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 16, 2007


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.
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