Regular readers will also be aware that some time back, there was talk of a boating holiday, and photographs of small dog in her flotation jacket were duly posted.
Our short boating trip begins soon, and aside from all the preparations, packing and general panicking about the advisability or otherwise of 6 women, (to say nothing of the two dogs) taking charge of a 70 foot narrow boat, I have been taking the opportunity to re-read one of my very favourite books, Three Men In A Boat (to say nothing of the dog) by Jerome K Jerome.
The dog in question is Montmorency, a small fox-terrier owned by the narrator. I would urge anyone who hasn't read the book to get hold of a copy immediately, but to whet the appetite, here is a short excerpt describing Montmorency. The 'three men' have been discussing sleeping arrangements for the boating trip............
"We therefore decided that we would sleep out on fine nights; and hotel it, and inn it, and pub. it, like respectable folks, when it was wet, or when we felt inclined for a change.
Montmorency hailed this compromise with much approval. He does not revel in romantic solitude. Give him something noisy; and if a trifle low, so much the jollier. To look at Montmorency you would imagine that he was an angel sent upon the earth, for some reason withheld from mankind, in the shape of a small fox-terrier. There is a sort of Oh-what-a-wicked- world-this-is-and-how-I-wish-I-could-do-something-to-make-it-better-and- nobler expression about Montmorency that has been known to bring the tears into the eyes of pious old ladies and gentlemen.
When first he came to live at my expense, I never thought I should be able to get him to stop long. I used to sit down and look at him, as he sat on the rug and looked up at me, and think: "Oh, that dog will never live. He will be snatched up to the bright skies in a chariot, that is what will happen to him."
But, when I had paid for about a dozen chickens that he had killed; and had dragged him, growling and kicking, by the scruff of his neck, out of a hundred and fourteen street fights; and had had a dead cat brought round for my inspection by an irate female, who called me a murderer; and had been summoned by the man next door but one for having a ferocious dog at large, that had kept him pinned up in his own tool-shed, afraid to venture his nose outside the door for over two hours on a cold night; and had learned that the gardener, unknown to myself, had won thirty shillings by backing him to kill rats against time, then I began to think that maybe they'd let him remain on earth for a bit longer, after all.
To hang about a stable, and collect a gang of the most disreputable dogs to be found in the town, and lead them out to march round the slums to fight other disreputable dogs, is Montmorency's idea of "life;" and so, as I before observed, he gave to the suggestion of inns, and pubs and hotels his most emphatic approbation."Not for a moment do I wish to give the impression that Small Dog is in any way disreputable. She does however enjoy seeing a bit of 'life' and if there is the potential for mischief in whatever form, she will give it a firm 'paws up'. Needless to say she is looking forward to the trip immensely, and keeps checking on her 'packing pile' to see that her life jacket, pyjamas and warm jumper are still there.