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.
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.
We went from a beautiful sunrise over Chanctonbury (as above) on Monday to a real pea souper this morning over Shipley (as below).
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.
What I do know is that cold, crisp days are great. May I see many more of them.
It’s all grey, drizzly and dank out there. It is not as bad as it is predicted to be in the northern part of the UK and I am grateful that we won’t be sharing their wet, wild and windy weather on this occasion. I hope they all stay safe and secure though.
I’ve not blogged for a while, you may have noticed. I am currently under another cloak of feeling a bit blue, a little out of sorts and not having much to talk about really. We are jogging along, doing our thing Lenny and I. We still play bitey face, chase squirrels along the fence and pull on the lead on walks much to the annoyance of whichever parent we are attached to at the time. I was accused today of being a three year old dog in an eleven year old furry skin. I had been pulling, huffing and puffing after so many scents that my brain went into sensory smell overload to the detriment of my other (alleged) senses. I arrived home, aroooed at the top of my voice, got some breakfast and then crashed out on a sofa. I am quite proud of my efforts if I am honest. They should be happy I am so active.
Lenny has been out on separate walks from me for the majority of the week as, when are together, we tend to bounce off one another and compete to get to the scent first. Apparently this isn’t good for human arm sockets so our parents cheated and walked us separately. Not that it mattered as even on our separate walks we managed to jerk and pull like a couple of idiots. I think we won that little discussion.
Anyway what I wanted to say is that, during my miasma of brain fog, I have been thinking about stuff and things. Lenny and I have also been talking about said stuff and things and we have decided that we are happy beagles. We are loved, looked after and we are safe and sound. There is an allegation that this picture proves how happy we are. I wouldn’t know, as I am asleep.
Off we go for our walk this morning, little knowing what the day held. Down through the town and back through the little wooded area. I have been on shorter walks recently due to the allegation that I may have overdone my longer walk last Sunday and injured my wrist. What is an eleven year old beagle harrier supposed to do? Walk nicely? Anyway we returned home to have some breakfast and then wandered about whilst we allowed our parents to have some food too.
Suddenly we were re-harnessed, found ourselves strolled up and down a local road and then back to the car. This was different and I was extremely surprised to see Lenny jump straight into his travel crate. Hmm, what did he know that I didn’t? Off we went up the road, turn right, under the big road, left, right and a few more turns we arrived at a multi storey car park. Wow, if this was our final destination, it was a bit boring. Once our parents had worked out how to work the parking meter we found ourselves heading toward another ticket machine. Two tickets were delivered and we pulled our parents onto the train station. As the train pulled in, we tried to get on before the doors opened. We got reminded that this was criminally stupid and we should calm down. There were quite a few people on the train but we weren’t allowed to say hello. Ugh good grief, parents can be really boring sometimes. We whizzed along toward our destination and, all the while, the train filled with more people for us to try and befriend.
Quick sharp you two, we are here, was the call that Lenny and I got. As we exited the train we breathed in and then coughed as we tasted the stale air. London! We are in London. As neither Lenny or I can read we had to rely on the station announcer telling everyone this is London Bridge. Excellent, let the shenanigans commence. As we descended from the platform into the street the number of people increased dramatically. Our parents looked at one another with dread and fear etched on their faces. Anyway Lenny and I had other ideas so we quickly pulled them in the direction of London Bridge itself.
As we crossed we laughed and bumped into one another.
Turn right at the top and then stroll down Eastcheap and into Great Tower Street.
Past the Tower of London and we strolled quickly across Tower Bridge before finally turning right again into Tooley Street and back to the station.
All too soon we found ourselves on the return train back home and our adventure was nearly over.
For some reason we slept all the way home in the car and crashed out on our sofas after we had eaten our food. Sometimes we have good surprises from our parents.
Phew what a scorcher. It’s been hot and humid around these parts recently. We have been walking early in the morning to avoid the heat later in the day. I knew it was tropical down here when I moved, but this is a bit much at the moment. Apparently this warm weather has a distinct benefit in that Lenny and I seem to be lazier and more likely to sleep for longer.
When we woke up this morning we were quickly onto our paws for a try through the local wood and then along the farm track. Turning round at the bottom of the track wasn’t exactly in the plan despite it being rather warm and humid. We arrived home and breakfast was provided in reasonable order. Suddenly we were put back into our harnesses and the car was opened. This was most peculiar! Off we set for places unknown. Lenny and I looked at each other quizzically. Left and right, along roads and through a town, under the railway bridge and then left again. “Come on you two, out you get” was the command and we of course obeyed. Welcome to Borde Hill Gardens said the sign. It was warm but we were looking forward to seeing what this place was all about. When we were checking in, we each got a biscuit from the nice lady at the entrance. Armed with a map and pulling our parents along we decided to explore the gardens of this lovely old house. We strolled (read pulled and yanked on our leads) along the paths and up to the wooded walk. It was cool and there were many scents of squirrel and deer in the woods. We yelled noisily for a while until we were instructed to sit and be calm. I looked at Lenny, who was looking at me knowingly. They had no chance of anything like calm or sense being forthcoming.
We went up hill and through woodland paths, downhill and along manicured lawns. We went to the Italian gardens and even managed to politely avoid getting some tasty morsels when strolling close to the cafe.
All too soon we were directed to the car for the return journey. When we fell asleep quickly after we got home, it was deemed to be a good end to the trip.
What a great place is Borde Hill Gardens. Very dog friendly and very pretty gardens. We enjoyed ourselves greatly and we would recommend to pals to visit if they are in the area.
It was chilly this morning once we were out and about on our paws. We managed to prise mum and dad out of bed at a reasonable hour and we were quite impressed with our efforts. Come on, they said, we will take a stroll a little further than we have been before. We were intrigued with the lack of clarity over where we were about explore.
Out of the house and along the road, we soon found ourselves in the lanes through the countryside. We had walked it a few times so the views seemed to arrive quite quickly. The scents also came thick and fast and we had to slow down to make sure we got as many sniffs as we could. Past the church, right, then left, through the gate, along the path, through the next gate, along the track and we find ourselves standing at the lower end of a wonderfully quaint and very quiet Sussex village. Lenny and I decided that we shouldn’t make ourselves known to the residents until we knew why we were there. Mum and dad clearly had a purpose for coming this way as they were looking left and right as we walked all the while dad saying “I’m sure its just here on the left”. We continued along the narrow lane for another few minutes and dads face lit up as he realised they had found the pub that they had wondered about ever since we had arrived four weeks ago. It wasn’t open due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdown as well as the more prescient fact that it was 9 am on a Sunday. Having satisfied their interest we all strolled on to the end of the lane fulfilled now we knew the purpose of our walk today.
Turning round we walked back toward home. At this point dads had slid down my lead and I was told to stay close to him. Being an obedient Beagle Harrier I always listen to him, despite it being extremely boring when I cannot explore at the end of the two metre lead. Lenny then let out a long arooo and as I looked up there was another beagle walking toward us. We greeted this fellow beagle in traditional fashion, with all the humans feeling very embarrassed at the loudness of our greetings directly in front of someones house. We found out that our fellow beagle had been rescued by Beagle Welfare and rehomed about eighteen months ago. She was now living a wonderful life with walks aplenty, a comfy sofa or two and multitudes of scent possibilities. We parted company after a few minutes and felt happy in heart and soul. We agreed to say hello the next time we were in her village.
Lenny and I made sure that the “beagle brakes” were liberally applied most of the way home so we could enjoy the scents of the hedgerows for as long as possible. Happily for us a cat ran across the road in front of us toward the end of our return home and we managed to ensure that the feline fiend knew we were in the area. For some reason we don’t get on with cats. Whilst we were trying to introduce ourselves to the cat, it appears that we had invented a new pastime of “Beagle wrangling” so it sounded like it was worth while taking our stroll today.
As promised I continue my thoughts on the strange year just ending. It’s a sad, frustrating year, yet it had some bright sparks now and again.
Lenny and I had been set the task of trying to recreate all the photographs on a calendar we sent to Raffa’s mum last year. According to our very kind pals the pictures we were in were better than the originals. Then on Raffa’s birthday there was a little tribute where many friends painted a rock and took it to somewhere that Raffa would have loved to go. We went to our garden and tried not to squabble whilst the picture was taken. It didn’t last long. Sadly I heard that a long time friend called Seb the BT was due to go to the Rainbow Bridge. He had such a wonderful heartfelt send off that it made me proud to consider that I had known him and woofed with him over his time on Twitter.
My nanny died. Dad was very sad as she had been ill for quite some time and he had been half expecting the phone call for a while. When it came though it was still a nasty shock. Lenny and I did our best to behave in an appropriate manner. Lenny then celebrated his birthday and I allowed him to beat me at bitey face. Later in the month we went to see our remaining grandad who said we should all go to the seaside. Lenny had never been to the sea in the UK and he was in awe at the wind and waves. In fact he was so much in awe that he fell asleep. He didn’t try to lick the seawater like I did in the Lake District a few years ago. Everyone had a nice time and mum even got saltwater spray all over her face as she forgot to take her sunglasses. We didn’t laugh, honestly.
Knock knock, who’s there? Arooo, its auntie J. Raffa’s mum was going on holiday and diverted to come and see us in our natural habitat. She was rubbish at hide and seek although quite good at starting bitey face games. We were still under some restrictions but they seem to be easing once again. Not that it made any difference to Lenny and I, as we still got our walks, food and beds. We could feel the seasons changing toward the end of the month so we got ourselves ready to bed down and hibernate for the winter months. The squirrels were much more active. Lenny and I managed to catch one but were told in no uncertain terms to DROP IT.
Time for trees to fall down in front of us. This stick was too large even for Lenny and I to take home with us. The rain returned with a vengeance, causing the ground to be saturated and the tree roots to give up completely. Luckily we weren’t underneath it when it came down. Lenny is looking up to me a bit now. I think he has accepted that this is his forever family and he’s relaxing enough to want to know what else we can get away with.
Here we go, back into a partial quarantine. Will it work, will it fail and will we ever get our dinner. This year the service has got worse as the days and months pile up. Maybe we need new parents as the current incumbents clearly aren’t up to the mark. Lenny and I are bonding far more. We are taking time to do things that don’t always include bitey face games or chasing each other around the garden. In fact we managed to steal socks from dad and were referred to as “International sock thieves of some distinction”. We remain quite proud of our abilities.
As I write this missive we are in Tear (yes I did mean to spell it like that) 4 of restrictions which means that the pubs and restaurants are closed, and only the essential shops are open. We cannot see friends from other households over Christmas and we still wont be able to go to the pub. This quarantine is like the hokey cokey. We’re in, we’re out, we’re in again and then we’re shaking it all about. Christmas is likely to be quiet with just ourselves to play together and amuse ourselves.
I am not sure how to sum it all up really. We lost some well loved and revered furs this year. Raffa, Gracie and Seb the BT amongst too many others. Sadly life and death were ever present as usual. The pandemic spread fear, death and misadventure throughout large swathes of the human population which was sad to see. Many people got on with their neighbours better than they had for a long time. Some people even found out that they had neighbours which was a bonus. This lockdown brought the best and, sometimes, the worst out of people.
I did learn something in the past year that will stick with me for some time. I realised that many of my friends live in beautiful places around the world. As we were all restricted in one way or another, I got to see friends local areas when they tweeted about their daily lives. Often because you are familiar with your local area, the beauty of it passes you by. I have also learned that Lenny is settled, he is happy and likes living here. This makes my heart sing as, despite what I may say about him sometimes, I do love him and want him to be happy.
And we move on to 2021. I cannot begin to wonder what it holds for us all. Hopefully vaccines are developed and provided so the virus recedes and some degree of normality returns to swathes of the worlds population. I hope so as this will allow us to get out and about more often. We want to see friends and family to try and resume some degree of new normality. Is there to be such a thing as normality? There is only one way to find out.
Today I am allowing Lenny to write a blog. I will be checking to make sure it is all fine and dandy later. Anyway I will hand over to Lenny.
Hello everyone, it is I Lenny. Today I decided that I would explore one of Dexters favourite walks. Mum, dad and I conspired to keep it quiet from Dexter so he wouldn’t get too jealous. He went out with mum as he’s still on fairly short walks and I went off with dad.
So, let me take you on a little walk. Across the little bridge over the tube line and up the steep slope to the big field to Dungrove Farm.
We went through the gate into the Alpaca field very carefully and quietly but they were clearly not at home today as the field was empty. Across the next field and around the edge of the barley crop. Down the slope toward the byway and turn left into the tunnel of trees. This was fun as there were so many scents of squirrel and rabbit here. I was very happy. We turned right and went into the big field which is Dex’s favourite field anywhere.
As we crested the hill I thought it would be fun to go for a jog through the woods, so dad had to jog through the woods with me. Eventually we arrived at the path where we should turn right and head back downhill. Not today, let’s turn left and see if there are any squirrels running down the path ahead of us, I woofed. Dad had no choice in the matter and we immediately spied a squirrel running down the path ahead of us. This was my lucky day, a squirrel to chase. Once I had finished chasing said squirrel and the pace slackened somewhat, we came out into a small lane with some nice houses. Turn right said dad and we can go back via a little quiet lane which will take us towards home. We ended up dodging various cars and vans on our way down the hill. I thought dad said it was a quiet lane.
Anyway, we took the opportunity to get off the lane and onto the footpath across the fields towards home. One last road cross and we were at The Moor. I ventured into the raging torrent of a river to quench my thirst after all my exertions. Ok, maybe the river was about 4 inches deep at the edge but I am still learning about water so it felt like I was being brave. All in all, it was six miles of fun.
When I got home I couldn’t help but tell Dex where I had been and what I had got up to. He was a bit jealous of me but said he had a nice walk too with mum. Then we were back to chasing each other around the garden, snout jousting and generally being silly.