The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Flint dog

Photo: Dog in the flint

Photo: Dog in the flint

Min Pins are interesting dogs. They choose their favourite human companion and it’s for life. Love and picky vociferous loyalty for ever. The Contessa adores Danny. Dr Quito and Inca have chosen me. It‘s set in stone.

Years ago I had a chat with a Yorkshire Min Pin breeder. This tendency had caused him real problems.
“A man buys a pup for himself but the dog decides that he prefers his wife. Even if he bought another pup I couldn’t guarantee that it would favour him. It’s not who feeds them it’s just down to the chemistry.”

Dr Q is getting a bit long in the tooth at ten years old next birthday, so he doesn’t shadow me as much as he used to. Inca, three next birthday, fulfils this role and presumably reports back if necessary. They have always been close.

Inca is beside the front door wanting to join me when I leave for work or an expedition away from the cottage. But she is always left behind. My first Min Pin, Fly,  accompanied me on most trips but my life has changed and Inca wouldn’t be welcomed in the houses where I work and there are so many thefts of dogs from cars with open windows that I wouldn’t consider taking a chance with her. Like most pets our dogs are precious family members

But I do miss her during the day when I’m away from home. She is such an inquisitive creature. And she loves being involved in most cottage activities. When she was a small pup she watched me making a new dog ramp for Dr Q. Her head followed the path of the hammer up and down so closely that I wondered if she’d get a repetitive strain injury in the muscles of her glossy black neck.

Photo: Winter view

Photo: Winter view

I am working at a large country estate at the moment. Sometimes I park Jalopy so that I can look at this view when I stop for a cup of tea late afternoon. But when the weather turns cold this spot can be a bit risky because Jalopy’s doors freeze up tight. I’ve had to clamber aboard via the boot in the past. In pitch black (this is the  deep heart of the countryside with no street lights) negotiating a car full of equipment and cans of paint was an interesting adventure.

So now I park against an old flint wall on chilly days. Initially I missed the view but I’ve discovered that this wall gives me endless pleasure. It’s is a flint wall version of the cloud or ink spot game. Here I see endless mythical creatures and wailing harpies. Last week I spotted a petulant dog. Study the photo at the top of the post carefully. The black spot near the centre is his nose. He even has eyebrows and ears. Can you see my flint Norfolk terrier? He has become a friend.

Photo: Flint doll's head

Photo: Flint doll

When I showed D the detail of a doll’s head, he could only see a sleeping dinosaur. At least he could see something!






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  1. Christmas Greetings !

    You do have a most wonderful knack of painting fabulous word pictures. Thank you.

    And thank you too for reminding me about frozen car locks and climbing in thru the boot of my first car – my 2-cylinder Citroen Visa, inherited from a dear friend. Always fun in a busy city…….

  2. I saw the doll’s head straight away, but still can’t see a sleeping dinosaur.

    Didn’t see the dog until you pointed out where his nose was.

    As a child, I had some spooky wallpaper in my bedroom. All swirly whirly. Only occasionally did I see a friendly face amongst the abstract patterns.

    Right, better book an appointment with a shrink straight away. In the meantime, I wish you, Danny, the Min Pins and all the other members of the cast a very Happy Christmas.

    Very best wishes, Sally

  3. I saw the dog straight away, not so sure about the doll but could see the baby Mandi described. It’s like when you start looking at those pictures that you focus beyond and an image emerges (can’t remember what they are called just now), it took me ages to see anything until it suddenly happened one day. I always think that the longer you have to look to see something the less likely it is that you will ever see it.

  4. Isn’t it so frustrating when others don’t ‘get you’ I have the same problem with patterns in bark snow clouds and so forth, and then spend ages trying to explain and then the person still patronisingly says ”’ mmm oh yeah I see it now’ when they really don’t and just wanna shut you up… maybe its the artist in you seeing endless possibilities in every shape and contour.In the bootom picture I see a sleeping baby deep brow closed eyes and tiny nose cupid top lip but no bottom jaw or lip… have a brilliant christmas to you and all the animals x

  5. Just visiting back over to say – “Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year” back to you. I’m honoured you’ve visited my blog and thanks for the comments re appreciating the links (presumably you mean all the ones I give on the “My Gardening Notes” – ie my sub-blog).

    Take care



  6. I can see the dog and the doll – you are so observant. Loved the bit about entering Jalopy through the boot! I so agree with you about a dog’s loyalties. It is so wonderful to be trusted and loved by your dogs, knowing that they will always be pleased to see you and that you instantly make their day complete (and vice versa. x

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