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, February 25, 2006


Cressida - very serious and in the middle of a coat explosion... Posted by Picasa
Sonja and Solitaire - the latter still trying to break the 3lb barrier (not for want of eating...) Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 23, 2006


The affair of the diaries trundles on. We are told that Prince Charles now wishes to be regarded as "a political dissident".

That`s a very new and complicated way of spelling "numpty".....

Monday, February 20, 2006


I came across it scrawled on a wall in Glasgow, in green paint. "Duck Cheney".

The whole Cheney shooting incident hasn`t attracted too much attention here. It`s difficult for us to know quite what to make of it. No politician here would be seen with a gun in his hand - it would play so badly at the polls - let alone try to laugh off actually shooting someone. It seems we have very different hunting cultures.

I think in America shooting as a sport comes from a tradition of going out and bringing back something for the pot to keep the family fed. In this country it stems from a tradition of going out and proclaiming your ownership of land by killing whatever you can find on it. It`s a class thing. (Going out and bringing back something for the pot to keep the family fed was a quite different tradition, known as poaching - often an extreme sport.)

Most people in this country dislike and mistrust guns. Like foxhunting, shooting tends to be associated by the media with obsolescent arrogant upper class values, and shooters tend to keep a low profile. One exception is the Royal Family , who bang away happily at anything furry or feathered that moves (preferably not quickly enough.) However, since the Queen received a lot of unsympathetic news coverage some years ago when spotted at a shoot battering a wounded pheasant to death, even they have been more circumspect.

(I suppose one way to a life of rich leisure would be to suffer a Cheney - type peppering with shot at a Royal shoot: I can imagine that the payoff for a lifetime`s silence would be very satisfying, always assuming you were left in a fit condition to enjoy it... )

But getting back to the Cheney incident, as a responsible gun owner myself I have to conclude that anyone who can mistake a noted lawyer and lobbyist for a small brown bird should be disarmed and gently led away to a secure place where he can be cared for.

I`m certainly not going as far as those people who have been speculating as to how old he really is and asking.......could his very first juvenile attempt at quail hunting have been on the grassy knoll?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

"My baby !" Fenella`s first of four girls, just nine minutes old. Posted by Picasa


A busy week - another family to see to.

Fenella presented me in her usual leisurely way with two little girls one afternoon last week. Then she settled down to the joys of motherhood.

I wasn`t so convinced. I was sure I could feel something else in there....something moving. Poor Fenella submitted to being poked and prodded, but did nothing at all. Well, she has a history of slow whelping, so I waited. Nothing. At last I organised a lift to the vet - ours doesn`t do house calls - and poor Fenella, with her daughters beside her on a hot water bottle was taken down the winding road to the vet hospital.

More prodding and poking. Definitely something there. Oxytocin, and many jokes about how difficult it was to whelp something so small - neither Fenella nor I seeing it that way. Then suddenly, much to her surprise, Fenella was a mother again, and in a few minutes more another arrived, breech and with the cord round her neck. A bit of hasty revival, and Fenella was the astonished mother of four very loud girls. A scan to be sure that there wasn`t a fifth, then back up the long windng dark road with four shoving for position on the hot water bottle.

And they haven`t looked back since. Fenella is eating for Scotland, and quite happy to be knee-deep in a squirming mass of puppies. And I have called a halt - that`s it for this year. Six little Papillon girls is quite enough - especially when four of them can make that much noise.

Friday, February 10, 2006

"You needn`t come anywhere near me with that copy of the Times...." Posted by Picasa


The account of the esoteric practice of henwrapping seems to have aroused some interest. I`d better come clean and admit that I was never admitted to the inner circles of this sisterhood, and have actually never attempted to wrap a live hen in newspaper. I`ve just seen so many, always carried under the arm and clearly the essential accessory for the voluminous black clothes women of a cetain age used to wear in rural Greece. Only the head was visible, and looked alert and interested- a bird Going Somewhere....

But where? Where were all these hens (I never saw a male bird wrapped for travel) going? Why were they criscrossing the country on rural buses and trains? They looked used to it, as if they did this often - "Come on, Henny Penny, jump into this sports page and we`ll go for a jaunt to Stasanopolis, see the sights, do a bit of shopping, maybe hit a few bars....."

As to how - well it takes at least three broadsheet pages, and I would suggest that the hen has to Really Want It...

Which brings me back to why.

I wonder if it was a talismanic thing. Maybe a rickety old train or bus chugging up a mountain road simply seemed to run better with a wrapped hen on board- perhaps the rural Greek equivalent of 70s furry dice.

My friend who lived years in Kenya tells me that something similar happened there. No bus was complete without the appropriate animal - in this case a goat on a piece of string.

She reckons that in terms of being able to breathe in a hot airless confined vehicle she`d have the hen every time, with or without wrapping.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

"I didn`t want to be weighed and I certainly don`t want to be wormed...." - Solitaire definitely not happy. Posted by Picasa


I seem to spend a lot of time at the computer. Well, I have a club website to run as well as writing this.

And I was searching for somethng else when I came across a site where I could book online for the Trans-Siberian.

It`s one of the things I always wanted to do. In my youth I went all over Europe by train. I must have been on every train there was, from the squeaky clean German ones to the little chuggy slow Greek ones with the slatted wooden seats, most of them occupied by ancient women in black, carrying live hens wrapped in newspaper under their arms - never did work out the reason for all that traffic in poultry. I`ve taken the Orient Express (the old one, the REAL one) to Istanbul, and come back via the Hellas Express, a dingy desperate rickety affair, in those days usually full of gastarbeiter and invariably minus food or water after the first day. I`ve travelled the length of the Rhine in comfort, and seen the grinding poverty of the parts of the old Yugoslavia the tourists never saw - all by train.

But I never quite managed the Trans-Siberian. And in those days it was paradoxically easier, especially if you were a student and could travel anywhere in Soviet Russia for very little and would be welcomed just because you were a student. I remember putting it off because I had to go to America and wouldn`t have obtained a visa too easily with Russian stamps all over my passport. And after that it just never happened... Everything got in the way somehow.

And here I am, at home with puppies in need of worming, looking at websites. One of them tells me that the "Trans-Siberian experience is the ultimate experience for the adventurous young"

I suppose once that was me......

Thursday, February 02, 2006

"Mum`s always there for me" - Sonja and Solitaire Posted by Picasa

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