every minute of it. I couldn’t believe my ears and eyes when we arrived and there were over 600 beagles. I just wanted to get out and about and meet as many of them as possible. Great day and I was completely whacked out when we were coming home.

Hello Raffa, I’m Lenny. Pleased to meet you.

Indeed, we met many friends that day.

We did. I had the honour of meeting Raffa, Griff, Boot, Daisy, Dolly, Ruby and even Tink and Tyrrell’s mums who were over secretly from Australia amongst many others. I know you had told me that I needed to be on my best behaviour when I met Beagle Twitter royalty that day. I tried my best. Meeting so many friends was just wonderful, I loved every minute of the day. And I especially liked that I could walk mum around the world record course, that you had done with dad the previous year. I was proud ears to be amongst illustrious world record breaking company. And you were there, of course (ouch!!)

We started to do more trips out in the car so you could get better at travelling.

Oh yes, I remember we went to Wendover Woods and then to Ashridge Common on consecutive weekends. They were brilliant as I was able to scent creatures and see so many things, I was tired before I got back to the car. It was also fun as dad decided we should go to the brewery on the way back from Ashridge so “everyone was a winner”.

Then we went to visit our other nan and grandad, and ran around their house like a couple of loons. They had those stairs that we weren’t supposed to use but our bitey face game was made all the better when you stood at the top of the stairs arooing at me. It was a shame we were only there for the day really. However it was a fun day. We went out for little day trips after that, so I suppose I got more used to it. Now I’m good at it although I don’t like the jumping into the boot and settling down bit.

The longer you were here, the more we tried to show you the different areas we can walk in.

We did. I liked one walk in particular, when we went through the woods, into and through three fields, down a byway and then circumnavigated a really big field to retrace our steps. That was fun, and full of new scents.

Botley field.

Ah, you mean Botley.

Probably. We went in a big circle and then came back via small paths over the top of the hill. Actually I like the walk around Pednor, the walk to Mayhall Farm and the one up to Chalfont as well. I think what I am woofing is that I like all my walks. It was good in the summer as it wasn’t too hot and we could walk in the shade of the trees as well as in the open fields.

I introduced you to the London Underground. What did you think when you first saw the tube train?

I was excited ears. I hadn’t come across one of these things before and to travel on one was fun. I remember we walked through the woods and lanes to that Chalfont place and then rode the tube back home. At first I didn’t know what to think, but as soon as it started moving it was fun. I was allowed to sit on mums lap as well and I could see the countryside passing by so that was a bonus. We went on the tube a few more times and you woofed to me that usually that meant something was in the offing for the future.

Tickets please!

And I was right. The trip to London to meet Raffa.

Aw what a day. I was a bit worried when we only went out for a really short walk. And it was quite early when we had our breakfast so I thought I would be hungry. Walking up the hill to the train station, you woofed that this normally meant we were getting a longer trip so would be going on an overground train. When the train arrived I thought it would be like the tube, but it was much faster and I wasn’t allowed to sit on mum or dads lap. We arrived in London and my eyes were trying to take in all the sights and smells. You woofed it would be smelly air and it certainly was. We went through that Regents Park and then met Raffa at the train station. We went on tubes, walked streets, through markets, passed monuments, saw Towers, crossed bridges, woofed at people, saw sailing ships, crossed wobbly bridges, marvelled at cathedrals, went to the pub, waved at the Queens house and then took a black cab ride back to the train station. I even saw a big wheel covered in lights next to the river. No wonder we slept like logs on the return journey. I was so tired I could hardly put one paw in front of the other for a few days.

The boys are back in town

Indeed. Then we went and did it all again!

Of course, we met with Lucy’s mum and dad and we strolled around part of London again. Dad was trying to show them parts of London that people may not usually see. And I remember the Police lady on the horse was laughing at you as as you were arooing loudly near that Bank of England. It was reverberating through the streets.

Yes well, we can gloss over those small details about the Mounted Police lady.

We had a great time and I was quite sad when we woofed cheerio to Lucy’s parents at the Tower of London. Again though we slept all the way home and my paws were aching. Fun times. I hope we get to do that sort of trip again, hopefully with some other pals and buddies. I like exploring and there are so many places I want to go and see. Off lead would be good, but I suppose I will have to make do with being attached to a human for a while.

Christmas arrived.

Oh you mean that time when the little green tree was put up and we received gifts without needing to obey commands? It was fun. We even got that turkey in our dinners for a few days after. We still went on walks, and the frost was on the ground. I’m not sure where this snow stuff was that you promised me? I was a bit disappointed to be honest ears as you woofed that I was going to be allowed to taste this yellow snow delicacy.

Ahem cough cough, yes well. You’ve been here a year. What are you looking forward to the most in the coming months and years?

I am looking forward to getting out and about and being able to meet new pals and play bitey face with them, without the threat of being arrested and put into dog prison for breaking the rules on being outside. This virus isn’t very nice to be honest ears and I wish it would go away. However, that means that humans have to behave themselves and listen to what they are told. If one of our parents is anything to go by, he doesn’t usually listen to anyone so we could be stuck with it for a while. He is being sensible about this virus though. I am looking forward to summer walks and paddling in the river to cool off. I want to go in the car and visit pals. I want to see new places and smell new scents. And if I can do all this with you, then I will be a happy beagle. Once this virus is beaten, we can do all sorts of exploring, visiting and shenanigans with our pals.

And what have you most enjoyed over the last year?

Ooh, good question. The snout jousting with you, as well as waking dad up by standing on him when he’s being lazy and trying to snooze around six am. I have enjoyed running around the garden listening to you arooo at the top of your voice. The walks through the fields and woods are great, travelling on the train and tube is fun and meeting pals on my walks is exciting. Being here though I think is the best. I have a solid routine with treats, walks, tickles, training, beds and love. Much love. I suppose I landed on my paws really when I got here. I had no idea what was going on when I got onto the big aeroplane in Cyprus and then found myself on the other side of Europe within hours. I’m glad you let me live here and I am pleased we are brofurs. I have enjoyed meeting pals and visiting exciting places like London. I have also enjoyed contacting many friends through our Twitter account. It’s good to see friends from all over the world and woof with them, especially when you are asleep. We’re like a big family and look after one another through good times and bad.

One last question, and then you can go back to chewing your stick. If you could do one thing in the next year what would you like to do?

Hmm, I think I would like to have a massive party with pals in this Lake District place you woof about. I have seen the pictures and it looks like beagle paradise so thats what I would like to do. Oh, and I would like to bring back all pals who have gone over the Rainbow Bridge. They all sound really good fun and I would love to meet them all. I know that’s two things, but I am a beagle and can’t count.

Cheers Lenny, that was fun. Enjoy chewing your stick. Hang on, what do you mean woofing with my pals when I’m asleep!!

Oh, erm, nothing Dex. Love you mate.

Lucky Lenny

As a final comment from me, it is lovely to have Lenny here. I know we always have fun at each others expense but I feel like we have made great strides to living well together and, to be honest, I wouldn’t be without him now. We look out for each other and I enjoy showing him the places to go and what it is like to have a strong and stable life. I’m glad he’s my brother.

Surprise!

I am lucky as I have a large number of friends on Twitter. In fact it is difficult sometimes for mum and dad to keep up with all the tweets. My friends and I all have fun together, look after each other and give each other a shoulder to cry on, or paw of comfort, when needs must. It’s nice sometimes as we feel like a big family and we know that, despite not meeting the vast majority of those friends, we hope we can still count on each other as pals.

I had already met Raffa, one of my best pals, when I was on holiday in the Lakes. This was in my previous blog. She was so nice and friendly, and even made me blush when we nose bumped to say good bye. We had great fun. I then heard from another pal, Charley, that there was a large gathering due to take place before Christmas 2016. I gave my humans those eyes that only dogs can give and a plan was hatched with Charley and, his brofur, Boot. They told me the annual gathering was somewhere near Sheffield. When people were there, baubles were hung on a special tree to commemorate those furs we have loved and lost over the years. Charley’s mum said it would be fun if we could go along and to keep it a surprise for the other furs, all of whom I woof with regularly. It is quite a long journey for us so we thought about it, and I continued to give mum and dad the “eyes” to persuade them. We said we would try to come along and agreed it would be a surprise for everyone else who was there.

Fortunately the weather was set fair for the particular day so we set off very early in the morning to try and get there on time. The sad thing is that we had just lost another pal who had gone over the Rainbow Bridge in the week prior to meeting up so we knew that it might be a bit emotional.

Having arrived 5 minutes late, we strolled nonchalantly towards all my my pals who were being readied for the stroll around the reservoir. I am afraid I might have given the game away by arooing rather noisily. Charley’s mum wondered aloud “Oh, there seems to be another Beagle here, I wonder who this could be?” Everyone seemed quite happy to see us, and we were happy to see the rest of my pals and their humans. We think it was a nice surprise, we certainly hoped so. Auntie Sarah, who had lost her sweet beagle Boo the week before the tweetup, got leaky eyes when she saw me. She also told me that my messages for her were lovely and had helped her with her heartbreak. I managed to give her leg leans to reassure her that what I had tweeted was a true story. I did have to woof to her to stop giving me tickles and making me feel sad and get leaky eyes as well. Did she not realise I had a rufty tufty image to maintain here. 

Wait for me, Nut and Oggy!

I got to meet Eddy, Tean, Nut, Oggy, Raffa, Charley and Boot. We all walked along woofing at each other, and enjoying all the sniffs and scenery in this lovely part of the countryside. The humans were chattering away too. I found out that Oggy is a rescue beagle from a laboratory in Hungary so he was very scared of many things. This was bad and I had leaky eyes when I walked next to him. We all tried to look after him as much as possible. At one point there were some motorbikes which were going to whizz past, and he had to be picked up and shielded from the noise and smell. I had worried ears for him, but auntie Sarah cuddled him so tight to protect him. However the further we walked, the calmer he seemed to be and we had a good woof as we wandered around, up hill and down dale. We unfortunately missed meeting Bryher, who is Teans sister, as she wasn’t very well and had to stay home. Eddy is a good lad too, bigger than me and pulls on the harness as much as I do. We woofed about life in general. Raffa was in her chariot for most of the walk, as she had damaged her cruciate ligament and was being told to rest up and be safe. Dad got the honour of pushing her chariot again for a while, just like in the Lakes. Charley and Boot strolled along taking in the scenery. I found out that they live in the countryside so they are used to having lovely views and scenery. We got to the tree, people hung their Christmas baubles and had their quiet thoughts to themselves and we continued our walk around the reservoir. It was a lovely place and we chatted for a long time.

We all ended up at a cafe and the humans had cakes and buns and coffee. Apparently it was a bit cold for some of them, and I must say mum did look a bit blue and frozen. Then the final surprise was that I got some cards and presents from my friends which was very nice, and very unexpected. I didn’t have anything to give them in return and I had guilty ears about this. But they woofed that, because I had come a really long way to see them, they would forgive me. I knew immediately that these were good friends and would be friends forever.

Dad drove home and I slept for most of the way, even when the trucks and coaches were driving so close behind us, that I could read their number plates.

What a great day, what great friends. I had so much fun I wanted to do it all over again. I would have to sleep on it though.

Zzzz, why a great day that was.

A light that will never dim

Sometimes you become friends with someone who you instantly know is honest, fun and has a heart filled with goodness. This is the story of one such friend who I was lucky enough to meet on quite a few occasions, and who I will never ever forget. If I may indulge you in some reminiscences, I would be grateful for a small amount of your time.

Raffa was the friend I started woofing with soon after I joined Twitter in 2013. After we had been talking on Twitter for some time and finally decided that, as my parents were taking me for a holiday to Patterdale in the Lake District, Raffa and her mum would join us to have some walks and chat in person. We were all really excited as we got the impression from our Twitter talks that Raffa was happy and fun and always exploring. We met in the White Lion in Patterdale on 30th August 2016 and our friendship was sealed in the first few moments when Raffa walked into the pub and nose bumped me whilst I was asleep. I had been walking for miles and was very tired.

Hello, I’m Raffa

The very next day we all walked out on a long trail that was stony in many places. Raffa had her chariot as she wasn’t able to walk as far as she would want to. However she seemed to stride out and I looked on in awe at her. We managed to arooo very loudly at some sheep and generally had a lovely time.

Grisedale walk

On our return to the holiday house, I escorted her along the road in her chariot as she was a little tired after the days exertions. The next day she went home, however the friendship was set.

In December 2016 we arrived unannounced at a meet up near Sheffield in Yorkshire. We had been plotting with Charley Beagles mum to surprise everyone, and it worked. We walked along a lovely path around a reservoir with many pals. Raffa had her mum push her in the chariot as, again, the terrain was rocky and she couldn’t walk too far. But she still managed to trot happily along for a fair distance which made everyone happy.

We met up with Raffa and her mum again in April 2017 for another expedition to the Western Lake District. This time we explored Eskdale, Wasdale and Ravenglass. We greeted each other with our usual cheeriness and proceeded to explore for the next three days, always with smiles on our faces.

We then had a couple of days with Raffa and her mum, again in Eskdale, in early September 2017. We walked, woofed and had a wonderful time.

Next we all met up at the Beagle World Record in Macclesfield in April 2018. I was fortunate to meet up with Raffa, Bryher, Tean, Charley and 1,024 other beagles who all became record breakers that day. We all finished the course, creating history with every step. As followers will know Charley Beagle went to the Rainbow Bridge in September 2018.

I will finish the course, I will be a World Record Holder

We met at Dunstable Downs in October 2018 and then a hush hush visit to Charley’s mum & dad in November 2018 followed.

It’s good to see you again Raffa, my friend.
The gate keeper of Charley Beagles kitchen

When we took Lenny to the World Record Beagle Walk celebration in September 2019 Raffa was still running around when she could, and retiring to her chariot when she was tired.

I will look after you Raffa. We are buddies after all.

We topped the year off by having the honour and privilege of showing Raffa and her mum around a few parts of London. I covered this in a previous blog but make no apologies for mentioning it again. We had a wonderful day, we saw so many things, there was laughter and happiness through the entire time and much sadness when we departed.

Sadly, Raffa took the longest journey on 4th February 2020. She was 13 years old. She lived a life full of fun, adventure and exploration. She was loved, she gave love and she smiled and enjoyed her life. She was, and is, a beacon of what I would hope to be. Happy, fulfilled, loved and wholly content with her life. She may be gone from our sights however she will remain in our hearts forever. Run free sweet Raffa it is a privilege and honour to know you, to meet you and to be your friend. We had many adventures which I will never forget. May the everlasting sun shine upon your fur and keep you warm. Until we meet again, for we surely shall, I say farewell but never goodbye.

21st July 2006 – 4th February 2020. Thirteen and a half years of a life fully lived. I have sad ears because this is the most difficult blog I have ever had to write.

We miss you Raffa. Run free sweetie.

Merry Christmas one and all

To conclude our celebration of Christmas in all its guises around the world, I asked Eddy in Yorkshire, Tyrrell in Australia, Marigold in the USA & Curfew in Thailand how they enjoyed themselves at this most wonderful time of the year. Thank you for reading this little series of blogs. It has been interesting to see the differences as well as the similarities.

If you had one chance to see one place in the world at Christmas where would it be?

Eddy: Lapland

Curfew: I would like to visit one place and it is Anfield, Liverpool.

Tyrrell: Mum says somewhere with snow where she can see the Northern Lights and we get to see snow.

Marigold: A place where all our pals could gather

You can meet one person at Christmas, who?

Eddy: Santa

Curfew: I want to meet all my Twitter pals.

Tyrrell: We’d like a party with all our Twitter pals together.

Marigold: Mum says she wants me back, I was a furry little person.

Best thing about Christmas?

Eddy: Everyone is happy

Curfew: The best thing about Christmas is everyone has a lot of fun and smile.

Tyrrell: Mum has a week at home with us, extra belly rubs and treats. Mums says her kindle and hammock.

Marigold: Food

Worst thing about it?

Eddy: Knowing there are lonely out there

Curfew: Fireworks

Marigold: Food.

Sprouts or no sprouts?

Eddy: Half and half in our house

Curfew: I’m not sure if it is different from here. But I like to eat all veggies. Don’t worry I’m not a Vegan. Chicken & bacon always better.

Tyrrell: Christmas dinner is not right without sprouts although the fall out can be tough.

Marigold: We don’t eat a lot of sprouts, so probably that would be a no.

One gift you could give to one friend?

Eddy: Better health

Curfew: I want to give many kinds of Thai food for them to taste how amazing is it.

Tyrrell: I’d share my Roo treats. Mum says friendship.

Marigold: A sympathetic ear

Something you would like to receive?

Eddy: Good news for me after my little op.

Curfew: Want a blessing from heaven to bring back my pals who running over the Rainbow Bridge.

Tyrrell: Anything edible.

Marigold: Mum says she wants me back.

Best Christmas song?

Eddy: Driving home for Christmas

Curfew: All I want for Christmas is you – Michael Buble

Tyrrell: Mum says White Christmas by some dude called Bing. I say Raffa’s 2016 version of 12 days of Christmas

Marigold: Any Christmas song sung by Tony Bennett.

Do you think Christmas has lost its meaning?

Eddy: Yes

Curfew: Everything in this world is dominated by business. All commercial

Tyrrell: Isn’t it just about extra treats? Mum says yes it is too commercial but the twittpack gives her hope

Marigold: Somewhat, but not everywhere for everyone.

Has it been watered down into a purely commercial thing?

Eddy: I think so

Curfew: See above.

Tyrrell: See above. No, mum just gifts me more treats

Marigold: Yes sadly.

Do you wear reindeer ears at Christmas, or should they stay on the reindeer?

Eddy: I like an antler

Curfew: I have a lot of Christmas costumes. So, yes reindeer ears. Do I want to wear? Sadly I have no choice.

Tyrrell: Mum made me wear them one year, then I ate them. She wears an elf hat with elf ears

Marigold: Only on reindeer around here. Not that there are any, reindeer, I mean

New Years Resolution or are they a total waste of time?

Eddy: Yes

Curfew: Not a waste of time. No, the happy moments are never enough.

Tyrrell: What are they for? Can we order more treats? Mum says waste of time you should always do what you resolve to do at New Year

Marigold: Its worth a shot, you never know.

Bring back one thing about Christmas past?

Eddy: To have all people and four legged pals back

Tyrrell: My pals over the rainbow just for the day. Mum says her mum, she is over the rainbow too, probably with all our pals she loved dogs.

Marigold: Kids shopping for one or two presents in a printed catalog. It’s out of control.

Home Alone or A Christmas Carol?

Eddy: A Christmas Carol

Curfew: I’ve never been home alone.

Tyrrell: Christmas Carol every time.

Marigold: Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart

Would you rather have Christmas with friends or with your parents?

Eddy: Parents

Tyrrell: I would rather with our mums as they have my treats. Mum says with friends as no parents left.

Marigold: Mum says she would love to have Christmas with her parents.

Do you get turkey shares?

Eddy: Yes

Curfew: No turkey here, but every time there’s a New Year celebration in my home there’s usually many different types of food on the table. You have no idea how much.

Tyrrell: No turkey as we have Prawns, crayfish or crab. I get a tiny bit.

Marigold: Pups always got turkey shares—not a lot but yes. I wish Marigold could be here and have whatever she wanted

Do you think you will have snow at Christmas? Do you like snow at Christmas?

Eddy: No, I pray for snow at Christmas that’s why we got married in December but it didn’t snow

Tyrrell: If we do the world is in serious global warming trouble! We are expecting 36°-39°. Mum says she would like to be somewhere with snow.

Marigold: Maybe a tiny bit way early in the morning… forecast doesn’t look promising.

Cluedo or Scrabble? Who wins?

Eddy: Scrabble. Not mum

Curfew: No games played at all, only whiskeys, wines and beer.

Tyrrell: Cluedo and mum wins

Marigold: Never heard of Cluedo. Scrabble… sometimes I win.

Trivial Pursuit or Monopoly? Who wins?

Eddy: Trivial Pursuit and again, not mum.

Tyrrell: Both.

Marigold: Monopoly. It usually doesn’t ever end, so nobody wins.

Fairy or a star on top of the Christmas Tree?

Eddy: We’ve got eyeore cos we’ve a Disney tree

Tyrrell: Neither we has a Scotsman playing the bagpipes.

Tis the season to be jolly

I have many friends around the world and I asked some of them what they thought of Christmas and, if they celebrated, who they did so. This is the third instalment so I thought I would ask some more overseas pals.

Lucy lives in Arizona. Dixie lives in New Jersey. Gracie lives in Massachusetts. Pruny’s mum, Carolina, lives in Argentina.

If you had one chance to see one place in the world at Christmas where would it be?

Lucy: Wherever I am at!

Dixie: Anywhere in the Caribbean, we spent Christmas on Bonaire one year and it was fantastic!

Gracie: Not sure — maybe Finland or the UK.

Carolina: Any place cold with snow and not hot.

You can meet one person at Christmas, who?

Lucy: My mum again.

Dixie: It would have to be my Mom who never stopped believing in Santa for her whole 82 years

Gracie: My mom. She died unexpectedly in 2003, and we weren’t able to be together the Christmas before she passed.

Carolina: Oh my favorite singer or any Twitter pal.

Best thing about Christmas?

Lucy: The decorations.

Dixie: Making people smile simply by wishing them Happy holidays

Gracie: The lights and the feeling of peace. And watching Roscoe and Gracie open presents. Roscoe loves it.

Carolina: Lights, decorations and movies.

Worst thing about it?

Lucy: Grumpy shoppers and drivers.

Dixie: Road rage and parking lot crazies.

Gracie: People. They get so angry so quickly over things that don’t matter.

Carolina: People arguing where to spend the night, what to eat and fireworks.

Sprouts or no sprouts?

Lucy: We don’t do spouts much in the US but fried with bacon they are amazing!

Dixie: I don’t eat them but they were always on the table when I was young.

Gracie: No sprouts however Gracie says yes to sprouts. Roscoe likes to shred sprouts and make a mess then walk away.

Carolina: No sprouts for Christmas here.

One gift you could give to one friend?

Lucy: I wish I could give a friend of mine the gift of forgiveness about her marriage failing, it has been 13 years and she has not moved on.

Dixie: I like to make people laugh (or at least try to) so they can forget their worries if only for an evening.

Gracie: Something handmade.

Carolina: Something special for him/her that surprises him/her but not necessarily expensive.

Something you would like to receive?

Lucy: Magic weight loss

Dixie: Hmmm, that’s really hard, more kindness in the world.

Gracie: I don’t know. I think this year I have everything I need.

Carolina: A ticket for my and my pups to travel.

Best Christmas song?

Lucy: O Holy Night sung by Nat King Cole

Dixie: Mum says Silver Bells (showing my age there)

Gracie: White Christmas

Carolina: All I want for Christmas is you.

Do you think Christmas has lost its meaning?

Lucy: I don’t think Christmas is much about religion anymore. However, I have seen it bring out generosity that lacks during the rest of the year.

Dixie: It hasn’t lost it’s meaning for me so I can’t really say how others feel about it.

Gracie: Not to me it hasn’t. But to the world in general… maybe.

Carolina: Yes, definitely.

Has it been watered down into a purely commercial thing?

Lucy: In general, yes.

Dixie: Yeah for some it is

Gracie: It has definitely gotten more commercial.

Carolina: Sure! Kids only want presents, they don’t know Christmas meaning.

Do you wear reindeer ears at Christmas, or should they stay on the reindeer?

Lucy: I have been known to wear a Santa hat

Dixie: No, but a Santa hat and lots of red, yes.

Gracie: Reindeer need their antlers.

Carolina: Nope, only for pups. (Dexter says bad luck pups.)

New Years Resolution or are they a total waste of time?

Lucy: My resolutions are to recognize when someone needs help and provide it. When we travel and I see people taking pictures of each other individually I step up to take a picture of them. It’s a tiny thing that makes people happy.

Dixie: New Year resolutions are ridiculous unless they lead to a good habit that will make the person happier.

Gracie: Reflections are useful, but resolutions. I’m so horrible at them that for me they are a waste of time.

Carolina: Not waste of time for people who want to make them possible. Personally don’t think about them.

Bring back one thing about Christmas past?

Lucy: They have been all over the place, in the military, as a police officer, with friends and family! Someone has always been kind enough to share.

Dixie: Not sure about bringing back one thing from the past, not really my thing.

Gracie: Family who have all passed away.

Carolina: A happy Christmas, when I had a bigger family and was fun.

Home Alone or A Christmas Carol?

Lucy: What a Wonderful Life

Dixie: Sorry but it has to be White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.

Gracie: Christmas Carol

Carolina: Christmas Carol

Would you rather have Christmas with friends or with your parents?

Lucy: My parents are passed but Lucy says with everyone, no other dogs, so she gets all the pets and tickles.

Dixie: The more the merrier, friends and family works

Gracie: I wish I could have Christmas with my family.

Carolina: Friends. Too many not very happy Christmas with family.

Do you get turkey shares?

Lucy: Always.

Dixie: Dixie here: No because they have ham at Christmas

Gracie: White meat turkey shares for Roscoe and Gracie! Arrroooo!

Carolina: Not turkey here. Each family eats different things but for sure vitello tonnato and English sandwiches.

Do you think you will have snow at Christmas? Do you like snow at Christmas?

Lucy: No, it will be 60 F. We’ve never had it.

Dixie: We don’t usually have snow for Christmas here, I always had snow when I was young. When I was young I liked it but now that I’m the one driving, I’m just as happy without it

Gracie: I hope so! It doesn’t really feel like Christmas to me if there’s no snow on the ground.

Carolina: We expect 36 °C for that day. I would love snow.

Cluedo or Scrabble? Who wins?

Lucy: We don’t usually play games.

Dixie: We don’t play board games at Christmas. There might be a card game or two going on depending on the crowd, but it all fun so who cares who wins.

Gracie: Scrabble. Don’t know what Cluedo is. I would probably win at Scrabble.

Carolina: Scrabble, my mum wins.

Trivial Pursuit or Monopoly? Who wins?

Lucy: We don’t usually play games.

Dixie: See above.

Gracie: Trivial Pursuit. Mark might win, but I would put up a good fight.

Carolina: Monopoly, I win.

Fairy or a star on top of the Christmas Tree?

Lucy: Neither

Dixie: Always a Star

Gracie: We have a star on currently, but I would like to find a nice angel.

Carolina: Always a star here.


A Christmas for Border Terriers

The next instalment of my investigation into Christmas as enjoyed around the world. As I have a large number of pals who are Border Terriers I thought I would make this blog purely on their views. In fact I am an honorary member of the BT Posse, a fine and venerable group alongside the BeagleBug Club.

For reference Moss lives in New Zealand. Topa lives in California. Hamish lives in Scotland.

If you had one chance to see one place in the world at Christmas where would it be?

Moss: I would like to meet my grandad. M would like to meet David Bowie

Hamish: My sofa with friends and family.

You can meet one person at Christmas, who?

Moss: I would like to meet my grandad. Mum would like to meet David Bowie.

Topa: My Mums parents. I’ve heard they love dogs but they live 3000 miles across the country and I’m too big to fly.

Hamish: You Dexter!

Best thing about Christmas?

Moss: Lots of fuss from the family and helping them unwrap their pressies. I’m a big help and Christmas ham is always tasty. Mum says it’s being able to legitimately ignore work emails

Hamish: BTPosse Secret Santa…..all these furs and people who haven’t met do something kind and fun for someone else. It’s lovely and it’s all thanks to Hamish HRH who is a logistical genius!

Worst thing about it?

Moss: Me – what’s not to love about fussing and Christmas ham? Mum says she doesn’t like the commercialisation of it and pressure on families to have Instagram perfect Christmases

Topa: This year my Mums are going away without me.

Hamish: Thinking about the furs and little humans not as fortunate as us.

Sprouts or no sprouts?

Moss: Sprouts! With almonds and pancetta

Topa: Hmm. Sprouts aren’t really a Christmas thing here in the US, but I always love a good raw, smelly brassica to crunch on!

Hamish: M used to hate them when she little, now she loves them! Her taste bugs getting old I think

One gift you could give to one friend?

Moss: I would like Frank the BT living with Mr Mike to get better and for my other pals who are sick to get better. Mum has a colleague who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He has a young family. She would like him to have more time. (Sorry to be heavy hedgehog as Hamish would say)

Topa: I would give my pal Gracie Rae Good Girl, my Border Terrier friend here in my town, no more operations or health issues for the rest of her life.

Hamish: We wish we could give a thank you to all the folk who have to work on Christmas Day.

Something you would like to receive?

Moss: squeaky pigs please Mum wants an email wizard who would clear up her inbox and file everything correctly

Hamish: This is a tough one but I’m 11 soon and I feel time be flying in. So the gift of time please.

Best Christmas song?

Moss: Fairytale of NY – no contest!

Topa: Anything that my Scottish pal Roky Boyd (@RokAndWag) has written.

Hamish: The Coventry Carol.

Do you think Christmas has lost its meaning?

Moss: We’re not a religious household at all so it couldn’t lose that meaning but it’s definitely more commercial. For us it’s about time out with family and friends.

Topa: I don’t know. I’m only three.

Hamish: Yes and no! I guess it’s up to each and everyone of us to keep what it means in our hearts and try to live up to that all year round.

Has it been watered down into a purely commercial thing?

Moss: See above.

Topa: See above.

Hamish: Again it is but only if we let it!

Do you wear reindeer ears at Christmas, or should they stay on the reindeer?

Moss: I don’t wear reindeer ears. Mum does. I have also been known to nom them if she leaves them lying about.

Topa: Definitely for reindeer only. I hate things on my head.

Hamish: They can keep their antlers !

New Years Resolution or are they a total waste of time?

Moss: You can make resolutions at any time of the year but there is something appealing about re-setting the clock.

Hamish: Just to keep trying to have fun and be the best terrier I can be!

Bring back one thing about Christmas past?

Moss: Gooseberry creme from the Quality Street tins!

Hamish: Remember the satsumas wrapped in the wax paper: bring them back!

Home Alone or A Christmas Carol?

Moss: Neither – Die Hard! Ok – Home Alone.

Hamish: Christmas Carol (the muppets version)

Would you rather have Christmas with friends or with your parents?

Moss: We are lucky and do both. It would be nice to have Christmas with the UK family.

Topa: Definitely with my Mums because I love them best. But I love Gracie and her Mums, too, so perfect Christmas would be all 6 of us.

Hamish: We now do Christmas with family and Boxing Day with friends! It works well!

Do you get turkey shares?

Moss: We don’t have a turkey but I get Christmas ham!

Topa: Not so far. I’ve only had two Christmases with my Mums and they haven’t had turkey at either one.

Hamish: I get a little bit.

Do you think you will have snow at Christmas? Do you like snow at Christmas?

Moss: We will never have snow in a million years. Beach baby! I think I’d like to try it. Mum doesn’t like it. It’s a pain to drive in.

Topa: Not where I live in Southern California! But we do get snow in the mountains near here. I think it would be fun to play in, but I don’t really know first hand.

Hamish: It seems really mild so probably no snow.

Cluedo or Scrabble? Who wins?

Moss: Can we have both Cluedo and Scrabble please? Mum and Dad fiercely contest Scrabble but Dad is tricksy and usually wins. Mum wins Cluedo

Hamish: My mum can’t spell so scrabble a disaster for her.

Trivial Pursuit or Monopoly? Who wins?

Moss: Trivial Pursuit. Can’t stand Monopoly as it goes on too long.

Hamish: We likes trivial pursuits

Fairy or a star on top of the Christmas Tree?

Moss: Star. MERI KIRIHIMETE!

Topa: We have a wooden yellow bird with a scarf around its neck on the top of our tree.


All I want for Christmas is?

As the Christmas holiday period looms over the horizon, I sat wondering recently what some of my friends and their parents thought of the Christmas period. I wondered if and how they enjoyed themselves, so I asked a few of them. These are the first set of replies I have got. There are others I will put on here in forthcoming blogs.

He looks a bit too big to fit down my chimney!

If you had one chance to see one place in the world at Christmas where would it be?

Griff: Heaven, just for a day, so I could meet Charley and say thank you for helping your M&D find me.

Fergus: M spent last Christmas in Australia with lifelong friends, and she loved it. She’d love to spend it with me in a log cabin in Scotland.

Raffa: Santa Paws workshop, North Pole

Oscar: I would like to be in Santa’s Sleigh. That way I could zoom around the world delivering presents to all my pals and their humans and give them all a Christmas snuggle.

Beadnell: Bethlehem.

You can meet one person at Christmas, who?

Griff: Charley Beagle.

Fergus: Mum says Joe Lycett as she reckons he’d be a cracking dinner guest but I say Santa Paws

Raffa: Santa Paws

Oscar: This is tough. I would like to meet Santa Paws but Og met him last year and Og said that he smelt funny and had run out of presents. So I would really like to meet 3 special souls; Goon, Bean and Momma Boo

Beadnell: Santa Paws

Best thing about Christmas?

Griff: Turkey dinner.

Fergus: Mum loves the cold weather at this time of year, I’m not so sure. I love that many humans are happy

Raffa: Being with family

Oscar: Nut would say “Wrapping paper” but I would say extra noms

Beadnell: Noms

Worst thing about it?

Griff: We love Christmas Day so our answer is nothing.

Fergus: Mum & I will not be spending Christmas together this year, again: she is going to a friend’s and they have elderly cats. So it will be sad to not be together but I am going to my amazing holibobs home and Mum says we’ll have our Christmas the weekend after. It’s also very sad to think about all the humans and furs that are alone, lonely or without homes.

Raffa: Washing up.

Oscar: Knowing that there are dogs and humans that are alone and sad

Beadnell: Disruption

Sprouts or no sprouts?

Griff: Sprouts – with turkey gravy

Fergus: Mum says YES! I say no thanks love.

Raffa: Sprouts for Mum, none for me

Oscar: We love sprouts especially when they’re mixed with bacon.

Beadnell: Sprouts but not for me for fear of farting

One gift you could give to one friend?

Griff: I would turn back the clock and give a fit and healthy Pruny back to auntie Carolina.

Fergus: A brand new ball to play with and have lots of fun all year round! Or, until you dead it

Raffa: Life

Oscar: I would like to give a Skype call to the Rainbow Bridge to anyone that wants one.

Beadnell:Time

Something you would like to receive?

Griff: I have everything I need, so I would like to hear that all animal testing has been stopped at Midnight on Christmas Day.

Fergus: Mum would like new running trainers; I would like lots of fishy treats

Raffa: Good health

Oscar: A Skype call from the Rainbow Bridge

Beadnell: Understanding

Best Christmas song?

Griff: Fairytale of New York

Fergus: Mum can’t decide between “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues or that Slade song. I like the ones that make M happy and dance like a loon as I then join in with her and we have a lot of fun

Raffa: Driving home for Christmas

Oscar: Fairytale of New York

Beadnell: Anything choral or happy.

Do you think Christmas has lost its meaning?

Griff: Yes

Fergus: Mum says she thinks it has. It’s so commercial for so many. She is looking forward to spending time with friends, being with them and not thinking about other worldly worries.

Raffa: Yes

Oscar: Maybe just a little bit, which makes my Mum sad

Beadnell: Only if you let it.

Has it been watered down into a purely commercial thing?

Griff: To a large degree yes, but not entirely.

Fergus: Mum says not purely but definitely very commercial.

Raffa: Yes

Oscar: We don’t think so but that is dependant on the humans who try to make it that way

Beadnell: Only if you let it.

Do you wear reindeer ears at Christmas, or should they stay on the reindeer?

Griff: Mum has reindeer ears for Boot and myself. We do our best to shake them off and avoid wearing them.

Fergus: I think they should stay on the reindeer, pal. It’s bad enough Mum gives me a Christmas jumper!

Raffa: I wear various headwear at Christmas.

Oscar: I sure wish they would stay on the Reindeer

Beadnell: Antlers are for Reindeer

New Years Resolution or are they a total waste of time?

Griff: Waste of time

Fergus: Not if they’re the thing that gives you a focus. Mum says she “resolves to be the same fabulous, foul-mouthed person she always is” and it works out just fine.

Raffa: Resolution but it needs to be achievable not silly.

Oscar: Nothing is ever a waste of time but we dont make resolutions cos we can’t keep them

Beadnell: The middle of winter is not the best time to deprive yourself and do tough things: only humans would do that.

Bring back one thing about Christmas past?

Griff: Snow. A white Christmas should be compulsory

Fergus: Snow

Raffa: Great Grandma

Oscar: Mum says Naivety – when Christmas was super exciting and magical like when she was a little girl

Beadnell: Everyone Over The Rainbow Bridge for Christmas Day

Home Alone or A Christmas Carol?

Griff: A Christmas Carol

Fergus: Neither. Mum says Elf

Raffa: Home Alone

Oscar: Home Alone

Beadnell: A Christmas Carol

Would you rather have Christmas with friends or with your parents?

Griff: Parents, but all our friends would be invited.

Fergus: Mum spends Christmas with friends. She says next year she will make sure it’s not with cat friends.

Raffa: Friends

Oscar: Everyone, friends and family. That would be a pawsome pawty

Beadnell: Friends

Do you get turkey shares?

Griff: Silly question. Of course.

Fergus: Mum is a vegetarian so never turkey.

Raffa: No, but maybe this year

Oscar: Don’t you?

Beadnell: Of course

Do you think you will have snow at Christmas? Do you like snow at Christmas?

Griff: Probably not, but we love snow at Christmas

Fergus: Maybe, there is already snow here where I live. We love it, however mum isn’t so keen on driving through it though.

Raffa: No, but I like it

Oscar: Probably not, probably rain, but we would like a white Christmas. We love snow, any time. We like to pee in it and make it yellow.

Beadnell: Not in Northumberland. And I am not that keen on anything that wets my paws

Cluedo or Scrabble? Who wins?

Griff: Scrabble. Griff = 2+1+1+4+4 = 12 points, Boot = 3+1+1+1 = 6 points, so Griff wins.

Fergus: Mum loves both. She gets competitive with both too! This is the first time she’s spending Christmas with these friends so she’s not sure who will win, but she’ll be trying her best!

Raffa: Cluedo

Oscar: Cluedo, Mum wins. She always wins.

Beadnell: Neither.

Trivial Pursuit or Monopoly? Who wins?

Griff: Trivial Pursuit and mum would win

Fergus: Monopoly to be played properly, but the Trivial Pursuit questions are fun to answer anyway. Mum always picks the Scottie piece in Monopoly, naturally.

Raffa: Trivial Pursuit

Oscar: Monopoly. Dad wins. Sometimes.

Beadnell: Monopoly

Fairy or a star on top of the Christmas Tree?

Griff: Star

Fergus: Star

Raffa: Star

Oscar: We have 2 trees, one with a star and the other with a fairy.

Beadnell: Polar Bear