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July 12, 2015 / texdog

Tex’s observations on a Dutch life

Cross posted from www.juneauboat.com (in case you have read it already!!)

Before you read this blog I feel I should point out that there are three of us on the boat and we all like to blog from time to time. Some new readers may be surprised to read my blog because, after all, I am a dog but go with it you’ll enjoy it – honest!

I’ve been in The Netherlands for four weeks now and I thought I you would be interested in a few observations I have made in my time here. So here goes.

Dutch Dogs…

…don’t seem to like me. When I approach they generally start shouting at me, in Dutch, I don’t know why (well obviously I know why they shout in Dutch but not why they shout at all!) Mum says I give off the wrong signals by looking a bit concerned by them and that need to be braver. But brave I’m not, so I have to work with what I have! You will be pleased to know that I do not shout back. That would not be dignified (and they wouldn’t understand anyway because I only speak English).

Pigeon evolution

One of the things about the Netherlands is that they have a lot of water and correspondingly a lot of bridges. It’s very civilised because as you boat along the bridges open. Whilst they are open the bit where the bridge normally sits is ‘exposed’. With it so far..?

During the course of our visit I came to the conclusion that the inner city pigeons of Utrecht are less evolved than those of Amsterdam as the ones in Amsterdam have learned not to sit on the ‘exposed’ bit when the bridge comes down.

For this reason one doesn’t see the evidence of multiple ‘pigeon expiries’ under the bridges of the capital that are really very evident in Utrecht. Clearly the ones in Amsterdam have developed an eye on the top of their heads or something. I would have supplied pictures at this point but then I would have to X-rate my blog for gruesomeness! You get the idea, many a squished pigeon was evident!

I’m sure it keeps the population down but it’s not a very efficient method!

Just to give you the idea this is one of the killer bridges of Utrecht, sounds like a film title (now there’s an idea – maybe not)

Bikes!!!

Goodness I’m getting to be bike savvy and I need to be. The flipping things are silent and deadly. Everyone has a bike over here. Maybe they have two or three, there are sooooo many of them, more than the population that’s for sure. They have their own roads and their own traffic lights and cyclists rule the roost. I have to keep my eyes open when out with mum because she can never work out what direction the traffic is coming from anyway, so adding in a silent enemy that can approach from anywhere and is top priority just makes things even worse! I tell you I’m glad I haven’t got my old job over here it would be a nightmare!

Of course, if you’re on the other side of things i.e. a bike owner that’s very different. But being one that gets around on four paws I am certainly not cut out for cycling. So I think mum should get one of these

It’s a Bakfiets and it’s designed primarily for transporting children around, we have seen up to three toddlers in one of these! However, I think it could easily be adapted for a Labrador don’t you? In fact I expect that if I went into one of the (many) Fiets-shops in this country such an adaptation would already exist, you know with an entry ramp, a non-slip floor, a dog bed interior, kibble holder etc. But mum said if I think she’s going to push 30kg of Labrador (x golden retriever) around on a bike I am sadly mistaken. She does nothing for me…

So there are a few observations on life so far. It has taken me a little while to find my paws but I am settling in to it all. I can be adaptable if I need to be and I have been a city dog and a country dog as and when required. (This is me being a country dog)

Living on the boat is different, but you know what they say, home is where the humans are (and where the kibble is of course).

On that note I will leave you with a picture of me in the lock at Utrecht where mum thought I looked very handsome and I’m showing off my Juneau boat tag which is set off quite nicely against my fur.

I hope you are well dear reader, more updates soon.

Love

Tex

PS – you can follow us on he Juneauboat Facebook page if you like for daily (yes daily!!) updates 🙂 www.facebook.com\Juneauboat

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June 13, 2015 / texdog

Crikey, this park better be good!

Last week was a hive of activity in our house. Every day there seem to be jobs to be done, people to instruct and generally lots of hustle and bustle. By Saturday evening things were being packed up into the car which always makes me rather nervous! By Saturday bed time mum and dad looked a bit frazzled and I was deeply suspicious!

I had every reason to be suspicious, come Sunday morning I jumped into the car expecting to go to Heath Lake and 7 ½ hours later I was still there. I really don’t remember Heath Lake being that far, we normally get there and back in a few hours with a run thrown in! Anyway it turns out we weren’t headed for a local beauty spot but for a flipin different country! I know, I know I was aware this was going to happen, I just forgot!

It was a new experience for me to go on a train, well of course in my previous life I did ‘do’ trains, but not trains that hold cars! Mum was obviously uncomfortable with the train thing so she came and sat with me for the journey. I don’t know why, it doesn’t look very comfy does it? Anyway I shared my space and humoured her!

After many promises of nearly being there we did finally stop. Having sat up all the way from Wokingham to Aalsmeer my legs were a bit stiff but I managed not to fall over when I got out of the car! That would have ruined my street cred.

My boat was a sight for sore eyes but I must admit I have had some trouble bonding with her this time. The steps had been polished so getting on and off was been a bit of a challenge, but they were better after mum scrubbed them with a scourer to ‘roughen them up’ a bit! And I also didn’t like to pontoon we were moored to. Not sure why but I just was not keen! However I lived with it for the week, we’ve moved off now and I am regaining my boat confidence.

On the up side mum and dad are working within about 5 meters of each other so when I want a tickle I don’t have to venture far. Also I have had a bed upgrade and a new blanket. I like these very much.

I have met a few Dutch natives. Some two legged and some four. They all speak (or bark) in a funny language so I’m not sure what they are saying to me but I just wag my tail politely and that seems to go down well. Luckily (for us all) a lot of the locals do speak English and are happy to communicate that way. One chap used his English to declare he loved me very much, which I thought was a bit forward as I had only just met him! Another inspected my teeth, which I also though a little strange, but he had just given me a biscuit so I let him check there was none left. I assume that’s what he needed to know perhaps it’s a local greeting custom!

Pets are popular in the Netherlands, so far I have seen lots of dogs being walked plus one cat on a lead and today a small parrot on a lead too. Unusual I think!

Now we have started to meander around the country. Today I visited Gouda, home of Dutch cheese. I saw a lot of cheese, smelt a lot of cheese, got photographed with a large cheese (and a small cow), luckily I like cheese. Did I get any cheese – did I heck! Personally I think that’s just mean.

So I’ve been here a week now and all is going well. Today I felt I was back in my comfort zone as we ‘did’ three locks! I know locks so I felt at home. I also made a friend of a lock keeper who said I could stay with him if I liked. I nearly took him up on it but mum pointed out the bed upgrade etc so I decided to stay.

Anyway, Juneau is where my toys are. I know a number of people are keen to know what my final choice of toys was for the trip. In the end I settled for Skippy, Hank, Seahorse and Duck Face with a Nylabone on the side should I need something to chew. A fine choice I felt and so far they are working out well.

I shall have to see if I can acquire any new ones while I’m here (maybe I can at least get a furry cheese!)

So dear reader that’s my first Netherland’s update – more to follow I’m sure

Love

Tex

May 24, 2015 / texdog

Party Time

My life is just one round of parties as my family and friends grab the opportunity to wish me (and mum and dad) a ‘Bon Voyage’. I must say my diary has never been so full but I do rather enjoy all the attention.

Last weekend we were guests at the first BBQ of the year. As ever I didn’t actually get to participate in the BBQ. I think I could have done had mum not turned down the offer of a rather tasty looking pork chop on my behalf! Fine for her to say when not 30 mins earlier I had seen her happily include one of the pork chops in her meal and apparently enjoying it along with a host of other food. Talk about one rule for some and another rule for dogs!

On this occasion I had some doggy company for solidarity (he didn’t get a pork chop either!) Anyway it was very nice to meet Toffee, a very young and lively cocker spaniel. I learned that cocker spaniels have a lot of energy to burn, they like to play and they are quite insistent in engaging fellow doggy companions in a game. After a while I got use to Toffee’s quite bold approach and decided to join in so we spent a lot of time exploring our host’s beautiful garden, generally ploughing through their bushes and(in my case) eating their sticks. Toffee and me had some good games and I was glad of his company.

Whilst we weren’t allowed any of the BBQ we were not forgotten. Jay and Mike, our lovely hosts, had laid in special provisions for Toffee and I in the form of a pack of Smackos which, between us we consumed over the course of our afternoon. This was a result!!! I think Jay was a bit surprised when I pretty much inhaled the first one I was offered. Safe to say it never touched my teeth. Gob to stomach in the shortest possible time period, that’s’ the Labrador way. Needless to say Toffee was much more refined about Smacko eating (no Lab in him!)

So here is a picture of Toffee and me captured when we managed to get him to stand still long enough to grab a shot J

Mum and dad think he is a very handsome boy (but they still love my black furred looks a great deal).

So that was my first party and I should say a very big thank you to Jay and Mike for making me so welcome. I really did enjoy my day. But a day of entertaining, and being entertained by, a small spaniel took its toll and once home I can assure you I didn’t move from this spot all evening, and when I did move it was to go to bed!

This weekend I have been to Nottingham for another party, this time with mum’s family. As usual I was a bit confused by the journey and decided I should not curl up and sleep through the motorway bit, as surely we must soon be reaching the park? After two hours of watching the road we didn’t get to the park but to granddads house – so that was a bonus. Mum and dad do try to get me to lie down but I am having none of that, they have decided I must be number plate spotting or something! Apparently in a couple of weeks I will have a very long time to spot plates and they will mainly be foreign!

We had a lovely time in Nottingham and I got lots of tickles, and I really enjoyed the trip. I am always welcome and think I could have stayed in Nottingham if I had asked, I don’t think it would take much to persuade granddad to keep me J

Anyway, after partying we travelled home this morning (another plate spotting opportunity) then mum made me walk around the block again just for fun. After that I put my paw down, took up one of my favourite sleeping places on the stairs and stayed there for the rest of the afternoon! They should realise a dog NEEDS his 40 (50 or 60) winks!

I have another party to come but this time I am hosting it as Dad’s family are coming over next week. So you close your eyes and picture me in my waiters outfit handing round canapés (you can picture me if you like, but it won’t happen, what self-respecting Labrador would actually voluntarily hand out food I ask you?!) Waiter-ing ruled out I expect my role in proceedings will be limited to meeting, greeting and general fur spreading as usual J

And then that’s it. Our sail away parties will be over and we will actually have to sail away! Aaaargghh I don’t think I’m ready. Actually I don’t know what I have to do to be ready so perhaps I won’t panic. I notice mum has a few lists on the go so I am relying on her to panic on my behalf. (it’s a safe bet!!)

I hope you had a good bank holiday weekend dear reader.

Love

Tex

 

April 29, 2015 / texdog

Have passport will travel

This week I have been concentrating on getting my paperwork ready for my travels and I have discovered that, like the humans, I need a passport.

Having googled passports I also found out that typically one needs a photo to go into the document. I set up a little photo-shoot. These were my best shots.

However mum pointed out that

  1. You are not allowed to wear sunglasses or a hat in your passport photo
  2. I didn’t actually need a photo for my passport because, unlike humans, I am micro chipped and my ‘tag’ was all I needed.

So I consigned my best photo efforts to the bin and headed to the vets for my documentation. Odd really because I’m sure when mum and dad got their passports it wasn’t from the vet. (I bet theirs didn’t cost as much as mine either!! That’s what you get for buying it from a vet I suppose)

I like visiting the vet because he seems to like me and he gives me food (which was a good job because mum scheduled the appointment to overlap with my dinner time and I was starving).

I was less keen on the man when he jabbed me in the back of the neck – which I thought was a bit unnecessary! Apparently this was for rabies – but I have checked and I’m pretty certain I don’t have rabies. Anyway it seems that now I won’t get rabies which is very good and as a result I will forgive him.

We all have passports now J

I took this as a sign that I needed to step up my travel plans. When I got home (after I had had my dinner of course) I set about packing my suitcase. I know that I have to travel light so I selected just a few essentials as you can see in the picture below…

(I think I may need a bigger suitcase!!)

After assessing what I deemed to be essential mum has assured me that I don’t really need 15kg of food as she has already sent some kibble to the Netherlands with Juneau. I will have to trust that she is telling the truth (although I may sneak some emergency rations in my bag…just in case!)

Things are not as good on the toy front. Mum broke the news that I can’t take all of my toys with me. WHAT!!! That’s outrageous. Apparently there will come a point where I have to select just a few (like 4 or something) of my precious companions. Working on this is very stressful, I am making lists but it is soooo hard to decide. See…

Still I have five weeks to go so I have time to make my choice. In the meantime I have a passport so I will travel J

Happy up and coming bank holibob weekend dear reader

Love

Tex

PS if you want to see more about our trip visit Juneauboat

March 27, 2015 / texdog

Gotcha 5

This last week has been landmark in more ways than one. Spring has officially sprung, I witnessed the first eclipse of my life and I have now been Tex Saunders for 5 whole years!

As mum and I walk around in the wind, rain and hail I do wonder just how accurate the ‘spring’ bit is.

And here I am witnessing the eclipse.

I’m not totally sure what I am looking at, or even where the eclipsed sun is supposed to be. It just seemed a bit dull and cloudy to me. So I am not convinced that an eclipse did actually happen. Oh well apparently that was my one and only chance.

Anyway I am convinced that I have been Tex Saunders for 5 years because mum showed me the paperwork to prove it. So it seems I have to stay.  ❗

I have to say it’s not so bad, a few beds, a full toy box (well not right now as I have pretty much emptied it, but it will be full tomorrow when a human goes round and picks up all the toys and puts them back for me), 2 square meals a day – what more could a dog ask for? Well 3 square meals a day would be top of my list. Hey ho…

I must say from my perspective Gotcha was a fairly normal day, also for mum really. We didn’t mark it with champagne or anything (my body is a temple after all – not so sure about mum’s  :mrgreen: ). For dad 24th March was more eventful day as he spent the day in Aalsmeer, NL settling Juneau-boat into her new home. Yes she has departed and is now installed in Jachthaven Stenhuis, her new marina.

Here she is preparing for her journey

And here she is, back in the water, in her new location.

I did oversee the crucial parts of the packing process making sure she is loaded with my essentials.

You can see mum was in list mode!

Anyway, back to me… Here are some Gotcha photos taken this week.

Five whole years a Tex Saunders – could be worse I suppose, I do love them and I know they love me very much 🙂  again what more could a dog ask for? (As I keep saying …3 square meals a day that’s what!!!) :mrgreen:

Love

Tex

March 17, 2015 / texdog

Look what dad did :)

Her own web site 😄

Juneau

Now with the right link!!! (That’s what you get for typing with paws!)

March 13, 2015 / texdog

Old dog…new tricks

Less of the ‘old’ thank you. I’ll have you know I’m in my prime and I am still able to learn a few things. All in all it a good job because apparently I had things to learn this weekend.

There is a lot of work going into this whole Dutch-trip lark. Mostly that doesn’t have to involve me because

a) It involves purchasing stuff and I have no credit card

b) I’m not the decision maker here. Which…

c) Means it’s a good job I have no credit card because if I were the decision maker I would have made the decision to clear Tesco out of Bonios a long time ago 🙂

Anyhow, back to the learning bit. I may have mentioned that as well as big boat Juneau there is also this little boat, known to me as the ‘thingy’. Apparently this weekend I ‘needed’ thingy training! Apparently this dog (in his prime) needs a new trick.

I was a bit suspicious when all this stuff got loaded in the car and we head for the river! Mum and I went off for a walk while dad inflated the little boat. Once it was ready to go I got deeply suspicious! Firstly I did not like jetty (just when mum and dad thought jetties would be old hat to me!) This is me approaching the jetty (cautiously).

And this is me when I had made it the four feet along the (actually very stable) jetty. I needed dad to reassure me.

Then there was the thingy (the little white thing in the water), by now it was in the water and I realised I was meant to go in too (the thingy – not the water). Well actually I decided I wasn’t going to go in and there was a small battle of wills to get me in there. At the same time there were many, many treats involved, so I realised I could probably milk this. The pattern is events were…

Trip 1 – Lift (all 30kg of) me in and hold on tight to make sure I don’t jump out. Getting out onto the jetty was no problem 😕

Trip 2 – Me is prepared to crawl in but actually that doesn’t work too well. Cruise on the river – no need to hold on, actually it’s not so bad this cruising in a thingy (even if mum thought it was a bit chilly)

Trip 3 – If there are tasty treats in the bottom of the thingy boat me works out that the easiest thing is just to jump in. Cruising is fun and actually I’m quite a cool Labrador (xGR) sitting in my own Labrador size boat :). But I’m not actually allowed to drive (yet  – :mrgreen: )

So here I am being a big brave boy happily sitting in the thingy with mum and with dad.

I think the thingy is heading off to the Netherlands soon so I might not get much more cool cruising in. However the experiment was deemed successful mum and dad seem relieved that, with a bit of a refresher, I will be able to cruise the thingy-size Dutch canals and that we can explore far and wide when we get there. I like the sound of that so maybe teaching a dog (in his prime) a new trick or two is worth it!

I hope your March hasn’t been too big a learning curve for you dear reader.

Love

Tex

PS – I’ll leave you with this picture taken after our cruising experiment. It is of me looking back to dad whilst he’s looking at a Jack Russell who is peeing on my bag of towels 😯

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