The Abbey Inn – Bramley, Leeds.

Story by Ricardo, the Pig’s Arms Northern England correspondent meteorologist and pet chaser.

Bonsoir,

Awful weather for June. If it rains anymore in our local wood the entire place will soon be swarming with Brazilian mining companies and Greenpeace activists. This biblical rainfall all started when Albert (Editor’s note – Albert is Ricardo’s cat… sorry, Hung, that how he rolls) made his bid for freedom last Wednesday so I’m blaming him. 

After being blamed by everyone here all day (apart from Zellweger) for supposedly letting the Pink Panther escape out of my bathroom window, Renee admitted that she had opened her bedroom window in the middle of the night whilst Albert was (pretending to be) asleep in her room. I wondered why she kept asking me all day whether whoever let Albert escape would be in trouble…. I said of course not, I just want to get him back. 

Meanwhile, like Steve McQueen in Papillon, Albert had shaken off the chains of domestic moggie ennui and was off, walking off into the dawn by stepping out onto the conservatory roof, floating past past the dozy Garden Gnome Guards, then leaping the 2 feet onto the roof of the next door neighbour’s shed and then it was a small leap for catkind and freedom for 4 days after which presumably his rumbling stomach compelled him to hand himself in. Picture a feline version of Steve McQueen in his cell, without a bowl of Purina Gourmet ‘Duck and Pheasant’ catfood (yes, that it what the ungrateful little git eats whilst I have beans on toast) throwing a ping pong ball at the wall in the final scene of The Great Escape.   

Good job he is not a Burmese, Norwegian Forest Cat, Turkish Van, Scottish Fold, Bengal, Russian Blue, Persian or Siamese or else he could report me for racial discrimination. So I’ve treated him to a Union Jack cat collar so am now confidently expecting a tirade of bile from the Japanese half of the household. She did tell me (twice) in all seriousness that I have slanty eyes which I thought was a bit Hitleresque. After the 2nd time, and questioning my Aryan heritage, I have started looking at myself sideways in the mirror which does make shaving and washing my face rather troublesome. But at least my left ear and temple are spotless.   

Clearly inspired by Winston Churchill, Caractacus, Boadicea, King Alfred, Richard the Lionhert, the South Wales Borderers, Lord Nelson, the 11th Hussars and the Duke of Wellington, Zellweger wants, of all things, a Bulldog… This may cause Albert to seize the initiative and open  the window himself in Renee’s bedroom. 

I think it is lucky the lockdown did not occur in the middle of winter else I think many people would be suffering mentally. Though not here in Horsforth, this household is mental anyway. Maybe that was what Albert was thinking at 5am last Wednesday as he tippawed onto the roof? 

After root canal therapy and an extraction, then being given an x-ray and being reassured that it is totally safe as the entire dental surgery, sans moi, vacated the building as though Count Dracula had just arrived for an impromptu check up, I shall be quite content if I never see another dentist again. Moments before the extraction I was asked ‘How are you feeling?’ to which my blunt albeit heartfelt response was ‘Pretty shit actually’. I wonder if the executioner asked Guy Fawkes the same bloody stupid question as he walked up the scaffold, who incidentally, broke his own neck to avoid the rest of the barbaric experience. Though, I have to admit, I wasn’t feeling quite that desperate.   

Apparently the rain will stop this evening. I better cancel my canoe. I will double-check as I don’t believe it will be 23 degrees tomorrow. If OK, I’ll pop down tomorrow. Probably best if I come on my own as not sure whether Renee and Zellweger will be able to stay 2 metres apart. Might bring Albert instead now he has discovered the joys of the big wide world outside our house.

Salut !

Ricardo, the Scarlet Pusspernell and 6 tribes of Amazonian Pygmies who have set up camp outside the Abbey Pub.