The little patter of tiny feet…

At some point, during the Cornwall camping holiday, it was decided that Robyn needed a companion.

Various companion-types were discussed that may or may not have included an Aardvark, a Tarantula, a Zebra, a Sheep, a Goat, a Piranha (or possibly several), a Boa Constrictor and even a Dinosaur.

All of these were rejected in favour of something more manageable.

Over the next Cornish evening or several, the Internets were scoured, various websites were browsed, enquiries were made and even a couple of phone calls were made.

The day after we returned home, we four humans (still shaking the sand from our toes) journeyed into nearby Derbyshire, where this happened:

Oh no, another Sprocker!

He came home with us that same day.

Counting people

(I am writing this post on my phone, so I’m a slave to autocorrect. Any errors are purely unintentional)


Pupper and I do walkies.

We do big walking in the big big big open spaces.

And we do them off-lead, because pupper is a good girl, doing very well at pupper training classes, and is never more than 3m in front of me or 3m behind.

Pupper and I love our walkies.

What we don’t love so much are some of the people we meet on our walkies.

But not all of them, because some of them are lovely.

Like Sue, for example, who runs our pupper training classes.

Sue always stops for a chat, even though she’s wrangling three grown-up dogs of her own.

She says nice things like ‘I wouldn’t have believed this was the same puppy you had in class last week.’

At least I think that’s meant in a nice way.

But then there are the other people.

Some of them are real counts.

They can be rude. They can be obnoxious. And they can always be total counts.

This morning (it was 6am when the pupper and I encountered her, so perhaps she’s always a really grumpy teat with a face like a slapped arsenal) we turned a corner in the field and encountered one such count.

She said, ‘Don’t pick him up, you’re only teaching him to be frightened of other dogs.’

What a duck.

The reason I picked HER up was because the grumpy old teat had no control over her own off-lead dog, that was tracking pupper like a Rapier missile rangefinder.

If I wanted the pupper to socialise (which she does very well, with the other puppers, at pupper training class, I would have said ‘By jove, you’re right. I should just let your out of control dog do what it wants with our three-month old pupper. You are indeed a wise and wonderful woman!’

Except she certainly wasn’t wise, obvs.

But why would she even think that me protecting the pupper from a dog I hadn’t seen before, an off-lead dog, and an off-lead dog that was ignoring every single voice command from the woman, would be a bad thing?

Bad for whom?

Bad for the pupper? (if so, please explain in no less than 550 words and give an example of howso)

Then there was the other fat old count, a few days ago, who had an off-lead dog called Tess.

Tess was an expert at ignoring voice commands.

The fat old count’s ‘Oh leave it alone Tess’ (where ‘it’ is our pupper, who was the target of Tess, bearing down on her like a locked-on Exocet missile) was studiously ignored.

Until I stepped between Tess and the pupper.

At that point the fat old count said ‘Come on Tess’.

Tess decided, at that point, that continuing with the person she ignored rather than duke it out with me was the better of the two options.

So far these are the only two examples of stupid teats, but both of them managed to take stupidity to a whole new level of countiness.

What a pair of duckheads

Good dogging in East Mids

There has been a lot of dogging going on in these parts lately. And in different dogging formats too.

There’s been the freestyle dogging where we’ve been doing our own thing, like the bunch of dogging rebels that we are.

And then there’s been the more organised group dogging sessions where dogging instructors have been taking us through rewards-based dogging.

Having a puppy has meant lots of changes for us as a household and as individuals.

I can no longer pee standing up. Whenever I do, I get a pointy puppy beak poking between my legs as she tries to climb into the toilet bowl while I’m still peeing.

But when I have a safety wee the puppy comes in the bathroom and keeps guard, in her own way.

I have become adept at brushing my teeth while said puppy dangles from the belt of my bathrobe.

Having a shower has also become a hazardous activity. The first time I thought ‘that feels suspiciously like someone licking my shins’ as I struggled to get the burning Head and Shoulders out of my eyes, came as something of a shock.

That the puppy could climb up the side of the bath and, equally deftly, climb out again afterwards, came as a big surprise.

She has a great affinity with water, as we’re rapidly learning.

I’m becoming used to receiving a puppy wash at 5am, and equally used to having a puppy sit on my shoulder while watching TV in the evenings.

I can no longer go horizontal on the settee – doing so earns me a puppy sitting on my chest and I have to wear it like some kind of badge or honour.

Singing fascinates her. Specifically, me singing fascinates her, but me playing the guitar doesn’t affect her one way or another. That’s just bizarre.

Like proud parents we’ve gone past the ‘having to get up at 1.30am to take her outside for a wee’ stage. Yes, she now goes through the night.

*proud parent face*


The group dogging sessions… well… it’s early days. All we’re hoping for is some manners on the lead and a strongly-learned set of recall and ‘stop that’ rules.

We’re fortunate, there’s a canine training academy in the village, and it’s fair to say we have high hopes of a set of positive outcomes.

She’s got some rough puppy-edges, but every now and then we get a good long look at how we think she’s going to turn out, with some training and careful upbringing.

I think it’s going to be fun. I think she’s going to be fun.

New arrival

Well, she’s here. And she’s been here for six days.

She’s only 9 weeks old, she’s very small (smaller than any of our cats), and she’s very, very cute.

As you can see:

It's a puppy!
It’s a puppy!
It’s a puppy with a ball!

Heart Attack Diary: #2



My neighbour has a dog that barks all day long.

It isn’t continuous.

The dog started barking at 09.15 this morning.

Round about 10.30 it ceased – just long enough for me to hammer the two Popmaster contestants who, unlike me, made it on to Radio 2 – before resuming at 11.15.

Just before noon it stopped barking.

It is now 13.30 and the precious little darling has just started barking again.

The lovely little darling will continue barking, in this fashion, off and on, all afternoon.

There’s nobody home, next door, because they both work.

This asks so many questions.

Who would buy a dog, and leave it alone all day long, while the householders are out at work?

How could anyone even consider this to be a good idea?

And if someone did this thing – and by this I mean if someone had to do this because of a change in circumstances – would you expect them to figure out that the dog would be unhappy, and take action to prevent it?

Especially if a neighbour (that would be me) has told them that their charming little darling barks all day?

Wouldn’t you?

Let’s have some context here.

The neighbours aren’t to know that I’m at home, resting in peace and quiet, after a heart procedure.

But they have been told their dog barks all day.

And they have done the square root of nothing to prevent/mitigate against this.

So what should I do?

  1. Tell them (again) about the all-day barkathon? Or
  2. Just get the RSPCA or Dog’s Trust to come and have a word with them about being responsible owners? Or
  3. Do nothing


Working like a dog


Is that Worcestershire county council?

Good, I want to make a complaint.

Yes, I’ll wait, if I have to.


I want to complain.

It’s about the lorries.

Yes lorries, the big ones, the HGVs.

They’re blocking the layby.

Well when I say the layby I mean they’re blocking every single layby.

I was out in my car last night and in the 12 miles between here and Worcester there were fourteen – FOURTEEN – extra-large HGV articulated lorries parked up, all of them blocking the laybys for us normal motorists.

And on the return trip two hours later do you know how many i saw?


Yes, again. The same fourteen.

What on earth is going on?

Laybys used to be where one could pull over and have a breather for a few minutes.

But these days one can’t even get in the laybys – they’re full with HGVs while the lorry drivers get their eight or nine hours sleep!

When did this change happen?

Did someone consult us?

How on earth is one supposed to get out for a drive, pull in to a layby and give some random 35-year-old housewife a good fucking up the arse while her husband stands outside the car having a wank, that’s what I want to know?

We pay our taxes you know.



I say Emily, the bastard’s hung up!


Friends Reunited

Friends Reunited seems to have taken a back seat in the Web v2.0 explosion.

Peculiar really, given that Friends Reunited has a much better search facility (you try looking up ‘Belinda Thomas’ on Facebook and then flip to Friends Reunited and use their advanced search page!).

Yeah, I know.

Why am I lying in bed (just gone noon, thanks very much), listening to Millie still howling next door looking up my arch nemesis on Friends Reunited?

Well come a little closer my friends and I’ll tell you my answer…


I don’t know.

There, that’s it.

I think that – starved of sleep and with the edge of reasoning beginning to become unravelled like a kind of tartan travel rug that’s been used a little too often – I’m subconsciously looking for somone to gloat over.

Because I can’t hurt Millie, right?

Right, that would be wrong.

So I want to know how badly Belinda Thomas has fared in life.

I want to find out where she’s failed, I want evidence that there is a Karma that gets the really bad people in the end.

I want to peel apart her life, layer by layer until every one of her mistakes, every moment of the futility of her existence is exposed to my penetrating stare.

And she was really bad to me.

Oh yes.

She ‘dear johnned’ me.

It felt that as soon as I had boarded the train to RAF basic training she rushed to her dining room table and, under the careful supervision of her mother (another cow of cows who deserves the full might of bad Karma) penned the most poisonous of letters to end our relationship of 18 months.


But sadly not even Friends Reunited’s advanced search tool can yield her up to my penetrating gaze.

Which makes me feel a little better.

After all, I rationalise (perhaps mistakenly but hey, I’m so short of sleep I know I’m hardly thinking straight), she really must be crap if she’s not even on Friends Reunited.


Anyway, I have to go now.

I’m going to fashion a couple of voodoo dolls, one for each of Millie’s owners.

And then I’m going to stick pins in all of the most sensitive places I can think of.

Oh boy, can I think of a lot of sensitive places!


More doggy thoughts

Yep, it’s been over an hour since my last post and Millie’s still at it.

So now I’m having ‘fix the doggy’ thoughts.

Weedkiller-flavoured raw steaks pushed through next door’s letterbox fluttered through my head about half an hour ago.

But that would be wrong so I’ve dismissed it.

I mean, it’s not Millie’s fault that her two owners are totally rubbish human beings, is it?

No, of course not.

So I need to fix the owners, not the dog.


hits head against the bed headboard

I can’t do it.

I can’t come up with a way forward.

Robbed of sleep my brain is refusing to function.

Suggestions please!