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Story 10: BooBoo shows them the sights of London

Updated: Aug 23, 2020

At first BooBoo didn’t hear the barking at the front door, he’d been dozing on the windowsill since breakfast, and the warm sun had made him even more sleepy than usual. After what seemed ages, Dante & Phoebe gave out two more sharp barks, and this time their noise woke BooBoo up. BooBoo gave a long stretch before jumping off his warm spot and going to the door.

Naturally BooBoo was thrilled to see Dante standing there and they both did their usual doodle welcome dance, accompanied by lots of helicopter tail wagging. Once they’d settled down Dante introduced Phoebe, before they all went inside.

Naturally BooBoo was thrilled to see Dante standing there and they both did their usual doodle welcome dance, accompanied by lots of helicopter tail wagging.

BooBoo led them over to the windowsill and they all settled down in the sunny spot to share their news and have a general catch-up. Dante told BooBoo all about the Camberdoodles trip to see Wolfie at the Lighthouse, while Phoebe explained how brave Dante had been in rescuing her in the big waves. When they’d finished telling their stories BooBoo asked what they would like to do for the rest of the day.

Neither Phoebe or Dante had to think for a second, they were hungry. After all they’d had an early start and there hadn’t been a refreshment trolley on the train due to staff shortages. In unison they said, “We’d like to go and eat”. BooBoo was pleased to hear this, because normally his visitors wanted to go sight-seeing to all the crowded places and he really didn’t fancy that today. He’d also had nothing since breakfast so he was hungry too.

BooBoo put on his favourite bandanna and they shut the front door behind them. They walked to the end of the road, and carried on to Portobello Market. Dante remembered the market from his time in London and knew that if they turned left it would lead to the butcher’s shop.

BooBoo is well known at the butcher’s shop, and prefers the self-service approach to shopping, rather than having to wait to be served. He’s also known for not ‘settling-up’ sometimes, but that’s purely because he doesn’t carry money with him. Giles, the butcher’s son is good at keeping a tally on what he’s had and reminds the furless two legs what he owes when they come shopping.

BooBoo introduced Dante and Phoebe to Giles before he bent down to give them all a juicy piece of lean beef. It didn’t take Dante more than two chomps to finish his before looking up and begging for just that little bit more. At that moment a furless two legs walked in to order a joint of lamb for their Sunday lunch, so the doodles left and walked on though the market.

BooBoo decided he fancied Thai today. The best Thai restaurant is above the Duke of Clarence pub right on the market. Although it claims to be ‘doodle friendly’ they didn’t think it really was. The waitress looked snootily down her nose at them saying, ‘ You eat here or take out?’ When BooBoo explained his friends were from Camber and it would be nice to ‘eat here’ today she said abruptly, “No places for one hour, what do you want to do?”

BooBoo knows that waiting or standing still are not things Dante does well, so perhaps it was best they changed their minds and had the ‘take out’ option. Luckily it was a sunny day, so a picnic in Kensington Gardens would be fun. They all chose Thai burgers, with no onions or chillies.

While they were waiting, Phoebe caught a glimpse of something very strange. Out of the corner of her eye, she thought she saw a pile of shopping bags walking down the road towards her! She knew London was famous for extraordinary sights, but she’d never heard of shopping bags walking on their own.

As the bags got closer she heard a familiar voice coming out from underneath them. Suddenly the bags stopped and fell in all different directions onto the pavement. From underneath out jumped Lily-Poo! After the ritual “kiss, kiss, kiss” to everyone, Lily-Poo asked whether they’d ordered for her. As they hadn’t, she went inside to find the waitress and add another burger with no onions or chillies to their order.

While Lily-Poo was ordering Phoebe took a quick look into the shopping bags to see what she’d bought. Sadly she didn’t have enough time to really inspect everything before Lily-Poo rejoined them. What Phoebe had seen though, was a very long receipt with a big number at the bottom. So whatever Lily-Poo had bought, it must have been expensive.

Eventually their food was ready and BooBoo, as the host offered to carry it, Dante and Phoebe helped Lily-Poo with her shopping and they continued through the market, over the Bayswater Road and into Kensington Gardens.

When they were in the gardens and well away from the road, Dante began to remember the green open space. He remembered where his furless two legs had taken him for his first off-lead walk. He remembered chasing squirrels and how he had very nearly caught one being fed by some Japanese tourists. They passed the cafe hut and the children’s play ground before settling by the statue of the very large lady. He remembered the statue and how BooBoo always liked to ‘inspect’ it. He didn’t know who the lady was. The only clue he could see were the two big letters “VR” near the bottom, but he was none the wiser. They sat down and unpacked their lunch.

As they ate they watched all the passers-by. The park was so much busier than Camber, even on the sunniest of days, and everyone seemed to walk so much faster.

After lunch Lily-Poo showed Phoebe her shopping, while Dante and BooBoo ventured down to chase the ducks near the Round Pond. As they walked BooBoo started one of his brotherly chats, asking if Dante was happy in Camber or did he miss the big city. When Dante said he didn’t miss the city, BooBoo changed the subject to their parents. Whenever they’re together they do like to remember their Mum Izzy and Dad, Elmo. Nobody ever speaks as fondly about them as they do, and times like these bring back so many happy memories.

After they’d walked right around the Pond and back to where they’d started, BooBoo felt they’d had enough brotherly chat for one visit, so they walked back to find Lily-Poo and Phoebe still chatting about shopping.“What shall we do now?” said BooBoo, “your train isn’t for ages so we’ve plenty of time to do something rather than sitting here all afternoon”.

Phoebe perked up and said she’s read about a “poppy statue” for animals in London and she thought it might be nice to have a look at it. BooBoo was perplexed because, like most Londoners, he prides himself on knowing all the famous places, but the “poppy statue for animals” was something he’d not heard of. Trying to hide the fact he didn’t know, he asked which one she was thinking about, because there are so many statues in London.

Phoebe felt a little silly, because she didn’t know what to say, she remembered it was very big, and had carvings of doodles, horses and pigeons all around it. Although she thought it looked sad, she also thought it looked pretty. When none of them could think what Phoebe was talking about they decided to help Lily-Poo carry her shopping to her bus stop.

They walked to the edge of Kensington Gardens and over the Carriage Drive into Hyde Park. At the end of Hyde Park they came to a very, very busy road. While deciding how to cross to Lily-Poo’s bus stop, Phoebe shouted out, ‘There it is! There’s the poppy animal statue!’

In the middle of the road was a white stone monument with bronze horses and a donkey. ‘Oh that one!’ said BooBoo.

Eventually they made their way across to the middle of the road to have a look. As they got closer they could see in big letters the words “Animals in War”. When they were right up close they realised it was a monument for all the animals that had helped the furless two legs fight their battles. In the stone wall they saw elephants, goats and doodles beautifully carved into the stone. They slowly read the words: ‘They had no choice’. This made them feel very sad, so they sat down and thought nice happy thoughts instead. After a moment or two of quiet, they all gave a little sigh and got up to help Lily-Poo walk to the bus. As the bus drove off they all waved her “good-bye” as Lily-Poo settled down at the back of top deck.

By now it was getting late and time Phoebe and Dante went to catch their train back to Camber. Dante hugged BooBoo fondly and told him he loved him and reminded him to come to Camber very soon.

On the journey home Dante got to thinking about the day, and decided it had been quite an important day for him. He’d seen his brother and remembered his family, they’d spoken fondly of their Mum and Dad which had made them feel grateful. Then by chance they had found Phoebe’s poppy statue, which had made him realise there were doodles and other animals far less fortunate than him.

All this thinking made him both happy and sad at the same time. This was something he’d not really felt before. When he asked Phoebe if she knew what it was, she said, “You’re feeling gratitude Dante, gratitude for all the good things in your life.

They didn’t talk much for the rest of the way home, they sat quietly, just touching each other, so they knew they were safe in their own thoughts.

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