Posts Tagged ‘Jack Russell’

Love, Loss, lockdowns and a possible Buddy

July 30, 2021



What a week this is turning out to be. On Monday morning everything was fine, and Milo our Jack Russell of  17  years had come down from upstairs at his usual relaxed self, yawning and looking up for his treat before going outside to do his pee. I know he was busting to go, but he doesn’t let on till after his treat. That’s how far he got me in his quest for total obedience from his master. No treat no pee.

Of course he had slowed down. His barking at motorbikes and black crows ceased a couple of years ago. But, on the whole he kept his sparkle and nothing escaped him. We took our walks but I would lead now instead of Milo.

By the afternoon, things had become a bit odd. He seemed to have lost his way and would stand outside next to the doggy door instead of going through it. He walked slowly in circles and when stopping stared in front of him. He did not want his chicken necks. A bad sign, but he did drink water. I took Milo to the vet who examined him but found his organs such as heart and lungs to be in good shape.

Th evening was bad. He kept going outside and hide under bush and shrubs, was very slow in his walk. I took his bed from upstairs and we both slept downstairs. Milo in his bed and me on the couch. I patted him during the night and he still responded by looking up.

Next day a return to the vet as Milo was decidedly worse. He was still alert enough to let me know he did not want to be with the vet. He never liked going there even though the vet was brilliant and a caring animal man. Milo had a blood test and the results were bad. Both his kidneys were malfunctioning and at his age it looked bad. I knew I did not want him to suffer , neither did the vet, and we decided to help him on his way. I carried him back to the car and buried him beneath the Manchurian pear tree at my front garden.

I was and still am devastated and did not think it would be so painful. At my coffee group I was given so much support. A condolence card was signed by all who knew Milo and was given a large bunch of yellow tulips. I have so many good friends and I am so fortunate.

The good news is that I am perhaps allowed to look  after another terrier, Buddy. He looks lovely on the photo and I am meeting him tomorrow at Lake Alexandra near my place.

IMG_1263lake Alexandra

Lake Alexandra.

I will let you know about Buddy and feel so fortunate.

The incorrigible Jack.

January 21, 2020



You can tell that the above Jack Russell dog is one of the most intelligent breeds of mammals around. This particular one is our dog Milo, so that explains my prejudice, but just have a good look at him. He exudes wisdom and a certain clear-sightedness of the world that he, together with billons of other creatures, shares with lesser mammals, the human variety. It has been known for a long time by some scientists the truth that the humans are now belonging to an inferior placenta mammal whose lack of intelligence made them introduce bows and arrows, nuclear bombs and endless wars with an innate desire to kill their own species. Some of those mammals belong to a special sub-species named poli-tic-ions, some of whom eat lumps of coal, are now busy resisting climate change of which most normal intelligent mammals are now acutely aware of and indeed have been trying to point the verity of climate change to the less intelligence endowed mammals for years…

The recent bushfires in Australia are responsible that over a billion animals have now perished. The cause of those fires are now well known to have been part of ignoring what the world of the more advanced mammals (phylum chordata) have been pointing out to the lower human mammals for years. Thus on a worldview, human mammals are just shown to be much lower on the evolutionary scale than the much more evolved mammals such as the koala, the kangaroo and of course the Jack Russell. Humans are not fundamentally different from mammals according to an evolutionary worldview, but certainly less evolved…

“The world’s species and habitats are under more severe pressure than at any time in human history. Over 10,000 tree species are threatened with extinction, as are almost 8,000 species of bird, mammal, reptile, amphibian and fish. The number one contributor to this alarming state of affairs is habitat loss, all of it driven by human activities, but the problem is compounded by unsustainable exploitation in all its forms. This collective mismanagement of our planet’s resources is leading to widespread declines in biodiversity and driving increasing numbers of species to the brink.”


This is what the  human mammal is thriving for unless it changes course!

This morning while having a coffee with friends I took this photo of Milo and his girlfriend. You can tell they are a good couple. Milo is now almost sixteen years and Helvi and I used to wager who would go first. Sadly, Helvi did, and my morning coffees at the Bradman cricket Café named suitably ‘The Stumps’ are a real treat with good friends and they help to get used to the new situation of my quiet house, silent mornings and single plate at the sink.



Milo and girlfriend. They are both great companions.

The plight of a baby possum.

December 20, 2019

Image result for baby ringtail possums

Photo from Google Images.

Yesterday I was determined to water both front and back garden. The last time we had any rain of significance would be many months ago and  from memory well before Helvi became sick, perhaps even before she broke her arms on the 29th of June. I look back now but did not realise that at that time a wonderful live would, like a flickering slow light be extinguished in just a few months later, when as far as we believed death would not be met till a few more years later. We cling to life even though we know we stand up, sit down and lie prostate on the board dying our whole lives long.

The hose was full on and I let it flow close to the ground not wishing to risk burning the leaves when the temperature would rise close to 40C later on, scorching the greens and colouring them a brown, a desolate plight of many gardens in our area right now. You can hear the sound of thirsty trees and desolate shrubs shrinking, as the days go on in relentless drought and scorching heat.

After finishing the watering with our Jack Russell ‘Milo’ making a wise choice to remain inside I noticed a small animal on the mat near the front door. It was soaking wet. At first I thought it was rat but soon changed my mind when I noticed its long tail with a white end. It’s face was also not of a rat. It looked at me all frightened, almost pleading to not ignore it and leave it dying. It was a small baby ringtail possum. Someone told me or I might even have read it, that with marsupials it sometimes happens that the mothers in order to save their own lives will jettison her off-spring and leave them to their own devices and that might then well end up in their deaths. Perhaps with the fires, smoke and general climatic confusion nature is sensing the seriousness of the situation better than we do, or at least better than our stupid politicians.

I closed the door and with Milo inside, I knew it wasn’t him that had somehow been responsible for this little bundle on the mat outside. Milo would not be that callous even though he would not be shy of chasing mature possums running around screaming and grunting all night in their mating frenzy in the tops of our large Manchurian pear trees. This was a baby possum. It was in need of something so I went back outside and it had crawled a short distance of the mat but was now being observed by our neighbour’s cat. Was it the cat that somehow had damaged it preventing it from escaping. I could not judge or even know at what stage a possum can start to walk, climb trees. I did not know its age and could not even guess it. I kept looking at its beady frightened eyes and chased the cat away, scooped it up and put it into an Aldi shopping bag.

I knew that all veterinary places are obliged to take on wild life, so drove with baby in the Aldi bag to one not far from here.  They were pleased to deal with it. The vet checked the baby over and said he did not see any blood or wounds. Why was it not walking? Had it fallen out of the tree, chucked out by its mum? The vet put the little one in its own little cage with soft woolly things to snug into. It must be missing his or her mother! And I hoped that the Aldi bag had not traumatized it even further. It carried al kind of  detergents, fly sprays, minced meats, kangaroo pet meat…!

I phoned the vet later on and he told me the little baby possum was handed over to WIRES which is an organisation that are experts in looking after injured wild life done by volunteers who are doing a wonderful job. I wish the little baby ring tail possum all the best and may it climb trees for many years to come!

Walking the dog and Autumn.

April 5, 2019

IMG_0067the Manchurian tree

Our Manchurian pear-tree

The weather is getting to the benign state of allowing daily walks in comfort. The hot blue skies and simmering asphalts have finally given way to soft rain with dove-grey clouds keen to welcome an honest autumn. Even the TV’s weatherman has taken on a calmer stance, showing a clear bias to cooler nights and crispy mornings. Two weeks ago I moved the aircon switch from cool to heat together with adding an extra blanket on our beds.

Here in the Highlands the seasons are distinctly different and is particularly inspiring to watch in the changing of garden greens and trees. Oaks, birch, claret ash, the different beeches, maples and elms are all keen to ditch their leaves. Soon the dreaded strapped on beefy looking  leaf- blowing Bowral Burghers will announce their presence.  I’ll try and summons patience and acceptance of the things we cannot change!  Gardening as a whole has become so much noisier and taken on the form of a war against the growing of things.  I often feel that over-enthusiastic bourgeois gardeners feel it all has to be kept in check and dominated and so line up on Saturday mornings, and buy all those petrol driven equipment to achieve that.

In our housing complex the gardeners are forever being implored to keep things tidy. Some ten years ago when this complex of eight town house were built a unified garden was established which included the Virginia creeper. This creeper always gives a great display during autumn with leaves turn a bright red to burnt-orange. They are fast growers and climb happily against any wall. They use tine anchors in the shape of little suckers to climb up. However, all of those creepers were removed. They were seen as not being ‘tidy’ by the management of this complex. We insisted on keeping our Virginia creeper.  It happily grows against our garage wall each year and even sometimes climbs over a section of the roof.

Milo, our Jack Russell terrier also prefers the cooler weather. He never fails to get admirers who will stop in order to pet him. Sometime he will jump up and sniff their bags. He hopes for a treat. He was lucky a few weeks ago when a woman stopped and opened her bag with hot chicken in it and gave Milo a juicy warm piece of chicken, freshly cooked. Milo showed his pleasure by wagging his tail.

Can you imagine how nice the world would be if men would treat each other in  similar fashion? I don’t know if I will ever reach a level whereby I would offer food to other people on the streets. I do give generously to people who play an instrument or sing on the streets. I went as far as losing my shopping trolley tokens last week to a man playing the didgeridoo. I just emptied my pockets on his little blanket that he had spread on the pavement. More and more people are going hungry. In ‘rich’ Australia many children go to school without even having had breakfast. Why don’t all schools follow Finland? Twice in a row, Finland has been nominated as the ‘happiest country’ in the world. All primary schools provide lunches and have done so for decades.


A Place of Repose

April 14, 2018

From Wiki.

“Repose is a formal or literary term used to mean the act of resting, or the state of being at rest. Repose is also a state of mind: freedom from worry. As a verb, repose means to rest or relax, or to rest on something for support: There he was, reposing on the front porch.”

IMG_0039a place to repose

In the renewed effort to reclaim a more balanced and benign view of the present world there could hardly be a better place to achieve it than shown above. The cushion that our Jack Russell ‘Milo’ is resting on is the reversed soft cotton side. The other side is deemed by him too rough. It is actually a piece of worn Afghan rug made into a large cushion cover we bought somewhere on our travels up North near Brisbane some years ago. You can see how low we have sunk to cater for his every whim. Sometimes I feel Milo is the owner and we mere yeomen, just renting, cap in hand!

The reason for the need of a place to repose is that the bleached bones of some of my past were getting to poke out of storm’s dust, causing anxiety to well up far too frequently and making me feel the fate as unnecessary fickle and punishing. We all know the black-dog’s friendship with darker moods. It is thought and I agree, that the search of man’s obsession for everlasting happiness is futile, unnecessary and might also be very boring. However, the opposite of accepting a pervasive gloom is not really all that popular either. So, what about a bit of each?  Could that be the answer?

Medicine is often prescribed as an answer to shadowy moods, but apart from an aspirin and thyroxine I have never taken any mood changing stimulants, excluding the sharing of coffee in morning and Shiraz at the evening. The capriciousness of fate is hopefully teaching me in accepting the past what can’t be changed. We might as well accept. You would have thought that a man in his late seventies could have come to that insight a bit earlier, but…better late than never. I might just be a late learner and having migrated at fifteen did something.

From now on I will take up residence for a couple of hours each day in the chair where I took the photo from, just behind Milo on his claimed cushion and ‘repose’. The beauty of those few square metres is sublime. Helvi made this Nirvana and paradise. It is just perfect, especially after about four pm when the sun is starting to take a rest and slowly goes down making a mood for respite of heavy thoughts perfect for a change into something lighter and positive. Is it in the opposites, the Wu Wei of life that there might be an answer?

What do you think and looking at Milo, does he give an answer?



A proliferation of ‘Happy New Year.’ But Easter eggs are coming soon.

January 2, 2017
Thomas without tablet (de)vice

Thomas without tablet (de)vice

There has been an unusual number of repeat ‘Happy New Year’ wishes this time. Did anyone else notice it? Perhaps with the hectic use and proliferation of a multitude of IT connectivity such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. there are more opportunities than ever before to give Happy New Year wishes. That’s apart from the Jacquie Lawson E-Cards. It becomes confusing and one should really keep a little book in which to record those friends that were wished ‘a Happy New Year’.

I too have re-wished Happy New Year to the same people several times over. We don’t want to be seen as stingy when it comes to wish well to others in the coming year. Of course, wishing and achieving ‘wellness’ is a different kettle of fish. We all do our best.

There are now more books than ever on achieving ‘happy’. Although I suspect that cookery books still beat ‘happy’ books. Last week, just before Christmas, a cranky woman stormed out of our local bookshop. She looked at me with hurricane eyes. I and our dog Milo were waiting patiently outside. I immediately dove down for cover. There is nothing more dangerous than facing a cranky woman exiting a book-store. I mean, what if she had stormed out of a butcher shop and I was waiting for Helvi to order some lamb-chops? All those knives about? To become furious inside a book-shop is unusual. What could have been the reason for her steaming-hot ire? Were it all those diabolic Cricket books or the Pork Belly recipe Books featured in the window? The picture of crackling so real, some hungry vagabond had started to chew on its cover.

I did not have much time to consider possible reasons for her fury, and by squatting down I drew attention to our Jack Russell, Milo. I petted him and said somewhat inanely; “good boy, good boy.” It was absolutely the right thing to have done. It took the murderous intent away from the woman. She melted in front of us and her eyes relented, becalming the raging mind storm. I thought it safe to venture carefully about the reason for her fury; “It’s all so hopeless, isn’t it,” I said, encouraged by her becalmed facial expressions. “Oh, yes, she repeated, all is hopeless. Where are all the children books? They should be at the front and not all those stupid cooking books. I have to buy thirteen presents and I want good children books.”

I immediately agreed heartily and egged her on by; “I bet those cookery books are bought by people who never cook, they are always seen to come home, night after night with pizza boxes under their arms or plastic bags with take-away Chinese muck.” She was now as calm as a lamb and after patting Milo crossed the street to be on her way looking for thirteen present to buy. I suppose, for her grand-children.
Don’t you like it though that she got so upset about the children books not being at the front of the shop, especially at Christmas time?

What is it about all those cooking books? Even on the TV. Show after show. It makes me furious too.


May 27, 2016
wives waiting for their fishermen husbands at Scheveningen

wives waiting for their fishermen husbands at Scheveningen

Can someone explain why internal and overseas postage is so exorbitantly expensive in Australia?

I get charged between US$4.60 and US$3.20 per book sent by Air from the US to here in Australia, depending on numbers. Yet, to post a book within our own State of NSW cost A$7.40! But, it gets worse, a single book sent to Holland from Australia cost me A$33.40!

What’s up with Australian Post? No wonder local retailers are complaining that on-line shopping by people from overseas is too expensive due to the charges by Aus. post.

There is nothing more purgative than a good whinge. I just came back from the local post office with our Jack Russell ‘Milo’ sitting in his usual spot on the console with his cadaver smell just inches away from my nostrils. I looked at him crankily. He just returned the look by nuzzling my ear. A calmative action he knows will work. Now that he is getting older we suspect he likes the drive much more than the walk. We prefer the walk as many stop to pat and say sweet words to Milo.

Of late, it provides most of our social intercourse. It is amazing how many people know about the Jack Russell. It seems a never-ending subject for discussions. With some clever manoeuvring however; mainly by Helvi, the conversation can go off at a tangent and we get into the more interesting aspects of a pavement discourse. Last week the subject of the writer Albert Camus came up. I think (but am not sure) the man mentioned France, and how the terriers are used to catch rats there. This was a propos his own Jack Russell having caught a rat around his shed here in Bowral. I followed this up by mentioning a type of terrier used to kill rats in the Spanish wine cellars. He returned by mentioning that rats caused the big plague in bygone centuries. I then threw in my bit about a book being titled ‘The Plague.’.He seemed to remember having read the book also. His wife helped him out by mentioning Albert Camus.

We are now at 2pm and the temperature in my car sits steadily at 10C. It is a bitter wind that comes straight from the snowy mountains, where the first of the skiers will soon be arriving. On a Friday afternoon one notices the cars with skis strapped on the rooftop. Of course, now-a-days most hire the skis and all that goes with it, on arrival at the resort. For many the carting of skis and boots is a thing of the past. In any case, with the climate warming up, the skiing has not been all that crass hot and snow is now made by huge machines that try and fill up with snow where nature has been scant. They make snow and spew it on the side of the mountains. I have skied in the past but not lately, or to be more precise, not over the last fifty years. I am not sure I would enjoy it on man-made snow. A bit like looking at artificial flowers. No matter how realistic they are now. It just doesn’t cut the butter.

Discipline and Fish & Chips

October 10, 2014
Milo after many pats

Milo after many pats

We are still getting over it. It happened last week-end during the May day celebrations. Why this is held in October here in NSW, Australia, might be better explained by those better versed in Anglo Saxon anomalies than I. I remember years ago wondering why a penny was denoted by the letter ‘d’ and not by a ‘p’. Even worse, we have yearly Edinburgh ‘tattoo’ on TV. Why ‘tattoo’, when it could be called festival, musical, or even carnival? May day in October probably adheres to similar laws of incomprehensible logic, so esoteric, that only fools would question them. 😉

Anyway, we decided to go to the coast and have Fish & Chips together with our incorrigible JR Terrier ‘Milo’. It would be nice to let him smell the seagulls and salty ocean spray. You know the image, a beige man throwing bits of drift wood into the ocean and a dog wildly braving the waves retrieving the stick while the wife stands back, takes pleasure in viewing both husband and dog. Domestic symbiotic bliss on a long week-end.

After both husband and dog had expired enough energy, it was decided to look for a suitable cafeteria with chairs and shade umbrellas. We soon found one along the strip of shops that are so identifiable with almost all developments in Australia. The road goes through most shopping strips and as the towns developed so would the suburbs neatly arrange themselves around the shops and business premises. The place we visited was Kiama. After having ordered the Fish & Chips we sat down and so did Milo. Now Milo is a dog that behaves perfectly. He does his ‘business’ well away from were people walk. Amazing, because we never trained him. He will settle down underneath bushes or in leaf mulch under a large tree. Afterwards he even buries it and looks at me for ‘you’re a good boy, Milo’ statement.

The one departure from his well behaved deportment is his hatred for motor-bikes. He has a thing about motor-bikes and their riders. Show him a motor bike in situ, he is an angel. It is only when rider and bike are combined in noise and a forward motion that he goes berserk. We have tried to reason with him. Tried rewarding him, punishing, smacking with newspapers, withholding his chicken-neck dinner. All the usual pedagogic tricks of parenting and upbringing. Nothing works. In Bowral where we live, it is just the occasional motor bike. No worries. People look up a bit and smile. He is just a rascal, they seem to imply. In any case we try and avoid roads and motor bikes, walk along a flowing little river. He barks a bit at ducks, but who wouldn’t?

Kiama seems to be occupied during May-Day (in October) with motor bike riders. Lots of them. Many bull-necked heavily tattooed riders and equally tattooed bull-breasted girlfriends akimbo on Harleys, Triumphs, and Hondas. Fat wheels everywhere, roaring, spitting fire. Milo went mad. I am personally very fond of motor bikes and often reflect on my own motor bike days, I had an ex-police Triumph with sidecar. I was never bull-necked. No-one was in those days. Nor did I tattoo myself. No serpents around my biceps or lecherous, leering ladies on my chest.



Needless to say, the Fish & Chips underneath the umbrella was ruined. As mentioned, Kiama was full of motor bikes and riders. There must be a club somewhere. There would be a motor-bike every five seconds. Milo hurtling himself forward dragging tables and chairs with him. A few Japanese tourist girls escaped the fury, left the café looking back and down to Milo who was besides himself, foaming at the mouth. We were tempted to let him go and then pretend he belonged to someone else. Instead we dragged him back to the car and drove home in utter silence. He had ruined our day. “Disgraceful dog”, “you’re disgraceful”.

Milo just rested his head on his front paws. He felt fine.

The Vienna ‘sourdough.’

May 25, 2014
On the farm in winter 1975.

On the farm in winter 1975.

Like most Sundays at around 10am a trip to the local Harris Farm Markets is undertaken. Sometimes on foot but today by car. It is to buy a lovely crusty sourdough bread, unsliced and still warm in brown paper bag. Usually, shortcomings in our larder are also then bought. We had no potatoes nor milk and a most vital food, Sesame oil. I don’t know how we survived before the discovery of that precious oil. A few drops in almost anything except tea and coffee enhances life totally. A small bottle lasts years. It also prevents superfluous boldness and reckless attitudes.

As I parked the car I noticed a woman lowering herself from a huge double storey car. You know those awesome wagons with 4wd and Diesel written on them and with bull bars that would make a rhinoceros cower under an elephant or large umbrella. They have external grab rails to hoist yourself up and sometimes even a fold-down small ladder. They do frighten me. One almost expects the driver high up behind the wheel to produce a machine gun at any time and spray bullets over naughty little cars.

After the lady had extracted herself from this large vehicle she walked towards the entrance of the shop. She was very brown. If you squeezed your eyes and combined her with the large vehicle the image of a disposed dictator from Bolivia wasn’t far off. I had just fastened our Jack Russell Milo to a handrail that runs along the front of the entrance. She, as almost everyone else does, took a look down to Milo, smiled (never to me) and patted him. The lady wore horse-riding pants. You know those pants, they have a sturdy piece of material stitched on the inside of the legs. I suppose to prevent the horse from wearing the pants out before their time is up. But, as Bowral is a rather horsey place, I wonder if some want to be seen of having reached that upper echelon of ‘having arrived’. They wear the pants, almost as if to say; look at me, I have a horse(s) but what about you?
Perhaps I am just nasty or jealous but having a horse right now is least on my wish list. A crusty Vienna will do.

Alas no horses, but I do have a little Milo that I can hitch onto the rail. Perhaps I left horses too late. I’ll now never reach a level where I can wear pants stitched with sturdy material on the inside of my legs nor drive huge tanks.

PS. I now remember we did have horses. A couple of Shetland ponies in Holland during 1973-76. Lovely horses not unlike Jack Russell really. Very strong and with minds of their own. Our kids used to ride them as they did their bikes to school. Oh, those times back then! I can see them still. Don’t go there now Gerard. It is a sunny Sunday.

I received a few inquiries from overseas regarding Margaret Rose Stringers evocative, funny and loving memoire; here a link to Amazon as well as Fremantle press.

Planning for Byron Bay.

April 30, 2014


We are going by hook or by crook. Most likely by crook. After a particularly boring rainy and overcast day we decided to do ‘something’. You can’t just forever dwell on our Guvernment to try and reign in the deficit by pinching the pockets of derelict pensioners laying about knee deep in ice and loo-lolling around on meth and crystals. Leave the rich alone! They are really struggling, battling on bravely and oh so frugally.

So, if it gets a bit quiet around here it doesn’t mean we have carked it or indeed are at yet another funeral. We will be in Byron Bay. Accommodation has been booked including for Milo the Jack Russell. Into the local kennel with his favourite cushion and millions of other dogs to keep him company. Let’s hope he will contain himself and not rub up someone’s leg, dog or men. He’s been having some strange hormonal twinges lately, despite or because of castration.

It is odd, getting old! I had some surprising IT spams lately including an invitation to visit ‘Lola’s den’. I always thought Lola was a name for a man’s best friend, man,cat or mice. If you get it in your inbox; don’t be tempted! It turned out to be an intimate insight, including close up photos of genitalia. It is mind boggling how the internet infiltrates even those with a long standing and upright marriage. It is done through something called tracing ‘cookies’. Where does the cookie come from?

Yet, what was it that drove us all, not that long ago, into each others arms if not between legs as well? Is that what has driven me all those years? Looking at it in the declining years, all so purple, swollen and engorged. Surely, there is so much more to sex than labia and testicles. (like walnuts in a sock according to some)
I had a friend over who is an expert in computers. We created a back-up on a hard-drive and expunged all the Lola Dens and more. No more purple cookies.

Suitcases are packed for leaving this Sat. C U L8r.