It was a bitterly cold December evening.
Wisps of chilly mist clung closely around Ernie and Theo’s favourite lamp post. It almost seemed to be grasping at the warmth from its brightly burning light.
Ernie was sat patiently waiting for his best mate. He had his grey winter jumper on to keep out the cold. Shivering slightly, he remembered why he hadn’t wanted to go to the groomer last week. “My humans thought I was scared,” he said to himself. “Nonsense, I was just frightened of losing my curls. They keep me warm in this horrible weather.”
He was still chunnering to himself when Theo emerged from the gloom.
“Yeo Theo,” Ernie said cheerily “I haven’t seen you for ages!”
“Good evening Ernie,” Theo replied, “it’s been just over two weeks to be precise.”
“Well, it feels longer than that,” Ernie said, “I haven’t stopped Theo!”
“Well, I told you in October this was a busy time of year,” Theo explained. “I’m still analysing the sales data so can’t say exactly how we’ve done. However, it looks like trade might be up on the same period last year. That’s pretty good given the gloomy outlook for the world economy. I was reading this morning that some big retailers are having a tough time of it.”
Ernie didn’t know if gloomy economies were like gloomy weather. He didn’t want to ask Theo in case he thought it a silly question. He decided to change the subject instead.
“Which markets have you been to Theo?” he asked.
“Well, I’ve only been to one since Winter Droving,” Theo replied. “I got to the Christmas Lowry Makers’ Market. To be honest, I’ve been far too busy developing the internet side of things. Have you been to many of them?” he asked.
I’ve been to the ones in Clitheroe, Didsbury, Manchester, Ramsbottom and I don’t know where else,” Ernie answered. “I can’t remember when I last had a good lie in” he went on.
Ernie keeps an eye on things at the Didsbury Worker Bee Market
Ernie keeps a close eye on his human at Holmes Mill
“But Ernie,” Theo replied, suppressing a giggle, “you said the other week you love the markets and they’re far more important than our social media marketing strategy!”
“Well, that’s just it, isn’t it Theo?” Ernie asked in an agitated voice.
“What’s just it Ernie?” Theo asked.
“What’s just what?” Ernie asked back in a confused voice.
Theo took a deep breath. “Ernie you said ‘that’s just it’, so you must know what ‘it’ is!!”
“Oh, I remember now,” Ernie said. “I’ve not just been going to the markets. I’ve been doing some other stuff too which wasn’t as much fun as the markets!”
“What’s that then?” Theo asked, again trying not to laugh.
“Well, my pet-human got me testing our new sniffle balls,” Ernie replied, “and I modelled our new bow ties for some photographs. I had to sit still for ages. It’s not natural for me to sit still for a long time like that,” he cried.
“I am sure you enjoyed playing with the sniffle balls and you love posing,” Theo chuckled.
Ernie didn’t know what “posing” was so he didn’t argue with Theo – and, secretly, he had enjoyed digging the treats out of the sniffle ball.
“There’s more Theo, I’ve been helping my pet-human put bandanas, lead holders and bow ties in boxes,” Ernie explained. “Then I had to go to the post office with her. It’s work, work, work!!” he said in a tired voice. “I’m just a little Cavapoochon you know. I should be chewing sticks and chasing squirrels and birds at my age. It’s bordering on pup-exploitation”
Ernie checks some customer orders before they go to the post office
“Ernie, how many times have I told you,” Theo explained, “these are the responsibilities that come with having our names over the door?!”
Ernie needed some thinking time so he lay down and scratched his chin. He decided to change the subject so he asked Theo what he’d been up to.
“Well as you know, my current priority is developing our marketing strategy,” he replied. “The early signs are it’s beginning to work,” he went on. “That’s why you’ve been wrapping up parcels. We’re now on ‘Amazon Hand Made’ and our website orders have ticked up a bit too. We’re building a good social media platform. We need to use it as a springboard to increase awareness of our brand in the pet accessory market place.”
“Wow,” Ernie yawned. He was in genuine awe of what Theo did. It’s just that he felt it was, how could he put it…a bit boring. He decided to change the subject again.
“What are you doing at Christmas Theo?” he asked.
“I’ve not yet given it a thought,” Theo replied, “I’ve got the Quarter 3 performance report to sort out and I need to get the pet-humans to sort out a stock check. They’ve been letting things go a bit on that front in the past few weeks.” he went on. “I assume you’ll be going to our ‘pop-up shop’ at the ‘Siphon Espresso and Brew Bar’ in Rawtenstall on 20th December?”
“Oh yes, I am going. I think it’ll be good fun, I’ll meet some new people” Ernie replied. “It’s so close to Xmas I hope I’ll get some nice treats! Are you coming too Theo?” he asked
“Well, I’d love to,” Theo replied, “but I’m at a search engine optimisation seminar that day. You can tell me all about it though!”
“Well, I won’t be asking about your ‘search engine optimisation’ seminar” Ernie said to himself – even though he knew it must be very important if Theo was passing up the chance of some treats to go.
“You know Theo, I don’t know where we’d be if you didn’t do all this clever stuff,” he said.
“Well, someone has to see the big picture and plan ahead,” Theo replied.
As Theo spoke, Ernie was distracted by something scurrying in the nearby undergrowth. It looked far more interesting than big pictures and plans. He decided to investigate.
“Yeo Theo,” he said, getting up to go, “It’s getting very chilly, I am going to have a little run to warm up,” and started stalking towards the undergrowth.
Theo chuckled to himself. “Okay Ernie, I’ll see you at the weekend,” he said. “You can tell me how the pop-up shop went and what you want for Christmas!” he shouted.
One thing he did know Ernie wouldn’t be getting for Christmas was whatever he was setting off to chase. But Ernie never learned – no matter how many questions he asked! He gave a little shake of his head, chuckled to himself and headed homewards.