I have been thinking long and hard about what I should write in this final edition of our village magazine. I could regale you with my usual tales of mishaps and misadventures, experienced over the summer. [Yes, I admit there have been a few!] For example, the incident with the dam-building at Watermouth when a rock got lodged in my mouth or the day I escaped and sneaked into Jenny and Lee's house and stole Yogi's food right under Jenny's nose! However, this will be my last opportunity to really talk to you and I have decided I ought to take a more serious tone . . . or try anyway!

This newsletter has always been about reaching the community, talking about that community; sharing events and activities in the community and celebrating the community. When you look back over all the editions over the years, especially now that they are on-line, you realise this newsletter has provided a social history of the village. I hope in some small way I have highlighted the vital role us dogs play in that community too. We are an important part of Berrynarbor; a quirky crew who all play their part in making this village a special place. You could analyse the number and types of dogs that have lived here over the years and if you did, I can guarantee I am the first ever Clumberdoodle. [Always said I was unique!] We come in all shapes and sizes; each with our own personalities. Some big and boisterous, some small and playful. Our barks, temperaments, and abilities all vary. The little ones can be the most vocal, whilst the collies are incredibly smart. Some love ball games, whilst others favour sticks. Some walk to heal whilst others pull their long-suffering owners all around the village! [I hold my paw up to that one!]

We are all very special in our own way just like all you villagers. Some of you are quiet and keep yourselves to yourselves whilst others are lively and enjoy all the community events. Some stand out like Wendy, renowned baker, Ollie, Dan and Sal, great gardeners, the Bridles, quiz masters extraordinaire, Karen, Susan and Jackie great shop keepers, Seretse the great story teller and lover of nature, George the Vicar, Alan the floorer, Victoria the dog whisperer and Judie editor of this village newsletter. We all play our part in making this village a great place to live; a wonderful community. And whilst this might be the last newsletter and my last blog, we will go on playing together, supporting each other, and sometimes annoying each other. [Yes, Dora I will continue to annoy you!] It's what village life is all about.

Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook

Thank you, Debbie, for the lovely picture of me and all my friends and thank you, Judie for giving me the chance over the last two years to put forward a doggy perspective of life in this village. I am going to miss your deadlines but please keep the treats coming! Sadly, it is time for me to hang up all my leads, and woof off!

See you around.



So, it's been a busy time in our house. Several visitors have come and gone and the Mrs. has been on a few trips away. I am slowly trusting her to come back to me but it's not easy. She wonders why I get so excited when she returns after going out, but I just can't help myself, I am so relieved each time she returns! I am a very level-headed dog but I know she needs me as much as I need her so it's important we stay together as much as we can.

Walks in the village have been good, especially after my rant about clearing up. I enjoy trips to Hele Bay too, where I support the Mrs's exercise programme. Her arms are definitely gaining strength since she has been solely in charge of the ball-thrower.  I think she is slowly learning to keep up with me too. Recently though, she hasn't brought the ball-thrower, says it's too hot for me, which I am sure is just an excuse. She has taken to doing some odd things though. For example, getting up incredibly early, leaving the house in just her swimming costume and a big robe and meets her Berry Blue Boob Buddies, who are all wearing the same clothes! They all take off their robes and walk into the cold sea. Apparently, it's 'good for them' but I am not entirely convinced. Personally, I think they are all a little bit crazy, but who am I to judge? At least I get to enjoy moving stones in and out of the water's edge whilst they natter, giggle and sometimes squeal at the cold. I also get to hang out with Harley or Theo and Gracie.

Getting together with friends is good. It's an important part of dog socialisation you know, and it works for you humans too. The Mrs. is always happy after spending time with her friends, whether it's in the cold sea, the Manor Hall or in friends' homes.  Recently I have been entertaining friends in my own home - well mainly the garden. Duggee and Derek, who don't have the best reputations, have been coming to play. I was a little nervous initially but they are fine. I think they like exploring. I would still advise you all to let them have their space in the dog field as the Mrs. says they may have special needs. They are very soft and gentle in their own home but get very anxious out and about and can come across very fierce.

Us dogs, all have different temperaments, just like you humans you know. Dare I say it, but we are probably a little more transparent than you humans who sometimes say one thing and think another or can be happy one day and miserable the next. I personally think we are far more consistent. Duggee and Derek can be anxious. Nancy is bouncy, and River is fast. She comes to play and she doesn't stop running. Dora and Yogi have a tendency to be bossy. [Well, they like to put me in my place, even in my own garden.] Blooming cheek! Pip is a little bit tired and old. Storm is very tolerant and wise, whilst Bramble is just adorable. Yes, I do love her! And Finley? Well Finley is Finley. As for me I am a big softie who just wants everyone to love me and really don't understand when they don't.

I hope this blog endears me to you even more. Stay safe in this hot weather and drink lots of water. Happy Summer!



Life is different without the Mr. I still miss him a lot and you will still see me looking out of the window just in case, but the Mrs. and I are finding our 'new normal'. This consists of lots of hugs and snuggles [even on the bed!], dog walks [with and without a whole batch of friends], and extra doggy days at Devon's Dashing Dogs, [fun with Bramble!].

Some things never change. For example, my unbelievable skill in getting dirty and making a mess. It's a natural talent I have, but I do work hard at perfecting it. Take the effort I made digging last week. Paula and Alison, walking past our garden thought I looked adorable -little brown paws and drooling brown beard! Judie was less impressed when I left my mark on her stripey top though. Oops!

The Mrs. has had Lee and Alex from Woodpark Landscaping in the garden to lay some paths. I have been admiring their digging skills, but I have to tell you, as amazing as they are, they don't dig down as far as me. I can go twice as deep as them, and in half the time without the use of any fancy spade gadgets! Apparently according to the Mrs. they are making the garden safer to navigate whilst I am guilty of adding obstacles or hurdles in the way of unsuspecting caverns that the Mrs. is at risk of falling in. It all adds to the excitement in my opinion. Who needs safe? I still think she should get a zip wire to zoom from the top of the garden to the bottom. It's the only way she will get down from the top as fast as me to greet the delivery men and postmen. I do so love seeing them!

Going back to the dirt though, the Mrs. has no right to complain really. I have frequently tried to clean myself off to save her the trouble. I always look for pools of water to dip my feet into. It's not my fault that they are usually full of mud! I have realised too that adding dirt to water doesn't for some reason make the water clean. Oh, and on a recent trip to Woolacombe, I even climbed into the bath myself. You know the one; all set up, above the sand dunes. Not entirely sure why it's there but it seemed a good idea at the time. How was I to know it was full of smelly green water? It tasted awful.

That was definitely a bit of a mistake that I hold my paws 🐾 up to! The car smelt funny for a while after that particular trip! A mix of my upset tummy after drinking the green water, and green, smelly slime. Yuck! The water snake, indoor shower and a trip to Dashing Dogs grooming parlour were all needed after that!

Anyway, a bit of dirt never hurt anyone and what's the phrase you humans use? "Play in the dirt because life is too short to always have clean fingernails." And don't we know that . . .

So, my advice to you all in this blog is to go, live life to the full, roll in the mud and have lots of fun!



My blog is going to be a bit different this time because I want to tell you about the Mr. You may know him as Nigel Robinson, Pam's husband or Kate and Jess' dad, but to me he is the Mr., my master and my best friend.

He has gone you know; went on holiday and never came back. Apparently, he was snorkelling and had a heart attack. Wish I had been there . . . reckon I might have sniffed it out and told him he might be in trouble. We were best friends you see; understood each other so well. He could be quite stern as you well know, if I was digging a hole or terrorising hedgehogs, but he loved me really.

We moved here cos of the Mr. He wanted to be near Saunton Golf Club. Then when the Mrs. saw the house, and they met Ray in the pub, she was sold on it too. They moved here in July 2019 and have never looked back. We all loved the location immediately. Well, who wouldn't this close to such amazing beaches? But more than that we loved the community; this beautiful village and all the friendly people and of course friendly dogs. [Well, most of you are friendly!]

I have heard the Mrs. say "the Mr. has never been happier." I don't think any of us have been happier. We all loved living at Riversdale in the Sterridge Valley. We had been living in Hampshire before coming here. The family lived there for over twenty years but I was only there a couple of months. The Mr. wouldn't have had time for me back then as he was Head of IT for Sony UK. He used to travel to Weybridge in Surrey every day.

He didn't live there all his life. Those of you who knew him would know he was proud of his Liverpool roots. Born there and grew up in Warrington. He met the Mrs. at Manchester University in 1983 . . . a very long time ago. They got married in 1985 and had Kate and Jess. They both live on the east coast of England but I am hoping they will come and visit often now.

The Mr. loved his life in Berrynarbor; the gardening, snooker at the Men's Institute, beer in The Globe, fun evenings with oh so many friends and of course beach walks with me. He was only 59; far too young to die. I keep listening for his car in case he might come back but I am slowly understanding he won't. The Mrs. and I both feel very sad but I will snuggle up and look after her and she is incredibly lucky to have so many great friends. This village has been amazingly kind already. Thank you so much.

I won't forget the Mr. and I hope you won't too.

RIP Nigel Robinson, RIP.

Here, in the village, we were stunned and shocked by the very sad news that Nigel had died whilst he and Pam were on holiday in Antigua on the 15th January. His funeral on the 1st March, a moving and happy Celebration of his Life, was attended by his many relatives and friends, from the village and further afield. Our thoughts continue to be with Pam, Kate and Jess, and, of course Bailey and Alfie.



Another day and another year! Not sure why you humans make such a fuss about a new year. It is only one for you but it's seven for us dogs!

Talking about making a fuss! The Mrs. made a huge fuss about going in the sea on New Year's Day. Couldn't do it on her own mind, had to run in holding hands with her friends. And the noise! A big count down to the event and then squeals as they hit the water! I have never heard such a racket! What's the big deal though? I run in the sea all year round and nobody stands cheering for me. I also don't get a congratulatory cuddle from the Mr. or a warm cup of homemade soup afterwards. On the contrary I get told off for shaking myself dry over everyone!

I have said it before, it really is a case of one rule for you and another for us dogs. Take the issue of eating. Apparently too many changes to a diet can upset our systems. Hence, I seem to have more or less the same thing every day, unless the Mrs. isn't looking and then the Mr. gives me treats from his plate. You humans have so much more variety. You have no idea how tempting all those smells are when you are cooking and eating so many different meals. It's not surprising that we dogs go sniffing the bins or unearthing grubs in the garden. We like variety too you know!

Then there's the rule about sitting or should I say seating. You choose when you sit and where you sit, be it on the soft comfy-looking bed, the kitchen stools, settee or even on the toilet. Not the same for us dogs. You frequently tell us to sit at the most inconvenient moments. For example, when there's a good-looking pup on the other side of the road who I just want to get to, I am told to sit! Or when there is a treat that is ready and waiting to be eaten! I have to sit! You make us sit everywhere and anywhere; on the pavement, on the floor, in the boot of the car, at the kerb! No soft, comfy bed or settees for us dogs. Well, not unless we sneak on when you're not looking or you are a push-over like my Mr. who according to the Mrs. let's me get away with murder! Truth be known, I am becoming quite proficient at jumping onto comfy things and becoming inconspicuous. I have mastered the door to the guest room and frequently jump onto the bed in there when nobody's

looking and I don't think anyone noticed that I sneaked onto a chair at The Globe the other day! Hey Ho! Well rules are supposed to be broken, aren't they? Here's to breaking a few more in 2022.

Happy New Year everyone!



They say that communication is key. Well, I have been developing my communication skills over the last few months. My bark has got deeper, my tail has got waggier and my facial expressions cuter... if that's even possible!

Some communication us dogs have no control over. My tail thumps in anticipation of something exciting. When Alfie the cat enters the room, I have no control over it, and when I see a squirrel in the garden or the Mrs. arriving home in her car, it happens then. Thump, thump, thump... in other words, "Yippee! Here comes fun!"

Apparently, words are important, but between you and me I don't rate them. "Sit." "Wait." "Bailey Come." Really? Most of the time I humour you; I know it makes you feel in control and very important. There is one word, though, that I truly despise. It's that word "off"! Horrible word. So offensive. Like you humans, I so hate it, when I am told to "Off!"

Too much talking is really not a good thing at all. The Mrs. takes me for a walk through the village and so much walking time is ruined while she chats to everyone. It can take her a whole ten minutes greeting someone; such a waste of time! A good sniff of each other is all that's really needed and then be on your way. I have been known to say hello to the odd human myself though, but that's usually by jumping up. It doesn't always go down that well, especially if my paws are a bit muddy. That's when I hear that "off" word. It's not easy when someone is in a car either. I try to jump up to say hi, but the Mrs. pulls me away from the car and starts freaking about the paintwork. Doesn't she realise that my signature is now famous since I started writing these blogs? Postman Neil certainly does; he goes for weeks without cleaning that van because my prints are all over it.

Let me, let you into a doggy secret. Words can be so unnecessary. We canines communicate all the time without even opening our mouths! You could learn so much from us and stop wasting all that hot air. Here are just a few tips . . .

If you want something, try lifting your paw. People fall for it all the time. Sit proudly and show your paw and the treats come rolling in! I let people know I love them and that I am thrilled to see them by wiggling my bottom. Everyone loves it; it makes everyone smile and raise their voice excitedly too. The more I do it, the more animated they get! Try it and see for yourself. If I want something really, really badly, I just sit and stare. You do it long enough and people just give in. A head on the lap and a sorrowful look always wins them over. I do it to the Mr. when he is sitting on the sofa. Works every time! It even works on the bed now. He knows the Mrs. gets annoyed, but he lets me on anyway. He pretends to be all fierce and pack-leaderish, but one persistent stare from me and he is putty in my paws!

So my advice this month is don't waste your time on lots of words. There are far too many other things to be enjoying at Christmas time. It's a very special time of the year, so start thumping that tail, shake your bottoms from side to side to show your excitement, and get ready to lift your paws for lots and lots of treats.

Happy Christmas Everyone!



So, this month I want to talk about invasions or should I say invaders. I am not talking about the Grockles again or Blow-ins. I am actually talking about the four-legged variety, or in some cases six-legged. I have found myself defending my land on more than one occasion over the last few weeks.

First there were those pesky red ants. They took over a particularly nice bit of our garden where I liked to bury my bones. They trailed all over the area making great big mounds, causing me to have to find a new graveyard.



Then there were the butterflies and the bees. The Mr. has been doing his utmost to support wild life in the garden, leaving sections with pretty wildflowers and grasses. The insects love it. I have lost count of the number of butterflies that have invaded. Alfie, the cat, likes to try and paw them but I don't find them very exciting. On the other hand, I have tried pawing bees. They make a very annoying noise. I am always very gentle but it sends the Mrs. into a total frenzy telling me to stop in case I get stung.I am pleased to say that I have not had that problem yet.

I have been hurt by a particularly spikey ball though. It looked just like the one I stole from the Mrs. She used to sit on the sofa and roll her foot over it most evenings. I thought it was wasted on her so I pinched it to add to my collection. That was a particularly nice, small white one, but the one that hurt me was a bigger brown one. I discovered it hiding under a log and tried gently rolling it into the garden. Unfortunately, it turned out not to be a ball at all, nor did it want to be played with! I ended up with spikes on my nose, not that anyone seemed worried about me. All attention was on the 'rescue hedgehog mission'. Julia headed up the mission and even took away some of Alfie's food to give to the spikey ball.Apparently, she made a special home for him. I have been on guard ever since, but he has not invaded our garden again.

Finally, there were the sheep. Now you know how much I have wanted to befriend these woolly creatures that look just like me.I was so excited that they had turned up to play, but the Mrs. didn't share my enthusiasm. On the contrary, she seemed truly shocked to discover four of them munching away on our lawn one Sunday morning when we got back from our walk on the beach. I had to stay firmly locked in the boot of the car, whilst she played with them. First, they ran one way and then another. The Mrs. might have grown up in Wales but she clearly didn't have a clue how to herd sheep. If only she had let me out, I would have sorted it in minutes.Instead, she enlisted the help of Sal and Chris from Barn Cottage. They clearly had more idea than her, but even so it took them quite some time. Picture the scene, the three of them scuttling along the road with their arms widespread, calling the sheep on.The sheep were clearly unimpressed and proceeded to leave their mark all the way along the Sterridge Valley. It should be noted that their 'deposits' stayed - no embarrassing poo bags for them! They did eventually get home and I am sad to say they haven't attempted another great escape since. Now that's one invasion I would love to see again!

Illustrations: Paul Swailes



The holiday season is upon us. For me this means a number of things; more people walking past my house, more annoying cars on the road and fewer walks on the beach.

The cars can be a real issue especially since the Mrs. lost her hearing in one ear. She doesn't seem to hear them creeping up from behind. I have saved her life on a number of occasions but she doesn't always appreciate it. My darting into the hedgerow has caused a few brushes with nettles and one occasion I did pull her a bit too hard. One minute she was upright and the next flat on her face kissing the road. We had several days of very slow walks after that which were intensely annoying for an agile dog like me.

It has to be said though that some drivers just don't know how to drive on our roads and come tearing along taking even me off guard. The Mr. and Mrs. both utter rude words when that happens. They think I don't know but I do. It can be quite amusing watching the standoffs too, when two cars meet face to face and neither wants to reverse to make room for the other. We stand back and wait patiently. I am supposed to sit but I like to stand to see the looks on the driver's faces. I wish I could lip read as they sometimes do a lot of muttering at each other! I think they say rude words too! I suppose it's a bit like when I meet some of the village dogs who strangely don't like me. [Yes, believe it or not, there are a few who don't appreciate my finer qualities.] They make a lot of angry noise and their people and mine have to decide who is going forward or who should turn the other way and wait. It all results in a bit of a kerfuffle.

I get a bit confused too when new dogs appear in the area. You never know if they are going to be friends or foes and obey the rules of the neighbourhood. I spent ages trying to get off my lead to go and play with Storm the other day at Watermouth Harbour and it turned out not to be Storm - it was a complete imposter who had no manners at all!

Going back to the cars, the other issue is they clutter up the road causing traffic jams. I don't mean the sticky sweet red sort of jam that I occasionally get to sample when the Mr. drops some toast. These are long lines of cars, caravans, lorries and camper vans that spend ages not going anywhere. They stand still forever, moving inch by inch very, very slowly. Consequently, our walks at Woolacombe or Crow Point [my two, all-time favourite places] cease as the Mr. refuses to sit doing nothing. I don't really understand that as he often sits doing nothing watching football on that TV thing in the lounge. but alas no beach walks for me!

The holiday season isn't all bad though. There are some good things about holidays. Like I said before, more people walking past my house to jump and wag my tail for and a steady run of visitors to our house for me to annoy, lick and lunge at. They don't know the rules of putting food out of my reach or leaving socks on their bedroom floor so I have lots of extra fun! They always make a fuss of me and want to hold my lead when we go out walking which is nice. Visitors also tends to mean extra walks to Sandy Cove or Storm in a Teacup for refreshments and time spent outdoors, admiring the beauty of our area.

I enjoy the odd holiday myself, you know. When the Mr. and Mrs. go away, I get to go on holiday too. I either go to the farm or move in with Storm. Last month I went to the farm. I love the freedom of racing through the fields and playing with the other dogs. The only problem is those sticky buds that get stuck to me and I collected rather a lot of ticks as well this time. I can't help attracting these things. The Mrs. moaned but it's no different from her going on holiday and getting sun burnt or getting bitten by mosquitos. I don't intentionally collect these things. Anyway, I soon looked glamorous again after a trip to Vicki's parlour.

I'd better go now as we have some new guests arriving shortly and I need to keep a look out. My message this month: enjoy the holiday season, welcome the visitors and try and stay patient with the ones that are annoying!

Happy holidays everyone.



I have noticed how nice the gardens are starting to look around the village and along the Sterridge Valley. Lots of colours are popping up everywhere and there are lots of familiar smells I remember from last Spring.

You humans do seem to make this gardening lark quite hard work though. It takes the Mr. a lot of huffing and puffing to get to the top of our garden. Then he uses this heavy spade to dig a hole. I have tried to help so many times but I just get into trouble. It's so ridiculous really. I can race up, down and around our garden like Lewis Hamilton in his racing car and my digging skills are phenomenal.

I try hard to leave holes in a variety of positions to save the Mr. time and energy but I get no thanks for it. On the contrary. I get told off! Can you believe it? No gratitude whatsoever!
The Mrs. is no better! She has been putting pots out all over the place. They're all very pretty - plants she gets from Jean or Max's mum, Jill. She moans a lot about watering them though as she has to get that long snake out and squirt them most evenings. Again, I could so easily help if only she would allow me to do the squirting.
Talking of squirting my favourite place is on that amazing garlic plant with the little white flowers. It's the best place; soft as Andrex and smells so good. Well why shouldn't us dogs have a nice scented toilet like you humans? The Mrs. always lights some candles from Berry Mill House in their bathroom or she has those cans that make a "shhh" noise and release a fancy smell. Makes me jump out of my skin that thing "sshing " all day long! It is funny though as it's attacked the Mr. and Mrs. before now as they've got up from the throne. Sorry, that's not an image you need to imagine! I digress . . .
Visitors to the village often stop outside our house and take photos. The Mr. thinks it's the lovely wisteria that attracts attention. The Mrs. thinks it's the flowerpot people, but, of course, we all know it's me really. My adorable looks and amazing personality draw attention. I just can't help it! Who needs fancy garden sculptures when you've got a Bailey boy? Look out for me when you're next passing and I promise I will try and come and see you over the wall.
Happy gardening Villagers!



Thought I would chat this month about friendship. Well, they do say 'A dog is man's best friend'. It has also been said that a good friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows you are slightly cracked!

The Mr. and Mrs. have made some good friends in the short time they have lived in the village . . . not sure those friends have found their cracks yet or realise how crackers they are, but I often hear them comment what a wonderfully friendly village this is [despite them being blow-ins] and what great friends they have made. I, too, have made some good ones.

You know already that certain local humans have become great friends, but what of my four-legged friends; those who are more like-minded and share my interests? We don't waste time with small talk, taking time to get to know each other, like you humans. A good sniff of each other's bits and we just know. [Too much information? Sorry! But you know me by now . . . I say it how it is.] Anyway, let me tell you about a few of my besties.

Stringer - probably the first friend I made. He's great fun. Tall and very friendly. He likes food and can sniff a pasty from quite some distance. I love playing with him although I am not always sure if he is really interested in me or if it's the Mrs. who is the attraction, especially when she has treats in her pocket!

Then there's Ralph - respect where respect is due, he is a moody character who is incredibly strong. He didn't used to like me and my annoying puppy ways, but he endures me now and actually seems pleased to see me. Well, he nearly pulled his human over to rush over to greet me the other day. I do need to work hard to keep his attention though as he seems to have an eye for River these days more than me.

River - she's the new kid on the block. A youngster who seems to be growing at the rate of knots. She seems to get taller every time I see her. She's a real cutie who gets lots of attention from everyone! Storm has been teaching her how to behave. He is a little over-protective on occasions but is very, very sensible. The Mrs. frequently says she wishes I was as well-behaved as Storm, but hey I'm me . . . get used to it!

One of my newest friends is Dougie - another gentle giant. He is huge but such a big softie. Apparently, he is a Newfoundland. I don't really pay much attention to those labels.

It's really all about the smell, wet nose and the wagging tail. Dougie smells lovely and he enjoys running like me. We had a great time bounding around Watermouth Harbour a few weeks ago. I hope we will be able to do it again soon.

There's Sharon's Dougie and Derek too, and Twiglet and Lottie and Poppy and Daisy. I am very lucky having so many great mates. There are a few I have yet to win over but hopefully they will fall for my charms soon. That being said, I think Dora may be a lost cause . . . she just doesn't recognise a good thing when she sees it! Mind, she has those other friends to play with in that field of hers. I would really love to get to know them. There's a lot of them around this area. They all hang out in the fields together, never on the lead. They look so much like me I am sure we would have great fun together. They never bark at me; just stare and make a weird "baaing" sound. If only I could get in to chat to them. Strangely though, neither the Mr. or Mrs. will let me near them. What do you reckon to my chances? Maybe one day? . . .



Happy New Year everyone!

It's that time when you humans make promises that you rarely fulfil [well the Mrs.'s usually lasts a month max!] I wondered whether I should make some resolutions, but what could I choose?

I am not impressed with any of those ideas. I do wonder though if I should actually support the Mr. and Mrs. to become better humans. They still need quite a bit of training you know.

I have taught them the importance of allowing dogs on the sofa. They both realise it's far more fun snuggling with me than each other. For a start I am a lot softer. Have you stroked me since I went to Devon's Dashing Dogs for a groom? I am so, so, soft now. My coat's like silk. I noticed the Mr. was trying to groom himself last week. I heard that familiar sound of the clippers. There he was standing in the bathroom, in all his finery, struggling to do it himself. He really should go to Vicky, she would do a much better job. Maybe I should resolve to get him booked in a few times a year.

I have taught them the importance of allowing me good boy treats. They get so excited when I sit/lie down or give them my paw. They are so easily pleased! Maybe I should help them realise a few extra a day would bring them even more pleasure! I wonder what I would get for "Roll over!"

I have even taught them that there are huge benefits to at least one weekly trip to the beach. There's nothing quite like the fresh sea air or the excitement of chasing waves. Of course, there is the added benefit of truly letting off steam and returning home with someone else's ball too. [Yes, a year on and I still do that!] I obtained a great one last week - it had one of those squeakers in it that annoy you humans. It was larger than your average tennis ball. Sadly, I dropped it on the climb back to the car and it rolled down the hill. I hoped the Mrs. would run after it but no chance. Once she has climbed the sand dunes there is no way she's going back down again. Anyway, on this occasion I left it for another dog to enjoy. Maybe I should train the Mrs. to run up and down a bit more after all it would help her with that resolution to get fit.

Okay I have a few ideas now. Look out for us around the village. The Mr. is going to be the best-groomed human in the village; the Mrs. will have a new waistline and will be positively running up Barton Lane, and I'll be the one with the big smile on my face after all those extra treats!



I think last edition's blog got me a very bad name so I am going to refrain from confessing to all this time. I am getting blamed for all sorts now in the Sterridge Valley. Once a criminal always a criminal! It seems honesty is not always the best policy. I have learnt that from observing the social interactions between the Mr. and Mrs. The Mrs. really doesn't want the truth when she asks, "Do I look alright in this?" The Mr.'s honest response. "Well it looks a bit tighter than when you last wore it" was not received well. Lying is not a good idea either, especially if others know the truth! So, I have decided I am staying quiet this month and not admitting to breaking into someone else's home and trying to eat their dinner, or sneaking out during the family's quarantine period and going for a swim in the river. In the words of the pop star Shaggy "It wasn't me!"

Anyway, who are you guys to judge me? I have come to realise you humans are an odd bunch yourselves. I have noticed that the majority of you have clearly been misbehaving since this pandemic thing started. All of a sudden you are all walking around with muzzles on. I am quite shocked as even I know biting and snarling is not good. And you've stopped going out to work. Can you imagine if my sheep dog friends opted to work from home? How would they manage? Could they supervise the sheep from a web cam?

Now don't get me wrong, I do quite like this home working rule as it means I have exclusive company all day every day. Not being put in 'that room' whilst they all go out is great. It has also meant the daughter has been able to come and stay as she can work from our house. She is lovely; gives me loads of attention, as long as Alfie her cat's not looking. She has even learnt to type with one hand so she can pet me with the other. I have made loads of new friends as I saunter into her web-calls every day. I bring her lots of extra attention when her team all swoon and say how cute I am! Reckon she is the most popular member of the team, thanks to me.

There is another issue we should discuss about this pandemic. This quarantining thing! Why is it the Mr. and Mrs. go away for a week and then we all have to stay indoors for two weeks? Who thinks that's fair? I certainly don't, although I have to say I have realised what kind people live in our village. Judie took me out for some walks. She is lovely but her lead is very, very short! There was no risk of me escaping, but I think she liked having me close. She also gave me some great dog biscuits. Reckon she knew I have been missing Gary's treats. Vicky Thorp allowed me to become one of her Devon's Dashing Dogs. With her, I made loads of new friends and visited some great new places. Look her up on Facebook she is amazing. I must also say thank you to Sharon and Caroline who ensured I had dog food and plenty of dog treats. And, of course. my wonderful mate George from next door, he brought me some presents which included a new toy. I loved it but the Mrs. was less keen as I have been leaving bits of rope all around the house the last two weeks! Tee hee! 🤣

Talking of presents reminds me this is the Christmas Newsletter isn't it? Time to say happy Christmas to you all. I have a feeling it may be a little bit different this year. Whatever happens though, try and make it a good one and if nothing else, we can all enjoy saying goodbye to 2020!

Have fun everyone! 



It's been a challenging, few months. I am told that I am supposed to be growing up and coming out of the puppy stage. The question is why? I like being a cute puppy. Ok, so I am not the tiny teddy bear I was but I would argue I am still very soft and cuddly. However, over the last few months I seem to have earned a few new labels that are less cute. I am a little ashamed, [although I did find it fun at the time] to admit I have been pushing boundaries. But then isn't that what growing up is all about?

In an attempt to clean me up, after my shenanigans, they have scalped me. Have you seen me? I look like a convict; alI I need is a number around my neck! Mind, I gather some of my behaviour might be considered unlawful; petty theft, wilful damage of stolen goods and dare I admit to it . . . MURDER!

Let's confess to the minor offences first. I nick socks - small, big, white, multi-coloured, clean or dirty, I am not fussy. I confess to even nicking the Mr.'s smelly ones. It's not a fetish, it's just my thing! Such fun watching the Mrs. complaining that the Mr. has only put one in the laundry and trying to match pairs. Even more fun when they spot me and there's a chase around the garden. Have you seen our hilly garden? I win every time!

Then there's the destruction urge. I really can't help myself. Things taste SO good and my teeth are pretty sharp. The latest was a very colourful, small, inflatable ball. The lad wasn't too impressed when I skillfully intercepted it on Woolacombe beach. [Those hours of watching Jordon Henderson with the Mr. on the settee pay off you know!] The lad was very good about it, said I could keep it after it changed shape in my mouth. So that wasn't technically theft at all!

Finally, murder, or causing death by accident. Should I really tell you all this? Hopefully George, next door, will put in a good word for me if I confess now. It really was an accident. You see I am naturally inquisitive and one might argue I was trying to be helpful and kind. The feathery thing was flapping and clearly needed help getting back into his pen with his friends and relatives.

How was I to know once it was in my mouth it would die of shock? I was trying to be gentle, honest! Man-slaughter or chicken-slaughter to be precise. I should say I am not proud of my actions. The Mrs. was appalled and Dougie and Derek's Mrs. was reduced to tears! But like I say it was an accident.

So, incorrigible, naughty and [worst of all] bad boy are my new labels. But hey. isn't it said that the girls love a bad boy?

Right , , , time to go. I am off to improve my digging skills. If I ever get imprisoned, I am sure they'll come in handy! Stay safe folk!



Tails of a Dog's life in Lockdown

I have done it! I have secured my place on the sofa and now I sneak on every evening. Before this lockdown malarkey, I was not allowed up. It was the floor or my bed for me. Ridiculous really as everyone knows you don't go to bed during the day. It was also very unfair as Alfie the cat was allowed up on the Mrs. knee every evening without fail! It was a real case of prejudice. Nobody rallied to fight for my rights! I was being discriminated against every evening! Quite unfair. Dog's rights matter too you know.

Anyway, I don't quite know how I've accomplished it but I have.I am up on the sofa every evening now and sometimes I even sneak on during the day. I think that maybe the Mr. and Mrs. are getting a bit sick of only having each other for entertainment night after night.The Mr. succumbed quite quickly. He pretends to be tough but is a push over with me. I just have to nestle my head on his knee and look up at him with my puppy dog eyes and he is putty in my hands . . . or rather I am putty in his. He knows how to stroke and tickle my ears. I love it. The Mrs. was tougher to crack . . . reckon it's cos she has to clean the sofa or it could be that since lockdown she has definitely put on a few pounds that she is eagerly trying to hide. Maybe she thought my weight and hers would break the chair. Anyway, she has given up saying 'No' and I now take my spot between them every evening. The only one getting their tummy tickled now on that settee is me!

There are a couple of problems I have had to adapt to with my new seating arrangement. Firstly, that settee moves. I am just getting comfy and the Mrs. presses a button and it elevates her feet so she is horizontal. No warning, off she goes! Then a little while later when she needs a wee or a cup of tea, it moves again. I will be lying in a really comfy way and my head is jet-propelled down to the ground. No consideration whatsoever! Up down all evening. It's like being on a seesaw. I can tell it annoys the Mr. too although he never complains if it includes a cup of tea... Just wish I could work out how to chew that button and stop the mechanism. Give me time!

Then there is the problem with Alfie the cat. It really is tough for us dogs when we have to share our homes with cats. They are under the illusion that they are the superior race. Don't get me wrong, I love Alfie. I always get overly excited when I see him. I just can't help myself. My tail starts wagging and I feel the need to lick him to death. Alfie doesn't seem to appreciate it. Odd really, as all he seems to do is lie around sleeping or licking himself all day. I am simply saving him a job. Anyway, as I said earlier, he has the cheek to sneak onto the Mrs. knee every evening, like a king taking up his throne. Sneak is probably the wrong word as he proclaims his entry into the room with a loud 'Miaow'. This gets me excited and I can't help myself, so I launch in to welcome him and it ends in a flurry of hair, hissing and excitement, [all on the Mrs. knee]. Believe you me she is not amused and I always end up in the dog house!

Finally, there is the issue of my sleeping habits. You see I dream a lot. I can be dreaming about running across the beach and my legs start racing much to the annoyance of Mr. and Mrs.

I can't help it and if it's really such a big problem they should go and sit in the armchair.

Anyway, I best sign off now, but before I go, I must say thank you for all the lovely compliments you gave the Mrs. about my last blog. I am glad my blog makes you smile. It's important we keep our spirits up during these strange times. Be assured I would lick you each personally if I could, but social distancing prevents me. Maybe one day soon . . . in the meantime stay safe.



I have thought long and hard about my blog this month. [That's not always a good thing!] But I am aware that you, villagers will be looking for entertainment after being stuck indoors for so long. That is the issue though; do we talk about the unmentionable or don't we? "Lock down", "Social Isolation", call it what you will, it's given me a great chance to observe you humans and I have come to the conclusion you are not as different from us canines as you may like to think. In fact, on so many levels you are the same.

Take the fact that I could sit for hours watching the world go by. The last few weeks the Mr. and Mrs. have been doing the same; sitting looking longingly out of the window. They have even made a seating area at the top of the garden, [that's my territory!] and sit there surveying the Sterridge Valley. Then there's the excitement of passers-by. When the Mrs. spots someone walking past, she is out there like a shot. Whilst she can't quite jump up as excitedly as me and she hasn't quite mastered the bottom wiggle and the tail wag, she is undoubtedly as excited as ever I am, at seeing people. Then there's this Thursday night thing. Lots of clapping hands, banging pans and cheering. The Mrs. loves it. She runs from the front door to the top of the garden, getting very, very excited. Why is it though when I make lots of noise barking and get excited, racing around the garden I get into trouble?

It's evident that you humans also appreciate the benefits of walks. I have never seen so many people walking past the house before. My walks have definitely got longer and we have been exploring some amazing parts of this beautiful village. I think both the Mr. and Mrs. have realised that whilst the dog exercise area has its merits, there is nothing quite as exhilarating as a good walk along the coast path, sniffing the wild garlic plants and letting one's hair blow in the wind. Funnily enough they haven't hosed each other down on their return to the house yet. You already know my thoughts on the merits of that, maybe they have realised it's really not pleasant or necessary!

Nevertheless, like me, they always come back thirsty, gasping for a drink and a treat of course. That's the other thing, since this lock down thingy they have been devouring treats throughout the day. The Mrs. clearly thinks about food as much as me. Each time she opens the cupboard she sniffs out a treat. I have to say I am liking this new trait as she clearly feels guilty and so I usually get something too!

Talking about this guilt thing reminds me of something else. The other night they had 'date night'; not normally something I experience. Usually when date night is mentioned it's an evening when I am put to bed early and they go out for a night out to the cinema, pub or restaurant. They come back very happy but feeling guilty for leaving me so I get lots of fuss for staying in my room. This date night though was very different. No fuss for me whatsoever and of course they didn't leave the house. Instead the lounge lights were dimmed and candles lit, [a fire hazard in my opinion. It's far too easy to singe one's tail accidently.] The Mrs. cooked steak, [a favourite of mine given half a chance] and the Mr. opened what he called 'a particularly good wine'. Soft music was put on in the background; romantic stuff not like my favourite Who let the dogs out? That's got great lyrics. They clearly enjoyed the meal, as lots of appreciative noises were made and the plates were practically licked clean, well maybe not as well as I could clean them. Admittedly they didn't clean their plates as quickly as I clean my bowl either. Then, and here's the thing, they snuggled up on the settee and I am sure the Mr. was hoping to have his tummy tickled. See, no different from me at all!

A final thought, they say dogs look like their owners or is it the owners look like their dogs? Anyway, have you seen the Mrs. since she's not visited the hairdressers? I rest my case!



Braving the Elements

I have loved all the attention I have received since my last blog, thank you. Sitting outside the community shop is no longer a chore when so many people go past and call my name. I hold my head with pride and feel quite famous, although the Mrs. does the opposite, shaking her head in shame saying I'm infamous. I'm not sure what the difference is but I feel good.

It's been a wet few months for walks. I have noticed they seem to get shorter when it's blowing a gale. Not sure what the problem is especially when the Mr. and Mrs. go out all wrapped up. They don their waterproofs including these great big rubber boot things. The Mrs. makes such a fuss when the Mr. comes back and makes a mess on the carpet. They should realise it's much more fun barefoot. You can enjoy the mud between your toes. However, she complains about my muddy paws too. Doesn't she realise people pay a fortune for animal print fabrics? The Mr. and I are simply adding pattern to an otherwise boring carpet.

I don't know why everyone keeps complaining about the weather. The more it rains the better chance I have of getting messy. There is nothing like the joy of jumping in puddles and racing through the mud. The only problem is I know it will end in that snake attack when we get back. They unleash it from the wall and allow it to spray all over me and it's flippin' freezing. I would like to see them endure a cold shower like that. I do try and share the experience by shaking all over them when it's finished which I find highly amusing. Sadly, they do not share my joy. These humans just don't have a sense of humour!

It's not easy staying clean when you are as hairy as me. To be honest the only time I am truly clean is after a trip to the vicarage where Josey gives me a wonderful pampering. After that I really do look like the dog's b... . . . . . if you know what I mean. Ok now I have probably said too much. I am back on that theme again so it must be time to finish. Take care. Look out for me round and about and don't forget to run if you see me coming towards you with muddy paws!



'A dog's village life'

Well it seems I have made a bit of a name for myself since my family's arrival in the village, as the overly friendly, boisterous, 'more badly behaved than Stringer', new pup on the block. Let it be known Stringer is actually my hero. I love him to bits and I truly aspire to be like him one day . . . or maybe Ralph, big, slightly standoffish, but grand. Hmmm, I have a lot to learn if I am to be like him.

You see my first problem is that I love everyone and everything. All I want to do is to jump up and have a fuss and a bit of a sniff. I mean no harm but am told by the Mrs. and the Mr. that jumping is not acceptable. I try to remember that, but when I see someone who looks nice, I just sort of forget.

However, I have undergone some crucial changes recently. Paul, the builder, recommended them the first time we met. [What a cheek!] Then Julia told the Mrs. it might stop me from cocking my leg. [What was that all about?] So here I am in 2020, minus some very important bits, trying to learn to be calm. It's not easy; it may take a while. Since they did the deadly deed, I have destroyed my bed, dug a big hole in the garden and demolished the Mrs.'s owl collection, ornamental not real! Most importantly, and really not surprisingly, I have taken to pinching everyone else's balls when I am taken to the beach! Well really, what do they expect? Like I said, this calming down process could take a while!

Anyway, I have decided I will use my notoriety and write this blog. If you like it, I could become a regular feature. I have all sorts of stories I could tell you about life in Berrynarbor from a canine's perspective. However, for this edition, what I really wanted to say was thank you. Thank you to those lovely men who have made the path in the doggy play area. The Mrs. has no excuse not to take me in to play again. It was funny watching her slipping in the mud but not funny when she stopped going altogether. So, gentlemen, I raise my paw to you. Thank you very, very much.

Right, I will be off now. Enjoy the real news and I promise I will try to be good!