My next door neighbour was, I think, a fully paid up member of that dying breed – the British eccentric. Every morning, Mr P.,as I shall call him, came out of his decaying house (or his gentleman’s residence, as he liked torefer to it) and stood, in his pyjamas and dressing gown on his front lawn ready to torment the dog next door. This dog, a friendly enough Jack Russell, belonged to Vi, a sturdy widow, who had no time for Mr P. Not surprising, really, given that as soon as Mr P spied the dog he would start skipping up and down, waving his walking stick and hooting loudly. The dog, Muffy by name, after a second of startled staring, would then hurl herself at the fence, barking and howling with increasing frenzy, until Vi came out to get her.
‘I keep telling you Mr P, you’re driving my dog mad! You’re not to do this!’ said Vi, gathering the squirming dog into her arms, and glaring at our neighbour.
But Mr P would simply lean on his walking stick, look at her kindly and say, ‘It has to be done, Mrs Dillon. Has to be done. I’m training her to attack burglars.’
Which was all very well until the day he had to call on Vi, and Muffy bit him in the leg.