It's been a while since I blogged. The reason, dear readers, is this:
Yes, folks. A couple of months ago, we acquired a dog. A two-year-old boxer called Daisy, whose role was to shake our family out of its iPad-induced inertia, and get us out and about. Like the von Trapp family. But with poo bags.
But what we hadn't quite accounted for was the sheer magnitude of Daisy's walking habit.
The fact of the matter is that Daisy likes walking. Daisy like walking more than Lord Sewel likes to wear orange bras and leather jackets whilst snorting coke off the chest of a prostitute. Daisy likes walking more than Gwyneth Paltrow likes to give her nether beard a good old steam clean. Daisy likes walking even more than she likes the smell of asshole, which, my friends, is saying something. All of which means I now spend seven hours a week walking Daisy, when I could be blogging, in addition to the three or four hours I spend walking her on weekends, with the family. Who now loathe me.
But it's not just the walking. In fact, following an epic walkathon around the village the other day (think Reese Witherspoone in the film 'Wild'), I experienced a renewed sense of purpose that lasted for at least several minutes!! So the walking is almost invigorating. No, when it comes to Daisy, the straw that breaks the camel's back, or in my case, the increasingly obvious dowager's hump, is the extra cleaning. The hallway, once a welcoming reception area with original feature tiles et al, now has the kerb appeal of a fucking squat. And every time we leave the house, which is never for longer than a couple of hours, we return to a river of glistening dog phlegm, the remnants of what was once an elegant Edwardian front door, floating through it, post-apocalyptically.
And then there's the smell that greets us on our return. The smell of Daisy's separation anxiety. A putrid, gamy smell underscored by what can only be described as a lurid bass note of fear. Or, as Shakespeare might have put it, were he ever to come around for a cuppa, "Christ love, this is the rankest compound of villainous smell that ever offended nostril".
"Get a grip Daisy!" I say, grabbing the mop, which I may as well wear around my neck on a chain, like old folks do with spectacles. "We were only gone for three bloody nanoseconds!"
She looks up at me lovingly, her whiskers festooned with chips of vintage anaglypta wallpaper, the masticated remains of period skirting boards glued to her lip.
"Oh what's the point", I say, patting her head.
On the plus side, the kids secretly love walking into the woods with her, even though they weep with a kind of biblical hysteria whenever I ask them to pause anything on 'You Tube'. They love, too, the deranged lopsided way in which she runs, and then runs some more; the excitement she demonstrates if you show her a ball; her ridiculously cute outsized tongue. And as a family we have gone to wild, remote places that we would never have usually gone to. Dunes. Forests. Mountains. Abandoned quarries. In short, she has forced us to see the world through a dog's eye, as a place of joy, and wonders, and immense possibilities. And for that I cannot thank her enough.
And if it means fewer blog posts while I get used to everything, then so be it ...