Following my slightly ranty column referring to dog owners hanging poo bags on trees, I have discovered that there are solutions, thanks to my dog-owning readers who have drawn my attention to a couple of clever inventions.

One is a poop bag carrier that clips on to your dog lead, and you attach your full bags to it until you pass a bin or get back home. This means that you still have both hands free as you continue your walk. The reader said: “It’s not difficult or messy, so why doesn’t everyone do it?”

Another reader uses a compact neoprene pouch which you can clip on to your back pack or belt loop. You put the tied-up poo bag inside and zip it up to avoid unpleasant odours stalking you on the rest of your ramble. It also eliminates the yucky sensation of a full bag swinging from side to side as you walk. Although it is relatively expensive, it is fully washable and so can be used again and again.

With these kinds of solutions, is there any excuse for not cleaning up after your dog? I would genuinely like to hear the argument for hanging poo bags on trees because it is my duty, as a responsible writer, to understand every side of a story. Especially when you have no leg to stand on.

On the subject of dogs (which has been a fruitful topic of late!) I have been house-sitting for my niece, looking after her two gorgeous husky dogs while she is on her honeymoon. On one of our walks I couldn’t help but notice how few houses have net curtains.

Darlington and Stockton Times: While looking after my niece’s huskies, I noticed few houses had net curtains at the windows

The trusty net curtain used to be present in most houses because we wanted to nosey at what our neighbours were getting up to outside, without those neighbours noseying at what we were getting up to inside. We also wanted to prevent the ne’er-do-wells from seeing our immensely valuable possessions in case they were tempted to nick them.

Nets began to be seen in the 17th Century after sheet glass replaced small pieces of glass set within lead frames. Initially, these large pieces were expensive to produce so were available only to the rich who kept them for their best rooms. To preserve privacy while at the same time allowing the light in, net curtains were initially made of fine cotton and silk and great skill was needed to produce delicate and intricate patterns. The modern glass industry took off after a reduction in tax in the mid-19th Century and the cost of glass plummeted. Soon, sheet glass became available to the less wealthy and was being seen in smaller houses. Still, it was only after man-made fabrics like nylon and polyester emerged after the Second World War that we began to see mass-produced net curtains. Of course, once we commoners got involved, nets stopped being posh and instead became associated with nosey parkers covertly watching what other people were doing, and the age of the ‘curtain-twitcher’ was born.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Me with my mum outside our house in the 1970s when most people hung net curtains over their windows

The net curtain is considered a decidedly English eccentricity by our continental friends. Having been married to a Dutchman, I know that in the Netherlands, any form of curtain across your window is seen as dodgy, as if you are trying to hide something shameful. Houses have huge living room windows with just a few plants to screen the internal going’s-on from the outside world.

I do still love a curtain, though, and will not leave them open at night for anyone to peer in. But I have moved on from net curtains, as it seems have most people these days. I did see a few on my walk, but thanks to my acute detective instincts I deduced that they were in homes belonging to our more mature residents.

So why is that? Are we less worried now about people seeing in through our windows? In a world where we share the smallest details of our personal lives online, maybe we don’t feel the need for such privacy in our own homes anymore? Or is it that more CCTV cameras and sophisticated security systems mean we are less afraid of our personal possessions being on display?

What do you think dear reader?

Do you have memories to share or ideas for this column? Contact me via my webpage at, or email