Friday, 15 November 2013

Strip Lynchets and Puppy Power!

I've been off line this week.  Broadly courtesy of The Great Storm, which two weeks ago pulled down a telegraph pole at the top of the lane resulting in the loss of our phone line but oddly not the internet, and then more immediately this week courtesy of B.T. who came out to re-connect our neighbour's phone on Tuesday and in the process cut us off completely.

An irate phone call, several irate on-line chats (at work) and one irate email later and lo! The phone and internet have returned (although only temporarily because apparently it takes a month to close a main road and repair one pole). 

I'm not complaining. The lack of phone has been blissful, bringing peace, even if the lack of internet facilitated a small panic when I realised how big a part of daily life it has become. I was expecting Mutiny from L when he got back from school and realised he wouldn't be able to skype or minecraft, but in fact he was remarkably sanguine about the whole affair and simply moved on to the X-Box.

Anyway, we're back.

And the big news here this week is that Puppy Fever is catching (so watch out). My friend Mrs M's pup Lucie arrives a week today and my Ma now has a nine week old Baby Westie called Dylan, who is Completely Adorable.

Dougal, their other lad, is named for the Magic Roundabout, which is why Dylan is called Dylan (apparently the magic roundabout Dylan was named after Bob). If they'd called Dylan Jack we would have had a Complete Set Of Crazy Priests, which is A Comic Opportunity Missed I feel....

Uncle Ted has shown remarkable patience with the new Whipper Snapper. Last night he submitted to the indignity of being chased round and round the table in Grannie's house by someone a tenth of his size before Puppy Energy Ran Out and he was able to lie down gasping by the fire beside his Best Westie Pal Dougal (who was watching them with baleful eyes having been forced to play the equally undignified game of "let's attach a puppy to your furry paw and Drag Him Around The House" when Dylan wouldn't let go).

I had forgotten quite how gorgeous puppies are when they are playing and pouncing- fat tummies, short little legs and sticky up tails all quivering in the air. I couldn't help appreciate the saintliness of the two elder dogs either, neither of whom are used to puppies, and both of whom refrained from growling or snapping at the more exuberant puppy antics (which included hanging off their beards! I felt this, if nothing else, entitled them to have a growl. I mean, you don't mess with a chap's beard. But no, they were incredibly patient. For all that, I can foresee a time when it will be Necessary To Put Puppy In His Place- in order to reimpose peace and sanity in the house if nothing else).

The lying-down-in-front-of-the-fire-respite proved only to be a short one: in a few minutes Dylan had recovered and the pouncing, nibbling, chewing and General Harassment began again.

Ted has little or no experience with Dog Children and I therefore hope his Mature Uncley-Type Response to Dylan bodes well for tomorrow when his very own Ball Of Fluff arrives. Of course, he won't be able to get away from her in quite the same way and that may challenge his generally happy approach to life and all things in it. 

To that end I am Waiting In this morning (gorgeous and sunlit - sadly that's the morning not me. I am looking scruffy and unwashed yet again, having failed to wash my hair or brush my teeth yet - ewww, as my daughter would say - this is largely because I don't have to go out and actually see anyone) for delivery of our enormous dog crate. This was borrowed some years ago by M's brother P for their Gigantic Dog (click on the gigantic dog underliney bit and it'll take you to what they have) and a family of four could live in it year round comfortably. 

In the past we have used the crate for Restraining Annoying Children, but this proved to be ineffective because when you add a puppy to a crate it seems that children will voluntarily lock themselves in there Quite Happily, preferring to be inside the crate with said small dog to being almost anywhere else (and that includes in front of the TV or the computer), so as a system of punishment it fell somewhat Short Of The Mark.

The crate will seem a palace to Poppy (who is currently minute), even though I expect L will move in there with her. While she is tiny-wee she will go in it at night, or when Ted needs a break, or if I need to go out, so there will be Some Respite For Uncle Ted. We Shall See how we get on.

Here is Dylan...

With Uncle Ted

Little and Large

I had forgotten how much preparation is necessary for a new puppy: beds, bowls, collars, name tags, food, puppy pads, toys. 

"And don't forget a toy for Ted," L said to me sternly while we were shopping for Poppy Things earlier this week. L is Ted's staunchest supporter. He absolutely adores his dog.  Teddy can do no wrong in L's eyes (not that he really does wrong anyway) and if he could, L would have him living in his bedroom with him and (if he were small enough) going to school with him in his pocket. Actually, come to think of it, Poppy is small enough to go to school in his pocket so I had better make sure I check next week....

Ted has always had a thing for toy pigs. He arrived with a Red One from the rescue centre, then a year later we discovered these pink squeaky versions which the boys and Ted have enjoyed many happy hours playing "pig rugby" with. The initial one broke (hardly surprising given the rough handling it was subjected to) and L was overjoyed to find an identical replacement in the shop, which of course has come home with us.....

Ted's pig

The squeak is convincingly like someone passing wind, and Ted (doubtless with L's encouragement) has developed the knack of Perfect Timing, and now makes it squeak whenever anyone bends over.

Ted is taking it easy today after his exhausting puppy-sitting evening last night and has placed himself directly in front of the fire in such a way that the heat doesn't reach anyone else...

Ted's customary position in front of the fire
 The only way I can persuade him to move is to make one of his toys squeak in the other room...

Ted's Toys- will Poppy get a look in with these? I'll be amazed, and Fully Expect him to add hers to his collection.

Poppy's toys. I just hope Ted doesn't realise these are new and not L's cast offs like his in the picture above.

I have done some non-dog-related-things this week. Apart from college on Thursday, I have done some voluntary work with Hampshire County Council up on Shawford Down where there are ancient strip lynchets (old field systems) in need of maintenance. Our job was to burn the wood that had been cut down.
I was slightly confused because the ranger I was with referred to them as ancient trackways rather than old field boundaries. There are several prehistoric trackways into Winchester, the most famous of which being the Dongas (named after the word for gully) on Twyford Down. Sections of these were destroyed when the Twyford cutting for the M3 was made twenty years ago, dividing Twyford Down from St Catherine's Hill and prompting massive protest which made the national news for weeks. 

The Dongas, ancient trackways into Winchester made by the feet of livestock and people over countless centuries. Photo courtesy of the internet

The Dongas memorial up on Twyford Down, which names the politicians responsible for the road building. Photo courtesy of the internet.

Anyway, whether the lynchets on Shawford Down are ancient fields or ancient trackways, Charlotte and I spent an enjoyable few hours working out in the sun. Temperatures have plummeted here since then, so sloe harvesting is on the cards this weekend because we've woken to frosts the last two mornings.

The regulation bonfire

The view from Shawford Down looking towards Twyford

The Strip Lynchets

Hope you are all well, have had a good week and are looking forward to a nice peaceful weekend. I shall endeavour to drag myself away from Poppy tomorrow and put some pictures of her up for you to ooh and ahh over...

A Very Excited CT x



  1. Oh joy, joy about the puppies.Lots of work but so much joy come with them. The photo in front of the wood stove ...just adorable ! Over the years my parents had two Westies both lived to be in their 20's .
    Look forward to seeing Poppy .

    1. That's really encouraging to hear they got to their 20s. I'd read somewhere it was 14 :-o
      Puppies are fantastic aren't they? I can't imagine I'll be getting much work done over the next few weeks...

  2. I can smell that bonfire burning. Ted look hilarious so close to the fire! I don't want my dog to see this post as he might be jealous of all the Teddy toys.

    1. So could my family when I got home after standing in the smoke all morning :-)

      Ted always makes me laugh sitting RIGHT in front of it so no one else gets any heat- it's his absolute favourite place to be. Charity shops are a great place to pick up cheap dog toys (top tip from my mate Mrs M).

  3. Good luck with the new puppy. All being well, ours will be delivered early February. I'm trying to remember what having a puppy is like and I'm a little bit frightened.

  4. Hi LRH,
    I know- I felt the same. Couldn't remember what we did last time, or the time before that! Luckily these pups have been brought up on a farm so they are fairly robust. No midnight or dawn feeding thank goodness! I think (hope) she'll just fit in. Loads of luck with yours- how exciting!

  5. HI CT Oh he is adorable adn I amsure you will have your hands full for a while. Ted in front of that fire is priceless.

    1. Hi Margaret :-)

      I think Ted knows how funny he looks and that's why he does it- it makes us all smile :-)

  6. Very impressed with Ted's restraint with his toys; Snippet can reduse a toy to fluff and shredded fabric in a matter of minutes. Dylan is just gorgeous!

    By the way, the very mention of the 'minecraft' word set me grimacing.....we have an obsessive in this household too. Diamond leggings and an iron chest plate? Lovely.

    1. The pigs are usually the first to go- they get more attention than the others :-)

  7. Can't wait to see pictures of Poppy. Dylan is so lovely and looks so tiny against Ted. At least Ted got some practice of dealing with pups. I expect Dylan and Poppy will be great mates too.
    Sarah x

    1. I'll put some up this afternoon Sarah :-)

      Yes, it was a relief to practice with another puppy and I was very encouraged by how good he was with Dylan. Just hope it's the same with tiny Poppy! Ma and I were saying that we can't wait to see the puppies together- too adorable I suspect. Hope Daisy is well? x

  8. Dylan is very cute and so tiny. Harry is always very superior and disinterested with puppies and of course that makes them want to get his attention even more! Looking forward to seeing Poppy with Ted.
    And I love the photo of Ted before the fire. Can he get any closer?!
    I'm fascinated by the ancient landscape, but depressed to hear of the damage at Twyford Down. I do remember the protests.

    1. He is minute- I couldn't believe how enormous Ted looked beside him. Love the mental imagery of Harry ignoring puppies clamouring for his attention!
      The Twyford cutting was a tough one- the junction it replaced was lethal and had cost countless lives, but the landscape it ruined is so special and ancient. The cutting still looks raw to this day- a huge slice cut through the middle of the hill.
      Ted is back in front of the fire as I type!

  9. Dylan is exceedingly cute - you forget how tiny puppies are :) Have a great weekend with the arrival of Poppy and look forward to seeing some pictures. Will have to make sure daughter doesn't see as she would love to have a dog!!!

    1. Just collected her-currently zooming around pouncing on everything. Ted has retreated to his bed! :-)

  10. Dylan is super cute - I love the photos of him and Teddy and also the one of Ted by the fire! The views from Shawford down look spectacular and it's nice you've been able to get out with another volunteer group!

    1. He is a real sweetie- total time waster. I can't wait to get he and Poppy together :-)


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