Gisèle was all of a dither, concerned that Betty would mock her recent fur-cut, but she need not have feared. After less than a couple of minutes' awkward silence, the well-bred Betty made a polite remark upon the weather and they were off! Giggling, chatting and gossiping, the two girls were delighted to be back together again. If Betty DID notice Giz's fur she certainly did not mention it. They had been apart for a long time and had much to catch up on. They chattered long into the night, still jabbering away as they went out to download their last wee-mails of the day prior to bed-time, but it was nice to see them happy to be together again.
They weren't so happy the following day, however, when they were out in the garden and discovered that one of the large pots on the border adjoining Rosie's (the Westie next-door) had been all-but-emptied out by paws unknown.
"Who's done this?!" exclaimed my partner crossly. As the usual principal suspects for such an act, Betty and Giz, were both examining the pot warily, they clearly weren't responsible for this one. Rosie appeared from around the corner of her house and saw them.
"Not you as well?!" she yipped.
"Hullo Rose," said Betty, "What do you mean?"
"Oh yes, hello Betty, nice to see you again. I can smell that your garden has been tampered with. Mine has too."
"Who's done it?" asked Giz.
"Don't know," shrugged Rosie, "But there is a new Tomcat somewhere around here, he's been territory-marking all around my garden and it looks like he's done yours too."
"It does stink of cat." agreed Giz, wrinkling up her nose at the scent.
"Well, I'd better not catch him at it, or he won't be marking anything until the vet takes the wires out of his willie." growled Betty. Rosie giggled and, with her owner, departed off for the day.
"Why do cats do that?" asked Giz, looking at the messy patio with a puzzled expression. "I can understand the marking and stuff, but why do they dig out all the soil?"
"I don't know." replied Betty, as my partner cleaned up the area and re-potted the plant. "I mean, who knows why cats do anything?"
The two girls sat down and began getting themselves comfortable for a morning's sunbathing. "I don't suppose they would choose to be cats in the first place, if they could help it."
"I wouldn't. Who'd want to be a cat when you could just as easily be a dog!?"
Betty nodded. After a while she asked "If you did turn out to be a cat, would you chase yourself, do you think? Or would you pay someone to chase you?"
Gisèle considered this carefully.
"Chase myself, probably." she decided, "Then I would know not to bite myself too hard when I caught me."
Betty nodded sagely. And, with that, both girls settled into a comfortable doze.
Later that afternoon my partner took the two girls out to Abbotstone, one of their favourite haunts, as a special treat. It was, indeed, a place that I liked to visit myself during my lifetime - it is even mentioned in the very first entry into this blog. Betty and Gisèle were delighted to find themselves there once more. They capered around, happily exploring. In the woods, they encountered a small young toad and watched it curiously as it made its hopping way across the path.
"Betty, what is the difference between a frog and a toad?" asked Giz. Betty thought for a moment.
"Well, erm, a fro-"
"Only ONE of them every gets 'towed' away! Hiihiihihihihiiiiiiii!" yipped Giz, before dissolving into hysterical giggles at her own joke. Betty rolled her eyes and turned away, shaking her head, but I caught a trace of a smile playing about the corners of her mouth.
As the girls exited the shade of the woods and trotted out onto the open common land, a small shadow from far above crossed over them. Betty glanced sky-wards and frowned, muttering something profane under her breath. She quickened her pace so that she could keep up with Gisèle. After about five minutes the shadow passed overhead again. Betty had been watching out for this and called to Giz.
"'Sèle!" she barked, "Why don't you come and walk a bit closer to me? Come on, come and walk right up here beside me, eh?"
"Why?" asked little innocent Giz, trotting up to her large, bear-like, friend.
"No real reason," replied Betty, clearly bluffing (though unnoticed by Giz), "I'm just getting a bit tired, that's all."
"Aww, poor Betty." smiled Gisèle, and she dutifully kept to her friend's flank. At the third passing of the shadow, the little Parson Jack Russell noticed something. "WOW!!" she exclaimed, craning her neck to look up at the sky, "Betty, look at that odd little plane!"
"It's not a plane." replied Betty grimly, without looking up. "Gizzy, don't you go wandering off by yourself. You stay here with me now."
"But if it's not a plane, what is it?"
Giz started to laugh. "Hiihiihihihihi... Betty, you silly! It's not a bird! No birds are THAT big! If a bird that big sat on Mistress's bird-food-table it would snap it in little pieces, hiihiihihihi!"
"It IS a bird Giz, I promise." barked Betty, watching it circle overhead.
"What sort of bird then?" demanded Gisèle impatiently.
A plaintive cry from the skies above the girls suddenly struck me with sickening horror.
Betty pursed her lips and answered the tiny terrier's question.