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Dog Blog: Weekend Adventures

Posted by indigodream on 18 May, 2009

Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th May

I’m afraid that there won’t be a boating blog until the last weekend in May. Indigo Dream is safely moored up at the top of the Lapworth flight, where she’s resting before the epic BCN Marathon Challenge. Owner of nb. Nanshe, who lives and moors close to the top lock has kindly let us know that she’s looking fine there. The BW patrol officer has also come up trumps as we arranged with him to overstay the 14 day moorings by a few days. We’re off to the rugby in Scotland next weekend (alas not by boat) so we have to leave her unattended for a few weeks.

Having sorted out the mooring, we decided not to go boating this weekend; instead we headed west to do a whistle stop tour of various friends and relatives in Wales. Blue and Lou came with us and had a few adventures along the way. This blog will give you a snapshot of each, especially the big one, where Blue got to meet his long lost brother.

Lou taking off on Swansea Beach

Lou taking off on Swansea Beach

Adventure number 1: The pekingese, the cat and the greyhounds

Lots of greyhounds on today's blog!

Lots of greyhounds on today's blog!

The first stop on our Welsh tour was my mum’s house in deepest West Wales. Regular readers with a good memory will recall that my mum has a tiny pekingese called Sybil. When my mum told a doyenne of the local greyhound rescue society that our two were on the way, the doyenne warned her not to let them in the house. Despite the fact that Blue, Lou and Sybil get on perfectly well, the doyenne predicted that Sybil wouldn’t survive our visit! All very dramatic, but Blue and Lou can actually tell the difference between small dogs and cats; the former being perfectly safe in their presence – as evidenced by the fact that Sybil terrorised our two hulking great hounds all afternoon, stole their food, hijacked their water bowl and generally put them in their place.

How we laughed at the doyenne’s concerns – ‘Blue and Lou are perfectly safe with little dogs’ we exclaimed, ‘they’re no good with cats though’. If only my mum had remembered to tell

Greyhound gathering

Greyhound gathering

us that she had a feral cat residing in her greenhouse! On one of their circuits of the garden, Blue spotted the cat in the greenhouse and cornered her there; much commotion ensued, during which the cat escaped, biting and clawing Blue’s face in the process; Lou caught the cat then let it go quickly when she also got swiped by a set of razor claws. The cat scarpered – being wild we can only hope it’s ok. In the meantime, Blue got thoroughly sluiced down and inspected – nothing too bad but several deep puncture wounds from the cat’s bite. A quick phonecall to Richard’s sister (the vet) confirmed that cat bites are exceptionally noxious and that he’d need to start antibiotics immediately. What a stroke of luck, I had a supply of dog antibiotics with me as part of the dog first aid supplies that I carry everywhere. To our relief he’s looking fine – apparently cat bites can get seriously infected within a few short hours.

Note: the cat stayed away for 2 days then returned – he was unhurt and has since moved from the greenhouse into the house, much to the annoyance of Sybil the pekingese 🙂

As I have to take Blue back to his usual vet for a wound check tomorrow I now have to set the ‘vet counter’ back to zero after a record-breaking 11 weeks!!!

The dogs were a little stressed after all that – they enjoyed the cat chase but thoroughly hated the paw police inspection that followed! But there was some consolation. My mum does lots of charity work and collects all sorts of unwanted goods to either sell or recycle for good causes. Among her hoard were a large number of lovely fleece blankets so Blue and Lou have new heaps of luxurious bedding!

Adventure number 2: The French Room

Blue taking off

Blue taking off

Flying dogs....

Flying dogs....

We decided to stay Saturday night down in Swansea – although it was around 8pm when we got there, there was plenty of light – it goes dark around 25 minutes later in West Wales than it does in Surrey. We’d booked a room in what proved to be a truly unique guest house – The Mirador SA2 0QX. When I rang to check whether they took dogs I was told that ‘Room 7’ would be perfect as it has a rooftop terrace where the dogs could pop out to stretch their legs and enjoy a bit of fresh air. When we got there, Room 7 was lavishly decorated in a french style, and apparently each room has a different theme based on the countries they’ve visited in their extensive travels. It was the most hospitable of guest houses – a great mix of easy informality and meticulous attention to detail. The dogs did enjoy the terrace though the room itself was rather small (but with a large ensuite). I think we’d have preferred no terrace and a little more room inside (the weather was foul) – the Egyptian suite, which apparently takes over the whole of the top floor, sounded more our style!

So obedient.....

So obedient.....

We finished the day by letting the dogs run off their stress on Swansea beach (opposite the university), only a mile away from the guest house. There’s a fantastic sandy beach here which has largely been ignored in favour of its more famous cousins on the Gower peninsula. But dogs are barred from the Gower beaches over the summer whereas they could run to their heart’s content here. It was amazingly windy – Richard threw a light ball for them to chase and the wind bowled it out of their reach. They had a wonderful time anyway. I’m sad that we don’t live nearer to the coast – I think the dogs would appreciate a run in the surf every day.

After a busy day we dropped the exhausted dogs off in the hotel room (on their sheepskins, with their favourite dog food in their own proper bowls); we carried more supplies for them than we did for ourselves! We headed off to find food in St Helen’s Road – a street full of restaurants nearby. It didn’t inspire at first – the street had that particular drabness that belongs to off-season seaside towns on rainy days. But there were some very fine eateries here and we had a great Italian meal in Topo Gigio (01792 467888) .

In the morning, the wonderfully relaxed owners allowed Blue and Lou into the breakfast room (there was no-one else there) and cooked them a sausage each without us even having to ask (though we had ordered them a sausage sandwich already). Blue and Lou were impeccably behaved and lay flat out on the floor while the hotel owner’s delightful daughter made a big fuss of them and fed them their sausages. There’s another greyhound convert….. and obviously we hope that we can reinforce that by staying again in this delightfully eccentric hotel.

Adventure number 3: Blue’s Brother

Mickey and Blue - brothers reunited

Mickey and Blue - brothers reunited

On Sunday morning we headed off into the Welsh wilderness to meet Blue’s brother, Mickey. Mickey lives in the most wonderful location, surrounded by an abundance of fresh air and a profound silence broken only by the swish of the wind and a red kite’s wings. Sara and Alan, Mickey’s owners, offer Bed and Breakfast here and I can’t image a more easeful place to spend some time.

Alan and Sara greeted us with Mickey on the lead, and were soon joined by their other two greyhounds Sam and Cass. Lou did her usual barking for the first few minutes; Blue greeted Mickey briefly then ignored everyone and wandered off for a sniff around. Lou calmed down quickly and we let them all off the lead (in their enclosed yard/garden) and all five greyhounds got on famously. Lou, Cass and Mickey had a mad greyhound run around; Lou was very taken by Mickey – I think she mistook him for Blue! Blue ignored everyone and carried on sniffing around. Sam is 14 and getting a little frail, but he still wanted to be part of the action and tottered around happily on his corns, enjoying the fun.

Blue and Mickey having a good rummage

Blue and Mickey having a good rummage

Being greyhounds, it didn’t take long to wear the dogs out and we all went inside. I think we were all a bit amazed at how well the greyhounds got on. We ended up in a not-very-large sitting room which was soon amicably and peacefully filled with five dogs and four humans. The dogs settled down immediately and we got down to some serious greyhound chat. We talked for over an hour and had to force ourselves away – Alan and Sara have been greyhound lovers for longer than us and we could have listened to their doggie tales all day long.

I have to say that their greyhounds were gorgeous – poor old Sam is a bit doddery but he’s very loveable; Cass was very affectionate and Mickey is just the cuddliest hound ever. His face is so similar to Blue’s and his little mannerisms are identical.  Cass and Mickey kept coming up for cuddles in turn and I was happy to oblige. Blue and Lou just lay flat out on the floor – they are easy company!

Although the dogs quickly formed a new and happy pack, we’ve had to concede that Blue and Mickey have no idea that they’re brothers! We’d wondered whether they’d recognise the family scent or something, but they didn’t show any preference for each other’s company – the five of them just bundled together and had a great time.

I’ll let the photoblog tell the story but we just had the best time here. Thank you, Sara and Alan, for letting us visit and for your hospitality – it was such a special experience for us. And thank you, Mickey, for letting us give you a big fuss…..

Of course, now that I’ve seen how easily five greyhounds CAN get on, three doesn’t seem such a big stretch……:-)

Adventure number 4: the labrador and the greyhounds

Our last adventure was a visit to my cousin’s house at the foot of the mountains that we’d just been exploring. It was so good to see the family – they kindly made lunch for us and we frittered away another hour chatting about boats, dogs and houses. It was here that we discovered a fundamental truth about our greyhounds – they’re on their best behaviour when they’re knackered! We’d expected a commotion when they met my cousin’s slightly bonkers (aren’t they all) labrador but all was quiet. They just saw my cousin’s nice soft rugs on the floor and threw themselves down for a good sleep.

So, we’ve spent the weekend wandering around Wales, scrounging cups of tea from all and sundry. Two days wasn’t really long enough – the drive home on Sunday was a bit exhausting. It was all worth it though – it was my birthday and I gained so many treasured memories – what more can a girl (ha ha!) ask for!

Photoblog:

They’re all dog photos today – and not the half of what we took either…….

Our boys......

Our boys......

Wassat??

Wassat??

Lou chasing Mickey

Lou chasing Mickey

Mickey chasing Lou

Mickey chasing Lou

9-year old Cass enjoying a mad greyhound moment

9-year old Cass enjoying a mad greyhound moment

Mickey in a characteristic Blue pose......

Mickey in a characteristic Blue pose......

Cass, Mickey and Lou having a good time

Cass, Mickey and Lou having a good time

Room for another one of Mickey showing a bit of pace

Room for another one of Mickey showing a bit of pace

Blue at the beach (1)

Blue at the beach (1)

Blue at the beach (2)

Blue at the beach (2)

Blue at the beach (3)

Blue at the beach (3)

Lou at the beach (1)

Lou at the beach (1)

Chasing the pack (that's me in the red coat!)

Chasing the pack (that's me in the red coat!)

The definition of joy....

The definition of joy....

Lou airborne....

Lou airborne....

Enjoying the surf...

Enjoying the surf...

Blue is so graceful..

Blue is so graceful..

Wending our weary way.....

Wending our weary way.....

2 Responses to “Dog Blog: Weekend Adventures”

  1. Greygal said

    Belated happy birthday Sue! And what a wonderful dog blog! I’m always amazed at how well greys get on, and it’s funny that Lou does exactly the same thing as Susie, getting all on her barky high horse at the beginning. Well, she’s the boss of course! I hope no bums were bit this time round? You should take a look at the Croftview website – they’ve got loads of blues in at the mo and you may well find more siblings amongst them. You know you want another…

  2. indigodream said

    …another three, absolutely!

    Mickey’s owners got their first grey from Croftview – it’s a small world!

    All bums intact – wish I could say the same for Blue’s face! Actually, it’s healing really well.

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