Our friends Joe and Jane own the Dartmouth Canvas Factory. We met last year when I was looking for someone to make panniers for Ben. I had often passed the Canvas Factory and thought that it looked the kind of place that might be able to help. So, after a glass of wine to fortify myself I went inside and tentatively enquired whether they might be able to make panniers for a Newfoundland dog. It was fortunate that I am not, as Jane Austen might remark, of a nervous disposition, because at that point a tall man leaped out from behind the counter garbling, "You've got a newfie? You've got a newfie?"
Of course I informed him that indeed that was the case, and in fact I was the proud owner of (or owned by!) two of these black furry bear-like creatures. "Where are they from?" came the next question at the speed of machine gun fire.. "one from the West Midlands and one from north Devon," I answered, backing towards the door a little. "Not Lucy Stevenson?" "Yes" ... and it transpired that Joe (for so he turned out to be) had owned Amy's half-sister, Storm. Of course we were now fated to become friends, for after all, as previous custodian of Amy's half-sister, he was practically family already.
The picture above was painted for them, and is now displayed on a shelf in the shop. But back to my story ... Jane did indeed make panniers for Ben. Panniers Mark One were trialled last month and a few alterations were required - including Ben-proofing the bags to prevent theft of the contents - by either dog!! Then we went back for the final version and Ben posed ....
Joe is now suggesting that we fill the panniers with beer and then train Ben to sit in the sea until the beer is chilled. Would this constitute newfie-cruelty do you think? No answers on a postcard please!