Friday, 22 April 2016

Trainee Perfect Quilters Companion Was Groomed On Wednesday

Ella Pre-Groom
Pip and Charlotte at Just Pet Care turned a rather scruffy Ella into a beautifully groomed Ella in just two hours

Just Pet Care - Facebook

Ella was very scruffy when she went in due to her harness rubbing and creating loss of coat which is now growing back after new harness bought! This is also - as the vet explained - due to Ella being overweight. She is now enrolled in doggy slimming club and it is not the proudest moment of my life taking her to be weighed and having to report on all food eaten and treats given!
When we arrived with Ella there was a lady wanting her dog tidied and Pip had to explain that they could not do this now as Ella was a two person dog! Ella does not see the need for a bath, fur drying, grooming  .. but does like the coming home knowing that she is beautiful! And Pip and Charlotte have with remarkable patience performed another miracle!

Rob Donovan, my husband and Ella's other human wrote about her on his blog
"Ella is a monster but she is our monster"

Ella has moments - don't we all. She is also very loving, has high emotional intelligence and brings great joy.
But being groomed is another matter and we are so grateful to Pip and Charlotte that they turn our scruffy Ella into beautifully groomed Ella. They are miracle workers!

Another miracle worker in Ella's life is Carolyn Boyd. She has provided both help and insight into trainee perfect quilter's companion and her internal world of anxiety. We are grateful for her guidance and that she sees the dog we love and helps us to help her.

Carolyn Boyd - Website -

I was thinking about how much easier the grooming of  our Bearded Collies Molly and Darcy was for Mandy and Kim of Pet Perfection in Aldeburgh, Suffolk.
Molly and Darcy - Returned From A Walk
They went in happily and I would return to find them in their waiting stations looking great and happy. It was always reported how good they had been - a delight to groom. And visitors coming in to see them used to ask who those beautiful, well behaved dogs were! Ella could learn from her Aunt Molly and Uncle Darcy

Both Molly and Darcy were rescued dogs. After the loss of our Old English Sheepdog, Daisy, I had felt that I wanted to offer a home to a Bearded Collie who need rehoming. Quicker than I thought it would take we were asked if we would give a home to Molly aged 14 months. We were her fourth home and there was worry about how difficult this was going to be. Molly took one look around and settled. Being blonde she was the dog little girls took to on walks and she loved the attention. 
As all this had been so easy we thought that we could offer a home to another Beardie companion for Molly. We had to wait slightly longer before Darcy, aged 2 years, 6 months  came into our life. His breeder brought him to us. She had been worried about the family who bought him and was probably not surprised by hearing from their vet that he was concerned. The parents' marriage had broken
and he was proving to be an escape artist. He had been locked in a garden shed and managed to escape, taking himself off to the vets which was close by more than once! Hence the call to breeder! So Darcy arrived! He was a delightful but anxious Beardie, noise sensitive and hated being shut away. Luckily our home was pretty open plan. Thunder was traumatic as were fireworks. During thunder storms and firework time - which went on longer than I ever realised it did - he would sit on Rob's lap quaking. This lasted about a couple of years until we realised that he no longer reacted. 
I always saw Darcy as the Steve McQueen character in the Great Escape who was often sent into solitary confinement. He was not a team player, was determined dig his way out and wanted to see Berlin before the war was over.
They both lived to ripe old ages and are missed.
Ella has filled the gap left by two bearded collies wonderfully well! Can we hope that in time she will be as co-operative when being groomed?

Sunday, 17 April 2016


It was good to see this week that the Beast of Bolsover has lost none of his rage and fire. Once more, the Speaker of the Commons insisted he leave the House. I thought Dennis Skinner’s description of the present incumbent of No 10 as ‘Dodgy Dave’ remarkably restrained.

I first became a fan of the Beast of Bolsover back in the late 80s in the early days of breakfast TV. He and a Tory MP were being interviewed on the subject of MPs having other full time jobs which meant in reality they became part-time MPs. Dennis had just written an article for a Labour Party magazine which had been well received and the Tory pressed the Beast on this point.

“Wouldn’t you like to earn money from writing?”

Other questions followed about ways he could earn more. The Beast acknowledged each question with the same answer.

“Of course.”

In the end the Tory, looking slightly stunned, asked:

“So why don’t you?”

The Beast replied:

“Because I have principles and sometimes having principles costs you.”

I have been a fan – and used this quote – ever since. He enriches the House and if only others had his principles.

Leaving the sublime, I shall now consider the present incumbent of No 10’s wife – Sam Cam. We learnt this week that the taxpayer pays for a special advisor to help with her diary and wardrobe. This advisor has a salary of £53,000 per year.

I have no memory of voting for this. At a time when so many are reliant on food banks why should the tax payer be paying for such services? Previous Prime Minister’s wives and one Prime Minister’s husband have managed on their own, with the support of No 10 staff.

Sam Cam is the daughter of a Baronet. Her family have a Yorkshire estate. You could say that Dave married well. Prior to 2010 she worked full time for Smythson as creative director. She then reduced her work to two days a week. Is she still doing this?  If we are paying for her additional help for her role as wife of the current incumbent of No 10 is this to enable her to continue two days a week of paid work? Are we not now entitled to ask questions about her finances? Are any of her funds off shore? 

And when “Dodgy Dave” listed his finances including the rent on the Notting Hill house he forgot to mention his country cottage in his constituency of Chipping Norton where I believe he spent Christmas.  No doubt he managed a dinner with his neighbours and friends, Rebecca and Charlie Brooks.

I do so remember in 2010 the photo shoots of Dave in his Notting Hill kitchen with careful placement of books and other objects to create the right effect. And again in 2015 in the No 10 kitchen, modernized at their own expense. Image and spin is all in this manufactured world.

To ease a long train journey from Cornwall to Suffolk in 2014 I had borrowed a book from the library – a biography of Clement Attlee, written by Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds in 2010. I became gripped and could not put the volume down. The picture of the man, his life and the times was riveting. When I enjoy a book I never want it to end. So I found myself reading his thanks to all who had played a part in his writing. The best bit came at the very end. The author remarked that while he was writing the book he was often asked if Clement Attlee could be Prime Minister today. To which he replied “Absolutely not. You can hardly see Sir Clement and Lady Attlee agreeing to be photographed with their children in the sitting room.”

I would think highly of Clement Attlee for that fact alone!

I do have a high regard for Jeremy Corbin and am so delighted that so far he is showing no inclination to be photographed with a simpering wife in a posh frock or in any kitchen.

On another note, this week Trainee Perfect Quilter’s Companion has been on holiday in her wonderful holiday home at Joppa Farm as we have been having some electric work done in the house. We did not wish for her to become an imperfect trainee electrician’s assistant! Nor would Peter Davis, our electrician, have welcomed her determined requests for another round of the ball game!

We have misse

Sunday, 10 April 2016

On this Sunday evening I intended to blog to update on progress of Any Dream .. the quilting is underway and I can see the vision of the final piece taking shape - I was delighted by my time spent quilting - an activity which keeps me sane!

Sadly the sanity disappeared when I watched Channel 4 News this evening. The focus continued on Cameron's potential tax avoidance in the past. I consider myself to be a proud and happy tax payer -  it is my privilege to be in a position to make a contribution to social justice, fairness and equality. It  left me remembering how much the world of mental health I worked in before we moved to St Ives has been hit. And how many of my colleagues have been made redundant.

One colleague continued with his work unpaid as he was concerned about the ethics of leaving therapists without supervision.

So many services have been slashed.

Service users in rural areas had been left without transport to the drop in centre so vital for their support and recovery.

Then there are the suicides and the impact on those who worked with them. The suicides who had been declared fit to work.

All this took its toll on those still with work in the services.

I have a friend who is no longer able to work due to a work related injury which left her in continual pain and the drug regime means that she is too sedated to enjoy life. At the end of her fit to work assessment the panel watched her put on her coat in tears due to the pain  and then asked the final question - "Can you stick a stamp on an envelope?" The answer was "Yes". So she was declared fit to work.

If I still lived in Suffolk my private practice would have continued - but the referrals from the local Mental Health Service, Social Services and Suffolk Constabulary would have ended.

We are all in this together? If the stress is too much for Cameron he can at least afford therapy without any worry!

Mr Cameron - all people matter!

Friday, 8 April 2016

Yesterday we went to Kidz R Uz for a magnificent production of Avenue Q   - a great evening full of laughs. It returns in the summer and we are thinking of seeing it again

Friday, 1 April 2016

Welcome To My Blog - Louise Donovan

Louise Donovan - Hand Made Quilt - Gaza
Louise Donovan - Hand Made Quilt - Gaza

Welcome to my blog - Louise Donovan.

I am a textile artist based in beautiful St Ives Cornwall.

My main work is hand-made quilts - on a variety of themes - including:
  • Political Quilts
  • Wedding Quilts
  •  People Who Inspire Me
  • Odds and Ends
You can see more on my website - including images and the story behind each of my quilts:

Louise Donovan - Textile Artist - Website

I will be posting more here about my work and my life.