A little bit of magic
21 September 2020
We have spent a magical week on a Covid free Frisian Isle called Vlieland. It has been one of those weeks that will carry us through the dark winter months. It is a place which makes your heart sing and your soul feel refreshed. We have been blessed with Mediterranean weather in a little Island on the North tip of Holland. Vlieland is a World Heritage site with around 10,000 plant and animal species living in this special habitat. There is one little village and the rest of the island comprises of forests, sweeping sand dunes and a very long and sandy beach. Sailing here is beautiful as the seals like to bask on the many mud flats and sandbanks and little seal heads pop up around the boat. Tinker sits on the side of the boat enjoying every minute, whilst Patch (who has a very small attention span) misses out every single time and wonders what the barking has been about.
The weather has bought tourists to the island, all centred around the tiny village so we have stayed away and have enjoyed long walks along the beach with the dogs instead. I love a good picnic, so each morning I have packed the rucksacks and we have headed out for breakfast on the beach. Some days we have had freshly squeezed orange juice, croissants, bread, ham and cheese and fresh cranberry jam (my choice) or sausage, egg and mushrooms (Jules's choice). We have made a little base in the sand dunes and enjoyed a relaxing breakfast in the sun. We mostly have the beach to ourselves, but have had to share it with the odd dog walker, kite surfer, bird watcher or naked swimmer. We walk out across the beach for miles and back through the sand dunes and pine forests. The boat is buckling under the weight of pine cones, which I insist will look lovely with some fairy lights in the bedroom fireplaces. We both have very sore and cut hands as one morning we stopped to pick sea buckthorn berries. They are little orange berries which explode in your fingers if you press too hard and cover you in bright orange sticky mess. They also have massive spiky thorns! The little berries are rich in antioxidants and are packed full of vitamins and luckily for me they make exceptionally good gin. We now have two bottles steeping away.
Most afternoons we have cycled out to see different parts of the island. We arrived at the start of wild cranberry season. Cranberry bushes grow amongst the heathers, and between 11am and 6 pm mid September to early November they can be picked at various places on the island. All you need is to be supple enough to get into a good crouching position and plenty of bags. You sieve the undergrowth through your fingers and your hand comes out brimming with bright red berries. The boat smells very Christmassy having made 12 jars of jam and sauce, and I have to admit it tastes pretty good on a warm croissant. Needless to say the island's culinary speciality is the cranberry and they are served with everything. We cycled out to the far end of the island where there is a small hotel with a very big garden which has all been divided into individual outdoor pods, which are sterilised between customers. Feeling exceptionally safe with this arrangement, we went for lunch so I could have my cranberry fill.... cranberry wine, burger with seaweed cheese and cranberry sauce, followed by cranberry cheesecake with cranberry coulis! Then even sell cranberry green tea!
It has been such a relaxing week, where we have just read, swam, walked, cycled and foraged. I have made blackberry crumbles and we also picked rosehip berries. We now have two bottles of rich, sweet, vitamin packed syrup to see us through the winter. I wondered if I was the only one who carried muslin for sieving fruit on the boat, but by the amount of berries the Dutch were picking I am certainly not alone! We also had a diver down to the boat to sort out a knocking noise that was coming from under the propellor. Our rope cutter has worked loose and was making a terrible noise when the engine was on. Jules had swum down and worked out what the problem was, but could not hold his breath longer enough to fix it.
In the evenings we have sat in the cockpit with an aperitif and enjoyed a BBQ or walked out to the beach hut where you can buy a beer and cod balls served with a dill mayonnaise. We would sit on a deserted bench and watch the seals as the sun set. We are very sad to leave this little bit of paradise today but the weather is due to break in a few days and our bit of paradise would turn into a very uncomfortable place to stay. Added to this my oncologist feels it would be prudent for me to be back in the UK in 2-3 weeks time and shield once more. It will be a few weeks earlier than planned, but we are not complaining as we have been so lucky to have a couple of months away on our beloved boat. It has also put our minds at rest that Patch is not only an able seaman, but a very confident captain. Tinker might be fourteen but she springs to life on the boat and has enjoyed showing Patch the ropes. We still have a few weeks of fun and if covid causes a lockdown over the Christmas period, at least we have such wonderful memories and gin, cranberry sauce and Christmas pine cones. Although if the Daily Mail are right we might not have a turkey. They have gone the same way as as the humble toilet roll!!!! All I can say is let those selfish people who are stockpiling be boiled in their own pudding and die with a stake of holly through their heart'.
‘Snoopy‘ by Patch
15 September 2020
Firstly I want to tell everyone that my best friend Tetley has died. Sadly, he had some sort of virus, but I think he died of a broken heart as I had left him. He was my partner in crime, and we had hours of fun trying to get into each other's gardens and houses. I do hope Auntie Carol and Uncle Mick still get food in for me, I shall just have to spend longer on their settee when I get back to cheer them up. I missed the funeral and was very upset about it, but Mom and Dad sent some flowers and a card. Mom believes that Tetley's spirit has somehow entered me, as I am allegedly double the trouble at the moment!
I am loving Holland and am trying to immerse myself fully into the Dutch way of life, so I have to get out and about. We sailed to a beautiful little harbour called Hoorn. It made its riches trading through the Dutch East India Company. Dad said little appeared to have changed as we moored amongst the old Dutch barges in the harbour. The streets were cobbled and the buildings were classical Dutch merchant houses, revealing the wealth that the East India Company made.
We had a few days walking around the old port and got out early so that the adults could be the first at the cafe with its freshly wiped chairs and tables. They enjoyed a cafe latte with slagroom (or in English squirty cream out of a can) and mint and ginger tea in the main square, overlooking the beautiful buildings. One morning Dad snuck into the bakery next door as it opened up, and we had warm almond crossiants for breakfast. The square is called red street, which I thought was to do with the red line on the pavement. It was actually the place where public executions used to take place and got aptly named after the blood which flowed there! Mom said if I don't behave, the same might happen to me, but I know she doesn't mean it. We avoided all the shops except for the cheese shop which was empty, so we bought a whole Edam. It does not resemble the rubbery cheese with red skin we get in the UK. In fact the only resemblance is the round shape!!! I have to admit I am a bit addicted, and every time the fridge door opens I am there in anticipation. On our evening walk, Mom and Dad found a little restaurant on the water's edge, with a pretty garden terrace with a canopy of vines and grapes to sit under. It was off the beaten track, as we had walked miles to get there and was empty. Mom is not prepared to take any chances so if we stop for a drink, poor Dad has to go and case out the joint. Then Mom gets out the antibacterial wipes and cleans down the chairs and table before sitting down. Tinker and I sat on the floor whilst they drank beer and wine. Mom said it was her favourite evening in a very long time, where she felt human again, rather than being a 'Covid high risk person'. I rather enjoyed it too as the chef sent out chews and drinks for me and Tink. It was in Hoorn that I discovered the joys of going on a walk by myself. I jumped off the boat and went off for a little scout around. I got a jolly good telling off later when mom finally caught me. Now it was a game and I ran on and on with her in hot pursuit. I got tied onto the deck and unfortunately for me, I thought there was a bit more rope than there was. I went to jump off after a dog, and ended up dangling over the side by my lifejacket hoop! I was so embarrassed, and it put pay to My amorous intentions, I was the laughing stock, and was glad when we left!
We sailed on to Enkhuizen and managed to get into the little yacht club. It is another stunning place with its star shaped city walls, hundreds of canals and pretty locks. In the guidebook it says that it is a town where ships stay a day longer than they had planned. Well we stayed 4 days longer, as this area has only had one Covid case and so it felt like a safe place to be. The harbour master said it was the sort of place to just spend peaceful days and he was right. We didn't do a lot except walk round the old city and we found a little cafe for a mint tea each morning and peanut butter cookies for me and Tink! Mom and Dad would drop us off at the boat and then go off cycling for the afternoon. They found an empty beach to sunbath, and cycled over the dam and under the big lock which mom said was very scary. Even though we got an evening walk, I didn't enjoy being locked away for the afternoon and decided it was time to explore on my own again. The first time they didn't even know I had gone missing until I barked to get back on the boat. So, the boat was moved even further away from the pontoon. Now I have Tetley's fighting spirit with me, I made the jump! Mom and Dad wondered what I got up to on my own, and later they found out when a couple shouted out 'Hello Snoopy' because I look like him. They agrassed me up, saying they had watched me tootle up to different boats and have a good look round. Everyone calls out to me, 'Snoopy, here Snoopy' so I feel obliged to say hello. Yesterday the harbour master was talking to a bunch of people on the pontoon. They were standing too close together and not Covid safe at all, and as Mom has taught me I waited and waited for a 2m gap. It wasn't coming, so I took the only course of action available to me.... disperse the crowd! Boris would have been proud of me as I peed up the Harbourmaster's leg!!! That soon had them moving, and I got a big cheer for moving them on, and lots of belly laughing. Anyway, the harbour master must have been delighted that I reminded them to stay safe because he told Dad it had been a pleasure having us, and gave us a free night stay! I do hope we get to stay there on our way back.
So today we are sailing very slowly on to the islands, (Covid free). It might be a short stay if Boris says vulnerable people have to shield again. In the meantime, it is time for a snooze in the sun whilst Dad plays his accordion and mom sews on deck. The fishing line is trolling behind, and I hope for some fresh pike for tea!
Enjoying the sights of Holland
07 September 2020 | Hoorn
One of the things that dominates the Netherlands is the amount of locks and bridges you see. It still amazes us that they will close a whole motorway for us to pass through the canal underneath. We tackled two locks and twenty bridges in one day, and rested up for the night on a little town quay in a very small, but beautiful village. By this time the rain had stopped and three little heads- Tinker, Patch and I popped up on deck and we went for a walk along the canal cycle path. The houses all had their own private yacht pontoon with a variety of yachts, powerboats and classic wooden boats moored up at the end of their gardens. The children all had a swing in the garden and slide. The slide shot them off straight into the canal. In the morning we were woken by church bells and the sound of the choir practising for morning worship. We quietly slipped our lines so we did not disturb them and we pressed on through the canal to reach a lake, where we had to follow the buoyed channel very carefully to avoid running aground. We had reached an area with less that 2 Covid cases per 100,000 people, and could understand why. There was nothing but farms, countryside, windmills and lakes. We moored on the town quay and took the dogs for a very long walk. This area is in the heart of the tulip region, and we are told sadly that most of the tulips were abandoned this year.
We took the dogs out for a long walk and found a little cafe with a floating pontoon in the canal. I treated myself to a sangria, and we sat soaking up the sun on our own floating cafe. It was so beautiful we decided to stay another night, and we took a floating bridge to the other side of the lake where we cycled for miles. We enjoyed the company of herons, donkeys and alpacas, as we whizzed past old windmills and the most spectacular lilly ponds. It felt such a beautiful haven away from the fear of covid that we could have stayed for ever. There were swimming areas for the lake, but it was suffering with blue green algae, so we are hoping to brave it on the way back. The only problem with staying would have been our waistline. We were moored half a mile away from a pizza restaurant. We rang up and ordered their takeaway service, which was for collection only but for ‘The English boat’, the owner got in his car and delivered it to us. We sat on deck sharing a pizza with a glass of wine and watching the most fantastic sunset.
The next stretch of the canal took us through my favourite countryside, where herons were fishing on the shore, and cows came down to the waters edge to drink. The windmills on this stretch are still working, rather than converted into houses or tourist attractions. The canals on this stretch are so narrow that it feels as if you could touch both banks if you lent out far enough. As we approached Haarlem we joined a convoy of boats so that the lockkeeper could open the 15 bridges one after another as they are only 100 yards apart and severely disrupt traffic flow around the city. It was with great sadness that we motored on through as the town is stunning, but it is in commuter distance of Amsterdam and Covid numbers are high here. Instead, we enjoyed looking at the amazing houseboats that line the canal, some of which even have thatched roofs and annexes for the nanny! The smell of kibbeling stalls (fresh fish cooked in a spicy batter and served with different sauces) had our mouths watering, but we weren’t stopping for anything, not even for lock fees as we could pay them online. Sadly, we had missed the railway bridge opening and had to sit for several hours on a waiting pontoon until it was lifted as dusk fell. We passed through very quickly and moored up on the other side and put the dinghy in the water to get the dogs ashore for a quick walk. As night fell we were rewarded with a beautiful full moon, and sat on the deck wrapped in blankets with a drink whilst reflecting on the stillness and tranquility of the night.
The next day saw an early start to get the first bridge, and we were out into the Nordsea canal, which is a bit like a motorway going towards Amsterdam. We took a quiet spur off and fuelled up, only to be told that the lock was broken and we could go no further. We found a little yacht club which had enough depth to take us, where we could replan routes. The scenery was fantastic, so we made the most of the warm weather and walked the dogs through amazing woods toward the ‘Nature Paradise’. It actually turned out to be the Naturist Paradise and there were rather a lot of men taking a stroll around the gardens! Sadly, the next day saw gales and rain, otherwise I had convinced Jules ‘when in Rome....’.! Luckily today has been dry and sunny, but we walked the other way to a little village for a cup of coffee and their famous eel smokery. The owner was so pleased that two English people turned up, that he gave us an eel each for free! He explained that we had to snap the head back, peel the skin and then nibble away like corn on the cob. I chickened out and filleted mine but it it was one of the nicest things I have ever tasted and rich in Omega 3!!!!
The next day we were off on our newly planned route. We had spent a lot of time on the phone trying to make sure that there was enough depth for Leslie Frank to get across the Marker Meer. This huge lake was formed when a damn was built. “Lots of depth! At least 20cm under the boat” we were assured. We motor sailed down to Amsterdam passing behind the central railway station to the lock which ends the Canal. Being a Sunday there were lots of boats about and it was a real scramble in the lock, but we were soon through. We raised our sails and turned off the engine for the first time this year. It was heavenly. We coasted along gently with the wind behind us getting used to having less than one meter below us. After an hour we headed north towards the town of Edam and with the wind on our beam we were soon making 6 knots with just 60cm below us. Absolute madness! To make matters just that bit more scary we found ourself crossing the paths of freighters, huge Dutch barges and a racing fleet. Despite all this it was wonderful to feel the boat doing what she was meant for. Sadly we didn’t get to Edam (hard cheese!). Jules had confused it with another inlet on the Dutch charts and before we realised our mistake we had passed it by 3 miles, so we went on to Hoorn where we were given a berth in the heart of the town. What a fantastic day, and we are pleased to report that Patch’s first taste of sailing properly was a complete success.
On the Road Again (or at least ‘the cut‘)
30 August 2020
Sadie Windmill | Windy
Patch, Tinker and I stayed on board whilst the boat was towed, transferred to a hoist and dropped gently into the water. It is at this point that we held our breath and darted below to check that out newly serviced seacocks weren’t leaking. After 10 months ashore and with a refurbished starter motor fitted, we were delighted when the old engine burst into life. We realised something was wrong when there were great bursts of smoke from the back of the boat. Jules manoeuvred the boat and we glided safely onto a berth in the adjacent marina with the engine off. We might have serviced the engine stopcock which allows seawater to cool the engine, but we hadn’t realised when getting the handle to turn that the ball inside had got stuck in the off position, and the handle was actually doing nothing but free spinning. There was nothing for it, but an emergency lift. The marina staff were superb, and with the wind picking up they towed us to the hoist where we were lifted once more. The lovely boatyard couple got us all the parts and delayed their early Friday evening drinks to give us time to mend the boat and get her relaunched.
The first two weeks were a heat wave, with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees most days. We spent the time in the Biesbosch National Park, catching up with jobs, swimming, kayaking,cycling and walking. We felt perfectly safe out in the country and it was bliss just being back aboard Leslie Frank and using her as floating caravan. Tinker loves being queen of the boat, but we were worried about how Patch would take to it, as he has not been bought up on the boat. We need not have worried, he is the most confident pup going. He is the only dog we have had who opts to swim at every opportunity, so we keep him on a long line whilst sailing and in locks. In the Kayaks he liked the water lapping over his feet and in the dinghy he went for a swim. He is very agile round the boat, and wants to be top dog of the marina, with his little squeaky voice if anyone gets too close. His favourite toy is a rope with a ball on the end, bad mistake on our part, as he now thinks all ropes on the boat are there to chew!
We had forgotten how much we love The Netherlands, and have enjoyed motoring up the smaller canals with nothing but herons and storks for company and windmills for scenery. We have managed to have the odd mint tea or glass of wine outside in little cafes away from anyone else and raw beef sandwiches, garnished with truffle oil, pinenuts and Parmesan shavings. The chips are the best in the world, with a smattering of herbs and three types of mayo dipping sauces. We are back in the land of slagroom chocolates, celery gin and wild honey. We cycle or walk on the cycle paths and come back with a pannier full of hedge veg and local produce.
However, the trip has not been without worries, as the Covid rates in The Netherlands virtually doubled overnight as soon as we arrived and was put on the ‘nothing but essential’ travel list by the British Government. Each evening we look at Covid rates and compare them with Belgium, France and the UK. There is nothing like the number of cases in France, but double that of the UK for the number of people living here. We went into Dordrecht, one of our favourite Dutch towns, as it was the safest place to sit out a gale. As soon as the weather improved we made a swift exit with numbers higher than we would have liked in that area and no social distancing. Walking the dogs became tiresome trying to move out of everyone’s way. The pavements were marked with which sides you could walk on, but no one paid any attention except for us!!! We then have had to plan our route very carefully to avoid going through Amsterdam and Rotterdam which are the hot spot areas in The Netherlands. It is not very easy, when you are going through canals not designed for 2.1m depth and 21m mast height. Most bridges lift to 23m, so we can just squeeze through! Then we have had to work out a route that does not cut through the heart of the Bible Belt. The Dutch Calvinists have refused to abandon Church services, and have caused huge spikes in Covid cases and deaths. Apparently history is repeating itself, as they were blamed in the 1918 flu epidemic for not closing the doors to the churches. Religion is a strange thing, they say God will protect them, but when they die, “it is God’s will” and although they talk a good game about love being the greatest commandment, they don’t show much when they are happy to infect innocent people with Covid.
The last few days have seen us tootling along the little canals, stopping in little quaysides for the night, listening to jazz music coming from peoples gardens, and waking up to the smell of freshly baked bread and butter croissants from the little bakeries. Last night we moored in front of an old church and the trees by the canal side we’re home to a flock of bright green parakeets. On Friday our little cottage competed and we are so relieved not to be paying bills on an empty house, and are debt free once more.
We feel relaxed having got out of Dordrecht, and are two days away from the Covid free Friesian isles. I have fresh blackberries and pears stewing away on the stove for a crumble and ripe tomatoes and pumpkin on the side ready to make some soup. We have plenty of books to read, and plenty of wind for the wind generator to top the batteries up. This might not be the year we had planned, but it is pretty damn good so far.
On the boat again.
14 August 2020
Sadie Windmill | Hot
We are on the boat, albeit on dry land whilst we do the many jobs that need doing after leaving Leslie Frank for an unexpected 10 months. The trip here, was long and extremely hot, in a van without air conditioning in a heatwave. Even the block of butter melted in an electric cool box! The porta potty was a great investment and with our blacked out van windows we were able to wee in peace and only had to stop for petrol. We had never been through the Chunnel before, and I have to say it completely underwhelmed us. There is something magical about stepping out of the car and sailing away on a ferry. It did mean however, that we did not have to get out of the van once, and only had to wave our passports through the car window.
Now we are in Biesbosch boatyard working hard to making Leslie Frank feel like home once more. Jules has successfully refitted the engine starter motor that we had taken home to have mended. He has also been whitening the hull and has started the anti fouling. I on the other hand have been inside with Cillit Bang mould remover. The boat now smells like a swimming baths, but at least she is clean! Living on the hard, has its challenges. We can not use the sea toilets and so are using the porta potty on board, which means Jules has the delights of emptying it once a day!! We can only use a small amount of water before one of us has to go underneath the boat and hold a bucket whilst the other lets out the holding tank. A boat is also meant to be in the water to keep cool, so we have every fan on inside to try to keep cool, but it is like being in a roasting oven. At 9pm each evening, the electric goes off on an automatic timer, and we are left in the heat. We had a terrible electrical storm last night, and whilst everyone was sharing their photos on Facebook, we were sitting in a boat yard, on deck with the highest mast around in miles, terrified of being hit. We both put our rubber flip flops on and prayed like mad!
Despite all this, we are both incredibly happy. We have been sleeping on deck under the stars with nothing on but a cotton sheet. We are back in old tee shirts and flip flops and are enjoying being so close to the water once more. Tinker is back in her element, sunbathing the day away on deck before going for her daily swim, whilst Patch spends his day on guard duty. Being so high up, he can see anything for miles. He is a dog without fear, and jumps ably from boat to stairs and flies down them to greet any human or dog that comes into the boatyard. We are hoping he will adapt equally well when we are on the water. On our first night here we found a quiet little bar, where all the tables outside were at 3m distances, and many were unoccupied. We took the table at the end, wiped down the seats and ordered a beer. It was my first in 20 weeks and was perfect. The barman carried it in the palm of his hand, so as not to touch the sides and placed it on the far end of the table.
Holland has a much better testing rate for Covid than the UK, and although they are testing more they have less than half of the UK cases, with just a few deaths per day. Although it is not mandatory to wear masks inside, from what we have seen, everyone is adhering to the 1.5m social distancing rule. I haven’t been into the marina office, but they have traffic lights to let you know when you can enter. The staff are behind a huge screen, and Jules tells me that they even have sterile finger condoms to put on your finger tip to type in your card PIN number.
Today we wake up to the news that Boris is quarantining anyone coming from the Netherlands. Has the man gone raving mad, when England has double the daily cases and far higher deaths? It is the same day that M&S announced that their biggest sandwich making site needs to be closed due to Covid. The government tests showed around 70 of the employees had Covid. M&S paid to have tests done privately and found 200 more..... not a great record for testing. Whilst the rest of Europe are being very open about Covid numbers, the UK is not publishIng daily cases. So, for the moment we will stay where we feel safer, and will decide on a daily basis what is best. The lovely boatyard have promised that we can drop the boat off with them any time, day or night and they will have our van ready and waiting.
We are waiting to be relaunched, and then we hope the adventures begin. Eight years ago today I had my first ever round of chemotherapy. We have done so much in those eight years and hope we can all stay Covid safe and show Patch the next adventure.
On the Road Again
08 August 2020
Sade, Tink and Patch
And we are finally on the road again!
It has been a busy couple of weeks on The Mount. According to Boris, I am safe to go out, but my oncologist feels that the only safe course of action is to shield as much as possible for the rest of the year. Jules and I have decided to continue being as safe as possible, so there will be no restaurants, pubs or shops for me. The village is brimming with tourists jostling over the outdoor seating at Lavender’s tearooms, queuing for hours for an ice cream, eating chips on the village green or fighting over who goes next into the chocolate shop. The little lake is brimming over with unwanted duck bread and the pub is standing room only! It is little wonder covid numbers are increasing and a no brainer for us to get back to the boat, so tomorrow we have a tunnel crossing and are making our way to Holland.
Earlier this week we went to an outdoor garden centre, the first place we have visited in 20 weeks. We masked up and sanitised our hands, which we have no objection to doing. We are in the camp that thinks face coverings should have come in a long time ago. However, the whole experience was ruined by one or two selfish people ignoring the distancing and the one way system and we decided it wasn’t worth doing it again. We did pick up some gravel, pots and a few plants. Mike (from up the road) wants his pond filled in, and we have all taken the opportunity to dig out the back road to our houses, and ‘tart’ it up. One of the young lads in the street did such a good job of helping his mom, he got paid to dig the rest! Last Saturday evening when he had been working none stop for 4 hours, we went out to join him. After shovelling for 10 minutes I had done enough! Kate arrived with beers and we took a breather to admire ‘our’ hard work.
I also got my hair cut by Shona in the village. I had the first appointment of the day. She works by herself and had all the windows and doors open. It felt very strange to go inside somewhere and I was a bag of nerves. Shona kept trying to massage my shoulders, as I was so tense that they were up so high she couldn’t cut my hair. She refused to let anyone else in the shop whilst I was there and snipped away for a good half hour. I feel a lot lighter and hope it is not another 5 months until the next cut!
The rest of the week has passed in a whirl of organising things ready to get to the boat and getting the all clear from my oncologist regarding our plans. The van is equipped with a porta potty, so there will be no need to use public toilets all the way to Holland and mountains of sandwiches have been made. We have also been extremely sociable (at a distance) and had tea and cake with my mom and sister, fresh pizza in my sister’s garden and garden drinks in the street. Last night the street came out to bid us farewell, (or to celebrate our leaving) and we had pulled pork baps. The advantage of living on a private road, is that we can hog the road and set up a street party. It was a great end to our extended stay, and nice to leave with so many well wishes and positive memories.
My adventure by Patch
One of the cats in the street went missing last weekend, I was hoping that it had got stuck in a delivery van and we wouldn’t have it on the street anymore. When I go over to say hello, it reacts rather angrily and bops me on the nose. Anyway the owners had left out the best tasting kippers on the front drive to encourage her back. Our front gate got left open and I decided to go for a walk, driven by my nose. I found the plate of tasty fish and after a crafty look around, decided I might as well enjoy such a rare and tasty treat. I was saving the biggest piece until last, when Mom appeared and whisked me away. She then made me go back and apologise with a tin of tuna to give to the neighbours, which put her in a bad mood..... “ looks like butter on my jacket potato now Patch, you naughty little boy”. Why is it always my fault?
Something orange arrived in the post and the humans got rather excited. They dressed me in it and took pictures and declared that I looked gorgeous. All was okay until Dad grabbed the handle and whirled me around, announcing it “ perfectly safe”. It might have been safe for him, but I was beginning to feel sick. Apparently it is my puppy life jacket, I am not sure what I think, but if it attracts the girls I am up for it!
Tetley and I have been in each other’s gardens again. Green netting has been put over the hedge, held down by stakes into the ground. Dad and Uncle Mick hadn’t bargained on our joint skills. Tetley headbutts the stakes until they are lose enough for me to run off with them in my mouth and chew them up to hide the evidence. After a few days we have enough netting free for Tetley to wiggle under the wire. Luckily Tinker has been in the house each time, otherwise there would be a dog fight. Tetley is very possessive, and hates Tinker with a passion! He snarls and shows his teeth, but I think Tinker would eat him in one mouthful. Mom says she hopes she never gets chance to find out!
I shall be glad to get back to the boat, there I am top dog. Patch has no idea of the layout or how it works. At the first opportunity I shall knock him in the water just to show him who’s boss. I have been trying to teach him a bit of Dutch, but he more interested in digging holes in the garden. As long as he realises that the settee in the bedroom is my sleeping position, we are going to get along fine! It is early to bed, ready for the 5am start, it is going to be a long day tomorrow, sharing the back seat with a hyperactive puppy.