A mostly canine review today, to do justice to the longdogs. Some unseen photos of our pack, some new photos from Katy of her longdog Eva, and the curious monastic regime of Django, one of our own little monsters. We do spoil it towards the end, though, by mentioning book stuff again…
As we said last episode, the popularity of the Lurchers for Beginners series took us by surprise. It wasn’t even meant to be a series, for starters. During the year we covered What is a Lurcher, Lurchers and Your (ex) Garden, Common Questions about Lurchers, Lurcher Equipment and sundry other related topics.
And although we use lurcher as a general cover-all term, people still ask us what we mean by longdogs, so we’ll slam it up one last time. Typically, a longdog is a cross between two sighthounds. Greyhound or whippet is often one half of the blend; the other can be saluki, deerhound or any other sighthound. Mix and match to your heart’s content. But don’t expect to be able to catch them…
To illustrate longdog types, we posted photos every so often of Django, Chilli, Ann’s Roxy (beautiful deerhound x) and Michaela’s Nicky (the amazing tripod). As we’re nearly out of year, we just have time to add Katy’s Eva, who is, by general reckoning, a greyhound x saluki. These are particularly nice because a couple of the shots really do show the “long” part of the name. Katy kindly sent us these after contact through Lurcher Link (photo credits – Katy herself and Peter Austin).
Many thanks to Katy, and to others who have sent longdog photos throughout 2015.
Speaking of heart’s content, we have now pinned down the strange connection between Brother Cadfael and Django. Dogs vary (surprisingly) in how they tell you they want something.
Thinking about some of our earlier dogs, Radar used to use a peremptory single bark: I want it, now. Jade merely looked aggrieved and waited patiently. Twiglet, still astonishingly with us at 16, is given to both the Radar-bark and a hefty shove or bat with a large paw: I want it now and I’m going to hit you until I get it. Chilli signals her requirements by pushing a very cold nose in your face and knocking your glasses off.
But Django… well, he whines. Boy, does he whine.
This might be fine on occasion, except that he adheres to a form of traditional monastic timetable which links every part of the day to a particular service. You know, where the monks have to traipse into the chapel at set hours, regardless of what else is happening. I recently managed to pin down Django’s exact schedule of service, which goes as follows:
0700 hrs Breakfast – large bowl of yummy raw mince and bits.
1000 hrs First Walkies – rain, sunshine, tempest, doesn’t matter. Poo forecast – light to middling.
1300 hrs Lunch – scraps, chicken bits, anything that falls out of our sandwiches.
1500 hrs Formal Nap – everyone should go upstairs and doze in a heap together, possibly with jumping on and off bed if First Walkies was boring.
1700 hrs Second Walkies – especially in pouring rain, tempest etc. Poo forecast – heavy, may need multiple poo-bags.
1800 hrs Dinner – large bowl of yummy raw mince and bits, preferably with fish or yucky bits extra (liver, kidneys, heart, last night’s uneaten peas and sprouts). Everyone else’s bowl if they’re not fast enough.
2000 hrs Bone Time – forgotten at everyone’s peril.
1200 hrs Supper – the sundry bits we’d been saving for a special treat (for us).
0200 hrs Traffic direction – Chilli always takes the best dog-bed and guards it, Twiglet’s too obstinate to move, so Django has to be guided to a safe landing position.
The above schedule wasn’t our idea. He decided that this was how he liked things, and set up vocal signals to train us acordingly. Any deviation is met with plaintive, highly annoying whines and general restlessness of the masses. As his regime leaves only five hours of potential human sleep, we are fortunate to have at least one of us semi-awake throughout that long day.
He is a joy, but a very whiny one when all’s said and done.
On the non-dog, rather than the long-dog side, we explored the joys of audio. This included an article on the outstanding radio series McLevy, based on the exploits of a real life Victorian detective in the Edinburgh police. See At Last: CSI Edinburgh
So we were delighted to receive a subsequent e-mail from the talented David Ashton, the Scottish author and actor who writes McLevy (and star in it as Lieutenant Roach, McLevy’s boss). Amongst some kind remarks, he passed on the following:
The subsequent (BBC Audio) releases are scheduled for 1 October (Series 3 & 4) and 7 January 2016 (Series 5 & 6). We’ll all be in our Zimmer frames by the time it eventually comes out.
Sadly also the BBC in its wisdom have decreed that series 12 is to be the last. Series 11 is to be broadcast from Dec 14th (I think) 2015. Series 12 we haven’t recorded yet.
If you haven’t heard McLevy, buy, borrow it or download it. Episodes vary in their seriousness and topics. Some have a wry sense of humour and contain many wonderful observations on Victorian society and justice. At times, though, there are episodes which are haunting and quite horrifying, proving that you don’t need an actual monster to scare you – it just takes human nature.
I can’t judge other people’s tastes, but if you would prefer reading some McLevy as opposed to listening, you might try out one of David Ashton’s books. Fall from Grace is a good one, bringing in the infamous Tay bridge disaster. Enthusiasts of Victorian fiction might also like Nor Will He Sleep, in which Inspector McLevy meets up with one Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Jekyll and Hyde, in the city to bury his recently deceased father (link on right sidebar – to the book, not the deceased father).
Towards the end of the week, a quick update to our 2015 weird and horror-related posts, and then it’s time for 2016…