Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: English Springer Spaniel

Happy 5th birthday Bracken

Today is Bracken’s 5th birthday, which I guess means that he’s entering into his 30’s in human years and so should be settling down and starting to think about having a family now that he can’t hack the pace of the Friday night partying. Except of course that he’s a Springer so he mainly behaves as if he’s a puppy still and will happily go for a long afternoon walk even if I’ve run 7 miles with him in the morning.

He is such a fab dog though and despite the fact his tail wagging to greet you could knock an elephant over even though you only popped up stairs to grab a jumper he really is ever so gentle with the children. They’ve both grown up with him so think nothing of clambering over him or when they were little pulling his ears and trying to sit on him. He never bats an eyelid and has never once even growled at them. In fact more often that not you’ll find him curled up right next to Matilda when she’s sat watching TV.

He is of course also my running buddy, the one who gets me out of bed at 6am every day no matter what the weather. I wouldn’t have done half as much running if I didn’t have him as a reason to get out the house. I love being out on the trails with him exploring, even if it is pitch black and all I can see of him is the light on his collar.

He’s not perfect though, he does have a tendency to roll in things when we’re out running. Something he does more often if he hasn’t had enough walks for a few days, punishment for me perhaps? I’m not entirely sure what is worst; rolling in fox/deer poo or the rotting carcass of a dead animal he’s found. Both are pretty bloody disgusting but I guess that’s his inner wild dog coming out.

But we wouldn’t be without him and it does feel very odd on the few occasions when we’ve been home and he’s not here. So Happy Birthday Bracken and I hope you enjoy your mackerel for you birthday dinner.

Happy 4th birthday Bracken

First an admission, it ‘may’ have been Bracken’s birthday on the 18th and I ‘may’ have forgotten. But hey better late than never right? As I probably say most years when I write this post Bracken is our first baby and now we have him I can’t imagine not having him around the house.

He’s such a sociable boy and as I write this in my study at home he’s lying keeping my feet warm. Whenever I finish a conference when I’m working from home he comes running into my study, inevitably carrying something in his mouth for me and waggling his tail like crazy. In fact he’ll waggle his tail like crazy if you come back into a room having only been gone 30 seconds. Impossible to feel grumpy when he’s around.

Over the past year you can see the bond between him and Matilda in particular growing, she’s always giving him cuddles and loves snuggling up with him on the sofa to watch a movie. Matilda and Henry have also started the slightly disgusting practise of giving Bracken a ‘kiss’ before bed time which involves Bracken licking their faces. Just lovely.

He is of course also my running buddy, I ran 1000 miles last year and he did 95% of those runs with me which means he probably ran more lie 1300 miles! He keeps me company on the cold, dark winter morning runs and in fact is often the reason I get out of bed in the morning to run at all. Plus I’ve now seen at least 2 other people running on the Ridgeway with their Springers so clearly I’m not that crazy.

So Happy Birthday Bracken, you truly are a great dog and we love having you in our family.

Crufts 2012 – the winners are….

Thanks to everyone that entered the competition, it was actually really interesting reading what your favourite dogs are. I love the fact that we all go through the same decision process of choosing a dog but end up with a very different answer. I think it’s probably that sheer variety of types of dog each with their own needs that makes them such a popular pet.

So without further ado I have randomly selected 2 winners and am pleased to announce that Kerry Jean Lister and Amy (@nomnomZackyV) have both won a pair of tickets to the event. Congratulations to you both, I’ll be in contact with you via Twitter.

Don’t forget that you can buy tickets from the Crufts homepage here Under 8’s go free when accompanied by an adult.

I’ll leave you with a photo of my own favourite breed – the English Springer Spaniel, this is our dog Bracken who last week turned the grand old age of 2. Hopefully in the next couple of years we’ll get him a friend to keep him company, whether it’s another Springer or not remains to be decided.

The first post – AKA sticking my neck above the parapet

So, the first blog post. Something I’ve been thinking about for a while now, but never quite plucking up the courage. Over the past few months I’ve become an active user of twitter; building networks, finding new and exciting small businesses (often one person businesses run by enterprising stay at home mums), reading blogs and in general embracing social media. While I may not be the next Stephen Fry destined for literary success influencing millions through my ramblings, I do feel the ‘urge’ to share my thoughts, experiences and feelings through the wonderful media that is blogging. A few gentle nudges by Suzanne (, an old school friend and fellow twitter addick has finally motivated me to do it.

As I write this I am sitting at 35,000 feet on BA287 en route to San Francisco for a week of work and networking. Sounds exotic I know, but the reality is something different. Up at 5am, email/work for 2 hours, breakfast then travel to the office for an 8am start. Presentations and training until 5pm, then an evening activity until 9 or 10pm. Back to the hotel for a few more emails, then straight to bed. Not that I’m complaining, I love my job (more of that at a later date), its great meeting colleagues from around the world and hearing from the ‘big guys’ of our corporation. But definitely not the jolly that some people would think.

But, having just watched Shrek ever after (accompanied by a couple of glasses of wine), I can’t help feeling a little emotional, or at the very least sentimental. Yes I know it’s a kids movie and I’m a big tough guys but it’s a very clever movie *scrabbles around for justification*. You see I have left behind my beautiful wife who is 16 weeks pregnant and our amazing little pup Bracken who is an 8 month old English Springer Spaniel. I don’t think of myself as a particularly soppy or emotional person, but I hate leaving them at home. I hate not being there to perform my role as the rock of the family, I’m the one who tells people ‘it’ll be alright’, and I’m the one who takes care of things so that my wife can get some rest. I get up early on her days off so that she can sleep in. I love doing these things, being the provider, no matter if that makes me sound like a caveman.

Englsih springer spaniel puppy

There is nothing I enjoy more than coming home to them, some people work late, or go for drinks after work, not me, I’m gone. From what I remember of my studies this is a common characteristic of my generation, the so called generation Y. No jobs for life for us, work life balance is the key, yes we want success and to climb the corporate ladder but not at the expense of a social and family life. I can’t wait until our little bean is born and I can come home to a waggling dog, a happy wife and a little bundle of joy!

Ok, now I’m waffling a little, maybe it’s a dangerous thing uncorking this pent up blogging desire. Now I don’t have a grand plan for this blog, it doesn’t have a theme or even a regular update schedule. Perhaps in time that will come, until then you can expect some rambling, occasional moaning, my hopefully humorous take on the world and maybe even a few feelings thrown in for good measure.

So there you have it, blog 1 done. I welcome, crave even, your comments and thoughts. But please be gentle.