It was supposed to be the start of Summer. Ernie and Theo were sheltering under a large oak tree’s new green coat from a sharp shower. It was unseasonably cool.
Theo watched a patch of blue sky slowly pushing the grey clouds away. Ernie was looking up too - at a couple of nearby butterflies fluttering in the breeze.
“What a hectic couple of weeks we’ve had,” Theo exclaimed, “I’ve struggled to keep up!”
“Yes, my human’s not stopped making bow ties, bandanas and her new harlequin-patterned sniffle balls for another order from Summerseat Garden Centre,” Ernie replied, “and we’ve been to three very soggy markets in Manchester, Great Harwood and Frodsham.”
“I was thinking more of wider world events Ernie,” Theo explained. “We’ve had President Trump over meeting the Queen again, the D-Day commemorations, EU elections,” he went on. “Now the Prime Minister’s going too! The list is endless,” he said breathlessly.
“Where’s the Prime Minister going Theo, on a nice holiday?” Ernie asked.
“She going to stop being the Prime Minister Ernie. Don’t you ever read the papers?” Theo asked exasperatedly.
“No, they don’t seem very happy places newspapers,” Ernie replied, “Why’s the Prime Minister not going to be the Prime Minister anymore?”
“It’s a long story Ernie,” Theo said in a subdued voice. “It’s Brexit you see. The politicians can’t stop arguing about it. So, it hasn’t been sorted out and some of them think a new Prime Minister will.”
Ernie remembered “Brexit”. He’d gone chasing after it when Theo first mentioned it. He hadn’t found it anywhere. He’d decided that time he wasn’t going to look again – and certainly not in this rain.
“Oh dear, what a shame,” Ernie said sadly, “Is that what President Trump came to see the Queen about?”
“Not really.” Theo replied. “He was on a State visit, so he met the Queen,” he went on, “he visited famous places and met lots of important people….and some politicians.”
“What did all these people talk about then?” Ernie asked.
“Oh, all sorts of things,” Theo replied, “like climate change…”
“I wish they’d change this climate!” Ernie said, watching the enormous rain drops dripping from the trees.
“You mean the weather, not the climate,” Theo explained.
“What’s the difference?” Ernie asked.
“The weather is what the weather is like over a short period of time – like today and tomorrow,” Theo explained, “whilst the climate means what happens to the weather over a long period of time. The earth’s climate has been getting warmer and many experts are worried about this. They say humans are causing the problem and have to change or it will get worse. Some people, like President Trump, don’t agree.”
“Well it isn’t getting warmer here!” Ernie said, shaking the rain off himself with a shiver.
“I just told you, that’s the weather not the climate!” Theo said impatiently.
“It all sounds very complicated,” Ernie said with a yawn, “what else did they talk about?”
“Well, I wasn’t there so I don’t know!” Theo replied chuckling “I heard President Trump said he thought Brexit was a good thing,” he continued, “that put the cat amongst the pigeons!”
Ernie’s ears pricked up when Theo mentioned cats and pigeons. He started to prowl around looking for them.
“No Ernie, they weren’t real cats and pigeons,” Theo said laughing, “it’s a saying that means President Trump’s comments caused more arguments about Brexit!”
Ernie looked disappointed. He sat back down and scratched his chin.
“With all these arguments, it doesn’t sound like a very happy visit to me” Ernie exclaimed.
“They didn’t argue all the time,” Theo explained. “They all came together to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D Day.”
“I heard about that,” Ernie said, “what was it, Theo?”
“People from many nationalities joined together to remember the bravery of their soldiers who took part in an invasion that helped end the second world war,” Theo explained.
Ernie listened carefully to Theo’s explanation. After a few moments he spoke:
“So, the people who’d argued with each other all week came together to remember when their countries forgot their differences and fought with each other to end a war?”
“Yes Ernie, that’s about the long and short of it,” Theo replied.
“And these people Theo, they’re cleverer than you, let alone me, aren’t they?” Ernie asked.
“They are Ernie, on just about any measure you can think of,” Theo replied.
Ernie lay down and scratched his chin again. He seemed lost for words. However, this is Ernie we’re talking about and it didn’t take him long to find them again.
“We’ve got lots of markets coming up Theo, are you going to any of them?” he asked.
“I’d love to Ernie, but I’m trying to improve our information systems and find more markets to do,” he explained. “I never stop.”
“I’m busy too, I’m off to the Cheshire County Show and the Arley Garden Festival next week,” Ernie said.
“Yes, I remember booking them,” Theo replied. “It’s the first time we’ve done these events so I’m looking forward to getting a full report,” he added.
As Theo spoke these words, Ernie had spotted a cat emerging from the woods. It had clearly come out from amongst the pigeons.
Ernie sees the cat coming from amongst the pigeons
He crouched down and started to creep towards the prey.
Theo had seen this show many times before, he raised his eyes to the sky.
Ernie started trotting then broke into a run. The cat initially turned away but stopped - turning to face his aggressor. As soon as he did, Ernie wheeled away and made for home.
Theo shook his head saying to himself ‘he never learns’.
“Tell me how the markets go Ernie,” Theo shouted as his friend galloped into the distance.
“Yeo Theo, I will do,” Ernie shouted back, “I’ve got to go, early start in the morning!!”