Monday, 19 September 2016

Putney: A Dog’s Guide To Eating Tiny Tomatoes

Putney, London, United Kingdom
Our first house sit in London was in a southwest suburb called Putney, which was well connected as it had not only two tube stations, but an overground station as well. It was here that we first discovered Waitrose, a more upmarket supermarket with an amazing produce section. The area in general seemed like a place that more affluent people lived, as whenever I walked to the supermarket I found that there were a huge number of young mums who looked like the type to go for high tea and attend expensive yoga sessions. Unlike some suburbs, I can't remember seeing even one fast food place selling fried chicken, and indeed many of the eateries were posh pubs and restaurants. Yannick found a Nordic café that satisfied his need for cinnamon rolls, and I marveled at the non-dairy ice creams in Marks and Spencer. 
Our ward for the next three weeks would be Milo, an adorable cavapoo (a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel crossed with a poodle). When taking him for walks around the suburb and to the grassy expanses of the nearby Putney Heath, we encountered many dogs and were surprised by how many of them were cavapoos as well! I'm biased of course, but I think Milo was the best one. Look at that little face!

We would also be looking after Lola and Bella, two sister cats who were gorgeous. Lola (the one in the first three photos with the dark brown face) was a little crazy and would headbutt you ferociously until you gave her some pats. She was never satisfied though, and sometimes you had to run away from her because she wanted you to scratch her behind the ears all day long. She would also stand on your head in the early hours of the morning if you let her sleep in the same room as you.

As with any dog, cooking and eating attracted Milo's attention. Sometimes I would give him a tiny bit of our food, like pieces of veggies as I was preparing a meal in the kitchen. He loved carrots and would chow down on them (sometimes holding them in his mouth like a cigar!), leaving little slivers all over the rug and couch. I also really enjoyed giving him the odd cherry tomato, because it was hilarious to watch him eat it. He would take it over to the lounge like a toy and then drop it on the ground so it rolled away a little, snap it back up in his jaws and gently gum it, then drop it again and repeat the process for several minutes until finally chewing and swallowing it. He had me in stitches as I watched.

Deciding to take Milo on a good long walk and investigate a Sunday market at the same time, we visited Barnes one weekend. The walk through Putney Lower Common was peaceful, with Milo sniffing new furry friends and allowing small children to come up and pat him. (A quick note: the word 'heath' and 'common' both seem to mean "park" in England. I thought I'd mention this as I didn't know such strange terminology existed before coming to the UK.) There weren't many market stalls, but it was fun to check it out and give Milo his exercise for the day.

The home owners kept their scheduled dog walker on while we were staying there - she took Milo out for a few hours each weekday. This was great, as some days I'll admit I didn't feel like going for a long walk, and Milo is still a young dog who needs plenty of time out and about. Some days he would come back with fox poo on his neck. It turns out that there's something irresistible about fox poo that dogs cannot help but rub themselves in. We don't have foxes in New Zealand so this was never a problem in my childhood (instead it would always be the rotting fish corpse on the beach). It's notoriously difficult to remove, but with special fox poo shampoo we managed! Milo was amazingly well-behaved in the bath, and would sit very still when we blow-dried his fur too.

On 27 March, The Boat Race took place. This vaguely-named rowing race has been held annually since 1856 (except during the World Wars) and starts in Putney. I had zero interest in watching such an event, so Yannick went by himself. It was chilly, but a beautiful day.

The teams are from Cambridge University and Oxford University. Right, that's enough about that. Yawn.
Near the end of our house sit, we boarded a River Bus and took a journey along the Thames to Embankment. This service is part of Transport for London, so we could simply use our Oyster cards to pay the fares. Though it was a bit more expensive than a standard tube ride, it gave us an entirely new view of London - from the river! 

We became attached to Milo during those three weeks and didn't want to leave. Aside from feeding him cherry tomatoes, my favourite moments with Milo were when he collapsed onto my lap for an afternoon nap like a sleepy teddy bear.

Today's post was almost called: Like Putney in Our Hands