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, February 23, 2007

"And that`s what I think of your Crufts preparations....talk to the tongue !"

"What do you mean, `grooming`?"

Marcus heading for yet more beauty sleep


A quiet time. Quiet weather, and a collection of lazy dogs. I wash and wash and use endless preparations with Crufts looming - their idea of Crufts preparation is more and more beauty sleep.

Truly was hauled off last Tuesday to training class, with Solitaire for company. Alas, I didn`t know that Solitaire had liberated a considerable quantity of liver from the kitchen and obligingly shared it with her friend. Solitiare can be very obliging at these times....

The result can be imagined. Truly stepped out fastidiously over the puddle of sick - "In Sweden we never get our feet dirty." Solitiare, Scottish to the core, had sat heavily in it and then rolled about a bit and was in a fair way to being condemned by the SEPA and the Public Health dept. She was left in the anonymity of her box where she was very vocal about her cruel and uncaring owner.

Another bath followed - and indeed I am off shortly to dunk the boys in the new enzyme shampoo imported from the US. There seems no end to it......

I should have stuck to the cacti.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Probably not grown in Japan.....


With Crufts looming on the horizon, I have recovered some enthusiasm and am ready to be up and off, blithely ignoring little problems like Marcus` distinctly dingy tail and Florian`s growing boredom with the whole process.

I suppose it`s an obsession, like footie for the entire male nation. Obsessions are always hard for the outsider to understand, and they do lead to tunnel vision.

Years ago I used to show Cacti. (Harder to transport than dogs, but much better behaved on the table.) I knew a cactus nurseryman, Jim. Jim sold quality plants to similar addicts all over the world. He lived and breathed cacti. He was a well-respected judge of them.

Now it happened that he sold some plants to a cactus fancier in Japan and fell into correspondence with him. They wrote to each other more and more frequently, and the tone of the letters deteriorated. Jim, you see, disapproved of the man`s methods of cultivation. Too hot, too humid. They argued ferociously over two years, and then a Japanese ultimatum arrived. The man wished to vindicate his methods of culture, and proposed to come over to this country to speak to Jim`s local BCSS branch on the topic.

At this point Mrs Jim took a hand. She discovered that over two years of frequent correspondence Jim had learned a lot about the greenhouse but absolutely nothing about its owner. She painted a picture of a little salaryman devoting all his spare yen to plants and now seeking a second mortgage on his tiny flat in order to come over here - because Jim had caused him to lose face, something no Japanese could bear.

In short she tore a strip off Jim and the letter that went back to Japan had a distinctly different tone (and was written mostly by her.) It said that no doubt there was a lot of merit in his methods. The local BCSS would be honoured by his presence, and would happily and humbly offer to help to finance the trip.......

It was at that point that Jim discovered that he had been arguing over compost mixtures and greenhouse ventilation with the Vice President of Sony. He could probably have bought out Jim and the county he lived in and thought nothing of it.

And yes, he did drop everything and come, with a huge vanload of Sony AV equipment, to lecture a small group of like-minded obsessives in a damp scout hut in the depths of East Anglia on the cultural requirements of Cerei and Pachycauls. Afterwards he begged Jim to honour him by taking the load of AV equipment off his hands, and invited him to holiday in Japan.....

"But he`s useless at growing Cacti," concluded Jim.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Just about the moment I finished the last post, I was cut off. No phone. No internet. I asked my cousin to report a fault, and shortly afterwards found my calls redirected to my mobile.

Now, with BT that is usually a Bad Sign. It means they are settling in for a long haul. Nevertheless, the next afternoon a technician turned up.

"It`s a line fault just outside the house," he announced cheerfully, eyeing up the nearest pole. But another check put it further away.

"Where`s the next one?"

I pointed into the wood.

He stared at the tangle of brambles and undergrowth carpeting the outskirts of the wood with the sort of horror you would expect from Frodo on his first glimpse of Mount Doom.

"I`ll need support," he muttered. And vanished.

And that was it for a week. Meaningless texts about how they were aware of the fault kept on coming . I later discovered that they have a whole library of these and presumably pick one at random.

I imagined the guy, much like Captain Scott, trying to organise a team of volunteers for an Expedition to the Pole, with the other BT men backing off, stammering "Not me - I have a wife and children - take him instead !"

When after a week a text arrived suggesting it would take another week I took on BT head on and dropped the name "Telewest" in a suitably menacing manner. And the truth came out.

The Pole stood on Council land. And the Council had tried to demand a full survey and application for planning permission to replace it. A battle had raged round the leaning wormy piece of timber, with red tape and forms in triplicate flying.

The Council lost. Iam online again, as from last night.

And as you might say, in Pole position.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Dream on, Truly !

Lovelorn Solitaire


Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, and my ladies are in a receptive mood. Well...those who haven`t had the snip, anyway.

Solitaire and Truly, the new girl, who waited only a few weeks before sussing out the male talent and rushing into season, are hot to trot and confined to the house. Outside I can hear the symphonic variations on "My Funny Valentine" provided by the boys - the soprano screams of Marcus, the bass desolate honks of Florian, and percussion provided by intermittent dull thuds as Shelby hurls himself at the door, preferring the direct method.

Mr Lentil is silent. His idea of courtship is more tentative, and involves dancing.

You`ve seen films of the bee dance? The one where the worker bee comes back to the hive and dances in circles to show where the pollen is? Well imagine that scaled up and performed by a solemn little dog. He circles round the chosen girl, prancing on his toes and waggling his bum vigorously, faster and faster, maintaining eye contact throughout.

It`s an amazing spectacle. Unfortunately the girls are not amazed. Or even impressed. They seem to prefer Florian (inept but loud), Marcus (suave Casanova) or even Shelby (jump off the top of the wardrobe shouting "Geronimo!").

Dream on, girls. None of them for you.

It`s Heartbreak Hotel for you this Valentine`s day.

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