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, March 31, 2006

Bird Flu..... Posted by Picasa


I had a phone call from the RSPB, mainly to clarify the tax situation on my subscription, but ending with a plea to go on feeding the birds. Why? Well evidently more and more people are thinking that the way to avoid Bird Flu is to take in the peanuts and fatballs and shoo away the tits and blackbirds.

Where`s it all going to end? Exterminate everything with feathers that isn`t being worn by Trinny and Susannah? Trapping thrushes? Shooting swans?

I live within a bird sanctuary, an overwintering site for swans, Whoopers and Bewicks mainly. I`m not planning to move, either. There is a great deal of hysterical nonsense being trumpeted about Bird flu, which hasn`t even arrived here yet, and so far doesn`t readily transfer to humans who don`t actually live with their poultry.

If it does come, and reaches domestic poultry, it`s not hard to see what will happen. We will tackle it the Blair Way. This involves. as you may remember from Foot and Mouth, slaughtering all animals which have even the remotest chance of being infected and many which haven`t, and burning them publicly in huge heaps - a sort of Wicker Man ritual to placate the nasty Bird Flu Demon.

And the result? No chickens, no chicken products in your supermarket. No eggs either, and no egg products such as cakes and mayonnaise, unless made with expensive imported egg.

And Bird Flu? Unless you habitually share your bed with Chicken Little, the most likely way for you to get it is by human contact with someone who brings a mutated version in from Asia. And that mutation may never happen.

It`s Spring. Go out, enjoy the birdsong.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

What happens when you set fire to a conifer (possibly when eradicating wasps). Don`t try this at home. Posted by Picasa


It has been very dry and cold here for a month or so. I am surrounded by a sea of very dry grass, which is a great attraction for the type of youth whose discontent we are supposed to feel guilty about. I had already run two of the workshy little buggers off the field beside the house and put out the fire they had started, then went on to training with Solitaire, suffering from smoke inhalation and smelling like a forest fire - people either gave me a wide berth or suggested gently I should be in bed for at least a week,

Then today I had hung out a washing and was busy cleaning the bathroom when an uproar arose at the gate. I went out. A horde of dogs, but no-one there. What was that rushing sound? I went up to the gate and found the whole field above the house ablaze, driven on by a strong wind. All that stood between my house and the inferno was a tasteful collection of overgrown once-dwarf conifers and brambles known optimistically as "the rockery" Have you ever seen a conifer on fire? They go up like roman candles. (I burnt a 25 foot one myself once when dealing with a wasp bike by my usual method involving two pints of white spirit and a long match - but that`s another story...)

As I dithered about calling the fire brigade - not too keen on coming here since they got an appliance stuck for 3 hours in the road (see Archive April 17 05)- two men appeared and beat it out. They said they were "looking after that field" (news to me) and that it was"a shame aboot thae hens up the top gettin` a bit charred" (definitely news to me!) and that they would be back down tonight lying in wait for the teenage perps (really good news.)

I tried to calm the dogs down. The smoke had definitely reached them. Marcus (VANITY`S MIRROR) looked more like Vanity`s Smoked Glass. My washing was kippered. I was kippered and again suffering from smoke inhalation. The dogs were in hyperdrive. The smell from the black field was truly awful (I tried not to think that some of it might be feathers).

What do you do? You go in, shut the door on it all, and have a large pot of tea.

And tomorrow I`m off on the 2am bus to another show.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Marcus enjoying the attention in Discover Dogs Posted by Picasa
Allegra unimpressed by winning a red Crufts rosette for Best Bitch Puppy - "Mum, can I pee on that man`s shoes?" Posted by Picasa
Just a little snow... Posted by Picasa
Marcus cools off Posted by Picasa
Eight inches of snow Posted by Picasa


Still recovering after Crufts. It`s a long journey and a very long day - judging began at 8.30 and ended at 6.

And all three did well for me.

As we struggled in sometime after 6.30, Marcus looked up and inhaled deeply. I could see what he was thinking - "Thousands of dogs - and half of them female ! Roll over and beg, girls - Marcus is in the building !" He had no doubt as to why he was there - the silly business in the big ring with the lead was purely incidental. He was 4th in his class, and quickly taken down to Discover Dogs, a section with pens of amiable representatives of every known breed are available for the public to get to know them.

Florian was in a class of 26. By any calculation this would take over an hour. I made sure I was standing beside someone I could talk to, while Florian - the new macho Florian who has Done It - strutted and swaggered in front of the other inferior males, taking a bit of a chance as they were all older and more mature than he. Despite immaturity, he was 3rd in a really good class.

I then had time to go down and check on Marcus in Discover Dogs. I found him revelling in being cuddled by all and sundry. I mentioned how he liked it to the lady in charge. She looked embarrassed and pointed to two sulky looking Papillon ladies in the pen.

"Actually we have to hand him out to people. If we put him back in the pen with the girls he......well, molests them. We don`t want the children to Discover Too Much about Dogs...."

Marcus smirked.

Back up through all the packed halls to get Allegra ready.

Now, normally getting Allegra ready involves taking her outside and walking her until she is exhausted. You can`t do that at Crufts. So she went into the ring like a firecracker on springs, totally out of control. At no time were all four feet on the ground. The other little ladies looked demurely shocked at this demented bouncing creature. Not as shocked as I was when she went Best Bitch Puppy in Breed.

So, a good day.

And then the long bus journey home with stops at truly rancid service stations. All went well until I was decanted in the hotel carpark on the open stretch of moor - and then the blizzard hit. I was very lucky to find a passing taxi driver who recognised me, even totally covered in snow, and realised I was in trouble, and even luckier to be helped by a drunk who lurched out of the hotel, naked to the waist (really!) in the driving snow to help pack in all the dogs and paraphenalia, shouting "I saw you oot there wi`a`they wee cats ! I love wee cats, so I do !"

Home just in time. An hour later and no traffic could move. I threw all the dogs out in the snow - especially Marcus who needed to cool off - and then got them and myself to bed about 3am

And in the morning we had eight inches of the white stuff.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Mister Lentil - not a fan of the vet Posted by Picasa


The Crufts team for Saturday is down to three.

Mr Lentil disgraced himself at the club Open show, refusing to perform. I couldn`t see anything wrong but he was at the vet`s on Monday morning, sulking and rolling his eyes. He was prodded and poked all over and I remarked that I thought that he was at it - and at that point he squeaked and jumped.

"A sore disc, it seems," she said, "but I`ll give it a minute and try again. Meanwhile I`ll just empty his anal glands while we wait..."

Poor Lentil! It just wasn`t his morning. She got a firm grip on the offending area and gave it a vicious squeeze - I swear his eyes crossed. She worked on while we chatted about the weather and Mr L`s knees quivered visibly. When she decided to keep him in for an Xray his misery was complete.

The little dog I collected later was in the throes of terminal betrayal. He wasn`t speaking to me ever again. Even sliced beef and pressed tongue were not enough.

Although he didn`t have a damaged disc, he was to sleep alone to spare his sore back. In the small hours the wailing began. and I gave in. He ended up sleeping on the bed. And he`s been there ever since.....

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