The Pied Piper of Ardsley

For the last few weeks, like a latter day Pied Piper, I’ve been accompanied everywhere by a couple of furry shadows. It’s fair to say, though, the two dogs following inches from my heels are a darned sight more enchanting than the rodents legend claims following a piper from within Hamelin’s walls.

That being said, my apparent ability to beguile the canine pair does bear parallels to the eponymous character’s ability to enchant vermin.

For the uninitiated, the colourfully (pied) attired pipe player was a German fella folklore attributes to ridding the Saxony town of its rat infestation in the late 13th century.

An enchantingly performed pipe tune rendering vermin like metaphorical putty in the musicians hands; enabling him to lure them into the nearby Weser River. Around 750 years later the doggy duo, who’re yours truly’s much welcome companions (Zella and Deano), seem similarly mesmerised by my daily movements.

Deano (the little Lhasa apso male) so enamoured with ‘Daddy Gaz’ he’s rarely further than a foot from my heels….. Or should that read a heel from my foot?!

This a worrying development leading to a genuine concern I’ll inadvertently step on him. I’ve already accidentally trod on his foot when I’d not realised he was stood directly behind me. That episode mercifully not serious.

However his habit of standing/laying in such close proximity to both my metaphorical and nonfigurative ‘plates of meat’, along with my beige carpet and kitchen linoleum affording him outstanding camouflage cover, making the wee fella’s actions particularly jeopardous.

I don’t suppose the Pied Piper cared one jot about treading on rats which, after all, he was tasked by Hamelin’s mayor to eliminate. However, even though they aren’t technically my pets, I’ve grown deeply fond of the furry pair and have become concerned their reciprocated fondness is leaving the smaller of the two open to injury….. Or worse!

Footnote – As I thought rats could swim I’m unsure why leading them into the Weser River would eliminate the rodents. Although I suppose strong river currents would lead to many drowning. Additionally, I guess those vermin lucky enough to survive would’ve become a downstream town’s problem not Hamelin’s townsfolk.

As an aside, the borough’s mayor evidently reneged on paying the full 1000 guilders promised to the Pied Piper for eliminating the rat population. In revenge legend states he returned to the town dressed in a Scooby Doo fancy dress outfit and, like an early day Child Catcher from Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang, led away 130 town’s children.

The kids were reunited with their families after negotiations between old Piedy and the mayor secured the former his 1000 guilders and a Hamelin fridge magnet.

Incidentally, I’m pretty comfortable GJ Strachan won’t tread on Zella’s back. After all, she’s a large German Shepherd whose darker brown coat provides infinitely less camouflage than her little Lhasa brother. Even bereft of my specs I’d proffer this beautiful natured Alsatian is large and unconcealed enough for me to avoid treading upon.

While writing this section of prose in a living room armchair, Deano’s asleep beside my left foot. Slumped forward with the gait and mane of a Trafalgar Square lion statue, my little buddy resembles a …… errrrr…… well, erm…… a small Trafalgar Square lion statue.

Zella is lain in the dining room where, like a stakeout cop, she monitors my every movement. Any time I stand to walk the 11 year old German Shepherd also rises to her feet (well, paws).

Her upcoming destination, similar to her diminutive brother, is whichever direction my size nine trainers venture….. In the 1980’s Paul Young sang “Wherever I lay my hat that’s my home.” In prevailing times, it’s fair to say, wherever I lay my size nines metaphorically it’s Deano and Zella’s home.

Not, of course, that I’m complaining. Or indeed have plans to steal them permanently from their much loved mum Sarah….. I don’t like them that much….. Bloody s**tting machines!…… That’s the dog, not Sarah!…… Although, then again!!

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