Tag Archives: springer spaniel

Winterwood Lessons

brown spaniel

Me: We need to take Brown Spaniel out somewhere – he’s bored.
Spouse: Ok.
Me: Where shall we go?
Spouse: Dunno. Let’s just get in the car and see what happens.
Me: Well… wouldn’t it be better to have a plan…? I’d like to go somewhere interesting…
Spouse: No. Too much kerfuffle. Let’s just go.

[after  15 minutes driving]

Me: Oh. We’re not going to Tehidy woods are we?
Spouse: Yeah…
Me: Oh… we ALWAYS go there… that’s boring… can’t we go to a beach instead? Somewhere we’ve never been before?
Spouse: I like trees best.
Me: Yeah, but woods equals puddles equals filthy brown spaniel, and it’ll be me that has to bath him when we get back.
Spouse: It’ll be fine. We’ll go in the North Cliffs way so it’s a bit different.
Me: Hmph. Boring. There’s nothing to photograph in woods. Just trees and mud.
Spouse: Well, it’s too late. We’re here now.

[out of car and trudging through trees]

Me: I suppose that fern is quite pretty.

fern smAnd those trees are acceptable. But I like photographing things with a bit of visible human input.

Oh! Someone’s tied ribbons in that tree. I suppose that’s something.

ribbon sm















HOLD on… what’s that in that clearing? I’m SURE I saw a ticket booth! Right in the middle of nowhere! Hang on… come with me through these trees a minute.  THERE! Look! A ticket booth!

tickets tiny smI’m going to look at it.
tickets med cp smIt’s brilliant! Just look at it! Sitting there all on its own in the mud!
tickets close cp smSpouse: You should see what’s through here as well…

…and come and see this!
Me: What’s that ringing noise?
Spouse: Come and see.

Me: Christ. Don’t ring it in case something weird happens.
Spouse: There’s more down here… come on.
Me: Do you think it’s supposed to represent a snowy bit?

white sm
Spouse: Maybe. Look, you’re supposed to follow where the bunting goes.

Me: There are keys everywhere…

key 2 smSpouse: Look, they’ve made mushrooms…

glass mushrooms 2 smMe: Yes! Out of gran ornaments!

glass mushrooms smAnd there are things hanging everywhere…

Spouse: Even better things round the corner…
Me: Ha! Gran lampshades!
Spouse: I bet the charity shops couldn’t believe their luck getting rid of those all in one go.

lampshades 5 sm
… And look over here. Your mum would like this…

hearts smMe: Bloody hell. That is amazing. This is the best trip to the woods EVER. It’s made my week. Or month.

Spouse: And you didn’t want to come here.

Me: Yes, well I’m very glad we did.

Spouse: So the moral of the story is that even the ordinary can be brilliant if you look at it from a new perspective.

Me: No it’s not. The moral of the story is that going to the same old place is only fun if someone goes there before you and hangs up a load of hearts.

spaniel sm

Doggie dilemmas and canine conundrums

Most sensible humans might be alarmed to hear that their new neighbours with whom they share an internal wall, a bedroom that sits over their hallway and a tiny concrete yard separated only by a thigh-high barrier, have five dogs. But we are made of sterner stuff than that.

I was mildly concerned that the dogs might be the bitey type, or the cat-shreddy type, but mostly I was looking forward to meeting them as I assumed the neighbours wouldn’t have bought a house in such close proximity to civilisation if their dogs were rabid, drooling maniacs.

On the day they arrived, I was stroking our cat David Pouncey (not MY fault) who was perched nosily on the front windowsill when a van pulled up, the doors opened, and two charming humans introduced themselves as the aforementioned neighbours.

There will now be a brief intermission so you can look at David. You may be able to see why I might prefer him not to be crunched by dog jaws.

After some entirely satisfactory introductory conversation came the kerfuffle of decanting five curious canines into their new home without losing them up and down the street. The neighbours opened the front door to the house, arranged themselves in dog herding positions and then pulled open the sliding door to the van.

I know I’m probably vulnerable to ridiculous waves of emotion at the moment what with having to walk about with the brain of a perimenopausal empty-nested middle-aged woman in my skull (where the hell did THAT come from?), but I wasn’t expecting to see a glow of celestial light and hear a choir of angels singing beautiful choral harmonies just because two Scotties and three Springer Spaniels jumped out of a van in front of me. And that’s what happened. My dopamine levels must have been high anyway from stroking the cat, leaving me at a high risk of love at first sight, and I was immediately infected. Smitten. Doomed. The dogs were bloody lovely.

And it’s only got worse. The Scotties are exactly like two pleasingly grumpy old men. When they’re not standing huffily in the yard on their too-short legs peering through their massive face beards, I’m sure they’re inside the house sitting in leather armchairs reading the paper and puffing on pipes.

Here’s a picture of one of the old men poking his beard out of a dog hole.

And here’s one of them responding patiently to being washed with a hose after a particularly sandy walk.

But it’s the Spaniels… oh, the Spaniels! It’s the Spaniels who have really plucked my heart out and buried it in their secret Spaniel hiding place. They are ridiculously endearing creatures – all alert and sparkling eyes, full-body delight in the world and a curious combination of extreme idiocy and gleaming intelligence. If I could write odes, I would write one for the Spaniels. But instead I took some photos.

Here’s the oldest and calmest of the three. He takes a back seat much of the time, but it was he who first leapt the wall to greet us the day after they moved in. LOOK at his intelligent EYES.

The second one spent an afternoon on our side of the yard stealing all his siblings’ tennis balls, chewing them up and trying to bury them under a shredded plastic bag and some leaves. Here he is after being washed.

And the third one. Well. All I can say about him is LOOK.

After we all came home one day to find that the Spaniels had jumped over the wall, trashed all our bins and deposited some piles of stinky all over our yard, their long-suffering humans decided to put up a bit of trellis to prevent further embarrassment. The result  is that every time we go out of our back door now we are greeted by this:

And this

And this

BUT, I hear you all not particularly asking, ‘why does the title of this post include the words ‘dilemma’ and ‘conundrum’? Well, the problem is that not only have I (and spouse, although he pretends he hasn’t) fallen for the Spaniels, but the Spaniels don’t find us intolerable either. In particular, the two above, and in particular, the brown one. Every time we open the back door they are up on their haunches on the gate wagging their entire bodies from the neck down and trying to get in.

And now our lovely neighbours have informed us that they need to rehome some of their smelly babies to make way for a new human one… and would we like to keep the brown one… our favourite one… the one who loves us the most?

So that’s the dilemma. There’s David to consider. He would be put out. There’s the mayhem to consider. Brown Spaniel wags his body with such violent enthusiasm that he wobbles himself sideways and knocks into things. And he has more energy than I’ve ever seen in a living being before. And I’m middle aged and quite like sitting down.

We took brown Spaniel for a walk today to see what it would be like. This is what it was like.

So, yes. It was quite enjoyable. Hence the dilemma.

To adopt a dog or not to adopt a dog. That is the question.


  • the addition of a creature to our house that will always be enthusiastic even if it’s raining outside
  • he is ridiculously cute
  • he is someone to use up all our surplus nurturing energy on


  • he will wag the house down
  • he might eat everything
  • we’ll have to put our hand in a bag and pick up his warm poo
  • the cat will be offended
  • we’ll have to go for walks when we’d rather lie down
  • he will have to be left on his own when we are at work
  • nobody will want to look after him if we decide to travel round the world on a tandem
  • we will have to wash him after every walk because he bulldozes the earth
  • there will be vet bills

It would seem there are many more cons than pros. I hate it when logic insists on imposing on emotions.