Don’t forget your toothbrush!


Now, you’re probably thinking about your holidays for this year and where to go. Have you thought about staying in a cottage in the Peak District?

Oh, it’s just smashing… lots of walks suitable for youngsters (the mix of villages, open country and hills are so good for their education, I think) to those in their prime (see my current picture!) and the more mature members of our packs (we have pubs within yards of all our cottages). All those incredible country smells… you know what I mean.   Anyway, when you’ve cleared it with your owners and chosen one of our cottages you’ll have to supervise them packing for your needs.

Make sure they remember:  

  • Collar and ID – well you’ll be wearing this of course! But it’s worth checking the ID is still readable. Plus consider getting one with our cottage postcode (this is on the booking paperwork) and your mobile number on for while you’re staying.  
  • Lead – worth checking that there’s no wear – you don’t want to lose your owners on a walk – you know that they’ll never find their way back to the cottage without you. Bring a spare in case it gets mislaid.  
  • Bedding – very important. There is nothing as nice as your own bed in a new place. If you have a cage, then bring that too – sometimes a cage is the only way to get some “me” time on a holiday crammed with so many new things to smell!  
  • Jacket – now you (like me) may wear your waterproofs and undercoat all the time – but if you don’t it’s nice to have a lightweight jacket which you can pop on. And your owners will appreciate that you’re nice and clean and dry if you get caught in the rain.  
  • Towels – for those like me who just love a little swim, walks in the rain and splashing in puddles, the price to be paid is a towelling-off when you get home. Bring plenty of towels, so your owners can dry off any wet, muddy coats and paws before you go indoors (there are washer/dryers in the cottages so the towels can be laundered easily). Although we’ve got hard floors in the cottages, there are rugs that stain and splashes of dirty water from a good shake aren’t popular I’ve found!  
  • Dog food – essential! It’s probably best to bring enough for the whole of your stay in case your owners can’t find your normal kibbles (or whatever you have) to buy locally. There are all the usual supermarkets and pet shops in the Peak District, but you don’t want to get an upset tum from a sudden change if they don’t have your favourite in stock!! We provide can openers for those of you who have canned food which doesn’t have a pull top.  
  • Travelling water bowl and water bottle  – these are handy for keeping in the car. Get your owners to look out for those thermal ‘jackets’ that keep the water bottle cool.  Saves drinking from puddles on a hot day!  
  • Poo bags – not my idea, but my owners insist I include this on the list. They say bring plenty – ’nuff said’.  
  • First-aid kit –  get your owners to check that are you up to speed with wormers and flea/ tick control.  I always think it’s good to have at least a basic first aid kit with you for the little scrapes we dogs can get into  – and you really ought to check your owners remember any medication you’ve been prescribed to cover the holiday period, however nasty it tastes!  
  • Sunshade for cars – although you’ll be staying in our cool, stone cottages and perhaps eating in local pubs – which allow we dogs to join our owners for dinner, it is possible that at some point you’ll be left guarding the car (although hopefully not on warm days). Suggest your owners try sun shades to help with this – as well as the usual parking in shade, leaving air gaps etc. It all helps you stay on top of your job of looking out for strangers near the car. 
  •  Stain remover/ kitchen roll – for those ‘Little accidents’ that can occasionally happen, even to the best of us! You’ll find cleaners and kitchen roll in the cottages, but worth bringing some for when you are out and about.  
  • Recent photo – now what owner won’t have a picture of you on their phone and so useful if you get separated. Spruce yourself up and get a fresh one taken for your hols!  
  • Bumbag/rucksack – for your owners to carry your accessories in!  

And finally   Don’t forget that toothbrush…

Well Dressing Season Is Upon Us!

It’s well-dressing season in the Peak District… starting in Makeney, near Belper during early May, the well dressing ‘season’ runs through until the last in Hartington village during mid September. Some 95 communities in and around the Peak District in the counties of Derbyshire, Staffordshire, South Yorkshire and even the Greater Manchester on the borders of the Peak District will get together to create amazing scenes from clay, flowers, plants and seeds, as part of a long-standing tradition of being thankful for pure, clean water.

Every year people come together … local farmers haul the heavy wooden boards into the village river or stream to soak for a week or so; then the village school children get involved in the “puddling” – working the clay to a consistency that it can be put on the sodden boards and hold the materials, used to make the scene, in place; and then teams (some family based, some village friends, some from out of the village,  and children from village schools) are formed and during less than 7 days the most beautiful pictures emerge using natural materials pressed into the clay.  Sometimes there are themes – all of them have a resonance with the community and how they live.

Although well-dressers are happy to show off their creations whilst they are “work-in-progress”, it’s hard to appreciate them on the flat, surrounded by “petallers” and their little heaps of materials. So, the morning they “go-up” the locals are all walking about the village between them, admiring them, and comparing the designs (and executions!) with those of previous years. Later in the afternoon, the community will gather together, often with a local brass band, and a procession is held led by the local vicar, to bless the wells.  Well-dressing week sees more visitors to the village, and the opportunity to raise funds –  through the provision of home made teas and exhibitions – for local amenities, and towards the costs of making next year’s dressings, even to help sustain local businesses.

At the end of the week, the sunshine and any rain or wind has taken its toll…the petals are starting to curl, some drying of the clay may show as cracks… and we are reminded that such natural beauty is only with us fleetingly….and it is the turn of another village to show what it can do with some clay and heaps of dry seeds and petals…