Thursday 28 September 2017


I love the delicate palette of my latest big teddy bear. The beautiful oyster pink Schulte mohair really lent itself to soft pinky-beige velvet paws and dusky pink highlights and I think, makes a lovely variation on the Autumn teddy theme. I hope you think so too!

'Bramble' is 22"

I am happy to tell you, Bramble has hopped onto my website and is now available for adoption. Please visit for further pics and full details. Thank you!


Update: Bramble has been adopted!

Wednesday 27 September 2017

The road to obedience

I have been obedience training with Polly in my favourite park today. The trees were beginning to turn red and gold, sun shone through the early morning mist, dew glistened on the grass ... and my beautiful girl was in fine fettle!

Although at four and a half, Polly is now a well mannered girl, we thoroughly enjoy obedience work, so continue to attend 'Real Life' classes regularly. We have worked hard to overcome the typical golden retriever stubborn streak, to build focus and most importantly of all, to create a close bond between us.  I don't mind saying, I am very proud of all Polly has achieved since we first began training together four years ago.

If you would like to know more about the trials and tribulations of training a dog, particularly a golden retriever, please visit Polly's blog. It hasn't been updated for a while (I never seem to have the time lately but am hoping to bring it up-to-date soon) but there is plenty of information, a list of books I found helpful and many very honest accounts of the challenges Polly and I faced along the road to obedience.

I hope you can 'paws-a-while' to enjoy the read and if you are a new goldie owner, I hope the blog helps you meet the challenges that may come your way and also that it gives you encouragement to persevere with the training. It is worth the effort, truly! Golden Retrievers are such fabulous dogs when they trust you and are given positive, fun and enthusiastic training.


Wednesday 20 September 2017

Sunshine and Showers

It has been a weekend of mixed emotion, on the one hand a celebration of five years of marriage, but on the other, there is still the sadness of losing my Dad so unexpectedly, one glorious Autumn day, seven years ago.  All in all, the weekend has been a bit like a typical Autumn weather report ... one of sunshine and showers.

Stuart and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary with Polly and Betty, by taking a pleasant walk (lively romp in their case!) through our favourite local park on Saturday. The girls had an absolute blast as we pottered along contentedly in their wake.

We enjoyed a delicious dinner at 'The Windmill', a cosy pub restaurant in Hollingbourne in the evening ...  my goodness that chef sure knows how to tickle tastebuds!

And of course, seven years on without Dad, life is just as he used to say ... it does go on.  Loss has a knack of finding a corner of your soul, burying deep and becoming part of you. Tears still fall from time to time, but joy does return and those forthright words of wisdom only he could give, still come unbidden in quiet moments, when I need them the most.


Turnip Teddy

Horaay, I have a new teddy bear to share with you today!

15" Turnip

Introducing 'Turnip', a 15" Schulte mohair teddy bear with velvet paws and cosy hand knitted scarf (made by my own fair hands). After making several big teddy bears in a row, it was nice to work on a medium sized bear for a change as they are a little less work to stuff, so kinder on the hands! To give you an idea of stature, a 15" bear is the ideal size for sitting on a shelf, or the back of a comfy sofa ... and for snuggling with too!

If you would like more pics and to find out a little more about my sweet Turnip teddy, please pop over to visit my website ... ... where this perfectly sized sweetie is now waiting with paws crossed, to be adopted. 


Update: Turnip has been adopted!

Wednesday 13 September 2017

A howling success

Storm Aileen howled around the UK through last night, but I didn't hear a thing as I'd spent the day playing with my Grandson and walking my girls, so slept like a log!

It is still gusty here today, but there's warmth in the bright autumn sunshine and the morning has been perfect for walking. I arranged to meet our dog training group at a local country park with Polly and Betty earlier, so the girls have been playing with their pals, obedience training, chasing balls into the pond and hunting for fallen apples. They have had so much fun ... dogs sure know how to party when they get together!


Monday 11 September 2017

Family Fun

It was so good to spend time with my son and his family at the weekend.

We shared a chippy tea, played, chatted and laughed together. Simple family pleasures really are the best!


Friday 8 September 2017

A very fine fellow

I would like you to meet my new autumnal teddy bear today ... and if I do say so myself, he is a very fine fellow!

20" Septimus

Creating a teddy bear from such beautiful mohair is a real privilege. Many years ago, when I first fell in love with antique teddy bears, I was always drawn to those made from dense, curly mohair. I remember visiting 'The Petersfield Museum' in Hampshire (sadly no longer open) about thirty years ago and drooling over a fabulous 1930's Chiltern Hugmee sat in a glass case - he was made from long wavy mohair, a magnificent fellow! Little did I know back then, that one day I would be creating my own teddy bears from such magical mohair!

So, I am proud to introduce you to Septimus. I hope he makes you smile and if he should tug at your heartstrings, please visit him on my website, where he is now waiting to be adopted. Thank  you!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and hoping the Autumn sun shines!


Update: Septimus has been adopted!

Wednesday 6 September 2017

Enjoying the process

By the way, if you were curious after my earlier posts, in my 'spare' time, I am still enjoying my exploration into the world of artistic endeavour ... despite frequent frustrations along the way! 

Lately I've been playing with pencils, pens and paint as I try to breathe life into 'faces' ... which is easier said than done, believe you me!  I'd love to be one of those gifted types, the folk who can whistle a sketch from their fingertips without breaking into a cold sweat but I've a very long way to go before I will be able to claim any real confidence - for now I am just grateful that my faces do now look like faces and I am able to enjoy the process at last!


Monday 4 September 2017

From Allington to Aylesford

Another Sunday afternoon, another river walk. We tried this walk a few years ago, but were beaten back by a crumbling towpath and overgrowth. After hearing the path had been rebuilt and cleared, we decided to give the Allington to Aylesford section of the River Medway a visit yesterday. It was overcast, but not at all cold, so we set off in jeans and t-shirts after giving Polly and Betty a fun run in the local open space nature reserve first ... one thing about goldies, they love to swim and chase birds, so if you fancy a peaceful stroll, river walks are safest undertaken on leads after they've had a good run!

Just down the road from the nature reserve is this pretty building, which I think was the gatehouse for Allington Castle (discreetly tucked away around the corner) I might be wrong though.

We crossed Allington Lock on the footbridge and although it was wrench, passed our favourite little coffee 'n cake haunt 'The Little Old Tollhouse' (they do great panini's too!) without stopping. Then it was up and over the main bridge, pausing to take a quick snap of the boats up river as I went, before turning away from the path into Maidstone and and heading towards the village of Aylesford instead. 

There has been quite a bit of work undertaken along the riverbank since last we tried to access this path, so we had no problems toddling along with our girls on Sunday. Polly loves a walk with Dad, lead or no lead, so she was content to trot along by his side, walking beautifully to heel all the way. Little Betty on the other hand, was overexcited and anxious about the new route, so very distracted. She forgot her manners and pulled me all the way to Aylesford!

This walk isn't what I'd call pretty, but it is reasonably interesting if you don't mind a more industrial view of the river. It's also not the most peaceful section of river to walk as the M20 crosses it. Still, at least it was what you might term colourful!

Along the way we saw ponies, cows and sheep, as well as long stretches of imposing steel fencing, leaving us in no doubt that once the river would once have been an important element of industrial life in Aylesford. I'll spare you the photos of grey perimeter fencing protecting stacks of rubber tyres and the like - yawn!

Eventually we arrived at 'The Old Bridge at Aylesford'. It's a very pretty spot but to be absolutely honest, can be a bit pongy thanks to a sewer on the other side of the river!

Anyway, here is the bridge in all its fourteenth century magnificence. We decided to take a wander around the village before looking for a return path on the far side of the river.

We mooched around St Peter and St Paul's, a beautiful Norman church and very much part of our recent family history, as my niece was married here a few years ago and my Great nieces were both baptised here, the youngest in August this year.

It was lovely to wander quietly around the Church without being togged up to the nines for a change!

My family all togged up on my Great Niece's Christening Day.

Anyway, that's enough talk of family celebrations, we should get on with our walk! 

So, as I was saying, we wandered around the old village, tightly packed with pretty medieval houses mingled among newer buildings ... it certainly has charm in places, but is primarily a thriving residential area.

And of course, no village would be complete without a public house or two, but we resisted the temptation for a swift half as we passed 'The Chequers' and headed back towards the old bridge.

A quick stop in one of the passing places on the bridge (I wonder what they are called? I'm sure they must have a proper name!) to record our visit, before a spot of detective work to fathom out how to make our way home to Allington.

It didn't take long to work out that if we turned left and crossed the road, we could pick up a footpath sign and follow the river back on the far side of the river. By this time I was happy to hand my little steam engine over to my husband for our return journey!

And the return journey was a more scenic affair. Polly was delighted to be granted off lead privileges across a field running alongside a fenced railway track and I popped her lead back on at the far side of the field because I wasn't sure what lay beyond ...

As it turned out, it was a good call as we found ourselves very near to the motorway (and another fine example of local artwork!)

There was nothing for it other than tackle the high level bridge across the busy M20. I was so proud of Polly as she trotted calmly by my side, walking high over noisy speeding traffic below. Our 'Real Life' obedience training sessions have really paid off!

The rest of the walk was along a narrow, fenced pathway which ran along the railway line and behind an industrial estate through dark woodland, so I didn't bother with my camera until, after a round walk of almost six kilometres, we suddenly popped out onto Castle Road, only a few yards from where we had left our car, ten and a half thousand steps earlier!

So that was our Sunday walk. Not necessarily the prettiest scenery, but pleasant in places and it was interesting to see what happens along our local riverbank. Good exercise for two fifty somethings too!


Sunday 3 September 2017

Almost Autumn

It was a beautiful evening yesterday, so Betty and I went out for a quiet stroll together, before sunset and found definite hints of Autumn!

This has been my favourite field to walk with dogs and family for years, but sadly now, to the right of this picture, there is steel fencing encasing the entire field, imprisoning heavy construction vehicles ... and where once wheat was harvested into beautiful golden bales at this time of year, mud mountains, scaffolding and ugly pipes now dominate.

Polly and Betty were was confused by the fencing at first, but have learned to skip along the mud path running outside the perimeter fence, towards a little wooded area at the bottom of the field which the developers have yet to destroy.

Despite the sorry state of 'our' field, Betty and I enjoyed our peaceful stroll in the evening sunshine together yesterday ... it was lovely to see our favourite trees bearing fruit, brambles laden with berries and long grasses turning to gold as the sun set.


Saturday 2 September 2017

From Teston to Tovil

What better way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon, than to take a long hike along the river ...

We recently heard that the towpath from Teston to Tovil has now been made accessible for walkers, so last weekend, after parking in Teston Country Park, we headed along the river towards Barming Bridge, with Polly and Betty trotting eagerly along beside us. They love exploring new walks!

Although not far from where we live, I had never seen Barming Bridge before, so couldn't resist crossing to see where it led and just other other side, found a very friendly golden retriever waiting to say hello to my two!  Originally a picturesque wooden construction, also known as 'Kettle Bridge', Barming Bridge was replaced with a steel structure in 1996 - apparently the wooden bridge wasn't too reliable and had been the site of an accident in 1914 when a 10 ton traction engine fell through the bridge into the river below.  Oops!

We meandered towards East Farleigh, enjoying the peace and taking care not to trip over huge fishing rods staggered along the pathway. The local fishermen have some serious equipment as it seems the fish are jumpin' along this particular stretch of the riverbank!

As we neared East Farleigh, we saw barges and river folk relaxing by the water ... my girls couldn't quite believe their doggy eyes to see dogs in life jackets sailing down the middle of the river!

We've driven over 14th Century Farleigh Bridge many times, but have never walked beneath its arches to the Lock the other side, so it was lovely to see this beautiful Kentish ragstone bridge from a fresh perspective.

We continued to walk along the river until we reached the outskirts of Tovil, where the land along the river was divided into little pockets of fenced green space. It was interesting to see discreet areas of landscaping activity at intermittent spots in this overgrown area as owners attempted to reclaim the land from Mother Nature's tangled claim. As we neared Tovil and the path became busier with cyclists and walkers, we turned back towards East Farleigh to retrace the towpath back towards Teston and our car ... in eager anticipation of an ice-cream van!

We passed through a field of long horned Highland Cattle on our return. Those big beasties looked magnificent but I swear I saw a glint in one fellow's eye as he and Polly caught sight of each another - I thanked heavens my girls were both safely on their leads in that field, gulp!

It was sad to see poor ol' Teston Bridge scaffolded and firmly closed to all traffic and boats after recently being hit by a drunk driver. Hopefully this fabulous medieval bridge will be safely back in action in the not too distant future and the drunk driver will have learned a serious life lesson.

Eight and a half kilometres after first setting out on our river walk, we located our ice-cream and a bench upon which to rest our weary legs while we indulged. The park, a popular spot with families on sunny days, was filled with the mouth watering aroma of barbecued sausages, as children played happily on the field with balls and bats; needless to say, as much as they would have preferred to explore, my tired girlies stayed on their leads and settled on the grass for a well earned rest. After all, even weary goldies can't be completely trusted when there's barbecued sausage in the air!



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