Friday, 26 February 2010

Ancestral Heights

I was christened ‘Anatolia Teddy’ and I am descended from many illustrious names, including ‘CH Claybridge Revenge’, ‘Georgia Always On My Mind’ and ‘Hattella See Jad’. One of my aunties was ‘Latour Miss Molly’. She was a silver pug and a terrible flirt.

I’m told ‘Latour Miss Molly’ had a way of fluttering her eyes that was most unseemly. She made a beeline for any man and I’m talking about the human variety. Her sister had no chance. She used to sit in her basket looking sulky, but that’s no good when you want to get on in the world. That’s what my mama told me.

"Get out there and wag your tail,” Mama said. “With any luck a nice owner will take you on.”

Mama Pug knew me for what I was. A high jumping pug with ambitions. I’m an instinctive animal and the day I was picked up by Mistress, who had nothing more than a cardboard box to carry me to her car, I knew that her need was greater than mine. It was her friend, Lesley, who ran out and bought my puppy food and it was Lesley who held me all the way to my new home. Well, the moment I walked through the front door, the smells nearly knocked me out. The paint, the dust, the canvases … I couldn’t stop sniffing.

Mistress’s bedroom is full of her own pictures and even one of herself looking a lot younger. She has a huge number of creams on her dressing table. My favourite perfume is her Chanel No. 5.

Outside, I scramble all over the patio. I’ve a penchant for little green apples off the tree and I like the scent of the roses. I should mention here that these smells are vital to me. I can sniff out photo-synthesis, you know. I can also tell the distance of the nearest earthworm.

I have strange premonitions. When a storm is on the horizon, I don’t see the sky. My eyesight is terrible. But I can feel the earth trembling and half an hour before a storm begins, my nostrils quiver like mad.

Mistress walks me like any other dog on various routes through Kilburn. We’ve given up on the park off the high street. I was only four months old when an alsation tried to attack me. Mistress gave a scream and picked me up just in time. She then fell flat on her face in the grass.

“You effing toff..!’ the alsation’s owner snarled. “Don’t you shout at my dog..!”

I wasn’t too bad after the skirmish, but poor Mistress was in a terrible state. She had to have a large brandy when she got home. Then she went to bed. I lay on a cushion next to her.

“You look like a Belgian chocolate, that’s the trouble,” she said. “You’re the right kind of after-dinner treat for many dogs. What are we going to do?”

With that comment, we both fell fast asleep.

And that is not the end of the story. Give a 'whoof' for the next instalment.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Blue Hands

Now where was I? (Scroll down for how we started). Let's look at her art consignment this evening. A load of oils brought in by a tall guy with a beard. He whisks my mistress in his arms and she starts to giggle. There’s a lot of drinking in this house, so it is no surprise when a few minutes later, the wine comes out. Then the beer. I lie beside the kitchen table in the hope of a few crisps and after the two of them have had a couple of glasses, sure enough the crisps begin to fall.

I crackle away. I know this painter of old. His pictures stink. Mistress says that if he waited for them to dry off, he’d never get to town. And the colours! So bright, they make my eyes water.

As it is, we’re snowed in. Mistress puts me out and I gallop through an icy river round our little garden. In front of me, I catch sight of the yellow eyes of a fox and her cub, who are curled up with an old sack on the patio. One thing I’m known for is my loud bark and I don’t waste time barking now. They could be hungry for a dog.

Mistress opens the back door.

“Shut up,” she hisses.

I could trip her up if I wanted, because she’s very unsteady. She spills some of her wine, a bad habit of hers, and I have a quick lick. Pinot Grigio. Not bad at all.

The guy with the beard gets a towel and begins to dry me. Let me tell you now, we are not going to bond. I can smell the linseed oil on him.

It’s a long night. The romance moves into the drawing room. They talk about his artistic aspirations, her Debt, the new controversy over who cut off Van Gogh’s ear, etc. I go back into the kitchen for any remaining spillage.

Little do they know. The fox and her cub have crept up to the back door window. Their eyes are like amber traffic lights and they keep blinking. I am very unhappy. When I return to the drawing room to get my Mistress’s attention, I find her slumped over the painter on the sofa. This is a bad situation becoming worse. There is no room for me.

I spend the night outside the main bedroom. This is when I wish my hearing wasn’t so acute. My mistress pants more than me sometimes on a hot day. But I do manage to sleep. The next morning, I wake early and shake myself crazy. This is her sign to come and say hello. She doesn’t. I give a woof out of sheer desperation. An hour later, my mistress staggers out and nearly falls over my basket.

The first thing I notice is her blue hands.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Welcome to my World

Everyone thinks I’m just a fawn coloured pug called Tommy and that I live with my mistress in a semi-detached house off Kilburn High Road. They think I behave like the majority of dogs around here, which is to sniff out trash of any kind and to mix as closely as possible with other mammals.

Well I reckon I’m not just a dog, but a pedigree with a difference. I have my own mind and a wealth of knowledge that stems from centuries ago. Who could have guessed that I belong to a breed existing in China since the time of Confucius? We had some status then. In fact, we were celebrated in grand fashion by Emperor Ling To in 190 AD. He was a wise ruler. He gave the bitches the same rank as his wife’s.

Not that I’m married of course, though I am tied to my Mistress. This is a mixed blessing however you look at it. She runs an art gallery and lives in the shop, as it were. We both do. The two of us are surrounded by pictures and I couldn’t count how many there are on the walls.

Occasionally, there is a sale, but I have to say more paintings come in than go out. Sometimes a whole lot of them arrive together and fill up the passage. My only compensation on these occasions is to go for the bubble wrap. It’s amazing how long this stuff takes to chew. Last night I got through the wrap and began on a canvas, nibbling away for at least an hour. I had a slap from my mistress for that. She can’t stand it when I’m belittling her Art, though what she sees in most of it, I really couldn’t say.

(Come back for more soon… in the meantime, throw me a bone by clicking HERE