Sole survivor

Priorities, priorities, priorities.

Mine have been in a state of flux for months – first of all, it was selling not one but two flats in Glasgow. Once they were offloaded, the priority was moving south. Then I briefly became a wedding planner for the big day v.1 followed by the big day v.2.

And while all of that was going on, there was the not insignificant matter of figuring out how to earn a crust.

Sadly not all tootsies are this cute ...

In the last week, I’ve settled on a new priority – my feet.

Or, more pertinently, keeping my tootsies in tip-top condition.

My feet – and by extension (literally) my legs – have become the tools of my trade. Without these babies in full working order, Lead On wouldn’t be leading anything anywhere.

Hence today’s visit to a chiropodist and the wielding of a very large scalpel in the direction of a nasty in-growing toenail. As I consider feet and toes among the grossest parts of the body, and my own little Judith Chalmers’ chipolatas (© my brother Tony circa 1985) particularly unworthy of attention, I’ll leave the detail at that.

The visit did alert me to the need to take care of the wee buggers, tho, a warning reinforced by just how sore my plates of meat felt after an hour’s trudge along Shoreham Beach at lunchtime. Like most of the beaches on this stretch of the south coast, it’s a pebbly one and oh lord, the workout one’s calves get put a Zumba class to shame.

Warning: may shred on pebbled beach

Today’s walk was with Pepper, a sweet-natured German shepherd/collie cross who happily chases a ball for her entire walk. Which is great except that, despite my sensible and expensive footwear, I seem to walk like I am wearing Billy Connolly’s Big Banana Feet on those pebbles, leading to a two steps forward, three steps back scenario.

More worryingly for poor Pepper, I can’t throw a ball for toffee. Even with one of those ball thrower things. I’m so embarrassingly bad at it that today I managed to hit myself on the head with the thrower thing while the ball dribbled about 6 inches away!

I tried to laugh it off but Pepper slunk away in complete embarrassment while I thanked my lucky stars the beach was deserted.

Just as well for me that dogs can’t talk …

Manny has a ball

It’s been a busy week of walking and stuff for Lead On. Manny, the cocker/collie cross, enjoyed Friday afternoon at Casa Lead On to give him – and me – some company. Despite the torrential rain, the wee fella made a beeline for the garden and instantly sank his teeth into the ball we inherited from neighbourhood kids.

As he is only 14 weeks old, Manny is about the same size as the ball but he’s a game wee fella and he livened up what was a very dreich afternoon. He may be pint-size but he has a great big personality and I’m loving my time with him.

What's it all about, Alfie?

Also livening up my afternoons has been Alfie, the cocker pup. Like Manny, he’s just 14 weeks old and already a loveable rascal. I’m hoping that, once they are both a little older, I can walk them together which I think might be my biggest challenge yet.

The idea, of course, is that they learn from each other and also from me. As I am merely an amateur when it comes to dogs’ behaviour, I’m planning to learn more by enrollling on an autumn course at a local college. Who knows where that might lead?

Fran the van (you have to say this in the style of Bob Hoskins) was pressed into action again on Sunday on behalf of Snaffles Gourmet Dog Bisquits who had a stall at Bark in the Park, a fun dog show held at Queen’s Park in Brighton.

While there were dogs there of every shape and size, my heart was stolen by a cockapoo and I think Debbie and I might just have found our next dog …

Word to the wise

Skelf n: a splinter; also colloquially used to describe a skinny person. Eg: My finger is loupin*, I’ve got a bloody skelf stuck in it

Caw v: to turn or rotate. Eg: You’re cawing too fast, the rope keeps hitting ma legs

Plook/plooky n: spot, blemish. v: spotty. Eg: I can’t believe how plooky my face is, I look lke I’ve got teenage acne

Mockit adj: dirty, filthy, unclean. Eg: The carpet was mockit yesterday after thon wee dug kept running in and out of the garden

Dreep v: to lower oneself from a height, usually a wall, by hanging by one’s arms, then dropping down. Eg: We had to dreepy doon the bike shed wall when we saw the jannie heading our way

A sair haun literally translates as ‘a sore hand’ but actually means a great big sandwich (or piece!). Eg: Whit an appetite that boy’s got, you should see the size of the sair haun on him

Perjink adj: neat, smart, tidy, obsessed with appearance (relating to a person). Eg: Senga is always beautifully turned out, she’s very perjink