A View from The Lamp Post
It was one of those lovely sunny Spring evenings.
Ernie and Theo were catching up at their favourite lamp post as the shadows started to lengthen and a cooling breeze picked up.
“Where’s Ernie and Theo’s next market Theo?” Ernie said. He was multi-tasking as usual looking out for anything to chase – a bird, a leaf - or even better something to eat.
Ernie felt guilty for forgetting about Ernie and Theo’s website which was full of pet accessories. The thing is, surfing the net doesn’t float Ernie’s boat. After all, it’s not a patch on watching the dishwasher being filled up or having a lie in. He quickly changed the subject.
“Wow! I’ve heard of Lowry. He’s famous isn’t he Theo?” he asked excitedly.
“He’s a world-renowned painter Ernie - one of Salford’s most famous sons.” Theo explained.
“Is he really? What sort of painting would that be Theo?”
“He painted match stick men and match stick cats and dogs Ernie” Theo replied patiently.
“Wow, really match stick dogs Theo? I’d love to meet a dog made of sticks – I could have so much fun chasing one of them!!?” Ernie suggested.
By this time, Ernie was getting quite animated and started walking round the lamp post.
“No, they were called match stick dogs because they were tiny like the men he drew” said Theo.
“Oh right,” Ernie replied. He stopped walking round the lamp post to have a little think. Poor Theo almost knew what was coming next before Ernie opened his mouth.
“Theo, do you reckon the dogs had to be well behaved when Lowry painted them? If they did, I bet they got loads of treats for being good didn’t they?”
“I guess they probably did Ern,” Theo sighed.
The lamp post light had just started to come on and Ernie thought he was pretty bright himself as he added:
“Mind you Theo, they can’t have had that many treats or they'd get fat. Then they wouldn't be matchstick dogs anymore and might be too big for Mr Lowry's paintings?”
Theo’s eyes rolled. If a dog could swear, Theo might have.“Well, maybe they all got treat jars full of treats and weren’t allowed to open them until the painting was finished.”
“Ah right,” replied Ernie, scratching his chin. He wasn’t so sure his clever mate was right about this though, and after a short pause and finishing his scratch he went on:
“Theo, you are my smartest mate but I think you’re wrong there. If I was being painted by Mr Lowry and there were treats nearby, I don’t think I could keep still, I can smell a treat from a mile and I mean a whole treat jar...well, I’d sniff out one of them from anywhere.”
At this point Theo, contemplated running away but he was too tired, it had been a long day. Yet for some reason he just lay down, yawned, half closed his eyes and replied,
“Well, if I am right, I guess Mr Lowry wouldn’t have you as a model for his paintings Ernie. He might have made all his models take a treat test and you’d have failed it!”
By this time Ernie had also lay down next to his best mate. He thought for a minute and said:
“You’re right Theo. I am not cut out to be an artist’s model. I mean, I find it hard enough sitting for my photograph when we’re modelling those bandanas and bows ties. There’s just too much to do isn’t there? I can’t be sitting around like that.”
Theo chuckled a reply “I know what you mean Ernie but we do have to do our bit - after all, it’s our name over the door.”
As Theo finished speaking, the sun slipped further down behind the trees and the lamp shone brighter. He stretched out and yawned.
Ernie’s eyes were looking sleepy too, but he still had one more question:
“Are we going to the Makers’ Market at the Lowry Centre then Theo.”
Theo looked up:
“Yes, I am and you should come too Ernie. We haven’t been there before and I have heard it gets very busy. I’m sure we’ll meet some lovely new people there – and you know how much you like doing that!”
At these words, Ernie’s tail gave a little wag, new people meant lots of attention and he couldn’t resist that.
“Yes, Theo. And do you know what, I’ve just had a clever thought,” Ernie replied. A fleeting look of panic flashed across Theo’s tired brow “Oh yes, what’s that?”
“Well, who knows, that nice Mr Lowry might come to see us if it’s in Salford. We can give him one of our bandanas to wear when he’s painting”
Just as Ernie finished speaking, the wild called him in the shape of a pigeon feather blown his way by the stiffening breeze. He jumped up, caught the feather between his teeth and started to chew and dance.
Theo thought about telling Ernie that Mr Lowry wouldn’t be there, that these days he paints on an easel in the sky.
But Ernie was gone, chasing his feather round the lamp post.
Theo got up and made to slowly trot home. “See you Saturday then Ernie”.
Ernie stopped, stared at Theo and replied “Yeo Theo, see you Saturday…gotta go - my feather’s getting away”