“WHAT`S THAT, BOY? TIMMY`S FALLEN DOWN THE WELL?”...
THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM…
Happy New Year
MAD AS A BOX OF FROGS
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Saga of a woman old enough to know better who lets her life be governed by the ridiculous hobby of breeding and showing dogs, musing on life, the twenty first century, Cameron and his mini-me, and the occasional sheep.
"IN DOG YEARS, I`M DEAD"
Thursday, March 25, 2004
But I gather that a fair number of women use dog showing as an escape from family horrors, and in particular from the mindset that dictates that you only exist for the family, that you lost your right to an identity when you signed on for marriage and children. And, unlike flower arranging, dog showing takes you physically right away from it. Even if only to a scout hut and a dry agenda.........
Tonight I have the SKC AGM, which promises to be better than TV (If your taste runs to action movies with a fair bit of blood). And tomorrow I am off to Stafford with Tomato and Demented, a heavy bag, not much hope and tonsilitis - and by Virgin westcoast. I refer you to the title of this blog for explanation.
Sunday, March 21, 2004
Well I did it. A long, long day in a leisure centre on the coast battered by gales, with the welcome company of J, who just wanted a day away from her husband - how wise.
Struggled through the usual suspcts in my own group with the added excitement of the deaf lady who wanted a critique of her dog there and then (I think it may have been audible in Norway) - "Madam he has no coat and you should not bring him out until he has" - and the traditional gormless steward presenting seen as unseen, the lovely animals missing essential bits, such as teeth and testicles.......as I write I suddenly realise I spent the best part of a day feeling dogs` balls. Well, it was raining anyway.....
Finished that group and was told no lunch as R might finish his classes any minute. Looked at R, making progress at the speed of the Beardmore glacier on a really cold day and felt thwarted and very hungry, having had a meagre breakfast of crispbreads at 7 . (Have lost three and a half stone and no Atkins breath for me.) Starving by the time I got in to face the hounds. Could have eaten a whippet.
Ah, yes. Whippets everywhere. Whippets are the new black. They are all elegant and they stare at you with liquid dark eyes, and they are all very similar. You could easily get lost in whippets.
But the joy of it was the puppies. Especially Olivia. Olivia the Basset at her very first show. She could see ittle point in standing still and really wanted to roll and have her tummy tickled. Her owner strained and struggled, biceps bulging, with a substantial weight of determined, happy hound. Of course she became best pupppy, and this seems to have impressed the hound people - except those with whippets. I should care. The lunch was really good. It featured skink. I love skink, and will be dieting it off for months. I`ve done it, cracked the hound group, but can see that skink will be my main memory of the day.
Friday, March 19, 2004
In a panic over having to judge hounds on Saturday. Definitely not my group, and not even sure how to go over large dogs.........how do you get down to bassets, for instance? Bend right over and show a lot of broad rear? Am clearly going to make a fool of myself in front of S, a respected hound judge, who is taking me to the venue and can be assured of a day`s entertainment.
Well, I`ve done what I can in preparation - I brushed my judging jacket and painted my nails Maniac Mauve. What else is there.......?
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
I have some interest being shown in puppy Chloe and it is borne in upon me with the inevitability of a tidal wave that if prospective buyers are to visit, I will have to scrub and gut the house and make it look less like a hovel camped in by gypsies (and dogs). Come to think of it, a tidal wave could be of considerable help, if directed straight through the front door and out the back.
I hate housework and seldom do any. I seem to remember that Joan Rivers once said ; "Never do housework. Once a year just call the police, tell them you`ve been burgled and cry a lot". Profoundly sensible woman.
She also said, I think, that the trouble with housework is that you scrub, dust and make beds and in six months you have it all to do again. That`s me exactly.
Monday, March 15, 2004
They all behaved really well, and we came home with two firsts. Had a good gossip with Best Friend and met the aged lady who had sold me one of my first really serious show dogs - remembered her as a bright young thing and felt the shadow of the zimmer hovering........Remembered the dog well - Havoc and Red Charlie were my favourites - Havoc the small anxious one and Red Charlie the big Alpha Male. I lived in a street then, not a cottage in a wood, and one morning when it had snowed we came out to discover the kids next door had made a really good snowman with hat, scarf, nose carrot, coal buttons - the works. H and RC were appalled. But they knew their duty. H stood on the path and kept me from moving while RC set off to make the street safe for democracy. He engaged the alien snowman with a barrage of barks jumps and screeches from all sides, and when he was quite sure that there would be no volley of returning fire, he stalked up and ceremonially widdled on it at great length. At this Havoc gave an audible sigh of relief, stood aside and indicated that I was safe to advance. I still really miss those two.
On the way home, discovered an ancient motorbike dumped on my road. Far too heavy for me to move. A real problem. Council help in our area is a joke - my last special uplift is still sititng outside the gate and I think birds are nesting in it.
Went out this morning to have my blood pressure checked at the Miscellaneous Clinic (the Hypertension clinic is a victim of economies and I do hope Miscellaneous is not a euphemism for VD .....) Had to get a taxi home, due to weight of dogfood I bought on offer at Safeway, and of course at the turn in the road we encountered the venerable motorbike. Driver had a look. "Can`t get past that missus." I brought to mind all my experience in man (and male dog) management. "I`ll try to shift it" I quavered in a Little Old Lady voice.
At once, his masculinity challenged, he got out and began to heave it Little result. I could see a danger of him giving up so I leaned out and cried in an even more feeble voice "I`m coming to help you!" That did it. He lost his temper and with a barrage of expletives best deleted, he gave a huge shove and the useless thing catapulted over and into the hedge, welll out of the way.
Problem solved. Large tip. Men have their uses.
Saturday, March 13, 2004
Dogs are a comfort. They don`t ask much and they give a lot. I keep telling myself that and someday I may even believe my own platitudes. I`m watching Vomit, sleeping upside down in a dogbed with her legs sticking up. The moment she came back from her visit to the stud she decided that she was a Mother now and would take care of herself. Gone are the days of illicit field excursions and chasing cats. Now she sits and stares into space and I know she is mentally knitting little pastel things, with neat crocheted holes for tails......boy is she in for a rude awakening!
Thursday, March 11, 2004
Got up to them and the secret was revealed - they were eating a rabbit. Had they caught it or found it? Never mind, they will be well wormed tomorrow. Sig legged it home, but her mother just stood, full of guilt - yes I did it and I`m, really sorry you caught me. Lugged her home - uphill all the way. A dog is man`s best friend........
Monday, March 08, 2004
Crufts got the usual coverage on the Beeb. Any hobby which does not directly involve drink, home improvement, food or football is really a mystery to the producers and is accordingly made fun of. They`d really like to make it over as a children`s comedy programme, but it resists that, so they treat it as if it belongs on Cbeebies, and present it like that graveyard of young TV wannabes, live children`s programming, with young hyper mildly desperate presenters, obviously nervous of dogs, running about laughing wildly at nothing and wondering what all this will do for their careers. If they could have Ant and Dec doing it, they would. Real dog people seldom laugh. I wonder why........?
Sunday, March 07, 2004
It was as bad as expected. Had been warned that our judge would be willing to give the supreme accolade to her best friend`s family cat, or indeed a cardboard cut out of said moggie, and so it proved. Stood there in huge classes (and in one of them unaware that the TV cameras were at my back) with:
1. Big Lad. Definitely the tallest there
2. Demented. Definitely the smallest there and behaving like a monkey with a firework up its fundament. Judge remarked - "She`s playing with the big girls here". Well, she was certainly playing. Elegant red creature next to her kept looking sideways at her, wondering if she was missing some element of fun in all this, thinking "I`ll have what she`s having....."
3. Velcro. Definitely my best and thought she was really in with a chance. Stood beautifully and flirted her beautiful golden tail. Totally ignored by judge.
4. The Old One. Overjoyed to be out in the Veteran class rolling eyes and panting heavily to indicate how much she appreciated this. 6 in class and only 5 places - guess who left?
Well, that left the socialising, the tourists, and several long trips to the KC stand to transfer Vomit into my kennel affix, seeing that she is actually pregnant at last. All very good for the leg muscles. Didn`t see any of the people I intended to see. Didn`t feel all that sociable. But Crufts is odd - it`s the great get-together, the tribal convention, the ultimate coven. People you would never normally mix with fall into a totally acceptable social arrangement built on the unpromising basis of competition with dogs. Fell into a conversation about this with G, and we concluded that many of the really poor losers are those who can`t succeed in any other part of their lives and really need this. Not like us, of course....
And that left Getting Home. Actually Getting Out of the Car Park is the main event. It took some people 5 hours. We were lucky with 2. In years gone by we had a driver who used to get us in and out of anywhere, a total chancer. He would come up to checkpoints and lean out and confide in the jobsworth at the gate: "I`ve had it with this. I`m stuck here with this bus full of - " he would lower the voice - "disabled women and all the paperwork has been left in the other bus and as usual muggins has to sort it....." Instant rapport, and the busload of completely able-bodied women with arms and back muscles like the Governor of California from years of carrying small dogs and show paraphenalia would be waved on. Those were the days.....
Journey home slow and agonising on the arse - bus bum is a well known ailment in the fancy. Lucky at least to get a taxi from the drop point at 2am - only 2 night taxis on and the other had got irretrievably lost in a housing scheme, which he had evidently been exploring for the past 4 hours with frequent plaintive calls for help echoing on the radio. Remaining driver overjoyed - "I get all his fares and it`s good practice for him."
Home to rest of dogs overjoyed to see us. Best reception we had all day.
And so to bed at 4am.