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Why On-Leash Greetings with other dogs can be one of the single biggest mistake you make with your dog.


Absolutely agree with every word of this. Spread the word far and wide, folks. Then I might not get filthy looks rorm other dog owners when I tell them I don’t allow my dog to socialise when she’s on a lead.

David Tirpak

On leash greetings with people and dogs are the number one cause of behavioral issues on the walk.  They cause reactivity, condition excitement, and put dogs in immensely uncomfortable situations.  Lets break this down..

First and foremost the number one reason why we discourage on-leash greetings is due to the unnecessary social pressure that it creates for the dog.  In ideal social situations between dogs and dogs or dogs and people the dog is free to roam.  If they get stressed out due to another dog or person they can get up and walk away giving them space and reducing the social pressure.

Being on a leash is very restricting to most dogs.  They are stuck within a 4-6 foot radius of you at all times and are very aware of it.  This puts them in an innate position to tap into their fight or flight responses.  Since they do…

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A few photos of frolicking


When we first moved to Devon we were told that the novelty of living by the sea would wear off after a few months. I think someone forgot to tell Douggie the doggie. Two years on and he loves it as much as ever. In fact, if he doesn’t get a swim every day he positively sulks.

I’ve thrown in a couple of pictures taken with my fancy new filter as well. It’s amazing how a camera on a tripod acts like a magnet to snotty nosed little kids on the beach. 500 yards of beach to play on and yet they come and stand two inches away from me and seem determined to either stand right in the shot or stand next to the tripod, lose their balance and almost knock it over. Note to self: don’t take photos on the beach during school holidays.

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Ibble Ibble omnom


What?
Ibble ibble omnom
Sorry, what?
ibble ibble omnom
Ok. I give in, I still didn’t get it?
I’M HAVING A NIBBLE ON ONE!!
One what?
Mushroom
Eh?
The left over mushrooms, I’m having a nibble on one.
Flippin’ ‘eck! All I heard was Ibble ibble omnom. It wasn’t worth all the effort!

And so went the kitchen conversation this morning while we patiently waited for the last two guests to turn up for breakfast.

Art the moment we have a house full of mostly elderly people, it’s a bit like God’s waiting room. The all queue up outside the dining room door to be sure of getting the table closest to the buffet when breakfast starts at 8.15.

The only young couple we have in come down for breakfast just as it’s ending at 9.15 which means we stand around for half an hour not able to put anything away or clean up until they’ve been. The boredom leads to some ridiculous conversations, as you’ve just found out.

It’s just a walk in the Park


I came across this article on Facebook today.

It was a good read.

It’s about how some dog owners think it’s ok to let their dogs just rampage round, running where they like and approaching any and every other dog they see.

It touched a nerve.

Usually said dog owners are a hundred yards away while their little darlings are having fun. My opinion is that if your dog is a hundred yards away then by no definition ever can it be deemed to be ‘under control.’

Now that might be ok if your dog is well mannered enough to leave other dogs alone but all too often they aren’t.

It’s about time we all started to understand that dogs, like people, are not all the same and a little courtesy and understanding can go a long way. The article talks mainly about fearful and reactive dogs but actually, the issues it addresses are relevant to all.

I don’t have a reactive or fearful dog but I have also experienced much of what is said in this article.

If a dog is on a lead I don’t allow Douggie the doggie to go up to them until I check if it’s ok. If it’s on a lead, it’s for a good reason.

If my dog, Douggie is on a lead I don’t allow him to interact with other dogs.

Have I had people be offended when I’ve said so?

Absolutely I have. “snotty bitch’ has been heard muttered more than once.

Why I keep Douggie the doggie away from other dogs when on a lead is my business – but I’ll tell you. After he’s had a fit he can be unpredictable. He’s never turned on another dog or a person but I don’t know what’s going on in his head at that point and I prefer to be safe than sorry. Also, he’s a big, powerful dog. If he decided to drag me across the road because his best mate was on the other side of the road he could. By teaching him that other dogs are off limits when he’s on a lead he knows to keep himself to himself and me safe from being run over by a bus. Common sense. Other dog owners leading their dogs, often on leads, up to him and telling them to ‘say hello’ undermines everything I’ve taught him.

I’ll politely point out that I don’t allow him to socialise when he’s on a lead. At that point they will either give me a dirty look and walk off or ask me in a very surprised voice why. My reply is usually, “for exactly this reason”, as Douggie
pulls me round from pillar to post to get a better sniff at the other dog’s nether regions. Not so much of a problem with a chihuahua, bit more of a problem when you have a six stone golden retriever.

While I’m in mid rant, may I also point out that my dog is not public property. He might look like a great big, soppy teddy bear but that does not mean he’s there to be petted, have his ears pulled or generally act as entertainment for your kids. At least have the manners to ask before parading your kid up to him telling them to stroke the nice doggie. Although I suppose that’s better than when your child runs up to him, arms outstretched and screaming, “Doggie!” in his face.

Please be aware that when I tell your child to keep away I’m protecting the dog from your child not vice versa. Shouting at me “Well it should be f*ckin’ muzzled then” is just aggressive nonsense. Actually, I think you should be muzzled as your mouth is much nastier and far more dangerous than my dog’s.

Now I don’t want to come over as holier than thou in this post. It took a lot of training and a lot of training mistakes on my part before we ended up with a well mannered dog. I vividly remember when Douggie was just a few months old that if he saw another dog ten miles away he would run like the wind to get to it. On day I stupidly took him to a local playing field.

There was a person with a leashed dog at the other end of the field. Douggie took off, I took off after him, frantically calling his name as the irate owner of the other dog swore and cursed me and my dog while fighting to keep his leashed dog under control, “GET YOUR DOG AWAY YOU STUPID BITCH MY DOG’LL KILL IT! I was running as fast as I could to get to Douggie before he got killed.

I was mortified that I had so little control over my dog that he, and by that I mean, I, could have caused a really nasty incident. It certainly taught me the value of training and respecting the needs of other dogs and their owners.

After that I never took Douggie anywhere where he had a clear line of sight. For months we only ever walked in the woods where he could only see a few feet in front. That way he learned to stay near to me. Eventually, once I knew I could trust him we braved the open spaces again.

Training and mutual respect. It’s not that hard is it?

Oooh, this article got me all fired up, didn’t it? Rant over.

Playing out


It’s nice at this time of year, before our lodging emporium gets too busy. I have time to go and play out with my new toys.When I’m not going out with the girls for lunch or dinner or drinks. Tell me again why I’m not a size ten?

I’ve been playing out with my camera recently, here are my offerings from the last couple of days. I hope you like them. Do you have a favourite?

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Practice what you preach


It’s taken me week or two to be able to write this post, every time I thought about it I was filled with lets say less than christian feelings.

Some friends of ours, Marks and Spencer, came to visit us for a few days. They are thinking of moving to the area after having been to stay with us a few times and realised how very lovely it is in Devon.

Proud to show off our new home and surrounding area we decided that a trip to Buckfast Abbey was an absolute must. It’s a stunning place, absolutely breathtaking in fact and I couldn’t wait to show it to them.

After a tasty breakfast we packed ourselves and Douggie the Doggie into the car and set off to Buckfastleigh where we spent some time admiring the beautiful quaint old railway station with it’s characterful old steam trains before we headed off to Buckfast Abbey.

Buckfast Abbey interior

Buckfast Abbey exterior

As both our friends are disabled we managed to park right outside the entrance using those ever so useful blue badges, worth their weight in gold they are. I was bit disappointed to see that the entrance to the abbey was covered in scaffolding and shrouded to try and hide it all but they covered all the shrouding in pretty, evocative photos of the interior of the abbey so it could have been worse. As building work goes it was as non-intrusive as you can get.

We strolled through the grounds, obviously heeding the signs to keep dogs on leads. After all, we were in the grounds of a magnificent, working abbey and due respect should be given such a place. Dogs rampaging round the gardens would be so disrespectful. Douggie was tethered to my side the whole time, much to his disgust. The gardens were a delight. The lavender garden was just lovely, I can imagine what it must be like in summer.

As we walked it quickly became very apparent to me that I’d massively overestimated my recovery after my operations and this amount of walking was way too much way too soon. I was starting to struggle but trying not to show it. With nowhere to sit I had no choice but to plod on.

A heavy downpour of rain encouraged Marks and Spencer to go inside the abbey. I was so pleased.

Me, Marks and Spencer all went into the abbey. Boofuls stayed out with Douggie in the rain.

Marks and Spencer went off to admire that abbey in all it’s splendour. I stood for a moment, knowing I was in too much pain to go with them and aware that Boofuls was outside in the rain. So. I scanned the entrance inside and out for signs saying if dogs were allowed or not. No sign of any signs. Happy days.

“Boofuls, there is nothing to say dogs aren’t allowed. Why don’t you come in. I’ll sit quietly in the pew by the door with Douggie the doggie and you can go and be tour guide for Marks and Spencer.”

So that’s what we did.

Dougie tucked himself in by my feet and settled down and I revelled in sitting in such a beautiful place, enjoying the atmosphere and feeling so grateful just to be sitting and easing my poor aching body.

Then came a tap on my arm. “I’m sorry, you can’t come in here with a dog.”

“What? It doesn’t say dogs can’t come in. Does God not like dogs?”

“You have to leave, dogs aren’t allowed in the grounds never mind in the abbey.”

At this point, the ignominy of being thrown out was overtaken by my body screaming at me to SIT DOWN! YOU’VE DONE TOO MUCH!

I sighed. “Right. Look, the thing is, I had a large operation three weeks ago. I just need to sit for a few minutes. If I can’t sit in here can I at least sit outside in the entrance porch?”

“No. No dogs allowed.”

By this time Boofuls had disappeared. I left the abbey, close to tears and in extreme pain. Knowing I couldn’t walk as far as the car and Boofuls had the keys anyway. I hobbled up to and sat on the nearest steps in the wind and the rain and tried not to cry as Douggie the doggie cuddled up to me.

Luckily I had my phone with me and sent Boofuls a text message.’I’ve been thrown out.’

After a few minutes, a few minutes where people stared at me like I was a mad woman, sitting in the thankfully now light rain on the wet steps and looking a picture of misery, Boofuls appeared.

He helped me back to the car and we waited for Marks and Spencer to return.

As we waited I stopped being upset and started being angry. So very angry.

At this point it had stopped being about the dog. I had no real issue with that. I know I don’t have the right to take him wherever I want. Their house, their rules and all that …or did I have an issue? It turns out I did.

No dogs allowed in the grounds the woman had said. Why then were there signs all over the place saying to keep your dog on a lead? Are dogs allowed or are they not? It turns out there is a very long and convoluted answer to that which involves a public footpath running right through the abbey grounds.

I ranted about how thrilled God must have been at their display of christian kindness to a person in need. No. Wait. What I meant was their very unchristian jobsworth attitude to a person in need. I ranted about their mixed message dog policy. I ranted about the embarrassment of sitting outside on the rainy steps while abbey staff walked past staring at me, not one asking me if there was an problem.

Such was my ranting that Boofuls offered to go back down to the abbey and register my discontent. Off he went.

After having registered my discontent he was helpfully informed that there were in fact ‘no dogs’ signs at the entrance. Oh really? As a dog owner we always make a point of looking to see if dogs are allowed or not. They call it responsible dog ownership.

We searched and searched for them. Eventually we found them. On the wall at the entrance, two small signs completely covered by scaffolding and the picture covered shrouds covering it. There is no way we could have seen them.

Time and time again Boofuls and I have come across this attitude of people who claim to be christians but who’s christian attitude leaves a lot to be desired. We have left more than one church because they were less about doing the work of God and more about the egos and holier than thou attitudes of the church members.

Sadly, this unfortunate incident at Buckfast Abbey has done nothing to change my view.

Rant over.

Food glorious food!


Ah yes, food glorious food, cold jelly and custard.. and so on.

I’m a big fan of food, big being the operative word, a testament in fact to my love of food.

Many times I’ve wished I had Booful’s attitude to food. To him it’s little more than fuel to keep him alive. A few exceptions include fillet steak, cheese, bread and chocolate. When we go out for meal together I don’t even bother to ask what he’s going to eat as I already know – fillet steak, chips and a blue cheese sauce.

In the 31 years we’ve been married I have realised that the food no go list is extensive. It includes, but is not limited to: fruit, vegetables, rice, pasta, any kind of grain, yoghurts, anything spiced or flavourful, anything that requires chewing. I could go on.

When we first got married for the first three weeks I cooked us a lovely Sunday roast. On the fourth week he said, “do we have to have a meal, can I not just have a sandwich? And so it began. When I ask him what he wants to eat he generally replies with, “Ooh, I dunno. Egg on, beans on, cheese on.”

Over the next few years all attempts to get him to eat good food have fallen on stony ground. One small success is that he now eats his steak medium rare rather than cremated. At one memorable dinner party I cried in the bedroom when he left the table to make himself beans on toast after turning his nose up at salmon in champagne sauce. Not one of our best dinner parties.

Since I refused to join him in his eating habits I have got into the habit of making two meals. Generally something on toast for him and a real meal for me. It’s annoying but since it takes about two minutes to make beans, egg or cheese on toast it’s not the biggest pain.

Being included to fat I would shun ready meals, bottled sauces, packet foods or in fact anything pre prepared, preferring instead to know exactly what’s going into my food. Such was my food nazi-ism, I would mock anyone who bought pre cut vegetables. “How lazy can you get”, I’d proclaim, “it takes two minutes to prepare vegetables.”

My, how times have changed.

Now I’m feeling bit sheepish at my holier than thou attitude to food preparation. These days, it’s packets, preprepared vegetables, anything in fact that makes life easier. Fling it in a slow cooker, and Bob’s yer uncle. Winner winner, chicken dinner!

So what brought about this amazing volte-face?

Time.

Time and a change of lifestyle.

Being lucky enough to have always been self employed and have a relatively large amount of free time it was easy to shop for and cook healthy, nutritious and delicious food.

Since becoming the proud owner of a bed and breakfast emporium and latterly having rest and relaxation forced onto me after my big op, I’ve realised the only way I’m going to get a decent meal is by letting someone else take the strain. Hello ready prepared vegetables. Hello bottled sauces. It’s either that or join Boofuls with the egg on, beans on, cheese on diet.

Yesterday’s offering was a beef and lentil stew which took me about two seconds to prepare. Throw in a packet of veg, a stock pot, a packet of cubed beef and a handful of lentils and let the slow cooker work it’s magic.

I’ve discovered that it’s really ok to make life easier for yourself. If time, lifestyle and inclination permits then go for it. If not, that’s ok too. No pressure, no guilt it’s all good.

I’m getting to enjoy this


Enforced rest and relaxation. Six whole weeks of it. GAAAAHHHH!!!

For a woman who generally skips around like Tigger on speed I wasn’t sure how I’d cope with it. The prospect of six weeks of Jeremy Kyle and other daytime tv offerings sent me into a depression just thinking about it. The massive operation I had to undergo a seemed a far less frightening prospect.

So. Surgery out of the way and two weeks down the line how has it been I can hear you ask, dear reader.

Why, thank you for asking, that’s very nice of you.

It’s been bloody boring, that’s how it’s been. I’ve slept like a sleeping thing. I’ve slept so much that I could make your average dormouse look like a beginner in a sleeping competition. Now I’m not saying I could sleep as much as Lashes who’s capacity for sleep never ceases to amaze me but me and my bed are certainly besties at the moment. Every time I say I’m going to do something Boofuls looks at me horrified and says, You can’t do that!” “Yes I can, I’m not a bloody invalid!” “yes you are, that’s exactly what you are.” “Oh shit, I suppose I am.”

Other hoteliers may have decided to close their doors for a few weeks and call it a mini holiday but since it is January which is notoriously quiet we decided to stay open. It’s not as though the diary had anything in it, from New Year to 26th January we had not a single booking.

What the hell happened then?!? Where the hell have all these people suddenly come from? We are almost full this weekend!

Lashes and Boofuls have picked up the reigns leaving me feeling guilty, useless and helpless because I physically can’t do anything and weepy because I feel surplus to requirements and if I try to help Im just in the way. I do like to pull my substantial weight.

Poor old Douggie the doggie thinks I’ve fallen out of love with him because we aren’t having our three walks a day. Boofuls and my wonderful friend, Fiz have taken care of that.

It would appear that I’m not indispensable after all.

Efforts to push myself to ‘crack on’ have ended up with me crying and in pain. I’ve had to learn the hard way that I just can’t do it.

Ok then. I surrender! I’ll rest, alright?

What? Wait!

Now I’ve stopped fighting it all I’m quite enjoying pottering about. Read a book, watch a film, have a little doze. No pressure. Potter about some more if I feel like it. Take Douggie the doggie out for a short, slow walk under close supervision from Boofuls who drives the car down to meet me so I don’t walk back up the hill. Fancy a lie in? Yeah, why not. Turn that alarm off and snuggle down.

All of that, along with being taken out for lunch, enjoying the sunshine on the beach while Boofuls throws stones into the water for Douggie. Coffee with my friends, being bought flowers and chocolates, invitations to drive me to places and events, and of course time to sit and write a blog post if I feel like it.

What have I been fighting it all for?

What’s all the fuss about?

I should be embracing this time off! God knows that as of the end of March there will be precious little time off till October.

It’s amazing what a change of attitude can do. Now that I know Lashes and Boofuls are more than capable of taking care of things I can relax, chill out and get on with the important task of getting back up to full strength. Then it’ll be a case of: Watch out world, I’m coming to get ya!

Blog it!


I’ve been sitting here at my desk for a few minutes now wondering what I can write about now that I have the time to write.

Of course my head is blank. All I’ve done for the last two weeks is sleep, not a lot to write about there then.

Such is my blankness that I’ve even googled ‘ideas for a blog post’

Hhhmmm, let’s see…

1. Run a contest. I don’t know how to do that.

2. Review a book. Ooh, I can do that, I’ve just finished reading ‘the girl on the train’. Dammit, I’ve forgotten most of it. It’s about a girl on a train and it was obviously not that memorable.

3. Criticise a website/blog/person. No!! How mean can you get? Remember the old adage – If you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all.

4. Tell a secret. Ok. I scoffed a load of shortbread biscuits last night and spent all night farting. It was like the Trumpet Voluntary in my bedroom. I was offensive to myself.

Wot?

It said tell a secret. That was a secret, I haven’t told anyone else about it. Actually, I did. I told my friend Fiz about it earlier while we were chatting in the queue at a coffee shop about bowel movements, or in her case, lack of them.

5.Post a cool infographic. What’s an infographic?

6. Sing a song. Ok………………Did you enjoy it?

7. Share your blogs income and traffic info. £0.00 and 4 viewers today. Wow! Record breaking.

8. Post a picture.

Full English breakfast
Full English breakfast

9. Post an obvious lie. I’m a BBC newsreader and a size 10.

10.Share food recipes. Ok. here’s my recipe for my yummy breakfast pots that I serve to the guests. Mix together, oats, almond milk, honey and vanilla extract. Leave to soak overnight. Into the bottom of small kilner jars I put various fruits, strawberry and blueberry being a favourite. Stewed apple works really nicely with it and sometimes I mix peanut butter into the oat mix and slice banana into the kilner jar. I might put cocoa into the oat mix and put mandarins in the jar, anything you like really. They are very tasty, gluten and dairy free and filling. My friend who has a B&B up the road says I serve my guests cold porridge and stewed fruit. I suppose he’s not wrong. Enjoy.

Breakfast pots
Breakfast pots

I think these were chocolate and cherry.

So there you are. Theres’ my ‘no post ideas’ post.

Did you enjoy it?

December catch up and Merry Christmas one and all!


It’s been a long Christmas this year.

It started around the 1st of December and since then it’s been a party of one kind or another every other night right up until the Christmas Day. Along with the parties we’ve earned ourselves a few God points by attending a carol service here and there as well as some festive lantern and wreath making. It’s a good job we’ve had very few guests in, we’ve been far too busy having fun to work!img_3944

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In between all this we managed a few days ‘up country’ as they say down here and had an early Christmas with family and friends in Lancashire. That was lovely but hectic. Two full Christmas Days and half a dozen meals out, lots of laughs, cuddles and catch ups. It was fantastic to see everyone but I always get more than a pang of sadness when it’s time to leave. We used a fairly central pub as a base for our entertaining. By the end of the trip we were on first name terms and exchanging B & B tips with the landlord. I’m pretty sure he’ll remember us haha.

On our way back from there we stopped overnight in the midlands for a dog show. Dougie the Doggie and me danced in a heel work to music competition and managed to come third! Get in!!!

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Straight from there and still in Christmas leggings we went for a lovely posh lunch and catch up with little sis and after that we headed off home.

It’s exhausting having all this fun!

On Thursday night Boofuls and I left the last party of the season, high fived each other and said “We’ve done it! We got through all the parties and survived.” Of course we had forgotten about the dog walker’s cocktails at a lovely bar near the beach. Oh well, one more night out won’t kill us!

Christmas has been a blessed relief. We’ve been glad of the break from all the parties! Mind you, we’ll be kicking it off again in the next few days as it’s our turn to host the ‘bar club’ meeting for all the B & B owners who have bars on their premises. After that we have a murder mystery dinner party planned.

To be honest, I was a bit worried about Christmas Day. Last year we went back up north for Christmas business as usual but this year it was just the four of us here in Devon. Would it be too quiet, tense, grim? Nah! It was bloody brilliant!

We changed the guest dining room around and basically sectioned half of it off to give us our own dining room, a luxury these days. We trimmed it up, ok, when I say ‘we’I mean ‘I’ with the gaudiest, tinselliest, sparkliest decorations I could find along with all the new and gaudy laser lights that Boxfuls has been investing in this year. The dining room glittered and twinkled like a magic grotto. Tacky in the extreme. It was BRILLIANT. I’d never let a guest see it. So far as they are concerned our restrained and tasteful decorations are the standard by which the bar is set. Haha little do they know what goes on behind the door of our little flat. Here’s little visual of our Christmas. Munki has grown a lot, hasn’t she?

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Let’s talk for a moment about the word ‘tacky’. In my day tacky meant slightly sticky. When did it start being used in place of the much more elegant word ‘vulgar? One of my mum’s favourite words, vulgar.

Oh yes. I know when it was. When our American cousins imported it into the UK via popular culture. I don’t like it. In this house ‘tacky’ will continue to describe not quite dry paint or nail varnish and anything else that is slightly sticky. Ostentatious, poor taste displays of well, anything, will henceforth be known as vulgar.

Anyway, back to Christmas. The day passed in a merry and laid back blur of jollity and laughter. By the time Dr Who came in we were starting to flag a bit but rallied round for a nice game of Pictionary. After that it was choccies, port and telly before bed.

Boxing day morning rose clear, cold and bright. A perfect day for a swim in the sea. Wait? What? Swim in the sea? In December? are you mad?

Apparently so. I donned the fetching wet suit that my lovely friend bought me as a gift, the Santa hat, a belt of tinsel and some fetching red and green bauble earrings and joined a hundred other swimmers in various stages of fancy dress for ‘The Boxing Day Dip’ Several hundred people lined the steps of the promenade to watch as we all ran into the sea whooping and laughing. It was so much fun, I could hardly stand for laughing. Still I carried on and got up to my shoulders in water before swimming back to the shore. I was so excited I went back in for another dip. Fair to say it was a bit bracing but I’ll be doing it agin next year. I love a bit of festive eccentricity and it certainly got rid of any cobwebs!

It’s almost two years since we moved to the bay and on an almost daily basis I am still amazed at how our lives have changed.

Our lives bear no resemblance to our old life up in Lancashire and every single day I thank God for the life we have now.

Ok, it’s bonkers. Working eighteen hour days in summer and struggling to get any business in at all in winter. Would I change it? Nope. My only regret is that we didn’t do it years ago. If there is any sadness at all it’s that I miss my family and friends. If only I could get a few key people to move to Devon, that’d be perfection!

Now we have opened the doors to the public again and are gearing up for the new year celebrations. So far working has been a lot less tiring that all the partying we’ve been doing. I’m glad to get back to work for the rest.

May I take this opportunity to say I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and may the new year bring you health, wealth and above all happiness. HAPPY NEW YEAR!