This post first appeared on Blogger (erinthecatprincess.blogspot.com 10.2.18 )
This weeks story is…………………. A New Path.
The long winters nights had taken their toll on Erin’s enthusiasm. She resigned herself to the fact that winter couldn’t be rushed or otherwise coerced into departing any sooner.
She had even contemplated burning more wood to start a local global warming effect and kick-start spring. The thought of Mrs Hudson wielding an axe was however sufficient to put paid to that idea. Of course if she had chopped down any she’d be planting many more in their stead to ensure the palaces carbon footprint was neutral.
What this carbon footprint was, she wasn’t sure. She certainly hadn’t on her many daily trips around the estate hunting, and visits to mice in need, come across and strange carbonised tracks. She duly surmised that you only get tracks if your carbon footprint is so heavy it leaves a mark on the grass. Ergo, she thought, the palace must be doing OK. But then it occurred that she didn’t want to go too far the other way in case the footprint was so light the palace floated away. After lunch that day, being a weekday, she resolved that she and Mrs Hudson would go and tie the palace down, just in case.
Erin strolled into the parlour that evening, in search of a bite to eat and a chat with Mrs Hudson. She found her dozing in the warmth of the range, that sat slowly cooling down from the days batch of nip scones and bread making. Her feet were soaking in a cooking pot in which a small goldfish lazily swam and nibbled at her bunions. In her hand, looking quite precarious, sat a cup of tea adorned with a straw and a lopsided umbrella.
“Mrs H, are you awake?” Erin placed a cold paw on her ruddy cheek.
“Yes, Erin dear. Just dreaming of being on the beach with waves lapping at my feet and a cold drink in my hand. Can I get you something before you go out on the night shift? Maybe a slice of cheese and a draught of that new Red Lion No-Nip™ tonic drink. Guaranteed nepetalactone free! Fun without the fizz, they say. Tried it myself yesterday and, bar an urge to lay on my back and have an itch, didn’t have any adverse effects at all!”
The thought of Mrs Hudson rolling around, wanting to be itched or not, wasn’t an image Erin wished to encourage. Best say nothing, she mused, and get on to the business at paw. “Hmm, well maybe another time Mrs H, but for now I am bored and need a new challenge, maybe a new career. What we need is a brain storming session. Maybe you could rustle up some notepads and pens, and meet me in the library, shoes on, in say half an hour. Bring a flask of something hot too, if you will, with a sprinkling of nip.” With that she jumped off the table and headed up to the library to cogitate the meeting ahead.
And so a short time later, we find Mrs Hudson and Erin in the library, studying the jobs section of the London & Regional Society Cat Gazette. Between them, on a low coffee table, sit two mugs of steaming nip cocoa and a half eaten plate of dainty sandwiches.
Mrs Hudson crossed out one vacancy with a look of despair on her face. ” Erin dear there is no way I can allow you to be a parking meter-maid. That is NOT the thing for a young princess to do and you don’t get to keep the money in the meter, either. No, we should steer clear such things. In the olden days I would have suggested entering the church. Or being a governess for a some young family in need of a mature upbringing. If you pick a warmer country like Spain, it would save loads on heating costs and we could get a discount on the sherry too!”
Hmm, well the thought of entering the church, Mrs H, does have some appeal. I mean the mice are supposed to great sport, being extra quiet, bar during the hymns. And one of my ancestors found favour with the Vatican by removing an evil Cardinal from their midst. Yes it does sound a plan, all but for one thing. I fear the Queen of Spain is still harbouring a grudge for my forebears pillaging and plundering. Word on the plaza is that teams of Spanish Inquisitorial Cats are, as we speak, looking for the map and treasure of El Creamado. And a bounty remains on all my line who dare pass into Spain. It’s a risk I am not prepared to take, Mrs H, as I value what remains of my ears. Though if queen and country call me, I will always answer. Of course I will have to finish my naps first.
Deep in thought, Mrs Hudson took a slow bite from her sandwich. With a sudden squeal of delight, she flung her arms out at Erin and shouted “I have it!” Such was her vigour, a slice of spam with a lettuce leaf and slice of tomato attached, flew out of the sandwich and across the table, landing unceremoniously at Erin’s feet with a cold damp ‘flooping’ sound.
“I think, Mrs Hudson, that you do not now have it, in the sandwich sense, though I now do! Thank goodness it wasn’t ‘slaw or a chutney, is all I can say. Pray tell, my good housekeeper, what is it that you DO have?”
Mrs Hudson blushed a radish red, and scooted round the table and gathered up the filling. Having popped it back into the bread, she took another bite and settled back into her seat. “Well what about something that keeps you closer to home, then dear? Maybe the Royal Poet Laureate or one of Her Majesty’s Ambassadors. You could represent the village, maybe? We do seem to have a lot of international guests on the blog these days, and it could boost international trade too.”
“I do think that is more in line with my standing, Mrs H, for sure, but as you know I am not one for putting myself around. The quiet life for me rather than the glitz and glam of socialites. Of course if we get our movie made and maybe get published I would have to make select PUBLIC appearances. No as good an idea, I think maybe something a little less assuming. Lets look through the books here and see if we can come up with an idea?”
Mrs Hudson choked back a gasp as she looked at the many tomes lining the walls of the small library. “I think I best get some more sandwiches then. Looks like we’ll be in for an all nighter!”
By the time the clock on the mantle struck midnight the library was aw
ash with open books. Mrs Hudson slumped back into the wing back chair and sighed. “You know dear, I thought surgeon would be right up your street what with your aptitude with them there claws. Well it’s witching hour, so I best scoot to my bed. No good comes of staying up late you know, and I do wish you’d be more like a normal princess and keep daylight hours. Only villains and spies are out at this time and look at all the adventures and risks they take. Nope I do think it’s time we went digital high-tech.
Maybe you could just get a surveillance system instead, one with those laser beams like that nice young man, Mr Bond, was demonstrating. As long as I doesn’t have to do back flips and crawl under them to get to the lavy, I don’t mind.”
Erin’s face lit up. She trotted over and jumped onto Mrs H’s chair and rested her paw on her arm. “You know Mrs H, you are quite an inspiration to me….. sometimes.”
“I am? Well that is good to hear especially so soon into my employment. Remind me dear, what is it I’ve inspired you about?”
“Well yes of course you do. I think you have just given me the answer to my new career. OUR new career as I will need a sidekick to help tackle matters for me.
Mrs Hudson suddenly frowned. “You haven’t chosen to be a footballer, have you? I’m sorry, but I draw the line at getting into a huddle and having to wear body armour. A corset is bad enough when you’re my age!”
“No, not a footballer! Heaven forbid, though you may need something a little protective for what I have in mind. What I thought we could do is some undercover work, Mrs H, and I don’t mean laundry either. Something we can do under cover of night, pardon the pun, and still be home for breakfast. Maybe start our own service, a secret service for those cats in need and who want complete discretion. Why stop there, governments and the famous will be our customers too, and nothing too small. Or too large, especially if it’s a particularly juicy mouse, sorry I meant case!”
“Oh my, this all sounds so exciting, Erin. Will I need a cape and a mask? I have a raincoat, and I could cut some eye holes in my sou’wester and pull it down over my eyes, if that helped? Or are you thinking something more along the lines of that Iron Man and jet packs?”
“I think the less flying we do Mrs H, the better. For now at least I think we should stay earthbound wherever possible.” The thought of her housekeeper in charge of a broom, let alone a rocket powered suit or anything more advanced than a vacuum, made Erin’s whiskers twitch. “I think if we have to travel, then we’ll take the Bentley, or the bus. Remember we need to inconspicuous at all times. Plus I’m fairly sure we need a pilots licence for that sort of thing.”
“Yes that does all sound rather sensible, dear. We wouldn’t want to get done by the police for speeding or not having the right insurance or licence. I’ll nip down tomorrow and get a bus timetable from the Post Office. Wouldn’t do to start a covert case of national importance and miss the bus, now would it.
“Best not get too ahead of ourselves yet, Mrs H, we haven’t even got a name for the business yet. I was toying with Detection, Investigation and Espionage Incorporated, but DIE Inc seems a little bit, how should I put it…. NOT subtle.”
“Maybe we shouldn’t have a name, Erin, if we’re that covert. And we certainly should have code names rather than use our own. You could be Agent E, and I, Agent H. Hows that sound?
If its OK I’ll have some business cards and embossed and letterhead note paper done in the morning. And if you leave your pyjamas and cape out I’ll stitch name tags in for you.” Mrs Hudson smiled and got up to leave the room. As she reached the door she turned and smiled sweetly at Erin. “Breakfast at the usual time, Agent E?”
“Yes that will be lovely, Agent H, thank you. I do however think we should forgo the name tags, I really don’t want folks thinking we are fresh out of kindergarten. Though if we’re going high-tech, maybe you could have a chip fitted?”
To be continued……….