Fine feline quotes

Fine feline quotes

Adding another in our series of themed selections, we have purrduced a page of illustrated quotations celebrating cats.  We will add more as they turn up in our reading.And if you missed earlier themes, so far we have one dedicated to dogs, and another launched on...
Canine collection of quotes

Canine collection of quotes

To celebrate man’s best friend, what better than to give them their very own dedicated page on International Dog Day?  Doglighted to bring you a choice selection of quotations about this wonderful creature – please do visit and enjoy descriptions of superb...
Brandy-ball eyes

Brandy-ball eyes

I like the ‘brandy-ball’ amber of this clever chap’s gaze, and his space-butting arrangements.  Enjoy another rather original description of a goat’s eyes, this one by Gavin Maxwell, or yet another, by Russell Hoban.  Do brandy-balls still...
Meet the Barone

Meet the Barone

Listening time: under 4 minutes. Casting back across the sweep of history, there is only a handful of creatures, human and otherwise, whom I regret not being able to meet, pending the perfection of the time travel machine I’m building in the (mental) shed.  Of...
Playfulness across the divide

Playfulness across the divide

Listening time: under 5 minutes.We play with dogs and cats and some other creatures.  I used to play with a fox in our garden in London: he made a show of taking my abandoned fleece delicately in his mouth and began pulling it off the table where I’d left it,...
An electric moment

An electric moment

Having a soft spot for foxes, I loved this description of a hair-raising drive careering through the mountain roads of Ithaca in the 1950s, with a fox appearing on the road and showing no concern or fear even with a car-load of men shouting at him.  You can imagine...
Water wild

Water wild

A splashing description of sheer untrammelled liquid joy in the second otter Gavin Maxwell claimed from the wild.  This turned out to be a new species that was named after him (‘Maxwell’s Otter). As Maxwell’s Ring of Bright Water and Henry...
Shovel-shaped antlers

Shovel-shaped antlers

Recently saw a David Attenborough programme showing such flat-planed antlers. Here they are spotted in the forest regions of Transylvania. ‘His widespread shovel-shaped antlers sprung proudly from between the eye-horns on his forehead and his red-brown coat had...
One wrong move

One wrong move

Babur is one of my favourite dogs, full of character and occasionally stubborn and ornery. Here his new master, Rory Stewart, accidentally hits him when trying to protect both of them from an attack by other dogs. It is sad to see the permanent effect this had on a...
An insolence of goats

An insolence of goats

Reading Gavin Maxwell’s lively description of a kitchen takeover by goats makes me wonder how we can call them collectively by a term so bland as ‘herd’.  Surely, an ‘insolence’ would be better? Or an opportunism, or an agility of goats?...
The mule and the mare

The mule and the mare

Listening time: under 3 minutes Grossman writes with great empathy of animals and their experiences. Here an Italian mule, requisitioned to the war effort and finding itself transported to a boundless Russian plain, is hitched up to a cart alongside a mare. The two...
Of edible houses

Of edible houses

A donkey nabbed by the Italian army in the Second World War finds himself in Abyssinia where, from his perspective, the houses are edible. Having tasted this novel form of fodder, he is again exposed to the sickening slipperiness of a ship’s deck with the...
Mule meets Hamlet

Mule meets Hamlet

Grossman has a wonderful capacity to imagine the minds and feelings of animals, and while chronicling the horrors of man’s inhumanity to man, doesn’t forget to notice cruelty to animals, nor their staunch resilience and cleverness. In this short story, he...
The dog who understood

The dog who understood

This mongrel, scooped up off the streets, in Vasily Grossman’s imagined story of the real creature who was the first dog in space, has a Christ-like capacity for love and sympathy, including for her slightly dysfunctional space-programme master.  Here he...

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