Bearded Collies Do Anything For An Egg Custard

As my Beardie Collie Ruskin followed me as a puppy on a window cleaning round he had to learn fast. At 14 weeks after his vaccinations he joined me. It proved impossible to have him on a lead and carrying a ladder, bucket, crate to stand on etc. So he used to trot in front, when we came to a junction etc he would look back to be given the new direction. Stop, straight on, left or right.

 One of our treats was stopping at the bakers and sharing an egg custard together.

 After a couple of years I passed my test and we got a car. He would sit on the front seat and when he saw another dog sometimes he would bark. As he knew all the direction commands this would develop into a game while travelling. If I saw a dog first I would shout “Doggie on the left or doggie on the right”. When he spotted it he would bark back to confirm. Or bark first if he spotted a dog before me.

 A Morrisons supermarket opened. On my first visit one evening, large egg custards were on sale for 10p before they went out of date. When we got home I gave him one. He wouldn’t eat it as it was a whole one. Once I told him it was all his, he was very happy. He always knew at the end of a days work when I said supermarket, we were going to get egg custards.

 A few years later I got a job as a shopfitter travelling all over the country in a large transit van. We were changing the central gondolas for Safeway supermarkets. As the newest foreman I was given the short straw. I was given all the distance work. Cheshire to Norfolk, Cheshire to Inverness, Cheshire to Newcastle, Cardiff or Hull.

 I was also given an 18 year old apprentice who couldn’t drive, couldn’t read a map, didn’t know the job and didn’t have his own tools. All the other vans had two drivers, so share the distance work. Apart from me.

 All I would be given was an instruction Safeway Gateshead, Safeway Swaffam or Safeway Cardiff etc. No directions.

 Even without someone who could read a map getting to the town or city was no problem. The 18 year old would just sleep the entire journey. As we were a team Ruskin always came too. With 3,4 or 500 miles to drive he would sometimes fall asleep as well. As I pulled off the motorway or trunk road and slowed down he would wake up, knowing we were near our destination.

 Looking round he would sniff the air vents getting used to the new air. Opening the windows and turning on the blower slightly. “Supermarket”. Sniffing the air when I came to a round about I would ask him sraight on left or right. He would tell me by barking and looking. He could smell the bakery.

 Never once was he was wrong. The store manager many times was surprised we found the place without directions.

 All I did was buy an egg custard for my Bearded Collie sat nav. Eh before sat navs were invented.

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