THE SOUTH EAST BRANCH OF THE BASSET HOUND CLUB NEWSLETTER
NUMBER 7: SUMMER 2011
The committee wish a very warm welcome to all our new members. Please send details and photographs of your hounds to the editor of LOWDOWN (email@example.com) and we will print them in our New Hounds’ Gallery.
OFFICERS Hon. Secretary (also Branch Representative): Frankie Roberts
Chairman: Brian Malin
Hon. Treasurer: Michael Errey
COMMITTEE Chris Cooper
Walks Coordinator: Jean Miller
Lowdown Editor: Tony Roberts firstname.lastname@example.org
Webmaster: Derek Harris email@example.com
Basset Hound Welfare: Sue Sampson
The views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily shared by the Branch committee or the BHC. The content of LOWDOWN is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without prior written permission.
* Note: additional copies of LOWDOWN are available at £2.00 each inc. postage. * 1
PAGE / CONTENTS 1 2 4 5 6 7 15 18 25 26 27 37 38 BACK
OFFICERS AND COMMITTEE THE EDITOR’S BARK by Tony Roberts FROM THE CHAIR by Brian Malin EVENTS FOR YOUR DIARY HOUND HEALTH NEWS HOUND COCOA by Miranda Harris AN AMERICAN BASSET HOUND ADVENTURE by Frankie Roberts ROLF & CLARA – ANOTHER TAIL by Sally King CAUGHT ON CAMERA / A FEW LINES FROM SHEILA by Sheila Williams WALKS REPORTS by Jean Miller BY ANY OTHER NAME by Tony Roberts SPECKLES by Roger Howorth NEW HOUNDS GALLERY / COMPETITION WINNER
The Editor’s Bark
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . woof! woof!
Hi, everyone. Welcome to this, the seventh issue of Lowdown. This continues a long tradition of newsletters published by the South East Branch, going back over forty years. It was four years ago that I sat down in front of a blank computer screen and began to work out ideas for the Branch’s new-look newsletter. Now, seven issues later, I hope that Lowdown has established itself has an essential part of your Basset Hound ownership. The task that I accepted in becoming editor was to make the newsletter an entertaining and informative publication. I wanted it to be as accessible and inclusive as possible - and with your brilliant contributions, I think that this has been achieved. However, reaching the seventh issue seems a suitable milestone to make a few small changes/improvements to the Lowdown. Nothing too drastic has been done, but I thought it best to do this before Lowdown began to look too tired. The typeface has been revamped, hopefully bringing a fresher, cleaner look; also a few of the regular pages have been ‘tweaked’. 2
One consequence of producing this newsletter has been an acute awareness of just how fast the six-month intervals between publications pass. Though, this is probably an age thing. A similar point could be made about our monthly walks – but it is good meeting up with regular friends and hounds and, at almost every walk, new members. David Brooks, the Canadian political and social commentator, in his latest book The Social Animal (Short Books 2011), writes that human beings are driven by universal feelings of loneliness and the need to belong; something that he calls the urge to merge. He suggests that being an active member of a club, or society, just once a month is equivalent, in happiness terms, to doubling one’s income. So, why not enrich yourselves by coming along to our monthly ‘meets’? I would like to remind new members to send in photos of your hounds so that they can be included in Lowdown, and also on our website. In fact, many existing members do not have their hounds represented on the site’s gallery, so if this is the case with you, then please email your images to our webmaster. Derek has done a lot of recent work refreshing the site, www.southeastbasset.org.uk, so it is well worth a visit if you haven’t looked for a while. It is pleasing to report that the Branch is continuing to grow. We now have in excess of one hundred and twenty members. I know that this is very gratifying to Brian, our brilliant chairman, and the rest of my hard-working colleagues on the committee. Well, the summer is almost upon us and, hopefully, the wonderful weather that we have experienced throughout the spring will continue – especially for our walks. I hope that your hounds will bring you along to some of them and our other events that we have planned. It is always good to see you. Anyway, I hope you greatly enjoy this summer with your wonderful Basset Hounds. All the best, firstname.lastname@example.org
An important reminder from the Branch Secretary
Hi everyone. As you know from our application form, joining the Basset Hound Club is a requirement of being a South East Branch member. We have been advised that there are several Branch members who are not currently members of the parent club. If you have overlooked joining the BHC, then please give this your immediate attention. Forms can be downloaded from www.bassethoundclub.co.uk or by contacting BHC Hon Secretary, Sandra Allen, on 01432 820543. Many thanks, email@example.com 3
From the Chair
by Brian Malin Hi Everyone, On one of those icy mornings, now just a memory, I forgot little non-complaining Leah had not been let in, so I carried on preparing breakfast when I heard a gentle nudging - everything is gentle with her - on the back door. Being a well trained member of staff, I jumped to her rescue and watched as she made a bee-line past two empty baskets to Barnaby, who was snuggled up in his. She hovered by him for a couple of seconds and then gently edged in with him, plainly making it clear she had been neglected and was frozen. Barnaby, as a gentleman, had to make up for it. After a few minutes Barnaby, who does not like being overheated, moved out â€“ game, set and match to Leah! Just one example of how females - I had better not say bitches - manoeuvre mere males. Seem familiar anyone? It reminds me of cold uninvited feet straying over my side of the bed - I call it assault and surely should be actionable! I have since noticed Leah frequently uses this tactic and takes any basket she likes, without any objection from Barnaby or Chevy. We are just so tolerant, aren't we chaps? Hopefully, I haven't just offended half our members. Ladies, please feel free to place your freezing feet where you wish - within reason - just as long as you keep brightening up our lives and enlivening our walks. Another matter - it has occurred to me that some members may, like us, take pleasure in sharing holidays with our hounds. We tend to favour renting converted barns or country cottages in Wales or the West Country. If you have enjoyed this type of break and have recommendations, I would love to hear from you, as we like to find new places each time. We already look at the organised, pet-friendly type brochures, but of particular interest would be any privately advertised. We need ones that take three hounds - the vast majority only taking one or two. If there is sufficient interest I would compile a list of favourites to share with others. On a happy note, I would like to heartily congratulate Frankie on achieving a first in Limit Dog at Crufts with Nico. I hope you and your hounds enjoy your summer and look forward to meeting up with you on our walks and Fun Day. firstname.lastname@example.org 4
Events for your Diary Locations of all our walks and other up to date details can be found on our website southeastbasset.org.uk where you can also download TomTom co-ordinates, or print a Walks Map. For those without computer access, copies of the Walks Map are available upon request from the editor at the address on the back of Lowdown.
Sunday, 26th June 2011 5.00pm. Midsummer Evening Walk & Picnic - Gills Lap, Ashdown Forest. (Please bring a contribution to the communal buffet). Branch mugs will be available for purchase for the first time at this walk.
Sunday, 24th July 2011 10.45am. Walk and Jill & Brian’s Barbeque Sullington Warren West Sussex. Walk @ Water Lane car park: Barbeque @ Chairman’s address shown on page 1. (To help with planning this popular event, please let Jill & Brian know by the 20 th July if you wish to attend; tel: 01903 264461, or email:email@example.com).
Sunday, 21st August 2011 12.30pm. Fun Day - Crowhurst Village Hall, Crowhurst Lane, Crowhurst, Lingfield, RH7 6LR. The highlight of any Basset summer! (Full details will be announced).
Sunday, 25th September 2011 10.45am. Walk - Abbots Wood, Near Polegate, East Sussex. (Car park charges apply).
Sunday, 23rd October 2011 10.45am. Walk - Gill’s Lap, Ashdown Forest.
Sunday, 20th November 2011 10.45am. Walk - Millbrook East Car Park (The Dumps), Ashdown Forest.
Sunday, 4th December 2011 10.45am Walk & Christmas Lunch. (Venue and further details to be announced).
Sunday, 22nd January 2012 10.45am Walk - Gill’s Lap, Ashdown Forest. 5
Hound Health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Vestibular Syndrome is a disorder more commonly found in older dogs, but can also occur in middle age. It is idiopathic - which just means that it has no known cause – and can suddenly develop without warning. This disease normally affects dogs that seem perfectly normal up until its onset. Branch member, Geoff Alderton, kindly brought this interesting subject to Lowdown’s attention after his own hound presented worrying symptoms. The dog had a sudden loss of balance, causing it experience difficulty when standing up. Apparently, rhythmical eye motion can also be present, and there may be nausea because of the sea-sickness effect of the disease. Many owners – and even some vets – initially suspect that the dog has had some kind of stroke. The problem seems to be due to inflammation of the nerves connecting the inner ear to the cerebellum - which controls balance and spatial orientation. It usually lasts between a couple of days and three weeks. A few dogs have lasting signs beyond this time, such as a head tilt. Most dogs will not eat or drink unless hand-fed, or given water by hand. This is because they have a hard time with the fine motor movements necessary to eat and drink from a bowl. The good news is that as long as they are nursed through this condition almost all dogs will recover- though there is no known treatment. Some dogs do have relapses, but most do not. Even when dogs do not recover fully from Vestibular Syndrome they normally have a good life. They adjust to residual problems – such as head tilts - which do not seem to unduly bother by them. Inner ear infections are probably the most common cause of similar symptoms. If recovery does not begin in a few days it is a good idea to have the ears examined as cancer affecting the cerebellum, its nerves, or the inner ear, can cause similar signs. A useful nursing tip from Sue Sampson: If after surgery your hound is required to wear a ‘Dutch collar’ – which is often difficult, if not impossible, for our breed to do – then try instead fitting a small Tshirt. We did this after a benign lump was removed from Pablo’s side, knotting the loose material on top and making sure that his ‘undercarriage’ was left free. The T-shirt dissuaded him licking the wound and kept it dry and clean. He was less stressed by this method and healed quickly and well. 6
All the news thatâ€™s fit to bark! 1: THE BRANCH CHRISTMAS LUNCH, 6th December 2010
As is evident in the photograph above, The Jolly Tanners at Staplefield, West Sussex, had apparently taken on extra supplies for the Branchâ€™s Christmas Lunch. The landlord, Chris (above left), greeted the officers upon their arrival, and this warm hospitality continued throughout the duration of our visit. Twenty-nine and a half members had booked lunch at this new venue and, I think that is fair to say, thoroughly enjoyed each others company and some good homecooked food. There had been some concern that the very heavy snow that had fallen during the 7
previous week might cause difficulties for many members to travel, but rainfall on the day before had cleared much it, at least from the main roads. The traditional pre-lunch walk was postponed as the woodland pathways might be very slippery – and the last thing the committee wanted was for any of our normally sure footed walkers to take a tumble. Interestingly, because of this decision, the diners were rather more elegantly attired than is usual – it is normally all party frocks and wellies. A roaring log fire in the bar where our tables were laid-out was appreciated by everyone as they arrived out of the chill. Christmas cards were exchanged and from the outset, there was a wonderful atmosphere present. It was a joy to see two new members, Sarah and Eoin Sinclair with their young daughter, Rose - the ‘half’ mentioned earlier; and their adorable, three month old, tricoloured hound, Harry. Few members could resist picking up Harry and giving him a cuddle, and he finished up being handed around the diners like some wonderful party game.
Our Chairman getting to know young Harry - and vice versa. 8
Sue Parsonsâ€™ Honey also made a well-behaved appearance at the table, understandably enjoying being fed a few meaty left-overs We had a lovely surprise visit from honorary member, Judy Howorth, and her husband, Roger. They were not staying to dine with us, but it was still very good to see that Judy was recovering so well from her recent health problems. The Jolly Tannersâ€™ young staff worked very hard and our starters were served exactly on schedule, this was followed by the tasty, generously proportioned, main course. The wine was also very good and helped to event go with a swing.
Our Chairman rose from his place at the top of the table and delivered a short, well received speech. He then announced the winner of the Walks Trophy. This goes to the hound who has attended the most of our monthly walks. This year, the trophy was jointly won by Barney Cooper and Bessie Williams. Brian then read out my citation which praised the winner of this year’s winner of Lowdown’s Winnie’s Wheelbarrow Trophy, Sheila Williams. Sarah Cooke and Mike Jones won the Free-Draw and each had the cost of their meals met.
The Free-Draw tickets that were used at the Christmas Lunch After some delicious coffee was served, groups formed and chatted, before the party broke up and we all headed home. This report would be inadequate if it did not emphasise two things: the accommodating and very dog-friendly nature of the venue; and the wonderfully friendly atmosphere of this event which marks for many of us the start of the Festive Season.
2: BRANCH 2011 AGM - 6th March 2011
A highly enjoyable Branch AGM took place at The School Hall, Cuckfield, West Sussex, on a sunny, spring Sunday afternoon. There was a palpable sense of pride and optimism about the success of the Branch in the air. Chairman Brian welcomed the members and after the formalities of approving last year’s minutes, delivered a brief, but up-beat, report including highlights from the last twelve months. He was delighted by the number of members attending our Fun Day and walks. He praised the website and Lowdown – thanking the officers and committee for all their hard work. Frankie reported on the success of her first year as Hon Secretary. She was especially delighted with the Branch achieving one hundred members, and said how enthusiastic and committed many members where. Michael distributed copies of the Branch accounts and his report highlighted a healthy reserve of funds. A proportion had been deposited in a high-interest account, though interest rates were very low at the current time. Once again, Frankie, this time wearing her Branch Representative’s hat, informed the meeting about the various BHC committee meetings that she had attended. There are some further new rule changes which will affect the branches and she expressed 11
some disappointment that they had not been consulted over this. The meeting was in total agreement.
Sue Sampson’s Basset Hound Welfare report was praised by the Chairman, and her super efforts in re-homing hounds won a very warm appreciated round of applause from everyone present. Your editor took the opportunity of thanking everyone who had submitted material to Lowdown over the past twelve months. He quoted the American statesman and intellectual, Adlai Stevenson, who wrote, ‘Editors are men who separate the wheat from the chaff; and print the chaff!’ He said he hoped that this wasn’t the case with the newsletter. Jean Miller’s Walks’ Organiser’s report recorded the good attendance at most of the walks and expressed optimism for future meets. Derek riveted everyone with a virtuoso report about the website – all interesting stuff about domain names, hosting, and that kind of thing. Though at the piano, his report was unaccompanied – this disappointed many of us. Even so, everyone clapped enthusiastically when he finally sat down. After Any Other Business, Brian rang Dusty’s Bell and concluded the meeting. The company then enjoyed the tasty refreshments which were supplied by the committee. 12
3. HOUND DAY – DFS CRUFTS; NEC BIRMINGHAM - 12th March 2011 It was a very early 4.00am start in order to get to the NEC in Birmingham for Hound Day at this, the 120th Crufts. The event remains the largest dog show in the world – so it is well worth any inconvenience to get there. One hundred and seventy Basset Hounds had entered, all having previously qualified; and no matter how many times one attends Crufts, it remains a constant joy to see so many quality Basset Hounds at one time. The judge this year was Mr Alf Wood. The South East Branch was well represented in the show – though club and branch affiliations mean nothing here. Sadly, Jean Miller and Cassius, through circumstances beyond their control, were unable to attend. The first class judged was Veteran Dog, and Brian and Jill’s Barnaby (Malrich Voodoo), reaching seven years old, was shown in this class for the first time. With some style our Chairman handled a very compliant Barnaby to second place – beaten only by fellow Branch members, Heather and Derek Storton’s wonderful Champion hound, Marcus Aurelius. These well-deserved placements certainly lifted the spirits of the South East Branch crowd there.
Post Graduate Dog was the next class that had Branch representation – this time it was Kim Culyer-Dawson with Culdaws Dirty Dancing, known better as Leo. In a large entry of sixteen hounds, Mr Wood awarded the first place to Leo. This was getting very exciting, indeed. Leo The next class was Limit Dog, and Frankie led Nico (Culdaws Bayleaf) into the ring to join the other ten competitors, including handsome Chevy (Ledline Chevrolet) handled by Brian. From the ringside, it looked a very good-quality entry and I know that Frankie wasn’t expecting too much by way of results. But Nico likes these big occasions. Even so, it was a massive surprise when Mr Wood’s finger pointed to Nico and gave him first. It was lovely that he was joined in the winners’ line-up by Chevy in 4th place. In the very competitive Open Dog, Nico’s sire, Minty, Bromwylva Imperial Mint of Dereheath, was placed 2nd. The Branch boys did good! It was well worth the early start.
N.B. Chevy would go on to win a very impressive 1st Limit Dog at WELKS in April. 13
4. BRON’S BRANCH VISIT -
20th March 2011
Many of you will be very familiar with Bronwyn Edwards’ DVD, ‘A Basset is an Asset’. This work by the Australian/Seattle-based, singer/songwriter is an anthem to the breed. So it was a real treat when Bron announced that during a rare visit to the U.K. she would like to meet up with us in the South East Branch. Together with her daughter, Kendal, she attended our walk at Long Car Park, Ashdown Forest, on a sunny March Sunday morning. As you will read in Jean’s report (see page 32), this coincided with us achieving thirty hounds at a Branch walk. Chairman Brian welcomed Bron with a short speech and presented her with a small package of ‘goodies’ – an award in recognition of her fundraising, two Basset Hound Club badges, two *Branch mugs, and a copy of our latest Lowdown. Bron told me later that she was thrilled to meet members and their hounds – she has two at home in Seattle – and greatly enjoyed the walk on such a wonderful spring morning. She used the occasion to film the hounds, which may become part of her next music project. So, watch this space! * Branch mugs will be available to purchase at our walks and events at £6.50p per mug – see the enclosed flyer. A Basset is an Asset DVD’s are still available at £12.00 (including postage & packing). 14
Farewell, sweet Cocoa
by Tony Roberts It is with great sadness that I report the death of Miranda and Derek Harris’ lovely hound, Cocoa. Members will know her well from our walks – always very vocal when greeting her two and four-legged friends. She was a regular and well-behaved visitor here at Hounds Lodge and enjoyed being escorted around the garden by Nico, like some visiting royalty. She reached eleven years old and bore the various complaints which affected her final years with the uncomplaining good nature she had always possessed. She will leave a huge and irreplaceable gap in the lives of Miranda and Derek, and all who knew and loved her. Farewell, sweet girl.
by Miranda Harris
This is in memory of the loveliest little girl you could ever hope to meet. In the end she was happy and unafraid to put her head under my arm and accept the result. She was eleven years four months - a reasonable age although one always hopes for a bit longer. She arrived with us when she was twelve weeks old, having been bought and then returned within thirty minutes when Veronica (Ross), her breeder, discovered the prospective buyers lived in a flat without a garden. Veronica decided, very generously, that she should be rehomed with her great-greatuncle, Mango and us. (I am so glad she made this decision.) Cocoa was delighted with Mango, although Mango, then seven, was not so pleased with Cocoa. ‘Bloody nuisance’ - and then she went on heat and Mango thought he had gone to heaven. 15
(Left: Bessie, Pablo, Cocoa & Nico in procession) Throughout Mango’s remaining years, Cocoa was his faithful follower. When he went out, she trotted out too - uncle was God. She was also a great influence on Mango - taught him not to fret and to settle down for the night in the kitchen (not in our bedroom), and not to bark when left on his own. (He was a bit of an immature great, great uncle.) When Mango died, it was with trepidation we began life with Cocoa without him. However, being a very well adjusted little girl, she accepted her lot and seemed to settle into her new life. She loved making new friends - both canine and human. She had sleepovers, sometimes for a few nights, and once for a couple of months with her best friend, Bessie. Never a cross word was exchanged - except once. The remains of a shepherds pie was the bone of contention. Cocoa loved Bessie and would hunt her out on the Basset walks. The two old girls would lag side by side for some of the time on each walk until Cocoa’s last walk on 17th April. Cocoa also had two handsome boys with whom she also had sleepovers. The clown troupe, Pablo, Nico, and Cocoa, would follow each other in a line around the garden. The younger baby-boy treated her with chivalry and often had to ward off Pablo’s playful advances. Cocoa had a second home! On April 17th after the walk, Cocoa was as pleased as punch to find that she had not been taken to her first home but instead had been taken to see the boys. It was this Sunday afternoon that Cocoa was taken seriously ill, an afternoon that ended in an emergency trip to the vet hospital in Brighton. The vet could not find anything obviously wrong so she was sent home with instructions to visit her own vet the next day. On Monday, blood tests and chest X-rays were done and Cocoa went on a drip but 16
came home at night. This was repeated on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - each time she was delighted to find it was just a day job. The vets all felt glimmers of hope when this forlorn little girl miraculously revived at the prospect of home with Mum and Dad, but after each day it seemed that she was deteriorating. Days of fluid drips culminating with twenty-four hours of fluid drips reaped no rewards. Cocoa finally came home on Friday night at 9pm. She was very ill by then and had difficulty in lying down to sleep. She would not settle and I was wondering whether she should return to her fluid drips in hospital. At 11.30pm, I whispered to her, “Go to bed”. Wanting to please as always she went to her mat and slept. At 5am, I went downstairs to find a quite perky little girl standing up at the foot of the stairs. I took her outside and together we listened to the early birds in the half-light of dawn. After ten minutes of this she said she wanted to return inside. At 8am, I took her out again but this time she seemed to want to find somewhere where she could disappear forever. It was now Easter Saturday - not a practical day for dog departures. At 1pm, the vet rang to say that she could now see Cocoa and would be able to give her the time she deserved for her final appointment. At the vet, she was obviously in a very poor state of health - blue tongue and panting for breath - but she remained her positive, obliging self and even insisted on weighing herself before entering the vet’s room. In here, she tucked her head under my arm and that was it - despite warnings that it may be traumatic, it was a wonderfully peaceful end. She certainly won the hearts of Derek and me, but I think her friendly loving character infiltrated to the hearts of many others. A week later I had a card from the vet, which contained seven messages of condolence and with particular references to Cocoa as ‘lovely‟ and „special‟. I was very touched. I know many will miss this friendly little soul. I think it was her love of people which kept her going during the last spate of treatment, but in the end I’m glad she was able to rest and sleep on her own mat, and sniff the dawn air in her own back garden before her final appointment. (Final note: My vet told me that if a bitch is spayed whilst young, unless to be used for breeding, she is less likely to contract mammary cancer. Advice I will heed in the future.) Words by Miranda Harris; photos by Tony Roberts 17
An American Basset Hound Adventure by FRANKIE ROBERTS Howdy Folks! Some of you may remember reading about my trip a few years ago to attend a Basset Hound show in Dallas, Texas. I was really intrigued by this experience they do things differently over the other side of the pond - and it left me eager to see further American shows. So it didn’t take me too long to accept a kind offer from friend and fellow S.E. Branch member, Patsy Tranter, to accompany her on her judging appointment to the Basset Hound Club of Southern California show. The two day show in at the end of March took place at La Habra Heights, a suburb of Los Angeles. Patsy was scheduled to judge on the first day and John Bink - an Australian judge – on the second. California seemed an awfully long way to go for two days, so we thought of a few other things we could do while we were there. After a trawl through the numerous guide books, we decided that we would need at least seventeen days just to get a taster of that part of the world. This seemed only right! So, with bulging suitcases we took off from sunny Gatwick and landed, after an eleven and a half hour flight, in a very rainy L.A. We had decided to hire a car for the duration of our trip so that we could be as free as we wanted to be – a bit Thelma and Louise – so, at the airport picked up a huge, Chevrolet Impala. This was a powerful vehicle, packed with electrical gadgets that we were still discovering two weeks later. Looking through the steering wheel along the endless hood – sorry, I mean bonnet (it was only later that I found the seat adjuster) – I fired up the beast and we hit the busy, five-lane freeway to our hotel. Steve McQueen – eat your heart out. The girls had arrived! We had a few days before the dog show, so, among other things we had a V.I.P. trip to Universal Studios. There was much to see, but for me the most interesting parts were seeing the Foley artists at work these are the people who add all the sound effects to the movies in post-production – and seeing the original Bates Motel from Hitchcock’s Psycho; still very chilling. 18
The day of the show, which was held outdoors, was overcast and a little chilly. But this was mitigated by a very warm welcome from the club’s president, Candy Holman. We had met Candy, her husband, Rob, and other Basset folk on our Dallas trip and they were incredibly friendly and pleased to see us again. The way that the various classes are arranged differs from how it is done at dog shows in the U.K. The most obvious difference from the ringside is that the hounds are led up a ramp onto a table to be judged (for those of you unfamiliar with dog shows over here, they are all judged on the floor). As happened at the Dallas show, applauses and hoots of encouragement accompanied the hounds as they were led around the ring. How very different from here. Patsy had some lovely hounds to go over. She considered that the bitches were generally better that the males. Her comment at the evening dinner, which was arranged for the club members, was that she thought that sternums could be improved upon. In the States, judges are not required to write critiques on the hounds they have placed – but, it is possible for them to make general comments at the social events afterwards.
It is interesting that the hound that Patsy chose as her Best in Match, Woebgon’s Dodge City Sarsaparilla – a pretty seventeen month-old bitch owned by Donald & Pamela Bullock - won the same title on the following day under John Bink. Obviously, this young lady will continue to do very well at future shows. At the end of the show we were invited by a lovely lady called Ellen, who was a Speciality judge at the show, to go and stay at her vineyard in Nappa Valley, Northern California. We did not take too long to consider and accept this kind invitation! We decided to drive north along the coastal highway, breaking our trip for an overnight stay at Carmel – a pretty place famous for its artistic community and former mayor, Clint Eastwood. I had an image of me strolling along the beach and coming face to face with Clint in 19
his Fedora and poncho, skwinting eyes and cheroot in mouth – but I had to settle with just a quick paddle in a very cold Pacific Ocean. (Ed. Personally, I don’t see the allure – Clint, I mean, not the paddle.) That evening, to celebrate Patsy’s birthday, we went to a lovely Italian restaurant for supper and enjoyed filet mignon and a rather nice Chianti. (Ed. If anyone is interested, back home I had a fish and chip take-away and a flat Fanta.) The next day we had a change of route as the coastal highway was closed due to flooding and landslides. So, we headed inland before turning north again, but this meant missing Big Sur – something I had always wanted to see. It was a twelve hour drive from Carmel to the Nappa Valley, but the big car gobbled-up the miles - and the gas - and we passed some wonderful scenery.
Ellen, our host, owns and runs Johnson’s Alexander Valley Wines. It was fascinating to see the seemingly endless rows of vines stretching into the distance. Besides wine production, Ellen’s other passion is Basset Hounds (Ed. Not a bad combination) and she showed us the ‘pack’ who share her home. Patsy and I stayed in a folksy cabin on the estate; and besides tasting the lovely wine, we had great fun in helping with the hounds exercise, walking them through the rows of vines. During the couple of days that we stayed with in Nappa Valley, Ellen took us to see the sights of nearby San Francisco. I really liked ‘Frisco. The seafront and bay are spectacular. While there, we 21
walked the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge and also took a ferry to the island prison of Alcatraz – ‘The Rock’. (Ed. Oh yes, many thanks for the baseball cap.) Back on the quayside, we spent some time watching the many California sea lions sunbathing on the floating pontoons in the harbour. They are so like Basset Hounds as they each struggle to get the best positions and get shouldered out by the others in the process.
We gave Ellen a lift to the airport as she was flying out to a meeting in Kentucky – there to organise next year’s BHCA’s show which takes place, I think, in Boston. At the airport we bade farewell to Ellen, thanking her for her wonderful hospitality over the last few days. Patsy and I then checked into accommodation in ‘Frisco for two nights before loading up the Chevy once more and heading east for our next destination, Las Vegas. This was another mammoth drive – eleven hours! We stocked up on water and 22
provisions for the journey as it would take us through the notorious Death Valley! Here it reached 92 but it was quite an incredible experience driving along the endless, perfectly straight, desert highway. (Ed. Who’s the bloke with the mouth-organ below?)
We arrived in Vegas before nightfall and taking instructions fron the SatNav found accomodation right on the main strip. Las Vegas was everything I had expected; bright, flashy and brash. There were, of course, the massive themed-hotels – Ceasar’s Palace, The Dunes etc - all with ranks and ranks of slot machines and gaming tables. One place had circus performers on trapeezes overhead. We saw an amazing outdoor water feature which ‘danced’ to the sound of classical music – before finally shooting a wall of water thirty feet into the air! 23
Quite incredible. We spotted the sign on one small hotel read: ‘HOTEL. WEDDING. CUBAN BUFFET.’ It was all sensory overload – but quite exciting – and all very different from dear, old, Eastbourne. One of the reason for this Las Vegas detour was that we could drive on to see the Grand Canyon. The scale of this truly impressive landmark was fully appreciated when we took a helicopter flight along the canyon. This made this part of our trip totally memorable. As I know I will get into trouble with the editor over a lack of Basset Hound related material, at this point I will compress the rest of our adventure. (Ed. Yes, exactly!) The final leg of the journey was another long drive back to L.A. - in all we clocked-up over 2,000 miles. We visited Hollywood and did the typical guided-tour of film star homes. In reality, this was a tour of film star front-gates and fortress walls. We also went up Mulholland Drive and saw the famous ‘HOLLYWOOD’ sign on the hillside and shopped in Sunset Boulevard. What a really wonderful trip. Oh yes, then we met John Wayne and Johnny Depp.
Words and photos by Frankie Roberts. 24
Rolf & Clara - another tail
by SALLY KING
It's true what they say about owning dogs, they really do help you to meet people. Bassets, with their goofy faces, sad eyes and long ears have that "awww" factor that guarantees they make friends easily. Of course, not everyone they meet becomes an instant fan. Take the lady at the local florist. One morning I was out early with the hounds taking a longer route to the seafront, which involves walking down a street known for its boutique shops. The florist was busy placing her wares outside for a pavement display - trays of bedding plants with their delicate blooms beginning to show; a rack of alpines with interesting foliage; and trays of seedling vegetables. Then, just as we were drawing close, she came out with a potted tree. You know the sort of thing, immaculately pruned foliage and a decorative pot. But to Rolph, it was just a tree. She placed it on the pavement just as we passed; and Rolph, without breaking step, lifted his leg against it. There was a shriek from the woman, to which Rolph responded with an offended look that clearly said, "It is a tree. What else am I supposed to do with a tree?" The woman then laughed, but I decided not to stop and chat that day. Then there was that nice lady at the travel agent and my cousin's new partner, Margaret. My cousin had very kindly offered to accompany my elderly mother on a journey abroad to visit my sister. He and his partner took charge of all the arrangements, booking the airline tickets and checking her passport. Margaret then posted the tickets and passport to me for safekeeping. Worried I might misplace them, I put them on top of a box, on top of a chest beside my bed. While both Rolph and Clara will steal anything edible, neither of them generally steal paperwork - although the loo roll does get shredded occasionally. So there they were, in a safe place, tickets and passport, not needed until September. One evening, instead of sitting with the hounds, I shut myself in my daughter's bedroom to help with a bit of revision. THIS WAS NOT POPULAR - and Rolph clearly plotted revenge. 25
I walked out on to the landing and noticed my door open - and a lot of shredded paper on my floor. I called Margaret. She was very nice about it. Then I visited the travel agent, who was very nice about it. They both asked if my "puppy" chewed a lot of things. Thankfully the passport was just a bit damp and dented. And I still haven't told my mum . . . . By Sally King.
Caught on Camera
Sue Sampson, our brilliant Welfare Representative, sent Lowdown this lovely photo of one of her girls, Lola. Here she is faced with the difficult dilemma of whether the tortoise or the tortoiseâ€™s strawberries would make the tastier snack . . . . . . . . there again, for a balanced diet, why not try both!
A Few Lines from Sheila
by Sheila Williams
Branch Walks Report Walks Organiser - Jean Miller; Walks Leader – Chris Cooper If you have not previously attended any of our walks then do give them a try. Basset Hounds are naturally pack animals and love the opportunity of ‘letting-off steam’ by chasing across the countryside together. Their owners quite enjoy it as well – and come from far and wide! WALK – GILL’S LAP, ASHDOWN FOREST: 23rd January 2011 by Tony Roberts
The treacherous winter weather had caused our December walk to be cancelled, so it was with much anticipation that members, new and old, turned up at Gill’s Lap on an overcast, but dry, day. That is except our Hon Secretary and our Walks Organiser, who travelling together drove deep into the Sussex hinterland and became hopelessly lost – no doubt searching for Nania or some other fanciful location. It was only when the rest of the group had completed their walk and were heading 27
back to the car park that they arrived at the real location with Cassius and Annie in tow. It was good that they made it, especially as Jean‟s two hounds, together with three new hounds attending their first walk, meant we reached our magical target figure of thirty! It was very evident that the pack enjoyed meeting up as they chased each other through the mud and puddles, barking excitedly. We adopted a relaxed pace which somehow fitted this first walk of the New Year, and this allowing everyone to chat and catch up on matters. Our Chairman, poor thing, was suffering from a fall earlier in the day at breakfast. An episode that involved a hot oven, croissants, steamed-up spectacles, and a recumbent Basset Hound! The walk was without incident – though we did startle a few solitary dog walkers, one of whom asked if we all knew each other. One wag among us said, “No, meeting like this is pure coincidence”. It was good to see that some new members had taken the trouble to attend this walk having found out about us from the website – and this first walk of a new season augers very well for having some very successful „meets‟ in the coming year.
WALK – BROADSTONE CAR PARK, ASHDOWN FOREST: 27th February 2011 by Tony Roberts
On this quite mild, dry, morning twenty-six hounds, their owners, and a few ‘honorary’ Basset Hounds met at Broadstone car park. Heavy rain had fallen over the previous days and it was soon evident that very muddy conditions lay ahead for the group. Luckily, wellies seemed to be the prefered footware for our walkers. Yet again, it was lovely to see several new members turn up. The group was further thrilled to see fourteen-week old, Speckles Howorth appear for her first outing (see photo right and Roger Howarth’s piece on page 38). She is certainly well named, having some very attractive ticking in her coat. Though young, she showed absolutely no fear or concerns of any kind when greeted with great interest by the rest of the pack. In fact, she soon began chasing many of the much larger hounds across the Forest.I am sure that she will prove to be a real character in the pack over the coming months. 29
With some local insight from Helen the group set out on a very enjoyable walk. All the hounds seemed very frisky and excited as they chased each other over the wide causeways. Many of them enjoying the many large, deep puddles along the route. In no time at all legs and undersides were coated with mud – they loved it! Although ready with my camera, members let me down by not slipping to the ground at any part of the walk. This always makes a good photograph. Sadly, Jean, my ‘star’ in this department was absent from the walk, together with our Secretary and Basset Hound Welfare Representative, both of whom were engaged elsewhere. Had Jean and Sue’s hounds been present we would have easily achieved over thirty Basset Hounds. But it was a very good ‘meet’ none the less. This was the first walk that Chris Cooper kindly undertook the role of Walks Leader. For most of today’s walk, he cleverly managed this from the rear of the group. Well done, Chris! 30
WALK â€“ LONG CAR PARK, ASHDOWN FOREST: 20th March 2011 by Jean Miller
The day could not have been better when we set off on this walk. It was bright sunshine and quite warm. Added to this was the fact that we reached our target with a total of thirty-one Bassets and two Newfoundlands. We also had with us Bronwyn Edwards and her daughter Kendal visiting England from Seattle. Bronwyn is a very enthusiastic Basset owner and has made a delightful DVD called "A Basset Is An Asset" featuring her own bassets. Everyone who is interested in Bassets should see and own this unique piece of filming. We had two youngsters on the walk, Speckles and Sherlock. They loved everyone and everything, and had great fun playing with one another. When comparing notes the owners found out that they were related with probably the same father and different mothers. No wonder they got on so well! We also met two separate pairs of Spinonis, the second pair also racing around with the bassets. Itâ€™s most unusual to see even one Spinoni. On our way back we stopped by a pond which had a very steep bank, and some of the more adventurous hounds managed a drink - and one a bath as well! As we neared the car park there was a patch of very uneven bracken, and the three older lady Bassets did not seem to like this undergrowth at all. However we all got back 31
safely. Photographs and videos were taken of the occasion, and some of them could even appear on the internet! On a last personal note, I was very pleased to meet Nicola and Will, the owners of Fred and Flora, two of Cass's puppies. Cass seemed particularly pleased to see them, especially Flora, as he made most unfatherly advances to her, which we had to end by making him stay on the lead!
(Ed. See News Hound section â€“page14 - for more details about Bronâ€™s visit to us.) 32
WALK – AIRMAN’S GRAVE – THE HOLLIES CAR PARK, ASHDOWN FOREST: 17th April 2011 by Jean Miller
Firstly, I must apologise for being so far behind everyone - thank you Beryl for keeping me company. This was due to a slight indisposition which I hope will sort itself out soon. Trudy was kind enough to drive my two and me to the walk; and we could not have had a better day weather-wise. In fact, it was hot and could have been mid-summer. We had twenty three hounds with their owners, including several families who had seen our website and were interested enough to want to find out more about us. We hope they had a great day and that we will see them on many other occasions. By the time Beryl with Josie and Herbie, and me with Annie, had got to the stream at the bottom of the hill, everyone had had a rest and was on the upward climb again. Fortunately it was really baked earth, as if I remember rightly this is where on last year's walk my casual shoes half disappeared in the thick mud, and I was helped by Frankie and Miranda to recover them (see photograph in last year's Summer edition of Lowdown). After meeting with a group of horses and riders we continued up the very long path to 33
the car park. Obviously Roy was worried what had happened to Beryl (or was it Josie and Herbie he was worried about?) as he met us half-way. By the time we got back most people had left. My Cass, of course, had been back for ages and had had a lovely time being a nuisance, as usual. The Airman's Grave which is passed near the beginning of the walk was looking its best and, as always, attracted a lot of attention from us and many other walkers.
JEAN & DUSTY’S WALK & PICNIC – BUTCHERSHOLE – FRISTON FOREST: 8th May 2011 by Jean Miller
First thing in the morning it did not look promising for our intended walk and picnic, as we had quite heavy showers, which fortunately cleared when we commenced the walk. Frankie was there to meet us, but couldn't do the walk as she had to rush off to work at the airport. Twenty-one Bassets and their owners set off (the numbers could have been accounted for several reasons; rain, the continuing increase in the price of petrol, and the fact that this venue is the longest journey for quite a number of members). However, we set off and Sue had managed to find a walkie-talkie at home, which caused much amusement. Tony had one talkie at the front of the pack and Sue had the other at the end; and much as they tried to communicate, it seemed a better idea for Chris to just shout. This walk is quite a favourite of mine as it covers the beautiful area near Jevington, 35
and includes wooded and open country. It was really pretty through the woods as the bluebells were in flower along with lots of other wild flowers. Many other walkers were really intrigued to see the Bassets running free and we had many compliments on our pack. After the walk we had our usual picnic in a clearing in the woods and everyone sat and enjoyed the savoury and sweet selection of food and drinks (with ice) provided by the Committee. The dogs were not left out as they also had treats in the shape of sausages, their favourite. (Ed.
As Jean mentioned, ever ready to adopt the latest technology we trialed using walkie-talkies on this walk. These had a range of about a mile – but, as Sue naturally posseses a similar, if not far greater, vocal range (who has not heard ‘LOLA! LOLA! STOP THAT! COME HERE NOW!’ gently reverberating across our gentle countryside), the equipment might be regarded as merely supplimenting our existing resourses).
By any other name . . . . by Tony Roberts I read somewhere that the late Bob Hope had a Basset Hound called Recession. I thought this name a little odd on several counts. Obviously the comic wanted to amuse people by giving the hound an original and unusual name. Funny old Bob, such a wag! But I just didn’t understand the reasoning behind him picking Recession. I don’t think that this was during the 1930’s – when, anyway, Depression would have been much better – if only because it would also reference the Basset’s default expression. I think that the novelist, Leslie Thomas, was wittier when he called his Basset Hound, Furlong. Anyhow, this got me thinking generally about the names we impose upon our dogs. Ask a young child to name a dog and and they often come up with a purely descriptive appellation; Spot, Goldie, Blackie, etc. (though, it would be best to disuade them from using the last chioce). But as adults, we like to seem subtler, more smart. We called our first Basset Hound, Boycott. Not after the Yorkshire batsmen, but because he refused to do anything we asked of him – he was on permanent strike. Our second was named Sigmund – he was always on the couch. Following this German theme, we gave our third hound, Otto. After this, our reasoning became more obscure and tenuous – even to us! The first U.S. president, George Washington, owned twelve Basset Hounds. I always associate him with a rather dour sobriety (though this could simply be due to seeing his portraits – apparently, he avoided smiling due to his primitive false teeth); but among the names he gave his hounds were, Drunkard, Tipler, Tipsy, and (bizzarely) Sweetlips. Best not to ask. It is a hunting tradition to give all hounds a name containing with only two syllables; Ajax, Bellman, and Hotspur; and where this practise is not adhered to, three-syllable names are contracted to two, when hollered – so Saladin becomes ‘Saldin’. This is because two-syllable names are much easier to shout and carry across a field, especially over a long distance, i.e ‘Lola!’. Though, one needs to be mindful of the consequences of shouting a seemily innocent name. Calling little Biscuit back in the park might attract every other mutt from far around, eager for a tit-bit. Fashion also plays a part. Tyson still seems to be popular for many Staffordshire Bull 37
Terriers and, naturally, Boxers. Though Fred for Basset Hounds is now considered passẻ and obvious by owners - but always expected by inquiring strangers. At least dogs do not suffer any mental anguish from being given odd or inappropriate names; unlike the poor offspring of some celebrities who get given names such as Fifi Trixibell Geldof, Moon Unit Zappa and Zowie Bowie etc. Not surprisingly, David Bowie’s son, Zowie, changed his name to Duncan Jones the minute he could crawl to the local Deed Poll office. Miranda Harris told me that her daughter, Johanna, was at school with a girl whose name was Fruit Peters. Really. Her nickname, which even her mother used, was ‘Fruitcake’. Would you Adam and Eve it? I was at art college with a really nice Irish chap called, Rick O’Shea. Though we haven’t bumped into each other for ages. Words by Tony Roberts
Speckles – honorary member Judy’s new puppy by Roger Howorth There is a new, four-legged, fiend in Shoreham. We picked her up on Wednesday, 2nd February, from Rainham in Kent. She was fourteen weeks old, tri-coloured with lots of white that’s covered with black and brown spots - as if she had an argument with a paint sprayer. She has the face of an angel, the energy of an Olympic sprinter, and a mouth full of teeth that would do justice to a Pirhanna! We have named her Speckles and she has already met most of the neighbourhood dogs and plays with them all - from the Jack Russells to the long-haired Alsatian. The house looks like a department of Toys R Us and I've already given up hope of getting through the summer without the vegetable garden being Basset-scavated! See you on the next walk - if I've got a pair of shoes left to wear! Words and photo by Roger Howorth 38
New Hounds’ Gallery super new members of the Branch’s ‘pack’
Tamara Dail’s ‘pack’
Freddie Bates Please email your photographs, stories and articles for possible inclusion in Lowdown to: firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to: Tony Roberts - Lowdown, Hounds Lodge, 18 Elven Lane, East Dean, East Sussex, BN20 0LG. Competition – Winner
The winner of last issue’s caption competition is Chris Cooper. His entry was: ‘Where is everyone else? Tony and his bloody directions again’ Baillie Gaugsen
(Ed.well done, Chris - I don’t get it).
THE WINTER 2011/12 ISSUE OF LOWDOWN IS DUE OUT IN EARLY DECEMBER Please note: additional copies of LOWDOWN are available at £2.00 incl. p.&p.