Early this year the magazine “Country Life” ran a competition to find the naughtiest dog. I thought we should enter. The only problem was which of our dogs we should choose! Since Winnie (named for Winston Churchill, his sister is called Clemmie) had just taken himself off on yet another unscheduled saunter through the woods, I opted for him.

He is a working cocker spaniel convinced we all adore him, wrapping himself around my legs, crawling up into anyone’s lap who will have him and with a glorious enthusiasm for life. He is irrepressible, incorrigible and tireless.


I realised, however, that I could not actually admit to most of his adventures as I have covered up for him so many times that we would both end up in trouble.  Therefore over lunch, my husband, Sally and I created a doggerel we could enter in place of a description.

Last week I was thrilled to open a letter containing a certificate for Highclere with a recommendation for naughtiest dog of the year.

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I live with my family and friends at Highclere,

The people in the world I hold most dear.

I am a working cocker, I love to ramble,

Oft taking off with no preamble.

Indra, my friend, from high Nepal

Will try to find me with a call.

Park and field are mine to roam,

It is quite some time before I head home.

Sad to admit, there is oft a bungle

As time and again I am lost in jungle.

Gates and fences no challenge be,

A calling pheasant is my fancy.

Persisting still with cunning plans,

To lick the food from buckets and pans,

I sometimes have to make amends

With Lara or Frankie, my larger horse friends.

I cuddle my family  at the end of  the day

A full little tummy  and  then dreams of play.