I've gone, shuffled off to share the Tart's blog - you'll find me there now, when she lets me near the computer...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

In the Bleak Mid Winter

Rain, wind, rain, wind, big wind, power cut, dark, dark, dark, more rain. Early starts for Hugh mean Lindsay walks me in the rainy dark in the mornings before she goes to work. If I am lucky Hugh takes me out again in the rainy afternoon before it is dark again. It's all a bit tedious and I am not overly impressed with December so far.

Mind you, the decorations are up and cards are strung about and there have been mincemeat goings on in the kitchen today so the festive spirit is creeping in. I've seen some gift wrapped boxes but none looks like a new bed for me which, given the sad state of my beanbag, with flattened beany bits which leak out if you shake too enthusiastically, is a pretty poor show.

I AM FAMOUS! Well, nearly. I have a whole page in the new winter edition of 'Border Life' magazine. I was asked twenty questions and I gave full and forthright answers. They have shown a fairly attractive profile shot of me in the snow and all in all I think I come out of it rather well. I did mention himself and herself a few times to ensure an easier life chez moi.

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Season's Greetings! Festive Good Wishes! Love from ASH

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Wild and Woolly

Busy old life - Open Days have been and gone - and I was only allowed to see the select few visitors who don't mind being bounced at. Otherwise I was next door with Lindsay's Mum, throwing a tantrum because all the fun was happening without me! Bah humbug.

However, H and L had a fine time talking to friends and new visitors, and selling goodies to them. Prints and originals both sold as did Lindsay's big collage in black and white that you can see on the wall in one of the photos. Jam and chutney and other edibles left by the basketful - thankfully, otherwise we might have drowned in the stuff. Hugh's fresh baked bread was a hit and now he wants to open a bakery!

After the weekend they abandoned me yet again to take pictures to a gallery an hour from here - I would have been more than happy to squeeze into the wee van with all those big fragile canvas panels and framed pictures but it was not to be. I don't think Lindsay has got over me removing one of her wee teddy bears from the 'shop' and nibbling its handspun jumper off, ever so delicately, as I lay in front of the stove one evening...

The weather here is grim - lashing rain and wind and lots of flooded fields (and garden). I've been out for a run and a paddle this morning and am now debating whether to stay in the kitchen where Hugh is making soup or in the living room beside the stove. Kitchen first, I think.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Madhouse Doghouse

At last, dear readers, I bring you an update from the sticks. The internet connection and I have not been seeing eye to eye for some time now and I fear the problems are not over yet. However, Blogger has graciously allowed me to post these pics to give you a little taster of what's been going on.

What do you think of Hugh's lovely duck? Sorry the image is dark - he's actually quite a bright white, and 70cm x 50cm and will be gracing the walls next weekend.

The first Wool Gathering, run by Lindsay, ably assisted by Cairi and catered for by Hugh, was a success. Twelve happy textilers gathered to spend a merry day dyeing yarns, learning about hand spinning, mastering knitting techniques and comparing creations. They repaired to The Workhouse for a fine homemade bread and soup and cheese type lunch so I got to meet them all too. The pic is some of the dyeing experiments steaming in front of the open fire in the Village Hall!

Lindsay's wee handspun and knit wristwarmer gloves are next down - destined for Christmas presents.

I have been forced to take refuge by the fire or in the path of any wayward ray of sunshine which manages to percolate through the grimy living room window. It's a lonely time of year for a dog because there's less interesting outsidey stuff going on and the arty types keep disappearing off to their respective garrets to create masterpieces for the impending OPEN WEEKEND (on 25th and 26th November)

Actually, to be fair, there's been a lot of kitchen activity too, since Lindsay likes to use a mountain of sugar and spice to create edible goodies to tempt next weekend's visitors. In fact, I think I hear the rattle of a saucepan. Must dash...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Risen from the Ashes

Hmmm, in the nick of time, I have been re-instated. She's still messed up her new blog but that's not my problem...


Her smartypants ladyship has only gone and updated me to Beta Blogger without so much as a by-your-leave and managed to lose my profile and overlay her new blog profile - Tart with a Heart.

She'd better get it sorted out v soon or heads will roll. If I disappear in a billow of blue smoke you know it was NOT MY FAULT!!!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Ravenous Hound

H and L had a late night. Clocks changed this morning. Result? I had to scratch a claw down the door to get them up to feed me breakfast. I was weak with hunger but made a speedy recovery and demanded back outside so that I could get on with a rather tasty bone I was bribed with yesterday.

The social whirl that is life in Chesters meant that this weekend's sleep patterns have been severely interrupted.. and worse, my space was invaded by another labrador OVERNIGHT!
A friend had been working not far from here and asked if he could stay overnight Friday ... but he didn't get here till 2.30 am Saturday! And he brought Lucy, my nemesis, his black labrador. And she got to sleep in the same room as him. And she played with my toys and had two biscuits from my personal supply. Bah humbug!

Yesterday started well with a walk in the woods but went steadily downhill as I was confined to barracks for a large part of the day. Admittedly the stove was on and I did eventually get the bone outside too. They were too preoccupied with the Harvest Supper at the village hall. Lindsay was barmaid for the evening and Hugh did some waiting on tables. The band were apparently pretty fine too. But it was another late night and the oldies cannot take the pace, hence my late breakfast.

Today the first fifteen of the table chickens are off to meet their maker, courtesy of a friendly gamekeeper who lives down the road. I think I will probably be banned from taking any active part, but perhaps I'll get a scrap of cooked chicken later in the week. These birdies are mostly already promised to people but a few have been reserved for H & L so they can find out if the expensive diet of mixed corn has been worth it.

The other pic today is Lindsay's yarns , now washed. She has been knitting dinky little wrist warmer gloves so they'll no doubt get displayed here soon.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Happy Picture

Yup, finally got the latest groovy picture photographed, and here it is in all its glory - It's about four and a half feet high so it packs a punch in our living room at present!

The weekend whizzed by in a flurry of garden duties and moving hens to pastures new. I did score for a few forest walks too so it has been a better than average few days.

And, it is rumoured that we are going out this afternoon, first to deliver pictures and then to my friend Jack's folks for dinner....where I will finally get to meet new four legged friends too - Eddie and Sam. At last, proper company!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Spinning Frenzy

It's not all jam round here, you know! The spinning wheel was dusted off (literally) and placed in front of the stove on a chilly Monday and Lindsay got on with some work to build up yarn stocks again. She's been making other stuff up in her garret but I cannot get up the ladder to see what it is. There has been some raucous singing along echoing down from there, though, so maybe it's as well I stayed on the ground floor.
Hugh has been persevering with drains, poor lad, but has also produced a lovely landscape which deserves a blog entry of its own (in other words, it ain't been photographed yet).

Friday, September 29, 2006

Monkey & Sofia

Now you may not have appreciated that a chocolate labrador would have an interest in knitting but today I have to tell you creative types out there about a new design book that is NOT going to be in all the shops - much better than that, you have to go sniff it out for yourself.

Maureen and Phil have produced this wee treat which you can see here
Lindsay, who is a privileged soul, has just received a copy hot off the press.

While I am at it I had better tell you about Wool Gatherings. Lindsay and her friend Cairi (a girl never without needles and yarn) are running a series of days for textile minded folks here in sunny Chesters. They'll have mini workshops, tasters in spinning and dyeing, yarn and fabric swap shops, help and advice on as many different textiley crafts as you can think of, a chance to share information and swap techniques and ideas, and coffee and homemade cake plus Hugh's wonderful soups at lunchtimes. The first one is on 5th November....

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Jamming again

The bountiful fruit harvest is still being converted by the jam and chutney queen. These dinky little crab apples smelled delicious - herself was taking photographs of them artfully spilled over a lovely patchwork textile when I thought a spot of quality control was called for.

The jam pan is full of plums and elderberries and I am fairly sure I saw a port bottle being tipped over the top later on in the cooking.

Yesterday was summer sunny and hot - here's the early morning sun through the willow hedge and the little russet apple tree. The grass got cut later

Today is autumn rain and clammy - no pictures as the job for the day involved drains... 'nuff said. I stayed indoors for that bit.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Butter Paws

Been trying to get my paws on these pics for days...I mean I KNOW how much you've all been dying to see them...

Anyway, Sunday dawned misty and chilly but I had the pleasure of rushing around the makeshift campsite in the half light, leaping at unsuspecting souls as they staggered from tents, and giving them a big smacker on the lips. Not my most popular move but worth the reprimand.

Back to the caravan for a quick breakfast before the action started. Off road vehicles of all shapes, sizes, colours, and ages rolled up to sign on for their big day. Drivers paid up their money, signed to say what good responsible souls they were, had a briefing from the Big Cheese and then headed off to explore the forests. Out there already were club members who were acting as marshals for the day, posted at different areas of the forest to guide and advise the participants...and in a few cases to tow them out when they got stuck!

Himself was Clerk of the Course so after everyone had signed in for the day, we set off into the forests ourselves, to make sure that all was well. It was grand fun, sitting in the middle seat of the Land Rover as we drove through the wonderful Borders landscape and climbed high up on to the moors. I discovered that wherever a few souls are gathered for an hour or two or three, they carelessly leave unguarded sandwiches and snacks as they stop to talk with one another.

We stopped often so I was out and about (on a lead, sadly), doing what any good sniffer dog does and lo, I stumbled over crusts and apple cores and at one point a full spilled packet of hula hoops. Never tried the things before but managed to get several mouthfuls down before I was rumbled.

It was a tiring day so I was not too upset when Lindsay whisked me home to my bed. I was oddly thirsty through the evening ..must have been the fresh air.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Heaven is not a caravan

Hello! So much to tell from last week's events
Well, it all got a bit tense and stressful (that word's there just for my friend Ross who tries to be firm with me -SIT DOWN, ASH! - but eventually gives in and lets me jump up anyway - he leads a VERY stressful life just by being Ross, really) anyway, the tempers were a bit frayed by the middle of last week as Hugh's great project built up to maximum velocity. He's been organising this great big (big for round these parts) off-road driving day called Wheels in the Woods in the forests north of here and had lots of worries about the Forestry Commission, the Scottish Off Road Club , the participants who were paying good money to do the event and, well, everything else under the sun that he could worry about, really.

He disappeared up to the venue on Friday morning complete with a borrowed caravan, a sleeping bag, lots of outdoor clothes and a substantial supply of bacon and coffee. Lindsay and I set off on Saturday afternoon to meet up with him and the other Club members who had been working away all day and I was introduced to the delights of caravanning. Hmmm.

Fortunately I was sustained by an early dinner before they pushed off and left me in the dark in the caravan and all I could hear was a party going on without me. However, when they re-appeared to crawl into sleeping bags for the night I did not seek petty revenge by howling, scrabbling or trying to get up onto the bench/bed thing even though it was infinitely softer than the floor. To tell you the truth I was a little weary myself having spent some of the evening harassing a black labrador called Lucy and being restrained from tipping a twelve week old spaniel called Mack upside down. Ho hum.

I still have still not got to the event itself, have I? I'll post about it tomorrow with some of Ross's classy photographs so you can see what it was all about.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Show Time

The annual village show took place last weekend - we borrowed a posh new tent for the teas and beers, there was funfair stuff and a plant stall, a book stall, a couple of craft work stalls all the 'guess the such and such and win it' things, children's races and vintage machinery - all this and it was still the 'littlest show on earth'! The sun shone, then it rained, then it dried up - basically we had a little bit of everything. Four Italian motorcyclists dropped in - and I dread to think what tales they are taking home.of the strange customs of rural Scotland.

Here's the dolly that herself made - it was won by a little girl who guessed her birthday correctly (4th August - same as yours waggily). The sweeties in the jar was won by one of the biggest kids there - our friend Ross who took lots of photographs on the day while his wife Jane sold her plants.

For example, here's Jane learning to drive Hugh's little grey Fergie tractor, under 'instruction' from himself, at the end of show. Nice backdrop, eh?

The final photo is a perfect one by Ross. This is Fergus's pram - he is latest addition to the village but was off taking some air at this point so not really an abandoned baby.

Although I missed the early part of the show as I was on house guarding duty, Hugh came to retrieve me so that I could do a lap of honour and meet my adoring public. Lindsay's crowning moment was beating her mother in the fruitcake class, although they were both outclassed by Fergus's mum, Linda.

Since then H & L have been to a parish barbecue, looked in on a coffee afternoon at the village hall, sneaked out for an Indian meal in the excellent restaurant in Jedburgh, and been to a much bigger show south of the border today. At least on this last one they took me too. They have also both been working, I hasten to add.

Hugh has been moving and raising fences at Thirlestane Castle where they hold big important horse trials (well, important if you are a horse or a horsey type - I don't care for the things myself, too flighty and scary kickers). Lindsay has been at work and been busy with the jam pan. She seems to have some sort of recurrent (redcurrant?!) addiction which runs for a few months from mid summer onwards. This weekend's efforts have been a rowan berry and apple jelly and a gooseberry jam - she tells me the rowan jelly is a stunning colour and Hugh thought it would make a good colour for brake lights - Hell, humans, what are they on?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Don't look now...but

This is going to be the blog entry where I master links to my e-pals

So, let's begin with the lovely Coco, at Muddy Red Shoes - where Sarah paints a mini masterpiece EVERY DAY as well as living a blooming lively life in Brittany. Coco is my chocolate labrador blog younger (but probably more sensible) sister!

Over in the US of A there's Jack who is an exotic Labrador - Rottweiler cross and lives with the talented TLC, illustrator extraordinare.

And today Chigger and Woody at Blogdogs introduced themselves. Woody likes my coloury text so I feel justified in making this a particularly virulent mixture.

There, now, I didn't do too badly.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Birthday was quieter than a girl might have hoped for but I didn't make a fuss or anything as childish as that... well, not that day. Thank you, folks, for the kind wishes.

Plenty going on hereabouts. Herself has made a rag doll for Guess the Dolly's Birthday for the great Southdean Show which is only just over a week away. She's already filled a jar very artfully with sweeties to rot small teeth and only she and I know how many are in there. Wonder who will guess right and make a dentist very happy.

Hugh was doing vital off-road work last weekend with his fellow Caberston Brothers - an 'in' joke among these tough macho 4 x 4 boys who had to dig themselves out of a minor 'incident' deep in a Borders forest - but all in the line of research, you understand. Meanwhile Lindsay was busy with the microwave, dyeing (and tie-dyeing) rainbows of yarn for her Easy Peasy Knitting kits.

Monday was a good family day, even though I was abandoned for part of it while they did unaccompanied walking. Hmmm, not a habit they should adopt. If you walk ten minutes up the hill from our house you get to look back at this view - we're pretty lucky folks to live round these parts.

More important recce work for Hugh and the boys coming up on Sunday while I think Lindsay will be being creative with a jam pan full of fruit and vinegary things, making some chutney to enter into one of the classes at the show. I'll ride shotgun for that one, looking out for escapees from the chopping board.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Just chillin'

I'm conserving my energy for what I am sure will be a great day tomorrow. I shall be TWO! (which is pretty damn grown up, by the way). I imagine there are bones and treats and extra walks planned, maybe a swim and a rabbit or two to chase.

However, there do seem to be a few other things happening round here so I am not the centre of attention presently. Hugh and I collected thirty little day old chicks this afternoon. These ones are not for egg laying but for the table, ultimately, so they will get spoilt with extra corn rations, I suppose. Meantime they are in luxurious accommodation in the shed with a red light on to keep them warm and chick crumbs to munch through ( and probably poo on, knowing hens).

All is not lost, though, as Lindsay baked a cake and flapjacks this evening - looks like a tea party may be on the cards. Best bit was, she cracked an egg and missed the bowl. The whole thing slid gracefully off the edge of the worktop and onto the floor within only a few feet of my bed. I did my duty and now there is not so much as a morsel left. Yum.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Just Rewards

Books were sold. Bone was bought (and devoured).

Friday, July 21, 2006


Well, I survived the weekend while H & L set forth into North Yorkshire to their favourite B&B at Beck Hole and took H's work to the Grosmont Gallery. They were roasted in the sunshine but enjoyed lots of walking and visits to the Birch Inn which consists of two titchy bars sandwiching a sweetie shop, thus catering for this pair perfectly. For example supper one night consisted of butties, jelly babies, two pots of tea and several pints - I'll leave it to you to work out who had what...

Pics are of Jasper, B&B dog, posing in the courtyard and Beck Hole from up t' hill.

My new kennels was pretty fine and I enjoyed walks and games with a ball in the garden - no great hardship, then, especially when mine host told H & L I was a 'wee cutie' and was welcome back any time!

Since we have all been back the garden has demanded a bit of attention. Loads of blackcurrants were converted into jelly (which didn't set, tee hee..) and jam (which set like a rock).

We're into 'village show' time of year hereabouts now and things are hotting up for the Southdean Show on 19th August. Lots of wee stalls are planned and herself is making a posh ragdoll for Guess the Doll's Birthday while himself will have to polish the tractor as it will be on display too. Presently, though, he's out with tractor and finger mower on the back, cutting small fields and paddocks around and about for neighbours.. with a big grin on his face!

For any knitters out there, Lindsay has just put one of her Alice Starmore books on ebay and the other one is going on tomorrow - tell your friends - sales can mean only one thing - a new bone or two!

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Well the dust has settled round here after a busy weekend. Despite being exiled next door, I was able to see lots of strangers in my garden as they did the grand tour, stopping to admire the sculptures and the willow trellis and the wee partly hidden bird's nest full of sweets before returning indoors for coffee and cake. Herself had been busy baking to tempt the masses and it went down too well for my liking - precious few leftovers.

On my return to the fold I could spot a few gaps where the prints of Hugh's pictures had been and one of Lindsay's swagbags was missing too. Cards definitely sold. As for the jams and chutneys - wiped out, clean shelf, all gone. Same with Hugh's freshly baked loaves.

I think they were tired but happy at the end of it all.

Rustic scenes here of gooseberries and strawberries just picked and an artistic pile of carrot thinnings.

Rumblings in the jungle .. they are off south with some paintings. I fear another kennels trip is imminent. I must step up the smooching and see how guilty I can get them to look....

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Panic Stations!

Only a few days to go until the 'Open Weekend' here at The Workhouse. The invitations are out, the posters are up and the artists are in a flap. Opening times are Sat and Sun, 8th and 9th July, from 12 till 6 and the sun is going to shine and everything will look lovely. That's the theory, folks. So the garden is weeded and tidied, the vegetables are standing to attention and some of the plants are even considering flowering for the occasion. The various welded sculptures (Stumpy Cockerel here is the latest) will be placed around the garden and there will be seats and benches in quiet corners.

Inside the house will be paintings and collages on the walls, bags, cushions and other bits and pieces artfully strewn about, and lots of cakes and lemonade and a little alcohol to help the day along!

I am moving next door for the afternoons where I will miss all the excitement but probably get fed tidbits by Lindsay's mother - a silver lining after all..

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Ain't no sunshine...

This weekend we had excellent weather for doing nothing but bask in the sun but if you don't have a fur coat round here, you have to 'get on with stuff'. It was mostly garden 'stuff' and they have made a good job of the old place. There's new sculptures by H everywhere you turn and herself spent some happy hours making a mini-beach. (Don't ask me why, she just thought this garden that is an hour inland needed to be in touch with its marine alter ego, or maybe she just had too many bits of driftwood and stones kicking about)

That�s Hot

That�s Hot

Herself found this site tonight and will probably be off on another flight of fancy having spotted the PlayDoh fragrance! What can I say? Give me a nice seasoned old piece of stick anyday

Monday, May 29, 2006


'Bitch and Ball'


'Eric the Scots Grey'

Community Spirit

A fairly green weekend, all in all - mainly due to the rain! Attached is a wee metal bird sculpture beside the sprouting willow trellis fence. Quite good for a wind-up these fences, as I squeeze myself through the gaps while herself has a canary, convinced I will uproot the whole construction....

Saturday night was a drama dinner over at the village hall, and it was a sellout! About sixty guests and the drama group all ate in the big hall, served up with dishes home-cooked by the hall committee, before the entertainment of the evening got underway in earnest. It was a really good night and a boost to both the hall and the Denholm Drama Group (who recently lost EVERYTHING in a school fire) - so I reckon there will be a similar event later in the year. Mind you, attention has been pretty scant these last few weeks while H & L have helped refurbish bits of the hall and then sort out for the big 'do'.Perhaps twice a year is enough or I shall begin to play up and be difficult (on second thoughts, maybe I will anyway, it's such fun to be bad and then do the big 'sorrrrrrrryyyy' eyes!)

L has been knitting up some of the hand dyed wool hanks. A single hank will yield a pair of baby bootees or a baby hat so she'll be packaging them up with patterns and getting them onto the website very soon.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Dog Days ll

A few pics from the weekend. The 'boys' all played with radio controlled Land Rovers but the young willows seem to withstand the crashes OK. I was excluded from their game but got them back later on when I went for a dip in the pond and then shook while in close proximity to various legs. Revenge is sweet.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Dog Days

Phew, it's been a busy weekend. Duties have been strenuous but I have not strayed from my role as leader of the pack (well, if you discount the temporary aberration when I sniffed out a fox den and became curiously deaf simulataneously). Yesterday I spent navigating a cross-border route into Northumberland from the centre seat in the Land Rover. This incorporated an impressive ford crossing which I suggested we went back and examined on foot. Just as I suspected there were yet more fascinating smells to check at the water's edge and some muddy water to paddle through too.

Onwards to Alnmouth where I was placated with biscuits while the greedy twosome went off to find a coffee shop for a birthday (his) snack or three. Then it was back down the green lane and through the ford again, just because we could, really. Abandoned again in Alnwick before the trip north. Fortunately this involved an outing and some more paddling at Yetholm. I was relegated to the rear of the vehicle thereafter which seemed a little harsh...

Today was party day here at Chesters, with some old friends and some new. There was one of those baby things in the gathering but he just seemed to eat and sleep so he's OK by me. (I have always found it a sound maxim to live by and he must be learning early.) There was a lot of eating and laughing and some present unwrapping that I was not invited to participate in but I have a new friend called Jack who played a lot of foot-and-mouth-ball with me in the garden and one called Robbie who later helped me round up hens in the garden.

I have only energy left to post this before retiring to my beanbag for the rest of the evening. A girl needs her beauty sleep, for goodness' sake..........zzzzz

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Holiday snaps (l)

Home to roost

Blimey! Time I updated you all on life in the chilly Borders. Well, as suspected, I was driven off to kennels and abandoned for a week.
To be honest, thought, I had a pretty fine time. En-suite heated room and access to a run where I could see everything that was going on with the other hounds. Some of them looked a bit scary on first sight, even to a bitch of my fine breeding, but the family of three German Shepherds turned out to be lovely boys and the Dalmation couple on the opposite side of the square were not as stuck up as I had feared. Anyway, the staff were lovely, made a fuss of me and walked me three times a day so all in all I had rather an enjoyable time. Didn't want to let on, obviously, when H & L came to retrieve me on Sunday but I think they sussed that I thought the place was pretty fine.

The arty couple clocked up a lot of miles in a week since they went to Devon, then up to the Welsh coast and to Herefordshire before heading home. Plenty of pics were taken so I shall include a few for your delight.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Just desserts

Red Letter Day? I'm not so sure. Easter and I finally make it into print. The Sunday Herald Magazine to be precise, two page spread, mostly of the house and garden and arty stuff and some unfortunate pics of H & L. Lindsay scowling and Hugh posing awkwardly with brushes and paint spattered shirt. My pic is the first one on the page and I am looking rather regal, I think, beside the spinning wheel and a landscape of Hugh's (close-up section in here somewhere).

It's been an interesting week - the arty pair took lots of work to Thirlestane Castle to hang on the walls of the tearoom for the season, H helped to hang an exhibition of work by Bernat Klein. chopped up a cherry tree, dug over a raised bed ready for pea seedlings, Lindsay's been dyeing wool in the microwave - that's what the pictures that look like pizzas are, plus a shot of hanks drying in the sun, and two of L's paintings with gold leaf and suchlike on them.

More mutterings about kennels again - I think they are scheming to go down south at the end of next week. Spare a thought for me, please, in my poor lonely little cell while they drive off without a backward glance..........ho hum, it's a dog's life.