I hear talk of severe drought. It hasn’t rained once since I arrived at my new home (though rumour has it there’s an 80% chance of rain at 4pm today). I had presumed it would simply always be dry & sunny – that it was just the usual climate in this exciting place. But no! Guess what? Humans have actually been praying for rain. Seems to have worked!
One consequence of the water shortage is that a hose-pipe ban has been implemented country-wide. Almost unheard of seemingly. My human is being very cautious with regard to tap-usage. Her water conservation is admirable in the extreme. In reality, some of her methods are very nearly bordering on OTT.
Hose forgotten, the poor old purple window boxes and pink plant pots are unwatered & long dead; literally reduced to a crisp, they are now being utilised as added security ballast at our garden boundaries to protect us from invasion. (Surely it couldn’t be to keep us in?)
The lawn is cooked to a nice shade of toast and the wee drop of water we leave out for the birds seems to rapidly evaporate.
Which brings me to the subject of doggie showers. A deeply personal subject I realise but… they are not on the ‘allowed’ list (in our house at least!). When we return from our beach outings my hairy underbelly is usually clotted with a sand/seaweed combo. Rolling around on prickly, burnt, garden-hay is not an effective way to ‘belly-bathe’ it away, let me announce.
And so…. I often have what I will not so lovingly call ‘an itch’! As I gaze longingly at the redundant hose, I shake, rattle & roll in my attempts to dislodge the beach remnants.
Enter THE GROOMING GLOVE!! Ahhh…magic. One small flaw though…it requires a human hand to operate it …but when I see her approach the shelf where it lies, I become utterly beside myself with excitement. In human terms, you could think of it as comparable to the soothing application of ointment to a horse-fly bite in a difficult to reach spot on your back. Blissfully blissful. Ahhhh…
Musically I choose Adele’s ‘Rumour Has It’ followed by ‘Shake, Rattle and Roll’, ….the Bill Haley and his Comets version ….to accompany this blog. They have the perfect rhythm for medium, progressing to rapid, dog-grooming. Try it on your own pooches! If you have a grooming glove! 😺🎶🐾
My latest new friend is Hazelnut, a delightful Saluki Greyhound. She is chock-full of vitality, at a massively higher level than any of the dogs we’ve met before. An assortment of semi-coordinated, rangy limbs that somehow carry her to where she wants to go… at high velocity. It was love at first sight. At last! A beauty who would chase & run, accelerate & feint, and who offered me a true sense of my own freedom of spirit. Missy was happy with her stick but all I wanted was the wind in my hair & a good old race with Hazelnut.
During one of our rare pauses, I overheard our humans discussing how we came to live with them & I thought to myself ‘how lucky are we?’ All three of us were ‘rescued’ to live this joyful & exciting life that could so easily have been denied to us. We may thank our lucky paws.
Before Hazelnut arrived at our cove, I had been trying to protect Missy & my human from a marauding, eight- legged, fishy-looking submariner in a shallow channel between the rocks, just at the low-tide mark. Clutching onto a small promontory, it surfaced every now and then and peered around, taking stock; probably planning its attack.
My human seemed to be amused rather than scared as I attempted to reach it from various vantage points on the outcrops. All to no avail!! It was as if it knew I was en-route to a given spot and just weaved out of my way before I reached it. I even tried slowly, paddling out to investigate more fully but it instinctively withdrew to a point just beyond my depth and where I was too nervous to venture.
‘It has the look of an octopus 👀 ‘, she said… ‘but it’s just seaweed’. (Such innocence😂…. I’m pleased she didn’t realise the perilous danger she was in.)
And then Hazelnut arrived to distract me. By the time our fun & games were done the beast had submerged more fully and somehow no longer looked threatening. I realised I had successfully & single-mindedly ‘seen it off’ whoop whoop!
On the way home in the 🚘 we listened to the very suitable song ‘Octopus’s Garden’ by the Beatles. 🎼🐾
Humans are really quaint. This one in particular. Soooo endearing. I’m able to listen to & observe everything from my pole position on the purple rug. I often wonder what goes on in her little head. I love the way she chats aloud to herself and sometimes she even answers her own questions. It can be quite amusing to a dog. Better than a tennis match!
‘Where did I put the…?’
‘Oh, there is is!’
‘What brought me upstairs, I wonder?’
‘How many ounces of breadcrumbs did it say?’
‘I thought that was chicken… yeuch!’
‘I must try and remember that!’
‘Where’s the phone?’
‘Did I not buy tomatoes?’
‘Oh, I am seriously losing it!’
The chat is incessant when we are at home. (She’d get a huge surprise if I responded). I also hear the accompanying sounds of tssk & tut, grunts, gasps and ‘OMGs’!
The body language is hilarious at times too; including light head-banging, skull shaking, clenching of fists, stomping of feet at various levels of annoyance or slamming of kitchen utensils.
All thoroughly enjoyable. But when we are on the beach all her words are saved for me. Full attention & focus is applied and I love it. We truly live in the moment at times like these.
I did some approved rock-climbing earlier today in a doggie variant of the giant’s causeway. Such fun. As herself & Missy picked their way through the low, sandy parts, I became king of a road of my own making.
When I moved forward (in my role as her advance party) I discovered an intricate arrangement of ‘could-be’ fossils. Amazingly, when she caught up with me, she displayed very little interest in my archaeological find.
We had met Boofs on the path down as we arrived – he was on his way home. Hard to have time for him when Missy & I were experiencing stratospheric excitement levels at the sight of the sea. Maybe next time.
When we reached Cove Three, the monstrous seal dog appeared out of nowhere once again & Missy had a renewed, serious, stick- fishing battle on her hands. I just bounced around trying to distract & annoy the pair of them to the best of my ability. I was surprised the human didn’t start talking to herself with all our shenanigans 😂
My song for today is Jody Miller’s ‘Queen of the House’ (arranged to the melody of Roger Miller’s ‘King of the Road’!!). Well worth a listen. 🎼🐾
I hear today is nicknamed ‘Manic Monday’ at Wimbledon. Well I’ve had a manic Friday, Saturday and Sunday and I’ve been so busy I can’t remember when I blogged last.
On Friday, in Cove One, we met a jet black canine (mostly Lab) called Boofs. We must have been a comical sight. Small, medium & large ebony dogs, all stick-fishing. It was a challenge for poor Missy because more often than not she came back with an empty mouth. Boofs is a fine strong swimmer so he regularly reached the stick first, especially if it was in water over our depth. I was super at being the first to reach it when it landed in the shallows. Missy had a real battle on her hands but she honed her technique & before long she outwitted both of us & came up trumps.
The next day we met two new tail-waggers. A large, gentle, Hungarian Vizsla named Heidi and (spare me🙈) another Patterdale! An absolute clone of Missy, he, (Freddie) was just a bit smaller & slighter, with a more defined white blaze on his chest.
The two humans went into utter raptures at the discovery of the #twinsseperatedatbirth scenario. Heidi & I had to endure the entire life story of both little pooches as seen through the rose-tinted glasses of their respective minders. No! I’m not envious. Seriously I’m not! But honestly… at times I have to be soooo patient. When the preliminaries were over however, we had an enormous amount of fun, all four of us. So much so, I hope we bump into them on the beach again soon. Heidi is gorgeous ❤️
The following day my friend Hallie returned to enjoy the sunny, coastal weather and we’ve had more of the same. Delightful beach trips & oceanfront exploits of varying intensity; followed by long, languorous, restful spells, sprawled out on the brown prickly grass at home in the garden. That burnt lawn is better than a pumice stone for scratching myself clear of residual sand & seaweed.
Today is another fun-filled day and it’s only 10.30am. The three of us played chip, charge and chase in Cove Three, a wide sandy expanse of pure doggie bliss. Taking a short rest near the rocks I spied my human deep-paddling in the sea. The waves were minimal so I felt safe wading out in her direction. I couldn’t help but notice the variety of seaweed on display. From deeply attached, mucky brown & bubbly, to floating pieces resembling tobacco scraps; from luminous green, mermaids hair to long straight strips of kelp; and all the wondrous crocheted rust and moss patterns in between. Some wafted with lives of their own in the safety of the deep, while others lay stranded on the beach, awaiting the tide that would shortly flow in to reclaim them. When we came across a tiny pool rimmed with a unique looking, blood-red offering we just had to stop for a photo.
Suddenly… I spotted the head of something strange (and I’ll admit that I thought it was a seal) bobbing in the water.
There he was scuttling around in the mid deep when all of a sudden he started moving in my direction. Imagine my amazement when the seal arose and stalked towards me on four legs. Turns out it was a monstrous, thick-haired, crow-black, Labrador who, like me, just wanted some fun & games.
(BTW….One thing I’m learning from these visits to the beach is that what I had thought of as my unique, luscious black coat is more common than I had previously thought. I’ve lost count at this stage of all the black doggies we have met on my travels….)
Meanwhile Hallie scouted around us as we played chase while Missy just kept chewing on her stick.
The obvious music choice for today would have to be ‘Manic Monday’ -extended remix- by The Bangles but maybe something from Seal might do the trick too. I’ll leave it entirely up to you, dear reader. 🎼🐾
It’s been busy here in dog-blog land since you last heard from me. You see, there is ‘something’ living in our thicket. An intruder so to speak! It has become necessary for Missy and me to stalk up and down its brambly length in a concerted effort at territorial protection.
My human can hear it rustling and is hoping it’s a small bird’s nest in the depths of the Escallonia Macrantha. Little Missy is capable of crawling beneath the bush on scouting expeditions. She regularly forages deeply and at length between it and the wild Fuschia which supports it from behind. Occasionally she sits at its perimeter, absolutely motionless, as still as a statue, listening. These attentive sessions can last for extremely long periods of time. I’m just not able to do that so I continue parading up & down, or sometimes if I think I’m outside her peripheral vision I just plop and snooze briefly. But don’t tell her that!
I would dearly love to follow her almost endless forays (apart from being interested I’d hate to be labeled lazy or idle) but unfortunately, although I wouldn’t describe myself as a large dog, I simply cannot fit. So be it! I must content myself by offering a rearguard protection to the intrepid grafter.
Something tells me a bird’s nest might be a disappointing discovery for Missy. Methinks she would prefer to find a mischief of rats in their den. As for me; I was thinking of a nice spiny hedgehog or a cuddly bunny rabbit. Or maybe a cat with kittens (but not the large, panther-like one we saw a few weeks ago).
So far we are none the wiser as to the cause but the rippling & crispy sounds continue. And so must we. Hour after hour we maintain guard. Sometimes we do a split shift Where I rest and Missy scouts vigilantly along our boundary … or vice versa where I work and she reclines. But if the murmurs are constant we both steward simultaneously. It’s quite an extended hedgerow which doubles as a windbreak so the duties are utterly onerous. It’s thirsty work. And in the middle of a drought no less!!
Missy’s preferred anchor spot is near the oil tank behind the shed. I suppose u could call it the tram line in tennis terms. (I’m learning!!) I prefer a more central role and act as an ace monitor from the T of the service line- or if you prefer plain language, the spot where the pergola was smashed to pieces in last year’s hurricane.
Watch this space 👁
‘The Robin’s Return’ on piano by Gil Dech is a pleasurable, intricate, inspiring tune to accompany our continued search 🎼🐾
I got three-quarters way up the escarpment yesterday before she spotted me. ‘BRUFUS! BACK!!’ I heard her call (not so … gently😂). I obeyed.
Earlier she had decided we’d do breakfast on the beach again. ‘It’s like America at home’, she announced aloud as she looked up the expected temperature high for the day. Honestly I wonder, how could she not be bored of that already. It seems to be always sunny in this place since I’ve been here. And shortly, the novelty of breakfasting al fresco, in the sun, with amazing views of Dunmore East, Woodstown & Crook in the distance, a three coved beach entirely to ourselves, rocks of every shape & size, shiny shells of every proportion imaginable to dog, masses of smooth sand, moderate waves & with doggie-climbable cliffs behind … will wear off I suspect.
Missy looked at me. I forlornly returned her gaze. -in a sort of shoulder shrugging style. I tilted my head to the right and telepathised my thoughts in the direction of my human…. ‘have u ever imagined what it’s like to try & eat doggie style, straight from a bowl, on a breezy, sandy beach?’
‘OK’, she said aloud. ‘Maybe not!’ …’I’ll feed ye before we leave so!’ It was a small offering but we had to make do. I guess she didn’t want Missy eating a full feed before her stick-fishing & swimming exercises.
Anyway the picnic-packing for herself began in earnest. Some frozen grapes. A bottle of (bought) water for herself. A jar of tap water for us😛 & a container for us to drink from. Her cereal (a combo of 14 muesli ingredients that Sporty Spice had prepared at the weekend, mixed with milk) in a sealed Tupperware bowl.
The spoon selection seemed to be a challenge for her. It was between a red-handled, stainless-steel, bowled version or one of plain, white plastic. Several times they swapped places in the cool bag until eventually the plastic was decided on.
So off we went in the 🚘 . Two dogs and our human. She carried
one cool bag of food & drinks,
one doggie back with leads, poop bags, Missy’s stick etc.
and a bum bag with keys, phone and other stuff precious to herself.
The tide was just on the turn by the time we arrived. We picked a mini strand between two coves, about 8 feet wide and the full of the beach deep. The magic of it was that it kept getting longer & deeper as the tide went out and the seabed was exposed. Every time I glanced, the water was further away. Later, as we were about to leave, it wasn’t a private little strand any more – just an essentially disappointing, double row of almost parallel rocks. Lesson learned. Perspective dictated the wonderful illusion apparently.)
All along, Missy was doing some serious stick-catching, chewing and attempted burying as I bounded around inspecting treasures & generally enjoying life. I found the most amazing, glittery, honeycombed stone.
Next thing ye know, a trawler leaving Dunmore East caused a sudden wash up on our shore and scared me half to death. ‘Cause & effect’ I heard my human announce aloud. But I was too busy swiping Missy’s stick for a chew, to wonder what she meant by saying that – can’t taste what’s so special about that baton of Missy’s. Very woody if u ask me.
When she whined, (noooo! not the human….), I reluctantly relinquished the stick, by now a chewed up little cudgel, for further throwing. If it landed in shallow water near rocks, I could skate across the slippery seaweed to get to it quicker than the swimming-wonder who thinks she actually owns it. She certainly is proprietary about it. So I hid it😂. Perhaps tomorrow we’ll need two sticks.
Soon it was time for my human to open the cereal bowl. She started with two of the frozen grapes as she rooted, turn by turn, in all three bags … by times frantically … looking for the plastic spoon.
As it turned out she was the one who had to eat straight from the bowl. The spoon was at home on the counter-top when we arrived back to the house. I’d say ‘just desserts’ (her having to eat straight from the bowl) but I suppose that phrase might not be befitting for a breakfast blog!
The song that’s going around my head at the moment is Supertramp’s ‘Breakfast in America’ 🎼🎶🐾