We discovered three pieces were missing as we neared completion - h'mmm . . . MONTY!!!
Friday, 28 August 2009
We discovered three pieces were missing as we neared completion - h'mmm . . . MONTY!!!
Thursday, 27 August 2009
The second and third photos will enlarge if clicked - don't know why the others won't . . .
It was getting late - past eight o' clock - and the sun was setting.
Marnie was hauling Dominie on her wheels. In this photo she and Callum and Kiri are pulling Dominie out of the pond. The Labradors, Tia, Jenna and Foxy were enjoying lots of swims.
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Foxy: Oops! Spoke too soon!
Dominie: Mind where you're stepping, Jenna . . .
Foxy: She's gone - c'mon, c'mon . . .
Dominie: Jenna, Foxy's playing with me. No, we don't want to play chew the bone. No, no, we really don't . . .
Foxy: I'm not saying anything.
Dominie: Ignore her - she'll soon go away.
Foxy: . . . but she's my friend - you're my friend - I want to be friends with everyone.
The late unfortunate Michael Jackson is in the news again – and again – and again. It would appear that UK news stations are determined to continue to exploit him. We think there is a phenomenon at work which we call 'The Jackson Factor'. It works thus – the amount of news coverage is in inverse proportion to the importance of any event. The highest Jackson Factor score would be 10 where news items of no global impact are given excessive/continuous exhaustive air time. The lowest score of 1 would be awarded to events of global significance that receive little or no media attention.
To illustrate the point take the example of serious life-threatening water shortage for millions of people. For many years the UN has warned that water shortages will become one of the most urgent problems worldwide in coming years. One estimate is that four billion people will be affected by 2050. India, with a growing population and increasing agricultural and manufacturing output, is facing huge problems of water supply in rural and urban areas. Climate change may mean there will be less rainfall in future. Northern India has experienced the driest season for more than eighty years; the monsoon is late and the people are praying for rain as they struggle to live through a widespread drought. Fights have broken out and murders have been committed as desperate people rush to fill vessels with water during the limited periods that water flows through the pipes. For example, in Bhopal, known as the 'City of Lakes', the thousand-year-old largest man-made lake has shrunk from 38 sq km to 5 sq km. The population, some 1.8 million, has had water rationed to 30 minutes' supply every other day since last October. That ration is now reduced to one day in three. Indore, not far from Bhopal, is rationed to 30 minutes' supply every seven days.
In the south Mumbai has had heavy rainfall and flooding but even so levels in the lakes have dropped, forcing the water supply to be cut by 30%.
This startling, appalling chain of events scores extremely low on the Jackson Factor scale. It fails to grab reporting honours for the following reasons: it lacks 'celebrities', it is happening in an impoverished continent not inhabited by Westerners, it has no spectator participation with the attendant thrill of feeling that 'your vote counts'.
Recent Michael Jackson UK media coverage scores 10. Calamitous events in Bhopal score 1. Casualties in Afghanistan, while not global, affect many nations whose military forces are engaged and receive very little coverage. Deaths are reported while large numbers of maimed survivors are barely mentioned. Civilian casualties in Afghanistan are rarely mentioned. Low Jackson Factor of ??
Can we expect or predict that this over-reporting of 'non-news' will continue in a downward spiral to banality? Are we seeing the end of serious reporting of dramatic global events that will affect us all? Has sensationalist celebrity reporting overtaken the serious business of presenting information on matters of international and global importance?
It would be interesting to know if this phenomenon is being seen in other countries around the world.
Thought you'd like to know I'm supplementing my diet. Caught and ate a spider yesterday – bit peppery in parts but that'll teach Mrs H to restrict my food intake don'tcha know.
(Note from Mrs H – if Winston's going to eat spiders I'll cut his food even further!)
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
We went to lunch one Sunday with a friend of Barry's from long ago. One of the other guests was looking for a home for an adult Munsterlander. We talked about it during our ninety minute drive home and then decided that if we really wanted another dog we would prefer a Dalmatian, another running companion for Barry. After many phone calls we came across a five-month-old dog from a very well-known kennels. His breeder, Karen Goff-Leggett, had three young males and had to find a home for one of them. She had decided that Frodo would be the one but she wanted him to go to a home with other dogs, preferably Dalmatians, where he would have company and be well-exercised. We duly travelled to Lincolnshire and returned home with the piratical-looking Frodo. He was born around the time of the release of one of the 'Lord of the Rings' films and had been named accordingly. His registered kennel name is Washakie Lord of the Rings. (One of the others was called Dudley as he was born at the time of Dudley Moore's demise.)
Karen had already entered him for the Windsor Dog Show when he would be just six months old. I needed a crash course in handling for the show ring. Our first visit to Ringcraft class caused Frodo to bark at every dog that came near him – not an auspicious start. We survived the first show – in fact Frodo qualified for Cruft's which is not as great an achievement as it sounds; a puppy qualifies if it comes in the first three of a class in which it's entered in a Championship show. I entered him for several more shows but the summer of 2002 was very hot and I thought it would be unwise to subject him to extreme temperatures so didn't take him along. At our next show, a Dalmatian show, we galloped round the ring with Frodo attempting to take lumps out of the other competitors as we passed. When it was his turn to have the judge 'go over him' he growled at her – just a very soft, back-of-the-throat growl – and for me that was the deciding factor. Maybe he would have grown out of his mistrust but I felt he was not happy in the ring and so his short show career finished. In fact, he is a very reserved dog until he knows someone and then he's a friend for life. He is the same with other dogs unless they visit our house.
As it transpired the decision was a good one for he developed epilepsy just before his third birthday. It is not very severe – his seizures are short and his pre- and post-ictal behaviour are neither pronounced nor long. He has had one eleven-month seizure-free period but now the fits occur every three to five weeks.
Because of his wary attitude to strange people and dogs we worried greatly about introducing young animals. We need not have been apprehensive for he has consistently shown himself to be the gentlest of dogs with puppies and kittens (and babies) He had never met cats before he came home with us but was fascinated by the two elderly blue Burmese cats we then had, nosing and licking them. When Singleton passed on he and blind Pansy searched for her for a whole day, looking in all her usual haunts – they were both very puzzled by her absence. A year later Pansy died and once more he came to question me with his beautiful, intelligent eyes. The two Ocicats we have now are very relaxed with him, batting him with soft paws, licking him and curling up to sleep with him.
We laughingly call him the 'Velcro dog' for he sticks to me like cleavers. When out walking he rarely travels more than ten seconds without turning to see where I am. Indoors he is my constant shadow when awake. The anti-epilepsy drugs he takes cause him to sleep very heavily, like a puppy or an old dog, so that I can leave a room without him waking and following me. However, should the phone ring he's awake and howling instantly. Indeed our neighbours tell us that they always know when we're out because they hear the howling. I hasten to add this does not happen frequently – we rarely leave home without our dogs!
So, although we originally had no intention of acquiring another dog our handsome Frodo has brought much laughter into our lives as well as quite a few challenges. He is extraordinarily affectionate and very protective of his pack. I could walk anywhere with him and feel completely secure. Of all our dogs he is the most responsive returning immediately when called or whistled - the others come when they've finished their interesting sniffs, or in Jenna's case, the pursuit of deer!
To learn more about Frodo you might like to read the 'Frodo the Faller' posts - 'The Adventures of Frodo the Faller' and 'The Further Adventures of Frodo the Faller'.
Monday, 24 August 2009
Winston here . . . p'rrrrr, p'rrrrr . . .
Do you like my latest portraits? Mrs Human thinks I'm putting on too much weight but Mr H says I've got a lovely tiger tummy – it swings when I walk and even faster when I run don'tcha know. Anyway Mrs H says she's putting me on a diet. Monty's got a tiger tummy too but she's not putting him on a diet. Well, she started it the other day and Gillian laughed and said I'd turned into Hunter Cat coz I was prowling around by the conservatory door while Monty ate his chicken wings. Then I went in and had mine. It's all right – I mean, I'm not starving – well, not yet, anyway.Gillian and Mrs H have been fiddling about with small bits of coloured cardboard. Someone must have broken something and they were trying to put it back together again. It takes hours to mend just a little bit. Anyway, they mended one the other day and they were quite pleased 'cept they said there was a piece missing and wasn't that a shame? Looked all right to me and it was nice and warm to sleep on.
Next thing I know Marnie's broken it again. Monty and me thought she'd get into trouble after all the time it took Gillian and Mrs H to put it together but they actually thanked her. Then Mrs H brought in another box of broken bits and they started all over again. There's a special board they put it on and it's just right for stretching my claws, then I curl up on it and watch them till I fall asleep. Monty's a bit of a pest though coz he likes to get in the box with the bits and scrabble around. Gillian's afraid he'll think it's another litter tray coz the bits make a rattling noise like our litter. Sometimes he walks all over the mended bits and pulls them up with his claws. I walk over them too but I don't break them. I only pull up the keys on Mrs H's laptop – only by mistake though.
Everyone's getting excited coz Gareth and Nina's coming at the weekend. They've been in Noo Yawk for two years in a place called Man at'em ever so high up and now they're coming home. There's goin'to be a party coz it's Kiri's birthday on Sunday – she's ever so old don'tcha know – fourteen. It's goin' to be a party for Eve too coz she was eight in July but they were busy packing up to come back so Mr and Mrs H kept her presents here. Don't know if the others are coming. I'll tell you in my next blog.
Sunday, 23 August 2009
'Marigold' derives from 'Mary's Gold' and the plant is associated with the Virgin Mary. Tagetes were brought to England by Huguenot refugees. They fled France after the St Bartholomew massacre of 1572 when tens of thousands of French protestants were murdered by Catholic mobs influenced by the French queen Catherine de Medici.
The name 'Pansy' comes from the French 'pensee' (can't place the acute accent on the first 'e') meaning 'thought' as the flower is considered to resemble a human face.
Thank you to Luiz Santillo Jr for creating this meme and for hosting it with Denise Gullickson, Laerte Pupo and Valkyrien.
Saturday, 22 August 2009
Qu'est-ce que c'est que ca? or - What the blazes is that?
Friday, 21 August 2009
I believe this is a school photograph of my father's class. It was taken around 1910. Class sizes haven't changed much since then. Look carefully and you may see a terrier-type dog between the girls in the front row and another small black dog at the right of that row. I think my father is fourth from the left in the second row.
Thursday, 20 August 2009
It was a pleasant sunny day and the sky was interesting. Despite the 'No U-turn' sign some drivers decided to risk it!
Beyond the fence there was a pig farm.
They had plenty of room to root around, adequate shelters and water and there were many crows keeping them company. Pigs need shade as they can suffer from sunburn.
It's good to know there are parking lay-bys ahead with public telephones. Cars overheat or break down and it's not always possible to get a signal on a mobile (cell) phone.
When we reached the turn off to Stonehenge we saw the cause of the traffic jam. There had been an accident on the opposite side of the road. Ambulance and police were in attendance and people on our side of the carriageway had been rubber-necking. Ghouls!
The traffic flowed freely thereafter.
If you would like to see other skies from around the globe please click here
Thank you to the hosts of this meme, Klaus, Sandy, Ivar, Wren, Fishing Guy and Louise.
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Sunday, 16 August 2009
. . . but he likes standing in the long grass!
Saturday, 15 August 2009
It is munching the fly in the following photograph, difficult though it is to see.