If you’re of the same ‘Boomer’ generation as me you’ll probably remember Allan Sherman’s song from 1963 ‘Hello Mother, Hello Father’. The song only got as far as number 14 in the UK Hit Parade at the time, but has gone down in musical history since, as one of the classics.
If you don’t know it, or you’d like to revisit it, you can hear it free on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jjiWS__Mp0
For those who may not know it, it tells the tale of a young American boy sent off to ‘summer camp’ and hating every second of it. The words of the song are a letter being written to be sent home to his parents at the end of his first day at ‘Camp Granada’.
The opening lines give a flavour of what follows:
Hello Mother, hello father
Here I am at Camp Granada
Camp is very entertaining
And they say we’ll have some fun
If its stops raining
I went hiking with Joe Spidy
He developed poison ivy
You remember Leonard Skinner
He got coming toming poison last night after dinner
I am not at Camp Granada. I am sitting on the floor of our combined, open plan kitchen/living room surrounded by a circular pattern of muddy footprints – a living testimonial to my inability to wipe the new dog’s paws properly; and a warning to those contemplating the combination of dark tiled floors and dog . . . Beside me, strewn across the wooden floor is a small lake, vaguely resembling the shape of Windermere. The water bowl, her favourite toy, is missing . . . but the non-slip (ha!) ring from its base is lying in front of me, taunting.
The ‘puppy gate’ is lying in the hallway having been dislodged by a small but densely muscled collie puppy when she failed to slow an enthusiastic attempt at the world speed record on paw-slippery kitchen ceramic tiles.
The villain in question, Tess, our twelve week old collie. Is staring at me across the floor as if to say, “Well what did you expect, Father, another boring cat?”
“I went hiking with Joe Spidy, He developed poison ivy . . .”
The puppy’s “sister” Misti, our year old Rag Doll cat, is sitting on the edge of one of the sofas, staring at me as if to say, “Did you keep the receipt?”
“And they say we’ll have some fun if it stops raining . . .”
Well, yes, we did have some fun – when I took her out this morning. We went for our first walk along the old canal path at the bottom of our garden, as the cover photo shows. The lady in the photo is not my wife, Bernie. The lady in the photo was one of no less than five kindly people I met in the course of half an hour, each of them with a dog or dogs of their own. I thought you might enjoy the shot of Great Dane and our small collie, kindly posed by Helen who held Tess still for a second.
You may have noticed that I am ‘alone’ in this narrative. My darling wife is thirty miles away at Horticultural College in Penrith. This is hot on the heels of me ‘wolf-minding’ for the whole of yesterday evening, while she joined the Silverdale literati for their monthly book club meeting.
This is not ‘my’ dog; though I am doing my best to help. This is Bernie’s dog . . .
In the meanwhile, I am trying write the fourth part of the Silent Eye’s Egyptian-themed mystical weekend which is looming large on the April horizon . . . and, as you can see, failing miserably!
We didn’t keep the receipt. The little darling can’t go back, and no, I don’t mean it. I really do love her to bits, honest . . . I think. It will get better . . . I’m reliably informed . . .
It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow, darling. I’d like a voucher for a long weekend of skiing and sauna style pampering somewhere high in the Swiss Alps, please . . . and a small red Italian sports car to get me there . . .
And woof to you, too . . .