So, what to worry about this week as I speed my way homewards, courtesy of the fine people on Greater Anglia railways?
A quick poll of my fellow travellers suggest the following key and topical issues that justify the most scrutinous of debates :
– how valid is Romanian/Albanian immigration?
– how are we going to cope when these waves get even higher in Wales and the South? Or, even worse, the East?
– can we really be living in a country that’s just endured the Mark Duggan verdict?
– is wearing a donkey jacket valid for a 51 year old bloke who works in financial services?
All great topics for debate (although the last one might be a bit of a stretch. Honest, I’ve been looking for a replacement for about 20 years).
So naturally we’ll steer well clear of all of them and talk about whether or not the family Emu ought to get a dog.
This has been an ongoing debate around the kitchen table for about three years, so, as the other Mrs E* said to me the other day, we’ve had something of a cooling off period.
In the red corner stands the pro camp, consisting of all of the kids, and the hearts of myself and the primary Mrs E**. In this camp we have :
– an enthusiasm for another member of the family that will always be pleased to see us (a key factor when also rearing teenagers)
– lots of commitment to healthy walks at least twice a day
– the perception that we’ll always have a companion for running and to keep us from being alone
– every dog owner we know saying they’d never be without one
– the fact that we seem irresistibly drawn to the impossibly handsome Vizsla dogs – friendly, fond of running, and apparently, self cleaning. A bit like our oven. The self cleaning bit, I mean.
In the blue corner, are the agin camp, which contains solely of the heads of me and primary Mrs E, and we talk about:
– the waning enthusiasm of any of our kids to commit to anything
– pretty much any dog owner that I’ve come across as a runner
– the horror of picking up dog poo
– the slight concern that we might be replacing jr Emu #1 with a dog. That in itself is not a problem, but we’re concerned that by the time the fourth one leaves home we might have a bit of a pack
– the frightening thought that we’ll have to get an estate car. And that it might well be a Volvo
– the ties that bind whenever we need to do something spontaneous
– the sheer bloody cost
The last couple of these are particularly interesting. The idea of doing anything spontaneous, ever again, disappeared from view in the summer of 1993, when #1 decided to take over our every waking thought. By the time #4 leaves us to our own devices/house, I fear we’ll be past the ability to do anything spontaneous anyway.
And the sheer bloody cost of these things (by which I mean dogs, not kids. Don’t get me started…)is astonishing. Honestly, they cost a fortune to run, and that’s after you’ve forked out the best part of a grand on getting one into your home in the first place. Yes, I found this fairly hard to believe as well, but have a look at ‘pets4homes’*** next time you’re passing.
So you’d think the case for the defence was pretty solid, no? Well, no. Sometimes you need to go with your heart, and that’s almost certainly where we’ll go. As with most key decisions in our household, the clincher will end up on the most innocuous decision, and the current one is around ‘naming the dog’ which has kept us occupied at most mealtimes and long car journeys for about three weeks solid. As soon as we have the right name, the logic goes, we’ll know that we need to get a dog.
And #2 has played a trump card here, with an absolute stroke of genius. We know we need to get a dog, he says, because then we can call it ‘Reservoir’.
Watch this space, and if you happen across any Viszla puppies with a low hip score, docile parents and, ideally, coming in at less than a month’s rent, let me know.
* Nothing to worry about dear, honest
** Doreen, please do let me know if this gets confusing
*** I think the domain name ‘petsforgullibletwits’ was taken