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.

Thursday, September 30, 2004


A harrowing weekend, trying to take in two major shows separated by ocean.

I`m not really in favour of RORO ferries. Basically, a boat with a large hole in the front is a bad idea, any way you look at it. If God had wanted cars to cross seas he would have given them fins...........wait a bit, didn`t the Americans do exactly that in the fifties?

Anyway, I don`t have a car. So picture self and friend lugging dogs onto a little chuggy late night local train that stops at every anthill right down the coast, then lugging said dogs across the dismal windswept port to catch the 5am ferry, weaving our way between cars bulging with dogs and dog paraphenalia, and already resounding with arguments as to who didn`t pack what, and why that dog has been sick already before we even reached the damned boat...

We consoled ourselves with the prospect of a Great Day in Ireland.

So much for prospects. Our judge was Belgian, and she didn`t like the Young Lad or Tomato, who simpered at her - still less Demented, whose coat has gone hormonal and oily. I had a good set-to with the show manager, who had insisted that all toys were benched up 2 flights of stairs...........you get the picture.

On the way home the boat was late and one engine short. Great rumours spead about the Liverpool boat, a ship of fools which didn`t even make it to Belfast with its cargo of dogs and was now back in Liverpool with the RORO doors stuck fast and the show folk immured with their pooches and all the other show folk they hated, presumably for ever - HUIS CLOS meets Lassie. Bets were laid on how long the bar would last and we all secretly imagined the same fate for us. As it was we ended up stranded in Glasgow, being rescued by another doggy friend.

I don`t remember too much about the second show. Two hours sleep does that to me. It probably went well.

Whizz went to the Irish show, and confronted the Belgian lady. She poked at his mouth and squinted at his ears. Whizz turned his perfect head and focussed his frosty goggle-eyed stare. You could feel the temperature drop to a few degrees Kelvin, and the icicles form. You could see the glaciers rolling out over Belgium..............

Whizz ended up Best Chin Puppy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


I see that Belle de Jour has given up blogging in favour of a big publishing contract. It`s true, sex sells. I can see that it is exactly what this blog is lacking. Well, I can rectify that.

Sex is very much in the air just now. Both Demented and Roxanne the Virgin Queen are very attractive at the moment and Florian and Marcus are very excited. Young dogs have no magazines, or friendly older brother`s advice - they have to work it out for themselves. Florian has decided that what you do is to run in frantic circles round the lady of your desire, screaming as you go. (Yes, you`re right - I can`t take too much of that.) Meanwhile Marcus, with silent determination, tries to climb on at the back, fatally hampered by his lack of height. The ladies of course regard them with contempt.

Canine sex is a little bit different from ours. For instance, once the happy deed is consummated, a certain part of the male swells up, and he is trapped in there (we refer to it as "tied"), possibly for as long as an hour, perhaps longer. Gentle reader, consider how a similar physical quirk could revolutionise human relationships, and indeed civilisation as we know it. (If by any chance you DO have a similar physical quirk, DON`T email me - contact your doctor, or better still, the Sun - you could land a bigger publishing deal than Belle......)

In the course of a breeder`s duties, supervison of doggy nookie looms large. No, it`s not automatic. Often the lady looks at her assigned suitor and decides that an early death would be preferable. Sometimes they would both prefer to fight. (See, it`s not so different from us after all.....) In these cases the breeder has to step in and take a hand - often literally.

At least I`m spared the problems of Yorkies and Poms, tiny breeds in which the male is usually much smaller than the female, and unlike Terry Pratchett`s Casanunda, hasn`t brought his ladder. Large seat cushions are much in demand, and sometimes the aspiring tiny romeo is simply picked up and clapped onto the rear of his lady love like an eager, hairy poultice.

The problems I remember are not so much associated with Papillons, but with Chinese Cresteds, some of which of course are hairless. Cresteds tie for a long, long time. I remember once trying to obtain a mating between an eager male and a reluctant female - eventually she escaped outside where she at once decided that alfresco sex was quite all right, and the deed was done in the rockery.

It was January. Early morning. A hard frost lay all around. I shall never forget the look on the little naked dog`s face as the glow of consummation faded and he began to lose feeling in his extremities. "Oh Shit!" doesn`t even begin to cover it. And you could hurt and even damage them if you tried to move them in that condition.

But you have to do something. And that is why, when the postman arrived forty minutes later, he was mesmerised by the sight of two small dogs, joined at the rear, wearing oversized anoraks, woolly hats and mittens on all eight feet......

Almost as mesmerised as the time when he nearly crashed his little red van into the gate at the sight of a particularly frustrated male dog , having been denied all access to the females, attempting to mate the cat.....

Always something different in country life.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Needing a bit of a lift, I took myself off to see STAGE BEAUTY. The idea is that the last great actor to play women`s roles on the Restoration stage has an affair with the first woman to be allowed to do the same, while agonizing about his reduced job prospects and suddenly politically incorrect cv......then they both go on stage together to invent 21st century acting style and conventions in one night.

A real curate`s egg. I can only suppose that the director wanted to remake SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, but felt that the whole issue of men playing women`s parts and transvestism in general demanded a bit more serious consideration, without knowing in the least how to go about it. And I have to say that while Billy Crudup`s looks are not in question, he doesn`t drag up well, and I think that if the character he plays was supposed to be a massive hit in women`s parts, he would have to look a lot less like Lily Savage after a really bad night out.

What the hell. It`s a cozzie flick, about theatrical history and with toydogs -- what`s not to like? (Even if the toydogs are Cavaliers and not Papillons). I was well cheered up, and mesmerised by Rupert Everett electing to play the Merry Monarch as John Cleese.

Nothing like a bit of escapism say I, having spent the rest of the day wrestling with the innards of the coal stove.

And to make things even better, Dido was scanned today and is pregnant.

Now all I need is a lottery win.


Monday, September 13, 2004


Just back from a show near Guildford - the show was excellent but the journey was harrowing.

You will know by now that my dog journeys begin with me being packed into a big white bus in the carpark of a hotel on a lonely stretch of moorland road in the small hours. With luck they continue in a succession of dozes and fitful sleep until we reach our destination.

This one had begun badly, with a paucity of seats - a situation resolved by the formidable lady in charge, easily recognised by her fuschia hair, announcing that if everyone didn`t sit down on something - anything - right now.now we weren`t going at all. We got going, and took care not to inquire what people in the murky depths of the back were actually sitting on...........

I woke suddenly at 3am. The smooth motorway rhythm had given way to a succession of stops amd starts. We were navigatiing through a town, and I realised that it was Wigan.

I have always had some curiosity about Wigan, home of the pier and Spaceman Digby. I was even more curious as Wigan wasn`t anywhere near our route.

My curiosity was well satisfied as we looped in and out of the centre of town endlessly, caught on some deadly tarmac moebius strip. The only locals about were a bit the worse for wear, but have probably sworn off it for life, having been haunted by numerous sudden reappearances of the phantom bus, "gashly white" like Tom Pierce`s gray mare, always from a different direction.

The passengers, on the other hand began to have more than a little sympathy for the Flying Dutchman, although at least Vandervecken had the whole ocean to roam in and wasn`t confined to north Wigan. Would we too be condemned to wander for ever until redeemed by love? - (a very unlikely ending for dog fanciers.......)

Actually the situation was resolved by the formidable lady, who took very firm charge of the driver, a man of the type known where I live as a "right numpty", and eventually got it across that there is a road called the M6 and that we had a pressing need to be on it. At last Wigan receded in the distance.

Did we leave behind us the imprint of Moby Bus, the great white commercial vehicle, endlessly pursuing an unfathomable destiny in the North of England?.........damn, I`ve got stuck on these nautical metaphors again.

Somebody stop me!.

Wigan looks quite a nice place, really.

Thursday, September 09, 2004


Well, it`s open. The great gingerbread folly that houses the Scottish parliament is occupied, and can be toured by the public for a small fee - which I won`t be paying because I`ve paid enough for the building already.

I`ve seen it from the outside and the interior has had some TV coverage. It`s a peculiarly hectic, uneasy, anxious type of archtecture, on which the eye never quite comes to rest. I suppose on those grounds it symbolises the organisation it contains well enough.

For me it brings to mind the huge impressive expensive monolithic buildings beloved of petty dictators the world over, and finding their origin in the cold war Soviet bloc (and I suppose with Speer in the Third Reich). The more insecure you feel in power, the bigger you build to impress the masses. "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings, Look on my works ye mortals, and despair."

Lots of us have despaired over this one..The cost, the pretentiousness, and what it tells you about the occupants have set alarm bells ringing everywhere.

A parliament is a group of people, not a building. And it`s an iffy group we have. Lots of them have come up from very dodgy backgrounds in local government and the tradition of personal gain they brought from that dies hard. Now they can have enormous expensive buildings as perks - it`s a giant step up from dipping into the DLO fund.

We have a saying in Scotland, designed to bring pretentious people down to their roots again. "I kent his faither".

Well I kent a lot of their faithers. I know where many of the bodies are buried. I even know where Jack goes to play with his Jills.

And I`m not impressed by their spending of my money to bolster their inferiority complex.

They are as temporary as Ozymandias. The Scottish people can see to that. Vote the buggers out!

Enough polemic. I`m off to do the dogs` anal glands.

Sunday, September 05, 2004


Another week, another bus, another show. This one in the midlands. The quality was poor and the judging strange, to say the least - we old hands were reduced to sitting at the ringside commenting acidly on the qualities of the kilted Irishman`s knees and how much other exhibitors` bottoms had spread. (Toy dog showing involves a lot of bending over........one well known breeder once told me that the secret of success in the breed was to look confident and never to have a VPL.)

Recovering from this, I had a call from a friend in German Shepherds. She has a litter due to go to their new homes today. Shepherds are normally identified by tattooing - it`s a lot more reliable than microchips which can "wander" - and hers were done yesterday. Any momentary distress was alleviated by plentiful supplies of steak mince. Traditionally the tattoo is done in green.

They were put to bed early and evidently consoled each other with a lot of body contact. In the morning out they tumbled - happy, and uniformly green. All over. The sables were a particularly tasteful shade of lime.

"He did use a lot of ink," she said.

"Is it coming off?" I asked.

"Oh yes. On the carpet, the walls and all the other dogs that weren`t tattooed."

"When do the new owners arrive?"

"Any minute."

She is a resourceful breeeder. She will easily convince them that green Shepherds are fashionable and will blend in well in the average garden.. Perhaps the camouflage colouring would fit them well for police work. Perhaps there is a new and untapped Irish market.........

I wisely kept my ideas to myself..

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Florian, Prudence, Marcus Posted by Hello


Every Tuesday is Training Class day. The puppies are piled into a travelling box and taxied across the river to the only Toydog Taining Class I know of, squabbling ferociously as we go.

The class begins with a free socialising period, which my lot obviously see as The Party. Tiny puppies scoot about wildly, screeching and doing what puppies do, often in corners where we don`t find it till later.... Most of them are Poms, but there are also Pekes and other toy breeds. This part of the event is terribly exciting.

Then the leads are put on. The party`s over. My lot resent this terribly. It`s a great betrayal to have a lead put on and to be obliged to walk, stand and be poked on a wobbly table by strangers.

They all react differently. Florian takes it all calmly, his mind somewhere else. Prudence hates being touched, but likes the moving on the lead part. Since at present her only facial expression is "Omigod!", she does not give an impression of success. Marcus has never really come to terms with the lead and when put on the ground takes off like one of the many leggeed walkers you used to see on ROBOT WARS, scuttling on madly, often between my legs with disastrous results. I despair of all of them.

We are usually joined by a very aristocratic snooty Chin. Chins are like that. This one is called "Whizz", and his new owner was puzzled as to why - until he let him off the lead. After Whizz had whizzed on 3 handbags, 4 ladies` legs and a number of unsuspecting and now damp puppies, it became obvious. He will be Whizz for life.

"It could be worse - he could have done something else." I volunteered.

Whizz favoured me with a very bleak Chin stare. His owner saw this.

"Look, he`s insulted. Chins are like the Queen - they don`t do that." said his owner. "Every so often we find carefuly deposited a small black pearl in a velvet bag, which we are privileged to clean up. " He smiled bleakly, already well under the Chin brainwashing process.

Whizz favoured me with a goggle-eyed look of triumph.

I collected my three resentful scruffy balls of fluff and fled.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?