There we rented a small cosy cottage with wooden roof and creaky floors in the middle of a 12,000 sq.m. private apple orchard. So peaceful and quiet. I would wake up before her, tiptoe out of bed, avoid the creaky floorboards, bump my head against the inevitable roof beam, and go down into the porch to listen to the morning birds until Isabel called from bed and gorgeous breakfast followed. All peace and rest.
Until Rufus made his appearance.
Rufus was the stupidest dog I’ve ever met. He would just turn up at our place, bark at us like crazy for a few minutes, and then run away, still grumbling and barking, to disappear amongst the bushes at the edge of the property. Maybe it was the neighbour’s dog. After our first encounter, Isabel said he reminded her of somebody she had met some time ago and named him Rufus after this person, because he would be grumpy and loud and just friggin’ stressed out. I must point out that Isabel is extremely good with dogs. Every time we go some place where there are dogs she ends up being their best pal. Dogs just love her. But Rufus wouldn’t. She cooed and wooed but Rufus wouldn’t stop barking. The second time Rufus made a stellar appearance Isabel even tried to bribe him with a lamb chop. A lamb chop, yeah, I know! Freshly barbecued and all. But Rufus wouldn’t bulge. Such a silly dog. I would have let her nibble my ears for a lamb chop.
So we dubbed him “the dog that cannot be bribed”.
A few days passed and one night we were cuddling by the porch, listening to the night birds (do you know what a scops-owl is?) when we heard a soft, lilting cry round the corner of the house. After a few seconds a pair of elegant yellow eyes revealed themselves, and a fluffy black head outlined against the darkness of the night. She was the blackest, cutest and hottest cat that I have ever seen. She was shy at first, but after a few biscuits and my unquestionable talent with felines, she was ours. She would rub and rub and rub against my arm and leg. Not so much against Isabel’s, maybe because she’s not that much of a cat person as I am, maybe because she smelled of Rufus, or maybe just because the gorgeous she-cat could feel my male pheromones. 😉 Isabel named her Elvira, a Visigothic name, since we had been visiting some Visigothic monuments that day. Unfortunately, we didn’t take any pics of Elvira, so you’ll have to trust me on this one.
It was late and Isabel and I went to bed. Elvira stayed out of the house, meowing loudly.
Next day, or the day after, I can’t remember, Rufus showed up again. Strangely enough, he wasn’t barking. Isabel run into the kitchen and got hold of some food scraps from lunch. Quick as a fox (even quicker), she poised a juicy lamb chop in front of Rufus’ unkempt snout and, to our surprise, he deftly grabbed it and retreated a few metres to eat it.
The dog that could not be bribed had been bribed!