June 25 1999
301B Concrete Shacks
CARPOOL C68 4VZ
Just to let you know that I am still steaming towards a place on the Carpool University Hospital student nurse course – starting this September! I received a letter this morning inviting me for interview, and will be meeting a Mr Newell Post (plus associate) shortly. I do hope he is not that very drippy-looking individual with a receding chin, whom I almost fell over while exiting the hospital toilet. I felt that there was almost something vacant about the blue of his eyes and I also seem to recall that he had a badge entitled ‘nurse tutor’ clipped to his shirt. . . In fact, during the course of musing over my potential new direction in life, I am also musing over what will, undoubtedly, turn out to be an encounter with bastions of the Establishment – a group which, as you know Auntie, I have been determined to avoid/oppose for the whole of my adulthood thus far. The whole prospect is almost enough to have me open a can of Glu-stik and snuff up a molecule or two. But I have promised my therapist that I will resist this temptation – and can’t give in so soon!
On a more immediate note, I have just returned from a trip to Carpool Central Park in the company of my dog-walking chum, Reggie. As luck would unfortunately have it, we encountered a loose, long-haired, dachshund departing the park (off the lead, with no sign of an accompanying human being) just as we were entering. Well, we gazed across the park – and across a stretch of long grass reaching apparently to infinity – and there was no-one at all to be seen.
I did say to Reggie, at this point, “You would think the city council would cut the grass every so often, wouldn’t you? If this dog’s owner is short, then s/he may well be concealed somewhere in the meadow!”
Reggie sniggered at this remark, but suggested that he let off the dog he was walking (paid) and put that dog’s lead on to the dachshund. And then he set off into the grasses to look for the animal’s – short – owner and left me standing with the dogs.
It was just after Reggie disappeared into the grass, that I spotted a middle-aged lady pushing a push chair (and holding a toddler across her hip) heading my way.
“Hell – o – o – o” I called. “Is this your dog by any chance?”
The lady stared. “No,” she said, looking at me without any vestige of a smile. “Can’t you take it to the police?”
“I don’t need to,” I said. “Its address is on its collar.” And it was Auntie. I had just looked.
“Is that other dog yours?” said the lady. “No,” I said. My friend is a dog walker and he is with that one.”
“Where?” said the lady.
Well, of course, Reggie was still completely out of sight Auntie.
“Is the little dog wearing its own lead?” said the lady, who was getting rather nosy I thought.
“No,” I said. “The lead belongs to the other dog.”
“Oh,” said the lady.
Most cheeringly, Reggie then re-emerged from the grasses and came back towards me.
“This is my friend Reggie,” I said to the lady. “He is the Wortlewell dog walker.”
Unfortunately Auntie, Reggie is not a very swish dresser at the best of times, and he had his dark green T-shirt on inside out. It also did not look all that clean and that’s without mentioning the subject of holes, rips, and tears.
“Where does the dog live?” said the lady, barely deigning to look at Reggie.
“Five Belvedere Court,” I said. “We are going straight there now, once we have dropped the other one off.”
“Never heard of it,” said the lady. “Where is that?”
So I told her Auntie, with Reggie looking on in a state of merry oblivion.
It wasn’t until we finally escaped that I hissed at him, “For God’s sake Reggie. That lady seems to think we are a pair of dog rustlers! She probably thinks we have a 4×4 parked just round the corner! Put your shirt on the right way next time you take a dog out for a walk.”
Thankfully, we met the dachshund’s owner just round the corner – coming back towards us – and so were able to get shot of it forthwith!