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Two dogs asleep

I didn't know it was a thing, but there are apps which introduce people who like looking after dogs to people who need someone to look after their dog for a few hours or days. 

But I do now. The former Student has signed up to one to earn herself a bit of extra cash and she is doing a reasonably brisk trade. 

I was worried about it at first. A succession of strange dogs coming to stay in my house. What if they pee on the floor or chew up my precious belongings? What if they don't get on with my dog or dig up my garden?

Of course it might still happen, but so far all the dogs have been well behaved, from the boisterous young pup which wanted constantly to play to the older sedate, gentle giant of a dog content to amble around, sniffing in the garden and relaxing in the shade. 

All the dogs have been similar and different. They look very different: shape, size, colour, smiley, doleful but they are all affectionate, want to be liked and they love walking the local country paths, meeting other dogs, marking their trails.

I am starting to understand why some people prefer dogs to their fellow men (and women). Individual dogs may not always get on with every other dog they meet but it's personal and not because the other dog is a different colour or breed. If dogs which are so different are so accommodating of each other and all dogs recognise all other dogs as fellow dogs, why can't we humans do the same?

Our dog has welcomed the strangers into his home and not attempted to drive any of them away. He didn't know how long they would be here for or whether they were termporary guests or refugees he needed to take in. I think he even fell in love with the most recent. A large chocolate coloured labrador a couple of years younger than himself, which went home today. I think he will be missed.


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Maps for local walks

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Selection of our walking routes on the edge of the Staffordshire Moorlands. All accessible from convenient public car parks 

Then and now


Tracing the  history of the house from early 1800s to the present day using historical documents and idenitying people who lived here before us


William Deakin restored

15 years of family history research available in our webtrees database (over 800 surnames and nearly 5000 individuals) plus a collection of birth, marriage and death certificates.  

Popular series



Transcription of travel diaries made during the last 36 years starting with India and Nepal 1981 and including USA 1983, Syria 1993, South America 2000 and South Africa 2014 together with photographs. This is a work in progress as the diaries are transcribed, so check for updates.

Route to the Soul

Route to the Soul2

Began as a romantic mixture of emotion and practical tips from two young students discovering themselves and life as they recounted their adventures away from home. The Student and her boyfriend shared their passion for each other, travel and their pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. Now the blog is maintained by the Student who studies and works part time on-line while she and her boyfriend continue their travels to explore the world. Her blog focuses on wellbeing and politics affecting the state of the planet & the lives of its inhabitants.

Seeds & Weeds

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We weren't gardeners, we don't even listen to Gardeners' Question Time very often, but we have a large garden with plenty of potential and since I retired at the end of 2017 we have become amateur gardners. We favour the wild, natural look and like the birds, butterflies, frogs and other small animals but we want it to be looked after and we have recently revived and extended our vegetable patch. This section is dedicated to reluctant gardeners in constant fight against the weeds - solidarity among the nettled and scratched - the caterpillars, slugs, snails and multitudes of insects.

Rooted to the Spot

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Magazine style section with articles about life at the Sticks on a theme inspired by Brexit