Food of Champions

Hello fiends,

What’s been happening…. Max has gone home as Auntie Jill is back. We had a great week together, even fursister number 1, Thumbelina, was sad to see him go…… or was it just his bed she’ll miss!?! And guess what – Buster is staying this week – more fun and games!!  It was British Pie Week. And the Six Nations rugby was won by England –  what a win, what a match!!

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And, hurray it was Clare Balding and Crufts again at the weekend – one of the World’s biggest dog shows. We loved watching all the rounds and the hero dogs in the Friends for Life competition and the fly ball and then the rescue dog agility competition are best. And we all love Clare Balding – just think when she grows up, she’ll be Mary Berry.

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A Border Collie hasn’t won Best in Show at Crufts yet and English Cocker Spaniels have won the most number of times! That’ll please Max that the Spaniel clan are tops! And it was a type of Spaniel who won Best in Show again this year –  a young American Spaniel – though he’s actually from Blackpool!?! He had a very fetching long, brushed coat, am not sure I could carry that off….. I’d probably trip.

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I often dream of trotting round the show ring on my lap of honour in Birmingham and being interviewed by Clare but, so far have only had a go in a local job show – it certainly isn’t as easy as it looks – even the mums have to prance round!! You can see my efforts in my Adventures of Ragamuffin episode Every Dog Has His Day   ah well you can’t win ‘em all.

It was great fun though and I made lots of new fiends but, didn’t bring any rosettes home…. still it’s all about the taking part not the winning. Mum had my favourite dinner for when we got back – she calls it the ‘food of champions’ which is a better prize than any rose vase or silver cup and sash!

It’s a pretty easy recipe if you want to have a go:

Mums Champions Liver Cake

  • 2 kilos liver (cheapest) probably pigs
  • Approx. 150g of wholemeal flour
  • 1 egg or stock to add moisture

Put the liver and egg or stock in a blender till smooth or the liver is in very small pieces. Add the flour until the mixture is thick like brownies – if it’s too thick add a little milk or more flour if it’s too runny. Put the mixture in a baking tin about an inch deep will be enough. Put in oven at 170c fan for approx. 20 mins the mixture should still be a little moist and a knife will come out clean if you stick it in the middle. Leave to cool. If you want to use it as treats; cut into cubes and store in the freezer in bags. Eat within three days if kept in the fridge.If you can make it last that long!

As an extra you could try mums’ very special topping use; mashed potatoes made with a little butter and semi-skimmed milk – spread the mash on the liver cake and top with low fat natural yogurt when the mash is cool. For special occasions, you can decorate with those lovely little cocktail sausages. And most importantly always lick the spoon and bowl (the dogs, not the mums!!).

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Think Buster will help me polish off the lot!!

 

Until next time

Rx

Flipping Pancakes!

Hello fiends,

What a busy week.

England beat Italy in the Six Nations rugby – what a game that was. For film fans, it was the Oscars where, I think the ‘envelope lady’ had her end of show sherry a bit early! And, most importantly, my fiend Max is staying with us – his mum, Auntie Jill, is having a very special birthday and has gone away for a few days.

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She couldn’t really take Max with her so, Mum said he should come to us of course! We’re also feeding their two cats called Doris and Johnson….though mum keeps getting mixed up and saying we’re going up to feed ‘Boris Johnson’….. sigh!

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We’ve having loads of fun with Max here – I even let him sit in my place next to Mum, a bit longer than normal but, he’s my fiend so, that was good really. Though, my fursister Thumbelina hasn’t been such a good hostess and gets into Max’s basket for a nap!  As if she hasn’t got enough places to sleep! Cats are so cheeky and Max says not to be messed with – specially Thumbelina!!

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Even though Max is a grown -up dog he’s been missing his mum – I know that I would too as, we’re always together in fact, I don’t mind saying: I’d miss her loads. Poor Max nevermind, I found lots for us to do. And mum sent some photos of him and me to Auntie Jill via the worldwide super highway as, she’s missing him too!

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Hurray for Pancake Day today.  All that flour flying and flipping will keep us busy.

Max asked what Pancake Day is all about – well, as far I know the time before Easter is called Lent (nothing to do with lending things) and the day before Lent starts is called Shrove Tuesday. Rich foods including; eggs and butter were not allowed during Lent, so people made pancakes on Shrove Tuesday to use up all the ‘rich’ stuff and called it Pancake Day for fun. In other countries, they call it Carnival or Mardi Gras.

Who turned the lights out?

We had a go at pancakes last year too, as you can see more ended up on my head and on the floor than on the plates. They’re messy things to make and humans invented tossing the pancake – a pretty risky invention if you ask me!! Aga’s, dogs, small children and Travertine tiles up and down the country end up covered in half-cooked batter!!

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At bedtime, Max and I tell stories, laugh and have also been making up rhymes about missing someone who is far away. We’ve seen them in those Christmas Cards, with glitter on, under the heading: ‘Across the Miles’.

They normally go something like this – 

Even though you’re far away I think about you every day, though the miles lay between us we’re never far apart – love doesn’t count in miles – it’s measured by the heart!

Hmm we decided we should maybe stick to limericks or, pancakes sticking to the pan!

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Get flipping fiends!

Until next time

Rx (and Max)

National Love Your Pet Day

Hello fiends,

It’s one of those special days – it’s National Love Your Pet Day!! That can’t be too hard as, we’re known as a nation of animal, especially dog, lovers.

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Me, my fiends and my fursisters looked up some of the reasons us pets are loved – we couldn’t look at all pets as there are so many that are loved from; snakes (eeekk) to stick insects (really!).

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Here are some of the top reasons we found that the mothers love us.

Love – Us fiends wait at the door when we know you’re coming home. We jump and jive about with excitement when we see you, as if we perhaps we thought you might not come home, ever. Fursisters don’t exactly do that but, they will come and rub around your legs and guide you to the kitchen.

(Wo)Man’s Best Friend – Forget eyePhones, tele or Tweeter our batteries or interest will never run out. From the fun of a puppy to the grandness of an older dog, we are full of love, surprises and fun. And fursisters are the same – you can never beat the thrill of a kitten latching onto your ankles as you try and go down the stairs.

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A Great Cheerer Upper – When you’re feeling a bit fed up and thinking no one loves you, you’ll always have us fiends to make you feel better. We love to put our head in your lap and show we love you, and always will. And fursisters will give you that ‘love eyes’ look, a purr and might, just might, sit on your lap well, pretty near you anyway. It’s official – pets are better than sherry or chocolate!!

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An Ever-Ready Exercise Partner – We know that you can’t take most fursisters for a walk, except perhaps Siamese who; seem to like it or that Bob cat in the book and film though, you can move across the room really, really fast when they knock over the pot plant that you’ve probably just watered as, you don’t want them to tread in the soil. And as for us fiends, you only have to walk fairly near to where our lead is and we’re up and ready for a walk, for as long and far as you want, depending on the rain. And you get to meet new people when us fiends have a bit of a chat with their dog.

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Cooking Skills – Us fiends and fursisters don’t mind if you’re not a Gordon Blue chef. You don’t need to be Mary Berry (though we all love her and she’d give us five star treats and she’d wear nice jackets for our walks). We’re pretty much happy with whatever we get, specially – mum – if it’s your homemade Liver Cake which, is the best in the world, the whole world, ever. Though fursisters can be a little bit on the fussy side –  no need to worry you can buy best wild salmon in most good supermarkets now.

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So, us fiends love that we are loved and we hope, mothers everywhere, you can always feel all our love back.

 

Until next time, with love

Rx

Special Relationship!

Hi fiends,

It’s been very chilly though, when you’re out and about look around – there really are signs that Spring’s in the air…. yes, really – despite the fog and drizzle. We’ve spotted Wild Primrose and Snowdrops just about coming through, and the birds are up earlier and singing a bit louder and longer at the end of the day. Where my fiend Ruf lives, a Robin has started building its nest!

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Talking of fiends – in the last few days all we keep hearing is; ‘special relationship’; on the TV, radio and in conversations between the mothers, just about everywhere.

What’s that all about? Something to do with that ministry women: Mrs Treesare May and a trumpet, we think. Us fiends thought she was more of a violin type, trumpets need an awful lot of hot air and can be jolly hard work.

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My special relationships include; sausages (just joking – all of us dogs say that) and my fiends – two and four legged and even six or eight legged if you like spiders. We’re ‘man’s best friend’ which includes women and children too.

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Looking on the world wide super highway, or ‘web’ for short, we found a great poem by a little fiend called Tara:

A friend is a person who comes and won’t judge a flower by its colour.

A person who will never give up on you.

A person who will comfort you when storms of tears are in your mind.

A person who will just have some fun with you and give you a good laugh.

A person that doesn’t mind expressing their happy or sad feelings to you.

Buster and Moja both liked the bit; ‘storms of tears’ as, tears can be like rain and seem like they’re never going to stop…. specially if you’ve got a massive splinter in your paw or if you’re feeling sad. We think Tara is a great fiend to have too, she knows all about what fiendship feels like inside.

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In the olden days, when the mothers were very young (Buster, Moja and I often wonder; how!), people used to stick all their fiend’s photos together in books called; photo albums. Think that sounds good as, you could then look at them properly without them whizzing past because, someone else has done a Tweet or Post that you have to look at next.

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So, that’s why all the photos this week are of some of my ‘special relationship’ fiends as, it’s lovely to have them all in one place, hope you like them too!

Until next time

Rx

Firework Night

 

 

Hello fiends,

Another busy week – Halloween capers of course, now what’s next Guy Fawkes Night – though people call it: Bonfire Night or Firework Night too

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What’s it all about – well, a very long time ago, 1605 to be exact, Guido Fawkes (Guy for short) was part of a norty gang who wanted to blow up the Houses of Parliament with gunpowder because, they didn’t like the MPs, Lords or the King very much. They hid barrels of this dastardly stuff in the cellar and planned to set it off at the opening ceremony. But, a couple of these norty gang got scared and warned some of their fiends what they were planning – and even without Facebook or Instagram (they didn’t have the internet in those days) – the Kings men found out and caught Guy Fawkes red-handed and red-faced in the cellars. After a couple of days in the cells with only stale bread and water he told the Kings men who else was in the gang. And that was that; the whole gang had had their chips….not actual chips of course; they weren’t invented then either.

All Londoners were then encouraged to light bonfires to ‘celebrate’ that the Gunpowder Plot had been foiled. It became an Act of Parliament that on November 5th every year would become a day of ‘thanksgiving’. Over the years’ people began making a look-a-like of Guy Fawkes out of old clothes stuffed with straw and burning it on the bonfire and fireworks were introduced.

When the King made that Act of Parliament he said; “this testemonye of joy be carefull done without any danger or disorder” –  that means health and safety is much older than we thought!!

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Us pets, and all animals really, aren’t keen on the fireworks or bonfire bit at all. They are too loud with flashes and bangs that send us running or barking or shivering and howling. And lots of children are scared too. Mum and her fiends wish that fireworks weren’t sold in shops and if there had to be fireworks they were only let off at specially run displays.

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There are loads of safety tips and pet owners have lots of different ways to help their fella’s. The main thing to always remember is; never play with fireworks or throw them at other people or animals. You would be literally playing with fire if you did and that is not cool at all!

On the day; make sure that walks are finished early so; everyone is indoors and snug before the bangs start. Putting a t-shirt on a dog or snuggling it up tightly with cushions and covers can help make it feel safer. Some people put the television sound or music up loud or sing…….luckily mum turns up the television or distracts me with toys.

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There are things that vets can give you too – like the Adaptil plug-in or collar for cats and dogs and in cases where fiends are very nervous vets can prescribe tablets. Aunty Jules calls them ‘Knock Out Drops’ – her old dog Barnaby and her fiends’ dog Bodie had them – they’d weave around a bit and then have a good sleep and miss all the fireworks.

If you are having a bonfire and have been building it over a few weeks – please check no hedgehogs have crept in there to hibernate.

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Some older kids can be frightened of all the noise and flashes too so, if your fiends don’t want to go to a display or out at all on the 5th don’t force them or make fun of them – we all have things we don’t like!!

 

Stay safe fiends until next week

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Rx

More About Autumn

Hello fiends,

This week has been fun and busy again but, I’ve been thinking – loads of things happen in Autumn so, thought we’d have a look at some more of them. They’ll be lots of scary Halloween things coming into the shops soon and adverts for local Fireworks Night Displays but, we’ll talk about those in a couple of weeks.

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There are a couple of things you can do to prepare for those events: if you and your fiends are building a bonfire; keep an eye out that no hedgehogs make their winter nest in the bottom (check it each week and on the night) and if you have a dog or cat or little pet who’s not keen on big bangs and flashes – think about getting advice from your vet now, this week, about products and ways you can help it all be a little less stressful. Don’t mind saying; me and my cat sisters are pretty scared of fireworks and we stay very close to mum!! My fiend Rufus hides under loads and loads of cushions!

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Back to other Autumn things: the bird world gets really busy. Me and my fiends love watching the Starlings doing that crazy flying thing. It’s brilliant; hundreds of Starlings collect together in trees, or on piers, or TV aerials or on roofs and all sing together, like a massive out of tune school choir. This is called roosting and then suddenly – they all take off together, flying in patterns all over the sky, whizzing about, looking like they can’t decide which way to go but, all staying together and going in the same direction!

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Loads of Starlings flying together like this is called; ‘murmurations’, my fiend Moja says it looks like Bird Ballet! Bird experts think they do it as protection, that’s ‘safety in numbers’, or it’s a way of signposting the place to roost to other Starlings that are new to the area. I think the ‘safety in numbers’ idea is true –  when they’re all flying together it can look like a giant shadow monster!! Which is pretty scary if you think about it?!?

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 The other thing Starlings and birds of all types do in Autumn is get ready to migrate – that means they fly off to live somewhere else for the colder months, like a winter holiday. So, some of those new Starlings flying around near your house could well be winter visitors from Eastern Europe who have come to the UK as, our winter is warmer than theirs! You can often spot birds flying in a V shape formation in the winter skies when they are heading off to warmer places.

Some Swans, fly all the way to the Arctic as, it has a really good short summer there when it’s cold here. And in the Artic Summer there’s twenty-four-hour daylight and loads of food to fatten them up before the flight home. What a long way to go for a slap up meal – Joe Allens would be easier and nearer!

Birds are fast and can go anywhere if they have enough energy so, they can fly to the best places for food and to live safely through the winter. The RSPB website and books are a great place to get more info.

There’s lots of reasons birds migrate but, the experts think that sometimes it’s just because they can! But some don’t go at all including, the beautiful Red Kite which is the bird on the left below.

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Until next week, keep your eyes open for Starlings and their Bird Ballet and see if you can spot flocks of birds migrating.

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Have a good week fiends

Rx

 

Cats’ Eyes

Hello there fiends!

How are you all this week? I am okay, but a little sad because I have noticed that cats seem to be getting far too much attention. What with Grumpy Cat coming to London, #caturday Saturdays and now my new discovery of Cats’ Eyes it seems they’re getting all the fame!

I was on a walk with Mum and we were carefully crossing the road when I noticed the big studs down the middle of the road.
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Mum explained they were there so that at night drivers could see the road ahead and know which side to stay on, they’re called cat’s eyes. Can you believe it! Now I’m sure dog’s eyes work just as well, even if science says that cats’ are better at reflecting the light, so I think there is clear favouritism for cats surfacing here and I’m not all that happy about it.

I went home and decided to look into how these pretend Cat’s Eyes work. They were invented by a Yorkshireman called Percy Shaw in 1929 after his headlights were reflected from the eyes of a cat beside the road. He thought this kind of technology would be handy in making the roads safer.

Cat’s eyes are made up of two pairs of reflective glass spheres in a flexible white rubber dome that is protected by a cast iron surrounding. They are really clever because they are also self-cleaning, so when a car drives over one, or a dog walks on one, they are pushed down inside the rubber and, like an eyelid, it cleans all the muck off of the eye!

I found this great YouTube video that explains it in more detail for those of you who are interested!

As annoying as it is that such a cool invention is because of cats, Cats’ Eyes have saved many lives as road traffic accidents at night reduced dramatically.

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Although I know that the technology is always being improved and some roads now feature LED studs which are even better than traditional Cats’ Eyes… I won’t tell them if you won’t!

Next week I’ll be talking about the Rio Olympics which start on 5th August! Send me your sporting photos on Facebook

Until next time fiends

R x