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Jim’s 2020 vision

Woof, it’s been a while!! A new year is a great opportunity to reflect though and I love a chance to reminisce on the good times. That one was a year like no other, the year the family decided to stay home and hang out with me and Cleody. 2020 Bliss!

My running year started well. Last year I was bounding around the Bishops Glen in Dunoon with the family. January continued in a similar fashion with a spectacular highlight; our first trip to the beautiful island of Arran. Awesome running with great friends and serious wows all round!! The good times kept rolling, with runs through the mud in our local parks, ultra adventures in Pendle and my all time favourite, pack runs with Mum, Dad and our running pals.

Me and Mum managed to squeeze in Hyndburn parkrun while Dad ran hunners of miles in Pendle.  Then we staggered round Queens parkrun on his birthday bringing our yearly total to three! Not as many as we’d hoped but a whole lot of fun.

For Dad’s birthday in February we went to Loch Rannoch, a lovely part of the world and a prime opportunity to munch some snow! Love the stuff, on every level! We had a couple of family runs and a nice long walk. I thought it was a bit strange that we’d reduced our speed so much but went with it and gambolled around in the snow like a giddy goat while those two wandered alongside.

On our second trip to Arran (we couldn’t get enough!) we ran with our pals, top patters Paul and Steven and all round super guy Rodger. It was tremendous!! I couldn’t help but notice Mum was falling behind though, more than usual. As always I headed up the front of the pack with Dad but if we got too far ahead and we lost her scent we waited or I made my way back to her to make sure she was ok. I think she had a sore paw. She was running a bit wonky. Her face was happy though. When we got back to the Arran kennel Steven put the fire on. Heck. Talk about happy place. I still dream about it. Major happy dog coma situation!!

Things changed after Arran though. The weekend seemed to just keep going, but without the adventures. The family stopped disappearing every day.. Maybe my puppy dog eyes trick had finally convinced them to stay?! Then Brian stopped coming to take me out. I missed Brian but loved having everyone around all day. Pats on tap!
Opportunities to eat Cleody’s food were reduced dramatically under the watchful eye of the rentals but she still slips me some when no one is looking. She loves my food too, sharing is caring!

I noticed some other changes in the following weeks. We hadn’t been on a Bashy adventure in ages. We never seemed to stray far from home. I had to refocus my running on my tennis ball fetching, no problems there, that will never get old! I was missing running in the pack though. Being out in the hills and wilds. Wind whistling through my eyebrows. Dodging through my pal’s legs on a quest to get out in front. Lying at dad’s feet in the pub afterwards. Ahh, those were the days!

Mum’s sore paw got worse, she really slowed down, practically stopped actually. I tried hard to slow down when she had me on the lead, but you know what its like when you get an exciting smell up your nose! So many pee-mails to sort through. I quickly realised she couldn’t bend to pick up my ball so we adapted fetch accordingly. She sat on the bench in the park and I returned the ball to her knee so she could reach it. What a team!

Eventually Mum got herself a stick, then another! She sped up a lot once she got those. Try as I might though, I could not persuade her to throw them for me!  Our walks got much more adventurous after that. Still close to home but now we could go in the mud again!! Result! Mum called them trail crutches. There was no holding her back after that.. Unless she wanted to carry something. Dad took my lead. Hands full of sticks, still she wouldn’t throw them for me!

In the summer we went on our first Bashy adventure in ages!! A long boat journey took us to a familiar smelling place and after a good old sniff at a lamppost in the campsite I realised we had been here before!! This time was even better though because Kei was here too!! My great pal and main source of bread crusts and cheese! Yum!! She told me we were on Islay. Memories of beach runs and frizbees came flooding back!! Yes!!

Mum still had her sticks so running was out of the question but Kei and I took the opportunity for some cross training and spent a week in the sea! I’ve gone full circle on the water front now. I used to be very unsure, now I’m obsessed!! I can swim but that’s not my preference. Nope, I like to stand about ankle deep and will my people to throw stones in so I can chase the splashes. Gosh!! I’m getting giddy thinking about it! Kei is great at throwing things for me. We spent hours at it. We were sometimes in the sea in the rain, jumping waves and chasing stones. Mum and Dad watching on, shivering on the side-lines! The happiest of times.

Another boat took us to beautiful Colonsay, A short drive took us to the beach where I renewed some of last years pees. I said hi to the native beach cows. Then it was splashing in the sea time for me and Kei again! We couldn’t get enough! Every night I was shattered. After dinner I’d warm my beard by the fire then just take myself to bed, let out a big old Jim groan and crash out for the night! Dad set us up a kennel on the beach and we slept there. Doesn’t really get much better than that. I was feeling very lucky. A few days later Dad had to put the kennel down though, I howled! Actually howled! Bit embarrassed about that now but I was having so much fun, I didn’t want it to end.

Sometime after our holiday, Mum went out and then didn’t come back for a whole day and night. I was growing very concerned. Dad said she’d be back though. Eventually she was. She looked sore so I tried not to jump all over her, even though I really wanted to. Mum was tired after that, did lots of lying about and hobbling with her sticks. Eventually though, she was moving again! She ditched the sticks. Her paw has been fixed. Magic! When can we go running?!!

A few months down the line and we are still not running but the adventures have ramped up a gear, still close to home but we are walking further and searching for hills to climb. And to be fair, when I say we haven’t been running, I’m not talking about myself, I run every day! Goodness knows what sort of streak I’m on. Years, dog years!! Not on Strava though so does it count?!

This year has been different but so is every year, and I only have (almost) two others for comparison. There have been things I’ve missed, but lots to be thankful for.  My obsession with water has increased and I’ve had lots of chances to dook! I’ve learned that the best way to get involved with zoom meetings is to chew my bone loudly in the background or, alternatively, to chase the cat till she, or I knock something over.. Cleody is fully behind this regime also!
I’ve missed my running pals but I know there will be a day when we are all back together doing what we love in the places that we love.  And my goodness those guys owe me nearly a years worth of pats!! Good times are on the horizon.

Speaking of good times, I’ve been named top dog at dad’s new company, Acorn trails.  I believe this entitles me to unlimited pats at events and the odd bit of bonus cheese. I’m in!! I love marshalling, haven’t had much chance to do any recently but dad’s got loads of cool stuff up his sleeve and as soon as he gives the nod I’ll be there. I hope you will be too!

Stay safe my friends, hopefully see you soon

Read more of my tails here