Monday, November 7, 2011

Constant laughter and softer hearts.

London at the weekend like a completely different city. Tourists and out of towners giving it a mellower, less frenetic , pace . Manhattan's like that too.

An exhibition of dog paintings at a gallery in St.James's provides welcome shelter fom the rain . A nineteenth century picture of a black labrador stands out. The dog positioned squarely at the centre of the canvas, nothing in the background to distract the eye . Paw forward, the hint of a smile on his face and the feeling that this was a very loved dog .

In the book store Rebecca Wests Black Lamb and Grey Falcon . At long last reprinted . The twentieth centurys greatest novel by a female author ? Certainly the greatest of the 1940's. Possibly the greatest travelogue ever. Good to see it rediscovered .

The New Zealand shop sells bars of imported Cadburys Dairy Milk . Can New Zealand produced chocolate taste any different fom the UK version ? Why pay three times the price ? Why ship it across the world ?The vagueries of marketing .

Wilf is in fine form . A weekend of Swedish cuisine . Lots of mackerel and air dried fish . The stock from moules mariniere poured over his kibbles . This morning Kelly , the hover dog, rushes past us chasing a black cat . The cat leaps over the churchyard wall and disappears . Kelly barks in frustration. Wilf ambles along unaware . Life with an old dog is time of constant laughter , patience and softer hearts.


  1. Hi. I saw your name at the 29blackstreet blog and just wanted to stop and say hello. Susans done wonderful art work of the two dogs for you. Love from New Brunswick .Roxie and Slater.

  2. As long as you can see the humour....

    XXXOOO Daisy, kendra & Bella

  3. Just back from a London weekend, but missed the dog paintings. Damn! And apparently its been non stop sunshine in Aberdeen....
    Have added Black Lamb and Grey Falcon to my reading list.
    Cheers, Gail.

  4. My human mum can assure you that when she worked in London twenty plus years ago NZ Cadbury choloate tasted very different from UK Cadbury chocolate. It took her ages to get used to it, and she missed the NZ version. She also remembers the shop that you photograped in Roayl Opera Arcade, near NZ House.

    Also recently Cadbury chocolate made in NZ tasted different to Cadbury chocolate made in NZ depending on where and when you bought it, as in 2009 the company decided to replace cocoa butter with palm oil. Marketing couldn't quieten the public outrcry about the change of flavour and ethics, and with the market share increasing for Whitikers (thier competitiors) Cadbury NZ reutrned to thier origial recipie.

    Our local supermarket now stocks Jaffa Cakes from the UK (on a special stand of UK foods) which makes her think of Wilf. She also wonders why crisps, sauces, cordials, cans of peas and baked beans, chocolates, etc are shipped across the world and why people are willing to buy them at such high prices, when there are similar things (even the same brands) made on this side of the world.

  5. The book is one I've not seen or thought of in a long time. My Father had a copy of it, that I seem to recall was 2 volumes (??). I'm sure we still have it, but packed away. I remember reading parts of the book and it being a bit of an endeavor to read, but extremely interesting in its detail and journey through Yugoslavia. Perhaps now it would be more appreciated, especially if I had Cadburys chocolate to enjoy with it. Thank-you for reminding me of it this morning Angus. I have his books and will have to look for it.

    I'm glad to read that Wilf is doing well and enjoying his days!!

  6. Not long ago my other half came back from the supermarket with a twin pack of individual chocolate sponge puddings (and a big smile). They were called "Auntie's puddings" or something similar.
    To my absolute amazement they were made in New Zealand. At only £1.25 a pack I thought that most of the cost of the product was in the packaging and transport. The flavour confirmed this - they were mediocre and had a huge shelf life.
    I have never bought them since and pay much more attention to the very small print on packaging. It's insane that we import something as simple as a sponge pudding from the other side of the planet when there must surely be scores of UK companies that can make them taste a lot better for the same price.
    The supermarkets have a lot to answer for.

  7. I love the soft expression on the dog's face in that painting. I suspect you're right, someone really loved that dog!

    I don't know about the NZ chocolate, but I do know that not all chocolate is the same. I have a friend who sends me some from Sweden a couple of times a year, and I hoard it like a miser! lol

  8. i think wilf likes to tease kelly. nothing gets a girl more than being ignored!
    you haven't posted in a long time about the faithful old guy waiting for his dead master... the one on your walks. is he finally gone too? i thought that so touching always.
    i have yet to taste a french macaron. but am told there is "no comparison!" in very emphatic tones. SO... vive la difference in all national goodies?!
    go wilfee! such an international little bear!
    tammy j

  9. Most interesting post & comments! Read every one. My dogs, also a group of discerning gourmets, would also enjoy a taste of Swedish style fish as a contrast to the Alaskan salmon they love.

    Lovely lab painting, well done. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Regarding chocolate- for me it must be dark!

  10. That's a wonderful painting. The painter perfectly captured an expression that I see on our labs' faces regularly. Soft but curious.

  11. We love our city during the week when all the tourists are gone :)

    Stop on by for a visit

  12. Love the lab painting! Grew up with labs all my life, and sadly put our last one down just a couple of years ago. Sounds like Wilf had some fine cuisine over the weekend. Keep on going Wilf, darling boy!

    With love from your freshly snowed on Canadian pals,
    Dianna along with Tor, Willow and Tucker

  13. I love black Labs. Great photo.
    Nz chocolate is better but the cost might not be worth it... In my experience it is the ice cream that is better. Higher cream levels. But we don't get coconut flavor in the supermarket !

  14. Actually cadbury choc is made differently for different markets. In Asia the taste is much different as it is made to be more stable in warmer temperatures.

    I loved that shop when I lived in London as it was opened in a time before the internet, and was a great resource when you were feeling homesick. Some Jaffas and pineapple lumps would put a smile on most kiwis faces.

    Smooches to you Mr Wilfie - take it easy buddy.

    Julie and Poppy Q

  15. Yum..all this talk of chocolate has sent mama scurrying to the kitchen for some all-American Hershey's -- perhaps an acquired taste and not at all gourmet, but still a comfort food for most Americans. Of course, mama will take Godiva when she can get it.

    We, sadly, are not allowed chocolate and we're sure we're missing the best thing in the world. The things you can't have so often seem that way, don't they? Silly us; Wilf does not seem to pine for things he does not have.

    Jed & Abby

  16. Visiting London is on my bucket list, hopefully one day I will get there. So happy that WIlf is still in fine form:)

    Blessings and Love,
    Janelle and Maggie Mae