Lady B's no-nonsense banter from Cirencester Park

In our modern technological society, we’re glued on a permanent basis to our smart phones, surrendering the control of our lives to those small screens of ultimate power.

Well, most of us are, and I’ll be the first to admit, I’m just as guilty. In fact, so governed am I by my iPhone, my biggest fear is losing it.

When I was younger, when asked what terrified me the most, the answer may have been something along the lines of ‘we might discover daleks are real’ or ‘I’ll never be allowed to own a dog’ (that one came true, my parents would only have cats).

However, when asked the same question now, it’s without doubt, ‘I might lose my iPhone’.

It has my entire life on there – my notes, my emails, my access to information, my entire address book, my precious photos, and my diary, which as I’m sure you can well imagine, is well populated.

As a result, you may sympathise with that feeling of panic when one’s phone temporarily disappears. The frantic patting of pockets, the lurch towards a handbag, and then the deep relief when it reappears once more.

Last year, a dear friend gave me a manual diary and in it he wrote ‘I WILL NOT LET THIS CONTROL MY LIFE’. Fat chance; by about the middle of January it was already my master. But I did find it incredibly useful as I could see an entire week of chaos at a time.

Wall calendars are just as effective, we always have one in our kitchen. They serve not only as a quick reference as to whose birthdays are coming up, allowing time for cards to be posted, but we also use them to record such things as rainfall, weather and other notable incidents.

I therefore believe calendars still have a place in our lives, which brings me neatly onto why I’m mentioning them.

You will recall a few months ago, I was telling you about a new charity I’ve founded, The National Foundation for Retired Service Animals.

The NFRSA supports dogs and horses from our Police, Fire, Prison and Border Force Services once they retire, by helping their owners pay for veterinary costs which inevitably happen with older animals. Insurance is impossible to obtain due to the nature of their work, so those bills can be a real challenge.

To raise funds, we have now launched our inaugural calendar. The photographs are the work of acclaimed photographer Gerry Slade from Yorkshire, who has put heart and soul into documenting these exceptional animals by telling their stories, as well as taking breath-taking portraits.

Gloucestershire is well represented within the pages, in fact the cover shot is of three Gloucestershire Police Dogs, Bonnie, Jango and Holly (now retired). Our Mounted Police also make an appearance in June, alongside Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and his beautiful wife Jackie, yours truly, and hubby.

There are also portraits of prison dogs, (formal, as well as ‘in business mode’), fire dogs, and border force dogs (December is particularly charming). Each month is as glorious as the last.

With Christmas just round the corner, and with gifts to think of, may I ask you most humbly to consider buying an NFRSA calendar (or three), for your loved ones. It’s not just a thing to stick on the wall; the portraits are achingly beautiful, and we’re all immensely proud of it. have kindly sponsored the printing, Lounge Design in Cirencester have generously designed it at no cost, and Gerry has donated his time and exceptional talent.

Please order yours soon – they’re only £13.50 from (free postage) and every penny will go to help our amazing and brave retired service animals.

Follow Lady B on Twitter: @CotswoldLadyB

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