Basil gets his first rosette!

Boris's Rosette
Before Dog Agility took over our weekends (and pretty much most of our spare time) we used to be active in the Crossbreed and Mongrel Club The CMC was set up by dedicated non-pedigree dog owners who wanted a club that appreciated the uniqueness of their own type of dog and that recognised they are something to be proud of and neither inferior nor superior to pedigrees but equally loving, fun to own and useful in their own right. I created and maintained the original website and also produced the clubs newsletter for many years.

This Sunday we were uncharacteristically free and there was a CMC show on in Tattershall Lincolnshire. So we decided to reacquaint ourselves with old friends and take the dogs out for a bit of fun. Basil the new boy still has many hang-ups and behavioural idiosyncrasies so we thought a bit of socialisation might help him. Last weekend he went to a BAA agility show as a spectator and seemed to enjoy himself.

Central to the CMC is the SCAMPS competition. SCAMPS (Supreme Crossbreed and Mongrel Petdog Show) is held annually where the winners of all ‘SCAMPS’ Heats held around the country that year compete for the title of ‘Crossbreed and Mongrel Club Supreme Champion’. The heats consists of four classes, best dog, best bitch under and over 18 inches in height, the four winners are then judged together to decide on the heat winner.

So anyway, we entered Charlie (handled by the wife, pictured below), Boris (handled by a friend Sue) and Basil (handled by yours truly) in the Best dog under 18 inches class. Charlie won! and to my surprise Basil got 6th (there were about 15 dogs in the heat) Basil was very calm, allowed the judge to examine him without complaint and even made a passable effort to walk around the ring properly (unlike Boris who was a bit of handful for Sue)

Charlie and Ros

Charlie looking pleased with himself
Charlie didn’t get anywhere in the final part of the heat, he is pictured above with the wife (the eagle eyed of you can spot Boris, Basil, Fred and Toby looking on in the back of the Nissan X-Trail in the top left)

The dogs were entered in various classes thoughout the day. Boris got fifth place in “most appealing eyes”, Charlie was second in “best condition coat”, poor old Fred got nothing and Toby spent all day asleep in the back of the car! Charlie and Boris also got places in the fastest recall, Boris impressing everyone by not having someone hold him but sitting and waiting while I walked the 25 yards or so down the course and then recalled him!


Basil at Play

Basil (pictured above) really enjoyed and behaved himself and slept like a log when we got home. He was completely at ease and as you can see he is alert but ignores other dogs including a Rhodesian Ridgeback walking close by in the following videos.

Stephen King’s – The Mist

The Mist

While trawling the news groups I noticed this adaptation of Stephen King’s The Mist was available for download. I haven’t read the story but from past adaptations of King’s work I wasn’t expecting much. I thought it might be decent enough to pass a few hours.

However I was pleasantly surprised and shocked by this film. The story is fairly simple, a small town in Maine (like most of King’s work) is hit one night by a violent electrical storm, the following day the townsfolk are all shopping for supplies in the local store when suddenly emergency sirens start going off and a fast moving military convey race through the town. Suddenly a man with a blooded face runs down the street shouting warnings “There’s something in the mist! It took John Lee!” quickly followed by an otherworldly mist which comes rolling in and surrounds the building which is then shaken by an earthquake.

There are indeed hellish monsters hiding in the mist, a giant octopus-like tentacle attacks a grocery clerk, a flock of prehistoric-looking insects invade the store and spidery creatures menace a group as they venture out to get medicine for an ailing man.

What follows is a Lord of the Flies type story as the besieged townsfolk hole up in the store. Fear start to drive some of them half-mad. It doesn’t take long for most of the shoppers, egged on by the eccentric and spiritually messed-up Mrs. Carmody, to begin eyeing their fellow survivors as possible human sacrifices believing that the monsters have they come to exact God’s bloodthirsty revenge as a sign of the End of Days.

However following the revelations of some trapped servicemen it is soon apparent that the cause is likely to be the local military base which may have been conducting experiments which could have opened a doorway to another dimension.

Like the great disaster films of the 1970s The Mist’s narrative tension (and horror) comes as much from the characters’ interactions as from the monsters the mist occasionally spits out. It has a terrific cast and decent enough special effects that do not upstage the human characters.

The Mist mixes the imaginary fears of the HP Lovecraft inspired monsters and supernatural hints with our real fears: unchecked military or scientific activity, the breakdown of society, the end of the world.

Lack of posting

My apologies for not posting anything here for the last few weeks, there are a number of factors. Firstly I have been busy preparing for our dog club’s agility show which takes place next month, this years show has over 1200 dogs entered so times are a bit stressful. Secondly I have been a bit down, not really sure why I feel this way because as at the moment I am not working but I have felt it difficult to get motivated. Thirdly I have discovered Facebook, in the past I have derided ‘social networking sites’ but took the plunge.

Basil back from the vets.

Basil is back from the vets and is a little subdued, the x-rays showed no problems with the joints, no sign of arthritis or cartilage damage so that really only leaves a soft-tissue injury. So Basil is going to have to rest for a month in order to allow it to heal.

As the vet said if a dog is active, running, twisting and turning, playing chase and stopping suddenly and the like, there is always the possibility that these “soft tissue” injuries are going to occur. It can be as simple as a little bruising that has occurred during play. Or, it could be a small tearing in the muscles. It is difficult to make a diagnosis.

So Basil is going to be cage rested for a month, which may actually help in another matter as it may help enforce his place in the pack as we had a bust up last night before going to bed, this is only the second incident but poor old Charlie came off worse again and is going to get known as Scarface if he keeps on starting it!

The vet is doing rather well out of me at the moment


One of the drawbacks of having five dogs is the cost of veterinary treatment. As well as Fred’s recent treatment for his eyelid tumour we have been having our new dog Basil treated for lameness. He became lame (or was possible already lame) on his front leg almost immediately on coming home. Initially we suspected a simple strain due to over exuberance on meeting Charlie and Boris. He did throw himself around at high speed (and still does) and had difficulty negotiating the vinyl flooring in the kitchen resulting in him colliding with a radiator! He also has a habit of getting under my feet.

Basil has had two courses of anti-inflammatory drugs, the second one being steroid based and it did seem to help, however he is limping again. The vet has decided to have him in to x-ray the leg and to have a good feel and examination while Basil is under. I suspect it will be a case of cage resting him and more drugs, I had been loath to cage rest him while he was settling in to his new home.

So Basil was dropped off at 9am this morning and I will be collecting him at afternoon surgery. I think the other boys enjoyed their relaxing walk when I got back without the manic black and tan terrier!

How many?



Having a bit of a spring clean at the moment and have been up the loft and have surprised myself at the number of computers I have acquired over the years. Ranging from a humble 486 clone to a Pentium4, with various operating systems Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Fedora 3, Fedora 8 and Debian 3. Also shocking was the number of external hard drives I’ve got! There is a Dragon32, Tatung Einstein another PC, an old Panasonic CF25 toughbook and even older Texas Instruments Extensa 510 laptop (with 8MB of RAM!) in the loft along with loads of peripherals including numerous scanners, modems and monitors.

I feel like a technological Mr Trebus

Fred is well and fully recovered

Fred depressed in the corner

Well Fred’s operation went well on Monday, he was taken in at 9am and I collected him at 3pm, he was bit groggy and unsteady but his eye looked a lot better than I was expecting. Fortunately due the growth being on a stalk it meant minimal cutting of the eyelid. He did want to rub it so has had to endure the indignity of the Elizabethan Collar (he is pictured sitting staring in to the corner of the computer room, resting his head between a bag and one of the computers)

This morning he went back to the vet to check the eye. The vet was pleased, it is looking very clean and you really would have difficultly spotting any surgery other than some slight shaving of his fur below the eye.

Fred seems much happier, has been out for several walks with much more enthusiasm that he has recently shown, so hopefully that is the end of that health scare.