Tag Archives: devon

A Mans Best Friend and Tricia Wills

Two of our best friends live in Sidmouth, a leafy town on the south coast of Devon. Every month we make the short trip across the county for a weekend of mulled wine (or Pimms / any other seasonal beverage) and lots of dog walking.

Autumn is a beautiful time to visit Devon. In fact, it might just be my favourite time of year. Even on a dull, grey, cloudy day the tiny villages come to life with an autumnul orangey hue.

Wrap up warm, grab your wellies and hit the park.

We set off through the park and it wasn’t long before we bumped into someone we knew…

Meet Frankie. Frankie is one of Daves puppies and is just over a year old. She’s changed alot since we last saw her tearing up the garden at 6 weeks old, but always such a magical moment to see the puppies and their new lives and little families.

I found a bunch of yellow leafs…

And little George had a try at some snazzy photography.

Anyway, back to the stars of the show. You know Dave and Trigger by now? These beautiful blue merle collies are such mesmerising dogs, but like with all dogs they hold their little problems.

Trigger is the puppy from Daves first litter. Unfortunately he was born with the recessive gene which in short, means he is deaf and 80% blind. He is now 5 years old and has unfortunately been causing havoc in the house. His frustrations and anxiety is too much for a dog that has little to no scents, so just when Richard and Julie thought there was little hope in sight, an email landed in my inbox from Tricia Wills.

Tricia has been working with dogs across the Devon county for over 20 years and it could not have come at a better time to meet her.  Tricia arranged to come to the house and try and help Richard and Julie with Trigger. Unfortunately in the few days since we’d arrived, Trigger had caused a huge amount of damage to the house in the small amount of time he’d been alone, and Richard had resorted to using the cage (which, every time, he magically seemed to get out of).

We sat down with a coffee in hand and recapped Triggers short little life. Tricia broke down every single major event in his life, from moving home to how often he goes out for long walks. We soon established that Triggers such sudden change of behaviour could be pinpointed to one day in October. Was it bonfire night? No. Was it a change of home? No. Was it a change of diet? No. We exhausted what seemed like every option. The only way forward was to try and resolve his change of behaviour and desensitise and retrain him.

We soon established Triggers main issue, “separation anxiety”. His overwhelming need to escape from the house is pretty heartbreaking for such a seemingly happy dog so Tricia suggested methods that would help Trigger, and also start to resume some normality to their lives and broken home. These involved re-training Trigger with simple comforts which he would be familiar with and more importantly, getting him into a routine. Training is virtually impossible with a deaf and blind dog. Tricia explained Triggers overwhelming need of human contact and petting (touch being his only working sense), and taught how to reward Trigger without the need to touch him. She explained that dogs are hugely in tune with their owners emotions and feelings and that he would feel Richard and Julie’s moods and anxieties every time they entered their home. Conditioning Trigger was the only way forward so that everyone could live a normal life, albeit with a dog with such severe difficulties.

After of hours of discussing the way forward for Trigger and the various training and desensitisation methods, Richard sighed with relief that Trigger could be turned into that loveable, kind hearted dog he always was.  All that was left was to take the dogs out for a well deserved leg stretch.

I cannot recommend Tricia’s services enough. If you are a dog owner and looking for a dog trainer in Devon then Tricia is your lady. You can read all about her wonderful stories on her website. Tricia, thank you so much for your time and help at such a difficult time for Richard and Julie. I will of course keep you updated with Triggers progress over the next few months!

Fountain Head Beer Festival

You must be thinking by now, “why don’t you just pack up and move to Devon”? I know, I know. I’m working on it.

The arrival of June starts the count down to Branscombe’s annual Fountain Head Beer Festival. In this tiny little village nestled deep in a Devon valley, 2 pubs and a post office serve the villagers from day to day. Being miles from the nearest town and needing four wheels to get anywhere, life can be pretty limiting.

That is until summer when villagers come to life and open their arms (and their village) to thirsty, folky festival goers. Of the two pubs, The Fountain Head and The Masons Arms, the Fountain kick things off with their infamous Beer Festival.

Revellers like this one join the cue for the local ales and ciders lined up in their barrels behind the makeshift bar.

Even Ozzie’s venture over to join in the fun.

The beers start flowing and the music begins. The makeshift dance floor is taken over by fine country men and their wellies. Friday night draws to an end after the bands encore and inevitably ,the rain starts pouring for our drunken decent back to the house.

Saturday morning starts with breakfast fit for a king and a large cup of coffee on the terrace. Around midday, after a stroll to the beach with the dogs, day two begins in full British fashion.

A game of Rummikub.

Of course, I lost.

After several bottles of Pimms, its time to hop next door to join in the festivities. I choose my new favourite H&M dress, H&M Fedora and Zara booties.

Did a little dance…

And pranced into the tent like a musical fairy.

There weren’t many other pictures from the Saturday evening, mainly due to an afternoon of drinking bottle after bottle of Pimms. It all ended in a bit of a haze and covered in mud.

And my last view from the village is this one. Hobbling to grab my camera with a severe hangover to snap this picture of what life is all about.

Tea Party

A few weeks ago, my sister from another Mr touched down in the UK from her new “home” New Zealand. She didn’t come alone this time. Natalie got engaged to Adrian over Christmas and we were all eagerly awaiting our introductions. As far as great British celebrations are concerned, an English Tea Party is as good as it gets.

So as a welcome home to Natalie, we threw a big engagement party in Lynne’s little green garden in Devon.

Of course there was lots of homemade cake involved.

And lots of tea…

And Pimms.

The entire cottage was decked out with balloons and bunting.

Scott discovered that White Chocolate cheesecake is best washed down with a large glass of Pimms. As nominated driver, I discovered that cake is best washed down with more cake.

Once the drizzle had stopped, Adrian stood and gave a beautiful speak to Natalie’s friends and family. He had us all blubbering when he said he’d “always look after her”. Awww, I mean please!

Nothing wipes tears away better than more cake.

After catching up over you guessed it, more cake, it was time to say our goodbyes. Only one more week apart until we were to be reunited…!