John Gibson: Basil had to take a back seat

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Good boy, Basil! He needs the praise this week because he missed out on Crufts, traditionally the major event, the Olympics if you like, for canines.

Says his owner Julie Carruthers: “Basil’s had to sit this one out and stay home in Portobello because his breeder was one of the judges. Anyway, I really didn’t feel up to dragging him around Crufts.”

Normally he’d have been down there in Birmingham at the weekend but with Julie, with Basil below, not fighting fit, decided against taking him.

“I hobbled around the show so pathetically that some Samaritan gave me a stick. While I was away my mother walked Basil around Porty, particularly at Pittville Street, a favourite haunt of dog owners.

“He was glad to welcome me back but I went straight to bed. It’s a trapped nerve.”

Basil, Julie’s “life” since she bought him as a pup five years ago, has become a tad blase, having cleaned up with cups, shields and rosettes galore.

He is an Italian Spinone, by the way. Something you ate washed down with a cappuccino in an Italian ristorante, I always thought.

Ground down

An eyesore. Nobody’s disputing it. What are we to do with mouldering Meadowbank Stadium? As an eager-beaver cub I covered juvenile matches there, a nursery for the senior leagues. It was then New Meadowbank Stadium. Bigger crowds than you’ll see there today.

When I pass now, foot on the accelerator, I see next door Registers of Scotland, a spooky block I’ve likened to a Stasi interrogation centre.

It wouldn’t cost the earth to convert both – the stadium and the registry – into a detention centre. House builders and supermarket chains surely have similar thoughts. They must be mad keen to have a kick at the ball.