An Englishman and his spaniel

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Re: Be clean! No, not there, not now...!

I was just doing what I was told! Boy, some things really don't make sense at all! Arf!

Monday, December 25, 2006

re: Beacon Tarn, Coniston: route and photgraphs

Nevermind all that stuff, let me put explain the route a bit more simply...

Great smells: fern, grass, and sheep, and then water, wayhey! Larked around in the water for a while, ate some sheep pooh (master didn't see that... hehehehe, very tasty), more smells, WHAT, OH YES, GOT YER! BLAST missed, shame nearly got that grouse, jumped in the car, slept... aah, doggy heaven, arf!.

Sheep grading*: 5

*Spaniel owners tend to worry about the number of sheep they see on a dog walk, as they seem to think that we will chase them. My master is very annoying when it comes to this, as he puts me on my lead as soon as he sees sheep, which does my nut in! Sorry, but we're just not interested in them, we like birds. Get it?

If you're worried about that sort of thing, a sheep grading of 0 means that there were no sheep on the walk. A sheep grading of 10 means, there were pesky sheep everywhere.

Be clean! No, not there, not now...!

To the uninitiated, the words 'be clean' can be used as a command for your dog to pass it's movements. In principle, this is a great command, because with a bit of training you can train your dog to relieve itself in particular places at particular times. For example, imagine it is a bitterly cold snowy day, it is freezing cold and you just want your dog to do it's business and then get back inside as quickly as you can. Great in theory, but in practice, things can go awry...

Just the other week, Liz and I left Jess with some friends while we went away for the weekend. Our friends seemed to have become quite fond of our little Jessie despite her general spaniel cheekiness. Even Phoebe, their fox-like dog, seems to get on quite well with her, but Phoebe is a generally well-balanced and tolerant individual who has experienced a lot in life, even living in downtown Manhattan where she chilled our with her fellow homies in the dog parks [Phoebe is from Cumbria in the UK].

By the end of our weekend away we were desperate to head back home and pick up our little Jessie, but little did we know of the embarrasing incident to follow. Prior to our departure from our friends home, we all gathered in the kitchen and our friends told us how great Jess had been and that she could come to stay anytime. During the discussion, I explained how great Jess was at relieving herself on command, why I chose to discuss this I really don't know. During my explanation, one of our friends exclaimed "what... be clean?, how funny!". Five seconds later, she shrieked, 'oh my ...., Jess is crapping on the...!'. We turned round to see Jess coiled up and happily crapping on a very grand turkish rug. Liz and I were completely mortified. Jess, bless her, looked a bit confused, as she was just doing as she had been told, but she just couldn't quite understand the shrieks of 'NOoooooooo!'. Needless to say, we apologised profusely, whisked Jess off the rug, tidied up her mess and departed as quickly as you could say 'Oh my .... Jess is crapping on the...'. Jess is now in therapy and doing very well. I feel like a bad parent...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Beacon Tarn, Coniston: route and photographs

Looking across towards Lake Coniston from Beacon Fell

Beacon Tarn, Coniston: route and photographs

Looking down to Beacon Tarn from the summit of Beacon Fell

Beacon Tarn, Coniston: route and photographs

View across Beacon Tarn from the south banks

Beacon Tarn, Coniston: route and photographs

Dropping down into Beacon Tarn.

Beacon Tarn, Coniston: route and photographs

Looking back towards the Coniston fells from the bracken covered slopes of Beacon Tarn

Beacon Tarn, Coniston: route and photographs

The initial ascent to Beacon Tarn through the bracken-covered slopes of Beacon Fell

Beacon Tarn, Coniston

Jess and I found a hidden jewel in the Lake District fells this week - Beacon Tarn, on the edge of Lake Coniston, tucks itself quite snugly in a dip behind Beacon Fell.

We found a fairly moderate route from Coniston Lake, which starts with a pleasant climb through a valley to the tarn itself, followed by a circular walk round the tarn, a climb up Beacon fell with it's own panoramic views of Lake Coniston with a final descent to the starting point.

The whole walk can be completed in approximately 1.5 hours, climbs about 215m and is 4.5 km in length.

1. Start this walk from the Brown Howe Car Park, just by Lake Coniston on the A5084
2. Turn left out of the car park for a short distance, turning right across a small bridge over a brook. Follow this narrow road for just under 1.5 miles to a point where there is a small wooded area behind a stone wall on your right at the top end of a farmers field. At this point there is a path through a bracken-covered area on your left. Follow this path.
3. Where the path splits, keep to the right and follow the path up the hill through the bracken. Looking backwards you will be able to see the Coniston fells, including the aptly named Coniston Old Man.
4. Continue along the path which runs along the left-hand-side of the valley. The path becomes stoney underfoot and should be approached with some caution - there is a small tarn on the right-hand-side. Eventually you will climb into a narrow gap at the end of the valley where you should be able to glimpse the beauty of Beacon Tarn in the dip below.
5. Descend into the tarn and follow the path down it's right-hand-side. There are plenty of potential picnic places at various points around the tarn, which should be take advantage of if the weather.
6. At the southern end of the tarn follow the path up Beacon Fell. At the summit of the hill you will be able to see Lake Coniston on your right which covers a vast expanse up and down the valley.
7. Past the summit, follow the path down the hill bearing left on all occasions dropping down the the roadside you originally walked up. Follow the road down the hill to the starting point.

GPS co-ordinates:
Waypoint Position Elev Course Distance
WP10 SD 28290 91490 97 m 224°T 28.2 m
WP02 SD 28270 91470 99 m 255°T 277 m
WP03 SD 28000 91405 118 m 269°T 139 m
WP04 SD 27860 91405 119 m 179°T 49.9 m
WP05 SD 27860 91355 126 m 243°T 172 m
WP06 SD 27705 91280 139 m 191°T 265 m
WP07 SD 27650 91020 171 m 190°T 315 m
WP08 SD 27590 90710 182 m 185°T 90.4 m
WP09 SD 27580 90620 194 m 279°T 86 m
WP10 SD 27495 90635 172 m 192°T 328 m
WP11 SD 27420 90315 169 m 204°T 281 m
WP12 SD 27300 90060 167 m 173°T 110 m
WP13 SD 27310 89950 169 m 179°T 30 m
WP14 SD 27310 89920 172 m 096°T 40.2 m
WP15 SD 27350 89915 167 m 170°T 65.7 m
WP16 SD 27360 89850 169 m 142°T 49.9 m
WP17 SD 27390 89810 170 m 092°T 79.9 m
WP18 SD 27470 89805 167 m 017°T 63.1 m
WP19 SD 27490 89865 165 m 020°T 80.6 m
WP20 SD 27520 89940 166 m 017°T 232 m
WP21 SD 27595 90160 197 m 018°T 308 m
WP22 SD 27700 90450 222 m 026°T 241 m
WP23 SD 27810 90665 250 m 029°T 302 m
WP24 SD 27965 90925 188 m 028°T 121 m
WP25 SD 28025 91030 172 m 012°T 133 m
WP26 SD 28055 91160 150 m 022°T 136 m
WP27 SD 28110 91285 136 m 041°T 155 m
WP28 SD 28215 91400 109 m 037°T 88.8 m
WP02 SD 28270 91470 99 m

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Re: Spaniel cheekiness

If there are any noble fellows of the Secret Spaniel Society out there, who just happen to be reading this blog - I wish to clarify that the 'spaniel cheekiness' referred to below is not a direct violation of part 4; clause a of the Secret Spaniel Code, ie 'Without exception the spaniel must give their master the upmost respect in all circumstances.' My master thought I was being 'cute' and 'cheeky' because I was sticking my tongue out. However, we had just walked for 8 miles up a very big mountain in the English Lake District called Coniston Old Man. We had a great time, but I was VERY thirsty by time that this photo was taken and was actually trying to get my master to fill up my water bowl, but he completely got the wrong end of the stick...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Re: the harness

Arf! That's almost all I have to say on the matter! I am not really not impressed with this harness 'thing':

First, it's really uncomfortable. Didn't my master notice that I've started to waddle like a duck? What's more - I don't pull any more, because it nips just under my armpits, grrr!

Second, although Poppy is good at walking on the lead at the moment, she won't be for much longer. You see, as mentioned the other day, all spaniels must abide by the secret spaniel code, which in part 3; clause f states that 'Until the age of 1 year, the spaniel must obey every command from their master. After the age of 1 year, the spaniel is ready to 'exchange control', ie to take control of their master and all other humans associated with them'. This rule ensures that we spend the first year of our lives learning about our master and what really makes them tick, so we are 100% ready to take control of the master and his household. Poppy is 9 months old, in 3 months time she will turn into a super arsey spaniel. Poppy's master, Ben, has no idea what's coming... hehehe

I should dash, my master is due back from the shops soon and I need to get ready for some more spaniel-tastic fun!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Spaniel cheekiness

For some strange reason, little Jessy stuck out her tongue for this photograph. Perhaps she was trying to tell me something? Cheeky little thing...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The harness

We spent the weekend with my sister-in-law and her springer spaniel, Sally, as well as my brother-in-law and his springer spaniel, Poppy. These 'spaniel reunions' are always interesting occasions on many levels and always provide the opportunity to compare one's spaniel with the other.

On this occasion, the ability of the spaniel to walk on the lead without tugging seemed to be the comparator. Sally, is a bohemian hippy dog who never walks on the lead - even in the most precarious situations - she just roams free as a bird - oblivious to all oncoming traffic, which evidently don't exist in 'Sally world'. In contrast, Poppy the puppy, still fresh from dog training classes, walks really well on the lead. However, Poppy's master has a secret weapon to improve her performance -the doggy harness. To those of you who are unfamiliar with this piece of gadgetry imagine a child's safety harness for dogs and you will have a vague idea of what it looks like. As a result of using this harness, Poppy gave the impression of being a Crufts winner in the obedience class. Unfortunately, little Jess was nowhere near that level of competence. In front of the other spaniels and their owners, she demonstrated blatant disrespect for the lead, and for myself, as I frantically tried to keep control of her as she coughed, spluttered and slowly choked! This just made me feel like a really bad parent, particularly when Poppy the puppy was strutting her stuff walking so impeccably well on the lead.

Well, after Jess's poor performance this weekend, I decided there was no choice but to get one of these harnesses to see if we could improve her skill at walking on the lead. I went to the pet shop, dithered over the various types of harnesses and eventually came out with a lovely green harness. When we got home, we tried it on straightaway, putting Jess's legs into each loop of the harness and fastening it over her back. We attached the lead, and then as if by magic, Jess turned into the worlds most obedient spaniel! It was unbelievable, she didn't pull, didn't choke, she just chilled out and pottered ahead. However, I sense that Jess doesn't like this harness, because as soon as when got home after the walk, she proceeded to try and chew it - not a happy little doggy. I sense that it will take a while for Jess to get used to this new way of walking...

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