Tuesday, September 30, 2014


I don't have a lot to blog about lately, the weather has been blah and I've had non-dog things that needed to be done. I was due to take in a new rottie yesterday, but the guy didn't return my call. I'm guessing he will wait until the day he's moving and then call in a panic and insist that he needs to "get rid" of the dog immediately. So, for those who are interested, here's a few more pics from our recent trip to London and Edinburgh. I didn't take so many pictures on this trip, mostly political things since we were in Scotland for the independence referendum and I've already posted those.

No one is making you sit through these; you won't miss anything by shutting this window now and getting on with your day. If you are my age or older, you'll remember sitting in a darkened room eating popcorn as a slide carousel clicked through dozens of pictures from your, or someone else's, family vacation. I'm not sure I always loved it at the time, but it does bring back fond memories of my father and uncle who had taken the pictures and were always running the slide projectors (and dare I say, before that, movie projectors).

They do flowers very well in the UK, both beds and hanging baskets.
Mild winters and mild summers and plenty of rain make for a long
growing season and there's no summer bake like we have here.

Death mask of Mary Queen of Scots in a museum in a village
where one of our tours stopped. Displayed next to it was the death
warrant signed by Elizabeth I.  

Part of Hadrian's Wall (we did a day tour).

The excavation of a Roman fort, also part of the Hadrian's Wall tour.

Pet cemetery at the castle in Edinburgh.

Me with the statue of Greyfriars' Bobby,
outside a pub of the same name.
This is the grave of Bobby's owner.
Bobby's grave, nearby but not "in"
the cemetery. The Dog Aid Society
gave them matching gravestones.

A dog displaying the Scottish flag, the Saltire, at a "Yes" rally.
I brought one home for Gigi too.

The memorial to Animals in War in Hyde Park in London.
Just through the gap in the wall are statues of a horse and a dog.

Me at the poppy display at the Tower of London.

I was so glad that we were there when this was going on.
They add more of the ceramic poppies to the display everyday
to represent all the Britons killed in WW I.

Pet cemetery in Hyde Park. I had read about this online and
made a point of finding it even though I could only snap pics
through the fence from the outside.

One of my favorite pics from the pro-independence rally in Edinburg on the night before the vote.
Apparently a majority of native Scots voted "yes" in the referendum. However, Scotland is now home to a lot of immigrants from other parts of the UK and elsewhere. Those folks don't have the
same history and they have more connection with England and/or the UK as a whole.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

I Am Groot

Groot went to his first public outing today - the Vegetarian Festival in Charlottesville. We walked the length of the downtown mall both before and after. I had no idea how Groot would handle it and I really expected that we'd make a brief appearance and then leave quickly, but Groot was very well behaved and he loved it! He liked the people, the dogs, the crowds and the excitement. He is very people-oriented and wanted to meet and greet everyone he saw. I kept him away from small dogs but he gave me no indication that he wanted to go after them. He met a few new dogs nose-to-nose and gave appropriate greetings. He met babies in strollers and seniors using walkers. Groot likes all people.

I've had him out for walks on the trails and he enjoys it, but he seemed comfortable in town as well and he really seemed to like doing something new. Everything is new to him and his attitude seems to be "bring it on."

To top off the new experiences of the day, he rode the elevator in the parking garage. He was aware of the movement, but he just laid down and looked out the window as we went up. I was very impressed by this dog today and here is my write up for him for the Promises Animal Rescue website:

I am Groot. I am a shepherd mix puppy, 9 months old, 65 pounds and growing, wild but sweet. I never met a person I didn't like. Give me half a chance and I'll crawl into your lap or at least sit down on your feet and lean against you while you pet me. I live with eight or nine other dogs and I like them all, even if they don't all like me. When I find a dog who does like me, I like to play and I play hard. I know nothing of cats, good, bad, or otherwise. No one has ever taught me anything, but I'm learning from the other dogs I live with. I've learned to go into the crate and spend the night. I've learned to sit. I learned to walk on a leash pretty well. I don't know all my manners, but I'm willing to learn if you have the time and patience to teach. I love new things and new people. I am Groot.

Riding the elevator at the end of the day.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Better Together

"Better Together" was the theme and tagline of the "no" campaign in the Scottish independence referendum. It was a good theme, a positive message in a campaign that struggled to find one, and it ultimately prevailed, although whether it was the positive message or the fear mongering is a debatable point.

"Better together" also describes Groot and Maya on walks. I took them out on the trails again today. Walking two dogs is almost always more difficult than one, but Groot and Maya are easier to walk as a pair than either of them is alone. Maya is rather a slow walker and I find that I'm either leading her or encouraging her to move faster, often stepping on her heels. Groot, by himself, is a bit wild, moving back and forth all over the trail. But together, they walk side by side most of the time, (Maya doesn't want to let him lead), and she keeps him focused on forward movement.

I try to keep Maya on the right, but Maya goes where she wants to go and that's just the way it is.

The trail also helps to keep both of them focused, and when we leave the trail for open space, chaos reigns. Groot wants to see and meet everyone, human and canine. A word of advice for people with dogs at Pleasant Grove, or anywhere really:  If you can't control your dog off leash, don't have your dog off leash. 

"Better together" is also the theme for pack-style sleeping around here, as these pictures illustrate.

Gigi, Trooper, Maya, filling most of the bed.

Gigi under the blanket
Maya and Trooper, better together.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Back At It

Maya checking me over when we
got home on Saturday.
Gigi was glad to see us, but she just
came down, said hello, had a drink,
and went back up to the bedroom.
We got home Saturday afternoon. Sunday was spent mostly trying to get over a cold and get back on the local time schedule. Monday was about trying to remember work, both how and why I do it. By Tuesday my legs were getting stiff from inactivity so I got started back on the trails. The weather is beautiful for hiking and it will only get better as fall turns to winter. Here's a few pictures from the homecoming and today's walk.
Vince seemed relieved that things would be
back to normal.

Trooper was boarded while we were away,
this is Trooper and Maya greeting each
other when Trooper got back home.

Daphne is back with us for a few days.
She arrived on Friday.
Groot and Maya on the trail today.
I'm beginning to get a few inquiries about Groot.
He will need someone committed to training and
someone who has the energy to keep him busy.

Maya had missed our walks.
Today's walk, 4.29 miles, not too bad
for the first day back.

Groot is growing, he's definitely bigger than Maya now, not that that matters to her.
She's still in charge.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Final Day in London, the Pub Marathon

I'll post some other pics from our trip in coming days as I download them from my other camera, but these are from my phone and were taken on our final day in London. We got up early and took the 7:30 a.m. train from Edinburgh back to London, arriving early afternoon. We checked into a different hotel, the Ibis Blackfriars, just on the south side of the Thames near Blackfriars Bridge. Clay chose that hotel for our last night in London because (1) it was cheap; and (2) it was near the National Theatre where we had a play to see that night.

Just across the bridge is a pub called The Black Friar, named for an old monastery that once located in the area. It's a beautiful pub, inside and out. This, and all the pubs that follow, are located in the old City of London. The area is now mostly banks, offices, and financial businesses.

The tile mosaic ceiling in the Black Friar's cozy dining room.

If this isn't the smallest pub in
London it must be close. Fortunately,
you can step outside with your beer.
Shaw's Booksellers is another pub just down a narrow street
from the Cock Pit. After this one, Clay wisely decidedly to go
back to the hotel and take it easy before the play. I continued on.

We had been in all these pubs on prior trips but I didn't know
exactly where they were, so I wandered. This is one I was looking
for near St. Paul's. It was an old gin joint.

I stuck with beer but had switched
to drinking half pints so I could
go the distance.

Curved, etched glass booth at the back
of the bar where the proprietress operated.
This is a bombed out church built by 
Christopher Wren (London's most prolific architect).
The city had more churches than it needed (don't they all)
so it was not rebuilt but was turned into a garden.
The surviving spire is now a private residence.

I gradually made my way in a circle around the
streets surrounding St. Pauls.

I ran into this little cemetery, now more of a park.

After circumnavigating St. Paul's,
I headed down Fleet Steet, the site of
several pub crawls in prior years.
This is The Punch.

Interior of The Punch

The Tipperary
Every pub comes with a story.

The George is one of my favorites,
I watched very early morning
Rugby World Cup matches from here
on a prior trip. Had a nice chat with
the bartender this day.

Black Friar's Bridge. I met up with Clay again at yet another pub, Doggets, just off the south
end of this bridge. Then we headed over towards the National Theatre.

We had our final beer here after the show
on the way back to the hotel.
We hit this place en route.

The National is doing three new plays based on the lives of three Scottish kings,
James I, James II, and James III. We saw James I earlier in the trip and saw James III this night.
Both were good and enlightening, given our trip to Edinburgh in between.

View of the Thames after the play.

I don't think I'll ever get tired of visiting this city.