Looking at lots of Vans

I‘ve been on holiday in my van with my humans. We went to a place called Devon and did lots of walking. Across fields and on paths near the sea, up hills, down hills, up more hills, on beaches…..it was great going but I wasn’t the only one who was tired at the end of the walks. They were tired too and sometimes it seemed to take ages to get back to my van for a rest and a snooze and some chill out time.

One day we went to a place where there were lots of vans, just like mine. We were there for a long time, getting in and out of vans, looking at them, opening cupboards, rolling out the bed and lying on it (well, I didn’t lie on it, they did). It took ages and there was a whole lot of chat and talk going on too.

I don’t really know what it was all about because every one of  the vans looked pretty good to me, and I settled down in each one we went in straight away, either in the place between the seats where I travel, or at the door. It’s a good lookout position and I can check out everything that’s going on.

Well, not much did go on for a while then all of a sudden, we changed vans (again!) and went for a drive in one of them. We didn’t go very far and when we stopped I thought we’d be somewhere different. But no – we were back at the place with all the vans again. I must confess I was a bit puzzled, but everyone was friendly to me and I said one of my special “hello’s”  to the person they were talking to who seemed to know all about the vans.

At last we set off somewhere else in my van, and left all the other vans where they were.

P1090058P1090064

We went to a beach and yes! I got to run on it and I even paddled in one of the big pools with rocks in it. That was delicious!

Hmmmm….then a few days later (after more walks and beaches and so on) we went back to the van place again. This time we had aother ride in another van, and we weren’t there for quite so long. But there seemed to a bit of choosing of colours and floor coverings and things. Sounded like we were probably going to get a new van because they even fetched my bed from my van to see if it fitted in ok.

Frankly, it was all a bit boring but I snoozed my way through it as I’d been there before, then we set off for home. If they do get another van I know it will be almost like my current one, and it will obviously be mine because it will feel like home, even if it is new.

Beach bum

P1080857 (2)

Life has been great just lately as I’ve been on lots of beaches.

First of all we had a day out in my campervan (that was before we were allowed to stay away from home in this lockdown thing) and we went to a beach. There were a lot of statues of the same person scattered about on the beach and I went to take a closer look – and sniff – at some of them, and I had a race across the sand with my human who does “School” games with me.

Then, oh bliss, a couple of weeks later we went away in my van for two nights. The campsites were open again and people could take their vans and sleep in them and have a proper few days away without having to go home. We went to a place called Wirral (sounds like “squirrel” but I didn’t see any). I’d noticed my bed was waiting in the hall to be packed so I knew we were going to stay in my van – at long last!P1080844

We had walks in the country park nearby, and on the beaches. I loved it as I met other dogs, and I found plenty of interesting things to sniff and explore and all the while I had that exciting feeling of sand between my pads.

Now we’re back at home and all I keep thinking is “When can we go again….?” Please…

The Buttercup Path

P1080703

“Shall we go for coffee? Have walk earlier as it’s going to be hot today?” one of the humans said.

“Yes, good idea,” said the other one, “set off early and walk before it gets too hot for him.” (“him” being me – they do think of me walking in warm weather and usually take me out when it’s cooler, in the morning and evening.

I wasn’t going to hide away and seem reluctant to go because I heard them say we were taking my campervan for another run, and off we set to the nearby nature park, forest and canal (we got lost in the woods there last time we went).

On the way, the human who was driving suddenly remembered he’d not packed the jar of coffee into the bag we took. We had hot and cold water, milk, biscuits (for them and me), but no coffee? They decided it wasn’t a disaster, they’d drink hot water (uh?!?) but when we arrived they found some tea bags in a cupboard in my van, so all was fine. They usually keep the van supplies topped up, but with the lockdown, and not being able to go away and stay in it, there are only a few basics in the cubpoards for the time being.

Walking in the sunshine through fields full of buttercups and long grasses was quite delightful. Most of the buttercups and grasses were taller than me, and there were buttercups everywhere.

I saw a few dogs and had a bit of a play, people said hello and everyone was doing the proper social distancing thing they all are supposed to do now. The paths we followed took us through the woods where it was shady, and as we walked back by the canal there was one boat puttering along. The driver (not sure what you call boat drivers) said hello, what a wonderful day it was.

All very friendly. Nice morning out, and now it’s snooze time.

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 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.

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.

Sunny, frosty Southport

We went to Southport me aP1080297nd my humans, in my campervan, and stayed overnight on a campsite we’ve been to before. It was sunny and cold, with this chilly white stuff they call frost covering the grass in the morning. The puddles were all hard with ice but it didn’t stop me from enjoying walks and exploring a very nice park with a big lake.

There were ducks and pigeons, and as I’ve recently got ino bird watching I sat still and watched a crowd of these feeding on food put down for them by someone. I’d have loved to have got closer to them, especially the pigeons as I see these in my garden, but I was held quite firmly on my lead and couldn’t budge.

The park (it was the Botanic Gardens – Ed) was dog-friendly and there were notices showing where dogs had to be on leads. In some parts – the wilder rougher parts, which I liked – dogs were allowed off leads.

The humans seemed to like this place quite a lot so here are a couple of photos of it in the sunshine. But blimey, it was a bit chilly though.

Going birdwatching

In my last post I talked about watching birds in the garden, quite an absorbing activity in itself. I have to sit very still, then if one of them flies over me, or lands on the ground, I rush after it. They always get away.

But we went proper birdwatching yesterday, me and my humans. We went to a place called Parkgate, on the Dee estuary and close to somewhere called Wales. You could see big hills in the distance. It was called a raptor watch, which I suppose means you watch out for raptors. I didn’t have a clue what raptors were, but I heard people talking about an owl, which was flying about. Everyone got those funny binocular things up to their faces to watch it, and lots of people were smiling.

They all got excited again when somneone said there was a hen harrier flying along in the distance, I couldn’t see a thing, but it seems they saw a male and a female hen harrier. The human who feeds me was quite excited when she had a good view of the female, and she spotted the male before some of the other people did, and told them where to look.

It was all a bit over my head (like the birds…) so I hung about watching the bird watchers and eyeing another terrier there who was also on a lead. We had a bit of a brief bark off then pretended not to notice each other. It was cold as the sun went down so we had a brisk walk back to my motorvan, which we’d travelled there in. I had a drink and some treats then we all came home.

RSPB Burton Mere organise a monthly raptor watch at the Old Baths area at Parkgate, near Neston on the Wirral.