Tag Archives: Winter

Is this the Arctic Circle??!!

12 Mar

Yesterday was soooo cold and windy I was really not looking forward to walking Rudy and Rio after work! We had been having snow falls albeit minimal on and off all day. It hadn’t come to anything so there was no excuse not to get wrapped up and head out!! Well, apart from the fact it was quite hard to open the door against the wind which by then was almost gale force!!!

Little bit windy Rio??

Little bit windy Rio??

I got home and the dogs had been enjoying a snooze in the warm but soon the excitement hit fever pitch as usual when they realised we were off out!! So I started the daily chore of dressing in so many layers I look like a walking, talking Mummy!! It’s always hard to know exactly how cold it is so better to err on the side of caution! Trying to bend down to fasten my boots was interesting!! It reminded me of being pregnant but this time it was the clothes that were in the way!!

Anyway like intrepid Arctic explorers(!) we set off in the car. I decided to walk the other side of the hill as it’s more sheltered. I parked the car and struggled to open the door against afore mentioned wind and wrapped myself up as well as I could and we set off down the track. I can honestly say I have rarely been so cold or blown around!! The dogs set off like torpedos, ecstatic to be out running around and I trundled along hands stuffed deep into pockets, muttering to myself about the sense of this walk and how good I was to the dogs etc etc!!!

It turned out to be beautiful up there and by halfway round the walk my hands obliged and thawed out enough to get some feeling back into them!! The snow was still falling and in fact it looked more like tiny hail stones in the ground. The sun was shining and it really was lovely. It would have possibly been more lovely from inside sitting by a roaring fire but where’s the fun in that??!!

Hail stones

Hail stones

Towards the end of the walk we came across a field full of horses so giving them a wide berth we finished the walk by road. An old chap was putting his dogs back in his car and asked me what breed Rudy and Rio were. On telling him they were working cocker spaniels he said “No they aren’t!! My daughter has one and it’s half their size!!”. Hmm well that’s me told then!!!

Crash, bang, wallop!!!

28 Jan

Well it’s been a very “doggy” weekend!! Friday night saw our girli supper group meet up at Paola’s house. You may remember she has Crash the beautiful if huge Dalmation!! Crash is very friendly and delighted us all by joining the group and happily enjoying the various invitations to join us on the sofa!!! He is very “human” in his ways and sat listening to the laughter with a knowing look on his face!! I wonder what goes through our Canine Companions minds?

Crash look a like

Crash look a like

Do you think they get pleasure from seeing their masters or mistresses having fun?? Do they like seeing us laugh and chat and gesticulate wildly whilst making our point?? Do they frown as the wine flows?? Do they hanker after the food whilst hoping against hope that the cheese board will be laid just at their nose level?? This certainly happened friday and poor Crash was repeatedly directed away from the cheese!! He could easily have snatched the brie or whipped the stilton away but instead he just sort of subtley sniffed in the general direction, turned away and sighed!! Bless him!!

Then yesterday I walked with Fi and Dave and Digs. Cleeve Hill was mostly clear of snow by now with occasional hidden pockets that the dogs dived in without realising just how deep the drifts were!! Cue much struggling and legs paddling frantically to release themselves!! Where the snow has melted there are now huge lakes of water, most of these scattered across the golf course that snakes round the hill.

Rio charged into one of these lakes and soon found out it was deep so skirted around the edge!! Digs however didn’t see this so threw himself in and was completely submerged!! Totally!! As he came up for air his face was a picture!! He was soaked from head to toe but totally unperturbed, he just shook himself and ploughed back in again!!!

Before the thaw!!

Before the thaw!!

Even thou it was really cold and the wind was viscious we all agreed that walking up there with the dogs and the amazing far reaching views is good for the soul…and the hangover…and it never fails to lift your mood!!

You go your way and I’ll go mine!!

23 Jan

Walking Rudy and Rio yesterday in the snow through our local fields as I can’t get on to the hill, I wondered what other dogs are like on a walk? I mean my 2 run like crazy, so fast and cover so much ground so quickly and often in separate directions, it can be tricky to keep track of them both!!

Listening..for 2 seconds!!

Listening..for 2 seconds!!

The first 2 fields lead across to more open land but there is a small lane at the end that when the roads are not covered in snow would be used sporadically for local people and farmers to access their homes. So really I need to get Rudy and Rio back and either put them on their leads for a few minutes or get them listening to me and walking to heel just while we cross the lane.

They have had about a week of not too much training and it never ceases to amaze me how quickly they get out of the habit of listening to instruction!! They are so excited to be galloping round in the snow they find it really hard to calm down sufficiently to take direction and actually do as they are told!!!! I had to make them sit for a minute just to relax then we tried both walking to heel.

I knew they only had to do it for a couple of minutes but guess they didn’t so they lunged around, 1 trotting off too quickly and having to be called back into line, 1 trying to dive headfirst into the hedge after a smell etc etc etc!!! To say it was frustrating was an understatement!! We kept going though and I just wished they could be calmer and WALK not run everywhere!!!

Ring leader??!!

Ring leader??!!

We made it into the next field and I let them go again and they had a lovely time in and out of the hedgerows, tails wagging constantly!! They really are such a happy breed of dog it makes me smile every day!! At the top of this field there is again another lane and Rudy has a habit of ducking through the hedge and racing into the opposite field. Not every time, but too often for my liking so I have to keep an eye that he doesn’t shoot under there. Of course there was no traffic here either so no danger from vehicles but the dogs SHOULD listen and not do as they like!!!

Rudy shot under the hedge and Rio followed so I whistled and bellowed and they pretty much came straight back but I wondered do other peoples dogs always have to push the boundaries and do things they know are wrong?? Is it Rudy leading Rio astray? They are like 2 naughty schoolboys!!! 1 daring the other into the next misdemeanour!!!

They see fences and hedges and gates as things to be ducked under, dived through, jumped over. They are objects of fun to be enjoyed at every given opportunity, not barriers to keep them out of places!!! No Rudy and Rio never just mooch along slowly and to be honest if they ever did I would think there was something amiss!!!

Snowwwwww!!!!

21 Jan
Brrr

Brrr

Well after all the rain..we have now had snow!!! Rudy and Rio love it and are keen to get out in it at every opportunity so I get wrapped up in so many layers I look like a Mummy and off we go!!!

I walked with some neighbours friday around some local fields that before the snow were under water but are now a real winter wonderland!!! We had quite a few Vicar of Dibley moments..when you confidently take a step forward and plunge knee deep into a hole, thus losing your balance and pitching forward head first into said snow drift!! Cue much hilarity from your “friends” and much concern from Rio who rushes back to see you are still breathing whilst Rudy has heard his favourite sound..a pheasant screeching and had taken off in hot pursuit!!!

That being said we had a lovely walk and the surrounding landscape looked beautiful so we stayed  out til it was dark and all went home wetter and colder than when we started  out but all agreed it had been fab!!!

I dried the dogs when we got home and was surprised to see the amount of snowballs stuck to them!! Rio’s back legs were festooned with them bless him and I did feel sorry for them both when I saw that between each claw was more snow!! However they were not bothered and they soon got dry and warm. The exertion of snow jumping obviously took it out of all of us and we all crashed out on the sofa that evening!!

Rio intent on finding something!!

Rio intent on finding something!!

Saturday I walked with my good friend Cath and Fern over Gretton Hill. Again quite hard going as the snow was so deep in places where it had drifted and also your foot plunged down through the snow , hit ice, crashed through that and ended up filling your boots with freezing cold muddy water!! Oh the joy!!

At the top of the hill we bumped into 2 guys running (must be crazy) and offered to close the gate for them. The one guy looked like he was going to cry at the offer as he was planning to use the gate as a support before he collapsed!!! So we left him to it and were just inspecting some strange hoof prints in the snow when we looked up and saw 2 beautiful full grown deer run along the track behind us!!

Needless to say all 3 dogs had missed them as they had put a pheasant up from the bushes and were all going after that!! All in all it was a lovely long walk, the type that when you get home you feel you can relax and enjoy a snooze!!! So we did!!

Jack Frost…

16 Jan

The weather has been quite changeable over the last couple of weeks. After what feels like months of door to door rain we finally have colder frosty weather. I’m hopeful that means I won’t have 2 extremely wet and muddy dogs to contend with yet again!! I can’t count the amount of towels I have gone through in the past few months just to ensure my carpet remains cream and not paw printed in an interesting shade of brown!!!

I always think I have dried Rudy and Rio’s feet enough and if they walked through the house sedately it would probably be ok. But no, they charge through into the front room when I say they can as if they have been caged for a fortnight!! Everything it seems is SO exciting to them and the faster they can run the better!!!

So a deep breath is taken (me) and ever decreasing circles are run ( them) and I try to ignore the mud ’til later and it has dried and can be hoovered up. I figure there is no point raising my blood pressure to boiling point and really they can’t possibly know the trauma to my eyes!!

I walked with Sue and 2 of her dogs, Tallulah and Princess ( Yeah I know!!!) yesterday and we had had a sharp overnight frost that had yet to melt on the hill so it made for a very beautiful and picturesque walk. It was slippery in places but Sue and I managed to stay upright even with Tallulah trying her best to wrong foot Sue!!!

We came across patches of snow/ice which Rudy decided he wanted to slide along bodily!! He would scratch at the surface then launch himself down and skid like a child!! Princess ventured toward him wondering why this crazy dog would want to get any colder and decided against following his example!!

It was a lovely walk which we wanted to prolong but alas work commitments ruled that out so with regret we got back in our cars and left!!

And the winner is…..

18 Nov

This weekend has been a mixed bag weather wise for walking on Cleeve Hill. Considering it is the highest point in the county of Gloucestershire ( 1083 feet ) with views on a good clear day reaching as far as Winsford Hill in Somerset some 90 miles away , Friday came as something of a surprise when I arrived with Rudy and Rio . The fog had descended and was so thick that you literally could only see about 20 feet in front of you and as you walked it enveloped you completely!! Slightly spooky!!

A few other hardy dog walkers were just leaving so I figured now we were there we may as well go for it!! Needless to say the fog didn’t bother the dogs in the slightest and they took off at the obligatory break neck speed..well don’t forget it was a whole 24 hours since their last marathon!!!

As we walked round towards the front of the hill overlooking Cheltenham I could hear the excited tones of the race commentators urging the Racehorses on and just hoped the fog was not as thick down there!! A vision of a Racehorse with a fog light fitted to it’s brow band sprang to mind!!

Saturday’s late afternoon walk was completely different and the sunset was amazing! So beautiful I have never seen the sky such a rich red!

Enjoying the Sheep Dip

Today I met my good friend Fi and her working cocker Digby ( known as Digs ). It’s been a few weeks since we met up to walk and it was good to see them both again. Digs was 1 in september and seems to have hit the ” Kevin the teenager ” stage!! Both Rudy and Rio have gone through it and still act up at random times especially Rio who is 19 months.

The ” Kevin” stage is particularly shall we say challenging!!!  You say ” don’t dig the garden” and the dog digs a crater you could land a UFO in! You say” don’t get in the golfers way ” and the dog helpfully fetches the golfball and takes it into the nearest gorse bush never to be seen again! You say ” come here while the horses pass” and the dog rounds them up like a professional!

You get the general impression!! While it sounds funny it can be very embarrassing and frustrating especially when they can be angelic at home!!!

Anyway Fi’s secret weapon are her salmon treats ( recipe below ). To be fair they absolutely stink and if you have to touch them your hands will need disinfecting for probably about a week!! That being said I have never seen dogs react to anything in such a huge and positive way!!! Even Rudy who is so self absorbed on a walk, will come sprinting back and skidding to a halt as soon as said treats are taken out of the pocket!!

Soon all 3 dogs were sitting to attention like perfect models of Canine obedience, tails wagging furiously, desperate to get those fishy treats!! Honestly it’s amazing!!

Fi is starting to whistle train Digs and every time he came back when requested he got a treat. However Rudy and Rio thought that as they had come back too they had earned treats!! As anyone with a dog with appealing eyes will tell you it’s very hard to say no when they fix you with a longing look!!!!

We walked a huge circuit round the top of the hill then descended to the Sheep Dip. This is a small pool that farmers used to use in days gone by and now is a meeting place for dogs and their owners and the dogs all enjoyed a swim. It gets like Doggy Day Care down there sometimes.

Comic sight of the day was a small dog..I think it was a Shih Tzu..dressed in a pink coat!! The dog was allowed a small drink from the spring that runs directly down the valley to the Sheep Dip but then she had to be picked up and carried so she didn’t get her paws wet!!!

We said good morning to the owners trying to stifle a grin and all the spaniels went to say hello too. It was all going so well until we wanted to walk on and Rudy was nowhere to be seen!! It would appear he quite fancied this Shih Tzu and had become deaf to my calls!! I had to walk back and literally drag him away by the collar, the Pink Princess’s owners looking at me pityingly!!

As Cath put it so succinctly when describing Fern  ” she developed Spanielitis”…you know…totally uncontrollable!!! Hmm yeah thanks Cath!!!

Salmon Treat Recipe;

1 Tin Salmon, Garlic paste, 1 egg, 1tablespoon plain flour.

Mix all ingredients and spread onto baking tray and cook for 10 minutes. When cold cut into tiny pieces. Can be frozen..if it lasts that long!!! Use sparingly and be prepared for miracles!!!

Jumping for those Salmon treats!!!

Sudeley walk,Winchcombe

13 Nov

Sudeley Castle Gatehouse

After a few days of excessive free running ( the dogs) and stumbling up hill and down dale ( me) I decided in my infinite wisdom that Rudy and Rio needed a reminder of disciplined ” heel” work and general good manners.

It didn’t really start too promisingly, as while I was getting into Dog Walkers Uniform ( jeans,thick socks, wellies and waterproof ) both dogs were busy doing circuits across the sofas in the front room. Apparently they can leap and almost clear the gap between the sofas without dropping a paw to the ground!! Quite impressive should they ever need to prove themselves at long jump!!!

After the usual kerfuffle to get their leads on I opened the front door. They know not to go through it before me now, the next step being  not to dislocate my shoulder barging towards the car!! So it went something like this…Me  ” Rudy come”  Rudy obliged and so did Rio. So  I  put Rio back in the house. Me  ” Rio come”  Rio came and Rudy shot back into the house!! This was getting beyond a joke and I thought with one more in and one more out we could start the Oakey Cokie!!

Anyway with limited time I decided now they were both out we would head off to Winchcombe. I parked in Vineyard Street ( beautiful) and the dogs dragged me kindly down the road to the field. Hmm this controlled heel work is actually quite hard!!

After they had a good gallop round we headed down the lane towards Sudeley Castle with both dogs pulling happily and me growling, hissing ( yes that does work sometimes!!) and  getting longer arms by the minute!! Not good

We headed up the bank so the dogs could have a run in the wooded area just past the lake and they took off thrilled to be doing their favourite thing… scenting all the beasts that have no doubt been in there during the night. Heads down and tails wagging wildly they soon disappeared from sight.  Good time to practise  their recall work I thought so I blew the whistle and Rudy came back immediately followed not much later by Rio. Great I thought I’ve got this bit cracked and sent them both off again.

A few minutes later and we repeated the exercise and again Rudy whizzed back but this time Rio took a little while longer and had to be whistled again. Still when he finally came back he looked so pleased with himself I didn’t have the heart to point out the timing issues!!!

Time was marching on and I needed to start heading back to the car in the certain knowledge both dogs were going to need washing when we got home as they were by now filthy.

So..the final whistle. Rudy came straight away…Rio the little stinker was nowhere to be seen. Cue me blowing the whistle, calling him ( albeit through gritted teeth with the expletives *** out) and getting madder and madder by the minute!!

A good 2 or 3 minutes later he appears at breakneck speed and skidded to a halt in front of me gathering as much thick mud as possible in between his paws!!  Oh bless I thought…well something like that anyway!!

With speed Usain Bolt would be envious of we rushed home, hosed both dogs down, dried them very quickly and they then permeated the hall with that beautiful wet dog odour that even Febreeze struggles to eliminate for the next couple of hours!!

Oh the joy of owning dogs in the winter!!x

Autumn colours

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