Barking Blondes: The dog show season!
We were guests on Woman’s Hour this week and interviewed by the dog-loving, wonderfully laconic Jenni Murray. Towards the end of the item things got rather emotional as she touched upon the tricky topic of coping with the death of a dog. It’s a known fact that the two of us become emotional mush at the mere mention of either of our dogs passing on, however, by the end of the show, we were convinced that Jenni’s tear-filled eyes were not down to the studio air conditioning.
An hour later our website was receiving emails from Radio 4 listeners all eager to share their tales of dealing with the death of a pet. Every one of them heart-wrenching. We love radio. No rehearsing, no editing, just a live interview that “connects” with millions of like-minded souls.
In fact it’s been a bit of an emotional week. Two dog shows at the weekend meaning two opportunities to flog our book. The first was in the Midsummer Murder Country of Burnham in Bucks, where we signed a fair few copies in the glorious sunshine and the second was a Bank Holiday Monday dog show in South Wales.
Whilst the rest of the country bathed in spring warmth, Cardiff was immersed in mist and rain. Having spent the previous night in a hotel near the airport where every room was triple glazed, we awoke with heads like dehydrated footballs and dogs gasping for air. Part of the deal was, that if we judged a couple of classes, we could set up a stall around the boundary of the show ring.
Well, have you ever attempted to erect a gazebo in a force gale wind whilst juggling two bull breeds and a box of damp books? The posters, flyers and carrier bags all blew across the fields in the first five minutes. Hopefully there will be a sheep farmer somewhere, who may, one day, find a book promoting leaflet wrapped round his crook.
We sold an embarrassing small number of copies. Lets just say, after the airless hotel, a bacon butty from the wagon and petrol , we need to sell another box full to break even. Perhaps it was the lack of sales, the weather or maybe the sleep deprivation that caused us to become quite maudlin during the judging.
Having slapped a rosette on a local policeman whose doting mutt we had decided should win “best bull breed” the two of us burst into tears. The 6ft tall bobby stared at us with embarrassment as we fawned all over his American bulldog with mascara running down our faces. We’d turned into a couple of soppy, hormonal Londoners with two townie dogs desperate to return to the warmth of the car.
We gave second prize, either out of sympathy or fascination, to a heavily muzzled Hannibal Lecter type hound. Either way, having seen it fly at a chihuahua shortly after the judging, we were left scratching our heads as to whether we had made the right choice. But by then the heavens had opened and we would have slapped a rosette on a sheep in order to get shelter.
The vigours of the weekend were probably best summed up by our two dogs. Molly, the bull terrier, was nursing an old injury and, with her foot wrapped in a bright red bandage, limped back, gratefully, to our awaiting mini, eager for the journey home. It was just as we were crossing The Severn Bridge, that Matilda, the British bulldog, projectile vomited green tripe, across the faux leather front seat. That journey home on the M4 was something neither of us want to experience ever again.
The Barking Hour, every Thursday, 3-4PM, BBC London 94.9barking blondes, Woman’s Hour
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