The Shaggy Dog Story

AKA The Dog's Proverbials


I’m currently sitting in my London flat tackling the freakish British heat head on by wearing just underpants and a vest, newly purchased fan pointed at my face, Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine blaring from my speakers (her music famously repels heat).  But I wasn’t always sitting in my London flat, wearing just underpants and a vest, fan pointed at my face listening to Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine (as that would be a novel life choice).  In fact, only a few weeks ago I was back in Hungary, where this whole crazy fatherhood adventure began.  

Rewind please. 

I’m walking through a small village in Hungary, near Lake Balaton with my microscopic wife.  The sun is shining and all is well as I gaze upon her majestic face, smile and take her hand.  She smiles back and I’m suddenly comforted by the fact that all is well with the world.  Everything is going to be alright in the end.  I’m with the woman I love.  The woman who knows me inside out and who I would take a bullet in the eye for (although hopefully not today as England are playing Croatia this evening and I’d quite like to watch it).

I know what she thinks, I know her deepest dreams, I know that she once sold pyjamas door to door as a child. I know that she once slept in a splits position for six months to help achieve her ambition of becoming a professional gymnast (mentalist); I know that she was once chased through the streets of Santander by a crazy man with a gun; I know that, like every other Hungarian, she finds Mr Bean hilarious; I know that she has a photo of herself as a child with a waxwork Benny Hill, and I know what she is about to say before she says it.

“I’m not a big fan of dogs with testicles.” says Zsuzsa.

Okay, maybe I spoke too soon.  Who is this woman and what on Earth is going on inside that skull?

“What?” I reply.

“Dogs that have testicles.  I’m not a big fan.”

That’s what I thought she said.

I scan the vista and see a small, shaggy hound, the source of Zsuzsa’s gonad revulsion and ire.  As you may have gathered, the dog has testicles.  A mighty fine pair if I may say so too.

I consider this maverick comment for a moment and formulate a response.


“Dog’s that have testicles.  I’m not a big fan.”

“So male dogs?  You don’t like male dogs?  Bit sexist.”

“I don’t mind male dogs.  Just not the ones with testicles.”

This is not the first time that she has stopped me in my tracks with a bollock infused comment.  A few years ago we were on a beach in the Dominican Republic, lying beneath the palm trees, glasses of rum in hand, when Zsuzsa, from absolutely nowhere said “(I’m afraid this part has been censored by Zsuzsa.  It’s just like living in an Orwellian future).”

They say that one of the secrets to a successful long term marriage is the ability to surprise the other in the partnership, and I suppose, even though sometimes I can finish Zsuzsa’s sentences for her, as long as she keeps coming out with these bizarre off the cuff comments, we’re in it for the long haul.  Comments like…

“I think Mila might be a bit like an Arab…because she likes drinking hot tea in hot weather”


“Why don’t you try and contact Ashton Kutcher to see if he wants to go and watch Blade Runner 2049 with you.”


“I feel sorry for chickens.  How unlucky that they’re so delicious?”

“DOGGY!” screams Mila, who’s been alongside us all the way through this beautiful tale, but whose presence I’ve elected to omit until now as, well, she’s always hogging the limelight, isn’t she?

I pick Mila up to prevent her kissing the dog on the lips (or somewhere worse) and place her in a nearby field of wheat, where I will spend the next five minutes desperately trying to position her so that I can take some “natural” photographs of her, running through the wheat, just like Theresa May, but significantly less disturbing.  Mila, doesn’t play ball.  Of course she doesn’t.  Just like her mother she’s a bit of a rebel, but I wouldn’t have either of them any other way.