We then headed back to P's where several bottles of cold wine and an exuberant puppy awaiting our arrival...
M and I are not exactly animal lovers. Dogs, cats, reptiles and amphibians unsettle us in various degrees of mild discomfort through to phobic reaction requiring a sedative via injection, but M is particularly uneasy with dogs. No sooner had we walked through the door when this staffie cross labrador leaps towards us at 80mph which had M launch herself facewards to the wall in the style of being frisked by the LAPD. The screeches of 'GET THE BLOODY THING OFF ME' only aroused the puppy into doing an impersonation of a Shaun the Sheep rucksack and holding on to the back of M's coat before having her claws pinged back one by one to remove her from her mounted position.
And so we made our way through to the lounge with M (hyperventilating) and I clutching rosary beads and praying to St. Barbara of Woodhouse (the patron saint of dogs being put into the garden for the duration of our visit). P earnestly tells us that it's is a very friendly dog who just wants to say hello. Why dogs can't just shake paws like any normal person, I just don't know. Worryingly, we were warned the dog 'may' jump up on the sofa and try to eat our hair. I kid you not. This puppy who no doubt eats the finest IAMS preparations feels a need to suck visitors hair for an aperitif. P goes on to inform us that we'd be ok as long as we both sit well back into the sofa and whatever we do, DO NOT lean forward as the dog sees this a green light to get jiggy with sucking hair. M looks at me and I saw death staring back at me. All colour had drained from her face as she reached for my hand, united in the sisterhood chant of 'We shall not... we shall not be moved'.
M has been a Special Care Baby Unit nurse for over twenty five years. She is pragmatic and thoroughly excellent when dealing with prem babies. Her pragmatism does not extend to all things canine, indeed it's become a standing joke how M attracts animals. Ever since we were kids and riding our bikes home from school, normally mild-mannered dogs would break free from their gardens, teeth snarling and hurtle towards M who would be frantically pedalling whilst at the same time trying to free a dog's jaws clamped tightly to her size 5's. Even castrated dogs will try and mount her. However, in the face-off with P's dog, her cool nursing head kicks in at the prospect of dog saliva in her hair so she launches into her handbag for the nearest bobble to tie her hair back, a cattle stun-gun and adopting her bodily position into fully reclined mode.
The dog returns from her wee in the garden and takes one look at her new love interest M and springs onto the sofa, runs across the back and removes the bobble to let M's hair fall seductively across her face whilst M is screaming 'PLEASE GET THIS BASTARD DOG OFF ME... NOW'. P comes running in from the kitchen and asks me who the imposter is with the Robert Plant / Led Zep wet hair on her sofa, realises it's M and removes the dog into her arms kissing the hound from Hell and calming it down. Whilst M is using an inhaler to get her breathing back to normal, P then tells us both off for not heeding her instructions to sit well back and inferring that we 'invited' this experience by having the audacity to lean forward. This cycle happened several more times during the evening leading M and I to the conclusion that the puppy perhaps had lesbian tendencies. Call it a crush on an older woman.
Eventually the dog calmed down once M explained sympathetically that she was in a long-term relationship with the father of her child and perhaps she should mix with puppies more her own age. The dog spent the rest of the evening dozing across M's feet and no doubt reflecting on her lost love.
All in all, it turned into another of those fabulous wine-induced, laugh 'til you cry, crawl out at 2am evenings spent with two fab friends.
Ssshh, don't tell M but I've got her Cesar Millan tickets for her birthday...