Airedale Terrier

The Airedale Terrier, like many others, is named after the geographical area where it originates from; the valley (dale) of the River Aire, in Yorkshire, England. 

Originally bred by factory hands and mill workers during the Industrial Revolution, the Airedale  – a mixture of Otterhounds and other local Terriers – was used for vermin hunting and general farm work. It was formally recognised as a breed by the UK Kennel Club in 1886. The American Kennel Club followed suit two years later. 

Since then, the Airedale has distinguished itself, famously being used as messenger dogs during World War One, and subsequently working with the police and the Red Cross. They’ve won Best in Show at Westminster four times, most recently in 1933, and at Crufts twice, most recently in 1986.  Three of them have lived in the White House, and two of them sadly sank with the Titanic. 

Also known as the King of Terriers, this is the largest member of the Group, standing at 22 – 24 in (56 – 61 cm) tall on average. They have hard, dense, wiry coats, which are generally tan with black or grizzle accents; powerful muscular thighs; straight forelegs with small compact feet; V-shaped ears; and alert eyes. 

The UK Kennel Club describes their temperament as “Outgoing and confident, friendly, courageous and intelligent. Alert at all times, not aggressive but fearless.” Anecdotally, they are tough, hardy, delinquent, and faithful. 

Unfortunately, the Airedale is not as popular as it once was. This is probably because large-ish, independent dogs are not best suited to our modern lifestyles. The Airedale requires plenty of mental stimulation and up to an hour of exercise every day. 

In America, the breed currently ranks 60th out of 193; it was extremely popular there in the 1920s, but this represented its peak. 

In the UK, it registered an average of just 617 puppies per year over the past ten years. The bad news is that this number is relatively low; the good news is, it’s consistent. Hopefully the Airedale will be delighting people for many years to come.


Montreal; a city which loves dogs

On our recent trip to Montreal, sister Claire and I were delighted to stumble upon a temporary art exhibition featuring colourful canines.

The work of multidisciplinary artist and designer Mélanie Crespin, Dans ma cour, ç’a du chien, is a free open air exhibit which allows members of the public to interact with silly dog statues.

Here’s Claire playing with a German Shepherd, for example:

There was an inquisitive pink Beardie, a Bull Terrier working on his meditation, a Boxer rolling in the grass, and an English Bulldog with his tongue hanging out, as well as these others:

I thought the exhibit was a really neat idea, especially how people were encouraged to sit on the chairs/hammocks and relax among the art.

Apparently, in 2013 there was another art installation with a canine theme; two statues called “The English Pug” and “The French Poodle”, symbolising the historical relationship between the French and English Canadians in the city. (It’s interesting that the artist chose a Pug to represent England, given that the breed originated in China. They are, however, very popular over here, and were famously owned by Queen Victoria.)

I have a theory that dogs are ubiquitous; I have yet to find a museum which doesn’t feature them somewhere. So, I was also happy to spot this handsome Spaniel elsewhere in Montreal. (He’s on the Maisonneuve Monument, outside of the Notre-Dame Basilica, keeping merchant Lambert Closse company. )

Is it any wonder that I liked Montreal?

September ’19 roundup


September was a busy month right off the bat, with a trip to Crete from 30 August to 6 September, and then a trip to Montreal and Toronto from the 8th to the 16th. 

We went to Crete with my parents and my sister and brother-in-law. It was my first time visiting Greece and will not be my last; the scenery and the food were both so incredible. We rented a three bedroom self catering villa with a pool, and did a mix of touristy things and relaxing, so it was an ideal trip for me. My favourite day was when the four ‘youngsters’ did a walk in the Agia Irini Gorge, meeting Mum and Dad at the beach in Sougia at the end. I have never been so happy to see the sea in my life! We also visited Knossos, an archeological site, and a local vineyard, as well as the beaches of Elafonissi and Falassarna, and the old town of Chania. 

After we got back, I had one day to turn my suitcase around before flying to Canada with my sister. We have family in Newmarket, Ontario, so when Claire said she had been invited to Canada for a work trip, I offered to keep her company and pay them a visit. We did two days in Montreal, which I have never been to, first, and then five in Newmarket, seeing our paternal grandparents, both sets of uncles and aunts, and the two cousins on that side. I also found time for an afternoon in Toronto with my future sister-in-law; we went on a long, hot walk to see the Kim’s Convenience external set. (PSA: It’s the best show you’re not watching; the first three seasons are on Netflix.) It was a flying visit to my native land, but a good one.

After that fortnight of adventures, I returned to work and the real world. Nothing much to report, except that on the 24th I celebrated ten years of dating the man who is now my husband, and on the 25th I started an Introduction to Counselling course at the local college. 

What I Read

  • The Testaments and The Edible Woman, by Margaret Atwood
  • The Day The World Came to Town, by Jim DeFede
  • The Taggerung and Loamhedge, by Brian Jacques

Wasn’t overly impressed with The Testaments, I have to say, though I did read it in the space of about four days. It was incredibly interesting, in terms of expanding the world which we were introduced to in Handmaid, but rather predictable, and doesn’t actually answer the question as to what happened to Offred. 

The Edible Woman I read on the beach in Crete. I’d enjoyed Alias Grace on honeymoon in April, so I figured I’d give some of Ms Atwood’s other works a try while waiting for The Testaments. The Edible Woman is actually her first published work; the former English student in me is tempted to draw comparisons between the feminist messages of the two books, published some forty years apart. I think I will be putting ‘more Margaret Atwood books’ on my Christmas list this year. 

Having seen the musical Come From Away this summer (highly recommend), I was intrigued when I saw The Day The World Came to Town on sale at the airport. It’s an old book (2002), but made for good airplane reading. Adam is working his way through it now. 

As for the other two, I was obsessed with the Redwall books in my teens. Brian Jaques passed away a few years ago, and I bought Kindle versions of the entire series to console myself. So, I took advantage of some poolside days to revisit a few old friends. 

What I Watched

  • The Lego Movie 2; The Second Part
  • American Dad, season 14
  • The Ranch
  • The Good Place, season 4

The first was on the plane; it was actually funnier than expected, but not as good as the first. Maya Rudolph put in a star performance as a long-suffering mother. 

American Dad, via Now TV, continues to entertain. Some hit and miss stories this season, but the writing and the humour remains consistent. Not sure about Rogu though; I hope he’s an arc rather than a new character. 

We started The Ranch, on Netflix, when I got back from Canada, just as background noise in the evenings really. So far it’s…okay. I’m not sure if the central premise will hold up for much longer, but I’ll keep you posted.  

The Good Place, also on Netflix, deserves a separate blog post all its own. For now, let me say that I really respect the creators for choosing to make the fourth season its last; better to make four awesome seasons than three good ones and seven mediocre ones. With new episodes being added weekly from 27 September onwards, I am really intrigued to see how they finish their story. 

What I’m looking forward to in October

  • A trip to the Isle of Wight to honour my late maternal grandmother
  • A girly weekend in Brighton
  • Dog sitting
  • The Apprentice

Hi – welcome to my little corner of the internet

My name is Laura Patricia, and I’m a frustrated writer. At 31, I work as a Claims Assessor in the insurance industry. I don’t mind the actual day to day job, and it pays well, but it’s not creatively fulfilling at all. 

So, I’ve decided to re-launch this blog as my outlet. Somewhere to dabble with writing and to say what I have to say, to whomever cares to listen. At this point I’m not exactly sure what my ‘brand’ will be, but the point is not to worry about that too much. It’s about the words, not the packaging. 

I hope you enjoy reading. If not, I hope I enjoy having written.

What will I write about? I’m not sure yet. Most likely food, travel, and television. Possibly some short stories. Perhaps nothing. I’m certainly not brave enough (yet, in the current climate) to write about current affairs and politics, but maybe I’ll get there. Watch this space.