My sister Fiona and her husband-to-be Simon, live in the heart of the beautiful Kent countryside with their handsome German Shepherd Bugsy. Polly loves Bugs, so when we were invited to join them for a hike to the pub on Sunday morning, we were more than delighted to accept.
Ella in her 'Grandadmobile'!
Ella, Fiona's gorgeous granddaughter and my great niece, came too. She donned bright pink wellies for our tromp and was ceremoniously heaved into her special 'Grandadmobile' ... good job Grandad Simon is fit and besotted with her!
Setting off on our hike
We clambered over stiles and gates as though we were still teenagers and our dogs bounced delightedly across fields and through woodland, exploring and playing to their hearts' content.
Polly 'n Bugsy playing dog
As an older chap of eight years, Bugsy is a great teacher for Polly. He plays happily with her, but when she becomes a little too exhuberant, gives her a gentle telling off to remind her of her manners. She thinks he is wonderful and is always happy to learn from her special buddy.
It was so lovely to be out in the countryside following a local rambling route uphill and down dale ...(down dales especially welcome after uphills!) Little Ella had a super time looking at the countryside from Grandad's shoulders, chattering away to him the entire time. She absolutely loved watching Polly and Bugsy playing together and both dogs were very respectful and gentle with her at all times.
Introducing Ella to the horses
Watching the horses
Neither of our youngest walking party members have had much experience of meeting horses yet, so Grandad took Ella to meet some friendly rescued horses behind a wire fence and I put Polly on her lead to let her sit in the long grass and just watch them for a while. I am still a wee bit anxious about Polly and horses after her recent off lead 'incident' at Hucking Woods (see earlier post) so was pleased that when under control on her lead, she didn't bark at them, or become overly excited by them.
Fo, Simon, Ella and Bugsy, arriving at the pub
We eventually reached the 'Ringlestone Inn', (a wonderful old alehouse from 1615, seeped in history) and slipped blue baggies over our muddy wellies, before settling inside by the roaring log fire with our dogs ...
This was the first time I have ever taken Polly into a pub and I am happy to say I was very impressed with how polite she was and how welcome the dogs were made.
Me 'n Fo with Ella, cosy in the pub
Polly settled on the floor by the door, content to munch on a chew kindly provided by the publican, staying in place when other young dogs and children came through the door and allowing them pass without any fuss whatsoever. Bugsy, being an old hand at visiting pubs, knew the ropes so made himself right at home. Such good dogs!
Polly enjoying the pub fire
We hiked back through woods and across fields with the dogs mostly off lead. They both returned promptly to us whenever we called and accepted their leads politely when we needed them to ... it was clear they were enjoying their time out in the open together and that they loved hiking with us. Every so often, Bugsy would discreetly circle to make sure everyone was in place before we changed direction. He's such a clever chap!
All in all, we walked about six miles and today, Polly is snoring at my feet and my legs ache, so I can only imagine how Simon's shoulders must feel!!!
Thanks for inviting us along guys, we loved our Sunday tromp and are looking forward to tromping with you all again soon xxx