We gazed at the dog, and the dog gazed back at us.
“What?” he emanated.
“So you think he looks like George Harrison circa 1970?” I enquired at length.
“Well…yes…” Phil ruminated.
The dog sat there. He might have wondered briefly, hopefully, if a walk was in the offing. Or chow. Chow would be nice.
I googled George Harrison circa 1974. I found this:
He did have something of Macaulay about him. But he wasn’t shaggy enough. This was Macaulay in the recent snow:
“Can you think of someone who is more like Macaulay? ” I asked Phil. The dog looked quite interested.
“Yes,” said Phil, “Roy Wood from Wizzard.”
By jove, he was right. The dog and I looked impressed.
But we have been invited away on an overnighter tonight, and there is no way you can take Roy Wood from Wizzard, smelling like a rank barnyard, away with you. Especially as there’s a rather beautiful blonde bombshell waiting for Macaulay when he sets paw out of car on Kentish ground.
No. He must look more like Roy Wood from the sixties (the one in the bow tie):
With this in mind, we resolved to do the unthinkable, the futile, the pointless: we resolved to give the dog a rare bath.
And all of a sudden, the dog was not there any more, vanished like a silverfish into the skirting board. Dogs are sensitive to mention of bath.
A bath was drawn, luke warm, and special shampoo set on standby. Two huge fluffy towels sat nearby awaiting duty. And the children had brokered a deal in which they were allowed to watch but not laugh. That would be mean.
The dog came to his name but the moment he gained a whiff of what was afoot he tested our fielding skills roundly. Every available exit was tried, more than once. But inevitability hung above the dog’s head in a fine mist and glumly, he ceded and was lifted into his first bath for six months.
Was there ever a more wretched sight than the dog submiting to a shampoo? But submit he did, and when it was all over and the fluffy towels were heading for the fumigator, he heaved a doggy sigh of relief and reclaimed his favourite cushion, perfecting a pungent air of reproach calculated to ruin his tormentor’s evening.
But all was not over.
Remember when, in the seventies, mums had a habit of sitting their kids in the middle of the kitchen, putting a bowl on their head and using it as a guide for a haircut? The pudding bowl haircut chills me even today, though I was never subjected to it.
That same chill crept over the dog as he saw his owner pick up a stout, sharp pair of scissors.
School fees dictate that our dog cannot have quite the primping and preening he once did. Instead, we must make him look respectable as best we can, and make do with only one formal groom a year, in early Summer.
And so I had decided it was time to trim the dog up a bit.
You what? he shouted, non verbally. This was not cricket. He assumed the air of Bertie Wooster cornered by a particularly fierce aunt.
But I had adopted the no-nonsense matronly approach as I hacked enthusiastically into his languorous moustache, snipped those foppish spanielesque ears and edged his outrageous eyebrows.
Knowing when to stop is the trick.
I said, “hold on. I just want to snip this bit so he’s not lopsided.” And Phil tried not to imagine a bald dog half an hour hence.
However: we have a smart, disgruntled, clean dog on his cushion, all ready to meet his lady friend.
Let us hope he is on his best behaviour.