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.
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