The dog scorched her tail recently while leaping about in front of the wood burning stove. The acrid smell of singed hair alerted us to the situation. At the time I was haphazardly snoozing on the sofa with one ear tuned to the television (‘Handmade Britain’, presented by Kirstie Allsopp) when it became apparent that the dog’s rear end was about to ignite. A brief period of mayhem and pandemonium ensued until the dog was removed to a place of safety and all was well. The dog in question (golden retriever, Molly, otherwise referred to as “Jose the shaggy one”, shaggy tail now singed) was none the worse for wear and wholly unfazed by the commotion going on around her, although she was certainly curious about the unusual smell emanating from her rear end. That’s dogs for you.
I don’t generally make a habit of watching ‘Handmade Britain’ with Kirstie Allsop because men in big gardening boots don’t normally watch that sort of thing, but following the flammable dog incident my senses were fully alert to everything going on around me. I noted that Kirstie was enthusiastic about the handicraft activities of the Bramley Women’s Institute whose themed entry into the New Forest and Hampshire Show had something to do with the Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady. I wasn’t really watching, of course, so I can tell you no more than that.
At the end of the program the usual round of television adverts followed. One caught my eye - an advert about wrinkle cream. Men in big gardening boots don’t normally concern themselves with wrinkle cream because wrinkles and raggedy hands are the norm if you garden for a living, only this advert was different. Buy their brand of wrinkle cream, it said, and the appearance of your wrinkles will substantially reduce. The cream contains organic burdock, apparently, as well as molecule ‘twenty four twelve’ which is better known as jasmonic acid, a plant derivative vital for good potato growth without which a potato will not flourish. So you too, I conjectured, could have a face as smooth as a new potato. I’m sure it works. After all, when did you last eat a wrinkly potato? What the advert didn’t say, however, is that a smile alone takes ten years off your age and costs you nothing.
(This article first appeared in the Ross-shire Journal in 2011)
Extracted from The Bit in the Middle to be published as an ebook in Spring 2016. Non fiction, autobiographical, the life and times of a self-employed gardener in the Scottish Highlands.