An Introduction to Dougal the Dog and Sarah Stephenson the Author

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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.

dougal with ballJust 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.

1-DSCF0040Sarah 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.

 

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Sarah  booked a table for lunch at the Railway pub in Blackheath (Railway). The food and service that we received were excellent and, because we had many years to catch up on, it obviously turned into very boozy affair.  I was quite impressed with the barman who let us taste the wine first before buying the bottle(s).  Most pubs don’t give this kind of service.

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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): 

“24th August
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.

26th August
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.”

 

Dougal's Diary

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

 

 

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