Theo sat patiently waiting for Ernie under their favourite lamp post. It had rained almost all day. Dusk was now falling. The lamp started to shine brighter and get reflected in the surrounding puddles.
Theo couldn't recall when it last rained so hard for so long. Spring felt faraway rather than round the corner, which was where Ernie suddenly skittered in from.
Like Theo, Ernie was preoccupied. He was dancing the quick step with a stick he’d found. Consequently, he wasn’t really watching where he was going and nearly bumped into Theo.
“Hello Ernie,” Theo said, as he deftly stepped aside to avoid colliding with Ernie, Ernie's stick or both of them.
Ernie stopped, looked up and dropped the stick.
“Yeo Theo,” he cried, “how are you doing?”
“Better than the weather,” Theo replied, “although that’s not hard is it?” he chuckled.
Ernie didn’t reply. He was looking at the stick he’d dropped, wondering whether or not to pick it up and try a walz.
“I said it isn’t hard to be better than the weather’s been is it Ernie?” Theo shouted.
Ernie looked at Theo and then up at the grey sky. He thought he’d recently seen it before somewhere.
“No, it isn’t,” he finally replied. “I get a soggy bottom every time I go walkies at the moment. And a few markets have been cancelled because of the wind and rain. Where’s all this weather coming from Theo?” he asked.
“I know, it’s very frustrating,” Theo replied. “I’m keen to launch our new cast iron lead holder at the markets but the weather’s held things up. Let’s hope it improves soon. Meanwhile we'll push for more sales through our website.”
Ernie wondered how you push sales through a website. However, right now he was more curious about why there was so much wind and rain around. So, he asked Theo again.
“I really don’t know exactly why Ernie,” he replied. “Things like how the jet stream behaves are important,” he added, “although some scientists believe global warming won’t he helping. Weather patterns are quite complex phenomena.”
Ernie concluded that anything which was too complex for Theo to understand and explain deserved his respect. Even if it gave him soggy bottoms. He decided to move on from the weather – even if it didn’t want to move on from him.
“How’s business Theo, I guess we’ll be getting busy soon?” he asked.
“The humans and I have been busy booking markets and coming up with new product ideas to launch in the Spring and Summer,” Theo replied.
Ernie’s ears pricked up when Theo mentioned “new products”. They usually meant he’d be doing some modelling…and getting paid in lots of treats.
“What sort of new products, Theo?” he asked eagerly.
“Well, we’re launching a new ‘Drying Ernie’ range,” Theo replied, “it’ll include things to help our customers get dry after their bath, a swim or if they get caught in the rain.”
Ernie sat down to decide what he thought about this idea for a new product range. He scratched his chin.
He'd not really decided if he liked bath time, even though it kept happening.
This was because baths, like the rain, gave him a soggy bottom - although he always got treats after them.
He’d been swimming a few times. A very soggy and fishy business he found it was too.
Not surprisingly then, he concluded that anything which took the “soggy" feeling away had to be welcomed.
“What’s going to be in this collection then Theo?” he asked.
“Well, it is still very much at the design concept stage,” Theo replied, “but one of the collection’s centrepieces will be a bathrobe.”
“What’s one of those Theo?” Ernie asked.
“It’s something you put on after your bath or a swim and if you get caught in the rain,” Theo explained. “It helps you get dry quickly and keeps you warm.”
“I like the sound of that,” Ernie said, “it’ll make a change from being wrapped up in blankets! When will they be for sale?!”
“Well the humans are busily designing it as we speak,” Theo replied. “I have told them I expect it to be on the shelves by April.”
“Good! What else will be in the collection, Theo?” Ernie asked excitedly.
“I don’t want to give too much away just now,” Theo replied in an 'I won't be rushed' voice. “All will be revealed in due course.”
“Will the bathrobes be on ‘Ernie and Theo’s’ website?” Ernie asked.
“Yes,” Theo said.
“Will I be modelling them?” Ernie asked.
“I'm not sure,” Theo replied. “Your image is currently very prominent on our website. I might use the new collection to introduce some fresh faces.”
“I understand,” Ernie said, rather unconvincingly.
“Besides, you might be too busy to do any modelling. Come April, you’ll be on the road appearing at the Spring and Summer markets and shows we’re doing,” Theo explained, “everyone loves meeting you at them!!”
The breeze started to pick up and Ernie and Theo felt rain in the air.
“Yes, I know,” Ernie replied, “I like meeting them too. I just hope it gets a bit warmer and drier before we start to get busy.”
“Oh, I am sure it will,” Theo said.
The rain was getting heavier, the sky darker. The two friends shivered and their faces said ‘we’ve had enough of this weather for one day.’
“Have you got any of Norman’s meat balls at your house Ernie?” Theo asked.
“No, we've eaten them all” Ernie replied. “But my human found a recipe for them. We’re having some for tea. Do you fancy joining us?” he asked.
“Can I?” Theo asked in reply.
“Most certainly you can,” Ernie answered, “but we’d better hurry up before the meatballs’ bottoms get burnt and ours get soggy again!!”
And off they sprinted homeward, hard on the scent of succulent meatballs.
After they'd eaten their meatball tea, the humans unveiled the very first bathrobe from the new collection.
They were both so pleased with it that Theo let Ernie try it on for size.
It fitted very well. Theo instructed the humans to go into production for customers of all shapes and sizes. He said he'd choose the colour range. Ernie and Theo's new Spring Collection had sprung.