14st 11lb, 4.0 units. Things are looking up to this extent: The Dog has begun to show signs that he may be thinking about giving up sulking. He went into a major strop as soon as he got out of the car after the hated five hour journey from Northumberland on Tuesday, and grasped that we were yet again asking him to swap a spacious home in the heart of Northumberland sheep country, where he gets to sleep on his owners’ bed, for a tiny cottage in the heart of Chester scratter country, where his inability to cope with the slatted wooden stairs confines him strictly to the ground floor.
I knew that we were in for a difficult day yesterday when he took to his bed in the morning and pointedly refused to show his usual interest in my breakfast. Then, on our early walk, he succeeded in taking me down a peg or two by stopping beside the Scratters’ Academy to have the sort of bowel movement that inevitably gets all over your fingers when you stoop to pick it up. The good news is that I keep a packet of baby wipes in my dog walking bag to deal with just this sort of eventuality; the bad news is that I remembered when I started rummaging for it that I had transferred it to the other, larger bag we had taken to the beach with us at the weekend.
In the evening he adopted a new and perhaps even more fiendish strategy to get his own back. You will no doubt be familiar with those deluded old ladies who say of their pets “He understands every word I say”. Well, I am pretty damn sure that The Dog grasped my parting comment to Mrs H that I had precisely 40 minutes to complete our usual 40 minute walk and be back in time for Coronation Street, because he stopped to sniff long and hard at what seemed like every gatepost, telegraph pole, bush and blade of grass. Every now and then, as I tried to hurry him along, he gave me a long, slow, knowing look that seemed to say “This will learn you.”
I did make it back, just, but my nerves were shattered and I was reduced to spending the rest of the evening slumped in front of the television, drinking white wine and shouting at the idiots at the BBC for filling a prime time slot with yet another dirt cheap reality show, this one about the lifeboats and air-sea rescue services of the South West, when they could have invested my licence money in something that would have given employment to writers and actors and possibly, just possibly, made me laugh. Though in fairness they did accomplish that later with the first of their new series of Dragons’ Den, kicking off with a hilarious, stammering nutcase touting a series of apparently barmy inventions including a pedal-powered hang-glider and a wind turbine disguised as a chimney pot. With the totally unexpected punchline that he actually got the money he was looking for. There is surely hope for us all yet. I think I even detected the hint of a smile from The Dog.
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