December 2018 Newsletter

Dear Irish Terrier Friends

The calendar has arrived and the rush to pack and despatch starts next week.
Debbie and I had our usual larky time putting it together.  She is a dear friend and I love working with her, speed is of the essence which leaves us time to chatter.
She says “I have never been a doggy person but this lot have completely won me over.”

We tried to make the look and feel of the calendar different each year and we do pay serious attention to your comments. Most are flattering but it is obviously the off
piste ones to which we pay most attention.  Here are some examples and you will notice that they all cancel each other out.

“Too many pictures of children – I don’t care for children.”
Well I adore them and they are so beautiful.
“Too many perfect specimens – not enough raggle-taggles.”
And of course the other way round.
“I wish you wouldn’t mention their hunting skills, ours have all been so kind and affectionate you know.”
“Don’t turn them in to teddy bears, they were bred to be hardy, all rounders – proper working terriers.”

Help! Well we do our best.

I think that the Micks play the winning card of turning into the dogs we want them to be.  They seem to catch the general ‘mood’ of their families and being such clever ‘textured’ characters there is a lot from which to choose.

I like my dogs to be full of themselves, clever and high spirited, friendly and funny – they have to make us laugh!  The puppies are allowed a level of misrule (I do admit to that) and some people might feel that it is a bit hit and miss but they have all grown into the most enchanting characters, highly individual, never to be forgotten and each one has been one of the darlings of our lives.  Right – ‘end of the ode to the Micks.’

I think that the 2019 calendar seems to indicate their warm and deep love for their people – I do hope that you will all approve.

We had a great posse of Irish Terriers at the Animals in War Memorial and the gathering had a distinct air of a ‘Hooghly’ brewing.  I hope we won’t be banned next year.

The ceremony had a better shape this year with a proper welcome and some lovely pieces read.  Someone from the National Pigeons Society spoke so movingly about how vital they were at a time when communications were so primitive on the battlefield.  They won 36 Dickin Medals and the accounts of them flying into the home crofts only to collapse and die but with their messages intact.  Many had terrible injuries and I weep again for them as I write.
We all behaved very well even when the story of the legendry Prince, an Irish Terrier who shipped himself to France, alone on a troop ship and found his master in the trenches was entitled an Irish Terrier cross Collie – good heavens, is there nothing sacred?  There was a sharp gasp from the ‘battalion’ but we held our calm and good manners prevailed.

I am shocked however that historical truth is seemingly irrelevant and only the latest fad (presumably in this case for inclusivity) is superimposed and dished up as fact.

When all was over and we had dried our tears some of us walked in the park and at last Daisy and MaryB were able to set up a mighty chase – a long chain of streaking gold swinging across the grass and autumn leaves – so beautiful.

Lord Manners (Willie) who is one of our patrons told me a charming story about his Grandmothers Irish Terrier. The time was the 1920’s and the family had a town house near Marble Arch.  Every morning when the Kings Troop (The Royal Artillery) past on their way from the Saint Johns Wood Barracks to practice their manoeuvres in the park, he would be waiting to join them.  The butler would let him out through the front door and he would dash out to follow the horses and gun carriages marching solemnly beside them.
He’d complete the round tour to be dropped off and let in by the butler as they passed on their way back – only a Mick!  It is extraordinary to think how little traffic there must have been.
When living in Hampstead in the 1960’s I remember that our dogs often went ‘walk-a-bout’ on an inspection of our neighbour’s dustbins.  We would stand in the middle of Templewood Avenue and listen for the clatter of iron dustbin lids.  Sometimes they would be invited in for a piece of toast and would turn up on their own with butter on their whiskers.
Happy days before the car took over our roads and our lives.

Discover Dogs came at the time of a hopelessly busy weekend for me which included a wedding and a birthday party, always after the obligatory dog walk in Regents Park followed by a gallop to the train for South London and the Excel Centre.
I do love it and so admire the way the dogs cope with the crowds and the children who come round do make me laugh.

The Kennel Club came up with this great idea of a ‘dog’ fair where people could get up close and actually see and touch the dogs.  It often feels like the beginning of a love affair.
Dog shows are useful as a means of keeping up the breed standards and providing a great hobby for competitors, but Discover Dogs is where you see people falling in love and that is heart warming.

Our lot never do more than half a day.  That seems to be enough as it is tiring but the Micks are good at turning up the charm.

Now for the horrors – I have to confess that this has not been a great year for me.  The wretched pneumonia last winter left me exhausted for months and even when the hot sunshine came I discovered I could no longer sit in the sun.  We went to my favourite French ‘watering hole’ and I inexplicably fell on my back on the beach.  A month later after persistent pain 2 crushed vertebrae were discovered and now worst of all, whilst in London I slipped on a pile of wet leaves and fractured a femur.   I am outraged and exasperated, but there it is.   After 3 weeks in hospital I am home at last.  Les Girls had a very jolly time with Dave and Janette and as Dave said “Hogging the fire and hogging the sofa.”  But I was pretty miserable without them and everyone has been so kind.

Sorry about the tale of woe and apologies for the delays in answering your letters and sending out the books you have ordered – that has been a worry too.
The greatest joy was being reminded once again of how much I love my family and friends.

Thank you so much and I do know that I am a perfect B. nuisance.

There was huge excitement when I arrived home and darling Libs who is not the most overtly affectionate of the dogs we have had slept beside me and held my hand very gently in her mouth all night – my darling girls, they are the great healers.

Do be happy at Christmas and best wishes for 2019 – I love it always but it is strange to have a borrowed artificial tree speckled rather sparsely with lights and mighty few baubles.  Never mind there may be more Christmas’ to come!

With many greetings and my love to the dogs.


Ps.  The calendars are flying out fast so don’t forget to order yours ASAP!

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