Many families have second homes. Holiday homes, you might want to call them, which are usually located in sunnier, more southern parts of the world. My family have a caravan in North Wales.
Abersoch is a small village on the Llŷn peninsula. This means nothing to anyone who has never been to North Wales, I realise, but trust me when I say that its surrounding countryside is picturesque, and the village itself complete with beach and boatyard, is very lively. Our caravan is just short of a ten minute drive away, in a hamlet far out of reach of any mobile network signal or newsagents. My parents spend two weeks there every year for their summer holiday, and they take the dog with them.
Three things you need to know about Molly:
- She is extremely fluffy and friendly.
- She likes exploring.
- She’s as mad as exploding underpants.
…so, you can imagine that when my parents decided to take my grandmother with them on a weekend away last Easter, it spelled disaster.
Sunday Morning, Mum and Dad are in bed. It’s around 11 o’clock and Dad is watching the news and eating cereal whilst Mum is lost in her latest John Grisham legal-thriller. My grandmother is asleep in the next room, and Molly is lying at the foot of my parents’ bed. Suddenly, she decides that she’s had enough of loafing around and wants to actually get shit done today. Standing quickly and making her way into the hallway, she stretches out and gazes around. The other bedroom door is slightly ajar. Bingo. She pauses for a quick scratch, subsequently making the entire structure shake gently as the tags on her collar jingle like coins in a pocket. She then makes her way to the door and pushes it open with her nose. She sniffs the air and her tail begins to wag. She spots the cup on the bedside table. Hmm, what’s this? She takes a closer look, edging quietly toward the table, nose outstretched for a whiff. There’s a sudden groan from the bed as my grandmother shifts in her sleep. Molly freezes, careful not to wake her. She waits for a moment, and then, satisfied that unconsciousness is still in play, she sniffs the edge of the cup.
A few minutes pass before Molly re-enters my parents’ bedroom. Dad is still watching the news but is craving another bowl of cereal. He looks out the window at the cloudy sky. Hmm, what are the odds of getting any sailing in today? He mentally asks himself. As if having heard him, Mum answers, “Don’t even think about it”. Her eyes don’t leave the page, but he knows what she means. Damn.
The bed shakes as Molly jumps up and resumes her position at the foot of the bed. Dad looks at her and notices something odd. “Mol?” He takes a closer look. She’s got a strange expression on her face, almost like she’s smiling. “Hey, Chris…” Dad nudges Mum, who reluctantly drags her eyes away from her book. “Mm?” she mumbles in response. He glasses slip down her nose as she gazes up at the dog.
“Does Moll look a bit weird to you?” he asks, eyes not leaving the dog.
“Erm…” she wonders aloud, but then she notices it too. Right on cue, my grandmother bursts into the room more suddenly than a popped balloon. Her hand is clasped over her mouth, muffling her frantic shrieks.
“Zhee…tole…muh…eeeeffff!”…is all that my Dad can make out. His brow furrows as he looks up at his mother with confusion. He looks back to Molly, who now most definitely has a peculiar smile on her face. The smile was wider than would be expected for a dog, and straighter. Molly then bows her head and drops something into my Dad’s lap. He looks down, squinting at the discarded item through his sleepy vision. Trying desperately to stifle his hysterical laughter, he hands my grandmother her false teeth.