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.

Friday, July 29, 2005


No more blog till Monday. Julian and Florian are well scrubbed, the big yellow bag and the small black one are packed, and we are off on the 5am - yes you read that right! - boat to hit the Irish shows this weekend. Big adventure time.

You can`t fly with dogs to Ireland, so dogshow access is only by ferry. This immediately puts off a lot of exhibitors who will never set foot on a boat. I am lucky enough to have never known seasickness (apart from the time when I was hit in the solar plexus by a genny pole during a race - but that`s another story.) The Irish sea can be rough, but I can sit and eat happily as the stacked plates at the self-service counter are flying up and hitting the ceiling ( and the other customers are hitting the toilets}.

Those who go down to the sea with dogs are a hardy breed. Strange things can happen to them. I remember once watching from inside as a Rottweiler exhibitor walked her dog on deck in a gale. He did his duty, and as a conscientious owner she immediately picked it up and wrapped it in a plastic bag. Then she walked over to the rail, facing into the wind.

It was like watching a Buster Keaton sight gag. Everyone could see what was going to happen - except the participant. And those watching were powereless to stop it.

We watched. fascinated as she hurled the smelly package overboard.

And I`m ashamed to say we howled with delight as it came straight back unwrapped, and hit her in the face.

Well, this time it should be a quieter crossing. Expect a report on my adventures with:

1. Irish hospitality (lavish)

2. FCI rules (?)

3. The entire race of Irish Travellers, whom my Irish friend claims to have alienated ("I`m so glad I`ll have your support if they turn up...")

4. My cousin`s large tent, full of Afghans.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Young Logan`s big day Posted by Picasa
Quite normal and respectable relatives... Posted by Picasa


Well, I managed all of it and I`m still on my feet. I have posted pictures of the baptism of young Logan to prove -

1. That sometimes I do quite normal things


2. That I have quite normal, nay, respectable relatives.

However none of them ran off from the groaning post-baptism buffet table and champagne to wash two dogs and pack endless grooming tools and potions into well-used bags, while encouraging a sulky Florian who has resented his extrovert brother Marcus` visit, (and especially the blatant theft of his special green ball.) Then a 2.30am bus pick up at the lonely car park, wondering if I had remembered all those pills the doctor had told me to stay at home and take.

And it turned out a good day, with both boys doing well. Marcus, fresh from mating a bitch a few days ago, had lost weight and was now casting so badly that every time the comb went through his coat we all seemed to be living in a snowglobe.

I mentioned to another exhibitor that he seemed to have decided that you go on a diet and take all your clothes off for sex - a great idea for people, but distinctly counterproductive for a show Papillon.

"Not my lad!" she said. "Quick as he can and then he`d want a fag and a fish supper."

We both looked down at her happy, furry tailwagging lump.

"And he`d absolutely never take his socks off..."

Sunday, July 24, 2005


I`m in a rush to go off to a christening but I`m so shocked by the police execution of an innocent man from Brazil ......!

Equipping the plods with a licence to kill any guy with a dark skin and a large bag is not my idea of how to run the war on terror. I`ve known quite a few policemen, and not many qualified for membership of Mensa , although a fair number were always up for a "bit of action"

This new approach should work wonders for London`s tourism.

I`m reminded of my cousin`s stories of the day before the hunting season opened in darkest Pennsylvania, out beyond Lancaster, when the farmers would call in Bossy and Buttercup and solemnly paint the word COW in huge white letters on their flanks.

I`m off tonight to catch the big white bus to another show. I`ll be carrying several large bags, and I`ve acquired quite a good tan.

Would I be safer wearing a sign?

I think I`d better not ask for suggestions.......

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Marcus the dad and... Posted by Picasa
Two of his lovely puppies Posted by Picasa


Thanks to everyone who asked after me - I really am better, and to prove it went over to the East Coast today to visit friends and see a litter of puppies by Marcus. They are lovely, but I can`t see much of their father in them.

I mentioned this.

Just then the puppy bitch turned her back on us, displayng a prominent little pink bottom. My friend exclaimed triumphantly:

"See! she does take after Marcus! She has his arsehole!"

Something tells me the sun will shine out of hers , just like her dad`s ...

Friday, July 22, 2005

It`s a Basset thing.... Posted by Picasa
Where I relax - with dogs of course Posted by Picasa


No posts because I haven`t been well - those of you who have encountered the tale of my Achilles wooden leg (THE GREEKS HAD A WORD FOR IT} will know that I have these problems, and I struggled to the last show wheezing like a leaky steam engine - damn near a stationary one at that.

I managed to show the dogs somehow. But it was one of those days.

Florian did his best. But only a bucket of red hair dye would have won him a class that day. Red or dead. Haven`t seen such a blatant example of "I only like one colour" judging in years. He was 3rd.

Prudence forgot everything she had ever learned, became mega-girlie and was a disaster. The wrong colour of disaster at that.

Oh a great day. And I had to give a lecture too. One of our breeders had been caught out selling to an Irish puppy farmer - and she had two puppies by my Julian. I gave her a succinct account of how her reputation in dogs had just died and a warning about the puppies. And I didn`t lower my voice. It`s a horrible thought - a poor little animal condemned to two litters a year and knocked on the head when she can`t produce enough any more.

After all that I was really finished. I went and sat on the benches and coughed and coughed, with an audience of Prudence and Florian and an Airedale in a cage, called Bollocks - well he seemed to respond to the word when I threatened him with a swift kick there if he didn`t shut up.

No, of course I didn`t. I gave him a biscuit. Poor thing, all alone in a cage. Didn`t shut him up though.

Eventually I staggered to my feet and somehow trailed all my stuff out to the bus, the loud complaints of Bollocks dying away behind me.

Somehow I got home. Couldn`t get a breath on the bus, and this was compounded by the fact that we were carrying Bassets. If you know Basset hounds you will know the smell. If you don`t I couldn`t possibly begin to get the effect over here. A solid, thick, warm wall of odour. And no, they were perfectly clean. It`s a Basset thing...

Well now I`m relaxing in the sun on antibiotics and steroids, delighted to be told to take it easy, sitting out with the dogs, watching the buzzards circling in a bright blue sky. Buzzards everywhere these days. Apart from having to evict a whole family of baby bluetits who had come in the window and decided to colonise the sitting room, I am pleased to report that absolutely nothing has happened today.

Just wait till tomorrow....

Sunday, July 17, 2005

My old Celeste Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 14, 2005

"Away and work!" Posted by Picasa


It`s that time of year. Baby birds everywhere, twittering and cheeping at the birdfeeders, often escorted by a proud parent. How cute, you think?

Not always.

I was disturbed yesterday by an outbreak of raucous cawing and screeching - I`d been hearing something of the kind in the distance for some time but this was uncomfortably close to home. I ran out.

Old Celeste had been sunbathing in a little run beside the garage. The sides were only 4 feet high, but with her arthritis she wasn`t going anywhere.

Now she was crouched in the dead centre of it. Perched round the sides were three enormous crows, two of them screaming loudly. They were about as big as she was. She shot me a look that would have frozen hell. Clearly she thought she had been offered as some sort of sacrifice like the goat tethered out to fetch the tiger.

But it was quite clear what was going on. I had stumbled on a tender parental moment. The moment at which a mother takes a good hard look at her baby boys and decides that enough is enough.

There she perched, with two offspring as big as she was, begging to be fed. She hopped off, and gave them an unimstakeable look ;

"You`ve turned out just like your father - heaven knows what I ever saw in him - a pair of lazy useless big buggers! Away and work!"

Off she flew, pursued by the two huge gawky misfits. I could hear the sounds of the pursuit echo round the wood all afternoon. The resident crow, Jim, who seems to be a confirmed bachelor, hid behind the chimney and was probably becoming more confirmed by the moment. The dogs, their dreams of crow dinner revived, answered the screeches loudly. And Celeste intimated that she wasn`t talking to me, ever..

A quiet day in the country...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Dido and her daughter Decibelle are in season, and the males are in uproar. I have removed them from the attentions of the romeos and they spend a lot of time indoors.

Now I think I`ve mentioned before the immense social importance of urine to the dog. With ladies in this condition it becomes a bulletin board. By sniffing where the desirable girl has left a puddle, the hopeful dog receives a signal detailing exactly how receptive she is - a romantic message ranging from the equivalent of a coyly dropped handkerchief to hastily dropped knickers.

So I kept them in and rashly left them alone in the same room as the laptop. I returned to find that a lot of little love notes had been left by the hopeful girls. The laptop mains transformer was lying in a puddle and there was a strong odour of ozone and fried electrics - not to mention dog pee. Heaven knows why they decided to do it there. Were they trying to get their availability online? Had they been overwhelmed by the prospect of all those frustrated male pooches out there? Dream on, girls - I make the decisions in that area.

It left me offline. I had to trail in our little heatwave round the few computer shops the local town has (with catchy names like "Bits `n PCs" that really inspire confidence), trying to match the cooked mains adaptor.

I was told;
1. "That`s top of the line - we`d have to order it in"
2. "You can get one in Glasgow",
and I slogged on to the one remaining shop, staffed by someone who could make a fortune with central casting playing deranged computer geeks - fat, pasty and I swear his eyes rolled - and a quiet Asian girl.

I dropped the offending item on the counter.

"It got fried" I said.

To my horror he picked it up and held it close to his face. He sniffed it His nose actually touched it. He inhaled deeply.

"Yes, that`s gone all right."

I couldn`t help it. I had to say it.

"Actually the dogs peed on it."

He dropped it as if shot. "You had to tell me!" he yelped, as he shot through to the back room. There was a sound of retching and running water.

The girl grinned. "That`ll teach him to show off" she said. "We`ve got a universal one here you could try - he didn`t need to examine it at all."

Well, no, it didn`t work and I had to cobble something together from what I had with approximately the right voltages.

But I`m back online.

And Dido is destined for Florian. The romance of the century!

I`ll keep you posted.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


This was to be a post about my doggy adventures in Wild Wales but events took over. Instead it`s about terrorists.

This is familiar ground. We have been through all this before many times, courtesy of the IRA and its numerous spawn. The horrible destruction, the missing and the dead.

And there`s the awful realisation that anything this well-organised required considerable infrastructure. There`s a whole organisation out there, not to mention the many who know who did it but support the cause. All depressingly familiar.

As usual, Tony doesn`t play well in a crisis. (The best reaction came from Ken Livingston}. And it`s his mess. His policies (and lies) took us to this point, and somehow I don`t think his ID cards are going to save the day. In fact I have no confidence in him doing anything worthwhile, and it`s an awful legacy to hand on to his successor.

Meanwhile our thoughts are with the bereaved.

Thanks for your concern - I live 400 miles from London, and at the time of the event was in Wales anyway, quite safe. I`m afraid that it`s usually city folk who take the brunt of ths kind of atrocity. And the few friends I still have in London are OK.

I`d like to think the worst is over. But I don`t. I have no time at all for terrorists. The end never justifies the means - in fact means like these will devalue any cause. I think, and have always thought, that these people and their supporters are vermin.

I hope we manage to catch some of the rats.

Monday, July 04, 2005

All aboard for romance! Posted by Picasa


Have you seen the new Virgin TV ad? The one where characters from famous classic films set on trains are computer superimposed on the backgound of a Virgin Pendolino? I assume the idea is to bring out the true essential romance of travel by Virgin. Many regular Virgin customers have probably laughed themselves to death already over this one...

But it`s clever, and I think there`s a little more mileage in the idea. I`m willing to lend my considerable Virgin experience to help....


CLASS LADY "Oh M. Poirot - is he dead?"
POIROT "`E is indubitably dead."
IUCL "Murdered?"
POIROT "Infinitely worse, chere madame. `E `as rashly trusted his life to
Virgin Catering"
IUCL "My God! Poisoned?"
POIROT "Ma foi! even more terrible. `E `as starved to death....."


RUSSIAN SPY "Oh James! A SMERSH agent is on the train! He is going to use a
radio device to trigger the satellite death ray and destroy the
BOND "No problem, my dear. This is a Virgin Pendolino. You can`t
even get a mobile phone signal out, let alone that. So why don`t you
come over here, sit on my knee, and.......
ISRS "Ooooh James! It is as you decadent Westerners say - a hard
man is good to find!
BOND (aside) "Not as hard as this bloody seat!"

MONEYPENNY "Sir! A message by carrier pigeon from Commander Bond!
He says he`s going all the way on a Pendolino!
M "My God! Break out the haemorrhoid cream, Moneypenny!
For once Bond really will be shaken, not stirred!"

I await a call from Mr Branson.

Friday, July 01, 2005


Had you noticed? No more huge empty spaces in this blog.

Thanks again Gordon, for providing a fix. I look forward to seeing you go on to achieve cold fusion, capture the Yeti, and provide the answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything.....

Is there no end to his talents?


I`ve been filling in forms to register the dogs with the Irish Kennel Club and wading through questions about previous registrations and microchipping. It didn`t take long for my mind to wander off into the spreading minefield of Tony`s Identity Cards.

I`ve said often that I don`t understand the man. What would possess him to hitch his creaky wagon to this fading star?

The last time we had Identity Cards , no-one carried them except those who were using forged ones for a nefarious purpose....and there were a lot of those.

This time I understand I`ll have to carry one if I want to take out a library book.

But by the time I`ve paid my three hundred and am carrying this beauty equipped with retinal scan, fingerprints, toeprints, pubic hair samples and a download of the Crazy Frog, I can guarantee you three things:

1. It`ll be cloned within a year.

2. The terrorists we are all to fear will be willing to pay handsomely for the best of the forgeries.

3. The local numpt -sorry, council, will have got hold of all the data encrypted on it and will be selling it everywhere.

Maybe Tony should just have us all tattooed with a barcode on the forehead. (Terrorist suspects could be hauled into the nearest Tesco and scanned at the checkout.)

Or we could be microchipped.

I know how to microchip a dog. Humans can`t be much different.

Anyone who wants to win the fight against terror with Tony and be ahead of the trend, just give me a call........

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