How Not To “Walk” Your Dog

When I was on my morning dog walk I saw something, that sadly I see more frequently than I would like.

A car pulled up next to the playing field, and one of it’s doors opened and out jumped a dog – I was a little distance away but it looked like a boxer, although I couldn’t be sure – which promptly dashed across the service road on to the playing field and towards a group of seagulls that were resting / feeding. The gulls immediately took off the moment they saw the dog coming and circled around looking for a place to land. The dog was still trying to chase them or pursue the stragglers that had called it’s bluff and were still on the ground.

The dogs “owner” was still in the car while this was happening.

Eventually she got out of the car, and walked onto the field. The field is pretty muddy at the moment, and I’m wearing wellingtons, and still get splashes of mud above the top of my boots on my jeans. She was wearing white trainers.

She pulled her phone from her pocket and stood on the edge of the field while her dog continued to chase seagulls, and then decided to take a dump.

I could almost see what was going to happen next. When she saw that her dog was doing his business she started to look around. Now I might be being judgemental, but I’ve seen this behaviour a number of times. It’s the:

“can anyone see what my dog is doing because I really don’t want to have to pick it up look”

Unfortunately I was there, and she could see me, so reluctantly, it seemed, she went and picked up behind her dog and put it in the dog bin (not 10 metres away).

After about 2 minutes of standing checking her Facebook or whatever she was doing on her phone she obviously decided that it was time to go, and she called her dog and started back to her car.

Her dog however had other ideas, and wouldn’t come to her, he ran straight past, and across the service road, away from her. Every time she tried to go near him, he jinked and went in another direction. I didn’t see how this played out but it looked as if it was going to go on for a while.

This is obviously not the way to walk a dog.

Firstly you need to be present, don’t just put your dog out of your car and either stay in the car or stand around looking at your phone. You need to know what’s going on. What your dog is doing, who else is around and what they (and they’re dogs) are doing. This was also right by a service road, which although quiet early in the morning, does get busy quickly and there is quite a bit of traffic even at that time of the day.

Secondly if you can’t pick up your own dogs faeces with a bag, then you probably shouldn’t even have a dog.

Thirdly; letting you dog chase birds isn’t great. It teaches bad behaviour, and although the dog obviously found it fun, when the “game” was over, the dog didn’t think so and wouldn’t come. Often birds like this are resting or feeding, and it takes an awful lot of energy to get airborne and fly away. It’s better to give them as wide a berth as you can. Persistent behaviour by dog owners like this is one way to get dogs banned from some public spaces. Don’t be selfish.

Fourthly; if your dog has this much energy it probably needs more exercise than you’ve just given it. Now maybe you’ll take him out for another walk later on today. That’s great if so, but it didn’t feel like this person would be doing that. Dogs need exercise. Every day. Depending on the dog, some need a lot. Think hard about this before committing to owning a dog.

Now of course I could be completely wrong about all of the above, and I might be stereotyping a lady who is just looking after someones dog for them while they’re away, sick or unable to do it themselves for a while, and doing the best she can, but unfortunately I see this sort of behaviour frequently and it makes me disappointed that it happens at all.

Happy New Year 2017

So 2016 is over. The general consensus seems to be it’s been a bad year. For personal reasons I’d have to say that I agree, and looking at the reasons that other people are giving – Brexit, Trump, celebrity deaths – I’d have to say I probably also agree.

On the basis of two of those reasons – Brexit & Trump – I have to say I don’t think that we’ve seen the worst of it yet. So I’m a little pessimistic going into 2017.

I don’t as a rule make New Year’s Resolutions, I don’t see the point, but I do have some goals and targets both for me personally and also with respect to work. I’ll be doing that shortly, but I won’t be sharing that here in detail mainly because some aspects are private.


What I can say though is that my areas of main focus will be on growing my work base, and looking at some new areas that I’ve not really explored before. I hope to be able to talk about that in more detail, but I’m waiting for some news from a local university who have a student programme that looks to help businesses with this. If the news is positive then I’ll talk about it in more detail then, if they’re over subscribed and can’t help then I’ll be looking at some alternatives. Again, I’ll talk about it in more detail then.

I may also have to consider being an employee again, at least part-time. That will depend on what happens with my own business of course, but we’ll have to see.


I think it goes without saying that I’ll be working on the allotment again this year. I’m hoping to bring more information, details of what’s going on, and hopefully videos etc. throughout the year.  At the moment it’s mostly quiet down there, a few over wintering vegetables, but the weather isn’t really conducive to doing anything much else for now.


I’ve talked a little about different books that I’m planning to read this year, and I’m planning to do the GoodReads challenge again, but more to keep track of what I’m reading rather than aim for a particular target.


The photo above is of the bookshelf were I keep most of my books “to be read”, obviously there are a pile more on my kindle, and really I don’t need to be buying more books this year. I probably will though as there are some that I do want to read this year (and a couple that are already on pre-order) but I’m intending not to buy new books if I have read at least one from the “to be read” pile first.

Films & TV

Again a couple of movies that I want to catch at some point, but really we’re watching less TV all the time. There’s some good quality programs out there, but sometimes they’re a little like a needle in the proverbial haystack.

Life In General

I’m hoping for some good things this year. Beyond that I’m going to be trying to live more intentionally, and think much more about what my needs really are. The consumerist lifestyle doesn’t really interest me, although I do acknowledge that some things I’d rather do without are now more like necessities e.g. with online billing etc. having a computer seems like one of them. However my needs are relatively small so I’m going to focus on the basics and what I already have, live simply and enjoy life.

Wishing you all a very happy New Year. I hope that it brings you everything that you need.

Fourth Quarter Review 2016

Each year for the past few years I’ve been doing a year end review; books I’ve read, films/tv programmes I’ve watched and other things related to work and the allotment. You can read the end of 2015 here, if you’re interested.

This year I’m trying something a little different, and am splitting my year into quarters and trying to do a review at the end of the quarter. It helps me remember stuff more easily, and is more up to the minute than waiting to until December and trying to do the whole year in one go, or at least that’s the theory. The first quarter review is here, the second quarter review here, and the third quarter review is here.


This quarter has been very quiet, mostly due to things going on in my life outside of work (see below), I have however been thinking a lot about expanding my business and will be exploring this in the New Year. I’ll be talking about this more (I hope) in the coming months, but a couple of things need to happen first. I’m quite excited about this, and hope it will see things grow.


This time of year is when things start to quieten down a bit on the plot. I still have quite a few things growing: parsnips, chard, leeks, Brussels sprouts – all of which I am harvesting still – and purple sprouting broccoli, regular broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, garlic and broad beans – all of which are crops for the early spring.

I’m going to try and keep track of things from a financial perspective a little more next year, I want to understand just how much money we’re saving by growing our own, compared to buying things in the supermarket. It feels like the difference is quite small, and being honest I’m doing this for more reasons than just saving money, but I’ve never really tried to quantify the benefits.


My reading has slowed down a bit this quarter, but there are two books that I particularly enjoyed:

Dogging Steinbeck by Bill Steigerwald [GoodReads] this is the author’s account of his retracing the steps of John Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charley”, and uncovering that the original may have been more of a work of fiction than non-fiction. It was an enjoyable read, and the author also kept a detailed blog, of this journey, including photos and videos. Around the same time that I was reading this I was also listening to the audiobook of “Travels with Charley” [GoodReads] in the car, so I was  able to track where Steigerwald had gotten to, compared to Steinbeck. It was a good way to “read” both books alongside one another. As things at the time weren’t going well with my Dad (see below) it was a welcome distraction to have Steinbeck and Charley with me in my car, and Steigerwald at home each evening.

Nigel: My Family and Other Dogs by Monty Don [GoodReads]The title of this book might not mean much to people outside of the UK or who don’t watch Gardeners’ World on TV, but Nigel – a Labrador retriever – belongs to Monty Don who is the presenter of the programme. The dog has become a little bit of a personality in his own right, and this book is about him, plus some of the other dogs that the author has owned over his lifetime. It’s a good read whether you get the references or not, and particularly if, like me, you are a dog person.

Films & TV

I don’t really recall anything much that stands out this quarter, probably because we haven’t actually been watching much. We have been watching (or rather recording and watching later) a few daytime series on BBC; The Coroner, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, and The Father Brown Mysteries. All very good.

Life In General

Not a great quarter. As you may already know my Dad passed away in November, and we have had to put my maternal Grandma into a nursing home. Many people have said how bad 2016 has been, and frankly I couldn’t agree more. For me though it will always have more personal bad memories than perhaps other years have had.


If you’ve read all four quarterly posts, what do you think? Does it work better than one end of year round up? Let me know in the comments.

I wish all my readers a very Happy New Year.

Post A Day Review

I’ve been doing this post a day thing for nearly three weeks and I wanted to take stock of some of the things I’ve learned, and review where I go from here. There’ll be a final post tomorrow (my fourth quarter review), and probably one on January 1st, what happens beyond that I’m undecided.

I know a couple of bloggers / writers who post everyday, and mostly what they post I enjoy reading. Although I’ve managed to find something to post myself everyday for the last three weeks, it has felt a little bit forced on some days – like I’ve had to find something to write about because I said I would – so I don’t think it’s been my best writing. Although I like the discipline of making myself write / post something everyday.

Some days I’ve fallen back on posts that would happen anyway e.g. Quick Links, which go out every Monday anyway, and I’ve been quite glad of them, although obviously those are written too.

I’ve often written posts a day or two before they actually go live, so it’s not been as spontaneous as I would have liked, but it was the only way I could actually make a post a day. Although I like knowing that a scheduled post will appear around 7am (GMT) everyday.

I’ve posted things that I might otherwise not have made it onto the blog. Mostly I think this has been good.

I’m erring towards not continuing to post everyday, but perhaps posting more frequently –  e.g. three times a week – than I have been. I’m not sure though whether I can be disciplined enough to do this though, or will forget. For now I’m just going to see what happens, rather than try and force something that might end up being less than perfect.

What do you readers think, let me know via the comments below, and in the meantime I wish you all a very happy New Year.


Christmas Traditions


I can think of a few Christmas traditions and sayings. For example, we always used to be told that if we weren’t well behaved Father Christmas would only leave a lump of coal in our Christmas stocking. If we were good there was always a satsuma, and some nuts in  the toe, underneath the presents.

Do you have any similar Christmas traditions? Leave me a comment below.


I’ve asked readers before about whether they’d read a newsletter if I produced one, although essentially Quick Links is becoming a weekly newsletter in the form of a blogpost anyway or seems to be evolving that way in my view. I’ve made no plans to change the current arrangement, although a week of blogging every day has taught me a few things and given me some ideas, but for now I thought I’d share some of the newsletters that I read and might interest you. Most require you to sign up, (the links are to the sign up pages) but all contain an unsubscribe link if you don’t like them as much as me or change you mind, I’ve also included a quick note about the normal day and frequency with which they’re published.

So in no particular order…

Christian Payne (@documentally) Backchannel (weekly, Fridays)

Warren Ellis Orbital Operations (weekly, Sundays)

Joe Hill Escape Hatch (monthly)

Giuseppe Sollazzo In Other News (weekly, Tuesdays)

Kieron Gillen Word Mail (weekly, Tuesdays)

Ganzeer Restricted Frequency (weekly, Saturdays)

Ed Yong The Ed’s Up (Friday / Saturday)

Do you subscribe to any good newsletters that you think I might be interested in? If so drop me a comment below.

Star Wars

There’s a new Star Wars film out today.

The original films were a staple of my childhood, before video and DVD the only way to see them was in the cinema. My Dad took me to see all of them when they first came out. When the three prequel films came out, I took him to see them. When The Force Awakens came out he was too ill to make a trip to the cinema, so I bought him a copy on DVD. I don’t think he ever got a chance to watched it before he passed away though.
I’ve heard great things about the new film Rogue One, from people who’s opinion I trust, so I think I’m going to go catch this one in the cinema in honour of my Dad. Probably some time in the New Year, after the kids are back in school and I can go to a hopefully quieter day time showing.