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.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Mr Lentil Posted by Hello
Beetle hunt Posted by Hello
Mr Lentil and Camilla  Posted by Hello


I make no apology for yet more cute pictures. Camilla and Mr Lentil are doing well. They have dipped their tiny paws in the stormy waters of the training class, awash with fearsome new creatures like Pom puppies, and aquitted themselves very well.

Mr Lentil appears to be what we call “a showing fool”. This means that whenever he is in doubt (which is often as he is none too bright) he automatically falls into a perfect show pose. He was not sure about the lead until I introduced him to little pieces of Tesco Economy Polony Sausage. This noxious mix of anonymous meat and additives is definitely not for human consumption, but to dogs it is ambrosia and after one tiny taste Mr Lentil indicated that he would face anything for it, up to and including vivisection. I waved a bit in front of him and he trotted happily after it on the lead, head up and eyes closed as he sniffed with all his might.

Camilla was not so sure that I could buy her with food, but after watching others walk on the lead you could see her realising that this thing round the neck was obviously this spring`s musthave among puppies, and she came after me with the distracted look and wandery gait of a teenager mastering her first really high heels.

A lot more training lies ahead.

Artemis gets fatter by the day and screams in fury whenever her mother dares to leave her alone for a minute. Fenella is delighted with her.

That`s my puppy quota for this season.

Now I know there`s something else going on…….

Oh yes. An election.

I will vote – women died to get me that vote – but it`s a dreary old choice this time round. The Liar, the Neocon, the Buffoon. And a very sad, tired Nationalist agenda. I suppose we should take heart that the choice isn`t worse, or that we don`t live in an African dictatorship.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Fenella and Artemis Posted by Hello
My name is Artemis and I`m just ten hours old Posted by Hello


Well, I thought this was going to be a puppy-free spring, but Fenella, who had deceived my by keeping her slim figure, produced a lovely little girl early this morning. She is one of the fattest and most contented puppies ever, and her name is Artemis.

Fenella is of course delighted, and once again completely out to lunch on Planet Puppy.

I`m feeling pretty good too.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Potted Florian Posted by Hello


I should be posting pictures of cute tiny puppies. But my girl missed. Nothing but a little milk and a bright smile.

Because of these expectations I am not at either of the shows on today. No doubt the phone will ring with the story of how Marcus did at the big English one, and with all the scandals of the Scottish one.

Meanwhile I am in the garden.

I have very definite views on my Ideal Garden. It`s main features are a Head Gardener, several Under Gardeners, and a Gardener`s Lad. What`s actually growing in it is a lot less important.

What I have is enormous. It was carved out of a field by an ambitious civil engineer who once heard his wife remark that rockeries were nice. She was presented with a hundred yard square monstrosity, complete with pond and weeping willlow, little steps that go nowhere, lots of dwarf conifers and a pumped waterfall. I understand that it was under control for exactly six months, and did not exactly improve the marriage.

That was exactly fifty years ago.

Now the pond is dry because the willow roots cracked it. The willow itself stands proud at 35 feet, and the rest has gradually become an impenetrable arboretum. I confess that I don`t know precisely what`s in there…… The conifers make an excellent windbreak, at between twelve and twenty feet. (There is no such thing as a dwarf conifer, folks, just one that`s biding its time.) I struggle to prevent the whole thing being taken over by brambles while the dogs hunt small creatures through the jungly undergrowth.

They say one is nearer to God in a garden. Certainly one takes His name in vain a lot more there.

Then there`s the other problem. Gardening with Papillons.

There are rules about gardening with Papillons.

Rule 1 – Never let them see any changes you make in the garden. A Papillon always helps. Usually this help is offered when you are well out of the way. A former handler of mine was once presented with 150 daffodil bulbs by an ecstatic muddy small dog who had worked hard to fetch in all the treasure she had buried.

Rule 2 – Anything remotely edible must be raised at least five feet. All my hostas live in pots on stilts.

Rule 3 – Be on watch for epidemics of Mass Digging, which may break out at a moment`s notice.

Rule 4 – If they can`t eat it or dig it up they can do other things to it. In my last house I inherited a row of low-growing red roses. My two male dogs watered these devotedly and soon I had red roses with broad purple streaks on the petals. These were greatly admired locally and I had to make up a cover story about a rare and unusual variety.

Rule 5 – Expect the unexpected. I have two identical hortensias in pots and this year one was very stunted. It looked almost squashed. It took some time to discover the truth. Florian was regularly sittting in it. It may never recover.

But Florian looks quite nice in a pot.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

An inspiring view Posted by Hello


The other day I was brought running out by a great commotion of dogs at the gate. Pushing my way through a seething mass of Papillons who hadn`t had any excitement since they failed to get out and mug the postman, I came face to butt with a selection of the county`s finest.

I didn`t have a fire.

But I did have two big red fire engnes, just outside the gate, one of them firmly stuck and eighteen firemen pushing, heaving, and generally living up to the maxim -

“When in trouble, when in doubt
Run in circles, scream and shout”

Well at least there was a lot of shouting.

My little road was completely blocked. It`s just fire engine width. I walked up the verge and inquired politely as to the fire. I pointed out I didn`t have one.

“No, it`s up there”. One of them waved a hand at the derelict house up the road.

“Then why are you here?”

Embarrassed silence. Eventually it came out that the driver had thought he could reverse into my road, had landed in the hedge and then did that daft male thing of letting it roll back so as to take a run at it.

And now he had run out of road and ideas.

I had a horrible vision. In a moment someone was going to suggest that they just leave it for the Council to retrieve. I could see myself marooned behind a huge red hulk rusting away for months or years. (I have great faith in the Council).

“You need a winch,” I suggested.

Everyone brightened up. A huge chain, fit to tether the Titanic, with matching hook was produced. To my amazement this was solemnly attached to a tiny manpowered winch, not much bigger than a car jack, worked by two men at one handle. Yes, it took hours, as they pumped and the others heaved and the machine moved an inch at a time.

At last they got it round the corner. I looked sadly at the chewed up road and came over all little old lady – and bless them, they got out shovels and did some repairs.

Let`s hope I never really have a fire.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Julian Posted by Hello


It`s been a busy year for Julian. As senior stud dog he has been much in demand. He is – how shall I put it? – an enthusiastic worker with a true sense of vocation
And he`s had a good year. I think the best of it was Christmas, when he had two eager young things at once panting (literally – they`re dogs, after all) for his favours. .He was delighted to oblige.. No doubt he`ll want that every Christmas………
We have an excellent understanding on this. He has sex and I get paid. (Ithink there`s a name for this kind of relationship but Ijust can`t put my finger on it………)
Poppy, his latest, (a mature experienced redhead) has just left, and Julian is sitting on my knee, tired but happy his eyes a tad glazed. I think he might be muttering the Stud Dog Prayer –
“Thank you Lord for not making me a police dog, or a sheepdog or a sniffer dog, or a guide dog…………”

Sunday, April 10, 2005


I took myself off - at last - to see MILLION DOLLAR BABY, just to see why………Well, it`s a boxing flick. And it owes to all the others in that genre. It`s very predictable and fits like a well-worn shoe. But I like boxing flicks and there`s a satisfaction in seeing the cliches and conventions dealt with well. And of course there`s the Eastwood charisma, and a nice downbeat ending. Really retro, though, and ot exactly pushing back any boundaries. A nice safe choice..

There was also a trail for UNTERGANG, the new film on – Hitler. It`s German, but the subject matter alone makes it big over here.

Hitler again. Of course it`s slightly different for the Germans, but why are we British still so obsessed with the evil little psychopath after all this time? From TV drama and documentary to school-level history he`s a prime topic.. We have other history, equally valid. We even have other psychohpaths – Stalin, I think, was an even greater monster and probably caused more atrocities and killed more people

But we`re not falling over ourselves to play him on the screen or bring out yet another book on him, Of course he was an ally……..

It`s important to know your history and learn from it, but I think we would learn more of immediate value by turning our focus on our post-war history. I grew up with the post-war euphoria of “building a Greater Britain” and I think I know why it all ran away down the drain. Most schoolkids studying history are nore likely to be experts on what Hitler`s dog was called, and what he liked to eat. . An obsession with one war and one man is profitless and unhealthy.

I don`t appreciate war films and will not be seeing UNTERGANG..

Saturday, April 02, 2005


I`m on the hunt for a criminal The one who is habitually piddling on the seat of my favourite chair. (yes it`s washable – and fortunately so are my clothes, as I don`t tend to see it until it`s too late).

Ranting and raving just produces an array of bright, innocent expressions and wagging tails. Papillons don`t do shame. They are very aware of right and wrong –it doesn`t affect what they do, but makes them damned determined not to be found out.. I may never get to the bottom (excuse the expression) of this.

They can do embarrassment. Years ago I had a little Papillon dog who lost his hair due to a hormonal problem. I have years of experience living with naturally hairless Chines Crested dogs, so I produced a knitted coat of suitable size and popped it on him. ( I seem to remember it was striped in fluorescent pink and green. I can`t imagine why they keep remaindering these fine vibrant colours, and selling them off so cheaply……).

The little man was appalled. He kept trying to look at himself. The tail went right down. You could see what he was thinking - :

“If the other males see me like this they`ll kill me”

And then, as the true horror sank in –

“If the bitches see me like this I`ll kill myself!”

He scooted off and tried in vain to hide his tiny glowing, brilliantly striped body behind a bush I had to drag him out and remove the coat.. End of experiment.

But some dogs have a powerful sense of what is right. I used to have a Chines Crested bitch called Bella.. Bella was housetrained to a fault. She was totally clean in the house. You could rely on her.

Her previous owners went out one day, just for a couple of hours. They left Bella with the freedom of the house. You could rely on Bella.

But, far from home, the big end went. Dead car. Hours to wait for a tow.

Poor Bella. I can imagine her, crossing all four legs. Mustn`t do it on the carpet. Never on the carpet. Bad girls do it on the carpet...

Eventually her anxious owners got home. And they discovered Bella had been true to her training. She hadn`t done it on the carpet.

They had a fine old table, veneered with lots of exotic wood inlays.. Bella had jumped up there and done it. Several times. Already the inlays were curling away from the soaked wood.. The table was ruined. But the carpet was pristine. Bella was positively smug , secure in the knowledge that she had been a Good Girl.

I pointed out that Bella had merely applied the legendary logic of the Old Man From Darjeeling. (Not the Young Girl – I don`t do that sort of limerick)

They pointed out that Bella was for sale.

So here she came.

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