Portobello Paws, by Custard

Now and then I like to pop up to London to see Mum and remind the locals who’s boss.

The Hill of Notting can be a rambunctious place and if you don’t pop your snout in every now and then things can get rather out of hand.

I woke up early (have to keep an eye out for the evil postman who, by the way, seems to follow us wherever we go) gazed out of the window for a little while before padding back to bed, shoving my nose under mum’s arm and wriggling under it until she cuddled me. She may have her faults but she really is a champion cuddler. I fell asleep once more and dreamt of my beloved Olga back home.

We woke up just before breakfast time, which was lucky.

I had kibble AND a slither of bacon, which made me make this face:

After breakfast we went for a stroll around the area.

Through squares, into parks, up and down hills and all the way to the edge of the earth, or as mum calls it “the end of Portobello road”.

Here we chanced upon a rather snazzy place called Taylor and Taylor. There was a dog sitting in the window so we went in.

It was charming. There were sparkles everywhere and everyone in the room bowed down to welcome me and say hello. One chap actually picked me up, which I quite frankly I don’t approve of. We hadn’t been formally introduced and it all felt a bit awkward… until he whipped a biscuit out of his pocket and I quickly forgave him.

I informed mum that we could stay and she swapped her coat for a sort of dressing gown.

We were then led through the maze of rooms, down the stairs into a golden dungeon. No, I’m not being dramatic, look!

There was even a huge turkey on the wall.

Something to do with what the Americans call “Thanksgiving”, I suppose.

We sat down and before I could save her, mum’s seat began to recline.

Her head disappeared into a porcelain bowl and a girl did the unthinkable…

She gave her a BATH.

Now, if anyone knows the sheer horror of having to be washed in the sink, ’tis yours truly.

However mum (who’s always been a bit odd) seemed to quite enjoy it, so I left her to it and went upstairs for another biscuit.

Eventually she joined us and one of the groomers sat her down and got to work.

I made myself comfortable, naturally.

And they brought us tea and more biscuits (don’t judge me, it’s Christmas you’re allowed to indulge a little).

When the hairdryers came out, I slunk away and befriended one of my London subjects.

This was when I met Ruby, the glorious French redhead.

She winked, poked her tongue out at me and I was smitten.

I gathered myself, puffed up my chest and gave her an aloof, but still rather sexy nod from across the room.

With a swagger in my walk I slowly made my way over to her, stopping along the way to wink at some of the others, ask them how they were doing… y’know, not to appear too keen. I knew she was watching.

Finally I got to where she was sitting, lay to one side and put my head on my paw.

“Baby, you are what I call a hot dog!” I said. “Can I buy you a liver treat?”

She played hard to get and looked away.

Slightly panicked, but determined not to lose my cool I pulled out the big guns.

“I didn’t come in here looking for tail, but Knick-knack, Paddy-wack, you just gave this dog a bone!”

Thiiiisss… didn’t go down all that well.

She gave me that look, mumbled something incoherent in French and walked away with a fearsome wiggle.

French girls, eh? Total nightmare.

I went back to mum who made me feel better while I looked lustfully at the little heartbreaker.

Before I knew it we were all done.

Mum had been groomed within an inch of her life and her coat looked glossier than ever.

We planned to spend the rest of the day shopping for Grandpa’s birthday present but mum wanted to eat AGAIN, so we went for lunch at the pub first.

I tried to signal to mum that I wanted one too…

And she gave me a little nibble. I’m not sure about oysters, slippery little suckers, aren’t they?

Having refuelled, it was time to get down to business. We met up with May who needed to buy pressies too.

Of course my opinion was the most valued by far.

We went to a shop called Stumper & Fielding, which almost felt like home. It was full of country stuff and tweed.

These two started trying hats on…

And I was feeling a tiny bit left out, until I spotted something up high on one of the walls.

I wasn’t sure, but I thought it might have been just my size…

As usual I was absolutely right!

What do you think?

Should I put it at the top of my Christmas list?

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