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.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Little dears playing innocently on the ruined cottage...if I could get my hands on them..... Posted by Picasa
.....Here`s a cuter picture - L to R, Fenella (mother), Dorabella (back), Goth (because she wears black lipstick) and Golden (front)
Note the colour of Goth and Dorabella, who had just discovered where the coal is kept..... Posted by Picasa


I am plagued by the existence of the burned ruined cottage next door. It constantly threatens to fall on some innocent passer-by (most likely Postman Pat in his beat-up red van with the 500db silencer hole), and is a magnet for kids.

Postman Pat survives - it`s the kids that are causing the problem at the moment. They come down across the fields, climb all over the crumbling walls and charred rafters, and investigate the enormous wealth of scrap metal lying about.

The other day I set off up the road to discover a roadblock. It was composed of:
Ten oil drums (empty)
Five calor gas containers (empty)
Several iron bars of varying size
A harrow
One garden roller
One old trailer
One much older cultivator
4 rafters
One cast-iron bath (with feet)
Assorted tractor parts and sections of bodywork
One ancient rusted Renault estate

No Postman Pat, no refuse collection.

I got in to it. I could move everything - except the car. (Yes I moved the bath - there`s a trick to it which for a small consideration I will reveal to similarly afflicted citizens...) I had a good go at the car, but it was such a rusted mess there was no leverage, even with the iron bars.

I sought out my Good Neighbour. He took a look at the prehistoric Renault.

"I can`t shift it - I`ve been ill."

(What is it with men that their first thought is that they have to do everything manually?) I looked suitably distressed and eventually he went and got the tractor, bless him, and shifted the wreck in an enormous fountain of rust.

Then I had to deal with the cause. I made sure I looked really respectable (and if possible frail and really vulnerable) and headed for the Police Station. The desk sergeant was really impressed by my deep concern for the safety of the little dears climbing about among the charred rafters and unsteady chimneys. He promised that a close watch would be kept, and consideration be given to pulling the ruin down, if it was so unssafe.

Well pleased that I had fixed the evil little buggers, I went home to discover a group of men gazing happily at the bath, tractor parts, rusted Renault, etc - my Good Neighbour had called the local scrap boys in.

"This is great" they enthused.

To each his own.

And my Very Good Neighbour Indeed tells me that there is a possiblility that the ruin really in Scots law is a part of his property. His solicitor is Working On It.

And very good luck to him, say I.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Two memorable statements from the Beeb.

One yesterday, in the middle of the interminable eulogies - "The Queen, just like any other woman celebrating her eightieth birthday"........well, tell that to the many eighty year olds in this country famous for elderly poverty, facing up to the big choice of whether to eat or heat their house this coming year, and hobbling into the third year of waiting for that hip replacement.

And one today on Radio Scotland - "I expect all of us remember exactly where we were the moment that Bird Flu was reported in Cellardyke".

Most of us are trying hard to forget your hyped OTT coverage. Let the swan rest in peace, get up off your arses and find some real news.

Or, as my old mother would have said - go and find a proper job.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Me on one of my better days... probably judging a championship show.Posted by Picasa


On Monday Radio 3 provided a whole day of Wagner. The whole Ring in one day. I must admit I chickened out towards the end of Siegfried, but I absolutely loved it.

Next day, back to routine.

My vet had provided a bulk discount, so three middle-aged ladies had gone in for the snip, and were due back for a check up. As I hefted the resentful girls into carrying boxes I realised the dual meaning of "bulk discount" - also how seriously unappreciative they were of the attraction of this offer..

Just at that moment, with the others all loose, a strange tomcat strolled out of the rockery.

There was a moment of absolute stillness.

You could almost read the little thought bubbles above the heads.

The cat - "oshitoshitoshitoshit..."

All the dogs - "yesyesyesyesYESYESYES!"

And then a tiny figure fled through the fence up the hill, followed by a screaming tide of Papillon valkyries. It only needed the music. A scene that owed a lot to Wagner and not a little to Apocalypse Now. My recently neutered ladies, supposed to be having the canine equivalent of bedrest, were well to the fore.

It took me an hour to round them all up from various parts of the field and the wood. They were all in a state of terminal excitement and filth. I didn`t even ask about the cat, but the fact that they were so scattered suggests that it might just have made it. Florian,who forgets his name under the slightest pressure, was the last to return, by which time I was in a fury, and mud up to the knees.

And in that state I had to rush to the vet and present three wildly excited patients, covered with mud and twigs and tongues hanging out to their knees, and pass them off as never having seen any exercise in the past week beyond a sedate stroll.


Saturday, April 15, 2006


Muriel Spark has died - a famous Scot who injected a timely jolt of acid into the anodyne English novel of the time.

I am well acquainted with her novels, but never met her personally. Not for want of trying. Every year a student committee I was part of would invite her to come as a guest speaker, and her refusals were invariably entertaining. I remember that she once replied that -
a) she was a poor public speaker
b) her legs weren`t nearly good enough to take the audience`s mind off (a).

She brought a sharp focus to the novel form that is hard to find today.

She will be sadly missed.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Fenella and her remaining three Posted by Picasa


Time flies, and today the first of Fenella`s litter went off to her new home. Fenella can just about count up to four and was a bit puzzled for a while after the little one left, but now has accepted that there are only three after all. All the more love for each.

And anyway, one is staying....yes, once again I am a sucker for a pretty face, and Dorabella will not be leaving.

Friday, April 07, 2006

"Some day I`ll get both ears up at once, like Mum" - Solitaire and Sonja Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Well, actually the swan. Bird Flu has hit. A small tourist village on the east coast has been invaded by all the top media faces as a (very) dead swan is diagnosed as having the dread disease. The interviewers kept asking locals how they felt. (Pretty good, actually, with their hotels and pubs filled by TV personalities.) The site of the discovery of the fated bird was pinpointed on maps, on foot and by helicopter.

An expert was asked to categorise the risk to humans and he replied "non-existent". Seeing the newsworthiness draining away, the anchor quickly amended this to "not too high at the moment."

Helplines have been set up. Helplines? "The seagull on my roof doesn`t look too good - should I phone an ambulance for my family?"

I was on the phone to a friend who lives inside the cordon sanitaire now in operation round the area. We reckon that tonight people will be busy burning birdfeeders and strangling the budgie, and tomorrow Tesco will be having to give chickens away. I pointed out that on the way to Tesco she may well be stopped and searched for illicit transport of live poultry (possibly a hen in newspaper?)

What`s needed of course is vaccination and the enclosure of all poultry indoors. That`s commonsense. But we don`t have that. We have Blair and the media. Watch out for the burning chickens, folks......

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A secret appetite for the unmentionable.... Posted by Picasa


Picked up a lovely story about the embarrassing habits of dogs.

As you may know, some dogs are prone to swallowing the most unlikely stuff. If it fits in their mouth, it goes in. The outcome is seldom happy.

This was the case of a boxer puppy which had obviously eaten something very unsuitable. Everything internal was blocked, and an operation became inevitable.

The owner waited, biting her nails, then went in to collect her post-operative pooch. What had caused the blockage ?

She was appalled to be presented with one of her bras and a pair of briefs, both still quite recognisable after their adventure in puppy`s digstive tract. Would she like them back, inquired the vet?

She declined, and changed her vet.

She said afterwards that she just couldn`t go on consulting a man who`d had a hand in her knickers.

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