“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"
Friday, April 30, 2004
Sig is plagued by loose bowels - not half as plagued as I am by them. I suspect it comes from cleaning up after her two, which go under the working titles of Godzilla and Buckethead (he is as huge as she is ugly). The night before last we had the worst and she presented me with puppies smeared with .......well, I won`t go on. Poor Buckethead got the worst of it, and even sponging (Iam unwilling to wash one so young) left her rather stained. sometimes I wonder what this does to my sanity. The puppies soldier on, having little choice and stare at me with unwinking vacant little eyes, just on the verge of relating to the outside world, and not yet able to stand for long without sitting down rather suddenly. In a week they will be chewing my ankles.
All this in the week the EU goes virtually global, and word has it we will become a Polish speaking nation overnight. Well, I never met a Pole I didn`t like. But I can`t understand Blair`s referendum. It looks like a vote for suicide. I can`t get my head round that man. Venal or rabid pols I can understand - but this one, with his slavish adoration of Bush an ambivalence on the EU? Is there a punitive and dark condition to the Special Relationship I don`t know about? I know Tony Benn always insisted there was a "blood price" attached to it. Or does he just want to see his name writ large in the histories? Let`s see him defend the latest pictures of American torture of Iraqui prisoners.........my goodness, this blog is beginning to read like all the others!
Saturday, April 24, 2004
I remebered what I said here about my childhood diet of rabbit and can see that I forgot eggs. Eggs, legit or otherwise, were always on the go, and frequently off.
During the was my father worked at Babcock, where you could get anything, either lifted direct from the shopfloor, or made on works time.
You could get off the egg ration by keeping hens, in which case you got a chickenfeed ration and the eggs were yours to keep or barter. One of my father`s friends decided to go down this risky route, and was casting about everywhere for something to use as a henhouse. Even the Babcock illicit enterprises brigade couldn`t supply this, but my father had another friend who had a friend who worked for Rolls Royce, making jet engines to defeat Hitler. He was of the opinion that the packing crates in which the jet engines were shipped to the aircraft manufacturers would be just right to keep hens in .
And so it was arranged that on the first possible night an empty crate would fall off a lorry conveniently close to the aspiring chicken farmer`s backdoor.
A few weeks later he awoke to the sound of a heavy lorry revving, and a dull thud. Up he got and went out in the pitch darkness (blackout!), and by the back fence loomed a large dark object. He went over and could make out a big substantial wooden crate, very promising as a henhouse. And then, as he was running his hand over it, the moon came out, and between the slats he could make out the gleam of bright metal..........
My father could make very little sense of the phone call he got at 2am. "Willie, they`re goin to shoot me, they`re goin to shoot me! I`m goin to be shot for treason, Willie! And I`m takin` you with me!"
It took all the combined abilties of the Babcock and Rolls Royce black market entrepreneur network to get the Rolls Royce Merlin engine back on a lorry, and a substantial bung to security to get it back into the factory. It is said that my father`s friend never quite recovered full mental health and spent the rest of the war waiting for the knock on the door, to be followed by the firing squad. All in a night`s work on the home front.
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Was discussing the heady days of being young during forties Austerity with BF, who declared that the abiding horrors of that experience were Workers Playtime and National Dried Egg. Now I must immediately confess to a weakness for Workers` Playtime - never met anything so resolutely and relentlessly jolly before or since (except perhaps Ian Duncan Smith when cornered......there was a saying going round the dog people when he was Tory leader that a dogs home took in three abandoned dog puppies - they were sad, unwanted and with little hope so they named them Ian and Duncan and Smith.....)
But I digress. National Dried Egg. You made the garish powder up with water and it produced a strange yellow construct with the wobble factor of blancmange and the digestibility of latex. And I had forgotten all about it till BF reminded me, proving that the mind does have its defences. Anyone who thinks war is good for the British People should be force-fed it in large amounts.
Mind you, I don`t conform to all the stereotypes I never ate snoek. Whale twice, occasional horse and above all, endless rabbit. I can still see my mother flouring those rabbit joints. It would take Escoffier come back from the dead to persuade me to attempt another bunny....
It`s spring and the hinds are very evident in the early morning taking a shortcut across my fields to the wood. I can hear my neighbour`s lambs. Ah, the heady joys of lambing! Standing out in the dawn sleet with your arm up to the elbow in a ewe. Possibly with the vet standing looking on holding the box of Lux, saying: "It`s no use me trying - your hand is so much smaller than mine.....". Feeling slippery bits of lamb and wondering which ones to rotate and pull.......How I miss it all!
The hell I do!
Ask me about the Lux some other time.
Sunday, April 18, 2004
Q phoned and we discussed sadly the level of corruption in the fancy and how the last ticket winner was obviously lame, and what deals are being done. She is of the opinion that I "lost it" when I stopped breeding from the Grand Old Lady. Since the GOL is now rising 14 and her life goals now centre on eating a lot and sleepng in my bed, my career in dogs must have been on the skids for some time...... All very depressing.
Meanwhile a new crisis. No heat. The old stove is not drawing properly and producing smoke backblown into the room. I foresee a heartwarming episode of letting it go out (which I never do in winter) and cleaning it out. It is a complicated device, designed for very efficient burniing of coal, and has front, side and back passages to clean, in addition to the flue. The joys of yet again sticking my hand and arm up its back passage loom large, as does the prospect of tons of soot, much of it down my sleeve. I just pray there isn`t a dead bird stuck up there.
Wonder what the southern softie who left the country because the shops weren`t open twenty four seven would make of that.........?
Thursday, April 15, 2004
A wet day. A wet day with wet dogs and girls in season. Don`t even feel up to any more sheep anecdotes. Am going off to build up the fire in the stove and get a good book. So there.
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Looked at a really good blog called Raised by Chaffinches - I`d put a link but am not sure how - and he brought up the old saw about skinning a dead lamb and using the skin to cover an orphan one so that the mother will accept it. I think this rates with the one about shepherds castrating lambs with their teeth, and probably belongs in Hardy. Wonderful thing, sheep lore. Told him about the Vick routine. You take the unwilling candidate for adoptive mother and shove a big blob of Vick up her nostrils. Just imagine it, folks. Suddenly her whole world is reduced to Vick. The innocent ickle orphan looks up at her and bleats "Are you my new mummy?", and she baas "Oh God, Vick, Vick, Vick......" It probably rots her brain, but her sinuses will be clear for ever.
Before I wasted my time with dogs, you will gather I wasted it with sheep. Don`t get me started on sheep......
Monday, April 12, 2004
Vomit, already 2 days late, scraped and cried all night, so red-eyed and exhausted I prepared for birth at dawn, at least thankful for a daytime birth - vet and vampire may begin with v, and both are bloodsuckers, but only the latter come out at night.
Well, I set up the whelping bed on the sofa and sat down beside it and waited. And waited. At last at 10.45, a dog puppy, arriving with no fuss. And that, it seemed, was that. At 3pm I settled her in the heated box in the bedroom with a small meal and relaxed. Checking at 5.45, I was just in time to see a second identical male puppy arrive. Five hours has to be a record.
Puppies are fine - and clean. I stared at them for some time trying to think what was different, then it struck me. Usually puppies arrive in a wash of blood and dark green fluid, and can be stained for days - have often replied to the question "what colour?" with "green, mostly". But Vomit`s boys arrived pristine. Discussed it with BF, and we decided that it must be because she comes from the effete and cultural S of England.
Two days later (and 3 days early), Sig had her turn. Again, thank God, in daylight. The little soul strained and heaved with a will, but nothing moved. At 3 I called the vet and took her in - I suspect some vets could have manipulated the stuck puppy, but this one couldn`t, so it was a caesarian. Just as well - the puppy had to come out - but O the expense!
All very quick - in at 3, out at 5.30 with 2 puppies, one of each. I was told that the problem had been a huge dog puppy. Home with 2 clean puppies wrapped in a rug and weighed the offender. 5 ounces. Not that big, then, but much bigger than his sister.
Sig had now to come to terms with the fact that she went to the vet, fell asleep and woke up with strange little creatures desperately trying to attach themselves to her. She coped beautfully, although for the first hour she tried to lick them to death. I worried that the big boy would shoulder out his sister. No way. She was soon heaving him about like a black and white furry beachball. Having been trying to push his way out with his face for several hours, his head resembled a squashed potato, but that will come right.
So my bedroom is yet again a maternity unit, with a box of puppies on either side. Sig would quite like to adopt the other 2 puppies. But Vomit is oblivious, totally out to lunch on the far side of Planet Puppy.
Three dogs and one bitch. Two dogs will have to go. Decisions, decisions - fortunately far in the future.
Friday, April 02, 2004
I`m not sure I understand the mentality of wanting this, even though I have known the woman for years. Is it in expectation of an afterlife in which she will have the dog aways with her? If so, would the dog be likely to feel immense gratitude for being put down? People have strange notions of aferlives, (about which, of course there can be no argument) and I have one friend who lives in firm expectation of harps and winged angels. I have strong reservations about an afterlife, but find it best to keep this to myself when the subject crops up.
Meanwhile I`m waiting for Vomit to pop. No sign of puppies yet, and we are approaching that desert of lack of vets, the weekend. Why do bitches have a yearning to produce puppies at 3am on Sunday morning? My Old Lady always used to produce about noon. To her litters meant Really Big Dinners, and I always used to think she timed it this way to fit in one RBD before bedtime. I always feel more capable during the day - 3am briongs out the worst in my inadequacies, and I have sympathy for the poor soul who in desperation called for help on the net at 1am a short time ago when his bitch got into difficulties.
The puppy went. A family of seven arrived, and she went off with them, tail wagging, dog chew clamped in the little jaws, You could see she needed the excitement of a big family - she had been bored here. Her mother misses her.