Out with the Old in with the New

Our house is living up to its name of Upper Marshes.I am fed up, as I am sure everyone is, with the persistent mild, wet and windy weather. So far though we have escaped the floods we experienced a couple of years ago, mind you that was during the Summer!  Having experienced being under water I can appreciate the traumas families further North are living through, my heart goes out to them.

20151228_198All our fur and feather are well, if a little soggy. I bought Patrick our Donkey his first rug this year. He is into his thirties now and struggled a little last Winter, maintaining his weight. I am so glad I did. Donkeys coats are thick, but do not have the same texture as a pony, the hair absorbs rain water, this means they get soaked through and stay wet much longer. Patrick is very happy, snugly and thriving. 

The horses are over at their usual residence for this time of year, thankfully. They have their rugs on too and their belly’s are beginning to bulge out underneath! Their tummy’s will soon disappear when they return home and start being ridden again.

I am a lover of Christmas festivities and  this year Mannerly Mutts Agility had its first Christmas Social. A course was set up to play on, I supplied nibbles, mulled wine, tea and coffee (thanks to some of you for bringing yummy food). There was an assortment of Christmas attire for doggies and humans and most importantly it was mild and dry. It was a fab morning, Chris had Christmas music playing and everyone relaxed and chatted. I can see this becoming an annual event. 20151220_20320151220_20420151220_20220151220_20120151220_200

Our new venture into agility has been a real success. Due to the surface being non slip and mud free I have held classes right up until Christmas and aim to start again early in the new year, assuming this weather continues. I get the feeling folk are happy to have something to do with their dogs when the weather is awful and daylight in short supply. Agility is such fun, we have a hoot !


I am passionate about my ongoing professional development and want to be the best I can. I am working to become a Member of the Canine and Feline Behaviour Association. They have high requirements for membership and the Fellows only support applications from candidates with an appropriate level of experience in specialist dog behaviour. My tutor is a Fellow and he is sponsoring me, so I have lots of work to do before presenting my portfolio. I am also applying to be a Kennel Club Accredited Trainer now I have enough years practical experience under my belt so 2016 is going to be busy.

Christmas day was as joyous as ever, Champagne Cocktails at Margaret’s, our neighbours, but we broke with tradition this year and returned for Christmas lunch. I supplied the Christmas pud and as there were 12 of us, I made a Tiramasu as well. It was fantastic and very much enjoyed.

20151225_205The girls loved their new toys, tuggy tree and gingerbread man. Ruby enters into the spirit and plays with Pheasant. The old guard Ebby and Willow watch on. They are 9 and 11  respectively this January but though they relax at home more now both have energy to burn out on a walk. In fact Willow put up 2 deer in Wyre Forest on Sunday and disappeared for 1/2 an hour.  Her hunting instinct is unbelievable and she powers through whatever gets in her way, the thickest of cover without a care. We were relieved to see her back. All of the others came back when whistled, but not naughty Granny Willow, good job she is so sensible and worldly wise. She had made her own way back to towards the car. She has always been her Daddy Chris’s, girl and for Christmas I commissioned a portrait sculpture of Willow by Madeleine Vale. Chris loved it as do I, it really captures her personality. We are well aware without her Crumpsbrook would not exist, now she is immortalised. The statue is in the photograph of the girls and their toys, behind them on the window ledge.


I love national hunt racing , so placed a bet on the King George run on Boxing day at Kempton. I have followed a horse called Cue Card for many seasons now (which is why I love NH racing,  the horses feel like old friends returning season after season) and he won by a short head. As you can imagine I was leaping up and down shouting at the tele , it was brilliant and I am now £50 or so better off . Chris has a soft spot for grey horses so I placed an each way bet for him on Al Ferof who was third, so the Bargmans had a good race.

Sunday we  went to Stourbridge dog show with the girls, it was a lovely atmosphere. I made a Paul Hollywood” bun ring thing” I think it is Scandinavian with marzipan and mincemeat like a Christmassy Chelsea Bun and took that and some alcohol for everyone to enjoy. I think it went down well ! Sorry about the sticky fingers! 

We are off to Cheltenham on News Years day racing with our friends, can’t wait. Plenty of bubbles and a Marce and Jo picnic before racing, perfect! I hope 2016 is a good year for everyone, the weather dries up a little and you and your animals stay healthy and happy. What ever your interests enjoy them!


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