2013 in review (a bit late!)

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Okay, so I am a bit late posting this, but thanks to my friend Teagan, I found out how to get my annual report from WordPress. It’s not as impressive as some of the reports I have seen, but I was quite pleased to welcome so many visitors to my life as a terrier in Glasgow!

So here’s what the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys came up with when they prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog:

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 740 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Big Walk in March

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First of all, I’m sorry this is a bit late in telling the tales of our March trails. I’ve explained why I’m a bit behind here, but despite all that, we have definitely been keeping up with our walks. By the end of March (*drum roll please*), we’d reached the grand total of 344 miles. Which is over a third of the way to our target of 1000 miles in 2014 - yippee!

Because @HeatherAlex’s mum was poorly again, we did some of the miles in England as well as at home here in Scotland. We also went to some new places this month, like a country park in Surrey and a different service station on the drive south.

Lightwater sign

Lightwater Country Park – a new place to try out

M6 Killington

A quick walk at Killington Lakes

And on our way back to Scotland, we stayed in Haxby with our friends, Carolyn & Phil. They’ve only just moved there so I’d never been to this house before, but I do like their woods, especially as they are quite muddy…

Haxby wood

I’m loving all this mud in Haxby’s community woods

I like their new home – they have a great window sill for me to sit and watch the world go by (and bark at the world as it is going by). So I just made myself at home…

Twig on windowledge

Watching the world go by…

I like staying with them a lot. Carolyn comes for walks with us whenever we see her, and Phil throws my ball for me all the time – he’s great fun! (and to think he didn’t really like dogs all that much before he met me :-) )

Phil & Twig

Throw it again, Phil, throw it again!

As usual, we went walking with other friends too. I like it when we have friends along because they play with me and sometimes they give me treats :-) One of them even lent me her sunglasses!

Drumpellier

Me, my friend Liz and …. something mysterious in the loch at Drumpellier!

Linda with ball

I like walking with Linda – she throws the ball a lot :-)

Twig in sunspecs

I think Dior suits me…

The weather has been a bit mixed again for our walks this month. Some wet days, some windy days and some fabulously sunny days! The sunny days were mostly in England, I have to admit.

Twig at Whangie rocks

A windy day at the Whangie

Sunningdale in sun

Glorious early morning sun at the golf course

There was a bit of a difference between our visit to Chobham Common last time and this time! It was much drier and sunnier most of the time…

collageof wet path/dry path

On the left – our previous visit . The stream is back to being a path now!

Twig at Chobham

Lovely and sunny – perfect for a spot of ball-chasing!

But it wasn’t always sunny – this time, we only just made it home before the rain started…

thunder at chobham

Uh-oh, that looks like thunder clouds, time to go home!

Sometimes we see animals when we’re out on our walks. Usually we see squirrels, rabbits and foxes, but this month we saw some deer at the golf course. You have to look really closely at the pic to spot them!

deer on golf course

Look closely and you will see 2 deer crossing the green!

Elephant carving

Some animals are easier to spot! A new friend at Pollok Park…

And sometimes we look at the birds. Personally I like ducks best, because they are great for chasing!

bird against clouds

This bird was a brilliant flier – swooped and soared – too high up to chase

Some birds were VERY noisy, and seemed to fly in circles over the hill.

model aircraft

There are 2 noisy birds up there…

I did hear that they might have been very small aeroplanes – but they would have to have VERY small people on board in that case…

Have I ever mentioned that I like ponds and streams and paddling in water? I have? Oh well, I will just mention it again. Here are some pics of me enjoying my favourite hobby (especially when I have a ball to play with).

Twig at Chobham

Just me and my ball and some muddy water…

Twig at Chobham

…how much better can life get?

Twig at Chobham

Me and my ball and cleaner water…

Twig at Chobham

…perfect for a splash around!

Twig at Rouken Glen

I especially like splashing in rivers

This month, @HeatherAlex had a bit of a close encounter with a stream on one of our walks. It was all her own fault. She threw the ball towards the stream, not me. She had decided not  to wear her wellies so she couldn’t just wade in to get it. And she was the one who decided that she would try to get my ball back by lying on the ground and reaching down for it. To be fair , it was stuck in a bit of an awkward spot…

Twig at Sunningdale

The ball was stuck on that wee ledge…tricky!

Since the ground by the stream was a bit of a slope (which you can’t really see in that pic), the disaster was always going to happen. She hadn’t even managed to get the ball, but she couldn’t wriggle back up the slope either (I had to try not to giggle out loud at this point). Here’s the inevitable result…

after the fall

Umm, she’s a bit wet…

The great news is that, of course, she could then reach the ball no problem and so we got it back safe and sound – yay! We did have to head home then though, as she was very wet (hee hee, it’s usually me that’s wet after a walk when there’s a stream).

As you can see, it was an eventful month, with lots of fun on our walks, even if I did have gastroenteritis and then colitis quite badly for some of the time. But we are doing well on our Big Walk, which is all in aid of the John Muir Trust so that they can look after wild land across the British Isles. If you’d like to sponsor me, you can make a donation here – thank you!

If it ain’t broke…

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I’m a bit behind with blogging this month, as I’ve not been very well for a few weeks.

SOMEONE (naming no names, but they know who they are) thought it would be a good idea to change my food. I know, I know – it was from the best of intentions – changing to a better food, and hoping I would scavenge less if I was eating better. Nae chance, as they say here in Scotland!

Sadly it didn’t work out well at all. We found what looked like a good food here. We did it the right way… changed the food gradually over about a week. And I have to say, it was definitely yummy! My coat became very smooth and shiny. And some people said I behaved better and was more chilled with other dogs. But…

…my poos became VERY hard and dry, sort of crumbly. We tried variations of the food – different flavours (I liked the duck! I try even harder to catch them at the park now :-) ). But I had several small bouts of colitis and then a bad one. And I never really got over that one. We switched to the low-fat version to see if that would help, but it only helped for a day or so then just got worse and worse. I was very sore, and kept stretching to try to make the cramps go away. We think maybe the dry poos irritated my gut and made the colitis flare up really badly.

The first vet gave me THREE injections (one of them makes me very odd – I cry and whine even though it is supposed to make the pain go away) and I ended up having almost no food for 2 days. But my tummy was still not right so according to the next vet, I had to take a new tablet called steroids (Prednicare). That made me VERY thirsty so I drank loads and loads of water and chicken juice, and could pee for Britain for a few days! When I did get food, it was boiled rice and chicken, very small amounts, 6 times a day – and now we’re gradually bringing in my old type of food. We like the advice here, though we haven’t tried the slippery stuff yet – going to ask the vet about that.

And happily, after 2 weeks of mucus, blood, gut lining and diarrhoea, I did my first near-normal poo yesterday. Here it is :-)

poo bag

Beautifully wrapped, of course!

So now we’re going to switch out the rice and boiled chicken, and get me back onto my old food. That’s the plan, anyway. And I don’t think I will be getting my normal cocktail sausage bits when we go to agility class tonight somehow. Shame….

Anyway, we’re all just happy that my gut seems to be behaving again, and we’re NOT planning any more changes of food!

 

The Big Walk in February

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It might be the shortest month  but we have managed to walk quite a few miles this month too. 118 miles in January – can you guess how many we’ve done in this shorter month?

We’ve been further afield this month because @HeatherAlex’s mum was poorly so we went to look after her. I sit by her chair and let her scratch my head so she feels good. And I let her feed me treats and little bits of toast or crackers. I think I could have a career as a Pet Therapy dog, I’m so good!

We did do some walking in Scotland, but quite a lot was in the Far South, with my favourite places being Chobham Common and Swinley Forest.

We started off the month by going for a walk in the Pentlands with my friends from Dunbar, Maxy and Dougie. Maxy and I had to be on the lead most of the time because there was just too much temptation from small furries…

Twig & others sniffing

Lots of nice rabbit smells around here

Like last month, we did have some glorious morning skies, like this one:

sunrise sky

Those amazing colours did correctly predict massive amounts of rain later!

And one morning we saw a lovely double rainbow…

rainbow at queens park

The rainbow was too big to get it all into the picture – but it was very beautiful

Then it was off to the Far South for us. As you will see from the pictures, it also rained a lot down there. Sometimes it felt like we were walking along streams rather than along a path. Like this one…

wet path

Believe it or not, this is actually a path!

It all made chasing my ball a bit difficult and very wet at times, but that has never yet been known to stop me…

Twig with ball

Honestly, it’s NEVER too wet to chase a ball!

In the mornings, we went for walks on the golf course across the road. It’s apparently a very special golf course – Sunningdale – which golfers drool over the way I drool over cheese, but to me it is just woods and grass, streams, deer and rabbits. Unfortunately I am mostly kept on the lead on the course, in case I chase anything or get too excited about the small white balls that people hit with long metal sticks. It all seems very odd to me…

Sunningdale golf course

One of the nicest bits of the gold course to look at…

Sunningdale golf course

…but the best bit is where I am off the lead and allowed to chase my ball :-)

I wasn’t allowed to play in the sandy bits they have round the course, but quite a bit of the time it looked like the golfers wouldn’t be able to play in them either!

Sunningdale golf course

This is called a bunker but it looks just like a pond to me

Most afternoons, we went to Chobham Common for a longer walk, and mostly I was off the lead there. There’s just one spot with lots of rabbits in the gorse, so I have to be on the lead if we  go there sadly.

Chobham Common

Some days the weather was quite nice, even if the ground was very wet

Chobham Common

This is a monument to Queen Victoria, but I am more interested in the rabbit droppings to be perfectly honest

My favourite favourite place on the common is a pond where I can drop my ball and play “dooking for the ball” (if you don’t know what “dooking” is, it’s a Scottish word – I heard it when humans were talking about dooking for apples).

We have LOTS of pictures of my pond…

Chobham Common

My favourite pond…

Chobham Common

It was a bit sunnier this time

Chobham Common

Ready to play the Dooking game

Chobham Common

I practiced my agility jumping there too

Of course, there were other ponds all over the common, some are only there when it’s wet and others (like my favourite) are there all the time.

Chobham Common

Lots of good sniffs at this pond up on the hill

Chobham Common

…and more good sniffs at this one

We didn’t just go to the Common though. A couple of times we met up with our good friend Linda, who braved the rain  to come and walk with us at Swinley Forest.

Swinley Forest

See, you can play ball even when it is raining hard…

We did come home at the end of the month, stopping off in Oxfordshire to visit @HeatherAlex’s sister, Jayne, and her family. Another place for good sunrises:

Banbury fields

Sun rising over Banbury fields

And then it was back home to Glasgow. We finished off our walking month with a trip along the canal to the Falkirk Wheel with @CatCripps, @WendyAtGoucher and Alison.

antonine wall

You can even play Fetch on the Antonine Wall :-)

The Falkirk Wheel

This is the Falkirk Wheel, a very clever way to move boats up and down a hill

So… how did we do this month? Well, it is a shorter month, so we didn’t do quite as many miles but we still managed to walk ONE HUNDRED AND TEN miles! Woo hoo, we are well on our way to a thousand miles :-)

If you’d like to help keep Britain’s wild land wild, then do please think about sponsoring our walk. You can donate here – thank you!

Our first month on the Big Walk

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It’s been a pretty wet month here in Glasgow. Not as wet as some places – I’m glad I don’t live in the Somerset Levels! – but we have got wet quite a few times while we’ve been out walking our miles.

This month, we’ve mostly been walking in the parks – Queen’s Park (my local park), Pollok Country Park (my favourite woods and splashes), Rouken Glen (my favourite burn for playing in) and Mugdock Country Park (my favourite castle for exploring). But we’ve also been further – with a trip to the Whangie, which is one of our regular hilly walks, a visit to North Third near Stirling and a walk through the Ochils.

Can you guess how many miles we’ve clocked up this month? We need to do 84 each month if we are to hit our 1000 mile target. While you’re thinking about that, here are some of the best bits from our miles this month…

We’ve had some lovely skies on our morning walks, before the rain started!

morning sky

Lovely pink morning clouds… a shepherd’s warning of rain

morning sky

Another day, more pink clouds, and yes, it did rain!

morning sky

Look, there’s some blue sky!

Thanks to all the rain, there are some HUGE puddles in Pollok for me to play in :-)

pollok puddle

An unofficial pond for playing in at Pollok

And it was still there the next time:

pollok puddle

After all that ball chasing, I’ll just have a slurp while I’m here…

One day we went with some friends (and big puppy Pula, the setter) to a hill behind North Third reservoir near Stirling. It was wet!

north third

Pula is lovely and bouncy…and very red…

On the way down, I spotted a boat but decided that it wasn’t going to help much in getting home…

sunken boat

Don’t think we’ll use this boat…

My pal Finzi introduced me to a different park in Glasgow, called Bellahouston, which has some funny bits of metal in a maze:

finzi

You can see Finzi in the metal sculpture!

Mostly we go to Pollok for our middle-of-the-day walks. I missed a couple of days because I was a bit poorly and I didn’t do ANY walking (or eating) those days. But you can’t keep a good dog down and we soon made up for lost time! Here are some of our Pollok visits:

recall

Coming back at a run…how good am I??

view to pollok house

This isn’t the best place to play Fetch-The-Ball because it’s very narrow!

This is normally where we play Fetch, but there was too much water!

This is normally where we play Fetch, but there was too much water!

As you can see, it has been pretty wet this month. When we went to Rouken Glen, we couldn’t go our usual way because the burn had too much water in it and flooded the bridge.

flooded bridge

I think we need a boat to cross this bridge!

But, even with all the rain, there are lots of signs that Spring is on the way too:

snowdrops

Look at the snowdrops, catkins and bluebell shoots!

For a longer walk, we met up with our good friend Ally and decided to walk through the Ochils to a lovely dog-friendly hotel in Glendevon for our lunch.

dollar glen

Starting off in the sun from Dollar Glen…

Glendevon

And at the other end…next stop, the pub!

I can recommend the Tormaukin Hotel in Glendevon as a very friendly place for dogs, with a big roaring fire as well.

There weren’t many good views when we went to the Whangie because the clouds were quite low, but we met a lovely group of folk from Scottish Opera, including my friend Finzi, and one of them threw my ball for me almost all the way to the Whangie :-)

whangie walk

Yippee, someone to throw the ball for me!

Auchineden Hill

Past the Whangie and up to my regular trig point

So… how many miles do you think we’ve done this month?

Ta-ra!! I’m pleased to say we have walked ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTEEN miles in January. Yippee, we are well on our way :-)

If you’d like to support the John Muir Trust and our Big Walk, then any donation, large or small, would be welcome – you can donate on our Justgiving page. Thank you!

I love my off-lead park walks, but will they have to stop?

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I live in a lovely city called Glasgow. Well, okay, it can be a bit wet here, but somehow I don’t think we are alone in that when I look at how wet other places have been this year :-(

But come rain or shine, we have some great parks here where I can run around and chase my ball, chase squirrels and play. We’re doing lots of our 1000-mile walk in these parks.  Strictly speaking, dogs are only allowed in the parks on a lead, but well-behaved and (mostly) obedient dogs like me are usually off the lead and running off all our energy.

The Council who look after our parks want to change the rules of the park. There’s lots of stuff about unlawful gatherings and nuisance and sports and commercial activities in the new rules, so I wouldn’t be allowed to arrange a tweet-up with my friends on Twitter if more than 20 people were to come without getting permission from the man at the top of the Council. But more worrying are the rules about dogs in the parks.

When I heard that there were going to be new rules about dogs, I was very excited because I thought they would be changed from “All dogs on leads” to be more in line with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. For those who don’t live in Scotland, the Code basically means we and our humans can go most places, no matter who owns them, as long as we are responsible. And the Code tells us dogs how to be responsible too – there are certain places we have to avoid or where we have to be on a lead or walking to heel, like in fields with animals or food growing. But mostly we are allowed to be off-lead as long as we are under proper control – which means coming back when called, I guess, and leaving things alone when told to.

So I had hoped our Council would change the rules to follow the Code. If you go to our parks, there are some fields with animals, but mostly our parks don’t HAVE any of the kinds of places where we’re not allowed to be off the lead. Which would mean that Glasgow’s parks would be really welcoming to us dogs, as long as we behaved ourselves and went on lead when it was sensible and responsible to do that.

But no. The Council mentions the Code in its definitions but then it doesn’t refer to it at all in the new rules. We have to be on a short lead (no extending leads or leads longer than 2 metres) or at heel all the time, just like under the old rules. And there’s a brand-new rule that says people can’t walk more than three dogs. If we break the rules, we can be expelled or even banned from the parks for up to a year.

I do wonder how they will check who is breaking the rules. We never see park wardens now because the Council moved them all to other jobs. I’d rather they spent money on improving the parks, to be honest. There’s lots of rubbish that needs to be picked up and quite a few bits of the parks that need mending. We dogs aren’t the problem that needs to be fixed.

If you think the Council is missing the point and should follow the Code, you can sign the petition against the rules and – if you live in Glasgow – you can respond to the consultation.

Walking 1000 miles in 2014

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It sounds like a lot of miles, doesn’t it? The good news is that we are not going to walk it all in one go :-)

2014 is a special year in lots of ways here in Scotland. We have the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer, a referendum to decide if Scotland will be independent and the Ryder Cup. But it’s also 100 years since the death of a very special Scotsman, John Muir.

If you don’t know much about John Muir, you can read about in him here, or here. He left Scotland as a young lad and lived in America, where he helped set up national parks to protect wild land there. Here in Scotland, the John Muir Trust aims to carry forward his work by protecting wild land across the UK. They own some lovely bits of Scotland already (mountains like Ben Nevis, Quinag, Blaven and Schiehallion) and are buying a piece of Welsh hillside too! They also run the John Muir Award which gets people (youngsters especially) to find out about nature and wild places all over the UK.

Summit of Ben Vrackie

We’re at the top of Ben Vrackie in 2011

Anyway, me and @HeatherAlex were trying to think of ways that we could help support the Trust. Mostly because we love walking in wild land and wild places, and we want to make sure we still have them in the future!

One of the things John Muir did was walk 1000 miles across America, so we thought…why not walk 1000 miles this year?? Not all in one walk, like John Muir did, but over the whole of 2014. That way, it’s a wee bit easier :-)  Walks around the block don’t count, but all of our walks where we go to green, sandy or wild places do – so our local parks (the nice wooded ones especially), beaches, hills, forests and lochs will all be counted.

So that’s what our Big Walk for 2014 is – 1000 miles in lovely places. We’d love it if anyone can join us for some of it if you are in the neighbourhood and – of course – if you’d like to sponsor us, that would be FAB-YOO-LUSS! You’ll find details of how to sponsor us here.

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