Kate Fenton  

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THE DOGS' BLOG: a word from Fizz and Bert

Well, since the Old Trout has failed to update this column since practically last century, we felt someone had to step in. And if Andrew Marr’s Hamster – hamster, we ask you – merits his own regular column in the Daily Telegraph, the two of us feel eminently well-qualified to fill the vacancy here. Gundogs, after all, and spaniels in particular, are famous for their intelligence. And looks. And courage. Not to say modesty.

Of course, you know why the OT hasn’t penned her own blog for so long? That’s right: it’s because she’s run out of excuses, jokes and even suicide threats, in trying to explain her ongoing failure to produce Novel Number Seven. Admittedly, she has been trying – in our view, very trying. You should see her, staring at the wall, muttering to herself, decimating the world’s forests with the manuscripts she so regularly chucks away with a manic cackle as she grows ever poorer, fatter and more morose.

This has been in spite of our kind but firm insistence on dragging her out to grouse moor and pheasant wood for a spot of paid exercise. Naturally, we do 99.5% of the exercise while she cops in for the pay packet. It is, as they say, a dog’s life.

What’s more, instead of performing the simple duties we have so painstakingly trained her for in the shooting field, i.e., marvelling at our heroic feats and lavishing love and superlatives when we swagger, or stagger, back to her feet, she has been caught more than once gazing blankly in entirely the wrong direction. Why? Because she’s pondering some footling plot tangle, that’s why. We know that’s what she’s up to because not the least trial of having care and control of an ill-disciplined pedigree author is that she doesn’t hesitate to bend our ears with her literary problems at brain-numbing length when she thinks no-one else is about. Thus have we startled many an innocent pooch and his walker in the course of our afternoon perambulations. We may soon have to begin pretending she doesn’t belong to us. Just some stray mad bitch who insists on following us around.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we are perpetually amazed at the number of activities she professes herself obliged to undertake instead of applying her bum to the desk chair and her brain to the blessed book. For example, she’s done so much washing and ironing recently the Young Master has taken to calling her Widow Twankey, as in Aladdin’s Ma and her Chinese Laundry. Although the local village pantomime this year for which, wouldn’t you know, the Old Trout volunteered herself as Musical Director (composer, arranger, lyricist, scenery-maker and all-round busybody) was not Aladdin but Hansel and Gretel. (A particularly foolish story, in our view, since the idiot children would never have got lost in the wood if they’d had the wit to take a dog. Still, that’s neither here nor there.) Plus she regularly deafens congregations in local parishes with her power-mad antics at the organ console, and to cap it all she has also become – if you please – a school governor. We understate: Vice-Chair of a board of Governors. What does she know about schools? Is she a fit and proper person to influence the education of the young? We refer you to the racier sections of her literary oeuvre, which we rather doubt have been read by the Headmaster. In fairness, though, we are not entirely opposed to this appointment on account of the school being situated in some very handsome woods, well supplied with streams, mud and assorted wildlife.

Nevertheless, we realise this unsatisfactory situation cannot continue. Something Must Be Done. Yes, the old girl is affectionate enough and little trouble round the house. But however content an author may seem snoozing in front of the fire, having her tummy tickled and chewing chair legs, we are responsible owners who know writers are born and bred to be working animals and are only really happy when made to do their proper job.

So we’ve had to harden our hearts, and ignore those pleading eyes. We’ve cut her food intake (no more hourly choccy bics), locked her out of the drinks cupboard (a glass of wine on Sundays if she behaves herself) and we frogmarch her to the desk every morning.

Will it work?

Watch this space. Because if it doesn’t we may be advertising a razzled, frazzled, alcoholic ex-writer – house-trained and musical – free to good home.

She has been warned.

  posted by Kate @ 8:00:00 AM

Tuesday, February 07, 2006  
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