Ollie Emergency!

After finishing his course of antibiotics and steroids yesterday, Ollie’s skin was clearing up nicely. But something else was happening. He was beginning to pant a great deal, and seemed to be out of breath after not much exertion. Late last night, that started to get much worse and his respiratory rate increased to over 80 per minute around four times faster than it should be. By 2 AM, he was getting visibly distressed, so the Emergency Vet was called. After telling her the symptoms, she agreed to travel to the surgery in Swaffham, and told us to meet her there.

Luckily there is little traffic at that time of the morning around here, so the journey was quick and easy. With social distancing still operating, she met us in the car park and took Ollie inside to examine him. It was a worrying wait, but when she came back with him she looked relatively unconcerned. She suspected he might be carrying too much fluid from the recent infection, and had given him an injection of Furosemide to make him urinate more often, as well as booster injections of both antibiotics and steroids in case the rapid breathing was caused by a chest infection. There were lots of tablets to take home with us too.

By the time we got home it was close to 4 AM, and time to try to get some sleep. This morning, Ollie is very tired and his breathing is a lot slower, if not quite back to normal. It was the first time since we got Ollie that we have had to use an emergency Vet in the middle of the night.

I hope it’s the last.

Walking Away From The Weather

I left in bright sunshine with Ollie for our walk earlier. It had been grey and dismal when I got up this morning, so I thought to take an umbrella, just in case.

Sure enough, I hadn’t got 500 yards before the heavens opened in a torrential downpour. In the distance, I could see blue skies and no clouds at all, so I headed in search of that spot, which I guessed was around two miles south of Beetley. I had some idea I could walk away from the weather here. But like the proverbial distant mountain, it was a lot further away than it looked, and after an hour of walking, the rain had worn us down.

Even with an umbrella up, my clothes were soaked through, and the water was running off my saturated shorts down into the tops of the wellington boots I was wearing because of the mud. Ollie’s brown fur was so wet, it looked black, and he didn’t seem very excited about being out at all. I turned back in the direction of Beetley Meadows as the rain started to get even heavier, and I didn’t look over my shoulder at that blue cloudless sky that was mocking me.

By the time we got close to home, Ollie was already heading for the exit to the Meadows, head down, and not interested in walking in the rain any longer. Even using all three of his dog towels, I couldn’t get him completely dry, and my shorts are in the airing cupbard, drying slowly with the heat from the hot water tank. I came into the office to check the date on my calendar.
Yes, it is the 10th of July.

England, in the height of summer.

The Lakes: Pete and Ollie

The last reblog of the 2016 trip to the Lake District. My friend Antony took these photos of me and Ollie as we got to the top of a long hike. You can see how tired I look! Reblogged for new followers, and please enlarge them on the original post for the best effect.


All photos are large files, and can be clicked on for detail.

Antony has kindly sent some of the many photos he took of myself and Ollie. I know that most of you love to see Ollie, so I have overcome the embarrassment of seeing myself looking worn out, to show you a selection.

Head down, determined to get to the top.

We made it to the gate!

A well-earned rest.

I hope that you enjoy these extra photos. I am sure that you will agree that Antony excelled himself with these.

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Grasmere: The last day

The last photos I took on that 2016 trip, reblogged for new followers. Please enlarge them on the original post for the best effect.


All photos are large files, and can be clicked on for detail.

Grasmere is a picture-perfect village in the centre of the Lake District. It has famous literary associations, not least with the poet William Wordsworth. He lived in the village for many years, and is buried in the churchyard of St Oswald’s. Other famous writers known to have stayed there include Sir Walter Scott, Thomas de Quincy, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This has all led to the village being very popular with tourists, as well as making house prices unaffordable for most people. There is also the small lake of Grasmere nearby, which we did not go to on that occasion.

Because of all the aforementioned tourists, I didn’t bother to take any photos of the village. Anyone interested in seeing or learning more about the place can follow this Wikipedia link, or search Google images. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grasmere

We were…

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Ollie’s Skin: The Saga Continues

So many times I have written on this blog about the skin conditions afflicting my poor dog, Ollie. After the last bout cleared up, the fur grew back slowly. But by the end of March, he was looking pretty good. Good enough for other dog-walkers to remark on how well he was looking, and how shiny his coat was.

Then the weather warmed up in May, and he started to moult. Nothing excessive, and to be expected. Just a lot more of his shed fur collected in the vacuum claner. Two weeks ago, he started to smell rather ‘doggy’, and I thought about booking him in for a bath at the groomer’s by the end of June. But while the tiling was being done, I wanted to stay around the house.

Then last week, we got the real mini-heatwave I have mentioned. Ollie started to scratch a lot, and I noticed the fur that had grown back had fallen out again, leaving bald patches of inflamed skin. So today, he had to go back to the Vet yet again.

They have a new procedure for Covid-19 safety, whereby no customers are allowed inside the large building. You telephone on arrival, and let them know you are there. Then a Vet comes to inspect the dog in your car, or outside it, before deciding whether or not he has to take your dog (or cat, or whatever) back inside for treatment. In Ollie’s case, the regular Vet knows him well, and carried out a car-park examination while Ollie stayed on his bed at the back of the car.

Allergies and skin infection was diagnosed, as it has been so many times before. He returned with steroid tablets, antibiotic tablets, and the suggestion that we give Ollie a cheap antihistamine tablet every day of the summer months. I had to come home and pay over the telephone, as he wasn’t letting anyone use the card machine, for fear of infection.

Ollie now has two weeks of tablets, twice a day. We already know they make him extra thirsty, and increase his appetite too. So I will give him slightly bigger dinners while he is on them, and make sure to keep his fresh water filled up.

I phoned as requested, to make a card payment over the phone. £160. Pretty hefty, for ten minutes in a car park.

But he is worth it of course.

Ollie And The Water Vole

Out on Hoe Rough this afternoon, Ollie and I were dodging between some heavy downpours. After a welcome sunny break burst through, I was walking back to the gate when I spotted something at the edge of the path, on the side leading down to the river.

No bigger than a cotton reel, and rolled in a ball, it looked to me to be a vole, possibly a very young one too. A closer inspection revealed a thick tail, indicative of a water vole. They are becoming rare now, and are classed as endangered. I have seen adult ones occasionally though, normally swimming quickly to the security of the reed beds at the edges of the small river.

I felt sad, sure it must be dead, and reached down to touch it to make sure. The damp fur felt like velvet, and its body remained motionless. Ollie ran up behind me and sniffed the tiny animal, showing little interest. Suddenly, it moved. That made me step back, but Ollie lunged forward and grabbed it in his mouth as easily as if it was a furry gobstopper. I shouted at him to leave it, and he dropped it back onto the path, giving me a sheepish glance.

The vole scampered off unhurt, hiding in some long grass nearby. Other than a few seconds in a dog’s mouth, he had escaped being a very small snack.

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.

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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At last, some photos

This is another reblogged photo post for the benefit of new followers since 2015. Not much has changed around here in the last five years. 🙂


After the various posts about photos, both recently, and previously, I have finally managed to get some more onto the blog media library. They are not intended to be great examples of photography, far from it. This is not a photography blog, after all. They are in response to numerous requests to see Ollie out and about, and to give some idea of the area of Beetley Meadows, a place that features so regularly in my posts.

The photos were all taken with the new camera, trying it out on the first chance I got. For those of you interested in the technical details, they were shot on Aperture Priority, with f5.6 set on the lens itself. The film simulation mode was set before shooting, using Classic Chrome, a representation of Kodachrome 64, which was an old-style film, discontinued a few years ago. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kodachrome
Various exposure compensation was used, mostly…

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Finally managed some photos

This short post is from 2012, so not that many of you have seen it before. This was the first time I managed to insert photos into a blog post, after many hours of frustrating experiments. Ollie was just nine months old then. He no longer likes to wade in the sea, much preferring freshwater rivers or ponds.

I did something wrong back then, so the photos cannot be enlarged. Sorry.


If you look at the bumper on the front of this car, you will see how we shop for poultry in Beetley!

This is our dog, Ollie, enjoying a refreshing dip in the sea at Holkham.

It has taken me ages tonight, just to work out how to import pictures onto this blog! A sure sign of advancing years. Now I have finally managed to add these two to this post, I am going to call it a night. More to come, when I have the necessary patience. I have even sent out a desperate request to WordPress for advice, so you can ignore it, if you see it.

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