Category Archives: dogs

I love Wellies!

Hounds of Geevor - David Kemp

Hounds of Geevor – David Kemp

Growing up in Wales meant that for much of the year when venturing into the Great Outdoors I had my wellies firmly welded onto my feet. ‚‚ As a teenager, however, I scorned folk who wore their wellies into town to do their shopping!‚‚(How gauche!). ‚‚ It took me a while therefore to realise that the girls I saw stomping round shopping centres in the UK in multi-coloured, multi-patterned gumboots were actually making A Fashion Statement! ‚‚ I blame it on the proliferation of outdoor music festivals in Britain – Glasto Chic, indeed.

Last year someone posted The Hounds of Geevor on my facebook timeline and I had to look up David Kemp’s work. ‚‚ A master of the found object, he says :-

‚‚ A friend, working on the maintenance staff at Geevor, watched a mechanical digger burying a pile of redundant miners boots, & gave me a shout, I drove over & filled my pickup with the discarded boots, not knowing what I might do with them.‚‚ This discarded footwear was to become THE HOUNDS OF GEEVOR.

“Relics of a vast subterranean workforce that rarely saw the light of day, each of these Hounds fed up to three & a half families (seven boots per dog). Released from their underground labours, they now wander the clifftops, looking for a proper job”

I also found the picture below with a Boris lookee-likee giving the whole thing scale. ‚‚ Check out David Kemp’s clever pieces at:-‚‚‚‚ and‚‚

Not-Boris and Wellie Dogs

Not-Boris and Wellie Dogs

Not a lot of people know this… One of my neighbours used an old wellie to repair the distinctive chevrons on the front of her Deux Cheveux citroen. Here in Spain the wellie is known as a bota de regar or bota de agua (I don’t think they’re very keen on the imperial war-leader, Wellington…) ‚‚ Commonly seen in these parts are elderly campesinos stumping about with azada in hand buscando la acequia. ‚‚ And the locals here still think it’s Not On to wear them in the supermarket.

I thought the welly was a truly egalitarian item of footwear (apart from the snooty Hunter range) but then I discovered Le Chameau,‚‚ as modelled by certain recently married members of the Brit nobility, which are a snip! (a snip! I say) at ‚‚ £285. ‚‚ The cheapest wellies I’ve spotted are ‚‚ £5 a pair – but I can’t gettem up my steely muscled calves…. ‚‚ ‚‚ (top tip from your correspondent: always, but‚‚ always, wear good quality wool socks in yer wellies to properly regulate the temperature of the tootsies – cotton? ‚‚ Oh no, no, no!).

In Wales the gumboot as well as being essential survival kit‚‚ is also used as an exhortation to have a go, as in‚‚ “give it welly, bach!” ‚‚ Often heard off-pitch while a scrum is under way. ‚‚ Hwyl!!!

Man On Beach M.E.

Man On Beach – Martin Elliot photos

I recently had a tour around walking mate Martin Elliot’s website – he’s another keen photographer – so here’s a wee link- ‚‚ ‚‚ Martin Elliot photos. No photos of wellies yet dispite the evil storms which have menaced The Beach Hut over the last month.

Last thoughts on Giving It Welly –‚‚A quote from Autumn Walking 2013 – “If I had known how steep the first walk was – I wouldn’t have done it! ‚‚ If I had known how difficult the concrete path (down to Soportujar) was – I wouldn’t have done it! ‚‚ If I had known how hot it was going to be – I wouldn’t have done it! ‚‚ Then I might not have done the last walk which was superb. ‚‚ But I did do it all and I survived and am really happy with myself!” ‚‚ Result!


Bootleg File #1

It’s another hot Sunday here in the Alpujarra. Cicadas are competing in the willow trees that line the acequia which curves around the house. Sometimes it’s deafening, rising to a heat-pumped crescendo. The dogs are snoozing flat-out in the shade by the back door. Barely an ear flicks as I peer over the lower half of the stable door. Not the best time for mountain walking you might think, but tomorrow I’ll be off to the heights with a couple of intrepid Dutch and an Irish walker keen to stretch their legs and rise above the simmering ƒ“rgiva valley. We’re off to visit the Refugio Poqueira on my favorite route, which will give us great views of the highest peaks, still studded with extensive patches of snow.

Bella on Alpujarra walkThe latest addition to the household, Bella, is growing at an impressive rate. Maybe we should rename her Bluebottle: she’s fallen in the water regularly over the last couple of weeks and demonstrates an impressive doggie-paddle along with a look of mild panic. Boris The-Much-Bigger enjoys cantering along any water-course splashing all and sundry in his careering path. Bella, like the rest of us is learning to dodge….

It’s a question frequently asked of us what we do when we’re not walking. One of the things I’m currently involved in is mounting a photographic exhibition in ƒ“rgiva in September with a friend. I’ve a mountain of possible images stored over the years since my first digital camera landed in my hands, so editing has been a bit of a challenge, but as there are loads of Morocco shots and Dharmo my partner in this enterprise has plenty of South African pictures the joint subject was clear.


Calle Real 48A is a private house down a little covered alley off one of Orgiva’s winding back streets. It’s sandwiched between the rear of the Nemesis Cafe and one of the ubiquitous bakeries. I’m curious to see how many people find us. Standing on the roof terrace and looking around at the dodgy-looking bread oven chimney, all the higgledy-piggledy roof lines and levels, I’m strongly reminded of North African towns where I’ve stayed over the last few years. I feel a surge of elation, a jumpy mixture of excited anticipation and slightly sick nerves, looking forward to sharing my photos.

August 2013