Wally Dogs and Rice Pudding

A few things recently have got me thinking about my Granny who died in 1982.

I’ve had two really cute Border terriers as “guests”.  Meg and Flossie are mother and daughter and have a typical tempestuous mother/daughter relationship.  They are inseparable most of the time: spoon together to go to sleep; lick clean each other’s ears and have frequent spats which seem to be forgotten the second they’re over.  And Meg farts throughout her entire walk.

What has this got to do with my Granny, you’re thinking?  No, she didn’t lick clean my mum’s ears (well, not in my presence) and I don’t think they ever growled at each other and snapped at each other’s hind quarters (again … not in my presence at any rate), and no my Granny didn’t do that old lady ‘walk ‘n fart’ thing.


Living, breathing Wally Dogs

Meg and Flossie

Meg and Flossie have taken to sitting on top of an old seaman’s chest in front of a window  which overlooks my drive and gazing out at the world (well, the giraffe and sheep) and they look just like (mismatched) Wally Dogs.  My Granny had an enchanting pair which sat on her mantelpiece throughout my entire childhood and they fascinated me.

I loved those Wally Dogs and, as many as I’ve seen at antique fairs, antique shops and in other people’s homes, I’ve never seen a pair quite as lovely.  They had the same colouring as Scarlett, my orange roan Spaniel, and had intricately picked out chain collars: a feature of every Staffordshire ware parlour dog from the Victorian Restoration Revival.  So were they a part of the fixtures and fittings in my Granny’s farmhouse that I never thought to ask where they came from or how old they were.  I would just admire them from afar as I’d never have dreamt of touching them even if I could have reached. Unlike children today!  Don’t get me started.

Wonder where they are now?

When I see Meg and Flossie sitting there “Wally doggish” all sorts of memories come flooding back.  Coincidentally, my grandparent’s farm dog was also called Flossie and we adored each other.  My very first Golden Retriever was her namesake as a tribute to the original.  It’s been bittersweet to have a Flossie back in my home again.

There’s no clever segueway from waxing lyrical about dogs I have loved to the next topic so … rice pudding.

My friend Margaret came round last night and I realised I had nothing for dessert so rooted around in my store cupboard to see what I could come up with.  Rice – tick.  Milk – tick.  *Sugar – tick.  Butter – tick. Nutmeg – tick.  Lemons – tick.  Rice pudding it was.  (Recipe) Shockingly, at the tender age of … the tender age I am, I have never made a rice pudding before, but I’ll be making them regularly now.  Not only was it like an angel crying on my tongue but the sweet, caramel aroma filling my kitchen transported me right back to my Granny’s farm kitchen when my Granda and I came in for our “dinner” at lunchtime.  My Granda loved rice pudding but couldn’t eat the skin.  Because of that I didn’t either.  If it was bad enough for my Granda it was bad enough for me.  Golly, I didn’t know what I was missing.  I discovered last night that it’s the best bit.

Granny, why did you indulge me and not make me sit there until I cleaned my plate?  And Granda too for that matter?

I spent most of my school holidays at my grandparents’ farm and they were without doubt the most carefree days of my life.

Of course, they weren’t my real grandparents, but that’s a blog for another day.

* I didn’t have any white so used soft brown sugar and Margaret said it was the best RP she’d ever tasted!


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