Monday, 31 August 2009

Scottish Papillon Club Open Show.-the 2nd hectic day!

My task, as a committee member for the club, was to bake some cakes and make a big pot of stovies, a traditional Scottish dish, suitable for the exhibitors.This time, because our club shows are held on the same weekend as the Scottish Kennel Club Champ. show, things became quite hectic as the club show was the 2nd of the 2 days. So organisation of the cooking and baking was at a premium, as sponges cannot be made far in advance of consumption... I have very little room in my upright freezer drawers to store baking. I burned quite a bit of the midnight oil last week.

Sue (Gennasus) came to stay for the 2 nights of the shows and she was drafted in, on Saturday evening, to help with the stovies. She peeled the potatoes while I sliced them and prepared the onions etc. and eventually the cooking got underway at about 9pm.

They must have turned out ok as there was none left for me, nor did I taste my raspberry cream sponge as it too had gone, but I did manage to have some of the other cakes.

This turned out to be, for me, one of my most successful club shows for a few years. Spencer was Best Veteran in Show, Mo came first in Open dog, Swallow went unplaced but then.....Spencer was declared Reserve Best in Show...not bad for an almost 12 year old dog!
This was his second such award at this club show, having been RBIS when he was a much younger dog, a good few years ago.

Spencer's prizes.......a sash, a huge rosette, a trophy and a special judges prize of a beautiful little ceramic clock decorated with delicate butterflies. Thank you to the judge, Mrs. Eileen Roberts (Rayol)! A wonderful end to the busiest weekend (plus a few days beforehand) I've had in ages.

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First day of a hectic weekend.

My nephew, his wife and 6 year old daughter, Lauren came to the Scottish Kennel Club Championship Show at Edinburgh on Saturday. They are thinking of buying a family pet and, after dismissing the original idea of a Labradoodle, they came to have a look around the many breeds on show with the idea of finding some information on something not too big for Lauren. She took a liking to my Mo, seen in the above photo, and then they went off to look at some other breeds. The parents fancied a Tibetan Terrier, not too big and not too small. However Lauren just wanted to come back to hug Mo and had no interest in anything else...his number 1 fan!
We had some slight success at this show with Mo coming 4th in the Open dog class and Swallow, slightly better at No. 2 in her class, Limit bitch. The winner, Ancojo Chasing Wishes (Mr and Mrs J. Cooper) was the eventual Best of Breed!
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Thursday, 27 August 2009

SkyWatch--The Man in the Moon.

Is this the Man in the Moon wearing his seatbelt?--looks like our traffic laws are catching up with him.
This photo of the Road Bridge, which crosses the Firth of Forth in East Central Scotland, was taken from the moving coach as we were returning late from a dog show down in England and the "man in the moon" is the window sticker reminding us to wear seatbelts!
To see more "Sky" photos from all over click here.
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With three friends I was on a trip to the north of England and we met these alpacas. They are really cute animals with the most beautiful eyes and long eyelashes. Originating in South America they are much smaller than the llama and much better natured. They can spit, like the llama but usually only reserve this habit for another alpaca. Their fleece is much prized, containing no lanolin and so is hypoallergenic. They come in a variety of colours.

When I was in Australia at the beginning of the year I saw numerous herds and alpaca farming seems to have taken off in several areas outside their native South America. They survive quite happily on poor , rough grazing.

Recently shorn Toby and his mum.

This one comes in white!

The long neck can be a useful handle.

....and this one comes in brown!
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Sunday, 23 August 2009

Wild and tasty.

While out walking, these days, I do my fair share of eating, courtesy of Mother Nature. Wild rasps are so much sweeter and tastier than the cultivated type found in the shops and the brambles, now just coming into season, are delicious. My fingers, and probably around my mouth, are usually stained an unbecoming shade of purply-pink by the time I get back home.
We do not, of course, eat the rosehips but we used to gather them when I was at primary school, where we were paid 3d.(old money) per pound. I never made much. I think the most I ever gathered, and it looked a lot to me, was 3 lb., but one family in the local village, Scotlandwell, did , on an almost commercial scale, turning up at the school on Mondays in August/ September with sackfuls. The whole family, and it was a big family, went gathering all weekend and put the rest of us small time kids to shame.
The rosehips were then gathered by someone and sent to a factory, I have no idea where, and Rosehip Syrup was the end product. We were given this as children, every day as it was a good source of vitamin C but nowadays it is sort of frowned upon because of the sugar content. Some people, especially the "health police" are such spoilsports!
Gathering all three of these fruits comes at a price as their stalks are furnished with extremely sharp, annoying barbs. A walking stick to hook round the strands is a useful tool when gathering brambles. However I was merely a casual browser!

A late ripe raspberry.

A plump juicy bramble.

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Saturday, 22 August 2009

Dogs on the loose!

Instead of being prepared for and travelling down to Wales for the Welsh Kennel Club Championship show we went for a walk.

Ploughing has already started immediately the crops were harvested. This big reversible plough can probably turn over more ground in an hour than a pair of horses would have in a day and all with the comfort of a spring-loaded seat and a radio.

Seagulls were following the plough and here the dogs try to catch some of the crows feeding on the ploughed ground.

They didn't catch any!
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Who said papillons don't like water?

George sitting in a clump of flowers I was trying to photograph.

...and in another puddle.

George, Mo and Swallow racing back to me after chasing after the jogger running into the distance!
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Thursday, 20 August 2009

My Skywatch Contribution.

As I looked up from my computer one evening about a fortnight ago this is the view I had. Grabbing my camera I dashed to the front door only to find it locked and I had no key handy. Knowing I had only a short time before the sun disappeared completely it was back to the bedroom, where the computer lives, and I managed to capture the scene out of the window. It is completely untampered/tweaked in any way.

Perth(Scotland) lies just beyond the hill, right of centre of the photograph.

Other people from all over the world have been capturing skyscapes. Go see them here.

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Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Re yesterday's post.

I've just had a phonecall from brother, Jack, who said, "Thank goodness there's no photo of me in that toilet seat!" and "Did you forget about the rat?"..which I had, but that brought the story back to me.
One day Ross, elder brother had come into the kitchen with.....a rat with a piece of string tied to its tail (it was scurrying to escape and did....into a cupboard!) Mother was horrified. Joss had arrived and wondered what was causing the fuss. On being informed he said that it was a present and could be eaten as it was..........................."Similar a pig!!!!!"....YUK.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Remembering the War Years.

I was born during the 2nd World War and occasionally still have nightmares of the sound of the enemy aircraft overhead during the night but that is as bad as it ever got for me. A few bombs landed on our fields as we were pretty close to a big bomb store near Milnathort, just across the loch from us, which was a prime target. We were left with quite a few huge craters in the fields as the ground was very mossy and the bombs still hadn't exploded. My mother used to tell us how father would go out to listen to the aircraft. Those of The Allies had a different sound to the German bombers. At night all the house window shutters had to be closed securely before the lamps were lit and any cars had hooded headlights, although these were already pitifully dim!

Prisoners of War were brought to the farm to help with the farmwork with most of them staying in a camp farther round the loch. There was one POW whom I remember lived in the house with us. He was an Italian called Joss, but I think his name would be Guiseppe (so maybe it should have been Guis!) By all accounts he was very strong and a good worker, well liked by my parents. He said he was a peasant farmer back in Italy, had no idea what the war was all about and just wished he was back home with his wife and family.

He made toys for us small children. One was a sort of wooden bat like a table tennis bat with small carved chickens attached which, when shaken, seemed to be pecking for food, and the other was a pair of sticks with a jointed wooden monkey attached near the end by a network of strings. When the other end was squeezed in the hand the monkey did some acrobatic manoeuvres. These were played with a lot, as toys were pretty much in short supply in those days. I have no idea what ever happened to these things. I wished we had taken better care of them.

At this time, younger brother Jack, was learning to walk and Joss made a baby walker from an old wooden toilet seat padded and covered with material from on old overcoat and with struts from broomshafts and castors from something or other. He loved us "bambinos" so we were told. Some of the other POWs weren't so amiable, understandably, and some, downright frightened my mother. I wonder what ever happened to Joss.

Joss with two collie pups.

Joss with another two POWs, Frank on the left and the tall Georgies, a Scicilian, on the right.

This is another photo from the same time. It is of George (Dod) Wilson, an airman, probably something to do with the aircraft which came down in the loch and mentioned in a previous post, who spent a lot of his leave at the farm, helping out. Here he is driving in the harvest with Queen , the Clydesdale. This is the same horse which "showed me how to roll a field" when I was a good bit older (as she was, by that time as well!)

For more stories of bygone days see Remember Whensday and, better still, join in!

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Monday, 17 August 2009

My World Tuesday--The Tay Bridges.

Our village lies on the peninsula, mainly consisting of Fife, between the Firth of Forth, to the south and the Firth of Tay to the north. Both of these stretches of water are now crossed by road and rail bridges. The road bridges were built in my lifetime; in fact I can remember watching the progress of the Forth Road Bridge as we crossed on the ferry to Edinburgh from the farm. I have a photograph, in 35mm slide format of the partially completed bridge and I am currently bidding on a piece of equipment to convert my hundreds of slides to digital images so maybe one day I'll be able to post this photo!

Recently I stopped on my way home from Dundee to photograph the Tay bridges. The railway bridge is the second such bridge here as disaster struck the first one on 28 December 1879, during a violent storm with the loss of 75 lives. The remnants of the pillars can still be seen alongside the replacement bridge, built in 1887.

Up until very recently, when the Scottish Nationalists came to power in the Scottish Parliament, tolls were charged on motor vehicles crossing the road bridges. Now I can cross to Dundee or south to Edinburgh without having to worry about having the correct change in my purse and having it ready to hand over at the tolls.

To read about other places in other "pairts" have a look at My World Tuesday.

The Tay Road Bridge viewed from the south side.

Looking upstream to the Tay Rail Bridge with the stumps of the old pillars just visible.

Looking over to Dundee from the middle walkway over the Road Bridge.
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Friday, 14 August 2009

What pups do on a wet day.

Does anybody out there need some "moisture"? We've more than enough for the moment. It's rained practically all day, not pouring, just steady and papillons do not like rain so they've all been milling around in the kitchen. The older ones are ok. They will play around for a while then eventually lie down under the table (it is a fair size) but small fry chew "things" like corners of kitchen units, chair legs and skirting boards and are always on the look-out for food. Here is Holly's bitch pup when she was at a loose end.
Is anybody home?
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She's not in. I'll just see if she dropped any food in here.

I'll sort you, you little twerp!

Aw, mum, gie' me a break!

OK, you win, I give in.
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Thursday, 13 August 2009

Skywatch scenes near Edinburgh.

I was approaching Edinburgh from the south and stopped in the layby to take these views in 3 different directions.
Arthur's Seat, the hill in Holyrood Park, near the Scottish Parliament building , is left of centre.

One of the heavy showers that day is nearing the Pentland Hills to the west.

..and this is looking east across the barley fields. Harvest has just begun in this part of the world. Will this barley be good enough to go for malting for whisky at the distillery or will it be destined for cattle feed?
To join in this meme or just to go see click here.

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Wednesday, 12 August 2009

I remember Primary School.

This school photo was taken when I must have been aged about 9 or 10, at Primary School, the parish school called Portmoak in the village of Scotlandwell. I am middle, front row with dark cardigan and dark socks. The boys seem to be wearing suits, which would have been tweed and not manmade fibre as it hadn't been invented!!!

I liked this little 2 room school with it's 2 teachers, one of whom was the schoolmaster. He had taught himself to play the piano and I still remember him thumping out "British Grenadiers" from the "National Songbook" while we yelled at the top of our voices.

Those were the days before school dinners and if you couldn't get home at lunchtime you carried your "piece" in a tin box. There was no plastic!

We ran about all over the village at lunchtime and were recalled by the headmaster's whistle.

There was also the "moss" behind the school where some of the villagers cut peat for their fires. This was also a place of great attraction but we were warned not to play there as there were some dangerous boggy parts. In winter there was great excitement when the nearby curling pond froze over and we could go sliding. The headmaster tested it first!.

When it rained there were drips coming through the ceiling but strategically placed pails caught the water.

When we had "painting" we had to wear gym shoes as we had to go out to the front of the class for every dip of the brush as the poster paints were on a big table in front of class. There was a huge box of khaki coloured gym shoes and you had to rake around to find 2 which fitted. They had the size marked in a large figure above the toes!

There was a huge coal fire in the class room and we used to stand at the firguard to dry our works of art. I remember one pupil setting hers alight.

Now there is a much newer school with no leaks and a very modern interior and visiting and specialist teachers. It was built in the neighbouring village of Kinnesswood.

I bet the pupils have no more fun than we had in our old leaky building!

For more reminiscences visit here.

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This is younger brother Jack's primary school class, along with their teacher. He must have been about 6 in this photo, which was taken, not in the playground but near the well, the roof of which can be seen in the background. He is back row at right hand side. You can tell which pupils lived close to school, the polished looking ones! They had time to go home at lunch time for a clean-up.

There is a certain " urchin" look about some of them!

No uniform at primary school but note the boys' ties.
The water of the well of spring water was reputed to have medicinal properties and was said to have been visited by Robert the Bruce in an attempt to cure his leprosy. (No roof then!!)
We played swinging on the bars of the barriers around the construction and fished out the pennies that visitors had thrown in for luck.

This school, with over 1000 pupils, was a big change for me from the small country school. This is my class, aged about 16, at secondary school, Perth Academy. This must have been the only day I didn't wear the uniform! Most people are very scathing about the navy blue gym slip but I quite liked it. Everyone was more or less the same. Nowadays, with no school uniform the pupils still manage to look the same--tracksuits and trainers!

I liked my schooldays and even liked school dinners, despite the fact that my mother was an excellent cook.

I cycled 6 miles every morning to catch the train 15 miles away in Perth and didn't get home till almost 5.30pm at night, except some Fridays, when I was to catch the bus to the "pictures" in Kinross, when I could make home by just after 5! I was so exhausted I couldn't eat my tea!

I am 2nd row from front, second left.

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