The Small Dog Introduces Henry…

Watch out tonight for the first part of Henry’s story…

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Ani, the Small Dog would like to introduce Henry, from Westley Piddle… and muttwits.com.

Henry is a gentle giant with a problem… the vet.

Starting here at 9pm (GMT) tomorrow, follow Henry’s story as he faces a fate no self-respecting Mastiff should face…

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IndieAni Bones and the Ent

A couple of years ago, my two-legses got together for the Winter Solstice, which was nice. It didn’t mean presents… unless you count my share of their cheese, ham and salmon… but it did mean I got to go on an adventure with them again! They were a bit sneaky about it this time… she packed my bag with water and stuff while he took me out for a walk in the fields. So, I didn’t even know I was going until they opened the car and told me to get in! She’d come across something, doing her rummaging on the ‘puter, so they decided to go and take a look.

I managed not to sing too loudly in the back seat this time… but every time they slowed the car, I was hoping we were there. It wasn’t long, though, and we went into a wood that smelled awesome with all the mud and leaves and stuff. ‘Specially as loads of dogs seem to go there too! She said it was s’pposed to be difficult to find, this thing, but soon she laughed and said, “I think I might have found it…”. It was, after all, a bit too big to miss…

In a neat little enclosure in the corner of the wood, we found the Ent. Now, being what you might call a literary dog, this was not the kind of Ent I was expecting, but it was a big fellow. The stones are in a village called ‘Enstone’ which some people think comes from ‘Enna’s stone’, which just means a ‘boundary stone of a man called Enna’, and she sighs and says ‘they’ always say that about names ‘they’ don’t understand. She says that another possibility is that the words ‘ent’ and ‘stan’ literally mean giant stone. I like that better.

The other name for them is the Hoar Stones and there are a lot of places with this name. She read that they might be called after ‘the Great Goddess Hoeur’… but she can’t find anything else about Her, apart from the fact that She was one aspect of the Goddess in the ancient land. But she keeps finding Her name in odd places, so she’s keeping that in mind and hoping someone might know…

The stones are all that remains of a portal dolmen, built as houses of the dead, between four and a half and five and a half thousand years ago. Standing stones, one of them nearly ten feet tall, formed a chamber, roofed with a huge capstone, whose broken remains lay nearby. According to antiquarian reports and sketches, and the evidence of similar sites elsewhere in the country, the stones were almost certainly once buried beneath a mound of earth.

They let me do a bit of ‘vestigating, cause, after all, I have the nose for it. The stones reminded me of those at Rollright, all pitted and scarred… oolitic limestone she had called it there. Only three of the main stones are standing now, and one of them is broken, but I found a load of others half-buried.

The place has a real presence and the stones want to whisper to you. One tale in the village is that they are an old man and his dog turned to stone… though no-one knows why. A lot of the old circles and stones were, according to folktales, once people before they were petrified. I think I’d be petrified too if I met a dog that size!

Another story tells how the stones come down to the stream to drink… you get that a lot too. The most interesting thing about the stories though, is the one told by an old gaffer who said that the stones were the burial place of a king, ancient before the Romans came, whose body had been carried from Ditchley, along a path called Dead King’s Rise or Dead Man’s Riding. Oddly, with all this talk of travel, there are two leys meeting at the stones… and it may be these that are being remembered in the old stories.

Not a bad way to celebrate the Solstice! I didn’t want to leave, but they said we would have to come back on a warmer day… and that anyway, we still had some more stone-hunting to do 🙂

Hot dogs

Moving in slow motion,
Reluctant effort spawning sleep
Before midday.
Soporific humming
Through open windows
Signals summer.
Only the flies are happy,
Making friends with flesh
Ensuring wakefulness.
Cloistered madness yawns,
Stretching fur-clad limbs
This is the time
For tennis balls
And Hot Dogs…

dawg 003

It is officially summer in the northern hemisphere. In England, the weather forecasters are predicting a heatwave. Every year many dogs die from heatstroke. They cannot regulate their body temperature in the same way a human can. Even just a ‘warm’ day can prove fatal… a parked car with an interior temperature of 22° C (71.6° F) may rise to 47° C ( 116.6° F) within an hour. Even with ventilation, dogs suffer and die.

It isn’t just dogs at risk. Protect your pets.

More info at the RSPCA website by clicking this link.

Image source
Image source

IndieAni Bones and the Whiteleaf Cross

One Sunday morning, I woke up to rain and grey clouds. My suggestion that I take the visiting ball-guy for a nice walk while she went to work was vetoed, but by the time she came back, so had summer. The sun was shining, the day was getting hotter, even if it was blowing a gale… so when we had eaten their lunch and she asked if I was ready to go on another adventure, I jumped at the chance!

We didn’t have all that far to drive this time, ’cause they were taking me somewhere they had been before… Whiteleaf Cross, up on the Ridgeway. She talked about it a bit (and about me!) in the podcast she did the other day. It wasn’t long before we were parked and heading into the woods.

I like woods… there are lots of new smells to ‘vestigate, and with it being late in the year, loads of crispy leaves on the ground to run through and crunch. There were lots of other dogs too, so they kept me on the leash a bit longer than they needed… just in case the other dogs weren’t all that friendly.

Now, I have to mention that leash, even though they soon let me off. The last one was nice and soft. Easy to bite my way out of. Try crunching this one and you’ll break your teeth, ’cause it is made out of chain. Sneaky. Not, I hasten to add, that they have made me wear one of those mean and horrible choker things… or even worse, one of those vicious things with spikes inside… it is just unchewable and much shorter than my favourite leash! She says it serves me right for biting through the last one, but that she’s got me a new long one too.

Anyway, we headed through the trees to a gate on what they told me was the Ridgeway. Now, I didn’t know its name, but I know about these ancient tracks that go across the country. You two-legses have used this one for about five thousand years and it still goes for nearly ninety miles… even though you have built your cities in its path. It used to be around four hundred miles coast to coast, from the south-west to Norfolk in the east… but some of it still remains and all along its route there are ancient and sacred sites.

Aerial image: Geograph ~ Chris

We had come to see Whiteleaf Cross, a huge chalk figure cut into the hillside. She says it is over three hundred feet tall and no-one really knows how old it is. It might only be a few hundred years old, but it could have been made much earlier, then changed into something less pagan-looking, she told me, but she wouldn’t tell me what she thought it might have symbolised before it became a cross…

But the Cross isn’t the only thing to see. There is a dyke as well, that goes right back to the earliest times… and trenches that only go back a hundred years where soldiers trained for the trench warfare of WWI.

There are barrows just above the Cross too… ancient burial mounds. Only one of them still really looks like a mound, and when it was excavated a Neolithic burial was found inside… a man with worn teeth, abscesses and arthritis so he was probably quite old for his time. There was a child’s cremation buried in there too, much later in the Bronze Age, and they found bits of Roman stuff as well, so it has always been an important place.

And there were other things that interested me ‘specially… like motorbikes and horses. ‘Course, they didn’t think I should be off the leash with them around… which was good in the end, ’cause the ball-guy took me off exploring till they had gone.

I had a nap in the car and was ready with the ball as soon as we got in, but between the hills and the wind, I had quite worn them out by the time we got home. No stamina these two-legses!

Still, I won’t complain… we had a lovely day and I quite enjoyed their dinner too.

Wonder where they’ll take me exploring next?

Much love,

Ani xxx

IndieAni Bones and the Chambered Tomb

If I thought the first part of the adventure had taken ages, the next bit seemed to take even longer. She says it didn’t, and that I was just getting a bit excited… but I don’t know so much. The little, winding roads take longer, especially when you don’t know where you are going! But ‘ventually, we parked up in some trees and they let me out.

It had been touch and go. The ball guy had put my leash on a few minutes before we arrived, so he could let me out faster… and I forgot myself. I hold up my paw… the excitement was just too much and I bit clean through the leash. Still, it had been a long one, so they managed, even if it did mean I couldn’t explore quite as well. Except, once they showed me how to get through the funny kissing gate thing, and made sure there were no chaseable things in the fields, they took the leash off and let me run 🙂

We were a long way up the hills by the time they stopped to let me have another drink. I tried to excavate my way into the bag they’d brought with them, but they still didn’t get the message. Well, she wouldn’t, ’cause she didn’t know… and the ball-guy had forgotten that he’d packed my special tennis ball in there. I’m not sure it qualifies as archaeology exactly, but it is a bit ancient these days… still, it is the one I love and I knew it was there!

It is a bit weird this ‘knowing’ business. You might say I could smell it, and, given a few of the places it has been over the years, that is prob’bly true. But I wonder how much they ‘know’ by using all the senses you two-legses pretty much ignore these days? You can learn a lot from the world just by feeling it… and almost as much comes in unawares, if you are just open to it. But, two-legses are weird anyway… and mine more than most!

Anyway, we went through this tunnel of trees and finally came to another of those gates. I knew how to work them now, but blow me down if they didn’t expect me to climb over walls next! I soon had that sorted though, and we came out into a walled enclosure with a huge mound to explore, about 178 feet long, 60 feet wide and nearly 14 feet high, she told me.

They said the place was called Belas Knap, and I think they were almost as excited as me to finally be there. ‘Knap’ means the top or crest of a hill in Old English, and ‘Belas’ might mean beautiful, if it comes from Latin, though why it should come from a different language, I don’t know. I think it works better if it comes from the same language as its people… and their descendants, we know, had a god called Belenos, the ‘shining one’. Beltane was named for him, ’cause he was a sun god and rode his chariot across the sky… and I think ‘shining’ sort of fits, especially with the pale stone of the dry stone walls catching the light on the mound.

They told me that a small circle of stones was the first thing built, and that is still buried right at the heart of the barrow. The mound was later raised over it, and the bones that were found there show that they belonged to people who died about five thousand seven hundred years ago. The portal of three standing stones, infilled with walling, was never really an entrance. Maybe it was to stop uninvited tomb raiders, or maybe it was a spirit door to let the dead pass between the worlds.

The mound makes horns around the doorway, giving a small lawn that might have been used for rituals. It must have been seen as a very special place, though, because the skeletons of a young man and four children were buried there, along with flint flakes and animal bones that could have been offerings. Once again I was told that any bones were out of bounds…

Belas Knap: copyright English Heritage

From the sky, they said the whole mound looks like an axe-head. They had seen something similar in several places before and wonder how that relates to the ceremonial axes that were traded throughout Europe. Or maybe it is a womb… a place where the dead can be reborn…

From the ground, it is a strange place, as the burial chambers are all on the sides of the mound. We walked first around to the far end, where the chamber is open to the sky, almost as if it continues the passage made for the spirits to enter and exit the mound as they had their lives. The two-legses sat here a while, talking about birthing and rebirthing, until the people had all gone and we had the place to ourselves.

There were human skull fragments found in this bit. My two-legses have this odd habit of having their meals with the dead, and I don’t mind if there are things flitting about half-unseen either, so I got more water and some treats…including half of their lunch…

Then, when it was quiet, we went exploring. The whole place is ringed by a ditch, which would probably have been deeper long ago.

We went to the northwest chamber first. Fourteen skeletons were found in this chamber, which was once sealed. They were all ages, from child to adult and two of them, a woman and a child, showed they had died from horrific head wounds. The people who built the mound were probably herding, hunting and farming. Were the wounds from a raid or an accident?

There is no trace of any sinister feeling. These places almost always feel welcoming, as if they were built so that the ancestors could still be visited and talked with. It has a stone worn smooth as if it had been a seat for centuries and they said they immediately felt ‘plugged in’ when they sat there.

I really liked this place, and so did they. My two seemed to think that the stone seat might have been for asking for the ancestor’s advice. I just felt at home, so we settled down to meditate for a while and get a feel for the place.

There were two girls who stuck their heads in the chamber. They didn’t seem to see us, so I went out to ‘vestigate. One of them said hello to me, but they seemed to want to leave in a hurry when my two called me back from in the shadows…

On the opposite side of the mound there is another chamber. There were a lot of squeaks when she stuck her head in there and saw the standing stones and the way the shadows lit up.

She wouldn’t let me dig in there, though I wanted to. She said it had already been done and that a dozen skeletons had been found there, one of them seated. She wondered whether the seated ancestor was the one you talked to from the other seat…

I was happy in there too. Granted, I like my sofa and the stones that have been put down to protect the floor are a bit rough, but I could see exactly why they wanted to stay there all night…

The stones were a bit of a problem for her at the last chamber, which is no more than a crawl space. Even I had to duck to get in there, but if you do manage to get in, and she half did, you can see where there is a side chamber with a blocking stone.

The bones of two men and two women were found here, with flint, animal bones and pottery. It is almost like a private vault and she wondered about the people who had been laid to rest in there…

I really didn’t want to leave and neither did they, but it was going to be a long drive back and no stopping for church-raiding either… just the odd stop for me.

Still, if I promise not to eat my leash again, and try not to squeak with excitement quite so much, maybe they will take me on another adventure soon?

I am pretty sure that I could help them learn about these places. I hope so… I had a wonderful day!

You never know, I might make it into one of their books again…

Much love,

Ani xxx

IndieAni Bones, all the King’s Men and the Fairies

“In you go, girlie,” she says, holding the car door open. “We’re going on another adventure!” Well, it was a while ago now, but I remember it as clear as day. She put my seat belt on and told me to settle down as it was a long drive. No chance of that! Normally, when I go in the car, it means I am going to see my friends but we were going the wrong way, so adventures, here I come! But we were driving for ages… though she said it wasn’t all that far. I admit, I got a bit excited. “Oho,” says the ball-guy. “Two of them squeaking now…” Apparently, she squeaks when she gets excited too. Especially when there are stones. And, when we finally got there… there were lots of stones. I couldn’t wait to get out!

“Rollright,” she told me. Now, I know a bit about Rollright, ‘cause the ball-guy had been reading a book called ‘The Old Sod,’ which I thought was about her, but he said not. It is by Alan Richardson, and ‘pparently, it’s about William Gray, and he’d had some strange and wonderful visions at the stone circle. I remember her telling me that she did too, so I’d found out a bit about the place.

First, we went to look out over the village of Long Compton, where a witch told a king that if he took seven long strides and could see the village, he would be King of England. The rise in the land stopped him and he failed the test. He was turned to stone and became the King Stone, while some of his men became the Whispering Knights.

Well, that’s a good story, and no doubt those two would be talking about ‘seven league boots’ again, but the King Stone is much younger than the rest of the site. It has only been standing there for about three and a half thousand years, but the Whispering Knights and the circle are much older than that! I had a look at the barrow that’s there too and that goes back about four thousand years. There are a lot of ancient burials and cremations around the stones, including those of children, but one chamber in the cairn has never been excavated… so who knows what still lies within? They wouldn’t let me dog though to find out…

She keeps telling me that any bones I find on adventures are not to be chewed. As if I was thinking about bones! They had brought a bowl and plenty of water for me and treats and ham and stuff, but I was way too excited to eat! I don’t often get to go on these long adventures and I wanted to make the most of it.

So, we saw the King Stone and I paid my respects. I also met a Labrador… and I did not dematerialise out of my harness to go speak to him, whatever she may say. I just have a Houdini streak and she said there were too many dogs and people to let me off the leash. Well… what did she expect me to do?

Then we walked down to the Whispering Knights. The stones lean together like people bending to hear each other, but they are all that remains of a dolmen, a burial chamber where a huge capstone is balanced on top of upright stones. The dolmen is nearly six thousand years old and the oldest part of the site.

From here you can see the stone circle that most people come to see and that was our last stop. The circle is also called the King’s Men and is supposed to be the army of the king who was turned to stone. They still get together though, some nights, and wander down to Long Compton to drink, or so the stories say.

The stones are really interesting… full of shapes and forms, and full of holes. They wouldn’t let me go inside, though. ‘No dogs allowed in the circle’, they said… but it was okay for two-legses to climb on the stones, even though they have been there for four and a half thousand years. My two-legses were not at all happy about that.

So, they walked me around the outside of the stones, so I could feel them for myself. I do love these places! We dogs have the Long Remembering of our kind, passed from dam to pup. Maybe these old stones hold the memory of your kind, in case you forget who you are.

There was one last thing to see… a sculpture of the Three Fairies, made from woven willow, ivy, lime and hazel. She says it was made by Adam and David Gosling, and inspired by a painting by William Blake. The sculpture stands here because the fairies come out of the hill below the King Stone at night, to dance amongst the stones. I bet they would have let me in…

Then they took me back to the car. I didn’t really want to go home as I was loving my adventure!

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“Don’t worry, girlie,” she says. “The adventure is not over yet.”

Well, I perked up at that and got in the car, good as gold. “We’re taking you somewhere else now…” And ‘pparently, it was somewhere even they had never been!

Whoo hoo!

Much love,

Ani xxx

The Small Dog is A-mused

Be an artist’s muse

Centre of the universe

Captured forever

In mischief or mystery

By a painter’s perception

 

My picture was kindly drawn by Zozo of Muttwits.com where you can find some great canine stories, beautifully illustrated… and the occasional cat.

Tanka for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday

 

The Small Dog’s moral judgement…

My two-legs came home soggy though it’s pretty hot outside.

She must have gotten really wet or else she would have dried.

I asked her what had happened to land her in such a state…

“A fish!” she said… I wondered just what she’d had on her plate!

*

“The sturgeon!” she informed me, and I thought she’d lost the plot.

I felt the laughter rising but I thought I’d better not…

Because I know the sturgeon and the plate where he’d belong

Would have to be a BIG one and at least a metre long!

*

But would she really eat him? After all, he is a friend…

I’d hate to see our friendship come to such a sticky end!

“Oh, don’t be daft, my girlie, he just got me with his tail…

And I’m as wet as if someone had drenched me with a pail!”

*

Now, ‘pparently the pond had needed cleaning once again

And Envy (that’s the sturgeon) had become an awful pain…

Because my boy hand-feeds him every day for lunch and dinner,

When Envy saw a two-legs he thought he was on a winner.

*

But he was out of luck because my two-legs didn’t heed him…

He got a little stroppy when she didn’t rush to feed him.

So, when she bent across the pond, he lined up nice to get her

Then flapped his tail so viciously he couldn’t help but wet her!

*

It seems my boy had found this so much fun that he was laughing,

And made a joke or two about her novel way of bathing…

But Envy, waiting for his food, came up out of the blue

And with a hefty swipe of tail had soaked my boy all through!

*

When she’d explained, all damp and smelling mightily of pond,

I polished up my halo, with a message from Beyond,

“Oh, writer, this is Karma, there’s no need to sulk and brood…

Just never keep a fish (or dog) a-waiting for their food!”

*

IndieAni Bones ~ Going to waste…

We were not far from the Oxfordshire village of Stanton Harcourt. They had stopped the car and we had set off walking through this huge landfill and waste site, with loads of good smells. Frankly, I’d have been happy with that for a day out! But they seemed to be going somewhere…

It had taken ages to get there too, and I may have had a few complaints about my ‘singing’ and asking ‘are we there yet?’ But, between questions, I had listened to what they were saying. We were going to a stone circle. It seemed they had their doubts about what we were going to find though.

It was the word ‘reconstructed’ that was causing them to worry. They explained that where ancient sites are concerned, that can mean anything from standing up a fallen stone to what they called ‘the complete ruination of the spirit of the place by overzealous and underinformed developers’. And anyway, they said, it probably wasn’t going to be much of a stone circle… it is not exactly well-known. They expected little… I was just happy to be on an adventure… and we could not have been more wrong if we’d tried.

Aerial view of the henge monument and stone circle from Google maps.

Emerging from the tunnel of leafy shade, we were confronted by a huge open space, enclosed by the almost-circular banks and ditches, with entrances almost due east and west. They told me that the earth banks like that are called a henge… and sometimes they have stones inside. Within this henge, an almost-complete stone circle left their mouths dangling open. With the grasses and plants, it was as if, somehow, the tree-lined tunnel had been a wormhole that had led us back through time. Dogs have no problem with that, but two-legses seem to get a bit wobbly when that happens.

As usual, they hadn’t done much research beforehand. Just a bit of history and a few legends. The site, which they said was one of the seven largest circles in mainland Britain, seemed too big to see except in bits. She said it is about four hundred feet in diameter… I just thought it was a brilliant place for a proper adventure!

She told me that the site goes back five thousand years to the Neolithic period. There were originally thirty-six standing stones. Now there are only twenty-eight in the circle plus the other one that is set at an angle, like the gnomon on a sundial, just outside the southern quarter. Within the circle, she said there had once been wooden posts, like the ones at Woodhenge, and I found what looked like a burial cyst where I had a good sniff… until they broke out my drinking water.

She told me a bit about its history too. The site was damaged by ploughing in Roman and medieval times, she said, so that when John Aubrey visited the Quoits in the seventeenth century, the damage was already done. Even so, he wrote in his Monumenta Brittanica, that the “east stone is nine foot high: and as much broad: half a yard thick. The west stone is eight foot high and about six foot broad, half a yard thick.”

During WWII, the site was almost wiped out by runways and then gravel extraction completed its ruin. Thankfully, she said, excellent surveys and archaeological work had been done and it looks as if the entire area is littered with the remains of ancient burial mounds and what she called a cursus… a connecting processional route.

They were well impressed by the henge… the circular banks and ditches… which would have been visible from the Ridgeway, the five-thousand-year-old trackway over the hills. The henge has been partially excavated and reinstated, so you can see what it would have looked like… but only as it would have been nearly three thousand years after its construction. The banks are nowhere near as high as they were to start with and the ditches are only half as deep as they would have been. This, she said, is to preserve the archaeology that still lies buried beneath the grass and earth. The rabbits, I noticed, take no such care and are busily excavating buried treasures.

Almost straight away, I found a bone. It was big enough to be human, light enough to have been there a very long time and looked like part of a large joint. Both human and animal bones from the time of its digging have been found in the ditch, she says, and, although she said my bit was probably just a lump of sheep or something, she took it off me anyway, which I thought was a bit mean. Before she put it back in place, she went all funny, though, holding it in her hand, as if it was taking her back to another time, long, long ago, and the people who first knew this place as sacred.

There were other ‘artefacts’ too… which she said were just as dodgy, but equally important. Pieces of flint, sharp enough to cut, were all over the ditch where the rabbits had been digging. Even though the best of them was probably just a bit of random gravel, she said, you could see and feel in its edges how their earliest ancestors discovered the very first tools of stone.

One flake of flint fit comfortably between her thumb and fingers as if it had been shaped to do so and she said that its sharp edges would have been perfect for scraping hides. One curved edge looked as if it had been worked, she said, though I thought it was probably an accident of nature. It was really sharp and, like my teeth, the perfect size and shape for stripping meat from ribs. I found rib bones too. But every time I found bones they called me away…

They were impressed by how the circle had been rebuilt, though, between 2002 and 2008. The original stones that were on-site, or found during excavation, have been put back in their sockets. The missing stones have been replaced, in their correct positions, with stones of similar appearance and composition. They said that whoever was responsible for choosing them either had a natural sense of ‘rightness’, an extensive knowledge of other stone circles or they were guided in their choice. I don’t know about that, but to me, the circle just feels alive.

Apart from the newness that weathering will soften, they said the stones could have been original. Looking at individual stones, they were going round naming the circles in which they have seen almost identical shapes… and almost all the stones have the half-formed faces they have come to expect.

In spite of the heat and the fact that I had already drunk all my water and had started on theirs, we were in no hurry to leave. Reconstructed or not, they said that this may well be the best circle they have seen for getting a true impression of the size, scale and ‘feel’ of these ancient and sacred places. Coming out of the trees to find it laid out in front of them seemed to be a good ‘reveal’, ’cause they had both been squeaking!

As we sat in the circle, they told me some good stories about how it was made, though they said that they obviously date from the Christian era. Legend says that the Devil was playing quoits on a Sunday and got into trouble with God for playing games on the Sabbath. The Devil threw his toys all over in a temper and made the monument. Another version says that the Devil challenged a beggar to a game of quoits on Wytham Hill… with the stake being the beggar’s soul. The Devil won when he threw the stones of the Quoit.

Yet another old story that they told me reinforces the need to treat these ancient places and their stones with respect. Farmers took one of the stones to build a bridge across a stream, the Black Ditch. No matter what they tried, though, the stone kept slipping and the bridge would not stand… so it was returned to the circle.

They told me that we are lucky to have this stone circle. Over the years, through necessity, industry, neglect or disrespect, it has suffered more than most. But, in a few years time, when the sharp edges of the stones have softened, the bare earth is once again green and the young trees have matured, they believe that it will be a jewel once more and far better known than it is today. For now, though, although it is still a bit of a rough diamond, it is once again a place of peace and power… and a place to which I hope we will return.

Much love,

Ani xxx

IndieAni Bones ~ The Small Dog does archaeology

When we are all allowed to go out and play together, my two-legses sometimes let me share their adventures. It depends if there are going to be sheep and stuff. Not that I mind sheep… much… but ‘pparently, the sheep aren’t always happy to share their fields. She says it’s because they think I’m a wolf or something. Daft things.

So, on this partic’lar day, I’d been promised an Adventure… and although I wasn’t quite sure what that meant, it sounded even more fun that sharing their lunch. It took me a while to get ’em moving. The sunniest of days and they were just sitting there. Okay, it was hot and there was cheese, so p’rhaps they could be forgiven. As long as they shared.

When they got the harness out, I thought we were just going for a walk. I may have got a bit excited… just by way of encouraging them, you know. It’s ages since they’ve both been out in the fields with me. But instead of heading down the street, they took me to the car and fastened me in the back seat. Now, I’d best explain… normally when I get in a car, it means they are going on Adventures and I get to go and stay with my friends. I thought that’s where we were going.

Maybe she didn’t realise? Or got distracted… they talk a lot, you know… but she went the wrong way!

Oho, I thinks to myself, maybe I should mention it? But every time I tried to talk to them, they just shushed me. Maybe we were going the right way after all… and on a proper Adventure? She kept slowing down, and I kept thinking we were there… wherever ‘there’ was. I got a bit excited when we went slow and still she kept driving. For ages. I kept my nose as close to the open window as my seat-belt thingy would allow… and we ended up in a place with so many interesting smells I could barely wait to get out of the car.

“It’s a landfill… a waste site,” she said. I couldn’t for the life of me think why she would want to drive all that way to go to a dump! I didn’t mind though. There were smells of all kinds, everywhere. I just didn’t think they’d appreciate them properly. I’m not even sure they noticed… in fact, the waste was wasted on them…

Mind you, it was sort of buried or something. I could smell loads of fresh earth and lots of water! They wouldn’t let me near it though, which I thought was a bit mean. It was all fenced but I could have climbed through, but she said she didn’t fancy having to go swimming. Person’ly, I think she was just too busy chasing butterflies and squeaking at little dragon-thingys and flowers.

So we just walked a bit, down this path like a tunnel in the trees, until we came out into this huge field…. then they both squeaked! They were nearly jumping up and down for some reason…

Mind you, I got a bit excited myself then, ’cause they let me off the leash and there were loads of things to ‘vestigate! Hundreds of rabbit holes! Even she got excited about them and went round looking in all the little door-holes and picking stuff up to look at. I thought it was us dogs that went looking for bones… Mind, she is a bit weird, even for a two-legs…

“You never know what they might have dug up,” she said. I left her there, still squeaking and grubbing around in the earth. Odd though, when we sat down in the middle, she wouldn’t let me dig. At least she’d brought loads of water, ’causeI was hot by then, as I’d been off for a run… just getting my bearings and getting to know the stones.

Oh yes, I forgot to tell you….they called it a stone circle and she says I was s’posed to tell you about it. But I guess that will have to wait a bit now. She says it’s a good one. With a henge…

So, I’ve decided I like Adventures and I’m hoping they’ll take me on some more. They said that if I’m good they’ll take me more often… but you know, their definition of words can be a bit different from mine.

Just being good might be an Adventure in itself 😉

Much love,

Ani xxx

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