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Roy Noble Roy Noble | 13:33 UK time, Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Dylan didn't come with any certificates, so we can't lay claim to a pedigree lineage. Noble Junior bought him, online, from a place in Lincolnshire. I suspect it was a puppy farm and although he was dubbed a Border Collie, I have to say his mother must have had the odd Friday night liaison with a good-looking and smooth barking greyhound.

Dylan does all the things a Collie is supposed to do, he likes us all to be neatly in the same room of an evening,nicely penned in, but he has long legs all right and is pretty fast when he hits the over-drive button. I did think he was a Lurcher, but a knowing doggie person has suggested that he's a throw back to an older Collie breed, so now we boast about that.

Anyway, I don't care if he is a mongrel really. I have a lot of time for mongrels. They're loyal and clean around the house. Actually, most of the south Walians are mongrels when you think about it: they came from all over to the iron and the coal during the Industrial Revolution.

Roy Noble with Dylan

Roy Noble with Dylan

Dylan, to his credit, has changed my personal habits. This dedicated couch potato is taken for walkies every morning now and we are regulars 'up the Cwm'. The Cwm is a a dead end valley, or corrie, crowded and pock-marked by coal mines and diggings in the days of industry. Now it is an attractive Country Park sweeping down from the harsh rocky ridge where the peregrine falcons nest, through woodland and walkways,to the lake that takes you towards the village of Cwmdare.

I am now a doggie groupie. I know all the dogs , and their owners, who lay claim to their patch every morning. We all follow a set pattern - well, until a fortnight ago. Something strange happened.

Dylan, as usual, bounded from the car, heading for his favourite bush to do... well, you know, what dogs do. However, he hesitated, cowered back towards the car and wasn't keen to hit his usual trail. I thought he was just going through a funny phase, until, over a period of days we came across several owners whose dogs had reacted in the same way. This lasted for over a week.

So, what scent had the canines picked up? Was it a wild animal, or was it something else, deeper, older and not discernible to the human instinct? After all, up in the furthest curve of the Cwm there is an ancient grove of alder trees, near the pathway stone that has on it a roughly hewn Celtic drawing.

If you enter the grove of trees, minding the mud as you go, you'll find it serene, quiet and contemplative, even in the gentle breezes that caress the branches. It was there, it is said you see, that the ancient Druids met. Maybe, just maybe, a gust had brought the old days back, fleetingly... and Dylan and the pack had picked the ancient scents. Who knows?


Roy Noble is bringing his famous storytelling skills to a computer near you as part of the BBC First Click campaign - aimed at encouraging people to take their first steps to getting online. If you know somebody who needs help to get online, call the free BBC First Click advice line on 08000 150950.


  • Comment number 1.

    In a mid Wales town (best not to say where) there is a community and exhibition hall, a light airy comfortable conversion of an old building.

    A few years ago Scruff, our border collie-spaniel, went with me to meet the rest of my family there. As we approached the entrance, he put the brakes on and would budge no further. He was frightened.

    I was not completely surprised because I remember the building years before its conversion; it had been an abattoir...


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