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.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I discovered this sport at the Royal Highland Show - it looks safer, less tiring and more comfortable than dogshowing and I might just take it up....

Miss Truly regrets......"Why did I bite them all?"


A frigid experience at the last show, where people were buying dog blankets and bedding to wrap round themselves in the icy blast commonly known as a "sea breeze". At least we weren`t there on the next day, when everything blew down - the joys of open air events in this country.

I wasn`t showing, so had time to study the judging, which was at times...unusual. Exhibitors were told to withdraw their dogs when they dropped their tails, a common Papillon event, often causing the owner to despair and think canicidal thoughts, but hardly a temperamental fault.

. Seldom has so much time been spent on Papillons on the table. We were highly entertained by one episode, when he was determined to find out if one dog puppy was entire. As we watched in disbelief, he searched on and on trying to find two with a large hand in the puppy`s rather skimpy knickers. The little dog`s face was a study. His show pose became rigid, and his eyes began to pop. He looked around desperately for help. When placed on the ground at last, he moved very cautiously, and was very careful never to turn his back on the judge.......

And that`s showing for a while - for I have been summoned to the High Court in Glasgow for Jury Duty, something I could well do without. Everyone I tell says it will be such fun - "you`ll probably get a great murder!" Am I missing something here? Is my idea of fun a little lacking? Should I be looking forward to a "great murder"? How many people out there think CSI is real life?

Anyway, I won`t be able to tell you about it, even if it is a "great murder", under pain of imprisonment - at least. (Scots law is Different. For instance, we have 3 possible verdicts...)

Meanwhile, life goes on here. Tamara is comfortably pregnant, after another visit to the east coast and a son of Marcus, and eating me out of house and home. She proabably thinks the east coast is the nearest place to heaven she has yet found.....

Truly is bitterly regretting all the other bitches she bit while the hormones were running high. They still haven`t forgotten, and she is treading very carefully these days..... Meanwhile all the other girls have come out of season at last, and Shelby has regretfully given up offering them a quick but comprehensive Japanese lesson.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"And when they get stuck up there?."....this was a highlight of a previous visit by Lanarkshire`s finest


And so we cruised up the road through the borders after the wedding, and got to the end of my road just as it was getting dark. And half way up the little lane was a huge bonfire right across the road, with drunken figures dancing round it , throwing bottles in the air.

We weren`t going up there. We retreated to my neighbour`s house, where we were treated to coffee and the full story of their ongoing drainage problems (now attributed by the Council to "global warming"), while we made efforts to contact the police. Even 999 put us on hold, while the local polis station played a soothing recorded message about how busy they were, and how much they cared. At last he managed to get the fire brigade.

They arrived ten minutes later, and drove right past, down the hill. After ten more minutes of running after them waving, we got them into the lane. I thought it best at this point to play the little old lady card to the max, and eventually sent them off up the narrow little road to the fire. I could see that my neighbour was thinking the same as I - "and when they get stuck up there...?" (We remember the last time, but did not mention this to my dogshowing friend, innocent of the finer points of living here.)

The drunks, seeing the flashing blue light, legged it. The firemen spread plenty of water around. Then there was a long, long pause. while I imagined the road blocked forever by an abandoned fire engine....and at last the headlights appeared and they lumbered back and shot off into the night.

We drove on through a huge cloud of steam past piles of smouldering wood, and I was never so glad to get home.

Scenes from country life.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Marcus - "this is my best side!"

Pretty in pink - the bride arrives

The wedding ceremony in the Big Ring

The happy couple

the Papillon Wedding Cake


Off to a show with mixed hopes. Merlin, to be honest, is still a problem and quite unpredictable. On the table, approached by the judge, he turns into a wax dog, boneless and melting. On the ground he is wildly excited by the whole thing, and marginally under control.

However, we had Cavaliers in the next ring, and one of them was ill-advised enough to be black and tan. Merlin homed in on it as black - a devil dog, spawn of Satan - and gave it a good roasting. He has a bark that sounds like sheet metal being cut by an inexperienced apprentice with a rusty saw, and it resounded across the showground. He also, fortunately, saw fit to show off in front of those inferior dogs, and amazingly he won.

Reeling with the shock of this, I hurried in with Marcus. He is a seasoned performer, and I posed him with his best point foremost - his pretty head. Alas, the judge wandered round to the back.

"Where are his trousers?" she asked.

A question I have been asking Marcus for years. His lack of rear covering has always been a problem....for me that is. Marcus, with his fixation on the opposite sex, probably sees it as being stripped down ready for action. I thought better of saying "Folded neatly on the bed at home" and she passed on. I told Marcus that I felt that his part in the whole episode had been totally pants.

Allegra did well - but we didn`t head for home.

Not yet.

There was the matter of The Wedding.

Two seasoned exhibitors had decided to get married at the show. Originally they had intended to have the ceremony between the dog and the bitch judging in the Papillon ring, and the judge had been all for it, but the organising club had been against - why I don`t know, for I am willing to bet a large sum that the word "wedding" does not occur anywhere in Kennel Club regulations for show management.

As it was, we had to wait, and it took place in the Main Ring after the Pastoral Group. A reasonable number of exhibitors and a group of frankly amazed show staff had waited as well, and there was a quick ceremony. The bride was pretty in pink and carried a white bouquet and a red and white Papillon.

Afterwards we adjourned to an outbuilding for a buffet and the cutting of the cake and the usual toasts. There was a piper, and of course an appearance of Papillonman....well, that`s what it`s like in our breed, folks. Weddings, superheroes, little dogs without trousers - we take it all in our stride.

And my day wasn`t over yet

Watch this space.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Topaz coming......

......and going......

...........and with his eyes closing, just about to fall asleep


Still all quiet here.

Truly has come out of season and is having to cope with the aftermath of all the threats she uttered and assaults she attempted while the hormones were raging - my bitches have long memories, and all her chickens have come home to roost as vultures, determined on their revenge.

Her son is full of it , all day long. And as you can see, not much given to standing still. Physically he is at the very worst stage of development. His head is still going through the terminally ugly adolescent male growth stage I always think of as "carrot" (shape and colour with Topaz, but usually it`s just shape). He is gangly and wags his tail in all directions....

You just have to be optimistic.

And think hard about what ugly ducklings turn into.....

........Well, they do in the fairytales.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Merlin - "It`s a long way up..."

"It`s motherhood Jim, but not as we know it..."
....words fail me on this picture of Truly and Topaz


A quiet time here. Especially for all the girls who came into season and suddenly found their social lives very restricted indeed.

The exception was Tamara, who travelled across the country and delighted a young dog with her total lack of - how shall I put it? - feminine modesty. She has a notion that she should try to at least present a facade of decency, and at the first advance she has a token snap at the presumptious suitor, but the effect is totally spoiled when she then whirls round and presents him with the enticing target area.

Topaz is at the awful gawky stage, when tooth development elongates the head and the word "carrot" comes to mind. There is a stage in Papillon puppy development when a large paper bag (with eyeholes) dropped over the whole dog is the answer - only the feet are presentable..

Merlin is still struggling with the social difficulties of being lowest man on the totem pole. Marcus has got his measure, and every time the little man is caught out in something he just looks meaningfully at Merlin who immediately assumes guilt and slouches away as uneasy as a short nun at a penguin shoot.

I keep telling him that from the bottom the only way is up. He gives me the look of a man without an ice axe, rope or map, staring hoplessly up at Mount Everest.

I think he`s still working on that idea.

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