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Sunday, April 10, 2005


Phoebus to the fore

The weather couldn't have been kinder - thanks be to Zeus for holding off on his usual squally pack of cats and dogs.

Very well, one of out two wasn't bad.

Slap me down if I'm trampling over some ancient farming custom that dictates that sporting a woof-woof in tow is de rigeueur at these opening functions but there seemed to be a surfeit of canines tugging their owners every which way and generally clogging unhindered passage.

Don't get me wrong - as a pretentious Brit I'm all for the country squire look - tweeds, shooting stick, faithful Fido completing the landed gentry look - but it didn't seem to be coming off.

The owners weren't quite moving with the requisite hauteur and swagger. As for the mutts, they seemed as baffled as I over to their precise role in the tableau.

But it added to general fun of the occasion, watching the owners tugged this way and that as everyone else behaved with our uniquely Bainbridge tolerance and let show hardly a flicker of irritation at the drooling creatures hampering free traffic.

Post-script: Oh dear, how very unnecessary and unseemly, but since it mentions dogs and the page has magically fallen open there, I may as well quote it.

I'm looking up Robert Southey in my Oxford Dictionary of Quotations and my eye falls on John Sparrow, famous Warden of All Souls College, Oxford, 1952-77, who in a letter to The Times, 30 September 1975, is said to have written:

"That indefatigable and unsavoury engine of pollution, the dog."

Well, I bet he got a blasting for *that* - you can say what you like about an Englishman's wife or children, but dogs are sacred.

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