Perhaps I had ambitions to be an MP - or an undertaker!

Friday, August 22, 2008



I was pleased to get an e-mail from a friend whose mother experienced the old-style Temperance meetings. This was his message -

“Hi John, Thanks for your links and congratulations on the very fine pages you have produced. Your diary entries on the Temperance movement reminded me of a wee story that my mother used to recall of how she and her two brothers used to go to the meetings. (The attraction being that there was always a slide show.) The heavily bearded presenter had a heavy walking stick and he would thump it on the floor when it was time to move onto the next slide. She also used to laughingly recall how her two brothers signed the pledge but somehow she managed to avoid it. I should also state that whilst my two uncles in later life enjoyed an occasional drink my mother never did! Regards, David”

While I myself had no knowledge of Temperance meetings, my mother took me on a number of occasions to a similar kind of gathering. The slides were presented by means of a “magic lantern” with the speaker, his walking stick and the assistant controlling the wonderful apparatus. The subject was always about missionary work in Africa, and I still remember that the opening slide was always the picture of a big closed door. On the second slide, the door was open revealing the complete map of Africa. The lesson was obvious.


In 1936 my father bought a 5-apartment semi-detached house and we moved from the tenement.

(I took this photograph yesterday - we lived in the house on the left). Up until then my sister and I had shared a bed in the living room recess, and now we were thrilled to have our own rooms.

My mother’s family were pleased to hear this news (after all, my grandfather, a piece-work iron moulder had managed to have his own house built despite bringing up 8 children), but on my father’s side opinions were not encouraging, for they felt that people of our class shouldn’t be buying property.

After we had settled in, we had a new arrival. No, not an infant, but a mongrel dog! The stray had been found wandering around the town and the policeman who was looking after it had shown him to my father. The outcome was that the dog with a rope around its neck was brought home to us. Now, I’m sure my mother wasn’t consulted on this matter, for in those days she was very wary of dogs. However he stayed and we named him Teddy.

Teddy didn’t settle down at all. In fact he was a born tramp. He regularly escaped from the garden, and would return during the night, howling to be let in. Worse was to follow, when it was discovered that he had some kind of skin disease, and he had to be put down.

We had much better luck some years later, when we got a small mixed breed dog. We named him Binks, and my sister and I very much enjoyed playing with him and taking him walks along the canal bank.

When our own children were a bit older, we got Skip, a cross between a toy poodle and a miniature pinscher. More about her at a later date, but for now I want now to jump to the present day.

This a photo of our youngest daughter’s dog Cody, or to give him his Kennel Club name Kindu Kodi Sonovason.

Cody is a basenji, sometimes called an Egyptian or African dingo. The breed has been referred to as the voiceless dog, because it makes a peculiar yodelling sound rather then a bark.

The following is a poem written by a loving basenji owner -

B is for barkless, but not really mute,
They chortle and yodel, mutter an growl,
I think they could talk if they ever learnt how.

A is for agile, graceful and quick,
They jump like a deer and play like a cat
Who ever heard of a dog acting like that?

S is for stubborn, yes they do have a streak,
They’ll coax and they’ll bully till they get their own way,
Outsmarting a human is just part of their day.

E is for entertaining, they’re all hams at heart,
Ask them to play and they’ll act like a clown,
Tell them to heel and they’ll sit down and frown.

N is for neat, a must in themselves,
They lick and they groom till each hair is in place,
If they think that you need it, they’ll come wash your face.

J is for jungle. Natives and huts,
On the tombs of the Pharoahs their pictures are found,
And in Africa’s jungles they’re the belled hunting hound.

I is for ME, an owner possessed,
I feed and I doctor, I worry and care,
And that doggone Basenji knows, when he calls, I’ll be there. (Jeradeen Crandall 1967)

Before leaving the subject of basenjis, here’s a little video of basenji pups at play -



Thursday night - Potluck supper. Prayer and medication to follow. Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
Our Easter Sunday Service began with Mrs. Prym laying an egg on the altar.


My first EIGHTY PLUS posting included a painting by William-Adolph Bouguereau. I’ve gathered quite a collection his paintings on my PC, and this is another one “The Young Shepherdess”.



Old age is a lot of crossed-off names in your address book. (Ronald Blythe)


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