January blues. Or should that be greys?

Ugh good grief it’s depressing looking out of the window recently. January has arrived with a vengeance, quarantine is apparently in full swing again and the rain and cloud have descended to dampen my mood.

I have been accompanying Lenny on walks over the last few days as the weather has been so rotten that neither of us can be overly enthusiastic about strolling too far for too long. Since Lenny’s dismal impression of Captain Oates on 5th January, the weather has become damper and more depressing. As a result we have been out and about, got wet, been dried when we return and then run around the garden for about twenty minutes in the morning and then again in the afternoon. The log burner has been lit and we can snooze in front of that, so there is a small silver lining. Ok its a warm orange glow. It’s about all we can be bothered to manage to be honest.

When will the sun come out?

This morning was no different in that it was dark, the rain had persisted all night and our parents took the usual inordinate age to get their wet weather walking gear on. I don’t know why they haven’t got fur and then shake regularly like we do? Anyway out we went, and it was decided for us that Lenny and I didn’t need a long walk. Three miles would be enough. I wasn’t in the mood to argue, to be truthful. Around the lane into Pednor we sploshed, up the rise in the road and follow the road around to the right, then down the hill and through the gate across the field, through the next gate and across that field, through the last gate and turn right toward home. We didn’t even get to wash our paws off in the river as we didn’t need to. Home and we were duly towelled down so cue much running around the house playing bitey face whilst rubbing our still damp fur across as many items of furniture as we could manage. For some reason the parents weren’t enamoured with our efforts. Then it was into the routine of breakfast, pester mum, chase each other, pester dad, snooze, watch dad light the wood burner, run around the garden whilst the rain abated temporarily and then repeat the previous activities of running around and annoying parents.

Wake me up when dinner is ready.

It’s sleep time so I am off to the garden for a pre snooze run around to make sure there are no squirrel or deer invaders. Wish my parents luck as it’s very soggy under paw out there and if I get a scent I could be a long time.

Lenny’s lonely loop

We have been walking together, Lenny and I, over the past couple of weeks. Depending on the quantity of scents available this has led to a number of incidents where we are both going for the same scent and there is the inevitable tangle of leads with the even more inevitable huffing and puffing from our parents as they try to disentangle us. Lenny and I have been competing for scents and we tend to be rather ungentlemanly about each other, pulling suddenly on our leads and shoving each other out of the way. One thing Lenny has learned is to step back when I need to “send a peemail” as he’s received one of my “peemails” on his head before as he was trying to read it too early. Anyway it was decided that Lenny and I would walk separately this morning and it sounds like he had quite a fun walk. I suppose I should hand over to him to tell you more. I shall be checking later to see if he’s been cheeky.

Hello everyone, it’s me Lenny. I went out for a solo stroll today albeit attached to dad. My brother wasn’t with me so I could sniff and forage at my own pace without him trying to get to the scent first. We went on a ten kilometre anti clockwise round of Pednor, one of our favourite, if not our actual favourite, walks around here. With the new quarantine about to come into force and the fact that a major road had been reopened after works taking three months or so, we weren’t expecting much traffic. Also the schools are closed so the usual rat run type traffic should have been reduced. We were proved correct. We walked the first stretch with Dex and mum so after a while they turned left and went on a shorter walk whilst I strode out for my adventure. Don’t tell him but now that Dex is a bit older he doesn’t need such a long walk as his “weary bones” start to ache a little quicker. Anyhow I was quite surprised as we were keeping up a fair pace along the first bit of our freedom trail. The scent count was low apart from the two deer that ran across the road in front of me. I may have bayed loudly and caused Dex to wonder what the dickens was going on? Having overcome the excitement of deer, we sped along the road, across the muddy section where the council never clear out the drains properly and then got to the long hill. The road curved away to the left and we began the ascent toward top Pednor and we could see the manor house on the top of the hill. The scents got more frequent here and my pace slowed so I could inhale as many smells as my olfactory organ would allow. I need to store these sniffs in my data bank for later. Along the top and turn left again to go through the small group of lovely old houses in their courtyard. As we walked along the road we could see down to both Pednor Bottom and an old path called somewhat strangely Herbert’s Hole.

Suddenly Bella the chocolate lab appeared in front of us. She is a lovely older lady dog who we see regularly and with whom Dex and I exchange stories briefly as we pass. Today her parents were surprised that Dex wasn’t with us. I am very polite to her and I always get complimented on my gentlemanly behaviour. Sadly mum wasn’t with us so I didnt score any treats for being good. Continuing along the crest of the hill we descended Holloway and zigzagged around the lanes until we arrived back at the start of the loop.

I was getting a bit tired now so wanted to get home and have my second half breakfast when into my view came Molly who is a sweet little spaniel pup. She is such a happy dog and is always really pleased to meet Dex and I. For some reason I shy away from her and no one really knows why. She is playful like me, she is happy like me and she is noisy like me. However I try to hide behind my parent whenever we meet and they can’t work out why? In any case dad spoke to Molly’s mum for a while whilst I reminded him about my second breakfast by pawing his leg to get his attention. After a few minutes he relented and we made it home just in time for my stomach to rumble and a quick session of bitey face with Dex who seemed quite pleased to see me again. A good walk followed by some exuberant snout jousting and subsequently long snoozes on the sofa. Mum was told that I behaved extremely well and that without Dex there wasn’t any competition for scents. A good day I think.

I should hand you back to Dex but he is sleeping. Must be those old weary bones he tells me about.

Well, that was all a bit unnecessary

Firstly Happy New Year to one and all. I have been fairly quiet over the festive period as there is quite a bit of activity going on in the house and I have needed to be good. As some may know, this can be challenging for a beagle who lives with a vampiric younger sibling. I may have been good at times.

Walks have been taken with sights and smells duly appreciated. It’s been drab and dreary here since New Year arrived. We have mainly walked the lanes as the rain has turned our field walks into a muddy quagmire in places and our assistants complain of slipping and sliding all over the place when trying to control us. They need four paw drive. The number of people out walking, running and walking their dogs has increased significantly so our walks haven’t been as solitary as we would have liked but you can’t have everything, can you?

Isn’t this a little early for a walk?

This morning started like the previous two or three. The parents were lazing about until Lenny planted an excellently placed pounce on dads kidneys. After our first half breakfast we were away through the lanes sniffing rabbits and squirrels in the hedgerows and walking through the filthiest puddles we could find. Having returned home, we had our second half breakfast and then we thought it was time for our usual session of bitey face followed by some snoozing, all interspersed with regular trips to the garden to check on the Sciurus position. As I returned from my fourth foray into the garden I found myself harnessed up again and attached to my dad who told me to be good, whilst putting a bag of gravy bones in his pocket. I had suspicious ears. We marched quickly out of the house and soon found I was in the car park at the vets. This definitely wasn’t in the script for a lazy Sunday. In we go and I am trapped in the consulting room whilst dad then explains to the vet that, on a few occasions, I have been a little less than solid in certain areas over the past six weeks or so and my diet has been changed to make it blander and more accommodating to my bodily functions. I looked at dad to inform him that I had not authorised this conversation to take place, but he just ignored me. Typical. All the embarrassing details are laid bare and I haven’t seen these gravy bones in his pocket yet. The vet thinks I may have some colitis which is normal for a “beagle of my age” and that the bland diet is a good idea so it should be continued for a week or two. Again I didn’t authorise this change to my food.

Then to add insult to injury the vet noticed that my annual boosters were due about this time. Cue the stethoscope and being investigated in my ears, mouth and round the back. I am apparently in good shape for a “beagle of my age” and it was then that the gravy bones miraculously appeared from dads pocket. My suspicions were exceeded by my craving for said gravy flavoured snack and I missed the vet wander around behind me with a needle to ensure I had my boosters for another year. The liberty of it all. The shame wasn’t finished though as I was marched over to the scales and dad told the receptionist that I was fourteen kilos. How could he? In public? In a loud voice? Whilst rolling his eyes? The only redeeming factor was that dad had to pay for my travails so this put a slight spring back into my step for the return home.

Quick session of bitey face with Lenny, followed by my dinner and I now find myself snoozing on the sofa whilst allegedly kicking mum in my sleep. I have no idea what she means.

I wonder if I will get extra sympathy gravy bones?

And apparently Lenny missed me whilst I wasn’t here. Nice to know someone loves me.

Where is Dex?

Sad yet hopeful – the final part

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.

July.

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.

August.

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.

September.

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 well 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.

October.

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.

November.

Here we go, back into a partial quarantine. Will it work, will it fail and will be 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.

December.

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.

What a difference two days make

Setting off this morning took longer than usual as the parents decided that would wrap up a bit warmer. I suppose it had something to do with it being -3C out there. Lenny and I just cut our usual fashionable selves with our harnesses.

Once the parents had readied themselves we were off to the fields. We knew where we were going as we headed straight down the footpath instead of along the road to avoid the school. Into the fields we went, with the grass and trees stretching away into the distance. The farmer had placed some barbed wire and fences across a couple of gaps in the hedge, so we weren’t allowed to go around those areas, even if we had wanted to. Across the diagonal path we wandered. Lenny got onto a deer trail pretty quickly and I found another trail soon after. With as much baying and pulling as I could muster, mum found herself slipping and jogging behind me whilst Lenny was being “resistance trained” by the immovable object, also known as dad. The sun was just coming over the horizon on our left by the time we crested the top most field and we took a moment to enjoy the early morning rays on our fur.

Good morning one and all.

Our home town was clear far below us and Lenny wanted to know when the aliens had given it back. I hadn’t the heart to tell him about fog and general meteorological activity so I just let him stew a while. The ground was cold and crisp so the scents were held at grass level for our noses to enjoy.

All the fun of the chase.

An hour and a half later and we are safely back home where I can run around the garden shouting at the local squirrels whilst Lenny gets to play fetch with his soft fabric bone toy. All is well in the land of Dex & Lenny. Our town is returned.

Did aliens eat my town?

We decided we would be out and about early this morning. Lenny and I were quickly on our toes into the garden for a pre-walk snooter around the grounds. I had already checked the garden at 03.30 with dad, although he wasn’t best pleased to be out in the freezing cold. We managed to snaffle our first breakfast and then got harnessed to a human for our morning patrol.

Out of the house we turned right and went up the hill which meant only one thing. We were going to the woods and were about to enjoy its contents of sniffs, creatures and gooey sticky muddy paths. Lenny and I marched on with silly grins on our faces at the thought of what we could get up to. As we walked up the road, the traffic fumes filled our lungs but we knew we would soon be away from the cars and vans for the majority of the walk.

Across the road and over the fallen trees, we found ourselves in the woods. Suddenly Lenny hit a trail and started baying. I found a separate trail and followed suit with the noisy alarm likely scaring off all creatures within a mile radius. When we get on muddy paths our parents have to be careful as we tend to pull this way and that. Its not our fault we have four paw drive and they’re only rear wheel drive. We got through the first section of the woods which had an eerie foggy atmosphere to them and made our baying sound even louder as it resonated through the trees.

Deer? Rabbit? Fox?

Into the open pasture we were still on our trails and we pulled the parents off the paths and through the longer grass. Sadly they both had wellies so we didn’t have the joy of listening to them grumbling about wet feet. Into the next field and the gloom hung like a blanket over the view. We decided to turn right and head towards the mile field where we hoped the fallen tree was still lying in situ. If it was there we knew we would have to walk across the claggy mud which is extra slippery for our parents and usually makes for some fruity language as they try to stay upright whilst negotiating the furrows of the ploughed field. We reached a gap in the hedge and looked back to where we live. We both stood there, aghast and agog, as Chesham wasn’t there. It had disappeared, indeed it had vanished having been swallowed by the gloom of the morning fog. Lenny wondered where it had gone. It’s a bit difficult trying to explain meteorology to a two year old pup, so I didn’t bother. Instead I just told him that aliens had eaten the town. We saw that the fallen tree was no longer there so we trudged around the mile field and back to the top of the hill. Still Chesham wasn’t there and when I looked at Lenny I could see he was a bit worried about the aliens having consumed his home. Again I couldn’t be bothered to let him in on the real reason just yet. It’s good to see him worry about nothing sometimes.

We descended past the copse and then back onto the track leading through the field toward the houses which began to emerge from the gloom. As it dawned on him that I may have been spinning him a yarn for some time on our walk, he wanted to bite me to show his appreciation. However mum was a bit quick with the lead and he was left biting thin foggy air instead of my neck. We managed to get back home just before the fog lifted properly so the town still hadn’t emerged from the misty gloom.

I am sure I live over there. Somewhere.

I might have to use that line about aliens again, it was fun watching Lenny try to work out if I was pulling his tail.

Winter is on the way

It’s getting cooler out there. Our morning walks have provided us with crisp clear days followed by fog and mist smothering the hills with its veil. This week we have been strolling the lanes of Pednor, close to my house. The first picture was taken on Monday 23rd November and was looking toward the position of the second picture taken this morning 27th November.

And this picture was taken this morning

It was a cool morning on Monday as Lenny and dad enjoyed their morning stroll, whereas this morning it was -2.5 Celsius, the overnight cloud had lingered and turned into mist which was just beginning to lift slightly. Gloves, warmer clothes and shoes were the order of the day this morning.

The beauty of the countryside close to my home is something I enjoy. I don’t mind the cold weather as it tends to keep the scents at ground level and my nose hardly rises above my ankles.

I wonder what fun the weekend walks will bring to Lenny and I?

As autumn falls

Sometimes there is no reason to post a long and winding blog about where I have been and what I have got up to. This is one of those occasions upon which I will not verbally ramble. I shall instead let my paws do the walking and the pictures do the talking.

Lenny and I went off on a stroll around the fields yesterday. The early morning mist and fog was beginning to release the land from its nocturnal slumber. The air was fresh and cool enough to see our breath as we ensured the deer population in the vicinity were aware of our presence.

Come out my deer.

There is a stark beauty to the fields when the leaves are falling and the sun is lower in the sky.

An ethereal beauty

Then it is home for a well earned rest.

Lean on me, little brother

We are very lucky to have this on our doorstep.

On Dexters patch

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.

There are definitely squirrels here

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.

Is that where we’ve been, or where we’re going?

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.

Do not disturb.

It’s a hard life.