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.

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.

Sad yet hopeful – part the first.

I know many people do a review of the year passing or passed. Where shall I start without using the C word? Ok, I shall take this month by month and try to explain why this year, which will pass into history very soon, was seemingly one to forget but also contained some little gems.

January.

It’s on its way everyone. 2020 was starting on a chilly and cool note although January was surprisingly dry for us in Chesham, where it is usually soggy, drizzly and really rather damp. Lenny is getting used to the incessant photography, however he has yet to master the art of the silly grin. I’m working on him so please bear with us.

February.

It’s arrived although not yet in huge numbers which we will soon suffer. Raffa went to the Rainbow Bridge and many, many people were very upset at the loss of a fine and wonderful friend. The days were getting a bit longer, the mornings were misty and made Lenny look thoughtful. I spent much of the first few weeks wondering why pals aren’t here any more, why we have to go to the Rainbow Bridge and generally having a good think to myself.

March.

It’s here. Just before the quarantine took place fully I had the chance to travel briefly into London. I was intent on finishing the postcard for Raffa. She had missed the Beefeater and I thought it was only right that I get the picture for her. Then it struck and we were all locked away for a while. People panic bought toilet roll, bleach and pasta (I do not need that recipe) and we made sure we didnt make contact with anyone in the hope that this might slow down the transmission rate.

April.

Flowers bloomed in my garden. Lenny and I helped to water them as the sun grew warmer and the colours burst back to life. Out of quarantine at the end of April but it made no difference. We were living like hermits and avoiding as much contact with other people as possible.

May.

Now it was beginning to get a bit boring. We still got our walks. We still got to arooo in the garden. We still got to chase each other around the garden playing bitey face. However we were a little restricted on where we could go for walks outside the garden. Fortunately we were able to walk in places that not many others knew about so we often had the lanes to ourselves.

June.

We were still under restrictions so had to behave ourselves in and out of the garden. It had the advantage though of showing Lenny that I didn’t want to be bitten all the time and often it was nice to just chill out instead of running at 100 mph around the garden. We became more accommodating of one another as the restrictions wore on. It got warm and we became lazy or lazier depending on who you listen to. Early in the month we learned that another friend, Gracie, also passed to the Rainbow Bridge. This was another time for sadness and reflection as she was a good friend.

Here ends todays missive. The final part will be published soon. I am not sure if the year got any better to be honest. However you’ll just have to wait to find out.

The alphabet of things I like

I saw something like this recently posted by another blogger and wondered what it would be like from a canine (that’s me) perspective.

A – Ashridge Estate. I love going up onto the common so I can stroll through the long grass, get far too many scents in my nose and then get back to the car with a happy smile on my face. It isn’t far from me so quite easy to get to.

B – Beds. I have seven of them. I have to share my day time snoozing beds with Lenny but we have an unwritten code that we just go onto a bed and don’t hassle each other when we are sleeping. I have my night time bed whilst Lenny has his night time cave bed and never the twain shall meet.

C – Chesham. Where I live. I like the town with all the friendly people and other fur friends I have made here. It is surrounded by open fields and countryside so I get to walk the highways and byways to sniff out squirrels, rabbit and deer to my hearts content.

D – Dad. I have the safety and security of parents who look after me and make sure I am ok. One of them is my much maligned dad who, I must be honest, loves me to bits and who worries about me far too much. I am his first dog and he does some silly things which we all laugh at. But his heart is in the right place. Lenny and I know that he would always do stuff to make sure we are safe, loved and happy.

E – Exploring. I am able to explore for quite some distance locally and nationally. All the paths and byways near my home have been walked. I have also visited many places in the UK and always enjoy seeing new sights and exploring new scents.

F – Friends. What would I do without them? Life would be so much less interesting if I had no one to woof with on Twitter and on here. I always enjoy listening to my friends when they have good or bad news. It is nice to be friends.

G – Grandad. He is my only grandparent so I always have a fun time when we see him. Since he first met me, I have shown him that I am a friendly lad and he need not be worried about me. He is getting much better at tickles and I am going to take credit for that.

H – Home. A place where I can live in safety and security. I am fortunate to have a home now. I remember when I was in kennels at the nice rescue centre. I always wanted a forever home and now I have one, I will always feel lucky.

I – Icy cold weather. For some reason I like it when it is chilly. Maybe its because I can wear my warm coat and that the scents are close to the ground. I always seem to have great fun slipping across icy fields in pursuit of the next good smell.

J – Jerky. Beef Jerky. We get this as a treat sometimes and it is very tasty. I am not allowed too much of it as it can upset my tummy a bit.

K – King sized bed. My bed for sleeping at night time. It is big sturdy and heavy. It has high sides and is fully padded on the base. I get another bed within it for extra comfort. The best bit is that Lenny isn’t allowed in there, and he doesn’t try to break that rule.

L – Lenny. My brother who isnt actually bloodline related but we are the best of friends now I have got used to his nefarious activities of trying to bite my neck, ears and ankles at every available chance. After a turbulent start we have settled into a daily routine and have now got to the stage where we more than tolerate one another. In fact, I wouldn’t be without him.

M – Mum. The best mum of all. I know everyone will say they have the best mum but, in my case, it is the truth. Someone kinder and more thoughtful toward me I cannot think of. She always look out for me, looks after me and I look up to her.

N – Night time sniffs. Before I go to bed, I am allowed out into the garden to do “my business”. There are often many scents lingering from the nocturnal creatures who inhabit the tress around my garden. I get to smell them before I go to my bed. I may be in the garden for some time.

O – Outside, as in, out in the countryside. To see trees, lakes, rivers, big skies, rainy skies even, is to be free in mind and spirit. I am lucky to have some countryside on my doorstep as well as visited some wonderful places further afield.

P – Pednor. Probably my favourite walk around here. The views from most parts are lovely and I can see for miles. The roads are usually quite quiet so we can stroll along at our own pace without the fear of being run over. Also the hedgerows and paths allow me to scent way too many creatures.

Q – Quiet times. Sometimes Lenny gets to walk with dad whilst I go out with mum. We aren’t in competition for scents or territory and the walks are therefore quieter and we can have a chat without having a young beagle nose suddenly pushing me out of the way. When I first arrived I had the walks to myself and enjoyed them. I think mum and dad appreciated that, and try to ensure I still get some down time away from the playful lad now and again.

R – Relaxing after a hard days work. Always good to chill out when I have had a hard day of chasing, sniffing and avoiding sharp vampiric teeth.

S – Sunpuddling. What a treat. Finding the shaft of sunlight coming in through the window, on a cold day, and lying there allowing my fur to soak up the warm rays. We tend to sun puddle close to one another but without encroaching. It is probably my weary bones that need the suns rays the most.

T – Tube trains. I get to use them when I travel into London for exploring the city. I thought I would be scared when I first saw one, let alone boarded it, however once on board and moving I enjoy seeing the world go by. Even going around the actual underground sections doesn’t worry me, usually because I am accompanied by mum or dad.

U – Up on the sofa. I was allowed up on the sofa soon after I arrived. They were covered with throws so I could try and chill out after a hectic day. Now I can take up one sofa, whilst Lenny stretches out on the other. Not sure where our parents will sit but, hey, I am sure they will find somewhere.

V – Vegetables. I know, it’s a strange one for a canine. However if they are mixed sufficiently with my meat food, I can hardly tell they are there and I know they do me good.

W – Walks. They are the best. We always get to walk and explore with our parents. Walks are a vital part of our beagling armoury and help to keep our scent and sight skills up to scratch. Fresh air and wonderful scenery abound locally.

X – being e(x) – rescue. The feeling of safety, security and love all the time makes me content to my very core. To have been rescued and homed is a wonderful feeling. Add to that the fact that my rescue freed up a kennel for another fur, then I am doubly happy.

Y – Young at heart. I feel young when I am happily running around the garden with the sun on me. Chasing my brother is always a bonus. I like to feel youthful as I think it is important to stay young at heart for as long as possible.

Z – Zooming around the garden. Running at full tilt around the garden is fun, especially if I am chasing Lenny. We tire ourselves out whilst having fun. I suspect there is an ulterior motive in there somewhere.

These are my first thoughts on things I like, what are yours?

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.

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.

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.