Millie and Bruno 3 – A trip to Whorlton Castle
Soo Peeps, I’m working on photographs and listening to some music; see, men can multitask, when I begin to get that uncomfortable feeling that I am being watched. I turn to find two small furry black beasties staring at me. 
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They are about 4 feet apart and unblinking. I can feel the energy from the two pairs of eyes and without thinking about it I say, “What’s up? Do you want to go for a walk?” They go into a synchronised wag and disappear into the kitchen to get their leads and I follow them just in time to hear Millie say, “See, told you we could do it, humans are so gullible”.
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So there you have it, I’ve been conned and they’re ready waiting at the door tails a blur.
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“Wonder where he’ll take us?”, queried Bruno. “Dunno but I do fancy a change”, is Millie’s response. “I’ve got all I can out of the dead rabbit on the Link Road and the shit that I’ve been rubbing on my shoulders just doesn’t have the pungency now that it’s maturing”. The Jimmy Choo canine range is clearly losing interest.
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Bruno is also losing interest by now but the remark about the smelly stuff does perk him up for a moment then he spots a car pull up at the front of the house and he goes into guard dog mode. He adopts a low profile and begins a low monotonous grrrr that comes from his chest, then he recognises Dave and instantly becomes a pup. Millie knows that this technique always results in lots of attention so she joins him and throws herself on her back ready for the belly rub. Dave, like all gullible humans, responds with lots of strokes and kind words so they win again.
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So Dave is sitting in the front seat and the dogs are in the well waiting for half a chance to get on his knee, that chance doesn’t happen. When we’ve been driving for 10 minutes Millie observes, “We’re going somewhere else, we should have stopped by now if it’s the Link Road”.
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Bruno responds with, “Where then? Do you think we’re going back on the moors, I know where there’s a decomposing corpse of a hare up there”. Millie perks up considerably, “We could go and roll in it”, she says. “Just what I was thinking”, said Bruno. They both go quiet, probably in anticipation of the subject of their conversation.
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We arrive at Pete’s in Swainby and the dogs are delighted. They’ve been here before and they do know Pete’s always good for a lot of attention.
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A short conversation later and we’re off to Whorton Castle the dogs are sniffing like a pair of Dysons and I charge my pockets with poo bags just in case of a little accident.
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Bruno spots a pair of ducks and I tell him that it’s a friend and doesn’t need to be killed just now. He still acts hard though just to impress Millie. She, in the meantime, doesn’t give a monkeys and gets really busy sniffing some fence poles that have recently been peed on.
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As we walk past the Holy Cross Church (the younger) Millie adopts her guide dog role and explains, “See Bruno, The Parish of Whorlton can be traced back to the 12th Century and the ruins of the old Norman Church on the site of the original village of Whorlton contain evidence of several earlier buildings”. By now she’s in full flow and Bruno is listening intently with head tilted to one side then the other as she continues, “By the middle of the 19th Century, that church had fallen into disrepair and because it was considered to be situated too far from the community it was decided to build a new Church in Swainby. This Church was consecrated on 4th October 1877, the dedication of the old church being transferred to the new and it became the Parish Church of the Parish of Whorlton”, she delivers the last sentence as she turns to walk along Church Lane towards Whorlton. Bruno whispers, “Clever shite” and then says loudly, “Oh!” to show interest. He then sticks his nose up her bum. Millie’s back legs buckle and she turns to tell him that he is very naughty and not to do it again, well her phrasing is somewhat less generous with words and the second one is ‘off’.
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It’s only about a quarter of a mile to the castle and the nice thing is that there are lots of things to sniff. It’s pretty generous for humans too as there are beds of snowdrops and daffodils and the odd aconite, always a wonderful site. The miniature daffodils are in bloom and the larger ones showing imminent promise.
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Bruno’s at full stretch on his lead and shouting to Millie, “This place is open and it’s ancient!”. Millie follows him in and we follow her. 
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Now it’s Bruno’s turn, he’s the authority on Castles and he turns to Millie and says, “So Millie, what you’re standing in isn’t really a castle. This is just a gate house built in the 14th century, the castle itself is ruined and all that remains are a few cellars or undercrofts. It was inhabited until the early part of the 17th century and spent time owned by the Darceys until the 15th c. then when Phil died his daughter Lizzie inherited it. However, she was married to Jim Strangeways so it became theirs. Then there was a bit of acrimony over who should be the heir so the Crown took it back. It then bounced between private ownership and the crown. It eventually became the property of the Bruces who let it crumble as it were. By the 19th century it was a real mess and in 1875 the stone remains were raided to build the new church in Swainby…”. Bruno realised that Millie had stopped listening to him and was busy sniffing a dead rabbit so he stuck his nose up her bum again and walked away before the inevitable backlash.
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It’s very interesting inside the building but even more interesting on the outside where there is access to a spiral staircase but only to the first floor. As the first floor doesn’t exist if you have children (or dogs) keep a very close eye on them as there are no rails as you step through the aperture. Unless you don’t like them of course in which case blind fold them and tell them it’s a game then encourage them up the stairs.
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By now the dogs are bored and intent on moving on. Bruno makes a move for the hind leg of the unfortunate bunny and ends up dragging most of the poor beastie through the grass until I see him and manage to separate them. He spends a few minutes hating the very air that I breath then gets over it.
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It’s a short walk to the old church and we wander around the grounds and take photographs of the old walls. There is a part of it that is clearly still in use although, sadly, everything is locked up with steel shuttering, I’m saddened by the fact that this is necessary but the wonderful old walls and other infrastructure is well worth the visit and the icing on the cake is a small clump of aconites all in bloom and looking like a yellow pool.
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The return is priceless as I introduce the dogs to sheep. Bruno shows some interest but this wanes when he realises that they’re not interested in him and, in their current state, they’re not good for eating. I’m pleased with this result and move on to do a similar close encounter with ducks. The dogs behave themselves and all is well until a duck takes off at which point Bruno hits the deck like a Gurkha under fire and had it not been for the fact that he’s just ‘been’ I think one of the poo bags that I’d packed at the beginning of the walk would’ve been deployed.
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As we approach Pete’s house again the dogs are chatting. “Good’n that”, says Bruno. “Yes, we’ll have to practice ‘the stare’ whilst he’s out, I told you it’d work”, says Millie. “Could do with some diazepam if we’re going to be meeting more ducks though”, says Bruno…
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This is a short walk of about one and a half miles and is fascinating if you have a couple of well read dogs. 
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Special thanks to Peter who was in charge of photography as I didn’t take my camera.
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