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.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Another power cut. Only four hours this time, and I am well used to them – I can easily lay my hand on the candles, the emergency light, the oil lamps and the Faraday torch..

They go with the territory. My power comes in like my phone – on wires strung on rickety, leaning old poles that lurch in a drunkard`s walk through the wood. I know better than to rely on it

The worst outage I can remember lasted five days. An enterprising criminal – a bright spark, even – had dressed up as a power worker and stripped all the copper wire from half a mile of poles at the far end of the line. I was still working then, and was phoned frequently at work by the foreman of the repair team with progress reports. This didn`t go down too well, so, to impress my colleagues with the severity of my plight, I decided to put the next call on the speakerphone.

The foreman was apoplectic.

“The work has collapsed!” he screamed.

I was at a loss. Had the power company gone belly up?

It turned out that when they had laboriously strung up the half mile of new copper wire and then tried to tension it, the whole line of wormeaten tipsy poles had gone down like dominoes iin a cloud of dust.

The man was beside himself.

“If I could just lay my hands on the wee bastard who stole the wire!” he bellowed to the fascinated audience of my colleagues gathered round the speakerphone. “The last one who tried that got himself fried on the power lines and I was the one who had to go up and chip off the charred bits – and , know what? – I enjoyed it! He got what was coming to him! I wish I`d found this one fried onto the line!”.

There are ways to make an impression at work. As I looked round at the pale horrified faces I realised that being publicly phoned by a raging psychopath probably wasn`t the best to choose. The room emptied quickly, andd I was left alone with the tinny ravings from the phone.

I refuse to sum this up with any comments such as “electrifying experience”……….

Electrifrying, maybe……..

Sunday, March 20, 2005


The iPod is sitting on the table beside me, watching me with its little round click-wheel eye. I know it`s planning something nasty……..

I have had for years a 20 gig Creaative Jukebox. It`s big, clunky and absolutely reliable. It`s also full.

So I bought an iPod. Small, light convenient. 40 gig. Easy to programme.


I was annoyed when it crashed occasionally, but not really disturbed until the long journey when it refused to play anything beginning with R

Things since then have gone from bad to worse. On the long dark journey to Crufts it attempted to entertain me with a playlist it had made up itself, consisting of everything with a title contaiing “3’. As most of the present contents are classical, this meant a sequence of Third Movements, Sonata no 3, Variation no 3, etc. I was a bit alarmed. I could sense it reaching out, longing for a connection to download “Three Steps to Heaven “ and “Three Blind Mice”

I`m not daft. I`m a longtime member of the BSFA. I`ve read Asimov. I know what`s going on..

It`s trying to achieve sentience. Not I, ROBOT, but I, POD

Over my dead body……..

I wish I hadn`t said that. I think I just saw it move……..

I really wish I hadn`t said that.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Marcus and the ruby slippers Posted by Hello


Crufts was……..well, Crufts. Marcus showed his little heart out in the big green ring, and we hoped for Best Puppy, but he was second. Julian was out of sorts and was fifth. Decibelle was on her poisonously worst behaviour, ducking and diving on the table, and took the Walk of Shame.

Socially it was, as usual……….interesting. The usual mix of old friends, bitching and gossip, conducted among droves of Japanese tourists flashing Nikons. Quite a bit of politics, too. Sitting at the ringside deconstructing the opposition – slipping stifles, poor topline, hard light eye…….and the dog`s not too great. either. Watching an Irish friend weaving about in the ring, being eventually reprimanded by the judge for being drunk in charge of a Pomeranian. Eating the salmonella-laden catering, having sworn not to but driven by starvation. Admiring my handler`s ruby slippers – yes just like the ones in the film(except alas, they don`t seem to grant wishes...) Finding out where the heavy betting was going down for Best in Show And eventually, dropping with weariness, hauling a trolley laden with dogs and grooming stuff out into the rain to load the bus once more.

And so off into the wet dark on the long road north.

A grand day out.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Florian Posted by Hello


Florian is really coming on. He looks quite the adult part now, with a good coat and a bit of a swagger. And he is attracting a certain amount of interest among the young ladies - or should I say the owners of said young ladies, who have been making discreet approaches to me on their behalf……..all a bit Jane Austen at times, the dog game.

But Florian has a dark and dismal secret.

At almost a year old, he still doesn`t know How To Do It.

I have tried. I`ve introduced him to receptive girls and watched with resignation as he has attempted to climb on board at the front, the side – anywhere but the target area.

It`s difficult for a young dog. His dad can`t take him aside and mutter a few well-chosen words about what he did as a lad. He can`t swap dirty stories or mags with his mates.. He can`t call a helpline.

My usual remedy is to take the young innocent to watch a real pro at work. He is put in a secure dog box where he has a good view of the mating. He is then supposed to watch and learn. Usually it works – any thudding noises you heaar coming from the container will be the young dog kicking himself……..

I tried this with Florian. He came out of the dog box wildly excited, tongue hangiing out and eyes glazed, and subsequently barked all night. He had learned that sex is even more wonderful than he had supposed. So wonderful that he had forgotten to notice how it`s done………

At this stage I`m open to suggestions.

Answers please, on a postcard........

Any frivolous advice involving painting a target on the bitch`s bum or hanging a “welcome” or "open for business" sign on her tail will be treated with the contempt it deserves........

Florian can`t read either.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

"I`m heading for Crufts when I`m bigger" - Mr Lentil at 7 weeks Posted by Hello


T`was the week before Crufts and all through the house, not a creature was stirring in fear of being hauled out for yet another bath and grooming. It`s all go folks. And this year one of mine even stands a chance of winning something! (It`s been a year or two.......)

Lets hope the judging (always a subject of controversy) is better than at last week`s show. The judge was chosen as a nice lad, really honest.........alas, as judging progressed it became evident that he was marching to the sound of a very distant and different drum indeed. Nothing made any sense, and we watched appalled. It got beyond the stage of acid comment. I think the low point was reached when the redoubtable lady responsible for the lunches called out,

"Plenty of carrots on the judge`s plate, now! They`re really good for the eyesight!"

Meanwhile I`m off again, to bath Decibelle and feed the puppies, now seven weeks and into everything. The little dog, tiny and sweet, is unfortunately and temporarily answering to "Mr. Lentil" (referring to his size and probable brain capacity. ) The girl is larger. A pushy bitch with a plain horsy face.

Her name, of course is "Camilla".

Monday, March 07, 2005

Young Diamond at 5 months - all nose and ears..... Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Not a good week, what with computer and other problems, so it was with no great sense of anticipation that I trailed young Diamond to training class, having missed a week.

I was not disappointed. His idea of progress on the lead still involves sitting down suddenly, leading to his little furry bum polishing the floor as he has stopped dead and I still haven`t. Add to this that his head - he is at the supremely ugly stage of five months - looks like something roughly fashioned out of a melted candle end with a blunt spoon, and he does not fill me with confidence.

On the way home in the taxi, the driver began unburdening his soul. This always happens to me in taxis. I am used to tales of broken marriages, financial disasters, the Other woman, etc. I must have that kind of face......

In his case it was a breakup. As I listened to the tale of woe, and how as a taxi driver you just sit around thinking about it, we passed what was obviously a murder scene (yes, really!), with loads of tape, police and men from forensic in their white plastic suits milling around. The talk turned to death. Well, it would.

He said he knew someone who had just committed suicide. Well, it`s a big problem in this area - it`s a young male problem and really one I have no answer to at all. I wondered aloud why they do it.

"You look at the world and realise you don`t belong in it any more," came the reply.

I was scared, and I`m not often scared. I hoped he hadn`t planned to do it right now by running the taxi into a wall somewhere. Cars are a great tool for the suicidal.

I got stuck in. I told him that plaintive texts to the former girlfriend just wouldn`t do. I told him to pull out all the stops in the romantic line. I told him to be confident and convincing. I told him above all to get out of taxis and make some better money. He said yes he would, he really would.

And then we were home. I waved him off and gave Diamond a great big hug. Suddenly he looked pretty good...

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