Tag Archives: Muttley

I’m Sorry. We Missed You. We’re Back – Derwent Water

Hello…Anyone out there?

I know, it’s been a while, but the winter is now over, and the smell of summer is just a couple of months around the corner.

Updates:

New Job – Still semi-retired, but the new one is slightly more interesting than the previous time-filler, which involved lining up yoghurts on the Tesco Dairy Aisle.

New “Other Half”…NO! I’m joking, she’s still serving a life sentence with me, with no parole for good behaviour.

New Addition – Daughter No2 presented us with our first Grandson in January. A very special boy.

Dog – No change, slightly bigger, just as crafty, he now gazes at me with a look of entitlement, which of course I bend to! Have a treat Mutts? Don’t mind if I do! …pat, pat, pat.

Anyway here we go. Today we rolled into Borrowdale CC alongside Derwent Water in the Lake District south of Keswick. This is our first trip into the heart of the Lakes. The campsite is very secluded and sheltered, it’s very nicely laid out. No toilet facilities here so “The Other Half” is sat on the back step, oiling her shovel! The Wardens are very friendly and everything is relaxed but well-ordered, which suits me.

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Borrowdale CC marked by the discreet blue arrow!

Later this afternoon, I took the Mutts for his constitutional, walking along a wooden boardwalk which crosses Great Bay east towards Hoggs Earth.

Towards Keswick

Looking North in the direction of Keswick

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Tomorrow we are planning a little stroll up to “Cats Bells” which overlooks our site and Derwent Water. Fingers crossed for decent weather, today’s effort brought a new meaning to “April Showers.”

That is all.

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#LeGrandeTour2014 – Day 1: Le Crossing

Whatever possessed me to book a 0720hrs crossing on the Euro Tunnel? At 0400hrs this morning the alarm went off and we spent the next half hour glumly in a field somewhere in Kent packing the van away. Even the Mutt showed a complete lack of interest and slept through.

An hour later we were parked up at Euro Tunnel, feeling much happier, we even spoke! Tea?… yes please! The book-in procedure at the tunnel was simple and swift…A quick pensioners nap in the back of the Chucklebus, as we crossed and 30mins later we were there, emerging into a bright sunny morning at Calais. (keep right, keep right…)

The Train!

We have decided to stay off the toll roads and motorways as much as possible, so that we get to see more of the country. So leaving the port we picked up the D940 and started threading our way south along the coast. The road was fairly quiet and offered great views as we trundled along. The biggest difference between the countryside here in Northern France and the Kent Countryside we’d just left? Both stunning, but France wins hands down, because of the complete lack of electricity pylons dominating and ruining the landscape. The French place them below ground here, perhaps that something we should be pushing in our own country. It makes such a difference to the outlook, it also means a more reliable power supply during bad weather!

We stopped at Cap Gris Nez for an hour. This headland that juts out into the English Channel, is the closest point to Dover at just over 21 Miles. The German fortifications from WW2 clearly evident, an interesting place to visit. It was a beautifully clear day and we could easily see the white cliffs of Dover.

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By now, some 5 hours since reveille, the dog was now finally communicating us, deciding to forgive us for the early start, so he happily posed for a picture with “L’autre moitié”

"L'autre moitié" and Muttley

“L’autre moitié” and Muttley

We then drove a few further miles along the coast until we reached the small seaside town of Wimereux. A pleasant place, it reminds me a little of the English seaside resorts, along the east coast.

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Worth a stop over. The town has a vets, so we may stop here on the return, to get the dog paperwork sorted before travelling back through the tunnel

We are currently pitched up over night at the municipal camping site called Municipal L’Olympic. The site filled up quickly and by this afternoon was full. We will need to bear that in mind as we move day to day.

http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/sites/details.asp?revid=10745

Staying here allows us to play catch up with our admin having spent five days in the van already, shower/laundry etc. This afternoon we popped down to the local plage…(No Dogs allowed…Mutts not impressed)

"Le autre moitié" on Wimereux Plage giving someone on the Kent Coast the "Your Dead" look!

“Le autre moitié” on Wimereux Plage giving someone on the Kent Coast the “Your Dead” look!

Writing to her Mother, telling her all about me!!!

Writing to her Mother, telling her all about me!!!

Oh Yes, we also ate cakes! Freshly baked at a nearby boulangerie.

The Cake!

The Cake!

C’est tout

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Woodville CL – Pontesford, South Shropshire Score: 5/5

After a month of self-imposed abstinence, this fine weekend we fired up the Chucklebus and headed into South Shropshire, to a small site located within the village of Pontesford, some 6 miles south of Shrewsbury.

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The site called “Woodville” is located on a family smallholding belonging to Dave and Sarah. They’re experienced motorhomers and this is evidenced in the layout of the site and the warm welcome they afford every visitor. The site is tucked away approximately 300ms from the main road, it’s very quiet and secluded with no passing traffic. This is a really nice location.

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The local area is dominated by Pontesford Hill, which is clearly visible from the site and linked by a series of footpaths to the CL. You can walk directly from Woodville to the summit of Pontesford Hill entirely off-road, so ideal for visitors with kids or dogs.

In the 1950s the famous big screen filmmakers; Pressberger & Powell shot many of the scenes from the Film “Gone to Earth” on Pontesford Hill and the surrounding area. The film was based on a book about the hill by local author Mary Webb, who lived nearby in the early 1900’s.   http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042513/

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The twin peaks of Pontesford Hill through the early morning haze.

The Woodville site fees are £13pn, for this you get a grassed pitch(neatly cut), your own fresh water supply, grey waste drain and 16A EHU. Sarah also provides each pitch with their own local information folder.  3G/Freeview are workable in the area, so its ideal if your staying for a few days and need communication. The larger village of Pontesbury is also within easy walking distance, with some local shops and a couple of pubs that serve food.

On Friday evening we spend the night eating, drinking and watching “Strictly”….I know, I know, shameful, but its a weakness!!. “Sequins & Pearls” Other than that, a very quiet night, with only the resident owl terwit-terwooing for company

……Next day, I was up like  a lark, issued the “Other Half” with instructions for breakfast, and gave the Mutt advanced notice of an impending walk. So whilst I relaxed and thought through the tactical considerations of the days activities ahead, the “Other Half” whisked up bacon n eggs and the Mutt aimlessly chased a rubber disk around the field.”Total Leadership in Action” Its a gift I have!

We then began the walk from the site to Pontesford Hill,  following a series of well marked footpaths that initially trace the flow of Habberley Brook.

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This is pleasant Shropshire countryside and with good weather, what an excellent way to spend a Saturday. The path eventually leads to a small waterfall and rock pool.

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The beauty of this place is the lack of visitors, its off the normal tourist track and is really only known to the locals. Throughout the whole walk we only passed 3 or 4 other couples.

Eventually we arrived at the foot of Pontesford Hill. The summit has two peaks, the highest is “Earls Hill” and is marked with a trig point. The major part of the hill is heavily wooded, with various paths offering different standards of walks to the bare-grassed steep summit, several are eye wateringly steep! Although in height terms it’s small fry, its does offer great views across South Shropshire

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The woodland walk

I was quite happy to meander up the Green Route(Easy), but the Other Half and Muttley had other ideas, so after a quick game of “Rock/Paper/Scissors”, which I lost, we hit the Purple Route(hard!)…Basically we went straight up in the general direction of the sky! along a narrow track until we reached the end of the wood, from which we emerged onto the final grassed approach to the summit.

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Only one slight problem, the final stile. Muttley for some reason won’t act like a steeple chaser and leap over it..instead he sits and howls like a wolf cub. So I end up like a sherpa, lugging a lump of hair and muscle over any obstacle in excess of 3ft:

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The dog won’t follow – The Approach

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Upsadaisy – The Lift!

So with the dog now safely on the same side of the fence as us, we continued up to the trigpoint on the top of Earls Hill.

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Nearly there

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Made it!

Once we’d reached the summit, it was easy to pick up the nearest hight feature in the distance, that of the Stiperstones, which we’d climbed earlier in the year.

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Looking towards the Stiperstones

After lunch on the summit, we commenced the walk down, which was pretty impressive as well.

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So! we were back at the chucklebus about 4hrs after our original departure, not one car seen, no roads to cross and almost all of the walk on small wooded paths or open fields. Sarah tells me there are some other walks that can be picked up directly from the site, so for us, this is one bolt-hole we will definitely be returning to.

That is all.

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Muttleys Obedience Training – Progress Report

Progress Report on Muttley’s Retrieval Skills :

He understands that he has to fetch, but he’s decided he won’t be bring it back! …….Well not to me anyway.

They both thought it was funny!

The lovingly administered beatings continue.

That is all

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August 28, 2013 · 8:24 pm

Day 13 #grandtour13 – A Pictorial Cornish Coastal Walk

Two words…Shattered.com!

“The South West Coast Path ranks alongside New Zealand’s Milford Track, Chile’s Torres del Paine trek and Alaska’s Chilkoot Trail as one of the world’s most awe-inspiring hikes, according to the new Great Adventures book published in October 2012 by Lonely Planet.”  http://www.visitcornwall.com

Today in a rare moment of madness, I suggested we get out and see some of this wonderful part of the country….On foot! As a result, todays blog is mainly pics, as I don’t have the energy to do the “writy-bit with the pencil”

To be honest, the coastline was stunning….In the end I got sick of taking pictures, it really is that good. Overdosed on stunning views, that doesn’t happen very often.

With the agreement of the “Other Half” I decided if we were going to do this walk, it needed to be done resolutely. So I deployed the “Nuclear Option”, we would travel to our walk start point on public transport, then walk back!!!…..No half measures for this team matey, oh no. Add in the temp up into the late 20’s, and its a recipe for a great walk….But God i’m knackered!

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Me on a bus! with the public. Not pleasant.

Anyway our route was from Harlyn Bay to Bedruthan Steps and then back to our farm camp site.  About 7-8 miles in total.

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Muttley gets the walk off to a flying start by waving his arse at the sunseekers on Harlyn Bay!

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The “Other Half” and Muttley discuss the finer points of lighthouse construction at Trevose Head….Mutts thinks it should be chocolate!

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The word “Aquamarine” springs to mind

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Mutts get’s his first lesson in gravity and its sometimes negative effect on a long and happy doglife!

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Porthcothan…Another bay. Another glorious view

For those who’ve enjoyed the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, this path easily matches it. Most of the walking is at height, right on the cliff edges in some places, looking down onto golden beaches or the Atlantic slamming against the rocks below.

The route was fairly well marked out, as it followed the high cliffs.  Although on a few occasions, I felt like Nick Crane from BBC’s Coast programme, as I strode across the sweeping sandy beaches, resplendent in full hiking gear, trying to avoid the tourists sunbathing, we must have looked slightly out of place.

So….Walk done, 1 x blister on my right heel(The “Other Half” is calling me a lightweight!)

The dog is unusually quiet, the humans are shattered….The van doors are closed….Tonight we sleep!

That is all.

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Peak District – Longnor Area – Score 5/5

So we survived the weekend with the Ponciau Royal Family!  Very few foh-pahs, in fact all went remarkably well. Firstly the site at Longnor Wood Holiday Park…Adult Only, so no kids  http://www.longnorwood.co.uk  What a difference, the campsite was nearly at full capacity when we pulled up on a very hot Friday afternoon. But all you could hear was …nothing! zilch, silence or near enough. That remained the case throughout the weekend, other than when the Royal Klampitts were calling in their dog …FFFFFFFFFIOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNN! in the Ponciau Princess’s “Janice Battersby” style voice.

The site is located a mile or so from the village of Longnor, which is well equipped with 3 pubs, several coffee shops and a general store. A nice village and worth a short stop to re-stock.

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The site staff are very helpful, its not an oppressive regime, everyone just respects each others peace and tranquility. Although Per-Witch(The Royal Consort) unaware of the standard, well established “2 Metre Leash Rule” placed his mutt on a 40metre leash, which ensured the lovely Fi had full access to the entire campsite and left a trail of battered and broken pensioners in her wake! As the Princess later remarked drily “They can jump can’t they?”

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Ffion waiting for another pensioner victim

It really is a nice site, with an excellent dog exercise area and a well stocked camp shop. The shower facilities are first class and as the Princess was eager to point out, they have a communal microwave, ice freezing facilities and a washing machine….My life is complete!

On the Saturday, we travelled a few miles to a trail of hill top gritstone crags called The Roaches. Popular with trail walkers and climbers alike, this is a great place to stretch the legs and let the dogs off. On arrival we could see lots of climbers, mainly schools etc, climbing the local stone and also practising techniques on some of the large boulders that abound. I noticed one large rock, that had hand holes chiselled into it, so of course the “Alpha Male” gene that lies dormant in most men, suddenly fired up in me (first time in 20yrs) and before I knew it, I was on my way up to the top:

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Of course that was the easy bit, and I was for a very brief moment; King of the Castle.

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Look at me Mum!

However in my eagerness to show off, what I’d failed to factor in was the convex curve of the rock divided by the length of my short legs = Potential Disaster

Anyway, I was eventually coaxed down by the Ponciau Princess shouting “JUMP”, whilst the Other Half concentrated on focusing the camera in case of any potential “LOOK he’s falling” shots. I basically slid down like Wiley E Coyote, with the sound of my finger nails being scraped across the rock, like chalk to a blackboard.

The walk across the top of the crags was really enjoyable, its a steep climb up the steps to get onto the summit, but worthwhile once you’re up there, on a good day the views are excellent. You can then walk a few kilometres’s along the peak, passing the .506 trig point, heading towards Lud’s Church.

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The view from The Roaches

More info on the Roaches can be found here:  http://www.roaches.org.uk/index.html

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Ffion and Muttley take a break!

The only other incident of note was at the end of the Roaches, in the middle of nowhere, was parked a solitary ice-cream van(if you’ve seen the film Twin-Towns, you’ll know where i’m going with this?) So I strolled up to the van and asked the young girl serving for “4 ninety nines and a bag of heroin please love”!  She gave me a look that suggested she’d not seen that particular movie #awkward…I was promptly admonished by the Ponciau Princess, in that special voice that she reserves for when she’s dealing with diversity issues…“That was not an appropriate comment, what happens if she uses!” ….So suitably admonished I skulked off with my 99 and a wallet that was £8 lighter 😦

After that brief stop we headed down from the crags into an area called Lud’s Church. This is a deep chasm formed within the gritstone. Over 100m’s long it conjures up connotations of pagan rituals, King Arthur etc.  Getting into the vibe, Muttley our family pooch decided to recreate  “The Hound of the Baskervilles” as evidenced below:

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Hooooooooooowwwwwwwllllllllllll……….

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Impressive location. Lud’s Church

Next day, after a 2nd night of wine & beer, we headed to the village of Tissington, which has been in the ownership of the Fitzherbert family for over 500 years  http://www.tissingtonhall.co.uk/the-hall/history/

The village is dominated by the manorial hall, where the current owner Sir Richard lives. The village has flourishing artisan businesses doted around the village and a really nice restaurant and cafe called “The Old Coach House Tearooms”. Whilst we were there a school jazz band were playing outside…The Royal Consort(Himself a talented trombonist) was very impressed with the youngsters ability. They really were very good and on a sunny afternoon, it was very pleasant.

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Swing ya pants

Later we drove over to the village of Wetton and eventually stopped at The Royal Oak for lunch. The pub serves great beer and the food is good and plentiful. The pub is also home to “The World Toe-Wrestling Championships”. The other half was gutted we’d missed it, she prides herself on her toe-wrestling techniques….Never mind, later that day she beat The Royal Consort 2-1 on the campsite badminton court. She spent the rest of the day boring anyone who would listen about her serving technique and backhand volley.

So that was the weekend pretty much covered. An excellent trip, great company, lots of laughs and brilliant weather. The Peak District is a beautiful area to visit, its actually closer to us than its big sister up at the Lake District, it also seemed less populated with visitors. Over the next 12 months we intend to return and explore it in more detail.

Finally to finish with “Loves young dream”. Muttley and Ffion….awwwwww

Mutts n Fi

All 4 feet on the floor please!

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The Mutts Summer Cut

The Mutts Summer Cut

He’s as Happy as Larry. Off in the van quite a bit over the next few weeks, so his holiday outfit is sorted. Wish the other half was as easy!

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July 10, 2013 · 12:49 pm

Gonads – There they were, Gone!

Yep, our favourite mutt is now walking around gingerly and talking in a high pitched voice.

Yesterday, he had a visit to all the nice ladies at the vets, who always make such a fuss of him. He walked in with “The other half”, tail waging, flicking his paws out as he walked (Yippee Mum, I love the vets, look at me, look at me…pant pant), everything was going well, until the lead passed to the young nurse and “The other half” turned around and walked away….She had a quick look over her shoulder to see Muttley trying to frantically reverse in a narrow space and follow his mum…..no chance. Anyway, all done. Nuts now in the bin, where they can’t do any harm!

Today he’s a bit careful and feeling sorry for himself. Crafty as he is, every time the other half is in the same room he is milking the sympathy….big time. He should be on the stage. Doesn’t work with me….Tough Love. (Stand Easy Soldier).

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Muttley The Wonderdog

The family mutt. A 9 month old standard poodle. Like a finely tuned piano!

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May 11, 2013 · 7:38 am

Operation Muttley – A Force For Good!

This weekend we are off to a reunion gathering in Mid Wales. The mutt is going to be in the uncertain hands of the daughters, now although they are in their 20’s and very sensible, in my eyes they are still in their early teens, which emcompasses bad attitudes, zits, high sugar levels and a poor taste in music. With this in mind I’ve prepared a full written instruction for “Operation Muttley” Below is the opening paragraph setting out my stall:

OPERATION MUTTLEY

10/12 May 2013

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Muttley “Bring it on girls….grrrrrrr”

OUTLINE:

EOTM(daughter won “employee of the month”) and Cruella will assume responsibility for Muttley with effect Friday 1530L 10 May 2013 until Sunday TBC. During that period both munchkins will carry a dual responsibility for the care and welfare of their younger sibling.  For this to work it will require tasks to be equally divided and completed. Truces, teamwork, compromise and cooperation, that’s the ticket to success! Not the normal cycle of hostility, rages and prolonged periods of silence…a tall order!

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Initial response has been muted, other than the odd “Your a nutter” and “I’m checking your grammar!” comment. So all I have to do now is deposit £50 from the Bank of Dad to cover fast-food deliveries, then hand over the keys to the house and of course the very important asset, the dog!

Update to follow.

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