Yesterday was such a nice day it was decided that we would all go for a picnic. This always gets Smudge excited as we have now managed to train master to pack something for us. It was decided that we would take the car from our cottages (see Bolehill cottages) and park down in Over Haddon (our nearest Village). We would then walk down Lathkill Dale and back up to mistresses favourite picnic spot. The short walk started fine but then as we got near to the cascades I spotted that there were some sheep (about 6) and lambs near the waters edge. Now I am quite a brave collie apart from cows, sheep, horses, balloons, hang gliders, drums, bangs ……… So I kept an eye on them hoping that they wouldn’t notice me. Unfortunately one of the lambs spotted me.
It sneaks up on me
I manage to escape
I am out of there …
I tried to creep past the vicious looking thing but it kept on coming towards me. I looked back at master for support but he was just laughing. Smudge was, as usual in his own world and mistress was too far off to save me. So what other option did I have but to run. The vicious thing then decided to run after me, so that was it – I was off. No way was I hanging around with a marauding lamb on the loose. This just made master laugh even more. So much for moral support. In the end mistress came back up the dale to make sure I was OK. Unfortunately she then proceeded to put me on my lead and drag me back down the dale. Although I struggled it was no use, I had to go back to where the sheep were. Well at least this time mistress was looking after me and the sheep didn’t seem too keen to take her on, so I put myself between her and the sheep and hoped they wouldn’t come any nearer. Meanwhile Smudge had just casually walked through the sheep and master was virtually in tears (well thanks a bunch). Anyhow in the end we got through the things and I could relax.
waiting for our picnic
We walked on through the rest of the dale with master mumbling under his breath ‘how I had let the side down again’ and ‘what an embarrassment’ I was. Well he didn’t have to face up to the thing did he. Luckily the rest of the picnic went without incident. We even stopped off at the Lathkill Hotel (pub) for a ‘quick’ drink before Smudge’s stomach started to rumble and he wanted to get home for his dinner.
Admiring the view
It must be summer time as we seem to be allowed outside more, the cows are in our front field (much to the annoyance of idiot brother) we had our annual haircut (bad experience as usual) and we are getting taken for more walks. The cows are a bit of a problem at the moment as idiot brother is becoming more paranoid about ‘cows’. I am not sure why but wherever we go he is constantly on the look out for them. Sometimes he just stops and won’t move. I assume he thinks there is a cow around somewhere. Well of course there is we are in the countryside so what can you expect. Just stare at them and if that doesn’t fail woof. They always get the message and get out of the way in the end. But oh no the idiot has to slink around as though they were about to eat him – Idiot!
Me at Minninglow
We went for a nice walk this week. Mistress has wanted to go there for ages as you can see it from our front field. It is a very distinct set of trees on the horizon called Minninglow. Over the years we have managed to train master to bring along some lunch for us so we all sat down near the trees for lunch. The only problem with our lunch is it’s too small. I am sure my lunch is far smaller than idiot brothers and everyone else’s because I always finish mine a long time before anyone else. Well I suppose it is the thought that counts – its certainly not the amount. Anyhow mistress was happy to get to see the trees and be able to look back and see our house and cottages .
Don’t mess with me!
on the prowl.
Did you hear about the mess the cows have made of our front lawn. Mistress didn’t shut the gate to the field properly so about 20 cows decided they would come into the garden to explore. Now of course if I had been out I would have stopped them but I was having my afternoon siesta (a dog can’t be on duty all the time). But as it was they rampaged around our lawn for a bit before master, mistress and myself got them out and back into their field. Idiot brother was of course nowhere to be seen. Maybe it is the fact of having cows in our garden that has spooked him. He is quite brave when he is behind our garden fence but now he knows they can come into our lawn he is a bit pensive. Anyhow master seems to have filled all the holes in with sand and we are are all hoping the grass will grow back. It does look a bit of a mess at the moment.
My new pyjamas
Well as you can see in the photo I now sport a set of pyjamas for bedtime. Now I know you might well be asking why a roughy toughy collie like me needs a pair of Pyjamas. Of course the other question is does Smudge have a pair too. Well the easy answer to the second question is no Smudge doesn’t. To answer the first question is a bit more difficult but here goes.
Basically I have been feeling a bit unsettled and anxious for quite some months, especially at night and when master and mistress go out. Master thinks I am just being stupid (as does Smudge) but mistress has looked up my problem and thinks I have ‘separation anxiety’ which of course is nonsense I just like being with them and don’t like been left behind. Anyhow it all came to a head the other week when I got very very worried and tried to get to master and mistress. In retrospect this wasn’t a good idea as it meant I had to get through a wooden door. Well I knew master wouldn’t be too pleased but I didn’t think too much about it at the time. When master came down of course he was furious and mistress was concerned that I might have hurt myself. After this incident I was put to bed at night in our cage which I wasn’t happy about and neither was mistress. So that soon came to an end (thank goodness).
My new pyjamas
The next ‘solution’ was a real result. We were allowed to roam around the entire house which meant I could sleep outside master and mistresses bedroom door. This was better but I still felt a bit unsettled.
Our favourite cleaner (she has 4 dogs) came up with a suggestion that she uses on one of her dogs. A dog Jacket. Now this didn’t sound much fun. Why would I need a jacket. I am not a poodle or some other soppy dog. I am a collie and not use to wearing soppy clothes. Anyhow master couldn’t be stopped and bought one of the things. As it turns out I rather like it. Its rather smart and does make me a lot less anxious. So every evening I have my jacket (mistress calls them my pyjamas) fitted before we go to bed and I do sleep a lot better . The only problem, I am now getting threatened by master to have the cost of my jacket taken out of my food allowance and I have a feeling it wasn’t cheap.
So that is the story of my new pyjamas. Smudge doesn’t need a pair as he is too laid back anyway. If he was more laid back we would never realise he was around.
My new mat –
Mistress has gone on holiday for a week and left us with Master. Well what can I say. I am worried. He is not the most reliable person at the best of times and without mistress around I am very very worried. OK he has so far remembered to feed us but will he remember tonight and the next night etc. And what about those little treats mistress gives us every now and then. Nothing from him. I keep trying to remind him but just get the old “You’re Fat Smudge go away”. How can I be fat I am starved to death. I am only a former shadow of myself.
I have also noticed something very sinister and worrying. An ‘S’ has materialised on the side of the bowl I get my dinner in. Now normally we both have identical bowls so why all of a sudden has mine been identified with a ‘S’ (for Smudge I assume). Does this mean I am getting a different dinner to idiot brother? Does it mean I am getting less than him? I have had my suspicions for a while about this as I always seem to finish before him which would suggest I get less. Oh well I will have to redouble my efforts to cadge food from the cottages.
The other thing I notice with mistress not here is a lot more shouting. Usually at idiot brother but sometimes in my direction. I don’t like shouting – it often wakes me up. Of course idiot brother is just impervious to it and carries on with whatever he is up to, which usually results in master getting even more irate with him.
At least the weather is improving and we can get out more. The only problem with that is, if it is wet we have to go through the paw washing routine. This isn’t too bad with mistress but with master ……….. Our friend the wagtail is back on our cottage’s roof so we spend many a happy hour chasing him. Of course there is always the odd hare about in our fields to chase but I am getting a bit bored with them as they run too fast for me. The odd squirrel is always a handy distraction. The thing I like best about spring is just lying in the courtyard soaking up the sun (preferably without idiot brother around).
OK I shouldn’t of eaten it …
Fun in the snow
At long last the snow seems to be going from our Bolehill Cottage fields or at least we can see bits of green again. The great thing about the snow is that we don’t get our feet dirty when we go out, so we don’t get the ‘Smudge Stay’ and then the dreaded towel when we come in. The worst case is if we get master cleaning our paws. That is terrible as he is very rough and what is worse he sometimes forgets to give us our ‘Paw wipe treat’. The ‘Paw wipe treat’ is the only reason we don’t go rushing off into the lounge. If we don’t get a treat I don’t see why I can’t just wander into the Lounge and dry off by the fire. Hasn’t he read how to train a dog – constantly feed them.
Not the paws again
Anyhow the snow was fun at times. Of course idiot brother kept trying to help master clear the drive which is always amusing as master gets angrier and angrier with him till in the end he is shouting at him. Does no good as the idiot still gets in the way. Far better to sit and watch.
Fun in the snow
We have had a few nice walks with mistress in the afternoon sun walking around our grounds. I enjoy our walks with mistress. She always carries a bag of treats (unlike master) and she doesn’t yell at us. So we can have a nice peaceful walk and exploring session. Of course idiot brother has to go and dig up mole hills which mistress isn’t too keen on but apart from that it can be fun. I am still not too sure why we have to go out just before sunset and then sit around for 10-15 minutes but mistress seems to enjoy watching sunsets from our back fields.
Inspecting Derwent Bathroom
Master has been insufferable again. Thank goodness he has now finished the work in Derwent Cottage . He is always grumpy and on edge when he is working against the clock to complete some work in a cottage and of course we usually get it in the neck. I just dread the days mistress leaves him to feed us. There is a 50/50 that he will forget as he is so preoccupied with things. Idiot brother doesn’t seem to care but I DO. I NEED MY FOOD. Anyhow things seem to be back to normal for the time being (until the next cottage!!!).
What Can I Say
Well thank goodness that is all over for another year at Bolehill Cottages. No more looking stupid for photos, no more being banned from OUR lounge, no more Smudge slobbering everywhere looking expectantly for food, no more late nights, no more Christmas Carols (I hate Christmas Carols), no more being left behind ‘because we are dogs’, no more pretending to be happy all the time, no more being ignored by Master ‘because he is busy’. Ok there are a few upsides to this Christmas thing. We do get ‘extras’ in our dinner bowl and people do buy us treats which is enough to buy off Smudge but not me. You can’t buy me off with food. A good game or toy maybe but not food.
Can we come in?
We didn’t even get our usual Boxing day walk. They all went off down town without us. Basically I was abandoned with old ‘Sour Paws’ (Smudge) for hours instead of being out and about as I should be.
How Xmas should be.
The great thing about this Christmas was the snow on Boxing day evening. Master and Mistress were all a bit grumpy about it (especially mistress) but I thought it was great fun. As usual I went out to help master clear the drive, car park and courtyard. As usual he didn’t appreciate my help (I don’t know why I bother). I think he calmed down a bit once all our Christmas guests had managed to get away and the New Year guests were settled in. He then managed to take us for some walks around our grounds and a ride around to see the countryside. What the fascination is of going out just before it is dark to watch the ‘sunset’ I have no idea but it did get us out into the snow each evening. OK I am getting older and master keeps calling me a ‘Senior’ dog but it is still great fun to play in the snow.
Fun in the Snow
Even Smudge joins in every now and then (when he is not grumbling about the cold on his paws). Luckily we had a number of dog friends staying, so if Smudge wasn’t willing to play (when is he), there was always another dog to play with. Unfortunately all the snow has gone and we are back to walking in muddy fields which is really bad news as we are forever getting ‘washed down’. I am sure it is some sadistic streak in mistress to put us through such trauma two or three times a day. At least with the snow it was a quick wipe down and that was it.
We did get a bit of a walk on New Years day. Master’s Brother came to see us and we took him to Cromford Mill to show him around. The walk along the canal was enjoyable (although Mistress was a bit wary about the ice on the footpath) and at least they sat with us when THEY had lunch rather than just abandoning us outside. We even got a few scraps which kept Smudge happy. Of course we had to go and have a look around the shops over at the mill. I had forgotten what a scary place the mill is. Lots of noise and tumbling water. Not a good place for a dog so I was glad when we got back to the car. I wasn’t so happy when we got home and got hosed down!!!! Is there a law against hosing dogs down, outside in the freezing cold? If there isn’t there should be.
Scary Stuff: Water.
Well some might call it a day out. We call it a boring amble round shops. Mistress wanted to go to the Chatsworth Christmas Market which is fair enough but why involve us in the excursion. OK if they were going to buy me some food or take us for a walk I wouldn’t mind going BUT to wander around a bunch of boring tents – what is the point. Anyway as Chatsworth is only 5 miles or so from our cottages (see Bolehill cottages) it was decided ‘we’ would pop over in the late afternoon. Of course master saw this as an opportunity to get rid of some old ovens and dishwashers he had recently replaced, so he filled the back of the car with rubbish. Hold on a minute that is where we usually sit. So maybe we are not going after all. No such luck I was crammed in the back with all the rubbish and idiot brother got to sit on mistresses lap. Once we got rid of master’s rubbish we could at least get our seats back.
The Christmas Fair wasn’t as bad as previous years as it wasn’t as cold and it was nice and quiet (we got there late enough to avoid the crowds). One good thing about the Chatsworth Market is we always get lots of attention from passers by. NO FOOD but lots of cuddles and strokes. As usual idiot brother started playing up. For some reason best known to himself, he has started to become scared of the sound of drums. Don’t ask me why – I have no idea. All of a sudden some musical band started up and the idiot went into his cringe and shiver mode. Just throw him in the car and forget about him, was my thought but oh no, everyone gave him a fuss and tried to calm him down. Why bother? He is an idiot. Well after a while the band stopped and we could progress (slowly) around the market. Very little of any interest really although mistress seemed to find something of interest at every stall. Master looked as bored as we felt.
In the end after going round twice we were allowed to go home but only after mistress first visited Chatsworth Farm Shop. Now we both know this is a waste of time as they don’t sell dog food and we get left in the car. I suppose that is better than being dragged around the shop like poor master gets. He does always look so miserable, especially this time when he found out how much mistress had spent.
Some down time with mistress
I was framed! What happened was that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I just happened to be passing through the hall when I noticed a bag on the floor that had a plastic bag inside it. I only stopped for a moment to see what it was and all of a sudden all hell broke loose. Mistress was screaming at me for eating ALL the dog treats. Masters friend who was staying (and who’s bag it was ) was telling me what a bad dog I was. Of course with all the commotion it wasn’t long before master got in on the game of ‘blame Blue’. I tried to tell them that it wasn’t me and that I had found the bag like that but oh no, no one would listen. I noticed Smudge was being very ‘conspicuous by his absence’. Then it dawned on me who the real culprit was – SMUDGE. Of course no one would listen to me. As far as they were concerned I had been caught ‘red pawed’ and I was therefore guilty. No one stopped to think that it wasn’t like me to eat an entire bag of treats and there was a more likely candidate not far away. I was ostracised for the entire evening. All I got all evening was snide remarks about being a ‘thief’ and what a ‘bad’ dog I was. As expected Smudge just kept very quiet and looked as though butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth (which it would). Luckily by the next morning everyone had forgotten about the incident and master was talking to me again.
Chatsworth Sculpture exhibition.
I am now plotting my revenge on Smudge. Its going to be something very very nasty – like getting his dinner stopped for a day or two. Or something equally upsetting for him.
In all its not been a good few weeks. As usual we got dragged round Chatsworth Sculpture exhibition which is Ok but a bit boring. All the trips out Master and mistress have had have been without us. I would have liked to say hello to Prince Charles at the Dowager Duchesses Funeral. I am sure he likes dogs and we know she liked dogs so why couldn’t we go? The Thornton Chocolate factory visit was another NO DOGS day out for them. What is it with these companies. Why do they have such a prejudice against dogs. Mistresses visit to the WI conference is another example. I am sure I would have enjoyed saying hello to Michel Portillo. But oh no, another NO DOGS event. We are still awaiting our usual autumn walks up at Derwent Dams and Padley Gorge but now master has gone down with ‘Man flu’ so I suppose that will be delayed.
Its been a busy week this week. What with having mistresses friends here and me having to check more cottages (see our site) than normal for food I have had very little time for my favourite pastime of sleeping. One of our regular friends was back so we had to go off to play with him (idiot brother probably went a bit too far as usual). The unfortunate thing about regular visitors is that they are in general not as generous on the food side as new guests. I have a feeling mistress has had words with them about me being over weight. Well I am not. I may have a few muscles here and there that show up as fat but I am certainly not fat. How could I be on the meagre rations we get. The only way I survive is by scrounging food off guests. Without that supplementary food I would have wasted away by now.
We have at long last been take on some walks. Master/Mistresses friends are keen walkers so we always get taken out when they visit. Its always a lot better when we go out with them as we don’t spend as much time ‘admiring the view’. The first day we walked from Ashford in the Water to Bakewell and then over the hill to Great Longstone (where we stopped for Lunch) and then on up to Monsal Head and back round to Ashford. It was a bit of a long way for mistress but we coped. The walk was relatively easy and we encountered very few cows and Sheep so idiot brother wasn’t too much of a pain.
Me with mistress
The next day we set off from home and headed down to Over Haddon and then on down to Haddon Hall. This is where the problems started. The first few fields had been fine – a few friendly milk cows and a few dizzy sheep. But once we had cleared the sheep (idiot brother was only a bit scared) we entered a field full of bullocks. At this point we realised that mistress’s friend was scared of cows, so master sent me off to be a decoy while the others (including idiot brother on a lead to stop him running off) crossed the field. So off I went with master in a long loop round the field and sure enough the beasties followed us. Now these beasties don’t understand that I am an ace cow dog and that I will take no nonsense from cows so we had a few fraught moments until they learnt that. In general they did behave but there is always one that wants push its luck, so he needed to be taught a lesson. After we got through the first field the next field was also full of bullocks so off I went again. This happened over about four fields. I found it great fun but idiot brother was nearly a nervous wreck by the time we got through the last field. Then the shooting started. Way of in the distance someone was practising shooting . Well this was the last straw for idiot brother. He now became a gibbering wreck. They all tried to console him (I didn’t) but in the end the shooting stopped and we could get him to moving again.
Once we got to Haddon Hall he had forgotten all about the cows and the sheep and the shooting and was back to normal (just being an idiot). After Haddon Hall we turned towards Bakewell where we stopped for lunch and master went on ahead to get the car (which he had left at the top of the Town before we set off). I think he was a bit worried about mistress as she had been lagging a bit. So we got a ride back home in the car which was good as I have to admit my paws were feeling a bit sore. I think I must be getting a bit old as I am definitely feeling a bit stiff tonight and looking at idiot brother he looks even worse than me. I do wish master would stop helping us over stiles though. We are still young enough to get over them ourselves and it is very embarrassing as a Collie to be lifted over a stile. If anyone were to see it I wouldn’t know where to put my muzzle.
View towards Haddon Hall
A field near ‘Shirley’
OK in general I am a very brave dog but there are just a few things that I do get very worried about – Cows, Sheep, Thunder and lightening, machines that beep and loud bangs. Well at this time of year I am constantly surrounded by Cows. They are all over our fields (see our cottages). OK master and mistress always takes us round the fields where there are no cows but they are always lurking just over a wall. Whenever we go out for a walk we seem to have to go through Sheep. Why can’t they live in another field? Why are they always on the footpath? Why do they always look so viscous and bad tempered ? I haven’t done anything to them.
Is it not bad enough that I have to contend with Cows and Sheep? Oh No, I also have had to put up with Thunder and lightening this week. I am terrified of Thunder (as is Smudge). Mistress does her best to console me but I just don’t like it and there never seems to be anywhere to hide, to get away from it. Master is no use, all I get form him is ‘Blue – pull yourself together your a Collie’. What does that mean. I am together and I know I am a Collie. Doesn’t stop me being scared of thunder though.
Peak Rail 1940 weekend
Today just when I calmed down, we get taken to the Peak Rail 1940 Re-enactment weekend. Now they know I don’t like this sort of thing so why did they take me? Well actually it may not have been entirely their fault as I did jump in the car to make sure I was taken. I didn’t realise where we were going. It was ok for a 1/2 an hour or so then someone let off a gun. Well I nearly died. Smudge didn’t look too good either. I got the usual “Blue – pull yourself together your a Collie” from master and some soothing words from mistress but that was no help. To make things worse every 5-10 mins someone would let off another gun. In the end there was all sorts of guns going off but luckily by this time Master and Mistress had got the message and we were taken home.