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.

Monday, June 28, 2004

HOMER (DUH........) 

I was at the checkout in Tesco today when the girl looked up and said: "You go a lot to the cinema, don`t you?"

I admitted this.

"Have you seen TROY? Is it any good?"

I started to give her an account of it: I thought it was surprisingly watchable, not just sword and sandal, and parts of it even had some nodding acquaintance with Homer, and was getting well into my stride when her eyes glazed over and she interrupted:

"Is it true you get to see Brad Pitt`s bottom?"

I hastily shifted a gear. You do actually see an awful lot of Brad Pitt. Homer mentions Achilles sulking in his tent (Brad does a good sulk), but I don`t recall the Illiad mentioning that most of this sulking was done buck naked and arse uppermost, as in the film. You can imagine a suitable Homeric epithet - "butt-bare Achilles", perhaps.....

"Yes you do see it, and most of the rest of him too."

Her eyes glazed further, and her lip quivered. "That`s it. I`m going tomorrow".

I suddenly remembered that there are such things as doubles in the film industry, including "leg doubles" and "bottom doubles". Could she be sure that the desirable quivering expanse of gluteals and cellulite spread over the screen before her was really Brad? Would it matter?

I decided to keep quiet. The business of body doubles should remain one of the great secrets of the silver screen.......

Anyway, I`m at present negotiating a job as J-LO`s brain double....

Tuesday, June 22, 2004


Well, of course I got to the show. And the wind blew and the rain was horizontal. The English, fresh from the heat wave of the south, huddled like King Penguins in an Antarctic June, and we natives braved it out.

The judge, bless her, probably blinded by flying sleet, didn`t notice Tomato`s fault and gave her a 2nd, while the Young Lad, once he had overcome his innate distaste for a rising gale blowing right up his fundament, managed a 3rd.

I doged a friend giving a novice advice on beginning to show in a numerically small breed owned mainly by dear little old ladies...... ("Yes, these are vicious backstabbing old bags, and you will have to defer to them and politely ask for their advice and smile when you get it but don`t trust it if you are going to get on......") and waded on down to the GS ring where three of us sat in abject misery on a wet bench under one umbrella and watched the winning bitch attempt to lacerate the rump of the winning dog, if once she could catch him. I think the low point of the day was when I stood up and discovered how wet my bottom was.....

But the company was good, and the dogs did well. On the journey home, relieved by a functioning heater and amusing chat, I seem to have committed myself somehow to taking on an unspecified number of shetland ponies otherwise destined for the meat trade. I know nothing about loking after said animals, apart from a vague notion that a horse vet`s bill can always be recognised instantly because it contains a string of noughts at the end........

Ah well, it`ll probably never happen. Hey nonny nonny, the wind and the rain, for the rain it raineth every day........

Thursday, June 17, 2004

My favourite evil little girl... Posted by Hello


I am off to a championship show in the Borders this weekend. As you will have gathered, I don`t drive, so am to be picked up in a vanload of German Shepherds which will have come down from the Shetlands and we will then go on to collect the owner of the GSs, who lives in a static caravan with large dogs and rescue rats........you notice that I am being completely deadpan about this wildly improbable journey.

I have done worse. Years ago, when I was campaigning my favourite tiny evil bitch, I hitched a lift in a deerhound van. There I stod at midnight,at the crossroads with a very excited tiny animal in a dogbox and a roll of bedding - I was to bed down with the hounds in the back for the 400 mile journey to Richmond.

The first arrival was a police car. Lots of questions, to which I was obviously giving wildly improbable answers. At last I showed them by dogshow passes. "Sorry," they said. "We thought you were running away from home."

I was seriously flattered!

At last the van arrived, driven by a totally deerhound woman, all tweed and straight hair. She looked at my tiny contender.

"You`ve washed her!" she exclaimed.

Actually I had washed her twice, not liking the first result,and said so.

"Oh we NEVER wash the hounds! It`s SO bad for the coat!"

Carefully, so as not to betray shock, I asked for the ages of her hounds. I might sit in the back with a puppy, but I was damned if I would spend the next five or six hours in intimately close proximity to a veteran which hadn`t seen soap for seven years........

I draw a veil over the journey down. Deerhounds can be very affectionate.

O the way back we picked up a doyenne of the dog game, Anastasia, who must have been approaching ninety and was to travel back with us as there was a rail strike. She was to have the front seat, but on seeing the bedding in the back she cried "That looks so comfortable!" and climbed in with the dogs. "Wonderful woman," cooed my driver - "Curled up in the back there and fast asleep already - just like a hound herself!"

I was silent, lost on the farside of Planet Deerhound, with no word of comfort from NASA and the lifesupport fast running out.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

In thoughtful mood..... Posted by Hello


I have to confess a secret - puppies really are cute. Disregard anything I said earlier. I have two litters of two puppies each, and at the moment they are at the devastatingly attractive stage, all innocent eyes and fluffy coats, ready to sell toilet paper anywhere

I play with them a lot. See, I`m not the hard old bag you thought I was. Marcus is little and brave and adorable, his brother Florian struts his stuff and occasionally explodes in rage like Donald Duck. (I chose the name Florian to piss off my showing friends, but have since discovered that to men it suggests a French footballer - I know more about the farside of the moon than football). Prudence is bossy and the brightest and Godzilla - well, he`s a big lad (1.5 kilos) and will make a good pet.

Either Marcus or Florian will be my next show male - my head says Florian, but my heart says Marcus.......

My head also says Blair is on the long slide out. He can`t be surprised at the English election results. He has two main problems. New Labour didn`t deliver on basic social problems like housing, roads and education - all the things you expect from Labour, new or not. And in addition Blair lied about Iraq. Well, all pols lie, but he has been well and truly found out, and that`s usually the end in his game.

MInd you, the alternative, a man whom I still see as an unreconstructed Thatcherite, is too terrible to think of......

I think I have posted a picture of Florian.

I thought I would spare you a picture of Blair, who would definitely not sell many toilet rolls these days.....

Sunday, June 06, 2004


It`s the 60th anniversary of D-Day, and although it is right and proper to remember, as usual I find the media coverage far too much, and am avoiding it.

Our family was not particularly military. Great-grandfather was in the Indian Army, and that was about it.

My father missed both wars. During the second he was in a reserved occupation, working incredible hours in Babcock & Wilcox (see post for 24th April), and firewatching almost every night. I remeber telling some teenagers about firewatching, explaining about HE and Incendiary, and the skilled use of the indispensable stirrup pump. "You`re having us on," they said. "No-one would ever do that........"

At the beginning of the First World War, he was about 16, and immediately went with his pals to join up and do his bit. They all lied about their ages where necessary, and did not tell their parents.

Well, they went through the induction details, and then came the medical. You all know about army medicals. They lay a hand on you and if you`re warm, you`re in. But after a cursory examination, my father was told to step out of line and go and wait in a little side room, where an officer would see him.

There were a desk and two chairs in the room, and my father sat and thought. He came to the conclusion, born of the optimism of youth, that they must have decided that he was officer material. He was going to war as a glorious leader of men.....

This reverie was interrupted by the entrance of a very impressive officer. My father thought he was at least a general. Actually he was the MO in charge of the medicals. He leaned across the desk.

"If you`re man enough to fight for your country, then you`re man enough to take this news straight. Sorry, son - dicky heart. Six months to live at best. Can`t use you."

My fatther ws appalled. Getting shot by the Hun was fine, but this was terrifying. He rushed to his doctor, improbably called Dr Dale (I know nothing of any diaries), and poured out the awful tale. The good Doctor looked sceptical.

"I`ve treated you all your life and never found a thing wrong with you, Willie. But we`d better check. Now," (and here`s where you realise that this happened in 1914, not today) " I`ll just write you a wee note to an old friend who is a consultant in Glasgow, and you nip up to the hospital on the tram and see him today. He`ll know for sure."

In fear and trembling my father did so, and was examined and given a report to take back to Dr Dale. "As I thought" said the Doctor. "Sound as a bell".

My father immediately begged him to give him a note to take back to the recruiting officer, but Dr. Dale would have none of it. "This will be a terrible war," he said, "and I`m glad to be able to keep both your mother`s sons out of it: your brother`s too young, and the army has already clasified you as unfit, and that`s it. And you`ve learned something. You`ve learned that army doctors are not fit to clean latrines."

My father never went to war. He had to endure the "white feather" atitude, but he survived.

None of his friends who enlisted that day came back.

During the later years of that war my father became involved in Red Clydeside.....

But that`s another story.

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