A Holiday In Dorset
I had a superb week’s hols with Mum’s parents in West Moors in Dorset the week before Easter, while Mum and Dad went off on holiday to do something called skiing and snowboarding. Uncle Peter went too, which is why he couldn’t look after me. The week went as follows.
Fri 14th – Grannie and Grampa arrived at our house late in the afternoon, and immediately came for a walk on the lawns with Mum and me.
Sat 15th – Grampa got up early and took Mum, Dad and Uncle Peter to a place called Gatport Airwick, where they’re going to do their skiing, so Gran had to take me for my morning walk. When Grampa got back she complained that I tug too much, and will have to be taught to do something called “walking to heel”. Hmm, wonder what that’s all about.
In the afternoon we watched some rugby on the tv. Grampa got very excited when Scotland scored. Then we went round to Mum and Dad’s friend Sue’s, where G&G spent ages looking at photos of somewhere called Nip All, and I pranced around chasing shadows on the wall. Then we came back and watched yet more rugby on tv, and this time Gramps got very excited when Wales scored.
Sun 16th – It was pouring with rain first thing, but Grampa still walked me to the far end of the lawns and back. That’s about 1½ miles. Hmm, I’m not sure whether this holiday is going to be a big adventure or a boot camp! After breakfast they put my basket in the back of their car and me in with it. I had to share the back with their suitcases and stuff, but there was STILL more room than in Dad’s car. Grampa must be very rich to have such a big car, or maybe he’s a furniture remover. Soon after we arrived at their house we went out for a walk again, to a place called Avon Heath Country Park. I was let off the lead most of the time, but put back on it while we walked past some young cows. One of them came up very close, and I was a bit scared, so I barked at it to make it think I wasn’t. Oh, and I also had a good bark at a big fierce looking Alsatian, which was quite safe as he was inside a big fenced garden .
Mon 17th – Grannie went to work, but Grampa’s got the whole week off, to play with me. After lunch we went out for a walk. We just set off from the house and walked and walked and walked. We were out for 3 hours and covered 7.5 miles. We went along a riverside, then along a lane, then struck out across a place called Holt Heath. We came to a marshy bit and the path went up onto wooden boards, and I went for an unexpected swim when I jumped off the boards into what I thought was a little puddle and found I was out of my depth! Then we came to a nice dry sandy bit of heath, and I had lots of fun digging holes and chasing leaves and bits of heather and stuff.
Then we came to a forest with very wet and muddy bits, and I got clarted with mud. I arrived home like that, and wasn’t allowed back in the house until Gramps had got a bowl of water and a J cloth and given me a wash!
Last Friday, when I climbed up onto Mum’s lap in the evening, there were dark mutterings from G&G about NOT BEING ALLOWED TO DO THAT AT THEIR HOUSE! However, I soon managed to turn that around this evening. They were watching a who-dunnit on tv, and when I tried to climb up they soon discovered it was much less hassle to let me come up than to try to keep me down! Hee hee .
Tue 18th – Today we went in Grampa’s car to West Moors Plantation. I remember coming here on Christmas Day. On that day we just went for a quick walk in the plantation. Today, though, we walked right through the plantation, then along an old railway line for about a mile. Then we went into a place called Moors Valley Country Park. We walked several miles through there till we came nearly to a place called Verwood.
On the way I had a bit of a rough and tumble with a dog that was a bit bigger and older than me. To begin with I had the upper hand, but then he got a bit too rough, and fortunately his Mum called him away. See picture. On the way back I saw some great big seagulls with very long necks on a lake. Grampa said these were swans, and told me not to even think of going anywhere near them, or they’d have my guts for garters. I wasn’t sure what this meant, but it doesn’t sound very nice. When we got back to the car Grampa said we’d walked 9¼ miles.
Now that the suitcases are out of Grampa’s car my bit in the back seems bigger than ever. There’s space for my basket and then as much space again behind that. It’s like having a bedsit! See picture. Dad, can we get a sensible car like this, please?
Wed 19th – Grannie was at home today, so we went for a bit of a girlie walk, and walked a lot slower than yesterday. We went to a place which is properly called Avon Heath Country Park South, but G&G just call it Boundary Lane. It was really nice here. There were woods and fields and hills, and nice sandy bits where I could dig holes. After a while, though, G&G thought I’d better stop, because the ranger might say I was causing something called erosion. Here’s a picture of me causing erosion.
In the evening, after we’d come back from my bedtime wee, I couldn’t find Gran, so I went to look for her. Here’s where I found her J. Hee hee. Going upstairs was another thing I was NOT GOING TO BE ALLOWED TO DO IN DORSET! Actually, Gramps used to egg me on a bit, and all week we had games of See Who Can Get Upstairs Fastest. He also used to play Chasing Me Round the Dining Room Table, Trying to Retrieve Gran's Slipper!
Thu 20th – Gran was back at work today, so Gramps and I went on a really long walk. Actually, a walk with Gramps is more like a route march. He doesn’t hang around much throwing sticks and things for me to chase. He says it’s too cold to hang around. Instead, he either walks quickly or else jogs. We drove to a place called Linford Bottom and started from there. I remember coming here once before, when I was only about 3½ months old, with one of Mum’s schoolfriends who had a dog called Molly. Mum’s friend, Alley, had a pushchair with her baby in it, so we didn’t go far that day, just a little walk along the riverside. Today though, for those readers with the OS maps, (Gramps has been teaching me map reading and navigation) our route was as follows. Starting from the car park at SU181072 (Linford Bottom) we went up the hill through Great Linford Enclosure onto Rockford Common, where I had a cautionary sniff at a couple of New Forest ponies (I’ve been warned not to get too close to them). Then across the road to Digden Bottom, across a boggy bit at Dockens Water, up onto Ibsley Common and along to Hasley Enclosure. Then across to Sloden Enclosure. At the far side of there we turned towards Holly Hatch cottage and started back towards the car. We’d come about 6 miles by then. It started to rain, so Grampa started running for a while. We walked through Holly Hatch Enclosure to Broomy Lodge, and then across Broomy Plain. From there we crossed over the road again into Milkham Enclosure. We walked through there to Red Shoot Wood, and thence into Great Linford Enclosure again, and ended up back at the car after 3½ hours and 11½ miles. Cor, what a brilliant walk.
Fri 21st – Today was Good Friday, and Gran was at home again. We went for a walk at a place called St Catherine Hill, near Christchurch. This is a lovely place for dogs. Lots of sandy bits and a few muddy bits. Big pine cones for the humans to throw for us. Rabbits to chase, etc. And a big deep pond too, but I was kept well away from that. Near there is where Uncle Peter got his blue motorbike.
Sat 22nd –It was very cold today. So cold that in the afternoon Gran decided to stay at home and make a dessert for tomorrow’s lunch. Gramps and I went for a brisk 8 mile walk in a place called Hurn Forest, near where he lives. On the way round we met four people on horseback and I impressed Gramps with my mature behaviour. I didn’t bark at them or chase them. I just came quietly back to him when he whistled. Oh yes, he’s got this clever trick of sticking two claws of his right hand into his mouth and making a sound like Mum and Dad’s whistle. I always came back to him when he did it, not just from a sense of duty but also because I was trying to find out how he did it. I can’t do that. But then, he says he can’t lick his willie.
Gramps gave me a pair of his old trainers to play with. Here am I playing with one of them.
Sun 23rd – Lots of exciting things happened today. The first was that instead of just going to the local field for our early morning walk Gramps took me to Boundary Lane, where we went on Wednesday. Today, though, we went for a much longer walk. We were out for about an hour. We were almost back at the car when Gramps found a big long rope hanging from a tree with a thing called a trapeze on the end. He grabbed hold of it and started swinging to and fro. I thought this was very odd and pranced around and barked at him. Then it started to rain, so we dashed back to his car and came home. The next exciting thing was that Gramps went off in the car and came back a short while later with HIS Mum, who looked quite like him but a bit older and smaller, and with more hair on her head. Gramps said I must be careful not to knock her over, because she’s nearly 12 years old in doggy years, and getting a bit unsteady on her paws.
The next, really, really exciting thing to happen was that Dad and Mum turned up. I was so pleased to see them that I bounded up to Mum to give her my most enthusiastic welcome. She said “Hello Rufus, oh, ow!” and winced with pain. Apparently she hurt her back while she was away, doing this snowboarding thing. Dad had hurt himself too. He’d fallen over and banged his shoulder. I wonder if he was trying to rub it in fox poo? Hmm, no, probably not. He didn’t smell of fox poo.
The final exciting thing that happened was that I had roast pork for Sunday lunch today. So did Dad. That’s a bit of a treat for both of us. Mum’s a vegetable, so Dad and I don’t often get real meat to eat. Actually, the fresh country Dorset air has really given me an appetite this week. No picking around with my food like I sometimes do at home. I've been wolfing down every meal straight away.
After lunch Mum, Dad and I went for a final walk in Dorset, to Boundary Lane again. Poor Mum was hobbling a bit, and Dad couldn’t throw sticks for me, but Gramps was charging round like a puppy, playing with me and rolling pine cones down this really steep hill for me to chase.
After the walk the humans all had a cup of tea and then it was time to go home to Hove. I wasn’t too keen on getting into Dad’s tiny car, but eventually condescended to jump in, and off we went.
What a great week it was. I hope I’ve behaved myself well enough to get invited back again. I think they’ve got a bit of a soft spot for me. Gramps says he’d like to take me caravanning sometime. I saw their caravan. It's a little house on wheels that you can take to nice places in the countryside, so that you can go for walks without having to get into the car first.