Excerpt for The Meanderings of Bing by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

The Meanderings of Bing

Lines From My Forehead

Tim Harnden Taylor



Published by Saron Publishing in 2016

Copyright 2016 Tim Harnden-Taylor

All photos copyright © 2011-2016 Tim Harnden-Taylor and Alastair N Ross

All rights reserved

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser

ISBN-13: 978-0-9956495-1-4

Saron Publishing

Pwllmeyrick House

Mamhilad

Mon

NP4 8RG

http://www.saronpublishers.co.uk

Contact us

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter

DEDICATION

This volume is dedicated to the loyal band of folk who have, by their kind comments, enabled Bing to chivvy the aged guv into trundling on with these ‘events’ and such!

Had it not been for Tom, Angela and ‘an Arthur’ who’ve gamely allowed such visits, these ‘moments’ might well have not occurred. To my dear friends and family, near and far, I value you all so much.

Finally there’s Alison, who has somehow put up with upside-down snooker viewing and so forth, not to mention years of indecision from yours truly!

Let’s hope there’ll be more tales and a few good surprises yet to come.

Table of Contents

Introduction

If You Happened To Be…

Socks….

Waiting for Doggo …

(with apologies to Mr Beckett)

A Refreshing Moment

Snacks and Robbers!

Calm Sea and Preposterous Voyage

Quackers and Honkers

Autumn Leaves

In Good Queen Bess’s Glorious Day!

Brief Encounters …

Cox and Box and Suchlike

‘…And I…Shall Ne’er Be Lonely'

'Okay, Guv?’

C’mon Gaffer, Keep Up!’

And So To Bed …

The Descent of Man … and Ladies!

Once More Unto the Beeches …

February

Never a Crossword!

Arts and Crufts

Mr Kear

The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring

Up In The Sky, Ever So High …

Pond Life

Going to the V-E-T-S

TOWIE and Such Like

In An English Country Garden

Forest Murmers

Slouches on Couches

Frogs, Buzzers and Whizzers

Stratford and Such Like …

One Poor Paw

I’ve Been Thinking, Guv …

About the Author

Acknowledgements

Facebook has put me in touch with so many wonderful folk and also renewed old friendships. I do hope they know who they are. However, I must mention two. Alton Douglas, comedian, actor and writer has, from the early days of Bing, encouraged me to keep writing and also reminded me that Jazz has waited quite patiently for me to return and delight in my early love.

Frankly, without the enthusiasm of Penny Reeves, Bingo Little would still be viewed only on Facebook by his followers. Penny is not only a ‘follower’ but also a ‘doer’. In short, whilst dealing with her own busy writing schedule, she has enabled the boy Bing to be released upon an unsuspecting public. Her patience in guiding this particular old dithering chump is positively saintlike, and if I ran the shop for dishing out such awards, she’d be at the front of the queue - Bravo Penny! I will never be able to thank you enough.

INTRODUCTION

‘Have you a moment, Bing?’

‘Probabubberly, guv, what’s afoot?’

‘Twelve inches, ha-ha!’

‘I’ve no idea what you’re talking about, old wrinkly chops.’

‘I see. Well, let’s start again.’

‘Right-ho.’

‘The thing is, young lad, you need to supply an introduction for your book.’

‘Hurrah and such! Just a couple of minor points, guv.’

‘Yes?’

‘What’s an introduction? AND more importantly …’

‘Yes, Bing?’

‘What’s a book?’ The gaze I get from the lad appears to be innocent and yet I can’t help believing he knows very well their meanings.

‘You know the shelves in my study?’

‘The room where you go for a snooze and such, guv?’

I choose to ignore this slight.

‘There are lots of shelves and on ’em are books.’

‘Ah, so that’s what they are. I’ve noticed you stare at them a lot when you’re not snoozing.’ Another slight to be ignored and … I plough on.

‘Well, most of them have an introduction.’

‘I see … so what’s an introduction, guv?’

‘It tells the prospective reader what to expect within the pages.’

‘Well, blow me down.’

‘And in your book, a bit about you.’

‘Me? Well, I’m a hound that lives in Lowtown and my pals are Tom, Angela and an Arthur. I have various duties of course.’

‘Duties?’

‘Well, one very important one really.’

‘Which is?’

‘You know very well. Tom and Angela go to work while an Arthur goes to school and so forth. Meanwhile, I come to spend the day with you at least twice a week.’

‘I see.’

‘On the whole, old poop, you are quite well behaved but you obviously need the company of a hound to keep you on track. In short, to stop you wandering, staring into space and snoozing.’

‘Oh I say.’

‘You can ‘oh’ as much as you like, old puffer, but that is what I do.’

‘And Alison?’

‘Well, she’s the sensible one in this ’ere establishment.’

‘I see.’

‘Do you, guv, do you?’

‘I think so.’

‘Right, so let’s get this introduction sorted.’

‘I think we’ve got enough for the moment, Bing.’

‘Really?’

‘Yes.’

‘Tip-top, so how about a snack?’

‘Snack?’

‘Well, we book people require some form of sustenance.’

‘Sustenance?’

‘Certainly, guv, certainly.’

Bing has gone … I’ll find him sitting very neatly next to the snack tin.

Meanwhile …

Welcome to the World of Bing!

IF YOU HAPPENED TO BE…

If you happened to be toddling along a particular path, enjoying the sights and sounds of this corner of England the other day, you may well have spotted a chap staring into space, accompanied by a hound trundling about in the close vicinity, inspecting the surrounds. I’m sure, around this dear old world, such events also happen and are not particularly remarkable. However, IF you had perchance stumbled upon this particular scene, you might well have been slightly disturbed, as these companions appeared to be in deep conversation and completely unaware of your presence. Sensibly you may well have decided to give this pair a wide berth and continue your jaunt. IF though, you were naturally inquisitive by nature and desirous of further knowledge of this event, you would naturally have found a suitable spot and observed the following …

‘Are you sure, guv?’

‘Well, Bing, I know I had ’em when we started out.’

‘M’mmm. Guv, as you well know, I’m not one to cast nasturtiums.’

‘Aspersions, Bing.’

‘Whatever. But it has to be said, your mind easily wanders and it’s quite possible you might have nibbled on one and then, having got the taste for ’em, chomped on the rest!’

‘Bingo, this is too much. I can be accused of many things but partaking of a pal’s treats is most definitely not one of them.’

From your safe spot, you would have noticed the gent this time carefully check each pocket in the coat, removing various bits and pieces. This manoeuvre was repeated with the jacket beneath and then the trouser pockets as well. Meanwhile, the hound had trotted around the tree stump the aged gent sat upon and, snuffling around a particular patch, addressed his companion.

‘Might this be what you’re looking for, guv?’

‘Good heavens, Bing, how did that drop out of my poacher’s pocket?’

‘Poacher’s pocket? Cor, you live in another world! The only poaching you attempt, old poop, is with an egg!’

‘Bingo, I am not entirely inefficient in pursuit of the old culinary delights and so forth.’

‘And such like?’

‘Quite.’

After this brief exchange, you would have spotted the dog’s tail wagging as treats were received. After this, the gent went through a repeat performance of the pocket-patting routine, this time producing the familiar green tube known as ‘Polo’s the mint with the hole.’

And there, I think we should leave them, both happily munching and contemplating the rest of their stroll. Whilst you wonder what all that was about!

SOCKS….

It’s possible by now you will have realised my time spent with the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen, known as Bingo, has probably been beneficial to us both. It has to be said, his questions about all that is new to him have made me reassess what I actually know about whatever it is he’s questioning. This may, of course, be (as the Bible states) falling upon stony ground. If so - say no more. However, if, like me, you are amazed at just how much you take for granted until questioned on a subject, I’m delighted not to be on my own!

For instance, the other day I was ruminating on the fact that, not for the first time, I was wearing different coloured socks and whether anyone had or would notice, when the boy wandered into the study.

‘What’s up, Bing?’ He looked at the ceiling.

‘The light, guv.’

‘No, I mean, what’s going on?’

‘The light if it gets dark.’

‘Sorry, what I meant was, what’s on your mind?’

‘I’ve been thinking …’

‘Ah right, thinking eh?’

‘M’mmm.’

‘Is it a matter I can help you with, old fruit?’

‘M’mmm.’

I must say I was a tad taken aback. Bing usually gets straight to the point. For once, he seemed lost for words. In the ensuing silence, I shuffled some papers on my desk, sharpened a pencil and tried to look unconcerned.

‘That’s a funny business, guv.’

‘What is?’

‘Well, you stick quite a long bit of twig in that machine, turn the handle, and each time you pull it out you grumble, tut and put it back in again, turn the handle … and it gets smaller and smaller. What’s all that about and such?’

‘It’s called a pencil sharpener, Bing, it sharpens the lead in the twig, er … pencil, so that I can write things and rub them out if it’s not right.’

‘Really?’

‘Yep, it’s pretty clever.’

‘M’mmm.’

‘You don’t seem too impressed?’

‘Hey, I’m a hound, twigs are for chewing, chasing and such business, not writing with.’

It was my turn to ‘M’mmm’.

Moments passed …

‘The thing is, old poop,’ Ah, now we were getting down to the real question. ‘The thing is, while I was in the garden, I noticed a squirrel digging in a large flowerpot so when he bounced off, I popped over to see what it was he was up to.’

‘I see.’

‘You’ll never guess what he was doing.’

‘Well …’

‘He buried a sort of nutty thing.’

‘Probably an acorn.’

‘Really? I rolled it around my mouth and gave it a bite … it didn’t appeal.’

‘Quite, it is an acquired taste, I believe.’

‘Why would he do that?’

‘Well, squirrels like to get ready for winter and so they spend some time each year, storing tit-bits to nosh during the cold months.’

‘Well, that’s mighty clever of ’em.’

‘Yes, Bing, but their memories can be a bit faulty and so they bury loads of things for the winter. The chances are they’ll at least find some food, as and when required.’

‘Ah … so they’re forgetful like you, eh?’

‘What?’

‘Well, old wheezer, judging by your socks, you forgot which colour you were going to wear today!’

‘Ah.’

‘Time for coffee and things, guv?’

‘Things?’

‘I’ll show you where my biscuits are … just in case your memory’s a bit faulty!’

With one bound I leapt from my chair in hot pursuit …

… he beat me to the kitchen …

… but only by a long nose!

WAITING FOR DOGGO …(WITH APOLOGIES TO MR BECKETT)

Today it was a toddle up into the forest residing close by our house, Lyons.

‘Why’s it called that, guv?’

‘Well, you see, it’s a corner house … ha ha!’

‘That’s funny?’

‘Well, it could be called amusing. If you happen to remember the Corner Houses owned by Lyons.’

‘Would Tom and Angela?’

‘Er … no.’

‘Anyone else?’

‘Well, you would have to be of a certain age to remember them.’

‘Ancient like you, eh?’

‘Hey, steady on, Bing, I’m not quite in my dotage yet.’

‘You see, guv, using words like ‘dotage’ definitely ages you.’

‘M’mmmm …’ It was time to change the subject. ‘So do you fancy a stroll?’ There was a blur before my eyes and within moments, the lad was sitting patiently beside the front door, drumming his tail on the doormat with impatience! Receptacles for bagging up any outdoor ablutions, (I hasten to say Bing’s!), were slipped into a jacket pocket, lead located … and we were off.

The sun was up and running so with a light heart we trundled up the slope and into the ancient forest. I panted my way up to the high beeches and sought a fallen trunk to regain some wind!

‘You okay, old totterer?’

‘Um … (pant) yes … I think (pant) I’ll be fine in a moment.’

About forty feet away, two squirrels scurried about the newly fallen leaves and, quite clueless of our proximity, gambolled and bounded around. The boy watched all this with keen interest. Finally, having spotted us, they froze and eyed us from behind twitching noses.

‘Cor, squirrels, eh, guv?’

‘Cor indeed, Bingo.’

The grey duo bounded away and disappeared behind a large holly bush. We sauntered down the slope, in the distance a bridle jingled and soon the rider appeared, halted … and the horse did what horses often do …

‘Blimey, guv, have you got a big enough bag for that lot?’

‘Um … I think we’ll give that a very wide berth, thank you very much!’

‘Oh.’

The rider tapped her helmet with her crop and being well bred, the horse, if it had possessed a hat, would, I’m sure, have raised it in our direction. Down the old familiar paths of leaf mould and finally back to the house. Okay, so I’m getting old … but Lyons is not a bad name … for those that get it! A little weary, I wandered into the lounge.

‘No chance of a sit down for me, then, Bing?’

A REFRESHING MOMENT

It looked like rain so Bing trotted in to say I ought to get my flags in. (My shirts were drying on the line!) This done, I wandered back to continue with my … um … well … daydreaming. For those who’ve not seen the cluttered room I fondly call ‘the study’ and the old desk at which I can be found ‘pondering’, I hope that description will suffice. It was a little later, whilst leafing through some ancient scrawls, ditherings and ‘mutters’, that I became aware of a nudge on the knee.

‘Ah Bing, can I help you?’

‘Ancient puffer, you can as it happens.’

‘What’s the prob?’

‘Would you think I’ve been pretty well behaved this morning, so far?’ His earnest expression almost made me burst out laughing. I put on a thoughtful expression and the lad continued, ‘I mean to say, I’ve busied myself in the garden, chased a pigeon or three, tracked a squirrel, watched a couple of red and brown’uns (robins) who were being very busy.’

‘Right-ho.’

‘I have watched some television, on which a couple of chaps poked at some coloured balls with sticks …’

‘Ah, snooker.’

‘Whatever, and then decided it was high time you toddled out to the kitchen and made a coffee and topped up my water bowl.’

‘I see.’

‘And …’

‘And?’

‘I might like a Bonio …’

‘Ah.’

‘And I dare say you …’

‘Yes?’

‘You might like one of those biscuits you hid in the middle cupboard on the top shelf behind a jar of dried macaroni and a packet of rice - when you thought I wasn’t looking!’

‘Good heavens, how did you …?’

‘I was pretty sure that was where you popped ’em and my hooter confirmed it earlier when you left the cupboard door slightly open.’

‘M’mmm, I see.’

‘Well, what do you think?’

‘Amazing.’

‘Really, it wasn’t very difficult … ’

‘No?’

‘Hey, I’m a hound.’

In short, by the time I gained the kitchen, he was sitting nonchalantly next to the Bonio tin … refreshments followed …

… after which the lad decided to continue watching ‘Ah, snooker’.

SNACKS AND ROBBERS!

The aged forest close to our home affords many delights for the stroller. Young as Bingo is, he’s quickly become quite knowledgeable regarding local highways and byways and is always keen to learn more. When not out and about with his pals, Tom and Angela, he can sometimes be observed trailing an old ‘wheezer’ in his wake.

Recently I took him over to see ‘Lowtown’ Camp, an ancient spot still inhabited apparently by the locals at the time the Romans popped over, determined to stop us from painting ourselves blue and commencing construction of straight streets here, there and everywhere … and so forth.

The lad was mighty interested in all this - until a squirrel whizzed past and whistled up a nearby beech. Having, as yet, not mastered the art of tree climbing, Bing gave a couple of low ‘woofs’ and we trundled back to the main path.

‘So guv, those old blue geezers used to camp here?’

‘Yep.’

‘Why blue? Were they Chelsea supporters?’

‘Um … do you know, I’m not entirely sure.’

‘Perhaps we could poodle ’em when we get back?’

‘Poodle? Oh, Google ’em!’

‘That’s the chap. Perhaps he’ll know the answer.’

‘Possibly.’

We had, by now, reached the point where various paths cross and I was wondering if we should go in search of the ‘Lost’ pond or save that for another outing when my companion said, ‘So who’s this old bloater, Mick Gherkin?’


Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-11 show above.)