Tuesday, 21 December 2010
“What about selling them on e-bay?” suggested Lesley. I bet we’d get a mint!”
“God strewth,” said Archie. “We’ve reached the lowest of the low. They’ll be downloading us dogs next!”
“I don’t care what Nathan thinks,” declared Lesley. We share a battlefield daily, Julia. You should see our bedroom. Nathan’s on the front line, what with all his shoes assembled in the corner. The flotsam and jetsam of a disintegrating marriage.”
Mistress took a handkerchief from her sleeve and wiped away a tear.
“Don’t say that, Lesley. You’re my best friends ..!”
“You never would have thought so,” I said to Archie. “Mistress tells some terrible tales about the two of them.”
Archie gave me a cuff about the ears with his front right paw. You keep mum, son, d’you hear me? No good comes of repeating what’s told you in the basket.”
I nodded. But I was miserable. What good was I if I couldn’t be a confidante to Mistress?
Meanwhile, both Mistress and Lesley were peering out of the window where a green hedge seemed to be on the move.
“Look out there!” cried Lesley. I’ve never seen that hedge before.” She tried to wave her empty glass towards the window but the glass came back and hit her on the nose.
A couple of ice blocks fell beside Archie. “Here,” he said. “One for each of us. We deserve a treat for listening to this rubbish ..!”
Archie and I sucked on our ice blocks and as we did, the hedge stood up.
It was the dreaded Inspector, Mr Greig.
Thursday, 16 December 2010
Well the crisps did start flying.
Mistress and Lesley had their first gin and tonic before my mid morning snack.
Then they had another.
Archie and I were in for the long haul. Once the drink took over, there was trouble for us dogs. I couldn’t stand the smell of the stuff myself. A combination of lemon and fizz that got spilt over the floor and tasted disgusting!
Archie was not in a good mood either. His head slithered over my left ear and we lay nose to nose.
“These women are losing all sense of decorum,” he said.
I knew better than to ask Archie the meaning of ‘decorum’ right now. He might bite me.
But our owners were already beginning to act strangely. Lesley had taken hold of one of Mistress’s hands and was holding it close to her. As if the hand had magic powers.
“You’re going to travel next year, Julia,” Lesley stated and gave a hiccup. “Very long distance, possibly to Africa.”
Mistress sat on the arm of Lesley’s chair. “I’ll be running away from my mountains of debt, that’s for sure,” she replied. “God knows where I might be.”
Lesley held her glass up to the window and narrowed her eyes. “I think it’s time the two of us took a trip somewhere warm,” she said. “I wonder if I could sell Nathan’s great-grandfather’s medals ...”
“Morons!” Archie said to me. “Disrespect to the dead, I call it.”
”Didn’t Nathan’s great-grandfather fight in the Boer War?” Mistress asked.
“He did,” replied Lesley. “Under Lt. General Lord Methuen at the Battle of Modder River. Nathan’s got a couple of medals that could be worth a mint. He keeps them in a drawer somewhere and I’m sure they’re turning to rust. What’s the point of hiding them, I ask you ..?”
Lesley’s eyes were shining.
What was she up to, that’s what we dogs wanted to know?
All will be revealed in the wag of a pug’s tail.
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
What was coming next, I wondered?
“We own a pair of lovely pugs between us,” Lesley said thoughtfully. “Why don’t we try some aptitude tests? May be we could show the dogs somewhere …”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Lesley,” Julia replied. “These two boys are only good for following their noses.”
Archie gave one of his snorts. “If I didn’t have the nasal skills I was born with, there’d be no food at all in my house,” he growled at me.
I put a paw across Archie’s back.
“Well that’s where Marek comes in,” I said quickly.
“Now, don’t start on the breakfast menus, son. My blood pressure is already rising with these comediennes.”
Lesley stood up. She was wearing a purple track suit and a bandana round her head. For reasons I couldn’t understand, Lesley swung from one hip to the other as if she heard music that nobody else could.
“What with your financial problems, Julia, and my dead weight of a husband, we’re in a bad way,” she announced, dropping into an armchair and folding her left leg across her right knee. “I tell you, Julia. Nathan’s a lost cause. He’s begun wearing pyjamas with stars and stripes on them. It’s not a good omen.”
“Really!” said Mistress. “Marek doesn’t wear any at all.”
Lesley’s half smile seemed to stick to her teeth. “What about a gin and tonic, Julia?” she asked, looking at her watch. “It’s 11am.”
“A brilliant idea,” Mistress said. “I think a drink is the answer.”
Archie’s head flopped over mine.
“Let’s dozy do until the crisps start flying,” he whispered.
Friday, 3 December 2010
The conversations at home were becoming all too familiar. I had taken to shutting one eye through such repetitive talk. We always seemed to be on the same subject and I was praying for the arrival of my benefactor, Marek, to create a diversion.
Mistress was off again.
“Nobody, but nobody is buying my pictures,” she said to Lesley. “I’ve got paintings wall to wall and some of them are so old, they’re beginning to crack.”
Mistress was restless. Archie and I watched her shoes aiming left and right from underneath a table. Frankly, I was dizzy from the sight of my mistress’s travels.
Lesley and Archie had come round together after a distressed phone call.
“You’ll be ill if you don’t calm yourself, Julia,” Lesley announced, her mouth full of crisps. “Everybody in the Arts is making cuts. Nathan says it’s going to get much worse and that we should leave for Portugal and start a retreat.”
Lesley wiped her mouth with two varnished nails.
“Come to think of it, Nathan is already on retreat” she pondered. “He fell off the map months ago.”
Mistress stopped in her tracks.
“Comments like those aren’t helpful, Lesley,” she snapped. “Portugal is looking as unstable as Ireland. Nathan’s got it wrong. At least Marek is out there having a go.”
“Yes, but having a go at what?” asked Lesley. “I think you’ve got to watch Marek, my sweet. Charming he may be, but Nathan thinks your man from Warsaw is definitely playing in the danger zone.”
I gave a small woof.
“For once, I’ve got to agree with Lesley,” Archie said to me. “Your master has too much ready cash for an artist, and a Polish one at that.”
I shut my mouth. I didn’t want to have another argument with Archie.
Suddenly, Lesley’s bandanna came waving towards us dogs like a giant handkerchief. She crouched beside us underneath the table, rocking on her plimsolls.
Moves like that always worried Archie and me. She had odd ideas, our Lesley. My ears pricked up.
Listen in, folks. We’re tuned to the action.