Downs Link shenanigans

Come on, hurry up you two, Lenny and I want to go out exploring. A well placed nose on dads leg makes sure that our parents are out of bed and making ready to go and explore.

We were out sharply and expecting to have an hour or so exploring the local area. Instead we were turned left and strolled down the little lane before being turned around and found ourselves being led back towards the house. We knew this would mean that we were off for a ride in the car and, as expected, we were loaded into our travel crates and we turned left up the main road. This was different and when we turned right and then sharp left, Lenny and I looked at each other quizzically. We were indeed somewhere we had never been.

Welcome to West Grinstead Train Station read the sign. Ooh great, we are getting a train ride. As we were shackled and released from our crates we heard our parents mumble something about “This might be a bit boring as it will be flat and shingle covered”. We looked up and saw that there was no train and no track so what sort of train station is this? Not that it mattered as Lenny and I were quickly into our strides with our noses to the ground pulling and yanking on our leads as we scented all sorts of wildlife. We saw horses, other dogs, runners and more dogs. Walkers strolled toward us and smiled as we were pulling our parents one way and another. We met a spaniel who was having great fun in and out of the ditch at the side of the track. After a few miles we reached a place called Copsale whereupon we were turned around and headed back toward the start. More horses strolled past us, more walkers wandered towards us still smiling at our shenanigans and we saw the spaniel who was even dirtier than before. We even managed not to eat the field food which was on offer on so many different parts of the route. Back to the car and Lenny managed to leap in straightaway which means he was tired and had had fun. I was lifted in as my legs were so tired from all the exertions. When we got back home it was as much as we could do to eat our breakfasts and then fall asleep.

It turns out that there used to be a train line through West Grinstead but a man called Dr Beeching carried out a review of the UK rail network in 1963 under the direction of the government. As a result of his report, there were a large number of smaller rail lines which were closed and never re-opened. Most of the track and ballast were lifted and removed on the West Grinstead line between 1965-1970 and the area was left generally untended until part of the line was sold to the County Council in 1970. The scrub was cleared and a path was made linking the North Downs at St Martha’s Hill to the South Downs at Steyning and thence on to the coast at Shoreham, a total of 37 miles.

We pulled and messed about so much that no photos were taken on the walk, only a couple of Lenny and I snoozing at home afterwards. There was nothing boring about this walk, and I can say for sure we are going back. If you get the chance try a stroll along the Downs Link, we can vouch for it being fun.

Oh Eddy.

Following hot on the heels of from my blog about Tyrrell making her way to the Rainbow Bridge, I heard about another of my oldest buddies who’s body had told him it was tired and time to make his longest journey. This is indeed a sad time. So many of my original friends have now made their final journey, I’m feeling a bit lonely.

Eddy was a typical Yorkshire lad. Happy to be out and about, doing all the rufty tufty stuff that beagles love to do. Eddy was usually found in the woods, out in the fields, seeing his nan or greeting the many people who come to visit him.

He was born in June 2010, which makes him a month younger than me. I had known of Eddy since I started my Twitter account back in December 2013. I met Eddy when I made a surprise visit to Yorkshire and said hello to many pals in December 2016. We wandered around the reservoir and had a great time sniffing until we ended up at the cafe to watch the parents drink coffee to warm themselves up. We struck up a friendship immediately and it never faltered. I always enjoyed hearing of Eddy and see what he was getting up to, as he was forever having adventures and a great time.

Eddy was recently diagnosed with Diabetes Insipidus after feeling lethargic, having quite some temperature and going off his food and water. Then his body told him that it was tired and he took his longest journey on Thursday 18th August.

Eddy my friend, we will all miss you, with your parents of course missing you the most. There is a little comfort in knowing that you are suffering no more. Run free big fella, find those who have gone before and who rest in the everlasting meadow with the sun on your fur. Your infectious smile will keep us all feeling happy and privileged to have been your friends.

An annual concern

Today is one of those days when I worry about what will happen next. I am reluctantly handing over my blog to my younger brother who isn’t really my brother. I have taken him under my wing so to speak and shown him the ways of the beagle. Anyway, here goes.

Hello, it is I, Lenny. I’m four today! I don’t know what that means but I do know it comes with treats, a birthday card, extra tickles and a stroll around my new favourite place, being the Paw Paddock. I think I can get used to this sort of attention. Dex has been told he has to be nice to me today (although he usually is!) and I get first dibs on biscuits and treats albeit for one day only.

We went nice and early to the Paw Paddock and I was let off lead to run around like a fur possessed. Instead I merely wandered off, sniffed and then strolled back to a parent to be re-shackled after fifteen minutes or so.

Chicken flavoured treats may have assisted in my recall however I want it known that I have been complemented on my recall generally in recent times. Dex was released and he too just strolled about and then disappeared to the other end of the paddock. When he returned, again to the sound of a treat bag being rustled, he was promptly re-attached and I was again released.

There were some tasty rabbit droppings that I wasn’t told off for eating so, I assume, it must be a special day.

We returned home just in time for the forecast rain to start falling. Its been dry as a bone here for a couple of months so this little period of rain is very welcome. We avoided getting wet and now I’ve been told I can laze on whichever chair I want for the rest of the afternoon. I wanted to laze on the big bed however that was deemed too cheeky and is out of bounds. In due course I will expect my food to be served and then I will relax for the rest of the day.

I’m a lucky lad to be honest and sensible for a moment. I want for little (apart from snoozing on the big bed) and Dex is a good brother to me. He’s had more of these birthday things than I have, although I shouldn’t say “three times as many”.

Travel well

It has been very warm here in the UK over recent days. Some may say tropical and I have to agree with that sentiment. As I age it seems that the heat gets to me more readily and I feel rather unwell more often than I would like. Fortunately my parents are somewhat in tune with my inability to tolerate high heat throughout the day and night and they are aware that I need numerous trips to the garden during the twilight hours to make sure the carpets don’t need professional cleaning. During my day time wandering around the house, Lenny looks up from his various sleeping positions and casts a wistful eye upon my predicament. He doesn’t seem to suffer the same level of heat illness that I do, which is good. In any case we were supposed to go to the beach yesterday however, due to the weather remaining in the high 30’s and me still feeling a little poorly, we decided against it.

Waking up yesterday I strolled around the house, patrolled the garden looking for squirrels or cats and returned to be shackled and made ready to go for a walk. As I look up my dad looked at mum and said the phrase which is becoming far too familiar to my friends and I recently. He uttered “Another one has made their longest journey”, at which point Lenny and I got a tickle and were told that we are very precious.

Nine weeks old.

I have never met Tyrrell as she lived in Australia with her sister Tink, along with their mums. Lenny and I were privileged to meet their mums at the Beagle World Record Reunion. Tyrrell was fifteen recently and celebrated with a stroll into the park and a wade into the river. She was one of my first pals on Twitter and since I first spoke to her, I knew she was a funny and happy beagle. She was one of the naughty beagles who did some very silly things and cost her mum a fair chunk of money in vets bills. Eating part of her Greenies Toothbrush as well as chewing and consuming a nice handbag are a good indication of her ability to endear herself to her mum, as well as the vets bank account. She loved her little sister despite saying she “sort of liked” her but, I suppose, its a little like Lenny and I. Young siblings are a bit of a pain sometimes even if secretly we love them very much. I don’t think that Tink had the same vampiric tendencies as Lenny so Tyrrell was spared the indignity of having her ears look like colanders. Tink will miss her an awful lot, as they have been living with each other for eleven years or so. Tyrrell amused me by playing along with my stereotypical efforts at telling her to watch out for dangerous snakes, spiders, crocodiles, jellyfish and death drop bears all of which inhabit Australia. She reassured me that there were no saltwater crocs in her local river, but I wasn’t so sure. I do notice that she sometimes sent Tink into the river first though, probably just to check it out.

She was a friend to all, she laughed, joked and cried with the rest of us whenever we shared stories of fun and sadness. Now she is no longer in sight, only forever in our hearts and minds and we will all remember her with love and respect for being a fun and happy fur. When I heard that she hadn’t been well recently and, it seems, she was suffering, her mum took the most difficult but kindest decision. She was holding Tyrrell as she slipped away to make her longest journey. This is all we ask from our parents. Love and kindness when we are here, then love and compassion when it is time for us to leave.

I lay awake early this morning and looked around. Lenny was in his bed next to me snoozing quietly whilst my parents were catching the last vestiges of sleep before we pounce on dads kidneys on our way to the kibble bag in mums bedside cabinet. I realised that I am the luckiest beagle ever. I’m getting older and a bit wobblier every day but I still get to run around chasing Lenny and getting gently told off by mum and dad when I eat something disgusting on a walk.

Run free Tyrrell sweetie, find those who have gone before you and relax in the warmth of the everlasting meadow and their companionship. Your friendship, humility and fun will live on.

Farewell to another friend, never goodbye. Rest easy Tyrrell.

Paw Paddock runaround

My vampiric little brother, who isn’t an actual blood relation went off to the local, and new, enclosed paddock yesterday morning to test it out for our future entertainment. He appears to have given it a solid thumbs or he would if he had opposable thumbs. We would also be able to break into the treat jar if he had thumbs, but that’s for another blog.

Anyway, back to the matter in hand (or paw). A new paddock area has opened in my village and we decided we would try it out. Since I had shown signs of leg ache from the previous Beagle Derby the parents decided it was wiser to get Lenny to test it out and then I can go along the next day to make sure he was telling the truth.

In
Come
ing
Its fun.

He returned home with tales of fun and laughter, of scents and of freedom to run around like a fool for a while.

On the back of this advice I needed to make sure he was telling the truth so, this morning…

It is indeed fun

I can vouch for his honesty, on this occasion. I had a great time running about, scenting and trying to find field food to eat. We will be going back, of that I am certain. I suspect it wont be together as we tend to get a little over enthusiastic and I find myself a little lame in the hip for a day.

If my current snoring is anything to go by, I think it will be fairly soon. The parents are enjoying the peace and quiet. How rude.

Young in mind, young in body

Don’t you believe it. Awake at 6.30 on a Sunday listening to the chorus of complaint from a certain parent is always a good start. Six thirty he says, does this beagle not realise its a Sunday, he continues. Anyway a well placed kidney pounce from my brother brings a suitable conclusion to the laziness and Lenny and I find ourselves being walked along the old road. Now we don’t usually walk together as we tend to want the same scent at the same time and bitey face snout jousting often ensues. This can only mean one thing, we’re going on an adventure. Turned round halfway along the road only reaffirms my point. Lenny, we are going for a ride.

At the car Lenny leaps in and the boot is shut. Off we go, left along the road, past the roundabouts, through the traffic lights and then left onto the winding road. Left at the pub and then right. We’re here, we’re here! As the boot is opened the smell of freedom fills our nostrils. Paw Paddock, Hello!!! The gates are shut and we are released so stroll about. Sadly the next gate is still shut so it’s easy for us to be grappled and put on the leads and harnesses. Once into the paddock we are strolled part way round and then Lenny is off. With his back legs following the front ones, he’s bimbled across the paddock in no time at all. He returned on pain of missing a treat only to find he’s re-shackled.

Then it was my turn to run free, with the wind in my ears, and the grass a blur beneath my belly. I returned when asked and got a decent tickle with accompanying treat for being a “good lad”. I must admit at this point that I do like a good ear rub. In any case this swapping of free beagles continued for another twenty minutes. Then we heard the parents mumbling something about “well there’s only one way to find out”.

Both Lenny and I found ourselves unleashed at the same time. We stood there for a microsecond to wonder what was this sorcery until our beagle nature took over and we chased each other around the paddock like a couple of possessed idiots (these are not my words). It was surprising how quickly we calmed down and started to merely stroll about sniffing and snootering without annoying each other. When we were told that we were going back on the leads, neither of us complained, too much.

Then it was back in the car and home for breakfast and some well earned rest.

Now, here’s the thing. A twelve year old beagle chasing a four year old beagle around a large paddock for an extended period may cause said twelve year old body to feel a little strained. Having snoozed for a while I got up to find my rear right leg doesn’t work properly and it seems I have overexerted myself and strained my thigh muscles.

Oh dear, I can hear talk of a trip to the v-e-t tomorrow if it doesn’t clear up. Don’t believe the hype about young in mind and young in body. Take it easy and pace yourselves. This getting older lark takes some practice. It’s lucky that I am a hardy lad and won’t be complaining about my condition.

I’m back

I am wholly aware that I haven’t blogged in, what is for me, a long time. Even us furry wannabe bloggers get writers block sometimes; feeling that there is little or nothing to report which may be of interest. In any case I digress. Today I realised that there had actually been some things that had happened.

In late June Lenny and I were treated to another one of those things we like so much, a surprise trip out. We had no idea where we were going. All we knew was that we were being incarcerated in our travel crates and off we go on a magical mystery tour. I looked at Lenny who looked at me, we shrugged our collective shoulders and laid down to await our release. We arrived at our destination, a large gate was opened and then shut firmly behind the car. We looked out of the car and it resembled one of the scenes from the Great Escape. Out we got once we were on our leads and we were marched into a large semi grassed paddock area. Round the perimeter we walked, with the parents muttering to one another about safety, holes in the fence and keeping a close eye on us. Still we weren’t dissuaded that we were to bump into Ives, Big X and Hilts. Suddenly Lenny was released from his lead. He stood there, looked around and then strolled off. He was free to roam around which he duly took advantage of. I was still shackled so couldn’t join him in bitey face shenanigans with additional running around singing the song of the breed. He strolled, mooched and wandered. He was called back and duly returned for which he was given hefty congratulations and a gravy bone. Duly re-harnessed he then watched as I was unclipped from my lead and allowed to roam free for a while. I should countenance this by commenting that I heard both parents mutter under their collective breaths “this could be interesting and I suspect he’s not coming back on command”. Just to prove them wrong I wandered off, sniffed, ran about, bayed loudly, ran about some more and then came back upon recall.

This is fun

I was then re-harnessed and Lenny was released again. This went on for just shy of an hour and I have to admit it was great fun. Returning to the car we both slept until we arrived home and breakfast was supplied. Apparently we are going to go again to Paw Paddock near Horsham.

A puppy again.

It’s hot out there. Our walks seem to have got earlier as the summer has progressed but I wont complain. I am still going on separate walks to Lenny so we don’t encourage one another to pull and jerk on our leads when trying to get to the same place. I have mainly been strolling past the stables in the early morning when the sun hasn’t had a chance to scorch the grass brown. Lenny has been up hill and down dale past the little church, going either to the next village or down in the cool shady lane toward the woods. It’s ok actually as I am slowing down significantly now. I prefer to sniff and amble along so, not having Lenny to annoy me, is pleasing. He likes to go at his own pace which is apparently akin to a snail sometimes but he gets his enjoyment out of not being on my sniffari. Once home we are then confined to the house and garden during the day so we don’t have the chance of overheating and falling ill.

Pffft, too warm.

Finally for now it was highly amusing to see Lenny’s face last week when he was escorted to the vet for his annual check up. He was prodded, poked, jabbed and had kennel cough vaccine sprayed up his nose. The vet said he was in fine fettle and he was given a five day course of antibiotics for a little inflection he had. Thankfully that has now gone. Anyway I tried not to laugh at him when he came dolefully through the door into the house, complaining about being tricked into going to the vet and grumbling about parental chicanery. Like I say I did try not to laugh, kind of.

Go away, I’m not happy.

So now you’re all caught up. We cannot wait to get back to the relative freedom of the Paw Paddock but I think Lenny s counting the days until the next annual vet visit. He’s muttering something about going on holidays when that date comes around.

My brother

He’s been here three years today and I, for one, am very pleased he’s here. When he crashed through the front door in 2019 I wondered what exactly had just happened.

We squabbled, bickered and chased one another around the garden for the first weeks much to the concern of our parents. Once we had been able to settle ourselves we have lived noisily alongside each other, again much to the concern of our parents.

He is here to stay and I am so happy that he has a safe home which will let him live a good life.

A change of scenery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Same breed? Really?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strange boy my brother.