Tag Archives: Heston

Looking back: Heston

I was looking back over old posts from last year with pictures of my lovely Heston and it’s amazing how much he’s both grown and developed (or not!) He was such a little puppy when I first got him.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was the photo that made Verity and I fall in love with our boys. I’d like to remind everyone that V asked for the runty one. She likes runts. I’m not sure what that says about her strapping husband. Perhaps his brother is a giant.

DSCF2271And on the first day, he could sleep under the couch with his little feet and his puppy ears. He slept most of the day and played the rest of it. He even played with Tilly, which doesn’t happen so much these days.

He could fit on the couch with my little American cocker, no problem.

heston and tillly

And he had a love for his brother that I think only brothers can really share, where you’re the same kind of size as each other and you can play hard, knowing each other’s limits. They only fell out one time and even straight after, they were friends.

DSCF2325We had all kinds of speculation about how big they’d end up, and whether their ears would stand or not. Heston’s sometimes do, and they always do when carried by the wind.

He has the same collar, on the biggest setting. It was on the smallest setting here. And the biggest surprise was how feathered their tails got. Here, it’s just a normal dog tail. He looks so little with his baby fur and his big body and little head. He was about 12 weeks old in the photo below.


I can’t even really remember his tail feathering out – or when he started to get his big dog coat. The photo below is Heston’s first off-road experience in September, and his tail is starting to fill out. Definitely not labrador as the vet first thought. And probably a lot of border collie. Still looks more like a miniature Groenendaele crossed with a miniature flat-haired retriever as well. It’s like someone thought ‘Let’s take the three most energetic dog breeds we can find and make an unruly mixture of them.’ And this is what we got. He definitely does the collie headtilt in a ‘what you talkin’ bout Willis’ kind of a way.

DSCF2805This was the first off-lead experience and Heston realised that he LOVED water. Not only that, doesn’t bat an eyelid when there’s gunshots right up close. Cyclists coming past the house, well they just might steal from my dead corpse the amount Heston barks, but gunshot, well, that’s just the sound of the forest.

Charlton and Heston

By the end of the year, Heston has full-on feather tail and reached 18 kilos. He’s one heavy dog. He’s now 24. He is a beast. He likes to jump on top of me at 6.45am and this is how I know his weight.


His favourite things, in no particular order, are: puddles, rivers, lakes, snow, digging, burying balls, barking at cyclists, eating tomatoes, chasing chickens, getting up at precisely 6.45am, sleeping under the bed, going on car journeys, his lead, his rope, his selection of popped footballs, chasing the lawnmower and trying to play with it, visitors who’ve been here for more than two days.


He is not a fan of men, tall men, very tall men, men who he forgets, the breton spaniels up the road, rainy non-walk days, peppers, apples and walking to heel. It is hard when you are a bouncy dog with a slow owner.

hestonaprilHe is also not a fan of lie-ins.

IMG_0382He is a very energetic dog and sometimes this drives me to despair. He also has learned to bark at every dog he meets, simply because we must walk past 20 houses where that’s what the dogs do. It’s sad. He is generally very good when he meets new dogs though if Tilly barks, he barks. She’s definitely boss.

IMG_0625And he still loves to play all day. He just can’t fit under the couch any more. God love the Heston. He is a funny, crazy, bouncy creature. I just wish he would bark less at people. I sense this may take some time in the unlearning. I also wish the following things weren’t prompts for Heston thinking we are going on a walk: me putting my socks on; me putting flip-flops on; me even looking at my boots; me picking up my keys; 8pm. 7am. Do a thing twice and it becomes a signal to my funny boy. Bless him!

Almost Silent Sunday









Those of you who knew Tilly before Heston will probably join me in complete astonishment that she plays at all. She used to look at Molly and César playing and wonder what the hell they were doing. She’d bark at them and get upset. She was the least likely dog ever to play with a puppy. The chances of her being playful were about the same as the chance that Victoria Beckham might give a natural smile. And that, as you know, is not a very big chance at all.

And now there is a lot of playing in this house. She might be a good three inches shorter than him now, with a tiny little mouth and jaw, and blunt little claws, but she plays and plays. It’s amazing to watch this sad little unsocialised dog learn to play for the first time. When she arrived at our house, she didn’t play at all. Jake taught her to run for a ball, and sometimes she’d play with a bit of bone, but the chance of her playing with Molly was nil. She still won’t run for a ball, but she’s turned into a completely different dog. Hopefully she’ll learn that chest down, bum up, tail wagging, playful bark means ‘Come On! Come and Wrestle With Me!’

I try to be like Grace Kelly…

…but her looks were too sad.

Today’s Much Love Monday’s soundtrack is Mika with Grace Kelly.

Sometimes a little Freddie (Mercury) makes everyone feel a little better.

So… here’s Monday once again

What do I have Much Love for this sunny Monday?

  • the sun returning and finally being able to get in the garden to sort it out
  • being able to start the strimmer myself. You may think this is a paltry achievement, but petrol tools with a pull start always freak me out
  • the firework show at Exideuil and the very lovely company
  • doggie play dates
  • the spaniel romance between Dillon and Tilly. It’s one-sided as yet, but as soon as she realises Dillon is going to leave her alone and they can grumble about pups in peace, things will be fabulous
  • Heston who is as smart as a whip and can now also sit and wait for a treat. Ten days, two tricks. Clever boy
  • Tilly who has also learned to wait for a treat – who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? It must really irritate her that a puppy can do it. I think she could have, all along, if she’d wanted to, and maybe she feels a bit shown up by the puppy
  • Noireau – mauser general who can catch on command, even though he’s partially sighted
  • Summer pudding. Ah, fruit. How I’ve missed you
  • Grand garden plans
  • My new garden patch, which has grown from nothing to something beginning to be marvellous:

I’m also coming towards the end of the work year… whilst I have some clients over the summer, many are on holiday or take a break, so I finally have some time to catch up with people who I’ve not spoken to or seen for a while. I’ve finished the script I was translating, and it’s excellent. I can’t claim any credit for it of course, but it was really pleasurable work. The GCSE papers are almost finished. The writing questions have been really nice to mark  – there’s been a lot of variety in what they’ve written and the candidates seem to have written really well, compared to last year. They had to write a script for a radio show, and it’s really been good to mark. They’ve written in interesting ways and it’s been a nice format for them. The other piece was a letter to a celebrity persuading them to come to school – and it’s nice to have a variation from Steven Gerrard and Katie Price in a similar vein on a previous question. Jamie Oliver gets lots of mentions, as does David Beckham. It seems an awful lot of English school children are bothered about healthy meals, not just one little girl in Scotland. Several politicians have had a look-in as well, which is good.

The system might still be as frustrating, but it’s reminded me why I do it – so English children get the mark they deserve. I enjoy reading what they have to say. It’s like having 1000 teenagers telling you what they think. Nobody gets that experience and it’s interesting to see, from my perspective, how many children have switched from ‘fame’ being a shallow concept to ‘fame’ being something of note because you have achieved something. The Queen, Alan Sugar, various football managers, Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, Boris Johnson and even David Cameron have had a look in, and there are far fewer names I don’t know. It’s a little sad to me how many of them are men. Is this a reflection on the percentage of boys taking foundation tier, or on the fact that many women in the public eye are famous for nothing, or for having big boobs, rather than for having any actual talent? I think their responses are a whole lot less shallow and more thoughtful than they were in 2007 or 2008. Perhaps austerity, recession and positive national pride for the Diamond Jubilee and for the Olympics have brought out more thoughtful responses. Or perhaps the public is just tired of plastic people who have nothing to offer. Either way, it makes for good reading!

The summer holidays are also bringing several very exciting summer guests and people I’ve not seen for a couple of years. I will be very, very glad to see them, let me tell you!

You can’t take a goldfish for a walk

Today’s Much Love Monday is brought to you by way of Lita Roza with her version of How Much is that Doggie in the Window?

Heston has been with us now since Thursday and there’s nothing not to love. He’s beautiful! He’s super-intelligent, very playful and lots of fun. He has already learned to sit down, though he still runs off from time to time when he’s done something naughty (or wants to!) and he’s sleeping in his basket next to my bed. He has lots of accidents and is a tinkler rather than a piddler, meaning he goes to the toilet ALL the time rather than waiting til his bladder is full. This is a bit of an issue, but his wees are so little they’re hardly worth bothering about.

Tilly is also being lovely. She won’t play with Heston, and it worries her he might steal all of her things (including her place in my heart) but he’ll never do that. Yesterday, we went on a doggie play date with Mme V and Tilly found an admirer in Dillon, Mme V’s spaniel. He’s bigger than she is, but it’s a match made in heaven from his perspective. She has a crusty nose, some aoutie wounds, she smells bad, she’s a bit deaf, she’s blonde and cute. She doesn’t want to play or fuss and she has a bottom that smells divine to Dillon. What’s not to love?

Tilly’s not so enamoured, but then Dillon has nothing to offer her. He is not made of biscuits. She has foregone sex and swapped it for eating, so Dillon is just an annoyance to her. She tolerates his nose in her behind, but she’s more found of being petted. Despite some little yaps, she soon got over her nerves when she realised Dillon was a lover not a warrior.

Molly has been brilliant with him, but she’s a bit afraid she’ll break him. He wants to play with her and she looks like she’s worried she might drop him and break him, a bit like those women who don’t want to hold a baby in case they hurt it.

Much Love to doggie playdates. Heston, Tilly and Molly had a ball, as did Jake.

Much Love to the weekend of sun, though it’s back to rain again.

Not Much Love to the e-marker system. We pair-mark. This means I mark a thing, somebody else marks it too, and our marks are compared. If there’s a difference, we’re both stopped. Somebody more important looks at them and decides who’s right. If you are wrong, you ‘fail’ and you have one more opportunity before you are stopped. You can be re-trained, but then you are stopped again if you fail to be the ‘right’ marker on four paired-marking scripts.

You’d maybe want the check to be 20% maximum. That’s 45 scripts for me. I can live with that. Yesterday, I had 8 in a row. 8. And then I marked 7 scripts, and I had 5 more. The checking seems to be running at 50% at the moment, which is ridiculous, considering I was ‘right’ on 13 scripts and somebody else was ‘wrong’. That’s at least 4 people whose script was not inline with mine. I wasn’t wrong. I’ve done half of my writing paper marking and I’ve been checked 45% of the time. It’s a little overkill, especially when English marking is based on quality. It’s like that Minefield game.

Not only that, you have to wait whilst unresolved scripts are adjudicated. I wasted 90 minutes yesterday waiting for my marking to be checked. It’s longer today. It’s infuriating.

Anyway, I shall get back to playing with my puppy.

Not Much Love, either, for hiccups. I’ve had them since 7 am on and off. Drinking from the wrong side of the glass, holding my breath, none of it worked.