Sunday, 7 May 2017

Tweet-up Meet-up

Today was the big southern BT Posse Tweet-up at Headley Heath in Surrey. Having being deprived of the Clumber Park meet by 'Him Indoors' refusal to get the caravan rolling on a bank holiday weekend, I was excited to be heading to meet my pals so I wined loudly for the first half of the journey in the car, just to share the joy. I'm not sure how many BTs were there but there seemed to be a sea of all different shapes, sizes and ages and there were a few dog walkers doing a double-take when they saw us all. It was a bit like 101 Dalmatians but without the spots. They were a few high-spirited terrier skirmishes, but we're a friendly bunch, what can I tell you.
      I take my duties as a senior mentor to the younger posse members very seriously so I was pleased to make the acquaintance, in the fur rather than virtually, of Bramble Coleman and young Parker from BT HQ. I have a suspicion Sir Clapton has been trying to keep me away from his youngster, I can't think why, but I managed a few words in his shell-like, whilst TT was getting the bacon rolls - it's not just BTs who can be distracted by food.
      And talking of which, thanks to everyone who gave me a treat. I think I had one from pretty much everyone but if I didn't get to you, it wasn't through lack of trying. An honourable mention in dispatches must got to Mabel and Achie's humum, for baking delicious cakes for the hupeeps, and, even more importantly, delicious dog treats for the BTs. I even took some home with me for later - now that's what I call a doggy bag. Mabel is supposed to be on a special diet so she was wearing a 'do not feed me' harness which is a particular kind of torture for a BT. Anyway, Whilst her humum was busy sorting treats for everyone else, she managed to get into a lidded Tupperware box, no mean feet, if you'll excuse the pun, when you've only got paws, and did a bit of help yourself nomming! It does my senior heart good to see such promise in younger BTs.
     Oh and Alfie, if you're reading this, I know I still cut an attractive figure, and you're a nice enough chap too, but I don't love you in that kind of way.......!
Me, Barney and Bramble practising our hungry eyes

Age before beauty young Parker!

Where's the noms?

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Election Reaction

As regular readers of my blog will know, I'm not really a political animal, after all, us dogs are not allowed to vote so why should we care? However, after a period of intense political activity: the Scottish referendum, the General Election, Brexit, the American elections, further debate about another Scottish referendum and yet more Brexit, the announcement of another General Election was met with howls of despair by the majority of sane people in this country. I suspect Brenda from Bristol, who appeared on the BBC news, spoke for many folk:

"Oh you're joking! Not another one! Oh for God's sake, I can't stand this. There's too much politics going on at the moment. Why does she need to do it?"

If you didn't see it, here's the link! Brenda from Bristol!

My view is that us dogs have an important role to play in keeping the nation sane at this critical time. 'Him Indoors' has done too much shouting at the radio already and it disturbs my sleep of a morning, whilst I'm waiting for my breakfast. So we need to set an example and I would like to make the following suggestions:
  • Be completely impartial, snooze through all the speeches regardless
  • If it looks like your family are getting over-wrought, distract them. Try barking at nothing, snoring very loudly, singing with impressive volume and vigour heedless of key, roll on your back and wave your legs in the air, and if all else fails, start retching.
  • Have some fun. A friend of 'Her Indoors', Danielle, who has a strong sense of mischief, waits until her husband is at work and then decks the house and car with stickers and poster from the opposite party to the one he favours. He then comes home to find the wrong allegiance has been broadcast to the world for the day. Apparently, over the years, he has got used to it.
  • Join the 'dogs at polling stations' campaign. This isn't difficult for me as our polling station is at the village hall which is next to the playing fields where I walk every morning. 'Her Indoors' hasn't been asked recently who she has voted for when she casts her vote, but if anyone does she's going to say she voted for me.
Which leads me to my last point, whatever happens nothing much will change. The sun will still rise, taxes will still be collected, the NHS and education will still not have enough money and everyone will continue to moan about the weather. As long as there are still dog biscuits to eat and rabbits to chase, I'll be happy. I'm barking anyway and I suggest people try and aim for the same happy disposition. It's the only way to get through it.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Keeping the Peace

The recent events in London have given me paws for thought. Whilst it's difficult to see any good, from my experience as a senior fur, like bunnies down a bunny hole, you sometimes have to look for it. It's easy to be overwhelmed by events, but if you step back, there was one bad human, but a whole wealth of good hupeeps who came to the rescue. At the forefront were the emergency services. When everyone else is running away, they have to run towards, so they get a big paws up from me.
       I have a particularly soft spot for the Police. I know no-one likes being told what they can and can't do, me included, well, especially me actually..... but we all need to be kept safe, and that, at the end of the day, is what it's all about. I sometimes think I'd have made a good Police Dog. I gather they're more flexible on the height requirements for officers these days and I'm very good at sticking my nose into things. I'm also bold and assertive, so I'd be right in the thick of it if there was any trouble.  I'm not sure about the hat though - what's that all about? - although I already have the reflective jacket, but I'm not very good at following orders. I also suspect that I'm a bit too senior these days, which is a pity.
      However, I do have a few connections. A not very well-kept secret is that 'Her Indoors' used to be a Police Officer, which is why she can only be pushed so far on the naughtiness front. She did it for a few years before she had the juniors, and I'm sure the world is a better place for all those paperboys without lights on their bicycles she told off and the cars on double yellow lines that she moved on. One slightly alarming fact is that, for a little while, she was armed. How that happened is a mystery to me as I've seen her hand/eye co-ordination in action - she throws a ball like a complete girl, what can I tell you, so I suspect the world might actually be a safer place now that her career efforts are restricted to writing and teaching.
      This does mean however, that she has a number of friends with police force connections, although most are retired now. One of 'Junior Him's' school friends is in the Met and 'Her Indoors' thought of his mum on Wednesday. So a big woof of thanks to all our Pals in the Police force, human and canine, and those supporting them, we really are grateful. And if you could just continue to overlook my misdemeanours and not mind if I climb into your Police car for a root around, like I did that time over the playing fields, when you were packing up a speed trap, that would be great!
A very young 'Her Indoors' with a rather famous lady!
I've got the right coat....
I'm not under-age honestly.....


Sunday, 19 February 2017

Mad, bad and dangerous to know....

Surely not.....!
I think it would be fair to say that I'm not a terribly well-behaved dog. It's not that I haven't been trained, it's just that I don't see the point in doing as I'm told unless there is something in it for me. Breaking the rules is far more interesting than obeying them, and after all, even if I upset 'Them Indoors', what's the worst that can happen...?

As a connoisseur and practitioner of naughty behaviour, I think misdemeanours fall into two categories: the major and the minor. The major requires opportunity, quick reactions and a certain fearlessness. I would list activities such as squeezing through a gap in the fence and chasing next doors chickens; squeezing through another gap in a different fence into a different next door garden and eating a dead bunny, then regurgitating it in instalments through the following night; nipping into the shed during a family barbecue and munching my way through half a packet of pelleted chicken manure and then bringing it back up just as the main course was being served; digging up and eating all the pelleted chicken manure when 'Him Indoors' had buried it for the plants, eating daffodil bulbs and re-visiting them mid-car journey; eating a dead mouse in one gulp; digging up the slug traps in the vegetable garden and drinking the value lager; numerous small animal and bird incidents; snake hunting; fridge and bin raiding and food/drink theft, all in this category.

Now the only problem with this type of bad behaviour is that it sometimes risks personal harm. I once got out through the gates and onto the main road, which threatened not only my well-being but that of 'Her Indoors' who was in hot pursuit. She was so stressed that even the motorists sensed it and ground to a halt. Danger averted, I led 'Her Indoors' on a merry dance before she caught me as it seemed a shame not to have a bit of fun when you've got a captive audience. I knew 'Her Indoors' was cross anyway so what did I stand to loose? Still, for the benefit of any juniors reading this, just be careful about putting yourself or your family in any danger, we don't have nine lives, that's cats.....

Then there's the minor misdemeanours; a kind of background level of misbehaviour that keeps 'Them Indoors' on their toes. The other evening was a good case in point. Normally, once the edibles are safely consumed, I join the family in the lounge. In order to do this, I have to go past the dining room and I usually investigate. This involves sticking my nose into everything I can reach, even if I have to jump. I have a good root around in the storage baskets and employ the chew first, think later principle. I also try and get into the study to empty and shred the waste paper basket contents and the cloakroom, to investigate the loo. I like to get upstairs, a dog-free zone, if I possibly can. Now I might be a senior but, given the opportunity, I can run upstairs quicker than you can shout 'naughty dog'. Having finally been confined to the lounge, I conduct a thorough investigation which usually involves squeezing around or under the telephone table and knocking the phone off, trying to climb onto 'Him Indoors' lap and/or the sofa, rooting around in 'Her Indoors' knitting trug which at the moment has some particularly attractive and expensive rare breed wool in it. It smells of sheep, what can I tell you! Anyway, 'Her Indoors' is good at unravelling things. Then there's my party piece, which particularly annoys 'Him Indoors', wiping my eye boggies off on the carpet! When I eventually settle on my beanie bag, I indulge in lots of noisy paw licking and snoring, and when 'Them Indoors' want to go to bed, I refuse point blank to move and have to be enticed outside into the garden for my nightly ablutions, with a treat!  It's quite an impressive catalogue and I repeat it with variations to keep it interesting, every night.

'Him Indoors' reckons I'm the naughtiest dog in the world, and even 'Her Indoors' has nicknamed me 'bad ass Rolo' although I'm not sure my ass is any naughtier than the rest of me unless I'm suffering indiscretions in the emissions department. Still, it stops me from being boring and gives 'Him Indoors' something to moan about now that he's no longer got teenagers. So watch and learn you pupsters out there, there's a proud Border Terrier tradition to uphold. I've spent a life time perfecting the art, so if you need any tips, you know where to come!

P.S In order to offer a token recompense, I'm helping 'Her Indoors' with her crowd funding to raise money for writing for well-being classes at St Peter and St James's Hospice Well-being Centre. So far, I've raised £100 and she's raised, in her own right, well....nothing...! So come on Pals, turn me into St Rolo and dig into your pockets for a worthy cause.

Could I be a 'good boy'?

Sunday, 5 February 2017

New dogs, old dogs

I don't know if spring is coming early but there seem to be a lot of puppies around at the moment. If I wasn't a bit deaf already (pardon, what did you say?) I'd have been deafened by the chorus of 'oooh's and 'ahhhh's, interspersed with 'soooo cuuute' that I get from 'Her Indoors' every time she sees a junior canine. It's quite frankly, embarrassing, at her age, although it has to be said that 'Junior Her' is not much better.

On Twitter, there has been a plethora of puppy photos and videos and even over the playing field I'm not safe. I have a friend, an ageing Labrador called Trigger, whose owner is seriously considering getting a youngster to keep Trigger company in her old age. She was discussing with 'Her Indoors' whether or not this would be a good thing for Trigger, enlivening her twilight years with a youthful presence, helping her find her inner puppy, or a bad thing with the new pup being the focus of everyone's attention and the young upstart plaguing the life out of a senior who just wants to snooze in peace. The final outcome is, as yet, undecided.

If it was down to 'Her Indoors' I would probably have had a little apprentice some time ago, but she has 'Him Indoors' to contend with. He finds it difficult to tolerate one elderly dog let alone an energetic, incontinent pup. Also, 'Her Indoors' feels that I'm now too old to happily tolerate a new addition and I think she might be right. I find very young dogs a bit much even when I'm out on my walks. All that youthful energy jumping up and wanting to play when I just want to sniff the grass, at some length, and read the peemail.

Although I'm pretty lively for a senior, I suspect 'Her Indoors' misses me being young and going for long, bracing, country walks. However, I think she may have found a solution to that. On Twitter, she saw a charity called the Cinnamon Trust who help dog owners who are elderly or ill and cannot walk their dogs.  Apparently there is just such a person near to us, so she's filled in an application form. She had to give more references than she did for a recent DBS check, but if she's approved, she's going to take a couple of dogs out on a regular basis. I've given the plan my blessing, provided she doesn't bring them home with her, which is always a risk. After all, I was young once, and I  take my duties to the next generation very seriously, which is why I offer my services as a senior mentor to the Border Terrier pups on Twitter. I wouldn't want them growing up to be all meek and well-behaved, after all, there's a proud tradition to be maintained.....!

Ooooh soooo cuuuute!

Chosing my family!

Love at first sight!

Friday, 16 December 2016

The Fairy Tale of the BT Posse!

(with apologies to the Pogues)


*Sung in a slightly slurry voice after having a few.....* 
It was Christmas Eve, fur

In yon Barney's Bar

An old fur said to me

I’ll have another one

And then he sang a song

A Tweetchoir special tune

I wined a drawn out note

And dreamed about you.

Now I’m a lucky fur

Fourteen and going strong

I’ve got a feeling

This year’s for me and you

So happy Christmas

I love you Posseeeee *howls slightly*

I see a happy year

When all our tweets come through! *sung wistfully*

 *breaks into jaunty rhythm*

They’ve got as much cheese

As you please

They’ve got rivers of beer

They’ve got Wotsits galore

A fine place full of cheer,


When you first placed my paw

On a cold laptop key

You promised me

Waterstones waited for me.

 *raucous pub singing*

I was handsome

And witty

King of new Mayfield City

When the sausage stopped coming

I barked out for more

The Tweetchoir was singing

The Zombies were swinging

We peed on the corner

And snootered all night.

The furs of the BT Posse group

Are tweeting all the way

Am, pm and even

Christmas Day.

*in the voice of 'Him Indoors'*

You’re a fur ball

A skunk

You eat any old junk

You lounge round in your basket

And shed lots of fur.

You catch pigeons

And rabbit

Eat apple and carrot

Your waist is expanding

Thank Dog

For the Vet.

The furs of the BT Posse group

Are tweeting all the way

Am, pm and even

Christmas Day.

*sung emmotionally, trembling slightly*

If I can be someone

Then so can anyone

You took my dreams

And made them happen

I wrote them down my friends

And put them in a book

I sold them on the net

And you all bought them!

The furs of the BT Posse group

Are tweeting all the way

Am, pm and even

Christmas Day.

Thank you to all the wonderful dogs and the hupeeps behind the paws of the BT Posse and Twitterland in general for being my pals and supporting me with my book.  You are all pawsome - Happy Christmas!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Senior celebrating!

Today is my fourteenth birthday and I'm celebrating in style.  I've had two new toys, one of which, a holey ball, I killed in less than half an hour and is now in the bin, the other is a new Frisbee that lights up, and that's being saved for supervised playing only, as it has batteries and 'Her Indoors' doesn't want me swallowing them.  I already last ten times longer than most seniors my age, without an extra energy boost!  Anyway, I made a pleasing mess with the wrapping paper and was give a special doggy cake called an 'iced woofin' which I demolished even quicker than the holey ball.  I've also heard mention of beef stew for tea - perfect!

I don't have a problem with growing older as I live pretty much for the moment so don't trouble myself with comparisons to my younger self.  'Them Indoors' should take a leaf out of my book if you ask me.  They'd be much happier.  I can still do everything I used to do only not as often, not for as long and not as quickly, a bit like 'Them Indoors'.  I still pee standing on three legs most of the time, although if I'm not very well, the ground is a bit uneven, or it's windy, I use all four as it's a bit more stable.  And I can still make it through the night without a comfort break which is more than can be said for 'Them Indoors'!

'Her Indoors' once read in a book that 'to grown older is to witness the diminishing of limitless opportunity', but I'm just a simple dog and I prefer to think of the ageing process in terms of life's firsts.  When you're very young there are lots of things you do for the first time: the first fox pooh you roll in, the first rabbit you catch, the first beer you drink, the first time you actually do as your told, although that was a long time coming for me.....If 'firsts' are the marker for getting old then I'm actually getting younger as I've had lots of them in the last year: the first book published, the first radio interview, the first time away in the new caravan, the first book signing, the first journey in a lift, the first Borderfest, I could go on...

So apart from going deaf, which if I'm frank, has its uses, and a bit or arthritis which, again if I'm frank, doesn't, I'm doing pretty well.  Whilst the average life expectancy for a Border Terrier is 13-15 years which puts me in the danger zone, I belong to a Facebook group called 'Silver Borders' where I'm one of the youngsters.  And I've got an extra incentive for longevity.  I think I owe it to 'Him Indoors' to live for as long as possible - it's only fair.  So pass me a beer, give me some wrapping paper to shred and a command to ignore, I'm all set for the next year!

Just dog-napping in advance of the celebrations!

My iced woofin!
Hurry up and remove the candle then!

Making short work of the wrapping...

And a bit of extra shredding for good measure

Look at my technique all you juniors out there

The mortally injured holey ball!