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, December 30, 2010


Usually I am reporting at this time on how excellently I have enjoyed the festive season with my relatives, who have fed me to bursting point.

This year is a little different.

The relatives I usually impose on at Christmas have had no water since well before that. The main has frozen. They are reduced to using buckets of river water to flush the loo, and there is no sign of the water returning.

The ones I visit on Boxing Day for the sumptuous seven course dinner had no cooker.

I had a very quiet time, during which I opened quite a few tins, and was profoundly grateful that I had water, and facilities to cook the contents of those tins.

Meanwhile, we have a thaw, enough that I was able to retrieve Allegra from her romantic interlude down south. She has been greatly missed. It is now a case of wait and see, but she is looking very smug.....

One (the only) advantage of the deep snow was that I didn`t have to clean underneath my grubby bunch when they came in. The snow obliged. What the males thought about that sensation is not recorded. Now my lot have reverted to dirt with a vengeance.

However, I am no longer snowed in, and feeling a bit more optimistic about the coming year....

Which I hope will be very prosperous for all of you.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


In my last minute shopping rush, I found myself at the perfume counters of several large stores. Usually I was the only woman in a crowd of deeply embarrassed and unhappy men, all looking as shifty as if they were in a porn shop in a back alley.

Some were downright hopeless, and muttered that they wanted "something nice". One announced confidently that he was all right as he had "brought the box", presumably pilfered from her dressing table.

The one in front of me said confidently that "she" wore Prada.

"Certainly sir," said the girl. "Which of the four Prada fragances?"

He went white. She obligingly named the four. "Well, it`s Prada" he repeated.

I told him that Prada was a fashion house. "It`s as if you went to buy a car and just said `I want a Ford`"

He brightened momentarily. "Wish I was buying a car!"

I don`t like any of the Prada fragrances. "Why don`t you just choose the brightest box?" I suggested.

I could see this idea was a hit with a number of the men. I shudder to think what the garish result of this rash suggestion was. I probably ruined the Christmas of quite a few women at that point.

Meanwhile I have two Christmas invalids - Decibelle with a urinary infection, and Julian with wome strange nameless thing which involved a visit to the vet and a prolonged examination whith revealed nothing but a mouth ulcer and a temperature....oh, and all the urine he had refused to pass the day before, with which he obligingly flooded the surgery. "At least we now have a specimen", said the vet brightly.

I dreaded hearing that they wanted to keep him in "for observation", which at this festive time of year would involve a contract written in blood signing over all the assets of me and my heirs in perpetuity.

However he is home, unwilling to do anything but stand or lie about, not eating or drinking and still devoid of other symptoms. I have no idea what his problem is.

I know all too well what mine are,and hope to forget them all for a bit over Christmas with my obliging relatives.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fidget - "You can have enough of snow...."


So I overcame my recently acquired bus phobia and went into the city and was there when the shops opened and dealt with the back log of Christmas shopping in a rush. Safe back on the bus and heading home, I thought my worries were over.

I slogged down the snowy road laden with parcels, and met my Good Neighbour in deep conversation with a man in a van.

"No water!" he announced.

Van Man added "I can hear water running in the main and there is a serious mains burst."

I then learned that Scottish Water had been down but not to my place, as I was out.

Serious, then. My heart sank.

I volunteered that the outside tap at the garage had been leaking a bit.

My Good Neighbour said he would come and have a look.

As we came through the gate he pointed to the culvert that runs across the road, the one my title deeds require me to keep running at all times as it is a main drain for the woodland above, and told me that the Scottish Water man had designated it as a Serious Leak. So much for their expertise. I had a flash of vision of them being briefed before they set out on a call - "Remember, water is the wet liquid stuff..."

Well, the tap had sprung a bit more. There followed 2 hours in the sub-zero cold as we struggled with it, trying one thing after another and not succeding. The actual tap had cracked. Eventually he removed it and put a cap on the pipe.....and eventually with a bit of effort involving a hammer, the cap held. We checked, and he had water.

"What about the expert and his serious mains leak then?", I asked.

He gave me the look of a man who realises that in involving experts he has strayed far into Numptyland.

"What does he know? He`s from Edinburgh!"

No answering that. I went off to lag the pipe with bubble wrap.

So far the water is still on.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Words fail me. At least the man responsible for this fiasco has resigned.


It was a cold dry morning. I decided to have a few hours in the city and perhaps pick up a treat for myself, since it was my birthday. I walked up and caught the early express bus.

When we were almost there, the blizzard hit. I was glad to get off the bus and in for a coffee and sandwich. I braved the snow all the way down Buchanan St to check on a watch repair (would you believe it will have to go to Switzerland!), and then found it difficult to walk in the slush and headed back, thinking I would have to cut this short.

I fell into Caffe Nero at 11, quite exhausted, and the barista said, "Darling, what you need is a hot mince pie!" That was to be my last food that day.

Up to the bus station. Crowds of upset people, and no buses. I was stranded. We waited and waited, and at last at 1pm two buses appeared. I managed to crush on to the nearest - it would not take me home, but perhaps near enough. Off we set.

We made painfully slow progess, but at least we were moving. The motorways were in chaos. No attempt at all had been made to clear them. No ploughs, no gritters.

Hours went by. It began to get dark. And cold. Small buses do not heat well.

At last we were truly stuck, not far from the slip road we needed. But no effort had been made to clear those slip roads, so everyone was at a standstill on the motorway, unable to get off. The bus was very cold indeed. All around people were abandoning their cars and heading off into the dark, and the deep snow, walking down the motorway, some with small children.

I had a bad asthma attack, and the driver called for help. Eventually the police arrived. Would they help me home? No. "Stay in the vehicle and we will bring you hot drinks." We never saw them again.

Hours went by. We crept on. The passengers began to desert. I stayed because the driver had to pass my home stop to deliver his vehicle to the depot. During all this time no effort was made to clear the roads, or help those stuck in vehicles.

I made it to the bus stop eleven hours after I had got on the bus. I had to wade home in deep snow and arrived frozen and exhausted.

And the dogs? I opened the door to the regular sound of Sonja snoring. No hysterics, no panic - it seems they had just slept.

I am still recovering from being frozen, dehydrated and starved.

Now I have a burst pipe as well.

I am getting too old for all this.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Living well on pinhead oatmeal and Royal Canin.......

The first part of the road out - before shovelling

Fidget makes a bid for the downhill record....


7am - Up. Look at thermometer. Look outside and shudder - only living thing Mr Robin perching hopefully in the snow. Offer dogs an outing. All dogs bury noses deeper in tails and curl up tighter.

7.30am - Back to bed

8.30am - Up. Try not to look at thermometer. Make dogs an offer they can`t refuse. Once they are out, start heating stove into life.

9am. - Feed dogs.

9.30am - Out in snow to bring in coal. Stoke stove to the max.

10am - Breakfast. Look at emails.

10.30am - Digesting breakfast. ~Digestion helped by the presence of 5 dogs jockeying for position on my knee.

11am - Necessary work including sorting refuse which will have to be carried on foot out to the main road tomorrow. Try not to think about the road.

1pm.- Cannot put it off any longer, and set off with a shovel to clear a path out to civilisation. Some was done yesterday - not enough. Get stuck in.

2pm. - Have progressed as far as the deserted house, and am challenged by an aggressive mongrel. Offer it a taste of the shovel.
Its owner appears and says "He won`t hurt you."
I have heard this litany before. The second part of it usually goes - "Well, he`s never done that before..." I assure the large Right-To-Roamer that I am quite OK as I have a large shovel, and maintain eye contact with the dog. He calls it off and goes down the hill. I resume shovelling.

3pm. - The mongrel and owner reappear. He says - "That`s a hard job. Is no-one helping?"
I look around . Pointedly. The only living things in sight on the vast snowfield are me, him, the attack mongrel and Mr Robin. I can see my best chance would be the robin. I tell him no.
"That`s a shame", he says and buggers off up the hill.

3.30pm - I give up as it is getting dark and slog off home. I have only cleared halfway. It is freezing hard.

4pm - Insist on another dog outing. A little more food.

4.30pm. A meal for me and one for Mr Robin. Guess who has the Royal Canin?

6pm. That`s it. Given up for the day. Stoke stove to the max and prepare for the intellectual stimulation of Strictly. Doze off during it. Will never know now if Anton managed to lift Widdy above his head without popping a hernia.

9pm. Dogs out - amazed their feet don`t freeze to the ground.

10pm. Secure house for the night. Bank the stove. Tell the dogs how lucky they are to have a roof over their heads. Manage to prevent Marcus from bumbiting Shelby yet again as the latter goes into his bed.

11.50pm - Try not to look at the thermometer. Off to bed with Marcus, Allegra and Solitaire.

Gosh, it has been a FUN day!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Truly heads for home

Dawn over the top orchard

Snow Fun

Allegra - "I think it might be snowing?"

Shelby - well, I don`t think I had better tell you what he is thinking just at this moment, but it has nothing to do with loving Winter Wonderlands or dreaming of White Christmases......

Fidget - "I love it! Hope it lasts for ever!"


Well, no prizes for guessing that I am well snowed in again, and up to my knees in deep crisp white global warming so far. Access on foot only here.

My old ladies are not amused, but Young Fidget is delighted. He feels it is all for his benefit, and when he went out this morning into a further six inches of pristine white, he gazed at me with gratitude. (They all think I am responsible). He then dived in, with only his head showing and hared about in delight. What dogs see in snow, I will never know...

They don`t all feel that way. Ella, who as you know has given away her coat to charity, is appalled, and Shelby is truly disgusted.

Can`t say I am too amused either. Meanwhile shows are being cancelled, and Allegra has been advised to put her romantic plans on hold. I can see my Christmas plans sliding down a deep hole in the snow too. I didn`t make it last year, being snowed in, and will now confess that the presents which were bought and not given last year have been saved for this year (yes, I am that low.) It is looking as if they may not fulfil their destiny this year either, and may end up a little like those scruffy bottles of cheap wine which are won in one raffle and promptly put back into the next one, travelling on in hope like the Flying Dutchman and never coming to land, with their labels becoming ever more worn.

We shall see.

I`m off out to dig out more coal, and stoke up my little stove.

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