September 2014

Dear Irish Terrier Friends,

There seems to be no end to this lovely summer. Is it possible that I stand in the parched garden and long for ‘softly falling rain’? It will doubtless arrive soon enough and I did notice this evening that it was dark by 8 o’clock and Libby is already tip toeing across the dewy grass as she hates to get her feet wet.

Best friend Alfie arrived this afternoon (the one with the interesting DNA analysis).They’ve come to stay in the house and look after Libby while I’m in London for a few days. It is fun for her to be here at home but I do so miss not having her with me. She was thrilled to see them and even more delighted to discover that they’d brought two enormous marrow bones from their local butcher. I asked whether they’d been to the knackers yard! Libbs was overcome by its scope and size. I don’t think she’d ever before seen anything like it. Whilst Alfie settled in for immediate demolition she walked around it on stiff legs before nudging and pushing gently with her nose. I thought it was rather a languid performance. A sort of meditation or ode to a bone. But poor Alfie made the mistake of ambling over to inspect it. Libbs turned into a tigress at once and sent him packing. Alfie had the real ‘that’s women for you’ look. Anyway, we banned the bones for the time being and I had to look very hard to find the smallest scratch on Libby’s. I’ll have another look when I get home. I did wonder if she thought it was something alive and needed time to get acquainted. Zuli would never eat raw meat and would almost shudder and turn her head away, which does seem puzzling, but we do know how quirky they can be.

Liberty Belle’s social calendar is becoming more interested and varied than mine. She’s had all her favourite children to stay again and knows the best places to catch crabs along the sea wall. She follows the children down to the water but has found a place on the rocks through which a great mass of grass has grown. It makes a more comfortable perch for her to keep an eye on things. One passer-by said she looked like a giant seabird on her nest turning her head this way and that. She is however not very brave about the crabs, well they do smell of seawater.

We went up to Bath to stay with cousin Frank. Their dear old dog Bartie is still with us at nearly 18. He’s a wonderful dog and is very sweet with Libby. We even managed a long walk beside the river, negotiating the cows and the mallard in the stream. Libby is very good about livestock now and even the ewes stamping their front feet at her is no longer mistaken for an invitation to play. I’m very fond of sheep but they do have such droll faces – I think it’s the lack of a forehead and the daft angle of their ears, but no doubt the tups in the next field will find them pretty enough.

We went, in a great gathering, to Gifford’s Circus. It’s a regular annual outing and hugely enjoyed. If it should come within reach of a visit don’t miss it. It is zany, daft yet incredibly skilled and so full of real affection and gentle humour. Run and organised by the Gifford family, it has won an almost cult following.

This year there was a dog act by the family pets…two rather portly spotty Dalmatians and two live-wire cross-bred terriers. The Dalmatians trotted round just behind a small spotted horse (not a pony) and the terriers leapt onto its back. It was all so full of fun and they seemed to enjoy every minute and how we laughed. It is by no means performance perfect which makes it even funnier. There was a sweet touch at the end when they arranged themselves on a large tub, and just as a by-the-by kissed the horse on its nose. My favourite act however is a large Greylag goose called Brian, who waddles at high speed around the ring to great cheers and clapping from the children.

Frank’s grandchildren, who live ‘up the lane’, begged for Libby to have a sleepover with them. She went dancing off in spite of my warning that this could be the end of a beautiful friendship and I did gulp when they came dashing back – I thought there’d already been a mis-hap, however it was simply because she hadn’t said goodnight to me. No hope of a goodnight kiss – her face was an absolute study. She wasn’t about to risk coming anywhere near me in case I hooked her by the collar and made her stay. It seems she curled up with Imsey in his basket and was no trouble to anyone – even the two cats.

Our darling Tessie has been here for several days, she’s Imogen’s dog and Nonny’s litter sister. They are 11 this month and I absolutely adore them both. I’m sure that Tessie and I commune about Zu and Beegie (she was so much their puppy) and Tess spends a lot of time upstairs under one of the beds which was Zuli’s favourite retreat. She loves the salt marshes here and hunting rabbits, as yet unsuccessfully, with Libby. I’m rather ashamed not to have the small Dachshund (remember that Houdini of the dog world). I was scolded by his fan base for calling him autistic, even in commas it was not considered acceptable. Perhaps programmed differently would have sounded better, though in modern speak I’m sure we ought to have the word challenged somewhere.

I do hope you’ve taken some pictures for the 2015 calendar, which is now in the making. Please do send them to Jane or

Andrew Farrar is coming to Lymington for a photo shoot on Saturday 20th September so if you’re within striking distance please do telephone me (01590 670031) and come and join us with the Terrier of course. It’s always fun and the pictures are forever.

I heard this morning that we have two more Irish puppies in Lymington – we’re becoming a colony! I haven’t met them yet but hear they’re very beautiful and hail from the Isle of Wight

Talking of gatherings, it seems that a rather larger occasion is being planned at the Animal War Memorial in London on Friday 7th November. It is always a very moving ceremony with the wreaths being laid and pieces read about all the animals, but this centenary year is to be more carefully organised. This is a call-up for any Irish Terriers who can be there. We want to make it a proper salute to all the dogs but especially our Micks. We’ll put up the details next month when the Dogs Trust, who are organising the event, give us our marching orders. It would be wonderful to line the steps of the memorial with our Best Beloveds – what a picture!

Sadly, we have lost another of our Irish Terrier stalwarts. Dear Helen Crawley was on the ITA committee for many years. She was a very safe pair of hands. Always immaculate, efficient and full of sound good sense. She had a lifelong commitment to Irish Terriers and will be greatly missed.

Have you seen Cracker going through his paces in the CostCutter advertisement on the television? It seems he bursts through the door, discovers a muffin and devours it with one bite. Diana says that he was disappointed to have to repeat bursting through the door many times whilst the muffin only three times. He went on looking for the muffin even when it was all over.

I’m off to the Fun Day tomorrow in Roade, which I always enjoy, particularly if it’s out of doors. It is so enchanting to see the puppies and children together and of course a lot of old friends one has known for years. I do miss Princess Beega and her prowess in the sausage race. How we still laugh remembering her in the fancy dress competition dressed as a baby in her bonnet and bib sitting in the pram and her sparkling performance as the Sultan of Zanzibar – oh happy days.

With many greetings, and my love to the dogs,


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