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Oh Happy Day (Elvis version):Friday 13th

The date has no negative connotations round here because it is my eldest daughter’s birthday today and she has survived at least one of those auspicious Friday birthdays already, in what is now her 9th year on earth.

A rare sight: Arsene skinning teeth

If I wondered yesterday how the time had flown by since Westmead Hawk won his last Greyhound Derby, then it is wonder cubed at the notion that Elodie Alexandra has notched up 9 years. It seems only yesterday Arsenal had won The Double and lamp post climbing was well underway on the parade on Sunday 12th May 2002 in Islington, when I went into labour. Pub in the afternoon, then caught out watching some period drama (on ITV – Aunt Finkywink!).

If I had known how long it would be before Arsene’s lot managed a single, let alone a double of anything again, I might have spent the evening up a lamp post myself.

And on the Friday, two days before that major Sunday, I had walked my last professional dog walk for some time. I say walked, Benji and I had shuffled along a hot pavement to London Fields and then very slowly perambulated across to Broadway Market and then back again. Benji was a great dog; he and I were empatico. A geriatric mongrel rescue from Battersea Dogs Home, it turned out he was on his last legs with me on that walk, and he dropped dead not longer after Elodie arrived. I walked loads of dogs in East London during that pregnancy and to this day I can point out front doors I used to go in to fetch dogs out for a walk. Sometimes I couldn’t tell you what the dog was called or even what it looked like…

Some dogs just don’t have that much presence, but Benji was right up there in that department, albeit in an understated life is hard knocks though innit? kind of way. I liked walking him and Elodie’s birthday always reminds me of him: a dead dog from Battersea Dogs Home. No wonder my Older Than She’s Ever Been daughter (aren’t we all) describes me as a Random, picked from a packet of Randoms.

Anyway, Happy Birthday Elodie xxxxxxxxx Oh, and also to Stevie Wonder (and Richard Madeley…)