Yearly Archive 1st December 2015

Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog December 2015

More thoughts from The Abingdon Collection

First of all, apologies to all my followers for not writing my blog for the last two months for as some of you know Hazel’s mum died in October from a brain tumour and my heart was just not in it.

Anne had known me from a rescued pup and used to nurse me until I was almost as heavy as she was… Dusty and I will miss all her hugs and kisses.

Anyway, life must go on and, this month I am going to teach all dogs how to avoid obeying your owner’s commands. First of all, lull them into a false sense of security by doing the usual paw trick and even the ubiquitous ‘high five’. Humans will laugh at this for no apparent reason and it’s a good ice-breaker for them and you may get a few much needed treats.

Now let’s start with the walk. Play the obedience card and act all excited as they put the lead or harness on you and say soothing words like ‘good boy’. You can even nonchalantly get into the back seat of the car without too much fuss until you get to the wide open spaces of the forests and glens.

This is your time to shine if you haven’t pee’d in the car already or been sick. Let them get out of the car first and play dumb until your car door is open. They will probably grab the lead while trying to adjust their gloves, radio, keys or mobile phone.

Now is the time to strike… As soon as any daylight shines through the car door take off like a ‘bat out of hell’. Best case scenario, you will jolt the lead out of their hands and make your attempt for freedom dragging your lead behind you.

Worst case scenario, you dislocate their shoulder in screams of pain as they try to lock the car with the other hand and try to keep the swear words acceptable to the amused masses watching the performance unfold.

You are off and running, pulling as hard as possible as the human tries to remain upright and smile as the onlookers wave him goodbye from the safety of their picnic tables. A good racing start is hard to beat and it is always nice to know that he has no option but to follow you at twenty miles an hour because he is shackled to you on a long lead.

I particularly love going downhill as the brakes on the average human leave a lot to be desired. Also try making a ninety degree turn at the bottom of a hill particularly in the snow as this will generate centrifugal force which can catapult the victim in a beautiful arc to the accompanying screams and curses that I cannot repeat. This sweeping act of movement would grace any ballet stage and the look of terror on a humans face, who is about to go headfirst into a snow drift, is a sight to behold.

If he survives this, try the old ‘pooping trick’… this involves relieving yourself in a well ordered steaming pile and obediently sitting, waiting for the plastic poo bag to be filled…  Just at the right moment as he is trying to tie the bag and ensure clean hands, bolt like blazes and make a run for it.

The poo bag usually flies into the air and the well recognised swearing, that no Harley beagle should ever have to hear, wafts through the air. On occasions like this I have even been called the ‘Son of God’, which is very flattering.

On the way back to the car keep going forward and then turn ninety degrees in a different direction… it works every time and can lead to an extended walk or a broken wrist.

Back at the car just refuse to get in as this creates hours of fun for onlookers as the ‘boss’ tries to lift forty plus kilos of dead weight dog into the car… Oh what fun!!!

In the car just ignore the curses from the sweating driver who vows never, ever to take you out again… it’s all in the game and you will win every time…

So until next month have a great Christmas, eat a few slippers, pee on the carpet and practice howling at 3.00am in the morning… It’s a dog’s life but worth the effort.

Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog September 2015

More thoughts from The Abingdon Collection

Hi fans, Harley Beagle here again. This month I thought that I would give you an insight into the world of cats and how they differ from dogs. This may help you if you are ever attacked by a rabid, Zombie cat in heat.

I grew up with two cats Mini and Midge, but Mini died last year just after Dusty arrived on the scene (no connection). Anyway, Midge is now over 20 years old and lives in luxury in her own room, on her own bed with room service on demand. Hazel found her in a hedge as a kitten in 1995, brought her home and she has been a permanent feature since.

She has food on tap and has a tendency to visit it a little but often. My idea of food is to visit once and scoff the lot. I often organise raiding parties into Midge’s room just to check on her well being and to ensure that her food has not gone off.

She sleeps on a fur pedestal. I just sneak in, devour everything and leave… but not last week! I opened the door, ate what ever was available and turned to leave…

Midge was lying blocking the door with a grin on her face, to say ‘caught you dog, just try to get out of here’. Now I am a forty kilo killing machine and she weighs about three kilos on a good day but I have fought ‘Ninja Killer Cats’ before and never won the battle.

So Harley Beagle goes into stealth mode and I make myself as small as I can and lie down for the long wait. She will get fed up first, move and I will run out the winner of this battle of minds… two hours later I am still sitting there and now feeling a bit peckish… All rations gone, cut off from the troops and surrounded by a black and white pensioner cat.

Midge fell asleep through boredom, but I have seen this tactic before and if I had advanced to the door my rear end would have received a counter attack. I now needed a pee. Cats have litter trays and all dogs get is grass… life is so unfair.

After another hour I was rescued by human intervention with the usual cutting remarks about being scared of a little cat… I take this in my stride as I know that cats have the power to inflict pain on places that big dogs need to protect.

So, until the next time ‘moggy’ when Dusty and I will raid together… Dusty will be the advance party and the rear guard action force. Not even cats mess with Dusty.

Where Beagles Dare - The Abingdon Collection
A still from my new film… ‘WHERE BEAGLES DARE’
Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog August 2015

More thoughts from The Abingdon Collection

Hi fans, Harley Beagle here again. It’s been a quiet month here at the Collection and Dusty and I have had to amuse ourselves. We don’t have a lot of toys left because Dusty has a tendency to eat them, so we end up with tennis balls.

Now let’s be honest, six tennis balls out in the garden are not much good unless a human throws them. My goal in life is to bark as loud as possible until someone picks up the ball and throws it. I will fetch it, bring it back, bark and wait for it to be picked up and thrown again… this is the way of the World, when everything is in balance…

I bark, they throw, I pick up, I bring it back… SIMPLES.

Seemingly, not for humans, as they seem to have the attention span of the flea!

I can do this for hours but they get fed up after the first fifty throws. I have been training the human I own for five years now. All he has to do is pick it up and throw it but will he keep doing it? No… and they say dogs are hard to train.

Dusty loses interest after an hour or so and goes to bed. I wish she had a bit more ambition in life than just trying to maim the postman every morning.

Visitors from all over the world flock here to see me… I am going to start to charge for photographs if they don’t soon bring me some treats… it is difficult being a superstar and I hope soon to star in my first film the follow up to Marley called…

‘When Harley met Dusty’.

Anyway, must go for a walk now and meet a few of my adoring fans.

Give me a call on 028 8224 3373 and all contributions to the Escape fund will be gladly accepted.

Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog July 2015

More thoughts from The Abingdon Collection

Hi fans, Harley Beagle here. It’s been a strange month at Beagle Towers as Hazel’s mum Anne is very ill and is suffering with a brain tumour. People have been very kind and we have had lots of relatives and friends visit us from all over the world.

We try to raise money at The Abingdon Collection to make Cancer a thing of the past and with your help we will get there.

Dusty and I have been joined this month by my cousin by marriage ‘Poppy’ a Bischon Frise who is visiting with the people she owns. Poppy is a very posh dog, but I will soon knock that out of her. Dusty ignores her but is always interested in her diet and ensuring she does not eat too much.

She has joined us on some of our enforced marches and has even started to talk to us on the way round. I think that I will teach her some of the curse words the guy I own shouts at me… Stop… Dusty just ran out the door after the postman but he was safely tucked up in his van.

If she ever actually meets him face to face we will all be in the Sunday papers and the Jeremy Kyle show. Dusty has an absolute hatred for postmen and is like a thing possessed when he comes to the door. I am thinking of contacting the guy that directed the ‘EXORCIST’ to see if he would be interested in doing a film called… ‘Dusty, the postman never rings twice’.

Dusty’s head has now stopped spinning and has settled down… until the next time!

Better go now as I have had only twelve hours sleep last night and need a siesta before my walk and all important food.

Poppy has brought some unusual dog treats and I have just sussed out where they are stored… they will join the Escape Committee’s food store unless we decide to eat them tonight.

Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog June 2015

More thoughts from The Abingdon Collection

Hi fans, this month I have decided to focus my attention on my passion for classic cars. Not many people know this, but I am probably the only Beagle Harrier who can claim to have eaten at least three classic cars and tasted another ten.

I had a misspent youth and my first experience in Classic motoring were my attempts at eating the entire interior from an MX5. This story has been well covered in the infamous and well published Harley Ate My Gearknob!, so I will not bore you with the gory details again; suffice to say that the guy I own still has the car and I regularly let him use it, providing I ride alongside him.

I got into more trouble as a young impressionable pup when the rear end of a mint 1986 Opel Manta Exclusive was parked directly behind my bed in the garage. Yes, as unbelievable as it seems Dusty and I are forced to sleep on two couches wrapped in thermal blankets and duvets parked behind two classic cars… Life is so unfair and we are contemplating lodging a complaint with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. But I digress.

So picture the scene, one bored and depressed Harley Beagle lying in bed watching the rear end of an Opel Manta. I watched this for at least four hours before I decided that the rear electrics, fog lamp and tow bar were all within reach of my teeth; without me even having to get out of bed. Now what self respecting dog would not have a nibble at coloured wires and bright red plastic. After an hour I got fed up and went to sleep content in the knowledge that I had done a great job.

The next morning dawned to the welcome sound of my breakfast coming down the stairs to the garage… All was well with the world and I just stayed in bed… big mistake… He looked at the floor, looked at me, looked at the back of the car and looked back at the evidence scattered across my bed. OOOPS, this was not going well and a sudden unholy scream convinced me that retreat through the dog flap was probably a good idea.

I could hear loud sobbing through the garage door but decided that a good early morning pee would be the best form of defence.

I learned from this mistake and now ensure that I am outside before he comes down the stairs just in case that I have decided to amuse myself during the night.

My next encounter with the classics was when I mistook the small red front ball indicators from a Fiat X/19 for my tennis ball and had just managed to pull them both off when he arrived with an enthusiast to view the said car. Oh, what fun we had as I was chased around the garden with items being thrown in every direction.

I learned some very bad words that day which is not good for a young impressionable dog. Dusty has just woken up so I am going to try to get her into trouble by planting a chewed up mudflap from the Manta in her bed and see how she likes it.

Diet going well… Lost 3 ounces last week.

Call me on 028 8224 3373 for a booking.

TripAdvisor 2015 Certificate of Excellence - The Abingdon Collection

TripAdvisor 2015 Certificate of Excellence

We are pleased to announce that The Abingdon Collection has been awarded the annual TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for the second year running.

The TripAdvisor 2015 Certificate of Excellence recognises hospitality excellence and is only given to organisations that consistently achieve great reviews from travellers on TripAdvisor.

We would like to thank the individuals and groups from around the world that visited the Collection over the last year, including those who took the time and effort to complete a review on TripAdvisor.

The Abingdon Collection represents a unique alternative tourism product in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland and we continue to grow due to your support.

Small private collections, which open their doors to the public, are now few and far between but the interest continues from visitors, both local and worldwide.

The Abingdon Collection attempts to recreate a time gone past while raising much needed funding for Cancer Research UK. The generosity of the public has been exceptional and makes the continuing development work on the collection all the more important.

We thank everyone who has visited us for their continued support and invite you to take ‘A Walk in the Past’.

Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog May 2015

More thoughts from the Abingdon Collection

Hi fans, before I start this month I need to get something off my chest, a dislike for Dog Groomers. Dusty got kidnapped last month and after six hours the people we own paid the ransom and we got her back. She was traumatised, far too clean and smelled of Lavender.

It took her at least ten minutes to roll about the wet lawn to even smell like a dog again and get upstairs with good old muddy footprints.

I have been conned before into going into these dens of vice and will not be caught again. They put the lead on, get you into the car, promise hope of open fields and you end up in a prison cell for six hours for a shampoo and set.

I don’t remember signing any consent form for that. I think that I smell pretty good and if I need a wash I will have a quick dip in the local burn or puddle. Doggy beauty parlours are not for me and once bitten twice shy.

I am forty kilos of pure muscle and a little fat and I can lie down all day if necessary but they will need a winch and a block and tackle to get me out of the car and into any salon for pampering.

It has been a great month at the collection with a lot of money raised for Cancer Research and we have a lot of visits booked for May particularly from classic car clubs.

Please give us a call on 028 8224 3373 to make a booking and support my new diet plan for the summer months… I intend to get Dusty to lose two kilos by eating as much of her food as possible.

By the way don’t forget to visit BEECHGROVE DOGGY FUN PARK Facebook page to see me and my mates having a fantastic time.

Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog April 2015

More thoughts from the Abingdon Collection

Well, here we are again. Dusty and I have formed an Escape committee and continue to try to find ways to try to get out of this camp. The high walls, barbed wire, guards and machine gun posts make it difficult but we are determined.

Dusty has been trying to dig up the back garden but a one inch hole to try to bury her poo is a rather futile gesture. The guards left the front door opened last week but I only got 200 yards before being bundled into a car. Dusty missed the breakout as she was asleep and I just do not think her heart and soul is committed to the escape plan.

New groups visiting the collection always give me hope that an opportunity to escape will come and one of them will forget to close the main gate. I live in hope providing I can get back in for supper and my bed at night.

It is the boredom of captivity that gets to me and Dusty has lost all interest in chasing me and the balls. Even the cats come over the wall and we ignore them, and while they can run freely we only get a two hour route march every day and Dusty’s wee legs are suffering. I am still awaiting a Red Cross Parcel of food and hope to see my friends at BEECHGROVE DOGGY FUN PARK soon.

The Abingdon Collection raised over £2000 last year for Cancer Research, making it our best year yet, so why not give us a call on 028 8224 3373 to make a booking.

I hope someone remembers to bring me some food as we only get fed twice a day and I am beginning to see my bones.

Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog March 2015

More thoughts from The Abingdon Collection

Hi fans, welcome to another report from the trenches.

Let’s start with an update on my best mate Dusty the Jack Russell. She arrived one year ago on the 17th March 2014 and I suppose she should have been called Paddy but she was rather dirty and dusty so the humans thought it a fitting name.

I suppose she was lucky cause at one stage she was going to be called Smelly. They tend to lack imagination when it comes to names.

She is in great form but maybe putting on a little too much weight. She is supposed to be on a diet but I don’t think she knows it yet.

Not much to report this month after the excitement of the Radio programme in February 2015… check out my great picture on the The John Toal Show website.

Harley and Dusty resting after a busy day on The John Toal Show - The Abingdon Collection
Harley and Dusty resting after a busy day on The John Toal Show

A few new collectable signs have gone up on the wall but the guy I own is having difficulty smuggling many new items past his wife.

We are expecting a busy spring with many new groups already booked and I hope that someone brings me something to eat… I am also on a diet but am finding it difficult.

My day never changes – I get up, go to the toilet, go back to bed, go to the toilet, walk about the yard, go for a walk, eat, play, chase Dusty, go to the toilet, sleep, eat, and then go to bed.

I suppose it’s not a bad life but I am four now and think that it is about time I got a real job.

Anyway, if you want to visit me phone him on 028 8224 3373.

Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog February 2015

Some thoughts from The Abingdon Collection

Well that was some weekend! We had The John Toal Show from Radio Ulster live from the collection on Saturday. My mate Dusty and I were warned not to bite anyone, not to bark and to behave while the visitors were here.

Me, being a very well trained and obedient Beagle Harrier kept to my word, while Dusty tried to ingratiate herself with everyone and turned on the charm. People are so easily duped. Poking your head out of a pink duvet and looking cute does not gain any points with me but she gets away with it. She will do anything for a biscuit!

Back to the story. Harley gets told to stay quiet and does his best, Dusty gets told to stay down stairs but halfway through the choir’s first song disappears up the stairs to be petted, poked and cuddled like treats wouldn’t melt in her mouth. Life is so unfair. I did get to hear some great singing and tried to join in but was told to shut up by the man I own.

Great smells from the kitchen of fried venison, but did I get any, not a chance. Some humans did come down to the garage and gave me the odd pat on the head but I knew that tease Dusty was upstairs getting the cuddles meant for me… it’s not easy being forty kilograms and still growing.

I think that I will go and scratch myself along the bumper of the 1955 MGA as a protest, but wait I hear plates being cleaned and food may be on the way… I always live in hope.

Check out the 21st February 2015 edition of The John Toal Show on demand.