For our New Year holiday, my humans and I went to The North to visit some friends in Northumbria. I had heard people mention The North before but I really didn’t know what to expect. Would the dogs be friendly? Would the humans be forthcoming with yummy treats? Would this involve another long drive in my humans’ annoyingly quiet car or will we take the fun loud car?
Well, let me tell you, for starters we didn’t take a car at all! Instead we got on a very big vehicle called a train that was full of people and was very loud indeed. I do like noisy contraptions, but this one took a bit of getting used to. We had to stand during the first train ride because so many people were going to The North, but after 30 minutes of protecting my human by growling (sounds like whining, but I assure you it is fierce growling) at the trees whooshing by, I settled down to sleep on my human’s feet. That way if he moved, I would know it. Then some lady boarded the train wearing perfume that made me sneeze over and over. The next train we boarded was better as we were able to steal two seats and after 30 more minutes of fidgeting I settled down to sleep across both my human’s laps. That was nice.
When we pulled into Newcastle, there was a fight among some badly behaved thugs on our carriage. I worried that this was what The North was like, so I practiced a little growl and a standing leap. This invoked a giggle in someone nearby, so I think it will require a little more practice.
When we arrived at our friends’ house in a village called Stamfordham, I discovered a great surprise. They had a friend for me named Toby! Toby is a springer spaniel and has long luxurious curls on his ears and pouty puppy dog eyes. I think the girls must like Toby a lot, so I will practice his mournful looks and see if it helps me out with the ladies back home.
The next day we bundled into the car for a bit of a drive. I knew it would be fun because the humans were wearing their plastic boots called Wellies. After a long drive during which I entertained myself by demonstrating my flexibility and enthusiasm to Toby in our shared travel crate, we arrived at a place that was cold and wet and windy with a tang to the air that I couldn’t quite place. This definitely looked promising!
Toby led the way to some hills over which I couldn’t see anything. The ground changed under my feet, but I didn’t really notice because I was busy showing Toby my indestructible Kong frisbee. As we reached the top of the hill, though, I suddenly saw below us a great big bathtub! I decided to ignore it and hope my humans didn’t see it and get any grand ideas. But between me and the water was this great big expanse of funny feeling ground called a beach. I slid with great abandon down the sandy hill towards the beach and tested out whether the frisbee would slid along it the way it slides on snow and ice. It did!
Toby did something odd then which made me worry about his state of mind. He ran right into the water! Very odd indeed. Well, I suppose the eccentrics are part of what makes England fun.
Toby came back to the dry sand and played with me for a while, but I should have suspected he’d have something up his sleeve. He had me chasing him towards the water with my frisbee which I dropped on the sand to try and tempt him to steal it, when all of a sudden the water tried to attack me! There was this layer of water coming right at me trying to take away my frisbee! I was able to leap out of the way thanks to my very fine reflexes, but poor frisbee didn’t fare so well and got all wet.
It turns out that sand doesn’t melt away the same as snow, so i was a bit surprised at the sand going up my nose and making me sneeze, but I think this beach idea is one we’ll have to explore again soon. And more visits with Toby are definitely required!
Happy New Year!