Newsletter – July / August 2021
Dear Irish Terrier Friends
We won’t talk about the weather . . . it has been un-speakable and has turned the roses into droopy wet tissue paper. Only the grass seems to flourish growing with such speed and persistence. I never wanted to turn it into a ‘garden lawn’. Spring Fields was bought as a house-in-a-field. This was grazing land for hundreds of years and I love the continuity of coarse grass that has fed the local sheep. A manicured suburban lawn would feel like a misfit.
The really good news is that Jamie has come through that terrifying quintuple bypass operation and is back in his flat in London. It seems he is walking and pontificating around Battersea Park once more, in full flow, so nothing much has changed.
Libbs and Maryb knew he was leaving. They understand about suitcases and a great gloom descended. Fortunately, Derek and Richard were here dropping Daisy off on their way to a family wedding, so we had to hold things together.
Daisy was thrilled to be here and was a much needed diversion.
I have been in London, staying with my dear friend Brenda for a week. I do miss the girls who used to come with me, but it has grown too complicated for that now as Brenda has five cats and a very amusing dog named Sunny who rules the roost. He is the image of the dog on the Dog Trust logo . . .white all over with a few black speckles and pitch black ears that stick out sideways.
They think he is part collie and he has that overpowering instinct to herd everyone and everything. He even tries it on the cats who throw the odd punch and send him packing. In spite of hours of training he is still a nightmare to walk in the park. It astonishes me how much time and trouble it takes to train so many breeds to learn even the basic skills of life. I have never trained my dogs, they are perfectly in tune with people and seem to train themselves, I do however wonder whether they might in fact have trained me!
Rose Smart, the recently retired chief executive at the Kennel Club, was reminding me last week of how Liberty Belle was the perfect hostess when her portrait was presented to the Club.
She knew it was her party and ‘worked the room’ like a pro. One thing that always amuses me is that she loves to be called Liberty Belle and always smiles and wags her tail, I wonder if she remembers the party.
I do laugh when I recall my children’s reaction when I had discovered, perchance, that the old Spaniel / Labrador cross . . . yes, the one who came to lodge for six months and stayed for sixteen years . . . had been trained with hand signals to walk to heel, sit, stay, lie etc.
I called to the children “Come and see what Span can do”
. . . They were not impressed and watched in stony silence.
Then came the furious hands on hips furious protests.
“Stop making him do all that.”
“He hates it.”
“Why should he anyway?”
Oh well, perhaps they were right and simply rolling along together is much more our style. I have always found instant obedience somewhat embarrassing.
One extraordinary and privileged experience in London was watching Derek and Richard recording the four little books for the ‘children’s page’ which we are setting up on the website and YouTube. It is incredibly generous and kind of them . . . amazing really. They plan to record some more of the longer stories in October.
They say, “It is our contribution to Irish Terriers, we adore the breed, and will do anything to promote them.”
Looking on from the sidelines I was awestruck to watch them lift the words off the pages and turn them into something magical! – we will let you know when it’s up on the web.
Debbie has put up Loz Ann McCarthy’s setting of The Ghost Dogs, I wrote the words after having a strange dream that I had opened the door into the garden in London, standing on the wall and stretching way up into the sky, were all the dogs that I had ever known and loved. (Click image to see)
They seemed to be waiting, saying:
We wait in the shadows and come when you call.”
I have always had an absolute conviction that dogs live on in blissful retirement in some other place. How could they not?
Daisy is staying with us and she is definitely the boss girl. It has surprised me to watch her working her way to the top.
MB has no interest in a pecking order. I don’t think it has ever occurred to her. She has been spoilt rotten by Libbs, but Daisy seems to walk constantly across Libbs’ nose and makes her stand back looking apologetic. She loves all the puppies who come to play, I think she must remember how kind and loving Zu and Beegie with her.
The tempo in the house has hotted up a notch or two, with a great deal more barking, general misrule, rolling about on our new carpet, burying half eaten chews . . . but it does add a huge boost to my sometimes flagging good spirits. You could say they make the world spin and I would be lost without them.
I do hope your summer plans are taking shape. I am not attempting a holiday abroad, but you can all come and see us in Lymington.
With very kindest regards and many greetings.
My special love to the dogs.