It’s amazing how popular sayings change and the older you get the more confusing it becomes.
I blame Michael Jackson. When I was a child ‘bad’ meant, well, bad. Suddenly, in the 1980s, the former Bahrain resident and late pop icon released an album called Bad and everyone started using the term as if it meant good.
The same goes for ‘dog’s life’. Originally the term referred to the hard life of the working dog sleeping outside in a damp shed and living on scraps. Today, however, it has acquired the completely opposite meaning, the ultimate description of a pampered existence.
I’ll let you to decide which connotation should be used after reading my sorry festive tale.
When I first came to Bahrain 13 years ago, the good lady wife, Kathryn, and I decided to leave Daizy, the cocker spaniel behind. The decision became ‘dad’s’ and whenever our children, Imogen and Stan Jnr, are angry with me, they’ll bring up the time I ‘abandoned’ their beloved pet.
It didn’t help matters that my sister, who had kindly said she would look after Daizy for the ‘two years’ we were away, moved house and placed Daizy in the care of a friend.
The friend and his family fell in love with Daizy and before we knew it she had a new home and we were even banned from seeing her on our annual trip back to the UK in case we ‘upset and unsettled her’.
To ease the heartache in the Szecowka household, after spotting a couple of small pooches advertised on a shop noticeboard on Budaiya Highway, I brought Millie and Lillie home to our villa in Saar.
But small mutts are not cool. I used to take them for walkies late at night so none of my friends from the Dilmum Cub would spot me. Then one evening two young lads on bikes came tearing down the road with a puppy tied by a rope round its neck.
The stray desert dog collapsed and the boys cycled off. I thought he was dead but after a while he got up and followed me home … and Lucky joined the family.
When Kathryn and the children returned back to the UK during the summer for educational reasons, the dogs, of course, had to go too.
One of my Bahraini friends shook his head in disbelief when I told him how much it was going to cost.
I’ve just flown back to Bristol for a very short trip to spend today with the family and to celebrate granddaughter Eliza’s first Christmas.
I’m very much hoping that my eldest son, Louis, will join us tomorrow but he’s just become the proud owner of a Cocker-Doodle called Walter.
Louis is a theatre executive in London and he is allowed to take the dog with him to work each day.
My eldest daughter, Charmaine, having spent the past couple of days with us and my other two grandchildren, Kai and Esme, is spending Christmas Day with him.
I thought I had it all planned. Fearing Lucky might eat Walter if he came along too, Charmaine volunteered to babysit the puppy, allowing Louis to come and see me.
But nothing is that simple.
According to Louis, his big sister spends too long on her smart phone and won’t pay enough attention to Walter, who he believes will ‘stress’ without him close by.
So D Day is Boxing Day. Will his love of dad or dog prevail?
Either way, one of us will be in the dog house when I fly back to Bahrain on Friday.