Category Archives: General

And We’re Back!!!

I wish I could say ‘we’re back in style’, but the style bit might have to wait for a bit longer. The primary aim of this post is to resurrect this poor little neglected blog.

First of all, I’d like to thank our friends Sue, Robin, Melissa and Ed, who spurred me into logging on to the blog again. I am truly touched that you guys thought of us and left messages wondering if we were all right. Do not worry, we’re fine. Actually, we’re better than ever – you know what they say, ‘no news is good news’.

Our blogging break was meant to be very short. I was only going to skip 2 or 3 posts and then return before anyone even noticed. But then I blinked and a month’s gone by and it somehow feels like I’m starting again…Where did the time go?

The excuse for our absence is the same as always: life’s too busy at times and we get pulled into many directions. Sometimes, too many even for someone with our level of energy. When that happens, we need to slow things down a bit and try to regain control over our lives. To do so, something has to give. This time, it had to be the blog. Sorry about that.

I have to admit, I’ve missed you guys. Although I am aware what you have been up to blog-wise due to the notifications I get in my inbox, I’ve really missed ‘talking’ to you. You know…Sharing stories, facts and opinions, discussing and debating, agreeing and disagreeing. The usual stuff that bloggers do and I love so much.

So yeah, it’s good to be back. Almost back, because we’ve still got a few things to work out in order to make enough time for regular blogging.  But we’re heading in the right direction so you should hear from us a bit more from now on.

In case you’re wondering if the we that have been super busy includes George, the answer is it doesn’t. George has still been George, always true to himself and forever snoozing on Brianna’s bed (when not running around at lightning speed, causing havoc). Here’s a recent photo of him, just in case you missed his cute little face:


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Snowball Puppy and His Cat

This morning, I started my working day with this little video on SMN. Not a bad start at all, given its sweet content. You know, the kind of stuff that makes you say “Awww…”

I’ll let you see what it’s about and I hope it will brighten your day like it did mine. Just click the link below 🙂

It looks like even the most patient cat in the world has her limits. I hope Snowball is all right and has learnt his lesson …


Filed under General, Uncategorized

Seven Oldies In One Go

As some of you will most likely know, there’s a new initiative sweeping through the blogosphere. It’s not an award, it’s more of challenge that is passed from one blogger to another. Originating at the Tripbase Travel Blog, the ‘7 links’ challenge is an invitation to showcase what you think are your best posts within 7 categories (for more details, click the link).  About 2 weeks ago, I was surprised to receive an invitation to take part in this challenge, issued by my friend Sue from Greyhounds CAN Sit. Thank you, Sue, for including our blog on your list of 5 nominees. I’m grateful for the vote of confidence and will try to do you proud with my selection of my ‘most ….’ posts.

Apparently, you’re supposed to not over-think it and go with your gut instinct which, as a control freak, I found particularly hard. Anyway, enough with the introduction, here are my 7 links:

1) My most beautiful post: Pool of Light, simply because I think this is one of the best photos of George I’ve ever taken, and a lot of our friends seemed to like it.

2) My most popular post: How to Make Liver Cake, according to the blog stats.

3) My most controversial post: I’ve Got a Dog, Talk to Me!. This one was hard to choose, since I haven’t written anything controversial yet. I’ve got a few draft posts on ‘touchy’ subjects, but I was saving them for later (i.e. when I get around to finishing them). Although not particularly controversial, this post might make it look like I’m picking on chatty people, so it’ll have to do.

4) My most helpful post: Guide to My Little Dog’s Barf Diet: Fruit and Vegetables, chosen based on the comments I received at the time and the blog stats.

5) The post whose success surprised me the most: George the Versatile Blogger. I thought this wasn’t a particularly exciting post (just accepting and passing on an award), but people seemed to really like George’s contribution and way with words. So, George, this is all down to you, baby.

6) The post I feel didn’t get the attention it deserved: Open Your Heart for Red Nose Day. I feel that all my posts get the attention they deserve for the amount of work that goes into them and the time I allocate to promotion, etc. But I didn’t want to leave this category empty, so I thought I’d better showcase a good cause…And I can’t think of a better one than children in need.

7) The post I am most proud of: Blanket, Hopscotch, and a Pack of Dominoes. Finally, an easy category. This is by far my favourite post of all times, because it’s about us spending time together as a family, doing what we like to do. When I’m old and grey, this is the one post I’ll come back to for an infusion of sweet, heart-warming memories.

Phew! This was hard work, I tell you. Now that’s out of the way, let’s proceed to the second, more exciting part of the challenge: passing it on to other 5 worthy bloggers. The rules clearly specify that only 5 blogs are to be nominated, so I apologise in advance to those of you whose blogs I love but will not appear on this list.

1) Graceful Leadership – Grace is a beautiful girl and a real superstar, whilst her mum Robin is brilliant at writing about interesting topics, raising good questions that make you think and linking the dog world to our own through cunning observation. This is definitely a ‘substance’ blog, where you feel compelled to bring your contribution and leave a meaty comment. Robin’s blog is your perfect destination if you’re into debate, analysis and improving society through personal example.

2) HappyBarkDays – You’ve got to love these girls. Little Miss Maple Leaf doesn’t only have the coolest name ever, but she’s also got the looks and personality to go with it. She’s pretty, she’s feisty, she’s full of beans and very spoilt. By her mum, who’s got a good writing hand and a brilliant touch with the camera. Lovely writing and beautiful photos, this blog has got it all.

3) Lifewith4cats – I am a big fan of Sara and her cats (and I’m not even a cat person). Useful information about cat and animal care in general, nicely ‘tweaked’ pictures and an amazing sense of humour, all these make Sara’s blog one of my favourites. Plus, if you want an honest, straightforward opinion about anything, ask Sara. She’s the most open person you’ll ever meet and will tell you what she thinks straight in the face. I wish I had more friends like her in real life.

4) Dogs Rock! – Karen is my fellow whippet lover and her dogs are George’s whippet buddies. There are few things in life as beautiful as a whippet running at full speed. Go to Karen’s blog and you’ll see I’m right. Her dog photography is amazing, and she’s got the writing skills to go with it. But be careful, her blog can cause addiction.

5) Balladeer’s Blog – This is not a dog blog, but you’ll always find it on my list of favourites.  It’s the most original blog I’ve ever come across. It brings together neglected aspects mythology, unknown or long-forgotten movies and – believe it or not – American college sports. In his specific, inimitable style, the Balladeer blends all these together and gets away with it. Somehow, on his blog, it all makes sense. Needless to say, I can’t wait to see the selection of his top 7 posts. Warning: Be prepared for anything! (in a very, very good way!)

This is it. Mission completed. Now I can sit back, relax and enjoy my friends’ posts.


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Our Mystery Holiday

By the time this post goes out, we’ll be on our way to our first camping holiday this summer. I was going to tell you all about the marvellous place we’re going to, but then I got another idea. Remember our Mystery Friend post where you were invited to guess who George was playing with? Well, I thought you might like to play another silly game and try to guess where we’re going. Then, when we get back, I’ll tell you where we’ve been and pick the winner – who, just like last time, will be rewarded with a bit of glory and nothing else.

To get you going with the guessing, I’ll give you a photographic clue…

…plus a few more ‘written’ clues, which I was initially going to post separately, one at a time. However, since the preparations are keeping us busier than I thought, here they are, all in one go:

Clue # 1: There’s a lot of water over there, but not all in one place.

Clue # 2: It’s a very scenic region and a UK hotspot, popular with both British and foreign tourists (especially from Asia and the USA).

Clue # 3Mint cake!!!

So, this is it. We’re off as the adventure awaits. You won’t be hearing from us this week as computers are useless where we’re going. But don’t be shy, make your guess and I’ll reveal our mystery destination next week. In the meantime, have a great week ahead!


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Give Your Heart To A Dog To Tear

Rudyard Kipling is writer of the month in our family. It all started a couple of weeks ago, when we took Brianna to see Jungle Book at our local theatre. As she is a bit partial to acting, drama and the stage herself, she loved it and wanted to read the book. The original, that is (she said she was too big for the kiddie picture book versions). So we downloaded it – for free – onto our Kindle and she’s been picking her way through it as part of her evening reading sessions.

Then she was given a Kipling poem to read and discuss as part of her literacy homework. This reminded me that I had a collection of Kipling poems – which I hadn’t opened for years – on our bookshelves. I thought that all the signs were there that it was time for me to re-read it. So I picked up the book and delved into it. Eventually, I came across a brilliant ‘dog’ poem which I couldn’t remember at all. I must have overlooked it when I read it years ago and I didn’t have a dog. This time, it hit home. It made me think, brought tears to my eyes and urged me to sneak up on George for a big cuddle (which he happily accepted, wagging his tail).

To me, this is one of those poems that you have to share. A poem that speaks to the heart of everyone who has ever had and loved a dog.


by Rudyard Kipling

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
But when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie–
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years that nature permits
Are closing in asthma or tumors or fits
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers, or loaded guns.
Then you will find–its your own affair
But–you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will
When the whimper of welcome is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone–wherever it goes–for good,
You still discover how much you care
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ’em the more do we grieve;
For when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short time loan is as bad as a long–
So why in Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?


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The Amazing Saga of Lady London

Time for the most exciting off-topic post of the year. I’ve been looking forward to this for ages (ok, weeks, really, but it’s felt like ages). It’s a post written by our friend, Balladeer, about a fictional me! Intrigued? I hope so, because I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy the read.

But, before I reveal the amazing story of Lady London, a bit of context is required. Most of you will have seen Balladeer’s Blog being listed in my Blogroll. Hopefully, a lot of you will have clicked it, at least out of curiosity. If you haven’t, I think you should. It’s a most amazing place where mythology meets college sports, cinematography and a brilliant ‘movement’ called Frontierado, created by Balladeer from scratch. You know when something massively successful is born out of a little bit of fun? This could be one of those things, in my opinion. Ed was kind enough to invite me to join in, and I’m taking this opportunity to spread the word. If you like my saga, then visit Balladeer’s Blog and read the others. If you like them, too, then contact Ed and let him know you’d like to join the movement. He’ll send you a questionnaire and then write you a brilliant saga, making you a Frontierado hero for posterity!

OK, the wait is over…Here is the amazing saga of….


Lady London, a legend of the American West of the 1800′s, was born as Didi Wright in England in the 1840′s to parents who were active in the Chartist Movement. When her parents grew impatient with the slow progress of that movement they migrated to America with their young daughter and eventually settled in Chicago, IL. Didi’s father was a policeman and his daughter could never hear enough from her dear dad about how police went about doing their jobs. When Didi was in her teens she married a Chicago detective named John Malkovich. The two were deeply in love and the relationship also gave Didi plenty more opportunities to pick up the basics of police work. 

Back when John was still a uniformed cop he had arrested a Southside strongarm hood named Jack Smith. When Smith was released from prison in 1871 after serving several years he had thoughts only of revenge on the man who had put him away. Showing up at a restaurant where John and Didi were dining Smith shot Malkovich to death right in front of his horrified wife.

After the funeral, Didi spent long days brooding over her bereavement and after a month of alternating anger and tears determined to kill the man who had robbed her of her beloved. Overcoming the expected resistance of the time, Didi eventually learned that Jack Smith had fled Illinois and headed west. Didi caught a train and set off in pursuit. Living off her savings and using all the investigative tricks she had picked up from her father and her late husband, Didi traced Smith to Missouri, where he had picked up the nickname the Slaughterhouse Kid, a reference to the years he had spent working in a Chicago slaughterhouse.

Didi learned the Kid was operating as part of the James-Younger Gang and, in a much celebrated episode, burst into Jesse’s lair with two six-guns and demanded to know where Smith was. Charmed by the pluck of this young beauty with a lingering trace of a British accent, Jesse informed her that the Slaughterhouse Kid had fled Missouri after an abortive attempt to betray the James-Younger Gang into the hands of the authorities. Jesse and his wife fed Didi for a few days, then, outfitting her in pants and appropriate western gear to replace her dress, saw her off at the train station as she left to continue her quest for revenge.

Didi traced the Kid through Kansas and Nebraska next, always refining her gun skills with daily practice, in each target picturing the face of her husband’s killer. A pattern soon developed. Didi would close in on her quarry and flush him out, but he always managed to escape before she could kill him. Didi was now able to live off the reward money for the lesser outlaws she nabbed or killed on her quest. Growing ever more confident, Didi had taken to wearing a small Union Jack as a neckerchief, which fashion touch led outlaws and lawmen alike to bestow the nickname Lady London on her.

In Colorado Lady London allied herself with the bounty hunter called Manco, supposedly the long-lost twin brother of the gunfighter Dirty Clint Eastwood. The duo captured the gang the Slaughterhouse Kid had formed around himself but, typically, the Kid got away.

After several false starts Lady London next trailed Smith to Nevada, specifically to the enormous ranch called the Ponderosa, owned by Ben Cartwright and his sons. Staying in hiding throughout the sprawling ranch, Didi was stunned to see the Slaughterhouse Kid lording it over the Cartwrights and their hired hands. She soon shanghaied the oldest Cartwright son, Adam, and, holding a gun on him in a barn, demanded to know what was going on. It turned out the Kid was blackmailing the Cartwrights because he had unearthed their dark secret: Ben Cartwright was insane and had killed each of his wives after they had given birth to one son each. Before Lady London could act on this information the Slaughterhouse Kid himself burst in on her and Adam. Didi knocked Adam to the ground and in a running gunfight through the various levels of the barn, Lady London at long last found her Holy Grail by pumping three bullets into the head, chest and stomach of the man who had slain her beloved husband more than a year earlier. The Cartwrights were free from blackmail and took a liking to their rescuer, especially Adam, who began a passionate affair with Lady London, who now felt free to love again. 

With the Slaughterhouse Kid now dead and in his grave Didi decided to turn her quest for revenge into a livelihood by becoming a bounty hunter. Operating out of Virginia City, Lady London soon proved herself as deadly and resourceful as her male competitors, sometimes even using their obvious infatuation with her to her advantage. Didi’s Virginia City base allowed her to continue her romance with Adam Cartwright, and the dark secret of Ben Cartwright remained a closed subject between them. Meanwhile Lady London continued to rack up an impressive total of fugitives, either captured or killed, and even the legendary bounty hunter the Blackwater Kid was known to praise her abilities.

 Lady London’s quarries from those years included:

“Copper” Kent, the bandit who made his mark robbing payrolls intended for the employees at copper mines. Didi shot him to death after an epic gunfight through the streets of Tucson, AZ and returned the payroll to the struggling miners’ families.

Johnny Midnight, real last name unknown, who would break into the homes of wealthy westerners, rob them at gunpoint and then kill them all at the stroke of midnight.

“Widow” Wolverton, the notorious female mastermind behind Nevada’s deadliest gang. Lady London smoked her out by jailing, vamping or killing her stooges, then bringing the Widow in personally after a knock-down, drag-out catfight. 

“Long Range” McKendrick, a specialist in killing via long-range sniper fire. Lady London trailed him into Deadwood in Dakota Territory and wound up killing him in a gunfight when he resisted being brought in. While in Deadwood Lady London was romanticallky pursued by Wild Bill Hickok, prompting jealousy on the part of Calamity Jane, who had a thing for Bill. Didi kicked Calamity Jane’s butt in a spectacular, muddy catfight in the center of town.

While getting reasonably well-to-do from the bounties she collected for various desperadoes, Lady London found her relationship with Adam Cartwright strained. Didi had noticed that whenever either of Adam’s brothers got close to a woman or married her that woman was not long for this world. Lady London suspected the mad Ben Cartwright was up to his old murderous tricks and pleaded with Adam to have him committed or at least confined in a prison-room on the Ponderosa. Adam refused and the monumental arguments between the two over this issue caused their breakup.

Didi headed south and set up her new base in a hotel room in El Paso, TX, right along the border with Mexico. From there she was in a perfect position to try to intercept fugitives headed for Mexico after the telegraph wires would carry word about the reward offered on them. Not that the beautiful bounty hunter was squeamish about pursuing her prey deep into Mexico. Lady London was known to laugh at international borders (yet Time Zones filled her with a vague sense of unease) and was even said to have pursued the famous paid gunman Paco “Pistols” Scaramanga, all the way to Mexico City itself. Scaramanga was the ancestor of the later Pistols Scaramanga who would clash with Great Britain’s Secret Service Agent James Bond.

A less strenuous adventure for Didi involved half-breed horse thief Keanu Reeves, whose first name was said to come from an ancient Arapaho word meaning “I don’t get it”. Lady London could see he was just a misunderstood and confused youth so she took it upon herself to reform Keanu rather than send him to prison, and also reportedly “made a man of him” in the process. When Keanu at last went on his way, he left Didi a gift – the last horse he had stolen before she reformed him. The original owner was now dead so Lady London was more than happy to keep the beautiful animal, whom she named George. Amazingly this horse would remain with Didi throughout the rest of her adventures. Since the handsome animal’s famous rider was called Lady London, George himself was often referred to in the newspapers and Dime Novels of the time as Gentleman George. 

A turning point in Lady London’s exciting life came in 1878 when she was once again pursuing a dangerous fugitive into Mexico. The name of Didi’s quarry has been lost to history but he was one of the few to escape Lady London once she was on the hunt. The reason he got away is because Didi’s pursuit of him led her into contact with the notorious gunman called Django, but whose real name was believed to be Franco Nero. 

Django is best remembered for the coffin he transported with him everywhere, a coffin which contained a gatling gun, his ace-in-the-hole that saw him out of many tight spots. Django was living in a now abandoned border town called El Aguila (the eagle) when he and Lady London met at the local saloon. Eyeing each other, both of them were happy with what they saw, and shared a night of passion that would change the British beauty’s life forever. Just before dawn the next day, assassins broke into the hotel room the two had checked into. The killers were gunned down by the famous pair, but the innkeeper, realizing the assassins were sent by the barbarous General Hernandez Suerte, told the couple to leave at once, or General Suerte would burn down his establishment and kill him, his wife and his children for revenge.

As Lady London and Django rode out of town, Django told her how General Suerte was the local dictator, ruling his own little kingdom in the general disorder, impoverishing the people with taxes so that he and his soldiers could live grandly. Django had run afoul of him after he had gunned down one of his Colonels for attempting to rape a young teen. Now Lady London was on the General’s bad side, too. Catching word that a 30-man strong detachment of the General’s men were closing in on them, the two decided to make a dash for Texas and buried the coffin containing Django’s gatling gun to give them more freedom of movement.

Unfortunately for the two legends the 30-man detachment was led by Colonel Ramon Velez, General Suerte’s only true friend in the world. Velez was a very savvy and capable man, and his men managed to maneuver themselves in between Lady London and Django and the border, cutting them off time and again. Only Lady London’s trail instincts, honed as the huntress instead of the hunted, kept the duo a few steps ahead of their relentless pursuers.

After nearly a fortnight of thwarted attempts to cross over to Texas, Lady London and Django decided to fall back to the cemetery outside El Aguila, dig up Django’s gatling gun and make a stand. The two did so, and in the mini-Alamo scenario that unfolded they first fired the gatling gun until the ammunition was exhausted, then relied on their six-guns in a running battle with the 11 remaining soldiers, all combatants ducking behind gravestones amid the gunfire. Soon Colonel Velez was the only Mexican combatant left standing, and he took his own life with a gunshot to the temple.  

Once back in El Paso, Lady London and Django shared a few more weeks together until they tired of each other, then Django rode off, coffin in tow, and Didi tried to return to bounty hunting. Unfortunately, she soon got word that General Suerte had placed a price on her and Django’s heads, and potentially all of the thousands of men in his army would be trying to collect it. Lady London realized that as a lone bounty hunter she stood no chance, but as part of a larger organization she would have the equivalent of “diplomatic immunity” or perhaps “security in numbers”. And not just any organization, but the Texas Rangers.

Lady London sought out Texas Ranger Cordell Walker, whose descendant of the same name would also be a Texas Ranger, but in the 20th Century. Walker and Lady London had had a love/hate relationship for most of her time in Texas because of her tendency to beat the Rangers to wanted outlaws. Walker persuaded his fellow Texas Rangers to welcome Didi into the fold and the two sealed the bargain in an Austin hotel. Lady London’s first assignment was to bring in the Point Break Gang, led by Dancin’ Pat Swayze … single-handed. Didi was unfazed by this and yawningly gunned down most of the gang’s members when they tried to ambush her near Waco, with Dancin’ Pat then surrendering after he was out of ammo. As Lady London escorted Dancin’ Pat to jail, the outlaw reportedly used all his powers of carnal persuasion night after night along the way, hoping to coax the lovely Texas Ranger into letting him go. For her part Didi found it a pleasant way to pass the time back with her prisoner, but, unpersuaded, happily turned him in at the end of their journey. After serving his prison sentence Dancin’ Pat would go on to become one of Buckshot Bryant’s Poker Studs.   

After that dalliance with Swayze Lady London and Cordell Walker became a tight couple and were always seen together when one or both of them were not absent on a mission. Neither thought it fair to the other to get married since they lived under the eye of the Grim Reaper because of their dangerous profession. By the late 1880′s however, their relationship became simply that of good friends. 

In 1889 Lady London was sent out on an assignment that would have the greatest impact on her saga since her husband’s murder years earlier. Didi was sent out to bring in the wandering hired gunman Juniper Johnny Depp, the reputed descendant of pirate captain Jack Sparrow and coincidentally another old flame of the aforementioned Buckshot Bryant. Depp had escaped prison after finally being convicted of one of his many killings and led Lady London a merry chase all over Texas, from town to town before she finally caught him in Galveston, TX. 

For the first time since Dancin’ Pat Lady London succumbed to her attraction to one of her targets and she and Juniper Johnny passed a night marked by a heavy Galveston thunderstorm by letting nature take its course between them. Depp also revealed to Didi what had brought him to the island. He had recently discovered the location of the hidden fortune in gold that his ancestor Jack Sparrow had concealed there. As the two talked the next morning, Lady London found herself warming to Juniper Johnny’s suggestion that they find the hidden booty, divide it and retire. Recently she had been wondering about the old age that she had imagined her dangerous life would never allow her to reach. Now that it seemed possible that she might reach it, a fortune would definitely come in handy.

Then Depp let the other shoe drop: to find the treasure’s exact location they had to find his gunslinging mentor and the man who had discovered him years earlier – Robert “Freddie the Kid” Englund, the nightmare of many a pistol-packing hombre in the 1800′s. As Lady London had been pursuing Juniper Johnny, he in turn had been pursuing Freddie the Kid. Freddie had recently researched, found and stolen the map after helping Depp locate it in a trunk from his (Depp’s) grandfather’s attic. The Kid had then mercilessly killed Grandpa Depp.

Over the next few days a wild chase with occassional gunfights raged around the busy port city as Didi and Johnny endeavored to catch up with Freddie and the armed Galveston port thugs he had hastily assembled into a makeshift gang, motivated by promises of a share in the loot. At the end of it all, Lady London and Juniper Johnny caught up with Freddie and his gang in the airlocked cave that housed the treasure just as they had uncovered it. In the orgy of action that followed, the Kid and his gang captured Didi and Johnny and planned to leave them to starve in the cave after they had removed all the gold. Once the gold had all been moved Freddie then betrayed his gang, leaving them to presumably die with Lady London and Juniper Johnny. Forming a quick alliance born of desperation, the duo and the gang members managed to escape the cave and confront the Kid. Freddie now offered shares once again to his gang members if they helped him kill our heroes. The gang members foolishly agreed, and by the time the dust from the new outbreak of shooting and dodging settled, Lady London was the only one left alive. 

Now possessed of a fortune in gold that was all hers, Lady London could live comfortably in the old age she was beginning to fear the approach of. She wrote a goodbye letter to her old colleague and lover Cordell Walker, resigning from the Texas Rangers and relating all the details of this adventure. Lady London was never heard from again. Noone could ever figure out where she had gone from Galveston, since the whole world was a possibility. Over the decades various rumors placed her in the Bahamas, or in Brazil or back in England. One theory even placed her in the Aegean Sea, the owner of a small Greek Island where she lived in a mansion and had put her horse George out to stud. The truth will likely never be known and Lady London’s disappearance stands alongside that of Amelia Earhardt as one of history’s greatest mysteries. Actresses like Vivien Leigh and Angelina Jolie have portrayed the enigmatic bounty hunter on the big screen, keeping her legend alive. 


The Blackwater Kid


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Cup of Tea, Anyone?

This morning I was talking to one of the mums at school about our pets and the things – good or bad – that they love best. It turned out that one of her cats is addicted to catching pigeons and ripping them to pieces (not a nice picture, I know), whilst the other is addicted to having its fur brushed for hours on end. Her hamster is mad on tomatoes and their dog is always partial to a bit of chocolate (which is toxic to dogs, so I’m not encouraging that at all). We then went on talking about other people’s pets, as she remembered that her mother’s parrot has a passion for classical music and I remembered that one of my in-laws’ dogs would do anything for chips.

As for George, there are a number of things that he is addicted to. Stealing socks, chewing tissues, roasting in the sun and stealing Brianna’s teddies are some of them. But top of his addiction list must be drinking tea.

It’s no secret that the British love their cup of tea. Morning, lunch and evening, all day long, the kettle and tea-pot are under a lot of stress and get a lot of use. It’s a documented fact that the National Grid faces the peak of electricity consumption during the commercial breaks half-way through the nation’s most loved soaps or football finals. Apparently, that’s when everybody rushes to put the kettle on and mash a cuppa before the programme returns five minutes later.

We’re no exception from the normal British family. We like tea and drink a lot of it. Our visitors like tea and drink a lot of it. There are always mugs around the house, containing different quantities of tea at any one time. That’s how we found out that George is partial to a bit of tea himself.

As soon as he was big enough to reach the coffee table, our little whippet has tried to sneak his nose into our tea cups. And our visitors’ cups. Every day. Whenever he got the chance. He’s proved to be extremely good at this from an early age. One moment of distraction, and you could return to an empty cup and a very content-looking dog. He’s so keen on the taste, that he’d sit next to you and lick his lips – in the most off-putting fashion – whilst you’re trying to enjoy your drink.

Eventually, something had to be done about this, since it’s not always funny to find a whippet nose in your cup and I was starting to get worried about his sugar intake. So we called a family council and decided to give George a little bit of tea, rather than have him steal ours. Brianna offered to donate her plastic Princess cup to this noble cause, and George became a full rights member of the tea club.

Most days, especially on weekend mornings when we can have family chats in bed, I make 4 cups of tea: two big, full ones for the adults, half a medium cup for Brianna, and less-than-a-quarter-full cup for George, with no sugar in it. You should see the delight on his face. I don’t know what he enjoys the most, the tea itself, or being part of the morning ritual. If the tea is the right temperature, he’ll slurp it in one go, without even breathing in between gulps. Then he’ll lick the cup clean and lie down on my legs. If the tea’s too hot, he’ll lie down on my legs first, waiting for it to cool down. Then he’ll slurp it in one go.

I find George’s love for tea strange and sweet at the same time. And I’m just wondering how many of you are experiencing similar behaviours from their pets? Do your furries have any unusual preferences or addictions?


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