Complete And Utter Fail

Travelling down to Lincolnshire to pick up our new puppy, trying to distract two ultra-hyper kids and keep things calm, and then, as we approach a roundabout . . .

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The Escapologist; Bryn Comes In #2

Further to my earlier post about our imminent new addition to the family, a Welsh Springer Spaniel named Bryn, we were thrilled to receive this photograph from his breeder, having hired a photographer to capture him and his eight siblings in a great family portrait.

After meeting the challenge of getting all nine pups on the couch at the same time, lined up and facing the same way, (no easy task), they both sat to view the results. The photographs were great, capturing the young dogs in all of their appealing cuteness.

Then one of them counted.

Eight puppies. One had managed to give them the slip, unnoticed. It could have been our Bryn, for the breeder had already given him the nickname Houdini, due to his ability to escape from any man-made restraints. And so they had to go through the difficult process again, which may explain why our dog, on the far left as you look, appears decidedly unimpressed.

If you read my previous post, you’d have learned of the great coincidence, some might say divine intervention, that led to us getting Bryn. Which is quite appropriate as this puppy portrait reminded me of a certain Da Vinci painting.

Last Supper? Im expecting him to eat us out of house and home.

Fate Plays Her Hand; Bryn Comes In

After four years being dog-less, since the sad death of our Golden Retriever (link below), my family are about to welcome a new addition into its fold.

Whereas I’d have been happy with another Retriever, Jen preferred something smaller. But which breed? Faced with this dilemma, fickle Fate played her hand.

It just so happened that on the very night of our conversation, a programme about the nation’s top one hundred breeds was on television. We tuned in for ideas, and when a Welsh Springer Spaniel appeared on our screen my wife said, “That’s a lovely looking dog, how about one of those?”

Initially, Jen had resisted the clamour for another dog from my children and I, having been so hurt from Rydal’s passing, so within a dog’s whisker of her uttering those words I had joined a group for Welshie lovers on Facebook and enquired about an imminent litter!

Welsh Springers are not as common as English Springers, and so I knew we’d have to travel to find one. Somebody had even suggested Sweden to me, but air fare was definitely beyond our budget.

I’d not considered Scandinavia, funnily enough, but that became a moot point when I found a pregnant Welsh Springer in Wales, of all places. Who’d have thought it?

But, alas, her pups were already reserved for buyers.

A week later, another breeder, living a two and a half hour’s drive away from us in Manchester, had seen my online query and contacted me as her Springer was due to have a litter in four weeks. I confirmed that I was still interested and we got talking about why we wanted this paticular breed.

(Fate Alert drumroll please)

It only turned out that the dog that we had seen on that television show was THIS breeder’s dog. The very dog that my wife had remarked upon, and so steered us in this direction, was soon to give birth to our new puppy! What’s the odds on that?!

You’ve gotta love the magic of television.

Anyway, for reasons of space, let me give you this brief summing up:

a litter of nine was born; children were at fever pitch; we had first choice of five boys; children nearly had a breakdown with the pressure; then finally:

after my daughter, tearing her hair out and saying that the process of ruling out the four other, equally cute dogs was worse than the multiple choice questions of her SATS exams, we chose this little fella:

Originally named Uno by the breeder (we later found out that this was because he was the first born. It seems quite apt that the first born should be the first chosen). We now had to come up with our own name.

I wanted something Welsh.

“What Welsh names do you know?” asked my wife.

I came up with Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey.

“Not a chance!”

My alternative suggestion of Jenkins, after Katherine Jenkins, was similarly dismissed. So as a family we went through some Welsh names and links. I liked Arthur, you know, our once and future King and all that. But in the end we came to an agreement: Uno was now Bryn.

But you knew that, didn’t you? Having read the title of this post.

We get him tomorrow. It’s the end of our lives as we know it.

My post about the passing of Rydal:

https://cityjackdaw.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/farewell-old-friend/

Death Do Us Part: A Letter From The Trenches

I read this moving letter, with a moving conclusion, on a FB post for Valentine’s Day. It is taken from the Imperial War Museum.

A letter from the trenches. 1917

Private Albert Ford wrote to his wife, Edith, on a scrap piece of paper before going ‘over the top’.

“My darling if this should ever reach you it will be a sure sign that I am gone under and what will become of you and the chicks I do not know but there is one above that will see to you and not let you starve,” he wrote.

“You have been the best of wives and I loved you deeply, how much you will never know.

“Dear heart, do think sometimes of me in the future when your grief has worn a bit, and the older children, I know won’t forget me, and speak sometimes of me to the younger ones…

“Dearest, if the chance should come your way for you are young and good looking and should a good man give you an offer it would please me to think you would take it, not to grieve too much for me…

“I should not have left you thus bringing suffering and poverty on a loving wife and children for which in time I hope you will forgive me.

“So dear heart I will bid you all farewell hoping to meet you in the time to come if there is a hereafter. Know that my last thoughts were of you in the dugout or on the fire step my thoughts went out to you, the only one I ever loved, the one that made a man of me.”

Albert was killed in action on 26 October 1917. His last letter was treasured by Edith until her death. She never remarried and as she lay dying in February 1956 she said she could see Albert in the corner of her bedroom.