The Family Web Site of Bill and Sue Coltham                              email                             

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Welcome to Mere!




Welcome to our Web Site - which has been updated quite a bit recently. Sorry  we have been lazy, just so busy these days!! Some of the pages are not yet completed so it will seem a bit odd in some pages. Just live with it, until I get around to sorting things out!!  

This web site is intended for family photos and updates, but feel able to browse without embarrassment!

We moved from Kent to Smallridge, Devon, in September 2004, having rented a house in Ilton in Somerset, about 12 miles away, for about six months.

 We are pleased that you have looked in here, for the Puppy Walking pages are a real record of our life for the ten years or so in the past  in Devon. Sponsors, other puppy walkers and guide dog owners have all commented to us that they enjoy looking at the early history of the pups, after they have grown and 'fled the nest'!

Many questions that we have fielded over the years from friends and the public relate to 'how we can let the pups go'!!  Well, it's not the best day of the week when they left us but we know where all our ex pups are, what they are doing and how they have fitted in to the Guide Dog world. some have passed on sadly. It gives us great satisfaction that the pups are working as Guide Dogs, or are pets, and giving the same loyalty and affection to others as they have given to us. We have visited most of them and seen them with their new owners, and have come away elated in what we did.  Mind you, remind me when I am next wiping the bottom of a six week old Shepherd at 4am in the morning!!  No, not that sort of Shepherd!!

Finally, in 2014 we decided to 'retire' from Puppy Walking' wanting to retrieve some of our life! With just Willow with us, we hen found time to expand our horizons in Devon a bit and   enjoy the freedom. But what a time we had with the Pups!

In March 2017, looking ahead to a time when we might not be so mobile and in need of facilities closer to where we lived, we put Field Cottage on the market for sale, and received an offer in a day. Selling and then buying took the usual four months, and we bought in Mere, Wiltshire, a 20 year old bungalow within walking distance of Mere centre, close to shops, doctors and all the usual important services. We moved on 19th July 2017.

We took with us, obviously, our two dogs, Gizmo a three year old Flat Coat Retriever we took on in August 2014,  and Rufus, a 12 year old Labrador/Collie cross, ex guide Dog and one who we had walked as a puppy ten years before. Rufus had just retired as a working dog. Pictures of all on this site.

January 2020...….Well it’s been a couple of years since I have updated this site, and we have grown older, not much wiser, and have settled well into this house and into Mere as a small town.

Willow, our beloved old lady labrador sadly passed away at the great age of 13 ish nearly four years ago, and we still have Gizmo, the Flattie, and Rufus the ex guide dog who we ‘walked’ in 2005, still well and active but having some difficulties in jumping in and out of the car, and is helped. Gizmo is nearly six now, much calmer, but still the ‘yobbo’ that all Flattie owners have come to expect. A PAT dog now (Pets as Therapy), we visit organisations in Mere for the elderly and those who cannot get out and about, where he is much loved and really enjoys himself during the occasions!

The house, bungalow, is pretty well finished now, all rooms have been re-decorated, by me, the garden is a delight, in summer, mainly worked on by Sue, with me adding my weight here and there. The two buildings are working well, and particularly the Cabin, Sue’s woman cave, is well used in the summer and winter for her craft work. My man cave, the wooden garage and workshop, is a great boon.

We well and truly know Mere now during the past two and a half years- Stourhead Gardens is a frequent place to visit, just a couple of mile away with the dogs in the three months in winter, but at any time of the year it is really wonderful. Most of our guest request a wlk around the gardens!

We have joined in the social life of the village/town and have met many we call friends now in our dog walking mornings- every morning somewhere, me taking Gizmo for a 3 or 4 miler, and Sue with rufus who cannot manage that distance. We obviously swop and change with the dogs and give them walks away from the town for change.

Sue joins in with the other ladies to attend the Merely Women ‘club’ every fortnight, Garden Club and Historical Society being good fun. Bill, too, has his monthly breakfast at a local pub with other men, for the Great Saturday Fry up! He has has been singing and has joined the neighbouring village choir at Marnhull Ear plugs needed when he practises at home! The MX5 little sports car has joined the local MX5 club as has Bill and many a drive and meal enjoyed both in winter and summer!.