Monday, 19 December 2011

Sunday, 18 December 2011

A jolly educational diversion....

It's clearly a little known fact that Pavlov's conditional reflex was formulated with the help of the English Bull Terrier.......

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

More Tips from an expert....

"Watch out for cats!"

A typical scene at a gentleman's club.....

Here's a peek at the usual sort of carry on at a typical gentleman's club. There is not a lot going on. It seems that "reading" is a pretext for a post prandial snooze. A cosy contentment prevails.
Surprisingly, the Athenaeum is not as luxuriously appointed as the Terriers'. The general effect is somewhat spartan considering it is one of London's most famous institutions of this kind....

Monday, 12 December 2011

Terriers are Gentlemen....

You may wonder why a club, an institution so quintessentially British and frequented by gentlemen, should also exist for terriers. The story of Terence (R.I.P.)the Terriers' Club cat may cast some light....
An explanatory brass plaque at the base of the glass dome (which contains all that is left of Terence) tells all.

Terence came to the club as a stray. He quickly proved his worth and earned his keep by keeping the mice and rats under firm control. 
At first, he met with the usual hostility between cats and dogs. It is a wonder he survived the first night but he was a large ginger tomcat and not to be messed with. Such was his ratting prowess that he immediately impressed even the traditionally anti-feline members. Certainly they became hot under the collar in his presence but were able to marshall great restraint. Some of course were friendlier than others as is the usual way.

Throughout his twenty years at the club he was always treated with respect and deference.
Dignity has always been the hallmark of the terrier breed.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Glassy eyes, stripy tail.......

Grateful for the glass dome, you peer more closely.

What's this, some stuffed oddity from a cabinet of curiosities? There's a hint of ginger fur. A fox? Too small. A squirrel perhaps?
The stiff whiskers, the stripy tail soon tell their own story. It's a cat. What macabre relic is this in such a dogs' enclave? What fell deed happened here?

You don't need to wonder for long. A brass plaque explains all. Meet Terence, the Terriers' Club Cat.

Friday, 2 December 2011

A Pair of Glassy Eyes.....

The fire spits suddenly in the hearth, setting into play shifting patterns of light across the room. Cut glass decanters glimmer on a side table. Your attention is subconsciously drawn to something else, something other. A pair of eyes meet yours from under a transparent dome......

Sunday, 27 November 2011

You throw yourself down into the deep, padded comfort of the chesterfield to sip the sherry which has been proferred. As you sip, deep in thought, something warm shifts on the sofa next to you. There is a grunt, an eye opens. A lazy kick to your leg is followed by a resumption of contented snoring. Peering about in the pleasant gloom you make out more snoozing forms. The place is littered with terriers, sprawled over armchairs, blocking the doors and hogging the fire.

It dawns on you that you have entered a canine parallel universe. The slightly scruffy ambiance has evolved over many years to perfectly suit the requirements of clubbable terriers in need of a pied a terre in town.

Give those portraits a closer look. Aristocratic, they certainly are but what about those ears, that fine profile?

Saturday, 19 November 2011

You finally gain access to the inner sanctum of the Terriers' Club

When all hope seems lost, a congenial presence appears at your elbow. All is grace and welcome. A visitor's book is presented for your signature.....

A green baize door opens and you are ushered in.

What is it you expect? Here is a well proportioned room, well lit with a magnificent fireplace. Antique tomes line library shelves. The flickering light of the fire illuminates moirĂ© silk walls, picking out the detail of fine paintings in their grand gilt frames. Here,two Jack Russells race across a field of burnt stubble, the snow covered peak of Helvellyn in the distance. Another is surely a Munnings, "His favourite racehorse with his stable companion, a terrier". 
Some gentleman's club this certainly is. Comfortable sofas invite you to sink down into their luxurious depths. Turkey rugs cover the floor. What a place, what an undiscovered delight!

Adjusting to the light, your eyes start to take in the detail. Are those holes in the carpet at the corners? The capacious chesterfields have bits of protruding stuffing and yes, if you had to think about it, bite marks on the armrests. You notice the portraits which flank the fireplace. Fine aristocratic portraits with noble profiles and steely imperious mien gaze down on the room. All is not as it might seem.................

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Fun wearing a Fez?

While we are dawdling in the foyer ( see earlier blogs), here's a brief diversion on a subject of cultural interest.

Does the wearing of a fez mean that you're automatically having fun or are you perhaps the dictator of a small African country?
Worn by the Greek army, sported across the Ottoman Empire, the fez was taken up in the West by Victorian gents in smoking jackets.
This century has seen it adorning the heads of show biz luminaries such as Laurel and Hardy, Tommy Cooper and the marvellous Wilson, Keppel and Betty.

Furthermore, does the fez suit any dog more than the English Bull Terrier? Perhaps an Airedale................

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The Terriers' Club - a Guided Tour for the Uninitiated.

Fancy a peek inside?

A discreet portal opens upon a dimly lit foyer dominated by a monumental coat of arms, lit for dramatic effect from below. 
At first glance this appears to be the traditional heraldic motif of lamb and flag worked in stone. Closer perusal reveals that here is no lamb but a rather fine English Bull Terrier. He proudly holds aloft a flag which proclaims "The Terriers' Club". Entwined twixt feet and flagpole is a (rather Christmassy) sprig of holly and underneath the whole, a curling scroll with the Latin motto picked out in gilt, " Cetera Desunt".*

The effect is at first glance rather intimidating but you slowly become aware of a convivial hubbub from the adjoining room. Mouth watering aromas indicative of a fine lunch fill the air. Politeness prevents you from barging straight in so you shuffle your feet on the black and white marble, hoping your mere presence might attract attention. You wait..... you notice a bell. It clangs sonorously and distantly, the hubbub quietens. Expectation hovers briefly, you shuffle a bit more and the hubbub resumes......

With ears strained to catch the sound of approaching footfall, the noises off divide up into recognisable sounds - the chink of china, low conversational muttering and over it all the distinctive rattle of resonant snoring.........

* here translated as "the rest are wanting". Possibly an arcane reference to the superiority of the breed?

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Terriers' Club - An Introduction.

"I'll be at my club"......

The Army and Navy, the Pall Mall, the Reform Club - sanctuaries from the milling throng. In such legendary watering holes, a chap could wolf a sizeable lunch, quaff a pint of Chablis and snooze it off in a cosy armchair.
Bertie Wooster may have found solace at the Drones' Club but there is a further destination known only (till now) to a select group of cognoscenti, the Terriers' Club.

Its origins are obscure. Some say that it has always existed, borne out by the portraits of distinguished alumni which line the walls. At least one is said to be the work of Stubbs.

The location is a well kept secret. You might imagine a turn off Lambs Conduit Street, a flight of steps, a hidden door...... Or does it exist in the St James's Street of the mind?

How to find it then? Check in here for advice or tips or better yet - catch the smell of a steak pie on the breeze and follow your nose!

N.B The motto of the Terriers' Club is here translated as "the rest are wanting".