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 29, 2007

Shelby on parade


Shelby feels that readers are probably getting quite the wrong impression of him. He thinks that this picture will correct the balance and represent him as a serious and successful show dog who has just won Best of Breed.

What it doesn`t show is the aftermath, when he got into my showbag and trashed it utterly, removing every item for thorough inspection and subsequent testing to destruction. Only the metal items don`t carry toothmarks - everything else has been stamped with the classic Shelby Seal of Approval perforations.

Shelby would say that attention to detail is the cornerstone of his success.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Shelby - "So much for chilli - now where`s that vindaloo?"


Two shows last weekend - really I`m getting too old for this. Shelby was involved in the second one, and I was obliged to run between two rings very far apart- the Chin had been exiled to a far-off hill dimly visible in the distance, possibly on the grounds of discouraging foreign influence.

On my way back down from the heights I detoured to another ring to meet relatives. All had not gone well, and I was regaled with a catalogue of disasters, "and I`ve brought rolls filled with ham and chilli pickle and no-one likes them - I have to get rid of them."

Shelby had not listened to the tale of woe but had homed in on the despised rolls. His eyes were as big as saucers. He whuffled hopefully.

I indicated that Shelby could help with at least one of her problems.

She looked very doubtful. "Chilli pickle?" she said.

I tried one. It was pretty strong. I could feel my tongue cringe.

I put the bag on the ground and Shelby dived under the table. I listened with fascination to an account of the evil, underhanded and perfidious activities of Another Breed Club`s committee to an accompaniment of serious chomping. As the tale drew to a close, a rather bloated Shelby crawled out, a contented smile on his flat face. We both looked under the table.

"I don`t believe that !"

I`m beginning to believe anything of Shelby. We made a leisurely journey back down the hill, Shelby scaring off bigger dogs by hiccoughing wafts of chilli in their faces. You could almost see the flames. The Papillons took one sniff and declared that they didn`t know him, and didn`t want to.

We drove home to the gentle sound of chilli-flavoured snores.

And the.... after-effects?

None at all.

I`ve heard of cast iron digestion, but I think Shelby`s is titanium.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I waited in all day for a delivery but I might as well have been on the moon. No post, no parcel. Total isolation.

In the evening my friend, who comes to take me to train ing class, phoned.

"I`m on your road, at the derelict house but I can`t come any further. There`s a fox."

Was I being besieged by a rabid monster?

"No it`s dead. Lying across the road. I can`t drive over it or I would - well, it would be squashed.."

I plodded up the road with a pair of rubber gloves. Yes, a very dead vixen lying right across the road. Dead probably for a day. I removed it, to the great disappointment of a lot of flies.

As we went on, a thought struck. I asked if she thought the cadaver was the reason why I had had no post and no parcel - indeed no-one at all that day.

"Of course," she replied.

Am I missing something here? Or have I been completely hardened by country life?

Or do I possess the last pair of rubber gloves on the planet?

Well, they should be worth a bit.

I should advertise them on eBay as "slightly foxed"

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Truly - "I work so hard to keep my tail beautiful ..."


Another hard day on the show front, grinding down the motorway in the old white bus, with four excited dogs (and Truly, busy being sick). Another dawn arrival and rush to get dogs ready, brushes and combs flying (and spirit shampoo for Truly). Great expectations....

And great disappointments. The boys showed well and were ignored.

And then there were the girls.

Truly, well recovered, showed well and with style. But she didn`t like the judge. On the table she favoured him with the sort of look one saves for cockroaches or double glazing salesmen. (Papillons are really good at this.) It dared this lowest form of crawling life to inspect her....but she was a lady and would endure it somehow.

In the final line up, as the others stood to attention, Truly decided that her tail needed attention. She sat down and began to chew it. No, she would not stand up. She favoured me with another of her Swedish stares....the totally defiant kind. We glared at each other for a few vital moments - then as she was placed 3rd she posed perfectly - "See, my tail is beautiful now. All it needed was a little chewing." I silently promised her more than a little chewing later.

Allegra hit the ring like a greyhound out of the trap. And the ring smelled wonderful. It had been all too well used by a large breed previously. Large enticing damp stains were everywhere. Her nose was glued to the ground in ecstasy. I hauled at her in vain.

Still, it could be worse. A friend took her hopeful bitch in next, and that lady took one sniff at the ring and indulged in explosive and completely unexpected diarrhoea that went on and on..... At a moment like that there`s nowhere to hide.

We commiserated later. And concluded, as I have always said, that a bitch will do all in her power to let you down.

Truly, la donn`e mobile.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Says it all, really....


Well, we had an election. And we crawled out from under the mountain. No lon ger is Scotland the property of the Labour party, a convenient source of votes for which no consideration is needed. By a narrow margin, Scotland went Nationalist.

But such a weird experience. The ballot papers were complicated, and people made mistakes, leading to a large number of “spoiled” papers, and then were counted by “scanners” which seem to have had many of the memorable high-tech qualities and reliability of well-used office photocopiers (especially the paper jams when you looked at them the wrong way). The normal and ancient voting practice here, which involves going into a wooden booth where you find a ballot paper and a blunt pencil tied to a nail by a piece of string, and making an X on the said paper, which will then go into a ballot box and be counted by hand had been discarded. Unfortunately it had always worked. This didn`t. Counting ground to a halt. I expected to wake to a result and found chaos. Not till the evening did we discover that the Nationalists had carried it by one seat.

Lots of new experiences. An amazing sense of freedom and uncharted prospects due to the result. Embarrassment due to the completely unprecedented chaos of the election process, which seemed to belong in a banana republic, or Florida (one commentator memorably described it as a Category 5 Bouroch).....embarrassment particularly because of the very large number of voters who simply got the 3 ballots wrong and put x where there should have been a number or vice versa. It`s not a good thought that so many among us didn`t cope. (Although there have been plenty of free spirits to say smugly that those who made mistakes didn`t deserve the vote anyway....and while we`re at it, what about removing the franchise from the gays, the moslems, the women....?)

The new regime isn`t out of the woods. It`s proving difficult to establish a coalition, and minority government will be a risky business. The independence referendum is no nearer. All a bit of an adventure....

Well, we Scots are quite good at those.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Roxanne (Ch Volpecula Flos Campi).

My very special girl, sadly missed.


Sorry about the long silence. I lost my very special favourite little lady, Roxanne quite unexpectedly - I think it was a heart attack - and suddenly nothing seemed very funny any more.

But I`ll be back....almost immediately, as we`ve just had an election. Watch this space.....

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