A Dog Blogs: I’m ready for summer!

Hello bookish friends – it’s me – Briar!

It’s funny, I didn’t do a blog for ages and ages, and then two came along in rapid succession.

Jane said the blogging can be like that. And so can buses.

I have to tell you that I went to the groomer this morning, to have my double coat hand-stripped and to have be other bits brushed and trimmed and polished.

When Jane took the day off, and when we got up early and went out in the car I thought we were going for a lovely walk in the country. But we weren’t. My groomer is very nice, but I don’t really like being left there to be ‘done’.

Us borders have double coats, so clipping doesn’t work on us. The old hairs have to be stripped out and the new hairs have to be left behind. It doesn’t hurt if it’s done right, but it is a bit itchy. I had my ears and whiskers tidied up too, and a lot of general grooming.

I was very good, my groomer told Jane that when she came back to settle my account and drive me home.

Jane said I looked like a different dog – and that I looked lovely,

Here are pictures to prove it!


The first picture was taken in the par a few days ago, when it was very warm and so we had a bit of a sit-down.

The second picture was taken today. We stopped off at the boating pool on the way home, so that I could have a swim and a run on the grass.

It’s going to take me a while to get used to being a smart dog again, but I’m pleased that I’m ready for the summer to come.

I’m having a rest now, and I’ll be going to the beach later, because it’s low tide at walk time.

I will be back soon. And Jane will be back sooner, to talk about books I expect ….

A Dog Blog: Spot the Difference!

Hello bookish friends – it’s me – Briar!

How have you been? How are your dogs and cats?

Tonight I am bringing you the news about things that are changing round here. There are three stories, and in the collage below you will see a pair of photographs to illustrate each story.


My first story is on the bottom left and it is very exciting. My promenade has been fixed. It took months and months but now it is done. We can walk along again, and  I can go down the steps to play on the beach and go swimming.


It wasn’t done until the tourist season began and the beach ban for dogs kicked in, but I am only banned in the daytime and I am allowed on the beach in the evening. I am going down there as much as I can. I always pull on the lead to go that way when we go out and sometimes she agrees with me and sometimes she doesn’t ….

My second story is on the bottom left and it is a knitting story.

Six years ago Jane knitted the man of the house a hat. It was a simple hat but it was interesting because it was made of Noro Kureyon yarn which keeps changing colour. I wish I could do that.

He liked the hat and he wore it lots and lots. Even when it lost its shape he went on wearing it, because it was his favourite hat. So Jane offered to knit him and new one. It’s just the same but the colours are a little bit different.

He likes it and I like it too.

That leave my third story, which is in the two pictures at the very top.

I expect you have noticed that I have a new bed. it doesn’t match the Virago modern Classics like the old one, but it is bigger so that I can stretch out much more and it is very comfortable,

But that isn’t the main story. The main story is that we have a new bookcase and books are on the move.

We used to have three bamboo bookcases of various sizes and now we have four. The man of the house spotted one on sale and he snapped it up and brought it home. It is bigger than two of the ones we had but not as big as the third. we haven’t quite finished yet, but here is what is happening;

  • The three biggest bookcases are staying downstairs.
  • The biggest one is still the Virago bookcase; the second one has paperback fiction; the third one has paperback non-fiction.
  • The littlest one that used to be the Persephone bookcase is going to live upstairs on the landing.
  • The Persephone books have moved out into another bookcase because they outgrew their old home.
  • Some older hardback fiction by lady writers lives in the wicker bookcase now.

This is still a work in progress, and we could still do with another bookcase or two.

I expect Jane will take you on a proper tour of her bookcase when she has finished moving things.

She has a grand plan, not just for books, for the whole house!

We went to see mother this afternoon, and she was quite well. I have lots of friends in her nursing home now.

Tomorrow we are going to the woods. I like the woods. It’s shady, there is a stream, and there are lots of things for me to see and do.

And in the evening I expect Jane will be here again, to tell you about a book ….

A Dog Blog: A Special Edition of my Game for Margaret Kennedy Week

Hello bookish friends! It’s me – Briar!

Are you enjoying Margaret Kennedy Reading Week?

I am! Because Jane had some annual leave to use up before the end of the year and she took it this week. So I have had extra company and we have had some trips out into the country for special walks. I am a happy dog!


(Jane said I should show you this picture even though I’m not very big in it, because in the background is a literary landmark to do with one of the books you will see a little further down.)

I wanted to do something for the week, and so I should do a special round of my game. Do you remember how it works? We pick a person and we take a photograph of five books to represent them. Then you have to guess who they are.

Here’s a link to an previous game, if you want to see how it’s done.

This time we have picked people who are joining in Margaret Kennedy Reading Week, and each of them has a Margaret Kennedy book that they have read or are reading now in their pile of books.

Some of them have played the game, some of them have been answers in the game before, and you should be able to find links to all of them around the blog.

So let’s play!

Here’s the first:


To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
The Ladies of Lyndon by Mararet Kennedy
Miss Buncle’s Book by D E Stevenson
Consider the Fork by Bee Wilson

* * * * *

Next comes number two:


Merry Hall by Beverley Nichols
The Feast by Margaret Kennedy
This is the End by Stella Benson
Mapp and Lucia by E F Benson
Sunlight on a Broken Column by Atia Hossain

* * * * *

Number three is in the middle:


Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope
Lucy Carmichael by Margaret Kennedy
Love in the Sun by Leo Walmsley
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Sugar Hall by Tiffany Murray

* * * * *

Next in line is number four:


The Constant Nymph by Margaret Kennedy
The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett
Family Roundabout by Richmal Compton
The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson
The True and Splendid Adventures of the Harristown Sisters by Michelle Lovric

* * * * *

And last but not least is number five:

An Episode of Sparrows by Rumer Godden
Together and Apart by Margaret Kennedy
London Belongs to Me by Norman Collins
A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor
The Love-Charm of Bombs by Lara Fiegel

* * * * *

You can tell me your answers in the comments and I’ll be along later to tell you if you’re right and to chat a bit.

If you’re the first person to get one of answers you will get a bonus entry in our prize draw, which will be coming along later in the week. You can guess yourself if you want.

So let’s go !!!

A Dog Blogs: I’m sorry we disappeared without warning ….

WP_20140624_003We didn’t mean to but life kept happening, days kept being over without any blogging being done,and then we realised that quite a long time had gone by.

We have almost caught up with ourselves now though, and soon we will be back.

There will be books and there will be knitting and there will be other things.

There will be posting, there will be commenting and there will be answering.

But tonight I am going to carry on sitting in the shade, because it is much too hot for us dogs …..

A Dog Blogs: Do You Remember My Game?

WP_20140518_017Hello – it’s me, Briar!

I’m sorry I haven’t done much blogging lately. How have you been?

We haven’t played my game for ages either. I hope you remember how it works.  We’ve done it before —  once , twice, thrice, four times – but I’ll explain it again, because we haven’t played for a while.

We think of a person with a lovely blog, we pick five books from our shelves to represent that blogger, we take a picture and make a list, and then you get to guess who it is.

It could be you! Have a guess in the comments! Or if you can’t guess have a look in the sidebar and follow a link to someone you haven’t met before. You might find an answer and you will definitely find a lovely blog.

Here’s the first one:


Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey
The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
Under the Skin by Michel Faber
Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary by Ruby Ferguson
Miss Cayley’s Adventures by Grant Allen

This is number two:


The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Eden’s Garden by Juliet Greenwood
The Foundling Boy by Michel Déon
The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
The Black Count by Tom Reiss

And last but not least:


Cousin Harriet by Susan Tweedsmuir
 Madame Claire by Susan Ertz
 The Captain’s Wife by Eiluned Lewis
 A Wreath for the Enemy by Pamela Frankau
The Feast by Margaret Kennedy

And that’s it for tonight. Three lovely blogs to identify!

I am going to have a little nap now, and I am hoping that I will wake up to find some good guesses.

Jane will be back tomorrow to talk about a book she has just read, and I will be back later in the week with answers.

A Dog Blogs: Storm Report

Anniversary DogGood Evening.

The is Briar The Dog, reporting from a storm lashed promenade. Well, actually I’m cosied up inside but there’s a storm outside.

Sunday afternoon was lovely. We went down on the beach and the tide was as low as I have ever seen it and I had a lovely time playing ball and exploring bits of beach I hadn’t seen before, because they are usually always under the sea.

We know though that when we get very, very low tides we also get very, very high tides. And when the weather is wet and stormy that can be a problem.


Just before six o’clock this morning the house did a big shake and we all woke up. We went to the front of the house and we saw big waves crashing over the garden and right into the windows. When I was a little puppy I was scared of storms, but I learned that we are safe inside. I still don’t like it though.

I am eight years old, so I have seem quite a few storms now, but I have never seen one this big. Jane is older than me and she says she has, a year or two before I was born.

We kept an eye on the garden to make sure that the water wasn’t getting too high, because we didn’t want it coming in the house. It didn’t, but not everyone was so lucky.


Firemen had to come to pump out next door’s garden, some of the workshops in our back lane are flooded, and we hear that Newlyn Green, where I like to run and play has subsided, and that is very bad.

We couldn’t take pictures at high tide, because it was still quite dark, but we took some pictures a little bit later.

The tides won’t be quite so big over the next few days, and high tide tonight wasn’t nearly so wild, but it is still going to be very wet and windy, especially on Wednesday, and so we have to be prepared. The council has given up distributing sandbags, but we went out and bought some this morning and the porch will be boarded and bagged up whenever we think the water might try to get in again.


I like swimming in the sea, but I don’t want have to swim in my garden. And certainly not in the house!

But I know that other people have it a lot worse – we have just been watching them on the local news.

Jane will be back tomorrow with something bookish, and I will be back soon.

A Dog Blogs: It’s Virago Secret Santa Time

2011-12-24_14-41-48_284Hello bookish friends! It’s me Briar!

I am here because today is our opening day for this year’s Virago Secret Santa. It’s a very lovely and clever thing where members of the LibraryThing Virago Modern Classics Group send each other presents all around the world, and nobody knows who will be giving them a lovely present until it arrives. We have been doing it for quite a few years now -since I was a young puppy – and it works very, very well.

We sent our package off, back in November, and we waited to see what the postman brought.

He brought a box, all the way from Pennsylvania, and Jane knew straight away who our Santa was. It was Laura! We were very pleased, because we like Laura; she has dogs and Jane was her Santa back in the very first year.

The box said it was safe to open, and so Jane opened it and found a lot of things. There was a card in a red envelope. There were two green book-shaped packages. There was a little green package. And there was a little gold package addressed to me. I didn’t know I had a Secret Santa too.

Jane put all of the things on the Virago bookcase for safekeeping. On the top shelf, which I can’t reach.

2013-12-24_15-20-31_898The opening season begins on 19th December. We would have liked to open our presents on Christmas day, but as we will be having Christmas here and Christmas at Mother’s nursing home we thought we should do it today, so we have time to say thank you on the computer box.

2013-12-24_15-42-52_679We opened my present first. It was a little green lizard! I have never met a lizard before, but we have spent a little time getting to know each other and I think we are going to get along very well.

(I’m sorry I’m looking a little tousled in the picture, but we went out for a little run on the beach at low tide and I got rained on. It is very wet and wild here at the moment.)

2013-12-24_15-38-34_828Jane opened the little green package next. There was a very nice stitch-marker – Laura is a knitter like Jane – and there was a very nice bookmark with a terrier dog just like me.

Jane put bookmark dog to work straight away.

We were both very pleased, and we hadn’t even got to the books yet!

Laura did very well with the books. She sent a green Virago Modern Classic by one of Jane’s favourite authors that she didn’t have: The Reef by Edith Wharton. And she sent a book by an author Jane has heard a lot of praise for but never read: The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville.


Thank you, Laura!

And now it is time for me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

And lots of lovely books – Jane told me to say that!

A Dog Blogs: My Human Family and Border Terriers

Hello bookish friends – it’s me – Briar!

This weekend we will be having  the eighth anniversary of the day that I adopted Jane and Mother. I wrote about that day on my anniversary a couple of years ago. And I wrote about Pip, who was dog of the house here before me on her anniversary. But there is one more story to tell, of what happened before that and lead to my human family and border terriers being linked. And I thought that it was about time I told you that story.

It began a long time ago, in 1940, in a house on the promenade. Not my house, but another house just a few doors away. A lady called Daisy lived there with her husband James, who was the headmaster of the art school just up the road. They had two grown up sons, who had gone to fight in the war, and they had a little girl who was still at home with them.

One day Daisy sent her little girl to fetch her father from the studio to have his dinner. But she found her father on the floor, and she couldn’t wake him up. James had died, quite unexpectedly, of a heart attack.

Daisy was heart-broken, but she knew she had to carry on. She had to look after her little girl, and she had to be there when her sons came home. She prayed that they would come home.

It was lucky that Daisy had some savings, because she had never had to earn her own living. She was a sensible practical woman, and she had the bright idea of becoming a landlady, renting out some of the rooms in her big house.

A lady called Babs rented one of the rooms. Babs lived in the Home Counties, but she moved to Cornwall to be a co-ordinator of land girls. She and Daisy became very good friends, and Babs lsoon came to love Cornwall. When the war ended and Daisy’s sons came home – they both survived, but they were both changed – Babs decided to buy a house of her own in Penzance; she found a nice little house, with a garden, very close to the park. And she decided that she would have a dog. The kind of dog that one of her good friends bred up in the home counties, the kind of dog she had herself before the war.


Jimmy came to live with Babs, and he soon made friends with Daisy and her little girl. Daisy’s little girl loved dogs, and she had some lovely times, taking Jimmy out and playing with him. She kept in touch with Babs after her mother died, when she was grown up and had a little girl and a little boy of her own. They met for coffee every week in the town.

You might have guessed by now that Daisy’s little girl grew up to be Mother, and her little girl grew up to be Jane.

Jane remembers the dogs, she remembers that she and her brother had a toasted teacake to share when Mother and Babs met for coffee, and she still has some nice editions of classic children’s books that were presents from Babs.

We have pictures of some of Babs’ border terriers:


The first picture is Babs at home with her last dog, Cara.

The next picture is Muffin, who had a proper studio photograph taken.

And at the bottom is Robin, in Babs’ garden.


I wrote that Cara was Babs’ last dog, but actually that isn’t quite true.

Babs was a very sensible lady, and when she was having trouble managing in her own home she made arrangements to move to a nice care home where she could be looked after. She couldn’t take a dog, but luckily she had a very good idea. She knew that Mother was about to retire, she knew that mother loved dogs, and so she asked if she could ask her old friend, the breeder, to send mother a border terrier as a retirement gift!

Mother said yes – she was thrilled!

That was how Pip came to live with my human family. Mother took Pip to see Babs every week, until she died, and they got on very, very well.

And now, of course, I go to see Mother every week in her nursing home.

But that’s the end of this particular story. And the end of the longest blog I’ve written.

I’ll be back with another one on Christmas eve, because that’s when Jane and I are planning to  open our Virago Secret Santa gifts.

And I expect that Jane will be back before that, to tell you about books.

A Dog Blogs: You Did It!

2012-02-15_20-31-03_210Hello world! It’s me again – Briar!

I am very pleased to report that the loud bangy stuff seems to be over, and that you have got all of the answers right in the last round of my game. Hooray!

Here are the answers and the names of the clever people who were first to get the answers.

number 1The first pile of books was for Karyn who writes at A Penguin a Week. We hope you don’t think we were being tricksy, because Karyn’s books are all numbered Penguins and we have a mixture of editions, but we were sure that anyone who know exactly who it was when they saw ‘The Last Tressilians. Karen was the first person to guess right.

number 2And Karen – who you will know from Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings is the right answer for the second pile of books. Russians and Virago Modern Classics! Annabel spotted who it was straight away.

number 3

We were a little bit tricksy with number three. A few people thought it was Simon, because of Miss Hargreaves and a couple of the other books, but it wasn’t. It was Christine who writes at The Book Trunk and who picked Miss Hargreaves when she took part in My Life in Books not so very long ago. Vicki was the very clever person who got the right answer.

And that’s it for another round. Now we’ve played a few time it’s getting trickier to come up with new people that we have the right books to match and for you to be able to guess, but I think we have enough for one more play. So I’ll be back soon, with that or maybe with something else. And Jane will be back before that to talk about books.

But now it’s getting late, so I’m going to curl up and go to sleep.


A Dog Blogs: Shall We Play?

2012-02-15_20-31-03_210Hello world! It’s me – Briar!

I’m out on my bed in the Aga room tonight being cosy, because it’s Guy Fawkes night and there are lots of noisy bangy things going on outside. I don’t like it, so Jane and I are having a quiet night in at the back of the house. And we thought that it was ages since we had a round of my game, and that it was time to have another go …

You might remember how it works from when we played before – once , twice, thrice, four times – but I’ll explain it again, just in case anyone has forgotten or anyone out there is new to this and would like to have a go.

We think of a person with a lovely blog, we pick five books from our shelves to represent that blogger, we take a picture and make a list, and then you get to guess who it is. We might have different editions or different translations, but we think we have picked the right books for each person.

It could be you! Have a guess in the comments! Or if you can’t guess have a look in the sidebar and follow a link to someone you haven’t met before. You might find an answer and you will definitely find a lovely blog.

Here’s the first one:

number 1

The Last Tresillans by J I M Stewart
Hons and Rebels by Jessica Mitford
The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley
William by E H Young
Corduroy by Adrian Bell

Next comes number two:

number 2

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgarov
Merry Hall by Beverley Nichols
Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym
If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino
She Knew She Was Right by Ivy Litvinov

And now here’s number three:

number 3

The Enchanted Places by Christopher Milne
The Persephone Book of Short Stories
Mr Fortune’s Maggot by Sylvia Townsend Warner
Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker
A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley

Now it’s time for you to do some guessing.

Remember, if you are stuck all three can be found our sidebar. So maybe if there’s a blog you don’t know you should click on it, because you might find an answer, and you might find somebody new to keep an eye on.

I will be back with the answers at the weekend, and Jane will be back to talk about books in a day or so.

But now it’s time for me to snuggle up and have a sleepy …