Sunday, 5 June 2011

Tales from Elsewhere - The Border Collie

John is devoted to our two cats, but he still says with some surprise that he never expected to be.  His favourite pets were always dogs, and particularly Border Collies, because of a particular dog of this breed which he knew many years ago.

Border Collie (Google images)

During the late 1940s when John was a student at Cambridge and going out with the lady who was to be his first wife, her family invited him to stay with them in Carlisle during the holidays, and who made him feel very welcome. 

Her father George was a main-line engine driver on what was then the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS), and by all accounts was an extraordinary character.  According to John, he was a man almost at war with his own class.  Very well read, he was fond of quoting snippets of Shakespeare and other bards; he was also an arch royalist, anti-Catholic and anti-Scottish and didn’t mind who knew it.

Travelling on a train one day with his little daughter a gentleman in the facing seat smiled at her and said to George in broad Scottish brogue “Och what a bonnie wee lassie! Is she a Scottish bairn?”  To which her father replied with a bellow – “She’s nothing of the kind, her mother is a perfectly respectable woman.”

George had a loyal, intelligent, loveable Border Collie named Rover, who among other talents could count – in a way.  If you threw several sticks in different directions for him to fetch, he never left any behind.  He had also taught him a trick which reflected his own prejudices. 

He would get Rover to face him as he sat in his chair, and put a biscuit on each knee.  Rover would drool longingly as he looked at them, but he knew the drill and barely twitched.  “Right Rover”, George would say pointing at his left knee, “That’s the King’s breakfast” – and pointing at his right knee – “and that’s the Pope’s breakfast”.  This was a signal to Rover to gobble up the biscuit identified as the “Pope’s breakfast” but leave the other one respectfully untouched.

While Rover watched George without blinking, his master would pause and then say – “but the King says the Pope can have it” – whereupon Rover would snap up the other biscuit and wolf it down.


Photo Finish
from Lonicera's non-digital archives

(with a little help from Photoshop, to lighten up a few dark corners...)

The Balloon Fiesta in Bristol

The Balloon Glow is a fun evening, when all balloons operators
at a given signal make the burners glow at the same time,
producing a beautiful effect. 
I'm using high speed film here so they're grainy.

This is how old this picture is -
notice the Bristol telephone number,
which hasn't been 0272 since the early nineties!

the Unipart balloon at sunset...

...and after sunset



Tina said...

If I ever had a dog I would have a border collie...I like them :).

Does Bristol still do the balloon fest? and what time of the year? Your pictures look great and not grainy at all.

Only a few more weeks and we are on our way over.

Lonicera said...

Wonderful!! I was beginning to fear you had changed your mind, with all your move upheaval. Whenever you know, would you give me an idea of date when you might be around??
The balloon fiesta is 11-14th August - the site is
It would be lovely to meet up.

Zanna said...

Well as you would have gathered I'm a doggy person myself - don't mind cats but find they're just so much more independent and almost condescending as to whether they will favour you with their company. But a dog - just loves to see you any time of the day or night! Have a great week Zxx

Lonicera said...

Yes I know - I'm still quite confused that you call yourself Zanna on your blog, and that's also the name of your dog!
I do love dogs, but don't like being jumped all over and having my face licked... plus the halitosis and how they smell when they've been out in the rain.... Mind you, I bet they don't scent mark the way my cat is doing at the moment. I'm at my wits' end about it, and meant to ask help from bloggers but in fact pressed 'publish' by mistake on this post, which I was keeping for next week! Oh well, I'll post next week about the cat problem.

Vagabonde said...

I wish we could have a dog, but we have no fenced yard. My daughter had a little dog and it was run over. In addition we travel so much that it would not fair for the dog. We have two cats though. I marvel at your older pictures being so good. I have a lot of pictures I took with my film camera and am always very disappointed when I look back at them.

funny" the word verification is "bises" which is the sweet word in French for kisses and mostly said at the end of a letter (it's short for baiser, the real word for kiss.)

Lived With Love said...

Hi Harriet :),
I have recently opened a beauty room in Bristol.
I offer treatments such as manicures, pedicures, massage, reflexology etc within a hairdressers, making it the perfect pampering experience!

Please take a look at my website found below.

My phone number and email is on there if you have any questions.

Thank you,
Kerry Dyer.

Lonicera said...

I don't know what I object to more - the free advertising forced on me or the fact that you couldn't even check to get my name right.

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