Today I started with my preparations for a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario, in which the United Kingdom leaves the European Union and, absent an agreement setting out our future relationship with our continental neighbours, heads off into the wilderness to do its own thing. (Which is known, in the parlance, as ‘taking back control’.) But my preparations didn’t involve stockpiling food or securing a supply of medication. Oh, no. As with most things around here, it was the dogs’ fault. Continue reading
It was my mother’s birthday at the weekend and a formal family gathering had been declared. So Molly (my older Labrador) and I headed down to her house on Saturday afternoon, to join my mother and siblings for the celebrations that evening and the next day. Natalie and Ozzy (our five-month-old puppy) stayed at home, the latter not yet ready to face the full force of my family. Continue reading
I’m delighted to announce that we have a new arrival in our household. Her name’s Ozzy. She’s a black Labrador puppy. And she’s now coming up to ten weeks old. I know, you want a photo, so before we go any further here she is.
I read somewhere or other that our lives are a series of moments. Now, the physicist in me is quick to point out that this is a statement of the bleeding obvious. But my philosophical side would counter that, in any life, there are likely to be some moments that have greater salience than others. They just might not be the ones we’d expect.
One of the things that I don’t do enough of in my life is canoeing. Which is to say that I’ve been perhaps once or twice. Over twenty years ago. But I absolutely loved it and have been kicking myself ever since for not having done more. It has that rugged outdoorsy-ness to it that many sporting activities seem to lack. And, unlike kayaking, you don’t have to worry about whether your eskimo rolling skills are still up to scratch.
So it was with considerable enthusiasm that Natalie, Molly and I actually got our acts together sufficiently to take a short canoeing trip down part of the River Wye. It’s one of the best places in the country for canoeing and (I’m ashamed to admit) it’s only about an hour’s drive from my front door.
There was also a certain trepidation to the escapade, though, as while Natalie and I have both canoed before and know that we like it, nobody was quite sure about Molly. Do Labradors canoe? Or would we end up taking the shortest canoe trip ever, followed by an extended swim and a hefty damage bill?
I knew it was going to be a nice morning as soon as I stepped outside, just before sunrise, and saw the planet Venus glimmering brightly in the heavens. And sure enough, as Molly and I set out for our morning walk, the sky was clear, the dew was shimmering and the Sun was radiating for all it was worth.
It was already gone seven o’clock when Molly and I went out for our walk this morning, but the crescent moon was still bright in the heavens and even the planet Jupiter was visible in the dawn sky. As we sauntered along in the curious early morning mix of weak sunlight and fading moonlight, it struck me that the dark days of winter do sometimes have their advantages.
At the weekend, Natalie, Molly and I took a hike out to Crook Peak, perched on the end of the Mendip Hills in Somerset. Molly and I had been before, but this was Natalie’s first visit, so we were keen to have an enjoyable day out. And with some hills, a packed lunch and an overenthusiastic Labrador, who could possibly fail to enjoy themselves…?
It’s the autumnal equinox tomorrow, that time of year when the night becomes longer than the day and winter starts to set in. And as Molly and I sauntered out of the house first thing this morning, it looked like the planet was trying to get a head start. The sky was still dark, the crescent moon glowed gently above the horizon and the brightest stars still shone through the early dawn. Continue reading
My mother has big plans for her garden. And these plans, perhaps inevitably, involve a fair amount of digging, heavy lifting and general gorilla work. Which, perhaps even more inevitably, is where I come in. And so we found ourselves spending a tiring – but ultimately rather enjoyable – weekend tearing up a small portion of Somerset. Continue reading