24 March 2007
So what happened? Well, several things happened. The first you know about. His name is BooBoo and he just about drove me insane. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please read the previous entry The Little Dog who thinks he’s a Great Dane. For over two months, BooBoo woke me every morning at 5 a.m. and then spent a large part of his day screaming, yelling and snapping at other dogs so I had to be vigilant every waking minute for fear he’d get his head bitten off. In fact, five or six days before he left, he did get bitten by my dog, Beau. Beau had had enough of being barked at by a dog not much bigger than a grasshopper and he lost patience. I was bending down to pick up something off the floor at the time – a 30-second lapse of vigilance is all it took - and so just before he was due to leave he got bitten. Well he asked for it but that’s not the point. Fortunately it was only a skin wound, nothing deep and soon healed up. What luck – it could have been so much worse. Those two months were stressful and seemed to be never ending. I was so tired I couldn’t think beyond getting through the day, let alone get my brain into gear to write a blog entry. And if you think something is going on forever it seems worse than it is because you see no end to it. You can’t cope. Eventually I said to myself, ‘Enough is enough. No more yappy little dogs, no more difficult dogs, time to ease up a bit on what I do.’ An epiphany moment? Perhaps not, perhaps just a natural progression to the next stage in life.
The second thing that happened occurred about three weeks or so into BooBoo’s stay when I had a call from a very persuasive gentleman, asking if I was interested in selling a particular brand of dog food in Monaco and along the French Riviera. Over the years I’ve been asked many times if I was interested in selling dog food and I’ve always said no. I can’t easily get away from here, can’t leave the dogs, so how could I sell dog food? In this case though, I’d heard of the product, Arden Grange, and knew it was good. Perhaps because I was so tired, perhaps fate took control, but I agreed the caller could send me a box of samples. A day or so later, an enormous box arrived containing samples of Arden Grange and large packets too, which gave me the chance to really test it out. BooBoo’s two friends, the two Jack Russell Terriers had allergy problems and scratched a lot. Beau, my refuge dog, has a greasy skin condition called seborreah.
So I’m in the dog food business! And it’s going very well, thank you, simply because this stuff sells itself. A dog only has to eat it and the owner orders more. I won’t ramble on though – if you want to read about it go to this link. I’ve no idea if this will work out for me financially. French taxation doesn’t make life easy for small businesses and the social charges I will have to pay are high. I won’t really know if it’s worth doing for a year or so. Fingers crossed though and meanwhile I’m having the best fun selling a product that is truly good for dogs.
All this took time to set up, so much so that I didn’t even get to Crufts dog show this year and I never ever miss the Old English Sheepdogs at Crufts. I watched it on the television though and was dead chuffed to see that a son of the dog who won last year (when I had the honour to judge) won this year. Like father, like son.
And the next thing that happened? Well, it was obvious that I couldn’t deliver this high quality dog food in my bashed up 16-year old car. It’s a Rover 216 that I bought years ago from a then-client, retired F1 racing driver, Roy Salvadori, who, incidentally, lives in an apartment that overlooks the start-finish line of the Monaco Grand Prix. I used to look after his dog, Tai, until he died of old age.
It’s a great car and still goes like a bomb. It's never given me one problem in all the years I’ve had it. However, because it’s been sitting out in the hot Mediterranean sun, the bodywork has seen better days. So trying to decide what car to buy took weeks of research. I got square eyes looking at car websites and reading car reviews. A Renault Kangoo would have been ideal but I decided, to hell with it, I want something a little more upmarket and comfortable and so I’ve ordered a Golf Plus which will be ready for collection in a couple of months.
I’ve driven an automatic for years as I have an arthritic neck and shoulder (the result of an untreated whiplash injury a lifetime and a couple of marriages ago). The test drive was in a manual car. Friends said you never forget how to drive with a manual gear shift. It's like riding a bike, they said. Of course, I said and of course, I couldn’t make the damn thing start. I was like a 17-year old learning to drive. Couldn’t get my feet to work the pedals. The salesman said, ‘You’ve got your foot on the brake pedal, Madame,’ when I thought I was on the clutch.’ ‘Oh you drive,’ I said - and we changed places. So he did the test drive for me, which is probably not the way it’s supposed happen.No matter, nice car even though I haven’t a clue what it’s like to drive but I'll find out and yes, I've ordered an automatic.
And I’m a little daunted as it’s far easier to own an old banger. No one wants to steal it and it doesn’t matter if you hit a lamppost. I’ve never really been into the status of cars (I just need them to work and not let me down) but perhaps I’ll get used to it. I’ve ordered leather seats and a tinted rear window and some gizmo that beeps when you are parking and are about to hit something. I need that. Yes, I think I might indeed get used to this new car!
And last week? BooBoo and his two friends went home. I took a week’s holiday and now all is right with the world again. His owners, who are great people, arrived with a calendar featuring a Miniature Pinscher. I told them I’d put it on the wall and throw darts at it. Fortunately they laughed and left with several bags of dog food and have since told me that their dogs are far better behaved than before. That's good to know.
Sorry I've been away. Thank you for waiting. See you again SOON.