The Real Van Awayday

The lockdown awayday finally happened. The humans had been talking about giving the van a run, the weather was getting interestingly spring-like and from what they were saying, it sounded as if we could have a day out in my van without breaking any of the lockdown rules.

I didn’t need any encouragement to get into my van. I waited until my harness was attached to the strap and belt that secures me safely then I settled down between the front seats, in travel mode. I’d not forgotten what to do.

We drove for a short while, to a place called Anderton Nature Park. It’s part of the Mersey Forest and I’ve been there lots of times before. There are so many places to walk – in woodlands, by the canal, along paths and to the lakes and ponds which are called flashes  (something to do with the salt that’s mined here).

The humans had lunch in my van while I had treats and titbits to tease out of my Kong (it’s a sort of dog puzzle), then we walked for miles. I heard them say it was ok to drive somewhere nearby if you then walked for at least as long as it took you to drive there. Well, we did that alright!

It was a long walk, and they kept stopping, going oooh and aaah at the trees covered in blossom, and at the wild flowers growing. That was sort of ok too because I was able to have a good sniff around while they did this. We saw some other humans with their dogs, but although everyone now seems to stay at a distance, they usually say hello, which is friendly. We dogs, too, only briefly come closer for a quick sniff because all the humans keep them distanced too. It’s a bit different and it seems to be because of this coronavirus thing.

Nothing could have spoiled my day, though. It was wonderful to be in my van again, and although we didn’t go far or have a sleepover in it, I loved being out somewhere different for a change. I hope we can do it again soon.

The Norfolk Terrier Club Fun Day

P1070853

My humans joined the Norfolk Terrier Club of Great Britain so they’d get extra info about my breed and could learn new things about us Norfolks. But I really think it was so I could have a day out and meet lots of other Norfolk terriers at the special Fun Day arranged by the club.

It took place on what was the hottest day last summer, and phew, was it sticky! I needed plenty of shade and lapped up the water they gave me. We had to drive to a place near  Coventry and on the way the humans were making jokes about this not being a good place to be sent to. I didn’t know what they were on about.

When we got there they had some lunch and I chomped up a few sticks of carrot and had a drink. I sat under the table with another couple of Norfolks who were quite friendly. But it was strange, very strange. All the other dogs looked like me, apart from a few who had sticky up pointy ears instead of droopy drop down ears like I have. The pointy-eared dogs were Norwich terriers, and they’re sort of cousins to we Norfolks.

Everyone was friendly. The humans chatted to each other and us dogs sniffed how do you do at nose and tail ends and we were all very well behaved. It was too hot for anything else. After lunch, there were what they called sporting events, like races and dressing up competitions and humans running with their dogs at the same time as holding an egg on a spoon. Weird. Thankfully my humans didn’t show me up by wanting to take part in any of this.

They must have had beauty pageants or something in the morning before we got there, as a lady who was called Judge had a look at me while my humans were chatting to her. It seems she is the owner of my dad. She liked me and said I had wonderful teeth. Well of course I do, the human who feeds me cleans them regularly with delicious liver- flavoured toothpaste.

 

That Dordoggy Place

P1060252

Thought I’d write (through the usual telepathic channel with the human who feeds me) about a place I’ve been to twice now, since I got my pet passport and was allowed to go abroad in my van with my owners. My van was driven on to a train (don’t know what that is) but when they drove the van off the train I noticed it all smelt a bit different somehow. We weren’t where we ususally live, we were in France.

I did have a great time there on holiday. I was still a young pup, 8 months old, so it was all a bit new. We went there again last year, on a train (again), and after we’d travelled around a bit we ended up at the same campsite we’d been to last time.

It was in a place called the Dordoggy. I’m sure it’s called that. It’s such a great place where we stay, perfect for dogs – near the river where there are great walks, near the hills where there are great walks in the woods – and my humans seem quite happy to stay there for a bit and do nothing much. They seem to lounge around, and eat and drink that wine stuff and swim and read books and generally have a nice relaxing time.

P1060194But I have no idea why it’s called Dordoggy. Would that be because there are other dogs there and all of them are friendly? I met two HUGE dogs one day when we walked by the river. They were Dogues de Bordeaux, with crinkly folded up faces, and they were very friendly and gentle even though they towered over me. And on a walk in the hills I met a friendly local dog called Luna, who  trotted along beside me all the way back to the campsite.

But why is this place called the Dordoggy?

Editor’s note: As the one who telepathically channels the thoughts of Bosworth, I can answer that question. When I was teaching, working with a class doing geography, they worked in small groups using a map of France to find the names of as many rivers as they could. One boy asked,  “Miss, what’s this Dordoggy place?” and the name has just stuck on our household.

The Campervan Awayday

P1080586

Let’s get this straight. It wasn’t an away DAY at all – oh no – we didn’t go anywhere as we just stayed on the drive. And it was an afternoon, not a full day. But in these lockdown days we have to be grateful for small blessings and tasty snippets of pleasure.

The human who feeds me decided that as it was warm and sunny, she’d get busy and would give my van a bit of a clean, so she took herself off outside to the front of the house, equipped with that noisy thing called a Dustbuster (the one I like chasing and barking at), and did things like cleaning the van’s fridge, washing the floor in the kitchen area and getting the mucky bits off the carpets and cab mats which had been there since we went away for a short break in February (ah, those were the days…).

Anyway, once it was a tad tidier and the cushions had been plumped up (I notice these things), she invited me to come and join her in my van. Well, I jumped at the chance when I heard the words “Bozzy in the van?” as I thought we might actually be going somewhere. But no, it was what she called an Awayday, so we stayed on the drive with the big sliding door open so the sun could stream in, and – best of all – she’d packed my ruffle snuffle mat with goodies so I could have a nuzzle in that and search out tasty titbits.

She sat in there with me. She’d carried a drink and biscuit to my van, put  her feet up on the long bench sofa and soaked up the sun while I snuffled and found the treats. Then I settled down by the open door to see what was going on outside.

To be honest, not much was going on at at all. I had a great view of the car and the small front lawn and that was about it. But I enjoyed being there. It was peaceful and the birds were singing (quite nicely too), and all in all I’d be up for doing this awayday lark again.

Especially if I get treats!

Campervan dreaming

P1034487I’ve already written something about how different everything is at home right now – ever since my humans came back early from visiting the family in Houston – and although they’ve been back nearly three weeks, I’ve noticed that:

1) we don’t go out in the car (not my favourite mode of transport I have to say) but there it sits on the drive.

2) we don’t go out in the ‘van, which they think is theirs, but it’s actually mine, and it’s by far my preferred mode of transport, because it takes me on holiday to lots of new and interesting places. Yet there it sits on the drive as well.

So I’m going to indulge in a spot of campervan dreaming and reminiscing while I sniff around the garden, sit in the sunshine, and have the odd snooze before my one big walk of the day.

We went to a place called Aachen during our big holiday last year. It’s in Germany and there was a distinct smell of delicious sausages in the air. Nice. We left my van on the campsite and got the bus into the town, but that wasn’t nice at all. I’ve been on a few buses before but this one was hot and crowded and I had to sit on the lap of the human who feeds me. The other human had to stand as there were no spare seats.

When we got off we started to walk towards the cathedral (my humans like visiting these wherever we go). As we walked towards it there was the most almighty revolting STINK of bad eggs. I sneezed and twitched and tried to get away from it; it was driving me crazy it was so nasty. I didn’t know that Aachen had natural springs with healing waters. Healing? Puke-making more like for dogs!

We reached the cathedral but it was a “no dogs” place so my humans took it in turns to go in and stay with me. That wasn’t too bad though because I met another Norfolk terrier – a German-speaking one – but we managed to communicate using our noses. Then we walked around the town looking at some of the many fountains and statues there. Thankfully the water in the fountains didn’t stink and I was quite interested in one of these in particular.

And we walked back to my van at the campsite rather than get on the bus again. I was rather pleased about that because there were lots of new smells along the way so all in all it was a good day out, and something cheerful to remember.

Things are a bit odd right now…

20200325_102735

Since my humans came back from staying with the family and the grandchildren in Texas (they left me with Uncle Steve and Auntie Donna and I had a good time), I must say that things have been just a bit odd. You know, not quite like they were before they went away.

There’s nothing wrong with the house and garden and the humans are as doting and loving and as slavishly attentive as they ever were, but the daily routine seems to have changed a bit. I put a few thoughts about this on my blog last week – take a look here –  but this new sort of routine seems to be everywhere.

Yes, it’s quiet and the streets and green spaces we walk on in the dark of night are all empty. They’re doing something they call isolation for 14 days as they flew back home in a plane, so we’re not seeing anyone. They might chat on the phone, or talk across the garden fence or open a window to say hello to the neighbours. The best bit is when they do the Skype thing with the family and I go crazy because I recognise all their voices and their faces and I want to get a look in on the screen too.

The other good bit about this slightly odd pattern of the days is all the singing and music which the human who feeds me does. On screen, there are people going “la la la” and singing funny warm up songs like “My dog he can do the can-can” (as if!) and some stretching and body wiggling before they sing a song. This happens every single day!  I quite like that because I’m allowed to sit at the laptop and watch.

Then there’s the crazy 15 minutes of jumping and stretching and hopping and push ups they both do every morning with the on-line PE coach. I just sit there and watch while they laugh and leap about and then have a cup of coffee when it’s finished.

This morning they got out the fluffy duster on a stick and let me chase it around in circles for my workout and that was good. I wonder how long this will go on for though….

Not going out (much)

P1060093

I’ve been away on my hols, staying with Uncle Steve and Auntie Donna who do home-from-home dog care at their house when my humans go somewhere they can’t take me. They’ve been to visit the family and grandchildren who live in Texas and I’ve stayed put in the UK, being well looked after.

I thought I’d be there for a while, like I usually am if they go to the US, but no, they’ve come back a lot sooner and I’ve sort of got an idea of why. This nasty virus that’s taken over normal, everyday life all over the world meant my humans had to come home early so they didn’t get marooned in the US with no way to get back home. You can read more about it here as they’ve written about it on their own blogs.

So here I am, back home, and yes it’s great to be back even though I had a good – short – holiday. I’ve already had another go at getting through that tiny space they blocked up in the corner of the garden. Hmmm….still can’t get through it to see next door’s cat who sits every day on the upstairs windowsill looking out at me.

And things have changed a bit. Our daily routine is different. We used to go out a few times a day for a short walk in the morning and evening and a long walk in the afternoon. But the humans have been told to stay at home and not go out much so that the virus doesn’t spread.

Now I’m happy to do my bit and not have so many walks – and that’s fine because I count myself as very lucky to have a nice garden to sit in, walk and run in, sniff in, dig in (a bit!) and watch the birds. They play with me and I get one big walk a day at the moment with my humans. They take me out late at night when it’s quiet – very quiet too, with no-one about and the streets are empty – so if feels as if we have the whole town to ourselves. A bit spooky and eerie really, but kind of different too.

In these weird, strange times, it’s what we all have to do. So:

  • we’re not going out (much) – once a day is what we’re allowed for exercise
  • if we see anyone when we’re out, we’re keeping at least 2 metres away from them – further if we can – as we may be shedding the virus ourselves without knowing it (dogs don’t do this and are not carriers)
  • we’re staying indoors/in the garden to support the efforts to get this virus under control

A dog’s eyeview

P1034807Ok, so this isn’t the best of pics and I’m not even sure if this is my best side, but it gives a good idea of what I see when I’m happily travelling in my campervan with my humans. It’s a bit messy really with newspaper on the floor and boots, but it was muddy where we were and I was told quite firmly to stay until my paws had dried off a bit.

You see, we had a short holiday in the really wet and horrible weather, but there were mostly dry days with lots of rain overnight. That meant I got wet every time I went out even if it wasn’t raining, because the ground was soggy, I’ve got rather short legs, and my underbelly gets muddy too. But the humans have a thing they call a doggybag and they zip me into it when I’m wet and I come out mostly dry. All the grit and dirt and muck fall off into the doggybag and once I got used to it, I really didn’t mind having to sit still in it, or lie down it, because I was clean and nearly dry when I got out.

When we’re in my campervan this all works quite well, especially as I get a few treats while I’m drying.

What’s interesting here though is what I can see in the van. That one down at the end, with her back turned, is getting food ready. That’s where the cooking goes on, but it might be food for me too, and my food is kept in one of those cupboards. So I’m staying put as told, and drying off. And hoping for food……

Winter camping

I went away recently with my two humans, for a few days in my motorhome. Camping at this time of year – February, wet, stormy, windy – is perhaps not the best but it’s sometimes good to get away and see new places. Or in my case, smell new smells. And the van is one of my most favourite places to be.

We stayed in a place called Rutland, on a campsite which had plenty of space to walk around and it had a dog walk too, in a wood. But it was muddy, very muddy, and every time we went out I had to go through that rubbing and cleaning of my paws when we came back in.

We went to a place they called Rutland Water to look at birds. Boy was it muddy there! I couldn’t go into part of it as it wasn’t dog-friendly, but there is another place in the bird reseve that is OK for dogs. We didn’t go there because my humans had enough of the mud they had to walk through to get to the bird hides. I stayed in my van, in the warm, and they walked me around the parking area and along the road nearby. Needless to say, it was wet and muddy. I think I came off best when I saw what was on their walking boots!

We went to a town called Oakham, which was very dog-friendly. I was welcomed into the Castle area and the old building which was a sort of museum with masses of horseshoes all over the walls.

The best bit of the winter camping trip was a visit to a huge country park with a massive posh house. It was called Burleigh House but it was closed (there were signs saying No Dogs so I couldn’t go in anyway) and we walked in the grounds. It was very windy and cold and I wore my fleece onesie, which keeps me dry and warm and clean.

P1080369 (2)

That ditch ha-ha thing & me in my onesie

We walked past the big house which had a ditch thing all around it. My humans said it was a ha-ha. I thought they were laughing or something.

We also went to the nearby big town called Stamford, which my humans seemed to like quite a lot. I suppose it was quite a nice place as I was allowed to go in everywhere. There are several churches there which I could go in as they were dog-friendly too.

What a difference it makes to find so many dog-friendly places to go to when we visit somewhere new in my van.

The Joy of Sticks

P1060684

There’s nothing quite like finding a good stick and carrying it around for a bit, or even bringing it home.

This is one I found on a beach in a place called Rhyl last year. I’d not been on many beaches then, and I sniffed about a lot, finding all manner of interesting scents and things to pick up. But this stick was the best.

To be honest, I’m not too keen on running after sticks and chasing them, I just like to carry them around. I prefer chasing after a ball to bring back, but if I find a stick I hang on to it. It’s mine!

Today there was an almighty windy storm, with buckets of rain coming down, so when the weather cleared up a bit, we all went out for a walk and there were sticks everywhere, all over the ground. I think they’d fallen off the trees. Well, I didn’t know which way to turn, there was so much choice, but I found a nice chunky one to carry home.

When we got to the house I was rather proud of myself as I showed good manners and training and dropped it in the front garden. I’ve been told off for bringing sticks into the house and chewing them, but this time I remembered what to do. And I was praised for it too.

It’s best to supervise dogs with sticks as they can be dangerous, splintering in the mouth as they’re chewed, and they’re also a choking hazard.