Sunday, 30 November 2008

A frosty, St. Andrew's Day walk.

After the bustle of the show yesterday I had a relaxing, if ever so chilly, walk with 3 of the dogs this forenoon. The temperature, I was informed, was minus 5 degrees, so ideal for a walk down on the flat carse ground on the north side of the village. Most of this year has been very wet, with extremely muddy conditions prevailing there. In fact, the weather has been so wet during the autumn that the potato harvesting was postponed till November, very late for this part of the world, and you can see from some of the following photographs that, in the end, it has been abandoned altogether and the crop "returned to the soil" by the grubber.
Due to the hard frost we all returned home as clean as when we left. The ice on the puddles was thick enough to bear my weight (all 6 stone+!!!!!???).
Must get out now with some more dogs, so on with the fleece and gloves again.
frost on the back garden
frost on the ploughing as we leave the village

flat, frosty fields

a wet year for the farmer
the potato crop has been "grubbed in"

long frozen puddles as we cross the bridge over the burn

ice-covered puddles on the track to Cordon farm
the straight farm road from Cordon to the village

the donkey field

round past another steading
looking under the railway bridge towards Castle Law and Glenfoot

Mo in action (difficult with this camera as slow shutter speed )

re-entering the village
frost covered ivy on the old wall by the track.

we turn off,left, at the tall beech to cross the glen burn and up to the house.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

cross section of a disaster

...and the successes

Quick, get the car out!

Disaster after disaster today, not on the scale of what has happened in India but bad enough for me. I usually make sponges for our Scottish Papillon Club show and it is on Saturday, so I bought all the ingredients yesterday and the baking began this forenoon. I used to have a big electric mixer but it has been in the "baking utensil care home" for a couple of years now and I am reduced to a SMALL food processor which I find is not nearly so good for making sponges. Four single Victoria sponges went into the double ovens and came out looking o.k. but on cooling it was evident they could not be seen in public. More caster sugar, soft margarine and eggs were required, so it was off to the neighbouring village as our shop was closed till 3pm. This time I mixed by hand and , so far, on cooling, they look fine but I will be a bit nervous till they are cut open. The fatless sponges are no problem as I use a small hand held whisk.

I still have all the filling and decoration to do but that is the easy bit.

The "piece de resistance" is a pavlova for part of the judge's lunch, which looks real fancy but is so simple to make.

Chic and I have made inroads on the total disasters, which look awful but the taste is passable.

The dogs have still to be washed but that will have to wait until tomorrow...late-ish!!!..and I'm having visitors!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Central heating----who needs it?

After donning my winter woollies after that cold, frosty, snowy spell over the past 3 or 4 days, today I am sweating. LADIES don't sweat, I know. Well, I am positively glowing as yet again our weather in this part of Scotland has changed and the temperature is in the lowish teens! -just give it a day or two, though, and it'll have changed again. You would think I should know better by my age.
My mother made the vest a permanent part of our clothing. In the summer it was a white, sleeveless cotton garment and in winter it was a woolly thing with short sleeves and a short opening, with buttons to allow access, only in my case, I had to wear the cotton version underneath as the wool made me scratch! At the start of October a liberty bodice was the next piece of additional underwear to be donned. Younger readers will be rushing to their encyclopaedias to find out what these were. They were shorter than a vest, reaching to about waist level (unless you'd got one "for your growth" ) and were cotton, fleecy on the inside and had vertical strips of tape sewn at intervals down the outside and were worn over the vest, or vests, in my case! They were front opening with about a million buttons which tended to ping off when put through the unforgiving, solid wooden rollers of the mangle after the wash. I was quite excited when mother came home with new pull-on types. How simple were my pleasures!
Girls sometimes had suspenders sewn on to the bottom edges to hold up their woolly stockings.
No wonder central heating was unknown in our neck of the woods.
When I was thrown out into the big wide world, at age 11, to attend secondary school in the city, I discovered that none of my classmates wore these contraptions. There followed a lengthy battle of wills with mother, until, when I was about 15, she caved in and I haven't worn a vest since. She said I was sure to succumb to kidney troubles in later life, but so far I've been free of such problems. Liberty bodices seem to have disappeared into oblivion.
Don't tell anyone, but I have, lurking in the back of a drawer, a little lacy number which goes under the guise of a vest----but it's not a patch on the original version.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Photo Fix!

Darlington Championship show 2003 was one to remember as Spencer had won his first (and only) Challenge Certificate with Best of Breed. "Did I wish to take the trophy which was on offer?" Well, of course I did. This was our first major prize, so we waited long after everyone else had disappeared from around the ring. This would be well worth the wait.
To say I have a bigger egg cup would only be a slight exaggeration! Compare it with what Swallow had won at the weekend at a Limit Show!
The first photo, taken by Dr. N. Thurman,(Lysandra), shows the actual trophy and the following one, after some "tweaking" by him on the computer, shows what I had imagined!
what I got

and what I had envisaged!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Ups.........and downs!

The succession of back -to -back ,weekend showing goes on. This time Carnoustie, on Saturday and Lanark on the Sunday.
The "up" came at a wintry Carnoustie, with snow lying right down to the shore, where Dundee Canine Club held its Limit show. Our judge for Toys was Mr. Eric Buchan, who also judged BIS. Now I know there are no Challenge Certificate winners at such a show, but it was still a big thrill for me when little Swallow went Best in Show from an entry of 245 dogs of all breeds, and a bonus followed in the shape of an envelope containing £15. Now at least we would be able to buy some fuel to get home!!!
We were brought down to earth with a bump the next day at LKA of Scotland at Lanark, where judge Margaret Comrie-Bryant placed her 3rd in her class. Ah well, that's dog showing!
Incidentally, I left a frosty, snow covered Abernethy at 7.30 am in a temperature of -2 degrees and by the time I reached Lanark, a distance of just under 70 miles, the car thermometer was registering +13 degrees. That's weather in Scotland!
Swallow with her rosette and Trophy.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Meerwings Painted Lady --(Tina)

(Meerwings Murphy's Dream x Pyatshaw Madam Butterfly over Meerwings (20/9/05)).
Tina was bred by Mrs Carole Paul and I am now a co-owner with her.
She was shown successfully as a puppy, by Carole, winning Best Pup in Show at Arbroath and Aberdeen, as her mother had done previously.
Her first litter produced 3 bitch pups of which I own Swallow, who has been very successful, so far, at the shows and Carole kept her sister ,Emma, Meerwings A Butterfly Story, who has also been successful, winning Reserve Best Bitch at Driffield Championship show in September this year, under Mrs. Pat Munn, (Ringlands).
Tina produced a single puppy, Solo, in her second litter, this year, but we shall have to wait to see how she turns out.

Meerwings Painted Lady --(Tina)

Tina (middle) with Emma (l) and Swallow (r), her pups at West of England Ladies Kennel Society Champ.Show-2008
TTina with her 2 sisters

4 month puppy

head study of young Tina (Sue Gray photo)

Tina winning Best Pup in Show at Bon Accord Open Show summer 2006
(Sue Gray photo)

Tina with her pup born in August

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Wee Geoff's progress

At 3 months he left home with his new owner Eunice, who adores him, and she sent me the following photos.
He is now called Pepe but I have referred to him by the name I gave him, for convenience.
Geoff at 3 months
Geoff and Eunice before departing

phoning home to report on his new surroundings

at 4 months

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Hoops and pies.

THE big news today----John Sergeant leaves Strictly Come Dancing, the hit BBC Saturday night programme! It ranked alongside news of ailing money markets, child cruelty and all other global disasters........But it did remind me of my dancing days, so long ago now (aaaahhhh!).

My friends and I used to attend the local village dances and I would run up my dresses for these affairs on my mothers sewing machine. To begin with mother made them, all very wide skirts and with very stiff, net underskirts. Eventually, when I had decided that I was too sophisticated for these "girl next door" types, I made my own straight skirted ones. The finish to the seams on the inside did not bear close scrutiny but as long as it held together I was satisfied.

Music was provided by a real live accordion 5 piece band and the dances were a mixture of Old Time -- Dashing White Sergeant, eightsome reel, Pride of Erin waltz etc. and Modern which consisted of quicksteps, modern waltzes, tangos (which in no way resembled that on THE programme)etc. We did jive but it was very,very basic, more like a jazzed-up waltz,and not all that popular!

December was the time for the BIG dances, run by the area Young Farmers Clubs. They were much grander, and formal wear was the order of the evening, the girls wearing short or long evening dresses with long gloves and stoles. My brother even had a pair of fine leather, dancing shoes! My father used to tell us of wearing white gloves in his youth, but that had passed by our time.

One year I had bought a short strapless dress with a hooped skirt, which brought its own problems. Between dances I leaned back, close to the wall, the hoop was pushed forward and upwards and most of my underwear was on show. The hoop was removed for later wear.

After the dance some of us made our way to Dooley Hutton's. He was a local baker and we would sit in our finery in his "kitchen" (I don't think they had much in the way of hygiene inspections) among the coal for the fire, eating pies which he had fished out of the oven for us, at two in the morning. I'm not very keen on Scotch pies but they tasted so good then.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Haute Couture!

Now , I could never be accused of being a victim of fashion, nor ever even remotely approaching its cutting edge but over the past few years my wardrobe has increased, thanks to dog showing. Before actually attending one I assumed that because people were to be handling dogs they would wear the type of clothes worn among animals on a know the type of thing, old jeans, jerseys and maybe even wellies! WRONG! The Toy people are , in the main, very well dressed.(and so are those of other groups, I hasten to add.)
I soon learned that I required something to hold the all important titbits and maybe a brush, and a poo bag...and a paper hanky(for eyes)...and a squeaky toy. First of all I tried a little shoulder bag but that was rejected in time as, when I bent down to pick up the dog to put him/her on the table, the bag swung round and whacked the dog on the head. Old Buzz and Spencer were never really too bothered by this but some of my ladies nearly took flight, but for the lead. I needed something with pockets.
I also noticed, after showing for some time, that those who were winning Best of Breed and Best in Group seemed to be wearing red jackets! I would have to buy one. This I did (from a shop!) and lo and behold.......I started to win some prizes. (Nothing to do with the fact that I then had a better dog!)
A black jacket followed, but the white hairs were too obvious so eventually, on the advice of a friend, and she knows who I mean, don't you, Sue, I scoured ebay.
It became an obsession, parcel after parcel, from far and wide, arrived. The postage cost more than the jackets and some fitted better than others, but hey, what do you expect for £4 all in, roughly, per item?
I had to call a halt. The wardrobe could hold no more.
Show Jackets
.........and some more

Monday, 17 November 2008

North of Scotland Toydog Society Open Show.

Our judge was Mrs. M. Sloan (Austrene) who had drawn an entry of 48 papillons, about a dozen of which were absent, for 8 classes. Entries came from many parts of Scotland, the farthest being from Darvel in Ayrshire.
My dogs and I had a "red card" day with Swallow taking 1st. in Graduate and Mo winning Open, then Best Dog and going on to win Best of Breed.
Old Spencer came 2nd to a Cavalier in the Any Variety Toy Vintage class, judged by Mrs. M. Taylor (Ballerat).
Mo-BOB. ..(Sue Gray photo)
...and another (by Sue Gray)

best papillon puppy is not impressed by best papillon dog!

Sunday, 16 November 2008


The fishing port of Arbroath was the venue, yesterday, for the popular North of Scotland Toydog Society Open Show, drawing entrants from as far apart as Darvel, in Ayrshire, to Alness, in Ross-shire, many people taking advantage of the chance to stock up on the famous Arbroath "smokies" in the local fish shops near the hall.
Over the years the harbour has taken on a different look, with the inner harbour now full of pleasure craft and very few working fishing boats to be seen.
not many fishing boats tied up now.
a dredger at work in the outer harbour

leisure craft in the inner harbour

the inner harbour -another view

the fishmonger's at the rear of the hall

Friday, 14 November 2008

The circular walk up the glen

This walk is only about 1 1/2 miles long but is fairly strenuous and takes about 45 minutes. There are several sets of well maintained steep stairs but the steps are not exactly easy to negotiate as the risers vary in height! I prefer this walk when it is windy as there is a lot of shelter and it's not so muddy at the moment as the flatter routes. The downside to it is that I cannot see far ahead so sometimes meet people with rather big dogs, and not all friendly (ie the dogs) before I can get the leads on mine.
first bridge over the burn near the house

lovely colours up on Castle Law

lots of interesting smells

lots of berries this year........hard winter ahead?

up to the corner on the hill road

coming back up to look for me making my way down

up by the other side of the field

should we chance going to the right?

the dogs set off up the 74 steps