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Tuesday, 28 June 2011


Lolly is shorn to a shadow but somehow attracting compliments. I guess it’s pity.
She went in a 14 and came out size zero. But not in a good way. I need canine purdah to take her out in public and a thumping big pair of sunspecs.

We’d met on a walk, complete strangers, the groomer and me, and she fell on Lolly, “Ooh, yarrss! Lurffleee derrgg. Cudd Oi grumm urrr? Hef juss lurrrned? Durrn twenny arrrze kurrss.” (Brenda’s Dutch.)

£20 she said (I think), so what could I say but yes. Besides I’d be spared the normal embarrassment of apologising for the state of her fur since Brenda’d seen Lolly at her worst. And volunteered. Lolly adores jumping in rivers and emerging with her coat a dense trapping of damp cotton wool, with side order of badger and a dollop of dead crow. One learns the knack of shallow breathing.
I did, however, still have to phone her normal groomer who’d messed us about a bit but who loves Lolly to the extent of holding several photos of her on her mobile. She bit back metaphorical tears and I nearly bunged Lolly down the phone as a guilty consolation prize to recompense. E will want to know what stopped me.

So I took Lolly in, sensing dread that I was dumping her at the gas chambers. Were twenny arrrze tuition enough for my little Lolly?
This was at about 10 and Brenda said she’d phone in a couple of hours. So I skipped off air-punching my freedom, all guilt forgot. Bye Lolly! Missing you already. Not. Careful with that gas now. Freedom til noon. Yes!

I got me to the garden and ponced around primping and preening with plans for my yellow and blue border (segueing onto purple and orange). Such a pleasure to do without the inevitability of Lolly escaping in pursuit of cats, me a shuffling bundle of apology and rage huffing and puffing in her wake.

Brenda then phoned at half past one, I laid down my secateurs to hear the grunt of, "Heese gohne-a be layyy. Heese toikeen lerrnngg toime. Emm juss cummin up furr a breeedurrr. Hurr. Hurr. Hurr."
It was what could only be called a mirthless laugh and guilt washed around me, trespassing on my well-being. Bloody dog.
I returned pronto to my Pat Austin rose, my Euphorbia and my Cotinus Grace and shunted the brute from my mind.

At four, I rang. Well I felt I had to, and my fingers were buzzing with recalcitrant nettles. I was a little bit bored of gardening and hay fever was kicking in but it was as nothing to the exchange of phlegm chez Brenda. The line throttled with a coughing and a spluttering and I could all but feel the fur in the air. I sneezed sympathetically.
“Wurrr gohne avter curl ee a doi,” wheezed the groomer, tragically.
“Yes, yes,” I cooed. “Of course. I’ll be right over.”
“Tayke yurr toime,” came her death rattle of determination, these Europeans are made of stern stuff. “Hevv smurrl beets er feenerssh. Vunna du err gud jerbb.” Her voice dragged bravely along the gravel pavement of her throat.

I took F12 with me. We entered the back room and he fell about laughing, a gurgling drain of pure hilarity. I could see a market opening for Tena Lad. I had dropped off a noxious bag of fur and was collecting a pornographic pipe cleaner reeking of cheap scent. The transformation was startling. With burly chest, cheerful beard and hair-pin legs it’s not a good look, but Lolly doesn’t know and is a happy little thing. She turned liquid eyes on me. “Hoii!”

“She looks lovely,” I quavered – there was no way I could be seen out with her –handing over an extra tenner: blood money. Lolly bounced eagerly on the floor, most pleased with things taking advantage of the surprised atmosphere in the room to try to shag my leg. We took her home and she collapsed on her bed, knackered, slurping at bees and drooling. Small yaps punctuated small sleeps.

E walked in, “Christ!” he said, and flinched.

Each day the fur grows a little more, returning Lolly to some sort of social acceptability. She bounds in buttercup fields and romps through poppies, delighting in her summer frock. Before long, I’ll be able to drop the comedy moustache and trench coat.

“Had a stroke of luck today,” I told E last night. “The dog ran away …”
He perked up.
Lolly staggered to her feet, shook her collar loudly and irritatingly and swaggered round to wipe her face on the sofa.
“You said she ran off,” E looked peeved, cheated.
“Well, she came back, I went and found her. But it meant passing the house on the corner, it’s being done up and they were chucking out all the plants, I got a load of the irises.”

There was never going to be a meeting of minds over what constitutes a stroke of luck, and any sentence beginning “the dog ran away” which didn’t end in “and ended up in Glasgow,” was doomed to disappoint, particularly when all that came as compo was some knackered old discarded irises. They are however knackered old irises of a particularly pretty shade of a strong powder blue. And I have just the spot for them.

PS I'd like to thank some new readers who left comments buried deep in blogs I wrote about a year ago. Very much appreciated. I must have ticked something some time which enabled these to be forwarded. Savvy or what.


Sordel said...

Starting to think that you secretly love this dog ...

Very nice blog, as ever.

Edward said...

She is, withal, a lovable beast, depending on the direction of the prevailing wind.

I echo Sordel's mini-encomium - a fine blog.

Potty Mummy said...

I don't know what to say (through the tears of laughter), other than I suspect Brenda is Flemish (pun intended) rather than Dutch... (My Husband only sounds like that when ver' ver' drunk... Hmmm)

Frances said...

Oh Milla.

This post really captures the tale.

Strangely, within the past few days in the crazy energy of the June sale atmosphere of the shop, I heard the word ... wheaten.

Of course, I could not keep on with whatever matter I'd been deeply into, but had to answer ... terrier?

Well, there is another Lolly somewhere in the greater NYC metropolitan area. Seemed to my superficial enquiries that there might be many simularities between the two pups.

Comment part two. I still remember one of my brothers getting a way too severe crew cut one Virginia summer, after which he did not want to stray from below his bedroom pillow for quite a few days. The hair began to grow, as it does, and he did emerge.

Bet those iris will have many beautiful future blooms.


Laura (LittleStuff) said...

What? You leave a wonderful tale like this - with no photos? I clicked through from my reader, ESPESHlY to check for a photo of the shorn Lolly.
Thou art the baddest of bloggers y'know.

You'll think of this every time those Iris's bloom y'know...

Muddling Along said...

You know what we really need is a photo...

Shiny said...

I agree. A photo of Lolly is most necessary. Thank you for making me snort tea out of my nose in mirth x

Milla said...

have tried, cyber chums, to upload a picture from phone to computer but neither side is playing. Computer, in a fuckwittery inverser of usefulness has downloaded ALL the photos it already had (several thousand) onto phone, but won't play ball back. Oh well. Thanks for the comments!

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

I remember once letting a friend loose on my hair when she was training to be a hair-dresser. She did me up as David Bowie for a competition and I looked a bloody sight. Have stayed loyal to my own stylist ever since and, by the sound of it, so will Lolly from now on haha!

mountainear said...

Shame about the lack of photo but your words draw some great pictures. I am imagining a shorn sheep affair.

A Cuban In London said...

Whatever happened to short back and sides? :-) Or maybe Ballotelli's mohican?

Alternatively I hear the Samaritans have jjust opened a canine hotline. They're branching out, you know, straitened, economic times and all that jazz.

Greetings from London.

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