The MacNaughties don’t like books. If the humans are head down, concentrating on words, it means demanding dogs are being ignored.
The Norfolk Terrier is the worst. He will try to butt a book out of your hand. If it’s a newspaper you’re engrossed in, he will have a go at shredding the thing.
No, books are not high on the canine list of favourites. So, for them, a two-day book festival spells utter doom and gloom.
Not least because they will have no part in it – and will have to sit in the car outside the venue. Then, let’s face it, the Norfolk and the Spaniel would rather come along for the ride than be home alone…
And, what’s more, because I feel guilty at having to leave them for short periods of time, they will get to travel there in style. They will end up going first class and instead of the normal behind-the-grille in the back, both are now in the passenger well.
This is the fifth year of the Blairgowrie, Rattray and the Glens’ book festival – an event that is getting a real reputation on the literary scene.
Yes, the great and the good are queuing up to take part in ‘Bookmark’, with tickets selling like hot cakes.
Each year is so varied, but this time two crime writers share some of the darker tricks of the Tartan Noir trade. Sinister, yes, but you couldn’t meet two more congenial authors than Christopher Brookmyre and Lin Anderson.
Then lovely local lassie, Flora Sheddon – she of ‘Bakeoff’ and radio fame – introduces her cookbook and tells us about the artisan bakery she is opening in Dunkeld.
And there’s humour – and food for thought – from Edinburgh poet and novelist Ron Butlin: his work, a challenging story set in the loadsamoney 1980s.
But the most-talked-about talks come from a broadcaster and a politician.
The Man in the White Suit has covered conflicts from Vietnam to Bosnia. In his book, Martin Bell reflects on the fact that the world is becoming just too dangerous for TV reporters to cover wars properly.
I know Martin from BBC and ITN days. He is brilliant, principled and charming… Plus, after a serious run-in with shrapnel, he is a survivor.
So, too, is Alan Johnson: a man who went from London slums to the corridors of power. A one-time postman, his latest work reflects his time as Union leader and M.P.
Johnson has been called a politician with integrity. He held five cabinet posts, among them that of Home Secretary. When he speaks he gets my vote for honesty, interest and humour.
Both men make us laugh and reflect in equal measure. Both are looking for some sort of justice and equality in the world.
Back at the car, meanwhile, naughty noses are pressed up against windows. I dole out biscuits and promise not to be long.
Well, just long enough to hear the next talk…