I took the dogs out for a walk this afternoon – round about 3pm.

We did the usual route, down the lane, into the fields, across the footbridge (Chewie doing his customary dive into the brook and then swimming about a bit). Up the next field, turn right and down and across the next field. Back to the brook where we follow the course of it back to the bridge.

Except as we were approaching the bridge on the return leg, an elderly couple (walking stick apiece) and their two small brown dogs (I think they were Jack Russell crosses) were just coming off the bridge, about 30, ahead of us.

Robyn was off her lead, her training is excellent. Chewie was on his lead.

One of the JRTs sprinted for us and then headed for Chewie at full speed.

And bit him. And kept biting him around the neck, ears, mouth. Poor Chewie was crying out and trying to get away from the little f*cker.

I wanted to punt the little b*stard into the middle of next week.

Instead I reached down, grabbed him by his harness and hoiked him 6′ up into the air and held him there, suspended, until his ineffective doddery old fool of an owner ambled up to retrieve the little f*cker.

‘Should be on a bloody lead,’ was all I could manage, such was my rage.

I knew it wasn’t the little f*cking dog’s fault. It was the f*cking stupid c*nt of an owner’s fault and I wanted to visit my rage on him in a physical form.

But I couldn’t. Because he was old, and doddery and well in to his 80s.

‘Should be on a blood lead,’ was the sum total of words I could say, to back up the complete absence of actions that I could visit upon him.

We legged it away from there pretty fast.

Chewie has had several checkovers, and despite being covered in sticky grass and sweethearts, he isn’t showing any signs of physical damage.

I don’t know who those two old dears are; I have never seen them or their two dogs before, and we’ve been walking those fields almost every day for the last 18 months.

But if I see them again, I’m really going to give them a piece of my mind.

And my words will be altogether stronger than ‘Should be on a bloody lead.’


Question asked/question answered

As I write this (and this statement is more for my benefit, for when I come to read this back when I am [even more] older and I have [much] less grip on my mental faculties) it is 06.15 on Sunday 29th September 2019.

I’m wondering where the clause ‘and you will never be able to sleep past 05.15 ever again and staying in bed past 05.30 will instantly become a thing of the past’ is, in the small print of ‘getting two puppies’.

They are currently trying to eat each other (or so it sounds).

They’ve been out in the garden for a romp about. They’ve also been out for a brisk run around this part of the village (I ran, they jogged).

They’ve had their breakfast (Chewie has had his wormer). They’ve had their four dry Shreddies each. They’ve licked my empty bowl of Shreddies (yes, this means that technically they’ve had three breakfasts each).

And now, as I say, I believe they’re trying to eat each other.

Anyway, outside the world of dog-induced sleep deprivation and in my professional world…

Our senior managers/director have recently started emailing us a weekly round-up of the bullet points they’ve been concentrating on.

These updates make for interesting reading; it’s revealing to get the full scope of things they have on their plate, and also good to get a pan-EMEA/pan-transatlantic view of things that are just outside my area of operation.

I wish my former director in my last company did the same thing. Had she done so it might have corrected the opinion the whole department had that she just sat on her fat arse all day. Maybe.

Anyway, back to today.

On his weekly update one of the senior managers also goes into detail of what he’s reading, what he’s (been) watching, and what has inspired him each week.

When I read these updates (as I do every Friday) my first thought is ‘How the hell do you have so much time for reading and personal development!’.

My second thought is, inevitably, ‘You don’t have a pair of Spaniels, do you?’

Thereby answering my own question.

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!