Is a title that features in Walking Ollie; it’s a reference book that I used to refer to at night when I was trying to decide which noble breed was to be the one for me until the noble lurcher boy himself crossed our paths. I’ve been looking at a similar type title, Dogs, Dogs, Dogs, Dogs, Dogs, a book my friend Rosie gave me, 10p from a car boot sale. Published in 1962 by Paul Hamlyn it’s of the coffee table size with a cloth cover, the kind of book you used to look up in the library when you were a kid if it was information rather than narrative that you were after. Amongst its treasures is this Saluki-lurcher-type reproduction of a print by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) along with the poem the foot by Dame Juliana Berners, which is from The Boke of St Albans (1486), and sees man’s best fryend come to a poor eynd.
Elsewhere in its pages I discovered the first English greyhound stadium was Bellevue in Manchester (coincidentally enough, a place mentioned in this other boke of mine here: Plug 2). Experts were sceptical about this concept, saying that greyhounds would not be keen about chasing a tin rabbit. The first greyhound meet took place at the great Wembley stadium in 1927. Here AJ Alvin, the managing director, was once persuaded to try Salukis instead of greyhounds. Of the six starters in the first race only two chased the hare – four ran the other way. Why am I not surprised by that?
A greyhounde should be headed lyke a snake,
And neckyd lyke a drake,
Fotyd lyke a cat,
Tayled lyke a rat,
Syded lyke a teme,
And chyned lyke a bream,
The fyrste yere he must learn to fede,
The seconde yere to feld him lede.
The thyrde year he is fellow lyke.
The fourth yere there is none syke.
The fifth yere he is good ynough.
The syxth yere he shall hold the plough,
The seventh yere he will avaylle
Grete bytches for assayle.
But when he is come to the ninth yere
Have him then to the tannere.
For the best hounde that ever bytch had
At the ninth yere is full bad.