The dog walking by my side is not mine!


I love being a calligrapher, but spending eight hours a day sitting at a drawing board is definitely not good for my waistline (neither are my beloved pies and beer, but that’s another post for another time).

With my weight on the increase, I decided that it was time to get some exercise in. So lately I’ve been stealing time every morning, rising at 6.00am and walking for a couple of hours before I start work. I was amazed to find that I can cover eight miles in that time if I don’t loiter at cake shop windows.

A favourite walk of mine is around a local loch, so that’s where I headed this morning.

Following a tree-lined path, I found myself catching up on a dog that was straggling behind its owner, an elderly man, who was a fair distance ahead. Suddenly, to my horror, right in front of me, the dog stopped and lowered its back-end to do its doggie-business. Its owner walked on, oblivious.

Three things then happened simultaneously…

1) The dog’s owner disappeared around a bend that was just ahead of me, leaving me and his dog looking conspicuously cosy together…

2) A different dog walker appeared, coming around the bend towards me. His eyes fastened, first on the defecating dog, then on me…

3) The dog finished its business and attached itself to my side, merrily matching my stride as we left a pile of poop in our wake.

The approaching dog walker stopped and glared at me, a look of pure disgust on his face. He was standing about two feet in front of me, so I had approximately three seconds to make an excuse to distance myself from the situation (and from my new canine buddy).

My mind was racing, trying to formulate a way to proclaim my innocence. What to say?

Do I turn around and start walking, sans dog, in the direction from whence I came?

Do I shake my head and exclaim, pathetically, “You won’t believe this, but the dog walking by my side is not mine.”

Do I grit my teeth and apologise profusely for leaving my poo bags on the kitchen worktop?

Too slow, I ran out of time and said nothing. As I sidled past the glaring dog walker, my new friend by my side, I felt his eyes boring into my back. I walked on, head down, cursing my luck and my ineptitude.

Typically, the moment I disappeared around the bend, the dog deserted me, bounding off towards its owner. I felt used.

Despite my innocence, I’m now probably on a list of inconsiderate dog owners, and will no doubt be named, shamed, and fined for my alleged misdeed.

Early tomorrow morning, I’ll head back to the loch. Hopefully the police won’t be waiting for me behind a bush.

“DOG-CRAP CALLIGRAPHER IN CUSTODY,” the headline will scream, making people ponder the quality of my penmanship.

As a precaution, I’m going to nip into Home Bargains and buy some doggie poo bags.

My livelihood may depend on them.


The watercolour background in my penned quote above is a free sample available from It’s definitely a site worth checking out.



Call your mom, call your dad…


Call-your-momThe Oscars ceremony does nothing for me, so I tend to avoid all Oscar-related media coverage.

I was intrigued, however, by a featured post on the popular blog, Mashable, entitled, “7 inspiring and emotional Oscars quotes from backstage and onstage.”

I’m a sucker for a topical quote, so I decided to check out the post.

Up to that point I had never heard of J K Simmons, winner of Best Supporting Actor for her part in Whiplash (call me out of touch, but I’ve never heard of Whiplash either).

Out of the seven quotes, the one attributed to Simmons was the only one that struck a chord with me. Here it is, as posted on Mashable…

“And if I may, call your mom, everybody. I’ve told this [to], like, a billion people, or so. Call your mom, call your dad. If you’re lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call ‘em. Don’t text. Don’t email. Call them on the phone. Tell ‘em you love ‘em, and thank them, and listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you. Thank you. Thank you, Mom and Dad.”

Yep… I know… actor thanks mom and dad for her Oscar success. Hardly original. But the sentiments at the heart of Simmons’ quote struck a chord with me. Maybe, because I regret not having called my own mother more often while she was, in Simmons’ words, “alive on this planet.”

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, whenever I read words that affect me I’m compelled to fetch my pens and write… and so I lettered an abridged version of Simmons’ quote which I’ve featured at the top of this post (or see it here on Flickr). I’m not sure where this compulsion to write particular words comes from… maybe, by writing them, I feel that I’m endorsing the sentiments, sealing them with my own stamp of approval. Or maybe I’m just passionate about putting pen to paper.

But enough about me. Instead, pay heed to Simmons. As soon as you finish reading this post, get on the phone and “call your mom, call your dad,” while you still can.

I just realised that in my previous post I was advising everyone to write for the sake of their children. Now I’m advising everyone to call their parents.

Despite how it looks, I have no intention of pursuing a career in counselling. I’m a calligrapher. Through and through. And you can quote me on that!


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