Archive for January, 2009
I was tortured by Cheshire Police at Crewe, I gather it was pretty routine. They knew I was a diabetic so locked me in a cell and refused me food until I was going unconscious. They would only allow me out the police station to get food if I signed a release form they would not let me see. I refused they refused me food. As I only had a short while before I went into a coma, I eventually signed.The words of the custody officer were he would let me die in the cell if I didn’t sign.
I got the form back 3 weeks later it was a custody record filled in with details of an arrest that never happen. Be aware of that one. The police don’t have to arrest you in reality, they can get you to a station, torture you for a signature. This also means you don’t get a solicitor. A solicitor may sign your custody record so it looks like you have had legal representation. But he may be a duty solicitor who works with the police. He can claim money for seeing you from legal aid, when he hasn’t.
I was advised by others people who had been in Crewe police station that the same team used other techniques. Mattressing. When in your cell, lights turned out to leave you in pitch black, officers burst in shining a bright light in your face to blind you. Another thin mattress thrown on you, the officers sit on it bouncing up and down, eventually as you can’t breathe in all the air is removed from your lungs and you start to asphyxiate. Of course the mattress means there are no marks left on your body.
These people are not very nice. Solicitors wont help, the trade in signing forged custody records must be lucrative enough to keep them quiet, and with solicitors involved in the torture, other solicitors will not expose a colleague to represent a client, and the courts don’t want to acknowledge the police use these methods so it is all kept quiet. When I tried to stand up to them, Cheshire police sent a Sergeant around to more or less tell me I was going to be killed if I pursued the matter. As Cheshire was no longer safe I had to move.
Stolen: Patterdale Terrier Puppy from Sutterton Spalding Lincs
she is black in colour and has a full length tail, she is 18 weeks old.
The owner was out walking her 3 dogs when a white van started
following them. The men got out of the van and the puppy ran up to
them, the men picked up the puppy got back into the van and drove off.
This happened so quickly the owner didnt have time to get a the
number plate details.
The owner called the police who gave her a crime number, other than
that were not interested.
She is wearing a green colour with id tag
If you see or know of a dog matching this description please get in
Valerie & the gang
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Small silver grey spheres speckled his head and back, held complete and separate by an invisible force. Changing into larger drops and globs of a more transparent nature down his sides. Chest and legs were just simply wet from the early morning damp grass. I looked around and saw the tea towel. Scrunching it up in my hand I gently and very quickly flicked it over the spheres and drops before the surface tension could break and wet him more.
“Rub a dub dub, rub a dub dub” I sang drying his chest, legs and belly. He sat dispassionate looking around, small tongue appearing from his mouth. One leg lifted, then the other.
“You’re done”. Throwing the tea cloth back on the top of the fridge. Making a mental note I needed to get him a towel. Not quite stomping or marching he moved in a jerky half agitated way. Turning strangely. Small steps to the side at the front pivoting from an axis at the back, then small steps to the side at the back, pivoting from the front.
“Want some food?”. I had had to start shopping for him as well as me. I found in the supermarket tins of dog food which were for puppies. Then to go with them small bite mixer. I was impressed that there was food especially for a puppy. It was an aisle I had never ventured down before. I wasn’t sure what he had been eating, whether he still ate milky things. So for other meals he had cereal. Mine. A weetabix in the main. I didn’t eat sugary breakfast stuff so thought that wouldn’t hurt him if he still wanted milky stuff. I wanted to make certain he had all the things he needed food wise. I didn’t want to trust just what it said on the can. So other meals were made up of what I ate. Fish or whatever protein I was on. Plus some of the vegetables. We had only had one full day, but if I gave him what I thought was good stuff, he could decide to eat it or not, and that was all I could do to make sure he had a good diet. I gave him the option, he made his choice
“Scrambled eggs?” He looked but was none committal. I took a bowl from the sink and swilled it under the tap. Living alone I hadn’t really bothered with breakfast, just a bowl of something with milk. I didn’t really bother with washing up either. I dried the bowl and broke 3 eggs into it. Two for me, one for him. Splash of milk, he liked chilli, so a hint of pepper. Looked to the cloth and realised what I had done. Another mental note to get him a towel. Still it was only essence of puppy and wet grass. Grill on, 3 slices of wholemeal bread. Whisk the eggs and into a buttered pan. It was nice cooking for someone in the morning. His toast was buttered and cut up into puppy sized squares.
Clatterty clat, clatterty clat went his dish, as I ate mine. He seemed to enjoy keeping a rhythm as he ate. Then out again for a run in the yard.
“Two hours”, holding two fingers up. He looked as I closed the door and left him to do what he did. Hopefully sleep.
“Come on were going somewhere” I picked the puppy up on my return and closed the front door, “Outside”.
Turning left down the side of the pub at the corner and onto the grass behind the the row we lived in. A quick run round. Then up again.
To the small side road. “Kerb, Stop.”
“Cross.” Over the side road and along the main road. Even carrying him I needed to start teaching him the instructions for a future life on the street.
Along the road to the zebra crossing outside the student house we stopped on our first night. “Kerb,Stop.”
The cars halted. “Cross.” Then further down the street for another 50 yards to a small pet shop.
Opposite, at the other side of the road now, was a tool hire place. It looked like the original building may have been a car show room or garage. The building was set back with a concreted forecourt between it and the pavement. A low tubular steel barrier between the pavement and the hire centre forecourt. The building was 5-6 of the small terraced houses, which made up the rest of that part of the street, wide.
It had started years before as a small shop at the other side of town, on Nantwich Road. It had Makita power tools in the window, sanders, hand drills; all of them cost far more than we could ever earn in a week or even two or more. Anyone who has been to Crewe railway station, out the main enterance, that’s Nantwich rd. Turn left go quarter of a mile, between the two sets of traffic lights on the left was where the shop used to be.
Now it was here. Power Electrical Tools. A hire centre. PET Hire. Straight across the front of the building in big letters. PET HIRE. I knew it had cement mixers, lawn mowers, mini diggers, scaffolding and access equipment, all sorts of toys outside. Inside was everything a, a tool fetish paradise. Everything and all the stuff to go with them. Rigger boots, drill bits, grinding discs, fasteners. Even though I had bought things from there. Even though I had hired tools from there. Taken tools in for repair. I still had this unresolved doubt, a secret desire, just to make sure.
I wanted to go in and ask if they had a rate for a parrot for the weekend. Just go in get a parrot and take it home. Just to see if we got on. Find out about it. I wondered if you could train a parrot to do a window cleaning round. It could fly about following you. When you were lonely doing another upstairs window, it could land on the roof just above the gutter, and you could say hello.
If you had a parrot for the weekend, and you got on well, perhaps you could then see if they would sell you it. I never did go in and ask if they did parrots or any other sort of animal. So I went into the small pet shop.
The bell brough the lady owner from the back room and to behind the counter.
“What have you got there”. The usual hands went out and he was handed over.
Again he was on another counter being looked at, while I told the story of him following me. Then we had a discuusion of his age, she thought about 10 weeks as well.
“Do you know what his is?” she inquired thoughtfully, in reality asking herself the question.
“He’s definately furry, looks like a long haired dog”.
“I thought he looked a bit fluffy”.
“I don’t know, my dad’s got one, she didn’t look quite the same at 10 weeks”. The border collie thing had crossed my mind but it didn’t last.
“He has very distinctive eyebrows”. One of his features was his eyebrows, they were lighter then the dark of the rest of the top of his face.
“Like a Rottweiler”.
I thought about her suggestion. I liked the little puppy, we just seemed exist together, without drama, but I didn’t think I would have any affinity with a Rotty, they just didn’t seem my kind of dog.
“He’s got fawny beige legs”. She added, saying what I was already figuring. “And a strange tail”.
His tail though it took many positions was, in the main perfectly upright and vertical, but also nearly always in movement.
I’d never seen a Rotty puppy, but he did slightly look like a furry Rotty puppy could look like. In my imagination. My intuition though, based on nothing couldn’t accept it. I was in a difficult area.
If some Disney artist wanted to make an impish teddy bear look like a puppy, this was the result. But that was as far as it went, Just visual. He had a willful, I don’t care about you independent streak. If someone had got him for their children, there would be tears and ructions. Yes you could stroke him, hold him, cuddle him. But there was always a detachment to him, only on his terms. There would be upsets in the house as he declared he did not want to be a rag doll.
“It’s a possibility”.
It was a possibility, there were so many unknowns. How accurate had we got his age to make a judgement on size?
“Perhaps he is just a mix, whatever he is he’s lovely”. The lady finished her inspection.
“Whatever he is I’ll soon find out”.
It didn’t really matter what he was, he was just he. And we were friends.
“I’d like a collar and lead for him”.
Examination and discussion over he did a little dance on the counter.
I wanted a very soft leather collar. Soft and light. but nice-and plain. We found a small black leather collar with a cream lining/ thin padding for next to his skin. A sort of velvety flock. It had a small siver chrome buckle. All so small my fingers didn’t want anything less.
The lead had to be similar. Long because he was small and I was tall. It had to be light in weight, gossamar light, so light that he wouldn’t even notice it. I didn’t even really know why I was getting him one. We had done fine so far, but getting him used to one now would be useful. But in the future whatever we did he wouldn’t be able to have or even need a lead.
We found a thin nylon corded lead not much thicker than the draw used in an anorak. Again it was black, so difficult to see, to further give the illusion nothing was there.
His shopping done, but his enigma still unresolved, we left. “Outside”.
Carrying the puppy now wearing his new collar, the routine continued. “Kerb, Stop, Stay, Cross”.
Sitting on the living room floor he scratched with his back leg.
“Just give it a minute or two and I’ll take it off”.
After he ignored it for a couple of minutes, I took it off, I didn’t like a shirt and tie round my neck, so didn’t expect the puppy to suffer the same. He fell asleep on the settee.
With darkness falling it was time for food. Time to put his collar on, the lady had done it the first time. Now the puppy waited while I did it. The lead clipped on we left through the front door.
Down the street, turn left by the pub and on to the backs. The little factories and units were all empty as others had gone home for tea, quiet and deserted. I placed the puppy down on the unused pavement which ran round the grassy area where homes once stood.
“Come on”. I started off at a trot calling him. He ran after me as he had done across carparks and up and down the grass in the mornings and afternoons. This time he had a collar and lead. I held the lead with my arm outstretched above his head, taking what little weight it had, He trotted alongside. Job done. He had learnt to walk on a lead and he hadn’t even noticed.
Picked up. “Kerb, Stop, Stay, Cross”. We headed for the Chip Shop. “Inside”.
“What have you got there?” John walked from the back preparation room to behind the counter, smiling, drying his hands on a cloth on the way.
This was the puppy’s first time in a Chip Shop. The light, the sounds of extractor fans, food cooking and the smells. So he did his attentive interested act. Not lying in my arms but sitting head turning and taking in another new experience.
Again I told his story. John still smiling as the puppy took him in as well.
“What can I do you for?”
“Have you got any liver?”
“Just done it”.
Yes in luck. John did fantastic liver and gravy. Sometimes it had all gone. But I had got the timing right. He had just cooked a batch for the weekend. It would be put in trays, frozen and microwaved as and when. Good as it was, it always seemed proper to get it fresh from the pan.
The puppy again took his position on the settee, me on the chair. Chips, liver and mushy peas tipped out on my plate. He waited, but somehow apprehensive, for another life defining talk. Hey dog, puppy or a clicking of fingers would no longer do. If he was staying with me he needed a name.
The puppy sat attentive but again never looked directly at me prefering to watch from the corner of his eyes. So how do you choose a name for a dog you never intended to have. It was a Tuesday when he followed me, but he didn’t look like a Tuesday, he was a little boy and Tuesday seemed a girls name. Tuesday Weld, the actress, had made that her own. It was on Ruskin Road he followed me down. It was on Ruskin Road we first met.
“Ruskin”. As a proper commanding noun.
He wiggled to attention, looked directly at me, head to one side, ears up. The first time he had ever met my eyes full on, with a deep and fixed stare, not a glance, not a sideways look, not a quick and a turn away. I had his attention, for the first time, eye to eye and it stayed. It was a sudden shock.
That was that decided then. Simple.
“Here you are Ruskin”. Placing my plate on the floor, I lifted him off the settee so he could finish what I had left for him.
“Come on”. It was time for the visit to the corner shop. The routine. Pick him up, open door.
Carried there and back, we got to the Chip Shop and our own stretch, our own community, between the two railway bridges. Most of the houses here I cleaned, talked to people passing, chatted in the shops. Knew most who passed.
“Have a walk”. I put the puppy on the pavement for the last 50 yards. This was a busy main road during the day, now the traffic was quietening down but still cars passed. Ruskin could walk on a lead on a empty pavement with no distractions, now to do it on a main road. The street was so busy I had never seen a stray dog here. The only dogs were always on leads, I think I knew most. No one had ever said anything about ill dogs, someone would have told me.
Ruskin trotted along perfectly, this time on my right side away from the road. He gave me little sideways glances just to check if he was doing OK. I just watched him, proud in his efforts to do things perfectly.
He stopped sudden, half running behind me, half me overshooting from the sudden jolt, spinning round to my right as I followed his rush, trying to control without janking the lead, Ruskin was standing on his back legs, front paws on the front passenger door of a large dark estate car, it’s true colour and identity disguised by the the orange streetlamps. Ruskin gave out one short excited yelp.
The passenger door cracked open about an inch. I touched the lead with the middle finger of my left hand, just enough tension to tell Ruskin to get down. He walked to the edge of the door waiting for it to open. A young lady got out, Ruskin was again on his back legs, pawing her leg frantically. As she picked him up I let go of his lead. Ruskin had never shown me any affection, he’d never been pleased to see me.
“Ah great you found him” a man my age emerged from the drivers side, “we’ve just put a note through your door”.
“Oh” guilt washed through me, I was waiting to be asked why I was walking their puppy down a main road.
“We’ve just got your address from the police, they must have misplaced it yesterday and the receipt to say you found him.”
Ruskin was squirming in her arms licking her face.
“Tell you what, I’ll park the car up and call we’ll call round it’s a bit busy here”. He broke my gaze.
“Yes, yes, you will bring him to see me”.
“Oh yes, only be a couple of minutes”.
I returned to an empty house for the first time in two days. I had done as much as I could. I had knocked on doors and called in shops with him, reported him as found at the police station. Wednesday I had made some posters and put them up in the shops near where he followed me. That evening before we went to see the band I had phoned the police again to see if anyone had reported him lost.
The truth was he was a happy little soul. Clean, well fed and confident. He was someones dog.
I had left the door on the latch and sat in my chair. My legs no longer had the will or desire to hold me. I hadn’t wanted him to be worried about anything. I wanted him to know he was secure and no problem and that I would look after him. For two days he had been the sole purpose and focus of my life. I had had to keep things simple because he was a puppy. I couldn’t go into abstarct about someone turning up, I just had to promise him I would look after him whatever happened. Simple and uncomplicated.
I had had to reassure him with a promise. For life. Just so he could get on with being an untroubled puppy. When no one came Tuesday, then no one Wednesday, despite all I had done, I had just accepted slowly and unconsciously we were together. I had had to give him the best start I could. balance risks and benefits. Most of all I had to start teaching him how things would have to be if we were to stay together and he was to be happy. It wasn’t the two days we had had, it was the rest of our lives we were to lead that had gone. The future had ended.
Tears ran down my face.
This article caught my eye. A police dog on the scent of a burglar jumped over a wall with a 40ft drop at the other side. This triggered a number of thoughts.
Ruskin was very rarely on a lead, even though I estimate we walked about 75,000 miles during our time together, probably only 1% or less would have been on a lead. It was then only out of politeness, because it was expected or a sign said “all dogs must be on a lead”. My own personal view was, it was demeaning to Ruskin to be on a lead.
The article has triggered vague memories of an incident in Wales or somewhere, which wasn’t really all that significant at the time. We were outside a cafe or something similar. Ruskin was mooching round as he did. I saw him run. A woman screamed while Ruskin jumped on to a wall about a 1 metre or slightly more high. My concern was this lady screaming “Oh My God, Oh My God”. Ruskin quite unperturbed, is walking up and down the wall like an alley cat.
To cut along story short, the woman had seen him run and thought he was going to jump over the wall. I had seen him run and knew he was going to jump on the wall. The source of the panic was because there was a 40ft sheer drop at the other side into a stream. I knew this, the lady knew this, Ruskin knew this when he jumped on to the wall.
Now Ruskin from an early age had to do a window cleaning round so from 14 weeks we had been climbing over walls all day, day in day out. Ruskin knew there were drops at the other side of walls, so he would never ever have jumped over a wall without knowing what was at the other side. It could have been anything, a glass topped cold frame in someones garden for example. He would never be so stupid to jump over anything without knowing what his landing was.
Just allay on confusion with Beardie owners. Ruskin was a working Beardie. He was only 19 inches at the shoulder, less than the standard for the show spec, and weighed just over 40lb, again less than the pedigree spec. This meant he could go where a mountain goat or sheep could go. They are ‘Huntaways’.
They don’t need people to tell them not to jump off a 40 or 1000ft drop. It was a few years later before I found out he was a working Beardie. Now a working Beardie which jumps over things without knowing what is at the other side is soon going to have that trait removed from the gene pool. The occasional 1000 ft cliff in the Highlands, the fells or the Welsh mountains is a force of natural selection, to remove stupidity in a breed of dog.
Was the fact that Ruskin would never jump over anything if he didn’t know what the landing was, nurture. He had spent so much time with me climbing over and on walls. Or was it nature. Beardies are adapted to their environment and for the job they do. They are hill, mountain and upland dogs. For survival the last thing they would ever do is jump over something with out knowing the landing.
So why has this police GSD jumped over a wall with a 40ft drop at the other side. Was the dog just stupid? Does the breed not have a survival instinct? Or is their a flaw in police dog handling techniques and philosophy? Have they trained the dogs in such a way, that somehow the very basic safety and survival instinct of the dog has been over written by, possibly in this case, an over confidence in what there handlers have taught them or trained them to do. Has the training conditioned basic survival out of them?
I’ve handled other peoples GSDs, taken them for walks, but I have never got ‘inside the head’ of the breed, and I have no knowledge or experience of training police dogs. Which is why I have made liberal use of question marks.
If this had been an incident with human police personnel involved there would be a Health and Safety inquiry, which would have looked at operating procedure. Because Vader is a dog, will this be be overlooked. Did Vader jump or was he ‘pushed’? Certainly he might have a crisis of confidence.
Has anyone seen this little man. He went missing in the Carnkie-Wendron area of Cornwall post code area TR13.
Please look out for him, especially if you have outbuildings and sheds. He will probably be a bit scared and disorientated and his name is Monty
There is a reward for his return. If you have any information or just see him please could you call this number
or leave details and your contact info in the box below. Thanks for your help in getting the little chap back home.
I received an email about my site and the stories and posts I have written. The writer said how much they liked the interesting connections I made between things, and how they were looking forward to the next installment of Ruskin’s story. The email asked that I seemed sad. Sad is not the word, devoid of all desire for existence to the core of my being is nearer the mark. Sad would be nice at least there would be some emotion to feel.
Ruskin’s story is about the total full on loving of life. But soon the story must enter the darkness of the world we had to live within. The media is full of politicians claiming they did not know this or this was unforeseen. This is not true. The news media seems no longer wants to report truth or facts or how things really are, or their worst sin report on the solutions of how to make this world a better place for all living things. The world seems to have become addicted to misery and other people rejoice that their life, their raisond’etre is about conquoring or fighting misery. We don’t need the misery there in the first place. Who created this misery, this greed, this hatered that surrounds us.
One of the things Ruskin taught me was although we were different species, we could get on, we were best friends. Even the rare times when we did nothing, we were just comfortable in each others company. So why are people killing each other all over the world? Why do we have a Government that thought it was OK and acceptable to drop bombs on children? Then a few years when another country does the same, why did they think they had the moral high ground to tell them not to. What is all this rubbish the media and the politicians talk about, this thing I cannot touch, hear, feel, see or smell. This nonentity call ‘The Economy’. I get politicians on my TV, an endless parade of clones all dressed in stupid clothes, with tight pieces of material tied around their necks. They seem to think it looks good and sensible. But I can remember when a was a kid playing getting told off for tying things round my neck. I was told it was dangerous.
They are obsessed with this economy thing. Why? The ‘economy’ is only a tool. Part of a means. You can use a spanner to fix a car. But it would be absolutly pointless to say we all need cars to justify and ensure the existence of spanners. Life, love, kindness, truth, integrity, happiness, beauty, compassion are some of the things I want them to be concerned with. If we need something called an ‘economy’ to assist in bringing these about, fine I can go for that. But I have never heard of anyone buying a car for the sole reason of justify the existence of a spanner they keep in the shed. I just wish all those involved in misery industries would just resign and do something more beneficial with their lives.
So why am I beyond sad. Every word about I write about Ruskin’s life brings back memories. If they are happy ones they make me cry because he has gone. If they are sad ones they make me cry because they are sad or recall some trauma. But I have to tell his story. Because his story is important, and in telling it will save other lives. Peoples and animals. I owe it to him to make his life of value, over and above just the sheer joy he brought to all those he met.
Then there is the hypocrasy. Catherine O’Driscoll’s work on this site on vaccinations talks about psycopaths. This is something new to me over the last few months. Not the people, but the term, applied to people who are out there right now. I know of people who have committed the most serious crimes. I know of people who have deliberately and intentionally killed people. I thought there was this thing called the rule of law and if people had done really bad things then the police would do something. I found this not to be true, because of who they are, certain people are allowed to kill people, are permitted to make the lives of others a misery. The police would not do anything to prevent peoples deaths in the future. Some people are above the law and it doesn’t apply to them.
One reason Ruskin was brought to Scotland was to hide him away to protect him. People could get to me through him. In away I am glad he is dead and we lived a full life together. Because now he is in a safe place, where he cannot be hurt. Before his pyre was lit I spoke of many things, of our life together. I told him of those he had known in his life who had gone before, and who would be waiting for him.
I asked him to wait for me. For if there is a heavan or hell and when my time is done. All I would wish is to walk for all eternity with him again through endless green meadows and woods. Or even streets deserted at night. Weather didn’t matter, it made no difference to our fun.
But before we were reunited I promised him I would continue our work to protect and look after the animals of the Earth. Many times we came close to achieving our goal, but other people had other agendas.
Then there is a little Bearded Collie gone missing in Cornwall. I thought I’d go down and get him. Then I realised I was no longer in Cheshire, there was another 400 miles on top of what I remembered. Then the stupidity hit, I was in another place another time. Ruskin had gone, it was he who would have brought him back. I would have drove down, either gone wandering with him, become one with the night or if in deep country just opened the car door and let him cover the ground quicker on his own.
Monty looks a nice little dog, but I don’t think he as psychologically tough and astute as Ruskin. It takes one to know one. If he was out there Ruskin would have found him. He would have gone ” lost scared dog”. Instinct would have then just kicked in. Either Monty came quietly or he would have been herded back or dragged by the scruff of his neck to security. He was a working stock Beardie, that’s what they have done for hundreds or even thousands of years. Disappear on their own and bring ‘stuff’ back. We would have have to have seen the local farmers, the worst that could have happened was they end up with 40 sheep and 30 cows not in the same place they left them.
The Monty incident this week was the realisation I am no longer part of a team, connected to some greater world through another set of senses and thoughts.
A few days after I had cremated Ruskin I got it together to go for my first walk on my own. I got stopped by Blairgowrie police, Perthshire and took a kicking in a completely unprovoked attack. I didn’t defend myself at all, it was pointless. If they had been muggers I would have politely but firmly suggested they went home. If they did not do that and decided to persist I would have taken the appropriate action in response. As they were police I just took it. The rain was torrential, I just lay in the gutter with the blood running down my face while the police swore at me. I just didn’t think I deserved it.
Then I remembered I had the knife still in my pocket I had used to open the bags of charcoal and cut the flowers for Ruskin’s pyre. I was going for a walk. I’d always lived in and walked in the countryside. I was used to finding sheep or hedgehogs sometimes with baler twine or polythene wrapped round their legs. Cows that had slipped on got their legs stuck in a sheep fence. Either me or the dog could get caught on a bramble etc. Or I may want to take a cutting of a plant to identify when I got home. Whatever I do, I am an ecologist and it is from that perspective I work and think. There were an unknown number of reasons why I would have a knife all legal and legitimate.
When I got to the police station the police started having a go at me because I was born in England. Though my mothers family are Scottish I had a northern English accent. The police seemed to believe their attack on me was legitimate as it was a natural extension of traditional football violence between English and Scottish fans. I had never even been once ever to a football match, I never read the back pages of a newspaper, I have no interest in the game. But the police attack on me was obviously racially motivated, I was born the wrong side of the border. The police were simply allowed to do it.
I was told under Scottish law I didn’t need to be interviewed as they had enough evidence, so I couldn’t see a solicitor. I was kept in solitary all weekend. As my clothes were wet from lying in the road they were taken off me and I was given a blanket to wrap round me. I was told they would allow me one phone call and they would contact someone on my behalf. I later found out they never did so no one knew where I was. It’s a good job Ruskin had already died.
When I arrived at prison on the Monday I was obvious I had it dealt out to me. I had head injuries and my wrists and hands were lacerated where the handcuffs had been put on so tight they had cut through the skin. All these little skinny smack heads and me over 6ft and nearly 16 stone, with a huge waterproof jacket and hiking boots. Talk about sticking out like a sore thumb. Everyone was really nice and helpful unlike the hell hole of Perth police station. They told me I was too big for the police to arrest. They laughed showing me all the tiny people in their. They said the police were never going to risk arresting me for fear of getting hurt. The first thing would be to smack me down from behind without warning, then they would make a false cover story up. The night had been pouring down with rain, there was hardly anyone about. It gave the police a good excuse to get to the warmth of the main police station canteen by smacking me from behind and making some completely false story of me ‘resisting arrest’.
I was warned in prison by other inmates and officers of the danger waiting for me. Once the police had got me inside they would want to put me back there. Forewarned is forearmed. When I got out just walking to the local shop, if the police saw me the would turn around and kerb crawl behind me. When I went in the shop they would wait outside, then follow me again. It was nothing but intimidation, but as I knew what they were up to so I just ignored them. The justice system isn’t about law and order or protecting the community. It’s just about games and numbers, about power and bullying. 3 racist lying thugs would have got a pat on the back, for getting a result a statistic. If they had been members of the public they would have been locked up with the other (criminals?). But they were police officers so the law didn’t apply to them, they were allowed to do what they wanted knowing they would get away with it.
My trial was a joke a real fix. The prosecution said they would drop the charge of resisting arrest if I pleaded guilty of ‘possessing a knife’. All my paper work had this written on it. I was told there was no defence because i had admitted to the police I had a knife and it was me who gave it to the police. So there was no point in pleading not guilty to something I was automatically guilty of. If I went to trial then they would also prosecute me for attacking the police.
So like a bloody idiot I pleaded guilty. In court they only referred to first and second charge, a bit enigmatic. What a set up. I later found out there was no such offence as ‘possessing a knife’. What I had actually been charged with but not told, was another charge, which I would have had a defence to. But it was all the game. It is just statistics. They couldn’t have innocent members of the public going free without conviction having spent all that money. So they make up false charges and give you bullshit legal advice. Nothing but a con trick, it gets results and protects the police from the public really knowing how they operate.
In 2007 I contributed to 2 Nobel Prizes. The intention was to set up a world leading organisation on environmental management. I have a good reputation and many contacts within research either in climate change or sustainable development. I get phone calls and they are from other Nobel Prize winners commenting on my work. I know we have the technology to save millions of lives and species of animals from extinction.
But I have not even been out into town since the police attacked me. It’s not that I am scared. It was because I didn’t defend myself. But it didn’t matter the police made up the complete opposite story. So what happens now if I walk out in an evening and a police van full of racist thugs gets out for another go. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. If they attack me again, no more Mr Nice Guy. What have I got to lose. I may as well defend myself and give them some of there own medicine back. Oh they will take me down in the end, call for reinforcements, a riot van, gas, a taser or that little red dot, you see but don’t here the bang. But at least this time I will go down fighting. Like a Bearded Collie, true till death.
When I lay in that solitary police cell and later in the prison. Ruskin had only just died. Instead of mourning him, I was glad he was dead, somewhere else, where this evil world couuldn’t hurt him. Pleased that my own dog was dead, where the scum who were treating me worse than I had ever treated any living creature couldn’t treat him the same.
Scotland is beautiful, the people are lovely, the landscape and the skies are spectacular beyond words. But if you are from south of the border, if you have an English accent, if your place of birth is below Carlise. And if you are bringing a dog here consider the risks very carefully. There are psychopathic lying sadists in those police cars. And they are protected by the Courts and Prosecution.
You must consider the risks. This can be a lawless place. You can be dragged out of your car or attacked in the street, kicked into the gutter. Taken to a police station. Locked up without access to a solicitor. Without anyone knowing where you are. I was lucky my dog was dead. One thing I could not imagine, would be not knowing where my dog was. When you are locked in your solitary cell, don’t even believe anything the police say, they just lie to keep you quiet. I have been there. Though this may seem like an isolated incident, I got this uncomfortable feeling this was just part of some accepted practice.
Do I want to live forever? No. Do I want to live any longer? No. I do not share the values of this world anymore. The politicians, the business leaders, the police, the courts. I have very liitle in common. All my life was to the justice system was something they could use for there own ends just as a PR tool in fiddling crime figures. And they didn’t even care how many would die because of that.
I want to die now and be forever again with my little friend. But I made a vow that I would use the rest of my life to carry on our work and help stop the suffering and cruelty that is being inflicted on this beautiful planet. So that is what I am going to do.
Will I ever get another dog. I don’t know. Perhaps the risk is too much. Love your dog as much as they love you. But remember there are some sick, sadistic psychopaths out there who don’t.
Ruskin has gone now, his earthly physical life ended. But in our time together he taught me many things. As one of the skills he never mastered was writing, perhaps it is left to me to write down his teachings for others to read. One trick he showed me was with the horn of a car. This was around 9 years into our journey together. Much further into his story than were we are now in The Song of Ruskin.
With news of Bearded Collies missing or lost, at the risk of spoiling the plot, this may be a good time to bring forward some of his ideas. Some of Ruskin’s greatest virtues were his concern and care for all living things. If he could help or prevent another animal or person’s distress he would make that his priority. So I believe he would want, in his way, for me to share his knowledge.
For a while I was working at a small industrial estate. Ruskin would be off visiting the other units, possibly sitting in an office eating sandwiches or doing whatever he did when I wasn’t about. At times he would quite simply wander off.
Sometimes I would want to leave early or have to go somewhere and need to take him with me. From a game we started playing Ruskin knew the sound of our own car horn. (He used to help out with MoT testing, but only horns, exhausts and sometimes washers, were his area of responsibility).
It would have been time consuming looking in every unit, checking offices, wandering about at random shouting his name etc. So all I had to do was operate the car horn. In play we had developed a simple short ‘signature Morse message’. This meant I am at the car, we are leaving and I want you here. NOW. Ruskin knew the sound of his cars horn, but when it was used to play our tune, whatever else he was doing was dropped immediately, because I was at the car and we needed to leave.
Does your dog know the sound of your car horn playing a simple message they recognise?
Cars can have good associations for dogs. To them they can be ‘magic boxes’ which take them to exciting places for adventure. They may take them to a shop=food, or just going home after a long day again = food time. A dog can walk out of it’s house, get into a car. Without further effort from them, get out again, at a beach or in the woods, for a day of full on fun.And at the end of the day get back in, after a drink of water, from a bottle at the back, fall asleep then wake back up at home. Quite simply in the unquestioning accepting world of a dog, that is truly a magic box.
From this simple accepting concept we might be able to go further into the associated world of Bearded Collies and cars. Though the modern Beardie is associated with, at the most familiar, the herding of sheep, this is not the full story. Part of the lineage and story is as a droving dog, a droving dog concerned with the movement of cattle.
This is a photograph looking north westish towards Blairgowie. Blairgowrie is in the centre of the picture just before the land rises to the hills. The hills rising in the immediate backgrounds are the foothills of the Grampians, the start of the Highlands. From Blairgowrie the Cateran Trail starts. A walking footpath which follows the routes of ancient cattle droves. What you are looking at is probably a prime example of part of the Beardie Collie story. Here the cattle droving ancestors of your dog probably did their work. Though in the case of the Cateran Trail these are routes used by cattle thieves and rustlers, from the 1300-1700s, but did they also use dogs?
The map is that of the Cateran Trail. It is not to difficult in the mind to lay the map down and overlay over the topography of the top picture. Using Blairgowrie as the common point of reference. The photograph is looking north west but the map has north at the top.
Two key imports into to gene pool and evolution of the Beaded Collie are often given. Dogs brought by the Magyar people from Hungary and central Europe in the 1200s and the later introduction of the Polish Lowland in the 1500s. What is clear is that both these took place when cattle movements were a major part of Scottish trade. Sheep becoming a larger contributor to the economy as part of the Highland Clearances, mid 1700s onwards.
Putting in a little more context, just off the right of the picture is the town of Kirriemuir. The birthplace of J M Barrie. Who wrote Peter Pan. The dog in the book, Nana, is thought to be..a Bearded Collie.
The second image, Estuary of the Tay, is turning and looking over your left shoulder, from the first photograph. This is the city and port of Dundee. From here the East Coast of Scotland sweeps out and northwards to Aberdeen, with other harbours on the way such as Arbroath. The East Coast harbours involved in the trade between the Highlands and Europe.
Though the Cateran Trail is associated with cattle stealing, there is no reason to deny the routes were also used for the more lawful movement of livestock. In just two photographs we can see part of a potential scenario. Cattle and sheep being brought by dogs from the Highlands to lowland markets, and trade with the continent, possibility of European dogs being brought to Scotland. A mix of ecology, economics, genetics, social change, trade. Crucial to, and part of the interplay, hairy dogs that made all this possible, by being the most effective managers of the movement of livestock. The trucks and railways of the medieval period onwards.
Just to put this in some more localised geographical context. The river of the valley which flows right to left in the first picture is the Isla. This picture is the joining of Ericht with the Isla. A mile or so back on the far bank and going to the right was the place where Ruskin’s cremation took place. This was not far from the crossing place where for 100s of years or more, his ancestors had moved cattle over the river. This is the last crossing place, the river upstream of Blairgowrie evolving into an upper course one, passing through steep sided high gorges there after.
Chance, coincidence or was it the winds of Karma, that brought a small puppy from a back street in a English industrial town to a final resting amongst the spirits of his ancestors.
Just to tie the geography down a little more. The title picture of this site is from near the summit of Schielhallion, a mountain on the horizon and centre of the first photograph. If I had tilted the camera up slightly, the view would have looked across and towards the right of the mountains of the first picture. If when taking the title picture, I had been slightly nearer the summit and started panning the camera to the left, first it would have pointed north, then next across the remote Rannoch Moor. This is another droving route.
Beyond Rannoch Moor is Glen Coe, north from here leads to the Nevis Range and then to the west, the coast and the islands. In the tribute to her dog Cabo, Annie Hughes used the instrumental piano version of Who Wants to Live Forever, by Queen. The original version being part of the soundtrack for the film Highlander. The locations for the Scottish scenes being shot at these places.
For chronology. The first scenes and battle are set in 1536, around two decades after it is suggested the Polish Lowland, or as I know them, the Nizinny, was introduced to the Beardie bloodline.
Whether we are discussing the Beardie’s role in sheep herding or cattle droving, I am suggesting they may have a natural affinity, an instinct or a race memory, whatever they do, for “big things that move”. In the absence of an animal focus, do they transfer this in some way to an interest in our cars and motor vehicles? Only you can answer this for yourself.
Sometimes even the most streetwise and intelligent dog can occasionally ‘do one’ on a walk in the country or having been taken on holiday etc. Here I think it is important to consider the situation from the perspective of the dog. The dog may not be lost. Dogs can get into many situations. For example jumping down the bank of, and into a stream or small river, then out the other side. Only to find on trying to return it is too slippy or steep. They of course must then find an alternative route back to you. Which takes time. During which you may have moved trying to find them.
At some point it is not being lost that may be the problem. It is the associated indecision and confusion. They cannot find you, but they may know roughly the route back on the walk to where the car was parked. Which strategy is the dog to employ? Continue looking for you or return to a known fixed point.
If you have given up looking in the area you were last together and returned to the car, the next solution is simple. Just give them their signature message on the horn. Then repeat it. Wait 30 seconds then again. The first gets their attention, the second confirmation and the 3rd the homing beacon. Just repeat every minute or so. Though you may not realise it, you have already told your dog something you have not taught them. Something they already know.
What ever their interest in ‘magic boxes’ or ‘big things that move’, they know one thing. It never ever makes a noise without you either sitting in it or standing by the window. It only makes the noise with you there. When you sound the horn, you not only tell your dog where the car is, you also tell the dog where you are. The dog nolonger has any indecision or confusion. It nolonger caught betwen the backwards and forwards goals of looking for you and the fixed point of security, their car. Both are now the same goal in the mind of your dog.
So what is it about a car horn and the Bearded Collie. Think of quiet still nights in the countryside. Broken only by the lowing, mooing and bellowing of far off cattle. Think of a valley, the sound of sheep ba ba-ing, the only noise drifting through the evening air.
Think of the sound of the fog horn of a ship at sea. Think of the sound late at night as you lie in bed and hear a car horn blow in the distance. The sounds all have those low and media frequencies that drift through the air and are not attenuated like the shrill high pitch of a whistle.
I am not suggesting that everyday lazy beardieowners recall their dogs by sittingin their cars blaring their horns, subjecting the land to a cacophony of annoyingand confusing sound. Anymore than I would advise boat owners launch distress flares as they head for harbour to communicate they want their supper on the table in an hour. What I am suggesting is the technique is used in similar appropriate circumstances. When the shouting and looking has failed and you have returned to the car. Where before you may have been distressed and anxious. Now hit the horn and give your dog their own signature mesaage, their homing beacon to you and security.
In the countryside a dog may be able to hear their car horn, with their message for up to a mile or more. If they have got a bit lost or disorientated or are looking for you, it only means 3 things. You, security and home. In my experience the dog responds to it’s own horn and the simple familiar message. The easy skill could be the difference between a few minutes of worried inconvenience and a lost dog.
Is it a coincidence that as a cattle drovingdog one main focus of it’s attention, for survival, would be those sharp pointy things protruding from the head of a tonne or more of wild Scottish bull, as the small Beardie, by psychology only, submits it to it’s will and command, has the same name as the noisy thing under the bonnet of your car.
Would it be sensible to recommend you take a few minutes and allow your dog to hear the sound of your car horn playing a simple short signature tune.