In a rather radical departure from letterpress, that will explain my dearth of posts recently, I have been busy finishing a book that has just been published. For all you dog owners out there, who live in or near Buckinghamshire, England, grab yourself a copy of “Buckinghamshire – A Dog Walker’s Guide”.
I have spent the best part of the last year roaming the Buckinghamshire countryside with my Portuguese Water Dog, Figo, perfecting 20 of the best dog friendly walks in the area. I was inspired to write the book as I wanted to get out and explore the fabulous Chiltern countryside Bucks has to offer. However the issues for dog owners trying new places are different from simply rambling without a furry friend in tow.
Without directions or local knowledge, you might get lost or end up walking for miles along roads (possibly busy ones) as you don’t know where footpaths come out (reducing off-lead time for dog and enjoyability of walk for both), plus there are other dog related hazards, such as presence of livestock, blocked off stiles that are important to know for a safe and rewarding walk. So the walks have been designed with maximum off-lead time and minimum exposure to roads and each route comes with detailed information about livestock that may be encountered, the number and type of stiles, the nearest vet and, most importantly dog friendly pubs or cafes along the way!
I have always loved dogs but never owned one till Figo, as it is only now that I have the time to devote to a dog. I blame the Famous Five as I used to read the books to my two boys and they were inspired by ‘Timmy’. My eldest boy then badgered me for the next few years until I finally felt ready to take on the responsibility (as I knew it would ultimately be mine). Now I can’t imagine our family without him and totally identify with Gerald Durrell’s quote “A house is not a home until it has a dog’.
Portuguese Water Dogs are loyal, energetic, intelligent and sensitive companions. Figo brings us together as a family and hates it if any of us gets upset or shouts. He comes running over wagging his tail and instantly restores peace. As I am at home much of the time he is a perfect companion and our walks are an important and rewarding ritual for us both. I am now working on a series of dog-inspired linocut prints – more on this soon!