We live in strange times

Dad went to my nans funeral on Friday. Lenny and I knew there was something not right as dad seemed a little apprehensive on our morning walk. We had a nice walk and dad told us what good lads we are, but there seemed to be something in his voice that told me things were a little different. We didn’t mess about too much on our walk or when we got back home. We got a big hug and a kiss on the head each before he left.

He said everything went ok on Friday afternoon, kind of as you would expect a funeral to go, really. Due to the current restrictions on people attending services, there were only 26 people so it felt a little more personal than when grandad passed away and there were about 50-60 people there. He did a talk and said to people about the link with the past being cut, abruptly and leaving you with regrets that you didn’t say what you wanted to say. When he got home, dad told us that he loved us very much and we got another round of tickles. I might have scored a couple of gravy bones too, whilst Lenny was walking around the garden but he doesn’t have to know, does he?

Then on Saturday we woke up, had our first half of breakfast, went on our walk, returned to our second half of breakfast and proceeded to settle in for a nice snooze. Suddenly, knock knock on the window and Raffa Beagles mum is standing there waving furiously at us. What a lovely surprise for Lenny and I. We greeted auntie J in normal beagle fashion and then proceeded to play hide and seek in the garden. She lost as we are quite good at finding people.

You go that way Lenny

After an hour or so we calmed sufficiently to roll over and snooze whilst the humans had a chat and caught up on life. We haven’t seen auntie J since early December 2019 and then were very saddened when poor sweet Raffa went to the Rainbow Bridge on 4th February this year. We had been saving up our leg leans and licks for her since then. It was a lovely sunny day so we went into the garden and showed everyone how fast we can run circuits around the flowerbeds and across the patio. I think they were impressed. We were just settling in for a long laze and looking forward to tickles when auntie J said she had to leave so we gave her a cheery beagle send off. Then it was off to sleep.

Strange days clearly follow one another. From sadness and reflection to a feeling of joy seeing friends in the space of 24 hours. Take life as it comes everyone as you won’t know what is around the corner. As Raffa said, never give up when faced with challenges and live life to the full.

We only get one shot at this.

The joy of life

I was going to call this article “The Joy of Dex” but that may attract a different type of reader.

I’ve been watching my brother recently and noticed that he has settled so much faster than I did when I arrived. I am forever on the go, I need to see whats happening, when its happening and why. If someone goes out of the room, I will be right there dutifully trotting along behind. It has come to my ever increasing notice that Lenny just stays on his bed, lazily opens one eye to survey the scene and then falls back to sleep again.

Chalk and cheese we are referred to. The rare times upon which he will move swiftly usually involve food or going into the garden to run around like hounds possessed.

On our walks around the local lanes Lenny has started to find his own trails more often although we still sniff the same scents now and again. When we look at him, he is trotting along with his tongue hanging out, happiness writ large over his cheery little face.

Today I was in the office with mum whilst she worked away and dad made dinner. Lenny strolled to the door and asked politely if he could go outside, so dad obliged. Within five minutes there was a quiet bump on the door and Lenny was playing happily with a small unripe apple that had fallen from one of the trees in my small orchard. He picked up the apple, tossed it onto the patio and play bowed with it. He was so engrossed with such a small thing that brought him so much joy that he hardly noticed dad watching him.

Apparently he is a little heart melter just like me. We may be the same breed but we are so different in our nature. He is the epitome of a rescued dog living his best life with love and security showered upon him.

Freedom. Of sorts.

I have been very busy with one thing and another. As a result I have failed to let you know about some shenanigans that took place last Saturday and which were wholly unexpected. Sometimes they are the best ones so I shall seek to remedy my omission now.

We had heard mum and dad last week hoping that the weather at the weekend would stay reasonable, however we couldn’t quite find out what they needed good weather for. We were out on our paws early on Saturday last week which was a bit strange but a walk is a walk after all, whatever time it was taken. Upon our return we had a quick breakfast and found ourselves bundled unceremoniously into the car and off we set. To where, we knew not. Around the motorway and down the road, around the roundabout and across the cross roads. Up hill and down hill we went, on our merry way. It was only when we pulled across the driveway of grandads house that I realised where we were. Maybe the fact that I slept most of the way there didn’t help with my navigation skills. Lenny seemed eager to see this new place, despite him being here in December last year.

Having been released from our travel crates we went to explore the local playing fields and then the inside of grandads house. We remembered from our previous visit the best places to play which included but weren’t restricted to standing at the top of the stairs and baying at each other followed by running up and down the stairs. According to mum and dad this isn’t acceptable behaviour. Who knew? Anyway, we got a bit bored after a few hours of playing indoor snout jousting so it was decided we would get back in the car and go to the beach. Fortunately it wasn’t too far away so we only had to put up with dads driving for a short time. When we arrived at the beach it was windy. Very windy. I knew how windy it was as my ears were flapping behind my head like a world war one fighter ace. Tally ho, off we go.

Great ear flips Lenny. Pardon?

We strolled with the wind at our backs and watched as the sea crashed upon the shingle of the beach. Lenny and I were each harnessed to a heavy parent so we wouldn’t float away, which was quite possible. We went up to the edge of the waves and I stupidly forgot that seawater tastes awful. Lenny just laughed at me. We wandered along smelling all the new scents for a mile or so and then were told we would return to the car which sounded very boring as there were still many scents. However this is where the fun really started as we were now walking into the wind which was whipping up the sea spray and blowing it all over our faces and fur, even into our eyes. Mum was the only person to forget her sunglasses so she suffered quite a bit with “sea spray eyes”. Fortunately we could walk behind some shrubs which had established as a windbreak along a section of the beach and thus gave us some respite. When we got back to the car we were all covered in a salty film of seawater spray. Lenny and I were able to shake most of it from our fur and then lick ourselves clean. The humans accompanying us on our adventure were not quite as fortunate. A short drive later and we were back at grandads house. We ate our dinner and then for some unknown reason felt very tired, almost as if we had just had an adventure along the beach, all the while pulling and scenting.

Wonder what time we get dinner around here?

We knew our adventure was over when we were returned to the car for the homeward journey.

Snooze.

We slept most of Sunday, our brains and paws overworked with sights and scents. We were dreaming of another escapade and hoping it would come soon.

It was a day of freedom of sorts. We had been able to do shenanigans for the first time in a while and it felt good.

The frailty of life

I am going to let my dad write on my blog today as, in the early hours of this morning, my nanny passed away in hospital. She made her longest journey to the Rainbow Bridge, as it were. I loved my nanny, she was the best.

Watching the person who gave you life, who then preserved and progressed your life, gradually deteriorate is a strange and slightly surreal experience. Seeing my father shortly after he had died was somewhat of shock to the system and I suppose the only redeeming factor to his death was that he did not apparently suffer toward the end and indeed the end came quickly.

Conversely I, along with my siblings, have watched as our mother at first slowly and then more recently deteriorate markedly to what is sadly the inevitable conclusion. Looking at the person who gave you life, now being relieved of pain by medical means at the very end of her days is a thought provoking thing. It is said that as people near the end of their life, they seem to become a shell of their former selves and this seems to ring true in respect of my mother. Seeing her in the last seven days she seemed at once to have no cares in the world, yet at other times had her life etched upon her face. We were assured that she passed away in peace and was not in pain. This provides a modicum of solace to us all.

My mother and father had five children in eleven years. They watched as one of their children died at far too young an age. The family was raised in the age when predominantly dad went to work and mum kept the house, along with the children, in line until they flew the nest. In addition she managed numerous jobs for around fifty of her eighty three years on this earth.

Born prior to World War two commencing she was evacuated and then returned to her home in south London at the time of the Blitz. She was one of four children (the others were boys) so she would have been used to the general disorganisation of life that conflict brings to any scenario as well as having many children in the same house at the same time.

Malta

She met my father who then served his National Service in Malta between 1958-1960 and they returned to the UK to set up home and start their lives together. Along with my father they worked hard to ensure that the children had a roof over their heads and that they would grow up with a good moral compass and a clear understanding of right and wrong. Maybe I messed about along the way with some of their efforts at showing us the good from bad, but overall their teachings have succeeded I hope. In her later life, as her health failed to a constantly greater extent she relied more and more upon my father until his untimely demise in December 2017. Dad had been, to all intents, an unpaid and on site member of the wider care team that looked after her needs all day and night. At the point of his death both of my sisters stepped up admirably and assisted mum where they were able to do so. Without their help, she truly would have been lost. Problems with mobility as well as various further health scares and the odd fall meant there would be a move from their house of some 50 years to a flat where it was easier for her to get about. Subsequent visits to hospital for various ailments ended with her being looked after in a nursing home for the final 8 months of her life. It seems to have been a fairly painful end to a life lived fully by someone who felt that her task was to try and ensure her children were level headed, reasonable and didn’t get into trouble. My mother, along with my father, achieved these goals.

Best mum in the world

The inevitability of the end doesn’t dampen the feeling of emptiness in your stomach, the knowledge that you will no longer be able to call and tell of good and bad news, to be able to sit down, have a cup of tea and chat about whatever comes to mind. The contact with the past is broken, abruptly and permanently. However she said she doesn’t want sadness, foreboding and a sense of navel gazing. To her life is to be lived. We get one chance to get it as right as you can so we have to take it.

Thank you mum, for giving me and my siblings that chance.

I love you nanny. Fly free.

Thunderbolts and lightning

I think it’s safe to say that I do not like this hot weather. It is safer to say that the subsequent thunder and lightning leading to the break in the weather is frightening me rather too much. I can always tell that there is an impending clap of thunder or flash of lightning. I seek the safety of somewhere behind the sofa or try to dig a hole through the rug in the hallway. I sit shivering and shaking whilst everyone else in the house goes about their daily business. This includes Lenny who seems utterly impervious to the impending doom of the next boom of thunder or crash of lightning.

Ugh, too hot

We’ve had some tropical weather recently and we aren’t used to it. The daytime temperatures have soared and the rain has stayed away from our little corner of the country. Our walks have taken place earlier than usual in the morning so that the sun is not fully blazing down upon us. We have ventured along lanes and byways, through fields and woods to enjoy our walk and try to stay as cool as possible. We’ve even been lucky enough to go for a paddle at the end of our daily walk so we can cool our paws off in the chilly chalk stream which still flows close to our house. Normally the stream has dried up by this point in the year however, we had larger than usual rainfall throughout Winter and Spring so the aquifer has been replenished fully. The days have been spent trying to stay out of the sun which saps our energy so quickly. Even our standard garden sport of snout jousting has had to take a back seat to lazing on a cool tiled floor with fans blowing cold air all over our fur. We cannot sweat in the same manner as humans so we cannot get rid of the excess body heat. Our tongue and paws being cooled down in the river helps significantly.

What’s a trip hazard?

The tropical weather has continued at night where it hasn’t dropped below 20 deg C for the past five or six nights. Lenny has been sleeping on top of his bed as it is cooler and often times I am sleeping on the wooden floor instead of being in my warm fluffy bed next to a radiator. We have been told we are “trip hazards” whatever one of those is, as one or the other parent decides they want to go for a night time wander. I am pleased to report that the hot and sultry conditions broke somewhat last evening and we had a more comfortable day today when it only reached the dizzy heights of 30 deg C in the direct sunlight, according to our thermometer in the garden. However the weather breaking brings more fear and trepidation for me. The sonic activity seems to adversely affect me and my initial thought is to try and find somewhere safe to hide. I wish I was able to feel the same level of confidence that I see in the parents and Lenny when they stroll about keeping themselves busy. Lenny and I maybe the same breed but we are poles apart when it comes to thunder and lightning. Anyway this current period of high heat seems to have passed now so I should be able to revert to type.

Ow, gerrof

Bitey face can continue in earnest.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Lenny

Wake up wake up, it’s gone 6 am and the squirrels are running amok in the grounds. Ok, they’re not actually running amok but mum and dad didn’t know and we could have stopped a squirrel invasion. I got Lenny to leap on dads kidneys so he had no excuse to go back to sleep. Up and at them, come on.

We were soon in our harnesses and exploring the lanes and byways around Pednor, with the sun on our fur and our scent receptors close to the ground. As we went along the lane, the rabbits scattered for their burrows and the squirrels hid in their trees, sadly out of our reach. Upon reaching the dingley dell on the corner of the road, we decided we would take the parents along Herberts Hole as there was a better chance of getting some good baying off our chests with the critters that live in the hedgerows. Birds, squirrels and rodents made their escape as we wandered along, having great fun. Apparently I sound like one of those steam trains you see and hear in old films, when I am on the trail of prey. Anyway, we got most of the way down the track and mum decided she had to return home to do something called ‘work’. Nope, I have no idea what it is either. So, we turned around and headed home.

Back at home and after breakfast we were allowed out into the garden again as the sun was still shining and there were various horticultural chores that needed to be started and finished. It was such a peaceful morning with Lenny and I wandering around, sniffing, lazing on the grass and playing the odd bit of snout jousting. He seemed to be quite calm as we lay near each other, thinking about where we could drag mum and dad tomorrow morning.

What a lovely day for some nefarious activity

Then it started. The glint in his eye, the slight wry smile, the malevolent sideways glance to see if I was concentrating. He woofed to me that he was off to chew a stick so off he toddled. You could almost see the little halo above his head, he looked so innocent. My canine senses told me there was malice afoot however and I made myself ready to repel boarders. I was right, quick as a flash he was on to me, teeth glinting in the sun, eyes reddened from his transformation into a devil of the night and his paws standing on my ears whilst his teeth went to work on my face. He had pinned me down ready to inflict the final chomp on my jugular vein. However he didn’t account for my saviour, in the shape of a dad shaped object advancing up the garden to prise us apart and save my ears and neck from looking like a kitchen colander. “Off! Leave him alone!” called dad. And suddenly Lenny was running googley eyed around the garden arooing at his perceived victory over me. I got ear tickles whilst dad made sure I hadn’t been perforated and then he told me to “stop encouraging Lenny”. Forget the perforated ears, they were shocked and stunned ears. As I looked past dad, I saw Lenny down the garden once again wandering around quietly eating revolting stuff and looking for worm casts to roll in. How could he be so different so quickly?

Ow ow, get off. Hee hee.

I had held him off, just, and I live to tell the tale. Innocent, my paw.

I shall chew a stick and await my next victim.

Still love him though. He is my brother after all.

Booster time

It all started very normally today.

We jumped on dad at six to make sure he couldn’t sleep in. We watched as mum woke up, gave us a tickle and a kiss on the head, and then disappeared to put the kettle on. After all this excitement we wandered out into the garden for a spot of squirrel bothering and returned to the kitchen door to find dad wandering around making tea and generally mumbling to himself. Nothing different thus far.

Lenny went out with dad and I went out with mum. I am going for shorter walks over the last few days as I have been limping a little on my front left paw. The consensus is that I have strained my wrist through shenanigans in the garden, thanks to Lenny. Anyway, I am ok but I only need a shorter walk of three miles or so. We bumped into Lenny and dad whilst we were out on patrol, although they walked on further than we did. I had an inkling from listening to mum and dad that there was something different today. I was to prove to be correct.

When they returned Lenny had the usual silly grin on his face as he had eaten fox and bird droppings and was quite proud that dad hadn’t seen him. However, dad had seen him and wasn’t impressed. Nor was dad quick enough to retrieve said items from Lenny’s teeth which seems to be why Lenny was so happy with himself. We had some breakfast and then went off for some snoozing. After a while we heard dad on the phone saying “Yes he’s fine, we cannot think of anything that he is suffering from, no illness or injury, he just seems really healthy and happy”. This could only mean one thing, and I was keeping my muzzle shut so it would be a nice surprise for Lenny. I knew I was right when the harness made a reappearance and Lenny was duly clipped up and taken out of the door for another walk. I need to hand over to Lenny at this point as he can tell you what happened next.

Wotcha everyone. I had a great walk around Pednor this morning and then I got harnessed up again for another walk. Sadly it was with dad, but you cant win them all, right? We wandered off up the hill and I was being cajoled to keep a reasonable pace. It was almost as if there was an appointment which needed to be kept. What could it be? Where could I be going? Anyway, up the hill with all the traffic whizzing past us way too fast and then a little diversion through the woods at the top of the road. I wanted to smell squirrels and chase rabbits but dad decided otherwise. Come on he said, we’ve got somewhere to go. Into the town and down a small road I wandered, eventually finding myself in a carpark outside a building. There was a bench with a crate on it, and a lead tied around a bike rack. Dad was asked to attach me to the lead and a very nice lady in a blue uniform came out to greet us.

“Hello” she said. “You must be Lenny” and I got a head scratch. Dad reminded her that I sometimes snatch at food so “if they are going to distract me for injections, do it with an open hand”. Hang on, injections, what is this place. I was whisked inside and saw dad outside waiting for me. I was weighed (13.1 kilos) and then prodded, poked squeezed around the ribs, had my teeth checked and to cap it all had an injection. I don’t know where I was jabbed as I was being distracted by some tasty food. I will tell Dex that it was a huge javelin and I was really brave and didn’t squeal. Apparently he squeals and wriggles if he knows there is a tiny needle coming his way. Before I knew it, I was back outside and the vet told dad “He was so polite when we distracted him, you’ve clearly been working on this at home” Dad said thank you and he was pleased I was a good boy. I don’t think he’d seen the fees for it yet!

So there I was, strolling back through the town and thence through the woods. We detoured down a nice quiet road with some very nice houses with lovely big gardens which were probably full of squirrels. We didn’t stop! As we got closer to home I was flagging but perked up when I saw the house. In the front door, and I had so much to tell Dex. He was aghast and agog at my bravery when challenged by the huge javelin sized needle. I need to hand you back to Dex, sorry.

When he arrived back Lenny told me about the massive spear that he had braved at the vets. I told him I had known where he was going and he said that he had to return as this was only the first booster and he needs another. I think he thinks its going to be another fun trip. To celebrate, we whizzed around the garden and then collapsed into heaps in our beds. He was snoring as his head touched the side of his (my old) bed.

Ssshhh, sleepy pupster

He’s very brave is Lenny. I would have squealed and wriggled at the sight of the needle.

He must be expawsted

I think I will let him sleep it off. He’s had some adventures today, walked eight miles, had breakfast, dinner, two training sessions and been to the vets. Phew, I need to go and lie down as I am exhausted thinking about it all.

Love, life and Loss

As many may know I am on Twitter and I am blessed to have many accounts that follow me on there. When I joined it was, predominantly, to obtain some guidance from other beagle owners as to traits, behaviour and general information that I could relate to my parents about looking after me. From a few chats here and there in the beginning, it has thankfully blossomed and I can count many good friends and confidantes amongst the furs and people I talk to.

One of the first friends I “met” on there is Seb who isnt a Beagle but a Border Terrier (BT) who was kind and thoughtful when we communicated and I was after some information. He is part of the BT Posse, a group of like minded Border Terriers and their owners who, like the BeagleBug Club, look out for each other when things are good, bad, sad or someone is just having a bad day. As a Beagle, I was allowed to become an honorary member of the BT Posse, and I am extremely proud to be associated with them. The owners are very much along the same lines as the beagle owners that I know, in that you can ask them something and generally you will get a true and honest response. They don’t do politics, they don’t do trolling, they don’t do abuse and they really are a band of like minded people and dogs who want to get on with one another and help each other out.

One man and his faithful dog.

Some will tell you that Twitter is just a place for trolls and nasty spiteful people, who’s intention is to be harmful. If you look deeply enough you will inevitably find those accounts, where it is just politics and spiteful or racist rhetoric. Equally, if you look for the friendship that can be found within other “communities” on there, you can find the gentle and friendly guidance and companionship of people who seek to be pleasant.

Today Seb went to the Rainbow Bridge. He had just celebrated his sixteenth birthday. He let all his pals know what was going to happen and asked them “not to be sad but to remember he has been so lucky to have an amazing life, he has met so many wonderful friends and he has two people who have put him first and loved him more than anything”. Everything I seek to achieve is contained within this sentence.

Rest easy Seb.

Run free Seb, and rest easy. Farewell Sir. We shall meet again one day but in the meantime, shine brightly in the night sky. You are, and will be, sorely missed by many.

Pulling our parents around Pednor

We only went and had another adventure this morning. I suppose it helped our cause that we jumped up and down on dad at 6 am. We made sure he couldn’t lay in bed and be lazy. We were then released into the garden early and chased off the squirrels who dared to play on the premises whilst we were sleeping. The first half of our breakfast was served and then we were duly harnessed up to our various parents. For my sins I was attached to mum so I knew I had to behave.

Out of the house and along the lane, across the road and down past the river with the rock snake (a snake like line of rocks not an actual scary serpent). We went past the pub and then towards the paradise of a nice quiet walk around the lanes of Pednor, sniffing the rabbits and squirrels as we went. As it happens, there was a road closure so cars were being redirected down our nice quiet lane. What a liberty, do people not realise we had walks to do. Anyway, we continued over the little hill and checked out every single hedge and tussock of grass for scents of rabbit and squirrel. Sadly we didn’t manage to spot the rabbits playing in the field. We found out the rabbits were there because mum and dad saw them and “forgot” to tell us.

Rabbit Central, next stop

We decided to turn left at the bottom of the lane. We had arrived at the strangely named Herberts Hole. No one seems to know how it came by its name but I am pleased we know where it is, as it’s traffic free and the views are very pleasant.

Fields of Barley & poppies

We walked past the old barn and then up to the next junction where we could have climbed up the path to Blind Lane. However dad was still feeling a bit lazy so we decided to stroll back along Herberts Hole to the road.

This is fun.

We turned right and then left through the gate and onto the diagonal path across the two fields. As we went into the second field the horses were mooching about, eating grass and generally doing horse type things. Lenny shook to show them he was friendly. I think they just ignored him. I try to do the same, but he usually bites me to attract my attention. At this point we spotted about twenty rabbits who scattered very quickly as Lenny decided to test the bungee strength on the lead. Dad wasn’t for moving though.

Out of the gate and turn right back onto the lane. I gave Lenny the nod to warn him we were on the way home and he duly applied the beagle brakes. Sadly for us dad is a bit more impatient than mum and we tend to find ourselves moving a bit quicker than we would prefer. So it was back past the pub and within a far too short period we were at home, just in time to run around the garden chasing each other and getting very dirty paws. Again, we had beaten the 9 am time limit for our shenanigans. Today though we were content to be back early as the sun was out and the weather was really rather warm.

Do you think they’re watching us?

Where shall we go next? Will we have fun? I suspect I already know the answer to the second question.

Fun in the sun

Introspection has had its time. Whilst I enjoy thinking about things I also enjoy having a good walk and snooter about in some of my favourite places.

This morning I was shackled to mum so Lenny had the pleasure of walking around the fields with the immovable object, aka dad. A quick check to make sure the coast was clear for social distancing and we were on our way. “Let them decide which way they want to go”, says mum. A wink and a woof with Lenny and we decide to go the fields. There will be plenty of deer, rabbit and squirrel trails there. Its Monday morning and the trails will be fresh.

Turn left and along the footpath, then left again, through the trees and sit at the road like the good boys we are. Through the gate and into the first field. Breathe in. Smell the scents, the heady aroma of fun and frolicsome adventures. And let the daily pulling on the lead session begin!

The hills will be alive with the sound of arooo.

Around the first field and then straight on through the second, left at the hedgerow and we get the first refusal from mum as we want to go along the tree line where we know the best deer scents are and we do our best baying. We are told some guff about it being early and waking up half the town when we smell the deer so we are forced to turn right. Sadly for mum, we smell it anyway as we skirt the barley in the field. The hill is alive with the sound of aroooo. I’m sure there’s a song in there somewhere. To the next hedge, turn left, then right at the other end to make sure we cover both sides of it much to the exasperation of mum and dad.

Let’s go this way then the other.

Thence to the big field, the mile field, the best field as it holds the most scents and we can bay away. We can also shark our way through the barley, which bends and springs back once we have woven our way through on the trail of mice and small critters. As we emerge every now and then, we have wet bonces which makes mum and dad laugh at our “stupidity”. Also our silly grins confirm we are enjoying ourselves.

Dex Dex, there’s mice in here.

Out of the field and we are suddenly at the top of “Squirrel Alley”. This is more usually known as Penn Grove and a wander through always provides the fun of chasing the little furries back up their trees. We are not sure mum and dad enjoy it as much though, slipping on the loose gravel as we pull and yank in so many different directions at the same time. I was particularly impressed with Lenny’s “pancaking” this morning. His ability to splay all four legs and lower his trajectory to almost scrape his belly, in pursuit of the elusive squirrel, was admirable, as was his ability to kick up dirt and gravel all over dad. Oh my, how we laughed.

Once we realise we are on our way back, I give Lenny the nod and he starts to apply the “Beagle Brakes” so the return is slowed considerably, much to the frustration of our staff who need to get back as they have “things to do”. The brakes are applied more readily as we get closer to home but we then speed up again when we realise we are going through Duck Alley (this one is actually called Duck Alley). I always leap into the river for a cooling paddle, whilst Lenny usually dips his toe nails and stands in the mud along the edges. Yesterday he managed a full “up to his belly” stroll through the river although mum did have to go in as well, in her wellies. Through the little wood and back to our house for food and shenanigans around the garden. All before 9 am.

We are lucky to have this on our doorstep. We will always enjoy it. I wonder where we will go tomorrow.