Woke up a little later than usual on Christmas morning…wanted to go for a walk but it was quite foggy and bleak and also very cold….made my husband and I leek scrambled eggs and bacon. A beautiful start to the day.
I make a brief visit into the dog’s room to wish Jester and Indi a very “Happy Christmas!” Jester is absolutely totally absorbed with his new Christmas bone filled with chicken (our present to him) His tail is wagging madly but doesn’t move from his bed…”Thank you Jenny, Merry Christmas to you too but could you let me finish my bone?”
Indi gets up out of his bed thinking I’ve come in to take him out for a walk! “No Indi boy, just coming in to wish you a Happy Christmas.” “Oh, that’s a shame.” I think I heard him mumble! “How come Jester’s got a special treat then? Where’s my special grand treat?” I bet he said. “In you bed Indi, have a good day.” I say to him and give him a good old pat. The look he gave me was disappointment and he resumed back to huddling up in his cosy bed.
Meanwhile Jester the little monkey was still madly wagging his tail while engrossed in his new bone. When I went over to him to say goodbye he rolled over onto his back (bone still in his mouth) and let me tickle him a little on his belly. left their room pleased to have seen the two lovely dogs.
So, it’s just the two of us this year for Christmas day (I rang my parents in Australia last night to wish them Merry Christmas as they are 11 hours in front of us here in the UK) So, I have no stress cooking for a large number and am enjoying this quiet time very nicely thank you! Not doing a traditional lunch. We will be serving a slow cooked leg of lamb marinated over night with rosemary, garlic pesto and tomato paste, topped with onion and a decent amount of red wine in the pan. This will cook for 3- 4 hrs and will fall off the bone to serve.
So, this morning I’m setting a lovely table for two! with candles. I’ve made a cauliflower cheese, prepared brussel sprouts and carrots. Also made thin wholemeal bread stick toasts for our smoked salmon caper and creme fraiche starter (we will have this when we get back from the “George and Dragon.” Cheese board includes a West Country Cheddar, Stilton and French Brie. We have some New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (a gift for Steve from the big house) as well as some French Champagne and some decent Australian red wine.
We have a gorgeous fire burning now and the cottage is very cosy….oh my God! the sun is out now which is quite lovley….think I will turn a few lights off now and let the Christmas tree lights take centre stage.
We just rang Steve’s mum on skype in Florida for a Christmas chat.
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………
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.
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.