Ollie’s Sad/Happy walk

I took Ollie out earlier today, hoping to take advantage of the sunshine while it lasted. With full darkness by around 4 pm now, it makes sense to be out long before that.

It was a crisp and cold day, with bright sunshine that was uncomfortable to look into. It had also stirred up some insects, and four bites on my head later, I was beginning to regret my decision.

Ollie wasn’t too happy either, as there was nobody else around. With no other dogs to greet and sniff, he had to resort to sniffing anything left behind by the early-morning dogs, those taken out before their owners leave for work. It was sad to see him looking decidedly fed up after almost an hour of us being the only two on the usual route.

He was staring along the path that leads to each of the three entrances, his concentration intent, no doubt hoping to spot a canine pal arriving. But to no avail. As we headed home, he plodded along reluctantly behind me, making me feel extra guilty for leaving home forty-five minutes earlier that usual.

Suddenly, his head shot up, and he started into the distance. I looked in that direction, and could see a dog running for a ball a long way off. Ollie wasn’t waiting for permission, and took off like a rocket. When I finally caught up with him, I saw he was wth our next door neighbour, and her dog Henry. She was accompanied by a friend with a small Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and both dogs were chasing balls as if their lives depended on it.

Although Ollie has no interest in the balls, he ran alongside each dog as they chased them, and kept that up for at least fifteen minutes. Then a lady arrived with a large white Retriever that Ollie loves, and he scooted off to see that big dog, yelping with delight.

I felt vindicated. His sad walk had turned into a happy one, and he got some great exercise into the bargain.

Ollie Changes The Rules

Last week, for the first time in eight years, Ollie started to refuse to eat his dinner at the usual time of 5 pm. Every day since the spring of 2012, he knew it was dinnertime around five, and would be ready and waiting to gulp it down.

But not anymore.

At first, we were worried that he might be unwell. But he still enjoyed his midday treat, and his late evening Bonio biscuit. After throwing away his dinner on three occasions, I decided to try something.

When we get back from his walk at around 3 pm, he often eats some of the dry pellets left over from the previous evening. The exercise and fresh air obviously gives him an appetite when he gets home.

So I gave him his dinner at 2:45 the next day, and he ate the lot as if he had never seen food before. So now he is fed as soon as we get back from his walk, and he has been eating everything.

By changing his behaviour, Ollie changed the rules to suit himself.

Ollie’s Sister

Last week, we heard the sad news that one of Ollie’s sisters had to be put to sleep, after suffering acute kidney failure.

I don’t have a photo of Milly, but she was identical to Ollie in every way, as the only other brown pup in the litter. She was somewhat smaller than him physically, but otherwise they were impossible to tell apart facially.

The lady who had Milly lived in our nearest town, and a few years ago, she brought her to see us. Ollie seemed to know her instinctively, licking her face, and sticking close by her side.

He doesn’t know she has gone of course, but it made us feel so very sad.

RIP lovely Milly. 2012-2020.

Ollie And The Cows

For a while now, we have been unable to venture onto Hoe Rough, as the Wildlife Trust wardens are allowing a small herd of cattle to graze there.

One of them in particular doesn’t seem to like dogs, and gave us the ‘evil eye’ when I fist noticed the cows there.

It was a lot like this one.

Now Ollie pays no attention to cows, but they certainly pay attention to him. That means I have to walk extra circuits of Beetley Meadows instead of going to Hoe Rough. Ollie doesn’t mind that at all, even though I find it boring.

But the cows are still watching…

Earlier today, i spotted the big black and white one staring at us from across the river. It carried on looking at us until we rounded a bend and were out of sight.

I will be pleased when they are back on the farm.

Zombie Pete

Still no news about my Covid test results. I have been refreshing my email screen every ten minutes since yesterday morning, but the queue must be too big for the fast service that Julie received whe she was tested.

Meanwhile, I live life in limbo, like the undead in books about Zombies.

I am not supposed to go out until I know the test result. Julie is not allowed out either, which means she is unable to go to work until we know either way.
If it comes back positive, we wil have another fourteen days like this.

I have to take Ollie out. I cannot ask anyone else to do that, as I am not supposed to contact the neighbours. So I head over to Beetley Meadows, scan for any other dog-walkers, and head in the opposite direction. If anyone spots me and comes my way, I wave at them to turn back. They obviously know why I am doing that, as they immediately turn around or go in another direction.

Whatever is wrong with me is still making it hard to get a decent sleep. After going to bed early, I was awake at five, then struggled to get back to sleep again. I didn’t wake up until 10:45, and stumbled into the unexpected sunshine feeling like the day had already passed me by.

Once back after taking Ollie out, I have no energy to deal with anything around the house, and the afternoon and evening seems to drag, with me wondering how early is ‘too early’ to go to bed. I had been trying to watch films to while away the time, but even that lost its appeal. I get up, walk into another room, stand there for a while, and walk back again.

I hope this is all resolved soon. It’s a strange way to live, and I don’t like it.

Back, but not quite

I returned from the short holiday yesterday, and I am happy to report that it was a success. It didn’t rain, and it was bright and sunny every day until Friday, when it turned cool in a strong sea breeze. In fact, the small ‘cabin’ was so nice, I have booked it again for the same week next year. Let’s hope I am still around to enjoy it!

Unfortunately, I am not able to keep up with any blog posts that arrived while I was away, and have had to delete all the notifications in a very packed email folder. I wil do my best to start from scratch next Monday. Next week I will also compile all the parts of the last serial, ‘Vera’s Life’, into one complete story.

The dining area floor is being laid from tomorrow, so I have a couple of days of disruption to deal with first.

Ollie.

Ollie adjusted well to the change. He particularly enjoyed the good-sized porch, which enabled him to watch the world go by in the hotel garden. Almost everyone had a dog, and that gave him some canine friends to check out too. Once his bed was placed outside on that porch, he would happily lay on it all day, just watching the comings and goings. Anyone interested in seeing what they are like can use this photo gallery link.
https://www.bacchushotel.co.uk/gallery.php?gallery_category=log_cabins
However, his lack of energy and vitality is becoming increasingly apparent every day now. A three-mile walk on a warm day along the seafront to the next town of Mablethorpe almost wiped him out, and we had to bring him back on a bus. His first bus journey!

These photos taken on a phone show him looking his age, and upset me greatly.

From now on, his regular walks are going to have to be a lot shorter, and he will be in need of more attention and affection.

As for me, the break made me realise just how much time I spend blogging, to the detriment of everything else I should be doing. I am rethinking my future about blogging, and may be posting considerably less in the weeks to come.

Best wishes to all, Pete.

September Thoughts

Two days into the official autumn season, and I am feeling rather autumnal in mood. It has been a very strange year for everyone, almost as if it didn’t exist, and were living in some kind of limbo between last Christmas and the start of 2021.

Now it seems that this new way of living will have to continue well into the new year, and will probably be the way we all have to live for the foreseeable future. Like it or not, life has changed for all of us, and will almost certainly never be the same again. And we have yet to face the inevitable economic backlash of the lost jobs, closed-down businesses, and repaying the astronomical government debts incurred.

Not wishing to sound too gloomy, I feel the worst is yet to come.

I haven’t been anywhere further than thirty miles away since the second week of March. Living in a small village like Beetley may have been instrumental in saving me from contracting the virus, but I have gone a little stir-crazy stuck in the village, with an occasional trip to the nearby town. A change of scene is required, and with that in mind, I will not be around next week.

Ollie goes to the groomer tomorrow. He will have his moulting fur dealt with, a nice bath, and his nails clipped. That should make him feel better after all he endured during the hot spell of weather.

The mornings are cold now, and I have put the duvet back on the bed to cope with chillier nights.

People are already talking about Christmas, and how different the usual celebrations will have to be.

I doubt there is anyone who will be sorry to say goodbye to 2020.

Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Rain in Summer.

After a hotter than usual summer, it started to get colder during last week. That was unexpected for the end of August, when it is normally hot and humid.

Then almost thirty-six hours ago, it started to rain.

It went from an annoying drizzle to a full-blown downpour, and then it didn’t stop. The rest of that day, all that night, and all day yesterday it kept pouring down. The noise of the rain was increased by a strong wind lashing it against the house, and against me and Ollie when we were out on his dog-walk too.

Any idea that it was still the end of the summer was banished by the dark skies and constant hammering of the rain.

By late last night, I really had reached the end of my tether with it, and my mood was very low. Weather like that makes me feel trapped in the house, almost claustrophobic, and following the freedom of that earlier warm and dry weather, it was even more depressing.

By the time I went to bed, I lay there listening to the rain hitting the window for the second night, and even before I got off to sleep, I was dreading getting up to another day of it today.

I write a lot about rain on this blog, mainly because having to go out for a long time every day with Ollie has focused my attention on extremes of weather like never before in my life. Some people like rain. Others say things like ‘it’s good for the garden’. People who live in hot dry countries welcome rain with excitement, even festivals.

But I actually hate rain now. I never want to see it, hear it, or feel wet from it one more day in my life. If it never rained again here I wouldn’t mind. I would be very happy in fact. The past eight years of my life have been dominated by rain. Flooding in outbuildings, problems with guttering, and the constant daily soakings every time I went out with Ollie. Dealing with mud, trying to get a saturated dog dry enough to go back into the house, and stripping off clothes that got wet despite investment in expensive ‘waterproof’ outer clothing.

If you only ever experience rain by looking at it through the windows of your house and car, try to imagine being out walking around in it every day, seven days a week.

But it has finally stopped.

At least for now.