I wear two hats when I write this blog of mine. First and foremost, I manage a small charity in a small Scottish town called Dumfries. Ours is a front door that opens onto the darker corners of the crumbling world that is Britain 2015. We hand out 5000 emergency food parcels a year in a town that is home to 50,000 souls. Then, as you can see from all of the book covers above, I am also a thriller writer. If you enjoy the blog, you might just enjoy the books. The link below takes you to the whole library in the Kindle store. They can be had for a couple of quid each.

Monday, November 7, 2016


OK. Fair enough. This is pretty crazy And I'm certainly not even going to try to spin it otherwise. In these torrid times for charities trying to hang on for dear life, there are few limits to the lengths we will go to in order to raise a quid or two.

So. Here’s the thing.

We are lucky enough to be on the receiving end of north of £45,000 a year’s worth of donated food. Most of this food is for human beings but some of it is for dogs and cats who tend to feel the pinch when their masters have been sanctioned of all their benefits by the beloved Department of Work and Pensions. These pet donations are actually pretty crucial. All too often people who have just about nothing to eat will feed their pets instead of themselves.

It is not uncommon for the public to throw a few dog toys in along with the canned meat and the biscuits. Fair enough. I guess it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that pooches need cheering up when their masters are shafted by an uncaring and brutal state. Rampant Neo Liberalism can be hard on our four legged friends.

A couple of months ago we received a donation which absolutely took the biscuit. Or maybe I should say the Bonio. Check out the picture that sits atop this blog alongside King Kenny. What is it? Well, believe it or not it is a Scottish football shirt suitable for the kind of small and fiercely patriotic dogs who would have voted ‘Yes’ in their droves if only they had been given the chance.

And we didn’t just get one of this must have items. Oh no. We got forty. Enough for the first team, the reserves and the under 18’s. That said, I guess young dogs teams would be under 3’s. Under 18’s is basically all dogs. Whatever. We are the proud and bemused owners of 40 cannine Scottish football shirts.

This isn’t a usual state of affairs for a Foodbank in a small Scottish town. In fact it is pretty damned weird. But much of what goes on in First Base is kind of weird so we took the donation in our stride. We put the three boxes in a corner and put off thinking about what to do with them for another day.

Like you do.

Well dear reader, the day has come. I am writing this on Monday November 7th. In three days time on Friday November 11th a wee football match is scheduled to be played at Wembley Stadium.

Yeah. That one. Scotland versus the Auld Enemy. And it occurs to me that in this vast and historic nation, there must be a few fervent Scots who have small fervent Scottish dogs who will be all revved up and raring to dress their muts up for the big match. Or maybe more to the point, there must be a few fervent Scots who have mates with small fervent Scottish dogs who might want to buy a shirt for the aforesaid mate’s dog in order to take the piss out of the aforesaid mate.

Christ that was a mouthful but hopefully you get the drift.

Fair enough, this is a long shot, but when you manage a struggling charity and you receive a donation of forty football shirts for pocket size hounds, long shots are the only show in town.

So. The nitty gritty. If you click the link below you will be electronically transported to our JustGiving page which has been updated to be dog shirt friendly.

Bung on any kind of donation, well enough to cover the postage at least, give me a bell on 07770 443483 and one of these Braveheart shirts can be all yours.

Are they tacky? Yup

Are they ridiculous? Absolutely.

Are they clear evidence that the human race is well on its way to collective insanity. Maybe, but not nearly so much as voting for Donald Trump. It’s a mad world and we are all in it along with little dogs who want to yap at Wayne Rooney.

So go on. Click the link. You know in your heart of hearts you know you want one.
And King Kenny?
Well could I never miss an opportunity to crow bar a photo a photo of the great man onto this blog of mine.

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