WHEN I see how fastidious Tilly is about so many things, how careful she is when offered a titbit, and how she refuses to jump out of the car in the dark, I am always surprised by her attitude to muddy puddles. She goes straight in without any hesitation. There is never any question of walking in slowly to check the depth or making sure it is not going to cover her tummy in mud. In fact, the muddier the better, as she demonstrates in the photo above.
MUCH as she loves a car trip, Tilly finds the whole business of navigating extremely tiring.
There are all those pedestrians and motorcyclists to be warned away, as well as a couple of long walks when she reaches her destination.
A 60-mile journey combined with interesting walks with dozens of new smells to investigate mean that she has to concentrate on recovering when she reaches home.
She is not interested in birdsong, whereas the Happy Moonraker is enjoying the sound of swallows and martins since their return from Africa for the summer months.
IT takes a certain determination to overlook the grey skies and rain and try to have a busy day. The Happy Moonraker’s first thought is to curl up under the duvet and forget trying to do anything useful.
Tilly the terrier doesn’t seem to notice weather. One day is like any other to her: food, walk, run, food, walk, run, doze, bark, sleep, and then more of the same.
If we’ve managed to pick a time when it is not raining, we have had more lovely walks in the beech woods.
Tilly and the two dogs she knows best, Budleigh and Rosie, know exactly where to go. Tilly ignores them both and refuses to play but the others romp and run and make sure they get as muddy as possible.
Budleigh is an enthusiastic Labrador and Rosie is a high-speed lurcher.
Tilly investigates quietly, sniffing and sometimes digging, but she is never far from me. Everything changes, though, if she spots a squirrel. Then all hell breaks loose. That’s when she sounds like a pack of feral terriers.
I did well to photograph the little red mushrooms without Tilly’s snout dominating the shot. She was fascinated. According to an identification website, they are called Elf Cups (Sarcoscypha coccinea) and are quite common, although I have never seen them before. They are described as edible but I think I’ll give them a miss.
COLD mornings and cold nights mean that you have to move a little faster. You certainly don’t have to resort to dressing your terrier in a knitted coat, however pretty it may be.
I almost sensed Tilly’s contempt as we walked past this terrier waiting for its owner outside M&S.
Tilly’s predecessor in The Happy Moonraker’s life, Herbert, was once given an attractive subtly coloured, hand-knitted coat but fortunately he never had to wear it because it was much too small.
Here are a few more photos from that memorable holiday on Exmoor. (See posting below)
Tilly the terrier takes care not to disturb a pot of highly scented sweet peas which the Happy Moonraker placed next to her for the photograph. The sweet peas bloomed really late this year but they continue to provide dozens of flowers at regular intervals. Once the stems get shorter that’s a sure sign they are finishing. One of those sad signs that summer is disappearing too quickly.