Ferring or not Ferring.

We had an unexpected trip yesterday morning. As we left the house we saw that dad had his camera with him. Lenny and I also seemed to be going in the same direction. Mum asked dad “do you know where you’re going?” to which he rolled his eyes and got a poke in the ribs for being cheeky. As it turned out, he didn’t know exactly.

Along the little lane and then turned back towards home. We knew there was going to be a car journey. Great, another adventure. Soon after we had been lifted regally into our travel crates, we were off south bound. Right, left, straight over and then left into a car park overlooking the Channel.

This is going to be fun

We were allowed out and breathed in the sea air. As we looked up I saw a building called Sea Lane Cafe in Goring by Sea and then looked at dad, who looked at mum and sheepishly told her that this wasn’t the Bluebird Cafe in Ferring. I thought you knew the way! We all rolled our eyes at him and then set off east along the path and the edge of the beach. We strolled, counted beach huts, said hello to other dogs, strolled further and then found ourselves on the edge of Worthing.

There’s the pier at Worthing

We turned back at this point as it was getting warmer and the water bottle was running a little low. As we wandered past the Sea Lane Cafe (Not the Bluebird Cafe) we decided to see if it was possible to get to where we were supposed to be.

Lets go this way. No, lets go that way

Lenny was flagging by now as he has no stamina for longer walks. So yet again we turned and made our way toward the car.

I think Ferring is this way!

I have to admit that I was also tired by now so I was glad of a little rest in my travel crate. Once again we required to be regally lifted and placed in our respective places and off we set, retracing our journey northbound and to home. Maybe we will get to the correct cafe one day. When we got home we heard rumour that if breakfast had been taken al fresco, Lenny and I were on for snaffling some sausage.

Currently we are curled up dreaming of long walks on a pebbly beach with a stop off at a dog friendly cafe serving breakfast sausage fit for beagles. If only dad knew where he was going.

That was all too brief

Dad was taking the car into the garage early yesterday morning as it needed fixing. As such Lenny and I were in sole charge of our mum, so we knew we could have some fun. On “mum only” days we would leave the house, go up the old road, briefly into the woods, then out and around the fields. This gives us maximum chance of a snifari whilst giving mum a reasonable chance of keeping her shoulders in their sockets. Anyway we left and then turned right. Away from the old road? We had been this way once before and had strolled (read pulled on our respective leads) through the bigger woods on the other side of the big road. Surely she wasn’t making the same mistake again. Under the bridge, right along the footpath and then we descended the track toward the farm with the stagnant pond. We wandered (read pulled on our respective leads) along sniffing and wondering where we were going. Left turn and the gate was closed behind us. We sat and were told “You’ve got 25 minutes so no shenanigans”. No chance, we were at the Paw Paddock and we only had one parent to try and control us.

Boing boing boing

Lenny was first to be left off lead and he walked alongside mum instead of running about aroooing like a hound possessed. I always knew he was a “goodie four paws”. Then he was re-shackled and I was allowed off.

Don’t worry mum, I’ll stay close

For some strange reason I too strolled about quite calmly and only had a very quick run around with loud baying. Then we both got let off together and we surprised each other by just trotting along scenting and having a good time without bothering one another.

Yes, even I walk nicely sometimes

When called we both returned and sat nicely to allow our leads to be re-attached to our harnesses. There may have been tasty snack bribes but we can gloss over that bit.

We returned home, ate our breakfast and then wandered about the garden, making sure there were any squirrel invaders. Maybe I am getting old or, maybe, Lenny and I are just calming down when in the presence of each other.

In the afternoon we had a visit from Ernie’s mum who threatened to bring him along to the next Paw Paddock trip. This could be interesting.

South along the Downs Link

The avid readers amongst you may recall that Lenny accompanied me on a walk a couple of weeks ago from West Grinstead station north to a little village called Copsale. Today we returned to West Grinstead once more but, somewhat surprisingly, we went south along the path to a village called Partridge Green.

Tickets please!

We were shocked when we walked up and back along the old road near the house, finding ourselves at the car for the second day in a row. What was this sorcery? This was unheard of? Two trips in succession? We wondered if it was because today is a Bank Holiday and our parents felt like we needed something extra to amuse ourselves. In any case we drove a little way north and then east. We arrived at the little car park and we swiftly disembarked from our travel crates. Lenny is getting better at travelling and doesn’t seem to feel as ill as often as he did.

Heading under the road we followed our noses south along the old rail track which has been made into a path for walkers, riders, cyclists and often runners. We were swiftly into our stride of going to the grassy sides of the path as these areas held the best scents which, in turn, gave us the best chances of pulling parents this way and that. Through the old cuttings, past fields of stubble and then into little wooded areas, we strolled along with our noses 2 inches above the ground. Every now and then we were reined in as cyclists or runners went past us. After a good wander we looked up to see a little sign post confirming we were in Partridge Green. My parents of course had to find out where the pub was and we also found out that the Dark Star Brewery is located here. Dad boasted that he had been to the brewery but we weren’t particularly impressed and just wanted to continue on with our walk.

We were beginning to flag somewhat at this point and a water stop was needed. As we turned around and headed north along the track, I looked a little behind me and saw Lenny walking like a “good boy”. Apparently he was still a bit tired from yesterdays herculean efforts on Cissbury. That boy has no stamina, let me tell you. Thankfully the path is fairly flat so Lenny didn’t have too strenuous a return journey although we did have a little stop to rest his weary long legs.

We arrived at the station and were duly lifted back into our travel crates for the return home where breakfast was loudly requested by us running around the garden baying at the top of our lungs.

It’s alright Lenny, you can sleep on my chair.

We have been sleeping for the rest of the day as it is apparent to some that two days of fun walks are more than enough for a senior beagle and his vampiric sidekick. I’m not sure who these dogs are, but I wouldn’t mind meeting them.

Cissbury Ring ramble

I was going to ramble wordily around the houses as to what we did yesterday but the title gives it all away.

We allowed the parents a bit of a lie in as it was a Bank Holiday Sunday after all. Lenny and I had no idea what was happening until we turned out of our little road and went left along the old road. Sharply we were turned around and heading back to the house. Ok, so we weren’t going across the fields for a good scent of fox, rabbit and squirrel. Having ensured that we were lifted into our travel crates, we set off south along the main road. We scooted past our recent ascent of Chanctonbury and seemed to be on our way south. Surely we weren’t going to the beach. After listening to them grumbling about Lenny and I eating “dead stuff” on the previous occasions I wondered if they had relented and were going to give us another chance to visit the garden at all hours of the night for a few days. As I was wondering we turned left up a side road and into a gravel carpark. This was new and Lenny looked as bemused as me. As we leapt out and onto our paws we both looked up and up at a big hill in front of us and I could see the glint in Lenny’s eyes. We set off at a pace as Lenny decided he was going to scent his way along the path and dad was being pulled this way and that, as Lenny did a more than passable impression of a land shark through the long grass. Into the wood, then out and onto the next section of the hill.

I can see for miles, Lenny

Up the steep bank and we were greeted with a view back to Chanctonbury in one direction and the sea in the opposite.

See that clump of trees on the left? That’s our usual walk

This was fun as we could scent all sorts of creatures and we made sure that there wasn’t any laziness or strolling amongst the human fraternity. The walk seemed to be circular and we could see for miles. We went past runners, riders, walkers, other dogs and even other dogs with walkers. We got to the top of the hill, checked out the trig point and then started a descent and were abruptly halted as there were ponies in our way. Not that it mattered as we directed our parents along the path toward the little copse of trees and then out into the open where we overlooked Findon and Worthing.

I wonder if our friends can see us?

It all seemed quite small and far away. I was puffing and panting like a steam train so we made sure to stop a few times to top up on water. Then I heard the worst words a beagle can hear, “I think thats enough excitement for one day for a senior beagle. I think if he keeps on going at this rate, he’s going to do himself another injury”. And with that the fun was over. We retraced our path and descended to the car park, albeit via slightly different route so we could get some final sniffs.

Within two minutes of being in the car we were both snoozing in our travel crates and we returned home for breakfast. Our fun was finished. We slept and dreamed of more shenanigans to come.

An annual concern

Today is one of those days when I worry about what will happen next. I am reluctantly handing over my blog to my younger brother who isn’t really my brother. I have taken him under my wing so to speak and shown him the ways of the beagle. Anyway, here goes.

Hello, it is I, Lenny. I’m four today! I don’t know what that means but I do know it comes with treats, a birthday card, extra tickles and a stroll around my new favourite place, being the Paw Paddock. I think I can get used to this sort of attention. Dex has been told he has to be nice to me today (although he usually is!) and I get first dibs on biscuits and treats albeit for one day only.

We went nice and early to the Paw Paddock and I was let off lead to run around like a fur possessed. Instead I merely wandered off, sniffed and then strolled back to a parent to be re-shackled after fifteen minutes or so.

Chicken flavoured treats may have assisted in my recall however I want it known that I have been complemented on my recall generally in recent times. Dex was released and he too just strolled about and then disappeared to the other end of the paddock. When he returned, again to the sound of a treat bag being rustled, he was promptly re-attached and I was again released.

There were some tasty rabbit droppings that I wasn’t told off for eating so, I assume, it must be a special day.

We returned home just in time for the forecast rain to start falling. Its been dry as a bone here for a couple of months so this little period of rain is very welcome. We avoided getting wet and now I’ve been told I can laze on whichever chair I want for the rest of the afternoon. I wanted to laze on the big bed however that was deemed too cheeky and is out of bounds. In due course I will expect my food to be served and then I will relax for the rest of the day.

I’m a lucky lad to be honest and sensible for a moment. I want for little (apart from snoozing on the big bed) and Dex is a good brother to me. He’s had more of these birthday things than I have, although I shouldn’t say “three times as many”.

Paw Paddock runaround

My vampiric little brother, who isn’t an actual blood relation went off to the local, and new, enclosed paddock yesterday morning to test it out for our future entertainment. He appears to have given it a solid thumbs or he would if he had opposable thumbs. We would also be able to break into the treat jar if he had thumbs, but that’s for another blog.

Anyway, back to the matter in hand (or paw). A new paddock area has opened in my village and we decided we would try it out. Since I had shown signs of leg ache from the previous Beagle Derby the parents decided it was wiser to get Lenny to test it out and then I can go along the next day to make sure he was telling the truth.

In
Come
ing
Its fun.

He returned home with tales of fun and laughter, of scents and of freedom to run around like a fool for a while.

On the back of this advice I needed to make sure he was telling the truth so, this morning…

It is indeed fun

I can vouch for his honesty, on this occasion. I had a great time running about, scenting and trying to find field food to eat. We will be going back, of that I am certain. I suspect it wont be together as we tend to get a little over enthusiastic and I find myself a little lame in the hip for a day.

If my current snoring is anything to go by, I think it will be fairly soon. The parents are enjoying the peace and quiet. How rude.

Young in mind, young in body

Don’t you believe it. Awake at 6.30 on a Sunday listening to the chorus of complaint from a certain parent is always a good start. Six thirty he says, does this beagle not realise its a Sunday, he continues. Anyway a well placed kidney pounce from my brother brings a suitable conclusion to the laziness and Lenny and I find ourselves being walked along the old road. Now we don’t usually walk together as we tend to want the same scent at the same time and bitey face snout jousting often ensues. This can only mean one thing, we’re going on an adventure. Turned round halfway along the road only reaffirms my point. Lenny, we are going for a ride.

At the car Lenny leaps in and the boot is shut. Off we go, left along the road, past the roundabouts, through the traffic lights and then left onto the winding road. Left at the pub and then right. We’re here, we’re here! As the boot is opened the smell of freedom fills our nostrils. Paw Paddock, Hello!!! The gates are shut and we are released so stroll about. Sadly the next gate is still shut so it’s easy for us to be grappled and put on the leads and harnesses. Once into the paddock we are strolled part way round and then Lenny is off. With his back legs following the front ones, he’s bimbled across the paddock in no time at all. He returned on pain of missing a treat only to find he’s re-shackled.

Then it was my turn to run free, with the wind in my ears, and the grass a blur beneath my belly. I returned when asked and got a decent tickle with accompanying treat for being a “good lad”. I must admit at this point that I do like a good ear rub. In any case this swapping of free beagles continued for another twenty minutes. Then we heard the parents mumbling something about “well there’s only one way to find out”.

Both Lenny and I found ourselves unleashed at the same time. We stood there for a microsecond to wonder what was this sorcery until our beagle nature took over and we chased each other around the paddock like a couple of possessed idiots (these are not my words). It was surprising how quickly we calmed down and started to merely stroll about sniffing and snootering without annoying each other. When we were told that we were going back on the leads, neither of us complained, too much.

Then it was back in the car and home for breakfast and some well earned rest.

Now, here’s the thing. A twelve year old beagle chasing a four year old beagle around a large paddock for an extended period may cause said twelve year old body to feel a little strained. Having snoozed for a while I got up to find my rear right leg doesn’t work properly and it seems I have overexerted myself and strained my thigh muscles.

Oh dear, I can hear talk of a trip to the v-e-t tomorrow if it doesn’t clear up. Don’t believe the hype about young in mind and young in body. Take it easy and pace yourselves. This getting older lark takes some practice. It’s lucky that I am a hardy lad and won’t be complaining about my condition.

A nostalgic trip to Brighton

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.

Tickets please.

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.

Along the coast to the east

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’m back

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.

This is fun

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.

A puppy again.

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.

Pffft, too warm.

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.

Go away, I’m not happy.

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.

A change of scenery

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.