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

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.

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“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.