Train the trainer re-commences

Paul and Mr Tilly re-commenced obedience training last week. Tilly did his initial puppy training prior to Christmas last year.  Now it’s time for the ‘real deal’. He’s seven months old, and is ok for his age, but there’s room for improvement.

Are you paying attention Mr Tilly

One thing that becomes clear is that without formal training, both puppy and owner can get a little tardy. Another thing that becomes clear is that dogs are easy to train, providing they’re given sufficient mental stimulation. As far as I can see the main point of the training is to provide ideas for the owners to mentally stimulate and challenge their four legged friends. The interaction between owner and dog when learning tricks seems to result in such a good relationship and bond that obedience just naturally follows.

Hoops provide great training aids

Tilly gets his daily walk, usually on the beach, but that’s not enough to keep him out of trouble for a whole day. Ideas to stimulate him mentally, and at the same time help him develop into a mature dog with good social habits are very much appreciated.

As I’m still in my moon boot, the training during the sessions falls to Paul, as do his daily walks. I still attend the training and sit in the shade with our old camera (hence the poor quality photos). Whilst I’m not involved in the formal training process at the sessions, I still pick up on some things that Paul misses. Paul’s out there in the sun, trying to keep Mr Tilly calm so as he can listen.  This sometimes means trying to hear over some of the other dogs who’s owners are having even less success than Paul at keeping their canine companions calm and quiet.

Sometimes he’s very good…

And sometimes he’s easily distracted

In the two sessions we’ve attended so far this year we’re learning a mixture of important commands, like ‘stay’, and ‘wait’. And we’re learning things like how to get Tilly to walk with us zig zagging between obstacles. This involves the normal walk with me command, ‘this way’, when he’s on the correct side of us to follow, and also a ‘turn’ command when we’re going to walk into him if he doesn’t turn prior to us.

Walk this way, and turn that way

We’re also learning some things that will form the basis for more complicated commands later. One of today’s lessons was to teach him to ‘touch’ our closed fist with his nose, at which time we need an unused praise word followed by a treat delivered from our other hand. The praise word must be delivered immediately his nose touches our fist, and works like a ‘tick’ works when we ourselves as children managed to get our sums correct. Again it was stressed that this praise word must be a previously unused word. We’ve decided to simply use ‘tick’ for want of a better word. Certainly haven’t used that one before. Our homework is to let the closed fist evolve into an open hand. In time that’s supposedly going to progress to him being able to locate specific things for us, once he learns the names. The example we were given was to locate a misplaced mobile phone. Mmmm – hard to imagine, but perhaps it’ll all become clear with the passage of time…..

Sometimes it’s all very confusing – take the different words needed for different expectations to similar commands.

There’s, ‘wait up’, which means hang about for a while and relax (used perhaps when you meet someone on a walk and want to stop and have a natter). Then there’s ‘wait’, a slightly more formal version, used perhaps when we’re going out of a gate and want Tilly to wait a few moments whilst we get the gate open and check everything’s ok for proceeding forward. Then there’s ‘stay’, used as a command for staying in one spot for longer periods of time. And today, another similar command, ‘freeze’, meaning don’t move a muscle. It’s difficult for us to get the words sorted out for each situation, and not to use ‘wait’ when we should be saying, ‘stay’. If we get it wrong though, what hope has poor Mr Tilly got.

We try to use ‘here’ informally to get Till’s to check in with us when walking off lead at the beach. And we try to use, ‘Come’ as the formal command that must be obeyed, for when a potential danger is evident. Do we get them in the right place….. Haha – not a chance! Thank goodness we have a smart dog. He seems to forgive our dog training inadequacies and rewards us with behaviour that goes above and beyond our level of training expertise.

He’s a great little dog, and is shaping up to be sensible above his mere seven months of age. He’s such a joy, a true companion.



Introducing Raksha’s bass player – Clint Barrett

You may remember previous posts in relation to Perth’s up and coming band, Raksha, (our youngest grandson is one of the founding members). Several of the members of the band stayed with me early last year whilst they were competing in the Busselton Battle of the Bands competition. They won.

Topping the bill

Since the Busselton Battle of the Bands they’ve added several more accolades to their name. The competitions I’m aware of that they entered and won last year are:

Good Shepherd Battle of the Bands
Flyrite Band Comp
Pilerats Jamboree

Last year also saw the release of their first EP titled Emerald. They’re going from strength to strength on the Perth music scene, and are now topping the bills at some events.


The cover of their latest release, Feel it Again

Last week a new single was released, ‘Feel it again‘, which is now available on Spotify, iTunes and Google play. It’s good – I do hope you’ll have a listen. Shortly they’ll be releasing another single,my favourite of all their songs ‘Mindless Consumption’. And a further EP is due for release soon.

Tim from considers himself lucky to have been asked to make a couple of videos of the band surrounding this latest release. There’s some footage in the videos on Tim Green’s site taken in the recording studio. The band clearly enjoyed the recording, and it’s worth taking a look to see some of the recording process…..

For this blog post on the band I’ve decided to predominantly focus on the Bass player, Clint Barrett.

Clint Barrett – the talented bass player from Raksha

Following a gig on the week-end Clint posted the following on social media,

“Yet again another gig that tops the lot. The view from the stage last night was simply incredible. Being able to see the smiling faces of friends in between the blinding phone torches, to the fist pumps and whistles……..

Then he goes on to state,

“A night I will always remember. Seriously I’m going to be doing this for as long as I possibly can! Nothing can ever beat the feeling of being on stage with these beautiful people.

Then Clint thanked all of Raksha’s supporters, and stated that, It’s changed his life!

So much enthusiasm from a such a dedicated and talented young musician was enough to inspire me to add my own praise and acknowledgments of this particular member of Raksha.

Playing to his audience

Clint started playing guitar at five, but Bass is his passion. He plays to his audience by experimenting with certain beats, and finds he can get the audience dancing in different ways. He also played sax for eight years, but admits to not having picked that up in a while. Myself, being a lover of jazz, hope to one day see Clint introducing a bit of Sax, or/and double bass to Raksha’s repertoire. Indeed, there’s already a little bit of jazz that often creeps into their songs.

He’s currently studying for his final year at Uni for a degree in Mechatronic Engineering. I believe that’s his fall back plan – Music is his first love.

Apart from studying for his degree, and giving his all to Raksha for rehearsals, gigs and recording time, Clint also plays in the Metro Big Band on the WA circuit. Additionally, he does some blues shows with a few of the oldies around Perth. Some of the names that have come up you may be familiar with: Roy Daniel and Ace Follington, (rhythm section – Dave Hole, Richard Clapton)…

The Metro Big Band consists of several honours graduates from the WA Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). I believe that they, along with Clint on Bass, will shortly be doing an Ella Fitzgerald tribute night at the Ellington Jazz Club.

With the Metro Big Band

So, as you can see Clint is no numpty. He’s enough ‘smarts’ to be studying for his degree, and he plays a variety of instruments in a variety of styles. He plays well. He’s talented, and dedicated to his music, but as all successful musicians will attest, a bit of luck is also needed to hit the big time. I do hope that bit of luck comes Clint’s way.

I’ll be adding some more posts soon on Raksha. I’m not quite sure what their style is – they’ve entered and won competitions in all sorts of styles from folk to gozzy rock (whatever that is). They write all their own music and lyrics. They’re a talented bunch who sometimes include circus tricks in their performances (the band was originally formed by three members attending a circus school). Their lead singer, Amber Skates,  has a passion for musicals, and can include playing the lead of Maria in a Perth production of, The Sound of Music amongst her resume. Several of the members have been accepted into WAAPA, so their musical talent is by no means ‘garage only’ stuff.

I think they’re pretty good. I hope you’ll take the time to have a listen to their latest release, Feel it Again, by Raksha on spotify, iTunes or google play. I know a lot of my readers are from an older generation, and Raksha’s style may not be to your liking – in which case I hope you’ll introduce your youngsters to them. Let me know what you, or they think?


To, too or two

Do you have a problem with which witch is which, or which two is too? I know I do. No wonder English is considered one of the most difficult languages to master. It’s hard enough as a first language, imagine what it must be like for someone to learn it as a second language.

I’ve sorted out Principal (the pal at the end indicates a person – so that one’s the head of the school). That means the other principle is the one associated with morals.

I know that stationery with an ‘e’, we’ll there’s an ‘e’ in ‘pen’, so that’s how I remind myself how to spell that one. That means the other stationary with the ‘a’ means remaining in one place.

And as an aside, I know that we’ll should be well, (as in, ‘we’ll there’s an ‘e’ in pen in the above paragraph.) That’s the result of auto-correct, and auto-correct often gets it wrong. I’ve deliberately left that one in to demonstrate. Another frequent one auto-correct often gets wrong is we’re as opposed to were. Agreed though, I should proof read those ones and correct them. Only trouble is when I proof read I tend to read what I think is there.

I can give you good advice (rhymes with mice, a noun), or I can advise you (to make you wise – also rhymes).

I know the apostrophe in, ‘it’s’ replaces the ‘i’ from the is.  I know the apostrophe in their’s signifies that something belongs the them. But should I have put a comma after ‘their’s’ in that sentence?

When I write a blog post I tend to often put commas where I pause to think. I try to proof read everything before I hit publish, but invariably after I’ve hit the publish button there’ll still be at least a few spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors. Sometimes there’ll be more than a few….

I have a friend who has a good knowledge of written English. Wendy no doubt cringes when she reads some of my blog posts full of incorrect spelling, commas that shouldn’t be there, we’ll that should be well, and we’re that should be were.  Tentatively she broached the subject with me after my last blog post on momentum on the home front. I re-read the post, which I’d already proof read a number of times – and it was a nightmare of inappropriate commas and spelling errors. I’ve tried to assure Wendy that I’m definitely not to old to learn, and will be happy to have her as my teacher. So, yes please Wendy – I’ll appreciate feedback on my spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

I read other blog posts and am in awe as to how well they’ve been written. Not only is the content amazing, but the spelling, grammar and punctuation seems to flow from thought to written word perfectly. Kudos to all of you who get it right. I’m not sure I ever will – but I’m not beyond trying to learn. Thank you to all of you who have read my posts, cringing at the assault on the written English, and still you’ve returned to read the next post. Hugs to all of you.

Oh – and despite my opening sentence, I do know that two is the number, and I know which witch is which. I get mixed up on the other two to(s), and, I’m just not sure how many commas should be in the middle of that sentence!


New momentum on the home front

No matter how easy care a house is supposed to be there is always something that will need attending to. We don’t have a large plot of land but there’s always plenty to do to ensure it looks okay.

We go through periods of inertia on the home front, times when we have a tendency to do nothing much except the basics. During such periods it would be great if things remained unchanged. But no, it appears if the forces that keep a house developing and progressing aren’t in evidence, decline starts to set in. When we bought this house 18 months or so ago, it was clear then that although the house was less than 20 years old inertia had long reigned. The house was in a sad state of decline.

Of course, we moved in and attacked it with gusto to get things going in the right direction. Things then seemed to reach a bit of a stand still. We’ve just come through a few months of, not exactly complete inertia on the home front, but a period of time where we’ve only been keeping on top of the basics – the house cleaning, the garden watering, weeding, and dead-heading of spent flowers.

Now it’s time to get things moving forward again.

I don’t know if you remember our little scare with Mr Tilly over the Christmas period, the time when he escaped onto the highway…… We ordered perimeter fence with self closing gates for our verandah shortly afterwards so as to provide an extra barrier between the front door and the roads. Today it arrived. What a relief it is to have that erected. I’d thought it would look a bit out of place, but surprisingly it actually looks quite good and as if it belongs. Hopefully it’ll keep Mr Tilly safe until he reaches maturity and develops Road sense.

Safety fence to keep Mr Tilly safe

We’ve finally ordered our new kitchen which will be fitted early in April. We’ve also had a guy out to measure up for new flooring, which will follow behind the kitchen. The current kitchen is not only dated and dull, but it’s deteriorated way beyond it’s age too. That’s  all going to be happening soon. It’s going to be great too get all the dull, moss green kitchen updated with glossy white, and the dull, green floor tiles covered with some bleached oak look vinyl plank. I’m excited!

Freshly oiled jarrah table (WA’s hard wood equivalent of English mahogany)

Apart from organising tradies to do some of our updating, we’ve not had idol hands ourselves either. I’ve spent a few days giving our jarrah outdoor dining setting a rub back with fine steel wool, and re-coating it with protective oil. The setting was donated to us last summer by our good friends and neighbours, Kaye and Brian when they changed to a modern wicker setting. I originally had plans to shabby chic the setting with chalk paint in beachie colours of white and duck egg blue. I’m so pleased I didn’t. The oil has brought out the rich red/brown tones of the jarrah – a look that remains classical and never dates.

Paul’s commenced the painting of our side picket fence – not an easy task. It meant removing plant hangers and reticulation and working between and around garden plants. The plants have been re-hung on the section he’s completed, and compared to how it was looking, it now looks a treat.

The picket fence is on the quieter side of our house, furtherest away from the noise of busy Bussell Highway. The outdoor jarrah dining setting is too big for this quieter area, so we have that housed under a free standing pergola at the rear of the house. Although noisier, that area is good for when we have bigger groups of people here. We’re trying to create a more intimate seating area for just ourselves and perhaps a couple of others on the quieter side of the house so we went looking for a new, small, comfortable lounge (or dining setting) for this area. No such luck. Everything was either way too big, or just didn’t come close to being as comfortable as our existing outdoor seats, which are nearly 20 years old.

Instead we’ve sourced some new high backed cushions for our old chairs, and Paul’s going too give the heritage green aluminium bases an undercoat of primer followed by a coat of gloss white enamel. We have a small, round, glass topped outdoor table, you know the kind that you can pick up in Bunnings for only a few dollars. They’re not the most attractive of tables, but with a nice, toile table cloth, and with the new cushions on the freshly painted chairs we figure we’re going to be a lot happier than we would be spending a fortune on a new setting that lacks the current comfort factor of our antiquated existing chairs.

Freshly painted picket fence, with our antiquated chairs (awaiting a re-vamp). The painting of the gates at the end will follow shortly.

So, things are developing on the home front. What a pleasure it is to be in a domestic state of momentum! Watch this space – I’m sure I won’t be able to resist the before and after photos as things evolve.

Having two feet on the ground

It’s good to be able to shower without a plastic bag

My plaster was removed almost a week ago and I’m in a moonboot now for the next five weeks. The good news is I’m allowed to put tolerable weight on my foot. The bad news is I have to leave the boot on for most of the day and night. I can take it off for showering, but have to leave it on the rest of the time, including while sleeping.

So, sleeping’s not so great, but what a pleasure it is to have both feet on the ground again, even though ones not exactly firmly planted. Only four weeks to go now…..

Walking boot gives new freedom


Mr Tilly’s growing up

Our little man is growing up. He recently turned six months old, and is coming along brilliantly for his age.

He’s supposed to be a labradoodle, but I’m not so sure he’s not a bit of ‘catadoodle’. His coat is so soft. It’s tempting to stroke him like one would a cat rather than give him a doggie type pat, and rough and tumble.

Looking like a bit of a scruff

He loves to sit on the back of the couch to look out the window, just like a cat would. Sometimes he drapes himself over with his hind legs resting on the lumber support. Other times he perches himself on the top to get a really good look.

Just checking to see if anything’s going on

Something’s happening that deserves a more intense look

We have a cover over a seat on the couch, which is supposed to be his seat. But if there’s cushions on the couch he’ll make the most of them.

Talk about a princess!

He loves his daily beach walks. Some dogs recognise the ‘walk’ word, and it can only be spoken if the leads about to come out. For Mr Tilly it’s the ‘beach’ word. Any mention of the word has his ears raised and he’s watching with eager anticipation for the signs to follow. Once Paul dons his hat there’s no chance of him containing his excitement.

Currently, of course, I can’t go with them both,  but I look forward to getting the daily report of who they met at the beach, and what antics Tilly managed to get up to.

I have to say, this little boy doesn’t have an aggressive bone in his 7.5 kilo body. We’re grateful when we meet up with an older dog who isn’t aggressive, but also isn’t into, ‘meet and greet’ with every canine he meets up with. Mr Tilly’s learning from these non-aggressive, growly warnings that sometimes it’s best to only give a bit of a tail wag and a friendly look, then walk on by.  Those dogs are teaching him that caution’s sometimes advisable.

Sometimes of course, his lessons of needed caution are re-enforced when he meets up with a dog that is mildly aggressive. Recently he crossed paths with a rather large Husky type pup of a similar age to himself. The dog bowled him over and had him by the throat.  Paul thinks it was extremely rough play rather than real aggression. I’m told Tilly immediately rolled on his back in complete submission and screamed blue murder. And when I say screamed, I gather it was loud and clear, and caught people’s attention over quite a distance.  Paul, and the other dog owner returned the situation to a stand off, and Paul carried Tills up to a seat on the beach to give him some time out. When they continued their walk, apparently many of our regular beach acquaintances expressed concern as to Mr Tilly’s well being. Even a few hours later, a car pulled up in our driveway, with the gentleman occupant having sought us out to check all was well with our boy.

Although the above situation possibly sounds like we’re not watching out for him, believe me we do watch out for him. Had the dog been a full grown dog that could have given more than a bit of a good scare, Paul would have had Mr Tilly back on the lead long before their paths crossed. We both carefully assess any dogs we don’t know, taking into account, age, size, and the general demeanour of both dog, and owner. Although it scared the hell out of Till’s, he didn’t come to any harm, and lessons of using caution were re-enforced.

It’s unusual for him not to meet up with one of his doggie friends on the beach and to enjoy a romp of some sort. There’s Mavarick, a gentle Great Dane the size of a small pony. And there’s his best friend, Jimmy. Jimmy’s two weeks older than him, and is a full sized Labradoodle. He’s a bit rough because of his bigger size, but they work it out. When they see each other coming from opposite directions they’re both soooo excited. We love Jimmy.

Daisy’s the same age as Jimmy, and although she’s only a medium sized labradoodle (same as Tilly), she’s much, much bigger. Daisy’s mum and dad love meeting up with Tills as Daisy’s still learning how to socialise and gets a bit heavy with her paws. Tills gives her some play time off the lead, and is so fast that Daisy doesn’t get much of a chance to stand on him.

And then there’s Zulu. Zulu’s a bittsa that resembles a Schnauzer. He’s about the same size as Tilly, and is around two years old. He has so much energy. The two of them play chase, each taking turns as to who’s the chaser, and who’s to be chased. To say they run their feet off is an understatement. Tilly runs so fast and so hard he usually throws up,  but he won’t give it up. He does have a great time with Zulu, and it seems he willingly pays the price of losing his breakfast for such a great romp.

And when he returns to the home front, if he’s not watching what’s going on in the neighbourhood – he still loves his soft toys and teddies, and plays with them often. He retrieves balls in the house or garden, and brings them back for us to throw for him again. On the beach he has no interest in balls though yet – there’s to many other things that need exploring there.


Although we’ve bought him two beds since his first little puppy bed, it’s his first little bed that he won’t part with. He drags it around, and despite having had the snip when he was only seven weeks old, he tries to practice becoming a ‘big daddy dog’ with his bed. When we tell him to stop that game, he squeezes himself into the bed, curled up like a cat, and sucks at the soft sides of the bed while petting away (like a cat does). He doesn’t care how he’s going to love his little, old bed, but love it he’s definitely going to do! And when outside he loves to chase butterflies in the garden. Paul calls him a ‘big girls blouse’.

We’re so pleased we finally committed to getting ourselves a dog, and so pleased that dog’s, Mr Tilly. He’s such a pleasure!


What to do when you can’t do anything else

I thought I’d stockpiled plenty to keep me occupied during my two weeks of forced total rest (leg in plaster and must be kept elevated). I’d deliberately left dozens of posts from blogs I follow unread – I caught up with all of them in the first three days.

Yacht anchored overnight at Cape Leveque

Although I’ve written extensively on our recent trips to the Kimberleys over the past few years, there were a few experiences we had in the Kimberleys during our pre-blog days that had created great memories. I’d earmarked a few of them to write posts on – now all done. It was great to write them up, I almost felt like I was re-living the original experiences.

I’ve read a novel that had been recommended. ‘Our souls at Night’ by Kent Haruf. It’s only a short little novel, but a great read, and just little bit sad…..If you haven’t already read it, I’d recommend it.

I’ve accustomed Mr Tilly to being brushed a little more, and I’ve managed to sneak in clipping his nails. He’s always been reasonably tolerant of having a hair cut (with scissors only though, no clippers, and not around his face), but he’s not been tolerant of being brushed, or having his nails clipped. During my forced rest he spends a lot of time snuggled next to me on the couch, so I’ve used the time to good advantage. He’s getting a bit more tolerant now when he sees the brush in my hand – a way to go yet though.

Good company, snuggling next to me on the couch

I’ve begun researching a camper van trip to New Zealand’s South Island for early next year. I have two brothers who live in Christchurch, and one will turn 70 in February 2019.  All going well, we’ll coincide his birthday celebrations with this long awaited camper van trip.

We’ve done our research for our replacement caravan, and have decided to go with a new one. We’ve chosen a 16ft, Prado friendly (weights are suitable), New Age, Manta Ray. All finishings have been chosen. Would you believe it, the sales manager drove down here from Perth with all the samples so as we could get our order finalised for the earliest possible delivery. That’s a 6 hour driving day, plus almost two hours here. Now that’s what I call service! The van should be delivered by no later than 1st June.

I’m now starting to research this years caravan trip. This one is going to be whole new experience for us. With Mr Tilly being a new addition to our household,  he’ll be coming along for the ride. One thing I’m finding is that most of the on-line information on travelling with dogs doesn’t quite seem to fit our scenario. There’s lots of basic sort of information, what to take, and how to secure your animal for safer car travel, and there’s quite a bit of information on travelling with a dog and children together. There doesn’t seem to be anything much that actually gives a running account of how a triip taken by Grey Nomads with a dog goes. If anyone is aware of any, please let me know.

I’ll be starting a whole new set of categories. These will include preparing for a trip with a dog. And a week by week, or day by day account of any trips we take. These will no doubt commence soon.

I revisit the surgeon after two more sleeps (yes, I’m counting down the sleeps), and hopefully the plaster will come off and be replaced with a moonboot. I think that means I’ll still be considerably incapacitated for some time to come yet, so most of my posts are likely to be research based rather than based on actual experiences. And being sat on my bum, with plenty of time on my hands, I’m likely to have lots of time to put into research. Apologies if I get a bit boring!