Frank Coughlan: 'Our pet pooch really knows her politics'
We own a scruffy, scraggy Yorkie who this week was transformed into the princess she deserves to be, not that she seemed particularly bothered.
This make-over at the skilled hands of her favourite groomer is a tri-annual ritual done more out of necessity than aesthetics.
Left any longer, Lola wouldn't have been able to see the cats she can never catch and more resemble a used mop top with busy legs than any class of canine creature.
A few days ago she was the sort of unkempt, hairy mutt that only we could love. Today, coiffured and dandied up like a Crufts diva, she wouldn't look out of place on the lap of some haughty noble at the court of Louis XVI.
So gorgeous, in fact, that when we were on our daily morning ramble a young girl, reluctantly shuffling her way to school with her mother, lit up and squealed in delight at the sight of Lola who was only too happy to be lavished with attention and compliments.
After copious hugs, oohs and aahs, the girl turned her attention back to her mother and what must have been a familiar please, please, please monologue ensued.
She wanted a dog for Christmas. More than anything. Just like this one. She'd train it, walk it, bath it, love it. Mum had obviously been resisting, probably for months. But I could see her resolve beginning to melt. Our flirty Yorkie can do that.
We nearly lost Lola at Easter when she got severe toxic poisoning and I was taken aback at how upset we all were. This little bundle of whirlwind energy had, in a few short years, burrowed her way deep into the affections of the family.
We'd be bereft without her and nearly were. But that's the deal. We own her but, in a more profound way, she owns us. Heart and soul.
The other night she joined me on the couch as I channel-grazed.
Settling on BBC2's 'Newsnight', I was both gratified and amused when she exhaled an extended malodorous yawn (the grooming didn't extend to oral hygiene) just as Jacob Rees-Mogg, like some Raj governor justifying a massacre in the Punjab, was pontificating on his latest piece of high Tory treachery.
Lola knows her politics and she knows how to make me laugh.
I hope that mum relents. You can never have enough fun and love in a house.
Poor Arlene - she really should have gone to the rugby
It is a rare day when I'd feel sorry for Arlene Foster. But I did last Thursday when she had to sit through a sad parody of a football match between the Republic and her wee North at the Aviva.
But it wasn't just the predictably Neanderthal football that caused offence.
It was the rest of it.
We had knuckle-draggers at the home end booing 'God Save The Queen' and pond life at the other singing about the Famine and waving, imagine it, a Parachute Regiment flag.
A minority of yobs, of course. But a sizeable one.
Then you'd have to ask how it is that the North's football authorities think it is appropriate to still use that divisive anthem when they know it will alienate more than 40pc of their potential support and playing pool?
Of course, rugby union worked that one out decades ago.
Which takes us from the ridiculous to the sublime, a chasm that seems unbridgeable any time soon.
Saturday's wondrous occasion in the same stadium was everything that international sport should be: a stupendous contest with a spine-tingling atmosphere.
After a difficult week, Arlene might even have enjoyed herself.