Posts Tagged ‘Dog’

DSC01387Holidays are meant to revive , revitalise and rejuvenate .. but I come back and I’m tired , so very tired… tired of hearing dogs bark night by night .. their terrible cries serenading another night of wakefulness and disruption.

Those dogs that you see meandering about during the day, desultory , and napping on the road become fearful baying hounds of horror at night… packs proliferate and create storms of protest , yelping,war cries of canine careering.

And of course in a tent (we are in Nilgiri, a tented camp,Assam ) they sound so much nearer, so much more feral and fearful, especially ,when after another night of teeth and claw ,we wake to find the actual ringleader happily ensconced in our tent itself giving it it’s all with a surprising range between terrier tenor and airedale alto.

It’s a dog’s life this travelling lark….bark ….

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027not any old poo .. dog poo .

It is a rare garden that happily invites dogs and their owners into the garden together to share the space and an afternoon. I know this because I have a dog too. Vigo. Here he is above with our nephew ,Alastair.

And it is tricky to find attractions taking dogs and happy to do so. These gardens are rare because there are those that are creating wars and those that have to fight them. I am talking about Poo Wars and the victims are revolting.


IMG_8273There are a few issues involved in having a garden that welcomes dogs and does all it can to make this a good experience for one and all .And when we thought about doing this,  I thought -hold on- let’s provide dog waste bins for owners to dispose of the poop and for once, lets also provide the bags in which the aforementioned waste  can be collected.Simples ! which is exactly what we did.

IMG_8275It wasn’t difficult to do and now we have five bins spaced around the garden at suitable points allowing at any point in time for (a) a big dollop of poo to be picked up in a bag (supplied by us ) and (b) the squidgy package of poo to be deposited in the bin (c) jobby sorted. And you can simply walk away – with your dog !

So one would think that all our responsible dog owners would be able to cope with this . Sadly this seems not to be the case. Now … lets look at the facts ..

1. We ask for  dogs to be kept on a short  lead. You surely cannot miss your dog having a smelly moment near you -unless you are in a world apart, enjoying the view , talking about particle physics ,very short sighted or an idiot ,so what is so difficult about picking the shit up ?

2. it got me thinking .. why is it difficult to do this ? well it’s not the happiest of tasks of course .. picking up someone else’s shit is not the best thing in the world , smelly – yes,disgusting – could be – depends on the consistency of course.But it is YOUR dog and by implication YOUR shit

3.. if you were in your own garden would you leave all the shit  around for someone to stand in ? yes ? love the odour of fresh dog poo on the parquet ? crisp dog poo on the doormat ? killer shit on the kelim ? so why do it here ?

Come on folks ! shit happens so please deal with it !


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Do you know there is a world of gardens out there who welcome  dogs ! YES ! woof woof !

And Sussex Prairies is definitely one of them ! Dogs of all shapes ,sizes, and character are welcome with their  well behaved owners ! Do please keep your dogs  on a short lead when you are in the garden and especially in the borders themselves.


We have installed some special dog bag dispensers at the entrance to the garden and around the garden with dog waste dustbins with them, so all we ask is that you use them .!. or do ask for a dog waste bag at the teashop and we shall be happy to oblige !

IMG_8273look out for the special carved dopy poo bag dispenser boxes and the bins clearly marked for dog waste

IMG_8275not too much to ask we think to clear up after your dog so everyone can enjoy the garden !


The NGS also have a list of gardens in each county who are happy to welcome  dogs and here is the one for West Sussex !  why should your best friend stay at home when you are having fun visiting gardens !



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005So glad that I met Cathy Hart  exhibiting her work at Chelsea this year because I managed to persuade her to bring her quirky creations down to Sussex to bend their way into our psyche ! Its the wendy bendy time ! The thing about Cathy’s work to me is that it reminded me of my sister Anna’s Etch a Sketch (something I always wanted for myself !) . You know , gardening should not be taken too seriously. There are a lot of people getting very stuffy about gardens, sculpture and what makes for art , good and bad. It is my view that we should open our minds just a bit and embrace it all  ! Make doodles in your mind and love a little and  laugh a lot ! That’s all folks !


Cathy says on her website “Cathy’s  scaled up birds, dogs and butterflies are influenced by 1970s cartoons, fairy-tales, theatre and clowning. These whimsical creations capture the fun and frivolity of play.   We are in a culture where everything created is about more complexity. Cathy’s work goes in the other direction,towards simplicity. It is minimalistic, distinctive, creative, personal, alive, 2D, 3D, primary, moving, living, definitive, unique with a craftedness within its own art.  ‘For adults who have grown up enough to
be children again’ C.S.Lewis”


so you can see why I felt it would be a perfect and fun set of work to exhibit in the freedom of our borders ! The fun thing about the work is that it has a lightness and openness of form.. so much so, that it slots into a planting scheme and you can see it and the plants without interruption, due to its transparency. Dog lovers will also be in their element as the sculptures capture so completely the  character of the breeds. I think we have terriers, greyhounds, cavalier King Charles at the very least.


so if you are looking for the fun and frolicsome look no further ! You can read more about Cathy Hart on her website at www.cathy-hart.com or better still come and see her work in the countryside here on the Prairies during our open season this year.

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Going to the Dogs !


In the past gardens and dogs were not allowed to mix.. but we think a little bit differently ! We welcome dogs in the garden with responsible owners of course. Bring your dog, on a short lead , and a poop scoop bag and you are away ! The thing is , why wouldn’t you want to bring your best friend with you on an outing to a beautiful big garden (or a small one for that matter) ! and far better that your dog is not left in the car in the baking sunshine.

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Intestinal flora and fauna : the ugly truth .

There is probably one thing you can continure to drink with impunity throughout any stay in India and that is Lassi. Simplicity itself, it is a gorgeous yohurt drink, and when made properly can be a smooth silky frothy yoghurt shake of a thing .. when made in a slapdash way can be a watery torpid soup.So it is simple and can continue to be made back at home . Take some yohurt , blend it up with milk and drink it. Even when the dangerous bacterial bacillus get you down in India ,(an inevitable consequence )  a lassi is pretty much the only thing you can face across the breakfast table. This time around our trusty driver Prakash treated us to the best lassi ever bought from a suspiciously tidy little kiosk in Jaipur (the oldest lassi maker in the world I think) . Served in a beautifully conical handcrafted terracotta pot it was amazing ! struggled to bring the pots home and I can see them here on my terrace strangely foreign and bereft of their colleagues.There were piles of them in the shop towering like mini towers of pisa !

lassi come home

Of course there are different types of lassi available , from the sweet and salted to the rather more racey “Bhang” variety . The Bhang version being the same thing blended with marajuana.. which is readily available in some rather wacky Bhang shops and a certain dubious pizzeria in Pushkar. I am not sure where the “bhang” comes from .. but is probably the description of your eyeballs after you have partaken of the same and bang goes your life from henceforth. Talking of the pizza parlour (too grand a name for it although it had a rather authentic looking pizza oven  ) we were treated to the rather dodgy way of getting around the delicate issue of  an alcohol ban within the town limits.Cerveza beer arrived wrapped in a tin foil shroud accompanied by a tea cup from which to drink it. This same thing happened on our trip last year when in Jodphur we were invited to order “coffee” (kingfisher beer) and it was served in mugs.We also got on rather well with a very miaowy cat here which rather liked L’s pizza crust.

Another beverage to which we are particularly partial when in India is the wonderful and strangely spicy Chai.It is an exotic tea with a difference created by boiling  cold water, milk, sugar,tea and spices in one pot (of dubious  cleanliness ) and creating a murkily opaque super sweet concoction.In earlier times this was served in a cute little terracotta cup which one would dash to the ground after drinking and all would be well with the world and ones constitution. The ground would be littered with vicious shards of terracotta but hey !! Today it is often served in eerily unclean and gloomy looking cups with a most unhealthy pallour and certain charming grubbiness.The trick is to avert ones eyes from the insanitary kitchen arrangements . No ill effects from the various chai pitstops although we did have to visit a charming pharmacy in Pushkar for cough medicines , lozenges and cold remedies. Here are the  pharmacy boys in situ !

say aaahh!

say aaah !!

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Its Bess my Mum’s dog and this morning she is being walked by me (mum is in Chester) and she doesn’t seem to get it that I am in a real time pinched schedule and she is smelling EVERY blade of grass in our 4 acre field… did five million foxes pass this way ? did the badger stop here ? rabbits lollop ? squirrels squeery away a nut ? beetle or bee briefly buzz or bob? all these of course are things that need to be checked out in detail and with agonising attention to detail. She is a perfectionist with that radar nose. In fact I could have flown to Cairo and visited the sphinx in the time it takes to walk around our little field and got the perfect tan in the process.

sphinx small size

sphinx small size

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