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Saturday, 14 September 2019

Alcatraz? Belmarsh? Guantanamo?

When we had our 'home check' as part of Millie's adoption process, the lady who visited agreed that Bag End was a lovely, dog-safe garden and would provide a great place for a four-paws to play and run around.  We certainly believed that to be the case, otherwise there's no way we would have taken on another dog.

However, that assessment was made by normal measures and standards, on the assumption that we would be adopting a 'normal' dog.  Millie is not 'normal' (although she is utterly gorgeous).





The Honourable Lady Millicent is blisteringly fast, as skinny as a racing snake, and potential death on legs to the blackbirds whom she loves to chase out of the hedges (she has not caught one yet, but I already fear for next year's fledglings).  At some point in the future I would not be surprised to find she can climb - I am trying not to worry that lurchers have been known to perform death defying feats of almost cat-like articulation & agility to get to their quarry.



Millie has not escaped, run away, got loose, or left the garden without us.  However, and it is a huge however, we both felt there was the potential for her to get up to goodness-knows-what mischief in a garden the size of Bag End, and we have been busy working to shut down anything we could think of which, at some point in the future, SHE might think of . . .  Our first couple of weeks living with the Honourable Lady may have lulled us into a false sense of security, but as Millie began to trust us and grow in confidence her ability to rummage around in almost inaccessible parts of the garden grew too.

And then there was the matter of Management watching her squeeze through a space that was physically too small for her to fit through - yes, we measured it.  In Millie's defence, she only did it to get to me, who was the "wrong" side of the fence and she wanted to see what I was up to, but it still scared the crap out of us, so much so it gets a post of its own (that will be tomorrow).

But the stuff we had already considered included an area I felt she might be interested in excavating - which has been covered in chicken wire the way you'd edge the bottom of a chicken run to stop a fox digging through .



Additional gates have appeared inside the garden so that we can limit where she is at any time, and existing gates have sprouted an extra metre of height . . .



(In Millie's defence, I set up this picture with a bit of her favourite treat on the horizontal rail)













We made adjustments earlier in the year to the trellis divider alongside the Vegetable Patch, but that has gained a height extension as well.



But the biggest change has been another massive delivery from the local builders' merchant and Management getting busy with the angle grinder.



It never occurred to Daisy to go into this large bed:



but Millie sees it as her own adventure playground and we've added considerably to the height of the fence (which is how I got badly damaged by the hawthorn).  You can hardly see what we've done, the hedges were already thick and high but I now feel a little more relaxed when I cannot see exactly where she is.







I may have already mentioned how fast and slender skinny Millie is 🤣  and her ability to get into places that you and I would not even call places . . . we tried not to laugh when she got herself between the greenhouse water tanks and the fruit cage, realised she couldn't turn round and was stuck.  Actually, that's not true - we did laugh, a lot.  It helps that despite having legs like Bambi and looking all skinny and fragile Millie appears to be robustly tough.  She eventually wriggled free on her own and was completely unscathed by the incident.



Not content with doing so much work outselves, we have also finally accepted the inevitable and will be getting someone to do a lot of additional work for us . . .

We are getting quotes to replace a significant quantity of Bag End's fencing - the sections which we inherited with the house that have been heading towards their Use By Date for many years.  Best guess, seeing as one of the quotes is from the chap who originally installed the fence is that it is 30 years old, so does not really "owe" anyone anything.  One of those jobs we have always known we'd have to face at some point and always had a good reason to put off.  The quotes are going to be horrendous.  😱☹️😭

12 comments:

  1. Oh my! I'm not surprised you've barely a minute to yourself. It's all great fun though, and you know you wouldn't have it any other way. Yet, she looks so innocent. X

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    1. Thanks Jules :) Is this what it is like for a new Mum? Millie is what I might imagine an over-active and joyful toddler to be - I need eyes in the back of my head and supersonic hearing to keep track of where she is. xx

      But yes, she does "I'm innocent, butter wouldn't melt in my mouth" extremely well 😋

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  2. Dear Jayne
    Yet more adapting to the Hon Lady M's set of skills! Although it has been a lot of work and the new fencing will be a drain on resources, you'll be pleased you took all these precautions in the long term. She'll be safe and you will have fewer worry lines!
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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    1. Absolutely right Ellie, and we have always known the fence would need replacing.

      I don't know about less worry lines, I think it's too late for me on that front!

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  3. Such a lot of work and expense for you but dog proofing your garden is a necessity. At least you haven't got a terrier digging holes everywhere:) I do agree she looks like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth.

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    1. thanks Eileen, I remember you having to go through your own fence issues to make the garden safe for Annie. Millie might not be a terrier, but she would dig if she could get away with it . . .

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  4. Millie will certainly keep you on your toes. I hope the blackbirds are fast learners.

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    1. Thanks Sue. Genuinely worried about the blackbirds - many, many generations have been born and lived at Bag End with plentiful food, no chemicals, and loads of nesting spaces. Madam is proving a heck of a shock for them.

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  5. Reminds me of when Lottie somehow appeared in the neighbour's garden and we couldn't figure out how. She'd managed to squeeze into a thick hedge and trample an old fence that we didn't even know was there! Also jumped over the 4ft fence which we had to quickly increase in height. Good luck with all the fencing additions. She will calm down eventually :)

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    1. Debbie, thank you so much, it is a relief to know this isn't just us . . . and confirmation of the whippet/lurcher ability to find places that no-one else would consider big enough to be places!

      I am hoping Millie will calm down somewhere between two and three years old, that's how long it took Ollie, but WE were much younger then!

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  6. Definitely like a toddler, you have to have eyes everywhere! Lovable though and worth every minute. Hope the quotes are not too eyewatering.

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    1. Thanks m'dear. We've had the first quote. Ouch. But roughly what we expected . . . it is going to be "bluddy lovely" when it's done though.

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