Friday, 30 September 2011

Thirteenth time (un)lucky

Our thirteenth event of the season was a sponsored walk for Greyhound Rescue West of England ( It took place in the leafy and lovely surroundings of Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire. Unfortunately, we got there too late to blow the starting whistle, but a good time was had by all. Since it’s probably the last (outdoor) event we’ll attend this year, I’ve decided to suspend the blog until something INCREDIBLE happens. I’ll sign off with a fun summary of a typical day on the book promo trail:

  1. Set off for dog event with the car crammed with boxes of books, display stands, leads x2, collars x2, dog-coats x2, cash float, water bottle and bowl, treats. Already late.
  2. Promptly turn round and return home. Have forgotten Dash.
  3. Set off again. Sudden downpour and standstill traffic.
  4. Sat-nav announces our destination. Looks like a lay-by halfway down a country lane. It is a lay-by halfway down a country lane. Call the organizer for proper directions and apologize for lateness.
  5. Finally arrive at correct destination. Run to appointed meeting point, loaded up with books, etc. and Dash charging along beside me.
  6. Slip and fall over, scattering books everywhere. Dash takes advantage of diversion and scarpers, trailing the lead behind her.
  7. Pick myself up, wipe down books and thank kind person who has apprehended Dash. Dash looks very pleased with herself.
  8. Meet the organizer. They are surprised at (a) how small Dash is and, (b) how skinny and bald I am.
  9. Discover I’ve been given table next to PA system since ‘nice and prominent’. Fasten Dash to table and set up book display.
  10. Change Dash into kit – gold-fringed red velvet coat emblazoned with the legend: ‘DASH – Bitch of the Year’, and matching lead and collar. Finishing touch is a black flower which adorns collar.
  11. Meet some charming people and their hounds, but conversation consists of shouting in each other’s ears because of proximity to PA system.
  12. Sell and sign books. Carefully check spelling of each person’s name. Misspell someone’s name since three people are talking to me at once, and Dash is trying to pickpocket them for treats.
  13. Dash is given strokes and treats galore. Fans pose for their photo with her. Someone asks me, ‘Are you the handler?’
  14. Need the toilet, but can’t leave Dash unattended. Wonder if I could do it discreetly behind the table – seems to work for Dash. Decide to cross my legs.
  15. Read from book to assembled crowd. PA chooses to pack up at that precise moment. Am given a megaphone instead. Now have megaphone in one hand, book in the other, and Dash’s lead trapped under one foot.
  16. Judge a category in fun dog show. Discover I’ve been given one of ‘low-risk’ categories, e.g. ‘Waggiest Tail’ or ‘Most Melting Expression’. About to present rosettes when heavens open. Everyone runs for cover.
  17. Crowd thins out, so decide to take a wander and look at some other stalls. Dash steals sausage roll which someone put down for a nanosecond. Spend the day’s profit from book sales on accessories and toys for Dash.
  18. Thank the organizer, load the stuff (and Dash) in the car and set off for home. Car breaks down after three miles and end up getting towed home. Arrive at midnight.
  19. Declare that’s the last event we’re going to do EVER.
  20. Receive invite for another event the next day. Agree to do it without hesitation.

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