Punchenello Tillingdown

I grew up with dogs. Or rather a dog. The worried mutt above was the son of the family dog when I was born. But Rusty didn’t survive for me to remember her. She was a pedigree boxer and so was Punch, hence the extraordinarily pretentious name you see in the heading. I have no idea why my parents went for anything so fanciful as that for his registered name but maybe they’d been at the cooking Madeira again.

He terrified people who called. Some because of his sheer bulk; others because of his reverse hydration. If you’ve seen the Tom Hanks film Hooch you’ll know what I mean.

Punch was a huge presence in the family, from his love of huge logs and massive stones which he’d carry for miles in his drooling mouth to his inability to get traction on the kitchen lino when someone knocked on the front door – when, finally some sort of grip was achieved the build up of kinetic energy often sent him hurtling into a pair of legs, the kitchen table or once the back door which forever after had a dent in the panelling.

In the custom of the day he’d be turfed out in the morning and go roaming the district with his doggy mates. My mother received the complaints about his behaviour with an resigned sigh and scolded him but she didn’t mean it.

One common complaint involved him and whichever neighbouring female hound that was on heat. My mother would patiently explain to the owner that they needn’t worry since Punch, while perfect in every other way only had one testicle and therefore the chances of his siring any offspring was remote. Of course, this is bollocks – or perhaps bollock – but mum would baffle the complainant with science: ‘he’s a mono-orchid, you see’ since in 1960s Surrey one knew when and with whom to use the word ‘testicle’ and Mum wasn’t about to break that verbal taboo.

This did lead to one near neighbour trying to explain to her husband why Punch’s unlooked for covering of their beloved Fifi Trixibelle wasn’t likely to be a problem: ‘You see he’s a, a… erm a mono… that is… oh he only has one tulip.’

No doubt, whatever mum said, he sired a fair few non-pedigree pups but mum wasn’t about to restrict him, mainly because he didn’t do well cooped up.

The above picture of him trapped with a face that launched a thousand mortgage repossessions bears witness to that fact. He needed a lot of love and attention when he was freed.

The same goes for all of us, I suspect when these social distancing measures are relaxed.

Though I don’t suggest we adopt Punch’s relaxation of choice with the nearest Fifi Trixibelle however many tulips we may have.

Mum with the rascal, circa 1960

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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51 Responses to Punchenello Tillingdown

  1. Ritu says:

    Oh, this is hilarious! And, what a name!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Darlene says:

    Love a good dog story. How long did you have Punch?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Super story. As the servant to my own boxer, I certainly enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. arlingwoman says:

    Dogs, cats and children have all lost their freedom to roam. Likely the birds benefit most from this, but who’s to know.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mary Smith says:

    Great story, Geoff. I love the ‘mono-orchid’ explanation 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 😀 so funny! I suspect the last half of Punchinello’s name came from his breeding kennel. My cat bears the wonderful name of Shining Water Orlando’ ‘Shining Water’ being the name of the breeder’s cattery – a fairly ordinary looking house and small breeding cattery set on the side of the hill overlooking the stunning Dunedin Harbour.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Suzanne says:

    Reverse hydration – that’s a good explanation of a slobbering dog 🙂 . The photograph of your Mum and the dog is excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. gordon759 says:

    Yes Punch, the first part of his name was because he was a Boxer! Extended into its Italianate version because the Kennel Club has no sense of humour. The second because he was going to be called Northdown, be cause we lived on the North Downs. However Kenel Club again said no real place names, so Tillingdown because whilst that was a real place, the hills that formed the far side of Caterham Valley, the man from the Kennel club had never heard of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. trifflepudling says:

    She’s carrying some rusks for one of you, you probably!
    As others have said, it’ll be the Kennel Club name. My aunt’s dogs were all Cappuccino somethingoorother.
    I have 2 interpretations for reverse hydration …

    Liked by 2 people

  10. V.M.Sang says:

    He’s gorgeous. Boxers are such lovely dogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I haven’t seen the film, but I guess drool is drool by any other name.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Rowena says:

    Hi Geoffle,
    Been awhile.
    Speaking as a renegade Australian, only the English could come up with a flash name like Punchenello Tillingdown. Over here we can’t even get our colours right and call a blue healer “Red” and a red-head “Bluey”.
    Lovely dog story only out down by that photo of your mother and Punch at the end. I loved it. It’s such a classic.
    How are you going in isolation and being in the UK where this virus has no sense of it’s rightful plce in society and has been going for the big end of town. There’s Prince Charles, Boris…wow! It’s obvously taken the motto “aim high” to heart.
    I see you’re not doing the A-Z challenge again this year. My theme is Places I’ve Been this year. With not being able to travel beyond the house except for exercise, travel beyond is the holy grail. So far I’ve been to Amsterdam, Berlin, Canberra and have relived some wonderful memories.
    Hope you’re keeping clear of the virus and haven’t lost your usual levels of insanityin these crazy times.
    Best wishes,
    Ro

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Hi Ro. Great to hear from you. Yes, we’re surviving this attack on our leaders with equanimity. It’s all pretty painful, obviously. Let’s hope you dodge the bullet we and others seem to be going through. I completely forgot about the A to Z until you mentioned it. WordPress decided to cut of 90 percent of the email notifications I used to get of blogs I enjoy – yours being one – so unless I hit the reader at the right moment I tend to miss out. I’ve tried to reactivate them before but you’re comment reminds me to try again. Take care and love to all you and yours…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rowena says:

        Thanks very much, Geoff. I went very quiet on the blogging front for a few months while I was working on my WWI research. So, I’m not surprised I dropped out. The A-Z Challenge and feeling the need to become more connected has got me back into the blogging but I’ve cancelled my violin lessons for next term. The big change here has been having my daughter’s dance classes come in-house. She’s doing them via zoom in our kitchen. That all sounds well and good until you consider how many hours of dance she does a week and how long I have to wait for that lifesaving cup of tea let alone cook dinner. She had something like 4 hours of straight classes today and that came close to being a tipping point. It didn’t help that I’ve been on 25mg prednisone for my lungs this week. However, the family is surprisingly calm and I’m just glad this didn’t happen when the kids were younger.
        Our Prime Minister Scomo has done remarkably well here and has shown leadership and compassion. We also have this deputy Chief Medical Officer who is just lovely. He’s clearly down the science nerd path but today he shared how his daughter had lost her job and he has family overseas he’s concerned about. He was delightfully real and he must be working round the clock atm. He is the embodiment of one of those old war recruitment posters:”Your country needs you”. Love to you and your too. These are such challenging times and this virus is so variable. I’m just lucky I’m well versed on this self-isolation business and it’s not that different to the usual except I don’t have to drive the kids around. Indeed, there could be some bonuses to some of this.
        Best wishes,
        Ro

        Like

      • TanGental says:

        stay safe and all; we’re caring for Linda’s mum who’s in the midst of (stalled) chemo for a myeloma as well as being diabetic – two no-nos they say let alone her age. So it’s all hands to the pump – the kids are great, shopping and walking Mylo while we stay out of everyone’s way and declutter, clean and make the garden look delightful. I’ve been doing a Joe Wicks workout every morning – is he a thing with you? He gets 100ks of followers for his sessions. I’ll be fitter than I’ve been in ages at this rate.
        Funny how politicians show different colours – Boris has generally pitched things okay here though the testing is something of a hot potato just now and the science says we’re heading for our peak in the next week to ten days – deaths are nearly 1000 a day as I write but the NHS is coping okay which is a blessing. Fingers crossed we get through this.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Rowena says:

        Hi Geoff,
        So sorry to hear about Linda’s Mum going through cancer and chemo at all let alone at this dreadful time and has had her treatment stalled.
        I belong to FB support groups for people with my auto-immune disease around the world, and any around just afraid but there is perhaps an air of resignation. That they will get it. Some have active disease and are particularly vulnerable. It makes it very hard for me to deal with people who don’t take it seriously and flout social distancing laws. Don’t even get me started on the cruise ships haunting Australia. Don’t know whether you heard that one cruise ship, the Ruby Princess, which docked with suspected cases but passengers weren’t tested before disembarking. At least 440 cases originate from this cruise ship alone. It’s just insane.
        Good to hear that the NHS is coping. Perhaps, it will start receiving less complaints and more appreciation.
        Take care and love to all of you there, especially Linda’s mum. It’s wonderful she can be with you and surrounded by your beautiful garden and the ones she loves.
        Love,
        Rowena
        It would be interesting to compare media coverage of what’s happening with what you’re being shown in the UK and whether there was a discrepancy. I wasn’t too sure about our PM’s response at the start but he’s done really well over the last couple of weeks and I feel this could set him up politically. We also have this deputy Chief Medical Officer and I don’t recall seeing him on TV beforehand. He’s more scientistic than PR man but is the right person for the job. He’s the one who has the job of explaining the details. However, today I heard him mention that his own daughter has lost her job and he also has families overseas. It was clear he was trying to reach out in an emotional capacity and empathise with peoples’ struggles. It was very touching being so genuine. He was also one of us. Moreover, he must be working horrendous hours.

        Like

      • TanGental says:

        There’s growing criticism and it doesn’t help that Boris is clearly very unwell. The testing is one complaint, as is the distribution of PPE another. Also how do we get out of lockdown unless we know who’s had it. So while science has dominated the response the politics of it is beginning to fracture somewhat. That said the building of a 500 bed ICU in the Excel conference centre in 9 days with capacity to go to 4000 in the same period and seven others being built around the country in the same time frame is awesome. Organised by the logistic boffins in the Army and NHS. There are a host of great stories and standing outside at 8 pm on Thursday evenings listening to the cacophony of noise from all around to say thank you is pretty tear jerking.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Rowena says:

        I saw the opening of that centre on the news. That was amazing and very reassuring. I personally expect to be in isolation until there’s a vaccine or effective treatment. When Jonathon’s trip was cancelled, the Principal was talking about things shutting down for six months and that’s what I’ve expecting here.
        I’ve got the news on atm here. A great advertisement for diots in Australia, there was a group of hoons who got together fr a massive burnout and $78,000 worth of fines were handed out. Absolute idiots. Can’t believe it.
        Take care and best wishes,
        Ro

        Like

  13. Rowena says:

    Hey, Geoff just read an interesting A-Z post about London theatres which I thought you’d like. Here’s a link: https://thequietwriter.com/2020/04/01/acts-and-angles/
    Best wishes,
    Ro

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Mono-orchid!!!!!!!! Haha!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Jennie says:

    I’m reminded of a song, Punchenello Funny Fellow.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. willowdot21 says:

    What a cutie ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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