I like it when the Owner stops at Le Pain Quotidien to buy a scone because it comes with accompanying cheese slices and as you may have surmised, I have an affinity for cheese.
Or so I thought.
How was I to know that you cannot generalise all cheese served by Highgate coffee shops from such an experience? How was I to know that when she went into Gail’s instead and purchased a cheese and lettuce baguette to share in the Park with her Faithful Dog that what passed for cheese would be a travesty of the name?
For one thing this cheese has a sort of ghastly outer layer. This, I discover, not only feels like cardboard and tastes of socks, it operates as a disguise. The cheese within is not at all like the cheese without. The cheese is pretending to be something it is not. This is devious cheese. Would you, if befriending a Moral Dog on the assumption that it was a shorthaired pointer of sleek coat and strong body such as myself still feel the same if, as you rushed to rub its ears it cast off its disguise and revealed itself to be fluffy? Exactly. It is the first rule of cheese that it should not be disguised.
And then it is runny. This is mobile cheese. It even attempted, briefly, to escape. She has actually offered me sentient cheese. It is the second rule of cheese that it should not attempt to go anywhere by itself.
Worst of all, though, it has a personal hygiene problem. This cheese needs to see a cheese doctor. This cheese smells of all the cheese that ever was, condensed into one place at one time and wrapped in feet. It inactivates my olfactory epithelium more effectively than if I had fallen into a bin full of trout. How am I supposed to hunt for sick and injured Londoners in the hedges of Waterlow Park if you blind my nose with sick cheese? It is the third rule of cheese that it must not be a deadly weapon.
I leave the devious cheese in disgust. There is such a thing as moral betrayal, you know, I tell her with my eyebrows.
She says that’s what happened to the Conservative party. She says the image of Boris Johnson, whom she compares unfavourably to cheese, looms large, and that wasn’t the conservatism they all thought they were voting for. As she stamps crossly through the compost I roll in a small collection of convenient fox poo in an attempt to restore some semblance of function to my innermost nose.
She seems to see a parallel between the convenience of the fox poo and the mendacity of politics. She says we’re going in the shower to wash off the scent of moral betrayal, both metaphorical and fox, and we stride on with a sense of shared purpose. She says she has special dog products, with which dogs can be rubbed and frothed until they smell as a dog should whilst mendacity washes helpfully down the plug hole.
I like the sound of smelling as a dog should, as I have smelled many interesting dogs and feel I understand how a dog should smell. I expect it smells of a heady mix of compost, dead ox, and biscuit. I follow her to the bathroom in cheery anticipation. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.