Saturday 4 July 2015

It's my turn on the Monty and Me by Louisa Bennet Blog Tour

Extract from Monty and Me by Louisa Bennet

‘Aunt Kay used to love gardening. It helped her unwind,’ Rose says, staring at a dented green wheelbarrow just inside the door. ‘She could grow anything. She’d sing to the flowers, you know.’
I look up and see tears in her eyes. I lean against her leg and feel her sadness. It reminds me of my own. I don’t understand why big’uns’ eyes fill with water but I do under­stand the pain of loss and Rose clearly misses this Aunt Kay very much, just like I pine for Paddy, my old master. It feels like I’ve lost a limb and although it will never come back, the memory is agonisingly real. I howled each night at the vet’s, calling Paddy’s name, but in my heart I knew he wouldn’t come.
I miss Paddy’s hand stroking my head. I miss our fishing trips together and how he’d never scold me when I scared away the fish. I miss our evenings; he’d sit in his armchair tapping away at his laptop as I lay at his feet, head resting on his leather slippers. And I miss his smell: musty books, Listerine, woollen cardigan, and liver treats, which he always kept in his cardigan pocket, just in case.
‘Should mow the lawn one day,’ Rose mumbles, as she walks away.
It takes me a while to focus on what she’s said. Mow? Why? I prefer meadow. Love the way the dandelions tickle my belly and the bees scatter as I charge through the tall grass.
I place a wee-mail above Legless’s ancient message. No need to sign it because every dog has a unique aroma. It’s the same wee-mail I’ve left whenever I’ve had the chance to pee. It conveys my shame. I ask one question: who killed Professor Patrick Salt? I hang my head and tuck in my tail as I plod after Rose. She’s investigating his murder, but little does she know, so am I. I failed Paddy in life and I have vowed I will not fail him in his death.
Rose waits for me.
‘Poor boy,’ she says, giving me a pat. ‘I shouldn’t get cross with you. It’s not your fault I’ve messed up at work.’
It’s early evening in September and summer came late this year so the air is still warm and the light has only just begun to fade. We stroll by a greenhouse with panes of glass missing and tomato plants laden with over-ripe fruit. I can smell their sweetness. I also detect a ratty scent. I clock it for investi-gation later, and follow Rose to the very end of the garden where a tall oak tree tickles the sky and a thick yew hedge marks the boundary. My heart races. This must be where the river is. Oh boy! Just like home. Then I remember this is now my home.
In the distance, there’s a low rumble that becomes a clackety-clack. It gets louder as it draws closer. I feel vibra­tions through the ground. My nose is stung by a gush of air, ripe with hot metal, engine oil and rubber. I step back and bark a warning, then there’s a fearful scream from the other side of the hedge. It tears by so fast it’s gone in seconds, its bright eyes glaring at me through gaps in the foliage. My tail is up and curled over my back like a question mark, my legs wide set, then I charge forward and growl at the creature. I must defend us. I bark at Rose to move away, but she stands there laughing, her ponytail bobbing.
‘It’s all right, Monty, just a train. You’re going to have to get used to it. The line’s on the other side of the hedge.’
She strokes my head and I relax. Not sure about this train thing. Never met one before and until I’ve thoroughly sniffed it, I’ll be on my guard.
Rose kneels down and looks me in the eye.
‘The fence is pretty rotten and I can’t afford to fix it. So I need you to promise me you won’t run away.’ She scratches behind my ear.
I can't wait to read this book, I do love a shaggy dog story!! 

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