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Saturday, 31 October 2015

Super Good Boy!

Hmmmm.....perhaps I forgive Whiskery Peter for his lessons yesterday. Mum has been putting them into practice today. At first I was a bit miffed at not getting away with my tricks of pulling her around and ignoring recall. Once I concluded that Mum meant business though, I found that the praise and calmness, plus the extra yummy treats for being good were worth the surrender!
There was plenty of time and opportunity for practice as we covered 9.2miles, 10 locks, 4 swingbridges & 1 liftbridge today. We cruised some of it and walked quite a lot of it. This included a fair amount of narrow towpaths that needed me to practice my 'Go ahead' technique of guiding Mum.
We are now back in Newbury and, once we were all moored up, Mum gave me the biggest carrot she could find - and it was a very big one! A yummy reward for being a super good boy all day!

Friday, 30 October 2015

Meeted & Greeted

After they had all gone, a flat-coated retriever called Bee came along with her human, named Peter. Peter has big whiskers on his face, and he is a boater. Even though Bee is 10 years old, we still had a good play together. It turns out that Whiskery Peter is a dog trainer! Uh-oh! I got some lessons! Or, perhaps Mum and Dad got some lessons! It seems I am no longer going to be allowed to greet quite so enthusiastically. Nor will I get away with something he called 'lunging' or tugging on lead to greet or investigate while Mum or Dad is off-guard! Hmmmm...... I shall let you know how things develop! I am not too certain how much I really like Whiskery Peter! Mind you, he did mention something about big chunks of chicken for recall practice...... I may come to like him a lot more!
Mum says that today really was the final event of our fundraising. She says the overall total of all the shin disks and floppy rectangles we've collected adds up to over £8,000. She says that is a fabulous achievement. She asks me to say 'THANK YOU OODLES' to everyone who has supported us and made donations. It all means that we will be able to choose the names of two puppies to be trained as my colleagues. One will beI am well and truly meeted and greeted! And kanoodled and chewed and tussled.
It has been a great day! We have been at the Aldermaston Tea Rooms all day. Rob and Jo from The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (UK) were with us, plus a couple of Guide Dog Puppies and their humans too. Marco, the black lab and Hughes, the golden lab-retriever, both about 9 months old, are both bigger than me! Nevertheless, I needed to teach them a thing or two about being a Guide Dog! Of course, it is essential that they know the art of hoovering, plus enthusiastic greeting skills, kanoodling, and most importantly, how to be a complete hussy by rolling onto one's back to display full glory in the process of serious kanoodling! I think they learnt well from the master!
After they had all gone, a flat-coated retriever called Bee came along with her human, named Peter. Peter has big whiskers on his face, and he is a boater. Even though Bee is 10 years old, we still had a good play together. It turns out that Whiskery Peter is a dog trainer! Uh-oh! I got some lessons! Or, perhaps Mum and Dad got some lessons! It seems I am no longer going to be allowed to greet quite so enthusiastically. Nor will I get away with something he called 'lunging' or tugging on lead to greet or investigate while Mum or Dad is off-guard! Hmmmm...... I shall let you know how things develop! I am not too certain how much I really like Whiskery Peter! Mind you, he did mention something about big chunks of chicken for recall practice...... I may come to like him a lot more!
Mum says that today really was the final event of our fundraising. She says the overall total of all the shin disks and floppy rectangles we've collected adds up to over £8,000. She says that is a fabulous achievement. She asks me to say 'THANK YOU OODLES' to everyone who has supported us and made donations. It all means that we will be able to choose the names of two puppies to be trained as my colleagues. One will be a black lab like me and will be named Raymond, after Grandpa. The other is yet to be decided.
I have simply loooooooved all the walking, all the fusses, all the meeting and greeting...... Actually, I just love being me - doing my job!
Photos of today.
1) Me and Marco on our leads. Mum holding mine and Marco's PW holding his. We are on the towpath, between the boat and the Tearooms, having a 'sit' moment in between kanoodling sessions.
2) Marco and Hughes greeting, with their PWs and Rob
3) Meeting and greeting, and just generally doing our PR stuff in the Tearooms gardens
4) Mum yacketying with Whiskery Peter. Me on lead with Mum after Peter had taught her how to get me to stand patiently on a slack lead, Bee looking straight at Dad's one-eyed-clickyboxa black lab like me and will be named Raymond, after Grandpa. The other is yet to be decided.
I have simply loooooooved all the walking, all the fusses, all the meeting and greeting...... Actually, I just love being me - doing my job!
Photos of today.

 Me and Marco on our leads. Mum holding mine and Marco's PW holding his. We are on the towpath, between the boat and the Tearooms, having a 'sit' moment in between kanoodling sessions.

Marco and Hughes greeting, with their PWs and Rob

Meeting and greeting, and just generally doing our PR stuff in the Tearooms gardens.
Mum yacketying with Whiskery Peter. Me on lead with Mum after Peter had taught her how to get me to stand patiently on a slack lead, Bee looking straight at Dad's one-eyed-clickybox.

Soggy Doggy!

Soggy Doggy! That was me all day today!

We've cruised, we've walked, we've worked locks and swingbridges, and most importantly, I've played with a couple of pals: one was Billy, the little whippet X terrier that I first met last year, then again a couple of days ago. This morning I had a fab game of chase with him, just after we first set off. I taught him how to bark at hissing featherballs too! Well......it had to be done......the big white beastie started it! The other play pal was a passing labradoodle that I met at a lock. That was a great game of chase too!

Now that we've moored up, the sky has finally stopped leaking! I took Dad for a walk this evening to get him out of Mum's way. While we were out, she obviously launched a major attack on the floor, using whiskersticks and wet frothy wiping stick. When I got back she attacked me with a towel! It seems she didn't appreciate my additional splatterings and pawprints!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

A Day Out

Surprise surprise! Late last night Rosie and James arrived! Yayyyhayyy! They stayed the night too. That meant I had company in my room for the night! That always makes me a happy boy! And I must admit that I really do rather super love Rosie and James! I mayyyyyy just have got a smidgen carried away with my greetings! Apparently the table-made-into-a-bed wasn't meant for me! Oops!
This morning, I had a super special breakfast - Rosie fed me! Then, after human breakfasts, and a brief wander around the big puddle and back along the towpath, we all got into Rosie's little car, with Dad driving it. Rosie and James were in the back seat and I was in the boot. I sat there for a while watching the world whizz by, then I decided that was enough of the separation, so I climbed over to join Rosie and James. Well, I guessed they wouldn't be with us for long, so I wanted to make sure I got maximum possible time having cuddles! They both shoved as far over as possible to the edges of the seat so I could snuggled down between them! Much better!
We drove for quite a while and eventually stopped in that huge London place. This was an unfamiliar bit of it though. We were at a huuuuuge human vets place, and I had to work hard weaving around gazillions of people, guiding Mum a long way around the place, then up lots of stairs and through lots of corridors and doors. We were there for quite a while, a lot of the time just waiting. I got some lovely fusses from lots of people, so that alleviated boredom!
After all that, we found our way back out again, and to the car, then drove a little more into the town area. After a bit more guiding work through busy streets, we found Debbi! Another mega-waggy-tail reunion! Happy days! This was soon followed by a time of torture/snoozing/hoovering in a human yummies place.
The next bit was good though! We were all walking down the street and I successfully steered Mum into a fabulous shop. It was a pet shop! My strategy worked beautifully! Mum bought me a big bone. However, she told me I couldn't have it until later. I needed to sort out this injustice. I seized my opportunity perfectly: Mum's attention was nicely taken up checking out some collars for Debbi's hissing furballs. Beside me was a big box of irresistables, just waiting for me to make my selection! Well, I just had to didn't I? I managed to get a few moments chewing it before Mum rumbled me! She didn't seem very impressed with my deftness. The shop-man took it off me. He made me 'drop it'. Mum kept saying "I am so sorry" and "how much do I owe you for that?" But the man said "Please don't worry about it". Then he put my selected treat into the bag with my bone. Mum was still saying "Sorry" when we left.
We then said bye-byes to Rosie and James before spending a bit more time in some shops with Debbi. Then the bye-byes time came for her too.
We then headed off in the dark, to the train station and I got my dinner while we waited to get on a train. It was really crowded on the train so Mum and Dad had to stay standing and I had to squish myself against Mum's legs. Eventually though, lots of people got off and we were able to find seats and a bit more space to lie down for me. That was much better.
After a fair while in the train, we then had a little walk begpfore getting on a bus, followed by a good long walk home. As it was completely dark, I had to take super good care of Mum and she was really pleased with me. So pleased in fact that I got my 'stolen' pig's ear to enjoy once we were back aboard the boat. Yummmmmmm yummmm!

Tuesday, 27 October 2015


Well! That was sneaky! I set off this morning, first of all for a nice wander around the big puddle, then Mum harnessed me up and we set off, with Dad, for a nice steady walk along the towpath to Morrison's again. I thought it was just a normal, everyday stroll. Oh no! When we got to Morrisons, a lady appeared behind us. She was a Guide Dogs lady. A Mobility Instructor! Otherwise known as an Obey Me Or Else (OMOE)! I didn't know I was under scrutiny! OMOE had been following us all the way! Watching my every move! She spotted me trying to have a sneaky sniff from time to time. She spotted me trying to snaffle a snack. She spotted me pulling to greet a fellow guide dog we met along the way. She spotted me reading and leaving weemails.
Having said all that, she also noted that I was a good boy. That I stopped at kerbs for Mum, that I guided her around obstacles, that I took her to the crossing places, that I stopped at the stripey road crossings in the car park.
She declared me a good guide dog! Yayyyyyy! She did seem to do a lot of yacketying with Mum and Dad though and, from what I heard, it seems she was giving them some tips, ideas and instructions to 'deal' with my 'not-so-good' bits! Gulp! I think there were things like 'stop and sit' and 'short lead' mentioned in connection with rushing to greet other dogs. Hmmm! Not too sure I like the sound of that. Mind you...there was also mention of treats and rewards..... That bit I do like the sound of!
She was a very nice OMOE. She made a nice fuss of me before she left. She also gave Mum a new handle so I now have a smart one on my smart harness and a scruffy one on my scruffy lock-working harness. I heard new jingle bells too so I think I will now have a new shiny one of those on both my working collars, as well as my play collar. This is just like I used to have before they broke and lost their dingaling!
The rest of the day has been spent snoozing off the hard work of this morning, followed by a nice leisurely walk along the towpath this evening.

.... and RELAX!

Well, that was a rarity! A remarkably uneventful day! 
Long walk on harness to go shopping. Long walk around the shop. Long walk back home. Long snooze. Longish walk this evening before dinner. That about sums it up! 
Time for bed now. Night night!

I jingled on the radio!


Coooooeeeee! What a day!
It all started with a very short walk up the road, followed by waiting on the street corner. The air was all fuzzy and the grass was white and crunchy. Then, after a couple of talkybone sessions, a car arrived and we got in. Mum says it was a taxi, I thought it was a car. We rode to a huge house with huge gardens (which I didn't get ot explore! How rude!). We went inside and a man came to meet us. We followed him through lots of doors and corridors and into a little room with lots of techystuff in it. In there, we met another nice man who sat behind all the techystuff wearing big black bowls on his ears and talking into a big red lollipop. Mum and Dad both also had to sit down and talk into lollipops (Mum's was blue and Dad's was yellow). I just settled down for a snooze on the carpet. After all the talkystuff was done, I had to pose for a one-eyed-clickybox session.
Apparently all this was called 'being on the radio'. Well, I don't know what a radio is, but I wasn't aware of being on anything but the floor!
After that, we rode back in the taxi/car (whatever it is called -humans seem to have so many words for the same thing!). We only had a few minutes back at the boat before setting off on a long walk along the towpath and then on busy roads, to go to church. I got a good portion of nice fusses there and a chance to snooze off the long walk while all the human howling and banging and twanging was going on.
The walk back was via a big shop called Morrisons where I had to work hard guiding Mum round all the crouwded aisles and trolleys. Once we got back to the boat I was rather glad that Mum and Dad had left the big bed down for me! (What do you mean, Mum, that it wasn't left like that FOR me? Of course it was! It gets me out of your way while you put all the shopping away!). I do like snoozing on there when they leave it down, not least, coz I can watch out for doggy pals passing by the window!
After a good snooze it was time to take Mum and Dad out again for a very pleasant afternoon wander around the big puddle (apparently it's called a nature reserve) beside our mooring, then along the towpath. I was ready for my dinner after that! In fact, I am sure I was well overdue for my dinner! I think I heard something about the tickydisks being changed - I hope that doesn't mean my dinner will be late everyday from now on!
Now......that bed needs warming up again.......

Monday, 26 October 2015

My fame is spreading yet further!


Favourite Mooring

Yippee! We're back at one of my favourite moorings! The one by the freerun place - the one Mum says is called Fobney Lock Nature Reserve. I like it here! I don't have to wee on lead! I am allowed to just hop off the boat in freedom! I'm hoping I can make maximum use of the freerun opportunities too!
This is all after a day of hard work, guiding Mum along the towpath and working the locks and swingbridges.
I met Rupert again while Mum was pressing buttons to open one of the bridges. Rupert was the big Gordon Setter puppy that I played with a few days ago. Sadly we didn't get to play today. I was on harness and we were right by a road so we had to put up with the limitations of just greeting, then going in opposite directions. It was nice to sniff though!
I also met some nice mini-humans too. There were a couple at our firts lock who made a nice fuss of me, as did their big human Dad. Then there was another mini-human called Kyle who we met at another lock, which was followed immediately by a swingbridge. Kyle helped Mum to do the pushy-pully stuff on the big lock beam, then he pressed the buttons on the swingbridge for Mum. I sang him a song while we waited for all the clunking and whirring to happen with the bridge.

Nobody Loves Me....

Bacon....sausages.....eggs......toast......umbrella slices......parp-pods.....etc etc..... all seriously mouth-watering stuff...... and what did I get? Not a crumb! Nothing! Zilch! Haaaaarrrruummpphh! And after all my hard work guiding Mum along the towpath, working the swingbridges and locks! Right! That's it! I'm going on strike!

Well, actually, I don't know what a 'strike' is so I'll make do with the sofa!

The mouthwatering torment was in the nice cafe called Aldermaston Tea Rooms​, where Mum says we will be next Friday 30 October from 11am to 3pm, along with some fellow Guide Dogs and Puppies to play with. Maybe I could find a morsel then to make up for today......

Come along and love me..... please.....pretty please? The more of my human friends that come, the better chance there is of a crumb or several getting dropped!

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Fame Again!

Oooooo! Fame again! Well, apparently that is to come soon.
We have had Dan the One-eyed-whirry-box man and his pal Chris with us all day again today. Mum says it was the final film session for 7 Families. I say it was fun but odd. I really like Dan and I may have greeted him ever-so-slightly overenthusiastically! Oops! The odd bit is because, when he and Chris are pointing their one-eyed-whirrybox at us, we have to keep stopping and starting, then sometimes going back to do it all over again! Weird humans! Never mind. I got to have a good walk, on harness with Mum along the towpath, including doing a heavy swingbridge - and back again. I also got ot hoover some yummy cake crumbs from under the table!
Dan wanted some whirrybox pointing of me playing - well, I most certainly didn't object to that bit! Heehee! It was a good game of ball-launcher fun!
It has all been rounded off nicely with a lovely long walkies along the towpath - just to unwind. Now, Mum seems to have made the sofa bigger by pulling out the bottom section. That means there's oodles of space for sofa-snuggles! Yayy! A perfect end to the day! Well, it would be rude not to accept the offer wouldn't it?!!

Gorgeous Girlie

Today has been soggy outside. So, apart from taking Mum to a little shop this morning, I've had a snugly snoozy day inside! 
The walk to the shop was a good one - we've never been there before. Mum did something on her tippetytap toy (I think she calls it her eye pad, but I never see it on her eyes!) that apparently showed her which way to go. Then we set out around all the puddles and along the very narrow pavement. The shop was tiny and the lady got everything for Mum instead of her having to find it for herself. The lady talked to me too! She said "Well, hello gorgeous girly!" I forgave her such insult when she made a nice fuss of me! 
I've enjoyed a good time gnawing on a marrowbone this afternoon, but I did have to present it to Mum and ask her to get the last bit of marrow out of the middle. My little tongue just won't reach far enough in!
This evening, after watching loads of that noisy flat box thing on the wall, Dad finally accepted my big brown eyed invitation to go out for a stroll and a one-eyed-click box session. I had to do quite a lot of 'sit and wait' practice while we were at the station. Several big noisy long trains came by. The photos are on NB Sola Gratia.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

It's a Tough Life!

The result of a day of hard work/play! 
Photo of me zonked on the sofa with my head resting on the arm of it and my left ear dangling over the edge. (Unlike most Guide Dogs, I am allowed on the sofa because space on our narrowboat home is limited). 

Boris wore me out! Boris was great fun! Boris's human mum was nice -she did my job of walking with Mum all the way along the towpath, doing all the locks, while I got to freerun all the way with Boris for company. Boris is a ten-year-old Golden Retriever, whose boat was going the same way as ours. So our human Dads drove the boats while our Mums did all the walking and windy-uppy-windy-downy-pushy-pully stuff, and Boris and I did all the hard work of playing chase, swimming, sniffing....... It's a tough life!

Friday, 23 October 2015

Happy Days!

Woohoohoohoo! Visitors + biccies + freerun + swimming = very very happy Oakley!
We did a little cruise first thing this morning and moored up. My heart sank a little when it seemed that was the end of the day's excitement, such as it was. So I settled down on the back deck for a good sulk. Then I heard the zip go up on the front deck. Visitors arrived! Wonderful visitors! Come-again-please visitors! They brought me a big bag of doggybiccies! Yummmmmm! Their names are Rob and Helen and they are something to do with this thing Mum says is called 7 families. After a bit of inevitable human yackety-yacking, hot brown water and yummies, I heard a magic word: 'Out' and another magic word: 'Walk' !! That made me scoot out from under the table! And it made my tail go a tad berserk too!
Of course, I had to go through the agonising and frustrating wait while all the humans fuffed about putting paw covers and coats on. (I just don't get this palaver. My paws and fur are perfectly adequate as they are. Why can't humans just go as they are too?) anyway, eventually they were ready and, after posing for Dad's one-eyed-clickybox, we finally set off. No harness! Not even a lead! Yippeeeeee! Freerun! And a good longish one at that! Along the towpath, past a couple of locks and through the woods. I found a huuuuuuuuge stick to play with. It was so big I couldn't actually carry it until I broke a big bit off. I felt I had to entertain everyone! It worked! They all laughed at me trying to run with half a tree in my mouth! It was a good game but I left it at the second lock so I could enjoy a bit more running and sniffing. I picked it up again on the way back though and resumed the fun!
There were a few places where the canal bank sloped down to the water and dragged me in for a paddle and a swim! There is no resisting the pull of such places! The water just won't let me go on by without going in! I got in a couple of good showers of the humans when I did big shakes. Heeheehee! Always a bonus!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Overall, a Good Day!

I think I may have learned a valuable lesson today: If I eat lots of the little brown yummy disks that I found in a blue bag lying on the floor by the riverside, Mum and Dad get a bit miffed with me - and with the person who left them lying there, but, when I get home to the boat, I get lots of biccies! Double bonus! Mum said something about chocolate buttons being really bad for me. She then gave me loads of the little black biccies to 'absorb' the chocolate.
I found the yummy disks on the way back from church this morning. Dad thinks they were left by perhaps a fisherman. There was a whole bag of edibles but that was the only thing I got to sample before I got hoiked away!
We had a lovely long walk to and from church this morning. When we arrived, we sat outside for a while because apparently we were a bit early. Once we got inside, I got loads of fusses - that was great, except that I ended up surrounded by mini-humans! There were gazillions of them! Well...... about 6! It was terrifying! All I could manage to do was to roll onto my back and offer them my belly to be tickled! One of the very little ones grabbed my doodah though! That made me jump! The big human in charge of that particular micro-minihuman apologised and moved the offending tinyperson away! Phew! I really don't understand why so many of the other minihumans found it so funny! They giggled something about the baby grabbing Willy. I don't know who Willy is or what he had to do with it all, but that baby sure had a strong grip!
The hoovering duty afterwards made up for it all. I found a lovely big chunk of biscuit on the floor. Well..... I couldn't leave it there for somebody to tread on could I?!!
This afternoon we did something we haven't done much of for a fair while: We cruised - together! All of us aboard the boat! Since we started the MegaWalk we haven't done this. It was great - Mum and I hopped off at each lock and swingbridge to do the windy-uppy-windy-downy-pushy-pully-stuff. That meant that I got to enjoy quite a bit of freedom and relaxation!
A good day overall methinks.

Bad Eyes

We've had quite a relaxed, lazy day today. It started with a bit of a lie in. Dad said the numbers on the tickydisk were 9.30 when I squeaked 'I need a wee and I'm starving too'.

Dad then did some sizzly-stirry-yummy-smell-making. On days when we aren't cruising Mum and Dad sometimes don't fold their bed away. Today was one of those days, so, when jDad told me to 'go bed' I gladly obliged! Well, he didn't specify WHICH bed did he?!! The problem with this was that his sizzlying made the loud bleeper go off - and that is right abover Mum and Dad's bed! It scared me and made me run to the other end of the boat and out onto the front deck. Huff! Such a noisy intrusion into my comfy snoozing!

Mum is having a 'bad eyes day' today. That means that she swallows lots of white disks and she is extra messy when she is eating! Whilst I don't wnat her to suffer of course, I can't say I can complan aoubt the messy eating! I rather enjoyed the hoovering duties this morning! Sausage, bacon and toast came my way! Yummmmm! I didn't like the funny little umbrella-shaped slice thing though!

We then went on a lovely relaxed longinsh walk around the nature reserve next to where we are moored, and then along the towpath for a bit of a way. I got to have a bit of a play iwht a big chocolate Labrador who was scared of me, and a gobby couple of little terrier crosses. They weren't allowed off lead though because apparently they do a disappearing act!

Back aboard the boat, Mum and Dad were busy clicketyfingersing while I resumed my occupation of the bed - simply to keep out of hte way of course!

This evening, I took Mum on a bit of a harness walk along the towpath, the opposite way to this morning's route. Shee needed a break and a breath of fresh air. Of course, I was quite happy to help out with that! And I made sure the air was truly fresh when I did a doggy download for her! We didn't go far - maybe a mile or so, but as it was getting dark, Mum really couldn't see anything so I had to work hard for her. She did insist ofn stopping for a while to listen to the clicky-screechy flying things that were whizzing around. That gave me a nice opportunity to have a sniff around for a few moments - to cathc up on all the local weemails!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

A Friend called Rupert.

After this morning's battle with the yogurt pot, I had to hoover up the toast that Mum threw on the floor! Soooooo many chores! I needed a snooze after all that hard work, so it was good that Mum and Dad had some clicketyfingersing and talkyboning to do.
Fully rested, I was then able to guide Mum (with Dad as SatNav) on the two mile hike to do some shopping and back. At one point in the shop, Mum and Dad were focused on choosing some meat. If it wasn't for my bloomin' noseband, I could have chosen a huge juicy lump of beef that was right there, by my nose, on the bottom shelf, just begging to leap into my mouth...... But, the blessed noseband won't allow me to open my mouth wide enough to tackle such delights! Huff! It also gives Mum more control over my head so I wasn't able to help a man to clean the floor of a huge puddle of that lovely white stuff that comes in cold bottles. Huff again!
Just as we got back to the lock where the boat is moored, I found a friend. His name was Rupert. He was a huge two year old Gordon Setter. His humans were bringing their boat through the lock and we were allowed a bit of a play! That game of chase was a very welcome end to my hard work!
When the shopping was all unpacked I git a yummy surprise treat: Mum had got me a gloriously fantabulous fresh marrowbone! That kept me happily occupied for the rest of the afternoon. This evening I had to give in though - I just couldn't get that last bit of yummy marrow out of the middle. I had to present it to Mum and ask her to use a shiny flat thing to dig it out for me. She does love me after all!

Monday, 19 October 2015

Saved You, Mum!

It's OK Mum. I destroyed the yogurt pot that attacked me and spattered my face! It won't ever do it again!
Photo of me with yoghurt splotches on my nose and bits of yoghurt pot on the floor.

and that is the well and truly shredded offender!

Weemail Time!

I rather like this mooring! No roads means no lead when I go out for a wee! That means extra weemail opportunities - both sending and receiving!

We are in the same place we were when Andy and Roly came to play (with my first Mummy and Daddy - Sue and Mike, my PuppyWalkers). It was MUCH more fun with a playmate of course, but it is nice today too. I haven't had to work today coz Mum has been fully occupied with choppy-slicy-stirry-sizzly stuff. I did help to work one lock, but couldn't help with the other one; I couldn't walk in the nasty landing stage. It was made of lots of rectangular holes with the angry sloshy water underneath. Those rectangles hurtied my paws! I tried going down on my elbows and walking all lowdown but it was too scary and ouchy.

So I turned around and got back on the boat. I then sang to Mum from there while she felt her way up the steps to do the windy-uppy-windy-downy-pushy-pully stuff. Then, when the boat got high enough in the lock, I was able to jump ashore and run the help Mum. As soon as I got to the big beam where Mum was waiting for the water to get higher in the lock, I spotted two big evil white monsters. They were on the bank on the other side of the lock. I rushed across the plank on the lock gates and gave them a good shouting at! They fluffed up their huge white flappers, hissed at me and sploshed into the water. That told em! I didn't want them hissing at my Mum!

Curiously though, Mum didn't seem entirely grateful for my heroics! She told me I was a bully! That they weren't doing anything to invite my wrath. I dispute that! Just being there was quite enough to invite my wrath!

The rest of the day has been wonderfully relaxed. Human friends came. Pete and Heather are nice. They saved me from the hissing furballs that used to torment me when we lived in our house. They kept them so they didn't come with us onto the boat! Phew! I am sure Pete and Heather have saved me from many more bloody noses! I also like them because they let me take them, and Mum & Dad on a freerun around the area beside where we're moored.

Now..... That's Dad satisfactorily evicted from my sofa...... So ...... Time for night-nights methinks!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

... And RELAX!!!!!

Home again! After two free runs in the cliff top park, a long walk into Bournemouth guiding Mum to meet up with Dad and Granny, a snooze in a human yummies place, a long drive, dinner in the car, shopping, a bit more of a drive, and a nice walk with Dad. Now my bed beckons.......

Just call me "Bankfinder.com"!

It seems I have yet another name: 'Smartypants'!

That was what Mum called me this morning as we were walking around a bit of Bournemouth where we've never been before. Dad had given Mum something called directions so he stayed at home with Granny while I took Mum to the shops. It was quite a long walk but we arrived without taking any wrong turns. Once we reached the street where all the shops are, Mum was doing something she calls 'nattering' to me. She thinks I'm not listening. She says she is really only thinking out loud. Well I proved I was listening! She burbled quietly 'Oakie, I need to get some cash out before I can do the shopping. I wonder if there is a bank around here'.

Well, we carried on walking and she was doing her best to look at all the shops as we approached them. It was a 'bad-eyes-day' for her, so she wasn't doing too well at working out what was what. I just carried on doing my job and steering her around all the things she would bump into without me. Then we came to a doorway. I slowed down and hesitated, then looked at Mum and back again at the doorway, asking her if this was where she wanted to go. Then she got the message! It was NatWest Bank! I rather liked the super fuss and kiss she gave me! She told me what a clever boy I am! Well, of course......I know that! But it is nice to have the fact reaffirmed once in a while! Ahem! Haha!

Once the bank bit was done, we headed off further along the street to find a greengrocer followed by a butcher. Both of those shops are torture. The first one had some superbly huge carrots within my reach. Of course I wasn't allowed to select any! I even tried doing my best 'sit' and sweep the floor with my tail when the nice man picked some of the carrots for Mum. It didn't work! The butcher shop was even worse torture. I pressed my nose hard against the little gap in the see-through cabinet. I savoured as much of all those smells as I could but - the smell was all I got! Huff! It's not fair! The man in front of us was buying steak and chicken for his dogs. I want to go and live with him!

Shopping done, it was time to 'find the way back to Granny's'. Of course, I found the way faultlessly. However, Mum then said I was 'Sulky-socks' and 'Ploddypaws'. Well, a genius shouldn't be hurried!

I enjoyed a snooze while Dad took Granny out, and Mum was occupied doing choppy-slicy-sizzly stuff in the kitchen. After all those human yummies had then been eaten (after Dad and Granny came back), we set off to do more shopping - this time in a big shop at Granny pace. I really don't know how Mum has the audacity to call ME Ploddypaws! I don't think Sulky-Socks can be applied to Granny though! Super-Senior-Sandals perhaps?

Friday, 16 October 2015

Summer (?) Holidays!

Bournemouth! BEACH! Loads of doggy pals on beach to play with! Wooooohoooooo! Bestest day ever! 

Monday, 12 October 2015

.... And - RELAX!

Haaaaaaa! A lovely quiet, largely lazy day today. Just what a sleepy dog needed!
We did set out to go to church this morning, but after sitting at a bus stop for a while, and no bus coming along, we gave up and wandered through town for a while before returning to resume snoozing.
I took Mum and Dad for a nice gentle little freerun this afternoon. I tried to do a good job of cleansing the park of all the snacks left luring around, but it seems my efforts were not appreciated. My lead went back on! Huff!
Oh well, I did eventually get my dinner, so I think I need to snooze that off now.....

Saturday, 10 October 2015

MegaWalk 2nd Leg Day Seven: Fobney Lock to Reading

2.7 miles, 2 locks.
WE DID IT! We finished!
This last day of the walk has been THE BESTEST! It started with with a fantabulous surprise! My first Mummy and Daddy, Sue and Mike, my Puppy Walkers came! With Rowley, my old buddy Springer Spaniel, and Andy, the Guide Dog Puppy! We had a riot of a time on the towpath this morning, Andy fell into the canal, and we just generally chased and chewed and rolled and chased again! Wayyhayy! It was fun!
Then came the serious bit, when Mum harnessed me up. I had to show Andy what he will soon have to start doing. We walked the 2.7miles along the towpath together. It was fab to have company on the walk. Then, while we're working the final lock of the whole journey, Mum disappeared inside the boat and came back wearing different fur substitutes. She said something about not liking wearing goose poo!
We then left Dad to take the boat to find a mooring and we all walked into town. There, we met loads of other Guide Dogs and their humans. After a little walk to find a hot brown drink place for humans, and a chance for Andy and I to do some serious kanoodling on the pavement, we then spent the rest of the day in town. Dad rejoined us and helped Mum with collecting lots of shiny disks and flappy rectangles in a big bucket. All I had to do was be fussed and loved and admired by gazillions of humans! Such a chore! Of course, it had to be my irresistible gorgeousness that helped to get all the shinies and flappies!
Sue, Mike and Andy went off somewhere else up the street to do the same, but we did get a few more opportunities, on and off, for more kanoodles. Humans seem to find it highly amusing when we chew each other's ears and sing to each other!
After a long hard day of such admiration, we were both starving - and our dinners were late! Such neglect we suffer! We just about managed to survive long enough to make it back to the boat for our well earned meals, then we were off again. This time to a human yummies place. By this time we were both absolutely pooped so quite happy to snooze while the humans ate and yackety-yacked!
All too soon it all came to an end though, and we had to say our goodbyes. But not before a final kanoodling session on the towpath beside the boat.
Now, some serious sofa snuggles time is needed. We did it! Mum and I have walked the length of the Kennet and Avon Canal! All 75 miles and 99 locks of it! Whew! Mum, when do we start the walk back?........

Friday, 9 October 2015

MegaWalk 2nd Leg Day Six: Theale to Fobney Lock

4 miles, 4 locks, 1 swingbridge

The air was all fuzzy when we first set off this morning. That made everything smell different. Not that I got to sniff much of the news - Mum put my dreaded noseband on! Hufffffff! She muttered something about sniffing is NOT part of my job. Well I dispute that vehemently! I think it is very important that I read all the weemails along the way. Surely she needs to know if there is a beastie around? Well.... apparently not! Noseband means I simply can't sniff because Mum has way too much control over my head. I can't even snatch a tasty mouthful of grass as I go past! Harrrrumph!
Oh well, it was a pleasant walk. The fireball was in the sky, the featherballs were all tweeting and twittering and there was quite a lot of squelchy mud to walk through in some places too. Mum's paws were slip-sliding all over the place. I just trotted on with no problem at all. Further proof of the supremacy of four paws

While we were at one of the locks, a little tiny red ball with black dots landed on my nose! It then crawled up my nose and tickled! I tried ever so hard to watch it, but it made my eyes go funny! After it had sat on my noseband for a few moments, it flew away and I missed it when I tried to catch it!
Some of the trees were throwing things at us - some fluttery things of all sorts of shapes and sizes and some round hard things that hurt when they donked me on the noddle! One was a prickly green ball, another was a little shiny brown thing in a green cup. I didn't like walking where all the prickly green balls were - they hurt my paws and made me dance! I don't think that was the most ideal movement for guiding Mum but she laughed at me and we got through it.

Our very first stop this morning was the swingbridge. Mum didn't actually get to press the buttons today because another lady was already there. She was pressing buttons but nothing was happening. Apparently the bridge was broken and it wouldn't close across the canal to allow cars across again. there were lots of cars and vans queued up and I had to guide Mum along the line of them to tell the people inside that the bridge was broken down. All except one said 'thank you' to Mum for letting them know, then they turned around and drove back the way they had come from. One man though was nasty and he shouted at Mum! I gave him my bestest evil glare and a little growl. I wasn't going to let him get away with being horrid to my Mum! My growl must have worked - he turned his big van around and sped off too!

There is a nice big field with a lake in it beside where we have moored up - now I wonder if I can persuade Mum and Dad to let me out to go explore.......Right .... let's give it a try.... chin on lap.....big brown eyes.....a little whimper........

Thursday, 8 October 2015

MegaWalk 2nd Leg Day Five: Aldermaston to Theale

4 miles, 4 locks, 4 swingbridges

Quite a pleasant walk today. The hotball was in the sky. No leakieskies! Yay! No snacks either! Boo! A couple of doggy pals to meet and greet along the way! Yay! A long wait at the squirtysnake point! Boo! All in all though, much better than the last few days.

Mum says we've raised some more funds too and that is what this MegaWalk is all about.

When we moored up this afternoon, the homeless man came along again and Mum made him more hot brown drink and more yummies to take on his way. I like him. His bags smell fascinating too, but Dad told me to 'get that shnozzle out'! Huff!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

MegaWalk 2nd Leg Day Four: Woolhampton to Aldermaston

2 miles, 2 locks, 1 swingbridge, 1 lift bridge
A very sedate walk today. No leaky skies thankfully, but lots of puddles to splosh through in order to guide Mum around them. Mum calls that gallantry....I call it lovely! The swingbridge and the lift bridge were both clicky-whirry-bleepy things, not the usual hefty pushy-pully ones. The lift bridge was a bit scary. Mum used her little shiny jagged stick to click round in the slot, then she pressed buttons. First there was a lot of bleeping and cages came down across the road, then a lot of loud whirring as the whole road lifted up on one side. I joined in with the whirring noise but Mum said I was being a wingebag! She said I sounded like I wanted to be a German Shepherd! Well! Please! I think Labradors are far superior! Why would I want to be ANYTHING else!
My singing did amuse the workymen nearby though!
I missed out on two snacks today because Mum was mean! They were both lying on the towpath and really needed to be tidied up. She said that dead rat and dead hedgehog are not good for me to eat. Well, I think I should be the judge of that! I didn't get the chance though. I wasn't quite deft enough to outwit Mum's anticipation of my ducking towards such morsels! Harrumph!
This afternoon was nice - we spent it in a human yummies place called The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust Tearoom in Aldermaston. Some lovely people came to fuss me. mum says they came to support us on our MegaWalk, but I know they came to fuss me really!
After that, I took Dad for a walk to explore the village area a bit. When we came back, there was a man sitting on a bench beside our boat. He was very sad and had some big bags and things with him. Mum says he was homeless. I just knew he needed a bit of my love so I gave him my waggiest greeting and then went aboard the boat and fetched a toy to share with him. Mum made him a cup of hot brown water and gave him some yummies too. Dad did some yacketying with him, while I wandered around a bit and had a little play with a couple of passing doggy pals. The man then left with all his bags and another cup of hot brown water in his own mug with a lid, plus the bag of yummies Mum had given him. He was nice! He gave me a lovely ear rub!
Yaaaaawn...... It has been another long day of work, admiration and a bit if play.....so.....sofa cuddles time with Mum methinks!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

MegaWalk 2nd Leg Day Three: Thatcham to Woolhampton

3 miles, 3 locks, 2 swingbridges

Only a short walk today so I wanted to make it last. Mum called me Ploddypaws again! She also called me Daisy! That apparently had something to do with my grass munching! Well, it was tasty and I just couldn't resist those long luscious strands.

Just as we were coming to the last stretch of the walk, the blimmin' sky sprung another huge leak. We got soaked again! Huff! Then, once again, Mum and Dad showed their human strangeness; once back aboard the boat, they dealt with the sogginess by getting even more soggy - in the frothy warm rain box! I just don't get it! Me? I had a great towel-rub from Mum then settled down for a snooze leaving them to get on with their oddities!

This evening, we walked the little way to a human yummies place where there was a table set out with loads of delectable smelling stuff. I didn't get to sample much but a couple of dropped morsels helped a little to stop my mouth making the carpet soggy! However, I did get to meet and greet Rolo! He is the red Labrador that I met on yesterday's very soggy MegaWalk. We did try to have a bit of a play but it seems this was not allowed in there! Huff! Maybe one day we will meet up somewhere for a proper good play!

Monday, 5 October 2015

MegaWalk 2nd Leg Day Two: Newbury to Thatcham

3 miles, 5 locks, 2 swingbridges

Mum says that today's bit of MegaWalk was more of a soggy Megaplod! The sky leaked on us ALL the way! I don't like working when the sky is leaking! Apart from getting all soggy, it is lonely because nobody else is daft enough to be out! Today was no exception. We only met two other humans along the way. They each had a dog with them, but it was too yucky for anything more than a quick sniffygreeting.
Mum kept calling me 'Ploddypaws' and telling me to 'huppup' and 'letsgo' and 'come onnnnnn'. She muttered stuff about me being perfectly happy to get soggy when she doesn't want me to - like when on a freerun and the river lures me in.....she just doesn't understand! That is a completely different kind of wet! That is fun wet! Working wet is just NOT fun at all!
I did have an interesting little encounter along the way today. I got screamed at by a little squeaky toy! Mum said it was a waterbowl. I don't think I would have got much of a drink out of it though! It was little and furry-brown with a stubby tail and little round ears. It scurried across the towpath in front of me and then just stopped under a big leaf. I dived across Mum to investigate (oops! Sorry Mum for nearly tripping you over!). The little squeaker screamed at me with a really loud high-pitched screech and tried to bit my nose! I managed to duck backwards just in time so it didn't quite get me. Then it went plop into the canal and disappeared. I would have liked to have had a chance to play a bit more but I'm not too sure I want my nose pierced though!
When we moored up, Dad got his one-eyed-clickybox out and clicked it at us so we could show you how soggy we got!
First photo shows Mum and me. Mum's fursubstitute is all dark blue and her head-lid is dripping down her face. The other three photos are of a very soggy me!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

An Evening Out

Well, it would seem that walking 5 miles is not enough fun for one day!
We went across town to a pub called The Bacon Arms. We met up with a few nice humans and, more importantly, a fellow Guide Dog! Yay! A pal to kanoodle with while all the human yackety-yacking was going on! Henry is a lot bigger than me - a big black, fluffy lab X retriever. I had hoovering competition!
Mum did a load of talkystuff, telling the others all about us and our life on a boat. Henry was much more interesting!
Some shiny disks and some flappy rectangles went into the dog-with-a-hole-in-it's-head-box. Apparently these are important contributions to something called funds. If it's not edible, I cannot begin to work out how it can possibly be at all important!
It was nice to spend the evening with a comrade!

MegaWalk 2nd Leg: Day One Kintbury to Newbury.

5 miles, 8 locks. 1 swingbridge
But we walked straight past all of the locks and straight over the swingbridge with no windy-uppy-windy-downy-pushy-pully stuff at all! And Dad walked with us.
We left the boat behind and went on the train to Kintbury, then walked all the way back. Mum says this is because the swingbridge is broken so we couldn't take the boat, so that's why we didn't have to work the locks! She says that we will do the rest of the walk as normal - with Dad driving the boat alongside us. She says it is really fortunate that the boat is this side of the broken swingbridge. Actually, I'm not so sure.... I quite like the extra walking to and from the stations - and the extra fusses I manage to gain while we wait for the train!
We meeted and greeted lots of humans and doggy pals along the way today. Mum and Dad gave out lots of pieces of flappy stuff with coloured squiggles all over them. Some people handed back some shiny disks which went into a special pouch Mum has attached to my harness handle. Two of those people were rather important looking: They were both wearing black fur-substitutes, with round black head-lids that had black and white little squares all around. They had squawky boxes and all sorts of other things dangling on them too. They were very nice and, when a couple of mini-humans came along on wheelie-wizzers, the black-and-white people told them to get off their wheelie-wizzers and walk along that bit of towpath. The mini-humans did exactly as they were told! Maybe these black-and-white people are some kind of human equivalent of Guide Dog Mobility Intructors and Dog Trainers - 'Obey Me Or Else' people!
A few paces further on there were several men sitting, a litle way apart, each with long sticks going out over the canal. They were all sittting staring at their long sticks! Most odd! Usually, I like these long-stick-starers because they usually have tubs and bags of yummies around them. Today though, I was on harness so I couldn't inspect or hoover! Huff!
I did get a bit of a telling off from Mum - twice today! It seems she didn't appreciate my attempts to protect her from threats! First, by Victoria Park, just after we set off, I had to shout at both a hissing furball on a boat AND the hissing featherballs right by it. Then, not long after we got off the train and started walking along the towpath, I stopped to shout at a huge snorting, hay-munching monster that was stood behind a gate with huge round, hard paws and big sticky-up ears. It had a huge collar on and was standing watching some humans attaching a very long lead to a boat. Mum really told me off for shouting at this monster. I was only trying to protect her! She said his name is Charlie and he pulls the boat along. She tells me off for pulling! Huff! That's not fair!
We made it back to the boat via quite a lot of 'go-ahead' guiding practice on narrow bits. It was a good walk. I am ready for a good snooze now, while Mum does that weird frothy warm-rain box thing.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Being Good - by Being Naughty!

Today's obedience involved being very naughty! I jumped up onto a table! Ummmmmmm! But Mum told me to! It was for a one-eyed-clickybox-man to do his flashy-clicky thing!
It was at the pub where we went for the relaunch of our MegaWalk. I had to jump up onto the table and then lie down to pose with Mum.

We didn't actually do any MegaWalk today. Mum says we will actually start that tomorrow. We went on a train and then walked to the pub. Mum says we can't take the boat there because a bridge is broken.

We did go for a rather superb walk and freerun though - along a lane with no pavement, then across some huge fields - and all with a couple of doggy pals to run and play with all the way! There was a little brown short-legged senior boy dog called Tecky and a mini Jack Russel called Widget! Tecky was a bit slow and a bit senior for playing, but Widget was great fun to play chase with!

Now I am rather pooped, so, if you don't mind, I'm going to bed. Mum and Dad's bed looks much more comfy than mine.......I think I shall go and try to hide in it so they don't notice......

Two photos - one of me and Mum standing outside the Blue Ball, Kintbury. The other of me lying down on the table. Mum is crouched beside me hugging me and the one-eyed-clickybox-man is pointing his one-eyed-clickybox at us, with a huge picture of Mum and Me projected onto the wall behind us.

Woo Hoo!!! I'm in the News AGAIN!!!!!!!


Something's happening.....

Had a pretty quiet, uneventful day today. Loads of clicketyfingersing going on. I get the impression this is all ,easing up to some excitement! I also get the impression that it starts tomorrow! Woohoo!
I haven't been totally idle today - I did take Dad for a couple of walks, and I took Mum shopping. She put my new nose and on though, so I couldn't do any hoovering! Harrumph! I so thought we had successfully lost that thing! Well, we DID lose that one. We now seem to have a new blue one! Now..... How can I arrange for that to get lost?.......

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Still no swimming......

No swim in the river - someone moored a boat in the way! And there were a whole load of big scary white hissing featherballs and their grey not-so-mini-anymore offspring right by the slope into the river. I had to make do with a good paddle in the stream instead. I guess that will have to suffice for today.

That came late this afternoon, after a day of snoozing through looooooooads of human yacketying and yummies. Today's visitors were Art and Evette; friends from church here in Newbury. Loads of yacketying and yummies seem to be compulsory when visitors come.

After they left, I guided Mum around town and then on down the towpath to the big park for a good freerun. On the way there, we met some men who were doing something with the big swingbridge. Apparently it is broken and these men were doing some talkystuff about dealing with all the boats that are trapped because of it. One of them remembered me from when we met him before, at a different broken swingbridge. I got some superb fusses from him and another man there!

After dinner, I took Dad out for a one-eyed-clickybox expedition. When we got back, Mum looked really weird! She had lots of strange shiny crackly flap things on bits of head fur! After a while, she disappeared into the warm-rain froth box. When she came back, the shiny flaps were gone and her head fur is now all different colours! She says it is something to do with Glow-for-guide-dogs-week next week. I hope she isn't planning on making my fur glow blue, pink and purple! I like it shiny black!

Photo of Mum's head fur - sideways on with pink, purple and blue streaks

Walk update!

The swing bridge to the west of Newbury is broken, so we are unable to cruise to Kintbury. After giving this some thought, we are still going to walk from Kintbury to Newbury on the Sunday morning as planned - we just won't be able to bring the boat.
We shall, of course, be at the Blue Ball in Kintbury all day on Saturday. If anyone wants to give us a lift there and back......

Newbury Swing Bridge

HUFF! STILL no play on the beach.....

Hmmmm.... Well, I didn't exactly go on strike, but I didn't have to work much today. I didn't exactly get to play on the beach either!

This morning, I took Mum for a walk to the cliff top park. She was quite impressed with me because, even though I wasn't on harness; only lead, I still looked after her and guided her to the right place to cross the road! I got a bit of a freerun in the cliff top park. Some bits of the path and some of the grassy areas there are all prickly. They are covered in long spiky green things and little prickly round balls. Mum says these are from the pine trees and the conker trees. They are ouchy on my paws! Mum laughed at me! She said I was dancing! Huff! I tried very hard to walk without touching the ground, but it didn't work!

Back at Granny's flat, a lady came to visit. I greeted her with my bestest enthusiasm. I even presented her with my new toy! I got banished to the hall! Humph! Apparently this lady was called a silly-sister or something, and she had come to sort out something called Pow-wow-Turney, or something like that. When I had 'calmed down' I was allowed back into the room, but had to lie down. I did......for a while......but I got a bit bored.....so I wandered over to look out of the huge window. It seems that wasn't a good move: these windows are mahoosive! They go right from floor to ceiling, and across the whole width of the room. Hanging by them, there are lots of swinging flappy strips - all joined together at the top and the bottom by bobbly nobbly long whiskers. Well..... Err.....they WERE joined together! Ahem! I .....err....may have just got ever so slightly tangled up in them! Errmmmm.... Dad may just have had to repair them ......just a .... Little bit?...... Oops!

Later, another visitor came. This one was happy for me to greet her. I could smell doggy pal on her! She said she has a collie! She sat on the floor and used her paws to stroke and prod gently at an ouchy on Granny's back paw. I knew I had to keep out of the way while this was going on. I just waited patiently for another fuss when she had finished.

I then helped Mum in the kitchen. She was doing loads of choppy-stirry-sizzly stuff and she dropped a few bits that I had to hoover before she trod on them!

Human yummies done, we all went downstairs and got into the hire car. We found a lovely park and I had a bit of fun while Granny toddled along with her funny blue wheelie-frame thing. I had just discovered a slopy-down-into-the-water bit and enjoyed a little swim when Granny said she didn't like the fuffyair and was too tired. So I had to abandon my swimming fun. We went back to the car, via a slightly extended route for me - to dry off. I did have some fun though running around, having a good roll on the grass, and playing ball with Mum.

So, it was back to Granny's (via a few stops and starts along the way), my dinner time, human yummies time, and then back into the car, along with all our stuff, for the journey home to the boat. I got a bit kerfuffled on the way. I don't think that Mum and Dad were too impressed with my attempts to escape the scary, distressing boot by hopping over onto the back seat! Dad pulled over, I got out for a wee, then I hopped back into the boot. Dad then looped my lead through a ring in the boot - allegedly to tether me in place. Well.......it didn't exactly work....... I still managed to hop over again onto the back seat! I kind of settled down there .....on top of loads of stuff.......not entirely popular it seems! Mum said something about 'leave be for the little bit of journey left tonight' ..... So I got to stay put, but still panted all the way......then I think I heard something about 'ask Guide Dogs lady's advice and help' ......gulp! Ooooh ... Eck.......!

Oh well, we are safely home now and the hotbox is glowing......all cozy and safe. Maybe I can get to swim in the river sometime soon.......