John Gibson: But it’s no big hassle for Basil

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Unlucky dog. Basil, an Italian Spinone gun dog, failed to crack it at Crufts last week-end and, naturally his Portobello resident owner Julie Carruthers was disappointed.

The more so since he won a fourth place there last year. “Disappointed but not downhearted,’’ chirps Julie. “I’d like to say we’ll be back next year but we won’t because his breeder will be a judge.

“We’ve got to play it by the rules and everything’s tickety boo with Basil. He’s still Scotland’s top show dog.

“He’s still got the run of Portobello beach every day. He’s still popular with the locals.”

Basil is four and he’s been Julie’s pride and joy since he was a pup. He’ll be struttin’ at Lanark this week-end and Penicuik next. A born show-off if you ask me.

Sing for it

Sing out loud and proud. Kirsty Baird, who urges non-professional singers to “Sing in the City,” under that banner is now running two choirs in Edinburgh, still for charity, and she has organised a busy, bustling weekend for May 3 and 4. Destination Fort William.

Explains musical director Kirsty: “We’re still on a high after selling out four nights at St Bride’s at the Festival and,” she predicts with a smile, “we’ll clean up in the Highlands. We’ll go up to Fort William with a capacity coachload, staying overnight. The singing will be combined with a 30-mile cycle ride – for only six of us, let me stress – and a 23-mile hike.”

Kirsty’s coping. It’s all in aid of Maggie’s Cancer Fund and Radio Lollipop. Additional details from the MD at 07748048060.