Miranda: My Son’s New French Walking Companion

The youngest unmarried son has a new walking companion. He was told to pick him up at about lunchtime, take him on his amble around Holland Park, then return him to his homestead after only an hour and a half (as opposed to the normal two hours). This gig was for a month. What a breeze. 

When Son arrived to ‘meet and greet’ his canine friend he was mildly shocked but rallied well. He had been shown a photograph and was expecting a toy-sized terrier-type doggy (not terribly observant). 

One normally doesn’t come across a Dogue de Bordeaux face to face. This chap was huge. Well, he was supposed to be, as male French mastiffs are 150 pounds plus. He’s called Czar and seems to find walking terribly tiring. These dogs do not enjoy physical exertion at all, they are exercise-intolerant. Nobody thought to tell my son this important snippet of information. Apparently this ancient French dog breed have a tendency to faint at the mere thought of a ‘walkie’. (Seriously. They really do faint.) 

Dogue de Bordeaux used to guard the castles of the European elite. Czar has it easy guarding a house in Kensington (much less effort) and now, for a month, my son. The youngest unmarried thought his pal was a young four year old. In fact, these dogs pop their paws around five or six (eight years being the optimum). So, poor old Czar is ancient, like his breed. 

Dogue de Bordeaux are vigilant, devoted, even-tempered, loyal and courageous. All marvellous assets when you are romping around Holland Park at a snail’s pace. This is the speed that suits the unmarried and presumably suits Czar. Now and again this vast dog decides to have a little sit, preferring a warm dry surface like a bench, the whole bench! 

The one and a half hour walk has been trimmed to an hour because Czar hasn’t read the contract and feels that after his allotted time there shouldn’t be any more mention of movement. This decision has been made quite clear to my unmarried. Czar lies down and that’s that. No matter how many random strangers volunteer to drag him up, he isn’t budging. His breed was used to haul heavy objects but no one can manage to haul him an inch. 

The youngest unmarried has the rest of his life to get on with but his newly acquired charge has slumped to the floor. This is now factored into the walk. The son tries to get back to Czar’s castle before the collapse. I think he has almost mastered it, though the other day the ‘lie down’ was so tantalisingly close they could see the roof of the house, not that that swayed Czar’s opinion in any way at all. Looking after his new, ‘elite’, two-legged friend is obviously beyond exhausting. The ‘elite’ generally are. 

To be fair to Czar, he most likely assumes that Holland Park is his castle’s grounds and if he feels like a little lie down whilst checking his boundary’s perimeter, then who are we to argue? In his huge head he can kip wherever he likes under the guise of ‘security control’. I think he has a very valid point, after all there are plenty of vagabonds and ruffians on his patch that need to be kept an eye on. My unmarried’s arm is regularly dislocated after a Czar lunge to check a particular dodgy looking passer-by.

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