Thursday 16 February 2023

Gilbert the coal merchant


Gilbert the coal merchant

Gilbert with his friend, Herschel
We think Gilbert may have been a coal merchant in a previous existence. He has a fondness for selecting lumps of coal (actually anthracite) from the scuttle and taking them to his bed, his crate, the kitchen, the conservatory.

He enjoys munching them, though it’s not something we encourage. If he were a human female we might think he was ‘in an interesting condition.’
Gilbert with Selene-the-vet (left) last week

We’ve told him that Saturday is going to be very exciting for him but he looks quizzically at us, wondering if it means food - hoping it means food. So far, he’s liked everything he’s tried. Carrots are a particular favourite, but he also likes bananas, apples, pears, peaches, scrambled egg . . . well, anything, really. He takes his lead from Roxy, who considers that if the humans are eating something, it must be good. However, Roxy doesn't realise that the humans don't always eat things that are good for them - or for her.
Falling asleep with toys
Gilbert has been trying his paw at creative paper crafts, though we shall have to wait to see if he displays the same talent as Gus. The following is a critique of Gus’s work when he was 14 months old. It was published on February 10th, 2011.

Gus is an artist who displays distinction and diversity as he practises in different media. Still young, he has nonetheless shown great imagination and skill in his works to date and the art world expects great things of him as he matures. Below are two examples he intends to enter for the 2011 Turner Prize. As in previous years the Turner Prize Exhibition will be held at the Tate Britain in October. 

Gus's first exhibit is a wood carving he finished in the autumn of last year. Note the delicacy of the work and the contrast between the apparently random shapes and sizes. Some elements are so small as to be almost unnoticeable were it not for the strong background colour of the mount he chose for his work.

For his second piece Gus chose to work with found materials and selected a small tea carton on which to work his magic. He had intended to attempt an origami structure but discovered that the different textures he achieved made a more pleasing display. Note how some elements are roughly, almost crudely, torn, while others retain approximately their original form. Yet other components have been subtly punched to give an embossed texture. Again, the background has been cleverly selected to show the work to its best advantage. The dust and hairs are an integral part of the whole oeuvre.

Be sure to look out for Gus's name in the shortlist for the Turner Prize - we have high hopes for him.

 Sadly, Gus’s genius went unrecognised and he focused his attention elsewhere.

Yesterday, Gilbert tried gardening but then decided that playing with the empty pot was more fun, tossing it in the air and pouncing on it, rather like a cat. Bit confused, Gilbert?


  1. What a beautiful pup! Our dog will eat anything we hand her, but is particularly choosey about what is in her bowl. Maybe she is just being obedient and thinks it pleases us to eat whatever we hand her?

  2. They do aim to please, and food in the dog bowl is not nearly as enticing as anything from a human or leavings on a human's plate!

  3. Gilbert's attempt at gardening sounds much like mine as a baby.

  4. We just cannot believe that Gus never ever featured on the Turner Prize shortlist!
    Nobby says Gilbert is growing lad and needs all those calories!

  5. It's a mystery regarding the Turner Prize.
    Nobby has Gilbert's best interests at heart and clearly understands the nutritional needs of a growing pup.

  6. Hi Janice - perhaps Gilbert will grace us with his presence later this year - when the Turner Prize is at our Eastbourne Towner Gallery? They are so much fun as they grow ... when the weather's a little warmer - I might suggest offering him a rubber glove - my dog in South Africa spent one day running around the house throwing the glove up in the air, where it caught the wind and ballooned down ... he was totally bemused - as were we. He's growing ... but always fun to see - cheers Hilary

  7. Ooh, how splendid to have the Turner Prize in Eastbourne.
    Rubber glove, balloons for Gilbert to play with - what a good idea. Thank you, Hilary.

  8. What a fun post! Puppies are so much fun.

  9. My humum has gone all soft eyed over picturez of Gilbert. Speaking as a cat who like to be isolated from k9s I the Tigger think Herschel must be a very brave feline.

  10. He is intent on making Gilbert his friend. He just loves dogs!


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