When I met Sydney, …..he’d just been ‘lifted’ again for vagrancy!
I pulled up in the vets yard, on the Rathgael road in Bangor, Co Down, where I was ‘doin’ up the kennels, and there he was .. stood , still, standin… lookin’ at me!
A pathetic sight! He had the body of a Venetian blind! Every rib could be counted at 20 feet… his ‘hinch’ bones exposed like a camel’s arse…and his eyes said “Excuse me Sirrah! Any chance of a morsel.. just till the old boat comes back in you understand!”
I opened the car door and in landed ‘Sydney’!
Turned out, oul Sydney had been wandering around all day having been expelled from his sixth home!
“You keep him … your the Pointer man around here.. look at the way he looks at ‘ya’”, said the inspector from the® USPCA. Allegedly a friend of mine.
Now I was about to be ensla… sorry… married in the next six months.. I already had four dogs, and added to the lady in questions kennel, it was … too many!
We built our first home together…from recycled wooden case’s…a Sydney house!
We spent the next year gluing meat on the bones… getting him fit ..repairing the damage of his vagrant past. We traced his pedigree to the breeder, who was shocked to hear of Sydney’s predicament. She sent me his registration papers and Kennel Club stuff… oh yes … he was well bred.. a lord no less .. Mawfield Lord Sydney!
Well .. we got most of him sorted out. Apart from one thing … his snot! He was the original Kenny Everett.. …Sid Snot!! Move over Green Gilbert! He used to sneeze in massive fits .. the green goo would stick anything with in 20 feet! We never had to buy woodchip wallpaper .. we just painted over the unremoveable Sydney texture! Araldite was never that good!
At that time, my GSP ‘Maxie’ or ‘mad Maxie’ was the man! He was German… Sydney was English… a Tommy and a Hun! The battlefield selected was .. the back garden. The Hun came out of the Sun at the daft Tommy and yours truly in his NATO role went between… the German managed nine stitch-able punctures in one hand while the English chap gave a good account of himself …and bruised a finger!
He could run. Boy he could gallop all day! I would release him at the entrance of the woods and wouldn’t see him until I arrived back at the car.. and he would reappear ready for the lie down.
One evening back at the ranch of dreaded bliss, just after the ceremony of holy deadlock, us both in the grips of ….. Ken Barlow ..having a moment in ..Corporation Street .. whilst we/her scoffed all the chocolate bars………….there was a strange noise…. upstairs!
Let me explain…. For ‘ranch’ read…two roomed flat with attic with staircase. ..above.. fruit and veg shop, next-door to undertakers and four doors down from the oldest barmaid and pub in Ireland… Grace Neils, Donaghadee!
Now it isn’t unknown in Donaghadee for Grace to take a little rambling through the lofts and attics in search of her long love lost sea captain(s) who may be trapped by unscrupulous mutineers and smugglers in the roof spaces of High Street!
Down the ‘Corridor of Coffins’ to the Sydney house we sprinted, trailing him from his dreams of vagrancy and the …‘where the f**k are we?’ …expression!
Now back then I was a ‘silph’ like young chap with golden locks, as now I’m a well filled ‘man’ in his masculine prime. Sydney on the other hand resembled ‘Scooby Doo’ ..with his front legs tied in a granny knot around the finale post of the staircase and back legs jammed solid between the wall and spindle … me ..‘Shaggy’.. trying to push him up the flippin’ staircase to investigate the paranormal noise! Took three hours to unhook him!
His head was lovely, very classic, very Crookrise Pointer head…”Eh! No Foxhound there Mr Arkwright! Eh? Aye! ‘appen.”
His back end was not his fortune. Nevertheless we entered him in a few shows, but always stood behind the ‘biguns’ of the show ring .. until …Belfast Championship show.!
Now back then both of us were heavily involved in the running of the show. It attracted entries and still does from all over the UK and Ireland. It was televised by BBC Norn Iron in those days and my nearly new wife had the job of feeding imformation to the BBC presenter for the commentary ..a lady with big glasses, who still has a show on BBC Radio Ulster to this day. I was employed in another hall and had no time to show a dog.
So it was agreed that my wife could slip off from her job, for ten minutes in order to show Sydney in the Pointer classes. Now my wife, resplendent in her specially purchased for the day ..an orangey ….pinky…salmony..no.. it was pinky…trouser suit, was more used to showing the ‘King of Hounds’ with long flowing locks and a Billy Connelly (as Mr Connelly seems to think) gait, than a gundog .. especially the ‘King of Snot!’
Sydney was kept at arms length ..plus 3 feet of lead.. plus mental threats and dares.. plus looks of daggers if he did dare!
Sydney never coughed or sneezed.
Sydney won ‘Best of Breed’.
It was said that day, that two fellow competitors had to be admitted to rest homes and three forcibly ejected from the bar while another was arrested for issuing threats against the judge ,the dog show committee, the RUC,and anyone within shouting distance of the ring.
Sydney represented the Pointer breed in the gundog group that day. Shown by my wife in her salmony.. pinky ..trouser suit and overdubbed commentry by the lady in big glasses. I have it on video in the loft somewhere, along with all the other crap.. I mean ..archive material.
Sydney lived out his life with me, and give up his vagrant ways. He always made himself responsible for the decoration of his quarters… pebbledash and woodchip finished in varoius shades of green, he was happy.
Sydney and his nose had his day.
Practica BC 3, Kodakcolour gold,Adobe Business Edition, Skeletal Mess (thanks to Polly470!)
This is …Rory The Raker!