Parrot Cake

ID-100198026 In a departmental store, not far from you, is a manageress I shall call Betty.

Betty loves to bake cakes.

Betty bakes cakes each week and takes one to work with her on Fridays for all the members of staff to enjoy during their tea or lunch break.

The staff members cannot wait until Friday comes so that they can enjoy the very tasty cakes.  It is a special treat for them and brightens up what is often a very dull day or even week!

An employee at the said departmental store, whom I shall call Sally, loved Betty's cakes very much.

She loved them so much that she asked Betty if she would not mind baking her one to take to her mother on Mothering Sunday.

Betty said that she did not mind baking a special cake for Sally's mother.  She asked Sally to call round the following Thursday, as that was the day she did most of her baking.

Sally turned up on the Thursday.  Betty asked her to come into the kitchen as she had finished the special Mother's Day cake and was making another one to take to work the following day.

Sally stepped into the kitchen and to her horror she saw a parrot sitting on the food processing machine enjoying the ride.

As the mixing bowl was going round and round, so was the parrot.

"He loves to sit on the mixing bowl while I make my cakes', said Betty.  He sits there for hours just whirling around along with the food mixer.

Yes, the parrot was sitting and shitting at the same time.  The parrot poo was going straight into the cake mix below!

Sally took her special cake home with her, however on the Saturday she went and bought a shop made cake from the local supermarket and took that one to her mother.

After that all staff members at the departmental store made excuses to bring their own cakes into work!

This is a true story.  Only the names have been changed to avoid being prosecuted!

copyright Barbara Burgess 2016

Hijack Flight 222

Hijack Flight 222

My story is about a Greyhound.  He was white.  He was owned by a very dear friend of mine who bred racing greyhounds.

My friend lived in a very large farmhouse in a very small village.

She bred what she thought was an amazing dog and sold the puppy to USA.

This happened a very long time ago and during a period when aircraft were being hijacked.

My friend bred many litters and it must have been a bit of a dilemma as to what name to give each puppy.  This particular white, male pup she decided to call Hijack.

She duly had his vaccinations done and his health check and then she crated  him up and took him off to the airport for his trip to America.

On her way home she stopped in the centre of the sleepy, little village and went into the Post Office cum stores and sent a telegram to the new owners of the dog.

The telegram read:

Hijack Flight 222.

Yes, this was in the days when you sent telegrams to people.

It was also in the days of 'Mr. Plod The Policeman.'

An hour after my friend got home there was a gentle knock on her front door and there was the village Bobby whom she knew very well.

He asked her something on the lines of, 'what do you know about hijacking an airplane?'  To which my friend burst out laughing and told the rather confused policeman that she had put her dog called Hijack on Flight 222.

'Ah' the policeman said, 'I thought you wouldn't be into hijacking planes.'  And with that he got back on his bike and road off down the country lane.


Barbara Burgess ©2015

Image courtesy of James Barker at

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The Fly


The Fly

Does anyone remember the film, The Fly, from about 1986?

When you look back at films like, The Day of The Trifids, they seem rather puny alongside today's horror movies, and yet, in my day, they were very scary indeed!

This story is about Stripey, who I have written a post about before, and a fly.

Stripey was a giant of a Lurcher.  Imagine the biggest Greyhound that you can, all muscle, shiny coat, chunky legs and huge feet.  This was Stripey.  A gorgeous looking animal indeed.

Stripey was scared of many things though.  He probably lived in kennels a great deal for the first 18 months of his life and so was not adjusted to the outside world.

He was frightened of lampshades and things above his head or noises coming from upstairs.  He was also frightened of street signs.

I remember passing a transit van that was advertising a t.v programme and it had a huge picture of a green giant on it.  Stripey would not pass the van.  He barked and barked at it.

We often fed Stripey outside, weather permitting, and flies would come around his food. He spent ages chasing them off.

Our Collie loved to roll in anything from fox poo to horse muck,and she often smelled, and flies would follow her around.  Stripey did not like these flies and he chased them all the time, often forgetting his meal.

Stripey was not inclined to roll in stuff.  He must have been watching our Collie and he did roll in the grass once, copying her.  He also tried to put his shoulder to the ground once, but that was not quite his scene.  He preferred to smell nice.  I used to call our Collie a 'farm dog'.  She would swim and then roll in leaves and corn and come up looking as if she had been plastered in glue and had all the leaves and wheat stems stuck to her.  Plus the smell that went with it all!

One summer we had all the doors and windows open, and I am not one for killing flies or anything, and so the blue bottles kept buzzing round the house, chased by Stripey.

He did manage to kill one.  I wondered where he had gone as he had stopped running about.  I found him hiding under the dining room table.  He was staring at the dead fly in the middle of the hall floor! The tiny fly, dead on the floor, and the huge Stripey hiding under the table scared stiff of it!  I tried to coax him out, saying that it was only a fly, but he would have none of it.  He did not come out until I disposed of the little critter.


Barbara Burgess ©2015

Magic or Miracle?

Magic or Miracle?

Magic or Miracle?  Or maybe Angels at work.

We have a new puppy.

He was 8 months old when we got him.

He lived on a farm.

As he was not inoculated when we first had him he had to stay in our garden for five weeks, in between his inoculations and waiting until he was able to go out.

Border Collies are high active dogs and so we kept him busy with training exercises and I have some little jumps and things to occupy his mind and keep him fit.  We also took him for rides in the car and hubby would sit in the car with the back open while I went shopping, so that our new little puppy could get used to strange noises and even stranger people and other dogs.

When I took him out for the first time he was a bit overwhelmed with all the smells of the surrounding countryside.  Horses.  Although he had lived on a farm with horses.  No doubt the new scents brought back fond memories for him.

Doggy smells, rabbit and so on.

When I left the house my computer was still on and the pages that were open were Facebook and Outlook and a  page where I was waiting for a video to download.

When I got back to the house the page that was open on the screen was 'Universal Hand and Verbal Signals' for training Border Collies.

Now, if that is not a miracle then I do not know what is.

Or, as I believe, the Angels were working on my behalf.

Barbara Burgess © 18/03/2015

Drowning Dog

Drowning Dog


Stripey was named Stripey by the rescue kennels from whence he came.

He lived in two homes before we had him.  At least he was found on the streets and then adopted by an elderly gentleman who found him a bit too big and a bit too much to handle.  So apart from his two homes and then twice in the rescue kennels he had moved about quite a bit.

Stripey was a Lurcher and the size of a small donkey.  In fact we often said he thought he was a donkey.

He was about eighteen months old when we first had him.  After he had settled in I let him off the lead in a large field but he did not run or go anywhere.  I think he was not used to being off the lead or running.

Stripey was quite scared of things.  Scared of bollards and street furniture.  Scared of lampshades and light bulbs and scared of other dogs at first.  Whenever he saw another dog he would hide in the bushes and then come out when he thought it was safe once more.  If a dog played with him or chased him then he would hobble about on three legs screaming his head off.  I would run over to him and the dog owner would keep on saying sorry, however I think this was how Stripey used his safety mechanism.  It must have worked once and so he used it all the time.  I would rub his leg and shoulder and within seconds he would be right as rain once more.  He was one great big softy.

We took him to the woods one day and he went in amongst the trees and began to bark.  We went in after him and he had found a baby hedgehog.  He was so excited.  He was barking and wagging his tail, 'look mum, look what I have found.'

Stripey would not harm a flea, not even a rabbit.  This may be why he was found on the streets, abandoned.  He may have been used for hunting and as he did not have any killer instinct then he may have been turfed out.

He was always after food.  I took him over our local park one day, and this backs onto a school playground.  Somehow he managed to squirm under the school railings and he spent ten minuets devouring all the kids leftovers that were scattered about the playground.  He looked very fat when he came back!  And, luckily he was still able to wriggle through the hole beneath the fence.

We took Stripey on holiday to Kielder Forest with our daughter and son in law and their lovely dog. Stripey was merrily running down the path that led to the lake.  The only thing is that he forgot to stop and had not got a clue what water was.  He carried on running and went straight into the lake and went under.  He completely disappeared.  Luckily I did not see what happened or else I would have been screaming with dread.  The rest of the group did see Stripey submerge and my daughter was about to panic when Stripey's head popped up followed by the rest of his floating and floundering body.

Luckily he stayed on the surface and that is when I saw him thrashing and splashing his front paws in the air.  Thank goodness too that  he safely made it to the bank and then with great excitement at his adventure he chased his pal, the other dog,  amongst the trees and eventually this exercise dried him out.

Later on we had a small job of getting him used to water again and swimming but in the end he loved it and retrieved well in water.

Once I took him to a lake for a swim and he saw a swan in the middle of the lake and he just kept on swimming after it.  I really thought that was the last I would see of him, however he did turn back and then had a mad five minutes running round the field.

Stripey enjoyed spending time up the allotment with us.  One day I was picking the raspberries and Stripey watched me intently and then he too began to pick them.  The only thing is that he ate the ones he picked!

Stripey barked a great deal when we first had him.  Actually he was quiet for the first night and you would not have known he was there.  He lay on the hall floor in the morning as if he had landed in paradise.  He looked so content!

He began to bark at the back door and other things and we managed to train him not to do this. However we tried endless ways of stopping him from barking in the car.  About the only thing to stop him barking was if he sat on the back seat with someone stroking him.  However this was not at all practical as he was such a large dog and it was dangerous.  He would froth and foam at the mouth when in his cage or when he had his harness on.

Later on we bought an old Land Rover and you could wind the back window down a little bit and this seemed to lessen the sound of his barking whilst in the car.

At the end of his walk in the woods, one day, I put him back in the car with his harness on and collar and lead and was about to close the window up when suddenly, and in a flash he escaped and ran over the road chasing a rabbit.  How he got out of his collar, lead and harness in seconds and over the road I shall never know! The car was parked on a sharp bend and another car was coming round the bend.  Luckily I was able to run across the road and get hold of Stripey and keep him safe.

Stripey also appeared to be able to squirm through tiny gaps when the back or front door was held ajar. He was your typical escape artist!  He would not let me rest and have a cup of tea either if he thought it was his dinner time.  He would keep plonking his enormous paw on my lap and when I told him to behave he would prick up his ears and look at me as if to say, 'oh, she speaks.'  He had such a funny look on his face.

Like many Lurchers Stripey also loved his bed, or any other dog's bed for that matter, even if the bed were too small for him.  I used to say to him, 'don't bother to get up Stripey', and he would just lay there.

However if food was about then so was Stripey.

Barbara Burgess © 08/03/2015

Hooded Figure in the Fog

Hooded Figure in the Fog


The above dog looks a bit how Jimmy looked.  He was not unlike a brown 'Dulux' dog.

After getting over being frightened of dogs, when I was very young,  I then became obsessed with them and just loved to go for walks with one as a companion by my side.  I often brought a stray dog back home and once took about five dogs for a walk, all of them found on the streets near my home.

I went back to live at Eastbourne, Sussex, the place of my birth, when I was about sixteen.  I lived at my Granny's house and she had no bath or even a bathroom.  Yes, houses did exist, and probably still do, where there was no bathroom.  She did have two toilets though.  One inside and one outside.  She also had an extremely large kitchen and a walk-in pantry.

Often big fat creepy crawlies would come out of the pantry and on a particularly dark night one, which was probably a woodlouse and the size of a large thumb, dropped into my hot milk that I was making for my night-time cocoa.  Granny would not let me scoop it out at first and so I watched it swimming around my hot milk. I cannot remember if I drank the cocoa or not after that!

As my Granny did not have a bath I would then walk to the local bath house after work on a Wednesday and have a bath there. Often, too,  I would walk across the South Downs from Eastbourne to Polegate and do some ironing for my Auntie in exchange for a bath.  This walk, across the top of the Downs took about two hours, but I loved it.

Once I heard a cuckoo calling at the beginning of my walk.  However, I can tell you that by the time the end of my walk came I could have strangled that cuckoo.  Two plus hours of cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo.  Can you imagine it?

I enjoyed taking Jimmy for a walk up on the downs or round the streets for my Auntie as well.  We had lots of fun together.

I loved being outside.

One day it was extremely foggy, to say the least.  You could not really see your hand in front of your face. However I insisted on taking Jimmy for a walk.  I did not put him on a lead and I headed for a little alleyway near the house.

Then, through the fog I saw what looked like a dark figure wearing a cloak and hood.  I immediately turned around, called Jimmy and headed for home.  A bit disappointed that we had only walked a few yards that afternoon.

I have no idea if the strange, hooded figure was a man or maybe it was a ghost that had been sent to make me go back home.  The fog really was the thickest I have ever seen.

That incident reminds me of a true story my mother told me about her friend.  Her friend went on a skiiing holiday with the family although she did not enjoy skiiing very much.  Mum, dad and the two boys went to the top of the mountain.  Dad and the two boys said to get ready and then they were off, skiiing merrily down the slopes.  Mum was left behind quite fearful.  Then a thick mist descended on the mountain and the lady was totally lost and stranded.  She began to move slowly forward and then suddenly saw a very high red brick wall in front of her.  Yes, a very high, red brick wall at the top of a snow and mist covered mountain.  She did not move any further, indeed she could not move any further because of the high, red brick wall.   She waited for what seemed hours and then the fog lifted and before her she saw a great chasm.  She steadily edged backwards and then managed to carefully but slowly ski down the slopes.  Her family were waiting for her at the bottom of the mountain and asked her where she had been and what she had been doing!

Jimmy used to bark a great deal.  My Uncle would pretend to smack his face whenever he did this and in the end Jimmy would bark and then duck.  People were amused by his actions but I guess it was not a nice thing for a dog.

Barbara Burgess © 07/03/2015

Image courtesy of Maggie Smith at

The Ghost of Peter


The Ghost of Peter

Peter lived next door to us when I was a very young child.  The photo above is not Peter but he did look a lot like this.  He was a black and tan mongrel type of  dog about the size of a smallish Labrador.  He was probably crossed with terrier of some sort as well.

Peter was a wonderful dog.  I am going back many years now and in those days our dogs did not wear collars or have leads.  They would follow their owner about or just wander the streets at will.

The road we lived in was unmade and there were not many cars about either.  The street had only a few houses in it and was surrounded by fields so Peter and the other dogs were fairly safe.

Peter generally followed us kids wherever we went.  He was a kind of companion.  A playmate.  He played with us and we played with him.

One day I saw the boy next door come out of his house and walk up the road followed by Peter.  Then the boy told Peter, 'go home'.  And he did!  I was truly amazed at this.  Peter went back down the road and stood at the gate and the boy went off to town on the bus.

I was so impressed with Peter that I tried it.  With hind sight I realise now that I was teasing him.  I would walk up the road and say, 'come on Peter' and he would wag his tail and coming running after me. Then I would say, 'go home Peter', and he would put his head down and his tail between his legs and he would go back and stand by the gate.  I did this a few times and then called him and he was so thrilled to be following me and going off to play.

One night, many years later we heard Peter howling all night long.  We lived in a semi detached house and you could often hear the neighbours.  This sound of Peter howling throughout the night was very disturbing.

Later that morning my mother came and told us that Peter had been put to sleep as he had had a brain hemorrhage.  We were all very upset, Peter's family and our family and the neighbourhood kids whom he accompanied on our adventures.

Peter's owner, who I shall call Grace, said that she could not replace Peter and would never have another dog in the house again.

However some months later Grace told my mother that she had decided to get another puppy.  My mother was not sure exactly when the new puppy would arrive because she remembered Grace saying that she could never bring herself to have another dog.

A few weeks after that  my mum was busy in her kitchen when she heard whimpering.  She was quite startled by it and listened a while and it continued.  She thought that Grace must have bought a new puppy after all  and she went running round to the neighbour's house to see the new little dog.

Often, back then, we did not lock our gates or back doors and neighbours freely went in and out of each others homes.  So my mum opened the back door of Grace's house and asked, 'where's the puppy then?' Grace just stood and looked at my mum and as she could still hear the whimpering she thought it was some kind of a joke so she began opening doors searching for the new puppy.  She opened  a cupboard at the bottom of the stairs and then the pantry door and still she could hear the crying.  Once again she asked Grace where she had hidden the puppy and Grace just stood there looking at my mum.  My mother  then went upstairs and looked in each of the bedrooms and the bathroom as she could still hear the cry of an animal.

In the end she gave up and said, 'okay, I give in then.  Where is your new puppy?'

Grace then replied, 'It's Peter.  It's Peter.  He has been crying ever since I decided to go and buy another puppy.'

Apparently Grace had been hearing the ghost or spirit of Peter whimpering ever since she decided to have another puppy in the house.  However it was only on this one day that my mother had heard him.

Grace never did have another dog of her own after that.

Barbara Burgess © 07/03/2015

mage courtesy of James Barker at

Mel - Acrobatic Dog

Mel - Acrobatic Dog

Actually the picture above is not Mel.  She did look like this though.

We got Mel from a working Springer Spaniel breeder and trainer in Lockerbie, Scotland.

I think she was about twelve weeks old when we got her, maybe older, and she was the runt of the litter and a little bit deformed.  Her front legs were a bit bowed and she was rather small and skinny.

However, she was lovely.  I loved her and she was very intelligent.  She wanted to please me all the time and she followed me everywhere, even into the bathroom.

I began training her 'to the gun'.  However it was not long after that that I decided shooting and beating was not for me.

At the time we lived near Woburn Abbey and there were days when the sound of the pheasant shooting was continuous.  Almost from morning till dusk.  It was not pleasant.

So I decided to continue with Mel's training and to enter into Gundog Trials and Field Trials.

I found she was a very quick learner indeed.  I only had to show her something once or twice and she would do it and remember it.

I taught her to sit and stay.  Then to sit whilst I threw a 'dummy' and then to fetch the dummy.  She could also hunt for the dummy and retrieve it whilst a second dummy was thrown to distract her.  Mel was also good at quartering.

Mel would sit to the sound of a gun.  Sit whenever she saw anything move, such as a rabbit or pheasant or a thrown dummy.

So I entered into my first, and her first Gundog Rally.

The gun I used was a starting pistol.  I have never used a shotgun although I had a licence for one.   I decided shot guns were not for me after someone told me that the rebound from them can break your shoulder.  So I bought a starting pistol instead.

At the Field Trial we did the quartering bit and she was not that bad.  I felt she moved too far to each side and too far ahead at times and I often gave her directions when she was not even looking at me.  So that was my mistake.  The judge was watching me!  Two dogs were sent out together each time for each of these exercises.

Then it was time for her to fetch a hidden dummy.  She retrieved the hidden dummy well.

For the next exercise she had to retrieve the dummy I threw, at the same time as a shotgun  going off and at the same time as another dummy was thrown for distraction.

Mel sat by my side and the shotgun was fired.  Well Mel, startled by the shotgun report,  went straight up in the air in the sit position and landed straight back down again, still in the sit position!  She did not move from her spot until I told her to 'dead'.  'Dead' was my word for 'fetch'.  She had to fetch a 'dead' thing or dead pheasant, had we been on a real shoot.  There are times when a dog is expected to retrieve a wounded, but still live pheasant and so I would have trained her to fetch a 'live'. later on.

Anyhow Mel withstood the sound of shotgun fire and went out to fetch the hidden 'dead' and she was bringing it back to me when the second dummy was thrown to distract her.  Mel dropped the dummy she was carrying and went over to pick up the second dummy.  I must have made a noise as I saw her do this, and she stopped in her tracks and looked at me.  She then looked at the second dummy and went back for the first dummy and brought it to me.

That was the end of the exercises and we all waited around for the judge's opinion and the prize giving. There were about 18 dogs and handlers and Mel and I came 16th.  We were extremely pleased with that for our first and only Gundog Trial.

At the end of the day the judge proceeded to tell us about our mistakes.  He told the crowd that you should use the word 'fetch' and not the word' dead'..  In fact he laughed and joked about  the use of this word.   I had trained Mel to go for a 'dead' and so dead it was.  In fact her breeder also used the word 'dead' instead of fetch.

The judge continued with his summing up and during the course of his speech he also commented that you could teach a dog any trick using any word whatsoever, so long as you consistently used the same word.  He also said you could use the words 'Father Christmas' instead of heal or leave.

In the end I  felt he was contradicting himself.

Nearly everyone came over to me and asked me how I had stopped Mel from picking up the second dummy and going back for the first.  I had not spoken to her  or told her off.  I do feel that I moved or sighed or something when she did it. She then looked at me and I frowned and looked back at the first dummy.  Luckily she understood what I wanted and then ignored the second dummy and went back for the one she had dropped and brought it to me.  The other contestants were totally amazed.

I was very proud of Mel that day and thought the judge did not know what he was talking about with his comments.  But that's my opinion.

On the way home and halfway through our journey I stopped in a lay-by for a rest from driving and lo and behold there was my mother and stepfather also in the lay-by.  What a surprise that was!  Neither of us knew what the other was doing that day!

©Barbara Burgess

Image courtesy of Tina Phillips at


Somebody's Dog

Somebody's Dog

This poem was written in about 1952 by my Great Uncle Joseph E. Shadbolt

Somebody's Dog

'Only a dog,' said the 'cop' on the street.
Only a dog that lay at his feet.
But one of God's creatures
As such it was born.
Now victim of someone who just honked his horn.
Only a dog.  Maybe a joy
Torn from the heart of a dog-loving boy.
Someone will feel the pain and regret
A dog lover knows at the loss of a pet.
Someone will miss the heart-warming hail
Voiced without words by a dog's wagging tail.
In somebody's life a dog plays its part.
A place of its own in somebody's heart.
So Mr. Driver, wherever you are
Please be more careful when driving your car.
Just for a dog's and for somebody's sake
When tooting your horn bear down on the break.
And Mr. Policeman, whatever your name
For a common expression, you're not to blame
But don't let a stock-word your good nature befog
Please don't say 'only' say 'somebody's dog'.

Author:  Joseph E. Shadbolt of Eastbourne in Sussex and then of America.  (around 1952)

Nationalization records


I believe that the following two songs,  that I heard inside my head, are messages from Zilzie to us:

The first she wants us to feel her love that she is still sending.

The second is, 'Just call my name, and I'll be there.'

Twice now I have had my friend Anne Knight of Dondelayo  Whippets tell me that Zilzie is with the Whippets.  I also felt it meant that she was with Anne Knight and her Whippets as well.

The third song is about, there is nothing wrong in remembering all those little things.

The bottom picture is how she laid at the vets.  Diane Cooper says to call upon the Angels when it is the time for an animal to receive comfort or for its passing and this I did.

"Make You Feel My Love"

When the rain is blowing in your face, And the whole world is on your case, I could offer you a warm embrace To make you feel my love.
When the evening shadows and the stars appear, And there is no one there to dry your tears, I could hold you for a million years To make you feel my love.

I know you haven't made your mind up yet, But I will never do you wrong. I've known it from the moment that we met, No doubt in my mind where you belong.

I'd go hungry; I'd go black and blue, And I'd go crawling down the avenue. No, there's nothing that I wouldn't do To make you feel my love.

The storms are raging on the rolling sea And on the highway of regret. The winds of change are blowing wild and free, You ain't seen nothing like me yet.

I could make you happy,

make your dreams come true. Nothing that I wouldn't do. Go to the ends of the Earth for you, To make you feel my love To make you feel my love


"I'll Be There"

You and I must make a pact We must bring salvation back Where there is love I'll be thereI'll reach out my hand to you I'll have faith in all you do Just call my name And I'll be there

[Chorus:] I'll be there to comfort you I'll build my world of dreams around you I'm so glad I found you I'll be there with a love so strong I'll be your strength You know I'll keep holding on

Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter Togetherness well it's all I'm after Just call my name And I'll be there

I'll be there to protect you With an unselfish love that respects you Just call my name And I'll be there


If you should ever find someone new I know she better be good to you 'Cause if she doesn't Then I'll be there

Don't you know baby I'll be there I'll be there Just call my name And I'll be there

I'll be there baby You know I'll be there Just call my name And I'll be there

Just look over your shoulder Just call my name And I'll be there


"All Kinds Of Everything" (feat. Terry Hall)

Snowdrops and daffodils, Butterflies and bees, Sailboats and fishermen, Things of the sea, Wishing wells and wedding bells, Early morning dew, All kinds of everything Remind me of you.
Seagulls and aeroplanes, Things of the sky, Winds that go howling, Breezes that sigh, City sight, neon lights, Grey skies or blue, All kinds of everything Remind me of you.Summer time, winter time, Spring and autumn too, Monday, tuesday, everyday, I think of you.Dances, romances, Things of the night, Sunshine and holidays, Postcards to write.Parting trees, autumn leaves, Snowflake or two, All kinds of everything Remind me of you.

Summer time, winter time, Spring and autumn too, Seasons will never change The way that I love you.

Dances, romances, Things of the night.

Sunshine and holidays, Postcards to write, Parting trees, autumn leaves, A snowflake or two.

All kinds of everything Remind me of you.

All kinds of everything Remind me of you.

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I've been alone with you Inside my mind And in my dreams I've kissed your lips A thousand times I sometimes see you Pass outside my door
Hello! Is it me you're looking for? I can see it in your eyes I can see it in your smile You're all I've ever wanted And my arms are open wide 'cause you know just what to say And you know just what to do And I want to tell you so much I love youI long to see the sunlight in your hair And tell you time and time again How much I care Sometimes I feel my heart will overflow

Hello! I've just got to let you know 'cause I wonder where you are And I wonder what you do Are you somewhere feeling lonely? Or is someone loving you? Tell me how to win your heart For I haven't got a clue But let me start by saying I love youHello! Is it me you're looking for? 'cause I wonder where you are And I wonder what you do Are you somewhere feeling lonely? Or is someone loving you? Tell me how to win your heart For I haven't got a clue But let me start by saying I love you



Randy Russell

Randy Russell

My story here is about another little dog that came into my life.  This time it was a little Jack Russell, not unlike the one in the picture here.  A long legged typical Terrier type with coarse fur. a white body and brown on its head.  A male.

I was probably about eight years of age at the time and still at Junior School.  The dog we had then must have been Bunty.  Being a bitch she came in season at least twice a year and she was probably about two to three years of age when she passed over to the Spirit World.

It was summer time and Bunty must have been in season as a number of dogs would appear at our gate each day.  One particular one was this little Jack Russell.  He was a persistent and very clever little thing as he also appeared at our back door on numerous occasions.  We had quite high fences and walls and gates around the house so how he managed to get in we do not know. We also had a conservatory and lucky for us this made for a good barrier between this little Terrier and our in-season bitch.  We were able to catch him before he made any amorous advances towards Bunty.

This little dog would follow me to school along with the others.  I actually enjoyed being escorted to school by several dogs.  It was great fun.  I would leave the dogs at the school gates, or rather they would leave me and I would go into class for registration and then into assembly.

This particular warm and sunny day I was stood in the middle of assembly, slap bang in the centre of the hall surrounded by my friends, class mates, and teachers.  The Headmaster was standing on the stage conducting the morning service when I felt something rather warm and furry grab my leg. It was this little Terrier.  I also felt the dog's nails dig into my leg as he hung on for dear life in a very frustrated manner!

I pushed him away and thoughts of 'how do I get out of this one' flashed through my mind.  The dog did not give up though.  He continued to grab my leg and obviously, by now, the teachers noticed some kind of disturbance. I tried whispering to the dog to clear off but to no avail.

A male teacher then came over and got the dog by the collar and escorted it out of the school. When school began the gates would be closed and so this little Terrier could not get back into school.

I have never felt so hot and red with embarrassment before.  A dog grabbing my leg in front of all those people and me only eight years of age!

The teachers thought he was my dog and no one believed me.

When school closed there was the little s..t waiting for me at the gate and he looked so pleased to see me!  He must have waited all day long in the heat. He was hot and panting and he followed me home once more.

Thank goodness a dog is only on heat for about three weeks and male dogs generally know when the bitch will be receptive and so they wander off when she is 'past the sell by date.'

This is only one of the numerous embarrassing moments of my life, be they to do with dogs, humans or anything really!

Image courtesy of Simon Howden at

Randy Brandy

Randy Brandy

The above picture of this pretty little dog is nothing like the dog in my story here.

Years ago I had trained a couple of Spaniels to the gun.  (I am against shooting nowadays).

So I decided to advertise myself as a dog trainer  in my local paper.

A lady answered my advert and we met in a nearby park.

She had with her a very unruly, young Doberman male called Brandy.

I asked her to walk Brandy about a bit to show me his 'bad habits.'  This she did and Brandy dutifully dragged her all over the park.

I then demonstrated, with great ease, even if I say so myself, how to have a dog walk calming to heal, on the lead.

The lady also tried this and managed to gain good control of Brandy and she even had a smile on her face.

At the end of the session we stood chatting about the best way forward for her and her dog,  when suddenly the lovely Brandy took a liking to my leg and then to me!  Standing on his hind legs he was taller than me and he put his front paws around my neck, hung on tight and began humping me.  Both the lady and I had a real job of getting him off!  I was so embarrassed, as the trainer, and went bright red.

Once Brandy had been pulled off me by his owner, who appeared to be used to this kind of behavior, we discussed his future and both Brandy and the lady went merrily on their way.

After that I helped a couple train two very boisterous Spaniels, however I think the dogs got really muddled as I would do one thing with them and then the man and the lady would each do different things.  The poor dogs, in the end, just refused to work at all and I refused to help them train their dogs if they were only going to each do their own thing and give the dogs different commands and signals.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at



This is not a photo of me nor is it a photo of the cats I am going to write about here.

If you want to have a photo taken of yourself pursing your lips as this young lady is doing then all you have to do is to say, 'prunes'.

I used to have hair longer and blonder than this.

I also used to wear my hair in two plaits.  A friend cut one plait off right next to my scalp!  That is another story that maybe told on another blog!

When I was about three years of age we had a few cats.  Mainly they were big and white and fluffy.  I recall them being very soft and cuddly.  We also had one or two smooth coated ones.  They must have bred either by accident or on purpose as I also remember there being at least one smooth coated one and lots of fluffy ones in the same litter.

Our house was one of many terraced houses.  The front door opened out onto the pavement.  The street was a cul-de-sac.

There was a passage between some of the houses so that you could get round the back and even up more passages to the street at the top of the hill.

I could not say passage.  I said pashid.

I could not say sausage.  I said soshid.

Each house had a yard at the back in which there was the one and only toilet.  We used newspaper and magazine paper! There was also a coal barn.  You put one lump of coal on the fire and made it last all day and all night.

Nearly everyone in the street kept their back door and their front door either open or unlocked.  All the local children just freely went in and out of anyone's house either looking for their mum who had quickly dissapeared to the shops while their offspring were playing with friends, or would seek out companionship along with sustenance.

I used to seek out all the cats and kittens that my mum had either given away or sold.  I would carry them back home again.  I did not understand that the cats now belonged to someone else.

One of our cats sat on the wall and had a very bad leg.  The cat must have been missing for a few days and the leg was all matted with blood and fur.  The vet said it had most likely been bitten by a rat, although it could have been bitten by a dog.  In the end the cat had to be put to sleep.

One day my mum was in bed feeling poorly and my five year old brother brought her a handful of flowers - roots and all!

Next door was a large family and all the kids obviously called dad, dad.  I too called this man dad.  I copied the other children.

Two years after the end of the war my own dad came home.  Previous to that he had been sent to Germany.  A man with a wife and three children sent off to Germany at the end of the war and not allowed home!

When my own dad came home I called him dad as well.  I must have been very confused!

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic /


Funeral Cortege


Funeral Cortege

My Granddad was a Farrier.

As a child my mother often sat upon the huge, shiny black  funeral Shire horses as they were being shod.

They must have been very calm horses to allow a little child to sit on them whilst this was happening.

There was a funeral today.  The four dapple grey  horses had lovely bright orange feathers on their heads.

Everyone dressed in vibrant reds and oranges, which is nice.

A little boy, not expected to reach five years of age.  He lived to eleven years of age.

©Barbara Burgess 2014

You Dirty Rat

You Dirty Rat

Who said, 'You dirty rat'?

I thought it was Clint Eastwood.

People say James Cagney said it.

James Cagney says he did not say it!

When rats come into your vicinity.  Your home or your garden.  Or even if you become aware of rats then they are messengers.

All animals are messengers.  All animals can and will tell a story.

If rats turn up and illness turns up as well, then the message is to clear your clutter.

This means clearing the clutter of your mind, body, spirit, soul and life.


A friend of mine got divorced after seven years of marriage.

Her husband was a photographer.  She was not in the least bit  interested in photography.

He liked to take black and white photos.  She hated black and white photos.

He took a picture of them both.  The picture was in black and white.  He framed it in a plain old frame.  She disliked the frame as well as the black and white photo.

My friend had this black and white photo, of her and her ex husband, hanging on the hall wall, just inside the front door for all the seven years of their marriage and for another seven years after that!

Several times a day she had to pass by this photo that only reminded her of the bad things in her life.

One day she was told by another friend, to clear her clutter.  "Clear out anything that you do not like, do not use, and have not used for about the last three years."  This other friend said.

She did.  With great gusto she stamped on the photo and broke the glass and frame and then took it up the rubbish tip.

She felt one hundred percent better after that.


Clutter, as you pass it each day, only goes to remind you of things you cannot have or cannot do or cannot change.

Clear your clutter.


If your life is not going the way you want it then a Life Psychic Reading by me, Barbara Burgess, may be just what you are looking for.  Click here to view.

©Barbara Burgess 2014

Shit Shovelling

Shit Shovelling

We used to live on a smallholding.

We had numerous animals.

Pigs, sheep, ducks, geese, chickens, turkeys and dogs.

We reared our pigs outdoors and fed them organic feed.  Someone said we were way before our time and no-one wanted outdoor reared, organic fed, meat.

People also complained to the RSPCA that our pigs were outside in the rain.  When someone contacts the RSPCA they have to respond to the call.  The RSPCA person was very nice.  Our pigs continued to live happily outside.

We also had geese and as there were foxes around all the birds had to be shut in at night.

To begin with the young geese did not mind, however as they got older they were harder to round up.

We bedded them on straw and they stamped on it all night long.  In the morning it was easy to clean the building out as the stuff had turned into what I called, 'sheet shit.'  I used a shovel and could lift about one metre square of this stuff.  It was a quick and easy job to clean their pen.

As you can image with all those animals there was a lot of muck spreading to be done, hence I wrote the following poem one day:

Oh I am a great shit shoveler!

Oh I am a great shit shoveler.

Oh I do love shoveling shit.

I'm an expert on the subject.

You should ask me about it.


I've seen it white .

I've seen it black.

I put it in my plastic sack.

Sometimes yellow.

Sometimes green,

And even rainbow colours

I've seen.


I've seen it soft.

I've seen it hard.

In the stable.

In the yard.

On the pavement.

No, that's wrong.

The neighbours do not like the pong.


I run with my spade

To pick it up.

No don't do that

You mucky pup!


I've taught many dogs to sit and stay

But no matter what I do

I cannot teach the animals

To use the flippin' loo!


Barbara Burgess Author ©2000

©Barbara Burgess 2014


Image courtesy of dan /



Is it good for you?

 Is it good for you?

We used to live down a country lane.

Often horses would come down the lane and on this particular day they had been to the toilet right outside our house.

Not knowing this, I came out of the house with half a dozen Whippets and about four of them rushed over to the piles of poo and began literally gobbling it down as if there were no tomorrow!

My younger daughter, who was about three at the time, asked, 'Why are they doing that mummy?'

I replied, 'They say it is good for them.'

'Is that what they put in Pedigree Chum then?'  was her next question.

She must have been watching the t.v. adverts!

©Barbara Burgess 2014

Image courtesy of bk images /

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©Barbara Burgess 2014

Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men

My dad had an allotment.

You had to walk quite a long way to get to it.  It was near where he lived as a child and where his parents lived.

You went from our house, turned left, over the railway bridge, turn right, back over the next railway bridge and there were the allotments.

My dad came home one day with a tiny mouse.

We asked how he came to have it.  He said he had caught it with his bare hands.

We were totally amazed.  Caught a mouse with his bare hands!  We thought he must have been very quick to do that!

We kept the mouse in our empty fish tank and dad returned it to the allotment a few days later.

My dad was a P.E. instructor in the R.A.F. during the second world war.  He was and still is a very fit man.  He only has full use of one arm now due to a car accident, however he gets hold of a chair in the mornings and lifts it up, just to keep his muscles going!

One day, when we were all quite young he decided to pick all three of us up in his arms at once.  Me, my brother and my sister.

He made gliders, the real kind, in our shed, in our garden.

He made a tail plane for one and the shed was not quite tall enough to house it.  He asked my brother to get some bricks handy while he lifted the front of the shed off the ground so that my brother could slip the bricks underneath and then the tail plane would fit.

I thought my dad was so strong to be able to life a shed!   The shed was about thirty  feet long and about eight feet wide.

©Barbara Burgess 2014



Bonnie was my first Whippet.  She was short in the back and quite muscular.  She was a parti colour.  A very pale shade of blue/grey/brown and white.

Bonnie did not bark.  For the first couple of years of her life she did not bark.  We would try and get her to bark for her food or a biscuit or a tit-bit and 'say please,'  however nothing happened.  Her mouth would move in barking mode and her teeth would clank together and she would get very excited but no sound came out.

Then, one day, we all sat round the table encouraging Bonnie to bark and 'say please.'  There was a little movement in her chest area and this movement then rose up her neck and into her throat and she opened her mouth and out came a tiny squeak.  We were thrilled to bits.  Bonnie was thrilled to pieces.  We did this several times until she got the hang of barking or squeaking and 'saying please.'

Bonnie never had a proper bark.  She did not bark at the milkman, the postman or anyone who rang the front door bell. Always this little squeak came out after much effort and raising of her head and stretching of her neck.

When I left school one of my many jobs was delivering wallpaper.  My round took me from Luton to Aylesbury, Amersham, Chesham, Reading, Windsor, Slough, Maidenhead, Old Windsor, Pinewood Studios and Hemel Hempstead.

At Old Windsor the shop I delivered to was very near Windsor Castle.  I am not sure if the chap who owned it was pulling my leg but he would often say that Prince Phillip would be very pleased with the roll of wallpaper I had delivered.  He also said the Queen and Prince Phillip often took a stroll and called in the shop for a chat and a cuppa!

One day I had finished my round and was driving home.  I came to a junction near my home where five roads meet.  It was often a difficult turning as there was a very narrow bridge to the left and cars would queue up to let each other through.  The road I was travelling down was a hill and cars would go quite fast down there.  The road to my right led to the Electrolux factory and many a time there would be a traffic jam.  The roads were quite straight and cars would travel quickly along these routes.

I was quite near the junction when I saw Bonnie the other side of the road.  How she had got there and who had let her out or left the gate open was a complete and utter mystery to me.  I slowed my van down and looked in every direction for oncoming cars.   Bonnie crossed the road and then two cars went by.  She was on the opposite side of the road to me with her head down and running and sniffing the pavement at the same time.

I knew that if she heard my van engine she would recognise the sound and also if I opened the van door she would definitely know that noise.

I kept my eyes peeled up every road searching for traffic.  Two more cars went by and then there was a gap.  I gently slowed the van so as to make as little noise as possible and then, as it stopped I slid the van door back.  Bonnie heard it and at the same time I saw a car in the distance.  I called her and she began to recognise me but looked a bit bewildered. I quickly alighted from the van, stood up straight, called her and she galloped across the road and jumped straight into my open arms.  Another car went by.

I got back into the van and put her on the passenger seat and told her what a clever dog she was.  I was shaking like a leaf and it all reminded of the story of The Black Whippet and how he had jumped into the young lad's arms when he was in danger.

©Barbara Burgess 2014

Image courtesy of Rosen Georgiev /


The Black Whippet

This is a picture of a Greyhound. My story is about The Black Whippet.

I grew up at Leagrave.  It is a suburb of the now enormous City of Luton.  When I first arrived in Leagrave, aged about three or four, our road was made of pebbles and there were only about six houses down the street and then a very large house on the corner.  The rest was fields.

Later police houses were built on the other side of the road.  As children we were very disappointed to have police houses opposite ours, that meant we would have to behave ourselves!

I learned to swim in the river Lea.  There was a small bend in the river where there were no weeds and the water was slightly deeper as well.  Many children played in that part during the school holiday and at weekends.  One day I was in the water on my own and I just began to float where the water was the deepest.  It was amazing.  I knew you could do what they called doggy paddle and so this is what I did.  The deep part was only a matter of a few feet wide but nevertheless I swam.  I went running home to my mother that day with great excitement.

Further up from the river Lea was a small library.  I must have read just about every book on dogs that they had in that library.  How to train dogs.  Dogs that had mated with wolves.  Wolves that had lived with families and any other kind of story that had a dog in it.  I would often go to the library and find I had read all the books on the shelves and could not wait until they had a new batch in from another library.

One day I noticed a book called The Black Whippet.  It was one of the most gripping stories I had ever read and I found it hard to put the book down.

At school we had what they called a private study lesson each week.  We were allowed to read or do our homework or study for our GCSEs.  This particular day I took my book along to read.

Have you ever been so engrossed in something that you were totally oblivious to anything that was going on around you?  This was me, this day, in this private study lesson.  The only thing was, the teacher, who normally either left the classroom or sat at the front of the class marking  pupils' work, had decided we had all been naughty and so was giving a lecture.

I was so enthralled by my book that I had no idea what was happening.

The Black Whippet is about a little boy and his pet Whippet.  The dog was a rag dog or racing dog.  Everyone meets up in a field.  People hang onto their dogs at one end of the field and the owner or someone known to the dog holds up a piece of rag at the other end of the field.  At the whistle or word go, the person holding the dog, probably by the scruff of its neck and its tail, throws the dog along the track to give it a flying start and the dog runs full pelt to the rag and grabs it. Often the dog will be lifted up into the air or swung round, still holding onto the piece of rag.

The Black Whippet became a champion.  The only thing was thieves were after him.  The dog was completely black, with no other markings and so could easily be mistaken for or replaced by a similar dog.  The young lad had a few scrapes with the thieves.  Then, one day, the boy was in a  part of the little northern village where he lived that had a number of alleyways. The thieves were at one end of one alley, the dog at the other end of another and the boy at yet another alley. The young lad pulled out his white handkerchief, waved it and his little Whippet ran full pelt into his arms, and only missed being caught by the thieves by the skin of his nose.

During this private study lesson at school, I had just reached the above part of the story.  Then the teacher suddenly banged both his fists on the desk in front of me.  My book went up in the air.  I nearly fell off the stool and can assure you was in deep shock and could not comprehend a word of his rantings that must have gone on for another ten minutes.

This particular teacher had a large car, large house and large swimming pool in his garden.  He would invite boys from the school to ride in his large car and swim in his large swimming pool.  I doubt very much if this kind of thing would happen these days.

The head master at this school would tell a boy, in advance,  when he would be caned for misbehaving.  At the set time the whole school would be summoned to the hall and the boy or boys would stand on the stage and then be caned.  On one particular occasion a boy took his hand away and the head master went berserk.  On another occasion a lad was told to bend over and the head master must have noticed he had more than one pair of pants on or had padding.  This sent the head master into a caning frenzy.

My Uncle was a teacher and for his first teaching appointment he was sent to a village school.  On his first day he got there early and sat at his desk.  He noticed a drawer underneath but it was fixed shut with a few six inch nails.  The lessons did not begin until later that morning and so my uncle decided to get the nails out and open the drawer.  Inside he found the punishment book.  He said there were pages and pages of canings and lashings.   One entry said something like twelve lashes for taking an axe to a desk.  Another entry was twelve lashes for taking a knife to the head master.

©Barbara Burgess 2014

Image courtesy of James Barker /

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©Barbara Burgess 2014