Escaping from the endless fury and hot air of Indyref2, we sought refuge in a “dog cafe” of all places.
We rolled up for breakfast at Aberdeen beach, and what a liberating experience for man and beast it turned out to be.
These super dog-friendly places are popular; in fact, it’s not compulsory to even bring a dog, as some didn’t.
There was another purpose behind our visit: a golden opportunity to socialise our new puppy with strangers and other dogs. Our vet strongly encouraged us to do this because there were too many young, badly behaved dogs out there after lockdown. This could unfold as quite a social headache in months and years ahead.
The experience worked a treat, even when two canine guests – big specimens in fearsome muzzles – took an instant dislike to each other and threatened to have a punch-up. Our little pup took it all in her stride: caught in the middle she pluckily made a few tiny yaps of her own, but was drowned out.
Ms Sturgeon projects herself as itching for a scrap, but like sparring dogs, she and the prime minister are restrained on leashes
A water bowl was flung upside down in the fracas, but peace and goodwill was restored quickly. The combatants were on leashes, so no harm was done.
Independence argument has become a dog’s dinner
Maybe it was due to a fertile imagination, but my mind drifted back to Scottish politics.
The independence referendum saga has turned into a dog’s dinner over 10 long years. I imagined Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon fighting over a prize bone. That could make a funny cartoon.
Except it was fuelled by manufactured outrage; all show and no substance – sham fisticuffs, like boxers at a weigh-in.
Ms Sturgeon was basking in the glory of her “historic and record-breaking” election win. But it looked to me like a folktale called The Emperor’s New Clothes: didn’t we simply go back to how things were before the vote?
No majority for the SNP, which was still wearing an oxygen mask borrowed from the Greens to keep independence dreams alive and supported by only half the country.
A few days later, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford warned Mr Johnson he had the Scottish people to answer to if he blocked Indyref2. I suppose if he was strictly accurate he should have threatened Mr Johnson with half the Scottish population, but he would have sounded weak.
Ms Sturgeon projects herself as itching for a scrap, but like the two sparring dogs, she and the prime minister are also restrained on leashes at the moment.
Mr Johnson and Ms Sturgeon are reined in because neither has the overall strength to press home an advantage. Both need time; he can afford to wind the clock down, she can’t.
Do you know your Frugs from your Poochons?
A cockapoo opposite our table snapped me out of my daydream. It was slobbering over a bowl filled with what looked a sponge cake splattered with dollops of cream, but I am pretty sure it was made with the cafe’s dog-friendly ingredients.
I seemed to be copying the cockapoo subconsciously, as my wife informed me I was making a mess of my bacon and egg roll.
The number of designer crossbreeds these days is confusing. In the dog cafe, we spent most of our time asking politely: “And what kind of dog is that?”
The answer could be “Frug” (French bulldog/pug), “Sprocker” (springer/cocker spaniel) or “Poochon” (toy poodle/bichon frise).
We call our miniature schnauzer puppy Mindy-boo. At first I wanted to call her just Boo, but I was persuaded that if I kept shouting: “Boo!” behind unprepared members of the public – to get her to come back, I mean – I’d probably be attacked.
Still, I don’t think I would be thrown out of the dog cafe because they were all so friendly and loved to have a chat.
Let sleeping dogs lie
Heaven help us – it looks as though Ms Sturgeon also wants a serious chat with the half of Scotland who don’t support her, but it feels depressingly like the start of another Hundred Years’ War.
Reporters had the temerity to ask how she could justify Indyref2 while the public was split down the middle. She seemed slightly irritated and exasperated, in a distinctive mannerism she has made her own, when pointing out that this was a perfect reason to ask the question again.
A clever ploy, but many would say the opposite is actually the case: it’s a perfect reason not to ask the same question again, especially as current bitterness and division mirrors 2014.
Let sleeping dogs lie, they say. It seems to work well at the dog cafe.
David Knight is the long-serving former deputy editor of the Press and Journal