Shopping with Ben

Ben in his usual habitat!
Last Thursday I went into Kingsbridge and, unusually, decided to take Ben along.  He hadn’t been at all well the previous weekend and although he was much better by then I didn’t want to leave him home alone.  In fact he had been very poorly indeed all one night with a high temperature and vomiting. At one stage he couldn’t even keep water down and I was very worried about him, so spent a sleepless night on the sofa next to him, gently smoothing his fur and dampening his hot nose with a cool flannel.

Eventually he fell into a deep sleep from which he emerged some hours later on the road to recovery.  He was able to drink again on Sunday and by Monday was a bit weak and wobbly but certainly much more like his usual self.  Today, a week later, he is fully recovered.  I still don’t know what caused his illness, but I suspect he might have picked up some  poison when rummaging around the hedgerows around on his walks.  Could be sheep dip, or rat bait – I just don’t know.  He’s well again and that’s all that matters.

Amy was a very girly Newfoundland who loved shopping
Anyway, I was going to tell you about shopping – with Ben.  So not a good idea.  Such a very bad idea in fact.   Amy, my previous newfie, used to adore shopping.  She was the only dog I have ever owned that would actually check out her own reflection in shop windows – something I thought only teenagers were obsessed with doing!

She would wait patiently outside any shop for me, content to accept all the pats and tummy tickles she would receive whilst I was away, and if I took too long, would casually stroll inside to locate her missing human.  (It was very embarrassing the time that she appeared through the changing room curtains – pulling them wide open with her furry body – but that is a different story).  

Ben is quite different.  He is a typical male and totally hates shops.  He drags his paws and lags behind, squeals and cries when left outside and totally ignores his admiring public (how rude).  But I hardened my heart to his tears and tantrums, promised we would visit the pet food shop on the way back to the car, then tied him up and “abandoned” him outside the Oxfam bookshop – one of my favourite destinations in Kingsbridge.  (don’t worry I could see him through the window all the time I was inside).

Whilst he wailed and whined, making sure everyone knew what a cruel owner I was to leave him like that, I was rewarded by discovering this little book …

China cats and daffodils
 .. called “China Cats and Other Beasts in Rhyme”.  The photo doesn’t really do it justice, it’s a very slim volume printed on lovely heavy paper with hand cut pages.  The author is Kathleen Conyngham Greene and upon googling her I discovered that she was born into an aristocratic family in 1885, and had a number of works published in the 1920s and 30s.  Excitingly, this copy of her poems is signed by her … a real treasure for just under £3 (about $4.40).  I love the first verse of the title poem: China Cats …
“I brought two cats from China,
Their eyes are round and green, 
Their tails are twisted up behind,
And so they can’t be seen;
Their coats are spotted, white and black,
Their little paws are grey,
They sit upon the mantelpiece
To keep the mice away.”
…can’t you just imagine those cherished china cats so long ago?  Then, co-incidentally, while googling “China Cats,” I also came across this adorable image from the British Postal Museum and Archive ….
China dogs
Although it’s of dogs, not cats ..  the two combined have given me insipration for a new pattern and I can hardly wait to start working on it tomorrow.  So it was worth taking Ben shopping after all, particularly as I also came home with that lovely bunch of daffodils!


Glad Ben is okay now,I always worry about Sam he goes scavenging when out for a walk…you never know what they are going to eat! x

Elena CozyHomeCrafts

Ben is so cute. Honestly I thought Ben is a man… But he is a lovely dog! 🙂


Happy to read that Ben is well again. Absolutely loved reading about shopping with Ben. I am totally amazed at where/how you get your ideas for designs! Hi to Ben.


Glad Ben is feeling a lot better now, that must have been traumatic for you both.
You must tell more of the missing human and the changing room – sounds like a title for a great novel!
Julie xxxxxxxxxxx

Papgena Made It

I'm very glad that ben is fine!
Thanks for sharing your find with us.
It is amazing how all the males are alike, isn't it?? 😉

Moooody Cow ♥

Your hound is beautiful!!! Glad to hear he is doing better. Mine is currently on a licking frenzy of his paws, and shoulders, I think he's allergic to the new food 🙁


Ditto on Ben feeling better … that has happened to one of our dogs before and the Vet thought it was probably poison as well … Can't wait to see your new pattern that the China cats book inspired you to do … We have 4 cats, plus a stray that we feed as well. And my 2 year old Granddaughter has a collection of cats and dogs that she hauls around the house. I made 2 mice from your mice pattern, which she loves and now she hauls them around with her other stuffed animal friends!!


i think there is a dog bug going at the moment as all my dogs were ill over christmas tummy bugs and sickness.


I'm glad Ben is on the recovery road. It's always so hard when they're sick…they can't tell you what's wrong and you can't tell them it'll be okay.
Love the book, what a great find!


Lucky you! China Cats is such a find, and I can't wait to see the new project it inspires! So glad to hear that Ben is better! Poor fellow! Please give him an extra hug for me!
X Linda


So glad Ben is better. It is tough when our pets get sick.
Can't wait to see what you create.


What a lovely post Helen.
I loved the stories about Amy and Ben shopping especially the bit where Amy charged into the changing rooms 🙂
Poor Ben, sorry to hear he was so poorly and glad he is better now.
Lovely finds in the Oxfam shop. Maybe shopping with Ben is worth it once in a while!


Poor Ben, they can't tell us what's wrong. I was up for hours with Blue last night, he had a tummy ache.


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