Thursday, 17 August 2017

A river walk in Forder.

Forder is a small hamlet near to Saltash in Cornwall with only 44 houses and no shop. Many of the cottages are situated along the banks of the River Forder with the footpath running between their frontages and the river. It's a peaceful little place, with boats moored down the shoreline with only birdsong and the soft clinking of halyards against masts to break the silence.
Recently on a warm but overcast day I walked there with my two youngest grandchildren and the dog.

 The path turned away from the river and climbed up through wooded slopes.

 We paused to look into the remains of Wearde Quarry then entered the high-sided and fern-covered enclosure, long since filled in.  Nature has taken over and the information boards showed which plants thrived in the cool, damp conditions.
Could we find 'Fox Tail Feather Grass' ?  

 Eleanor found it!

 And then the Arum maculatum, commonly known as Cuckoopint.  It's bright orange berries are a warning that it is poisonous and not to be touched.

Another information board shows that all the fields at the top of the slope have names.  Fascinating stuff!

By the time we returned to our starting point the tidal river was fast emptying and many of the boats were now listing to one side as they settled on the mud.
We headed for Seaton to have some lunch and a drink.  But that's another post!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Benji the Bichon Frise - an Update.

Sorry to be so tardy with my posts; I feel that when I go to the same places regularly there's a limit to the number of times I can describe it or take photographs.  And the weather has been so miserable with the constant rain - Cornwall seems to be the area where any bad weather arrives and STAYS! 
Anyway, a catch-up on Benji and I hope the difference in his physique and manner will be obvious.

It's so good to see the change in Benji from the timid, nervous and very obese animal (weighing 17.15 Kgs) that arrived here on the 12th of April, stinking of cigarette smoke, looking and feeling dirty, scratching and constantly licking his paws. 

He had been confined to a small dog crate, never exercised, fed on a bad diet (and lots of it) untrained and un-socialised. He flinched whenever a hand came near him and was frightened of a brush . .
But he soon settled and became attached to me and now 4 months later, Benji is essentially a very happy dog, always up for a long walk especially when it can be off-lead. His training is going reasonably well, but he tends to have a short attention span unless food is involved; however the house training was accomplished within a few days of arriving here. Learning to 'sit' and 'wait' took a little longer, but thankfully he has learned NEVER to jump out of the car until his lead is attached.
He is now well-socialised with other dogs of all shapes and sizes and happily joins in with group hugs with the gang of dogs we regularly meet up on Bodmin Moor, only retreating behind me when a nippy dog pesters him (little black Sukie is his nemesis!)
Initially fascinated by the new lambs, back in April, he learned not to mess with ewes when they protected their young when one stamped its foot at him (which was ignored) then charged him, head down, bowling him over as he scuttled back to me. Since then, he has kept a wary eye on the sheep but steered clear of them. **more on this to follow . . **
Similarly, he has a healthy respect for the cattle and ponies that live on the Moor.  a confident, mischievous, stubborn and highly inquisitive little lad, escape artiste extraordinaire, and lord of his manor (his home and his car!) 

The sofa (covered) is his preferred bed, though he does have a bed in the car and one in the study next to my bedroom where he sleeps at night. He is regularly shampoo'ed by me and occasionally trimmed by an expert, so he smells sweet (if you disregard the occasional roll in fox- or badger-poo) and looks clean. He has an (expensive!!) Hypoallergenic diet that is specially mixed for him to counteract his many allergies and to reduce his weight. The weight loss is a slow process averaging just half a pound per week. 
He has 2 hates - rain and cats!!!  He rather fancies himself in his new Barbour jacket and trots around like Lord Muck in it - but refuses to 'perform' while he's wearing it.  As for the cats - he tried hard to chew through the chain link fence in order to reach my neighbours' cat, but it is now being kept indoors!
He regularly patrols my garden looking for a way to escape - it was previously assessed as 'dog-safe' before he arrived, but since then I have purchased more chain link fencing, 6ft high gates at either side of my property and various pieces of wire and wood to block weaknesses in the original boundaries. 
He is now banned from the front garden as he twice disappeared over the Cornish hedge between my garden and my neighbour's then was unable to get back after dropping down the other side.
He tops up his meals with a regular intake of sheep poo and pointedly ignores my shouts of "LEAVE IT!!! LEAVE IT!!!"

 A handy seat right there for a rest.

 He no longer follows closely behind my feet as I walk along.

And on our late afternoon walk yesterday, after exploring some of the ruins of engine houses, mine-shafts and chimneys and heading back towards the car, a small group of sheep crossed our path and ran into the waist high bracken when they spotted Benji - who then decided, "Fair game!" and chased after them. And kept on chasing, all the way up the steep slope of the old mine tips where the sheep stopped, turned and stared at him. He then wisely decided to call it a day and slithered his way down a shale track to get back to me. I cannot repeat what I said to him . . . .but he was firmly attached to his lead and made to walk at heel all the way back.
Home for dinner and a long, long sleep until it was time for bed.