Theodore Rufus Doggington…How is it going then?

Theo and I wandering the local area with camera in hand

Well, in just a few days my doggo will be 2 years old. Ive not written about him much on here, so thought id post a few photos to celebrate the last year or so.

I regularly say that I don’t want a dog, and did not ask for one. I was convinced that I would not have to walk it or pick up the poo, and like many before me I fell for those lies.

I don’t mind though, as it turns out he is quite wonderful company and a lovely dog with a great temperament and a love of hot buttered toast.

He is mostly trained, though his recall is rather iffy, and should you dare to eat in his presence he will do his best to drool all over you until you lose your appetite and give him whatever you are enjoying.

Oh, poor thing lost his balls a few weeks ago so waiting to see if that changes him in any way. So far it hasn’t…which is good as he’s mostly perfectly imperfect.

Anyway, like kids, I’m sure everyone thinks their dog is the best. I shall shhhh…

Happy dog day!

Out in the van – Baitings reservoir

Up north!

Where: Halifax, West Yorkshire, England

When: 23rd of August 2022

Why: To go and see how low the water levels are.

With: Me, my youngest Thomas, Mrs Afterwards and Theo the dog

So just a quick ride out towards Ripponden, maybe twenty minutes away. We’ve had an uncommonly warm summer and have water shortages in places, and the water levels on Baiting’s reservoir have dropped significantly. So much so that the old pack horse bridge – long ago submerged is now visible. We grabbed an ice cream, wandered around the reservoir, commented over and over on how low the water levels were – and then went down onto the old bridge. Then back home as it was rather warm out and being English I don’t really like being outdoors too much when its sultry…

Out in the van – Brodstock 2022

Up north!

Where: Halifax, Wet Yorkshire, England

When: 18th June 2022

Why: Its our annual community music festival and I was looking after the bouncy castles.

With: Me, my youngest, Thomas, and Mrs Afterwards

So not really out and about, but more top of the street at the local rugby club in support of the annual community charity music festival we put on. The van is in there somewhere, and mostly it provides a base for those of us on the site looking after the bouncy castles. It’s one hell of an event and after 8 years has raised more than £130K for charities. By the end of the day I am usually frazzled, especially this year when we had more than 800 kids to keep an eye on.

Always a fantastic event though!

Out in the van – Wharfdale

Up north!

Where: Wharfdale, North Yorkshire, England

When: 2oth April

Why: Wanted to see how the dog fared in the van overnight as last time out he was rather restless.

With: Me, Theo and my youngest, Thomas

Usually we head to Wharfdale to watch and play rugby, but this time out it was t see best ways to manage the dog at night as he can be a bit skittish and barks at noises in the dark. Not great on a campsite.

We bundled everything into the van and headed north for about an hour to the caravan and motorhome site. They are always rather clean and tidy, good facilities and in decent spots. This one was no different, and whilst theyre a bit cookie cutter we were set up in to time.

At this point we realised we hadn’t really brought much food beyond cereal, hot dog sausages, bananas and packet noodles. Oh and I had left all the pans at home. And the bowls (apart from one old serving dish). I did somehow have 3 bottles of gin, three bottles of prosecco, and a load of cider. But no ice, mixers or garnish for a Gin and tonic…Shoddy I realise.

We popped to the shop on site and grabbed some non booze drinks, milk and ice creams to supplement the pantry and made the best of the night, warming the sausages in the serving dish and had dinner. A short walk followed and we mostly just relaxed until bed time. Failing to settle the dog in his cage in the tent I ended up bringing him into the van and he was ok, barked a few times and was a bit restless – but not a complete nightmare. Tom slept like a baby in the pop top so despite being a bit groggy in the morning it was ok for ta first night.

Next day was mostly all about hiking the local area – which is bloody gorgeous and so wonderfully English (I also neglected to bring any proper walking shoes and only had crocs and a pair of £15 trainers from a supermarket). For days after I could barely walk and have had to spend hundreds on shoes since as, as Mrs Afterwards rightly pointed out, I am a bloody idiot. Anyway, the next night the dog slept marvellously and never woke once so all very much mission acco0mplished on that front. I now know what he needs (to be knackered and to have the radio on quietly for background noise) and more dog camping can now follow.

Oh and the second night food fare was even worse. We foolishly thought we could just order takeaway, but its pretty remote there and no one delivers. I had to speed march to a roadside services in setting dark, cross country with a dead phone, and was able to forage some corned beef pasties, crisps and some close to expiring profiteroles.

I reckon that should the world go to shit when the Russians start throwing nukes soon, and I am forced to forage to survive I wont last long at all…

If youre still reading , enjoy the pics…

On and we got to play the caravan game. You put the word ‘anal’ in front of the name of caravans for hours of infantile giggles…Behold the anal challenger, vip and crusader!

Out in the van – Howarth Waterfalls

Out on the winding, windy moors!

Where: Howarth, West Yorkshire, England

When: 2nd of Feb

Why: Its not far from here and seemed a nice day so off we went…

With: Me, Theo and Mrs afterwards

Welcome to Wuthering heights country! The Bronte waterfalls are a hop, skip and a jump from Howarth, the home of the literary legends that are the Bronte Sisters. They apparently spent many a summers day out here enjoying the goodness that is Yorkshire, and despite the rain it was a lovely morning out.

Pictures tell the story really…

Out in the van – Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Wet. Very wet,. Moist, damp and soaked. Drenched. Sodden.

Where: Yorkshire sculpture park, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England

When: 14th February 2022

Why: Been before but didn’t get to see it all so wanted to return

With: Just me and the dog, Theo

The sculpture park is a huge country park, scattered with some quite fabulous sculptures from a variety of rather famous folk, including Damien Hirst who grew up in Yorkshire. You can walk for hours and hours, taking in monstrously huge works of art, and there are indoor and outdoor exhibits to enjoy, as well as some great walled gardens.

But sometimes it just pisses down with rain and you get so wet that you spend the whole time shouting ‘stop running you bastard, you’ll pull me over’ at the dog, and you head back to the van soaked to the skin because it turns out the coat you wore is not at all waterproof.

I took some photos, but to be honest my glasses were so obscured they were somewhat of a surprise to me…

Think I will go back in the summer!

Out in the van – Rivelin Valley, Sheffield

Rivelin Valley, Sheffield. Water, water everywhere

Where: Rivelin Valley, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England

When: 24th January 2022

Why: Used to live there a lifetime ago, and Mrs Afterwards often reminisces how she took her old dog Chester there to play in the river…

With: Me, Mrs Afterwards and the dog, Theo

Its only about 40 miles and around an hour from halifax, so off we went. The weather was decent enough, grey and calm, and not cold at all – which is great for January.

The Rivelin Valley has a river that runs for miles, with decent paths around it to make it a pleasant and easy walk. The thing that makes it stand out though, is its history of water wheels and industry – all long gone now – dating back to 1581. There are loads of remnants of what was once a thriving area, and it’s amazing to think that for hundreds of years this was an area synonymous with the production of knives and forks that were shipped worldwide. Sheffield steel reached every corner of the globe for hundreds of years and remains a mark of quality to this day.

We all had a great time, especially Theo who got to jump into lakes, puddles, rivers, pools and bogs. So excited was he that I could be oft heard swearing at him as once again he nearly pulled my arm out of the socket as he lurched after one thing or another.

And to top it all off, at the end of what was nearly 2 hours of walking, was a great tuna melt and some rather good chips. Oh, and a Ribena. I think it tasted all the better for being hungry after the walk. Definitely worth the 4 or so hours door to door…

Out in the van – Ogden Water

Ogden Water, Halifax.. Bright blue skies and blustery winds.

Where: Ogden Water, Halifax, West Yorkshire, England

When: 16th January 2022

Why: Took the dog for a walk there, but wanted to take a different path…

With: Just me and the dog, Theo

Ogden water is one of the local Reservoirs, and near to where the kids go to school and perfect for a lap with the dog. Usually I just have a leisurely stroll through the woods around the waters edge, and Theo gets rather excited at the ducks and gulls that wait to be fed by passers by.

Today though I went a different route and passing by Boggart wood and over the victorian promenade I carried out along a path I have see a few times before, but never taken.

Before I knew it my head was freezing cold (as I had neglected to bring a hat), and it was blowing a gale – but wow what a view! Looking back down the valley towards Halifax, everything glistened under the crisp blue skies and the moors stretched invitingly before us as the golfers battled the winds some way below.

The dog had a fantastic time as he darted from bog to bog, the wind seeming to excite him terribly. I only wish I had allowed more time because I think I could have made a full day of it! I certainly will next time…

Out in the van – Emley Moor Mast

Emley Moor Transmitter, Huddersfield. My what a big one you have…

Where: Emley Moor Broadcast Mast. Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England

When: Monday 10th January 2022

Why: Because I can see it from my house and wanted to see it

With: Just me and the dog, Theo

I can see the old transmitter tower when I walk the dog, which is next to the red lights you see in the picture below. From a distance it has a fabulous Mordor/Lord of the rings vibe to it…

Pre digital, this is where we received out TV signals from and it was once the 6th highest structure in the world. Ive never ben so today me and the dog got in the van and drove out. It is only about 30 minutes drive through Brighouse and over to Huddersfield.

Mostly its a whopping great tower. Big. Really big. You can pull over in a layby and have a peek but you cant get that close (though one day a year you can apparently go up it) and once you’ve appreciated the general bigness you;re kind of done really.

Did I mention it’s big?

We had some hot chocolate and a few ginger biscuits and looked for a nice walk, but despite how out of the way it is up there the walk options are limited so we had a bit of a ramble, a few more biscuits and then headed home.

It’s impressively big but a tad underwhelming as once you get there there’s not a great deal you can do. The views are pretty though. And it’s really big. If you like big stuff…

Theodore Rufus Doggington the 1st. My what a big dog he is…

Theo and I wandering the local area with camera in hand

So ten months in and what sort of dog is he now? Curiously, he hasn’t really changed much. He is sweet, friendly and wants to be everyone’s BFF. Only main difference is that he can now mostly pull my shoulder out of its socket if he get the sniff of the sort of thing that makes dogs lunge wildly. You know, squirrels, a random leaf, a small child with an ice cream. That sort of stuff.

We continue to wander around Halifax as the mood takes us, and he also had a trip to Scarborough recently to have his first swim in the sea, and he bloody loved it. He followed it up with fish and chips and some dog ice cream, so as days go I think it was perhaps one of his best. I think it just pipped the day he got hold of 3 bags of dog treats and scoffed down the lot.

He’s made plenty of friends, though remains a little rough when he plays with them so has some learning to do on that front. He isn’t bitey, it’s not anything like that, he is just an exuberant ball of uncoordinated enthusiasm which can be rather off putting.

Anyway, here’s a few pictures of us wandering about aimlessly.

Theodore Rufus Doggington the 1st. Off on our merry medieval meanderings…

Welcome to the past

So it turns out that about ten minutes from the house there is an old medieval road. I shit you not. Dating back at least 500 years, the Magna Via is the old road between Wakefield and Halifax and what is left of it passes not far from where I live. Now I didn’t intend to walk up it (this was my first time) but found it quite by chance and next thing you know me and Theo had been out of the house for 2 hours and had walked about 5 miles. That might sound fun, and it was, there was however the small matter of me only intending to pop out so I was wearing inappropriate footwear and was actually supposed to be working. I ended up taking a number of work calls from the hills around Hipperholme explaining that I would return to my desk and view the PowerPoint presentation once I was able to figure out where I was and how long it might take me to get home. Isn’t working from home just great.

It’s quite fabulous that you can be merrily walking along and then suddenly there you are, wandering a cobbled road that runs up through the countryside. The cobbles are a recent addition (around 1740) and in many places they are in pretty good order. In others they are long gone but all along the way there are so many reminders of a byway long abandoned to all but adventurous folk in sturdy footwear.

If you follow the road long enough it brings you out to Beacon hill which overlooks Halifax, but I kept that treat for next time. Anyway here are a few photos. Welcome to the past.

Theodore Rufus Doggington the 1st. Getting stoned…

Theo and I wandering the local area with camera in hand

I realise this is frightfully dull but you might possibly find some pleasure in it.

“In what?” You ask..

Or perhaps you don’t. Well I am going to tell you anyway. Stone. Currently I am taking lots of pleasure in stone whilst Theo and I traverse the back roads and pathways of Halifax.

Whether its drystone walls or 16th century Tudor buildings, long trodden paths or ramshackle ruins of what once was, I’ve seen so many wonderful examples of what someone long forgotten crafted.

There’s a wonderful Weatheted permanence and whispered history, even when all that remains Is a shadow of what once stood proud. Wherever we go now I find myself looking With wonder at just how long so much of this has stood.

Here’s just A few pictures from the last week from our early morning walks.