Friday, 18 April 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014 - 'P'

P - Parson Jack Russell Terrier, Pippa, Pug

We have already seen a Jack Russell Terrier under 'J'. The feisty, energetic Parson Jack Russell is its recognised show variety. It was this man 

Parson Jack Russell, 1795- 1883
who bred the dogs named after him. The only Parson Jack Russell that I've met was a Parson Jack Russell crossed with a Border Terrier.

Ozzy - a Parson Jack Russell/Border Terrier cross
He wasn't at all interested in meeting me; he wanted to be off chasing the squirrels he could see.

With Pippa it's a different story, she strains at the leash to reach me. To look at her in this photo you would think that butter would not melt in her mouth.

Pippa - a Cockerpoo
Pippa featured in my North Yorkshire Dogs series here along with her playmates, Poppy the Westie and Morse, the black Labrador with the tongue.

Poppy, Pippa and Morse
When I meet Betty I always feel she has her beady eyes on me.

Betty - a Pug, toy dog
Pugs were known in ancient China and as you can see they have a definite personality despite their small size.

Novices wishing to become members of the Mops-Orden or Order of the Pug (a one-time Roman Catholic ladies para-masonic society) had to kiss a Pug's backside under its tail as part of their initiation ceremony. As members they carried a silver Pug medallion.

Perhaps I should add that that Pug's backside was made of porcelain!


Thursday, 17 April 2014

A-Z Challenge - O'

O - Otterhound, Old English Bulldog, Old English Sheepdog

This post has an old feel about it as the Otterhound is an old British dog breed.

Two Otterhounds
The Otterhound, one of the ancestral breeds for the Airedale Terrier (see A), is now a Vulnerable Native Breed. A scent hound it was, as the name suggests, bred for hunting otters.

Otters have been on the list of protective species since the late 1970s and otter hunting has ceased. The number of Otterhounds has decreased despite some switching to hunting mink.

As I boy I remember going on otter hunts on the River Chater in Rutland. I wouldn't be telling the truth if I said I remembered the hounds - I never saw an otter either.

Old English Bulldog
This chap we met on a walk at the Portrack Nature Reserve at Stockton-on-Tees. This ancient breed was developed for bull-baiting around the 13th century. Now that;s a 'sport' I'm glad no longer exists.

I'm sure we would all recognise the 'Dulux' dog from the advertisements.

Old English Sheepdog
Once known as the 'Bobtail' English Sheepdog due it's docked stubby tail, the Old English Sheepdog makes many fictional appearances. The one I always remember is 'Boot' in the strip cartoon "The Perishers" in the Daily Mirror.

The first Perishers' cartoon
Other Sheepdog stars were Colonel in "One Hundred and One Dalmatians" and Digby in "The Biggest Dog in the World." 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Hungry? - Thematic Photography

The only way I could tackle this was to eat my way through the day.

Just a bagel and marmalade with cup of tea to start the day.

Lunch was a little more elaborate,

Lunch platter
Working clockwise this is what there was - 
  • Corn beef  sandwich (brown bread of course)
  • Tomato
  • Piece of Camembert 
  • Cracker with pate
  • Chocolate spread on bread crust
  • Grapes
  • Half a banana
When it came to our evening meal this is what I had - 

Liver and three veg (potatoes, carrots & green beans)
Followed by - 

Hidden under the yogurt and grated chocolate are pineapple chunks and blueberries.

I wonder what it will be tomorrow? Meanwhile check out what made others hungry at Carmi's thematic-photographic-290.

A-Z Challenge 2014 - 'N'

N - Norfolk/Norwich Terrier, Newfoundland

I knew nothing about either of these terriers until I looked them up, apparently the Norfolk is a variety of the Norwich Terrier. You can distinguish between them by looking at their ears.

A recently groomed Norfolk Terrier
(By Flillia; 6 April 2008; PD)
The Norfolk was recognised as a separate breed in 1960 and has dropped ears; the Norwich Terrier's ears are pricked,

You would have no problem identifying a Newfoundland from its size, A large dog weighing in at over 70kg, it hails from the province of Newfoundland in Canada where with its webbed feet and water resistant fur it was a dog favoured by fishermen.

Newfoundland Dog (Young R├╝de)

(By Gunter Rott, January 2006; Newfoundlanddog at de.wikipedia; CC BY-SA 3.0)
These large dogs may be black, brown, white and black (Landseer) or grey. That Landseer 'colour' arises from a series of paintings by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer of the black and white Newfoundlands.

Lion, a Newfoundland Dog - 1824 oil painting

(By Sir Edwin Henry Landseer - ex Google Art Project)
Newfoundlands feature in poems and stories.

Boatswain, the pet of Lord Byron, became the subject of his poem "Epitaph to a Dog" and had a memorial built for him at Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire after his death from rabies.

The Boatswain Memorial (inscription)

(By Steve Dufour, 7 Sept 2007 - original photo by Ray Treece)
In literature the pet dog of Edward Fairfax Rochester in Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" was a Newfoundland named Pilot.

It should come as no surprise that J M Barrie had a pet Landseer Newfoundland (Luath) which was said to have been the inspiration for Nana, the nurse dog of Wendy, John and Michael in his classic story of "Peter Pan."

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A-Z Challenger 2014 - 'M'

M - Maltese. Mongrel/Mutt, Matriarch

I always knew what this post would be about. It just had to about Gem, the black Labrador Mutt, in the gang of four that appeared in yesterday's post.

However just so that you don't think I'm biased I'll include a picture of a breed of dog that I have never seen. She is a toy dog; one of those descended from dogs originating in the Central Mediterranean area.

"Vairette", a Maltese at a Championship in Birmingham
(By Sannse , 29 August 2003, CC BY-SA 3.0)
But in the "Gang of Four" the two Golden Labradors were the original "Dogs of Troy" and with pedigrees felt they were above such lowly beings as 'mutts.' I let them tell you the story of how Gem changed their minds.

"We had just got our new home sussed when one fateful day we ran out of food. We were left on our own while the mad English woman and the man that also feeds us went out in their car – we thought to buy some more. Then shock and awe, (a phrase we used way before George Bush had heard of it), they came back from the pet store with more than a supply of food.
With them was a small black bundle of fur with legs at each corner. Now we had to share our home with Gem, a six-week old puppy which had been left at the rescue centre in the store. We were not too sure what we should do. After all, we were upmarket pedigree dogs while Gem was just a black lab mutt and a refugee.

Gem, the mutt
We soon learnt as Gem grew bigger that she was smarter than she looked – how could such a young pup have become so ‘streetwise’ at such young an age? Nevertheless we had to teach her not to gnaw things that did not belong to her and not to pee on the kitchen floor. Outside she was such a little thing that the English woman with long legs had to bend right down to stroke and make a fuss of her.

Gem gets some attention
 We were more considerate as by this time we were tall enough to be stroked without anyone having to bend down and anyway we had learnt how to climb and sit on the furniture – how we liked the settee and the soft chairs. Mind you all three of us had to sleep in the garage with two cars.
Her fur  different to ours and when it grew long and it was a hot summer she was taken back to the pet store to have it clipped. She hated it! The first time she went she really showed what she thought of the indignity because when the mad English woman went to collect her she rushed out of the store and across the road and climbed into the front seat of the first car she saw with an open door. You must have thought she was going to be left behind. We can imagine what the car driver thought on being attacked by a black projectile as Gem hurtled in. The mad English woman had to rescue her and apologise on Gem’s behalf. Gem now is calmer when she’s sheared – but she doesn’t have to like it.
Houdini would have been a better name for Gem. It wasn’t long before she perfected ways of escaping from our corral. She could always find that loose bit of wire under which she could squeeze even if she had to dig a hole first. Before she was big enough to jump the fence she perfected a technique of climbing it, balancing on the top prior to making yet another break. Many times when those that feed us came home she would be sitting outside the fence and they never knew how she had got there.

Gem in 2013
Years later Gem became the star at an Olympics for disabled children in Michigan, despite the fact that she had had no training for this. She just loves being the centre of attention and being fondled. The fact that she was allowed to lick their faces made her day.

Incidentally we should explain that the three of us don’t really think our English woman is mad. It’s just that other humans think she and her husband must be mad to keep three dogs. We can imagine what they thought when, a year after Gem joined us, and three dogs at Deer Trail became four with the addition of a chocolate brown Labrador called Jack. With his arrival the pack, known as "The Gang of Four" was complete."

It was Maxie (on the right) who was the 'Matriarch' of the "Gang". Guess who has become the 'Matriarch' of a gang in her old age. (You''ll meet Gem's gang later under the letter 'R'.)

Gem, the Matriarch
Not bad for just a mutt!

(Depending on the source a mongrel or mutt is defined as|:
  • A dog of no definable type or breed.
  • A dog not the result of breeding and belonging to no breed.
Gem would feel insulted!)

When it comes to dogs I meet in the village one of the most nervous dogs I met  could also be classed as a mutt although there's a lot of the Border Collie in her.

When I was walking behind her she looked back, nearly every step, apparently worried at my presence. It took a long time, almost a year, for her to get over this. Now I'm pleased to say she comes to meet me and waits to be stoked before barking quietly to show her pleasure.

Monday, 14 April 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014 - 'L'

L- Lhasa Apso, Labrador Retriever

I hadn't met a Lhasa Apso until one moved into my village last year. Lhasa Apsos originated in Tibet where they were bred to guard Buddhist monasteries  and warn of any intruders. They may be classified as non-sporting dogs but Billy always seems to be having fun,

Lhasa Apso; Billy waiting to cross the road.
Every time I meet him he always has that grin and a twinkle in his eye.

The next four dogs have all appeared on my blog at one time or another. Collectively they were known as 'The Gang of Four.'

'The Gang of Four' - Gem, Sam, Jack and Maxie
Sam, Jack and Maxie were Labrador Retrievers; Jack you met in this year's challenge under 'J'; Gem will appear later under 'M'.

The story of the two Golden Labs, brother and sister, Sam and Maxie, appeared as 'The Dogs of Troy' here. 

The 'true-life' tale of 

Sam - Golden (Yellow) Labrador
"When darkness falls" appeared in the UK publication "Dogs Monthly" in June 2012. [I really should post the article on my blog after the Challenge is complete.] Sufficient for the moment to say that when Sam was 11, he went blind. He had sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS).

Of course this entitled him to special treats like this:

Sam cleans out a peanut butter jar.
Maxie made it to a different UK magazine for a different reason and that's something that will appear in the Challenge under the difficult letter 'Q'.

Just last week I met two, 5 month old, Golden Labrador puppies in my village that reminded me of Sam and Maxie when they were young, except they are better behaved!

Golden Labrador puppies - Duke & Alfie; 
Just don't ask me which is which. Apparently Alfie has a black mark on one of his ears, but you would have to examine four ears closely to identify him that way. Perhaps that's why they wear different coloured collars.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Old Stamps from Great Britain - Sunday Stamps

The oldest stamp I have is from 1881 but as I have shown that before, I'll move on a few years with four more stamps from Queen Victoria's reign.

Great Britain
The One Penny stamp at the top was posted in Birmingham, the 2.1/2d from Bristol. The stamps were issued in the period 1887 to 1892.

For other old or vintage stamps from other countries please visit the links at Viridian's Sunday-stamps-166.