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.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

"Call this competition? I could blow him away just like that !"


A hectic time, characterised by not doing much at shows.

At the last show, judged on the "red or face" system, (where at least I successfully prevented Allegra from rolling), things became so dull that I was reduced to idly wondering about the enormous size of the judge`s feet - "herring boxes without topses" sprang to mind - and the only excitement was when she vanished for a looong lunch.

We also went for lunch and were greeted on return by a panicking assistant show manager - "had we seen her? When did we last see her?" He ran off searching .

Alas, she was one of the old school and I could have told him that a long comfortable lunch was a major part of the day for her. And the long lunch made for an even longer day for all of us, and a late trail up the motorway in the rush hour.

The previous show was our Club one, and in the spirit of support I took everything that could walk, apart from the cats. This meant a day out for Solitaire, who dearly loves to come.

And we won! Well....I won. I won the raffle. I was presented with a fluffy toy dog, with a label that said "press here". I did, expecting an approximation of a little bark...

Well, no. He made a dog noise, all right. Just not the one I expected. The one that comes from the other end. Like a fur whoopee cushion. I had been presented with a Farting Dog.

Trouble is, I already have one of those. Solitaire has reigned supreme in this category for years, and singlehandedly contributes a lot to the global warming problem . In the evenings she sits on my foot and behaves like one of those little devices you can plug in which deliver a puff of fragrance at regular intervals. Solitaire`s brand of fragrance is definitely not marketable, however. The emissions are more frequent when she is excited, and at the show the others in the crate with her were at times almost rendered unconscious.

Solitiare is not impressed with the new little guy, who has been christened Leopold The Farting Dog. Clearly she feels that he can only manage part of the effect. She delivers the Full Monte, and intends to go on doing so. She will take on all comers in this competiton....

But not in my house!!

Friday, August 22, 2008


"How do you expect me to read small print like this at my age?"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


And I survived all those hours on the Big White Bus to Wales and back again. It was Merlin`s first experience of the bus and he was very much on barking guard against the monster in the seat opposite. She was a baby Afghan puppy, and although her head was bigger than his whole body, she was very scared of him, and howled desolately. Absolutely no-one else on the bus appreciated this in the slightest.

A dry day was much appreciated. Merlin showed well but was not liked and came 5th.

Allegra was enchanted with the lovely smelly grass, from which the cows had obviously been removed about five minutes before. Desperately I hauled her head up, but she was determined, and on the second leg of the triangle she went down and rolled. The blatant exhibition of her waving legs did her no good at all, and she didn`t even deserve the 5th place she was offered.

Few dogs were there. People are feeling the pinch, and this is an expensive game.

Meanwhile at home the puppies are coming on apace, and are already quite willing to have baby battles. Topaz can`t understand why they won`t come out and play with him. Merlin stares at them...not so long since he was a baby in that pen with his mother, and sometimes I wonder if he is thinking how much easier life was then. When Tamara goes out, Truly comes in and inspects them and gives them a wash with a look that says - "They are clearly not being brought up the Swedish way - a very sad effort indeed !"

Tamara in fact keeps them very clean, in contrast to her own childhood. Her mother, Red Sonja,(aka Red Sofa) was very fond of her but a lot less fond of washing her. Sonja`s sister, Kallista had a litter of two, always squeaky clean, and when the little grubby Tamara toddled out to play with them, Kallista would give them a look that clearly said - "Play nicely with her, boys - she comes from a poor home."

This will be Tamara`s last litter - unfortunately I have no way of explaining to the rather harrassed little red lady that peaceful retirement is on its way.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"There IS life after puppies!"

"Imagine going to a disco with your mum!"


Just getting ready for another show, in Wales. It`s been some time since I climbed on board the dreaded White Bus, and I hope my old legs are up to it.

Generally speaking, winning this year seems to have depended mostly on Who You Know. I have shown lightly, and am not sorry. Of course discontent amoing exhibitors soon shows up in falling entries - quickly these days when travel is so expensive.

It looks as if Truly will soon be back in the ring. Her coat is racing back in, and this week I took her to training class with her son. She was ecstatic. Her face lit up and you could see her thinking "There IS life after puppies!" She showed off and tried to sit on everyone`s knees. She loved her night out.

Topaz was not amused. He sulked and was very distracted.

I suddenly realised that to him traIning class is like a disco - you go with your goofy pal (Merlin) and meet the other young folk and have fun. For a moment I could see them just a bit like Harry Enfield`s Kevin and Perry..... But to show up with your mother.....! He oozed embarrassment, and scowled from under my chair.

Truly didn`t care. She gave him a withering Swedish look.

"He is sooo boring! I have finished with him now. Now it is all me, me, ME!"

She twirled away, and Topaz decided to give up and sit on my knee.

One of the many hard adjustments in the life of a young male dog.

Merlin is writing the book on that one.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The jungle



Late last night I went out to get the old ladies in. It had begun to rain heavily and they were keen to come. But somewhere in the distance I could hear a plaintive "woof". That slow repeated "woof" that usually means "I got stuck in here - do something!".

I did a quick head count. No Fenella. The others wagged their tails brightly - no information there.

Fenella is the mother of Marcus the Sex God, and Florian The Climbing Dog. She is given to wandering. If there is a small hole in the fence, she is off. I once had to reclaim her from three fields away, where she was verbally abusing an innocent guy mending a fence. How dared he make all that hammering noise! She could hear it from where she lived! I had to aplologise and trail the barking fury away.

This time the "woof" sounded very plaintive. I tried to triangulate on where it was coming from. It was now pitch dark and very wet.

The plaintive sounds were coming from a huge 7 foot high tangle of brambles, nettles and wild plum trees that stretches from the dog run to the burn and the property boundary. They were coming from right at the back. They would be.

It was pitch dark, but I could only carry a small torch through all that tangle. I had a protective jacket, but no such trousers. I had wellies and rigger gloves and secateurs, as I supposed she was caught in the brambles. I sailed straight in.

It was indescribably awful in there. Head high nettles and brambles arching above that. And wild plum is thorny. I suspect that if I could have seen what I was heading into I would have been appalled. As it was I pushed on by brute force, cutting myself free every few feet. I could only see a few inches in front of me. My trousers (and then my legs) were slashed and cut. Every time Fenella fell silent, I got lost.

After two hours of this I found her, right at the march fence on the other side of the burn. My bad neighbour had laid barbed wire at ground level - a nasty trick, designed to catch small animals. And it had caught her by the ear. Her ear was wound round it.

My heart sank. I hadn`t come equipped for that. The wire had to be cut. I would have to go all the way back for the big bolt cutters.

It was a terrible struggle to get back, and it took some mental effort to plunge in there again. I was very tired now and the big cutters are heavy and awkward. And I would have to get out again carrying them and the bitch.

Getting her free was easy - getting her out was desperate. I had a lot of attempts before I could get up the slippery bank, and then had to put her down in order to climb the fence.

And then she vanished. Cue for a lot of searching up and down in the nettles and brambles. Eventually I gave up and cut my way out to civilisation - and there she stood on the doorstep, wagging her tail and wondering what took me so long.

And she is perfectly well.

I, on the other hand got to bed at 3 and slept till 9, to wake a mass of bruises and cuts, fit for nothing. The whole expedition had taken over four hours.

If you are planning to explore uncharted rainforest in the near future, feel free to call on me for advice.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008


This pair have been keeping Tamara and myself busy for almost two weeks now. The little girl is on the right - her brother is the one with the nose like a doorstop.

Friday, August 01, 2008


Not dead yet - just haven`t been back to this for a while. It seems that the last post gave great offence. I didn`t intend it - when I want to offend people, which I frequently do as I`m a bad old bitch, I like the satisfaction of doing it to their face in person., not sneaking about on a blog.

Also, I`ve been taken up with Jury Duty. One of those distasteful but necessary duties, not at all enjoyable...or so I thought. But the attitude of people around me was astonishing. They seemed to think I had been offered free entertainment. They wanted all the details of what was in fact a very unpleasant rape case.

The clue came when a friend asked what it had been like at Jury selection when I had been grilled by the defence lawyer. She was so disappointed when I explained that the Jury selection involves writing all the available names on little pieces of paper, putting them in a goldfish bowl and drawing out the required number, and that after that you are only excused if you know the accused or have a medical appointment that day.

"Not like on Shark, then?" she asked.

No, dear, Shark is fiction. And so is CSI. And Law and Order and all the others, right down to The Bill.

And there`s so much of it. Have you noticed how much of our entertainment is dominated by crime? And how our interest has changed? Fictional crime has come a long way since Wilkie Collins and Conan Doyle. It used to take the form of a detection puzzle, when you worked oiut whodunnit., but somehow that slid into a fascination for police procedurals, and on into obsession with the gruesome details of the crime itself.....don`t pretend you don`t watch "Dexter."

Well, I am a real old retro. I don`t buy into the fusion of entertainment with life. I don`t think TV is real. I don`t want it to be real. I don`t think that I "know" people I have seen on it - or worse, fictional characters from it. And I don`t see the unpleasant parts of life as entertainment.''

I remember years ago coming out of a cinema showing "Jurassic Park 2" (yes, I`m that old), and the woman beside me saying that she hadn`t really enjoyed it.

"I think there was a lot of cruelty to animals involved in making it," she explained.

I kept quiet. What could I say?

I guess I`m just an old dinosaur myself.

And not even a CGI one at that.....

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