Jan 11
Weather Apocalypse
icon1 Paul | icon4 01 11th, 2015| icon311 Comments »

If the storms we had before Christmas can be called a “weather bomb”, then what we’re currently enduring has to be a “weather nuke”. Here’s what nearby Troon looked like at high tide the other night:

Troon does the ice-bucket challenge [IMG_0902]


Of course the thing about having doggies – especially doggies who like their exercise – is that we can’t stay huddled up inside, hoping that the roof stays attached to the house. Nope, we’ve got to get out there and give the little beggars their walkies!

I’d always rather run than walk when the weather is foul, and over the last week I’ve had the dubious pleasure of jogging along the beach against 30+ mph winds, and that’s at the calmest times of the day. Ordinarily Beanie & especially Biggles really like windy outings – they get extra frisky and have loads of madcap chases when I let them offlead. Unfortunately the current winds have also been accompanied by near-horizontal rain and hail, and that is something that our two Beagles aren’t so keen on. On the return leg of our most recent run they were pressed against each other and trying to use me as shelter as we struggled to back to the car. Little surprise then that Biggles has been pulling a disappearing act at walkies time!


Where’s Biggles? Hiding in the spare duvet in our wardrobe, that’s where.

Even ordinary walks have become difficult. The roads and pavements are strewn with rubbish from overturned bins and Beanie considers it her solemn duty to pick up and attempt to speed-swallow every last bit of it. Every few yards I have to stop and whip off my gloves to extract Beanie’s latest acquisition from her jaws.

We’re free of such problems if we stick to the country lanes, but then again they have hazards of their own. The other day we were picking our way through some fallen tree debris when Biggles suddenly reared up on his back legs, his little face filled with horror as he held up one his front paws, barely daring to look at it. Remember that scene in Terminator 2 when the T-1000 loses his hand to the liquid nitrogen and regards the stump in open-mouthed shock? That was Biggles. For a second he had me convinced that he’d really injured himself, but then I remembered the last time we saw such an extreme reaction from him. Yes, I’m talking about the fateful day Beanie’s squeaky squirrel tug toy briefly wrapped itself around one of his legs during a play session. Now I don’t want to imply that Biggles is hopelessly soft, but suffice to say that theĀ  paw situation was resolved by extracting a small piece of twig from between his toes and rubbing his tootsies better for a second or two.


Even as Biggles recuperates from his encounter with the demon twig, the forecasts warn that the stormy conditions will continue well into next week. What new horrors lay ahead for my stoic little boy?

Dec 26
Christmas 2014
icon1 Paul | icon4 12 26th, 2014| icon37 Comments »


Why is it that someone always has to stick their tongue out for the group photo?

We’ve had some seriously rough weather over the last few weeks. It’s been so bad TV presenters have been using the term “weather bomb”, shoppers have been evacuated from the local supermarket by flood rescue services, and Beanie has taken to using the indoor toilet. Unfortunately, and contrary to one of my previous posts, that doesn’t mean she’s been hopping onto the porcelain throne. Nope, she’s just been trotting down the corridor near our bedroom and squatting for a whiz on the carpet. I’m pretty sure this isn’t because we’ve somehow missed her requests to go outside, and I don’t think they’ve been “protest” widdles either. I think she simply decided it wasn’t worth braving the raging storms outside when she could just “go” in the comfort of her own home.


Is it really so bad to pee on the carpet? I mean, Mum & Dad always clean it up afterwards..

Thankfully all that changed on Christmas Day. The rain, hail & wind stopped and the sun came out, the carpet dried, and there were presents. This time around we went for a mix of actual presents, and left-over cardboard boxes wrapped and filled with treats. The boxes went down very well; what Beagle doesn’t enjoy a bit of wanton destruction every now and then?


Wrapping paper was torn off in a flurry of paws and teeth



Treats went flying and boxes were worn on heads


And inside the boxes? Yet more boxes, also filled with nice edibles

Somewhere in that orgy of destruction and snacking, the actual presents surfaced. Both Beanie & Biggles are partial to chomping on plastic bottles, so we got a couple of bone-shaped chew toys which have a (hopefully) resilient but squishy outer casing with a crunchy bottle-like inner core. I’m sure they’ll be enjoyed once our pups try chomping down on them, but so far no-one has shown much interest. I think a bit of peanut butter might get smeared on them in the near future to get things started.


Biggles briefly studies his new toy

Box demolition must be almost as tiring as consuming vast amounts of Christmas pud, because after dinner I was joined on the sofa by the Bigglet. We both dozed off watching the crap TV (do the channel chiefs deliberately put on tedious repeats because they know everybody’s going to sleep through them anyway?) and about half an hour later we played the traditional game of BattleFarts. It’s hard to say who won, but since we’d both had Brussel sprouts with our Christmas nosh, I can tell you it got pretty bad. In due course we headed out to nearby Portencross for some fresh air and a leg stretch. This normally quiet little hamlet was surprisingly busy, which was great for Biggles because he loves getting his ears fondled by passers-by. Beanie of course did her level best to mug everyone for treats, and while she didn’t actually get any, she did get to leave some muddy paw prints on people so her time wasn’t completely wasted.


Finally, here’s a short video showing Susan’s abortive attempt to cover The Bigglet in wrapping paper. She’d seen a cute time-lapse video of someone wrapping their cat, and figured that if a wriggly cat can be wrapped up, surely the same thing can be done with a Beagle? Well, it seems not, at least not if that Beagle is Biggles.

Wrapping Biggles from Paul Roberts on Vimeo.


Nov 16


The weather’s turning wintery and both Beanie & Biggles have decided to jettison their warm-weather romper suits. Now I know that Beagles are only relatively small dogs with short hair but let me tell you, their discarded fur is everywhere.

Not so long ago we bought a new vacuum cleaner – one of those extra powerful German things that actually has a power dial on it so you can decide whether or not to leave the floorboards in place. It’s still new enough that I get a slight “new gadget buzz” every time I use it (sad, I know, but that’s me) and consequently the vacuuming gets done pretty frequently. Despite this, little Beagle furballs are still collecting under the radiators and behind the doors. There’s a coating of Beagle hairs on the sofa, on the TV, on all the air intake grills of my main computer, on the insides of my trainers, and on my camera gear (and I’m very picky about keeping that clean). If I blow my nose into a hanky and examine the result, I’ll more than likely find a Beagle hair in there. This is easily the worst shedding we’ve ever had, and the reason it’s so bad is that our two rascals are playing like fuel-injected puppies.


Look carefully and you can actually see the fur flying in this shot!

I don’t know what’s behind it, but two or three times a day now they’ll launch into noisy, room-shaking, stunt-filled play sessions the likes of which we haven’t seen for three years. Quite often it’s Beanie who starts it. One minute she’ll be quietly snoozing in her special cave-like bed (which we now call simply The Abode), then suddenly and for no obvious reason she’ll emerge, trot straight over to Biggles and gently but purposefully paw-swipe his face. Two seconds later it’s bedlam.


Biggles initiates some of the sessions too. The first warning sign is his tail – it gets rigid yet quivery as he catches Beanie’s gaze (I call it “tremble-tail”), then he draws back onto his rear legs like he’s about to pounce on a smelly sock, and off we go again.

It’s extremely entertaining if you’re in the mood for it; Biggles takes off on a mad sprint out of the living room and down the corridor. Beanie cold-jumps straight over the sofa to give chase – letting off a piercing hunting cry as she goes – then suddenly they both come barreling back into the room for a friendly punch up, knocking over drinks and sending remote controls flying. Anything that gets caught in the crossfire – a blanket, a magazine, the mail – gets used as a tug toy and destroyed.

The other day Susan came in from making a coffee to find them munching their way through one of our rubbery exercise mats. Beanie paused briefly to acknowledge her Mum, but there was no expression of guilt or remorse, just a look that basically said “well, Mum, you know how it is. The mat was just there, so we did it. Some people climb mountains. Some people run marathons. We do this..”



The play is lot more balanced than it used to be, and more affectionate too. Sometimes they’re rolling around together and they just stop for a moment to savor the furry cuddle in which they’ve accidentally landed. It’s a joy to behold if you’re not trying to watch the TV, or have a conversation, answer the phone, or hear yourself think. There are times however when a semblance of order and peace has to be restored, and at these times we either give them a short cool-down period in their crates, or send them both out into the garden. The last thing I want to do is discourage them from playing, but if this continues at it’s current level I’m going to need ear-plugs for use in my own living room, and nose-plugs to stop fur-induced sneezes!



« Previous Entries Next Entries »