Readers Warning: Watch out for the philosophical moments!!
Er……..and also the ADULT section on uniforms!!

So, grab a cup of something, or maybe something stronger and give yourself some chill out time to read this. It may take a while!! And it’s a little different………??

OK then…… on, but you’ve been warned!!

Well Spring is here and the clocks have gone back to normal!! Or should I say they go back to being one hour forward like normal……and who says we can’t do time travel?

Oh I need to get away for a few days……’s all been too much

And with the Spring comes the cleaning, the washing of cars and the steady stream of decorating that you’ve talked about during winter. The grass wants mowing and the flower beds re-arranging (we’ve got the Viz doing ours) and of course the dogs must be at their best because they’ll be out and about with you – and you don’t want everything else looking nice when at the end of that lead is what looks like a used mop on legs – and that reminds me? Where’s Claude?

“Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blest.
The soul, uneasy, and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.”
Alexander Pope

Ah yes – Hope Springs Eternal – that lovely quote that tells us no matter what, there is hope!!
(But he never came to the house on the hill did he)

In this session to help you prepare for your Spring!!

The Dearest One catches a cold………it’s just a cold – good grief

The mole hunter wears a nurse’s uniform – Shock horror exclusive from the Cottage

A broken wrist creates mouth abuse – “Buggar off, I’m not giving you an interview”

Claude barks in French – Le woof Le woof

Plus - not in this session

Motoring tips!!

Kallie’s tip of the day for Unica – but it’s too late for “No don’t do it” or “I told you so”

A Bankers Notes Special Adventure to the edge of the earth – and back


Medical Section – Human?

The Dearest One had a cold.

It is of course serious and life threatening and she is currently recovering by having intravenous tea, chocolate biscuits every 5 minutes and constant messages on her smartrssphone of get better and nice words to that effect.

But in reality I want you to picture the ACTUAL scene?

There is one sicko on one couch and what was a hormonal Spinone on the other couch ‘Unica’. Whinging from one couch and whining from the other couch. All in all not a pleasant place to be. So I got tickets to fly out and leave them to get on with it!!!

All the men are going – good for him, best place to be? Miles away!!

All the women are going – well, bloody typical man………when the going gets tough he gets going

But and it’s a big BUT? I have financed a pharmacy store, bought shares in Tetley Tea and I’m a shareholder in a chocolate biscuit manufacturer – so there!

AND – oh yes there’s more……….The Dearest One does NOT have man flu – Oh no no no. She will never know what us men have to go through – like giving birth only worse!!

As you are aware this debilitating condition is the most serious of serious virus’s and can reduce a man to gathering maximum sympathy and never getting it. Usually of course we just get abuse and called horrid names – wimp, call yourself a man, you want to go through childbirth, you don’t know what it’s like to have a cold until you’ve got this one……..and so on.

So ladies, think on before condemning us men when we get – MAN FLU. It’s like death, only in a living form? It IS a near death experience for us

We see the light – and in my case I headed for it, and found it at 36000 feet!!

In truth I didn’t want to be around when she recovered? I’d have been chased off the hill!!!

Get well soon dear………

Medical section – Canine

Claude (if you’ve read his Adventures) has fallen over backwards in his own poo courtesy of the horse, had a thorn in his pad courtesy of next doors farm cat that he took on and lost against said cat leaving him with a bloody nose, other than that he’s fine!!

Unica has of course had her pups and is sort of hormonal; we have now cordoned off a 5 meter perimeter around her so the other dogs – especially JJ and Claude can’t get close otherwise she will “rip their heads off” (Unquote from The Dearest One wiping her nose)

Head ripping for Spinoni – A Bankers Notes special supplement me thinks

But typical female – Unica has now taken over the toy basket, a couch full of the toys from the basket, the water bowl, food and everything – The Dearest One’s just grateful she can’t use the remote for the idiot box – but then neither can I – I’ve never been allowed near it

The Viz has had the trots!!

JJ caught what the Viz had and so did 7 other dogs!!!

These were the days of poo patrols with a wheelbarrow

And The Dearest One has a cold!!!

And you wonder why I took the next flight out

Oh yes, forgot, the Parrots fine!!

That bloody parrot?? I must have answered our phone 93 times to nothing because of that bird’s rather uncanny habit of copying to perfection the ringtone

‘Well change the ringtone then’……..he copied that as well

It also barks

And when we pick up the real phone to answer it – he says ‘Hello’ out loud

And you want to hear it copy the Cockerel – actually you don’t

Its repertoire continues……..and we’ve had that bird for years. Sometimes, just sometimes……………bloody thing is dysfunctional

Yes I know?

It fits in well with us

Exclusive shock horror story from the Cottage

This shocking piece is not recommended for persons of a nervous disposition or are easily offended by the abnormal!!

You must be over 18 to read this section as it involves nurses uniforms

And Hope Sprang out of the window and cleared off down into the valley below!!

“Got to get two new tyres on the car”

“So we’re going out to a car tyre emporium”

The Dearest one’s Father to The Dearest one

Later that day………….

The parrot starts to ring – oh, there’s a surprise?

And so does the phone!!!!!!

“HELLO” The Dearest one wasn’t quick enough!!

“It’s your Dad and your mother is in hospital” said the parrot……….!!!!!

“Oh no, what’s happened”? Asks concerned of Cymru

“She was just getting the second front wheel off the car and it slipped off the bolts and fell on her hand”

“Can you come and finish off what she started otherwise we don’t have a car”

“We’re really very lucky” “It fell on her hand so the wheel rim isn’t damaged”

And so begins the next phase of Cottage Drama……..

Now here is a woman who lives for control and if you take that control away then life can be (shall we say) frustrating in a difficult can’t do anything right type of way.

But we are where we are and for an elderly woman of 128, I personally thought it was a bit much in getting her to change the tyres.

If that had been me then I would say yes fine, I’ll take the wheels off and hand them over to her, then she can change the tyres, but Oh no not Colin………tried to get her to do the lot.

But a broken bone in her hand is the result of his over enthusiasm to get some new shoes on a couple of the corners of the car.

Incidentally, it’s not a real car – not like the proper one we have!!

It’s one of those small converted van things for elderly people inclusive of the orange “We don’t pay for parking” cards

(It’s also got a sticker on the rear window - “Am I driving safely” – well of course you are you’re only doing 17mph) “AAARRRGGGGHHHHH”……..”GET OFF THE ROAD”

We’ve borrowed that orange card sometimes if we can’t be bothered to park away from the shops and walk. But we look ridiculous getting back to the car with two big dogs and some shopping bags – I even had to limp once when we saw the warden……..well it wasn’t exactly limping, more like staggering because JJ was pulling me along. It was JJ limping with the 4 shopping bags tied together and hung 2 each side over his back. The Dearest One’s idea – honest!!

I forgot what I was on about now……..

Oh yea………broken bone, hand, tyres. That was it. Anyway, the hospital plastered her hand and sent her off with a shopping trolley full of pain killers and swelling reducers and I’ve no doubt some other weird and wonderful drugs.

A few days later the plastered one (hand)!! was stood over everything Colin did, coffee making to fire ignition and log fetcher and and and – Colin at this point, wanted to get plastered

The Dearest one went up to the cottage at visiting time. And there in all his glory was her Dad!!
Wearing his new second hand nurses uniform – he got it from a hospital nurse but forgot just one minor detail?

He got it off a She nurse not a he nurse!!

So here he is, resplendent in his freshly acquired nurses uniform and off he went to the kitchen to make The dearest one a cup of tea (with one biscuit) and of course the plastered one a cup of coffee – and two biscuits.

The plastered one then spent the next few hours complaining about the hoovering, dusting, fire lighting, the standard of the logs (they weren’t woody enough) the coffee wasn’t served at 82 degrees and ‘his’ uniform was creased, the pocket watch was slow and her paper arrived late (Because he had to change into civilian clothes to go to the shop and buy it)

In the car with two new tyres!!

But the moles were happy?

They came up one morning from their underground low rise apartments (now redecorated from the recent blasts and earthquakes) and they were having a pre-spring country dance and ho down in celebration that the lunatic in the cottage in his fancy dress was now confined to quarters and he had no hope of interfering with them.

The drink flowed, and throughout the day they danced and sang and sang and danced with so much joy…….can’t write this anymore, bought a tear to my eye……

The plots moved again hasn’t it……..I’ll be fine, no it’s ok, don’t worry about me

The Dearest one tried so hard to be nice!! She did honestly

And so visiting time is over and The Dearest one leaves to go back down to the house and to comfort and nurture the friendship of the dogs.

Except Unica of course……but she had an excuse

And Claude…’s a French thing you know

And the Viz…….???

And the parrot – ‘Hello’

And JJ…… who wants his couch back!!

Meanwhile I was rocking the skies as I headed into the sun………..lots of sun

Unica had her pups, all seven of them and all rather big in a puppy kind of way. I had forgotten just how big small they could be and poor Unica………still, not as bad as man flu!!

The Dearest One’s role now was that of house maid and now spends her time duly looking after the welfare of mom and pups inclusive of removing all the P and P from the Ps…..I’m quite pleased with that. Clever in an obvious kind of way

But with my acoustic noise dampening headset on and trying so hard not to sing songs and dance in my seat I rocked the flight to a land far far away………..but this was no ordinary trip??


Remember some time ago when The Dearest One and buddies disappeared in the Land Rover down to Southern Italy for a Spin thing??

Well as you may recall she came back with a new blood line doggy. Unica

This new blood line thing has had me thinking for some time that I ought to bring in a new blood line!! (oh oh)

Something different, unique but equally something ‘us’

A new blood line that would shake the dog world to its paws

I was in search of the rare Spinicus Giganticus (A what)??

Yes folks……I had a long chat with The Dearest One and she admitted I was completely mad and beyond help. The trip would come to nothing and I would never find this rarest of rarities.
It was mission impossible, but me being me, that was the challenge

Nevertheless, I shall never forget The Dearest One’s parting words to me

“Just you dare”

“I tell you if you bring one back here I’ll have you sectioned and put away, or preferably put down”

Parting is such sweet sorrow!!!

And so for your reading delectation is:

Spinicus Giganticus – Raiders of the Lost Plot
A Bankers Notes Special Adventure

In a land far far away the aircraft landed safely and the passengers disembarked and were fed through a tube to passport control. Including that great idiotic adventurer – ME

I had a 4 wheel drive in the car park waiting for me and all it needed was a map, some guidance and a lot of luck – a LOT of luck – oh yes, and the most useless guide on earth!!

And why the 4 wheel drive??

Because I was heading out into the desert. Literally heading out into the desert – I was on a Bankers Special Adventure

I had been given the basic idea of this trip from a so called mate of mine who said if I wanted to be different and bring in a new blood line to the UK then I would have to find something rare and unique, and he knew exactly what I needed.

He explained that he knew some people who could help me but it meant a long trip into the desert but once there I would not be disappointed.

And so started my latest adventure……….

We hit the road from the airport and I decided to get to know my ‘guide’?

“Where are we going”?

“Don’t know” “but it’s in the desert somewhere”

“Have you been in the desert many times before”?

“No, never”

“Do you know these people”?


“How come you’re my guide”?

“Because I speak the language and you can’t”

“So let me understand this – you have no idea where we’re going, you’ve never been in the desert before and you don’t know the people we’re going to see”


“So give me one good reason why I shouldn’t just drop you off in the nearest village”

“You’d be lost without me”!!

I gave up making conversation

The drive to the desert was about 150 miles and then another 60 miles into it, so I was told to stop at a petrol station and fill up with fuel. I also bought some water and chocolate bars….just in case!!

It was here although I didn’t know it that we were to meet our hosts and we had to follow them!!

Oh this is just great………!!

The road got smaller and smaller until we hit the edge of the desert where the terrain went from tarmac to rough tracks and this was going to be interesting, if not then it would be fun……..


Because the vehicles I was following did not slow down and across this rocky ground we were still travelling at 80mph!! And we hadn’t even got to the sand – the soft stuff.
Now it is worth me pointing out here that I am no stranger to driving off road, nor am I a stranger to driving in the desert and the Wadi’s or dried up river beds. In a previous life some years ago I got taught how to drive in these conditions and took many an adventure out into some seriously rough terrain – just ask The Dearest One? She was with me……..

That pile of rocks in the distance was the last of the rocky road and we were at this point on hard sand and although rough still doing around 60 to 70 mph…….

The tree stumps are guides for idiots like us and if you go past them left or right you’re in trouble!!

I avoided going left or right

My 4 wheel drive is fitted with a ‘stolen’ Land Rover all terrain system and in the UK I had the ‘Snow and ice’ option – where I was now, it was the ‘sand’ option

And as we headed out the temperature started to drop outside, when I started out it was 38 degrees and now it was 30 degrees and soon it would be down to around 10 to 12 degrees. You’ve seen it on the idiot box that it gets bitterly cold in the desert of a night and from experience I can tell you that it really does get very very cold.

For me this was not just an adventure, it was all about finding a new blood line for us. This was about impressing The Dearest One at my genius in discovering a breed so rare that at Crufts we would be the stars of the show in the ‘Discover Dogs’ section……..Trust me!!!

Once we had navigated carefully through the rocks and hills leading into the desert the real fun began………!!

There was one driver who was nervous and in the wrong places slowed down as his 4 wheel drive moved from side to side in the ruts left by the other two 4WDs…..the sand was soft and the dunes high and wide. This was not the place to get stuck

I was at the back of the pack but decided if I carried on following the nervous one I would have to slow down and probably get stuck. I knew hitting the wrong side of the dunes to hard would be a catastrophe and it’s dangerous if the sand had drifted and so I viewed ahead in front of him and picked my moment to overtake.

I had spotted a dune that looked firm enough and I had a good run at it in an open area where no other vehicle had been, it was a risk without checking first but sometimes you just get one opportunity. And so I went for it and screamed past him at speed. I hit the dune and over the top with slight airborne feeling……….the other side was solid. VERY!!!

It had a rocky bed to it and the bottom of my 4WD hit it hard and made a funny crunchy sounds!!

My ‘guide’ sat there quietly with an odd complexion and in the light he looked green!!

After about an hour I finally saw a camp in the distance and knew this was our destination. By now the land was very flat, the sand soft and the going was tough. It threw us all over the place but slowing down was not an option even though I was getting tired.

We eventually stopped at our camp site. We were not staying the night but I knew the drive back would be difficult in pitch darkness with no light pollution and just the moon and stars for light. In fact the drive back was a ridiculous thing to attempt, but I love the rush and the risk.

Incidentally, my car is the one with the rear lights on – a white one!! Not the lights – the car.
On the drive back out of the desert I raced that red pick-up…….and the beige coloured pick-up. I would love one of those beige pick-ups – Toyota 4 litre V6 and a real off roader second to none. I love my Land Rovers but that Toyota is an amazing bit of kit.

Anyway……..back to the plot

Our host had arranged for me to see the blood line first, then a surprise? Then we eat!!

I followed my host to a large penned off area and duly met my new blood line.

I thought to myself ‘The Dearest One will be so impressed’

Ladies and Gentlemen – I give you Spinicus Giganticus – The giant long necked Spinone

How rare is that??

I know I know you’re impressed…………

Just got to do a deal and we’re up and running “So my friend, how much are they”?

“Well, these below are all young females and some with young” these are around forty to fifty thousand of your pounds – each”


“And the big male over there who would like to meet these females will cost you around one hundred and thirty thousand of your pounds”

I feinted

And no, he wasn’t joking

And for interest he is tethered because a couple of those females are ready for him and he knows it……and would like to be introduced to them!! Bitch on heat ring a bell!!!!! Better keep the dog away then…..same thing here

In fact the big boy is very popular and his “Babies” are purchased immediately it is proven that the female he mated with is pregnant. Regardless of gender and regardless of any issues.

He has never failed

Yea OK I give in

It’s me that’s failed – I know it now

My guide finally came into his own and told me they were Camels

My mate who told me before they were a rare breed had disappeared and the last I heard of him he was somewhere in the deepest Amazon region – don’t worry there’s nowhere he can hide and will have to come out eventually.

And so these are camels – and The Dearest One is going to be so disappointed that I will return empty handed and Crufts will have to go without us again……unless they let the Barbets in!!

No forget that as well…….I’d have a better chance of getting the camels in!!!

This gentleman is genuine Bedu – a Bedouin tribesman. His rapport with the camels had to be seen to be believed and they were not just his work and his living but they were part of the family, because they helped support the family. We did not share a common language but he showed me a lot and introduced me to his family…..he has 120 of them so I only got introduced to a few!!!

They are very docile and friendly. Inquisitive (for food bits) and are truly amazing when you get this close to them and see just how nature has tuned them to the desert life they lead.

After all the introductions it was time for food………..

Barbeque – Desert style

Hot charcoal from the local area!!! (Remember the guide trees into the desert)

On the spit slowly turning is a Lamb. Fresh that day

They improvised the spit by using a second hand electric motor from a car window mechanism with the leads from a car battery!!

But first it was black tea and Arabic coffee…….


VERY FRESH Camels milk from one of the Moms I had just been to see

The bowl floating on the top is the serving bowl. But first you get a bowl of dates and cover them in the milk froth and eat those as a starter……..

Then you get a FULL bowl of camels milk to drink

“What’s it taste like”

OK – get a glass of milk from the fridge at home and warm it slightly, then add half a spoon of sugar and stir. So you have a sort of sweet warm milk.

And that is exactly what it tastes like

A perspective for you

If I made a milk coffee or a hot chocolate for you with camels’ milk you would not go back to cow’s milk again – it is really delicious. I have had camels’ milk chocolate and it’s lovely. And I don’t like chocolate.

I was given three small bottles of the above to take home with me and put it in my tea. Superb

Don’t believe me?? Look it up on the internet…….Camels milk is considerably better for you than cow’s milk, but for me – this didn’t come any fresher!!

Whilst dinner was still taking a turn for the better I went to meet my hosts ‘Parrot’

He likes parrots and has 10 of them……..his parrots have attitude – serious attitude, and I went outside the tent not just to meet one in person but also to fly it??

After an amazing session with said parrot it was time to go back inside the tent and have a few photo’s taken so I can share his parrot with you……….

And it doesn’t keep saying ‘Hello’ or sound like a telephone ringing!!!

This particular parrot is silent and very deadly!!!!!!

Well spotted – it’s not a parrot

It’s a Peregrine Falcon – and yes I flew it onto a lure……..Staggering, and although I’ve hunted before with a Harris Hawk this has to be the privilege of privileges

My host is with me here and takes his best birds all over North Africa, the UAE and Oman to hunt with them in season.

And his birds (he had two with him on this night) mostly come from the best of the best breeders and trainers in the UK.

But for me this was truly a privilege

I want one of these and if Claude plays me up then I know just how to get him back – one way or the other!!! Retrieval in reverse……….

You could see the headlines couldn’t you??

“Bird retrieves gun dog from field” - oh that brought a smile to my face, and probably a slap on it from you know who!!

I was hungry by now and just on cue dinner came in carried by two of the Bedouin………..

Dinner is served…….freshly BBQ’d lamb on a bed of rice

No knives, forks or spoons except to serve with

You spoon the rice onto a plate, then with your hands pull off chunks of hot meat from the big lump of meat. Grab a handful of hot fresh flat bread and eat……….with your hands!! YUMMY

Superb as well…….

Then in true style you lean back against your cushion and join in the chatter and talk about the usual things!!! Desert sand storms, cars, business and how the night went……..

We sat there until around midnight and by then it was very cold indeed and we gathered around the hot embers of the fire and chatted a little more before we all shook hands and bid our farewells…………..

I was sad to leave them but I had a big agenda over the next few days and with a couple of the others we had to leave.

But not before I said goodbye to the girls outside???

Or rather, one very special girl

And that was it…………

The drive back out of the desert was just how I knew it would be……..very tricky and in places it even got me a little nervous.

My guide was wearing a strange perfume or after shave that I had to open the windows to let out at one point, but knew it wasn’t my driving!!!!!

I had already decided to give that red pick-up a chase and although a hopeless task it was my target vehicle to get us out of the desert and eventually back onto the highway.

In places it got silly but looking back now it was one hell of a rush

I had another hundred miles to drive to get back to my accommodation but at least it was on tarmac!!!

The next day I had a look around my car…….oops………I had to have the petrol sender replaced (it was leaking) the floor under the petrol tank was damaged as was the passenger sill from rock collisions, I had ripped off the sump guard that had in turn gauged a big chunk of the oil sump, and they replaced that as well. There were a few other minor dents but other than that all was well!!!

For a family car it’s very good. Lots of toys, but where I went, SatNav was of course useless!!

“Turn left at the next sand dune”

“In 500 meters go round the rock formation”

Basically the thing went well and I would have liked more ground clearance and firmer suspension, a more powerful engine than the 3.5 litre V6 I had, and a better guide!!!

But then it wouldn’t be a family car with those enhancements would it and I’m just picking flies really.

Well that’s it really and I know very well this is a very unusual Bankers Notes but thought I would share this experience with you to let you see it’s not all about the Barbet and the Spins.

When I got back home I was greeted with “And where’ve you been” “You’ve been gone for days and I couldn’t get you on the phone……….”

“Anyone would think you’ve been gallivanting about in the desert”

“And where’s this wonder breed of yours anyway”

Well I’m not going tell her if you don’t!!!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this session and remember, take care out there and watch out for the camels!!

Oh yes – And did my trip affect us back on the hill??

Just slightly…………!!!!!

‘And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years’
Abraham Lincoln



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