There has been some progress with Ebony and Ralph adjusting to each other.

Ebony decided to take up residence outside the office (where Ralph likes to sit when I’m working), resulting in a bit of a standoff with much hissing and barking.Ralph and EbonyBut eventually things settled down!


Home Alone

I left Ralph at home alone for the first time last night. On my return, he was in his bed and the house wasn’t wrecked, which is a bonus!

He is also starting to get used to our cat Ebony – he isn’t sure what a cat is, but Ebony knows very well what a dog is and insists on hissing when he gets too close. But it’s early days; it took over a year for Barney and Ebony to be ‘friends’.


Footscray Meadows

We took Ralph and Toby to Footscray Meadows this morning – a great place for dogs to run around and paddle in the river.

Toby was initially wary of going into the stream:

Ralph and Toby at Footscray Meadows

But soon got the hang of it (albeit in shallow water):

Ralph and Toby at Footscray Meadows

They are now the best of friends (mostly):

Ralph and Toby

Ralph and Toby

New Best Friend

Ralph met my brothers dog, Toby, today. Being of similar ages, they enjoyed each others company, albeit with a bit of competition for who was going to be “top dog” – which Toby easily won as he is older and larger!

Ralph and Toby

Ralph and Toby

Later on we took them to the woods, where Ralph introduced Toby to the joy of playing in rivers and muddy ponds:

Ralph and Toby Pond

Aqua Dog

Well, Ralph certainly enjoys water. It was a lovely sunny day, so we found time for a walk around the woods. He’s fine off the lead, and even comes back when called. Mostly!

Ralph in StreamRalph in StreamRalph in StreamRalph in Stream

He did have a full swim in a pond later, but I didn’t manage to get a picture of that…

Off The Lead

Ralph was very full of energy this morning, so I decided to try him off the lead in Poverest Park. All went well until he spotted another dog; they then ran around in circles for a while but eventually he came back.

Ralph Off The Lead

After a few runs with other dogs, he decided that a muddy ditch was much more fun, so got dirty instead.

Getting him back on the lead wasn’t that difficult, and he walked back home very well.


Ralph Banned

Ralph was introduced to the cubs last night, and kept them entertained for quite a while. He is friendly with them, but has a tendency to jump up. And he (eventually) drops a ball so it can be thrown again. It’s always fascinating to watch a dog try to get traction on a shiny floor!

Then on to the pub, where he wowed most of the customers. Once it was a bit quieter, I let him off the lead to have an explore, and he was very well behaved.

Overnight he slept OK in his bed and is a lot calmer today. But he has a tendency to grab anything to hand; clothes, shoes, socks, coasters, magazines. So the house has had a major reshuffle!

He wants to join me in the office, but this is more difficult to make dog proof, so we invested in a stair gate and banned him from the office.

He seems (mostly) happy to stay on the landing and give me dirty looks…

Ralph Stairgate

Ralph Part 2

RalphRalph and I went for a long walk this afternoon, mainly to see what he was like interacting with the outside world, but also to tire him out a bit.

He walks very well on a flexi lead (though pulled a bit to start). He’s very keen in investigating ducks, geese, squirrels and other dogs, but can get very nervous around some other dogs – but that’s far better than being aggressive.

He is quite happy to go into water:Ralph in stream

Let’s see what tonight brings, and how many crisps he manages to scrounge in the pub!


We’re currently fostering a 22 month old Labrador named Ralph.


He is very unsettled at the moment, and very lively… But friendly as well.


London Loop Walk 1 – Erith to Bexley

My summer project this year is to walk the London Outer Orbital Path (London LOOP), which is a 150 mile signed walk along public footpaths, and through parks, woods and fields around the edge of Outer London, England, described as “the M25 for walkers”.
The walk begins at Erith on the south bank of the River Thames and passes clockwise through Crayford, Petts Wood, Coulsdon, Banstead, Ewell, Kingston upon Thames, Uxbridge, Elstree, Cockfosters, Chingford, Chigwell, Grange Hill and Upminster Bridge before ending at Purfleet, almost directly across the Thames from its starting point. Between these settlements the route passes through green buffers and some of the highest points in Greater London.

The walk is designed to be done in sections, each starting and finishing at a railway station.

Today’s walk started at Erith Station (not that easy to get to from Orpington, especially when the trains are delayed and connections missed, but that’s all part of the fun).

Erith Station

The initial walk through Erith was busy, but the Thames was soon reached. The first picture looks across the Thames to Purfleet, which will be the final destination of the walk.

River Thames at Erith

There is a long pier at Erith:Erith PierErith Pier 2

After a few diversions around scrap yards and factories, the town was left behind:

Crayford Marsh

Though industry was never far away:

Crayford Marsh 2

After a few miles, Dartford Creek was reached. This is where the River Darenth and River Cray flow into the Thames. The Dartford Crossing can be seen in the background:

1604-040 London Loop 1 - Dartford Creek

The path follows Dartford Creek past a flood prevention barrier:

Dartford Creek Barrier

The River Cray was eventually reached, and a bench provided a nice spot for lunch:Lunch Stop

The River Cray used to be a significant source of reeds:

River Cray Reed Beds

The path then largely followed the River Cray through suburbia to Crayford:


Then through green fields by Hall Place:

River Cray Hall Place

Crossing the A2 dual carriageway was interesting; luckily the path shared a tunnel with the railway, and after much zig-zagging, went through Churchfield Wood:

Churchfield Wood

Then on to Bexley, which was nice and quiet as they were rebuilding a bridge and the main road was closed:

Bexley Bridge

and finally, the end of the section was reached at Bexley Station:

Bexley Station

Then home via Hither Green. A total of 9 miles on the walk itself and quite a lot of different environments for a relatively short walk.

London Loop Walk 2 – Bexley to Petts Wood

For more information see // and //