How (or not) to accept (give) a compliment?

This blogging business is easy when prompts are handed to you on a plate!  Earlier I read this post by nrhatch, and I was instantly reminded of the following story.

When our children were small we lived in an ‘upmarket’ house in a ‘desirable’ area.  It had the right number of reception rooms, and bathrooms, and we had the statutory dog, well trained of course.  Yes, two children and ticking all the boxes long before there were boxes to be ticked.  Life was grand!  There were days when everything went really smoothly, and there were odd days that didn’t.  We had friends; they all ‘moved’ in the right circles, even our children had friends that ‘moved’ in the same way.

We lived in an area where  a number of people worked abroad.  For instance R and P worked in one of the embassies on the other side of the world.  The side of the world that still had servants in those days, and servants we didn’t have.  Their daughter was a delight, though, Juliet, and during holidays and other visits would come and play with our daughter, however we had never had the pleasure of entertaining R and P.

I want you to  imagine a scene.

Our sitting room was double aspect.  A window at the front, but also one on the side that overlooked fields.  We had woodblock flooring (yes, it was that long ago) which was well kept, with a rug or two suitably placed.  The front window was a bay, and strategically arranged was a collection of houseplants.  I was very good at growing houseplants, so they were dotted in various places around the room too.  It was obviously summer as there was a ficus on the hearth, if it had been winter it would have been in a different part of the room.  Cushions were well arranged on the sofa and chairs….. are you getting the picture?

So, what could happen to spoil this little idyll?

A cat!

An univited cat!

The window that overlooked the fields was open (I told you it was summer) and this very curious creature hopped in from a nearby tree.

This wouldn’t have been a problem, but if you recap a little you will see that I mentioned a dog….

A normally exceptionally well trained dog……


Cat sees dog and hisses

Dog sees cat and advances

Cat sees dog advancing and growls

Dog hears growl and decides that’s enough.  Dog heads for cat

Cat can’t find window

Cat can find window – the bay window

Plants fly, cat finds hearth, tries to escape through chimney

Dog follows cat

Ficus flies

Cushions float as if by magic onto floor as cat finds sofa, is followed by dog and the whole thing goes backwards

Rugs are making the whole situation worse because the woodblock causes them to slip and slide.

Children (both mine) scream and run, not frightened, just joining in, it seems like fun.

I can’t get to the door to open it as there is just too much mayhem.

Thankfully, I struggle across the room, ploughing through spilt soil, broken flower pots and damaged plants, into the hall.  The front door is finally opened, cat sees a way out so departs, well trained dog follows but  is recalled by a word of command (why hadn’t I thought of that before?).

Now I saw that someone was standing on the doorstep.  Yes, you’ve guessed it – P!

I invited her in, and before I could explain what had just happened she stepped into the sitting room

‘Oh, my dear, what a charming room……………………………………………..!’

(By the way, there were two posts today, here’s the earlier one)

12 thoughts on “How (or not) to accept (give) a compliment?

  1. P has a great sense of humor, seems optimistic. I was already imagining a messy room after the cat-dog chase. Humor makes any crazy scenario light. And now you can smile back and share a unique story. Thank you. Very enjoyable post . Have a fun day!


  2. What a funny story! And, you told it so well. At least it was P standing on the doorstep and not the police coming to investigate a disturbance of the peace complaint.


  3. dogs and cats have a way of overtaking life…not a care in the world…not a worry…except for their next meal,..their next poop or pee…and playtime!!! ha, ha…lovely story… 🙂


  4. 😆 What a riot and P’s comment reminds me of same from my childhood and the church… 😉 I’m still laughing…
    Is this an upmarket trait alone? No. I know downmarket and horizontal market (read flat-lined folk in the middle) types who share a love for hypocrisy. Now that was charming! 😉


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