Looking back to my childhood, one thing I’ll always remember is our dog, Bob. My brother and I always wanted a dog and one day I remember playing outside, waiting for Mum and she came towards us holding a wicker basket and in the basket was Bob, a mongrel puppy but, according to my Dad, ninety per cent Manchester Terrier.
He was named Bob because all my Dad’s pet dogs were called Bob. There was Old Bob, before him there was Even Older Bob and then the Last Bob. Presumably if there had been one before him he would have been In-between Bob.
Anyway, we grew up, my brother and I with Bob. He was a wonderful dog and we had some great times together. When we moved from Wythenshawe to Handforth Bob disappeared after a few days. We searched and searched but couldn’t find him. We went to the Police and the officer suggested that maybe Bob had gone back to our old house. “What? All the way to Manchester?” we asked.
“It’s been known!” he said.
We had no car so we walked back to our old house, a good five or six miles away, nothing in a car I suppose but a fair walk. The neighbours had seen Bob about and after waiting a while he turned up, very pleased to see us.
Where we lived in Handforth there was a dog called Butch who lived around the corner. Butch looked like the meanest nastiest dog ever but he was actually a really friendly dog. When we took Bob for a walk Butch would follow us to the old RAF camp where we went for walks. Of course, Bob would not allow Butch to actually walk with us. Oh no. Butch would have to walk about five yards behind us and if he approached, Bob would bark and growl until Butch went back to his proper station. When we got to the field and Bob’s lead came off then all bets were off and the two raced about and played together but on the way back home, protocol had to be observed and Butch had to adopt the proper position or be barked and growled at.
Butch’s owners were not the best or most responsible dog owners. Butch was an outside dog and when they went on holiday Butch was left to fend for himself until they returned and some of our neighbours thought Butch was a menace, a wild dog but he really wasn’t.
One day, during the school holidays, there was a knock on the door. Now, I do mean a proper knock, a real rat-tat-tat on the door knocker. When I opened the door no one was there except Butch, looking at me in askance. I assumed some kids had been messing about knocking on our door so I told Butch to go away and shut the door but a few minutes later there was the rat-tat-tat again. My Mum opened the door looked at Butch and said “Round the back Butch” and a few minutes later Butch turned up at the back door and my Mum gave him a few scraps to eat. It turned out this was a regular visit from Butch and Mum explained how Butch used to tap on the letterbox with his foot or his nose. He was a bright lad that Butch.
Anyway, one final dog story to finish with. I must be careful how I tell this one because I always seem to give the punch line away before the end. Anyway, here goes.
When I lived in Newton le Willows I used to take our Labrador for a walk on the playing field round the corner after finishing work. There was a little snicket you walked down to the playing field and further up was some rough ground and a bit of a pond where we’d have a run around. On this day as I approached the path a youth on a mountain bike came hurtling down the path, passed me and was off. As I came to the field there was an old lady there who looked a little odd. Something about her wasn’t quite right so I went over and asked if everything was ok.
“No,” she answered. A man on a mountain bike had just grabbed her hand bag and shot off. “I saw him,” I said. “He went off towards Newton. Stay here and I’ll run home and call the Police.”
“No, “said the lady. “It doesn’t matter,” and then she started to laugh, slowly at first, then developing into a great big hysterical laugh.
Well, I thought, I wonder if this is some sort of shock reaction? Should I perhaps slap or shake her or something? The lady could see where my thinking was taking me and held up her hand. “I’m not mad, just a minute and I’ll explain.”
When she had calmed down she told me that she came here every day to walk her dog but the dog always liked to have a poop on the football field. Well, she was aware of the kids playing football so she always used her poop scoop and picked up the dog mess but felt a little self-conscious walking back home carrying a bag of poop. Now this is the bit where you’ve probably pre-empted me and guessed what happened. The lady brought an old handbag with her to carry the poop and that’s what the hoodie biker had grabbed!
I can just imagine the face on that hoodie when he stopped to examine his goods. What would he find? Had it been pension day? Would he find a purse filled with money?
Well, when it comes down to it, he found exactly what he deserved!
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