A Dog Blogs: It’s my party and I’ll play if I want to!

Dear Friends and Readers,

It’s me – Briar!

It’s my birthday today and I have had a lovely time. I had a special breakfast, I had a new toy, I had three walks, and now I am doing a bit of resting before I get up to play some more.

I like birthdays!


And I like the beach – that’s me digging for my tennis ball in the picture – but I haven’t been allowed down there this week. We have had what the news reports called a ‘pollution incident.’ There was some funny gelatinous white stuff washing up on local beaches, and dogs were licking it to find out what it was and getting sick. It’s all being cleaned up now, and things should be back to normal soon.

But now there is a big storm on the way and so it will probably be too windy to go on the beach. Because we live in an old house on the sea front on the very tip of Cornwall we  get an awful lot of wind and weather. And when it’s high tide the waves hit the sea wall and come right over the promenade, the road, and even into our garden. Sometimes, when it’s a really big storm they reach the upstairs windows, and when Jane can remember a really, really big storm when the biggest waves went right over the house.

It was scary when I was a little puppy, but now I am used to the storms and I watch through the window. I have a front row seat! And Jane says that our house has beem here since Queen Victoria was on the throne, so it’s stood through a lot of storms and it should see us through a lot more.

(our house is behind the wave)

We have a back door, so we go out the way when the weather is rough. And if it’s too blowy to go far we just go a little way, so that I can do what a dog has to do, and then I do extra playing in the house.

The storm isn’t coming until Sunday, so I will be able to see Mother as usual, and I will take my birthday pig to meet her.

And then we will batten the hatches.

And next week Jane in on holiday – hooray!!!

More time for books and blogging and more time to spend with her dog!

That is all the news I can think of for now, but I will be back soon, and I expect Jane will be back sooner.



x x x x x

A Dog Blogs: My Weekend

Hello – it’s me – Briar!

Jane has been a bit busy – with work and life – and I haven’t done a blog for a while, and so I am going to tell you about my weekend.

I like weekends, because Jane doesn’t have to go to work and we can do more things together.

On Saturday mornings we always go out in the car, to visit mother in her nursing home. We park in the centre of the village and walk to the home. I know the way, and once or twice I have had to pull on the lead when Jane tried to take the wrong path.

Mother has settled into her new home quite well now and I have made friends with the other ladies who sit with mother in the lounge and with the staff. I go around to say hello to everyone and then I settle down while Jane talks to mother. I  keep a look out for Tilly the cat, but I’m not allowed to chase her, because she lives there.

And while we have the car out I usually get a good country walk. This time we went up to the top of a big hill where we could look down on St Just, Sennen , Land’s End, and lots of the places that Susan Howatch mentions in Penmarric. In the distance, because it was a clear day, we could even see the Isles of Scilly.

We would have taken a picture but it was a grey day so it wouldn’t have come out very well.

In the afternoon I guarded the house so the Jane could go to the library and do her shopping.

When she came home I had my supper and then we sat on the sofa and saw a film. It was ‘The Woman in Black,’ and Jane said to tell you that the book is much better.

I had another big walk today, on the paths and fields around Gulval. We hadn’t been up there for ages and I had a lovely time. I walked between the rows in a cornfield and I inspected some fields that had already been harvested.

You can see across the fields to the sea and St Michael’s Mount, but it is a shame that somebody put a supermarket where our heliport used to be.

We got back to the car just before it started to rain.

I’m not quite sure what happened after we got home, because I went to sleep in my chair. But I woke up for supper and my evening walk.

And now I am writing you a blog.

I hope you had good weekends too.

I will be back soon, with a new round of my game, and Jane will be back in a day or so, to talk about books.

Love Briar xxx

A Dog Blogs: One New Home, Two Anniversaries, and a Lot of Books …


Hello. It’s me – Briar!

Can you see me in the long grass? I like sitting in long grass, especially when it’s hot.

Today I am here to address the world, on behalf of my family.

First I must say thank you, to so many people who have sent kind and thoughful comments and messages after our last post. It helped us a lot, and Mother would have been very touched too if she understood about computer boxes and all the lovely people we meet through them.

We have done a lot of rushing around, going to meetings and assessments and visiting homes. I didn’t go to all of them, but Jane took me when she could because I have made lots of friends in mother’s nursing home and I wanted to be there for them.

The move is not going to be a good thing for anybody, but things seem to be working out as well as they could have:

  • The lady on the mobility scooter did get the very last place, and she will still be able to go on her scooter to see her husband. We were there when she heard and there were lots of happy tears.
  • The very frail lady will be moving to a specialist home not too far away. She has a nice big family, and we know that they will do their very best for her.
  • The lady with lots of memories is moving to a home on the coast that we know is very nice. She is coming to terms with things, and she was very pleased to hear that a nice friend of mother’s lives there too.

I will miss them, and all of the others, and the staff.

But mother is in her new home now. She moved yesterday. The staff from her old home took her, and the staff at her new home are going to a lot of trouble to help her settle in. Jane saw that it was a cosy, friendly home when she went to see it, and it should suit Mother very well, but moving is a very big thing.

Jane realised that she had to step back, to give mother the best chance of settling into her new home and building relationships with the other residents and with the staff looking after her. But she made sure that everyone know that they could ring her, and that she could come out to see Mother if they thought that would be helpful.

We rang last night and they said she had settled in nicely during the day, but she was a bit confused when it was evening and she was going to bed there. It is worrying, but we have to trust in the home. They are expert in looking after people, wheras we are just expert in knowing Mother.

It was Mother’s 53rd wedding anniversary yesterday. We still celebrate it, because her wedding was a happy day, and because she married the right person and they were very happy. It’s just sad that he has been gone a long time. So we usually do things quietly, with a candle and a glass of wine and looking at old photograph. Mother has many sad days, because her parents, her brothers, her husband and her son are all gone. So we try to make as many happy days as we can for her.

But this year we missed it for the first time. She has lost track of times and dates, so Jane thought it best to let it go.

It was our half anniversary too. Me and Jane and my Uncle Buggy. We met on 6th February 2006, and it was all thanks to me.

I was a very small puppy, and all my innoculations hadn’t kicked in so I wasn’t allowed to go out and walk on the ground. But Jane carried me to lots of places so that I could see what the world was like, and get used to people and traffic and noise and things.

We found Uncle Buggy in the Morrab Gardens. He stopped to admire me, because I was a very cute puppy and he didn’t know what sort I was. He didn’t know what a border terrier was back then, but I have taught him all about us since.

Jane had to go to work in the day, but we had an anniversary jaunt to the woods in the evening.

And now we are trying to get back into a normal routine after all the upset with nursing homes and carpenters and plumbers. It had been quite a few weeks.

Mother will have her weekend visit and I will have to look for some new dog walks near her new home.

And Jane will be back to tell you about books soon. She has done a lot of readin in between times, and when it is too hot to walk far in the evenings we go to the garden and sit in the shade. I watch the world go by, and she reads.

She has to tell you about two green Virago books, a book by the sister of a Virago author, a book by an out of print author who kept coming up as a recommendation, and a couple of new novels.

And she’s still reading more books! It’s ‘All Virago All August’ over on LibraryThing. We can’t quite do that, but we are going to do ‘Very Virago All August’. Lots of Viragos and a few other things too.

And I will be back soon too.

I have plans for another round of my game …

A Dog Blogs: We had to disappear for a while, but we are back now, and I have answers

Hello – it’s me, Briar!

We have had a little, enforced break from blogging, because BT cut off our phone and our broadband for two days. Jane got them to sort it out in the end, and now we are back.

I thought that before Jane starts to tell you about all the books she has been reading I should say hello and give out the answers to the last round of my game:


The first pile of books was for Laura of Musings.

Laura spotted herself, which is good because it shows we picked the right books.

Jane still hasn’t found ‘A Dance to the Music of Time’, but she knows all four volumes are here somewhere…


And this pile of books was for Lyn of I Prefer Reading.

Cat – who is always very good at this game – got this one.

Jane was very pleased to be able to include an Ann Bridge books for the first time, and she has another one of her books on the bedside table.


And the third pile of books was for Annabel of Annabel’s House of Books.

Margaret was the first person to get the answer.

Jane knew that she had to ‘do’ Annabel as soon as she spotted that they had the same ten volume edition of ‘The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters,’

And those are all the answers.

Well done everyone!

I will be back soon with another round, and I’m working on new series of posts for the summer.

And Jane really will be back soon, to talk about books …

A Dog Blogs: Play Time!

2013-05-06_10-29-32_859Hello – it’s me, Briar!

I’m taking a break from my evening swim to bring you another round of my game, because we don’t seem to have played for a very long time.

This is how it works: I send Jane out into the garden to take pictures of different piles of books to represent different bookish bloggers.  And then  you can guess who they are.

If you want a bit of practice,  there are links to previous rounds – the questions and the answers – on my new page.

This time we have three very different readers from three very different continents.

Here’s the first one:


The Other Elizabeth Taylor by Nicola Beauman
South Riding by Winifred Holtby
Suite Française by Irène Néimovsky
The Post-Office Girl by Stefan Zweig
Gillespie and I by Jane Harris

(and there should have been A Dance to the Music of Time, but Jane couldn’t find it.)

Now for the second one:


Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple
The Light-Hearted Quest by Ann Bridge
Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens
Murder at the Flood by Mabel Esther Allen
Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford

And here’s the last one for this round:


Oscar & Lucinda by Peter Carey
Sweet William by Beryl Bainbridge
The Crow Road by Ian Banks
The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett
The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by G W Dahlquist

That’s it!

How is the guessing going?

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.

A Dog Blogs: I Have a Page!

Hello – it’s me – Briar.


Jane promised that as I had been a good dog helping out with the blog I could have a page of my own to bring together all of the posts by me and about me.


And if you look at the top of the page you will see a link, in between ‘A Non Fiction Adventure’ and ‘Classics Club.’

I’m not sure that ‘Briar’s Bits’ is a very elegant title, but Jane says it is alliterative, and that is a good thing.

We will try to keep it up to date and when we have time we will add some new pictures and more interesting things about border terriers.

But it is a very warm day and so, now I have cooled off in the river, I am going to have a little nap.

zzzzzzzzzzz …..

From A to Z – The Border Terrier Way

Hello – it’s me, Briar!

Jane is feeling a little off colour – nothing to worry about and I am looking after her – so I said I would help out by looking after the blog for the night.

And I thought it was time I tried my paw at one of those A to Z posts that Jane does every so often.

Here we go …

A is for ARMCHAIR. I keep mine in the bay window, so that I can look outside to see what’s happening, I can look inside to supervise the house, and I can curl up and go to sleep in between times.

B is for Black Socks

B is for Black Socks

B is for BLACK SOCKS. We went to Hayle marshes this morning. I went in the river and it was very muddy, so when I came out Jane said I had black socks.

C is for CHEESE. My very favourite thing to eat.

D is for DAISY. Daisy is a very lovely old English sheepdog who lives with Lindsey. You see a very nice picture of her on Lindsey’s blog.

E is for ESME. I met Esme on LibraryThing. She is a very beautiful poodle, and lives in Canada with Tiffin, who has a lovely picture of Esme on her profile.

F is for FIRST FRIEND. My first friend was called Amber. She’s a Yorkshire terrier and Frances, her tame human brought her round to meet me when I was a very small puppy.

G is for GROOMING. I went to the groomers last Saturday and now I look very smart. And I’m much cooler so we’d like a bit more nice weather please.

H is for Hill (I have sat here, on Trencrom)

H is for Hill (I have sat here, on Trencrom)

H is for HILLS. I like climbing hills and looking down at what’s happening below. My favourite hill is Trencrom, where you can see the north and the south coast of Cornwall from the top.

I is for ISABEL ASHDOWN. Isabel Ashdown has a very handsome border terrier called Charlie. He is an action dog, like me, but he had let Isabel have time off to write a new book called ‘Summer of 1976.’

J is for JANE, who is helping me to write this.

K is for KNITTING. Jane likes to make knitting and I like to sit on it. I think it’s a very good arrangement but Jane isn’t so sure.

L is for LEN TYLER. Another author with a border terrier friend. Thistle has appeared in one of his tame human’s books and he has a web page here.

M is for MARLEY. Marley was a very great border terrier. He brought together the border terrier community on twitter – there are lots of tweeting borders out there – and he raised a lot of money for the Dogs Trust.

N is for NURSING HOME. I go to see Mother in her nursing home every weekend. We are always very pleased to see each other, and I have made friends with lots of the old people and lots of the staff.

P is for Promenade

P is for Promenade

O is for ORPH and OLLY. Two very handsome dachshund gentlemen, who live with Cate in California.

P is for PROMENADE. We live opposite the promenade and I like to go over there to walk, and to meet people and dogs.

Q is for QUEEN BEATRIX. I expect she’ll be able to spend more time with her border terrier now she has abdicated.

R is for ROSEWOOD. Rosewood is a very small reindeer and she was my very first toy. She came in the car with Jane and Mother to bring me home when I was eight weeks old and ready to go out into the world, and she still lives in my toy box. She is called Rosewood because that is what it says on her label, and Jane thought it went very well with me being called Briar.

S is for SQUIRRELS. I still like to chase them in the park, but they are not so easy to find since we lost the squirrel tree. But I will keep looking!

T is for TREVAYLOR WOODS. One of my favourite places to go. There are trees, there’s a stream and there are lots of places to climb and explore, and planty of good sniffs.

U is for Undergrowth

U is for Undergrowth

U is for UNDERGROWTH. Now that the warmer weather and lighter evenings are here Jane and I sometimes go and sit in the Morrab Gardens in the early evening. She sits on a bench and reads a book and I sit in the undergrowth to watch what is happening without being seen.

V is for VIRAGO MODERN CLASSICS. My bed is green and it is next to the Virago bookcase. Jane says it is a coincidence that my bed is the same colour as the books, but I’m not so sure.

W is for WATER. I like to go into ponds and streams and the sea, but I do not like having baths.

X is for XCLUSION. The beach ban started on 1st May and it goes on until the end of September. I’m not happy because I love my beach, I don’t bother anyone, and Jane always picks up anything that shouldn’t be there in a little black bag.

Y is for YELLOW. My tennis balls are yellow, and they’re my favourite this to play with.

Z is for ZELDA. Zelda is a greyhound – I get on very well with greyhounds – and she lives with Joann at Lakeside Musing.

… I did it!!!

I will be back sometime soon, with another round of my game. And Jane will be back, tomorrow or the next day, to make and answer comments and to talk about books.

A Dog Blogs: It’s Pip’s Silver Jubilee

Hello! It’s me – Briar!

You might be wondering who Pip is? And what’s all this about a silver jubilee?

Well Pip was the border terrier of the house here before me. And she was born on 17th April 1988 – twenty-five years ago today – and so we thought that today would be a good day to tell you a little bit about her.

Here she is:


Pip came to live with Jane’s Mother and Father, just after Mother took early retirement. They lived in a bungalow on the other side of town from where we live now and Pip had a lovely house to live in and a big garden to patrol. Sometimes she got through the hedge and patrolled next door too.

Her favourite things in the world were squeaky toys and she could get a squeaker out in less than twenty-four hours. And her best friend was Penny, a very nice beagle who lived with Jane’s godmother. They used to go out walking together, near Perran where Penny lived, every Tuesday afternoon

Jane lived in London then, but she came home quite often and she played with Pip and took her out to different places. Pip wasn’t a beach dog like me. Her favourites were Rosehill, Love Lane, and Hayle Towans. And she really loved going to the Isles of Scilly on holiday.

Pip looked after Mother when Jane’s father died. She made sure that she got up and that she went out and about, and she kept her company and listened. They were very close.

They moved to the promenade because Mother wanted to be nearer the town and her friends once she was the only human in the house.

Mother and Pip were both very happy when Jane came back to Cornwall to live. And when Mother began to get frail Jane took change of Pip’s catering and socialising.

But in time Pip got very frail too. Jane looked after her, and the vet was a lot of help, but in the end it was Pip’s time to go.

Jane and Mother knew that Pip had a lovely life, that she was a very old dog, but they missed her very much. She was a lovely, lovely dog.

And I forgot to mention that two of mother’s friends thought Pip was so lovely that they found border terriers to live with them too. They were called Minnie and Rosie. I didn’t ever meet Minnie, but I did meet Rosie when she was an elderly dog and I was a young puppy.

At first when Pip died Mother and Jane said they couldn’t have another border terrier, because there couldn’t be another one as lovely as Pip. But after a while they realised that no other kind of dog would do. And then they found me.

Jane says Pip and I are equally lovely and very different. I love going in the water but Pip would only wade a little if she really had to. I love to chase balls, but Pip only liked them if Jane wrapped then up in an old sock for her to get out. Pip loved her squeaky toys, but I think they’re scary …

But this isn’t about me, it’s about Pip.

We never met, but Jane and Mother both loved her very much.

A Dog Blogs: New Toys!

Hello – it’s me – Briar!

Jane and I both have new toys and we have just realised that they are very much alike.

A Ball (like mine)

A Ball (like mine)

Mine is a ball, and when I push it, or even when I just touch it, it makes lots of different animal noises. There’s a cat, a dog, a cow, a horse, a rooster and lots more. I don’t know how they all got in that little ball, and I can’t see how they are going to get out either.

Jane’s is a flat thing and it has lots of books inside. I don’t know how it works, because we’ve got lots of books here and they’re all bigger than Jane’s new toy.

I’m not sure of I like Flat Thing. It doesn’t eat much, it doesn’t go for walks, but Jane pays it a lot of attention. And she won’t take me to work with her, but she will take Flat Thing…

She says that flat thing will take book time not dog time, so I suppose that’s all right.

A Flat Thing (like Jane's)

A Flat Thing (like Jane’s)

We have a small house and it is full of books, and even though Jane loves books she is beginning to feel overwhelmed. Flat Thing will help out with that.

But Jane knows that there are a lot of people in the world of books who need to be supported.

There are authors who are working hard, and loving what they do, telling wonderful stories, creating lovely images, and illuminating the world around us.

There are publishers who do lots of clever things to find the books and make sure that they get sent out in the world to meet the right people.

There are booksellers, some selling new books and some selling old ones, who offer lovely places to go and chances to finds unexpected treasures and lost gems.

A Border Terrier (like me -well sort of)

A Border Terrier (like me -well sort of)

And, of course, there are libraries who need the support of bookish humans  now more than ever.

Flat Thing has been told not to get in the way of Jane supporting all of that. She will still be using the library, and if she ever gets to the point when there is space on her ticket she will take books out to help their statistics along. She’ll still buy the books, old and new, that she wants to add to her permanent collection. And she’ll still be looking carefully around bookshops whenever she gets the chance.

And, of course, she will still be writing about them here.

Flat Thing will look after classics from Project Gutenberg and interesting books reissued that way through nice imprints like Bello Books and Bloomsbury Reader.

Does that sound like a good plan?

Do you have a flat thing?

And do you know how all of those animals got into my ball? Or how I can get them out again?

p.s. Sorry we don’t have any original pictures, but the camera is broke and I don’t know how to fix it.

A Dog Blogs: Here are the Answers!

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

We’ve had a busy day. I’ve been to Newlyn Green, to the boating pond and to the beach, so now I’m going to have a little sleep.

But before I drop off I’m going to sat thank you for playing my game again. It’s back here if you missed it.

Everyone was very clever and we had lots of right answers. Well done everyone!

But before I drop off I will make it official.


We picked this pile of books for Thomas at My Porch



These books stood for JoAnn at Lakeside Musing



And our last stack of books was for Lisa at TBR313

Thank you everyone for playing and for your nice comments.

I will be back soon with another round, and Jane will be back even sooner with something about books.