A promise made to owners of one of Scotland’s rarest dog breeds has now been fulfilled by the voice behind one of the country’s most iconic annual events.
Alasdair Hutton, known for his more than 28 years as the ‘voice’ behind the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, was invited along to a gathering of Dandie Dinmont dogs and their owners near his Borders home several years ago. Hearing about the dogs and learning that they are on the list of vulnerable native breeds, he promised to write a children’s book featuring the distinctive terriers.
This summer the resulting picture book ‘Mustard & Pepper’ has been published by independent company Curly Tale Books based in Wigtown, Scotland’s National Book Town. The charming story aimed at young children, features the children and dogs of Sir Walter Scott with the grounds and house at Abbotsford as the scenic backdrop.
When Sir Walter’s youngest daughter loses her necklace during a game of hide and seek, her brothers and sister take turns to find it along with their dogs – but will it ever be the turn of the two Dandie Dinmont Terriers, Mustard and Pepper?
Artist William Gorman made a careful study of the distinctive breed, along with Sir Walter Scott’s home at Abbotsford for the illustrations for the book. The result is a selection of beautiful watercolour paintings perfectly fitting the traditional style of the story.
Alasdair worked as a journalist and broadcaster, represented the South of Scotland in the European Parliament for ten years and also served as a local councillor in the Borders, for nine years as the Convener. He has is the author of The Tattoo Fox and a Treasury of Scottish Nursery Rhymes as well as books for adults including The Greatest Show on Earth.
Sir Walter Scott was famous for his love of dogs and many of his monuments and sculptures feature his beloved hound Maida, who of course features in Mustard & Pepper. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier was named after a character in Sir Walter’s famous novel Guy Mannering.
Publisher Jayne Baldwin said: “We have been absolutely delighted with the reception the book has had so far. It’s been winging its all over the world! Undoubtably William Gorman’s illustrations have captured the charm of this delightful breed of dog.”
The book Mustard & Pepper is available price £7.99 from the publisher or from any independent or online bookseller.