Sunday, July 26, 2015

Understanding the Ukrainians in WWII

Today's Russian propaganda pictures Ukrainians in WWII as Banderite Nazi-sympathizers who massacred Poles and Jews.  The truth of course is substantially different but doesn't fit the Kremlin hate-mongers.  Euromaidan published three articles by James Oliver.  They are well written and well illustrated.  And not long.

Friday, July 24, 2015

He Changed Lives - Remembering Denis Wobeser

"The more steel, the less profit". Those words of wisdom were spoken to a group of provincial livestock extension specialists back on 1984 by feedlot operator turned grass-farmer Denis Wobeser.  I knew of Denis; everyone did, but that was the first time I had met him.  The Western Canadian Beef Industry lost a good friend last week when Denis passed away after a brief illness, a couple weeks past his 77th birthday. As my friend Enoch, another grass-farmer who was greatly influenced by Denis, said, "He changed lives".  I hope they write it on his tombstone.

The following brief bio is from an article quoting an interview with Denis and his son Brady which can be found at

In 1999, Dennis and Jean Wobeser, of Hi-Gain Ranching, in Lloydminster, Alberta, won the Emerald Award in the small-business category. This is the major Canadian environmental award, and this is the first time it has been won by an agricultural operation. In the words of the press release that accompanied the award:
Dennis and Jean Wobeser have been in the cattle business since 1963. For over 20 years they ran a custom feeding and feedlot company that, at its peak, handled 7,000 head of cattle. In the late 1980s, the Wobesers, along with daughter Kelly, son Brady, and four employees, decided to transform their high-technical/high-input commercial feeding operation to a low-input, nature-based grazing operation.
Hi-Gain Ranching now manages 4,500 acres with most of that land dedicated to seeded pasture and maintenance of natural areas, supporting 600 cows and 600 to 800 yearlings. The Wobesers' approach has resulted in healthier and higher-volume grass, increased organic matter in the soil, more diversity in plant species, and an increase in beneficial insect species. Bare ground has been decreased and healthier land has been increased due to disallowing pesticides and chemicals.
The effects of floods and drought have been reduced due to a layer of thatch (dead and decaying plants) on the surface of the ground, which increases the water holding capacity of the soil and reduces erosion and runoff. Hi-Gain Ranching is truly a demonstration of a healthy and vibrant ecosystem.
Denis graduated from the College of Agriculture, University of Saskatchewan in 1961. The feedlot was high capital turnover and low margin.  Brady and daughter Kelly wanted nothing to do with the feedlot so they switched to grazing.  Denis began attending Holistic Resource Management (HRM) courses down in Albuquerque.  While he had always wanted to be a cattleman, he discovered that what he was really doing was farming grass and that cattle were simply a management tool. So he dropped "my sacred cows from number 1 to number 2, and put growth ahead of it".  Eventually he realized that "all our future and everything is dependent on the health of our soil. If you have healthy land, you'll have healthy plants, which you can then harvest by livestock if that's the way you choose. Now the cows are the third priority: put the soil first, then the growth, then the animals".

Denis followed his own advice.  All the equipment they had at the home ranch was two pickups and a tractor with a front-end loader.  And miles and miles of electric fence.  Denis willingly gave of his time and energy to teach others what he had learned. I took several delegations of herdsmen from Inner Mongolia to his place over the years and he spoke at several workshops I put on for the delegations. 

I had not seen him since 2007 and was saddened to hear of his passing.  We just assume good people will always be there and go on forever.

This poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson kind of summed up his life, in my opinion. 

To laugh often and love much;
to win the respect of intelligent persons
and the affection of children;
to earn the approbation of honest critics
and to endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to give of one’s self;
to leave the world a little better,
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;
to have played and laughed with enthusiasm
and sung with exultation;
to know that even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived –
this is to have succeeded.

Denis speaking with a group from Inner Mongolia 2001

Denis with another group of herdsmen from Inner Mongolia 2007

Cows grazing fresh pasture in July, grazed pasture to the right

Oil storage tank, steam cleaned, holds water for the cattle; grazed pasture on the right

Russia and Ukraine Links

The following are abstracted from, with minor editing, the links below.  For the full story please go to the original posts.  

During the last several years, Putin arduously worked to suppress and eliminate all the liberal and democratic elements in his country, which he believed could challenge his power. To fight them, he actively promoted the anti-liberal and reactionary forces of the society, granting them extensive political and social influences. Thus, today, the Russian government has surrounded itself by and in fact incorporated extreme anti-democratic forces, who exercise almost unlimited power, creating a union of both far right and far left – radical nationalists, religious fundamentalists and monarchists united with Stalinists, other communists and totalitarian utopians.

All that matters for Putin is their points of agreement: belief in an absolute autocratic government, repression of political diversity and freedom of speech, state control over the social and private realms, intolerance to ethnic and religious minorities, imposition of one state ideology, the pursuit of “traditional values”, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, hatred towards homosexuals, etc. As a matter of fact, all these and other properties of the current Russian state well fit Umberto Eco’s famous fourteen criteria, which he described as the necessary qualifications of fascism.

“The current wave of neo-Nazism is different from what the elders remember from Perestroika in the first half of the 1990’s. In that sense, the wave that came at the end of the 1990’s and the beginning of 2000, is a new youthful wave of people who really call themselves Nazis or nationalist socialists, or stand for ‘white power,’ which in European terminology is still considered to be neo-Nazism. There is quite a large number of such people. Essentially, they constitute the majority of the Russian nationalist movement.

I remember very well in Soviet schooling, that the main complaint against Hitler’s regime was that Hitler killed communists and attacked the USSR, and other countries. Of course, Nazi Germany was seen first and foremost as the aggressor. However, if one is not a German neo-Nazi but a Russian neo-Nazi, this complaint disappears. Communism is also outdated. The rest was silenced in Soviet school, the Holocaust too, by the way

Moscow has released an initial list of “undesirable organizations” that constitute a “threat to the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation, its defense capabilities and its national security.” The list includes the MacArthur Foundation (which had been funding cooperation between Western and Russian scientists).  The move, part of Vladimir Putin’s campaign to stifle civil society in Russia, comes as no surprise

In the early 1990s, (the author) served as executive director of George Soros’s International Science Foundation for the former Soviet Union and Baltic States. We helped tens of thousands of scientists remain in the profession by giving them emergency support grants to feed their families.

(This was followed by the) MacArthur Foundation (which) devise(d) a program to advance research in the natural sciences in the Russian education system. (The) proposal (was) to establish centers combining research and education at Russian universities — a shift from the Soviet model, in which universities emphasized teaching while the Academy of Sciences and industry institutes conducted research. Education minister, Alexander Tikhonov, in March 1998, was enthusiastic, stating that his ministry would match every dollar contributed.

(The MacArthur Foundation) selected 16 Russian universities to receive grants of $1 million over three years; established the first technology transfer offices at Russian universities, helped Russian scientists learn how to deal with equipment suppliers, and provided funding to attend international conferences.

Andrei Fursenko, the minister of education and science from 2004 to 2012, was a strong supporter. In June 2014 (the author) met with Mr. Fursenko in Moscow. He expressed concern about Russian scientists refusing to revise their articles to respond to criticisms and suggestions from peer reviewers — a major reason behind their declining share of publications in international journals.

Earlier this month, (the author) saw Mr. Fursenko again. I expressed my concerns over the Kremlin’s recent actions. He told me bluntly (repeating the Kremlin’s lines) that things have changed. He said that this was because “America cannot tolerate any partner who does not behave as an obedient child listening to a parent’s strictures.” Russia, he said, is tired of this.

These are symptoms of a broader reversal. The Kremlin, suspicious of the West’s democratic values and what they might bring, now finds the risks of cooperation to be too great.

Garry Kasparov is a renowned Russian chess Grandmaster and former World Chess Champion. He retired from chess in 2005. He is also a political activist and prominent Putin critic (now living in America). A section about Garry Kasparov has been removed from a book commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Russian sports society Spartak. Evgeny Gik, the author of the section on Kasparov, said that the book’s editor couldn't say who exactly made this decision.

Every week produces a rich harvest of manifestations of “official insanity” in Russia, according to Vera Yurchenko of Moscow’s “Novaya Gazeta” newspaper. Here is her Top 10 for this past week:

A crisis has spread to almost every third Russian company town, where one employer dominates the local economy, and only a fraction of them will get government aid, officials said on Wednesday.
“We have 319 mono-cities, and 94 of them are classified as in crisis,” Economy Minister Alexey Ulyukayev said in Usolye-Sibirskoye, a town in the Irkutsk region of Siberia, at a meeting led by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. “According to our estimates, the funds allocated in the budget for four years will be enough for 20-30 monocities.”

This article lists 45 secret instructions issued by Beria to the NKVD regarding Poland. From them it becomes obvious of the Kremlin’s intent to wreck the economies of the Eastern European countries left in their control after the end of the war.

At the end of the Second World War, half of Europe was occupied by ‘liberating’ Soviet troops. Officially (The Yalta agreement), Moscow stated it will respect the sovereignty and independence of the occupied countries, and ensure the right to self-determination of the entrants in its area of influence. In reality, their fate was already sealed. In a few years, they had replaced these countries’ democratic regimes with totalitarian systems inspired and controlled by the Kremlin.

The plan of this transition was the same everywhere. Much of it has been theorized by Lavrentiy Beria himself, the dreaded chief of the NKVD. A secret directive written for the Soviet secret services working in Poland demonstrates this set developed by the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs on 2 June 1947, bearing the sign “Moscow 02.06.1947 K-AA / CC113, indication NK/003/47.

Vladimir Putin was of deep interest to American intelligence even when he was deputy mayor of St Petersburg in the 1990s. “Putin . . . was part and parcel of looting the state; and he was involved in it for years,” Richard Palmer, a former CIA station chief in Moscow, claimed in evidence to a US congressional committee in 1999.

Yet surprisingly little is known about the extent of Putin’s personal wealth or whether it is hidden. One reason is that the United States has been concerned with more pressing priorities during the intervening 20 years. Another is that the White House found claims of corruption in Russia politically awkward at a time when they were trying to get along with the man in the Kremlin.

As they did so, a picture emerges of low-level US government officials gathering material on Putin’s wealth and political appointees, which was simply ignored by their masters.  “I know of one instance where a CIA report on corruption was sent to the White House, where an official wrote on it in foul language and sent it back.”

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Aisles of Grease; the Aisles of Grease

That title will have Lord Byron will be spinning in his grave but at least he is now lubricated.

The last month or more my new feeds have been filled with articles on the Greek Crisis.  Actually ever since the election of the avowedly left-wing, anti-austerity Syriza Party led by Alexis Tsipras.  After five years of crippling austerity, Tsipras intended to negotiate a better deal for Greece. As you know, he failed miserably, being forced into a worse deal than if he had settled earlier.

Articles tend to fall into two main categories.  Greeks deserve everything they get; they are lazy, corrupt, incompetent spendthrifts while Germans are hard working, honest, and good managers so why should German taxpayers have to pay for lazy Greeks? These articles are found on pages of the usual suspects. The other side says Greece is certainly not blameless but they had a great deal of help, while Germany is not so righteous as they like to make out.  These articles are also found on the pages of the usual suspects.

Having done some consulting work in Greece a couple years ago and now having friends there has increased my interest in the country about which I knew virtually nothing before. This attempt to walk through the mess is as much for my own edification as anyone else's. So please bear with me.

Some history, first. Churchill and Stalin allegedly worked out the 80:20 sphere of influence agreement to keep the Communists out of Greece.  The Communists and several moderate social democrat type organizations  had become strong in Greece, pushing for a Republic, prior to the war to counter the extreme right which was also strong and I believe running the place at the time with a very unpopular king.  (See Anthony Beevor's Crete: the Battle and the Resistance). The inevitable civil war began even before the war ended with the Communists, as always, destroying the moderate left. At war's end, the British found themselves aiding and arming the very extreme right they had been battling against the Communists (See Andre Gerolymatos' Red Acropolis, Black Terror: The Greek Civil War and the Origins of the Soviet-American Rivalry 1943-1949)

Democracy was restored to Greece under a constitutional monarchy.  It lasted until 1967 when the government of George Papandreou was overthrown by The Colonels junta under former Nazi collaborator George Papadopolous, aided and abetted by the Johnson administration and the CIA.  The problem was George Papandreou's son Andreas, American educated and active in the Greek government as Economics Minister. His mortal sin was to pursue a Greece independent of American foreign policy. In 1973 Col. Demitrios Ioannidis overthrew Papadopolous.  In 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus and the military government was forced by the Greeks to give way to a civilian government.  Details are  HERE, including Johnson's famous quote regarding Greek democracy and constitution.

Having recently emerged from dictatorships, and desiring to consolidate their democracies, Greece (1981, followed by Spain and Portugal in  986) joined the EU. Greece entered the Schengen Area in 2000 and qualified to join the Euro Zone and qualified to join and was admitted in 2001 to the Euro Zone which came into effect in 2002. This brings us to the beginning of our tale.

The euro was one of those things which seemed like a good idea at the time. Europe is a mess of little countries.  The EU aka Brussels created a common set of regulations to allow easier trading among its members but they each had their own currency and their own central banks.  Tanya and I traveled from Ukraine to Bulgaria via Moldova and Romania in June.  Each has its own currency so needless to say, we did not stop nor spend anything in Moldova or Romania.  So a common currency made sense in that regard.

The EU in 2014 had a population of 500 million and a GDP of $18.45 trillion USD or 13.9 trillion Euros.  The Euro Zone had a population of 330 million and GDP of $13.67 USD or 10.3 trillion Euros all with a single currency. One of the strengths of America has been a huge economy with 330 million people and a single currency.  This creates a strong currency as it is backed by all the economies of the Euro zone, ESPECIALLY Germany.

But America also had the benefit of a single government, a single monetary and fiscal policy (if they are different - I have no idea).  The EU does not.  Yes, the European Central Bank aka Brussels tries to set some common standards and exert some control but each country still has enough sovereignty to do things on their own.  Like borrow money. And banks would loan money to a country with a weak economy on the strength of the Euro zone Economy.

There was another "side-effect" to the single currency.  Countries with independent fiscal and monetary policies can to a certain extent increase or decrease the value of their currency relative to other currencies.  A country with a weak economy can devalue its currency, reduce the amount of imports which become more expensive and increase the amount of exports which become less expensive.  At the time of the introduction of the Euro, the German Deutschmark was the strongest currency in the world which meant Germany had a very difficult time exporting as German goods were so expensive. See this article.

So the introduction of the Euro had the effect of diluting the Deutschmark with the weaker currencies of the weaker economies such as Portugal, Italy Ireland Greece and Spain, the PIIGS.  Germany has been living high off the backs of the weaker economies.  The PIIGS all had meltdowns after 2008 and had to be bailed out.  Meaning the private banks that loaned them money were bailed out by the IMF and ECB with German money aka The Troika.  PIIS are supposedly recovered after instituting austerity programs and are now paying back the bail out.  TANSTAAFL.  Greece was/is the major exception. This WaPo article explains why.

When exactly Greece got into bad governance habits, I do not know.  There are likely books or articles somewhere but I have not found nor read them.  Greeks are NOT lazy.  Those that have jobs work longer hours than the rest of the EU.  Greece does have an early retirement and supposedly very generous pension program.  I know in agriculture, Greece took the EU payments and used them mainly for subsidies rather than overhauling the entire inefficient industry.  There are allegedly too many bureaucrats and allegedly bureaucrats and politicians are notoriously corrupt.  Tax slippage is extremely high with the rich paying little or no tax and not much effort expended to correct it.

Greek statistics according to EU standards are totally untrustworthy.  A couple of years ago the EU sent in an expert to help improve Greek statistics and he was threatened with arrest for disclosing government secrets.  So it should be no surprise that the Greek government fudged the books in order to get into the Euro Zone.  Why did they want in?  So they could borrow more money.  Way more money.

Robert Reich explains quite nicely in his column yesterday how Goldman Sachs conspired with the Greek Government to hide sufficient debt to come in under the debt to GDP ration necessary to get into the Euro. And how in the process they doubled the amount of debt and made themselves several hundreds of millions of dollars in the process.  William D Cohan, writing in the NYT tries to rebut Reich by explaining that Goldman Sachs was innocent of all wrong doing as they just did what banks do, all perfectly legal.  To which Reich replied that was his point exactly.

Of course, when a country gets in trouble and needs bailing out, the private banks get the bail out and are free and clear, the country gets the restructured debt and its citizens are forced to pay it off.  And austerity simply makes the country's economy perform even worse, lowering its ability to pay.  Which is why the IMF have concluded that Greece's debt which now equals about 200% of GDP can never be paid off.  But Brussels and Germany are determines to destroy the country as an example to PIIS.

The anarchist in me, and many others seem to agree judging by articles and comments, says that Greece should pull out of the Euro, revert to the Drachma and tell the Troika to GFT.  Tsipras wanted the  best of both worlds.  He wanted the Troika to take a haircut and still stay in the Euro. In the last desperate round of bargaining, after last Sunday's referendum, he didn't even have a plan to pull out of the Euro which is why they could stick it to him.

All I can say is the fat lady has not yet sung.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Tanya's Flower Garden in Mid-July

The climbing roses that were so lovely a month ago are finished and all the lilies are blooming.  Their heavy scent fills the air.  The gladiolas are just starting and Tanya was out staking and tying them today - they are so tall this year, with all the rain we had for two weeks and then a week of heat.  

The day we got home from Bulgaria, she started working the flower beds over.  There isn't a day goes by that she isn't trimming and pruning or pulling weeds. It is looking pretty good now.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Are we headed for WWIII?

Max Fisher ( says it is highly possible but with low probability.  Cheryl Rofer ( has written a rebuttal and says it is highly unlikely with an even lower probability and that Fisher is just trying to scare us.  Being a natural cynic and pessimist, I say all wars have low probability but they also have very high costs, consequently the danger needs to be taken seriously.

Fisher notes how closely the current situation resembles Europe before the Great War.  When I read Margaret MacMillan’s “The War that Ended Peace”, I was hard pressed to know which century it referred to. The parallels between the quarter century leading up to 1914 and today were frightening to say the least. Rofer doesn’t necessarily disagree but says that we have far better intelligence today in terms of troop movements etc. and more worryingly we also have nuclear weapons.

People who start wars are not rational.  Like all criminals, they believe they are smarter than the average bear and that the laws of probability, like all other laws, do not apply to them. Rofer is betting Putin is not irrational enough to start a nuclear war. She reminds us of Nixon’s “Crazy Leader” theory that if you act crazy enough people begin to fear you because you just might BE crazy enough. Fisher is betting the other way.

The one thing that tips the odds in Fisher’s favour is the Russian rulers’ inherent unconcern for its citizens, going back centuries and manifest for example in the 27 million deaths of Soviet citizens (of which 10 million may have been Russian) in the Second World War.  For a Western city of any size to be destroyed by a nuclear bomb would be a tragedy beyond description.  For Putin, anything less than the total destruction of Moscow is just part of the cost of doing business.

Both Fisher and Rofer agree that Russia’s nuclear doctrine which sees an ever lowering threshold for use of nuclear weapons and a great deal of sabre rattling is a response to their military weakness. It is currently based on “non-escalating” use of nuclear weapons.  This means if they get in a jackpot they drop a small nuc on a small western capital (Warsaw, Riga. . .) or a large group of NATO troops as a warning shot.  NATO either escalates to full scale nuclear war and destroys the earth or surrenders rather than go that route.

Whole careers have been built around and digital forests destroyed, trying to understand “What Putin wants”.  Rofer and Fisher offer the usual suspects and as Rofer points out, none of them are mutually exclusive. The problem being how to weight and therefore respond to the individual “wants”. Rofer correctly describes Kremlin emissions as a great deal of noise while Fisher seems to take them all seriously.

Putin wants respect and great power status for Russia.  Respect and great power status are funny in that you either earn it or you don’t have it.  Whining and demanding don’t get you far.  Ask Kaiser Wilhelm II.  It is hard to respect an inveterate liar and regional bully.  As a Canadian, I have no comprehension of the need to be a great power.  All it gets you (unless you are in the 0.01%) is high taxes to pay for military adventures and opportunity to send your children to be killed.  Great power status and $5 will get you coffee at Starbucks.

Putin and therefore Russia are terrified of NATO and an American invasion.  Why anyone would want to invade Russia is a mystery.  The world, probably including China, just wishes Russia would get its act together, become a functional modern state, provide for its people and engage with the rest of the world in a civilized manner. One of the things Putin apparently wants is to destroy both NATO and the EU, returning Europe to nation states and great power politics, where the big guys divide up the world and the little guys can go whistle (Congress of Vienna 1815, Paris 1919, Yalta 1945).

The trick to accomplishing the destruction of NATO is to do something to which NATO must respond militarily but is small enough or insignificant enough or confusing enough that they do not.  Such as annex Narva or even invade the Balkans.

Then there is Ukraine. Russia fully believes it owns Ukraine, the same way England believed it owned Ireland. According to Russian insiders as quoted by Fisher, Putin will not-no-never give up Ukraine.  Rofer wonders if this isn’t more noise from the Kremlin, necessary to bargaining positioning.

Putin and his DNR/LNR proxies have stopped referring to Novorossiya. It was a nonstarter anyway and may well have been part of the distracting noise emanating from the Kremlin.  Putin wants Donbas to stay in Ukraine, with power to wreck anything pro-west Ukraine may want to undertake and to eat every nickel Ukraine has to rebuild it.  The “Separatist-backed Russian military”, as one writer referred to them, continue to batter away at the Ukrainian army, shelling them every night with heavy artillery and making small forays with sabotage and reconnaissance groups which are always driven off.  Ukraine is playing strictly defense, letting the enemy come to them and one hopes, suffering fewer losses.  What the purpose of all this is, I have no idea but expect someone does. For the latest in who shot who, UNIAN provides good coverage.

It seems to be a given that if provoked by a determined Ukrainian offensive to retake the Donbas, that Russia will overtly intervene and take everything to the Dnipro River, including Kyiv.  If they pulled it off as a surprise attack, they could likely do it in a week, the renewed Ukrainian army notwithstanding.  The problem then becomes to occupy it.  My question is why occupy it?  In and out and leave the smoldering ruins behind with a list of demands that are either met or there will be more of the same.  And dare the West to do anything about it.

People talk about a repeat of “the little green men” in the Baltics.  As Fisher points out, they will not look like “little green men”, they will look like local thugs in t-shirts and ball caps.  Whether or not there is any local support for them in any of the Baltic countries is neither here nor there.  Using the hybrid warfare approach they can have the place in flames.  Will NATO turn its guns on “civilians” before it is too late?  That was the problem in Donbas – who were the Russians and who were the locals and who do you shoot?

Fisher despairs that the West does not take the Russian threat seriously enough.  Rofer says in her rebuttal and others agree ( that indeed they do but they are ignoring it in public while quietly working on containing it as much as they can without triggering an escalation unnecessarily.  Overtly providing arms to Ukraine would be one such action.  Which is why, as much as I and everyone else would like to see Ukraine fully armed with modern weapons, it is not happening.  Cooler and wiser heads are prevailing – so far.

This is likely why America is not releasing satellite photos showing the degree of Russian intervention in Ukraine.  To call Russia’s bluff would back Putin further into a corner and invite overt intervention on a larger scale.  At the same time, it would put pressure on the West, now that they “know for sure” to actually provide military aid to Ukraine.  More escalation.

In the meantime Ukraine has its own internal battles to fight ( .  Corruption permeates everything.  Cleaning it up means starting at the top (and in the middle and at the bottom).  The Rada seem happy to clean up corruption as long as it is not THEIR corruption.  One of the bigger roadblocks to reform is rumored to be Prime Minister Yatseniuk.  It is hard to find people whose hands are not dirty and so many of the current power brokers have links to the Party of Regions in their past.

Timothy Snyder is one of the best experts on this part of the world that I have found.  this presentation is worth an hour of your time to really understand what is behind all the commotion.

I am a cynic and a pessimist.  Also a fatalist.  So I will sit tight and see what happens.  Interesting times.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Sooner or later, everything old is new again

Sir Rodney Twerkingham Ramsbottom, British chap, small estate between Cleaver on Butcherblock and Tipple on Winebottle, zoologist, member of the Royal Academy of Whatever Zoologists Are Members Of, was exploring in darkest Paddington's Homeland when he came upon an egg.  A largish egg in the middle of BFE, nowhere.

It looked dropped and abandoned.  Sir Rodney took it back to England with him and put it on the mantle over the fireplace.  Where in due time it hatched out a small reptillian looking sort of thingy the likes of which no one had ever seen.  Possibly some sort of dinosaur, but who knew? Zoologists were puzzled and wanted to name it after Sir Rodney, who in his modesty, declined and called it a Raricus Scarciferus as it was both rare and scarce. Mostly they referred to it as "the Rarey" for short. Sir Rodney became quite famous and soon commanded a hefty speaking fee.

The beast started out small and cute as most beasts do, even humans, but grew rapidly with a balanced diet of IAMS dog food.  Very rapidly. In a month it was consuming a 20 kg bag per day; at 6 months 200 kg per day and snacking on the neighbourhood dogs which created a but of fuss.  It was also expensive, needless to add, and speaker's fees regardless, he was mortgaging his estate just to feed the beast.

Sir Rodney had to do something before it started snacking on neighbourhood children, which much as he fancied the thought, would likely create even more unpleasantness than did the dogs. He wrote to the Ministry in Charge of Feeding Strange Animals but they sent him a polite PFO letter that said, in plain words, "You found it; you feed it".

He had to get rid of it but make it look like an accident as The Guardian, never mind the Royal Academy of Whatever Zoologists Are Members Of, would be all over him if he simply shot it outright.  If he could just get the creature to the cliffs by Dunotter Castle in Stonehaven and push him over he could claim that the reptile had developed vertigo and fallen.  So off they went trekking through the Highlands to Stonehaven, ostensibly to visit his mother who moonlighted as the castle "haunt".

He lured the animal to the top of the cliffs with a bag of Purtina Dog Chow and quite close to the edge.  Just before he was about to plunge the unsuspecting creature to its doom, he looked over the edge of the cliff, down, down, down, and remarked "It's a long long way to tip a Rarey".