Saturday 4th November 2006

According to my dog-sitter I am an ‘alpha dog’ but without the aggression. I don’t know what all that means and I am quite happy to practice aggression if it would help but I think I like the alpha bit. I am happy that my mistress is pack leader at home but I see my master more as a litter mate than a leader. I miss him dreadfully when he isn’t here to play with and am always pleased when we can cause trouble together. My mistress is threatening to try and train him using Twiglets in the way she uses Marzipan with me. He is threatening to teach me all his bad habits but there are so many he may be faced with teaching an old dog new tricks before we’re finished!

My mistress has been explaining an odd English tradition to me. Apparently on November the 5th it is ‘normal’ to make a pretend man stuffed with straw and wearing old clothes, put him on the top of a big bonfire and set fire to him, then set off fireworks. This apparently heathen tradition is to celebrate a man who tried to blow-up the Houses of Parliament. Now you can call me a dumb animal if you like but wouldn’t that be called a terrorist now? I really sometimes fail to understand progress, or for that matter what makes a tradition acceptable. The best bit as far as I can see is that before burning these straw men, children sit with them on the pavement ‘begging’ asking for ‘a penny for the Guy’ and this is also thought acceptable, even by the same people that write to the national papers saying how dreadful it is to find beggars in every major town. The children are the ones that are onto a good thing, in one week they can go trick or treating to be given free chocolate and go begging for money as well. If English children have acquired trick or treating from their American neighbours perhaps it is time for children elsewhere to start celebrating Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. I wonder if I could make a Guy and do some begging here in Belgium?