Ernie joins the (Royal) Cheshire set

Theo was literally running late reaching Ernie. He’d been at a Chamber of Commerce meeting about Brexit’s likely impact on the pet accessory industry. Not surprisingly, the meeting lasted longer than he, and everyone else attending it, expected. That was Brexit for you – everything lasted longer than you wanted!

Theo needn’t have worried. When he reached their favourite meeting place, he found Ernie fast asleep. Theo nudged his little friend and whispered to him to wake up.

Ernie roused himself, stretched and rubbed his eyes.

“Are you okay, Ernie, you are usually full of beans at this time of day!?” Theo exclaimed.

“Oh Theo, I am so tired. I could sleep for a week!” Ernie replied.

“Why? What have you been doing!?” Theo asked.

“Don’t you remember Theo?” Ernie said, “I’ve been at the Cheshire Show!”

“Oh, of course, how could I forget.” Theo replied. “I’ve been deep in sales figures though so forgive me. We sold a hundred items at the show, they like their bandanas and bowties in Cheshire!!” he added.         

“It’s not the only thing they like in Cheshire! I’ve never seen anything like it,” Ernie explained. “There were thousands of people there and so much to see and do,” he went on, “I was dizzy and exhausted by the time we’d finished!”

“I hope you were flying the flag for ‘Ernie and Theo’,” Theo chuckled.

“I didn’t have a flag, Theo”, Ernie replied “but the judges in the pony club races were always flying theirs!” 

“The phrase ‘flying the flag’ is a figure of speech Ernie,” Theo chuckled. “It means letting folk know you are there,” he explained.

“Oh, lots of people knew that alright!” Ernie said.

“We walked non-stop for two days,” he went on. “We met lots of people and told them about ‘Ernie and Theo’. Lots went to see our stall in the big craft tent. I saw some of my mates wearing our bandanas and bowties.” 

 Cheshire County Show's Craft Tent



“Why did you do so much walking Ernie?” Theo asked.

“One of my pet-humans was so busy serving customers and making things she didn’t have time to talk to me!” Ernie explained. “Besides, there was so much to see,” he went on.

“What did you see then?”

“What didn’t I see you mean?!” Ernie asked laughing.

“Well. Okay what did you enjoy seeing most?” Theo asked.

Ernie sat down, scratched his chin. He thought hard. It was slow process. Theo began to think Ernie had forgotten the question.

“Well, my favourite was the police dog display,” Ernie said.

“They showed us how they catch baddies and scented out guns and drugs,” he explained, “those boys and girls were almost as clever as you Theo.”

“Oh, I am a bit old for that stuff Ernie,” Theo replied, “I’m happier with an excel worksheet these days.”

“Theo, who is Alexa?” Ernie asked, completely out of the blue.

“Why do you ask that?” Theo asked in a puzzled voice.

“Well, whilst we were watching the display, my pet-human said I wouldn’t make a very good police dog. When he said this, someone sat next to us said I looked like the sort of dog who would say ‘Alexa, bark for me’,” Ernie explained. “Then everyone started laughing.”

Theo roared with laughter when he heard this.

“What’s so funny?” Ernie said in a hurt voice.

“Well, Alexa is a computer that you ask for help,” Theo explained. “Because you looked so tired, the man thought you’d need to ask Alexa to bark for you!!”

“Well, he was wrong,” Ernie explained, “I was a bit tired but that wasn’t why I didn’t bark.”

“Well why didn’t you then?” Theo asked dubiously.

“I’d have thought it was obvious Theo,” Ernie replied, “I was keeping a low profile. I didn’t want those police dogs chasing me,” he explained, “I wanted to get out alive!!”

Theo chuckled and asked what else Ernie had enjoyed at the show.

Ernie lay down for another think. Theo breathed deeply.

“Well, meeting all the animals, listening to the school children singing, smelling all the foods, watching the ponies racing,” Ernie replied. He then paused for a moment then added, “Oh, and watching the men making sticks”.

“Watching a man making sticks?” Theo repeated curiously, “How did he do that?”

“Well, he climbed a bald tree and started chopping it into little sticks,” Ernie explained.

 Theo was puzzled by Ernie’s explanation of what he’d seen. He sat down and scratched his chin in deep thought. Eventually, one of the many lightbulbs in his head went on.

“You mean you watched a tree-felling demonstration!?” he asked.

“No Theo,” Ernie replied. “the tree didn’t fall over.”    

“Ernie, it was a tree-felling display,” Theo said. “Teams of humans have competitions to see who can chop a tree down the fastest. They were showing you how it works.”

Ernie didn’t look convinced but he didn’t argue with Theo – he never won.

“Well, all I know is he made lots of sticks and I couldn’t get a single one,” he grumbled.

“Maybe you may next year,” Theo laughed. Ernie didn’t reply.

“What have you been up to Theo whilst I’ve been at all these markets?” Ernie asked.

“Oh, nothing as exciting as watching police dogs and tree-felling demonstrations,” Theo replied. “I was reviewing sales trends and our business development plans,” he added.

Ernie yawned, he was far too tired to listen to Theo’s business mumbo-jumbo.

“You need to get out more Theo,” he said.

“I get plenty of fresh air and exercise Ernie,” Theo replied. “However, as I keep telling you, as long as our name’s over the door one of us has to keep an eye on these things.”

“Yes, I am sorry Theo. How are we doing?” Ernie asked.

“I can’t go into it all now, it’s far too complicated,” Theo replied, “so I am calling a board meeting for next Tuesday.”

 Ernie’s eyes started closing again.

“Come on Ernie, home time,” Theo said whilst nudging his little friend.

Ernie stirred.

“Yeo Theo, let me know when the Board meeting is” he tried to shout as he slowly started sauntering in a homeward direction.

Theo thought about shouting “next Tuesday” after his little friend but decided it would be a waste of time. He’d email the agenda out tomorrow









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