Monday, 26 January 2009

A History Lesson

Near this spot

Are deposited the remains of one

Who possessed Beauty

Without Vanity,

Strength without Insolence,

Courage without Ferocity,

And all the Virtues of Man

Without his Vices.

Epitaph to a Dog - A poem by Lord Byron, written about Boatswain, his beloved Newfoundland, who died at Newstead Abbey, November 18th, 1808.

Ancient people dubbed my breed as 'the hero dog' because of its renowned and selfless feats of bravery. (I doubt I will ever perform heroic feats but it is nice to think my forebears did).

Did you know, my ancestors go back to the Vikings, apparently a black 'bear dog' named Oolam served as a trusty mate beside its master, Norse explorer Leif Erikson. Another is said to have rescued the 'Little General' from drowning. Even Napoleon's arch enemy Lord Nelson kept a Newf beside him in battle.

In 1802 another American Newfoundland named Scannon gained a place in history by accompanying the explorers Lewis and Clark on their Northwest expedition. According to reports, Scannon was kidnapped by a group of Indians, who apparently had planned to have him on their lunch menu. Ugh, but Lewis and Clark were so incensed about losing their teammate that they sent out a search party to bring him back. When faced with such a show of force, Scannon's captors put their lunch menu on hold and handed him back.

We got our breed name from a man called George Cartwright, a native Newfoundlander who gave the name of his Island to his pet dog. Five years later we nearly died out, we were in serious danger of extinction after a government proclamation limited the ownership of the giant dogs to one per household - all others were slated to be destroyed or exported but because of our great strength and as we were proving to be so useful to our masters, pulling heavy loads, hauling in fishing nets and wood from the forest, even powering the blacksmiths bellows and looking after the children, most people ignored the ruling. Phew, I am so glad they did, otherwise I would not be here.

Unlike my ancestors, I have not rescued anybody yet, but it is early days, you never know what could happen. I prefer to spend my leisure time watching TV. Did you see Ice Age the other week, hee hee, It was brill!

Mum says I am getting to be a handsome chappie, now which is my best side do you think?

I must remember to ask Mum to thank Bill at Graphicus for the rubber box that she brought home. Mum drew round my bowls and Dad cut them out and it is the perfect height for me to eat my tea. A perfect high riser till I grow a bit taller.

Time for bed zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Bertie's Gardening Tips


I'm back again with some gardening tips this week.

Don't let your Clematis grow too much, make sure you chew it back quite severely and above all pull out the roots. That way you can be sure it will not grow and you will never have to do the job again.

If you are required to put boxes in the attic, make sure you give the impression that you can only put your front paws on the third step, that way you won't be expected to get up there and help.

This is me pruning the Clematis, I also dug a hole (but try not to get caught doing this or you may be in trouble) and inspected the conifers.

Dad suggested putting my toy box in the attic, I managed to run away with it but I got a bit excited and chewed it up! Phew! it seems a long way up there.

I made a bit of a mess with it!

Oh well, Mam, can you bring me a new box home from Graphicus! for my toys.