We will have no worries about our wood supply for this winter as Steve has bought an electric chainsaw. This amazing piece of equipment has taken the hard labour away from the method of handsawing which Steve was doing last winter, where he injured his arm and shoulder. This wall of wood took four hours to saw and more is on the way! with another two walls taking shape!
We invited Jester into the cottage again tonight as his owners are away sailing again and Steve thought he would like a pillow to be more comfortable! Like? he took to this pillow like a duck does to water and it stayed attached to his head for a few hours!! from now on this will be Jester’s ‘Cottage Doggy Pillow’, something for a treat for him when he spends the evenings with us while his owners are away…and this is a great deal these days!
Part of my job as housekeeper on this estate is to clean and maintain the pool, usually Fridays. This is a fantastic job for outdoor lover me and when the dogs are here, Jester has a wonderful time following my every move and looking into the water to see what I’m collecting/fishing out.
When I empty the filters and put chlorine tablets in them, he is fascinated and I have to be careful he doesn’t snatch a tablet thinking it’s something to eat! Indi just sits in the distance on the lawn watching Jester tire himself out.
The last two days have produced some lovely sunny weather and Indi the Labrador has taken full advantage of this. It’s not unusual for him to make his own way down to the pool and swim a lap or just linger around in the shallow end. Jester is not as keen but enjoys watching the older Labrador.
We have full care of Jester and Indi the Labradors at the moment as their owners are away sailing for two weeks again. How lucky are these dogs? Extremely fortunate as we tend to spoil them a bit too much. Jester loves to come in to the Cottage with us of an evening to chew on a stick or a bone and lap up all the attention until he becomes so tired he ends up lying flat out on the rug, fast asleep. What a mess he leaves though! Indi is happy with his own company and likes to stay in his cosy bed in the dog’s room. Just as well as there wouldn’t be much room for him as well as Jester in our tiny Cottage!
I was in the big house doing some housekeeping work and had to put the dogs out into the garden while I hoovered and cleaned their room. I took a little sneak through the dining room windows to see what they were up to and found them sitting together happily surveying the landscape, just like lions…….checking out their kingdom! Such beautiful boys! Great guard dogs too! I must hurry up now……rain is on the way and doggies will get wet!
Well, it’s Friday and our last walk with the dogs until next Monday. Jester has been whining in the dog’s room for over fifteen minutes, driving Indi mad. “For god’s sake Jester, give it a rest will you…..you’re driving me nuts with that awful noise coming from your mouth! You know we will be collected soon for our walk. Why can’t you follow my example and wait with a little more decorum?” Indi said. Before Jester could respond, I was already entering their room and Indi stood up in his bed excitedly, dancing with his two front feet around in little circles. ” Who’s waiting with decorum now then you crancky old dog?” Jester said. “Your too old to give advice anymore, you’re past it Indi……” he concluded as he leaped out the door.
“Jester, wait!” I shouted after him. “I’m supposed to teach you to wait at the door and leave after I step out.” I said. “Big deal, too late now, I’m out anyway and Steve’s got a pocket full of treats to feed me. That’s more important than that sit, wait, sit, wait, silly lesson of yours.” Jester said without a care in the world. “Don’t waste your time on that poorly trained animal Jenny.” said Indi. “He needs to go back to school….a boarding school would fit the bill. A period of SIX months would be very nice.” he said dreaming about the peace and quiet he would have. “Come on Indi,” I said in exasperation. “We will have a lovely walk today, I can feel it.”
Jester was playing the “heal and treat” game very well again with Steve today and although conditions were milder than usual, the air I thought was still invigorating. As we approached a big open field near the horse racing track, I heard a thundering sound in the distance. “What is that noise?”I said to Steve. Before he had time to answer, a huge massive army helicopter appeared in the distance flying very low, just above the tree tops.”
I’m a huge army aircraft fanatic and this was an awesome sight for me! “Wow, look at that!” I said to the dogs. Indi didn’t know what all the fuss was about as in his long life as a Labrador gun dog he had seen many aircraft, including this type of Chinoock Helicopter. This was no big deal in his opinion. Jester was looking up in the air along with keeping a keen eye on Steve’s pocket and really had no interest in the funny shaped greyish thing that was in the sky. By this stage the Chinoock was flying closer and quite incredibly low, it was breathtaking. Steve and I started waving at the Chinoock and it instantly changed it’s path to fly almost directly over us. It was the most fantastic experience. The dogs just stood there looking at us with bewilderment. “Gee Jester, wonder what Jenny put in her soup at lunchtime today. They are both behaving somewhat childlike, don’t you think?” Jester wasn’t listening to a word Indi said. He was too busy digging another hole in hope of finding another dead animal.
What a wonderful exciting addition to our walk today and as we made our way back to the cottage, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. “Doesn’t take much to make Jenny happy.” Indi said to Steve as they approached the orchard. ” On a good day!” Steve replied.
Back safe and sound in the dogs room and Jester remembered to say thank you. Indi just bowed his head again like some upperclass gentleman as to say, “Very nice thank you Jenny. See you next week.” I closed the door on another eventful week walking the two dogs and felt pleased they had been exercised well.
“Oh, thank goodness….here they are!!,”Jester said to Indi as he pressed his nose up against the glass of the dog’s room.
It was approaching 1:30pm and the dogs of course were ready and waiting for their daily walk. As I opened the door to their room Jester was more than ready to be released out into the open air, looking up at me and waiting for my next instructions. Indi began dancing around in excitement as per usual (if only my husband was this excited when I came into a room!! I thought to myself…how nice would my life be!)
“Gee, you both are excited and waiting eagerly today,” I said. “Oh Jenny, can we skip the chat today, I’m dying to pee,” Jester burst out. Before I could say wait! to make him sit and wait until I was out the door first, Jester the beautiful Labrador bounded out the door like he was escaping a house on fire!
“Well, that lesson to wait at the door worked well today!” I said to Indi with exasperation. “Jenny, he’s a monkey of a dog and in my opinion will continue to be so for quite some time…..lets get a move on now shall we….so unnecessary to waste our walking time with discussions about that unruly animal that disrespects me.” he concluded
Poor Indi has to put up with so much with Jester……but he takes it all in his grand old stride and I know Indi loves Jester very much. Since he arrived on the scene, Indi has gained a new lease of life and become more playful for such an older dog.
So, another wonderful walk today through the woods and fields for the dogs. Jester found part of a dead animal again and crunched up the bones before we had a chance to examine what he was getting into. He did manage to tease Indi with his find before he demolished every ounce saying, “Na, nah nah nah nah, found a dead bird again…..it’s all mine and you’re not getting any of it!” Indi took one look at his beaming face and thought what an insolent rude boy he was..no chance in hell of him trying to confiscate that dead matter from his mouth!
But Indi was very well behaved today and didn’t run off, although oblivious at times to his name. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you call him as often there is zero response and as I tucked them back into their beds and topped up their water bowls, I could feel their gratitude in the way they looked at me….”Thank goodness for Jenny and Steve!”
I haven’t seen the dogs all weekend so I was looking forward to taking them for a walk today.
Jester looked like he had grown bigger and more muscular just over the weekend! and Indi was so happy to see us….he was waiting at the door for me, looking through the glass door dancing with his two front feet as much to say, “About time you showed up…haven’t seen you for a while Jenny……..come on get my lead…..we’ve been waiting ages.”
Jester bounded outside the door in such a hurry he headbutted Indi. “Heeeeheeee….I’m free at last….and there’s Steve….my new best friend with all the treats! He’s great! As long as I behave well, I’ll be given a reward. This games great, a piece of cake!” he said as he ran up to Steve and sat at heal beautifully.
Indi was dancing about in such excitement that he didn’t really notice Jesters childlike behavior, headbutting him above his right eye. He was more interested in the tennis ball he thought Jenny had in her hand! “Indi boy, you know I’m not allowed to give you a tennis ball because you are a gun dog and a very good gun dog by all accounts…..and gun dogs are not allowed tennis balls. Your master has said so. But if you find a tennis ball in the garden it’s yours……I won’t tell if you won’t.”
Indi’s look was in happy agreement and as I began to put him on the lead to walk down the lane there it was……a dirty looking tennis ball he found somewhere. He was on cloud nine.
We could hear a shoot in the distance somewhere. The pheasant population was diminishing very fast….just as well, as Jester still had a huge interest chasing these birds whenever the opportunity was there. Another “not allowed” form of behavior I was told…..but he still continued to do this. I gathered this will stop soon as all the pheasants will have disappeared until next year. Hopefully then he will be on his way to becoming a well trained gun dog? Hope so.
The two dogs were very well behaved today, although Jester bristled up a lot when tiny Ida, the friendly scruffy terrier he sometimes sees came running to say hello. Indi totally ignored her attempts to make friends again because he was on a mission again to find the perfect spot to do his business. “Get out of my way you ridiculous tiny little waste of space,” I heard him say. Ida got the hint and after a little growl from Jester she was off like a rocket, in the safety of her master.
By the time we arrived back home Jester was walking superbly at Steve’s side. “Any more treats Steve? I can walk this way for a lot longer if you like……..?” “Good boy Jester,” Steve said stroking his lovely head. “What a good boy you have been today,” and gave him one more treat.
I tucked them back into their beds and made sure their water bowls were full. I gave Indi the pig’s knuckle bone to work on and Jester had the remnants of the bone filled with chicken to keep him happy. “See you tomorrow boys.” and I gave them a big pat each and made my way back to the cottage.
We are walking two dogs today and Indi is beside himself with excitement as he comes out of the dogs room and Jester the monkey is as happy as Larry. Steve has some “training treats!” for Jester in his pocket and the smart dog already senses this and starts behaving orderly, but only after a manic run around first.
So we start out through the orchard today and Indi is looking for the tennis ball he thinks I have for him in my pocket! while Jester is just pleased to be out and responding to Steve like he is his schoolmaster!
We reach the small wood and off the leads they go….Indi, on a mission to pick the perfect spot to do his business and this sometimes takes a while….to find the discreet, right spot. Today he didn’t seem too particular and just “did the business” only slightly off the path.
Jester was running with the wind again….so free spirited. We found him digging a hole in the snow and think he found the head of a fish! Can’t believe this…. but a fish head is what it looked like. Would a bird of prey have left this? Not sure but whatever this was he was on cloud nine and running around defrosting it in his mouth and teasing Indi at the same time! “look at me Indi,” he said “You’re too old and slow to have found this. Wehhaaaay!”
We let Jester have his find which gave me time to chase Indi as he decided to run off. Not for long. After blowing my whistle for ages, he finally decided to turn around and join us. “Indi…come on, behave now!” His look at me was like he was ten times smarter than me….giving me any easy time today!
Walking back to the cottage was very rewarding. I love the snow, although the lane was very slippery in places. It was funny watching the dogs slip a little as they walked…not like us heavy adults!
Back home and I tucked the dogs up in their beds with plenty of water and a smile.
Walking just Jester again today as Indi boy is still in the West Country shooting with his master.
Still a great deal of snow covers the landscape and once Jester the young Labrador touches the ground, he’s off……….. Something about the snow makes him seem wild, running through the large garden with all the free spirit he can muster.
When he realises Steve has some treats with him, he then starts to behave, sitting to command and walking at heal beautifully. What a smart dog….misbehaves so much but when he knows treats are involved, he is the perfect student.
We take him down the lane and into the snowy woods out into the big open field that he loves. He usually likes chasing pheasants here but we have tried to stop him doing this favourite past time of his, as gun dogs in training aren’t supposed to chase! pheasants…or tennis balls! So a keen eye is kept on him here.
The walk, although very cold, icy and damp was quite reviving and all three of us arrived home very satisfied. I put Jester back in his bed, topped his water bowl up and patted him goodbye. “Goodbye little monkey, you be good…see you tomorrow.” I said. Jester looked at me kindly and said, “Don’t go Jenny, can’t you stay and play for a while?” ” No little boy,” I said.”See you tomorrow, I have to go now.”
So, I left him and went back into our cottage and put another lovely log on our woodburner and began the task or removing my boots and gaiters………
My husband Steve and I are geared up today to venture out again in freezing temperatures to walk the dogs from the big house. Just Jester today though. Indi has gone shooting down in the West Country with his master.
We have some dogie treats for Jester today, and he behaves very well. Always running ahead of us stopping to let us catch up a bit. He absolutely loves the snow …….. and being outside in the cold.
When we finally get back home, he looks up at Steve and says, “Thanks for being so kind to me, I loved the walk. Any treats left?”
“Good boy Jester,” says Steve. ” You have been very good today. See you tomorrow (with a loving pat on his head)”
Okay, no more treats by the looks of things Jester concludes….See you too Steve….
I take Jester back into the big house and pour him some fresh water in his bowl which he demolishes within a minute. He decides to settle down into Indi’s bed (it’s much bigger and cosier) and he gets away with it today! as Indi isn’t back until late tomorrrow. I put another couple of logs on the fire in the large kitchen/breakfast room and say goodbye with a rub on his tummy and a kiss from afar.
“Thanks Jenny, you’re pretty great to me,” I think he whispered!
Took the dogs out for a walk again after lunch and I had a feeling in my chilly bones that Jester was in a very unruly mood, so I had my “strict teacher” hat on to be ready……….
It all started out okay, with both dogs walking well at heal down the lane (on leads though as there are the odd speeding nutter motorist that could easily finish a dog’s life in seconds!) So we enter the woods and off the lead and off they go……….having a wonderful time in the cold icy conditions!!
Jester runs at full speed like a little pony (as usual) and Indi pleases himself and ignores any call or whistle. Nice to see he is maintaining his usual behavior! Jester disappears for what seems like ages and all my whistling, calling does zero to locate the naughty monkey. Just when we thought he had disappeared forever, he darts out of the wood into the open field like a starving greyhound chasing a rabbit. In this case, Jester was hot on the foot of a pheasant and not a rabbit…(but would have loved that too!) May as well throw my whistle away as there was no stopping him. There is a horse racing track close by and he jumped across the beautifully manicured track in two leggy bounds….very impressive. It wasn’t until my husband gave a piercing whistle with two fingers to his mouth, that he stopped in his tracks and came running back. Thank goodness there were no horses out training on the track as there could have been an incident!
Back on track and we were walking towards home again, Jester thinking nothing of his earlier antics. Both were back into their warm beds and pleased with the exercise.
Set out for our afternoon walk with Indi (so excited and pleased to get out into the cold! of -2 celsius) and Jester just pleased to be out ……..
Jester is very well behaved today and walks to heal down the long pebble driveway, then sits to wait to be put on a lead to enter the lane. Very good puppy! I talk to them constantly which I think Indi quite likes but Jester, I think gets very board with my voice and constant “Jester, heal! Jester, Heal!” Indi responds to heal very well until he enters the woods and then just basically responds to direction when he wants…..he’s seen it all and won’t be bossed about by some Australian girl who has no idea what elite level of gun dog he is!!! Okay Indi, that’s okay with me as long as you have a lovely walk and don’t wander off!!!!
The scene is like walking into the set of the “Adventures of Nania…” I find this so breathtakingly beautiful and enjoy every step of the way. My co-walker with the dogs (and husband who by the way is an Englishman) typically says, “it’s alright seeing this at Christmas time, but day after day is too much….” So….. anyway, dogs and I are loving the conditions and we finish the walk with the sometimes naughty boy Jester behaving very well. I fill up their water bowls and make sure their bedding is sorted out for another bitterly cold night ahead. See you tomorrow boys! No taking them out before bed tonight as the owners will be home and will do this later on.
It is SO cold now and I have to keep reminding myself that Indi and Jester are just dogs……Let them out before bed tonight into their vast garden then came back in 10-15 minutes to find them waiting at the gate saying “where the hell have you been Jenny? We are freezing!'” Well, maybe an Australian dog would say this but I think these two Labradors are pretty hardy, not so much Jester (yet) the 18mth old; but Indi the grand 8yr old gun dog is extremely accustomed to the cold and wet. He’s a legend. What a great dog he is.
As I opened the door to the dog room to settle them down for the night, Jester, the monkey went straight to Indi’s comfy bed, hoovered around for any bones or balls he could steal…couldn’t find any so decided to wait there for the old boy…… to share his bed! Indi prefers to sleep alone, so Jester was gently coaxed back into his own warm bed for a long sleepy night.