A passionate little blog started by a deerhound dog in Scotland called Rogue ‘Brylach’ MacAllister and Passed to Rascal ‘Logan’ Dorrator Heath

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Scotlands National Day

St Andrews Day

Celebrate deerhounds everywhere for today is Scotlands National day (relating to the Christian belief) . . . of course we know that we deerhounds long pre date Christianity in Scotland and as a little special tie-in today, I have decided to feature the image below - some of the information is obtained from St Andrews University and the St Andrews Legend from Wikipedia.

This relief carving of hunting scene, features deer surrounded by pack of hounds, and hunter with a spear.

The image features archaelogical remains. The Pictish sarcophagus was found by workmen in the grounds of St Andrews Cathedral in the 19th century. It is nearly 6 feet long and has elaborate carvings on the four sides and corner posts. It is believed to be a royal tomb shrine of a Pictish king and is one of the finest examples of Pictish carving in existence. The early Celtic 'Culdee' missionary monks built a church on the headland over looking St Andrews harbour ca. 800. It was replaced by the church of St-Mary-on-the-Crag, the outline of which is still visible outwith the cathedral grounds.

Does the Pictish sarcophagus have links to the tale of St Andrew?

The Saltire (or "St. Andrew's Cross") is the national flag of Scotland.
About the middle of the tenth century, Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland. Several legends state that the relics of Andrew were brought under supernatural guidance from Constantinople to the place where the modern town of St. Andrews stands (Pictish, Muckross; Gaelic, Cill Rìmhinn).

The oldest surviving accounts are two:

One is among the manuscripts collected by Jean-Baptiste Colbert and willed to Louis XIV, now in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, the other in the Harleian Mss in the British Library, London. They state that the relics of Andrew were brought by one Regulus to the Pictish king Óengus mac Fegusa (729–761). The only historical Regulus (Riagail or Rule) — the name is preserved by the tower of St. Rule — was an Irish monk expelled from Ireland with St. Columba; his date, however, is c. 573–600. There are good reasons for supposing that the relics were originally in the collection of Acca, bishop of Hexham, who took them into Pictish country when he was driven from Hexham (c. 732), and founded a see, not, according to tradition, in Galloway, but on the site of St. Andrews. The connection made with Regulus is, therefore, due in all probability to the desire to date the foundation of the church at St. Andrews as early as possible.

Another legend says that in the late eighth century, during a joint battle with the English, King Ungus (either the Óengus mac Fergusa mentioned previously or Óengus II of the Picts (820–834)) saw a cloud shaped like a saltire, and declared Andrew was watching over them, and if they won by his grace, then he would be their patron saint. However, there is evidence Andrew was venerated in Scotland before this.

The 1320 Declaration of Arbroath cites Scotland's conversion to Christianity by St. Andrew, "the first to be an Apostle".

Whatever your belief, as a hound I wish you all to enjoy the day!


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Lady of the Lake

Sir Walter Scott the Master at Portrayal of Romantic Scotland and scribe to manies a deerhound tale.

Owner of Maida as in this portrait painting by his associate Sir Edwin Landseer.

To appreciate the appeal of the deer in their natural environment, few words can capture this better than the opening verses from The Lady of the Lake. The scene of the following Poem is laid chiefly in the vicinity of Loch Katrine, in the Western Highlands of Perthshire. The time of Action includes Six Days, and the transactions of each Day occupy a Canto. A call to the magic of Celtic and Scots folklore of the fairyland that is nature itself. An epic work by todays poetic standards which is available in it’s entirity online by clicking the title below. I feel, had the huntsmen included deerhounds among the pursuing pack, the Lady of the Lake would never have passed the first verse. Read from the opening verse to whet ones appetite. Then visit the full transcript.

Sir Walter Scott
Excerpt from CANTO FIRST.

The Chase.

Harp of the North! that mouldering long hast hung
On the witch-elm that shades Saint Fillan's spring
And down the fitful breeze thy numbers flung,
Till envious ivy did around thee cling,
Muffling with verdant ringlet every string,--
O Minstrel Harp, still must thine accents sleep?
Mid rustling leaves and fountains murmuring,
Still must thy sweeter sounds their silence keep,
Nor bid a warrior smile, nor teach a maid to weep?

Not thus, in ancient days of Caledon,
Was thy voice mute amid the festal crowd,
When lay of hopeless love, or glory won,
Aroused the fearful or subdued the proud.
At each according pause was heard aloud
Thine ardent symphony sublime and high!
Fair dames and crested chiefs attention bowed;
For still the burden of thy minstrelsy
Was Knighthood's dauntless deed, and Beauty's matchless eye.

O, wake once more! how rude soe'er the hand
That ventures o'er thy magic maze to stray;
O, wake once more! though scarce my skill command
Some feeble echoing of thine earlier lay:
Though harsh and faint, and soon to die away,
And all unworthy of thy nobler strain,
Yet if one heart throb higher at its sway,
The wizard note has not been touched in vain.
Then silent be no more! Enchantress, wake again!

The stag at eve had drunk his fill,
Where danced the moon on Monan's rill,
And deep his midnight lair had made
In lone Glenartney's hazel shade;
But when the sun his beacon red
Had kindled on Benvoirlich's head,
The deep-mouthed bloodhound's heavy bay
Resounded up the rocky way,
And faint, from farther distance borne,
Were heard the clanging hoof and horn.

As Chief, who hears his warder call,
'To arms! the foemen storm the wall,'
The antlered monarch of the waste
Sprung from his heathery couch in haste.
But ere his fleet career he took,
The dew-drops from his flanks he shook;
Like crested leader proud and high
Tossed his beamed frontlet to the sky;
A moment gazed adown the dale,
A moment snuffed the tainted gale,
A moment listened to the cry,
That thickened as the chase drew nigh;
Then, as the headmost foes appeared,
With one brave bound the copse he cleared,
And, stretching forward free and far,
Sought the wild heaths of Uam-Var.

Yelled on the view the opening pack;
Rock, glen, and cavern paid them back;
To many a mingled sound at once
The awakened mountain gave response.
A hundred dogs bayed deep and strong,
Clattered a hundred steeds along,
Their peal the merry horns rung out,
A hundred voices joined the shout;
With hark and whoop and wild halloo,
No rest Benvoirlich's echoes knew.
Far from the tumult fled the roe,
Close in her covert cowered the doe,
The falcon, from her cairn on high,
Cast on the rout a wondering eye,
Till far beyond her piercing ken
The hurricane had swept the glen.
Faint, and more faint, its failing din
Returned from cavern, cliff, and linn,
And silence settled, wide and still,
On the lone wood and mighty hill.

Less loud the sounds of sylvan war
Disturbed the heights of Uam-Var,
And roused the cavern where, 't is told,
A giant made his den of old;
For ere that steep ascent was won,
High in his pathway hung the sun,
And many a gallant, stayed perforce,
Was fain to breathe his faltering horse,
And of the trackers of the deer
Scarce half the lessening pack was near;
So shrewdly on the mountain-side
Had the bold burst their mettle tried.

The noble stag was pausing now
Upon the mountain's southern brow,
Where broad extended, far beneath,
The varied realms of fair Menteith.
With anxious eye he wandered o'er
Mountain and meadow, moss and moor,
And pondered refuge from his toil,
By far Lochard or Aberfoyle.
But nearer was the copsewood gray
That waved and wept on Loch Achray,
And mingled with the pine-trees blue
On the bold cliffs of Benvenue.
Fresh vigor with the hope returned,
With flying foot the heath he spurned,
Held westward with unwearied race,
And left behind the panting chase.

'T were long to tell what steeds gave o'er,
As swept the hunt through Cambusmore;
What reins were tightened in despair,
When rose Benledi's ridge in air;
Who flagged upon Bochastle's heath,
Who shunned to stem the flooded Teith,--
For twice that day, from shore to shore,
The gallant stag swam stoutly o'er.
Few were the stragglers, following far,
That reached the lake of Vennachar;
And when the Brigg of Turk was won,
The headmost horseman rode alone.

Alone, but with unbated zeal,
That horseman plied the scourge and steel;
For jaded now, and spent with toil,
Embossed with foam, and dark with soil,
While every gasp with sobs he drew,
The laboring stag strained full in view.
Two dogs of black Saint Hubert's breed,
Unmatched for courage, breath, and speed,
Fast on his flying traces came,
And all but won that desperate game;
For, scarce a spear's length from his haunch,
Vindictive toiled the bloodhounds stanch;
Nor nearer might the dogs attain,
Nor farther might the quarry strain
Thus up the margin of the lake,
Between the precipice and brake,
O'er stock and rock their race they take.

The Hunter marked that mountain high,
The lone lake's western boundary,
And deemed the stag must turn to bay,
Where that huge rampart barred the way;
Already glorying in the prize,
Measured his antlers with his eyes;
For the death-wound and death-halloo
Mustered his breath, his whinyard drew:--
But thundering as he came prepared,
With ready arm and weapon bared,
The wily quarry shunned the shock,
And turned him from the opposing rock;
Then, dashing down a darksome glen,
Soon lost to hound and Hunter's ken,
In the deep Trosachs' wildest nook
His solitary refuge took.
There, while close couched the thicket shed
Cold dews and wild flowers on his head,
He heard the baffled dogs in vain
Rave through the hollow pass amain,
Chiding the rocks that yelled again.

Close on the hounds the Hunter came,
To cheer them on the vanished game;
But, stumbling in the rugged dell,
The gallant horse exhausted fell.
The impatient rider strove in vain
To rouse him with the spur and rein,
For the good steed, his labors o'er,
Stretched his stiff limbs, to rise no more;
Then, touched with pity and remorse,
He sorrowed o'er the expiring horse.
'I little thought, when first thy rein
I slacked upon the banks of Seine,
That Highland eagle e'er should feed
On thy fleet limbs, my matchless steed!
Woe worth the chase, woe worth the day,
That costs thy life, my gallant gray!'

Then through the dell his horn resounds,
From vain pursuit to call the hounds.
Back limped, with slow and crippled pace,
The sulky leaders of the chase;
Close to their master's side they pressed,
With drooping tail and humbled crest;
But still the dingle's hollow throat
Prolonged the swelling bugle-note.
The owlets started from their dream,
The eagles answered with their scream,
Round and around the sounds were cast,
Till echo seemed an answering blast;
And on the Hunter tried his way,
To join some comrades of the day,
Yet often paused, so strange the road,
So wondrous were the scenes it showed.

The western waves of ebbing day
Rolled o'er the glen their level way;
Each purple peak, each flinty spire,
Was bathed in floods of living fire.
But not a setting beam could glow
Within the dark ravines below,
Where twined the path in shadow hid,
Round many a rocky pyramid,
Shooting abruptly from the dell
Its thunder-splintered pinnacle;
Round many an insulated mass,
The native bulwarks of the pass,
Huge as the tower which builders vain
Presumptuous piled on Shinar's plain.
The rocky summits, split and rent,
Formed turret, dome, or battlement.
Or seemed fantastically set
With cupola or minaret,
Wild crests as pagod ever decked,
Or mosque of Eastern architect.
Nor were these earth-born castles bare,
Nor lacked they many a banner fair;
For, from their shivered brows displayed,
Far o'er the unfathomable glade,
All twinkling with the dewdrop sheen,
The briar-rose fell in streamers green,
kind creeping shrubs of thousand dyes
Waved in the west-wind's summer sighs.

Boon nature scattered, free and wild,
Each plant or flower, the mountain's child.
Here eglantine embalmed the air,
Hawthorn and hazel mingled there;
The primrose pale and violet flower
Found in each cliff a narrow bower;
Foxglove and nightshade, side by side,
Emblems of punishment and pride,
Grouped their dark hues with every stain
The weather-beaten crags retain.
With boughs that quaked at every breath,
Gray birch and aspen wept beneath;
Aloft, the ash and warrior oak
Cast anchor in the rifted rock;
And, higher yet, the pine-tree hung
His shattered trunk, and frequent flung,
Where seemed the cliffs to meet on high,
His boughs athwart the narrowed sky.
Highest of all, where white peaks glanced,
Where glistening streamers waved and danced,
The wanderer's eye could barely view
The summer heaven's delicious blue;
So wondrous wild, the whole might seem
The scenery of a fairy dream.


Oor Wullie? The Broons? Naw it’s The Deerhoonds!

Just click on the image below to view a bigger comic . . . Oor Rogue, Your Rogue, A’bodies Rogue!


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Deerhounds provide for the pot

So the deerhound does his work the deer has fallen - what then?

Well Rogue the bookworm was reading from the book lauded as ‘the best book ever written about Scottish food’ - The Scots Kitchen by F. Marian McNeill first published in 1929 and as good today as it ever was.

In this book, many recipes supplied to Meg Dods o the Cleikum Club - an institution made famous in the writings of Sir Walter Scot in St Ronnan’s Well are printed with historic detail.

Anyway to the point of this blog - what to do with the venison? - For your delictation, I have selected from ‘the Dishes of Game and Poultry’

To Roast Red Dear or Roe
(an old Holyrood recipe,* supplied to the Cleikum Club by P. Winterblossom, Esq.)

Venison, Spices, claret, vinegar or lemons, butter, flour, walnut catsup.

Season the haunch highly by rubbing it well with mixed spices. Soak it for six hours in claret and a quarter-pint of the best vinegar or the fresh juice of three lemons; turn it frequently and baste with the liquor. Strain the liquor in which the venison was soaked; add to it fresh butter melted, and with this baste the haunch throughout the whole time it is roasting. Fifteen minutes before the roast is drawn remove the paper, baste with butter, and dredge lightly with flour to froth and brown it.

For sauce. – take the contents of the dripping pan, which will be very rich and highly flavoured, and a half-pint of clear brown gravy, drawn from the venison or full-aged heath mutton. Boil them up together, skim, add a teaspoon of walnut catsup, lemon juice or any of the flavoured vinegars most congenial to venison, and to the taste of the gastronome, may advantageously be substituted.

*“This was one of those original receipts on which our old beau plumed himself not a little. This mode of dressing venison he said, had been invented by the Master of the Kitchen to Mary of Guise, and had been ever since preserved a profound secret by the noble family of M_______, till the late Earl communicated it to himself” Annals of the Cleikum Club

Well hopefully all deerhound owners after a successful days work by the hounds will be heading home to prepare their catch to the above recipe, and enjoy a dish that was once prepared in the Scottish tradition for the mother to Mary Queen of Scots.

More Deerhound Historical Footnotes

No doubt, in her short life, the beautiful Mary Queen of Scots also enjoyed this dish as she was believed to have kept a kennel of deerhounds at Linlithgow palace to hunt the rich forest land of the Forth valley. This was before her half sister Queen Elizabeth I of England had her executed.

And on the Queen Elizabeth front - below is a 16th century plate from a wood cut which depicts Queen Elizabeth I at the taking of a stag on the hunt. She is offered the knife for the kill. In the background we see hunting hounds depicted.

It’s dificult to assertain their breed type but their heads look to large to be deerhounds/ greyhounds and the coat appears smooth with ears rounded. This is most likely a stylised image as we know the hounds would not be bounding around in such a uniform maner. A poor depiction of greyhounds? or the thought is that they may be mastifs of sorts. These dogs were popular with nobles and in particular with the Spanish who used them to forge much of their empire during this period.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

White Stag in Perthshire

With the recent sightings of a white stag in Perthsire in the East Scottish Highlands, I thought as a deerhound I should investigate this ghost like of creatures further.

My instinct may be to set off in pursuit of the creature itself but the White Stag has several tales of Legend attached to it and woe to they who kill one as it is believed to bring all kinds of bad luck.

Read below a Celtic article culled from another website that I have reproduced as these articles are prone to disapearing into the ether as the deer disapear into the mist.

The White Stag

The white stag is a familiar creature of myth and legend. Its origins are likely in the totemic period of early Indo-European society, particularly the northern societies of the Celts and pre-Indo-European cultures, whose subsistence was gained not only through agriculture, but through hunting.1 This dependence on deer may be seen in the zoomorphic Celtic god Cernunnos, depicted as being a man with the antlers of a deer.

The white stag in Celtic myth is an indicator that the Otherworld is near. It appears when one is transgressing a taboo--such as when Pwyll tresspassed into Arawn's hunting grounds, or when Peredur entered the Castle of Wonders in his second adventure at the house of the Lame King. It also appears as an impetus to quest--the white stag or hart often appears in the forests around King Arthur's court, sending the knights off on to adventure against gods and fairies. (C. S. Lewis uses this device at both the beginning and end of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.2)

It also appears in French romance and lais as a similar indicator, such as in the lais of Marie de France, when Guigemar happens upon the strange sight of a white doe with antlers. He wounds the strange, hermaphroditic--note that word--animal, which curses him to grow up and fall in love.
It is also an important element of Hungarian mythology, which believed that a great white stag led the brothers Hunor and Magar to settle in Scythia. Thus were established the Huns and Magyars.

To Christians, the white stag came to symbolize Christ, perhaps in part inspired by the St. Eustace legend, wherein the Roman soldier Eustace is hunting, and happens upon a deer with a cross between his antlers. Eustace converts on the spot, and is put through numerous tragedies, persecutions, etc., including the death of his family, until being miraculously reunited with them. However, it is clear that this pious legend has pagan predecessors.

It is also worth noting that in Christian iconography, the unicorn is a symbol for Christ. There is a close identification between the white stag and the unicorn, and it can be reasoned that the white stag is the equivalent of the unicorn in these northern cultures, which do not record the existence of unicorns.3

The white hart also was the heraldic symbol of England's King Richard II.

The first thing to examine is the color: white is a symbol of purity, while also a symbol of otherworldliness. The white stag in Pwyll penduc Dyfed has a white body with red ears--the typical colors of otherworld creatures (the hounds of Arawn are also this color).

It is also associated with the sun; in Christian iconography, the stag appears with the sun between its horns. Earlier gods associated with the stag were also nature deities: Cernunnos, Fionn, Gwynn ap Nudd. Santa Claus--that half-memory of Odin/Thor--is drawn by eight reindeer--who may or may not be white.

The deer, finally, was a source of life, an important resource for early man.

Ultimately, the white stag is not only a creature of the gods, but is a god himself, symbolizing the creative life force of the universe--sex, life, and also death.

1. This split life between agriculture and hunting is readily seen in the Fenian Cycle of Irish literature--Fionn Mac Cumhill and his band, the Fianna, spend half the year in the forests, hunting, and the other half of the year in the service of the king. Fionn's original name was Demne, a word for dear, while his wife Sabd was transformed into a deer by a druid, and his son and grandson's names contain references to deer: Oisin "little deer," Oscar "deer-lover."

2. Oddly enough, the White Witch's sleigh is drawn by a white stag, and these are the first things Edmund sees when enterin Narnia, while it is a white stag which leads the children back to England. Perhaps this is an example of Lewis's occasional belief in relativism, that even the evil things of this world have some place in God's plan, though we can't see it. The white stag may be pulling the White Witch, but this is what draws Edmund, and then later the elder siblings, into Narnia. Otherwise, it is doubtful that everyone would have ever believed Lucy.

3. It is worth noting that the white stag in Peredur is described as having one horn--which is how it is described in the second continuation of Perceval. The Welsh version most likely originally described a white stag; the French turned that into the more familiar unicorn, and the later Welsh redactor of Peredur returned the animal to a stag, but keeping the odd image of a single horn.

Arthurian Legend

Below are reproductions from Arthurian Legend relating to the White Stag Hunt - these tales are drawn from different sources as credited and to accompany the text, included are book illustrations from 12th century scripts - notice the hounds of the hunt - Celtic hunting hounds perhaps? Hounds of the Gaels? these images are sourced from the Bibliothèque nationale de France

The Hunt of the White Stag in Geraint, Son of Erbin

While Arthur is holding court at Caerlleon, the Forester of Dean (Madawc, son of Twrgardarn) arrives with news of the White Stag that will precipitate the adventure that is the story of Geraint (Erec) and Enid...

"In the Forest I saw a stag, the like of which beheld I never yet." "What is there about him," asked Arthur, "that thou never didst see his like?" "He is of pure white, Lord, and he does not herd with any other animal through stateliness and pride, so royal is his bearing." "It seems best to me," said Arthur, "to go and hunt him to-morrow at break of day; and to cause general notice there-of to be given tonight in all quarters of the Court." And Arryfuerys was Arthur's chief huntsman, and Arelivri was his chief page...

Now, this is how Arthur hunted the stag. The men and the dogs were divided into hunting parties, and the dogs were let loose upon the stag. And the last dog that was let loose was the favorite dog of Arthur. Cavall was his name. And he left all the other dogs behind him, and turned the stag. And at the second turn, the stag came towards the hunting party of Arthur. And Arthur set upon him. And before he could be slain by any other, Arthur cut off his head. Then they sounded the death horn for slaying, and they all gathered round...

Then they all set forth, holding converse together concerning the head of the stag, to whom it should be given. One wished that it should be given to the lady best loved by him, and another to the lady whom he loved best. And all they of the household, and the knights, disputed sharply concerning the head.

The Mabinogion, Geraint Son of Erbin Lady Charlotte Guest, trans. (London : J. M. Dent & Sons, 1910): pp220-21,231.

The hunt of the White Stag in Chretien de Troyes' Erec and Enide...

On Easter day, in springtime,
at Cardigan, his castle,
King Arthur held court.
So rich a one was ever seen,
for there were many good knights,
brave and combative and fierce,
and rich ladies and maidens,
daughters of kings, noble and beautiful;
but before the court concluded
the king said to his knights
that he wanted to hunt the white stag
in order to revive the tradition.
My lord Gawain was not a bit pleased
when he heard this:
"Sire," said he, "from this hunt
you will never have either gratitude nor thanks.
We have all known for a long time
what tradition is attached to the white stag:
he who can kill the white stag
by right must kiss
the most beautiful of the maidens of your court,
whatever may happen.
Great evil can come from this,
for there are easily five hundred
Damsels of high lineage here,
daughters of kings, noble and prudent,
and there is not a one that is not the favorite
of some valiant and bold knight,
each of whom would want to contend,
either rightly or wrongly,
that the one who pleases him
is the most beautiful and the most noble."
The king replied: "This I know well,
but I will not give up my plan for all that,
for the word of a king
must not be opposed.
Tomorrow morning with great pleasure
we will all go to hunt the white stag
in the forest of adventures:
this hunt will be truly wondrous."
Thus was the hunt arranged
for the morrow, at daybreak.
The next day, as soon as it was light,
the king arose and made ready;
to go into the forest
he put on a short tunic.
He had the knights awakened,
the hunting-steeds readied.
They had their bows and their arrows,
and set off to hunt in the forest.
The queen mounted up after them,
accompanied by an attendant;
she was a maiden, daughter of a king,
and sat upon a good palfrey.
A knight came spurring after them:
his name was Erec.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

They rode speedily on
and came straight to the forest.
Those who had gone on ahead
Had already raised the stag:
some blew on horns, others shouted;
the dogs went noisily after the stag,
running, rushing and barking;
the archers were shooting thick and fast.
Out in front of all of them the king was hunting,
mounted on a Spanish hunter.

As the hunting party moves on ahead, Erec and the Queen chance upon a "armored knight on a charger," accompanied by a "fine looking maiden," and a dwarf, "who was very evil and baseborn." The confrontation is an ugly one; "Folly is not prowess; / in this Erec acted very wisely: / he withdrew...", but after reflection resolves to follow the knight and avenge himself.

Erec left the queen
and followed the knight.
And the queen remained in the woods,
where the king had caught up with the stag:
at the taking of the stag
the king arrived before any of the others.
They killed and took the white stag.
All started back,
carrying the stag as they went;
they arrived at cardigan.
After the evening meal, when the nobles
were joyful throughout the house,
the king, according to the tradition,
since he had taken the stag,
said that he would bestow the kiss
in order to observe the tradition of the stag.
Throughout the court there was much muttering:
They promised and swore to one another
that this would never be done without contention
by means of sword or lance of ash-wood.
Each one wanted, by deeds of arms,
to contend that his lady
was the most beautiful in the hall;
these words did not bode well;
When my lord Gawain heard this,
You may be sure that he was not at all pleased.

Chretien, de Troyes. Erec and Enide. Carleton W. Carroll, trans, ed. Garland Library of Medieval Literature; vol. 25. series A. (New York : Garland Publishing, 1987). pp 3-5,7,15.

Bad Luck

As an end to this article and an interesting footnote - The Archduke Franz Ferdinand shot and killed a white stag in his hunt - not long after this he himself was assainated - his death eventually (although not the only reason for) leading to the outbreak of the First World War - perhaps a stark warning to all deerhounds and their human associates who fancy bringing down the white deer - let it live to avoid the wrath of the gods!


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Rogue come home

Wishing the world peace . . .


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Caledonians and the Deerhound 84AD

When the Romans Invaded almost 2 millenia ago, the island that was to eventually become Britian, little did they know that they would find to the north of this island, a people that would prove to be one of their most difficult and troublesome adversaries throughout the period of their great empire.

This land would be named Caledonia and populated by tribes of wild, earthy, ‘barbarians’, who looked physically different to the southerners and others tribes they had encountered. But interestingly, from descriptive texts kept by the Romans, we can build a picture of how they were, how they lived and of relevance here . . . the hounds they kept.

From the Geddes and Grosset ‘Ancient Scotland’ book comes the following detail . . .

”The Caledonians Reaction to Agricola’s invasion in 84 showed that they were capable of order and unity. They Lacked a coinage, They Lacked Bathhouses and they lacked imperial ambition. Their Technology was inferior to that of the Romans, although they had mastered Ironworking and some of them were accomplished workers in bronze. They decorated their bodies in a way that sugested a primitive wildness. They were skilled trackers, hunters and fishers, as well as pastoralists and farmers – country dwellers with no concept of town life or how to establish it. They kept animals – sheep, pigs, cows, dogs and horses and lived with them cheek by jowel. They made their own cloth and clothes. Their way of life was close to the soil but not bound to it – there was to much wild game to be caught for that to be necessary.“

We can surmise that the Caledonia who were also eventually reffered to as Pechti - a description (believed to be derogatory) relating to their country/rural ways - were tribes that existed largely through hunting. Although the landscape may have been quite different to that of today, with an abundance of birch, willow and rowan trees and rich with berry and bramble bushes, all ‘craw planted’ and mushrooms and fish filled streams a plenty, not forgetting the wild game, bears and wolves.

It is also said . . .

”The agricultural seasons determined and measured the pattern of their existence. Having come to a certain understanding of the universe, they lived their lives accordingly. They believed in the influences, baneful and benevolent, not only of a variety of gods or demigods, but also of local nature spirits. The reedy rippling tarn, the running river, especially at confluences, the silent wooded groves, certain mountains, fertile fields – all were sustained by tutelary spirits, whom it was well to respect and placate. Often the spirits were concieved in animal form (think Bran), and the present names of some streams and other features in Scotland still reflect this association.”

The people had a class of priest and/or magicians but they used neither reading nor writing. And this point is cruicial to the way tales of the Scottish past and tradditions are – Whatever they had of history, legend, lore and records was committed to memory and transferred verbally. In all these respects they were considered uncivilised, but in many respects this way has been maintained for 2000 years in the country of Scotland. This of course means that many in Scotland have been passed tales throughout generations relating to aspects of their heritage, which include the large grey hunting hounds and the respect for, and place amongst the tribes / clans and families, but because much of the history is through vocal transfer, much of it is discredited or treated with scepticism. This was never more obvious than when we observe the feud brought about by James Macpherson's Tales of Ossian and his detractor Dr. Samuel Johnson.

Back to hard evidence, there are objects found that point to proof of high artistic skill amongst the Caledonians dating from the first century, which were found in the same areas that would eventually be home to the Pictish arts in Moray and Aberdeenshire. Arts as we know depicted the hunt using large hounds. The ancestors of we deerhounds.

To find out more about the Caledonians simply click the link or here for a very good Scotland history website.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Shock! Horror! Deerhounds in the post!

If you’re going to ‘post’ to you’re blog what better to use than a Scottish Deerhound Stamp and where better to start than in Scotland itself. Would you believe we deerhounds are so revered throughout the world that many countries, republics and islands have dedicated postal images to us – and quite rightly so. Many of the stamps featured below are available to purchase on line and indeed some of the accompanying text comes from information supplied by a Philatelist at Animal Stamps – visit them for further stamp details and prices.

From the Holy Island of Eynhallow in the Orkneys, one of the group of islands to the north of mainland Scotland comes this lovely Scottish Deerhound stamp. It was produced in October of 1984. Eynhallow is one of the numerous islands off the coast of Scotland that issues stamps under their own authority. They are not really valid postage stamps but if the island is occupied, the stamps can be used to send mail to the mainland, but are not of use beyond that or even to send mail back to the island. Many of the Orkney Islands are not occupied and the stamps from those are considered simply privately produced stamps. These stamps are not very common. Find out more about the Orkneys here and in particular the stories of Eynhallow and the Sorcerous Finfolk by clicking on the heading. Could they be ancient links to Fionn mac Cumhaill and the Fianna.

This lovely old stamp was produced by Hungary in 1972. Hungary is located in Central Europe, northwest of Romania. The climate is temperate; cold, cloudy, humid winters; warm summers. The terrain is mostly flat to rolling plains, hills and low mountains on the Slovakian border. Interestingly Scotsmen appear in the Jokes of the Hungarians as kilt-wearing skulks who invariably violate common sense in order to save a few pennies in the short run. It seems they have experience of the people so with that obviously garnered experience came an admiration for their hunting hounds, enough to feature them on a stamp. Find out about Hungary by clicking the heading.

This beautiful deerhound stamp was issued in 2001 in Komi. The Komi Republic is a federal subject of Russia, to the west of the Ural mountains, in the north-east of the East European Plain. The population of Komi Republic is estimated at just over 1 million and consists of varied ethnic cultures. And interestingly of the 415,900 km² area it occupies 70% of the territory is covered by forest. It has the largest expanse of virgin forest in all of Europe. A short summer and long cold winter. It may of course be because of this that there is interest in the deerhound as a dog of the hunt suited to these conditions. See the image or visit the website by clicking the heading or better still visit the Rebublic.

Jewish Autonomous Oblast

This wonderful set of stamps are real collector's items. Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, inflation was totally out of hand in some areas. Money was devalued to the point where the stamps that had already been printed were not worth enough to mail a letter. There were new stamps being processed, but not ready to be printed yet. In an effort to keep the post office in business, they took blocks of five stamps and overprinted them with a new image and a new value. These stamps were issued by the Jewish Autonomous Oblast a republic near Siberia.


This collection similar to the collection above comes in a set of five stamps of different colours produced in KaraKalpakia. The stamp was also overprinted with the deerhound based on an image that was used for one of the other stamps featured here. Deerhounds are either common or popular in Karakalpak to have won their way onto the postage stamps of the region.

The Russian local state of Karakalpakia also issued this surprising stamp in 1998. This is a very small stamp with a most attractive deerhound in an idyll setting, which may be because . . .

. . . frighteningly Karakalpakia, now under the domain of Uzbekistan, is on the edge of the shrinking Aral Sea, which has recently revealed a shocking scale of disease brought about by a science-fiction like nightmarish ecological disaster. Women and children are most severely affected from the spread of pesticides and other pollutants as the lake - once the fourth largest in the world - has turned into a desert, its waters siphoned off to irrigate vast cotton fields and rice paddies in Central Asia. Although the Aral Sea probably has less than 10 years of life left, if nothing is done to salvage what remains of it, the 1.1 million residents of Karakalpakia are under immediate health threats. Something has to be done to improve the health of the people or we may be witnessing the end of another entire society as a result of human folly a warning to peoples of the world everywhere.

St. Vincent & the Grenadines

This unusual stamp was issued by the islands of St. Vincent & the Grenadines in honour of their Forestry service. Caribs were the first inhabitants of St. Vincent. Columbus marked the presence of the island on his third voyage in 1498, but didn't go ashore. The Caribs were tenacious, keeping the Europeans at bay longer than on any other island. The island was eventually settled by the French and control changed hands between them and Britain on more than one occasion Britain eventually winning out.
In 1787, Captain William Bligh set sail from England on the Bounty, bound for Tahiti. The purpose of the voyage, which ended in mutiny, was to collect breadfruit plants and transport them to St. Vincent for use as food for slaves. In 1793 Bligh eventually arrived in St. Vincent on another ship loaded with breadfruit seedlings. The fruit would make the island famous. To this day, bananas are the main export from the island. St. Vincent and the Grenadines achieved independence in 1979. The islands have produced many stamps over the years, including this lovely art piece with the Scottish Deerhound. It is difficult to say who the stamp portrays as further historical research is required, but of interest here is the dog standing to the right of the image.

Scottish Deerhound Souvenir Sheets from Fujairah

This lovely souvenir sheet was issued by Fujairah in 1970. Fujairah is one of the seven Emirates that combined in 1974 to form the United Arab Emirates. This souvenir sheet predated that union in 1970. The name Fujairah refers to the spring of water beneath one of the mountains as this is almost entirely a mountainous state. Click the heading for iformation from wikipedia.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Rogues 100th Deerhound blog today

Following the removal of my stitches and receiving the results of the test on the removed growth, which as it transpires was a benign Histiocytoma I am glad to announce - go here for details on these little annoyances.

I am not prepared to refrain from licking my paw and the wound at this stage and will continue to do so, and generally make lots to slobbering sounds whilst at it. But in celebration that I am on the road to recovery, and the fact that I have now reached my 100th blog, I thought it apt to reproduce the short excerpt below from The Old Gaelic Poem of DOMHNULL MAC FHIONNLAIDH. I think it reflects how a hound would wish to return to the chase after what I have been through . . .

. . . enjoy

Miann a' Bhàird Aosda.
(The Aged Bard's Wish.)

. . . Far in the gentle breeze
The stag cries on the field;
The herds answer on the hill,
And descend to meet the sound.

I hear the steps of the hunter!
His whistling darts--his dog upon the hill.
The joy of youth returns to my cheek
At the sound of the coming chase!

My strength returns at the sounds of the wood
The cry of hounds--the thrill of strings.
Hark! the death-sbout--"The deer has fallen!"
I spring to life on the hill!

I see the bounding dog,
My companion on the heath;
The beloved hill of our chase,
The echoing craig of woods.

I see the sheltering cave
Which often received us from the night,
When the glowing tree and the joyful cup
Revived us with their cheer.

Glad was the smoking feast of deer,
Our drink was from Loch Treig, our music its hum of waves;
Though ghosts shrieked on the echoing hills,
Sweet was our rest in the cave.

I see the mighty mountain,
Chief of a thousand hills;
The dream of deer is in its locks,
Its head is the bed of clouds.

I see the ridge of hinds, the steep of the sloping glen,
The wood of cuckoos at its foot,
The blue height of a thousand pines,
Of wolves, and roes, and elks.

Like the breeze on the lake of firs
The little ducks skim on the pool,
At its head is the strath of pines,
The red rowan bends on its bank. . . .

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Hoots Mon it’s Deerhound Puppies the Movie!

With Rogue here not feelin’ so good, I thought it time to update the movie files with new life, and so as a treat for deerhound fans - here are some 4 week olds from Dorrator and dancing to Lord Rockingham, with a guest appearance from Pumkin the Pug.

Hey! Pugs have made it onto my blog twice now - what’s going on? remember the Gladys Constance Cooper article back in July in the ‘Deerhounds and Movie Star Families’ article - I’m going to have to keep my eye on these Pugs . . . this is a deerhound blog!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Spacedog Rogue

. . . so I decided to remove my bandage myself . . . and before it was off . . . what do you know, I was back at the Veterinary Surgery being fitted for a spacehelmet.

Hope they don’t blast me into space next . . . eeeeps! Deerhounds in space anyone?

I know dogs have already won the race into space and if we are to believe man stepped on the moon, the Scots have won that race also.

Having had an Armstrong as the first on the moon, then a Bean of the McBeans on the next mission, who even had his clan Tartan along with him and a Gordon piloted the mission command module. Then a Scott landed a couple of missions later. With a round of Golf played in between by messrs Shepard.

Jings! Half of the Scottish Population have been tae the moon ! Do you think it could be Scottish hounds next?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Deerhound Bandaged in Green!

First bandage re-dressing tonight and more to come - although doing the hundred metre sprint with a plastic bag on your paw can be fun - and why everyone smiles? I don’t know.

A good place in Scotland for unwell dogs.