Wednesday, 30 September 2009

I Remember Lassie.

As a puppy.

about 6 months old at the farm in the Borders.

aged about 6-7 years with Julie outside the house near Nethy Bridge , in the Highlands.

Lassie, a Rough Collie bitch was my first, very own dog. As a child I had always been a sucker for Lassie films and had sobbed my way through all of them and now I owned one of these wonderful, beautiful dogs and I couldn't name her anything else other than "Lassie"!

She was the wisest of dogs and always welcomed visitors, no matter how long it had been since she had last seen them and when the children were born she put up with all their nonsense as well.

My husband used to tell of how she would sleep on my side of the bed during the day if I was away from home for any length of time and he was outside. He never found her there: oh no, she always met him in the kitchen but the evidence was on the bed in the shape of a "nest" and sand from her coat!

She could be left to run about the farmyard if we were away and she never strayed, unlike a Samoyed I had in later years who wandered continually and had to be confined.

The only damage she ever did was when she was a puppy and she tore some wallpaper. I think fondly of this when clearing up the debris in the kitchen after my papillon pups are left to their own devices!

She died aged 13 years, while we were living on the farm at Nethy Bridge, Inverness-shire.

( the photos are all from scanned slides)

For more "memory" stories look here.

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Tuesday, 29 September 2009

My World photo.

This is the view we get of our valley when returning from the south. When we reach the top of Balmanno Hill we can see the wide flat valley of the River Tay and the confluence with its tributary, the River Earn. The whole of this area is liable to flood after heavy rain, but it is a very fertile part of the country. My village of Abernethy is just off right, at the bottom of this hill.
It's a great place to live, rural but not far from towns. Perth, Dundee, Stirling and Edinburgh can all be reached within an hour and Aberdeen, Glasgow and Inverness are also easily accessible.
Read more of other areas in the world of others by clicking here.
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Tass makes a comeback.

Photo by Sue Gray (Gennasus)

Tass wins the Toy Veteran Class at Perth Open Show last Saturday and seemed to enjoy her outing after 2 years out of the ring, after being made up to a champion. She was full of her old bounce and vitality.

.......and we also spotted this...

What not to wear when showing and stacking a very small dog!! The tantalising glimpse of the green pants just "takes the biscuit".
Now where can I park my bike?
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Monday, 28 September 2009

To Belfast and back--an anniversary post!

It's exactly a year since I started blogging (and virtually stopped doing much housework or watching television!).

On Saturday night we boarded our "dog" bus to take us to the championship show in Belfast. I tried to get as much sleep as possible on the journey as lack of it makes the show a bit of an endurance test, especially for the older woman! I don't remember much after the first few miles from the Forth Road Bridge, the starting point, until the jolting of the slowing coach awoke me at the ferry port in Stranraer. We were at least a couple of hours too early for our crossing to Ireland but that soon passed as I again managed to sleep until we were aboard the vessel and had to leave the coach and go up to the passenger deck where most of us again stretched out on the seating and closed our eyes for the 2 hour passage.

It didn't really matter that the weather turned out fine after a chilly start as were were judged inside. One judge took his time going over the 2 breeds scheduled before us in our ring before our papillon judge whizzed through our dogs so fast we hardly had time to think or write down the results. We had time for a run for the dogs in a convenient enclosure, a quick look around the stalls, back to load our gear into the coach and we hurtled back to the ferry port in case we missed the gate for our booking, as goodness knows when we would have been able to board another ferry that night due to the huge number of vehicles heading back to Scotland.

This time we ordered a meal for the crossing and the time flew past. Back on the bus it was again lights out and everyone fell asleep till we reached the first dropping off point on the outskirts of Glasgow. That was when I remembered I hadn't phoned Chic to tell him the estimated time of our arrival back at the Forth Bridge to pick me up. Horror of horrors, when I switched on my phone, (it's always off during the show) there were 21 unanswered calls, 13 from Chic and 8 from Carole's husband as she too hadn't switched on her phone. Luckily he had worked out it wouldn't be before 10pm. In fact he had to wait for an hour. "I'm for it," I thought, but he was remarkably calm. I did say that if the boat had gone down with all hands it would have made the TV news!

All in all it was an enjoyable day as I had managed a fair bit of sleep and we came back, Carole and I, with a 2nd, a 3rd and a 4th placing, so none of our exhibits had been "thrown out"!

....must book a seat for next year's show.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

My SkyWatch photo.

This was sunrise in late September as seen from my back door in Abernethy, Perthshire, Scotland at about 7am.

For beautiful photographs of worldwide skies look at this site.

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Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Tina's new pups.

What a difference a few hours make! Mid evening yesterday we had the breakthrough I was hoping for...Tina began licking the pups and even moved over beside them and they finally started feeding unaided. I did spend the night beside them, waking up now and again to check that all was well, which it was. Thank goodness!
A few hours old. The 2 bitches are nearer the camera.
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These last 3 photos show a much more relaxed Tina with her pups on Wednesday morning.

Showing her huge ears...hope the pups inherit this trait!

Pups feeding. The dog has more colour on his back than his sisters.
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Tuesday, 22 September 2009

There will be a short break!

There has to be. Tina , the little pale coloured papillon has had her three pups but there had to be a Caesarian section performed on her and I've had a busy day trying to help them to latch on and suck and persuade Tina that they actually belong to her . I think they have all been affected by the anaesthetic...I'm feeling a bit like that myself after spending all last night watching her as she went into labour and with not so much as a short nap today and the prospect of another night on the living room floor next to the "nursery" it looks like I might take longer to recover than expected. The trouble seems to have been caused by the pups being big. Now don't laugh, you owners of bigger breeds of dogs, but these 3 pups each weighed almost 8 ozs., and that is a fair size for a papillon!
See you soon...with photos.

My World---Perth.

Perth, or The Fair City as it is often referred to, lies about 8 miles north of our village and grew around a crossing over the River Tay, the lowest crossing on the river till the ill-fated first Tay railway bridge was built in the late 19th century, at Dundee. There is mention of a bridge at Perth in the 13th century, which was eventually destroyed by floods. Several successive bridges were built but all were lost due to storms, and after one such storm which swept the bridge away in 1621 there was no foot crossing for 150 years. Boats were used to ferry goods across this swift flowing, treacherous part of the river, and, at one time, more than 30 boats were in operation.

Today there are 4 bridges crossing the Tay at Perth. viz. Smeaton's Bridge, usually called Perth Bridge, which was built in 1771 and proved strong enough to withstand the floods and ice floes in the river in winter; the railway bridge; Queens Bridge, just a few hundred yards downstream from Perth Bridge and opened in 1960 ; and finally, just east of the town, stands the modern, high and exposed Friarton Bridge carrying traffic, heading north, to bypass the town and make for Dundee or farther north.

For other posts in this meme look here.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Views of Perth and the bridges.

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We know they're up there!


The object of their desire!

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If ever anything was guaranteed to cause an uproar it has to be making soup, or indeed anything that involves carrots. I tend to peel the offending vegetables and the peelings are snapped up by my dogs as if it were caviar. There is no end to the yapping, leaping up and down and general mayhem whenever they appear. Like when a bath is in the offing, my little canines sense me heading in the direction of the vegetable rack, only on this occasion, instead of fleeing for cover, they are like bees round a honey-pot. I've gone so far as to consider storing and peeling the carrots in the bedroom! They do like their peelings with even little pot-bellied, pregnant Tina joining in the scrabble for the "gold" as I scattered the skins outside.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Another Sky photo.

This is another sundown sky shot taken from our front door about a week ago.

If you like to look at interesting "sky" photographs or even add your own, follow this link.

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Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Mo and the weekend shows.

Mo (Pyatshaw Ravel) who had won Best of Breed at both shows at the weekend, Lothian in Edinburgh on Saturday and Lochaber at Fort William on Sunday. At Edinburgh he was 4th in the Toy Group, judged by Mrs J Barraclough but he won this group at Fort William where it was judged by Mr. Bert Easdon.

Sue Gray (Gennasus) took the photograph at Lochaber Show.

Here Mo is posing with Jasper (Pug), Sadie (German Shepherd) and Charlotte (Beagle).
Ben Nevis is in the background but although part of the mountain is seen clearly the top part is hidden by a persistent cloud...a not unusual occurrence for the Ben!
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Tuesday, 15 September 2009

I Remember The Clipping.

This week my post for I Remember Whensday is about the above photograph, again a scanned slide, and it must have been taken in the early '60s.

This shows my father and younger brother, Jack, clipping (shearing) Blackface sheep in, probably, July. We didn't have a huge flock of sheep as dad didn't like to have all his farming eggs in one basket! We had a dairy, milking , at that time, about 40 cows, (later my elder brother increased this greatly), a good few acres crop and a flock of sheep grazing the hill ground...truly a mixed farm. The number of sheep didn't justify bringing in a team of shearers so dad and my brothers did the clipping themselves.

The weather was all important for this task as the fleeces had to be dry for this.

Here they are using clippers powered by the tractor, which was deemed a big step forward from the old hand shears and clipping on top of a tarpaulin to keep the fleeces as clean as possible. I often had the job of rolling and tying the fleeces before they were packed into huge sacks to be collected later. I remember that the Blackface fleeces had to be rolled outside in and some others were rolled right way out.

Once I had invited a town friend to stay at the farm during the clipping and she had never witnessed this, ever. One of the men "nicked" a sheep's skin with the shears and of course it bled. The culprit worker called for the Terebine Balsam (I think that's how it was spelt), which was a strong antiseptic used for such injuries, and poured some over the wound. It also kept the blueflies away from the open cut. My friend read the bottle label and said, aghast,, "It says to apply neat but he just poured it over it's skin!"

After every sheep was shorn they were taken to a neighbouring farm to be dipped to prevent the occurrence of maggots and ticks etc. All able bodied people about the place were called on to assist in the herding of the sheep the mile to the dipper. We had to stand in gateways and tracks to keep the flock on the correct route. As a child I had the job of counting the sheep as they went in to the dipper but sometimes I thought I had missed one and counted it (again) as it came out. Father was never convinced I'd got it right and ended up counting them by himself in the pen. After the sheep were finished the collies were put in the dipper for their annual cleanse.

This is one of my memories of yesteryear. To see others why not look here.

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Monday, 14 September 2009

My World - Loch Laggan and "Glenbogle".

This collage shows views of the loch, the dam, Ardverikie House and the little turreted lodge.
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The weekend was a busy dog-showing time for me with Saturday being in Edinburgh and Sunday in Fort William. The Sunday show entailed a 2 hour journey through another scenic part of the Highlands. This was along Loch Laggan in Inverness-shire, well known to many as the setting for the TV series, Monarch of The Glen, with Ardverikie House used as the ficticious Glenbogle House. It sits on the shore of Loch Laggan but can only be reached by a private road up the opposite side of the loch from the public road from Newtonmore to Spean Bridge. I had to climb over the traffic barrier and slither down a steep gravelly bank to the rocks at the edge of the loch in order to get a clear view of the house and even then I had to stoop down to almost water level to see through the hanging branches of the silver birches to take the photograph. Also included is a picture of the little lodge house, a turreted, miniature castle, at the start of the estate road. The main house appears to be undergoing renovations at the moment judging by the scaffolding round part of the building.

The western end of the loch has been damned, where it runs into the River Spean, and the hydro electricity produced from the water flow from this is used to operate the aluminium works near Fort William. The water is diverted to Loch Treig and then flows through a tunnel to come out part way up Ben Nevis then down through pipes, easily seen from the road leading to the town, to the smelter.
To see some other parts of the world and their stories click here.

Friday, 11 September 2009

My two ladies in waiting.

They are Tina and Tass. Tina is waiting to have her pups very soon and Tass is waiting to re-enter the ring as a veteran. Her debut is at a local show in two weeks time. She has been out of the ring since being made up to a champion two years ago. She gave motherhood a go but decided it wasn't for her--she was a hopeless mum. She'd prefer to be a career girl rather than be landed the job of cleaning rear ends.
These photos were taken this forenoon--our third day with sunshine and not one drop of rain!

Tina, who is due to whelp in a week's time.

Tass, still with traces of mud from yesterday's walk sticking to her legs and paws and that was after a brush . In the end she was given a bath to clean her up----till the next time!
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Thursday, 10 September 2009

My SkyWatch photo.

This is the weekly meme where members from all over post some of their favourite photographs featuring some sky. Do go and have a look and you might like to join in. It's easy, it must be, I managed!

This was Findhorn Bay last Sunday forenoon. I had never visited before but must go back to spend more time looking around. I was en route to a dogshow when I took a little detour.

The village of Findhorn lies next to the bay and was once a busy fishing and ship building village but that is more or less gone and it is now a major water sports and yachting centre for this coast. Caravan and camping grounds abound for there is also an extensive beach running eastwards on the Moray Firth coastline. The mudflats, exposed at low tide in the bay, attract numerous birds and this area has been designated a Nature Reserve.

Today's village is the third to stand on the site, where a settlement has been known to exist since the 12th century. A terrible storm in the 17th century buried the original village in sand so a replacement was subsequently built but it too suffered an awful fate, being swept away in a great flood in early 18th century. The only thing I really knew about the place was that it was home to The Findhorn Foundation, a spiritual group, and now houses a vast eco village with numerous businesses. For more information on this, visit this site.

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Bonnie Scotland!

This time of year, in the sunshine, fairly rare this year, the heather is blooming and to me, nothing is more beautiful. This photograph was taken last Sunday when I drove north to Moray and is of a farm , with its surrounding patch of cultivated ground , lying on the edge of the wild and sometimes desolate Dava Moor, just to the north of Grantown on Spey. These muted colours are used in the tweed produced in Scotland. I love the mauves and greens.
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Wednesday, 9 September 2009

SUN, at last.

The puddly track--and the stubble fields are sodden also.

So it does exist! We've had one of the dreichest summers ever, with the last dry week being what seems like months ago. The long range forecast, back in spring, was for a bar-b-q summer...not unless you barbecued under a gazebo out in the garden with your wellies on and even then your gazebo would have been in dire danger of doing a "Mary Poppins" over the village rooftops! Strangely enough, some places farther north in Scotland have had a fairly decent spell.

Anyway, after another wet one yesterday, today has been brilliant, albeit with the feel of autumn in the air now.

All our usual dog walking routes are more or less water logged with the resulting mucky dogs.

Mo annoying Spencer on top of a round bale.
(shame about the handle growing out of his back!)

Mo blowing in the wind.

Tass on the bale.

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Tuesday, 8 September 2009

I remember summer 1967

The 5 musketeers and Jack's Mini van.(from a scanned slide, as is the next photo)

All dressed up for a night on the town.

My brother, Jack, on the extreme left in both pictures, brought his 4 pals up to the farm at Nethy Bridge to help with the hay carting and building and also to have a holiday. At that age you holiday at night and sleep during the day (unless you are haymaking!)

Don't you just love the drainpipe trousers, especially Jack's "Rupert Bear" pattern and even more so worn with the red tartan shirt! Two of the boys are brothers. They are the two wearing ties (excluding Jack) and white shirts and were always fashionably and immaculately dressed when out for a night. NB the 60's hairstyles of these brothers..a sort of upward and inward curl from both sides as sported by film and pop stars of the era.

One night they went off to Inverness, a distance of about 30 miles, in their various vehicles. Some time in the very early morning we were awakened by banging on the door. One of their number had taken some girl home and, after a day lifting hay bales and no sleep, he had fallen asleep at the wheel, gone off the road, crashed into a telephone pole and knocked it over and, of course, this was outside the isolated house of the local policeman, the only house for miles! One of the others came across him, for remember there were no mobile phones then, and brought him home as the car was stuck in the field. They borrowed our lorry with its livestock container and drove back up to the crash scene. Somehow or other they all managed to get the car out of the field, up the back ramp of the container and lift it up the final step into the cattle float. ..all this done without waking the "bobby".

For more stories on "I Remember Whensday" click here.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Another part of my world.

The Inverness-shire farm in the centre of the picture is where we lived in the 1960s and '70s. The big white farmhouse we lived in can be partly seen in a sort of "V" among the trees, centre photo. The other white house farther left has been built in later years. In the background are the Cairngorm Mountains and hidden among the trees behind the farm is the village of Nethy Bridge. I think this is one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland but not the best place in which to farm due to the unpredictable nature of the River Spey and its tributary the River Nethy which bordered the grounds.

This is Broomhill bridge. a wooden structure, constructed at the end of the 19th century, which crosses the swift flowing Spey not far from the farm. The River Nethy joins the main stream just a few hundred yards upstream from here and this is what causes the trouble. The Nethy rises in the Cairngorms and when there is a sudden thaw of snow from the hills, or torrential rain higher up, this river rises suddenly and because the Spey is already high it cannot empty into it and so floods into the fields. We experienced such a flood in our first summer there, losing most of our hay bales and some sheep in the river.

This view, looking back towards Broomhill Bridge, shows the flooded fields on the left of the road. I saw this on Sunday, the result of the recent prolonged downpour of several days.

More people tell of their worlds here. Go on, have a look!

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