The story of Simon and the Stilton. Simon was our dog. He was named after the Oulton Broad mongrel puppy who came to us, because his previous owners couldn't cope with him, when I was five years old and who founded a dynasty. Simon II was one of the many dogs my mother had after I left home, when things got a bit out of control and she ended up with 11 of them. It was all a bit much and in the end my sister took Sam and we took Simon II. At this time we lived in Lowestoft, in a very big former Rectory and had two children.
It was Christmas Eve and we were expected at my mother's house for dinner. I went over with the children and the Sage was going to join us. However, he was late. It got to the stage of him being really late and I was fed-up. I was sure he'd called on friends in a Christmas-cheery sort of way and lost track of time, and that he was taking us all for granted.
Finally, the door opened and in he came. Fortunately, I didn't greet him with fury but asked reasonably politely what had happened.
He'd gone home to let the dog out before coming on over and opened the front door to discover that Simon had found and opened the Christmas Stilton. It was half of an entire cheese and Simon had scoffed the lot, rather untidily. A good deal was spread over the rug in the hall. The Sage had taken an hour to clean up. He'd then shut Simon in the kitchen, got washed and changed and come on over.
When we went home I found that he'd done rather a good job. There was no smell or sign of mature blue cheese in the hall and the carpet was clean. Simon appeared very happy. We shut him in the back scullery that night, thinking of possible effects on his digestion. And the next night. However, the only effect was on his coat which, over the next few weeks, became thicker and especially glossy.
Two lessons learned - when someone is late, don't start by complaining. First, say something nice and let them tell you the reason. And cheese is good for dogs. They can hardly have enough of it, even three or four pounds at a time.
A third thing. The Sage was wonderful. He didn't even grumble about all the clearing up.