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  • West Highland Terrier

    Devon-Crufts-winner-2016

    So, a Westie won Crufts this year! We are cheering for little Devon who is so perfect but oh so white!

    Our West Highland terrier is not quite so impressed.Scout-Westie  She refuses to watch the show and is hiding her ginger beard. Ginger beard? She likes nothing better than to grub around on the moors, pushing her face into tight rabbit holes.  But more than anything she tells me that she just doesn’t have time to train for such a show.  She is too busy watching the birds in the heather.

    West Highland terriers make fabulous little pets.  I wonder about using the term ‘little’ for they appear small but are, in actual fact, quite broad and stocky with a large, independent streak.  They are certainly large dogs in small bodies and make excellent watch dogs.

    These plucky white dogs were bred from sandy coloured Scottish terriers.  Edward Donald Malcolm, 16th Laird of Poltalloch  began positively breeding white terriers in early 1900 after his reddish-brown terrier was mistaken for a fox and shot.  The first breed club of West Highland White Terriers was set up in 1904.

    Once a Westie lover, always a Westie lover! We find ourselves saying hello to every West Highland terrier we meet.

    West Highland terrier

    This photograph taken by Rick Stein totally reveals the true personality of a West Highland terrier.

  • Harris Tweed Exhibition -Rheged

     

     

     

    Harris tweed ramAs a result of being ‘bowled over’ by the Harris Tweed Exhibition Rheged Centre, Penrith we are giving our fabulous sterling silver sheep an inviting Spring price of £150.00.  He deserves a little attention too! Ok, so he's not a Cheviot or Scottish Black face sheep used for the Harris Tweed but he could pass for a Herdwick.  They too make good tweed.

    Sheep-sterling-silver-figurine

    If you are a lover of all things woolly and wild then this exhibition is a must.  The photographs are inspiring and certainly moving.  I never knew a sheep could have so many facial expressions until I opened the hefty book, From The Land, that accompanies the show. The colours on view are both rich and nostalgic; well presented displays show the deep connection between flora and fauna and the dyeing of the wool.

    harris-tweed-wool

    Harris-Tweed-sea

     I bought myself a metre of Harris Tweed from the shop and have set my heart on the book for a future celebration.

    The exhibition is on until Sunday 15th May 2016.

  • Silver Animal Wedding Table Decorations

     

    Our handcrafted silver animals make   fabulous and original table decorations to make your wedding the country wedding of the year! It certainly is a good idea to have a wedding centerpiece that will have sentimental appeal – a daily reminder of the special day.  These silver animals and birds sit well in any enviroment, transferring easily from centre stage at the wedding to occasional table or dining table in the marital home.  The pheasants and grouse are particular favourites, coming in a variety of sizes.

     

     

     

    large-silver-pheasant-birdThese two are just perfect for a wedding centerpiece – they look like they have been married twenty years already! These pheasants stand an impressive 42cm in height. They look splendid surrounded by winter greenery.  The partridges have a more ‘cosy’ appearance – certainly a cuddly couple and the perfect gift for a 25th wedding anniversary.partridges-sterling-silver

     

    The stags are also particularly stunning.  Our largest comes in at 38cm in height and 51cm in length and our magnificent bulls have been purchased by prominent cattle breeding families to celebrate weddings and silver wedding anniversaries alike.

    Each animal looks sumptuous and luxurious surrounded by accompanying floral decorations; their high sheen adds more than a touch of glamour to a beautiful country wedding.

    The smaller stags make a more original gift from groom to best man; they range in size from 38cm down to 20cm, 15cm and the miniature stag at 6cm.

     

    silver-stag-wedding-gift

    All our animals are handcrafted from English sterling silver and all are hallmarked.

  • Easter Bunnies

    silver_rabbit_ornament_miniature_.8086jpg

    Our Easter bunnies!  So sweet! Ok, so they are not chocolate but they will stay around for far longer!  This gorgeous little pair of sterling silver rabbits make the perfect Easter gift for adult or child.  These Easter bunnies are made from English sterling silver and are hallmarked.  They are miniature in size, 5cm in height, making them an ideal size for the post.  Send your loved ones a gift to treasure this Easter.

  • The Mart

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Here he is!  Our new hero at Silver Basket, Colin Slessor.

    Colin-Slessor-The Mart Colin Slessor

    We are really enjoying watching the ‘behind the scenes’ at Thainstone Acution Mart.  All staff are highly skilled, not just the auctioneer with an eye for a wink and a nod but the men and women who herd and mark the frisky beasts.

    “The cattle can be a wee bit wild at times so they have to be very careful but our guys are very experienced at handling them. A lot of them work part-time but they do long hours, stick in and don’t moan about the job which doesn’t suit everyone. Without them we are nothing,” said Colin.

     

    We love watching Colin Slessor at work and bet he could sell ice to Eskimos! He says his real passion is sheep and we wonder what he would make of our silver version.

    Sheep-sterling-silver-silver-basket

    All the animals at the Mart have been polished and preened to look their absolute best.  It is in everyone’s interest to get the highest price for a beast.  Farming is hard work and it must be a relief to get the price that you deserve. Sit down with a cup of coffee and enjoy the beauty of the beasts!  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06xzsc8

     

     

  • Pheasant

    We took an early morning hillside walk this morning with the Westie before work.  The world was cocooned in mist and sticks and dead bracken crackled under our feet.  All was quiet and still until we happened upon a bouquet of pheasants gossiping behind a wall.  They squawked with such bustle and great indignation at being over heard and ran off like clockwork toys, all of a fluster.  They were quite comical – males and females together – putting the world to rights in the shelter of a drystone wall.

    pheasant

    There is something altogether quite human about the indignant glint in the eye of a pheasant.  They can certainly give you quite a hard stare!

    Our Sterling Silver Pheasant couple remind me of a long enduring married pair, slightly over critical of each other but certainly loyal and fearlessly protective of their mate.

    Sterling silver pheasent figures, made in the UK

    This couple stand 11.5cm in height and make a fabulous wedding or silver wedding gift. Our lone, cock pheasant is also a striking bird, full of character.

    Take care when driving the country roads for our pheasant friends seem to have no road sense whatsoever!

    pheasant-on-road

  • Famous Jack Russells

    Jack Russells are very bright, lively and appealing little dogs.  They are full of energy and never seem to tire so it is not suprising that quite a few Jack Russells have made it to super star status.

    Perhaps the most instantly recognizable Jack Russell is this one.

    HMV famous Jack Russell

    A dog called Nipper was the inspiration behind this painting by Francis Barraud.  The painting was originally titled Dog looking at and listening to a phonograph and was later changes to His master’s voice.  We know it better as the logo for HMV.

     

    The next famous Jack Russell that springs to mind is Eddie in the sitcom Frasier.  He was indeed a major star in that long running series and was played by a dog called Moose and his son Enzo.  He actually got far more fan mail than any of the other actors!

    Eddie-famous-jack-russell

     

    A plucky Jack Russell named Bothy was the first dog to put his paws on both the North and South pole.  His owners were Ranulph and Ginny Fienne.

    Bothy-Jack-Russell-dog

     

    One of our favourite Jack Russell stars is Uggie, the cute and very talented chap who stared in the 2011 film The Artist The-Artist-Jack-Russellbut equally amusing was Rick Stein’s Chalky who had quite an independent spirit to say the least.  He took on cameramen and postmen alike (literally), hunted down rats and yet was adored by all children.

    Chalky-Jack-Russell

    But here at the Silver Basket we adore our little Jack Russell.  He is a very determined cheeky chap and we believe he gets up to all sorts of mischief when our backs are turned!

    silver-jack-russell

  • Setter Dog

    The Setter dog is a very elegant breed with a long, smooth coat and a head held high.  They are classed as gun dogs and were specifically bred to hunt out quarry, particularly birds.  They carry their head high as they catch the scent of the bird on the air.  Once a bird has been located the Setter dog will freeze or crouch,or set, allowing the bird to be flushed and subsequently shot.

    These days the dogs are more popular as family pets.  They are friendly and warm animals but do require quite a bit of attention.  They can get a little bored when left alone and do require quite a bit of exercise to satiate their endless supply of energy.

    If your working life or home cannot accommodate such a bright creature we suggest you follow through with your desire for a Setter dog and purchase our gorgeous chap. He is incredibly easy and he looks fabulous in any setting. Ours stands on the kitchen dresser surrounded by dog leads, gloves and newspapers still to be read!

    silver-setter-dog

     

    There are four breeds of Setter, the English, the Gordon, the Red and the Irish Red and White Setter.

     

    The Gordon Setter dog is the largest, reaching up to about 27” and is certainly the heaviest at about 80 lbs.  His coat is black and tan.  He has dense bone mass and is built for strength and stamina rather than speed.

    gordon-setter-dog-silver

     

    The English Setter is a little smaller at between 24 – 27 inches tall.  Like the Gordon Setter it has a long and flowing coat but with a slightly different colouring.  The English Setter has a ‘ticked’ pattern with white flecks and a contrasting coat.

    english-setter-dog-silver

     

    The Red Setter, often called the Irish Setter, is probably the most recognizable of the breed.  The coat is a beautiful red and long and silky, hanging in feathers around the legs.  This really is an elegant dog, standing up to 27” in height and being between 50 and 70 lbs in weight.  He is probably the healthiest of the breed with no significant health problems.  Gordon Setters are prone to retinal atrophy and English Setters have a tendency towards congenital deafness.

    red-setter-dog-silver

     

    The Red and White Setter dog is very similar to the Red Setter, as the name implies, but he is rather more stocky and less trim with two tone coat.

    red-and-white-setter-silver

     

    The first description of a Setter dog in history seems to be in the ‘Hunting Book of Gaston Phoebus’ of France in 1387 and these Setting Spaniels described, or Setters as they are now known, were introduced to Britain in the later 1400’s.  Although these days we have the four breeds, there can be no doubt that their common origin was part old Spanish Pointer.

  • King Charles Spaniel

     

     

     

    It seems you can learn something new every day.  The lesson we have learnt today at the Silver Basket is that a King Charles Spaniel is certainly not a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  The two dogs are entirely different.

    King Charles Spaniels, often known as the toy spaniel have a much more distinctive domed head with wide notsrils and their bite is slightly undershot.

    king charles spaniel

    Their eyes are large, dark and wide set. The pads on their feet are fused, well padded and feathered with a cat’s paw shape.  The King Charles is slightly smaller than the Cavalier being between 8 and 14lbs as opposed to 12-18lbs.  Like the Cavalier they can be ruby, tricolour or black and tan, their coats are long, silky and straight and their tales are short.

    The Cavalier Spaniel, by comparison has a much flatter head between the ears. The jaw, unlike the King Charles, is strong with a good scissor bite.  Their paws are well feathered and compact.   It too, has a long, silky coat.

    Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

    Both dogs are friendly and good tempered although the King Charles Spaniel is a little more reserved.  A Cavalier can easily become a nervous dog however.

     

    King Charles Spaniels originated from 1600s and were very fashionable with ladies of the Court in Tudor times as companions and lap and foot warmers!

    Up until 1928, when the title of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was drawn up, there was little definition between the two breeds, but it would seem that, over time King Charles Spaniels were being bred to adopt the shorter nose and domed skull.

    In the 1920’s breeders began on a mission to return to the longer nosed, flat headed King Charles that were portrayed in the pictures of Charles II of England.  The result was the arrival of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  Apparently after World War 2 only six Cavaliers survived and all dogs to this day can be traced back to these original six!

     

    We have looked long and hard at our little King Charles Spaniel and decided that he could, most likely be a Cavalier King Charles.

    Silver King Charles Spaniel

  • Silver Swan

    The Bowes museum near Barnard Castle, Cumbria houses the most intriguing swan to date.  The large silver swan at the Silver Basket is pretty impressive, particularly the version with the golden beak but the articulated silver swan on show at the Bowes Museum over-shadows all.

    The mechanical silver swan was made in 1773 by John Joseph Merlin, a famous inventor in that era.  The swan is life-sized and controlled by 3 clockwork mechanisms.  When wound up he springs to life.  The neck turns this way and that with suprising dexterity, appearing to preen its back and catch and swallow fish in a silver stream to the front.  It is a sight to behold.

    The swan was taken to the Parisian exhibition in 1867 where it caught the attention of Mark Twain.

     

    ‘I watched the Silver Swan, which had a living grace about his movement and a living intelligence in his eyes – watched him swimming about as comfortably and unconcernedly as if he had been born in a morass instead of a  jeweller’s shop – watched him seize a silver fish from under the water and hold up his head and go through the customary and elaborate motions of swallowing it….’

     

    According to the British Museum the automated swan is the finest example of its kind and ‘one of only two of its size in and importance in the world.’

     

    The silver swan available  from us here at the Silver Basket is not, unfortunately mechanical, but it is nonetheless a real beauty and make as most beautiful wedding or silver 25th wedding anniversary gift.

    silver swan

      It stands at 26cm and is highly detailed and crafted with precision.  The swan is available with the golden beak on request and the price is just a little higher.  For a smaller token of love we have a miniature silver swan, 5cm in height, it is petite but equally as well executed.

    silver swan miniature

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