Saturday, 29 November 2008


If Bingley had slogan it would definitely be: let’s play!

A typical Bingday consists of three main elements, possibly four:
sleep, lots of that;
eat, just two meals a day, but plenty of (healthy!) treats in between;
and play, which he does whenever he’s not eating or sleeping.

The fourth element would be mischief making which can take place at anytime, even when he’s asleep (but that’s something I’ll tell you about next time).

He usually has three walks a day and we try to make at least one of them a good long ramble. Realistically, of course, the weather or unavoidable demands on our timetable sometimes disrupts that routine; but even without that disruption Bingley’s energy levels are set to high and he wants to have fun.

But that’s ok, he’s just a little boy (and a little boy with allergies, at that) so I’m happy to play with him and between us we’ve come up with some great games. The best of these and long-time favourite now, is our variation of pinball: Bingball!

For this we need a kong, a ball and a Bing. The basic play involves Bingley holding the Kong in his mouth and standing across the floor, I gently puck the tennis ball towards him and using the Kong he stops and holds it with all the skill of a pro hockey player before batting it back in my direction.

He’s a natural but sometimes the ball gets whacked the wrong way and ricochets off the furniture or skirting board, banging haphazardly all over the place.

But that’s alright, we then engage in on the move Bingball and pass the ball backwards and forwards as we run around the sofa. Alternatively, and depending on how breathless I am, I make him dribble the ball back to where I’m slumped in the armchair. He’s got a good sense of direction and usually gets the ball back to my feet, but the ball has a mind of its own and sometimes rolls in the opposite direction; that gives me time to sit still as I watch him dribble the ball every which way except back towards me.

OK, I admit it isn’t quiditch! But we do have good fun and Bingley loves it, especially if we swap the tennis ball for one of the brightly coloured drive-me-mad squeaky balls from Wilkinsons. Those balls are a bit of a distraction though because he’s just as likely to pick them up and run around the house squeaking like a banshee.

In one of the first pet shops I visited I was told that dogs like to play with toys which make a noise. They do! But it can be a real challenge to play with a dog that’s playing with a toy which makes a noise.

The only things that makes more racket than a drive-me-mad squeaky ball from Wilkinsons is a drive-me-mad squeaky bone. These brightly coloured toys are great fun, but sometimes the Kong is dropped in favour of the bone and we have squeaky ball and squeaky bone together: a real recipe for madness!

Bingball isn’t the only game we play but it’s our favourite and the variations can keep us going for a long while, both inside the house and outside. But once ‘we’ve had enough’ there’s never any complaint as I pick up the toys and put them away. And the headache, the pains from pulled muscles, and the breathlessness eventually pass and mean that I can enjoy an hour or so quietly reading whilst Bingley sleeps. Though sometimes I too have to go for a lie down.

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