Monday, 1 September 2014

The Clydesdales and the serial killer foxy

Every year in late August, the Clydesdale Horse Show comes to Duthie Park.

Early arrivals were being spiffed up as Gail and I walked around the park on Saturday morning.

We stopped by one particularly handsome fellow.

He was standing still as a statue while his owners gave his feet a good scrub. 

Let me tell you I would never have permitted that. Gail asked if she could take a photo. The hoof scrubbers cheerfully assented, then one of them spotted me.

"A foxy! You don't see so many of them these days. My parents had a wire haired fox terrier on our farm. Killed everything that moved, it did. Hens, rats, mice, all the cats, every single one of them. Aye, that he did. Cats, chicken, rats, the lot. What's your one called? Bertie? I can see Bertie's paying attention".

You bet. I was SO impressed. Wow! Respect to that farm fox terrier.

Was it really necessary for Gail, in best embarrassing parent mode, to reply with this:

"Oh yes, Bertie's always alert. But the only creature he's killed so far is a vibrating toy hamster. Ha ha".

So NOT funny.

Friday, 29 August 2014

FFHT August: I can't believe I ate….

Really, I don't know why Gail is protesting about my desire to participate in Murphy and Stanley's  August FFHT on account of the subject matter. She claims that this month's phrase "I can't believe I ate…", will encourage glorification of the baser side of our natures.

Does she not realise that the urge to break the boundaries of the conventional 'approved' diet is not confined to non-human species but has a distinguished lineage including some of this country's most illustrious scientists.

No less than Charles Darwin, top of my (and Gail's) list for 'Greatest Ever Briton' had an adventurous appetite in more ways than are usually recognised.

At Cambridge Darwin was a member of a dining club which met weekly in order to eat, basically, roadkill. He enjoyed hawk and bittern, but balked at a dish of old Brown Owl, describing it as 'indescribable'. On the Beagle voyage he ate armadilloes ('taste like duck'), puma ('veal'), iguana and Giant Tortoise. A Phylum Feast is a shared meal containing as many different species as possible, eaten by biologists on February 12th to celebrate Darwin’s birthday.

Before Darwin, the noted English geologist William Buckland, who wrote the first full scientific description of a dinosaur and later in his life promoted the notion that glaciation explains many of the landscape features formerly ascribed to the biblical flood, took exotic eating to another level (you may have to click on the image below to enlarge and read):

One suspects that "I can't believe I ate…" was not a phrase much heard in the celebrated Reverend Buckland's Oxford household...

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Englishman, the Scotsman, the Irishman and the Welshman.

No, this is not going to be another of those jokes invoking tired national stereotypes. Nor is it a reference to the independence debate.

And in fact it should truly be the Englishwoman, the Scotsmen and women, the Welshman, the Irish dog and the American…

All of these were present at the Royal Highland Showground, venue for last Saturday's dogs agility show.

The Englishwoman here, is of course Gail.

Note that she is looking mightily relieved and this is because, despite her woeful lack of commitment to training for the team relay event, we did not mess up in any major way and our team exceeded expectations by coming a respectable fifth (out of eleven).

See, Gail's team mates, Scotswomen Yvonne and Alison and our inspirational Texan team captain Jeri, were even still happy to pose with her after the event.
Yvonne and Phoebe, Alison and Maddie, Gail and Bertie, Jeri (Burns is hiding) 

The Irish dog I want to tell you about is this well cropped WFT pup Hayley.

Hayley is eleven years old and now retired from agility, but she had travelled all the way over from Ulster with her family - her sibling spaniels were in the competition. Gail was most impressed to learn that Hayley had reached Grade 6 in her agility career. She is quite a lot smaller than me. I think she is cute. 

Over in a different part of the showground on Saturday the Scottish Kennel Club were running their version of Crufts. Gosh there were a lot of very handsome pups strutting about the place. 

The Welshman was sat at a table outside the show arena when we walked past. He beckoned Gail over and told her she was a lady of excellent taste. 

You will have guessed that he was not referring to her dress sense. He wanted to know all about me, admiring my markings, my bone structure, my muscles, and my alert demeanour. He even asked if he could look at my teeth. (I have to tell you that did not go too well…) At this point the penny dropped and Gail asked if he was a show judge. It turned out we were talking to Mr Gerrard Morris, judge for the terrier group at Crufts earlier this year. Remember that a WFT won the terrier group? Gail found this picture on the internet. My new friend is the rosy cheeked chappie on the left. 

As for the Scotsmen and women well duh, I hear you thinking, we were in Edinburgh, of course there would be plenty of those, even at Festival time. 

This is true, but what we had on Saturday, in yet another part of the Showground, were hordes of bagpipe playing, kilt wearing, particularly Scottish looking Scots, all participating in a huge pipe band contest. 

You know, the Royal Highland Showground is not a place for lovers of tranquillity.

As if multiple pipe bands playing simultaneously next to a field of hyped up agility dogs did not provide enough noise, then you also had a nearby fairground blasting out loud music and, above, planes from the adjacent Edinburgh airport taking off every fifteen minutes or so.

To be honest, a bit too much excitement, even for me…
Back home and enjoying some peace and quiet.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Bye bye, dear sweet Jazzi

Oh dear I was distraught to learn that my sweetheart Addi's sister Jazzi had to say goodbye to her earthbound family last week.

This wee Scottie lass was full of life, fun and mischief (and tacos). I loved her so much, even though she did often refer to my gorgeous girlfriend as 'Dog-zilla'.

Gail and I are thankful we had the privilege of sharing a small piece of Jazzi's too-short life, and also that of her lovely and loving family. Jazzi's posts not only made us smile, always, but were so full of warmth and happiness that they left us feeling the world was a better place.

We send heartfelt condolences to all who are feeling sad at the loss of such a wonderful character.

Oh and if Uncle Ed is looking for a new pup to spoil, well he just needs to get in touch…

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