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, September 30, 2005

Marcus, his gifted handler and her granddaughter in the Junior Handling Class. Posted by Picasa


I am between events - recovering from the club championship show and preparing for a jaunt into the Highlands to judge a small open show.

The club Show was a dire event at which an elderly judge decided to Remember Her Friends, and did so, to the rising gloom of the other exhibitors, some of whom left.....the rest soldiered on dismally, except for self and best friend, who had long ago abandoned any interest in the proceedings and were giggling away at the thought of reforming the present committee (collectively known as Jurassic Park) by violent means, including a silver bullet for one old recalcitrant who has been opposing all change since nineteenhundredandfrozentodeath. (Gee, what a long sentence!)

Little did we know that all this plotting has been caught on video. Blackmail is on the cards. Yet again.

Add to that a growing argument about the cost of a cake awarded to the judge and a very long photographic session at the end and I was ready to drop. I staggered over to a friend`s car and loaded the boys....

And the car wouldn`t start. Just grinding noises.

The RAC man arrived quickly. He plugged his laptop into the car`s computer and it unburdened its woes. He studied the readout."A lot of problems. But right now you need a new fuel pump."

"How do we get home?"

He studied the laptop. then he walked round the car, picked a spot, and delivered a huge kick.

"That`s how."

The engine roared and we got under way. A great thing. modern scientific methods.

And tomorrow, north to Alaska (well, nearly.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Belfast is a very busy Championship show..... Posted by Picasa
...and just a bit too much for some Posted by Picasa


Still recovering from a horrendously exhausting weekend of Championship shows, one in Belfast and the other in deepest Dunfermline.

Off in the old white bus to the Irish Sea ferry. In the old days all the ferries smelled strongly of fish and you took the dogs to the passenger decks with you. I can remember years ago sleeping all the way on the slow boat on top of a very obliging Afghan called Beau - a bit like cuddling a bicycle with a rug over it.

Nowadays you leave the dogs in the vehicles and the ferry is a sort of floating burger and slot machine palace, with children left to run everywhere on the grounds that they can`t get off it.

However, it was on time and we arrived at the show - where I quickly discovered that yet again I should have applied the red hairdye to the boys before leaving. However, Florian did his little best and won, mainly because there was nothing remotely red in his class.

On the way home a gale got up, and we ploughed through a heavy swell, and wallowed a bit. I didn`t even notice, but for a lot of people the movement and the overwhelming smells of burgers and chips were just too much. One of those was S, an opinionated and inexperienced young English exhibitor I find very hard to take. Her friend told me she was down below, feeling quite ill.

"There`s an old Scottish cure for seasickness", I said solemnly. "It never fails".

"Tell her to try a deep-fried Mars bar."

Her friend (also English) ran off to deliver the message

It really never fails, too. You don`t actually need the Mars bar. The words are usually enough to....er...immediately bring up whatever is troubling you.

And I sincerely hope they did.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Getting there in the dawn mist... Posted by Picasa
Marcus held by a friend, refusing to look at me with the camera - he`d spotted a bitch Posted by Picasa


Recovering from an extended trip to Darlington and an effort to show Marcus myelf. The bus left far too early, and we inspected the delights of several dingy motorway services at length before getting there in the dawn mist. (I would like to put it on record that Southwaite, where the facilities consist of a do it yourself coffee machine and toilets is definitely where you would put the tube if you were giving the M6 an enema...)

Arriving early, I had to reconcile Florian to the presence of his brother. He sees himself as My Dog, and the one who does the showing, and was distinctly sulky. Marcus, who simply sees himself as an adorable sex god, was only interested in the possibility of female......companionship, and the diminutive Casanova took every chance he could get to introduce himself to ladies of every colour and size. (I think the Great Dane he began courting was a more than a little puzzled - was she to wear him round her neck? Or was he lunch?)

And then there was the experience of taking him into the ring. His handler has described hm as "a handful". I have since described him to her as "that wee bastard". She agreed completly with this.

He has no interest in doing what he is told. He has no interest in the person handling him. He is extremely interested in the other entries in his class, in the hope that they may be female. He likes to show off. And that`s about it. I struggled to get his attention, and somehow we won, and he got a big cuddle.

This weekend we`re off to Belfast - a stormy crossing in more ways than one. The troubles have erupted again in that city - with the IRA bowing out of the terrorism business, the Protestant factions have taken to fighting with each other and burning cars and businesses "because the Catholics get all the attention." If you detect that I have absolutely no sympathy for either side, you are right. Show me any example of social or political progress that came from burning cars and putting local people out of business. Ireland has been down that road before, and it leads nowhere. Why not try the road that leads ahead?

However, that`s my next destination, with the adorable Marcus and the stalwart Florian.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Allegra went to training class and was a g reat succes. She did everything with enthusiasm and a long waggy tail - unlike Mr Lentil who was disgusted at the necessity of leaving his pointless social overtures to two elderly bichon ladies and going on the lead, and dug in his little feet and skidded along scowling with a face, as the lady in charge remarked "like a skelped arse".

And she encountered a friend`s son, commonly known as The Happiest Baby in Scotland - well really the Happiest Toddler In Scotland now. Never been known to cry. Always slept all night. If his mother could bottle the secret and sell it, she`d make a fortune.

Allegra, as I suddenly realised, is well used to small children. Very well used. She was all over him like a cheap suit, and as he beamed at her she wagged that long tail, reached up and deftly removed his biscuit.

His face was a study. He examined his hand in perplexity. He was sure there had been a biscuit in it just a moment ago. If he stared hard, would it c ome back? Life was such a puzzle.

Allegra, obviously well versed in the candy from babies rouitine, chomped vigorously and then licked his hand, assuring him that the whole biscuit thing had been an illusion, and that puppies were much more fun anyway . He seemed to agree.

I made my apologies, gathered up the crumb spattered puppy and the sullen Mr Lentil and left.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Allegra being very serious - for a moment. Posted by Picasa
Fun with a twig Posted by Picasa
Allegra and the flowers - she tends to eat them.... Posted by Picasa
Mr Lentil on guard - "Just stay behind me, dear" Posted by Picasa


Her name is Allegra, and she is a "puppy back" - meaning that I have been given her instead of a stud fee. She is Marcus` daughter, just five months old, and unbearably cute and knowing.

Mr Lentil assumes she is his early Christmas present and is very possessive.

She is mostly legs and tail and is so full of herself! It`s great fun to have a little person about the house.

(I must be mad - all I need is another one! Somebody stop me!)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Marcus, the prodigal. Posted by Picasa
Its a hard life tryiing to stay awake, waiting for the next sausage to drop by...` Posted by Picasa


Marcus is back and settled in. The fattening up process is well under way - I`m using Periactin, high energy dog food, hamburger and Tesco economy pork sausages. These last are a big hit, being full of low quality meat, rusk and fat not to mention unknown murky additives.

Florian, on the other hand, has a worried look. He must be better read in his Bible than I thought. He has stayed with me and faithfully done his little best for me at all those shows - now the prodigal has returned and been welcomed and the fatted Tesco sausage has been killed. He is no doubt watching with bated breath for the arrival of the whole calf...

Marcus doesn`t care. He is spending a lot of time lazing about, stuffed and somnolent, too full to open his eyes until the next sausage appears.

Florian would dearly like to tell him just where to put that sausage.

But I have a distraction for Florian. The beautiful and enticing Tamara is in season. Could this be it for our innocent boy? Can he give up "covet the sausage" for "hide the salami"? Could he at last lose it?

Or will I have to give the prodigal the willing girl as well as the fatted calf?

Watch this space.....

Sunday, September 04, 2005


Hard to know what to say about the New Orleans disaster. I never visited it - never got that far south - and it`s eerie to think of a huge city only living by the power of huge pumps and levees. Living on borrowed time, I suppose.

But five days! Five days before proper federal aid arrived and meanwhile all those pictures of starving Africans in a destitute third world country - no, wait, I mean abandoned citizens of a great and prosperous superpower.... can`t think how I got so confused by appearances.

There`s nothing to compare with here. We are lucky not to have those extremes of weather. The last extreme weather emergency we had was the flash flood which destroyed the little town of Boscastle - a tiny blip compared with the huge Louisiana disaster. Yet I seem to remember that the rescue operation - a military one - was in action within 40 minutes of the first reports.

Five days. With everyone blaming everyone else and passing on the responsibility. What happened to the legendary sign on the Presidential desk that said - "the buck stops here"?

I understand that the financing of disaster management has been drastically cut, and that in America global warming and its effects on climate don`t officially exist.

It all seems very alien to me. But my heart goes out to those poor abandoned people ( who somehow didn`t look to me like typical Republican voters.)

And my heart goes out to America, beset by natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes - and the Bush administration.

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