When the boys are at school, my husband is at work and I am in the quiet kitchen getting on with chores, how lucky I am to have two loving dogs to keep me company. They sit beside me at the kitchen table, one on each side. One, the spaniel, gazes up at me with soft, pleading eyes (spaniels are the masters of this look),
while the other, the West Highland terrier, fixes me with a slightly unnerving stare, mouth slightly open, watching my every movement.
I am the centre of their universe. How wonderful to be so adored. Or…wait a minute…could their attention be anything to do with the task in hand?
Ah yes. How could I have been so naive? Shelling peas from the garden is a job which I always enjoy. The snap of the pod as you break it open, the green, sweet smell of the juice on your fingers, the satisfaction of the steadily growing pile of peas. And all the while one’s mind is left clear to think, or to chat with a helper, should there be one. I’m not alone in enjoying this chore. When my younger son is about, I have to race him to the pods before he scoops out all the peas and eats them raw. And the dogs, of course, are busy watching not me, but the shelling process. They are waiting for me to drop them a sweet, crunchy empty pod or two, as they know that, sooner or later, I will. Sucker that I am.
Well, they get the pea pods, the family get the peas, and I get the company of my dogs: everybody’s happy. Cupboard love isn’t so bad.