Sunday, 6 January 2019

Dogs at the beach

It's been a fairly quiet start to the year here. In fact I ended up visiting an elderly relative in hospital on New Year's Day, which wasn't part of the plan. But onwards and all that.

We took the dog to the beach, which he loves. All that space and all those other dogs to run with. He did run off briefly, which was scary. I wonder if we need to do a bit more training. He's very good a giving you his paw for a bit of sausage and lying down and rolling over, but not quite as good at coming when he's called and dropping things he's not supposed to be eating. He has his priorities.

I seem to be amassing a big pile of books to be read in 2019. Sometimes it's a reassurance thing I think. If I've got lots of books to hand, I can escape from real life if it all gets a bit too much. Not that I have any reason to think it will, but I'm just generally a slightly anxious person.

In the big bookshop the other day one of the assistants in the children's section asked me if she could help. When I named a book she not only knew exactly where to put her hands on it immediately, but she'd also read it and could tell me whether it was suitable for 12-year-olds.

I told her a book the middle boy had loved (Andy Weir's The Martian - he said it was one of the best books he'd ever read), and she not only found me another one by Weir, but also recommended something else that the middle boy might enjoy. And she found a colleague who'd read the second Andy Weir as she hadn't read it. I was so impressed by their depth of knowledge.

For those of you with children who enjoy sciencey stuff, The Martian is brilliant apparently, but get the junior version without all the f-words in it - I understand there are a lot. On the subject of f-words, the middle boy watched a lot of Robson Green's fishing programmes a while back, as he loves fishing. Oh my goodness RG swears a lot. F****** fish practically became a family catchphrase.

I hope your New Years are all off to a cracking start. If not, you have my sympathy and best wishes; hang on in there and maybe find a good book to escape into. Until next time.


  1. Happy New Year, CJ,and I'm glad you've had a bit of relative peace and quiet to start it off.I think we need to have a bit of that on a regular basis, when most of the time we're caught up in the thick of family life, and it rarely gets handed to us on a plate - it has to be gone out and got ! Sometimes, just a private mooch around a bookshop does it for me too. With nobody tugging you away to look at something else, somewhere else, with one eye on the clock, and an itinerary looming to challenge The Queen's. My personal idea of Paradise is a bookshop with big leather chairs, in which you're encouraged to linger, seduced by coffee and cheese scones. I'd never leave.
    Regarding the notion of unfailing dog obedience when faced with an opposing force of other dogs, wide-open spaces, and Fun with a capital F, well, speaking as an owner of multiple furry reprobates, you may be on a hiding to nothing, there. Latest research has shown that dogs are quite capable of over-riding commands with their own instincts, if they think those instructions are unwise, or dangerous, (or less Fun, in my experience). If you are going to give them a life which is full of activity, pleasure, and interest, then that sometimes involves taking a bit of calculated risk, (and scariness for you), within limits. A bit like letting your children get out of the cotton wool your mother's heart would like to protect them in forever, when you have to let them out into the world. Now and again, anyway.
    So, enjoy this year, and remember to build in a bit of me time for yourself, to re-fuel your resources for what ever is asked of you by the ones you love. And let's hope its a good one !

  2. Excellent books and escapism are top priorities here too. I’m laughing at Bertie careering around madly on the beach. I’m thinking of a good teacher friend of mine who had the most incredible behaviour control in a classroom of eleven year olds. When it came to controlling her dog on the beach....forget it!
    Glad you have a supportive book shop. Makes all the difference to have informed recommendations. B x

  3. You're lucky Bertie came back when he was running on the beach.. we never felt like our Buddy would return so we kept him on leash on beach walks. I sure miss our little guy. You're a good mother to find that book for your son. Enjoy your new year. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  4. I watched the Martian on the telly. There was plenty of swearing, which I totally understand given the circumstances. Still, best not to encourage the children! I didn't know there was a junior version, thanks for the tip. I love a good book shop where the staff demonstrably know their stuff. None to be found near me unfortunately. As for the dog running away, I think no matter how well they are trained, if they want to run away they will run away. Ours actually gives us "the look" moments before he takes off, usually in search of a fox. If you notice "the look", it is best to dive right for the dog, or else 20 to 40 minutes of waiting around might ensue. It drives me bananas. Have a wonderful New Year CJ. I hope you get plenty of opportunity to write and read. xx

  5. You might already do this but how about keeping a doggy treat in your pocket and give him something to eat when he comes back to you whilst out walking in wide open spaces. You won't have to do it forever, a couple of months should do it.

  6. Oh The Martian is fabulous. I loved the book and then loved the film. So nice to have an amazing adventure that isn't about nuking stuff or killing things. I think my new year resolution may be to 'science the shit' out of things. :-))

  7. It's good to have plenty of books to read, especially at this time of year. Lucky you having such a good bookshop.
    Thanks, my new year has got off to a good start on and off the plot.
    Happy reading, and have a good week. xx

  8. Giggling at the family catch word. My niece, who was aged about three at the time, once told me all about the f***ing frogs in their garden. I struggled valiantly to keep a straight face as she said it so seriously. It can only have come from her mother, who has a frog phobia :o).

    Glad Bert returned, albeit in his own good time. Poppy is similar.

    There is tremendous satisfaction to be had in a pile of good books. Just looking at them waiting to be read is enough sometimes, eh? xx

  9. I agree with your comment about books...I have escaped and I have learned so much within the pages of many good books. For Christmas, I purchased a book by astronaut Chris Hatfield for my 12 yr old nephew. It is his dream to become an astronaut and my knitting friends have read it and recommended it.

    His comment whilst holding the book in one hand and passing the palm of his other hand back and forth underneath, it was perfection..."I like this. I really, really like this" capped off with a massive grin. I also gave him a gift card to the book store, to pick his own next read with a comment that there are more books on astronauts to choose from. How perfectly wonderful to have such a bookstore close by.

    Happiest wishes for a wonderful 2019!

  10. Good to know there's a junior version of the Martian novel. I remember junior novelizations were a big thing when I was growing up. And how lovely to have a real bookclub with staff who know stuff. Oh, for the chance!

  11. Nowadays the use a=of th f word seems the equivalent of taking a breath.

  12. I loved how you've had a peaceful start to 2019, not often you start like that! We've had dogs that refuse to come back, until they are quite ready, I never managed to train the willful ones out of that habit. I sympathize re the constant use of bad language, it's rife on T.V for sure.

  13. Toby (our dog) has selective hearing when it comes to obedience. Though if he gets angry at the postman he will bark a lot then put himself to bed and stays quiet (his usual punishment). I think dogs just have so much energy and zest for life that they are always trying to contain it and sometimes it simply overflows, haha.
    Books are some of my best friends - as an only child in a strange household they provided companionship and escape and it's the same today. I can NEVER be without a book nearby and MUST have at least 4 I haven't read yet in the bookcase. What magical gifts they are.

    Dogs and beaches though - a match made in heaven.
    C x