Let me introduce you to Dougal. He is a labradoodle, half Labrador and half Poodle, who has recently found fame through the publication of his diary. He lives in Blackheath with his owner, and author, Sarah Stephenson and another dog Izzy. He is a frequent visitor to Greenwich Park and is very happy to give you a dirty paw mark for an autograph.
Dougal’s Diary is a very witty account of his adjustment to living with his slightly neurotic new owner and his new life in Blackheath.
” Just when the confidence of youth was disappearing faster than a ferret down a rabbit hole, I received torrents of abuse from an elderly gent who said I should be wearing a muzzle, reported to the police and put down. His grandson was playing cricket. I only chased his ball. Shall I survive this life? Will I see six months? Oh to be in Margate.”
I first met Sarah Stephenson, the author of Dougal’s diary, approximately nineteen years ago I has just finished my degree at the University of Greenwich and was unemployed. Sarah was an out-of-work actress. We both joined an eight week intensive IT course at the (then) Greenwich Training Company. I would like to think this course was of help to Sarah when she later became a published author, but it was actually a complete farce from week one. The tutor, who was supposed to be teaching us, was invariably sick or away from work and, more often that not, I had to guide the students in her absence.
Sarah then decided to take a one year course at the Tante Marie Cookery School. On finishing the course she worked for various members of the Royal Family and also as a chef/crew member for a barge company in Burgundy. This meant she was away for almost six months of the year, so John and I offered to look after her garden for the first summer.
Then I got a job and was busy travelling the world recruiting international students while Sarah was into all kinds of wonderful things. So we lost touch with one another. We finally renewed contact with each last year via Facebook and Twitter (mainly through Dougal’s Diary). Then we actually met in in the flesh again last Sunday.
My admiration for Sarah is immense. She has such creativity and a wonderful zest for life. She loves travel and most of all likes meeting and talking to people. Like all of us, she has had her ups and downs in life but it seems to me that Sarah actually thrives on trials and tribulations. Who else would have me sending tweets to a dog as though he were a human being?
This is an extract from Dougal’s Diary (TD is Sarah):
TD’s next Am Drama production is going to be a French farce. Farce is a posh name for comedy. It’s not stand-up. Michael Mcintyre won’t be appearing and no-one is dropping there trousers. But as it happens , a pooch is required and I am being considered for the role, seeing the director this afternoon.
I met Pam for tea. Drank Lapsang Souchong (yuk) out of a saucer on a low table and consumed quantities of sugar. At least double my weekly ration.
Pam either owns a horse or is a keen darts player. She kept throwing lumps of sugar across the room, aiming them straight for my mouth. Bullseye! Expertly and very elegantly, I caught every one. Hours of jelly baby practice with Jacob, helped.
Slight waterworks improvement: Incontinence pads heading for the bin.
I’ve got it. Landed the part! Was it my knowledge of French, my huge brown eyes or because I’m perfect? Oh to be perfect, even the once.
No! It was my table manners that clinched it. I was being auditioned; the tea and sugar lumps all part of the performance – no wonder TD didn’t fuss over my sugar intake. My role should have been larger, but the scene involving me rushing on and flooring the seducing villain of the piece has been cut. TD said that I shouldn’t be encouraged to jump up at people and if I were given a round of applause for my most ingrained habit, she’d never knock it out of me. She has a point.
There is one proviso: my hair. I can’t look like a fleabag. I’m taking the part of a Kennel Club called Fifi. I’m playing a girl, for heaven’s sake, prostituting myself for my art. TD is finding out where Shirty Bertie goes. This time I’ll need a proper Poodle cut.
Mustn’t screw up, if I do they’ll hand my part to a Greyhound and stick a rug on it.”
Published by Crooked Cat Books http://www.cookedcatpublishing.com
Available as a Kindle Book on Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/
Extracts from the book reproduced with permission of the author, Sarah Stephenson
Such a great read that will instantly have you laughing out loud