St Martin’s Author Reveals New Book

toby tobin dougan dog shimaA St Martin’s author is heading in a new direction with his latest book.

Toby Tobin-Dougan is well known for his first publication, An Island Ingredient, recounting his arrival in Scilly and running the Seven Stones Inn and the St Martin’s Bakery.

That sold over 4,500 copies and the mix of biography and cooking was featured as a key storyline in the popular TV series, An Island Parish.

But for Toby’s new book, he’s writing about his experiences of raising and training three generations of unusual Hungarian Vizsla dogs on the islands.

Toby says he got the idea after reading Costa Prize winning author Helen McDonald’s book about buying and training a young Goshawk following the death of her father.

He says there were “massive parallels” to his own experiences with his first dog, Jazz, and her offspring.

Toby says that while the Vizsla breed is traditionally trained as a gun dog, they have a very independent nature and you “never really own them.”

He says he once had St Martin’s boatman Terry Perkins coming into the bakery saying he’d seen Jazz swimming out to Great Ganilly island, over two miles away, and chasing rabbits up the steep slopes.

His current Vizsla, Shima, the granddaughter of Jazz, is named after the Hungarian word for ‘smooth’ because so many children like to stroke her silky coat. Toby says he rang the Hungarian Embassy in London to find out what the translation was.

She’s now ten years old and unfortunately Toby couldn’t find an unrelated dog in the southwest to breed with her.

So he says he wants to use any proceeds from the book to buy another Vizsla from the same famous bloodline as her mother and grandmother, which has won numerous Kennel Club awards.

Toby says he’s “almost there” writing the book, having already completed around 35,000 words.

But he says he keeps thinking of new stories to include. He’s also got the long, hard task of proofreading before it can be released.

Toby hopes the book will go on sale before Christmas, on Amazon and through local retailers.