Hello, I’m pleased to meet you

So there I was, two years ago today, waking up to what I thought was a normal day with the normal walks, small food portions, usual lack of tickles and generally being told to lay down and behave myself. Oh no, how wrong could I possibly be.

I found I was being hurried along through my walk, I then had my attendants watching me eat breakfast and finally found myself quickly returned to my harness. Off up the hill to the station and onto the train. We whizzed past fields, houses, sports stadiums and then into the tunnel before arriving at our first destination station. I stepped off the train and tried to breathe in the stale London air. Being moved along the platform at great pace, I wondered what was happening. It only got more intriguing when we left the station and I was allowed to walk through Regents Park so I could chase squirrels. At least that is what I thought I was doing there, but my parents had other ideas. Leaving the park and crossing the very busy road we descended into the bowels of the London Underground whereupon I was told in no uncertain terms to “Behave”. It was only appropriate for me to arooo and make everyone on the tube carriage smile. This was behaving, right?

We ascended to street level somewhere called Aldgate and I was swiftly marched across another wide road. I was enjoying this but I had no idea what exactly was happening. We stopped at a small cafe near the Tower of London and this unfamiliar pair of hands suddenly descended upon my ears. As I looked up I saw a face full of love and a pair of hands that just couldn’t leave my ears alone. Hola tia Carolina, como estas? I gently woofed at this new person who had come all the way to London, via Europe and most of the rest of the UK, from Argentina. I couldn’t believe my luck. I was so happy that I immediately grabbed the nearest piece of fried chicken laying on the pavement nearby and started to chew the bone. It took much persuasion and plenty of fingers (dads) in my teeth to make me drop this tasty morsel.

Hello auntie. Ooh look pavement food.

Once I had been denied a tasty snack it was decided that I was to show auntie Carolina around London. We walked around the Tower of London, across Tower Bridge, underneath London Bridge, past Sir Francis Drake’s ship, to Shakespeares Globe, across the Millennium Bridge, around St Pauls and thence back onto the tube to Buckingham Palace via St James Park.

I wonder if there is a St Dexter’s?

The humans had lunch there and I even managed to do some expert squirrel bothering, much to my mums distress as I pulled and jerked on my lead. The squirrel was being fed by a nice lady and it ran away rather quickly when it saw me trying to get to it so I could dental cuddle it.

But I like sandwiches mum!

It was mid afternoon that I started to tire and a decision was taken on my behalf that I should be returned home where I could rest my weary bones. So I sadly said my “adios” to auntie Carolina and started the long process of guiding my parents back through the hullabaloo of London to the train station and eventually home.

I live over there. Or is it over there?

I had a great day and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I hope she can come back soon.

A year has passed

We were awake early a year ago today to make sure we were on time for our appointment in London. We had a very important guest to meet and we had to be on our best behaviour. Strolling up the hill to the station I told Lenny what was happening and where we were going. He was excited to find out what London was like. I also told him about who we were going to meet and he promised me, paw on heart, that he would be gentle and polite. The train journey passed quickly and we found ourselves dragging our parents through the back streets between Marylebone Station on our way to Euston Station. As the chariot containing our visitor was pushed up the slope from the platform we heard the babble of people cooing and saying kind things about Raffa Beagle, who sat like a queen, regal in her splendour. Lenny was true to his woof and greeted Raffa with a gentle nose bump.

Hello Raffa, I’m Lenny.

Off we set on our tour of London. I had sent Raffa a postcard some time ago and she had pestered her mum to bring her to London so she could see all the sights pictured on the postcard. It was cold, crisp and sunny so we kept on moving to keep warm once we had ended our initial trip on the tube train. We saw so many things that I was struggling to keep up with what Raffa needed to see to complete her postcard.

Typical boys, never do what they are told.

Over bridges, along streets, next to the Tower, past palaces, near big wheels, over wobbly bridges, in front of cathedrals and even a cheeky trip to the pub all ended with us catching a London cab from The Mall to Euston Station where we sadly woofed cheerio to Raffa and her tired mum. We heard later that Raffa had enjoyed herself so much she had slept all the way home on the train and in the car. We also slept all the way home on our train.

Which way now. Right for the Cathedral, left for the South Bank

We were proud of our efforts, despite not seeing a Yeoman of the Guard which was the only item on her list that we missed out on. I solved that omission earlier this year so we could say that all items were ticked off.

Since then Covid and other sad events have blighted our year. Raffa went on her longest journey in February this year, so we hold this trip dear to our hearts. We like to look back on fun days like this and smile at the memories. We can feel warm in times of stress and worries. I think it is important to hold on to memories of good days so they cancel the bad days where things just aren’t going the way you plan.

Where are the cucumber sandwiches then?

Live like Raffa, enjoy every day.

Off with his head.

As my readers will undoubtedly remember I had the privilege, nay the honour, of showing Raffa and her mum around London before Christmas last year. Ok, Lenny and my parents came along to carry bags and pay for coffee and buns, but I did most of the work on the day. We had a lovely day and saw so many places that Lenny and I slept like the proverbial logs on the tube journey home.

When I woke up the next day I realised that Raffa hadn’t ticked off all the sights she wanted to see. We had missed seeing a Yeoman of the Guard, also known as a Beefeater.

Nearly all ticked off.

This bugged me for quite some time in the weeks and months that followed. Mum and dad could see there was something preoccupying me and we decided we would do something about it. We wanted it to be a surprise for Raffa and her mum. Sadly Raffa then made her longest journey to the Rainbow Bridge. This only strengthened my resolve to finish Raffa’s tick list. We decided to try and contact the Tower of London people to see if they could help us. I dictated an email for dad to send to the Tower of London and we waited to see if there would be a reply. To our surprise we got a really fast response which said they would be only too pleased to help us and we should correspond further to make arrangements. Once dad had made concrete plans, I had to rein in my enthusiasm until the day I could escort dad on the tube back into London. We had to be quite quick as the pandemic was beginning to affect travel and people so we knew we wouldn’t have much time.

The day arrived and we were on our toes early towards the station. Onto the train, and before we knew it, we were through Marylebone and heading to the park. I had done it a few times before. I felt like a professional commuter.

Dad, can we make this train go faster?

We successfully negotiated the tube journey and found ourselves looking out at the Tower of London. Suddenly my ears were being tickled by a tall gentleman in a colourful coat and hat. Yeoman Sergeant Towell was standing smiling and we went off for the photo to be taken. Whilst the picture was being taken we had a chat with him. He was very welcoming and generous with his time, given that there were still some people who also wanted his help in being shown around the Tower. He was a beagle owner previously and also told us that there is a beagle who lives in the Tower, but I didn’t get to meet him. It was great fun and I walked back to the tube station with a spring in my step.

This is for you Raffa.

Within a couple of days, the pandemic intervened and it took some time to get a nice frame for the photo which we would send to Raffa’s mum. We hoped she would be happy that we had completed Raffa’s tick list. I gave the picture a kiss and we sent it off. Now we had to wait to hear if we had done the right thing.

We had done the right thing. Raffa’s mum loved the picture. Phew. She said it was wonderful and lovely and was a fitting reminder of the day. Phew once more. We couldn’t let you down by not finishing the postcard, Raffa.

We must say thank you to the Tower of London as they were unbelievably helpful and happy to help us at short notice.