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A small black pug puppy.

Pooh-Bah, Algy and Humbug, the Brewer-Mead family pugs, were

snoozing on their new Tempur-pedic loungers and nothing was going

to persuade them to move for a post-Christmas waddle through the

churned-up byways of Suttonford.  Once they had settled on their

Memory Foam, it would have taken something about point seven and

above on the Richter Scale to displace them.

Santa had been over-indulgent.  They had their Top Paw Fashion

Pillows (chewable-resistant) and the odour of polyurethane was

already fading.  They should have thanked NASA for their new-

found comfort.

Mrs Hatch-Warren, the femme-de-menage, as Carrie called her was

on her two week break, so Gyles was clearing up in the kitchen while

his wife and sister, Victoria were hitting the sales.

Victoria had travelled over from The Charente, where she ran a

reclamation business, but had been stuck for sixteen hours on a ferry

which couldn’t berth.  She was stocking up on items which were difficult to

find over there and was seeking next year’s Christmas cards, in particular.

She would sell them to expats at Alliance Francaise parties next December

at 100% profit.  Sante!

Gyles checked his ninety plus mother who was ensconced in the sitting

room, finishing her e-book.  Her carer, Magda, was visiting her predecessor

in Normandy.  Ola had bagged the remaindered widower on the Jumelage

Exchange between Suttonford and Bric-a-Brac.  Magda wanted to see their

new baby, Georges, born at the same time as The Little Prince.


Ginevra, Gyles’ mother was awaiting the visit of her old friend, Sonia, from

High Street.  When she arrived they could progress through the Maggie

Thatcher spectrum of drinkies as reported by Sir Bernard Ingham-ie/

opener, brightener, lifter, tincture, large gin and tonic without tonic; snifter,

snort, snorter and snorterino.

Tiger-Lily walked into the kitchen.  Hi, Dad, she smiled, uncharacteristically.

Take those muddy Ugg boots off before your mother goes ballistic, Gyles

cautioned.  I’ve just washed the floor.

Chillax, Tiger muttered.  She balanced one hand on the edge of the granite

island and tried to kick an Ugg off.  Dad, in despair, came to the rescue and


Three yapping pugs leapt out of their Pet Nappers, discarding their faux-fur,

ultra-plush throws and formed an excited circle round the extended limb.

Gerroff! Tiger shouted in an extremely unladylike fashion, which only

encouraged them.

What’s to eat? she addressed her father directly.  She started to open tins

and Tupperware containers.

The boys finished the Christmas cake, I’m afraid.

Great!  I didn’t even get any, she complained.

Well, Grandma Morag sent us some shortbread, but Mum’s keeping that

for New Year.

Hogmanay, corrected Tiger, who knew the difference.

Whatever, said her father,  And don’t eat the Black Bun.  She’s keeping

that too.

A black bun cut open, showing the fruit cake i...

Tiger surreptitiously helped herself to a Crunchie from her brother, Ferdy’s

Selection Stocking.  He’d never notice, she reasoned.

Go and speak to your grandmother, Gyles suggested.  She’s in the sitting


Do I have to?

Gyles threw her a meaningful glance, so she went.

Ah, Tiger!  Would you like a Dewlap Gin? her grandmother asked


I’m not allowed.

Oh, I forgot.  Well, could you top my glass up, darling?

Tiger hopped back into the kitchen, still wearing a single Ugg.

Ugg Boots Womens Plumdale Chestnut Image

Humbug! she yelled.

A naughty pug crawled out of her fleecy boot and leapt back onto

his monogrammed coverlet, putting his little head onto his Sherpa Bone


Tiger retrieved her Ugg and found it curiously heavy.  She turned it upside

down and a mass of black currants and pastry crumbs cascaded onto the

clean floor.

Dad! she screamed.  Dad!

But Gyles had retired to the marital Slumberland mattress which was

more than a decade old and considerably less supportive than the

deep dish slumber divans on which the pugs reclined.  He was fast

asleep and snoring like one of his brachycephalic pets- or like all three of

them together.

There was nothing for it but to sweep the remains of the Black Bun into the

wheelie bin and she just hoped that her mother wouldn’t notice.


Drat! Coming, gran.

She took a little swig of the Dewlap Gin for Discerning Grandmothers.


And through the haze of the unaccustomed fumes, she saw her grandmother

in a new light.  They said that owners sometimes began to look like their pets

and, to be sure, Ginevra was very wrinkly, short-muzzled, not to say, stubborn

in character.  Tiger had read that the breed were often described as multum in

parvo  and, thanks to her GCSE Latin. she knew that this indicated that

one got a lot in a little package.  Certainly Ginevra had a

remarkable personality for her size and, though lovable, like the pugs, she

was definitely high- maintenance and attention-seeking.

Actually, that sounded very like the implications in Tiger’s summative end-of-

term report from Miss Fotheringay.  Golly!  Maybe she was inbred!


Oh no!  That must be the other old biddy.


Yip, that must be Sonia.