I should have posted far more, I've been neglecting my Unbound book pitch due to filming stuff for the BBC and Fully Charged, I am twisted up with guilt and remorse but I have been writing the book.
I wrote a bit in a hotel in Liverpool last week, some more on the plane from Paris on Saturday. I like fitting in bits of writiung in an otherwise stupidly over-busy schedule.
But I've cleared the decks. I've now got a solid period to focus on not only writing, but editing and recording Some Old Bloke.
So here's a bit from the chapter about the dogs in my life. This extract is about a filthy cross breed hound who lived with me for a few years in the 1970's and 80's. He was called Ruffage.
A few years later a ridiculous cross breed mutt of extraordinary character called Ruffage arrived in my life.
I remember naming this bizarre looking creature, he was the colour of a bowl of porridge sprinkled with brown sugar so he looked a bit like roughage. Add to that his endless and very annoying grunty bark that would judder out of him at any sound he wasn’t one hundred percent sure about, this suppressed grunt sounded like a ‘ruff.’
Ruffage, for those interested in dogs, was what you would call ‘a character canine.’
Even people who had no interest in dogs or who had previously rather disliked them would, for some inexplicable reason, find Ruffage adorable.
I have no idea what his genetic heritage might have been, he had a full-grown Labrador sized head, very short legs, a long and ungainly body and an unpleasantly large penis.
I’m not saying this for comic effect, Ruffage was a kit of badly chosen parts, some sort of Labrador slash terrier cross and so nothing quite fitted together. There was no getting around it, the penis was noticeably monstrous for a dog the size of Ruffage.
It just looked wrong and it was always embarrassing.
Due to the very short stature of his bandy legs, the end of his penis was alarmingly close to the ground as he trotted along and he would elicit alarmed looks from passers-by.
His unpleasant genitals usually came to the fore when a kindly old relative would stroke his enormous head as he sat on their feet.
‘Oh isn’t he a darling.’ Said my Auntie Peggy and she scratched him gently behind one of his enormous ears. He would then become, there’s no other way of describing it, aroused.
An already unpleasant protuberance would soon emerge as a vile challenge to civilised society, an impossible-not-to-mention red poker revealing the truth that under the gentle pet exterior of a charming doggy lay a monster with vomit inducing cravings.
Oh Lord he was vile, he’d stand up and do canine thrusting in the middle of the room, ‘air shagging’ my girlfriend Lee called it. There was no stopping him, if he wasn’t sleeping, eating, urinating or defecating, this dog was air shagging all the time.
Somehow, and I don’t think I can be entirely to blame for this as his owner, he was always getting in trouble, always causing stress. It’s not that he wasn’t obedient if I was paying attention, far from it.
Ruffage would walk by my heel, sit when told to, he had quite good road sense and was clearly a bright animal. I’d only have to whisper words like ‘rabbit’ or ‘walkies’ and he would instantly stand up and wag his tail and by default his penis, even if he’d been deeply asleep moments before.
His main problem was his abandonment issues, you could not leave Ruffage anywhere, even a couple of minutes in a room alone would send him into paroxysms of anxiety. I’m not sure if I was to blame for this particular neurosis or not, it seemed to come with the dog. Something must have happened to him when he was a tiny pup, who knows, as always in these circumstances, blame the mother. We all do.
Sometime in the late 1970’s I was visiting a friend who was the proud owner of a 1960 vintage Riley one point five. Those of you in the know will recall that this car, while similar to the Wolseley 1500 saloon, had twin SU H4 carburettors.
It’s a classic car now and even in 1978 it was seriously cool.
Ruffage was happy enough getting in the back, I put an old blanket on the seats to protect them, I told my friend that this was to stop his claws scratching the leather although I knew it was an attempt to stop his repugnant penile secretions from staining anything they encountered.
We drove to his mother’s house to pick something up, his mother had cats and was anxious the little doggy would cause mayhem. She was right, Ruffage loved to chase cats so very stupidly I left the wretched cock hound in the car.
This wasn’t a stupid decision because he’d suffer from overheating in a car on a summers day, it was winter, we left the rear window open a fraction and he seemed calm enough.
After a cup of tea in a nice kitchen with half a dozen cats watching us, we opened the front door to discover Ruffage happily engaged in cleaning his nether regions on the doormat. He was out of the car, had someone let him out? Did he open the door? It made no sense.
‘Fucking hell!’ shouted my soon to be ex-friend when he saw his beloved Riley 1.5. The completely intact windscreen was lying on the bonnet, not broken, just not joined to the car. Closer inspection revealed the dashboard was badly scratched and the rubber beading that held the windscreen in place was chewed to bits.
He had literally torn out the rubber beading that held the windscreen in place. There were tell tale scratch marks on the interior paintwork around the door pillars and small bits of chewed up rubber beading all over the interior.
Then, we assumed because the whole affair was so unlikely, he somehow pushed the large sheet of toughened glass forward and made his escape.
Here’s the mystery that would be repeated throughout his long and damaging life. We could find little trace of the rubber beading. If you think about it for a moment, windscreens in cars of this period were held in position by a long strip of moulded rubber beading, one side fitting tightly over the steel bodywork, the other over the shatter proof glass.
Pushing this rubber beading into place was a further insert of some form of plastic strip that held the beading and windscreen firmly creating a watertight bond.
If you pull that rubber off an old car you will discover it’s quite bulky, indeed quite heavy. Now, we did find some small pieces of chewed rubber in the footwell of the classic Riley, but not much.
Later inspection of Ruffage’s copious droppings revealed the truth. He had eaten it.
Now much as I find a little amusement in describing this creatures genitalia, I think a detailed description of his faecal matter is beyond acceptable manners. Let me just say it didn’t actually bounce, at least not at first extrusion, but it’s not hard to believe if you were of a mind and balled up the offensive material and threw it at the ground, it might fly back at you.
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