Hello and welcome to Box 010; a bit of light whimsy which is, in no way, inspired by the popular BBC programme Room 101. Here’s now it works. Every two weeks, my special guest will pop in and then present us with five things they would like to see consigned to the dustbin of existence. This week’s special guest is Jean Gill. She writes… well, pretty much anything but she has asked me to feature ‘Someone to Look Up To’ a story about a Pyrenean mountain dog, in search of his perfect human.
I’ve just been reading up on Someone To Look Up To and and it sounds great, I love the tagline, ‘one day his human will come’. There is more about the book at the bottom of the page but before that, Jean is going to try and persuade us to vote all of her pet hates into Box 010. So, off we go, first of all, please can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Yes, I can. I’m a Welsh writer and photographer living in the south of France with a big white dog, a big black dog, a Nikon D700 and a man. For many years, I taught English in Wales and was the first woman to be a secondary headteacher in Carmarthenshire. I am mother or stepmother to five children.
Publications are varied, including prize-winning poetry and novels, military history, translated books on dog training, and a cookery book on goat cheese. With Scottish parents, an English birthplace and French residence, she can usually support the winning team on most sporting occasions.
As someone with similarly multicultural origins it is nice, isn’t it, to be able to not care which of the teams you’re watching loses in the six nations. So, let’s discover what items you’d like to see thrown into the rubbish compactor of existence. What is the first item you’d like to put in to Box 010?
Individually wrapped teabags: I live in France and respect for tea here means that it’s very difficult to find teabags that are not individually packaged in small, decorated paper envelopes. Why?! Let’s not waste time recycling package material that didn’t need to be used in the first place!
I’m with you, good choice. I just loathe anything which is that hard to unwrap with my morning brain on. Please tell us what you’d like to hurl into Box 010 next.
Ticks: I’m all for diversity of species, and I understand the danger of the butterfly effect, but we manage without dinosaurs, don’t we? I’d happily eliminate this species. If you’re a ‘Twilight’ fan and not revolted by the mere words ‘blood-sucking parasites’, just look up Lyme Disease and piroplasmosis, two of the diseases that ticks carry.
Ugh, no… I agree, I see no biological function for ticks, other than to kill people, rather nastily. Onwards and upwards, what’s the third item you would like to lob into Box 010, never to be seen again.
Babies’ dummies (pacifiers). They are a filthy, artificial way of shutting up babies, who would otherwise quickly learn to use a thumb or their fingers as comfort-sucks. Dummies cause work for the parent (cleaning and fetching, like a well-trained dog) and take away the baby’s independence, often well into childhood.
Hmm interesting. I bet that one will ruffle a few feathers. Mwa ha ha ha hargh. Righty-o, let’s hear about your fourth item is.
Dog-owners with no control over their off-lead dogs: This means 99% of dog-owners whose dogs are off-lead and who don’t attach them when they see potential hazards, especially other dogs on-lead. Can you imagine trying to care for a dog recovering from a double ligament operation and when you’re carefully walking him, someone else’s bouncy labrador jumps all over him and damages the leg again?
The ‘Yellow Dog project’ http://theyellowdogproject.com is an international initiative to protect people and dogs from each other. If a dog is wearing yellow, it needs space, perhaps after injury or during re-education. There is no reason why dogs on leads should have to put up with other dogs’ or people’s bad behaviour.
Some food for thought there, the Yellow Dog Project is such a simple and sensible idea and well worth looking up. Very interesting. Wow, so what is number five on your list of pet hates?
Cold calls and spam: I don’t want to answer the phone to hear a stranger trying to sell me something. Cold callers have tried to sweet-talk me, bully me and have even made the big mistake of asking to speak to my husband ‘the decision-maker’. This is all made even more difficult for me because I live in France, and although my French is OK there is a 30 second delay in my brain before I realise that this person calling me by name is a cold caller. I feel my home has been invaded.
This is going in. If I have to rig the votes and force people at gunpoint to- OK, I won’t rig the votes, but I very much hope it’ll go in. Jean Gill, thank you so much for joining me for Box 010.
Right then everyone, if you’d like to vote there’s link to the poll further down the page. To find more about Jean’s books, click here for her LuLu shop front and, here for just about any format you like, from Smashwords. You can look at her photos as well, to find those click here. There’s also a bit more about ‘Someone to Look Up To‘ below that.
Join us next week for the results, and in two weeks’ time, when we will be finding out what really ticks off Jaq D Hawkins when she puts her five most loathed items into Box 010.
‘Someone to Look Up To‘
‘If you like dogs and good stories, this is a book for you.’ – Louise, goodreads review
It’s a dog’s life in the south of France. From puppyhood, Sirius the Pyrenean Mountain Dog has been trying to understand his humans and train them with kindness…
How this led to divorce he has no idea. More misunderstandings take Sirius to Death Row in an animal shelter, as a so-called dangerous dog learning survival tricks from the other inmates. During the twilight barking, he is shocked to hear his brother’s voice but the bitter-sweet reunion is short-lived. Doggedly, Sirius keeps the faith.
One day, his human will come.