Diary of a dog walker

Bluebells in GreenwoodsPreface

I do love my walks with the boys.  I write my ‘stories’ in my mind while I am walking – I think that helps me to notice things.  This diary started as accounts of walks in emails to a friend, Sue, and there is no-one else I have ever met who is as interested in the countryside in the same amount of detail so it is possible that others will find these accounts boring but my main reason for keeping them is personal – a record to read and remember when I am doddering, dotty and dog-less.  Sometimes I go out and notice nothing while another morning  it may be misty and the hedges will be hung with sheets of spiders’ webs.   They must be there every morning – but I just haven’t ‘seen’ until they are covered with minute drops of moisture.  One morning as the sun was beginning to break through the mist it caught on the bigger drops and they sparkled like tiny crystals.  In November ’11  it snowed the type I think they call snow grains which caught and hung on the webs.  Sometimes it is so beautiful that it brings tears to my eyes.

The entries on these pages are a rough and ready record – largely un-proofread and often just notes

 

Day by Day

25.08.2013

It has rained for two nights and a day and it has also been windy.  This morning the paths are scattered with yellow leaves.  A portent of autumn coming and the death-knell to a summer which, though lovely, has been all to short.

 

22.08.2013

Misty morning

 

19.08.2013

Dog training tonight and someone pointed out the huge moon shining in through the window of the hall  (it gets dark so early now)

On returning home the world is bathed in moonlight.  The sea is a band of burnished steel on the horizon and the  and the boys and I are followed in by our ‘moon-shadows’.  What a beautiful world

 

18.08.2013

Walking through the wood the path is dry as dust, the driest it has been for more than a year.  The reason why it is noteworthy is that last night it rained, however the canopy, mainly beech is so thick that few if any drops have penetrated.  As we walk, the dogs and I, a feint breeze must have moved the leaves and at once the air above us is filled with the pitter-pattering  of water falling from leaf to leaf.  A veritable rain-storm seems to be in progress, yet the moisture is still retained within the vegetation.  There is, on the woodland floor, a sparse growth of brambles struggling for existence; leaves grown large in the effort to capture sufficient light to support growth.  From time to time one of these will suddenly nod, briefly, it is the only sign that any water at all is reaching the ground and does nothing to alleviate the aridity.

 

26.01.2013

A sharp frost and remnants of partly melted and refrozen snow made the roads lethal, the cold pinched my fingers and stiffened my hands making handling of leads and treats a feat almost beyond my ability.

A yearning for good hot comfort food had resulted in my topping up on a supply of wonderful spicy warming Waitrose dal – the main part of last nights dinner and I could feel the ominous gurgling after effects.

As I struggled to open the gate into the woods, feet slipping in all directions the dal caught up with me. Loud and musical as a hunting horn!  The hound, born to the sound, was off giving tongue with a volume that carried across the county and Ferrari like acceleration of 0 – 60 in 6 seconds.   Unfortunately the flexi lead having barely a second’s worth length brought him to an abrupt halt but, not one to be beaten, he assured me that he had a huge stag before him which he was holding at bay.  The barking which had been deafening now went off the scale.  The terrier, not to be outdone rushed busily back and forth squealing with excitement and nagging at us to pay attention to him.

Though normally good about walking on a loose leash the scent of deer in the area (though nowhere near as close as the imaginary stag) drove the pair of dogs to the verge of insanity.  I forged forward along a path, turned into a rough gully by a year of record rain.  Snow and ice lethally cover the sides with a mini torrent between.  Slipping and sliding from pool to pool via tumbling cataracts I was further disadvantaged by a small stone which seemed to have found its way into my wellie.

With some relief I reached the bottom of the gorge-like section of the path to where it flattened out at a crossing of two ways.  Close at hand a metal post advises riders on the bridle path that horses are not welcome on the foot path.  I welcomed the post and hung on to it while I remove my boot and emptied it upside down to get rid of the stone, which has been cutting sharply and uncomfortably into my foot.  Fortunately for the moment the boys had lost interest in deer both real and imaginary.  Having shaken the boot I took the additional precaution of rubbing the foot of my sock just in case the stone has stuck in the wool, but there was nothing there.

I returned my foot to the boot just in time.  The boys, who had waited patiently thus far dived into the undergrowth and come out holding the eg of a small deer.  Fortunately it is obvious that the leg and its owner have parted company long ago.  Dextrous management (or as dextrous as possible under the adverse circumstances) of treats and a firm ‘leave it’ cue, followed by treats thrown further along the path and a burst of the ‘hunting’ game persuade the boys that the bones are something best not to take home and we continue on our way.  Unfortunately the stone was still there.  When I eventually got home I found it inside my sock

Fortunately most of our walks are far duller!

 

25.11.2012

Rain, rain, and yet more rain.

We haven’t had as much as the West Country but too much all the same.  We live near the top of a hill which protects us, to a large extent, from flooding, fortunately but it can still get pretty wet.

Today when I took the boys out I walked ‘upstream’ to the top and ‘downstream’ by another route.  Just before the final turn for home there is a small crossroads.  As we approached the corner we came face to face with one of George’s ‘nemesis’ dogs. I hadn’t been fully concentrating or I would have noticed him alert and had warning.  As it was the best I could do was to hastily retreat while calling them enthusiastically to come and play the hunting game.

Arnie, enthusiastically, and George, slightly less willingly (not without a bit of a growl) came over to the other side of the road to play the hunting game with a new twist.  The minor cataract was swirling the kibble away as fast as I could throw it; rather than hunt they quickly learning to fish.  Plunging their noses into the water and grabbing the food before it could be washed out of their reach.  It proved a wonderful distraction and the much hated large yellow lab was able to pass without mine taking further notice, despite the lab straining on her lead in their direction

2012.11.10

The day had been totally miserable, although mild for the time of year; it was oppressively grey with a drizzly mist turning into torrential downpours from time to time.

It was one of these downpours that caught us (the boys and me) when we were out on our morning walk and we came home like three soggy sponges, leaking gallons of water over the sitting room floor (roll on the new porch so I take some remedial measures before entering the front door).  The best that could be said of the walk was that it only rained hard on the way home and there was no wind.  The previous Sunday we had left home in pouring rain and a gale which made the trees along the road creak and groan alarmingly.  The dogs were squinting with the effort to keep their eyes sufficiently open to see where they were going.  Already soaked to the skin after barely a mile I asked the boys if they wanted to return home.  Instantly George took off as if Old Nick were on his heals and Arnie, after a disbelieving look in my direction was soon aster him.

The rain continued, with varying degrees of intensity, all day so I decided to take them together for their afternoon walk.  As we left the rain stopped and little by little the sky above us started to clear.  A horseman, bursting out of the undergrowth a short way ahead of us momentarily startled the boys who stared to bark but on being asked to go to the side of the road and wait they quickly calmed down, finding the routine reassuring.  Where the rider passed was a place where the vegetation opened out giving an open vista to the west (behind me). As he came to the place he turned back to me to comment on the amazing sunset which, distracted by the dogs’ unrest, I had missed.  The sun, still just above the horizon was fiery gold and the surrounding sky a blazing orange.   The violence of colour quickly passed as the sun sank and the horizon was clad in shades of peach and apricot while the mist over the fields in the foreground, grazed by a flock of small black sheep, were tinted with a delicate shell pink.  It was overwhelmingly beautiful.

24th July 2011

I noticed a place where a badger had been digging and on closer inspection saw that it had dug out a wasps nest.  I seemed to have a memory of learning that badgers eat wasp larvae so Googled and found the following on the New Scientist website  –  ‘Badgers will dig out a wasps’ nest and eat the larvae and their food base’. This picture shows an underground nest demolished in the summer of 2003.    (The pic looks very similar to the one I saw)

Note: Wasps don’t feed their young on honey they feed them on ‘meat’ – Ro and I sat at the table in the garden for ages one evening watching a wasp come down, cut a tiny piece off some left over meat fly off with it then come back for more.  If we hadn’t been there to provide them with a nice bit BBQ’d lamb (or whatever) they would have sought out carrion.  Some species take caterpillars back into the nest for their young to feed on.  It is only the adults that go for jam, juices from over ripe fruit etc as their ‘wasp-waisted’ shape apparently precludes consumption of solid food

 

10th June 2011

“Bet you haven’t seen one of these before!” said a neighbour crossing the road to speak to me as I was walking home with the boys this morning.  He was quite excited and had something concealed in his hand – as he opened his fist I saw in his palm a tiny creamy coloured egg, slightly translucent and faintly spotted and barred with chocolate markings – somewhat smaller than the sugar coated eggs sometimes seen on Easter cakes.  He went on to explain that earlier in the year he had spotted a tiny mossy nest in the garden and from the size of the minute opening surmised it was a wren’s.  He watched it carefully and eventually saw the wrens popping in and out.  On one occasion, when they were both away he took out a ladder and peeped in – there were six eggs.  Later he watched and in due course the parents appeared with five fledglings – weenie mites, flitting and fluttering more like large moths than birds.  Once they had flown for good he climbed up to see if there had been an infertile egg and sure enough found the one that he was now showing me.

17.03.2011

Mis weather here grey and foggy with such high humidity that drizzle was sort of leaking out of it and all the trees were dripping in a rather depressing way

On the plus side though while the boys were sniffing around I noticed a few violet leaves just coming through and than that there were loads of limy green wood sorrel leaves –they are so lovely, being such a vivid green – however cold it seems spring really is on its way

12.03.2011

Took the dogs out this morning in mist and drizzle – about 50 yards before I would have turned round and gone home Arnie stopped to sniff at something and George was momentarily out of sight – next moment I saw he war rolling – there was a deer skull with some slimy stuff adhering to it and George was rolling all over it – Yeuk!!

Anyway I thought that there might be water at the bottom of the hill I was on so kept walking and eventually found a small pool where the ditch had dammed up – clean and sandy at the bottom.  I grabbed his legs and rolled him on his back in it – he looked so indignant!

Anyway he got his revenge because when I let him got up he shook and some of it splashed into my mouth – I spat in a very unladylike way for the next ½ mile!!!

When we got in from our walk – which took nearly two hours, instead of 1¼ due to having to find water I took G straight into the garden and poured a good few bowls of clean water over him and then put him in his dog bag to dry – pic is of him as he is just beginning to emerge from it an hour or so later!

23.02.2011

Wet and foggy here today – so bad that I put both the dogs raincoats on – in the interests of protecting the sitting room from shaken mud splatters!  And when I got out oh sooo cold – I felt decidedly cheated as the weather forecast had said significantly warmer today – up to two figures.  I don’t think so!  Remembered to put towels and George’s dri-bag with newspapers by front door.  Can’t find Arnie’s one anywhere – how can one loose a dri-bag, especially Arnie sized.  I am sure there must be ‘Borrowers’ in the house!

Only one canine encounter – Arnie perfect George tetchy so no reward but not going loopy

Got home to lovely warm sitting room but unfortunately George managed to shake before I could get his coat off.  Popped him in his dri-bag and wrapped Arnie in a large towel and popped him on his bed where he is still sleeping.

Cuddled George on my lap in his bag and he was very happy to doze while I gently rubbed his tum and legs – he really loved it and when he was unzipped just sat beside me and finished the cleaning himself.

22.02.2011

Found the tomatoes, which I thought Arnie had eaten, in his bed along with an unopened packed of ginger – I think he suffers from kleptomania!

21.02.2011

Had good walks with dogs today and both pretty good in training but knackered now!

Most of the time A&G are so good with not pulling now that we are OK with cats, squirrels and rabbits – but not foxes.  A while ago though they got really worked up over a squirrel and stopping had no effect what ever!  In fact it was all I could do to sdand still so in the end walked homewards until they quietened down, then turned round and tried again – mayhem – so started on homeward walk until quiet.  Actually now can’t remember how many times – but must have been bad for me to blank it out of my mind!  Anyway significantly better since so worth it though couldn’t decide whether suicide or dogicide (???) was going to be the better solution at the time!

Oh must have left a small basket of mini plum toms to near the edge of the work top.  This am found one in George’s bed, partly eaten (tom not bed) went to pick it up and saw the basket – also partly eaten – but no more toms – presumably one of them ate them???

20.02.2011

All well chez Ridley – the boys are no worse than usual – though all the mud and dirt the wet weather is causing us to walk in is really defeating me – just can’t be bothered to wash the throws today when they are going to be filthy again tomorrow.  I am so looking forward to some better weather.  Hoping to have a porch by next winter – think my next dog will be a Chinese Crested!!!!

19.02.2011

Chucking it down here – got bloomin’ soaked this am – had the boys out at 7.15 as had to get to Julia’s by 9 and get some diesel on the way – 4mls in opposite direction but couldn’t risk going to Js 1st

17.02.2011

Went to SCATs to complain about my wellies – probably gone on about these previously – they are really nice. Thick soled with good treads that were brill during snow.  Neoprene lined so keep my feet really warm and snug.  I bought them last October as had got really fed up with Hunters (£60) only lasting 6 months.  Anyway so pleased with these as they only cost £40 – not exactly cheap but looked such good quality that I thought they would last a year or two (as the Hunters used to before outsourced to China!!)  So imagine my disappointment when they started splitting in January!  Well the last couple of weeks I have had to be very careful not to walk in any puddles – in wellies??????  So today took them back – by a miracle have kept receipt – experience from Hunters.  They were really nice in SCATs  ‘no problem’ – ‘not at all satisfactory’ – ‘not normally complaints with this brand’ – ‘replace or refund?’  Only slight fly in the ointment – have to wash them before they can accept them back – but they found me water and a cloth in their yard and were terribly apologetic about it!  Anyway I am now the proud owner of a pair of new boots.  If these only last 3 – 4 months at least I will not feel quite so ‘done’ but hoping for at least a year.

16.02.2011

Did manage to get to bed a bit less late last night 1min after 12mn but must have been asleep by half past and slept solidly until 6 when I got my breakfast (well about 20 past by the time I had actually forced myself out)  Did Soduku from last night as had gone to sleep with only about 2 numbers done.  Must have slept far too heavily and woke with headache

Anyway up by 7.30 and out with dogs then to post office and buy paper followed by breakfast with friends and long chat about this and that.  Then rushed back home to go out and to shopping before meeting friends for lunch.  Beans on toast with grated cheese grilled on top – very simple but really yummy – never had it better than at this particular place – it is a cafe and craft centre so quite interesting to poke around in – lots of little old ladies with curious hobbies.

As well as meeting my friend Lesley (recently retired) new friend Kate was also able to get there – had been keen for her to come as she lives in the same village as Lesley and has only recently come to Sussex from London.  They seemed to get on well as both had a dog called Lily and are both cat lovers – so that was good.  we met just b4 1 and didn’t leave until 3.15.  I wanted to move on to cake but the other two were too committed to dieting!!!

By this time quite late for feeding dogs – so fed George quickly and sneaked him out while Arnie still chasing ‘Wobbler’ round.  Took George on a walk I havent done since b4 Xmas – bit of a mistake – VERY muddy and very SLIPPERY.  think sheep had been in field as not really churned up just pattered to a smooth slidey surface.  We met one of George’s friends – a collie who is sometimes chained up.  Not always and I don’t think for long but the bridle path runs through their garden and she always comes out of her ‘kennel’ (actually almost a hut) and has a little play.  Having then slithered my way through two fields had to go through a gate.  George ran under it (usually waits but I thought I could bring him back through when I had undone it.  Unfortunately it ‘escaped’ and swung open ‘chasing’ George in a huge arc.  G was so frightened running away from it but too scared to turn his back on it.  Eventually it came to rest and I was able to push it closed!  By the time I got George home he was a little mud slick but it was a lovely walk.  Quick swap and took Arnie out for a road walk for 3/4 hr – after 5 when I got back and still fully light – nice – and it felt good to be back into what I think of as my summer routine of pm dog walks – two reasonable length 1-2-1s

Then home and had a piece of shortbread as a consolation prize for not having cake out lol

Well time to be getting some supper now and put some more wood on the fire – dogs both asleep along my legs – shame to disturb them!  But got to be done!!

13.02.2011

Weather here grotty again – took the dogs for their morning walk and in effort to avoid one very muddy path decided to take another only to see the ‘Shooting Today’ sign up – not quite sure how far the shooting extends so somewhat curtailed walk.  Don’t think they can shoot across bridleways – perhaps need to find out – but [\z- JUST TYPED BY gEORGE JUMPING ON THE LAP-TOP – he obviously also landed on caps lock lol] – as I was saying – it is only a few days a

11.02.2011

Miserable weather today soaked through again twice – dogs are getting pretty used to their dri-bags

08.02.2011

This morning I went for a walk with a new friend from dog training (Julia’s). She has a border terrier called Lily, who had been attacked by a JRT and another dog so is a bit nervous of Jacks.  She was also run over and has problems with her pelvis (think it was about a year ago)  Anyway G had a few seconds growl when we started off and pulled a bit for the 1st few yards then he just settled down and the two of them were really good for the whole walk (on lead – will keep them on lead for a few more walks before they run free together).  Kate (Lily’s mum) came in for coffee afterwards and I asked her if she minded the dogs sitting on her.  She said she didn’t so she had both of them pile up on top of her – she seemed genuinely happy about it and now appears to be quite besotted by the pair of them

Going back to the walk – it was absolutely glorious, bright sun and so warm I just wore a thin jumper!  As we walked through the woods noticed the bluebells were just beginning to peep through the leaf-mould – very bright shiny green (just thinking to myself hyacinth leaf when it occurred to me – prob related species) and as we walked down near the stream all the wild garlic was starting to push through as well.  All in all a very successful walk.

05.02.2011

Did NOT have good walk this morning – mist and drizzly rain were merely irritants – the big problem was the wind.  It was coming from the South West and nothing between us and the sea!  Usually you can see it, although we are about 16 miles inland.  Anyway the walk out was not so bad but coming home was a real fight.  Got in knackered – got a coffee and banana and sat down in front of Saturday kitchen and went to sleep.  What am I like – dozing off in front of the television in the evening is one thing – doing it at 10 o’clock in the morning is something else!!  Having just re-read the beginning of this paragraph I am laughing at the thought of possible misinterpretation if anyone else reads this.

Took Arnie to training yesterday and have potentially made two more friends – really nice woman who moved into the area from London about 4 months ago – cant see us becoming bosom pals as she is heavily into watching rugger!!  She has a border terrier – cute little thin but a bit stressy – it was run over and badly injured a year ago.  She has had a look at the forum too – even though she hasn’t got a Jack.  We are planning to do an odd dog walk together.

The other was advised to go to Julia by Sally (Ro’s ex) because she has hah problems with her PRT.  It went down a rabbit hole a year or so ago and was down for a couple of hours – she was in a terrible stew – when ‘Rattie’ came out he was very battered and bloody.  Anyway now she has lost confidence in letting him off the lead because having done one rabbit hole he has become obsessed with them.  I think she has been advised to keep him on the lead and work on the training for the moment.  Have given her the link for the forum too – she hasn’t come back to me but I think she may well go and have a look.  Probably she will just be someone I will be on friendly terms with rather than getting to socialise with!

04.02.2011

Having commented on seeing the catkins yesterday I have now seen them everywhere – must have been walking around with my eyes shut.

Even though the weather has been so rubbish there is definitely a feeling of incipient spring and the days are slowly stretching out at both ends – can wait for a few nice ones.  Crocuses are in flower in pots in the front and one of the neighbours has a grassy verge outside their gate which is positively jewelled with tiny early crocuses.

My daffs are coming through and some of the early tulips are quite well up.  On the down-side I can hear rain dripping with depressing persistence outside.  Well let’s hope it is all outside – always have to take a walk round the house after heavy rain to check!

George isn’t wild about the dog dri-bag idea – Arnie seems to like the warmth and I zip him in and pop him in his day-bed where he usually curls up and goes to sleep – leaving me the time with George.  It usually takes a bit more time with George but getting easier all the time.  I have only had the Bags for a few months and I think where I made my mistake was not getting them used to them when they were dry.  Popping George in when he was cold but clean so not trying to stop him shaking at the same time as zipping him in and perhaps having him on my lap and rolling him on to it – zipping him in and giving him a treat then cuddling him in it for a few moments and letting him go before he started to worry would have been best.  He isn’t too bad now but usually wriggles out after 5 minutes or so – he can work the zip loose.

03.02.2011

Lovely walk this morning – brilliant sunshine and just the lightest of ground level mist where the warm sun was beginning to touch the cold wet ground – a haze really.

It had obviously been raining until quite late as there were drips hanging from every twig and where a neighbour had put chicken netting on his gate to keep their banties in there was a sparkling drop in every link – like a miniature version of those LED light nets what people put under parasols etc.

Even so long after the leaves came off the trees the beech leaves, in particular, have retained their colour and texture, showing up a reddish brown in the sun.  In the autumn they were quite striking – so shiny and in bright shades of orange, rust and old gold that they gave the impression of a pool of sunshine on the forest floor even on dull days.  We have a lot of beech round here – they remind me of my teens in Purley where we had several huge beeches at the top of the garden and Croydon too – three huge trees outside the class rooms – much better watching them turning colour than working!

One thing I did note on the walk this morning was a hazel THICK with catkins – not fully blown Lambs Tails but another couple of weeks – maybe less with a bit of sun and they will be.

02.02.2011

Arnie is sound asleep in day bed and George asleep under my knees – so he is nice and snug – but suspect he will be wanting to go to bed in a bit.  Arnie was grumbling this evening that it was raining when he went out – it was just misty when I took George – Arnie says it isn’t fair as it always rains on his walk and hardly ever on George’s

I have just been on the Jack Russell Forum and confessed to being a bad Mummy – because I forgot George’s birthday.  Will probably organise him a little party when the weather is better – am planning one or two games that the children up the road can join in with their dogs

I seem to be fated to encounter sheep just at the moment – driving home today I met one skipping gaily down the road to meet me – luckily had a pretty good idea who it belonged to so although I didn’t have a phone number for him I had the number of a mutual friend and hope it is now, once more, secure.

30.01.2010

All three of us went for our usual walk this morning – and it was overcast and soooo cold with a biting wind when we went out but the sun was out and starting to warm up a bit by the time we were coming home.

Later I took George out with Liz and Monty and it was absolutely beautiful BITTERLY cold but just what a winter’s day should be with frost on the grass, ice on the puddles and brilliant, brilliant sunshine.  Once in the forest the dogs ran like mad things but coming back when called.  I made a point of calling and treating them as a bit of training as Monty hasn’t had much.  Liz isn’t so used to having to do the training stuff as her dog, Bruno, is so good, and he is old now too.

When we had been in the woods for about 15minuts pesky George found something to roll in and never have I seen a dog roll with such ecstasy – he would not come when called and even when I walked away he would not come.  In fact several minutes later I turned round and I could just see four little white feet waving in the air.  Suddenly he realised I had left him and came bounding back to me in panic!  It was lucky we were going to the stream as you could smell him coming.

As we approached the stream the dogs ran on ahead and suddenly I heard barking and knew George had found something – probably a dog.  I was n a terrible panic unless he should get into a fight or bite someone.  When we got to the stream there were a couple of people bending over a dog OMG I thought – George has bitten it (felt sick) shouted down to them to ask if their dog was ok and had George bitten it – they looked at me as if I was raving and George and Monty rushed passed totally ignoring the other dog – George must have given a few barks to ask it to play and as it did not come just gone on playing with Monty.  They did go down to the other dog a couple of times but only to take a passing sniff – no aggression from George and best of all he had two really good swims and once he had shaken he was quite ‘pure’ again  Ha-ha

I managed to find some time to make some tuna-bread for the dogs and late afternoon, after the dogs last walks I had a couple of friends round (dog club committee) to show them the website

29.01.2011

Arnie was very good at training this afternoon.  wWe didn’t get home until 3.30 so fed them straight away and took George out leaving Arnie with his bone.

We bumped into friends so walked with them which meant a shorter than usual walk so when I got home he wanted to go back out so took him with Arnie (you may wonder why I am going into so much detail but stay with it) We have a bit of common land which is grazed by sheep.  As we were passing I noticed one of the sheep had its head stuck through the fence.  I tried to reach it from the outside but a ditch and the thickness of the hedge plus holding the 2 dogs made this impossible so decided I would have to go over the style and into the field and tie the dogs up.

So far so good – but there wasn’t a post firm enough to tie them to so went back to the style – not ideal as so close to road and others may need to get in.  Try to tie to shaky posts – hands to cold and by this time dogs raising Cain (mortified that people may think my dogs have caused sheep to get stuck) so decide to take dogs home and get help.

By this time the dogs don’t want to go back over style and wildly leap back and forth – I am well stressed and shaking.  Eventually manage to get both dogs and me back on the road side of style – now sweating!  Walk homewards passing friend’s place – call in to see if she will help but she is out feeding pony, however her husband says she may have phone number for owner.

Take dogs home and see friend is home by the time I pass on way back.  She has rung owner and he is on his way there but had left before her call so doesn’t know about sheep – I decide to go back anyway and make sure he finds the sheep.  When I get back to the field there is no sign of farmer so I try to free the sheep.  It has its head through a hurdle which has been tied into the barbed wire where the hedge is a bit thin the wire and hurdle are making a gap too small for the sheep to get its head back and even when I pull wire and rails of hurdle apart to the max can’t get head through (where is the bloomin’ farmer).  My sleeve by now well caught in brambles and thorn hedge – will we all be spending night in the field ????   Slowly and painfully untangle sleeve and hope farmer will appear.  No such luck.

Consider abandoning sheep but worried about its survival (Rowland used to say sheep don’t need an excuse to die!!).  Review the situation and decide I must make a final attempt to free the pesky animal.  The only possible solution seems to be that id needs to twist head sideways to get it out.  Grasp hurdle with one hand and back of sheep’s neck with the other and force its head over and backward with all my strength – slowly her head starts to move – another huge effort and she is free.  She gulps a few times and makes off towards the herd – a bit uncertainly at first but regaining her composure as she gets closer.  Stops for a poo and then back with them – I think all will be well!

28.01.2011

Beautiful sunrise as I took A&G out this morning – as I walked to the forest there was a broad streak of rich peach lightly mottled with little gold edged clouds beneath a hard edged black cloud.  As I came out of the forest I saw this had turned to a pale apricot wash and the stark line was breaking up into lumpy grey and white with tiny patches of duck egg blue peeping through a promise of a lovely sunny day, which has now been fulfilled, but bitterly cold.  Thought my hands would drop off before I got home.  I don’t wear gloves as I can’t manage the leads and treats very well if I do.  I just hold both leads in one hand, when possible and tuck the other in my sleeve.  My sis gave me some beautiful red wool fingerless gloves for Christmas – very lovely with long cuffs – elbow length but meant to ‘slouch’ to give extra warmth round wrists so have to remember to put on before jacket which has tight wrists.  They help but fingers still stiff with cold!

I spent a lot of time, starting from last summer, training Arnie to ignore the postman – he used to go absolutely bananas and rip anything that came through the door (he can leave teeth marks right through a magazine) anyway the postman has just been and he didn’t get out of his day bed.  Now I just have to work on George – not that the problem is so bad – he can’t reach the letter-box – my great fear with Arnie was that he would grab the mail so quickly that he would pull the postman’s hand through the letterbox.  I have to say it has taken an awfully long time but worth it.

It is Arnie’s training session with Julia this afternoon – Friday we do ‘obstacle’ (probably best described as a combination of Rally and agility) at the moment there are various types of rally but the following will give an idea http://www.apdt.co.uk/ukrally.asp In the Summer we always do agility with the club and all year we go to the Club on Monday for obedience training but with Julia he just joins in with whatever she is doing – obstacle, agility, flyball and now obstacle because he really needs the discipline and control.  When Julia first said he could join the obstacle class she thought because it would be easy for him he would be able to demonstrate to some of the new ones but although it is all within his abilities he is just so naughty!!!

27.01.2011

Did morning walk then went to meet friends at a garden centre – started planning spring planting – but far to cold wouldn’t be good to be planting things out at the moment – trying to snow all day.  Bought some gardening gloves though – to indicate intent!  3 pairs for me and 2 prs for my sis for under £7 in sale – can’t be bad.

Have now got back to doing the dog’s pm walk separately  It is such a pleasure to be walking them one at a time – so much better behaved.  Don’t know how I will manage when I have 3 dogs – I very much want a JR puppy next year.  Make a lovely Birthday present for George.  It is so lovely watching him running with Monty.  Arnie doesn’t really play with him.

Dogs had raw bones today so house stinks of rotting flesh – gross!  I gave Arnie his while I took George out and he let me take it out of his mouth when I came home to swap dogs – he is so good natured.  Did give him a small piece of cheese and I think that plus the walk equated to a high value reward.

George had got bored with his by the time I got Arnie home but they both chewed for another hour or two during the evening.  So good for their teeth – and this is the first time they have had them since Christmas.  Now will have to wash the bedding as A takes his into his cage.  Anyway all the chewing has worn them out – so surrounded by sleeping dogs

21.01.2011

A&G were a disgrace this morning – saw woman walking with three new dogs (i.e. someone with dogs we’ve never seen before) and they went mad – barking hysterically – and nearly tugging me off my feet – and it was slippery – so all I could do was try and anchor myself and hang on to them.  Met her at x-roads coming straight towards me so I turned left to let her past – unfortunately she wanted to turn right (sods law) she yelled at me to tell me what she was going to do but couldn’t hear a word above the hullabaloo – she had to bawl it out about 3 times – then I had to find a way of manoeuvring my way around the corner without loosing my footing!!!  This used to happen several times every walk when I first got George – now is rare and getting rarer all the time.  But awful when it happens

12.01.2011

Nasty wet, miserable walks continue lol – there were leaches (I think) on the road the other day must google to see if they were – Yuk

Later

Looked up leaches – appear to be horse leaches – some discrepancy in info as to whether they actually parasitize horses – reported in one description to have been found in horses nostrils – another states that the name refers to a group of leaches some of which may attach to horses.

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