Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Skipping along the wilder shores of madness

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

I think the deadline and all that other stuff might be getting to me. I like to think of myself as a politically engaged citizen of the world. As a young person, I was given a stupid amount of education. I am a book writer. Surely I should be deconstructing Ed Miliband’s speech to the Labour Conference, or discussing the potential Greek default? I should be bending my mind to serious matters. Things of vast import are happening out in the world, and what am I going to do? I am going to give you a photo essay about my dog.

I know.

I can’t really say any more about it.

Cat people: look away NOW.

So, the story of One Dog and Her Ball:

Here is how it goes with me and The Pigeon. We go out to the garden where I gaze minutely at the plants and think of the ones I want to photograph. I get down on the ground and contort myself into curious positions in order to achieve the angle I want. Then I swear at the camera quite a lot, because it won’t focus. (I like getting in very, very close, and I really need one of those macro pancake lenses or whatever they are called.)

While I am doing this, The Pigeon waffles about in the undergrowth, looking for rogue rabbits, sniffing for squirrels.

After a while, she gets deathly bored. She picks up her ball, and thinks of clever ways to get me to throw it for her. She is far, far too cunning an operative to try the direct approach, which would be to bring it over and deposit it at my feet.

Oh no. What she does first is her best Dickensian orphans in the snow look.

No, really, don’t mind me. I shall just sit here dying of melancholy until you choose to remember I exist:

27 Sept 3

No, no, it’s quite fine. I’ll just do some, you know, sniffing:

27 Sept 4

Although, if you could take your eyes off those bloody plants for a single second, we could play a little game. Just a little one. I’m not asking for castles in Spain, or anything like that:

27 Sept 5

If I just sit here and look preposterously beautiful, would that help at all?:

27 Sept 6

At which point, I give in, and throw the thing for her. She brings it back, and gives me this look. Which says: YEAH YEAH, you see how much fun that is?

27 Sept 7

I’m having such a good time that I don’t even care I have a pine needle stuck to my mouth:

27 Sept 8

One more time?:

27 Sept 9

And then we throw and chase, throw and chase, and I, idiot that I am, even laugh and clap. I really am impressed when she leaps high in the air and catches it in one go. She is like a shark.

Then, she flops down, exhausted, and gives me this look -

You see how much fun that was? I told you it would be more diverting than those boring cyclamen:

27 Sept 10

I mean, it really was FUN:

27 Sept 11

Look, the people over there enjoyed it:

27 Sept 12

And then, just to show me she is not a one-trick pony, she demonstrates her winking skills, which are, you must admit, considerable:

27 Sept 14

And finally, she catches her breath and reverts to her Grace Kelly look, which always makes me think of that moment in High Society when Grace comes out in her New Look dress and says: ‘I’m fine. Is everybody fine? Oh, look, there’s Uncle Willy.’:

27 Sept 15

And that is the end of my story.

Part of me thinks: oh God, the thin end of the wedge has now been so far inserted that there is no hope for me at all. The other part of me, which has been working like crazy all day and has no sense left in it thinks: that’s so damn good maybe I should publish it as an e-book and make my fortune.

I think I probably should stop now.


Some quick garden pictures for you:

27 Sept 20

27 Sept 22

27 Sept 23

27 Sept 24.ORF

In honour of yesterday’s Good Day I naughtily went and bought myself a little selection of roses and arum lilies:

27 Sept 25

27 Sept 26

And there, above it all, is, as always, the hill:



  1. A most excellent Pigeon photo story!

  2. Oh thank you! There is nothing I like more than a dog with a ball. Up the street we have a border collie named Lola who has an utter fixation with hers. She is no match for the Pigeon in beauty and grace, naturally, but she does brighten my day. She stands at her fence, under which she will have rolled a tennis ball to entice passers-by, and she stares at her ball with an intensity that makes it impossible not to stop and throw it for her. When you pick it up her whole body tenses and she goes into a crouch and then releases like a spring and catches it in one go, and then she'll bring it back (only faintly wagging: this is life-and-death stuff to her).

    If she doesn't roll it properly under the fence again, you say "Closer, Lola!" and she'll pick it up and try again. It always breaks my heart when I have to go home-- that wistful gaze as you, provider of ball, go down the street while her ball is still available to be thrown. She can also be seen in the park in furious, intense pursuit of a soft frisbee.

  3. Dog island is a fine place... Lou x

  4. Best blog ever!...just what I needed: an overdose of the Pigeon, she is the best!
    I love her Grace Kelly gaze and the winking 'photo made me laugh out loud, actually it may have been a bit too loud, good job I'm gawping at my laptop at home with hubby and son!

  5. Thank you, amongst much else, for reminding me of my favourite part of High Society. No-one does the 'emerging into the daylight with a horrid hangover' mime as well as Ms Kelly.

    And, as ever, Pigeon is captivating. Completely entrancing.

  6. A lovely story about a wonderful dog. I love the third photo, that wistful / mournful look gets me every time.

  7. I have a wonderful photo story book called Pondus The Penguin, written and photographed by Ivar Myrhoj and set in the Copenhagen Zoo. I just found it on my daughter's bookshelf, coverless and a bit loved-up but just as I remembered.
    Would love to add Pigeon's story our collection :)

  8. I am a cat person, but seeing the beautiful Pigeon (and reading your enticing words) turns me into a part time dog person every single time.

  9. I too am a cat person, but talking a "walk in Scotland" (to quote another reader) with you and Pigeon is always, always a delight.

  10. She does have considerable winking skills.

  11. Such lovely and kind comments. Thank you. :)

  12. Tania, I'm serious: there is definitely a Pigeon book there! She is a natural.
    Please safely stash your photos (& comments) until deadlines are done and R & R is enjoyed.


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