The Poppy Diaries

Many thanks to Felix for recording and transcribing the thoughts of Poppy throughout the walk, and of course to Poppy herself for generously allowing us to publish her diary of the opening walk of The Games Way. Coincidentally this is the 100th blog post – and I hope you will agree, a fitting way to bring the walk2012 project to a close.

Thanks so much for all your encouragement and comments over the past couple of years.
Happy walking, Mark

The Poppy Diaries

Day 1

– Sharing bacon sandwich by the beach with Daddy while waiting for slow-coaches supposedly joining us on this walk. Bacon is tasty! After tasty MEATZ FROM THE PIG, we meet new human buddies also walking on The Games Way.

Me and Daddy Hodge

Me and Daddy Hodge

– Also meet “Bob” Dylan, another dog, like me. Dylan smells good!

– A glorious time beside the sea, herding the lazy humans, racing with Dylan, so many amazing smells.

– After nine glorious hours of walking, just curled up for ten minute POWERSNOOZ and have woken completely refreshed. Restorative powers of donut pose DOGSNOOZ are amazing!

Smelly, shiny, crunchy. Not tasty.

Smelly, shiny, crunchy. Not tasty.

– Happy time spent racing around in the car park at Durdle Door campsite just before bed. Went beserk and showed that plastic bottle completely once and for all who is the boss.

– Plastic bottle? I own you.

– Not sure what to make of the canvas house sleeping place thingy. Who wants to sleep when there is all this exciting walking to be done? Why are we sleeping, Daddy? B-O-R-I-N-G.

Day 2

– Daddy is awake! Where are we going today?

– HILLZ! Cruised up and down these just after Lulworth Cove a few times, and cannot understand why the humans make so much fuss. Have heard the word “steep” and “difficult” many times this morning. What are these words? HILLZ R FUN!

– Humans need a lot of herding today. Why is everyone so slow?

Tickle my nose, didn't taste this one.

Tickle my nose, didn't taste this one.

– Silly Daddy opened insulting DOG GATE contraption near stile on path somewhere near Wareham. Does he not see that POPPY IS TINY AND NIMBLE AND CAN GO THROUGH THE HUMAN PORTION OF THE STILE !? It is fun making him hold it open, though, while I skip through under the fence. Woof!

– Cream tea at Corfe! FUN!

– At Wareham now. When will Daddy understand that I do not want this dried packet nonsense he is trying to feed to me? It even has a silly dog picture on the front. POPPY WANTS SAUSAGE! POPPY LIKES THE TASTY MEATZ FROM THE PIG! POPPY DOES NOT WANT DRIED DOGFOOD MUCK FROM A BAG WITH A STUPID DOG DRAWN ON IT!

– Oh, goodie. Even though Daddy does not speak “woof” he seems to have understood. A fine dinner on a park bench, shared under the stars. Chips for Daddy. Jumbo Sausage, a few chips, and a bit of cod for Poppy. That’s more like it.

I smell sausages!

I smell sausages!

– Hmm. So the canvas house sleeping place thing is called “tent”.

Day 3

– Hallelujah! He is dumping the dried dog food in the bin at the campsite! Good riddance to bad rubbish!

– Daddy offended gourmet sandwich-makers of Wareham by asking for a small bag of ham for me! “This is finest West Country Ham, you know” sneered The Man in the shop. Sat outside the shop patiently, waiting for Daddy, doing my best good-dog face. I swear The Man put in a couple of extra slices when he saw POPPY BIGDOGEYES. Sucker!

There isn't even a train track - WHY ARE WE WAITING?!

There isn't even a train track - WHY ARE WE WAITING?!

– Glorious start to day; the humans are talking about “flooded” and “floodplain” and “too wet to continue”. Why do they not smell the AMAZING SMELLS!? It smells of SEA, and the wet stuff with flies in it that goes all over the stones beside the water. There are also some really good big flat brown things, that smell a bit like droppings and a bit like the big black and white animals that go “MOO”. Humans decide there is too much water so we have to walk beside a big road instead and go another way. B-O-R-I-N-G. Paws are SO much better than feet!

– Wareham forest is full of RABBITZ and AMAZING SMELLS!

– The Man was not kidding; this really is finest West Country Ham!

– Tried new POWERSNOOZ technique after lunch: hurling myself into the grass with full POPPYPOWERZ followed by a few seconds of lying still, then getting up to lick the grass and doing it again. Works wonders! I am ready for anything now! Where are we going next?

So many squirrels, so little time

So many squirrels, so little time

– Two excellent sausages at the Lamb’s Green Inn, Wimborne. Amazing!

– “Tent” is acceptable.

Day 4

– Long slimy thing on path (humans call it “slug”) does not appear to enjoy my investigations. It’s pointy bits went away when I sniffed at it and it went very still.

– Found a fine, slender rock wall to perch on at dog-stroking height. None of the stupid humans got the hint! I am surrounded by morons!

Stripy sausages, look pretty, but taste HORRIBLE!

Stripy sausages, look pretty, but taste HORRIBLE!

– Bit tired today.

– Chased a squirrel, but it got away, up a tree. Funny – when I told it to come down in “woof” it did not obey!

– Don’t often play the helpless damsel, but hanging out on the platform at Ashley Heath looking a bit lost worked out very well for me – very well indeed! The handsome one – the humans call him “Mark” – lifted me onto the ground. Could have scooted down the side… but it does thrill a small puppygirl’s heart to be in some big, strong, manly arms every once in a while. (No offence, Daddy, but it’s just not the same with you).

– Smashing lunch at Ringwood of bag of Sainsbury’s ham. Got lots of fuss and attention from strangers. I FEEL PRETTY!

– The one they call “Felix” made up a silly song about me which I did not appreciate. Let’s be frank; “we love little Poppy and her little legs” is a bit facile, n’est-ce-pas? I could do better I am sure, if I cared for songs as much as I care for, say, STICKS.

– STICK! It is MY stick! You cannot have it!

– Lovely streams and rivers on the way out of Ringwood. Wonderful smells, and squirrels. Why do the humans walk on the path? It’s so much better to paddle in the nice water.

Standing around - AGAIN!

Standing around - AGAIN!

– Mmm! The water is also TASTY!

– Lovely dinner at Red Shoot. Two excellent sausages. Bit hot to begin with though, and they took AGES to cool down.

Day 5

– Hooray! The humans are cooking a breakfast, and they do not like the long crunchy bits on the edge of the bacon called RIND so I get to have them ALL! YAY BACONRINDZ!

– I like this place, “New Forest”. I have found a stick. IT’S MY STICK!

Mmmm, smelly horse poo and a dung beetle (not tasty)

Mmmm, smelly horse poo and a dung beetle (not tasty)

– There are lots of interesting piles of what looks like droppings on the ground. I could never produce anything of this size! If a dog made them, it is a very big dog! There are very big dog things everywhere though, but they do not smell like me and they do not smell like the big black and white things that go “MOO”.

– Very big dog things everywhere apparently called “horse”.



Lovely smelly horses

Lovely smelly horses

– Have decided to try being deliberately naughty today. First of all I ran under the big kicking things, even though I was blatantly told this was a BAD IDEA. I thought it was a great thrill, and I am sure they wouldn’t have kicked me. Probably. Anyway, then there were some really exciting smells in a bush, and even though Daddy said “do not go after the tasty smells” I went after the tasty smells AND THEY WERE TASTY SMELLS AND OH SO WORTH IT!

– Where have the big kicky things gone? Humans are saying “donkey” this time, but I thought they looked very much like “horse”.

Grrr! Nasty, kicking, watch stealing donkey - WOOF!

Grrr! Nasty, kicking, watch stealing donkey - WOOF!


– Sleeping beside the river is awesome! Nice water sounds. Dad’s socks smell AMAZING! I think he has had them on for two whole days of walking! Completely into the whole idea of the tent! TENT IS FUN!

Day 6

– Me and Dad are meeting loads of other ladies this morning from something the humans call “Andover Outdoor Group”. We both smell great after our night beside the weir! They will love us!

– Odd mood today. The one they call “Liz” has gone away. She has been here for as long as I can remember; now she is not here. The pack feels different, and there are new faces I don’t recognise. How am I meant to herd this lot?

Foxes - I know them!

Foxes - I know them!

– Had a great time chasing the big machine that goes “VRAAAAAAAM”. Daddy says it is “tractor” and not a good fun toy for a dog to chase, but I think that is not true!

– Still enjoying being naughty after my experiments in the New Forest yesterday; it’s quite fun to not do anything I am told today, but the strategy has the unfortunate consequence of LEAD. I do not like LEAD.

– Andover Outdoor Group and Mark and others are having ROUTE DISCUSSION. I do not like this kind of thing, it takes ages and is B-O-R-I-N-G. I whine and whine to make them hurry up but they still keep playing with silly piece of paper called “map”. Boo.

– I do not like MAP. I like STICK.

– Striking out into the hedgerows today, feeling in a loner-ish mood. Loads of walkers means loads of boring TALKING and not enough SNIFFING of SMELLS!

– Found a baby stream beside the big river they are all walking past today; went in. It was wet! It was splashy! It was FUN!

Pretty daisies, pretty Poppy

Pretty daisies, pretty Poppy

– Mark saved me a tasty sausage from his breakfast at “B&B”. I like the sound of B&B, they do nice sausages!

– We got invited back to lovely lady’s house – Jan – and she had the most amazing rug on her living room floor. I curled up on this and was having lovely DOGSNOOZ while Daddy had a shower. I woke up from nice DOGDREAMZ about chasing RABBIT to hear Jan saying “you can sleep on the sofa if you like” and stupid, awful Daddy saying “no, it’s OK we will go back to TENT”. TENT is fun but RUG is funner. Boo. On the other hand, TENT smells better…

Day 7

– Another sausage from Mark, this time scrounged from a place called “Hotel” in Winchester this morning. Hotel is the source of nice sausages. Thank you, Mark!

Sneezy, not tasty

Sneezy, not tasty

– Plenty of rabbits to be found in the fields beside the Itchen. Also, the river is wet and fresh and nice!

– Chased rabbits, splashed in the water, scurried around in the bushes. All. Day. Long. Amazing!

– STICK! This is MY STICK! You can’t have it! I love this stick. No, wait! Here’s a better one! THIS IS MY STICK! This is my FAVOURITE GAME!

– Met Cheryl at a place called “Bishop’s Sutton” and then we went home in CAR.

Day 8

– No walking today (boo).

– Tried out all my best DOGSNOOZ moves including donut pose and hurling myself on the ground.

Rubbish bark. WOOF! Good bark

Rubbish bark. WOOF! Good bark

– Daddy, when are we going walking again?

Day 9

– Daddy is packing RUCKSACK! This must be good news?



– WALKING BUDDIES! Felix and Mark and some other ones that I recognise, all together at a place called “Camping Barn” that we are not allowed into. Daddy is allowed in BARN, but not I, as it is a NO DOGZ BARN. Boo.

– I do not like NO DOGZ BARN.

– A nice time in PUB, while the humans watched other humans running around on the little box. Met another dog called ROXY who lives in PUB.

– Guarded Mark and Daddy from ROXY who was trying to steal their seat! PUB owner says POXY ROXY normally sits in that seat but POPPY says “finders keepers”!!! If Daddy is in the seat, then it belongs to Daddy.

– Grrr! (@ROXY)



– FUN! TENT again, this time on a golf course. I do like the nice, springy grass underneath my paws!

Day 10

– MASSIVE RAINSTORM! And loudness called “THUNDER”.



– PUB called “The Anchor” a jolly lot further away than Mark said it was… but the sausages and gravy there were EXCELLENT!

– Good to be walking again!

Why are you all sitting down? CHOP CHOP!

Why are you all sitting down? CHOP CHOP!

– Posed as GANGSTA dog under the M25. Don’t normally “do” pictures, but this place was really smelly! In a good way! So I didn’t mind hanging around while the humans messed around with the silly little boxes called “CAMERA” and “PHONE” making pictures for “Twitter”. What is Twitter? Can I eat it?

Day 11

– THE FELLOWSHIP IS REUNITED! Liz is back, and Daddy, Felix, Mark and Liz and I are all together once more.

– Haha! Scared a load of geese into the big river just by running into them! They are so stupid and so easy to terrorise! Surprised myself by ending up taking a small dip in the water, too!

– Don’t geese and ducks look bigger when you are paddling in the water at head height and they are floating on top of it?! MUCH bigger!

– Peed on a stick. Peed on a can of Carlsberg. Peed on a leaf. GPS, Shmee-pee-ess. Geotagging? I DUZ IT.

– Grrr. Alsations. My nemesis…

– In Bushy Park. Look Dad! Dad! Dad! Look at all the DEER! I know DEER because I see them in Oxford all the time! I am so near to the DEER! NEAR TO THE DEER!

– DEER threatened to stamp on me!? What is this? DEER do not stamp on DOGS. These London DEER are not friends of POPPY. I COULD HAVE YOU, SUNSHINE.

Cowardly deer!

Cowardly deer!


– Really don’t understand why it was necessary for LEAD to be put on me.

– BOO to LEAD.


– There are so many smells! I want to follow them ALL! The humans are taking FOR-EVER to get up one tiny hill. Once again there is talk of “long day” and “exhausted”. What are these things?

Funny smelly flower

Funny smelly flower

– Jolly Late Night Tonight: I am not a fan of this. I AM A 10PM BEDTIME DOG. Why is TENT not up until so much later than this? Boo to LONDON and SECRET CAMPING.

Day 12

– I am NOT refreshed. One third of a digestive biscuit is NOT a balanced breakfast, Daddy! I had to eat 3 mouthfuls of grass to get the taste out of my teeth, and then I was sick on the floor.

– LUCKILY Felix and Mark BOTH stole sausges for me from a place called “Premier Inn”! That’s MUCH better!

I smell something beginning with S...

I smell something beginning with S...

– Bit difficult walking in LONDON with all these people. I do not much like LONDON. Where are all my friends in this big crowd?


– Is this the end? OH NO! I hope we will still do just as much walking when we get home to Oxford. Can we, Daddy? Can we, can we, can we?

– Wait! Where is Daddy going? Who is this “Sharon”? Why is she taking me to PUB?

– Who cares? PUB has WATERBOWL and Poppy needs WATER.

– Yay! Daddy is back, talking about STADIUM! It sounds like an amazing thing. Can I eat it?

– I think now I need a really big DOGSNOOZ! I can hear the others saying “Taxi” but what is taxi? I do not care. Daddy is back. I have had a lovely walk. And it is a long time after 10pm. AND POPPY IS A 10PM DOG.

...and RELAX!

...and RELAX!

– Night night! x

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6 Responses to The Poppy Diaries

  1. Felix says:

    I loved doing the Poppy Diaries and the photos are amazing!

  2. Knit nurse says:

    Brilliant, made me laugh so much! I miss Poppy!

  3. Jen says:


  4. jeannette says:

    you. are. teh. grrrrl.

    thanks for these wonderful chronicles of your excellent adventure. i know the twolegs could not have stuck together and moved forward in one direction without your GPS.

  5. quinn says:

    Lovely diary – thanks for sharing! My Piper would LOVE this sort of holiday, but would be seriously hampered by human companions. If she could join a walking club just for dogs, with possibly one super-human coordinator whose main role would be to carry a pack filled with sausages, Piper would be in Dog Heaven.

    (Did Poppy really catch a squirrel??? If so, she is Piper’s hero!)

  6. admin says:

    Thanks Quinn – and yes she really did catch a squirrel – WOOF!

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