Tuesday, May 27, 2014

More Tenko and Reality



Well, I'm watching the 6th episode of the first series of Tenko, where the head of the camp has been tataken away and interrogated by the Kempei Tai.

Just like what really happened at Changi...

She's been let out after an interrogation of  a few hours. They interrogated her because her husband is a high ranking British Officer.

'They are going around the camps, cross-referencing," she says.

Well, maybe that was true or maybe this is a condensation of the Changi episode, where Mrs. Bloom, Cecily Williams and my grandmother, Dorothy Nixon, were interrogated at the YMCA in Singapore and tortured for 6 months.

Oops, now there appears to be a change of Japanese Commandants... This happened at Changi. The first commandant was nice and when he left, he went around telling everyone he hoped they got home soon.

The next guy, Tominaga, was not so nice. 

They are lining up for Tenko now.. Yes, a new leader, called Sato, is in charge.
 Read Looking for Mrs. Peel

Monday, May 26, 2014

McGill's RVC and Woman Suffrage in 1913.


Edith Nicholson of Diary of a Confirmed Spinster and Ethel Hurlbatt, (pic from McGill site) Warden of Royal Victoria Women's College of McGill from 1909 to 1928.

Edith was Assistant Warden in the 20's and took over her work in 1928. I have the letters she wrote to her Mom.

 They look alike, don't they? I had to blow up the pic of Hurlbatt to make sure it wasn't Edie and McGill had made a mistake.

I am starting my story on the Suffragettes of Montreal in 1910-1913 and I've decided to take a popular turn and make the story about two RVC students who try to start a suffrage parade.

(The archives of the Montreal Suffrage Association list 2 woman from RVC as members, one who has her name scratched out. I will go from there.)

No one cares about old Conservative Society Ladies, the kind who ran the suffrage movement in Canada.

I will make them 'comic' characters.. although not too comic.

And I will put Edie and Flo in there too, the Nicholson girls, teachers. I will paint the movement from three points of view.


Miss Ethel Hurlbatt left RVC in 1928 and died in the 30's. Edith remarks upon it in a letter to Mom.


I've been going over old newspaper clippings on Google and see that at least two members of the stuffy Montreal Suffrage Association also worked with the more militant Equal Suffrage Movement: Kathleen Weller and Frances Fenwick Williams.

Kathleen Weller was the lady who invited militant Barbara Wylie into her livingroom in 1912 to speak.

(Wylie wrote about it in Votes for Women and said she might be able to visit with students from RVC. Don't know if she did, but I am going to make that a reality.)

 Frances Fenwick Williams is the author of Soul on Fire that has a funny dinner-time discussion about suffrage, where she mocks people for making up sensational headlines about the suffragettes, how they were going to kidnap Winston Churchill's kids, etc.

Weller was literature director of the MSA. Fenwick Williams was Press Lady. Neither woman was on the Board.

proof that Weller talked to the Equal Suffrage League people, where Caroline Kenney, sister of British militant Annie Kenney, worked for some time in 1913, living at her older sister Nell's house in St. Lambert.



In a 1227 letter, Edith writes about going to a McGill do with Miss Carrie Derick, McGill Botany Professor, and President of the Montreal Suffrage Association 1913-1919 and still working with the Provincial Suffrage People. In 1927 Therese Casgrain was taking over  the leadership of Woman Suffrage in Quebec.


Friday, May 23, 2014

How to Sell a Suffragette Story

 Ethel Hurlbatt, taken from McGill page on McGill and WWI. She looks a lot like Edith Nicholson, my husband's great aunt and character in Diary of a Confirmed Spinster. Edith worked under Hurlbatt as Assistant Warden of RVC in the 20's. She mentions her in a number of letters.  Hurlbatt is very sick in the late twenties and Edith has to take over her duties.




May 2014. It's now or never.

It's now or never to write my play Sister Salvation, about the British Invasion of Militant Suffragettes to Montreal in 1912/13.

Except no one is interested in the story of our 'stuffy' suffrage movement, hijacked by conservative society women and clergymen and eugenics-mad McGill Profs.

BOOOORING!

So I've been told my various television producers.

Some say it is an excellent story and one that should be told, but the audience just isn't there.

Too bad we don't have a venue like BBC Radio Four, where stories like this get told. (I just love that station.)

I wonder if I should give it a UK slant and aim it for BBC Radio Four.

No, I have a better idea.

I will make my play a "What IF." Maybe the CBC will be interested.

WHAT IF  the young students at McGill's Royal Victoria College were all for the militant suffragettes and planned to have a giant rally, but it never got off the grounds, for reasons I can make up.

I have certain proof that militant suffragette Barbara Wylie was hoping to visit RVC students on her Canadian tour in September 1912.

I have certain proof that the Montreal Gazette, in February 1913, ran an editorial calling universities Suffragette Factories.

Why did they feel the need to do that?

Edith Nicholson and sister Flora in 1913. Prim and Proper but all for the militant suffragettes.

And I know for certain that Ethel Hurlbatt, London-born Warden of RVC, was a suffragette sympathizer.

 She had been an explainer at the February 1912 Montreal Suffrage Exhibit. She gave some talks, saying the militants had good reason to do what they did. "Mrs. Pankhurst is at war with her government," she told a Montreal audience.

And she suddenly gave up her post as Suffrage Advocate on the Montreal Council of Women in 1912 citing 'work conflict."

I visited McGill Archives last year to see the Fonds of Ms. Hurlbatt and there wasn't ONE mention of the suffrage movement.

Hmmm..

And I visited City Hall a few years ago to see the fonds of the Montreal Suffrage Association and there were only two members inscribed who gave their address as RVC and one was scratched out.

Mrs. Hurlbatt raised money for the Serbs in 1917 and received a commendation from the King of Serbia. That is in fonds.

It was Emmeline Pankhurst, paramount Militant Suffragette, who came to Montreal in 1916 raising money for the Serbs.

A few months later this became the concern of the Montreal Council of Women.

Double Hmmmm.

No question in my mind, Mrs. Hurlbatt was a friend of Emmeline's....She was just caught between a rock and a hard place, when it came to the issue of Militant Suffragettes.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Art and Real Life: Tenko Thoughts.



Sikh guards a Changi watching a wagon of goodies go by. At the beginning, it wasn't so terrible for the internees. So long as they followed the rules set down by the Japanese they could go about doing their business unhindered. But then the Japanese started losing the war and things changed for the worse, much worse.


I watched the first three episodes of Tenko yesterday, 30 years after the BBC production first aired and seventy years after the WWII siege of Singapore.

I hadn't seen the series before, but I had looked for a VHS copy about 10 years ago, when researching my play Looking for Mrs. Peel, about my grandmother's experiences at Changi.

At that time I had a copy of my grandmother's Changi diary  so I wanted to compare, to see if any incidents in Tenko mirrored what my grandmother, who died in 1972, wrote about in her 'secret' memoir.

I couldn't find a copy of Tenko then, but in the past few years a DVD version of Tenko has been produced.

Tenko tells the tale of British (and Dutch) Colonials who get shipwrecked fleeing Singapore and who end up in a small camp on some unknown Dutch Island.

That makes the production much cheaper. The barracks are small.

It's a kind of microcosm, a bit like a play.

Changi was huge.

There was a men's and woman's camp.

There were over 300 women on the women's side.

 My grandmother, Dorothy Nixon, was Commandant of Changi for a 6 month period and she kept detailed reports of the women's camp administration and a kind of diary about what came down during the Double Tenth Incident where she was taken away and tortured, with 3 other women and a couple of dozen other men.

But to produce that particular Changi story it would have taken a David Lean sized budget.

So, what comes to mind after seeing these three episodes?

Tenko appears to be a condensed version of my grandmother's Changi story.

The internees in Tenko wonder when to turn out the lights. At Changi, there were rules. 10.pm Lights Out. (I think that's the hour.)

They wonder whether to elect a 'head' or spokesperson. At Changi there was a Commandant and Second Commandant and floor monitors. All very military style. And lots of Committees. My grandmother once joked to my mother (when visiting us in 1967) "When in doubt, the British strike a Committee."

At Tenko, the woman doctor says she is too busy to be spokesperson. At Changi the doctors, and there were six or so, became the 'natural leaders.'

My grandmother, a librarian and planter's wife, was the exception. She resented the special status the Japanese gave to the woman doctors, letting them roam about town.

But, in essence, Tenko gets it right. And that's what ART is all about.

 In fact, one of the lead characters, a woman who is older, and very stubborn and gets put in isolation for using a 'radio set' is probably drawn after my grandmother, who went to isolation for 5 months for her part in a 'radio racket' at Changi in 1943. (They were using secret wirelesses to hear BBC Broadcasts) as she called it. The Double Tenth Incident!

There's a Eurasion woman, and as my grandmother's memoirs reveal, Eurasions were, indeed, looked down upon. They were not wanted as cell-mates for one.

So, the Tenko barracks are small. Changi was huge and apparently the din was awful, nerve-wracking.

Oh, also, at Changi, the Japanese did not come into the women's barracks. That would be lowering themselves. They stayed away from the women as much as possible. Sikhs were used to guard the women.

My grandmother, as Women's Commandant of Changi, made a point of visiting the Japanese Commandant ever day. (She claimed the head of the Men was afraid of him.)

She believed the Japanese Commandant tolerated her because she was a  tiny woman. He, apparently, didn't like some of the bigger British women.

Anyway, I think comparing my play Looking for Mrs. Peel (based on my grandmother's diary) and Tenko, the series, would be an excellent exercise for a screenwriting class.

There is a book out: The Making of Tenko, and when I've finished watching the series, I will read it and see if they explain where they got the inspiration for the characters.

Renee Asherson as Sylvia Ashburton, a character like my Grandmother, below.

My Grandmother, Dorothy Nixon, Changi survivor.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tenko and Mrs. Peel and Me



I am watching TENKO on the TV.

Tenko is the 1980's BBC-ABC (Australia) co-production about women civilian prisoners of war in Malaya during WWII.

I've never seen the series.  I've somehow missed it when it played in 1982?  in Canada.

I was working long hours as a copywriter in radio. I  didn't even own a TV. And I didn't give a damn about my grandmother and her life in Malaya. She had died in 1972 in Kuala Lumpur.

 I had met her but once. (  (My play Looking for Mrs. Peel explains.)

Tenko Actors: I am extremely curious if any incidents in Tenko are taken from Changi memoirs...

About 10 years ago, when I was researching Looking for Mrs. Peel, my 'radio play'  about my grandmother's experiences in Malaya and as a Prisoner of War at Changi, I tried to find a copy of Tenko, but in vain..

The video tape version (remember those?) was out of print (or whatever it is called) and it hadn't been put on DVD. That happened in 2011.

So I am watching Tenko now. About 30 years after the program first was aired.  I actually know of someone alive here in Quebec who was in Singapore during the siege.. She is 90 plus years old. She worked as a VAD in a hospital, tending to the casualties of the two boats that were blown up. Her mother died escaping Singapore.

My grandmother, Dorothy Nixon, Changi Internee,  Commandant of Women's Camp, Double Tenth Incident Victim


It is proving a useful experience, watching Tenko. You see, I already know pretty much all there is to know about Changi etc and the fall of Singapore etc after researching my play exhaustively.

So now I can sit back and see how the writers of Tenko explain what's going on, the history,  using dialogue. At times it is an elegant exercise and at times a rather clumsy one.

I am trying to get started on my next play - about militant British Suffragettes coming to Montreal in 1911/12/13 to try to stir up trouble. (Would BBC Radio Four be interested?  It's pretty funny stuff.)

I know a lot about that too... and no one else (alive) knows...not as much as I do anyway.

I must try to do the same, explain a complex historical situation through dialogue and make it seem (somewhat) natural, and not like those episodes of the original Star Trek where Spock explains how the Enterprise works to Captain Kirk.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Of Blue Jays and Seigneuries


On July 19th of last year, at 4. pm precisely a huge storm blew through and knocked over a few trees on our property, one branch crushing a piece of our fence.

My husband just replaced the piece, so I am happy.

A professional wanted 1000 dollars to fix the one piece. By that account, our fence is worth 200.000 dollars!

I remember the time and date because it was the exact hour of  the rehearsal dinner for my son's wedding at my house.

I was worried the giant oak would come down and kill some of the groomsmen, who insisted on bravely sitting on the porch outside.

Luckily, the weather cleared up in time for the wedding at 2 the next day.

This giant oak is the subject of my post.  I have been wondering how old it is. I guessed around 100 years or more and it seems I am right.

It's 9 and a half feet in diameter, we measured.

Oaks that are 10 feet in diameter are from 1860. Oaks that are 8 feet are from 1900. (British Oaks, anyway.)

So this tree probably burst into being around 1880 or some, when the Norman Nicholson and Margaret Macleod of Threshold Girl and the Nicholson Family Letters were about to get married and start a family.

This got me to thinking about where I live.

My house was built in 1970 or so, the first house in the development. Before that this area was all woods. But not OLD woods.

As my  husband points out, there are few 'old woods' left around here.

"The pioneers used to gallop horses through the forest, " he likes to tell me. "The trees were so tall. Try doing that now."

Our area was once a Seigneury as they call them in Quebec.  A  gentryman owned it and kept tenant farmers.

The history is fairly well know. There's a French Wikipedia page.

La Seigneury de Vaudreuil owned by a guy named Lotbiniere who bequeathed it, divided up, to his daughters.

The Seigneurial system was abolished in 1854, apparently before my oak was born.

We live 2 miles up from the river, just above 'the high road'.

Between the highway and the low road there are plenty of farmers' fields still. Our area was probably cut down for wood to build homes or use as firewood - and then it grew back up.

Our 120 year old tree is a survivor.

My husband says in the 70's in his parents' back yard they cut down an enormous ELM about 4 feet in diameter. ...That tree was probably older than my oak.

But that got me to thinking, "Where's the Seigneury Manor, the place where the Land Owner lived?"

Don't know.

There's a road, lined with car dealerships in an adjacent town called "Rue Don Quichotte.

It's named Don Quixote because it has a windmill at the end, and that windmill is one of the only working mills left from those old days... when the peasant farmers had to pay to get their wheat or whatever milled.

A real racket, as they say. They had the same thing in England. (I saw one some TV show that small hand mills were used by poor farmers, but these were often illegal.)

But there a few of the remnants of these windmills around, one not far from us  in Rigaud.

History is all around. Even in the trees.

Plan for the Seigneury near me, 1791.

Oh, and while I am taking pictures, there's  a blue jay nesting in the cedar right beside our porch at eye level. She thinks she can't be seen, but I imagine once her chicks hatch, she'll be dive-bombing us and the cat and the dogs. She's camouflaged, but right there in the middle.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wanted: Energy to Write

My draft display for an exhibit on the British Invasion of Suffragettes to Canada, a hitherto untold story - one I am trying to turn into a play.

My husband's Great Aunt Edith is in the middle in her WWII Red Cross Uniform. She was all for the militant suffragettes. You can read about her in Threshold Girl, Diary of a Confirmed Spinster and the Nicholson Family Letters, all on Kindle.


Where does creative energy come from? Well,  I have my ideas.

Right now I have very little of it. What creative energy I have goes toward minor decorating changes: moving a vase from here to there and then spending the next ten hours admiring it.

My cooking is, well, awful, right now.

Yesterday, I couldn't think of ONE meal I'd like to have... and that's a rarity. I ended up eating muffins for supper.

The long, cold winter might have something to do with it. Or older age.

The most creative energy I had was when I had little babies: I may have been tired out of my mind, but I just HAD to write.

Today, I watch tennis (admiring the youthful energy of others) and putter in the garden, picking up dog poop, mostly.

But I have this most excellent project and it is a worthy project: the story of how the British Suffragettes invaded Montreal in 1912/1913 and got nowhere.

Montreal and Quebec, well, it's a special place. A different place. It was back then and it still is.

The mess the Canadian Suffrage Ladies got into during the 1917 wartime Conscription Crisis in Canada was largely caused by these differences, these 'unspoken' differences.

Anyway, I think I will make my story a comedy.

Not that there's anything funny about the slaughter of thousands of healthy, young men in a savage war.

So my play will be a black comedy like Blackadder (where Over the Top had a dual meaning) about how the peace-loving suffragists of Montreal got  manipulated by Canadian Prime Minister Borden and his right hand man Arthur Meighen into supporting his Conscription Bill  in order to selfishly save their own sons, husbands and brothers.

How do I get into the mood to write about that?  It's been my experience that comedy comes from neurotic energy.

And right now I feel neither neurotic nor creative; I feel,well, like an old lady who wants to putter in the garden and play a little sloppy tennis and walk the dogs and ...


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Spring Cleaning when there's No Spring to Speak of

Spring Cleaning (when there's no Spring in the air) can make you crazy. Everything gets messier before it gets neater.


Going crazy. Wanna come?

We used to say that each other back in the 60's.. (I just remembered that!)

When you get old you remember things, lots of things, except where you put your glasses.

I am using my husband's pair now, and this type looks very blurry!

I'm going crazy because I'm into my spring cleaning phase, a little late, because the season has been late. (It snowed a lot yesterday in Calgary, imagine!)Its' STILL crappy outside, but if I don't do it now, I never will.

It snowed once in Montreal on May 3. I remember that too, walking to school along Coolbrook Street and passing the one home on the street with a garden and admiring a square bed of tulips covered in a 2 inch blanket of snow.

So pretty.

My own tulips have yet to come up, the season is so late. I think the squirrels got the bulbs.

Ok. So, I have good reason to go crazy.

Yesterday, I told my husband "We're doing a complete Spring Cleaning this yer. Every cupboard, every drawer is going to be cleaned out and everything goes, unless we REALLY need to keep it. And then,when the good weather arrives, we'll get to YOUR garage!

So I started with my bedroom top (Junk) drawer and found two credit cards from years ago, yet to be activated.

Today, I went through the cupboard in the back bedroom basement, the one with the ENORMOUS pile of family pictures, taken from my in-laws' basement 7 years ago.

My husband was loathe to part with any of them. Or he says we should keep them for the frames.

" We keep only immediate family and ancestors and if we can't tell you the person is, we throw the picture out," I exclaimed. "And doubles, too"

"And any picture of your beautiful older sister looking like Patty Duke in her TV show, (somewhere in between the one that liked the Minuet and the one who liked Hot Dogs) is tossed too.

There are billions of these pictures, giant studio shots, school pictures, Brownie snaps.  She was the first, after all. And she was pretty. We just brought a HUGE pile to her...

I kept this one of my husband's sister, cause of the 50's hairdo.

Well, my husband was reluctant, but he couldn't deny that if anyone can figure out who is in these pictures spanning the entire century (and before) I can as compiler of the Nicholson Family Letters of Richmond Quebec 1910 era.

I found a few nice pictures. Tighsolas, the family home, in the snow. A baby in a GIANT perambulator from the turn of the last century. And a Victorian lady in a HUGE dress, who looks exactly like my mother in law, born 1917.
Is this an big dress or a problem with double exposure? Whatever, this woman is likely a Blair from Scotland. She is not likely a McLeod or Nicholson from Isle of Lewis as they were too poor.

I was happiest though, to find a few more pictures of Edith Nicholson during WWII in her capacity as Commandant of the Quebec Red Cross. I think I even found a medal she had!

Aunt Edie as Commandant of the Quebec Red Cross.

That's because I've compiled the Nicholson Letters from WWI, Not Bonne Over Here where she first volunteered in the Navy League and for the YMCA's organization.

The medal


Bonus Find! A life insurance policy for Norman Nicholson, born 1850.. the patriarch of the Nicholsons. Lansing Lewis is the Manager of the Caledonian Insurance Company of Canada. He went on to work for the legal arm of the Montreal Suffrage Association. I am writing a play about the Montreal Suffrage Movement now, but my creative energy is at a low ebb after this long and cold winter.

I think this Spring Cleaning Business is a way for me to clear my mind, a metaphor..or something.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

You can't go back, dog-wise..


Tessa, a pic on my blog. Thank goodness I have one good pic, at least, where she is groomed -with a ball in her mouth about 2002. A natural retriever.


About a year ago I went through our box of photographs from the child-raising years and removed the 'good' pictures of our Standard Poodle, Tessa, who had died a year before that.

There were not that many good photos. She was black and she was a Standard poodle. Black dogs are hard to photograph and  a good part of the time she was having a 'messy hair day' so she in pictures she looks like a giant hair-ball with red-eyes.

But I can't find these good (outdoor) pictures now: I must have put them away in a special place. Ain't that always the way!

So my memories of Tessa (1997-2011) remain mostly  in my head.

Boxier Chloe..

A certain memory came back today - and I'll tell you about that later on in this post.

I must first explain something: The other day, we 'rescued' a standard poodle at the local pound. I had gone in for a darling brown-eyed Cocker Spaniel, (to replace the darling brown-eyed Boston above who recently died) but this elegant poodle had just arrived- and I had, at least, to take a look.

My husband had been telling everyone over the weekend that he wanted another poodle, not a spaniel. He just doesn't like change.

"They don't get Standards at the pound, " I had said to him. "Besides, you can't go back."

I was not of the same mind as my husband and I was not intending on adopting this particular Standard Poodle (that had showed up so serendipitiously)- unless it was simply perfect - and that's never the case with rescues, or with any dogs for that matter.

 You cannot replace a beloved pet with another, even of the same breed, even of the same lineage.

"Remember those poodle parties?" I said to my husband, "where the breeder got all her clients together and about 60 crazy-looking poodles gathered at her farm and frolicked for an afternoon? Even Tessa's brothers and sisters had very different personalities. Remember how annoying and  high-strung the brother was compared to her?"

(Tessa was the most even-tempered dog ever, an easy dog to love.)

Poodle Party Pic. Tessa's relations.

Tessa, where you can see that she had a thinner tummy. The breeder liked her poodles lithe, 40lbs. Tessa got up to 50 lbs and more. I think she's still under 1 year here.

"There will never be another dog as nice as Tessa," I mused.

No,  when it comes to beloved pets, you cannot go back, although we may be the one exception!

You see, as I arrived at the pound,  I asked to see the Standard (to be fair to my husband) and this dog, Kloe, trotted out and jumped up on me and, my gosh, she was almost the same shape and size as Tessa! Same face, too! And the top of her head smelled just like Tessa's, emanating that comforting musky lanolin aroma.

"Tell me there's something wrong with her," I pleaded with  the attendant, who didn't seem at all  upset that I had changed my preference in mid-adoption.

"Well, she's from a good home," she said. "She likes cats and  other dogs and is trained. The owner was sick and had to give her up...but she does have an infection."

"OK. there's my excuse," I said. "Now, my husband can't get mad at me for turning her down. Besides, she's not tatooed."

So the attendant took the poodle back into the kennel and came out with a cute Cocker, a needy ex-breeder with issues, but a charmer all the same.

Except, in the few minutes I had to think about it, I had decided to adopt the Standard Poodle.

After all, the kennel people were looking for someone with experience with the breed. Standards are labour-intensive.

And my husband was handy with the grooming clippers, which we still had in the cupboard over the washing machine. (My husband had steadfastly refused to get rid of them.)

(My calm and trusting Tessa had been spooked by a groomer at one point, so we just learned to do the grooming ourselves.)

So, I brought Chloe home (I changed her name, but she'll never know) and it took her about 1 minute to see that our Lab, Mr. Darcy, was a goofy harmless type.

He feigned indifference to the interloper.

Just arrived, Chloe's tail is at full mast, unafraid of 'the Darcy' after a minute or so...just like Elizabeth Bennett.

Chloe ignored the cats right from the beginning, although the big cat spent an hour or so stalking her.. Bad kitty!

One hour after her arrival, Foo Foo tries to intimidate the new dog.

In the  two days since Chloe has gone on two long walks and a couple of drives us and with Mr. Darcy and now they are officially friends, part of the same pack, as it were, at the nose-kissing stage.

(Submissive Darcy has even discovered the alpha dog in him and started to bark protectively at passing cars. Aren't dogs weird?)

I have trouble not calling this poodle Tessa! Or Tessa-girly or all the other nicknames I had for that first wonderful pet.

And this cold wet morning,  I took Chloe out to chase a few balls in the yard.. the bright orange balls that Tessa always carried around.


Chloe and ball.


As Chloe loped back to me with the bright ball in her mouth, her furry ears flapping,  I couldn't help having a bout of deja vu. She does, indeed, look just like Tessa!

 (Chloe's a tiny bit boxier, a tad shorter, but virtually the same build. Tessa was a show dog quality, her only fault a tail at 11.30 instead of 12.00 o'clock, but under her messy hair-dos, who could tell anyway?

Breeders can spend 16 hours grooming their Standards for show: we spent half an hour cutting her down. and a few hours a week grooming her. Her hairy ears and paws needed special attention.)

Tessa simply loved cold damp weather. It aroused the hunting dog in her, her olfactory faculties became keener in the cold.  And when we played with her in the yard, every time she trapped a ball, she would sniff around for a while, clearly on some kind of 'high'.

But as I played with Chloe, I suddenly remembered something else about Tessa and ball-play.

If Tessa didn't see you thrown the ball, she'd find it anyway. She would make circles to find the thing, starting big, ending small. Totally instinctive, it was. Hunting instinct.

Chloe, I discovered, just stands there looking confused. "Where's the ball. Have you thrown it yet?"

So Chloe is NOT a natural hunter, like Tessa. There's difference, No.1.


Oh, and there's another big difference. So far, Chloe likes me best, which is not what usually happens in our house. All the dogs and cats love my husband best. He's ALPHA in their eyes.


Darling Tessa would not go for a walk with me if my husband was at home and on walks, if I were leading her, she'd sit down if we got too far ahead.  Which is, no doubt, the main reason why my husband wanted another Standard Poodle.

All that respect!
Fuzzy Memories of Tessa..







Tessa, old and sick, looking like a rag the day before we had to put her down. (She had a paroxysm that night - and the new replacement Tessa, Chloe.

We put Tessa's old collar on her, a bit sentimental, but there you go. I have another little red collar from the Boston waiting for my next little dog.



Thursday, May 1, 2014

Weathering the Lousy Weather with a New Rescue Pooch.



Within one hour of arriving at my home, Chloe, the 2 year old Standard Poodle Rescue, was relaxing with her new flatmates!

Foo Foo the Cat, however, was intent on subtly intimidating the interloper, sitting on the arm of the old chesterfield. But to no avail.


 Who is that?
Here Foo Foo  is on the back of the couch, ready to show the new dog who's boss, if need be. Cats rule!

 It's hard to take pictures  inside at night of a black dog.


 It took the new poodle about 2 minutes to realize that Mr. Darcy, the lab/bloodhound mix, is a total wuss.


 Here's a pic from 2001.. My husband, looking sort of youngish, with one year old Bullwinkle and 3 year old Tessa.

As you can see, Chloe, our new dog,  is a Tessa-clone.  I tried to find pictures of Tessa where she wasn't just a black blob with red-eye, but had trouble.

I know I have some outdoor pics somewhere. Tessa was pedigreed, Chloe is not, but I suspect they are related...There are not many Standard Poodle breeders in our area.

So you see I just had to rescue Chloe, although I had intended on bringing home a little brown eyed Cocker Spaniel, who reminded me of my bad little Bullwinkle (who just passed a month ago) what wiith those big brown adoring eyes and a tiny stub of a waggety tail.

The pound manager said, "You came for a Cocker Spaniel and you left with a Standard Poodle. Seems odd."

I replied, "You have to understand our old family dynamic. We spent 12 years with a Boston and a Standard Poodle, two entirely different dogs, but we loved them both.

The new dog meets the old cat about 1 minute after arrival..But seems more interested in the dog biscuits.

With this weather forecast for Montreal (and it is projected to continue until mid June or later).. it's hard to get excited about gardening or spring cleaning...but a new dog is a bit of a lift... and a poodle can walk in the rain. (We gave Tessa's raincoat to my son for his new dog, but we kept the hair clippers.)

And even though they put a net up on the tennis court, we won't be able to use it any time soon to wear off our winter fat.


And Chloe is an energetic athletic dog that needs lots of exercise, unlike Mr. Darcy who would happily lie down all day..

 Two pictures captured from Twitter that I put on my smartphone home page. California Dreaming. (Well, they have a drought and wildfires.)