When people meet Beanie and Biggles in person they often get a completely false impression of their personalities. Unless they’re otherwise busy bursting eardrums, Beanie comes across as a gregarious, hyper little puppy and Biggles presents himself as a quiet, obedient and slightly dull mature boy. This of course could not be further from truth. The Beanster always puts on a joyful, waggy facade if she thinks there’s a possibility of getting a treat off someone, but once they’ve been found to have empty pockets she quickly loses interest. Back at home, most of the time she’s in Greta Garbo mode: tightly wrapped up in a blanky and liable to grumble if anyone makes too much noise.
Biggles on the other hand is a wily thief with a really bad case of woofy Tourette’s. If you leave an item of value within his reach, it’s guaranteed that he will eventually get hold of it and take it on a little adventure from which it may never return (at least not in one piece). He’s the main reason we’ve got not one but two baby gates permanently installed in our house. His compulsion to steal things is matched only by his patience and cunning; he notes every opportunity, but only takes action when he’s sure that your guard is down and he’ll have a reasonable chance of success. That’s why I was just as surprised as he was when a recent sock heist went so very wrong.
Susan had been to the gym earlier in the day, and as often happens, she’d left her discared clothes – including a small pair of ladies gym socks – on the floor of the bathroom. Biggles knew they were in there, but opening the bathroom door is still beyond him so he just had to wait patiently for one of us to do that for him. In due course a window of opportunity presented itself: I left my desk to answer a call of nature. With my head full of work I didn’t bother to close the door properly, and as I attended to the task in hand I became aware of the door opening just a little wider behind me. Sometimes it does that on its own, but sometimes it’s a sign that a little furry person has entered the room.
Trying not to be too obvious, I turned my head so that Susan’s gym clothes entered my peripheral vision, and yep, there was The Bigglet, hovering over them. He threw me a quick glance to check whether I was watching him, but seemed satisfied that I was still otherwise engaged. Slowly and silently he began probing the pile of clothes, trying to find the socks that he knew must be in there. They seemed to be embedded inside Susan’s leggings, and in his determination to get at them both Biggles and the pile of clothes started shuffling across the floor towards my feet. Those socks were playing really hard to get, but after a couple more seconds of digging Biggles’ nose found its prey, and with the utmost precision and delicacy, he grasped the tip of a sock between his teeth. I knew this instantly because the silly little bugger had pushed the clothes right over my feet and latched onto one of my socks – while I was still wearing it! He started to tug, and I couldn’t keep quiet any longer.
“Oi! That’s MY sock, buggerlugs, and I’m still using it!” I exclaimed. He looked up at me and though he knew the game was up, his face showed not the slightest sign of guilt, shame or embarrassment. He just released my sock, did an about turn, and trotted calmly and happily back out of the bathroom, his tail held high. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose; it’s all the same to Mr Biggles.
I’ll finish with a few more shots from a recent walk near Barr village while Autumn color was still on the trees. There are a number of waymarked routes in that area, but after the sock incident I decided on the one know as the (little) Devil’s Trail.