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.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


You all know by now that I travel to dogshows overnight on the Big White Bus. Well, dogbus travel just got even tougher.... Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Spring magnolias Posted by Picasa
Lovely with petunias.....this is, of course, the authentic Indiana Jones Holy Grail. Posted by Picasa


Spring has sprung, the magnolias are in bloom, and my TV is overflowing with explanations, dissections and rationalisations of the Da Vinci Code. I can`t escape it. Every pundit, presenter and celebrity (person of no talent whatsoever who appears incessantly) is at it. The latest to "look at it historically" is Tony Robinson - I confidently expect the next to be the dreaded Alan Titchmarsh ......

"And if you`re planting up a grail this spring, I recommend petunias - although Charlie here thinks that it has lots of potential as a water feature..."

I just don`t get it. I was persuaded to read the book and found it really badly written, and a rehash of fictional ideas that have been rolling around for years. Why are people getting so involved? Why in particular is the Vatican having a hissy fit? Surely they`re not feeling itchy at this late date about the way the early church denigrated women (the only shred of fact I can find in the book)?

Now, I`m no expert on anyone`s religion. Be you Christian, Jain or Wiccan, I`m not about to argue with you.

But I am reasonably expert on mediaeval literature and language. And I know that the whole grail story - and originally it`s a sort of platter - originates with Chretien de Troyes, eleven hundred years after Christ. Chretien wrote the romantic blockbusters of his day, about Arthur and his brave knights and their loves and quests - rattling good yarns, but entirely fictional. A very appropriate source for a modern equivalent, especially when further enhanced by a lot of much more recent dramatic but fradulent hokum about secret societies.

If you feel really involved in the bright new framework of belief offered by the Da Vinci Code, just pause and take a look around you. Over there is a sign that tells you this is Area 51. Away in the mist you can just make out the Grassy Knoll, and beyond that the smoking remains of Princess Diana`s car. You have made landfall on the planet Conspiracy Theory, where every idea flourishes unchecked because nothing can ever be proved.

You might want to think very carefully about staying too long.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Shelby Posted by Picasa
Shelby struts his stuff at the show...I`m not the handler here.. Posted by Picasa


I have had Papillons for decades, and am all too aware of their little foibles. One is a boundless contempt for other breeds. They can really be little Nazis, and think they are the master race. I used to have Chinese Cresteds as well - a gentle happy breed not too burdened by intelligence (or housetraining) - and the Paps simply regarded them as pond life.

So it was with some trepidation that I went down to a major championship show to pick up Shelby. What were they going to make of a Chin?

True, they have met Chins at training class, and the general opinion seemed to be that those Chins were just Paps who had met with a terrible accident, probably involving hitting a brick wall head-on. But a Chin on home ground?

Shelby proved to be adorable, and very confident. He was happy to strut his stuff with a total stranger (not me) in the ring, and was placed. His dad went Best of Breed, and I felt grateful that he was setting his son such a good example. I pointed out to Shelby that he should follow in father`s footsteps, preferably three times. Shelby just gazed up at me with those huge melting eyes....

After the usual horrendous bus journey, I was faced at midnight with the problem of introducing Shelby to the gang.

I decided to start with the old ladies (of whom I have rather a lot). Shelby rose to the challenge magnificently and made amorous advances to each and every one. The old biddies were delighted, and flirted madly. You could see them thinking - "At last she`s brought something worthwhile home from a show - shame about the accident to his face, though...."

He was equally sensible with my 4 males, he played with the puppies - and that was that. Integrated.

His amorous intentions are now fixed on Dido (who has also been fixed, so he`ll wait a long time for that ship to come in), and Roxanne, my little Virgin Queen who hates males. And it suddenly occurred to me that I have absolutely no outlet for his sex drive. No little Chin ladies. Poor Shelby!

I mentioned this to the vet, who had asked if I would use him at stud. The vet looked surprised.

"Have you not realised that there are very few Chin males in Scotland? And quite a few females?"

Shelby wagged his tail really hard. Already life was looking up.

Friday, May 05, 2006

We had a little too much of this sort of thing.... Posted by Picasa


A truly amazing storm last night, and a test of the puppies` temperament. I was reading and suddenly realised how dark it was. I looked out and the mother of all storms was walking up the far side of the valley. Immense amounts of noise, purple cloud and multiple lightning strikes - it looked almost tropical. From this safe side of the river I watched the lightshow. I like storms.

And the dogs didn`t care. I rushed about trying to get them in and they got more and more excited - eventually I told Prudence and Sonja that I hoped they could swim and waited until the hail drove them indoors, very damp and panting.

Then we sat it out as the cottage was battered by more hail and torrential rain, and eventually the storm rumbled off north to flood most of the low-lying areas of the central belt. Fortunately I live on a steep slope, and even more fortunately the power failure that usually accompanies even the slightest gust of wind around here didn`t materialise - probably because I had the foresight to get the candles out in advance.

And that`s the most excitement I had this week.

But next week the show season resumes. And Shelby arrives.

Watch this space...

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