Senin, 26 September 2011

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BREED -- Australian National KC


The Phoenicians brought sight hounds into Cornwall as early as 1,000 B.C. The Phoenicians were desperate for tin and copper, and the Cornish were equally anxious for, amongst other things, fast dogs that were able to catch the rabbits and other small game which were a major source of food. Pottery from this period, now in the British Museum, show two types of dogs - one a small fox-like animal and the other looking a little larger than our own Whippets, very lightly built with long, curled, very fine tails. Some had erect ears and others the rose type (perhaps this is where our prick ear problems came from). They appeared very arched in the back with flat ribs hardly reaching their elbows.

In the Middle Ages the larger greyhounds were always owned by the nobility, and were used for hunting such game as the royal deer. Poorer people, often at considerable risk, acquired the smaller hounds which were ideal for poaching. The best dog for poachers was the fast, silent one, who didn’t advertise his presence by barking, and of a dark colour, so that he was hard for the gamekeepers to see. Perhaps this is why, to this day, the blues and blacks of the Whippet and greyhound breeds tend to be very fast. One only has to look at the racetrack to see the number of blues and blacks there in comparison to the number in the show ring.

They also needed to hunt in close cooperation with their master, and this trait is still noticeable in the modern Whippet. Whereas most Hounds hunt in a pack, with man keeping up as best he can on foot or on horseback, the Whippet works closely with his master; he will chase his game but will return, unlike many hounds.

His small size also made him the ideal lady’s pet or house dog, long before the more exotic toy breeds were introduced into England, and, as John Taylor, a poet, wrote in 1630: “In shapes and forms of dogges; of which there are but two sorts that are useful for man’s profit, which two are the mastiff and the little whippet, or housedogge; all the rest are for pleasure or recreation.”

Probably also because of his small size and the resulting small appetite, he became the poor man’s racing dog. It is quite strange however since the early Cornish tin miners’ days, other miners seem to have adopted whippet racing as their sport. This was true even in the goldfields of Western Australia where whippet racing was very popular in the early days.

The first mention of the Whippet as a show dog was on July 28, 1876, at the annual exhibition of "Sporting and Other Dogs” in Woodside Park, Darlington, in the North of England, featuring classes including Whippets. It took 14 more years for the Whippet to become recognised by the Kennel Club, Herbert Vickers requesting official recognition for the Whippet breed on April 16, 1890.

"Brief History of the Breed"
Extended Breed Standard of THE WHIPPET
Australian National Kennel Council, 2007

The little whippet, or house dogge -- 1630

“In shapes and forms of dogges; of which there are but two sorts that are useful for man’s profit, which two are the mastiff and the little whippet, or house dogge; all the rest are for pleasure or recreation.” -- John Taylor, 1630

Rabu, 21 September 2011

Cherry and Cinnamon

It's been sooo long since I last posted on this site- but I haven't given up on blogging. No sir, I've just started an even bigger and better blog at cherryandcinnamon
I always tried to keep this Koniption blog strictly comics, but nowadays I do less comics, more Illustrations, photography, fabric design and writing and I felt the need to make a new home where all these things could live together. I do hope that if you like anything you've seen here you'll head on over and see what I'm up to on my new site. I've missed you and want to show you my latest projects! Come and tell me what you think ;-)

Selasa, 20 September 2011

September Morning

This morning was beautifully soft: damp and fuzzy, with the promise of sunshine. Gibson and I went for a walk and visited the gardens on campus. There were spider webs everywhere, thick and intricate. Look at the top of the first picture...don't those silky horizontal lines look like telephone wires after rain?

Senin, 19 September 2011

What I Want to Read

I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but come on, this is cool: it's Thomas Hart Benton! I hope those Farrar, Straus & Giroux publicists are sending out lots of posters and bookmarks with this one.

To be fair to myself, my interest in this novella started with what I read in yesterday's New York Times Book Review, which does not even feature an image of the book cover. For reviewer Anthony Doerr, part of what makes the book so compelling is its length: 116 pages. "One airplane flight, or one shady afternoon in a chair somewhere, and you'll have passed through the entire thing." O.K. That's not a ringing endorsement. The "Don't worry! It will all be over soon!" bit (no, I'm not quoting Doerr there) sounds more like what your dentist says before filling a cavity. But Doerr is onto something. Here's more about that in his review:

In an 1842 review of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Twice Told Tales," Edgar Allan Poe said that apart from poetry, the form most advantageous for the exertion of "highest genius" was the "short prose narrative," whose length he defined as taking "from a half-hour to one or two hours in its perusal." Novels, Poe argued, were objectionable because they required a reader to take breaks. "Worldy interests intervening during the pauses of perusal," he wrote, "modify, annul or counteract, in a greater or less degree, the impression of the book." Because you have to stop reading novels every now and then -- to shower, to eat, to check your Twitter feed -- their power weakens.

All of that aside, Train Dreams sounds like a book I'd love. It has biplanes, six-horse teams, wolves, coyotes, logging gangs, and, of course, trains.

Also, for those who are interested in this sort of comparison, Doerr's review is fun to read just before or just after Ann Patchett's introduction to The All Of It (see blog post below). Doerr first read Train Dreams in a 2002 issue of The Paris Review. He has a proprietary feeling about Johnson's book and is reluctant to share it with the masses. ("Because who wants to see her sacred meadow flattened by the sandals of tourists?") Patchett is more generous in her account, and is elated to know the little gem of The All Of It, first published in 1986, has been reissued and is out in the world for all to find.

Kamis, 08 September 2011

A Tower of Tooterphants!

Tooterphants are friendly little creatures, similar in shape to elephants, if not in size. However, they have wide trumpet-shaped trunks that they use to make tooting noises to communicate with one another. They also use their trunks, or tooters, to suck up their food - should you want to attract one, leave a trail of interesting treats such as raisins and they may follow it. They live in groups, and enjoy acrobatic games where they climb on top of each other to form a tower of Tooterphants - luckily their rounded shape makes them bouncy, so they don't mind when they fall down.

These cute creatures are based on patterns I'd made in the past - several years ago I made an Eater of Socks for a swap, based on the description of a creature that appears briefly in Terry Pratchett's Hogfather. Given that it eats odd socks, I gave it a wide trunk/snout to suck them up, and made its legs striped like socks to act as camouflage. Then, a few years later, I made a Sky Elephant, using the previous pattern as a base, but making it bigger. The Sky Elephant was made from blue and white variegated yarn and had fluffly cloud-like ears.

So, I went back and revisited these patterns. I had some nice self-striping yarn that I wanted to try out (King Cole Splash DK), and I thought these would be the perfect patterns to use to show off all the colours nicely. I made a few minor changes, but I liked the patterns pretty much as they were. They have a nice compact shape and sweet faces, and I think they would make good toys for young children because they have a lot of bits to grab hold of. The pattern, which has all the details to make both sizes, is now available in my Etsy shop.