Category Archives: A brisk walk

Bring kids, dogs, cake and especially cake

It’s only just occurred to me that it’s quite close to #YSPtweetup 2014, and what have I done in preparation? A lot of sod all, that’s what. It’s about time I extracted my digit and started winding up the arrangements.


For this year’s Wombat Wedding Anniversary hoopla we will once again be at the delightful Yorkshire Sculpture Park for picnics, walks, art and having a lot of fun together. The date to mark in red in your diary is Saturday 21st June.

As usual, bring food, chums, OHs, smiles, kids and canine companions. We’ll follow the usual plan: meet up around ten (although it usually takes at least half an hour to get the gang moving – honestly, you lot are as nippy as the Titanic sometimes), then stroll down to the picnic area for food, chat, and watching the kids. After we’ve all eaten each other’s food, we’ll “do” the park – lakes, woods, artworks, and climbing on that sculpture that you’re not supposed to climb on.

basdriver map


An offer of a lift: @basdriver is driving up to YSP from Cardiff and is kindly offering lifts to anyone near his route (click on the map on the left to see it large), which is roughly Cardiff-> Cheltenham-> Birmingham-> Nottingham-> Sheffield-> Wakefield). Contact him if you want to take him up on his lovely offer. Nice chap.

And if you can offer a lift to anyone who might want to go but has no transport, then let me know and I’ll put out a call on here.



YSP mapOK, here’s a map (click it to big it) and some bullet points. Gotta love bullet points.

  • YSP is just off the M1 junction 38.
  • Meet between 10 and 10:30 near the main car park, by the entrance to the main building. If it’s stair-rodding, you could always pop inside.
  • Car Parking is £8 for all day, payable at a machine that takes cards or cash, and asks for your car reg. number. The Car Park is HUGE and everyone will fit in.
  • Bring picnic food & drink OR buy stuff in the cafés there. Tap water is available free.
  • If you have any of my books you want signing, bring them along. I’ll also be available to sign boobs *eyebrow waggle*
  • We don’t have to stick together the whole day, but I hope we can at least get a big team photo of the whole company like before.
  • Official hashtags – either #YSPtweetup or #YSPtweetup2014.

Check the YSP website to see what they’ve got on at the moment, and ask me if you have any questions. Finally, clicky these links to see my blogs of previous #YSPtweetups: 2011, 2012, 2013.

#YSPtweetup2014 advance notice

z-0vanishedhippoYes, I know, it’s very advanced notice, but I have already had half a dozen people asking about this year’s Wombat Wedding Anniversary get together. Once again we’ll be at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park for picnics, walks and art. The date to mark in red in your diary is Saturday 21st June. As usual, bring food, chums, OHs, kids and all manner of canine companions.

I have a passing fancy this year to finally remember to get everyone to do the Mass Paperbag Trick. And maybe get everyone to bring their ukulele so that we can have a YSP Ukulele Orchestra rendition of Ilkley Moor Bar T’at. We’ll see. More in a few months.

Click here to see previous #YSPtweetup blogs: 2011, 2012, 2013.

A Todd video that the USA can see

More video of Todd out walking. This time I’ve not added music, so that even Americans should be able to watch. You’ll just have to put up with the sound of the wind and the stream and me sounding like a BIG GURL.

Toddles again

IMAG1792I plan to get back to blogging about things other than dogs soon, I promise, but here’s just one last word about – and from – Todd. Despite my clear instructions that he wasn’t to do it, he went and got himself a Twitter account (@ToddBat37). Typical collie. Here are his first musings from today.


Hello. Last night I slepped at Beerdy’s house for the first time. I noticed through the WINDWO when it was dark and took myself to bed cos I am CLEVER. I was a GOOD BOY last night and didernt poo or wee in the kitchen. And I was QUITE all night and was a GOODOG and that. And then today we went to BLEEKHOLT to see Adriman & Sharlet. And Beerdy walked some dogs that were not me and then he walked me and I did a MASSIVE POO. And something about a MICRASHIP in my sholder happened as well in a hot room that made me PANT. Then we came home.

Five of the best

IMAG1700I had a bonanza Bleakholt walking session today. First out of the traps was DEBO, who set off like a train on fire (yes it is a thing, shut up). I careered along after him, almost skidding across the grassy bit. Once we got out, though, he did a humungous poo and slowed down to a more sedate pace. Still pulling a little, but the urgency had gone. Odd name, Debo, but he’s a fine brindly gentleman.


IMAG1706IMAG1707As I was putting Debo back in his pen, I could hear ROLO in the next kennel barking “Take me! Take me! I NEED OUT!”, so that’s what I did. We’ve met Rolo before, when I failed to take a decent photo, so here’s two of him this time to make up. Once again we had a big old tummy tickle at the end of the walk. He’s not good at selling himself to visitors, unfortunately, barking at them loudly when they appear.


IMAG1708IMAG1710Remember TODD? The lovely feller has another kennel mate at the moment, little KIM, and I took them out on a double. Blimey Kim’s lively. Todd, as usual, wanted to stop and smell all the smells, while Kim just wanted to be off to look at ALL THE WORLD! Trees! Grass! More grass! Poo! Birds! Charlotte! Grass again! It was like having dogs at different speeds, Kim all 78rpm and Todd relaxed at 33rpm (a little vinyl reference there for all you oldies). Perky Kim has already been provisionally booked, so here’s hoping for a good home for her.


IMAG1720I was about to go home when I spotted BELLA, a new arrival, and I just had to take her for a walk. She’s deaf, and it was an interesting walk. She responds well to small twitches in the lead telling her which way to go, and a quick pat took the place of “Good dog.” She adores a fuss, and is a beautiful dog. I doubt she’ll be at Bleakholt for long before being snapped up. I considered her briefly myself, but the deafness would require a fair bit of hard work – how would you tell her ‘No!’, for example, if she decided to chase one of the cats? It’s probably for the best if she’s somewhere without cats around.

Oh, and I saw FLACK with his ‘interested couple’ again. I do so hope that works out for him.

Spaghetti and Balls

IMAG1688After a couple of weeks off due to (a) bad ankle and (b) a glorious time in Scotland, I was back at Bleakholt this morning crying “Let’s walk some dog!”. People look at me funny when I do things like that, but I don’t give a tuppenny toss. First out of the blocks was ROLO, a lovely snuffly feller who was a joy to walk. We had a big tummy rub on the grass after his walk (he did I mean, not me sadly). I could only manage a naff pic of him due to sunshine preventing me from seeing what I had taken, sorry.



My next client was the superstar that is BETTY SPAGHETTI. Spag did not want to go for a walk round the lanes. Oh no, Spag wanted very much to go in the field, thank you very much. Her being such a strong dog, that’s exactly what we did. We had a splendid time throwing (me) and chasing (her) balls. Her only fault is that she refuses to give any ball back, so that you have to have two balls in your hands at any one time. (Insert your own dirty joke here.)



IMAG1693And KEETO. A lively pup who wanted to grab everything he came across. Within ten seconds he grabbed Michael’s hose pipe (insert your second dirty joke here), which I managed to get him to drop by offering the other end of his lead. This he held until we came across a manky old ball, which he proceeded to rag and chew all the way round ‘the square’.

Aaah, it’s good to be back.


IMAG1642It was lovely to be at Bleakholt with a lead in my hand once more, after a few weeks off due to a manky ankle. First up was KEANO, whom you’ll remember from previous posts. He was on top form, full of fun with lots of interaction. Keano’s renowned for his love of sticks, or bottles, or wooden legs, or anything else he finds lying around. The stick he found today, though, was not so much lying around as attached to a tree. He spent a good three or four minutes heaving at the thing before finally succeeding in ripping it free. There he is on the left, with his prize. The thing with Keano is, don’t try to take his sticks off him. That way lies trouble. He’s OK if you swap a toy for it, mind.

IMAG1644Next, along came BROOKE, a big girl at Bleakholt for a short time only, before going back home next week. She’s very nervous and not fond of stepping out. Lovely temperament, though, so with a little occasional persuasion she came along happily. She really needs to lose some weight, when she’ll be a wonderful dog. In retrospect, I’m pleased that the thunderstorm did not arrive until after Brooke was back in her kennel. I’m not sure her nerves would have stood being out in that.

Instead, it was with lovely old FLACK in tow that I felt the first splot of rain on my head. Distant thunder soon became huge KERRAKs immediately overhead, with lightning forking down from above Edenfield and solid rain stair-rodding it onto our heads. We were both drenched in seconds, absolutely sodden by the time we found the shelter of a reasonably large tree. Not that it offered a lot of protection, such was the ferocity of the downpour. IMAG1647Flack, bless him, was completely unthrown by either deafening thunder or torrential monsoon, sitting by me and looking up occasionally as if to say “Shall we move yet, Beardy Bloke?” He’s looking a lot better now than he did immediately after his run-in with PUDDING a couple of weeks ago, don’t you think? Eventually the rain lessened into merely chucking it down, and we returned. Charlotte towelled us both down and the sun emerged over Holcombe Hill.

It’s good to be back.

Running Out Of Ideas For Dog-themed Titles



First lad out with me today was BOB – look at him, the little cutie. He’s full of energy, full of life, and full of love. He was also full of poo, and used up three of the six bags I had in my pocket so that I had to cart Todd and Saffy into the office later to top up my supply. Bob wagged his tail, or more accurately his whole bum, the whole way round.





You may remember lively FLACK from a previous post. Today’s Flack, though, was very subdued, quiet and unresponsive. He also had several stitches close to his eye, the result of a bust up with Pudding. Until hostilities broke out in the run, those two had been the best of friends and there had been no hint of trouble. Pudding has a bit of a sore ear, but he gave poor Flack’s face a right seeing to. I took Flack round the long circle today (past the Duckworth Arms, since you ask). He enjoyed himself, but quietly.




Remember CHARLIE, the happy chappie from a previous post? I took him out in a twosome today with his kennel-mate NIPPER. Nipper, as you might imagine from his name and size, is a bit of a tinker. It was fun to watch them, Charlie being led on by Nipper to bark whenever we saw another dog, something Charlie didn’t dream of when I had him out alone.




A couple of old friends were last, kennel mates TODD and SAFFRON, who you’ve seen a few times now. Saffie was really good letting Adie put in her eyedrops before we left. I don’t think Todd was any different from usual Todd, to be honest, but Saffie, bolstered by the presence of her kennel-chum, was far more outgoing today than before. There was a brief problem when Todd’s lead got caught in Saff’s tightly-curled tail, but otherwise they were a complete delight.

Charlie Farley enters the blog

IMAG1512[4]My first two customers this morning were already known to me, and to you if you’re a regular reader. On your right is lovely BREWSTER, who actually played with a stick on our walk. Now, he’s not renowned for sticky playfulness (i.e. with a stick, not sticky EW), so I really enjoyed myself. He then licked my face off and did a huge poo. IMAG1469[3]LEVI, on the other hand, to your left there, was a right little bugger this morning. He was startled by a sudden noise as I took him out of his kennel, and never really recovered. He was full of NO and NOT GOING THAT WAY, and continually made a weird whingy noise. I’d calm him down with a bit of a love, but a minute later he’d be refusing to move again.
IMAG1542Lastly, I took CHARLIE out. At first he really pulled at the lead and I thought I was in for an energetic walk, but after hauling me bodily out of the yard and into the lane, he found a verge and did the massivest poo in the whole world. Two bags worth, in fact. After that, he was calm and didn’t pull at all. I imagine he just wanted not to make a mess near his ‘home’. He was a delight to walk, graceful and elegant, with delicate foot movements and a soulful expression. Lovely dog. Sorry about the photo, which has bent his face cos I moved the phone as I took it. He’s pretty, really.

“Ah well – I’m sure he had a long and happy life”


Today I have a crumper bop of dogs for you, you lucky lot. Wait – reverse that spoonerism. A bumper crop, because I wanted to make up for not being able to get to Bleakholt at all yesterday, due to ALL THE TRAFFIC JAMMERY IN THE WORLD happening.
BettyNow just look at this lovely face on your left. How could anyone resist her? Yes, yes, alright, she’s not the prettiest of pooches, but she has a big heart and lots of love to give. Yes, it’s BETTY SPAGHETTI, who you met in an earlier post. She’s a five-year-old bulldog who was dumped by her owners (the twatmongers) and arrived at Bleakholt about three months ago. She’s a playful girl – we found an old ball during our walk today and had a good game of catch for a while. Then she decided that enough was enough. She set her legs and refused to move in any direction other than back to Bleakholt with her new ball. And let me tell you, those legs and that chest are strong. I complied.

Meet BREWSTER, one of the old fellers. He’s ten years old and came to Bleakholt when his owner died. He’s a friendly chap who was well-behaved and, I’m told, gets on well with other dogs as well as cats. Brewster and I decided to wander down the opposite direction to my usual square, and Brewster decided to catch all the bees he possibly could, and then to eat ALL THE GRASS IN THE WORLD.

Next up is JESS, who has already found a new home and is waiting to move there. This is no surprise at all, as she’s a beguiling two-year-old Lakeland Terrier / Beagle cross with a lot of intelligence and a right cheeky grin. Obedient, though – when I told her she was not allowed to chase the ducks that she’d spotted she stopped pulling and sat down by my feet. And stuck out her tongue.


MICKEY! Little clockwork legs blurring back and forth then a sudden STOP at a fascinating smell, tail stiff while he draws in the rich aroma then wag-wag-wag scuttling along to the next olfactory encounter. It took a while for commands to get through to him, such was his fascination with the big old world.


Say hello to COOPER, readers. Cooper’s an affectionate lad, with a placid, friendly nature. His big furry ten-year-old tail waves about gracefully when you scratch his head (the rest of him is ten years old too – he’s not had a tail transplant or anything). He was rehomed once, but came back because he was “very protective of the home, causing a disturbance when strangers passed by or visitors called”. I don’t understand that – isn’t it what all dogs do? Bark like buggery when they hear a noise, or the doorbell rings? Still, I know not the details, so shut your gob, Wombat.

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