Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Gearing up

Since moving to this tiny, beautiful and very weather-affected village Ms M, Badger, Ruby and I have become somewhat obsessed with the weather and how best to be able to enjoy our wonderful surroundings without being distracted by being cold and wet. 

The only clothing we have purchased since November is an assortment of high-performance thermals and wet weather gear. In my Smartwool socks, Jack Wolfskin base layers, 2 layers of microfleece and Paramo 'analogy' trousers and jacket, I am invincible. For the first time in my life I know how superman feels when he steps out of that phone box with his knickers on the outside.

Dressing like a superhero doesn't come cheap though. I'm ballparking my outfit at £400. Probably well over £500 once I add boots, rucksack, walking poles ... ouch ... but I'm reassured that not only will my Paramo last a life time, it is made under the most incredibly ethical conditions in Bogota, Columbia, where the factory provides an alternative to prostitution for vulnerable women with children. When I say my Paramo makes me feel warm it's a little more holistic than just body temperature :)

It's not just the humans in our family who need kitting out.  Or even the Badgers for that matter. Little Roo feels the cold.  She shivers and sniffles in the wind or the wet.  Boxer dogs look depressed enough at the best of times; the guilt factor when they're genuinely suffering is quite unbearable - so much so that we actually cancelled a camping trip last summer with Ruby's best boxer mate Jess and her family due to rain ... because we couldn't bear the thought of how miserable the dogs would look.

So - here's a run down of Ruby's kit.

In the pic at the top she is sporting her high-vis Equafleece coat, perfect for snowy afternoons.

And because her energy level is more than ours combined, she now carries her own toys and picnic (and our spare fleeces) in her Ruff Wear 18 litre Palisades pack.  The blue line is a Ruff Wear bungie lead - which we strap around our hips for hands-free-sheep-chasing-prevention. Sunday was the first time we've used the bungie lead and whilst Ms M and I did each end up on our bums on one occasion it was much nicer coming down steep hills than her normal lead. We've even got grand ideas about using it for a spot of jogging.

So far we have walked in snow storms, torrential rain and freezing mist, and my only fear is that the difference in temperature between my clothed and unclothed parts might cause my nose to break off.


uphilldowndale said...

Yay, that's some kit, a lot of Mr UHDD fell running chums use the bungee leads, to take their dogs out running with then, they seem to reduce the risk to the runners all important and precious knees.
I don't think our sheep dog would take kindly to a coat or a back pack, and I think the local farm dogs might snigger unkindly

drastic said...

I think Ruby looks great in her new kit. it is good to see ice and snow and beautiful scenery.

Beanz said...

Nice kit. Specially like the bungee lead. Perhaps that is what we need when there are sheep around. Don't think i would like to carry my own stuff though. I leave carrying to the humans at least until they catch on...

Caroline said...

Mwaaaaah mwaaaah Rooooobeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Reading the Signs said...

I love the sound of all of this - just one thing, Stray: do not wear your knickers on the outside. Superman got himself into no end of trouble and I'm sure at least some of it could have been avoided if he'd dressed as sensibly as you are doing.

But Why? said...

I'm actually rather jealous of Ruby's fluorescent yellow fleecy jacket (and the bungie lead - I loved the bungie runs we used to hire for college sports days (oh yes, we took sports seriously, we did). I don't suppose Ruby's lead gives her a similar morning-after-the-bungie-run-whiplash feeling?)

Böbø said...

I love the way you've kitted out Ruby to give those sheep a sporting chance.

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

That hound looks ubercool in her high vis acquafleece coat. Do you think she might let me borrow it?

JJ said...

Hello lovelies, I haven't been here for ages. I'm sorry about that but having just read through the last few posts, I'm rss-ing you so I don't miss you out anymore. Hope you're all well.
Love JJx

Misssy M said...

That bungee lead looks great. As the lighter evenings arrive I am keen to kick start my running again (I never run in winter...I'm too scared) and want to combine it with Sonny the Dog walking. He may even be able to pull me along a bit when I start slowing down...

Ms Melancholy said...

Hi there uhdd, I suspect you are right that the local farm dogs would snigger. Ruby was definitely a bit shy as she tripped past them, but then they always scare her just a little bit anyway. She realises they are special because they are actually allowed to chase the sheep. Imagine that!

Hey drastic, doesn't she look fab? Quite the cool dog.

Hi there beanz, Ruby is indisposed so is unable to reply right at the moment. Please do not encourage any kind of rebellion though - we quite like that she carries our chocolate for us.

Hey lovely Cas, Ruby sends big wet smackers too!

Hey there Sign, don't worry, I am very careful to make sure that Stray does not leave the house with her knickers on the outside. That kind of stuff is kept for indoors only :)

Hey but why?, mmmm don't know about Ruby but I had a sore bum from landing on it a couple of times. I don't know where that dog gets her strength from. (Maybe it's the parma ham?)

Hi bobo, it was very funny watching Ruby doing her "i'm not really here, sheep" stealth moves with her bright red ruck sack on . No missing her at all!

Hi there absolute vanilla, Ruby says no, but Granny Were is welcome to have a go anytime :)

Hey lovely jj, we have all had a big blogging break, so don't think you have missed so much. Lovely to see you back though. Hope you are well x

Hey Missy M, rumour has it the bungee lead is great for running. Oddly enough, none of us would know! Do let us know how you get on :)