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This post dates from a few years back. Sadly, as The Hub and I isolate in Italy this 2020 Christmas, I’d give anything to be back in Scotland with all the family, despite the dog’s issues. And the ducks.

Ho, ho, no!

Bright and early, my husband took the dog out for her Christmas morning constitutional. In Scotland, that meant in the pitch dark if it occurred any time before about 10:AM. A surprisingly long time later, he was at the door trying to call me without waking up the house packed with sleeping family visitors. “Um… YOUR dog,” he stammered.

“Use your words, PhD!” I hissed back. (It’s a never-ending source of joy to me that Mr. Raised-Proper-In-Boston can’t say sh*t.)

“She’s had a…technical…difficulty. With her…er…her…” A look of pure desperation. “It’s stuck to her. YOUR dog. She’s your dog.”

Okay, so sometimes I take it too far. While I was going all schadenfreude on his panic, the dog shot past him and proceeded to try to wipe off the results of her failure. On the oriental rug in the hall. Then the other oriental rug in the hall. Then the one beneath the dining room table. And the one by the tree. We chased her, whisper-hissing for her to stop, but she just dragged her butt from one expensive (she totally spurned the sensible Ikea ones) rug to the next. Finally I cornered her, and while I was (O God, O God why me?) removing the remaining poop and then giving her a complete shampoo and spa treatment, I yelled at him to clean up the rugs.

“Under control,” he assured me.

We’ve been married for many decades. I’ve raised four kids. Naturally, I was suspicious. “And by that do you mean you waved a dry paper towel in their general vicinity?”


“The rug shampooer is in the laundry room.”


“You have a PhD. You can shampoo a couple of rugs.”

[Much, much sotto voce moaning and groaning.]

Please tell me it wasn’t the Doggy Mince Pies!

I continued my attempts to drown the dog, or at least that’s what it sounded like from her pitiful moans. I’d just gotten her soaped up when the cold water ran out. (Our little Victorian cottage had a seriously weird water setup.) So I had to take her outside (did I mention that it was sleeting?) and wash off the soap under the garden tap.

The dog and I were basically frozen solid by the time we got back inside. But there was no time to waste. I had a houseful of family who managed to sleep through the dog smearing her stuff all over the ground floor, but they would eventually want dinner. So I went to get out the ducks I’d gotten for our Christmas dinner. Only— they were nowhere to be found. As far as I could tell, they never made it home from the store.

Scotland was, of course, closed for Christmas and Boxing Day. (No, I don’t think anybody really knows what Boxing Day is, except that I’ve always been relieved it didn’t involve the theme song from Rocky.) Apparently, our festive Christmas Dinner menu would feature peanut butter sandwiches. God bless us, every one.

Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by my blog during the past year. I’d like to wish each of you a wonderful holiday season, and a safe and peaceful new year. 
Love, Barb (And Peri. And The Hub.)