One of Renee’s many sleeping places is a little wicker basket on the landing. She likes it here very much as she can place all her knitted kitty puffs in one basket before a days screeching (carrying them all around the house and leaving them in random places).
This was a fine plan.
Until we got Frannie.
Stair gate is up but skinny necked pilferers do find a way.
Kitty Puff numbers have declined rapidly since the introduction / invasion of this blonde, dog tornado.
Renee is not impressed.
I need to knit more.
Little short of how I draw Bob and her friend Pat the cat.*
I can’t wait for you all to see! If you’ve followed me for a while you can see that dogs and cats are a big part of my life.
I have a lot of inspiration around me that’s for sure!
Creating these two characters was a lot of fun to do. I think they will going on a lot of adventures…
*The picture book is called Bob the Dog gets a job. It’s going to be out in June through Graffeg publishing.
I’d like you to meet someone.
This is Bob.
She’s the reason I’ve been a bit quiet. She’s been very, very busy… I’ve had quite a time keeping up with her.
There’s a book coming! I hope you like ice cream…
No not quite there with the coming back to me. In fact it’s a hilarious game of catch me if you can. Being a sight reactive dog is a tricky one to navigate as Frannie is very fast and there is no way I can catch her. Poor Bonnie is too old to join in and too busy sniffing out crisps to eat.
We get sneaky and cunning. We use sausages and chicken, we throw fluffy toys.
Today was a new tactic.
Keeping still and lying flat on the ground.
Click, back on the lead.
Here’s the highlight of the season, hunting for my dog’s “gift” in the beautiful autumn leaves.
Autumn is a quiet time of year. I am a bit quiet on here after the chaos of last year.
Life has needed to slow down, and enjoying the winter months is something I look forward to each year.
So hello soggy leaves and drenched, muddy clothes.
You can’t see me.
I am very very sneaky.
I am so flat on the ground, like a little golden pancake.
This pancake is stalking you and I will pounce on you and eat your shoes.
Or I might just chase that crisp packet…
No really they’re not allowed up.
Not at all.
There is no dog here, I have no idea what you are talking about. It is simply a messy pile of cushions admiring the autumn sun streaming through very wonky blinds.
No dog here at all.
We’ve had Frannie a whole year now and only now has she realised who the boss is in this house.
It’s a small black angry creature who eats, sleeps and screams if you get in her way.
And she is very very angry that you ate one of her kitty puff babies.
There’s a dog on the other side.
We must make contact.
We must let them know we are here.
And then tell them that we’re bigger than them and their mum.
Pointy nose, perfect shape for sneaking in pockets.
We have a pocket thief and she loves tissues. Tissues are very nice and tasty, sweet wrappers are lovely too.
The council weed killers were out last week spraying down the walls and pavements to get rid of the weeds.
Most unfortunately, it poured down right after and washed most of it away judging by the explosion of colour between the cracks and the gutters.
The smallest little flowers, easily ignored by big feet but loved by little bees and insects. I never really noticed myself until I was drawing on the pavements last year during lockdown. They grew through discarded masks and broken bottles.
Last year, because of the pandemic, we had less spraying and as a result, the most beautiful wildflowers grew on the pavements and the gaps between the old walls.
Beats all the grey any day.
Two hedge trimmers in action, one cuts the other shreds. It’s a good combination.
The cone has it’s fun for a pup that misses her favourite toys.
Throw them into the cone for chewies.
When you run at one hundred miles per hour over broken glass it’s not going to have a great outcome.
Enforced rest and knocking over of everything for the next few days while the superglue and antibiotics mend those power pads then it’s back to flying.
I had a lovely hair cut and colour the other day. The first one in a long time too.
I wore my mask and enjoyed it being styled and cut.
Then I went home and popped it back in a bun.
The march of the dandelions and my dog is as relentless as the flying masks in the spring breezes.
The sun is coming back…well now, in a minute, as we say.
The first invitation for a vaccine has landed on our doormat.
Frannie likes fluffy and soft things to chew.
Anything inanimate or living, no preference really, slippers, shoes, Bonnie’s legs, cushions, cats, chickens, it’s all lovely.
So we’ve given her a little blue unicorn to love.
He has now been loved very much for 2 minutes and there isn’t much left of him.
But everyone else is safe and my shoes…for now…
Little nip anyone?
Training is underway, teenage pup loves to nibble and it’s easily redirected. Just don’t give up on them, they want to be good.
Frannie is a year old now and in the middle of being a beautiful terror in our lives.
But when she runs, she flies. If she had wings, I don’t think we’d see her again. Once this lockdown is over, we are going to walk for miles on long sandy beaches. Until then it’s apologies to the *seagulls in the park.
*No seagulls were harmed. She just enjoys the chase, if it was a crisp packet it would be equally fun.
You going “out out?”
That, in Swansea, means out on the town, all glammed up, drinkies, heels and hair done.
No I am not. I’m dressed in yesterday’s jumper, my shoes are muddy, my coat is soaking and my dog is clearly delighted to be dragged around the block in sideways, January sleet.
Still no winter beach, no big sky.
My only essential travel is to buy food and growl, masked at people who come close. It’s hard to feel so anxious when people forget and reach over to take stuff off shelves. What on earth do you do?
Bonnie looks at me…
She’d growl first…
I might try that next time.
It’s going to take time for the cats to accept this bundle of puppy energy. We’re six months in and tuna is the magic that brings these two opposing parties together.
Today was let’s eat Tuna together and not chase or swipe.
We sit on the stairs as that is neutral territory, both can retreat if it gets too much.
Frannie sits as still as she can but the tail always betrays her, the faster the swoosh, I know we have imminent chase pending and to cancel negotiations quickly…
Wake up, pee, eat, destroy bed, eat the remote control, sleep.
I want to be a puppy!
Tangles of arms legs, paws and wiggles.
I thought about drawing this one again but I think it pretty much describes with accuracy the chaos of cuddling two dogs, one of whom is a little chewy monster with sharp teeth…but very lovely.
They get on very well, Bonnie lets Frannie chew her legs and in return, Frannie lets Bonnie chew all her puppy toys.
The cats are coping with the blonde Romanian invader, Renee can now share some chicken in her presence but we have more work to do and that always takes time. I think it took me five or so months to really stop Bonnie chasing poor Arnie. Sausage and chicken is already better than chasing pusses so we are getting there…
Back to school and here come the sniffles, (oh we are smothering with it).
Here comes a tissue eating puppy.
And a list of symptoms to check off just in case it’s Covid symptoms.
Numbers are still rising again and mask wearing is compulsory indoors in school and in public spaces for children over 11 years of age.
In schools, the children can mix in their class as a “bubble” so if in the instance of someone getting infected, only that class affected needs to self isolate at home. It makes for a strange playtime but it’s a compromise to continue education after so long off school.
Some counties are already in special localised lockdowns restricting movements. There is talk of a bleak winter ahead on the news.
Frannie found a sock in the park today and tore off like a cheetah with it, sprinting with a snotty nose at 46 years old after a puppy makes my face go a strange colour…
I am getting the hang of a training lead, I am.
Bonnie is doing a better job than me at teaching our pup to follow on a lead.
Frannie has never been on a lead before and we have spent the week making friends with the lead with lots of chicken too. Now the lead is very exciting because nice things happen when the lead goes on, magic chicken appears and it’s brilliant as Bonnie gets some too.
Other dogs are very exciting too as are cars, as are bees and butterflies.
Everything is exciting and must be barked at.
It’s very noisy here right now.
The cats are upstairs and come out at quiet times but that’s going to take time and if Bonnie can do it, so can Frannie.
And me too.
Everything needs a little chew.
Stair gates, socks and especially nice toes.
Chewy chew chew.
Bonnie’s leg has been tried and found very nice, Bonnie doesn’t think that it’s very nice and tells Frannie in a very growly way to stop.
So back to socks and toes it is.
Frannie’s never been in a house before, she’s never seen a cat before. There’s lots of new things for her to adjust to.
So I have been busy convincing her cooked chicken is far tastier than chasing her sassy friends.
It’s working, there’s going to be chicken stuffed in my pockets for the next few months.
Oh and everyone gets chicken too because then every time Frannie looks at a cat, she’ll think nice thoughts and not chasy thoughts. She now sits the minute a cat enters the room already. What a clever pup.
Apologies for the silence but the storms blew in a five month old street-puppy from Romania. I think she’s a keeper. Very scared right now but she’s joined the right family.
Meet Frannie, our new stowaway. Been with us a few days now and settling in so very well after a bumpy start of snarling and being all street tough.
I think we have a very clever pup here, she’s walked this earth before.
This beautiful soul came into our lives nearly ten years ago.
A hurricane of life and energy.
Now a gentle breeze and a happy tail.
Life got better once she found her happy home.
Please if you are going to get a dog, go and be a superhero and rescue one that needs a home. You’ll get a lifetime of love and wiggles.
Yes they come with baggage but once unpacked, that little suitcase is there to stay until the day comes when you both let each other go and you put your heart back in it for them to take.
Bonnie has been on bed rest all weekend.
I hate sitting still too girl.
I think she’ll be just fine. Age is no fun when you’re a one hundred miles an hour dog.
Bonnie, we need to have words about launching yourself off the patio at dinner time. You’re nearly twelve now and you’re not a puppy any more.
A sausage is not worth the pain.
Let’s hope that sore leg is better in the morning eh?
Weather dog is at it again.
One sniff of the front door and this diva knows it’s going to rain and she can’t be bothered with a walk.
We went and got soaked.
Should have listened.
Not all bullies are big.
Bonnie would not sleep in her crate tonight until the tiny terror vacated her position in the stinky den.
Had no idea she’d slunk in there and claimed her throne until Bonnie started whining.
There were lots of gloves on the floor tonight when we walked. Towering cumulonimbus clouds in the sky, like mashed potato crashing into the hill. I was dodging showers between the sun tonight.
I saw a face mask with a red plastic piece in the middle where the air goes in and out. Thrown on the floor and left with the fast food wrappers that have started appearing again since the drive through re opened. The seagulls were delighted and swept down to grab a brown paper bag with a few chips left in for their dinner.
There were towering weeds and clover covered in bees fighting with the gloves. It’s not all bad, life is thriving on a mini-beast level anyway.
We are still only allowed to travel within a five mile radius and shops are still only food and necessities.
There is talk of a brief return to school before summer but not full time, just a check in.
It’s a strange purgatory.
We haven’t seen the sea in over nine weeks.
It has been cooler and overcast today so to avoid the busy times, we went this evening (as we live under five miles from the sea and our current guidelines are to go within five miles for exercise).
I could write about how wonderful it was for us to see such space again and hear the crashing waves but our old dog stole the show by bulldozing us all out of her way and crashing straight into the water.
Something she has never done in all the time we have had her. She hates water. Getting her out was the problem.
Tonight she was a salty, sea, dog fish. Happy to have sandy paws and stink all the way home.
She is now dead to the world, stinking, snoring, dreaming of long grey shores and a gentle wind.
They know when you need them. Even if you have to pay them in sausages.
I was going to write about the afternoon I spent in my greenhouse.
But Bonnie has beaten me with her enormous crater she dug that will fit all of the plants I’ve been growing in one go.
Dog has noticed I’m up and has come out for a sniff.
Television off very quickly as news shows a higher death total.
Sky for miles, air was fresh.
Can see a little bit of sea where the docks are.
No cars at all so me and dog walked down the middle of the road.
Was a lovely walk until I got nearer to home and saw most of Swansea police parked up outside a house attending an incident. All masked and gloved up and very serious. The news headline entered my mind of a forty year old mother apprehended for walking down the road with her dog illegally and it made me laugh.
Dream on Angie.
Oh well. Never a dull moment eh?
I did wash my hands!
But there we are. I’m sweating one minute, cold the next. Throat is swollen, glands are sore and head feels full of cotton wool.
And I’m so very, very grumpy.
Had a very loud thunderstorm last night. Ended up with a shivering 30kg wreck on me for the rest of the night…
So Renee and Miya have decided to “allow” Bonnie upstairs.
We didn’t know this was happening as Bonnie would slink off downstairs as we were stirring.
It was a 2am trip to the toilet that they were all rumbled, happily snoozing on the landing.
So my mornings now look like this. I really don’t need an alarm clock and there’s one animal per child to wake up with purrs or licks.
When the sun returns and warms the earth, there is nothing better to do than to feel the new air move through your fur and whiskers. Both black dog and black cat know there is nothing better than sun on warm fur. The other little one is busy half way up a tree, chasing flies.
I left some jaffa cakes in my gym bag. Guess who discovered my jaffa cakes?
Music playing in the background is on Spotify (to which I subscribe). It’s called Howl by Jake Houlsby.
I’ve been looking at all my drawings of Bonnie and thought you might enjoy this little selection of her best moments.
Bonnie, the hurricane, the bottomless pit, the legend, my girl. Still ever the wiggle machine and all round stinkpot of love.
It’s just glorious. Low, warm sun to warm the bones and the heart.
Walking up the garden is a bit of a dance to avoid the dewy spider webs that have been ambitiously spun overnight. I’ll leave the lying down to you Bonnie as I’ve had my fair share of garden spiders in my hair today
1. Where’s my peg basket?
2. Who put tissues in their pocket?
3. That tree looks beautiful.
4. I’m tired.
5. Are star shorts appropriate?
Arnie is still hanging on in there. We have to do twice daily injections of insulin at food times and he’s taken to this really well.
His behaviour however, is rather strange. He has now taken to falling asleep at his water bowl or even worse, in the dog’s crate.
Bonnie is made up with this as she finally gets to sniff and fuss Mr elusive after all this time. Arnie is just happy to have a warm body to curl up next to.
Bonnie has made a friend recently, a ten year old Jack Russel who we will call Sid (as I can’t remember his name and Bonnie doesn’t care what he’s called anyway).
Sid loves Bonnie and Bonnie loves Sid. They spend their time sniffing,weeing, finding crisp packets and chasing cats together on various happy adventures.
Today was joyous as they found some cooked potato.
There was much celebrating between the two of them and much screaming from me as they were far too away for me to stop them eating it.
There’s a human on the floor! Downward dog has become down dog lick face.
I took my dog into a lovely cafe, a dog friendly one. What a great idea, walking the dog and relaxing with a hot cup of coffee afterwards.
Not with this diva of a dog. She insisted on standing at the counter with her paws up and placing her own order.
She then complained very loudly when she didn’t get a biscuit and howled at the schnauzer at the next table.
All was finally going well until she waltzed off to say hello to a staffy (taking my table with me and my coffee).
When I brought Bonnie home, Arnie left the house for three days.
When he finally returned, I had to train Bonnie not to chase after him and after a few months, we made great progress.
What has not changed from the start is that they both share the same drinking bowl. I’m always surprised at this as Arnie has a particular look he reserves for “his” dog and that is one of utter disgust. They are not friends but they tolerate each other’s existence.
Bonnie drinks like she’s had a mouthful of anaesthetic injections with plenty of dribble and slobber. As though she has never drunk water before and she’s trying it for the first time. It’s spectacular and very, very noisy.
Now this is where it gets strange. Arnie will simply not have his own bowl and wherever Bonnie’s water bowl is placed in the house, you will find Arnie waiting for his turn after the tidal wave of doggy drinking has finished. He will then stoop in a neat arrangement of paws and and lap quietly.
Dogs are strange but cats are just unexplainable.
I am aghast.
An artist’s dog should know that there are many things you may chew but pencils, pencils are utterly unforgivable.
What were you thinking Bonnie?
Still I found a new one to draw about it tonight.
Yes I’m cooking bacon, yes I see your nose has brought you from a deep sleep to my side. No there isn’t any spare, no you can’t have a bit.
It’s not very exciting here at the moment. I had a wisdom tooth removed yesterday and while a drawing of my swollen face would be amusing, I’ll start with how useful a dog can be for a multiway leaning post…
Bonnie found an old, battered football on the beach today. Washed up by the tide to be joyfully pounced on and shredded by my joyous hound…
Bonnie’s friend Mollie has come to our house for a weekend mini-break.
We have offered five star entertainment, three children to lick, cat watching and stunning views of chickens.
I hope she gives us a good review.
Bonnie is working hard as her concierge.
Happy New Year.
Bonnie’s New Year resolution of not eating bread in the park has not lasted long. I’m very disappointed.