Let me introduce Sir Percival...Percy for short. He isn't our puppy. He belongs to Marian Misters and JD Singh, of Sleuth of Baker Street.
They recently lost their beloved cat Paddington - and Marian decided it was time for a hypo-allegenic dog...(JD is allergic).
Voila! Percy - a Labradoodle. Now, as you know, we have Golden Retrievers, and they are pretty darn adorable as puppies but I have to admit, I think Percy takes the prize.
Sleuth of Baker Street, for people who don't know, is the largest and most influential mystery bookstore in Canada, and one of the biggest in the world. Big not necessarily in square footage - but certainly in terms of influence. It's also a beautiful store. It's in Toronto...and you might drop by if you get a chance...pick up some great books (lots of amazing Canadian crime writers like Giles Blunt, Barbara Fradkin, Anthony Bidulka,Linda Richards, Rick Blechta, Linwood Barclay, Mary Jane Maffini and of course the great Maureen Jennings - to name just a few!!!)
Now - onto other news. I received an email from another Australian - It's from Elaine...here's what she wrote about the wildfires...
I haven’t sat at my computer much the last few days as I’ve been glued to the TV watching the horrific events that have hit our state. I have just read your last few blogs & thought you might like to hear things from my perspective as everyone here has been affected in some way. I live in a southern Melbourne suburb so am not in danger from the bushfires personally but know people who live in the devastated areas & thank God they are all safe & so far their houses unharmed. One of my daughters who lives in Sydney has a home in Buxton (near Marysville) that is rented out & although her tenants are safe she doesn’t know the fate of the house as no one is allowed back into the area as yet. However her estate agent who looks after the property & his wife are believed to have perished in the fires at Marysville. My youngest son who is working overseas has a property in the north west which so far is safe but things can change very rapidly. My eldest son lives in an outer eastern suburb in a semi-rural area & if the fires keep spreading west his property could be in danger so we are all rather anxious right now.
One of your other readers mentioned the Black Friday events of 1939, well I have personal experience of that, was 4 at the time & don’t remember much about it but grew up hearing all the horrific tales of that terrible day. We were staying in the hills east of Melbourne when the fires hit & had to be evacuated by a furniture van. I’ve also been down at Anglesea (on the surf coast) when fires have gone through with 5 young children including a baby & no car & getting ready to evacuate to the golf course which was the only clear area when fortunately the winds changed direction. My husband & eldest daughter had driven up to Melbourne for the day & the fires jumped the Geelong Highway & people who got out of their cars perished. I didn’t know until they arrived back whether they were safe or not. Fires are something we have to live with in this state but it is very hard to cope when you hear of so many lives being lost, let alone animals & property destroyed.
We are overwhelmed by the support coming from all over the world including manpower, money, goods, equipment & prayers. Some people in Queensland who have suffered floods have donated their government relief cheques to our bushfire appeal & friends in the UK have donated a week’s pension payment –such generosity! The worst part is that some of the fires may have been deliberately lit & to think there are such monsters out there is very hard to live with. Our retiring Chief Police Commissioner is heading up the Phoenix (what a great name!) Task Force to try to find out if the fires were deliberately lit & bring the culprits to justice. The army has stepped in & set up tent cities for the 5000 or so who are homeless, a mammoth task but everyone is helping out in their own way.
It is wonderful to know that your thoughts & prayers are with us, regards from Elaine
I wrote back a personal message - but ended by asking if there was a specific fund she would suggest donating to. Michael and I decided we want to do more than give books - though we'll do that too. I haven't heard back, but when I do I will let you know.
Interestingly, this dove-tails with a wonderful, thoughtful, and timely comment on yesterday's post by Humble Pie - about perhaps using this blog to raise money for a cause. He mentions a blog I'm not famoliar with - Knitters without Borders, who have a fund with Medecine sans Frontieres.
I think this is a wonderful idea, and would love to pursue it with you.
Now, Hum mentioned libraries because they are close to my heart. And possibily finding a fund that helps libraries and kids and literacy in Third World Countries. I would be happy to go along with that.
My suggestion - very preliminary, having given it almost no thought in terms of using the blog community to raise money - is that two fund raisers would appeal to me even more.
One would be something to do with animals - either straight to the SPCA or Humane Society. or a fund specifically to help animals in crises - like the wildfires, or hurricanes, or wars. Or to fund anti-puppy mill operations. Something like that.
The other thing would be to leave some leeway so that we could respond to specific 'people' crises. Like the Australia wildfires, or a particularily devestating hurricane. Though this might be better done through the Red Cross.
What do people think? As Hum says, with an initiative like this it would be important that people could easily give as little as they like...five dollars, etc. So there would be no pressure to give constantly or more than you could afford.
It would also be fun if, like the Knitters without Borders we could somehow keep track, not of individual donations, but the over all amount. Apparently the Knitters have raised, over the course of years, about half a million dollars. Wouldn"t that be something?
Great idea, Hum. In the meantime, I will let you know about a fund for Australian wildfire relief, as soon as I hear of one.