Late last week and then again last night I looked after Gus, who belongs to one of my colleagues. I stayed at her place both times and the pooch and I got along famously. Gus is a nine-year old Jack Russell who came over to London with his owners about three years ago and he has made himself quite at home.
Gus lives in Marylebone, which I discovered is pronounced "Marla-bone", not "Mary-lee-bone" or "Marl-bun" (as I had first thought). Marylebone is my kind of neighbourhood: expensive; exclusive; and totally adorable. The High Street is home to some fabulous restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques that I've seen around the city. I don't think I could afford to live in Marylebone of course, but I love spending time up there.
Last night was a bit of a mess though, because Gus was very restless and woke me up 4 times in the night so he could bark and chase burglars (all of whom fortunately turned out to be invisible). Obviously I did not sleep very well and woke up early this morning feeling quite cranky, but what can you do?
I took Gus on a really lovely walk through the Paddington Street Gardens (his usual haunt). Google tells me that these Gardens used to be the burial ground for the nearby St Marylebone Church, which is a little creepy but also secretly awesome. Though they are public spaces, the Gardens nevertheless remind me of the residents-only spot that Julia Roberts & Hugh Grant break into in "Notting Hill". I think it's because the Gardens are tucked away off the hustle & bustle of the High Street and you'd hardly know they were there. I suspect that most people in search of green spaces would likely head for nearby Regent's Park, so smaller parks like the Paddington Street Gardens are really for those "in the know" (like Gus).
Aside from getting to know another London neighbourhood, the good thing about looking after Gus is that I have been able to get my 'puppy love' fix. I have been missing Annie-Bot terribly and so it has been great to spend some time with another four-legged fiend again. I know that throwing a slobbery ball and picking up steaming poo is all part and parcel of dog ownership, but I could totally give those bits a miss!