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Tag: golden retrievers

Golden moments

Welcome to my Blog

It’s my bespoke stomping ground in the Intermatrix. You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by…

This time, Retrieve this… As a gentle warning, if you don’t like dogs (and, in particular, golden retrievers) you may want to look away now.

Jasper’s Kennel Club, posh Sunday best, name is:

Boekelo Bilbo Baggins

Jasper for short.

He is, accordiong to the KC certificate, which provides the information without a flicker, a retriever (golden), colour: gold. His lineage involves ravening hounds called Cream Caramel and Treacle Tart. Those people on naming duty knew retrievers: they will eat absolutely anything. Fussiness is not a trait.

Jasper has evidenced a wish for a checklist of things since he came into the world in February 2015, all of which form the basis of the Retriever Parenting Manual for Humans:

A square meal. Well, any shaped meal. And snacks. Meals and snacks. As often as possible and…Just leave it at as often as possible. Preferably not of things that would poison him – there was the Yew Bushes Incident, where we uprooted several metres of yew beds to prevent him snacking on them. We were new to the match-the-lethal-potential-food-to-the-pet game at that point. The Christmas Cake Snacking Disaster is also fresh in our minds each Christmas, proving that a retriever can make short work of cake ingredients before being stomach-pumped at the vet’s as a kick-start to the festive season. Jasper’s feint before diving into the bowl was worthy of Cristiano Ronaldo (without the histrionics).

keep it coming…

Someone to hug (that includes all members of our household (after all these years, that also encompasses the cat). All cuddly toys count, too. In addition, over-excitement when friends appear, and helmeted motorbike riders with yet another Deliveroo delivery for the Offspring, and posties (not to chase in a cliched, so-last-century kind of way, but with a sophisticated eye to a stroke and a pat on the head from them. The posties’ quiver of terror would be such a disappointment. Retrievers primarily deserve type-casting on the grounds of greediness and soppiness.

Latitude to bark. Canine rights encourage a good bark, especially when it is someone who lives in the house and is stealthily approaching the front door with the evil intent of taking off their coat and making a cup of tea. And anyone else. As guard dogs go, retrievers are fairly discerning – as with their attitude to menus – but that deep, throaty sound from behind the door would intimidate most, even if they are bringing him a new toy. Barking is the accompaniment to Jasper’s other principal distraction from food:

Squirrel chasing.

Joy unconfined. And utterly futile. In equal measure. No matter, and no matter that if a squirrel lost its bearings and was caught in Jasper’s demonic clutches, it is 50-50 whether he would know what to do next. A game of fetch would not be off the table. Only a problem if it tried to snaffle any of his hard-earned food (that would include branches of trees and twigs that had fallen in the garden). Our daughter periodically brings up unfounded and malicious allegations concerning The Faceless Squirrel Mystery, where a squirrel was found…without its face. The crime was discovered in our garden many moons ago. As far as I am concerned, that is a lie and fake news, and I shall dwell on it no further (not least because it makes the cat nervous).

A good walk. Come rain or come shine – I draw the line at snow and ice. The jingle of the straps on his harness as I grab it from the hall cupboard alert him to the promise of a stride across hill and dale in all conditions, fearlessly squaring up to the dachshund from three roads away, ready to Frolic with Intent. And methodically nosing up to the darkest and dankest corners of our various routes, the darker and danker the better, to partake of whatever essences have been left for closer inspection. A connoisseur, potentially better employed at airports for bag checking if he would not eat lingerie and any secreted snacks from the luggage.

(In combination with a good walk) a resigned smile from his human when he has uncannily avoided all the bins on the circuit, and calculated and executed his very special homage to Nature the maximum feasible distance from relevant receptacles.

Working dog

Free-range. We have never trained Jasper. He has worked with us tirelessly in partnership to reach a reasonable accommodation on his needs, wishes and requirements. His instructions to us are clear and unequivocal. Try avoiding that gaze at any time after 4 pm (tea is at 5). Trying it on at random times after 1:30 pm is often worth a punt. The combination of starvation, pleading and stunned disappointment is worth a BAFTA.

A nice quiet place to have a nap/sleep/stretch out/snooze, all day long and all night long these days, subject to the other important things on this list. When I say all night long, I’m of course referring to until on the dot 7:00 am every day. Weekends are obviously not a thing with him. Breakfast is his most important meal of the day (apart from his other meal and anything else he can lay his slobbering chops on). That is followed each day by shamelessly settling down after his petit dejeuner for a constitutional doze, while I wrestle with my eyelids and the kettle for some coffee.

The above are in no particular order (aside fromm probably the food part).

Some pointers on our devilish feline next time.



Alan Camrose

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Trekking: The knees canna’ take it Cap’n…!

Welcome to my Blog at The Lair Of The Camrose

It’s my bespoke stomping ground in the Intermatrix. You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by…

This time, Nepal, Trekking, Leeches and a Soviet-era attack helicopter: what could possibly go wrong?


I took Jasper Retriever for a walk in the dark and lashing rain on Saturday. It made me think about walking generally and in particular my trek in the Himalayas in the mid-90s.

I have been lucky enough to visit Nepal a couple of times, but my first time was amazing, it stays with me as a time of freedom, an important feeling in our current trying times.

We flew into Kathmandu, bustling, crowded, long before Doctor Strange went there. It was different rather than strange, people scrambling to make a living in packed streets. Like this:

B&Q, Kathmandu

Then walk around a corner and experience an oasis of peace and quiet:


Then back to the mayhem, which included the unexpected transport arrangements.

A helicopter ride out to Pokhara in the Annapurna basin. Taking a helicopter may sound glamorous, using the word ‘ride’ may make it sound like fun. It was neither of those things. The antique Soviet-era beast had benches on which we were invited to hunker down, or as it’s known grip tightly. Seat belts? I don’t think so. Reading for the journey amounted to trying to decipher the Cyrillic to figure out where the machine-guns had been mounted, and no need to worry our heads with escape-path lighting, and luckily neither of us needed hot towels or a movie – mind you, Rambo III would have put us right in the mood.

The unusual in-flight service amounted to a couple of handfuls of candy floss. Not candy floss, though. I was invited to stuff the cotton wool into my ears while the screaming rotor blades cleaved our ears.

We landed and got ready for the trek around the Annapurna range, not as far as the Everest Base Camp, but far enough up to feel that I was walking on the tops of the world. Far enough to gain a fantastic view of Machhapuchhare .

The mountain dominates the area when Everest is out of the picture, its other name is much easier to pronounce: the Fish-Tail. Our goal was to make it around the horseshoe shaped trek and bank as much cold, clean air as we could gather – quite a lot of it was needed though for the up and down assault course of the trek.

Not that we did it the hard way, I must confess. A team of ex-Gurkhas- twelve of them – looked after the two of us, including the lovely man in charge of transporting the toilet tent and his colleague who had live – temporarily live – chickens in a wooden cage for dinner one evening. They forced us to carry a water bottle, so we didn’t shirk.

The toilet tent – watch out for those pesky leeches…

The Gurkhas were something else. I have probably never been fitter than the build-up to the trek and the actual trek, and I found it tough. Very tough. But they, with 40 or 50 pound packs romped up those hills as if they were on a stroll across the village green to the local pub.

One thing they warned us about were the leeches, I have a vivid recollection even now of one getting through the tent’s deflector shields and determinedly inching across a metal dinner plate on the hunt for blood. It was leech season when we went, so we knew the Leech Apocalypse was coming. Continuous kit checking was not something to take shortcuts on, otherwise it was party time and the drinks were on us.

Yum, yum

The feeling of escape and freedom, no mobiles, no tech, nothing, was one that I will never forget. Pushing myself around the next bend, up the next hill, skittering down a steep path, is something that I treasure. And in particular the encouraging words of our guide, ‘It is just around the next bend up that small hilly bit,’ then 40 minutes later, ‘It is just around the next bend up that small hilly bit.’ Got me every time.

Now it’s time to haul on my coat and shoes and take the boy out for another walk, maybe across Epsom Downs today to strive for that fleeting sense of freedom that I had in Nepal, something to draw on now.



Alan Camrose

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