LET’S be honest – we all need a cheeky little cuddle from time to time.

I remember when the kids were little and me and Mrs Barron were keeping the flame of romance alive in the bedroom on a Sunday afternoon. (That’s as delicately as I can put it.)

The phone rang downstairs and Christopher, aged around seven at the time, answered politely, just as he’d been trained to do.

And these were the exact words we heard drifting up the stairs: “No, I’m really sorry but Mummy and Daddy have popped upstairs for a cuddle and they’ve told us we have to stay down hear and watch a video!”

The moment was lost and – to this day – I don’t know who it was on the phone. It could have been a Women’s Institute branch booking one of my talks, which would have been embarrassing. It could have been my boss, which would have been even more embarrassing. My biggest nightmare is that it might have been my Mum.

Anyway, like I said, cuddles are important as a way of providing reassurance that we’re still loved – and my old mate Dylan clearly shares that point of view.

I should probably explain at this point that Dylan is a border collie who lives in our village and belongs to our friends, Karen and Phil. I’ve known him since he was a puppy and take great delight in borrowing to take for walks.

Dylan, named after Bob Dylan, is an affectionate, clever dog whose been well-trained. For example, he knows all too well that he’s not allowed on the settee when Phil’s at home. Equally, he’s also come to appreciate that Karen is a lot less strict.

Dylan has, therefore, perfected a cunning little routine to ensure he gets morning cuddle with his “mum” and here it is step-by-step:

  1. Dylan lies on the lounge floor, pretending to be asleep when Phil goes to work.
  2. As soon as Phil goes out of the door, Dylan opens one eye to check that the bloke who won’t let him up on the settee has left for the day.
  3. Dylan then waits another few seconds before getting up and sneaking over to the window.
  4. He then puts his front paws onto a chair so he can peer outside to make sure Phil’s car has definitely gone.
  5. Only when he’s sure the coast is clear does he come back to climb up onto the settee for his cuddle with Karen.

To prove how clever he is, I’ve put a video of his antics on YouTube. You can watch it below.

It’s impossible to overlook the fact that the video shows poor old Phil leaving the house for another day’s hard graft without any sign of a cuddle whatsoever.


HEARD at a meeting of Stokesley U3A the other day…Ruth, aged nine, had been learning about reproduction at school and was obviously in a curious mood when her dad came into the kitchen.

“Dad, when you make love to Mum, do you wake her up first?” she asked.

The dad, who shall remain nameless, resisted the temptation to reply: “Well, not for the last ten years.”

THANKS to Chris Hasler, another member of Stokesley U3A, who remembered the time nearly 50 years ago when her son Mark was eight and he asked: “Mum, if you have twins, do you have to do it twice?”

IT was a pleasure to speak at the 28th charter dinner of Teesside West Rotary where I heard from one of the members about a conversation he’d had with his granddaughter. The grandad was explaining about some of the strange place names in County Durham, including Snods Edge, Quaking Houses, Pity Me and Crooked Oak.

“Isn’t there a place called Intercourse?” asked the little girl.

In his panic, the grandad spluttered: “Yes, it’s in America.”