Barking Blondes: Julian Clary, picnickers and Arabian princesses
Julian Clary joined us on the show this week to talk about his latest book and the dogs in his life. Fanny, The Wonder Dog, has long parted and supposedly entered the great pack of doggy entertainers in the sky.
She has been replaced by Valerie, a rescue dog, who is as aloof as Fanny was sociable. Julian and Valerie are often seen treading the boards on tour.
Unfortunately Valerie adds nothing to the performances as she sits with her back to the audience, longing to be allowed back into the dressing room to sleep. Showbiz clearly doesn’t pierce her veins, let alone run through them. As Julian says “She means well but there is very little charisma”.
The two of them have now been joined by Albert, another rescue, who once appeared on the Paul O’Grady show. Paul encouraged Julian to adopt this active puppy who showed signs of growing into a cute little Jack Russell. Months later, its now apparent Albert is more staffie and bullish than was first thought.
Julian says that walking out of stage doors with Albert , it looks as though he is dealing more in heroin than camp humour!
They are an intriguing trio. Often spotted on a number 73 bus through Camden.
We are worried about our local Big Issue seller Martin*. He stands on his pitch outside our local supermarket every day with his dog Zelda. Most days Zelda is lying on a pristine rug that he brings with him. She is a staffie cross with chocolate brown eyes which she keeps on her owner, no matter how much attention comes her way. In the rain and the snow she wears padded coats. Many of us local dog owners leave our dogs under Martin’s care as we shop inside. Some days he resembles an urban Dr Doolittle with up to four dogs in his charge. If ever there was evidence that we are a dog loving nation it’s early evening ,when piled high next to Zelda are contributions from shoppers. Bones, fresh chicken, treats, collars, even sweaters. This dog wants for nothing.
The two of them have lived very eventful lives. We get a sense that there is now a slow winding down. However, neither of them have been spotted recently. Martin and Zelda usually sleep at St Mungo’s. It is one of the few charities for the homeless that allows dogs into the hostels. It’s an enormous problem for the homeless in London. Often their dog is their only companion. It’s understandable that most hostels are not equipped with dog facilities but it explains why there is an every increasing number of homeless sleeping in doorways with dogs by their side.
We hope that Martin and Zelda are not back out there. He did say a few months back that they deserved a break by the sea. Let’s hope.
With all this fine weather comes the dog owners natural enemies PICNICKERS! Any responsible owner will scan the park or heath for established or potential PICNICKERS. For dogs, the waft from a wicker basket of pate and brie can be sourced from miles away. It always ends in disaster.
On Wednesday evening, we came upon the most exotic alfresco banquet in the middle of Hyde Park. Eleven Arabian princesses, complete with maids and nannies and children, were seated on a huge antique braid rug. They were under the trees on the side of The Serpentine. Tea was being taken from gold embossed glasses along with delicacies served on bone china. All our alarm bells went off.
Our dogs, Molly and Matilda must have sensed the occasion. Instead of invading their privacy they sat, like us, a distance away and watched with awe.
The matriarch of the group looked up, smiled and invited us over. It was dusk, slap bang in the centre of London. Two women with their two dogs partook of their first Arabian picnic.
Summer in the city.
Listen to Barking at the Moon on Thursdays at 10pm til midnight on BBC LONDON 94.9Tagged in: barking at the moon, barking blondes, BBC London 94.9, dogs
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