Rufus

Rufus the dog

Rufus

Rufus is my walking companion. He’s a beautiful black Cocker Spaniel, about 4 years old and quite large for his breed. He’s been walking on the hills with me for about 3 years and I think that’s where his big bones have come from.

He is a character. He loves the outdoors and is more than capable of out distancing me. When I was training for the last trek, he was one thing that spurred me on. His pitying looks as I struggled to keep up with him were all the incentive I needed to push myself a little further than I thought I could go. He never complains, though.

He’s always loved paddling in water but about two years ago, he took his first proper swim in a local river. Now I can’t keep him out of water. We have several favourite walks but they are all characterised by the presence of water – be it a river, a lake or a reservoir.

Waterfall on the River Tawe

Waterfall on the River Tawe

This week, we paid a visit to the River Tawe, not far from its source, near Craig Y Nos. There’s a great mile or so of cascading, tumbling waterfalls and pools and while I walk along the bank, Rufus makes his way up through the water itself. Lately, I’ve got into the habit of throwing stones for him to chase and recover. If I don’t throw the stone, he will bark and yap at me until I do. If I don’t throw it properly (too far or in a particularly fast flowing bit of water) he will bark and yap at me. If I don’t throw it quickly enough, he will bark and yap at me. It’s fair to say he knows what he wants while I am still learning.

Rufus searching for a stone in the river

Searching for the stone

Once the stone is in the water, he has to retrieve it. He usually manages to bring a stone out of the water and deposit it on the bank. I once watched him spend 10 minutes bringing stones out of Llyn y Fan Fawr while I was having a coffee break. Each one was neatly lined up on the bank of the lake. Any longer and the lake would have been dredged clean.

Rufus sticks with me through all kinds of weather. I’ve turned back when his feet have become encased in snow, clinging to his fur. I’ve dragged him back to the car when the wind and snow have turned his face white. Both times he would have gone on.

I even have conversations with him.

What more do I want from a walking companion?

Waterfall on the River Tawe

Waterfall on the Tawe

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Ego Search

Have you ever tried to Google yourself? It’s not an ego thing – well, not necessarily. You can see it as an interesting experiment, a fascinating revelation, a search for distant relatives or, as I did, a check on identity theft. I read an article suggesting that if you have an online presence, you should regularly Google the name you use to see who is linking to you and to check that no one is pretending to be you. I often check for unauthorised use of images – I changed my Flickr image status away from Creative Commons last year because too many of my photos were turning up on little sites without the courtesy of a request – but people still assume they can use them for free.

If it’s a genuine not-for-profit site, I’m usually happy to oblige. But ultimately, Creative Commons affects those who make a living from photography, so I’m not prepared to blanket label my photos as such.

I typed in my name and pressed the button, with a little trepidation. What if I was a known criminal?

I expected some entries. I have a presence on Flickr, Facebook and Geograph, and now here. Years ago I had a personal website and occasionally in the past I have come across references to that. I even have a brief presence on Wikipedia (a photo of an old WW2 relic at Pembrey airfield). So I know I’ll get some hits.

But my search also threw up some unexpected results. There are 5 people in Swansea with my name. In addition to those multiple personalities, I am:

  • A ‘PowerYoga’ teacher
  • Building society manager

    Dave distorted by scanner

    Could this be the real me?

  • A musician in Germany (yaay, big in Germany)
  • An Australian ex Big Brother contestant
  • A teacher
  • A fundraiser (well, actually, I am that)
  • A Moto Cross racer
  • A commercial manager in a local council office
  • A football poet.

Way down the list, I found the first reference to me – a photo from my Justgiving site from when I went to Everest Base Camp.

If you don’t know me, you are free to pick which ever one you want to picture while you read my blog. If you know me, maybe you don’t really know me?