It’s summer, the heat is turned up, the people long for a trip away from their daily lives and a visit to the seaside is a British tradition. I have been to the beach on a number of occasions and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Eating dead sea creatures, walking through the tidal mud and sand, and pulling parents across the breakwaters seem to be a speciality. I have even taught Lenny to practice the art of parental misguidance when we are beach bound.
I have not been to one of the most famous beaches in Britain however and, looking through some of my grandads photos, I saw something that intrigued me. Here are some pictures taken in 1963 and the place is almost deserted compared to the hustle and bustle of today.
I can say these were taken in 1963 as the Volks Railway opened on 3rd August 1883. The train pictured proudly states its the 80th anniversary. It is still operated as a historical seafront attention running between the Aquarium and Black Rock. Check the suited chaps on the deckchairs taking the sea air.
A stroll along the promenade was a popular way of getting some clean air, away from the smoke and grime of the big cities. Brighton became popular in the late 1700’s when the King, George IV was a regular visitor. The arrival of the railways in 1841 undoubtedly assisted further in its rise in popularity, as people with a few pennies to spare could escape from London for the day and spend their time at the beach.
I enjoy the contrast in this picture. See the gent in the long coat and hat, and then notice the man and child just coming out of the water; the deck chairs filled with people in suits and dresses. I think it is roughly where Brighton Marina is now.
Many things have changed since these photos were taken. Many things. For good or bad? I will leave that to you to decide. I want to go to Brighton one day, maybe I will see these places and find out how much they’ve really changed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As it will soon be Spring properly here in the UK, it seems appropriate that the weather has decided to play ball and get a bit warmer during the day. The early mists are quickly dissipated by the sun which means we can get out into the garden to relax on our soft beds on benches. Anyone would think we are spoilt.
It is supposed to get a bit chillier next week so I, for one, will be enjoying the warm early Spring weather whilst it lasts.
Now all I have to do is wait for the seeds and bulbs to be planted so I can accidentally dig them up again.
With the world in such mess it seems that whatever I think about writing is trivial. My life goes on whilst countless other people are having their lives abruptly halted through nefarious means. Hate, war, death and hardship stalks far too many people and I feel somewhat insulated from it all here. I have a comfy life with walks, food and (probably) too many beds to sleep in. I will not go into the politics of it all, as many others have already done so, and I am merely a beagle.
Lenny and I are getting walked every day come rain or shine. The routes are becoming more familiar each day and we are looking forward to Spring arriving so the off road paths can dry out somewhat. Then the number of trails will increase and we wont be walking the same three or four routes as we are now. I’m a regular jogger with mum now as we bimble past the barn, stables and then a couple of farms on our four mile a day jaunt. Lenny is becoming very good at walking on a lead without pulling according to dad. This doesn’t include the two occasions when cats have been spotted ahead and Lenny’s enthusiasm has been stifled by dads quick reaction in sliding his hand down the lead. He has got close however he is continually restricted in his efforts to “play” with cats. He is also being tired out through having walks between five and seven miles. I have certainly noticed my ears haven’t taken such a battering from his teeth recently.
Thankfully the wind of recent times seems to have left us alone for a couple of weeks now and we need only look forward to the Spring rain making our garden into a soggy mess so Lenny and I can get way too much soil under our dew claws. We have some plants in the garden too and, of course, Lenny and I have helped to water them. We can gloss over a story about a certain rufty tufty beagle who was caught (allegedly) eating a mixture of clay, manure and potting compost which had been used to try and give the shrubs a good head start.
And there it is, my current life in a couple of paragraphs. It pales into insignificance when I see and hear what other people and their pets are going through just to survive. I shall report again when, or if, something happens which is worthy of mention. In the meantime I’m off for a nap.
As we were tucked into bed last night, we were told that there was an early walk on the cards due to a visit from Eunice. We aren’t averse to early morning strolls, however looking out and seeing the strong winds and lashing rain, our fervour for a stroll was lessened. Being rufty tufty beagles we braved the elements which, thankfully, had eased and we had only the wind to contend with. Usually I like the wind as it blows all the scents into my nose and I dont have to work too hard sniffing them. Today was a little extreme though and it felt like the scents were being propelled by a leaf blower, on its highest setting.
We returned and ate our usual (small) breakfast, we ran around the house playing, got told off by being noisy and then quietly laid next to each other silently chewing on our opposing ears. This of course was noticed and we were told off again. Ugh, boring. Then I heard it, a whistling and rumbling, all around the house and across the garden. The wind had picked up considerably and was blowing heavy stuff about in the garden. One of the benches was being moved almost as if a poltergeist was present. Dad went off to move the bench, flower pots and other heavy items to places of relative safety. We were allowed out to explore and we noticed the strength of the wind in our ears. Lenny was into the garden and then back in the house quickly whilst I was strolling about having a good snooter. Back indoors and the wind whistled and rattled around the house. I heard crunch and crash as a tree fell over outside and within ten minutes there were tree fellers cutting up the remains of the tree to take it away. No one hurt and no damage so all was good. It wasn’t even lunchtime and I was wandering around worrying about the wind. I hate the noise it makes. For some reason it really unsettles me. Lenny, on the other paw, couldn’t care less, snoozing away in my chair.
After lunch we returned to the garden, had another explore and found loads of sticks and twigs to chew and play with. The wind still howled at times, although I was more comfortable outside in the garden than I was in the house. Apparently I am a strange boy sometimes. As the wind abated my fears receded and I could relax a little. I thought I could relax, but Lenny was still occupying my chair so we had to have a session of noisy bitey face snout jousting to sort out who’s chair it was. I lost so slinked away on to the sofa to get complimentary ear tickles from a parent.
Eunice seems to have disappeared now, although her legacy will last for a few days yet. The possibility of trees being weakened means that it is unlikely Lenny and I will get walks in the woods for the foreseeable future. Hey ho, we will just have to make do with pulling our parents around the usual routes.
Nice knowing you Eunice, but feel free not to call again.
We set off early this morning in the crisp pre dawn air. I decided that I would help mum jog along one lane whilst Lenny had plumped for dragging dad along a different road. I seem to have mastered the art of beagling whilst not stopping too often. I can sniff and scent whilst keeping moving. I can pull gently to one side or the other again whilst keeping my legs going in a forward direction. There are of course certain things that require me to stop although we will gloss over those for the sake of this missive. It was lovely and quiet along the lane toward Knepp this morning. We made our merry way through the trees and alongside the fields, where no doubt critters abound. The chill air seems to hold the scent at ground level so I fill my nose with the aroma of familiar foes. I am usually home a little before Lenny as he hasn’t quite mastered the “sniff and stroll” technique. My twenty minutes without my brother is usually filled with being cleaned and then running around the house safe in the knowledge that vampiric fangs are not travelling toward my appendages and extremities.
When he does arrive home, and has been cleaned, then it is time for bitey face shenanigans to take place until the parents decide they’ve had enough of us “annoying the entire road” with my incessant shouting.
Lenny did tell me that he had dragged dad down a very muddy country lane and it wasnt until they were well on their way that dad realised it was too muddy and was turning back. Lenny said that he will try again next time they are down that way as he is determined to make sure dad knows what it is like to be a beagle in mud.
The sun showing its face is always welcome as we can wander about the garden and get some warmth on our fur. Sadly we are normally accompanied by a parent who keeps their eye on extensive snout jousting, for fear of it waking the neighbours. As if we would do such a thing? So this mornings stroll around the grounds was augmented with plenty of standing about, pointing our faces at the sun, sniffing the air and wondering when lunchtime was.
Live life every day pals, as tomorrow it may be rainy and dull.
I am aware that I haven’t blogged in a while. My brain is in something of a cloud since I had my vet visit in January this year. I am due to go back for my annual boosters tomorrow as long as I am feeling better which, it seems, I am. As the vet didn’t get the results of my test back in time, they decided that my inoculations would wait so I get the pleasure of another trip there. Anyway it appears I have campylobacter Jejuni or some such ailment. Apparently its present, but dormant, in quite a few dogs and we live our lives in our free spirited way for most of the time. On this occasion though it seems that my campylobacter decided it wanted to have a big party and invited all its friends, even though we are still under some restrictions and I am not sure if I should be selling the pictures to the media. I shall report back in due course once the vet has seen me again and done the usual prodding and poking of my various areas. I am confident I am over the current bout of illness however.
Our walks have been taken separately due to Lenny and I still competing for the same scent at the same time, causing our parents to complain more loudly than usual of arms being pulled out of shoulders. We have heard rumours that if there was a Beagle Sled Dog Championship, we are front runners. Literally. The walks are the normal routes, although I have been jogging along with mum whilst Lenny takes longer walks with dad. We both return with tales to tell but only after we have chased one another around the house and indulged the neighbours ears with loud bouts of bitey face snout jousting shenanigans. To be honest, I am hoping that Spring arrives soon as it means the really muddy paths which we cannot go along currently will dry out and our parents will be able to navigate them successfully. It’s easy for us with four paw drive. We need more walks to explore and alleviate the tedium of the same three or four walks we are currently on. The views are ok, but I think we are missing the far reaching ones we had when we were patrolling around our old town. We’ve settled in to the new walks as we have been here for just over a year now. We do know where all the local squirrels and cats live which is always fun if the parents aren’t concentrating. Problem is that now they know I have a dicky tummy, the parents are on permanent lookout for field food which may find its way accidentally behind my teeth as I stroll along.
I cannot believe sometimes that it has been a year since we arrived in our new kennel. The time has just flown and I can’t keep up. I think we have made the house our own now, with beds and blankets strewn in strategic positions around the rooms. We have to listen to complaints about things being trip hazards but I am not sure it is our fault that the parents don’t look where they are going when they carry stuff.
I hope life gets a bit more interesting soon, as I am feeling a bit blue and melancholy at the moment. Maybe its age, maybe it’s my old bones or just having to live with Lenny. In any case, hurry up Spring as I am ready for some more adventures in the days ahead.