Beetley Update: Yet Another Covid-19 Saturday

As this situation drags on, it even seems to be geting to the local dogs. I was awakened early by dogs barking in nearby gardens, and that set off some ‘yappy dogs’ on the street outside. Very soon, there was some kind of ‘Canine Concerto’ happening, and getting back to sleep was impossible.

During the current lockdown, even allowing for the recent ‘easing of restrictions’, waking up early is not advised. With nowhere much to go, it makes a long day feel a whole lot longer. We can of course drive to the coast if we wish, but there are still no cafes or public toilets open, so maybe not a good idea. Not much point going into town to look around the shops, as only the food shops and chemists are open at the moment.

Uncertain weather doesn’t help either. Depending which forecast you look at, we are due to have either a dry humid day up to 24 C, or a 60% chance of thundery showers in the same temperatures. The obvious conclusion is that it is going to feel uncomfortably humid, whatever happens.

Next week, ‘non-essential’ shops are allowed to open. I predict there will be a rush on for hairdressers and barbers, as well as people browsing in gift shops, charity shops, and card shops, just because they can. Not because they actually want to buy anything. The local supermarkets are retaining the same distancing measures and queueing system, and I think that’s a good idea. When Macdonalds reopened last week, the queue for the drive-through brought local traffic to a standstill. Imagine if the restaurant had opened too.

People are craving what they were used to, and will not hesitate to have it once they can. All this talk of the world ‘changing’ becuase of the Coronavirus is just fantasy, I’m afraid. They will jump in their cars, head to the shoppping malls, book holidays abroad on jet planes, pack out any public venues that actually open, and get back to ‘normal’ in a heartbeat, as if nothing had happened.

Don’t believe me? Wait and see.

Ollie’s Badger Hunt

The European Badger is one of the most common large omnivores seen in Britain. They are predominantly nocturnal, and live underground in burrows. In this country, they are mosly seen dead, killed by traffic as they cross the road. In fact I had never seen a live one, until this afternoon.

Livestock farmers hate them, as they are blamed for carrying TB, and infecting cattle. They are routinely trapped and killed here, as well as being gassed in their burrows, which are called ‘Setts’.

As with many wild animals, lack of human activity during the pandemic lockdown has made them bolder, and they have been extending their territories.

Over in the darker wooded section of Hoe Rough this afternoon, Ollie stopped dead, looking across at the undergrowth. I could also hear what had attracted his attention, a loud rustling, accompanied by a snuffling sound. I thought at first it might be another dog, but then a large badger appeared, very much like the one in the photo above.

Ollie had also never seen a badger, but he was instictively off after it, feeling the need to hunt it down. I tried calling him back, as badgers have sharp teeth and claws, so could have given my dog an injury. I also didn’t want Ollie to hurt the animal. But he was having none of it, and was circling the dense area of overgrown bracken where the badger had gone to ground. Luckily, he got bored (and too hot) soon enough, and Ollie’s first badger hunt was over.

Until the next time.

Your Dog Online: Usual Muttwits

The Usual Muttwits site may well feature your very own canine pal on their ‘Most Wanted’ page!
Dogs tails from Westley Piddle
Just follow the instructions below, and your favourite doggy pal may well become a blogging star!

Who likes Muttwits? You do, of course – but wouldn’t it be great if you could see your very own muttwit on

Introducing the Usual Muttwits Most Wanted page of all your furry besties!

Simply trot over to the Usual Muttwits Facebook page, or go direct to and upload a sharply-focused Muttshot of your sharp-looking doggy (together with name, age and breed, plus a few words on personality) and we’ll share on our new sub-page.

Every month Zozo will choose a few Muttshots and draw them. Some may even trot into upcoming stories…

Blog Feature: Usual Muttwits

Some readers may recall a blog started by one of my oldest friends, Julian. It was full of amusing stories about the doggy residents of an imaginary town, and their feline arch-enemy. Well that blog has been revamped, and now has great new illustrations by Zozo alongside the amusing stories.

Each character now has their own feature too, with the drawings summing them up perfectly.

Whether lamenting about the lack of available food, or investigating new canine arrivals, the antics of the Muttwits gang reads like a wonderful soap opera of the activities of all the pets in the town of Westley Piddle. If you own a dog, have ever owned one, or just love them, I am sure you will find this blog a delight. There is also a book in the works.
Dogs tails from Westley Piddle

So check out this new blog, treat yourself to some great illustrations, and a good laugh at the stories. Perfect Lockdown relief!

More photos of Ollie

Another old photo post from 2015, once again for the benefit of new followers. Ollie is featured this time.


After the photo post recently, some of you asked to see more of Ollie. So here he is.

A rear view, walking in the woods. Not his best angle.

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By the new bench on the riverbank. (The bench is for Jude…)

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In the river again.

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Looking along the meadow, hoping to spot a friend.

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As with the others, all the large files can be viewed if you click the photo. And they can be enlarged from those too, for fine detail. I hope that you enjoy these shots of my canine companion.

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Ollie: Moving on video!

I took my newish smartphone out today, intending to try it out with photos of Ollie. However, the sunlight was reflecting off the screen, and I couldn’t see anything. So I pressed the video button instead, and these are the results. I couldn’t see any of the function buttons, so they are straight video captures in portrait format. But at long last you finally get to see Ollie moving! They are all very short clips, uploaded to You Tube.

**Select fullscreen for a better viewing experience**

Ollie on Beetley Meadows.

Ollie in the river, with old friends Maggie and Giggs.

Meeting up with Maggie and Giggs.

Over on Hoe Rough, encountering his friend Stanley.

The riverside path on Hoe Rough. He’s heard something!

Back in the river, this time from the other bank.

I was sitting on a fallen tree, and he came to find me.
Look at that stumpy tail wagging!

I hope you enjoyed these. I will try to get better at taking video.


Yes, you read that right. Beetley has been inspired by the spirit of Rio’s Copacabana beach, well at least one tiny part of this small village has.

It’s a nice day today. Blue skies, and sunny. But it’s not that warm, as a chilly easterly wind is keeping down the temperatures. Walking around with Ollie was pleasant enough, but I still needed a light jacket, and rubber boots for the mud.

Halfway down the main path at the centre of Hoe Rough nature reserve, I suddenly noticed someone coming toward me in the distance. It looked to be a young woman, but with the interesting addition of being naked.

At that point, I should have of course done the decent thing, and taken one of the smaller paths to the right, thus avoiding encountering her.

But you can guess that I did no such thing, I’m sure.

As she got closer, I could see that she was actually wearing a (very) pale pink bikini. If you could actually call it that, as it consisted of three small triangles of pink cloth, barely covering her ample assets, which were wobbling like the proverbial jelly-on-a-plate. She was talking on a phone, and using small headphones. Making no effort to avoid me, she continued in the same direction, until I could make out that she was at least wearing something sensible, a pair of stout tennis shoes on her feet.

I moved off the path to allow the requisite Covid-19 social distance of six feet, and even Ollie did a double take as she walked past. The rear section of her swimwear consisted of little more than a pink bootlace, most of which was lodged deeply in the cleft between her buttocks.

I couldn’t help but wonder where she had come from, and where she was going. She had no handbag of any kind, and was not carrying car keys. I can only presume that she must either live nearby, or be staying with someone in Hoe or Beetley. Whatever the answer, she certainly livened up a dog-walk.

And it made a change from spotting Muntjac Deer.

“Find It!”

Any dog owner will probably tell you that their dog understands a lot of what they say to them. All over the world, in any language, dogs can be trained to respond to certain words and phrases, especially if we say them with different intonations and emphasis.

My dog Ollie is no exception, and his understanding of vocabulary can be amazing to see at times.

He knows many familiar words that a dog owner might use on a daily basis, like these.

And some have been adapted for him.
‘Fresh’ (Water)
‘River’ (Going for a walk)
‘Guest’ (Visitors)
‘Baby Guest’ (Children)
‘A Man’ (Deliveries, or the postman)
‘Resting’ (Lie down)

He never took to ‘Sit’ as that was accompanied by a gentle push that he somehow translated into a bad thing. But if I say ‘Rest’ that works. He learned the individual names of most of his favourite toys too, and he knows that ‘Toys’ means all of them, and not just one. He will easily find and bring ‘Lion’, ‘Santa’, ‘Green Frog’, ‘Badger’, ‘Tiger’, and many more.

He also knows his name, so anything prefixed by that name will be immediately understood.
‘Ollie’s Dinner’ means permission to eat it.
‘Ollie’s Car’ means he is going out in the car with me.
‘Ollie’s Bed’ means he has to go to bed now.
‘It’s Ollie’s’ allows him to eat any treat that has been put down for him.

Out on his walks, he is usually very active. But there are times when he is just following me around, sniffing at things. To get him to run about at speed, I discovered the use of ‘Find It!’. This is said with some urgency, and at a low hiss. I often accompany the words with a crouching movement, as if I am looking at something. Then with no idea what it is he is supposed to be finding, he will take off at speed looking for it. It works every time.

I used on on his wet and dull walk today, and he ran around looking for ‘It’ on three occasions.

The things we do for our pets.

Ollie’s First Week

Julie found some more photos of Ollie, from 2012. It was his first week of living with us full-time, and he was just eight weeks old.
They are from an old phone, so not great quality.

He loved that ribbon. It is still in his toy box.

Hoping to play some more.

Getting tired.

Fast asleep under his blanket, on his first dog-bed.