November/December 2020 Newsletter

Dear Irish Terrier Friends,

It is such a relief to have the 2021 calendar ‘in the bag’. I did wonder at first whether we could possibly manage it, mainly because of my paralysed ineptitude with the computer. But Debbie and I are seasoned practitioners in producing a calendar and we do love working together. Besides, after your great response with pictures, we couldn’t possibly let anyone down. Thank you so much. They are all in the gallery and we’ll use them in the Newsletters too. Please don’t be sad if they missed the calendar as we will continue to enjoy them through the year.

I hope you will enjoy the theme this year. Irish Terriers are so funny and our spirits do need lifting — and there’s nothing like a Mick –? The calendar does make me laugh out loud. It is advertised on the website and will shortly be available from the shop on the website.

The gathering at the Animal War Memorial in London was cancelled because of the extended lockdown. We were very sad. My dear friend Brenda is a great supporter of the Memorial and lives in London and was able to lay two wreaths, one for our ‘best beloveds’ and the othe for all the animals who served. ‘They had no choice’. I put two wreaths at the war memorial in Lymington with the same messages. The girls and I pass it often and we always pause and say the prayer:

For the war they fought
For a task unsought
For the joy they wrought
And the love they brought
We will remember them

We recently learned that the great heroine Edith Cavell had an Irish Terrier named Jack who accompanied her out walking to disguise her undercover operations. She assisted hundreds of Allied soldiers escape to freedom. My son James has recorded a podcast on the True Dogs of War. See: We must and will remember them. The war has remained a vivid memory in my life.  It was not all tears and I still laugh thinking of my brother and his wonderful Jocky Boy busking for the ‘War Effort’. He had a large following of children who rocked up to watch. One of their stunts was Ronald throwing tennis balls (very scarce during the war) for Jocky to catch.  Each throw was different and was accompanied by a commentary which was always hilarious: ‘Okay Jock, here comes a Stuka…Yee-ow’. ‘Here’s a torpedo…Bang goes the Bismark’…’This is a bouncing bomb, the Spitfire (bowled overarm), the cavalry charge (rolled along the ground), and the finale was always ‘Catch a Rat’, while the ball was thrown around by members of the audience with Jocky kangaroo jumping amongst the children, trying to catch it. Everyone clapped and cheered and Jocky loved it. The pennies flew into the collection pail. Ronald and Jock have remained icons in my life.

Miss Libbs and Maryb are bored stiff with me. They hang around the gate, looking out for visitors. Marie walks them every morning, Jeanette comes to clearn, and Raima does the website. They are all great friends for them, but the friends they really like are the ones who come to stay — breakfast friends — who can be bounced on in their beds in the morning. Jamie is here this weekend and they are walking on air.  Bibbs is a complete devotee and Mb is only a small step behind.

I haven’t told you about the little brown wood mouse, who spends her nights in the canary cage. Biggles is the last of the line and I’m sure he’s lonely.  He sits in front oof the little cage mirror, looking at the image of ‘another bird’.  One night recently, however, I was up very late and went to cover the cage. To my astonishment there was a plump little mouse sitting with Biggles on his favourite night perch.  Neither seemed remotely worried about me. It had crossed my mind that two digestive biscuits consumed by one canary overnight was excessive, but a small plump mouse was never a suspect. She was instantly named Mrs. Apply Dapply…yes, Beatrix Potter. The dogs lined up behind me pretty quickly: they are very switched on ladies and sensed some good sport in the air.  But I covered the cage and hauled them upstairs.  She is still around and we’ve had some terrifying chases since, with Libbs and Maryb in full cry.

Derek, Richard and Daisy came for a weekend, between the two lockdowns, and I’m not sure which of us was the most pleased to see them. Incidentally, Mrs. App Dapp staged an heroic climb up the tablecloth under the birdcage and sat there. It was mid afternoon and in full view of our startled guests.  Now that was a blazing cheek and I wish she’d disappear and put herself to bed for the winter. We loved seeing Daisy and her Dads and after one  ‘grrrr…’…well, they hadn’t seen each other for several months…they were off like rockets and never stopped playing.

We had a lovely walk on the marshes, the youngsters running ahead with Richard, and Libbs staying behind to looking after Derek and me. When we got to the long grassy path, however, she took off, collected up the other two, and gave a great display of lightning charges up and down and back again.  I was so touched to feel she was expressing her joy that we were all together.

We had another lovely visitor: Cat, our previous dog walker. What was even more wonderful was that she bought Connor, her ten month old baby boy.

The girls were beside themselves with excitement. They were so incredibly sweet with the baby, absolutely purring with the joy of it. When I sat down to play the piano, with Connor on my lap, Miss Bibbs swung out completely, leapt onto the keys and walked all the way up to C above top C. My poor piano. Cat was laughing so much, she didn’t get the picture. This is a very whimsical letter – forgive me. It is not taxing in any way.  It’s just to cheer us up and get ready for Christmas.

With many greetings and my love to the dogs,

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