Regal Beagle

A million or more people have asked if I knew that Meghan Markle owns a beagle, and that said beagle was on the guest list for the Royal Wedding over the weekend.

Yes, yes I did. Thank you.

In addition, plenty of those people told me that the beagle in question (it’s called Guy, by the way) shared a lift to said wedding in a chauffeur-driven, bulletproof Range Rover with the Queen.

Which – as one informed subscriber noted – is not what actually happened.
What actually happened is that the Queen shared a lift to the wedding in a chauffeur-driven, bulletproof Range Rover with the beagle.

There is no way that Colin must ever see this image.

I draw the line way, way above curtseying each time I serve a bowlful of kibble.

Biosecurity Beagle retires

Incoming from Sword Devlin, Purveyor of Crossword Puzzles to Royalty, the Rich, the Famous and even to Commoners Like You: news of the retirement of Andy, Adelaide Airport’s Biosecurity Beagle, and indeed the last Biosecurity Beagle on the Australian mainland.

Andy the beagle, who single-nosedly detected about 2.3 tonnes of biosecurity risk material over a career which took him across Australia, will return to Sydney to live with his original handler.

It’s no secret that beagles are good at sniffing things out. It’s obviously quite difficult to quantify just how much more powerful their sense of smell is than ours, but I’ve seen a lot of estimates of around 10,000 times. Given this astonishing statistic, I’m astounded that they’re not instantly killed by their own Beaglegas, but maybe there’s some sort of innate immunity thing going on there.

But I digress. Often.

The fact is that Andy has been sniffing things out across Australia for over six years and is now ready (between naps) to sniff the pavements and parks of Sydney. And who knows what he will find there, given his record over the last few years:

2.3 tonnes of biosecurity risk material confiscated.
718kg of undeclared fruit and fresh vegetables.
432kg of meat including dried organs.
8.9kg of viable seeds and live plants.

In the last few months he’s been involved in the South Australia Fruit Fly project, preventing fruit flies from annoying South Australians. And we all know what irritating little bastards they can be (the fruit flies, not the South Australians) (although…).

Useful but little known beagle feature – pull that
little tag on its head and the whole thing deflates for easy storage. 

Andy will be replaced – as many of Australia’s Biosecurity Beagles have been – with a Labrador, because as his handler tells us:

“There is a saying with sniffer dogs that labradors will work to please but beagles will just please themselves.”

Well, yeah. I mean, it’s a beagle. But you weren’t moaning when he found that half ton of illicit beef, now were you?

Because while they may be lazy, difficult to train, easily distracted, difficult to handle, distressingly flappy eared, obstinate, surprisingly unintelligent, constantly hungry, selectively deaf to many commands and requests, and just generally massively frustrating to own or work with on virtually every single level, beagles do have a really good sense of smell.
Far better than your average labrador.

Thus, I predict a massive upsurge in dried organ trafficking and fruit fly numbers coming to South Australia real soon now.

It’s worth noting that Cape Town International Airport does still employ a Biosecurity Beagle – you can see him patrolling the baggage carousels in the International Arrivals hall – and he’s probably the reason why nothing illegal ever happens in South Africa. Just saying.

Thanks for all your hard work protecting the South Australians from viable seeds and fresh vegetables, Andy.
Enjoy your well-earned retirement.

Sound

This has been on the internet a lot over the past week, but I’m here to mop up the stragglers who haven’t spotted it yet.

You can now enjoy over 16,000 sound effects recorded by the BBC Sound Effects Department. And what’s more, you can download them and use them (with certain conditions applied) wherever you want.

Fair enough.

What you can do is use it for non-commercial purposes. Or just have loads of fun with it.

This being the BBC, and these sound effects having been collected over a number of years, they are stuffily described in great detail:

This camera, for example:

Multiple shutter click with wind-on of 6 by 6 cm SLR Hasselblad camera.

Or this cash register:

Type Ninety-Six One – keyboard operated, ticket produced, drawer opens, bell, change given, coins put in drawer and closed – 1969 (23Z,reprocessed)

As if someone looking for a cash register noise was ever going to turn around and say:

“Oh dear. I was looking for a Type Ninety-Six TWO. This will never do. Back to the drawing board, I guess.”

The search feature seems to work very well, which is good, given that there are 16,013 different files for your delectation.

I was quite intrigued by this offering:

Beagle Pup, exterior recordings. Aerobatics.

Why can’t our beagle do that? That would be spectacular.
But then I realised that:

The Beagle B.121 Pup is a 1960s British 2–4 seat single-engined training and touring aircraft built by Beagle Aircraft Limited at Shoreham Airport and Rearsby Aerodrome.

If you want to experience a far more realistic version of being a beagle owner, you should listen to this gem:

Dogs: Beagles, Interior, two being fed, fight breaks out at 1’50”, growling and sniffing.

Yep. Sounds pretty much par for the course. 😐

Home alone

Still in bed. Still being good. But I’ve not been sleeping too well at night, and being home alone today, I thought I’d to catch up a little. The beagle however, had other ideas, first flinging itself repeatedly at the back window in an effort to get out, and then (once outside) flinging itself the other way in order to get back in.

The stairs between us are exhausting right now, and so rather than continue with this ridiculous hokey-cokey act, I have now ended up leaving the back window open. Security be damned. The beagle must step up and lick any potential intruder to a slobbery end.

Tomorrow, my first physio session (I hope). Still concentrating on removing the swelling and bruising from my left leg rather than strengthening what muscle is left, but one has to start somewhere.

This enforced rest isn’t as good for the wallet either. Aside from the ridiculous medical bills, I’m finding plenty of time to watch Youtube videos of talented photographers and then wandering through online stores – ones selling photographic equipment –  the purchase of which makes me think I might be as good as them.

I have hidden my credit card.

BestNine

My #2017BestNine Instagram pictures include:

Four drone shots, three beagle shots, one drone and beagle shot, one of that storm and one of that sunset.

Go here to follow me on Instagram (although presumably, this means that I’m not going to post anything remarkable for the rest of the year (at least)) and go here to find your #2017bestnine.