September 9, 2012




I went to Birmingham on the train again today.*  Southdowner picked me up at the station and took me off to Tiptoe on Cludge to play with Lavvy and her puppies . . .  again.  I’m spending kind of a lot of money and travel time on some random litter of puppies, aren’t I?  Even if they are southdowner’s grandpuppies** and as cute as a box of Green & Black’s.*** 



            So . . . Olivia rang me up out of the blue this week.  Oh hi, I said, puzzled, since even if she were coming to Hampshire again with a load of the small, furry and four-legged, New Arcadia isn’t that much on her way, and it’s not like I’m one of her . . .


            Olivia believes in cutting to the chase.  One of my buyers has dropped out, she said, and I might be able to talk her into changing her mind, but I don’t want to.  I want my puppies to go to people who really want them.

            Oh? I said, my mind instantly leaping off its flywheel and spinning till it smoked. 

            And I wondered if you might be interested, she went on.

            My mouth fell open.  I may have said ‘aaaaugh’.

            You don’t have to decide immediately, she said hastily.  But—well—you seemed fairly serious about wanting to be put on the list for next year, and I just thought . . . if you wanted to think about it and get back to me. . . .

            I don’t have to think about it, I said.  I want one. 

            Olivia laughed.  Southdowner seemed to think you might say that, she said.  But you really can take some time to think about it.  Talk to your husband or whatever.

            My husband will be delighted when he gets over the shock, I said.  He’s worrying about what to give me for my sixtieth birthday this autumn.  He can give me a puppy.

            So of course I had to go look at them again.  Olivia works insane hours, and pretty much my only opportunity to see them before they get much older was this afternoon.

            So I went this afternoon.

            Oh my gods I’m about to have a BULL TERRIER PUPPY.


Upside down puppy. He looks pretty chilled. No, no! said Olivia. You don’t want a male for your first bullie!

I can’t go on calling them ‘white girl’, ‘coloured girl with broad blaze’, ‘coloured girl with narrow blaze’, and Little Prince Charming.  So in keeping with the food theme in this family . . .  Scone is the white girl, Croissant has the narrow blaze, Pavlova has the wide blaze, and the boy is . . . Fruitcake.

Scone. Plotting.


Fruitcake, getting on with his nap. Yes, he’s out cold. Are you sure he’s not truly and beautifully chilled? I said. NO, said Olivia and Southdowner in unison. YOU DO NOT WANT A MALE FOR YOUR FIRST BULLIE.


I nearly did a complete Photo Essay on Fruitcake Having a Nap because I find this so hilarious. (And I don’t care what the experienced bullie owners are saying, he is demonstrating a splendid natural floppiness.)

Pavlova keeping an eye an eye on you.


Scone, ready for some trouble. Yo, honey, I suggest you take out Mr Sausage Man behind you. I’m sure he’s up to no good.


I am AMAZED Lavvy is still putting up with them. They have TEETH. Ask me how I know this.


That level look again from a not-quite-so-tiny puppy as at Third House a fortnight ago.

Pavlova having a go at the sofa throw. Puppies may have 1,000,000 toys, but they still want to chew on you, your jeans, or the sofa.


Fruitcake, who is really excellent at sleeping.

I do have some puppies-in-action photos, but they’re mostly blurry:  this was indoors in poor lighting.  But I might post a few more anyway . . .


* * *

* Which was amazingly fine for a Saturday, until a bunch of drunk out of their gourds football hooligans got on at Barnstorming on the way back to Mauncester.  I hate Barnstorming.  Barnstorming is where the famous occasion when Peter and I nearly never made it home at all happened.  . . . Train staff?  Are you kidding?  They didn’t want to stick around to deal with this lot either.  Arrrrgh.  At least they were the friendly end of drunk. 

** In Fiona’s admirable phrase 

*** Anybody here not know that G&B makes my FAVOURITE DARK MINT CHOCOLATE, without which I CANNOT LIVE? 

† And no, I don’t even know which one!!!^  I don’t hang out with show dog quality much.  I’m used to the see-which-puppy-comes-up-to-you-I’ll-have-that-one school of choosing, plus performing a few probably bogus tests to help you avoid the pushy thug and the cringing neurotic.  Darkness came up to me immediately and started untying my shoes, and Chaos . . . you’ve heard the story of how I ended up with Chaos, haven’t you?  So as I’ve told both Olivia and Southdowner, I’ll love whoever I end up with, and two or three years from now I won’t be able to imagine anything else, like I can’t imagine life without Chaos (so to speak).  But apparently this is an unusually nice litter—Southdowner says that if you’re looking for breeding/showing quality you usually choose by discarding, and there are no obvious discards here.  So the head of the puppy-acquisition queue hasn’t quite made up their minds yet—and Olivia and Southdowner are both a little anxious about me as a first-time bullie owner, so of whatever’s left they’re going to give me the quieter one.  

^ Where am I going to PUT IT in my miniature book- and yarn-stuffed cottage?  I can’t move around in the kitchen now, because of the hellhound crate.  And what will the hellhounds think? 

             The puppies will be ready to go to their new homes the beginning of October.  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH 



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