A good word, don’t you think? — and last night, I realised that I was performing the action in question (I poodlefake, thou poodlefakest, he she or it poodlefakes…). My godmother, of whom I have been immensely proud since, quite apart from being a doctor etc., she went & learned to fly in her middle years, has recently moved to the Deep North (which, after a working life spent on Shetland is from her point of view, practically the Deep South). Some time in the autumn, she asked the Northern Professor and myself to come and hang her pictures for her. Which we did, by and large, or at least, the ones she was sure she wanted hung. Then we went off to the garage to paw over what was left. ‘There’s this’, she said rather dubiously, indicating something with its face to the wall. ‘Alastair [her late husband] used to call it The Ancestor’. He was quite handsome; a sort of Ramsay-or-thereabouts deeply Scottish face in a russet velvet coat and so forth, mid eighteenth century sort of, if we hadn’t seen the back first and noted that the canvas was more like 1920. Whose ancestor? we asked, and it turned out that this pic, a respectable and fairly competent copy of something much better, had entered their life at the point when they first moved to Lerwick, and had emerged from the pile of their belongings completely without explanation — the removal firm had no light to shed. Anyway, he had led a somewhat face to the wall existence from that point due to having been dropped several times and having bits of paint missing here and there. We took him away, and cleaned him — the removal of vast amounts of dirt did quite a lot, and when the Godmother asked us to come by today, I finally bestirred myself to get out the acrylics, and poodlefake. The holes and flakes were matched in with careful dabs of acrylic, which is inert, then a skim of oil varnish over the top brought the surface up a treat. He really looks quite handsome now. Which brings me back to poodlefaking; the art of making a dog of a more or less mutt variety appear to be a hound of breed by cutting, dyeing, etc.; which is more or less what I had done for the Ancestor. It’s nice to know one could earn a dishonest penny if need arose.