Thursday, 28 February 2008

FIRE!!! (or not)

Tongues will definitely be wagging in East Prawle!

A little while ago Mo lit our wood-burner, and after it had been burning for a while, was alarmed to hear crackling from the chimney. With help from our son (I was delivering my daughter back to University after a weekend at home) the fire in the grate was doused.

The next day, I was sent up onto the roof to brush out the chimney. Virtually nothing came down, so the next task was to get a chimney cleaning log. This was duly used, and over the course of the next few days, fires were lit without incident.

However, two nights ago, after lighting the fire, Mo again heard suspicious noises from the flue. I was not convinced we had a chimney fire, but better safe than sorry, and the fire was doused.

This evening, Mo was wanting to light the fire, but nervous to do so. Then, a brilliant idea. She phoned the Help & Advice line for Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue. She explained the problem, and the operator said that they would send someone round to check the chimney out.

Gratitude was expressed, and we got on with our evening. Until 15 minutes later, when two, count them, two fully manned fire engines turned up, sirens blaring, virtually doubling the population of the village in one fell swoop!

Within minutes, the phone was ringing. "Is everything all right?". Explanations were given, but our legs are bound to be pulled next time we show our faces in the pubs.

Anyway, after a thorough visual and CCTV examination, our chimney has been given a clean bill of health. We will be lighting a fire in a ½ hour or so. If I don't post anything in the next 2 weeks, fear the worst!

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

A new dog

We always like to have 2 dogs, 4 or 5 years apart in age, mainly for company for each other, but also so that, when one dies, it is easier emotionally getting another. With only one dog, it would feel like replacing him or her, which cannot be done.

This would have been particularly the case with Meg, who died last week after 12 years as a member of the family. We knew she was fading, and had already been around the local rescue centres. The difficulty was that we have a cat, and the Rescue centres will not rehome stray dogs, for whom they have no history, into households with cats, in case there a conflict such that the dog has to go through the trauma of being taken back to the centre.

However, one of the centres, Gables Farm Dogs' & Cats' Home also keep a list of owners who need to rehome their dog for various reasons, and they gave us details of Becky, a 4 year old Standard Poodle. Her owner was no longer young, and had recently moved into a mobile home park, and was no longer able to give Becky the exercise she required.

We were originally looking for a German Shepherd, having lost a wonderful old Shepherd
called Jason a few months before moving to Prawle. But the idea of a Standard Poodle appealed instantly. Not everyone appreciates that poodles were originally bred as retrievers, or that their coats were originally cut to make water work easier. They are a very intelligent dog, and can be long lived - 15 years or more which is a very good age for a large dog.

After Meg left us, we phoned Becky's owner, and arranged to go and see her, with our Labrador Sacha (Satch). The 2 dogs were instant friends, and after a cup of tea Becky came home to Prawle with us.

There are a number of girls in the village called Becky, and to avoid any offence, we have started calling her Bessy. On the first night home, we took Bessy and Satch to The Providence Inn, where they were both as good as gold.

The following day, we introduced her to the sea side. Mill Bay at East Portlemouth to be precise. Bessy was in heaven! (Although the water was a little cold in early February for her to be particularly keen on swimming). The tide was out, and it was a fabulous day. We walked up the estuary as far as we could, and then back again. In the course of that wonderful afternoon, Bessy realised that we were her new pack, and that she liked it.

She has attached herself to Mo, which is lovely, because Meg was pretty much my dog. She sleeps in the same bed as Satch, and play fights with him every morning.

She has abit to learn - to come when I call in particular! She's also due a hair cut. Fancy show cuts don't quite look the part in Prawle.

But she'll do. She will definitely do!

Saturday, 9 February 2008

My son is an idiot!!!

Say no more!!!

Thursday, 7 February 2008


Meg died on Tuesday night. She was the loveliest, gentlest dog I have ever known.

We got her from Battersea 12 years ago (they had named her Trixie). We had no idea where she had been found, or indeed what sort of dog she was. Battersea described her as a "mongrel cross"! She had the general appearance of, and the white bib of a Border Collie, but she was brindle, and too big and rangy. She loved to run, and could run like the wind. The only dogs that could give her a race were the traditional running dogs - greyhounds, whippets, borzois etc. Some chap we met when walking her on Hampstead Heath reckoned she was a lurcher. She didn't look the part, but on the basis that a lurcher is a greyhound (etc)/anything else cross, that makes sense.

Everyone loved Meg. Everything about her was soft. She didn't have hair - she had fur. That was also a down side - she moulted constantly - she kept the vacuum cleaner full!

She hated water - wild horses couldn't drag her into a puddle. After we got our Labrador (who loves to swim), she might think about it, but only for the briefest moment. She would much rather find a place on the beach where the maximum number of people could see her, and pose.

She got old very quickly. Up until last autumn, although she wasn't up to long walks, she would still have quick bursts of speed in the back garden, but that stopped with the cold weather, and on Tuesday night she died.

She was the loveliest, gentlest dog I have ever known.