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, March 27, 2007

Creating a skilled illusion...


I took myself off to see THE ILLUSIONIST for some light relief, and that`s exactly what it was. Well=plotted and well-acted, the tale was told, and you were invited, with the detective, to guess what really happened, with the clue all along in the title. Possibilities of investigating the interface of life and illusion any more deeply were sidestepped throughout.

It had more than a whiff of Ruritania, and I found myself easily slipping it back half a century and populating it with Mason, Grainger, and perhaps Bergman with her inimitable dignity in impossible situations.

I found myself enjoying it more than THE PRESTIGE, a darker and better film about magicians and illusion, and was at a loss to know why until I realised that it was the absence of Michael Caine. For me he serves as an irritant, as he can only play himself, and what worked so well for Connery seems to make Caine stick out in any screenplay that isn`t deliberately written around him, like a polaroid pinned to the wall in an exhibition of watercolours.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Readers may remember the Polish bus driver who has become a landmark in our local community. Well, he has now made the headlines.

I was amazed to see the little red local bus he drives appearing on BBC Scottish news. A young lady passenger who was interviewed said she had had a really hard day at work and worried that she might be hallucinating the cooker (4 burner) and chest of drawers occupying the front seats of the bus. However she was soon enlightened when the bus left the main road, detoured into a housing scheme and then stopped while the driver delivered the aforementioned goods to a Polish couple. Shock, horror ! Lots of outrage from the interviewer, and E.C. the owner of the company stated drily that in addition to smoking, liquor etc, white goods and other furnishings would now also be prohibited on his buses.

Well, I`m old enough to remember when local country buses carried parcels and post.

And I remember once catching the bus from Thurso to Wick after a really socially exhausting and memorable time in Stromness, and falling asleep, confident that after all the bus didn`t go beyond Wick. I woke just before we got there, and the conductress asked,

"You are for Wick?"

I assured her I was.

"Well, that`s a relief. We didn`t know, and didn`t like to wake you, so we stopped at every road end on the way and had a good look at you, and tried to work out if you looked as if you might be related to the people who lived there.."

Now that`s a bus service.

Perhaps we could do with some more Polish drivers here.

And perhaps the one we have would do better with another local company, whose blue buses every December are festooned with Christmas decorations (mainly paperchains and other dangly glitter) and have been known to stop at doors along the morning route and collect regular passengers who have slept in.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A crowded Crufts hall 5 - somewhere out there is our ring.

"I did my thing in the ring - now where are the girls?"...Marcus at Crufts

A friend holds up Allegra, totally unimpressed by her win in Yearling, and wondering what she can get up to next...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Already the excitement of Crufts is beginning to recede, helped on its way by the chest infection I managed to pick up there and a recurrence of my Achilles Wooden Leg (see archive Dec 2004)

Crufts was really good. A good atmosphere, even with the change of judge. And running back and forth between two halls heaving a very solid Shelby has done wonders for my leg muscles. Shelby loved Crufts and found the crowds fascinating. When I finally got him into Junior he swaggered, and attracted a lot of favourable attention from the ringside - well, lots of pointing and no laughing - and was second.

Ran back through the mob of tourists, picked up a hyper Allegra, rushed her in and won.

And then you would think I could have a rest.

But I have to dot around trying to get photographs. It takes me right round the ringside. At last I subsided into a seat, and was immediately joined by three large men. I couldn`t quite pick up the language, but I had noted from the catalogue that one dog present had a qualification from a former iron curtain country and assumed that they were supporters.

I was busy with the white balance and didn`t notice the arm going round me. I did however notice the bottom pinch.....

Well, I mean, it`s been a whlie......And at Crufts !

No, you can`t retaliate in the usual ladylike manner with a carefully placed knee or a Glasgow Kiss. Rule 42 covers all that. I shot off to the other side and carefully ignored the complicit grins from all three of them which followed me throughout the rest of the show....

I`d swear Shelby was also grinning alll over his big flat face.

But I did later meet a lovely person who actually reads this blog and likes it.

Just how cool is that !

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Eloise is still recovering from her experience. (She now only inhabits the very top of trees.)

But she is quite philosophical about it:-

"Fresh milk and mice and unravelling mittens
Big sexy tomcats (and please God, no kittens)
Fat juicy pigeons too slow to take wing
These are a few of my favourite things…..

When the rain blows, when dogs climb trees
When the whole world sucks,
Sometimes I think of my favourite things –

But mostly I run like ..........."

News of Crufts and the sexual habits of Bulgarians when I recover from the horrendous cold I brought back from the show.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Yes, Florian`s really climbing the tree.

Is it curtains for Eloise? Is she doomed to end up as fast food - or not quite fast enough food?

Read on...


Yes, Florian did it again. And this time I was busy packing for Crufts and happened to have the camera in my hand and a small ladder lying outside. I rushed out when I heard the rising chorus, with the bass provided by Florian`s resonant honks - and there he was, six feet up in pursuit of poor Eloise.

As you can just make out, she has her eyes squeezed shut in denial.

Florian - "Another inch and you`re fast food ! Or rather, not fast enough food..."

Eloise - "Omigod....get a grip girl. It isn`t real. My analyst said these persecution hallucinations could be triggered by memories of sibling rivalry in the kitten pen - or too many mice too late at night. I`ll just keep my eyes closed and think of milk and soft cushions and sushi....."

These crises need a firm hand. Or rather two - one on the cat and one on the dog.

Sanity restored.

If Florian leaps tall buildings at a single bound, you`ll be the first to know.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

"I never had to sit an Afghan exam....I just sorta ended up being one."

"Sit an Afghan exam? It`s exhausting enough just being a Chin...."


A busy weekend - as always with dogs. Saturday eight till eight spent sittng the Afghan exam. No, this does not entitle you to claim Afghan citizenship, but it does qualify you to judge the hounds,
So a whole morning`s essay exam. "What would you expect to see when an Afghan moves towards you ?" (Tip - "a big hairy dog going at a fair lick" will not gain you a lot of marks here.) And an afternoon and evening spent going over some very patient dogs, trying to work out whether their withers were really vertically above their elbows and how authentic their saddles really were...
As you might guess I was fairly exhausted for the Club show the next day. Alas, my dogs were not. A whole day left shut up is not the best preparation for good show behaviour. Allegra went off like a rocket, Marcus managed to escape and investigate a lot of interesting females, and Roxanne, who is now 13, enjoyed swaggering about so much that she has been insufferable ever since.

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