The Theology of Dogs

. We’re drinking spiced green tea tonight, a worthy successor to the Crumble Tea sacramentalized by the Anglican Inquisition. If that sounds like dubious theology, it probably is. You must understand that the Anglican Inquisition is comprised of one Anglican, two Presbyterians and an atheist, among others. Ecumenical Inquisition is just a mouthful though -even if not even the tea shops expect them. Besides, we’re not the only ones with suspect doctrine.

Pictured above are the Dachshunds of Dawlish. We don’t mention them as often as we do the Marschallin-cat, which is a grievous disservice considering their adoration of the the Human Pillow. Though as you will gather from the pictures, the theology of Dachshunds is fairly fluid. Buffy (she sits right) is also a sun-worshipper and a coveter of warm floor tiles and heat vents. Augie (pictured left) is braw, blue, and frequently pays fealty to the Fabulous Orange Ball. No one, not even his fellow Dachshund, understands why. Of course, he’s not averse to a spot of sun-worship either.


Or to crossword solving:


Or, as it turns out, to baking, though we failed to document evidence of this, being too taken up the other evening with the shortbread. Here they are petitioning for food though. All that hopeful watching is hungry work when shortbread is at stake.

Anyway, in loving and long-overdue tribute to the Dancing Dachshunds of Dawlish (who are also by turns delightful, devious, and decidedly stubborn) here’s a poem about their canine contemporaries and the things they put their trust in.

Pete’s Theology

Donald Marquis

god made seas to play beside
and rugs to cover dogs
god made cars for holidays
and beetles under logs
god made kitchens so thered be
dinners to eat and scraps
god made beds so pups could crawl
under them for naps
god made license numbers so theyd find
lost pups and bring them home
god made garbage buckets too
to pry in when you roam
god made tennis shoes to chew
and here and there a hat
but i cant see why god should make
mehitabel the cat

pete the pup



The Marschallin-cat, by the way, has no doubt about why God made Dachshunds. They exist to have their noses hit. Dachshunds, are, after all, at optimum nose-hitting level. What you see in the picture is the rare and amicable convening of the Dachshund Embassy with her Imperiousness. Augie, alas, has yet to make any headway. Only girls allowed in this particular club. But he lives in hope. And in the meantime there’s spiced green tea, illicit sandwiches, shortbread crumbs, rugs and cars and beetles under logs. Dachshunds really do have an idyllic existence.



The Business of Cats

Tonight’s tea was confused. It’s called cinnamon rooibos chai, and while all of those are good things they do fight a bit when it comes to flavour. We should here double back a bit and add that it’s only chai in the sense of chai meaning tea. We can’t find evidence of the constituent parts of chai present. Just as well, considering the cinnamon barely registered. This may be our fault. We’re not of the ilk that leaves tea to brew for the request 4-5 minutes, mostly because we like to have the blog up this side of midnight. So it tasted primarily of rooibos, no bad thing, but less subtle than the smell of the tin promised. But it’s a good tea and warm. The kind you can drink to stave off a winter chill, and there’s certainly enough of that going around.

Along those lines we were going to find you a nice, topical poem about tea and winter, or one or the other. But then the Marschallin-Cat put in an appearance She variously sat on us, attempted to write the blog for us, and failing in those efforts, sat with her back to us, Sulking. The Sulking, if you’ve never observed it, is quite the spectacle, and not to be confused with that well-known book of similar name The Shining. Though we fancy there are horrors in store for anyone who ignores a Sulk. We, being disinclined to find out, took the hint. So much for tea and winter. Here’s a poem about life with cats instead.


Busy, Busy

Francesco Marciuliano

It’s 8 AM and it’s time to nap
It’s 10 AM and it’s time to relax.
It’s 12 PM and it’s time to doze off
It’s 3 PM and it’s time to zonk out
It’s 6 PM and it’s time to slumber
It’s 9 PM and it’s time to snooze
It’s 12 AM and time to sleep
It’s 4 AM and it’s tim to hang upside down
from your bedroom ceiling, screaming.

Here we hasten to add that Miss Marschallin never screams. She’s not adverse to a light touch of singing at preternaturally early hours though. With that in mind, from the Marscahllin-Cat and us both, it’s goodnight. At least until 4 in the morning.



You’ll Have Had Your Tea


This is Dougie. He had two great missions in life; food and the guarding of shoes. If you wore the shoes, he sometimes attacked your feet for invading them.

He began, when we’d only met him long-distance, as Dougal, because of the ginger in his fur and that old sketch on I’m Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue called Sound Charades, in which two comedians perpetually began their half of the play with cries of:



‘You’ll have had your tea.

‘Oh, no…’

No one had ever had their tea, to hear ‘Hamish’ and ‘Dougal.’ Neither had Dougie, if you believed everything he had to say on the subject of food.

But Dougal was too Scotch a name for the Canadians he lived with, and anyway, don’t cats always have half a dozen names? So he became Dougie, more Canadian for a Canadian cat, but his origin story was apt, because he was perpetually wanting his tea. And shoes to guard. And people to sit on. But no one does comedic sketches about those things. You’ll Have Had Your Tea it was.

Now I’m having my tea, in quite a different sense, and it goes by the dubious name of ‘Chocolate Macaroon.’ I won’t reiterate the spiel about chocolate in tea. But coconut…to anyone else I suspect it’s inoffensive enough. It tastes of suncream to me, probably because that’s what suncream smells of. Also, curiously, it evokes Nice Biscuits, a culinary misnomer if ever there was one. So all told it’s not won me over yet, which is okay. We’re on day two of this Advent calendar and there’s always a couple of dodgy selections. (Coffee tea of last year comes readily to mind.)

Maybe I just feel guilty about the fact that I’m having tea when Mr Dougie can no longer join me and attack my shoes while I sip it. Pancreatic cancer in cats is like that -not the sort of thing you can reverse.

But objectively, if you aren’t averse to coconut, and if you’re not in converse with departed cats, this isn’t a bad tea. Decadent, and not what you’d want to take with your toast at breakfast, but rich and desert-esque. The sort of thing you’d foist on Tommy and Tuppence at one of there Ritz-staying ventures.

In the meantime, here’s a poem, Dougie. Other cats I’ve been known to sing to. Mr Keys got Hansel and Gretel, specifically the ditty about the mouse in the straw, and Her Nibs is partial to Vilja Lied, but you and I weren’t quite on singing terms. I had the temerity to wear my shoes, after all, and you preferred we sit together instead. And who was I to argue with you, world’s most placid cat? So no music for you, but here’s Tennessee Williams, who had he never written a play, would, we feel confident be remembered for his verse.

We Have Not Long to Love

Tennessee Williams

We have not long to love.
Light does not stay.
The tender things are those
we fold away.
Coarse fabrics are the ones
for common wear.
In silence I have watched you
comb your hair.
Intimate the silence,
dim and warm.
I could but did not, reach
to touch your arm.
I could, but do not, break
that which is still.
(Almost the faintest whisper
would be shrill.)
So moments pass as though
they wished to stay.
We have not long to love.
A night. A day….
We didn’t have you nearly long enough to love, Dougie. You were supposed to live on the spoils of the land (or at least veterinary selected cat-food) for years to come. There would have been shoes to wrestle and tea to be had, and maybe we’d have eventually got to singing terms. Apparently celestial shoes had greater need of your defence. Do them proud. And until we catch up again, it seems a safe bet to think that as no cat-friendly patch of hereafter would starve you, we can fairly suppose you’ll have had your tea, then.