Karen and I have a houseguest for the weekend in the shape of the beautiful Sophia. A little shy and sad of eye, this enchanting Cavalier King Charles spaniel could melt the very frostiest of hearts……. Well, maybe not melt your heart, but subject you to such skilled emotional blackmail techniques she’ll consume half of your dinner.

Manfully attempting to focus on penning this narrative, my concentration levels are engaged in a fracas with our furry visitor’s snoring, along with my wife’s cacophonous phone voice.

I’m not sure why, but for some reason Karen’s oration appears to raise a decibel or six during telephone conversations. I understand the necessity when chatting to someone hard of hearing, or during times of poor line quality. However, what is it that makes my diminutive spouse decide ALL conversations over a telecommunication network need to be at yelling pitch?!

Admittedly, I maybe doing the missus a disservice here. After all it might just have become a habit she grew into – This a consequence of having to shout down the line at her hard of hearing parents. The difficultly of chatting to her mum made ever more challenging by the fact she only wears her hearing aids for best.

A perfect display of this unnecessary loudness occurred yesterday evening during Karen’s phone call with my daughter Rachel in Canada. Throughout this call (well the bits when she was talking anyway) she was speaking with such raised volume Rach could’ve possibly heard her without a telephone.

Years ago, legacy technology necessitated a raising of the voice for long distance calls. An action no longer required with state of the art technology, enabling more consistent telephone call quality regardless of global destination.

Karen has just finished her call with her friend, so I now only have to contend with little Sophie’s snoring. I predict this will abate in about ten minutes when I start eating my lunch. At that time, the beautiful spaniel will dart from the sofa to sit at my feet, subjecting me to those oh so sad eyes, attempting to strong arm me into sharing my meal of bolognaise leftovers.

Dogs appear to sense I’m a sucker who’ll always acquiesce when confronted by the ‘sad eye’ treatment. Whenever I eat within canine company, they seem to suss within minutes I’ll succumb to their emotional blackmail….. Only for them to dub me a sucker on walking away after demolishing half my lunch.


I’ve never lived in a house where the family had a dog, although I did once possess a Borussia Moenchengladbach football top. However, I’m reliably informed that doesn’t bear any real parallels to owning a dog.

Incidentally, when I say I possessed a Borussia Moenchengladbach football top, I’m alluding to owning that teams football shirt. I never have or will knowingly demonically possess any Bundesliga football team kit……. Although, if FC Schalke don’t get their act together soon you can watch this space!

Anyhow, I need to conclude this narrative now, I’m hungry and I’ve got a lunch to be emotionally blackmailed out of.