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August 2014 Archives

August 24, 2014

Toby at four months

Toby has been here for nine weeks. He has spent half of his life with us, and his memories of his mum and his seven litter-mates must be fading. Meantime his impact on our lives has been immense. He is better known in Duddingston village than we are. Workmen from Scottish Water greet him by name and kind neighbours take him for walks and to their houses. This morning he and I were walking in Holyrood Park and a whole coachload of tourists made a fuss of him. The bold Toby, who likes buses, tried to board the coach to be with his fans.

His impact on house and garden has been negative, to say the least: furniture and plants have been chewed, our belongings have been scattered and hidden and Toby stuff is everywhere. This morning, for the first time, his reach extended to the keyboard of my iMac and one casual swipe of his huge front paw invoked features I had never seen before. Nothing that dangles, such as a towel or teacloth, can be kept at a convenient height. We can't keep books in normal-height bookshelves, which Toby has taken over for his toy library:

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Despite our efforts to socialise him, he lacks respect for older dogs and clambers on and pesters them. Here is a very forbearing golden retriever called Ruby, putting up with more than he should have to:

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The TV ads never show you what puppies really do to Andrex, but Toby can trash a whole packet in seconds. Then he moves on to kitchen paper:

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However, just occasionally he will chew something harmless, like a stick, and in this relaxed pose you can see just how much he has grown, still gaining over 1 kg each week. And although there have been many moments of frustration, since he took over my life I have worked less, got out more (short, chaotic walks), spoken to more people (with and without dogs) and laughed more.

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August 9, 2014

Festival Fringe Friday

Yesterday was my first Fringe experience as an Edinburgh resident, as opposed to a visitor, and I liked it a lot. Dear friends Malcolm and Aileen Johnson had driven through from Dunblane, bringing their handsome black labrador Laochan. We offered lunch, some Fringe tickets and the opportunity for Laochan to teach Toby some manners. He asserted himself with a strategic lick (excuse motion blur):

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Keir did a superb salad lunch, the weather co-operated and the dogs were getting on fine. So Malcolm and I headed off to see "My Obsession" the intriguing short play that Suki Webster wrote about a comedian in midlife career crisis and a stalker/fan who breaks into his hotel room in the middle of the night. Apparently her first two choices for the lead role of comedian turned her down. It was only in a casual conversation over breakfast with husband Paul Mertonthat he volunteered - for his first role as a lead actor.

I'd seen Paul Merton and his impro chums at the Fringe last year and was very impressed: they really do rely on the three-word prompts from the audience. I know this, because mine was first out of the bucket. His comic timing is impeccable, and in the intimate context of the Pleasance Upstairs the impact was considerable. Suki's script had lots of great one-liners, and it's easy to love a play that lasts only 30 minutes. The only problem was that she hadn't found a way to end it.

Slightly later was my next Fringe show - Fascinating Aida's "Charm Offensive" at the Underbelly. A short taxi ride with three other friends took us to this scintillating trio (Dillie, Adele and Liza) who sang and played to a packed house. It's impossible to overpraise their professionalism, creativity and humour: they write, play and sing all their own material. If you haven't visited their website, or better yet heard them live, a treat lies in store. Some of the famous old favourites were included (Cheap Flights, Dogging). Of the new material, the outstanding item was "Prisoner of Gender" - a brave, moving and funny autobiography of gender change.

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About August 2014

This page contains all entries posted to Jacquetta in August 2014. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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