Undogged

 

Papi, or Not-My-Dog, has vanished. Along with Codita, his canine friend up the hill, Papi has not been seen all week.

The last time he went missing, he’d been down in the valley chasing sheep with his girlfriend. A neighbour said the farmer who owned the sheep tried to spear Papi with a hayfork, but missed him by a whisker. The farmer complained to my neighbours, Papi’s owners, and threatened to charge them for any sheep killed.

Stupid damned dog! He has a fabulous life, free to roam, fed by three households, friend to all, and left to snooze in the grass for much of the day. He is only required to chase off foxes and birds of prey, and warn of strangers coming close.

The sheep-chasing incident got him chained up for two weeks, and only by a lot of begging did I persuade my kind neighbour to liberate him. But if the fool dog has gone sheep-chasing again, it’s very possible that this time he and Codita didn’t escape the wrath of the farmer. We may never know.

So my visitors’ companion on long walks, my loyal friend who chased off unwanted dogs and cats (and bears and wild boar who came too close), and the familiar black-and-tan figure who came to greet me when I drove down to the house – Papi may be no more than fond memories. Of course he may just be off on a spring jaunt, and might be back, exhausted, starving and happy…

Papi leads the way home

Papi loved taking visitors on walks around Magura

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Even the snowman has stayed in bed

Still snowing. The Queen’s birthday, 21st April, and the weather is insisting that it’s only January. The wind has changed direction, about 180 degrees, and has strengthened a lot. So my gates are blocked and would need digging out, plus a path from the gates to the house. Where the wind has blown the snow off the trees, I can see colour of leaves, and some whiteness of blossom. I can’t believe the blossom will survive to become fruit, but I hope hope hope. Also hope the poor young bees and other pollinators have found somewhere warm to shelter.

Time to light the fire again. It’s 3 degrees outside, so there must be a thaw in progress, but it’s going to take a while…

Pita-Bertie Christmas update

Remember Pita the rescued pup? There’s a whole chapter in the book about his adventures over the winter of 2015/16 and you can see pictures of him (and read an extract) here on the blog. Fast forward (there was a happy ending!) to yesterday, and the pre-Christmas BATH. Bertie (Pita as was) loves splashing through muddy puddles and rolling in the smelliest substances he can find. He’s a dog. So although his very fluffy coat didn’t show the evidence, one’s nose detected it. So it was time for a bath before going to visit relatives for Christmas. Well done to Vanda and Vicki for valiant bathing techniques, and all credit to Bertie for balmy bath behaviour. He smelled and felt wonderful for the last third of the day – but this morning he and Vicki are back out in the park, so mud will doubtless be clinging to his fur once more.

Cat scan gives book clean bill of health

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Sarah, a friend in Bucharest, writes to tell me: “Oscar adores your wonderful book Arabella McIntyre-Brown. He’s been reading it all the afternoon and purring up a storm. He says he particularly loves all the “nature stuff. Especially the birds…”

There’s plenty in the book for cats, dogs, birds, chickens, sheep, horses, cows and moths. Creatures great, small, tame, wild, furred, feathered, scaled and winged all get a look-in.

An excellent present for gardeners, nature-lovers, cat and dog fans, herbalists, chefs and tea-drinkers.

Look, look – book’s here!

Book Din Liverpool in Carpati against snowy landscape

Monochrome setting, colourful book

The book, with half the number of authorial hands that typed it. Of the individuals on the cover, the bear is behind a tree on the left; the sheep are huddled just behind the book, the horse is in her stable, birds are fluffed up on their perches, dog’s in his kennel, and cats are all snuggled up in their beds by the fire in my study. I’m the fool with her hand out of the window…