The Dog Who Owned A Waterfall: A Macaulay the Dog Story


dog13Once upon a time, a dog found a waterfall.

Well, yesterday, actually. Can you imagine his delight? For waterfalls are beautiful but rank, full of verdigris and charm, slime and serenity. A terrier’s little heart cannot help but beat a little faster at the thought of all that shallow-pooled gently rotting vegetation.

It was a hot day, and Mac was delighted to find a place to cool hot paws. He stalked around in gentrified lake water up to his doggy ankles, and policed ripples and sun glimmers with equal fastidiousness.

I use the word ‘policed ‘ advisedly; the pool at the top of the waterfall is surrounded by rocks. Anyone who knows terriers will be aware that the moment a terrier is next to a boundary, this is his land. And he feels almost irresistibly inclined to make his ownership explicit.

Thus, he barked officiously. He inspected and vetted each passing dog’s bottom, and followed paddlers to be sure they weren’t going to sully his watery empire. He put on his sternest look, for this was a serious business. Schnauzers are police dogs in some countries: and now they were, on this Summer afternoon in the balmy South of England, too. If a little bit self-appointed.

This waterfall is a youngster. It only came into being when it became the fashion for gardens to be very small perfectly formed lake land wildernesses. A small stream ran through the gardens which were part of the estate of Windsor Castle; rumour has it they were called Virginia after the virgin queen. But when the Jacobites rebelled against the rule of William and Mary, many became prisoners of war and they proved a handy force to dig the stream at Virginia, creating Virginia Water.

The man who made the dog’s waterfall- Thomas Sandby, in 1780 – was many things: a founder member of the Royal Academy; a self-taught architect and draftsman; he it was who designed the Freemasons Hall in London, now demolished but magnificent in its time.

And he designed Macaulay’s Folly: great blocks of stone over which the lake, fuelled by the River Bourne, tumbles. It must be owned it has little of the wild drama of some of the real ones I have seen, but it is the dog’s, and he likes it that way.

It is easier to police.


25 thoughts on “The Dog Who Owned A Waterfall: A Macaulay the Dog Story

  1. I love that name, “Macaulay’s Folly”. As I build my model railroad – long planned, seldom worked on – there may need to be a small water feature bearing that moniker. With, of course, a small figure of an officious dog to watch over it.

    1. Thanks, Penny πŸ˜€ The Lord of the Waterfall is getting very middle aged: at 9, he’s slowing down. My career choices begin to revolve round how I can engineer working at home to accommodate a little puppy to keep him company!

    1. Just his usual smelly-South-England-water musk, Virgina. Now yesterday, he spotted ducks on the edge of a pond.- but to get to them he had to go through black silt. So he did. Travelling home in the car with him was not pretty.

    1. Hi Nick! It is banded about in our household to describe something that copper-green which is slippery; probably a melange of all its meanings. Always rather wonderful to find someone who loves both dogs and waterfalls!

  2. Beautiful photos and story, Kate. What format is this? The photos gloriously fill the screen. I love waterfalls – having recently visited Watkins Glen State Park in New York state – and rocky formations. Lovely!

    1. Hi Judy: It’s called Pictorico. I love it, but its single column identity is giving me a few headaches – all the usual extras have been consigned to the bottom of the blog!

  3. A dog’s delight! Our dog drinks directly from our pond with waterfall, small by most standards, but to her, an adventure. She slips and slides and occasionally falls in when algae covers one of the stone landings and becomes quite a mess, but it is pleasurable time for her and for me! I love dear Mac. It’s so good to see him in his curious and adventurous state!

  4. Look at Mac guarding the waterfall. He looks like he takes his job very seriously. I bet he is willing to take on all who dare tread his beautiful waterfall. πŸ™‚ Does he also keep people at bay, or just canines?

    1. Hi Jackie! He is a barker, not a fighter πŸ˜€ All sound and fury signifying nothing. But when he is next to a fence it becomes his territory and he’ll bark at anyone who threatened his land…that could be animals or humans…

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