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Dodgy doggy antics

March 8, 2013

The night before last, I awoke after trying to watch some of the cricket test match, England versus New Zealand, being staged at Dunedin. Waking up hungry my first thought was that the starvation diet was still in place, Dunedin indeed.

As I had spent a good part of the morning delving into the contents of a rather dismal barn, in a search for some long forgotten master tapes, and as I had left the tape store in time to return home to lunch, it was understandably slightly disappointing to discover That Nice Lady decorator had made no plans to feed a desperately hungry husband. “You cannot be hungry” she said, “not carrying all that weight”. She is not good at encouragement, me having lost several kilos in the past week.

So I settled down in my kennel (office) to work on vital commercial matters including the opportunities offered by opening an account with Currencies Direct, scarcely able to hear the phone ring due to the noise from my rumbling stomach.. And this was not a diet day.

Because we had a dinner engagement she was not able to deny me serious sustenance last evening and dinner was taken at Boco Nuevo at The White Hart and very good it was too. My leg of Calabrian lamb was excellent as were the plate of hand cut chips, a side order that has me in the doghouse again. How come non diet days, where one is supposed to eat normally, are suddenly down to two meals?

Talking of dogs, before dinner and with the evenings becoming perceptibly lighter, we decided to take the mutts out despite terribly murky, grey, dank weather, the reward being a pint of beer somewhere afterwards. We stopped at Houghton View, offering no view whatsoever of the surrounding hills due to fog but seemingly offering a very different form of entertainment of a kind that I tend to avoid. It was in the George and Dragon at Houghton that we remarked to Gavin, the landlord, about the cars parked at the view with people sitting in them at dusk, and how curious it was that despite it being a regular dog walking area, none if them seemed to have any dogs, and anyway, why would people be turning up there as night fell. It turns out that it is a gathering for a different kind if exercise, more about dogging than dog walking.


Max the springer spaniel, nearly getting me into trouble

Actually it seems that it is more about gay dogging which I also learnt was called cottaging. It is amazing how much local knowledge can be gleaned by a simple conversation in a pub. I wonder if any of my public schoolboy friends were there?

It was in this context that it suddenly dawned on me that an innocent walk with the dogs could have taken a rather worrying turn. Losing Max, the trusted and much-loved family spaniel in the gathering gloom, I had been roundly berating him (a complete waste of time because he is now profoundly deaf) that if he was not careful I would be beating him to within an inch of his life if he did not come quickly. Given what I now know about the activities reputedly taking place in the undergrowth, I may have got away lightly.

This event has put me off my food (I am told) so another miserable day of starvation rations awaits. There is also going to be 40mm if rain today but am I downhearted? Well yes actually, but there is a shining beacon of hope and expectation on the immediate horizon. The first copies if my new book The Valbonne Monologues, are due for delivery this morning.

Chris France

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Rev. Jeff permalink
    March 8, 2013 12:15 pm

    You wouldn’t think that a story about gay dogging could be made boring but I’m about to try. !
    Did you know that the word ‘cottaging’ comes from the public lavatories in and around Fulham in which Gays would meet to ‘George Michael’ each other ? Apparently the very ornate wall tiling of these Victorian establishments reminded our joyfull friends of country cottages, hence the name. I’m now feeling like ‘Cliff’ from ‘Cheers’ !!


  2. howzaaat permalink
    March 8, 2013 12:40 pm

    Dear Chris,

    I’ve been meaning to offer you some gentle encouragement in your resolve to diet, notwithstanding the misgiving I have already expressed that it is in all probability a side-track off the central issue of alcohol consumption.

    Nevertheless, yours is a good resolution in which I hope you succeed. By the way, congratulations on already beginning to achieve your aim of losing weight. It’s a VERY difficult thing to do and so easy to give up on. But stand firm, Old Bean, and keep up the good fight.

    I guess you must have decided on your precise goal – i.e. how much weight you intend to lose – but you’re probably keeping that to yourself, are you ? Well, whatever the amount, it’s a good idea to have that precise goal to keep in mind and also to develop an understanding of the psychology of the venture. While there is much to be said for putting a good resolution into effect now and then, as you know, there are pitfalls.

    I’m sure you experienced it, didn’t you, that thrill in those first days when you found an inch added to your chest measurement and the same amount gone from your waist ! Yes, there’ll be that brief introductory period, before the novelty wears off, when doing something like this is almost, if not quite, as pleasant as thinking, talking and blogging about it. You’ll feel at one with the world and so content with your part in it that you’ll decide to keep the diet going for the rest of your life. But one must not be rash ! Dieting, if done seldom enough, can be an invigorating experience. But before long that invigorating feeling fades and only the drudgery is left.

    This is an unkind obstacle to place in the way of the willing maker of good resolutions. He is enticed into the adventure of trying a new thing, only to discover that he cannot be said to have done it properly until he has tried it a thousand times. Most of us, it must be said, are not to be enticed into such ventures that we cannot accomplish lying down ! We may go so far as to buy the latest book on dieting or even some physical fitness device or other to shove under the bed. But soon these merely become little more than items of interior decoration for the home.

    The peculiarity of good resolutions is that they are founded on a belief in the possibility of performing miracles. Let’s face it, if one could develop a visible ‘six-pack’ of abs from only a week of working at weights, everyone would be off to the shops to buy an exerciser to use with a will.

    But the faith that believes in miracles is an easy sort of faith. The faith that goes on believing in the final goal, though one day shows no obvious progress upon another, is the more admirable contender likely to achieve success.

    Bon courage, mon vieux !


  3. Rev. Jeff permalink
    March 8, 2013 3:08 pm

    Mon dieu Howzaaat !! Your final paragraph paraphrases a discussion I was having with my daughter less than two hours ago. It also sounds like the theme for a poem which will one day appear in the Daily Mail if I have the skill to accomplish it. Wise words indeed Mon ami.


    • howzaaat permalink
      March 8, 2013 3:20 pm

      Thanks Rev. — As Winnie l’Ourson said a while back, we’d buy anything written by you, so we await your anthology with bated breath !


  4. Rev. Jeff permalink
    March 9, 2013 12:07 pm

    Very kind Howzaaat. However knowing my organisational skills, rampant ambition and hunger for achievement and recognition it will probably come come out posthumously if at all !!


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