Christine Grahame: Robert Burns was right about dogs on TV and Brexit

A flooded conservatory helps put worries over UK's Brexit plan into proportion, writes Christine Grahame.

Thursday, 10th May 2018, 7:00 am
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Robert Burns had it absolutely right when he said that the best-laid plans of mice and men “gang aft agley”. This crossed my mind at the launch of my Responsible Dog Ownership Bill at the Edinburgh Dog & Cat Home recently.

The set-up was well organised and all was in hand. The SSPCA, Onekind, Dogs Trust, Scottish Kennel Club and, of course, Edinburgh Dog & Cat Home were all teed up for the press. My lovely assistant was to be Sasha, an eight-year-old Dutch Shepherd (yes I had only heard of German Shepherds before) who had been abandoned over a year ago and was still looking for a home.

Let me say now that she is a wonderful, happy, people-friendly dog and full of mischief. Lined up before the camera was me with a pocketful of treats, Sasha and one of the EDCH staff. The interviewer for the Beeb was Aileen Clerk with her trusty cameraman and even trustier mike. The mike, as you may have seen, had a kind of grey furry covering.

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Dutch Shepherd Sasha who is looking for a home, takes a fancy to the TV crew's microphone as Christine Grahame highlights member's bill to curb irresponsible dog breeding and buying. Picture: Stewart Attwood

Warned by Aileen that it was not a rabbit, Sasha took no heed but took matters into her own mouth, grabbed it and gave it a good doggy wet chew, not once but twice. It was a short interview. She is now a star on YouTube and so she should be.

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Then there was the faulty hose pipe. Happily planning a day in the garden as the sun shone this weekend, I planted up, seeded and weeded with the odd break to admire my handywork in my twirly garden chair which rotates for a 360-degree view.

Revitalised after the sit doon, I unravelled the hose, plugged it into the tap in the conservatory and set off to give everything a good soaking.

Now you know that moment when the water stops flowing and you search out that kink or two? Well it was more than the odd kink, a great leak had sprung in the hose pipe and for too many seconds water had flowed freely such that the floor of the conservatory was now a mini lake.

I did wonder why the cat had given up his comfy seat there and was scowling from a distance (and yes cats do scowl). So the next 30 minutes or so was devoted to mopping up. Mind you some items floated into view which I had thought lost forever.

Then there was the decision at long last to pin myself down and read a tome of a book borrowed from a colleague. Embarrassed by how long I had had it, I set aside Sunday to have a good go at finishing it. It’s actually a good but lengthy read and I was well into it when the doorbell rang and a colleague settled in for a long chat over coffee. Another plan scuppered but in a good way.

You see these trials (okay, that’s a bit strong, hiccups then) put Brexit into proportion. I can’t do anything about the shambles the UK Government is making of Brexit.

Do they have a plan to gang agley in the first place? But I can do something about my leaky hose and finishing that novel.

As for Sasha, well she is still, at the time of writing, looking for a home. No plan, just fingers crossed for her.

Christine Grahame is the SNP MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale