I was in the midst of a chat with my friend Tatiana when her spouse, Stan, announced that there was a black labrador sitting at their backdoor. This was mildly surprising given that they own a black cat called Sooty but don’t own a dog of any hue.
There then followed a five minute discussion between Stan and the aforementioned labrador resulting in Stan using his belt as a substitute lead and having to hold his trousers up rather than sport the visible underwear look favoured by many teenage males. This would have been fine had Sooty not taken one look at the dog and sprinted off into the darkness hissing madly whilst waving a loo brush tail. As we all know dogs, even ones like labradors which arrive in the world half trained, chase cats. It’s not such a great situation to be in if your trousers are threatening to descend to half mast and you’ve got a single minded dog on the end of your belt.
Ultimately the dog was restored to its owner and Sooty returned to Stan ruffled and very cross but not until Tatiana had convinced the dog’s owner that her dog was eyeing up the possibility of an evening spent in the lap of luxury on Tatiana and Stan’s hearth rather than in a kennel outdoors.
This just confirms everything I have ever suspected about Tatiana and Stan. Their surname should be Noah rather than Fawkes. Sooty is supposed to be feral. I’ve never seen such an unferal cat. She has hand stitched blankets, assorted feeding bowls in convenient locations and her own pingpong ball. In short she has Stan and Tatiana right where she wants them.
There is another cat but sadly for Sweep he turned up after Sooty got her paws on the comfortable chairs, in the cupboard under the stairs, on top of the bookcase and on all the warm spots in the house. Consequently Sweep is only welcome on the doorstep and in the utility room where his in-take of cat food and affection is carefully monitored. Sooty has no intention of sharing Stan with anyone else thank you very much.
She doesn’t deign to notice Dinky who rolls up on occasion to see if she can convince Stan that she’s expiring of malnutrition. What Dinky hasn’t noticed is that her name is ironic but then she’s not particularly well endowed with the little grey cells preferring to perform her grooming routine in the middle of the road.
Then there’s the wildlife which is determinedly tame in Tatiana’s presence. Tatiana nursed a pigeon back to health after it had been attacked by something rather more razor-billed. It has yet to leave. There’re a couple of pheasants called Clarence on account of the noise they make whenever they clap eyes on Sweep and of course there’re the ducks which return on an annual basis to doze amongst the hostas. They are less patient than Sweep or the black labrador. They do not wait meekly on the doorstep with beseeching expressions plastered over their faces. They tap on the back door to demand their elevenses and have taken to wandering into the utility room quacking loudly much to Sooty’s disgust.
So all things considered I really wouldn’t be at all surprised if Stan finds himself modelling the teenage look again before long. The black labrador is probably whistling the tune of the Great Escape to itself as it starts tunnelling.