A screech of tyres on the gravel outside, then a soft thud as the electric purple coloured Maserati crashed into the medieval hedge at the front of the house announcing the arrival of Pongo Trumpington Trubshaw, Teddie’s younger wastrel of a brother. He extruded himself from the car holding an almost consumed bottle of Grunts whiskey, which he casually lobbed into the fishpond before crashing his way into the house. He was followed by his incredibly smelly old black Labrador Gordon of Gonnads, all saggy, jowly, drooling and stinking.

The dog wasn’t much better

“Soz I missed the bro’s funeral old bird. Heard it was a good bash. I’m here to claim my inheritance. What’s the old sod left me?” he brayed before Skrowte could deter him from staggering into the lounge and collapsing on the horse hair sofa.

Lady Fanny looked down derisively at the grubby mustard check trousers, the burgundy shirt, orange cravat and Harris Tweed jacket that was held together with more patches than original tweed. He looked like an explosion in a cheap paint factory. She sombrely advised Pongo that, as he was well aware, Gripewater Grange had been in the Gruffington-Gussets family since Domesday and that the Trumpington Trubshaws held no valid claim on the estate.

“Oh well, worth a try old tart,” he snorted. "Can't fault me for trying," then went on with a prolonged sob story about being down on his luck and virtually homeless and what a super idea it would be if he moved in to be near the spirit of his recently dead brother whom he loved dearly and treated as a role model and how he could keep an eye on things, make sure her Ladyship was OK, and of course his dog, Gordon of Gonnads, would be no trouble at all.

A trickle of water alerted everyone’s gaze down to the elderly dog whose leg was cocked, urinating on the Chippendale Circus chest of drawers where the family’s embroidered linens with the coat of arms lovingly hand stitched with rare silks and gold threads by medieval monks and village peasants from Sozzlebury back in the dark ages and had been stored since they were last used during the visit of Queen Elizabeth the Thirst. The dog then scratched his back leg along his scabby body then flipped over and began licking between his back legs, barely reaching over his extended tummy.

“He’s no bother,” trumpeted Pongo. ”Just give him his tablets twice a day.”

“I am not shoving my hand down that beast’s neck.” Lady F was horrified as the smell of old damp scabby dog twirled around her nostrils.

“Servant can do it,” Pongo glared at Skrowte.

“I do not have servants, Pongo, I have staff,” Lady Fanny pointed out. “And, I would not ask my staff to perform any task I myself would not do.”

“Don’t have to love. Just crush the tablets and sprinkle them on the area he’s licking, he always licking ‘em. Never stops. So there’s no problem getting him to take his medication, he won’t notice. Add a bit of tasty sparkle to his family jewels.”

Pongo then took himself off uninvited for a tour of the room, taking in the magnificent Chippendale Circus chest of drawers, the portraits on the wall by Salvador Lentil Dahl, some police officer Constable and Van Go-Go dancer.

He picked up the irreplaceable mice and pottery and the Wedged-wood pots on the mantelpiece and gave them the once over mentally calculating their value at the local car boot sale.

But when he flicked open the Tiff and Knee trinket box then tapped his cigarette ash into it he had finally blotted his copy book.

An hour later both Pongo and Gordon of Gonnads were gone. Nobhed Skrowte was busily spraying air freshener and opening windows to get rid of the overpowering smell of old damp dog, and eau de tramp.

“Another scrounger scufted off.” Skrowte winked at me as he squirted Essence of Old Lady Lavender liberally round the lounge, “bloody gold diggers eh, Clarry?”

Bit bloody rich I thought to myself. “Pot calling the kettle black,” as I curled up for another snooze before afternoon tea would be served.

Dogs Come when Called

"Dogs come when called. Cats take a message and get back to you."

"Of course, every cat is really the most beautiful woman in the room."

Edward Verrall Luca (essayist)

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