A year ago today we lost our family dog, how fast it has gone. When I posted this last year it seems I inadvertently upset people: mothers on the school run was asking me not to post anything else about him, I got a message from a girl on holiday in Spain: ‘I’m in tears, my mum’s in tears, the waitress serving us has two Labradors and she’s in tears!’ It wasn’t my intention then or now, I’m just remembering our old friend.
Dog lovers: why do we do it? I mean really, why do we fucking put ourselves through it?
We know, when we let them into our homes and incorporate them into our family dynamics, exactly what their lifespan is. We know that they don’t live as long as we do, and that there is going to be an emotional payback for all of the years of unconditional love and non-judgemental companionship that they offer us. But it is only when you reach that devastating moment of reckoning when you ask the question: is it all worth it?
I’m a Doctor Who fan. How many times have I heard it said, courtesy of the script writers, that the Doctor doesn’t stay with his companions because the hurt of watching them age and die, while he goes on, is too much. Having watched the programme since the 80’s, you think I’d have…
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When you go to the match to be the calm voice of reason for the folks back home.
Throat lozanges, anyone?
The sun sets on Solstice day, the hills of Rochdale bound and staked.
The view is trussed and set ablaze
Before being snuffed out in shadow.
Photo Derek Bates
The kids sat me down ready, then came in like two kings bearing gifts.
Millie placed this before me.
“I’ve made you a football scene. There’s the goals, and the fans are saying ‘Happy Father’s Day’.”
“Wow, that’s cool!” I enthused.
One figure was removed:
“That’s mine!” exclaimed James.
“I’m using it for one of the crowd.”
“It’s a stormtrooper!” he protested.
Next she produced a bag of goodies, fishing out items like a magician’s handkerchief.
First up was an open packet of chewing gum-with just one stick in. Then a packet of Love Hearts sweets, with the advice: “They may be a bit out of date, though. I’ve been eating them off and on for a few months.”
Then a beautiful, colourful, hard bound book. “I know you like birds, so I got you this. When you open the pages, it plays the different bird songs.”
It was pretty cool. That’s why I bought it her a couple of years ago.
Next up was James. He plonked a cardboard crown upon my head. “You’re the king for the day.”
He’d brought it home from school two weeks before. Then he handed me his football.
“Is this for me?” I asked.
“So I can play with it now?”
“And you won’t play with it anymore?”
He thought it over. “You can have it just for today.”
My wife asked me if I was brewing up.
“Me? You should brew for me. It’s Father’s Day.”
“You’re not my father!”
Later my daughter Courtney called, and produced a bar of Fruit and Nut chocolate for me. I put it on the side for later. “I will have that after my tea.”
Later on, Millie and James were loitering in the kitchen, circling around like hungry sharks.
“Dad, are you gonna open that chocolate?”