Went to see Dave today. He's my brother in law, married to the wife's sister, Bunty. Lovely couple they are, salt of the earth Midlands people. Down to earth, realistic, and people who value the truly important things in life - like family, friends, and who are selflessly always prepared to look out for other people.
They've got three sons, great lads one and all, who've left home now, and are making their own way in the world, with wives and families of their own, lovely lads, and an absolute credit to their parents.
Anyway, we went to a family wedding, and popped into Dave's on the way home, for a cuppa, and a chat. And he's got a dog.
Name's Charlie; chocolate coloured Labrador he is. Anyway, Dave was a bit wary about leaving Charlie all on his Jack Jones, while he swanned off to a wedding with Bunty.
So Dave arranged for a doggy-sitter, and provided him with a list of instructions, regarding how to take good care of Charlie.
It was a long day for Dave and Bunty, with a full schedule from morning until late on Saturday night. It should be said at this point that Charlie is a great big softie-arsed dog, who just loves a good roll about on the floor and having his belly tickled. He even looks like he's laughing when you tickle his belly, because of the way his lips fall back. Of course he isn't. He's a dog. Dogs don't laugh.
Anyway, here's a list of instructions Dave left for the doggy sitter:
09:00 - Wake Charlie up. Draw his curtains back slowly, so as not to take him too much by surprise.
09:05 - Entice Charlie out of his cage with a handful of the doggy biscuits out of the red box. For Christ's sake, make sure it's the red box, not the yellow box, or the blue box. He can't stand those ones first thing in the morning, and he'll be in a bad mood all day, unless you give him the ones out of the red box.
09:09 - By now Charlie should be rolling about on the floor like a mad thing. Be sure to tickle his belly when he does this, or he'll get the hump and go off sulking in the kitchen.
10:00 - He should have had enough of having his belly tickled by now, so you can have yourself a nice cup of tea and a biscuit, and watch Jeremy Kyle or something on the telly. But don't turn the volume up too high, because Charlie can't stand Jeremy Kyle. If the Coronation Street Omnibus Edition is on, put that on. Charlie likes that.
11:00 - I've left a bit of fillet steak in the fridge. Medium rare. Give him that. Don't give him onions with that because they give him the shits. Top his water bowl up with bottled Malvern spring water. Don't give him tap water. He hates tap water and it will give him the hump.
12:15 - Get Charlie's lead and take him out for a walk. If he isn't jumping up and down wagging his tail like a right nutter and slobbering all over the shop, there's something wrong. If this is the case, ring me on me mobile.
12:17 - Turn left at the front gate, and walk down the road past the shops. He usually stops by the telephone box to strain his neck. Be sure to scoop the shit up and dispose of it in the designated shit bin outside the bookies. Keep turning left until you get back home.
13:30 - Put Charlie in his cage for his afternoon nap. He hates having afternoon naps, but if he doesn't have one, he'll have the hump for the rest of the day. You'll have to coax him into his cage with a handfull of the doggy biscuits out of the yellow box. For God's sake don't give him the ones out of the red box. He only ever has those ones first thing. Any other time and they give him the hump. Once you've coaxed him in there, close the curtains, and if he hasn't got the hump, he'll fall asleep for a couple of hours.
13:35 - Have your dinner and a brew. We left you a Vesta beef curry in the cupboard. The cooking instructions are on the box. Don't worry about the sell-by date being passed - they're all right. Me and Bunty had one last night and we haven't got the guts trouble. We got a job lot of them from the pound shop in town.
16:00 - Get Charlie up. Coax him out with a handfull of doggy biscuits - either the blue or yellow box will do - he's not fussy, unless you give him the red box ones which will only give him the hump.
16:10 - Tickle his belly for a bit, and be sure to pat him on the head. When he's had enough of that, let him out in the back garden. Keep an eye on him though, and don't let him cock his leg up on the yucca plant. If he does, I'll get the hump.
17:00 - Take him for the same walk as earlier. Make sure he strains his neck by the phone box. You might have to hang around for a bit 'til he's ready, but make sure he strains his neck, or he'll shit on the yucca plant when he gets back. Which will give me the right hump.
18:00 - When you get back, give him the boiled rice and fish which we left in the fridge, and then let him in the back garden. Help yourself to a cuppa and a Vesta beef curry.
19:30 - Let Charlie back in. He should have had enough by now. He'll probably roll about on the floor for a bit wagging his tail like something demented. Be sure to tickle his belly or he'll get the hump.
20:00 - Put the telly on. Charlie likes X-Factor, especially if it's got dogs on it doing tricks or dancing. Don't be alarmed if he growls when Louis Walsh comes on. For some reason, Charlie hates Louis Walsh, so he growls at him. He won't have the hump - he seems to enjoy growling at Louis Walsh.
21:00 - Put Charlie back in his cage, draw the curtains, and turn the telly volume down - especially if you put Match Of The Day on. He growls when he hears Hansen and Shearer. Can't stand them.
23:45 - We should be home by now. So you can piss off back to yours and pour yourself a stiff drink or something.