To St. Boswells Village Hall (note the commemorative lamp bracket above) to hear Ben Fogle talk about his new book Labrador: The Story of the World's Favourite Dog. He was there at the invitation of Mainstreet Trading Company (about which I've written before) to speak to a large audience of Lab-lovers - too many to accommodate in the shop itself.
During his talk Ben touched on the history of this most popular breed of dog - there are thought to be 300,000,000 Labradors in the world - their suitability to so many different kinds of work, and of course the characteristics which make them so appealing and so beloved. He spoke movingly of the enormous importance to him of his dog Inca, and of his intense grief at her passing; happily, he and his family now have Storm to keep them on their toes and, as he put it, "to turn a house into a home".
That's Ben signing books after the event - he was genuinely charming,
and that's my copy of Labrador, inscribed to my own two dogs.
To end, here's a good 'Lab line', courtesy of James Runcie, and here's Ben's own summing up from the book:
"Loyal, kind, happy and optimistic, Labradors have extraordinary versatility as well as an untarnished and unwavering loyalty. They offer a tonic to many of the ills of the world. We can learn a great deal from the Labrador. It is little surprise that it has become the world's most popular breed. Man's Best Best Friend ... Forever."