I love this tea towel, for two reasons: firstly, I love the work of Helen L Smith; she has a great sense of humour and can use ordinary, everyday things like gardening to create distinctive cartoon images and a ‘play on words’. Secondly, her work, for me, has always conjured up great memories (because of the circumstances in which I have acquired her tea towels). ‘Fun with Dogs’ is one of a series of tea towels by Helen L Smith; I have already blogged about ‘Dictionary of Gardens’ and ‘Dictionary of Tea’ and one about caravans. If you look at http://www.helen-l-smith.co.uk, on the About Me page, there is a splendid picture of Helen holding up her tea towel, ‘Dictionary of Tea’, something that Fee would probably question; Fe doesn’t approve of people holding up tea towels, as the way to display a tea towel. I think it is great; Helen has a way of holding a tea towel, by its corners, in a manner similar to my own! Must be ok!!
I don’t have a dog; I’ve never had a dog; I don’t want a dog; I couldn’t cope with all those Poop Bags and Pooper-Scoopers. I do have a great memory of a dog and a tea towel, however. It involved Floyd wearing a paper hat around his neck at Christmas 2002; somehow he ventured too near a lighted candle and set fire to the hat. There was a smell of singed hair; we all cried out loud “Floyd’s on fire”. Liz to the rescue put the fire out with a damp tea towel. Yes, you read that correctly, a tea towel. I am stood there, shouting out “You can’t use a tea towel to put out a fire”; it is too precious and, blithely, suggested using articles of expensive clothing as a fire extinguisher. Fortunately, Floyd was unscathed and unperturbed; the tea towel was definitely worse for wear (it is still in use but has not risen to the top of the airing cupboard pile yet). Floyd never wore a paper hat again; Liz never attempted to put out a fire with a tea towel again.
However, a couple of weeks ago I went to a Quiz Evening, as a guest of Gwyn and Pete, in aid of Canine Partners. Gwyn and Pete don’t have a dog (and never had had, as far as I know). There was some long, complicated reason why they were supporting Canine Partners, which I did not fully understand, but I believe it had something to do with a member of the Morris Dancing Group, that Gwyn belongs to, being involved with Canine Partners. It’s years since I had been to a good ‘Pub Quiz’ (although it wasn’t in a Pub). Pub Quizzes feature strongly in the life of a tea towel collector; tea towels are often the source of a lot of random knowledge, the sort of knowledge that is useful in a Pub Quiz. Many of my Blogs have featured such information: the country that drinks most tea per capita (29/7/16 Blog), when to plant a strawberry (20/7/16 Blog), what is the appropriate gift for a fifth wedding anniversary (24/7/15 Blog), what was the date of the marriage of Charles and Diana (30/7/16 Blog), name three Shakespearean Tragedies (8/7/15 Blog), how many points does the letter K score in Scrabble (15/2/16 Blog), name 5 varieties of British potato (5/4/16 Blog), Kings and Queens of England (2/6/16 Blog) and much more. And some of the information gleaned from these, and other, tea towels was useful with Canine Partners and helped Gwyn’s team win third place.
What was great about the event at Canine Partners was that it was so well organised. There were 10 rounds with 12 questions in each round: topics ranged from music to words, from facial recognition to sport. Before the start, each team could opt for one category as a ‘joker’, thus potentially doubling the points on that round, the round your team considered to be their strongest topic. We chose Words, which actually wasn’t our strongest topic. In addition, there was a Quiz on Christmas songs, with 50 questions where you had to identify a song from the initial letters of the title; not as easy as you think. There was a team competition to make the longest paperchain from a copy of the Ashby Times, without the aid of any artificial means of sticking the pieces together. Then there was the buffet and the raffle; when I saw the raffle the first thing I said was that the only prize I wanted to win was the (this) tea towel. And, much to my surprise, that is what I did. Gwyn’s team also won the prize for the longest Christmas paper chain. What an evening! What a team! What memories this tea towel holds!
But actually, you need to look at the tea towel; there are some wonderful cartoons with a ‘play on words’. What about ‘Chilli Dog’ with that great Dachshund wrapped up in scarves? Or the ‘Boxers’, in underwear? Such simple ideas. ‘Napoleon Boney-Parte’ is slightly more subtle, with a dog with a very disdainful look. My favourite has to be the ‘Hound of the Basketballs’. This tea towel is a joyous delight; it will give me great pleasure while working my way through the Christmas wiping-up. However, I noted on Helen’s website that there is a Catalogue of Cats, which I would love to add to my collection, but in the meantime I will content myself with ‘Fun with Dogs’.
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