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Thursday, 20 December 2012

BBC Iplayer...did you miss it first time around?



people in the Uk can see the film on the BBC iPlayer for the next week

Monday, 17 December 2012


In Dogs We Trust 9th December 2012
Picture of Renton giving Ian a paw at the dinner table

It was November 1980, I wasn’t long out of school and my only experience of moving about in the street, park, or school playground was to slowly tap my way around my environment with a white cane. I am completely blind, so my world was full of noises with a cane e.g.... Whack the bin, click some plastic on the ground. tap of the brick wall. I had never moved quickly using a white stick and I will never forget the sensation the first time I got to test drive a guide dog. The dog was a large shaggy golden retriever, the Harley Davidson of the doggy world. The way the dog could move and sway around obstacles was thrilling as I hung on to the handle attached to the harness. I moved down the pavement quickly and smoothly, wind was blowing through my hair and my journey was filled with normal people shopping sounds rather than damn tapping which just reminded me that I was blind and couldn’t easily find my way about.  I loved working with the dog and two years later, I finally got my first ever Guide Dog. I have to say here that  the dogs don't arrive, shrink wrapped ready to go.  A huge amount of work has still to be done building up the relationship and trust, between blind person and dog. 

In March 2010 I made a documentary for BBC Scotland called “Born to Lead.” This documentary followed the process of retiring one guide dog and being matched with a new guide dog.  This new seven stone German Shepherd was called Renton while being a beautiful worker had a personalty to match his bulk!


Daisy the Cancer detection dog chomping on a bone
Now  we are a solid working team as he guides me  across the country covering all kinds of news stories for BBC Scotland.

My latest documentary; “In Dogs We Trust?” not only brings viewers uptodate with Rentons development but introduces the new ground breaking world of assistance dogs. 
I was keen  to explore how dogs are helping people with other disabilities.  The program highlights, the hidden talents of  dogs which can help humans in a variety of ways, not just being a guide or sniffer dog.  For example Serena, trusts the family pet spaniel, Molly to let her know when her ten year old son Steven is about to have a diabetic hypo. Molly can do something that science can’t. That is, let Steven and his mother know in advance that his blood sugar is falling and that they need to take action.  As part of my documentary, we witness the remarkable experience of Molly alerting Steven to his blood level dropping. As the crew and I were filming, Molly was the only one that was aware of Steven’s blood  sugar changing. 

So, we discover that dogs can work with humans who have an array of requirements, diabetes, epilepsy, deafness, physical disability and autism. With epilepsy, the dogs have an astonishing ability to predict seizures, 100% of the time. A remarkable figure, which is backed up by the Support Dog Charity who we visit during the programme(they train the dogs) 

If that wasn’t impressive enough, we meet a dog on the edge of medical science. It’s being trained to detect one of humans prevalent diseases, cancer. There have been no shortage of anecdotal stories of dogs discovering cancer in their owners. Yet, there is still plenty of scepticism among the cancer research community about using dogs to detect cancer. We talked to one dog training charity who claim that they are getting closer to finding an affective way of training dogs to detect this decease. 

Dizzy the diabetic alerter dog with his young owner 
So, we humans are trusting dogs to assist in saving lives where technology is struggling to find the same practical solutions.  It is amazing to think that there are over 6 million dogs in the UK and yet such little research has been done to understand how the dog\human symbiotic relationship  can be developed further.



Ian and Midas  the dog during filming

“In Dogs we Trust” Monday 17th December on BB1 Scotland, presented by Ian Hamilton   @ihamiltonbbc
Camera Charles Ross
Director/Producer Nichola Blackmore
Executive Producer Marcus Ryder


Friday, 22 June 2012

Blast from the past - what is in a name?


A number of people have been asking me about Rentons' name. So, here is what I have found..this a repeat..hey I work for the BBC what can I say?

It is from day three of my blog way back in October 2010 - 


Among friends and colleagues there has been some discussion about the origin of Renton’s name. I’ve heard: Ring tone, Rent boy and to top it off Rectum. 
Well, to throw some  more light on the reasoning  behind the names, I did some digging about and it appears all 7 puppies from Renton's litter  are named after characters and writers from Scottish literature. Two of his brothers are called: Rebus and Rankin. Rebus after the Edinburgh detective and Rankin after it’s author Ian Rankin.   Renton’s name comes from the book “Train Spotting” by Irvin Welsh.  The main character in the novel is Renton, which  is played by Ewan Mcgregor.

I’m currently trying to find out about the other names in the litter. 
It could have been so much worse though, his litter could have been named after diminutive characters from Walt Disney and I could have ended up with Dopey.  What was that?.I've just heard my first virtual global blogger groan......made me laugh!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Seize the day




Cartoon fo elderly man climbing rope by Lorne Brown


Being blind, I never get hung up on appearances and so am open to people just being - well…just being themselves… no matter how they may look.  I guess my prejudices tend to be dictated by what age they are, but even this is proving to be deceptive. Adventurous, thrill seeking, willing to learn new things, not hung up on appearances, keen to get out and “do” things; does this describe a seventy something to you?  Well, at the moment I appear to be surrounded by a gang of four of them, who all appear to be mutating into some strange adventurous characters and it’s all happening without the aide of plastic surgery and medication.  It’s occurring because the changes are happening in their attitude to life as opposed to their appearance and physical condition. 
I’m not aware of them looking any different from when I could see them years ago.  However, by all accounts, they just look like any 70 plus year old men have always looked.  Either thin with grey hair and beards, or not so thin with not so much hair. Faces, by all accounts, have definitely seen a bit of life with some certainly looking wiser than others.  Most of them have more than one pair of glasses for every circumstance, reading, driving, seeing when the glass is empty! .   They all have their own limbs and can walk upright more or less unaided. So all and all, they aren’t doing too badly.

However, the four mature chaps I’m talking of aren’t growing old without a fight; it’s more a fully blown nuclear attack. The difficulty is they are leaving nothing for us younger generations to aim for. I’m not naming them, but they know who they are. 
Cartoon of mature gentleman ski-ing by Lorne Brown


The first pensioner took up skiing again six years ago at the age of 65 after a spell away from the hills. He’s not down on the nursery slopes quivering with the beginners and the toddlers. No! He’s on the Black runs leaping off six feet slopes whilst slaloming in and out of ice moguls. To illustrate his toughness; three years ago after a fall on such a run, he hadn’t realised that he had dislocated his shoulder, until he had removed his jacket back at the hotel.  Tough or what. Every day he’s in the gym for an hour training and just to add insult to injury, he can still drink me under the table.

Cartoon sketch of an elderly gentleman climbing a rope by Lorne Brown




The second pensioner is a keen climber. five years ago at the age of 76 he tried ice climbing in Austria for the first time.  There is nothing he loves more than hanging off mountains by one arm. In the last two years he’s got his husky licence in Greenland and climbed eight Via Ferrata in eight  days for his eightieth birthday in the Italian Dolomites.  Raising 8,000 pounds for the Guide Dogs on his way)


Elderly gentleman rowing in a choppy sea cartoon by Lorne Brown

The Third pensioner bought himself a Canoe. Nothing he enjoys more than going down to the loch in front of his house and paddling up and down.. This may sound sedate, but with health and safety always uppermost in his thoughts, no matter the time of year or temperature, he will deliberately throw himself in as a test to make sure he will survive should he fall in accidentally. The air may  just be above freezing, but yet he believes it’s a thrilling experience and makes him “feel alive.”  He says “wet suits are so good these days.” Hang on! Aren’t pensioners meant to be prone to hypothermia and that’s just sitting quietly in their living rooms watching the snooker with not enough cash for the electricity meter.  

Cartoon sketch of man and woman sharing a cocktail and some love across the table..cartoon by Lorne Brown

The Forth pensioner has a different perspective on the world.  It appears love and romance is always uppermost in his mind. A man who has already had two marriages and umpteen long term relationships.  At the age of 70 he’s now embarking on another one. Clearly, he’s exhausted the supply of eligible women in this country, as he has now crossed the Atlantic for his new conquest in the USA. Sadly the state pension and the exchange rate make it hard to sustain a long distance romance, but his determination and love will always win through.
We all discriminate,  age, sex, weight, clothes, money, disability and appearances. When I was a child, men of a certain age would sit around tables playing dominos, smoking in dingy bars and coughing their last.  I knew where I was with this kind of male pensioner.  I guess they were my inspiration, of sorts.

How can my generation compete with today’s pensioner? I shudder at the thought of trying to live up to their lofty standards. What’s waiting for me: blind naked sky diving, blind crocodile wrestling, what about blind bungee jumping into a shallow bath of piranhas?
Come on guys, calm down a bit and give us a chance. Leave something for us that wont result in permanent injury or death. Given that my generation is very much part of the baby boomers, perhaps future Governments wont be too unhappy with these hobbies . At least it will save them paying out future pensions should the parachute fail to open.       
   

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Mr Moss





Picture of Mr Moss looking really happy

It’s hard to believe that it’s two years since Moss my black faithful old Labrador retired after many years of hard work. Friends and colleagues are regularly asking me how he’s getting on, so on this milestone of his retirement this is probably as good a time as any to bring you up to date with his progress.
For those who don’t know, The reason why he had to stop working a little earlier was because the arthritis in his hips was making it tough for him to work on any longer. So after some advice from the vet it was decided Mr Moss should hang up his harness for the final time in June 2010. This resulted in me having no dog to guide me about for a few months while the Guide Dogs searched for a suitable replacement.  I thought it would be best for Moss to stop rather than me working him while he was in pain. 



Moss loved working, but in the last few months of his working life, he had certainly lost his enthusiasm for slipping on his harness and hitting the road. He had slowed down so much, it would have been faster some days for me to pick him up and carry him. Plus at his peak he would run to get his harness on. By the end he would go back to bed and reluctantly come back down stairs to go to work. So the signs were clear, Moss had to stop.
Oddly, or perhaps not that oddly when he stopped working his enthusiasm for life returned. Keen to go for a walk, run around the park with other dogs, Moss certainly got his mojo back for a while. In fact, he was so full of life I was beginning to wonder if he had anything wrong with him at all. Perhaps I had retired him too soon. It could be he stopped liking me, because he perked up when he was at home with Christine while I was at work.  [Clearly, that can’t be the case] maybe it wasn’t physical, may be it was mental and Moss was suffering from depression. Then when he stopped working his depression disappeared. 
Unhappily, Moss is now really struggling to get up and down stairs. We’ve now had to significantly increase the strength of his pain killers. Their is no doubt in the last six months he has declined quite considerably.
The muscles in his back legs have wasted away at an alarming rate. The vet said once the current pain killers stop working their isn’t much left for Moss to take apart from very strong medication that would dampen his personality and would mark the beginning of the end of his life.  
Picture of Moss in the sitting in the sunshine

Picture of Moss letting the wind blow between his ears
However, he still appears to be up for a laugh and on a flat walk he still likes a good run and his zest for life hasn’t disappeared even if his muscles have. What makes it particularly hard about Moss and it’s something the vet has also said, Moss never complains, winces, yelps..he is one immensely stoical dog and it is really hard to tell when he is in real pain. We do get an idea from his body language, licking his lips and how he takes himself off to a quiet corner quite often now.
Moss is and has been, such an important part of our lives. His nature is second to none. We always call him Mr Moss because of his refined and dignified personality around the office   Fingers crossed we’ve still got some time with him yet.    

Friday, 18 May 2012

Adorable puppies


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Saturday, 12 May 2012

Who’s the most regal?


Renton befriending the Royal couple at BBC Scotland..Pic: by S. Mclundie


I don’t think they believed me at work this week when I managed to get my face on TV as part of a royal visit.
I had hurt my back playing blind golf..and trapped a nerve. Because of this, it was my plan to work from home. Typically, the very day I was wanting to rest my back, my BBC Laptop decided to stop talking to me. (I use a speech software called JAWS, which reads out everything on the screen to me]  So this meant having to drag my sorry painful self  into the office to get it repaired. In the back of my mind I remembered that there was a royal visit on, but I never thought it would affect me, I would be in and away quickly. I wasn’t in long, when a couple of colleagues told me.., “They’ll be coming past your desk and Renton”. I said, “I think I’ll head up stairs for an early lunch and get well out the way.”  Then I felt the hand of one of the producers pressing down on my shoulder as I began to stand. “Just you stay exactly where you are.” When Ali M tells you to stay, you don’t argue. She added, “I’ll give you a warning when they are heading your way. They are bound to stop when they see Renton.” 
Before I new it they were at my desk shaking hands and being all..well..you know... "royal".
We had a general conversation which moved quickly on to the topic of the other regal figure in our midst, that of Renton. They were very keen to hear all about him. All the usual questions. where was he trained? who trained him? how old he is? Then finally, “Oh he is a big boy” said Camilla. I assumed she was still talking about Renton, well, lets hope so…  
Then before I new it they had moved on to my colleagues on Newsnight Scotland.

Prince Charles and Camilla approach Ian and Renton

Renton getting a pat from Camilla, he was a really good boy.lovely crochted blanket curtesy of Aunty maureen
So you can imagine the amount of ribbing I’ve had since a short clip of me meeting them was shown on our local dinner time news programme.   My Aunty said...were you wearing a tie?...oops...nope..well I never thought that I would be meeting them....she's disappointed in me.....aw!  

All Paparazzi pictures by Susan McLundie      

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Hamilton Filming Team Have Gone Down.

Would you believe it we've all gone down with something. I've got a trapped nerve in my back. [This proves reporters do have feelings]. Renton is limping around the garden with a painful paw. Moss can't get up the stairs because of his bad hips and our camera person is recovering from flue.


So when it comes to getting any sympathy I'm way down the line behind 2 dogs.


I'm going to try to get to work tomorrow. For no other reason than my laptop has gone on the blink again. Thank god for my iPhone or I would be stuffed. I've got more on iphones and technology coming soon in my next blog.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Island of Islay

My last film on Newsnight Scotland last night before the local elections.   This time I go to Island of Islay (off the west cost of Scotland) and findout some of the issues the islanders here are facing.   This link can be used for 5 days from the BBC iPlayer

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

BBC Scotland Newsnight

This is the link to the BBC iplayer where you can see my latest film about Elgin and Buckie.
 just press this Link

.... again feedback would be good...thank you..

Monday, 16 April 2012

Elgin - Scotland

Ian and Renton walking through the woods

I’m currently on a mini tour of Scotland where along with Nicola the camera and picture editor  we’ve been making a series of four films for Newsnight Scotland about the local elections. Last week we were in Dundee  and this week our film comes from Moray. For those who don’t know where that is, it lays between Inverness and Aberdeen along the north east shoulder of Scotland. 
It’s not an area I know particularly well. my only experience of the region  was in a previous guise as a drama worker. About 14 years ago I spent a fortnight in Elgin, when along with a colleague we delivered drama workshops to some local schools. To be honest, I remember so little about the actual town. So visiting there brought back absolutely no memories at all. 
From this visit however I will remember two things:
the first being when I arranged to do some filming in a fish processing business in Buckie,  Nicola had a hard time as she is a vegetarian  and it appears wading about in fish guts wasn’t her ideal job! [It can’t all be cake and tea.] 
Lots of lovely fish guts    we need some sratch and sniff cards!
 I expect it didn’t help when I withdrew  to go and wait in the car with Renton. The smell was overwhelming and I wasn’t doing much to assist with  the filming, so I thought it would be best if I left. Just to get out the way you understand.


For the rest of the day she complained about smelling of fish guts. I didn’t think she did, ...well....not that I was going to admit if she reeked of kippers.  
Filleting Salmon
The other memory is the hotel. I’m not going to name it, because the people were perfectly pleasant and the problem could have been solved if I hadn’t been so idle. 
As I’ve written here before, getting the right hotel when travelling with a guide dog is the hardest part. This particular hotel was ideal in so many ways. It had very large grounds in which to run Renton.  




The problem was the room. It was miles away from the reception and refreshment areas. I had to navigate two stair cases, five doors, two corridors and various twists and turns. Now they knew I was blind and coming with a guide dog, so why an earth did they put me in the hardest room to locate in the entire complex? It wasn’t just me being a blind idiot, Nicola also found it confusing and her sense of direction is normally pretty good.  
By the time we found our rooms with all our bits of camera and sound kit, the thought of moving was too much to contemplate. If I had been staying any more than two nights I would have said something and got us shifted to a better and easier room to find.   It’s probably the only hotel I’ve been in where I’ve needed a GPS  just to get to and from the bar.
The film will go out sometime this week on NewsNight Scotland at 23:00 on BBC 2 Scotland. I’ll put a posting up here when exactly when it will be on. I’ll also put up a tweet on @ihamiltonbbc Or if you don’t catch it, I’ll put up a link to the programme on this blog.   

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The short film about Dundee

For people in the UK you can see my short film for the next five days at
 BBC Newsnight Scotland


The remit was keep the story light and add some fun into it....what do you think?




Tuesday, 10 April 2012

On the Road for the local elections

Renton looking through the bakers window in Dundee  Pic: Nicola Blackmore
























I have spent the first quarter of this year on the road filming for BBC Newsnight Scotland in: Cornwall, Corby, Whitehaven and the Isle of Man. The first three films were all looking at the forthcoming independence referendum here in Scotland. The idea was to understand what our neighbours south of the border thought about the independence proposal.  The Isle of Man voyage was to examine if their small island in the middle of the Irish sea was a good illustration of "Devo max" (which means more power, but not full independence) 
I had just completed these films and after a break, I was straight into covering the local elections.
I regularly work with Nicola as my camera and picture editor, so we sat down with the Newsnight Scotland editor to see what cunning plan he had up his sleeve for us.
He sat us down outside the newsroom at one of the long meeting tables.  “I want you folks to hit the road again travelling to four different parts of Scotland.”  He continued. “I want you to make them interesting, amusing and give me plenty of colour from each area.” deep breaths were taken at this point. Despite shuffilling in our seats and some twitching from us, he ploughed on regardless. “Oh yes I don’t want to hear from councillors or have some dull profiles. Give me real people.” 
So our quest had begun, but where to start and how the hell do we make the local elections interesting, never mind amusing. Couldn’t we find and slay a dragon instead?  
The plan was not too organise too much in advance. It was more the case of turn up in a designated area and see what stories we could get. This can work very well, but it can also go horribly wrong  - what if we get there only to discover everyone in the town has a bad doze of shyness.  So as insurance, I made a few calls to get some names and numbers just encase…
Dundee Sky line at dusk Pic by Nicola Blackmore

We decided the first of our locations would be Dundee. A city I’ve known well, off and on over the last thirty years.  The main training centre for Guide Dogs is not far away being in Forfar, and I have been there being trained with quite a number of my guide dogs.  Over those years Dundee has gone through some remarkable changes. It’s gone from a post industrial city, to one of the most creative cities in Scotland. It still has it’s problems with unemployment, but what a remarkable turn around. With the new V&A museum being built, even more transformations are coming. I talked to a lot of people and without exception all were very proud, but not in a delusional way, people were  honest and pragmatic.

Bunty & Bella showing Ian how to make felt balls...over a cup of tea and slice of cake! pic by N. Blackmore
  
We spent two days filming everything that moved and a few things that didn’t. I also took part in the strangest craft workshop ever with a lovely group of women from three generations.  They showed me how to make balls from felt. [I could do a gag here about having felt balls, but I shall restrain myself.] 


The film has been completed, so barring any news disasters the film should go out this week on BBC 2 Newsnight Scotland at 11:00pm 




If you want to know when the films will be on you can  follow me on twitter @ihamiltonbbc or @newsnightscot 

  

Nicola Blackmore

Picture of Nicola eating a large ice cream cone
Recently Nicola Blackmore has been my camera woman and picture editor.


You can see some of the films we have been working on at this site  on Vimeo..you will also find more of Nicola's work at this link

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Rentons' "sleep over"


Renton sitting in the sunshine on  forest path pic by Sheila and Peter

Having two dogs can cause a problem. When I only had Moss it was easy, well, easier to find someone to look after him when we went abroad on holiday. Now with Renton, it's a lot harder to find someone to take him for a couple of weeks while we head for the sun. 
It’s mainly because that few people want - or are able to look after such a large dog. Plus, it is vital that anyone looking after him,  keep to Renton's strict training regime. It's true, that consistency is important for all guide dogs, but it is particularly important for German shepherds. So if anyone was able to take him for a fortnight I would have to be confident that they would stick to his training plan. 
Now the hunt was on to find that illusive person with nerves and muscles of steel. 
However, my hunt has been much easier than I anticipated. My guide dog instructor suggested that I should contact Renton’s puppy walker. These are an essential group of volunteers without whom the whole guide dog system would collapse. They take the puppy from six weeks old  until they are about one and give them all their basic obedience and social training. They take them into town, on buses, into shops. Then the dogs go back to be trained as guide dogs at the centre before coming to someone like me.  
Sheila with Renton and April
I was nervous about making the call  - I was really expecting to hear... "are you mad take Renton, we've still got the mental scars from the first time"  But no! Instead I got the response "YES! YES! YES! OF COURSE WE WILL." It was a big relief all round. 



Renton in the river


To make sure everyone would be happy, it was agreed to give the puppy walkers Peter and Sheila a two day trial. I had no doubts they would cope, they are very laid back, and have a good balance of discipline and fun. After a fabulous lunch with lots of puppy stories and lists of commands for Renton. We all went for a walk down by the river and Renton seemed to remember some old favourite paths down to the river bank from when he was a puppy and was very happy to show us which way to go.
Renton showing April how to paddle in the river






I'm pleased to say everyone was happy. In fact. Renton had a little play mate in the name of April a 11 month old German Shepherd (guide dog in training)who kept Renton in his place by nipping at his ears and trying to jump on his back.
April and Renton in the back of the car




 Ah at last the tables were turned on Mr R. he had tried this with Moss, but the old guy was having none of it...
Now where should we go on holiday... UM…  

Monday, 6 February 2012

On the Road again...



I’m preparing to hit the road again in the 3rd of my series to find out what the English think about the prospect of an independent Scotland. This time, I’m only just going over the border to Cumbria.
However, I’m not going to Carlisle, as that’s to obvious. Instead, I’m heading further west to the coastal Cumbria town of Whitehaven and if time allows I may even get to Maryport.  Sadly, Whitehaven is known for a day it would rather forget. Like Dunblane and Hungerford it has become synonymous by a gunman who went on a killing spree.
Pict: by Ray Hardie ..titled..Renton has been replaced!..Rentons' guide harness  has been placed over the head of a large stone carved dog...bigger than Renton...even!
I’ve not chosen Whitehaven for any ghoulish Journalistic reasons. No, My reason for going there is..... it’s an area that has a sense of being bypassed by the M6 motorway as  people head to and from Scotland. The areas population are not normally canvassed as to their opinion on politics but yet are just over the Border and ...Oh yes and I’ve never been there before.  
My plan is a loose one which will leave space for the unexpected.  However, I always set off with a few key contact numbers and emails just incase the people I have initially agreed to speak to are not in or are called away...I like to feel organised.
and of course there are a few things to organise before I leave Lanark and they are not necessarily anything to do with the content of my film. All of them have to be sorted out in advance and can’t be left to chance. 
First do I take Renton? If I do, I need a Hotel that welcomes and is suitable for a large dog. Legally, they can’t refuse to take a guide dog, but there is nothing worse than staying somewhere that your not made welcome. Importantly, I need to book a place with space for Renton to do his business (polite way of saying "bathroom) what if he needs out at 2 in the morning? A hotel in the middle of town is often a non starter. This can take quite a bit of research and checking to insure that the hotel is suitable. Fortunately, there are people in the office who can help with this task.


I then have to get Renton's food, water, bowl, towel, dog whistle, treats, haulty, bells and a mat for him to sleep and pack it all.  [Oh yes, my clothes.] I've also got to make sure that  the hotel meets the BBC budget criteria. After all, this is licence payers cash and it’s all about best value. I do like my comfort, but if I was staying in 5 star hotels questions would be asked.
Next on the check list is - do I have a camera person? and  do they have access to a camera? They both have to be checked for availability and booked. Is the car that they have big enough to take Renton and all the kit? Fortunately, I normally work with the same camera people, who have built up an understanding of working with a blind person in a visual media. 
I must always leave enough time to get the camera person to the location and back within the allotted time. Giving us enough time to actually shoot a decent film. Whilst not killing the camera person with an impossible schedule. That would help neither of us.   
So..check list is in order - time to get on the road again..

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Renton Digs for Victory



Picture of big paws for digging a big hole!!
In my last blog, I hinted at Renton’s foibles. For some unknown reason he’s started digging a hole in the garden and it’s getting bigger and bigger and deeper and deeper. We know, that he knows that it is wrong to dig, as when we catch him with his giant paws in his newly created crater pumping away like jack hammers, he stops.. looks up, puts his ears back,  then runs away. He disappears either inside the house to his bed, (muddy paw trail across all the floors of course)    Or he dashes to the front of the house and hides...Christine caught him poking his long nose and ears around the corner watching to see if we were still there.
If he would dig in the places that needed to be dug, that would be fantastic and a useful extra skill for his cv. But no! He digs in places I’m likely to walk. For example. In front of the wood store so that when I go to get wood, I fall into it...If I didn’t know better I would think he is setting a trap. 

the beginnings of the whole
Having a guide dog that randomly digs holes makes life interesting. It can make strolling around my garden fraught with a combination of excitement and terror. 
I have considered that maybe he’s trying to tell me something. Does he not like me? Perhaps he doesn’t like working! I wonder if he gets bored sitting at my desk at the BBC? Then again, perhaps it’s just a practical joke against his blind owner.  Who knows! What ever it is, I wish he would stop digging, as it’s bloody dangerous.