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Published on April 25th, 2013 | by The Town Crier


Horse’s Mouth

At Town Crier, we occasionally get letters from readers seeking advice on all manner of personal situations. They could be questions of etiquette, social faux-pas or family matters. We are always happy to help and so we have enlisted the help of a local stalwart who in her own words has seen it all and calls a spade a gardener. Lady Ophelia d’Knight, (Offa to her friends, but we’re allowed to call her lady d’Knight), will be happy to answer any of your queries in future issues.

Dear Lady d’Knight

I am a dog lover and owner. I always clean up after my dog because I hate to see beautiful walks spoiled by mounds of doggy doo-doo. However, I also hate to see bags of poop-scooped waste left by the side of the path or even worse adorning bushes and trees like some bizarre Christmas ornament. I’m glad that dog owners are being more conscientious about cleaning up after their dogs, (although perhaps more bins need to be provided), but do you know of any alternatives that would avoid the need for bags?


Dear PS

Good for you for cleaning up after your dog. There really is nothing worse than stepping in something smelly and so difficult to clean off one’s Laboutins. A quick look at the internet throws up a plethora of poop scooping equipment but they all look very cumbersome and not exactly handy for taking on a walk.

I consulted a friend of mine who has a veritable pack of dogs. She told me about a great method of clearing up called the stick and flick. Once your dog has completed its business, use a stick to flick it off the path, then throw the stick away. Much easier if you’re a golf player of course

There are a couple of flaws in this idea, however. Firstly, we’re assuming a ‘solid’ deposit as anything less would be extremely difficult. Mind you, the same can be said of the bag method. And secondly, as my friend divulged to me, one of her dogs likes nothing better than a game of ‘Fetch’, and has returned the stick to her on a number of occasions – a tricky, sticky situation…

Lady d’Knight

Dear Lady d’Knight

Last year I started making my own jams, preserves and pickles. They were enjoyed by my family and also friends who would receive a jar if we went to visit. If the summer ever comes, I’m hoping to do the same this year, but I did have one problem, my strawberry jam wouldn’t set. Do you have any suggestions?


Dear JM

I too, spent my childhood trying to spread what basically amounted to a strawberry coulis, on my bread, as cook was terrible at jam making. Having said that, it did make a delicious topping for ice-cream when I was a child, and a wonderful base for a strawberry Kir Royale when I was older.

Strawberries lack pectin which is the setting agent found in fruits, so you’re best to use preserving sugar that contains additional pectin.

A word to the wise however, I know all this homemade stuff is the rage, ‘shabby-chic’, ‘make do and mend’ etc, but when much thought, effort and expense has gone into the planning of an evening, turning up with a jar of homemade preserves is not going to cut the mustard if you’ll pardon the pun. A bottle of something sparkling is much more acceptable and will stop you coming across as being too homely, and smug for that matter.

Lady Offa d’Knight.

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