Like births, deaths and taxes, some things are entirely predictable and, so it is with the TGO Challenge message board.
The first predictable thing is that there will, at several points through the year, be a message from Roger Smith with the simple title of a Challenger’s name. This message is opened with a certain amount of trepidation because it will be the announcement that a fellow challenger, and, therefore, probably a friend, has died.
The reaction will be a series of posts from Challengers recanting a few tales and memories about whoever it is that’s passed away. Challengers can be such a nice bunch of people at times.
It is, unfortunately a function of the age profile of TGO Challengers that one or two, or maybe three will ramble off to meet their maker each year.
Just recently, it was the turn of Nan Lyle MBE, a wonderful woman from Hawick, small in stature, but big in achievements and genuinely well liked and well respected. If Nan had been your Mum, you’d be very proud indeed.
The second predictable thing is that there will be a serious row or two on the TGO Message Board.
Now, i must admit that I do enjoy reading a good old row on a forum and I have been guilty in the past of trolling the trolls a bit. They don’t like it up ‘em you know – but you have to be either fairly subtle, or just call ‘em a troll….
What appears to have happened in this year’s row is that a couple of Challengers, lets just call one of them “Tim”, for argument’s sake, asked if anybody knew where they could camp in or around Kingussie. A reply soon came forth that Glen Tromie was a good place.
Then some anonymousness, by the unlikely name of Orla Gogg, made a joke that it would be possible to camp on another Challenger’s bowling-green-like lawn, as he had done once in the past – and ruined the grass in the process. Lets call this other chap “Derek”, just for the sake of a barney.
It was obviously a joke and, I would have thought anyway, not the kind of thing to start the dogs barking. The inference was, of course, that everybody should turn up at Kingussie and wreck Derek’s lawn, sleep in his beds and drink his whisky. A gentle bit of ribbing, and quite funny.
Derek took it in good part even though he is very well known for his “unfortunate” outbursts on occasion – outbursts which usually lead to the most flying fur and ripped ears in the TGO kennel. Sometimes his attacks on individuals can be quite vicious. He is a grumpy old mongrel. Everybody knows it.
So, “Tim” (original poster), pops up and says something to the effect that this was a serious question and he expected that people would treat it seriously. Stick duly poked at farmyard dog.
This is a sharpened stick. The mongrel, once curled up and snoozing in the sunny spot by the midden has been prodded and reacts with a sharp little nip at “Tim’s ankles. “Why don’t you just look at a map?” snaps Derek – using Tim’s own word – the word “seriously”, in fact, just to add a bit of infected saliva to the nip. (Note – If you’re going to have a pop at somebody on a forum, use some of the other person’s own words – its really annoying)
At which point the kennel door is opened and a ripping, snarling attack is launched and our veteran mongrel is overwhelmed by growling houndry consisting of members of the same pack as those who were being so nice about poor Nan a couple of posts above. Derek’s ears are ripped and there is fur and blood flying in all directions.
“Ir wuz me!” protests Orla Gogg, our Albanian princess. “C’mon, don’t bite Derek, it wuzz me!”
But the pack is in full cry. They’ll have none of it. Derek’s fur flies.
Our Derek, at times, may not be the nicest pooch and he’s left himself vulnerable to this kind of thing by his behaviour in the past. He hasn’t learned when to keep his virtual gob shut – and, being an old dog, its probably too late now.
That’s the problem with dogs, though. Curled up by the fire and shaking a paw, licking your ears, sniffing your groin - they’re lovely, cuddly, friendly animals. But in a pack – they’ll rip yer to bits.
This dog fight seems to have finished now. I’m not joining in, not on the message board anyway. You can lose your identity in a pack.