Archive for category Pets

Hartland Abbey Daffodil Weekend and Mothering Sunday


Hartland Abbey in Bideford, North Devon is hosting a daffodil weekendthis weekend, just in time for Mothering Sunday! This is a beautiful place to visit for a day out with the family. The area is filled with a historic collection of daffodils, many planted 150 years ago. You don’t have to be a daffodil enthusiast to enjoy the day however, as there are lots more varieties of flowers grouped around the grounds, including  camellias, hellebores, early spring bulbs, mimosas and lovely wild primroses and violets. The Abbey holds many wild flower days throughout the year, which has proved very popular with visitors.

Many parts of the estate which are normally closed to the public will be open this weekend, with the opportunity to walk along to Blackpool Mill, which fans of the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s ‘Sense and Sensibility’ will recognise as ‘Barton Cottage’.

Dog owners will be pleased as this is a dog friendly place to visit, where literally hundreds were walked by their owners at last year’s daffodil weekend. Visitors are advised to bring wellies in case the British weather decides to turn, but hopefully this won’t dampen the mood during the Family Treasure Hunt!

Warming hot pasties, light lunches and really good home made cream teas will be provided by the wonderful ladies of St. Nectan’s with all the profits going to the beautiful church.

Tickets are £4 for adults, and £1 for children over 5.

 The Abbey itself will be open between 12 –4pm which will incur a small extra charge if you would like to look inside.

 Hartland Abbey daffodils

(Photos from the Hartland Abbey website)

Finding someone to look after your pet when you’re on holiday



Business ideas site Springwise has located this really interesting-looking service that helps you find someone nearby to look after your pet while you’re away.

It looks like the idea is to actually find fellow dog-owners who will look after your canine friend while you’re on holiday. You then return the favour when they go away. It’s a simple idea — so simple that I’m surprised nobody’s thought of it before!

The emphasis seems to be on building up a relationship with the person looking after your dog — so that you know your pet’s in good hands. It sounds a lot cheaper — and potentially more pleasant for the dog — than dog kennels. Of course the other alternative, taking your dog away with you, is also worth looking at, especially for UK holidays, as long as you can find a good dog-friendly cottage to stay in!



Charlie the dog: Munsterlander?


Or spaniel/collie cross?

In the latest edition of Holiday Cottages I’ve written about a ‘walking cure’ for Charlie, my dog – you can read the full article in the holiday cottages online magazine, or in a web version on the holiday cottages website.

Charlie, who came to us as a rescue dog three years ago, had begun to behave a little strangely. He’d started to develop obsessions: most notably, a passion for table legs – he’d lick and lick them for hours on end, ignoring everyone and everything. It was very weird behaviour!

“Oh, he must have collie in him” people would say. “They’re obsessive.” We wondered if he did. In the piece, I describe him as a “cheerful bouncy mix of spaniel, collie and possibly boxer” but some people tell me that he’s actually a Munsterlander.

Anyway, as you might have read, we took him on a cottage holiday (Wringworthy Cottages, at Morval, near Looe in south east Cornwall) where we did lots of walking along the coast path and gave him plenty of TLC, hoping that we’d manage to get him back to the well-balanced and intelligent dog he’d once been. And it worked. By the end of the holiday, he was calm and playful and pretty much back to his old self.

Owners are more relaxed and their dogs benefit from the extra time and attention they get on a holiday in the countryside. And so I’d definitely recommend that you get away with your dog – mad or not – as often as you can, even if it’s just for a few days.

Now I’ve brought the episode of Charlie’s odd behaviour into the open, I wonder if anyone out there has any theories about: a) why he went a bit loopy and: b) whether he’s a munsterlander or a collie cross (with perhaps a bit of boxer thrown in).