I have been thinking, in these last few days, of getting a dog. Not a real dog with muddy paws and a bone habit, you understand, but a fantasy one. This would be useful in the park in the mornings when I’m getting puffed during the walk. I could pause and pretend my dog was doing that horrid snuffling thing around other dogs’ pipi trails. ‘Come on now, Humphrey, heel,’ I could say plaintively, giving one of those charming rueful looks to other walkers – all right, runners. Yes, I do know I’m the only one who walks. I could also use Humphrey as an excuse to get into conversation with some of those interesting-looking Dulwich Mummies whose children go to different schools, and so under normal circumstances would remain forever on the other side of the social Berlin Wall. And, perhaps most handily of all, when I’m really fed up with all this fitness lark, I could pretend he’d run off and I had to rush away to find him. Hardly my fault if Humphrey isn’t to be found on the sofa watching a DVD of CSI Miami, now is it?
The dog would be useful at other times, too. True Love, who is proving to be human velcro to life’s waifs and strays, has acquired his own brace of ne’er-do-well car washers. I swished home the other afternoon with the preciouses to find my front door open, my radio sitting on the garden wall, my pavement awash with suds and my lover’s car being washed in extremely lack-lustre fashion by a tattooed youth whose hugely pregnant girlfriend was sitting on my kitchen chair plonked in the street.
I stalked inside to tackle True Love. ‘Who are those people in our garden?’ I asked in my most dulcet shriek. ‘They’re looking for work. And look at her! Guess how pregnant she is?’ About eight and a half months, I ventured. ‘Oh. Well, guess how old?’ Sixteen, I said firmly. True Love was crushed, but rallied. ‘Well, she shouldn’t be here, should she?’ At last, we agreed on something. She should be in school, learning her French verbs fair and square, so she can get married, have children, get divorced and get a blog of her own. In that order, please.
Of course, the car-washers were ringing my doorbell only a few days later, asking for an advance on the money they were sure I’d be paying them for their next attempt to wash the car. And, inevitably, True Love was elsewhere. It was just me and the preciouses and, charming though the carwashers will no doubt turn out to be, a nice St Bernard would have been a comfort, or the next best thing, one of those chunky, studded dog collars and chains which show you have a large, hard to control beast about the place. Just the job, as I seem to have no husband at present.
I must look up the Louis Vuitton website and see if they do dog leads – there might be one that matches my handbag.