Firstly, it's Sunday Selfie time....
We are joining The Kitties Blue, from The Cat on My Head blog, for the weekly celebration of blogs and bloggers from across the world and across the species.
Please download the linky link from their site, and join the fun!
Here is this weeks selfie.....
I have been putting Mrs H through her exercises this week, and introduced this new one, called arching cat. It is great for spinal flexion and also for those stubborn mice that seem to cause a bit of astral blockage. If your staff want to try this at home, do make sure that the relevant safety precautions (to avoid a sore back) are adhered to, namely they have done all the house work, and laid out a weeks supply of treats and cream and kibble. MOL
To see what all our pals have been up to this week, please click the links below......
The next chapter of our story is quite short, so I hope you will have time to enjoy, and leave a comment below.....
And now, it's Story time!
A New Case. Chapter 6
The walk from Paddington to King Herod's was two miles but they hadn't too far to go from the park and made it in half an hour. The store had in fact just opened and a few early shoppers had already made their way into the various delicatessen, coffee shops, and the bakers on the ground floor to get their morning baguettes, bagels, buns, baps, bloomers and croissants. The aroma of fresh ground coffee, baked pastries filled their noses as they entered. The concierge, used to receiving well to do guests, who dressed down for going to the store thought little of Mrs Hudson's mundane but practical attire. In fact later in the day there would be many a housekeeper and nanny come in, the latter being the ones he most dreaded as the little dears, as they were always called by the nannies, caused havoc and ruined the gentile silence of the shop. He raised his hat to them both, and smiled at Erin who lay in the carrier wearing her best pink harness. Another nuttter he thought to himself, as he closed the door behind them, more money than sense some people.
"I think, Erin, we are to meet Esmeralda at her apartment on the top floor. But before we can, I have a telephone call to make. Now where is that device?" She quickly scanned around the shop lobby and saw a row of three enclosed telephone booths, 'Reserved for customer use only" emblazoned on the top of each, in gold and red script. Leaving Erin sitting just outside the booth, she went in and closed the door behind her and made a call. Apparently Mrs Hudson was quite adept at accents too, as she adopted a French one when she spoke to the person on the other end. Having finished that call, she made another, also with the fresh accent to another party. Then a third to another person, 'tis time in a Scottish accent. Calls over and satisfied with her work, she came out and picked uptake carrier.
"Well we should be able to see Esme in about a few hours. Lets see what we can do investigation wise before then, shall we, Erin?"
Erin nodded and was about to sink back into her carrier when she noticed a small boy wearing a harness had just gone past in a sort of pushchair, bearing the shops name on the side. "Mrs H, do you think they have one of those I could use? It sure would make things easier for you and I could see a lot more too!"
Mrs Hudson looked around and spotted an assistant and asked where she might get such a carriage. The assistant, a young lady called Agnes who was looking particularly bored behind her perfume counter, frowned when she saw Erin, and suggested, albeit politely, that the chairs were really for children of that certain age that needed to be pushed rather than pulled, from display to display, and had added restraints for that purpose.
"Oh dear," sighed Mrs Hudson. "I was so hoping to take the weight off my feet and there is so far to walk around here. The young princess here so wanted to get a better view of things too, but didn't want to attract attention by having the footman come with her." Agnes's eyes brightened when she heard that Erin was a princess, and having excused herself for a few moments, returned pushing a small red and gold painted trolley that housed two baskets, one above the other. This, she explained, was what the messengers used to transport the Royal Mail letters and and small packages in and around the store. Hence the letters ER on the front in gold paint. The floor walker had said he quite understood, and was most happy for her to use it.
Having thanked Agnes, and inserted the carrier into the top basket of the trolley, the pair set off around the store. Erin looked out in amazement at all the sparkling jewellery on display, and they stopped momentarily at one cabinet that contained tiaras and crowns. As none were of the size to fit Erin, they moved on.
The meat section was a delight for the eyes and for the nose. They both got a free sample too, when Erin, taken with a very large and succulent smelling joint of freshly roasted beef, gave a load MEOW and pointed to where the joint sat, behind the glass. The server had a broad smile on his face as he handed over the sample for them to try, on a small gold trimmed white china plate, and said that the princess must be a connoisseur as that was indeed their finest beef. And it was too, and Mrs Hudson purchased a few slices and had it wrapped and placed in a small plain waxed paper bag. The server, who professed to having two tuxedo princesses of his own, insisted it was presented to her within another much much larger and ornate bag that was emblazoned with the shops name. This Mrs Hudson placed it in the bottom basket of the trolley, much to Erin's chagrin, as the smell made her tummy rumble more than it was before. At the bakery and cheese sections that were close by, they also purchased some soft nip rolls and six ounces of premium Canadian Cheddar.
As they exited the lift on the first floor, they were confronted with a roped off area. The sign standing in front heralded the grand opening of 'King Herod's Companion Store, a place for every paw your could desire...... and more!' Beyond the could see rows of golden cages, of varying shapes and sizes, decorated with red and gold curtains with golden tassels. There were, they could hear, already some companions within the cages, as the sound of finches could be heard, as well as the yelping of puppies.
Mrs Hudson suggested to Erin that this would be a good place to go and visit later, as there were likely to be a lot of fine creatures for them to see and something to learn too, but for now, they had just enough time before they met Esmeralda, to have a look around the rest of the store. The time went but they did get to visit all seven of the shop floors, stopping briefly to check out the outfitters section, to peruse some new styles for housekeepers. Mrs Hudson took notes as to colours and styles worn by the very slender mannequins and also fabrics and prices which, she quietly told Erin, were way above what your average housekeeper could afford, and she would be making her own when they got back. "After all," she said with an air of pride, and after straightening her bun. "It's what being a housekeeper is all about, Erin. And prudence and thrift, in their place, are aspirations rather than ill qualities."
A clock somewhere in the store chimed midday. Mrs Hudson pushed Erin to the lift at the rear of the store, that used by the staff, and pushed the UP button. Moments later there was a sharp ping sound and the doors opened to reveal a drab wooden interior. Prominently positioned on the back wall were three framed documents. One indicated instructions in case of emergencies, whilst another contained a list of instructions to staff on how they should behave when on the shop floor and addressing customers. A third and larger frame contained a plan of the shop floors and the various departments within. Mrs Hudson looked around for a moment and found what she was looking for. Tucked to one side, almost inconsequentially, in a tatty wooden frame was a list of names and room numbers for the occupants of the rooms over the store. Mrs Hudson ran a finger down the list and saw Lady Esmeralda's humans name, and followed it across to the floor level and room number, which was shown as ninth floor, room thirteen.
To be continued.........
Please join us next week for the continuing adventure. What will our dynamic duet discover in room thirteen? Does Paddington Bear live nearby and if so, does he get his marmalade from Herod's? Will Erin's rumbling tummy trigger an alert at the Seismic Institute down the road? Answers to some of these questions, and more questions will be forthcoming next Sunday!