Tag Archives: golden retriever

When you wish upon a star…


…or more precisely get up at stupid o’clock to see a satellite pass over your house you know you’ve been on a lock down for too long.

Let me clarify for you, dear reader.

Among all the pages I follow on Facebook is one called Dartmoor Skies. They posted a link to a website that shows you when satellites are going to pass close enough to your location for you to see. It even tells you which satellites.

https://james.darpinian.com/satellites/?fbclid=IwAR0A8y6wcxUez_V0mPcR9QNyv99jq6eEee6WzmFBhU5oAl35JU9QwOR08JQ

I duly typed in our address and it showed me that at 05.16 Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites would be passing by. Ooh!!! How exciting! That’s worth getting up for. I’m not sure Boofuls agreed with me but hey, we have nothing else to get up for and it’s not as though we are sleeping well. The chances were that I’d be awake anyway, and I was.

When I went to bed I set the alarm for 4.45. That would give me time to get up and dressed, get the dogs into their harnesses and get to a good vantage point. Plan!

At approximately 4.30 I heard a noise outside. It was the sliding side door of a van being closed really slowly and quietly. Then I heard a few taps followed by a metallic sliding noise. I pricked up my ears. Ey up. Who’s out robbing? Betty Blunderbuss also pricked up her ears.

Have I mentioned Betty Blunderbuss? She’s a great dane/labroador cross and we are looking after her for a while, probably till June’ish. She is the most reactive dog on the planet. She only has to hear, well, anything and she bounds out of her seat and gallops across the room with her stupidly long legs to see off some imaginary adversary. Douggie the doggie then jumps up and joins in thinking something must be terribly wrong. When he realises it’s just Betty overreacting he looks at her in disgust and carries on with what he was doing.

Anyhoo. Bizarrely, having heard unidentified sounds outside, this amazon of a pooch was not only not barking she was huddled up as close as she could get to me, almost trying to get into the bed and quaking like a leaf. What a wuss. I peeped out of the window and realised that it was Sky laying new cabling so nothing to worry about. The dogs and I were wide awake by this time and it was only a few minutes till my alarm was due to go off so I checked it was a clear sky, got dressed and went downstairs. Boofuls stirred so I whispered, “I’m going star gazing.”

The dogs both had a look of incredulity on their faces when I reached for their harnesses and put my coat on. I could actually read, ‘what the actual fook’ on their faces. As I locked the front door I saw one of the satellites go by. ‘Ooh, this is going to be GREAT’, I thought as I set off.

The workmen from Sky, who were working directly at the top of our drive looked more than a little nervous when I walked up the drive with two huge dogs. They audibly breathed a sigh of relief as I just nodded and walked down the hill.

Through the park, past the golf course, down to the seafront we walked to a good viewing point, eyes skyward. Nothing. Not a sausage. I stood on the seafront gawping at the sky like a fool until a bank of cloud appeared and I decided to give up and go home. How disappointing.

Boofuls was standing on the patio fully dressed when I got back. “What are you doing up and dressed?” “I was going to come with you.” “Oh, bugger. You have to move faster than that to keep up.”

We spent the next half an hour gazing hopefully at a rapidly brightening sky until we decided that it was too light to see anything anyway and went inside.

So that was that. Was it worth getting up at 04.00 for?

Actually, yes. It was so quiet. Not a soul was about and the sky was beautiful, until it clouded over. As I walked home the dawn chorus started and all I could hear was the sound of the sea and the birds. I didn’t acheive my goal of seeing the satellites but it was still a lovely way to start the day.

Just as a Friday treat. Here is a picture I took today of Douggie the doggie and Betty Blunderbuss. The story behind it is for another post.

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Kung Fu Canine


It’s been a bit quieter down in darkest Devon this last couple of days. Why’s that? I can hear you ask. Well, it’s because I got kicked in the face by Douggie the Doggie and every time I opened my mouth my jaw clicked. I can tell you it cuts right down on that chat when it’s all interspersed with ‘click, click, clicking’.

He definitely knocked my jaw out of alignment, I could feel my teeth weren’t sitting in their normal position. You’ll be glad to know it all seems to be in the correct place again now.

I never thought I’d get drop kicked by the dog but that very thing happened on Monday.

So how did all this come about? I know you’re dying to know. Well. Here we go then…Douggie the Doggie has got an impressive array of tricks in his repertoire but Kung Fu? That’s a new one.

In the early hours of the morning he woke us up to let us know he was going to have a fit.  As normal, we stumbled bleary eyed downstairs and waited for it to happen. Experience has taught us that there really isn’t a lot of point in trying to stop it as he just tends to have a really nasty fit a few days later if we don’t just let it happen. So, as much as it goes against the grain, we just wait. We snooze. We listen. For his part Douggie the Doggie usually goes back to sleep for a while. Then he paces. He whines. He bobs his head.

Then it happens.

This time he jumped onto the settee just before it happened. He leaned into me and his head went down. “Here it comes”, I thought. I was right.

Poor old Douggie started trying to shake himself apart. Boofuls and I have a routine now, we just calmy lift him onto the floor so he can’t fall and hurt himself. Then we wait quietly, timing the duration of the fit and trying not to panic. It never gets any easier. Every time he has a fit I think it’s going to be his last, it terrifies me. Anyway, let’s not dwell on that.  This time I had the back end. Just as we lifted him off the settee his foot shot out and he kicked me straight in the jaw. Oh my Gawd! That made my eyes water.

They say that humans have an unnatural strength when they have a fit and I can tell you it’s the same for dogs. That was a  kick and a half. I spent the next day nursing my clicking jaw and cut chin and Douggie spent most of his time getting his brain back in order. You’ll be glad to know that we are now both absolutely fine and looking as gorgeous as ever.

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Blowing away the cobwebs part two


Now I’ve been unshackled from my disability scooter and I can drive again it’s been nice venturing a bit further afield. Me and Douggie the doggie enjoyed a lovely stroll on a very windy beach, between the showers, this afternoon. Clearly Douggie doesn’t care what the weather is like.

In honour of the aforementioned disability scooter, here is a far better tribute to it than I could ever have penned courtesy of the Lancashire Hotpots.

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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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.

Mmmmm…bacon


Funny thing about bacon. No matter how much I cook and serve to other people, when I step outside and smell it from someone else’s kitchen I always think, ‘Mmmmm…bacon.’

At the moment we are enjoying the calm before the storm. From next week the bookings really step up and it starts to get busy in hotel land. To while away my time  in this quietish period and to prevent boredom (ha! Fat chance of being bored with a to do list as long as my arm) I have been having a go at making some jewellery using the sea glass and shells I pick up on the beach and a few pictures. What do you think?

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Then we decided duet the bank holiday that we’d pop over to Brixham on the ferry to have a look at the pirate festival. Well, you can’t turn up in a car can you.  Any self respecting pirate would hop on a boat, so we did.

It was a cold and blustery day but Boofuls cheered it up by dressing as Woodstock pirate and I went as Adam Ant pirate.  A couple of tots of rum once we landed warmed us up nicely and we soon got into the spirit of it all. There is a video of  Lashes and I having a sword fight with a couple of  buccaneers, I’ll post that when I retrieve it from Boofuls’ phone.

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Taking a drive round Torbay the other day we were a little bit surprised to see this at the traffic lights.  A ship at the lights isn’t something you see every day, is it?

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Dougie the doggie was so excited, he thought it was a huge fish to play with. haha. Once he realised it wasn’t he looked a little bit glum. Not for long though. A quick dive into the water soon sorted him out.

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Joke of the day


Why can’t you hear a pterodactyl have a wee?
Because the p is silent!!
Hooohoohoo, heeheeheee. Made me laugh for ages, that one!
That was one of Munki’s jokes. Not bad for a seven year old, eh?

Dougie the doggie and I managed to while away almost three hours on the beach today. When I realised it was starting to dark I hurried home thinking that Boofuls would think I’d been carried off by the circus or something.

How did I manage to spend almost three hours on a beach in the middle of winter?

Easy.

The tide was out so Douggie and I paddled all the way round the coast, clambering over rocks, marvelling at hermit crabs scuttling around with their homes on their backs, searching for sea glass and pebbles shaped like penguins. We found a baby starfish! It only had two arms, the others were little nubbly bits just starting to grow. It didn’t look so much like a star fish as a propellor. I put it under a piece of seaweed for safe keeping hoping that it wouldn’t get trampled to death by one of the many galloping hounds on the beach today. Dougie of course tried his best to get to it so I distracted him by throwing stones into the water for him to chase. I have to throw stones because if I throw a ball he won’t bring it back. As a retriever he’s pretty rubbish. I should probably explain to him again that he’s a golden RETRIEVER the clue’s in the name, really.

The sun shone onto the ripples in the sand making the beach glint and shine. I spent far too much time moving around trying to find which way the light gave the best effect. Some of the other beach walkers must have though I was doing some weird yoga exercise in my wellies and waterproofs and I crouched low and moved left and right, bobbing and weaving while I stared at the ground. The buildings high up on the hill were reflected in the puddles on the sand. Again, I moved this way and that trying to get the best image. I would have taken a photo but my phone died a watery death a couple of weeks ago and I don’t want to lug a big, professional camera around with me…

Wait…what…did I say my phone died a watery death a few weeks ago? Why, yes, dear reader, I did.

But…didn’t your phone die a watery death just a few months ago? Why, yes again, dear reader. My, what a good memory you have.

This time it was somewhat more dignified than last time when it fell out of my back pocket and into the loo. This time it fell out of my coat pocket and into the sea. Nonetheless, the ed result was the same. Instant death.

Still, let’s not dwell on that. Let’s return to our afternoon on the beach.

The sun cast warm, long shadows, the clouds turned pink and the sea lapped gently on the shore shining blue, pink or green depending on how the light hit it. I stood fascinated by it all while Doggie found himself a nice little spaniel to flirt with. people strolled up and down. As I so often am, I was stuck by how many people wear black. It look like a funeral director’s day out. The dark clothes looked at odds with the beautiful, dancing, ever changing light that the elements had treated us too but it seemed like I was the only person to notice.

Eventually the sun dropped down behind the hill and the gorgeous light changed to a soft, violet grey. At that point I shivered and realised I must have been out for hours.

So there you are. That’s how easy it is to spend a whole,afternoon on a beach. A bit of imagination, the company of a dog and some lovely weather. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon.

The Curious Waves


While I was taking the dog for his evening walk tonight I was lured to the sea front by the sound of crashing waves.  IT’s like a magnet, crashing waves, I can’t help but go and take a look as I’ m fascinated by the sea.  Since being a small child I’ve wanted to live by the sea – and now I do. Ok, it took fifty years to achieve my goal but we’re here now. Better late than never.

Anyway, back to the plot. As I walked down towards the prom I could see that every now and then a wave would pop it’s head up over the wall as if trying to see what was on the other side.  Not that there was a lot to see, a few stray tourists, a couple who, like me, clearly enjoyed watching the waves, a couple of cars and that was about it.

Still the sea kept jumping up trying to look over the wall.

I was quietly giggling to myself at the absurdity of it all when a huge waved jumped straight over the wall and soaked a couple who had been quietly minding their own business. Ok. I admit it. I laughed.

It didn’t stop me playing chicken with the waves five minutes later, unlike the other people though, I only got my feet wet. That happens so regularly these days that I’m in great danger of developing trench foot. It’s worth it though, it’s also worth the fifty year wait to get here. As I walk along the prom in the morning before starting work I just can’t believe how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place. It just goes to show, it’s never to late to live your dreams.

Here are a few photos, taken on different days. Enjoy.

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