It was cold, too cold for pseudo-Chihuahuas to do more than put their noses outside the door but they were enjoying people watching from the bay window.
‘Look down there! It’s little Abel on the sands. What is he doing?’ Alfie was half wrapped in his blanket which had become a shared blanket, as so much was shared, freely, by the Ossyrians in dogs’ clothing, almost without their realising it was happening.
T got out his binoculars and soon focussed on the toddler, clad in blue wellington boots and a warm all-in-one suit. ‘Very interesting. We should go join them.’
‘But what is he doing?’ demanded Ajax, who could read the amusement shaking T’s shoulders, but not the reason for it.
‘Come and see,’ said T, shaking the dog leads, and off they went, past the Waste Land shelter and along the prom. Just by the Jubilee Clock, the dogs yanked their leads from T’s hand, turned tail with one accord and refused to go on to greet Will, Abel and his mother. T had to follow. When something made Will look up he just caught a glimpse of the dogs mounting the steps to their front door, with the Director some yards in the rear. He did not realise they were avoiding Abel, and T never told him.
Indoors, Alfie shivered: ‘Abel was wading about in that cold water at the edge of the sea and splashing rocks and laughing! I’ll never understand humans. He was enjoying it and his mother and Will were letting him do it, and they were laughing too.’
‘They can’t help sharing his fun, and they aren’t the sort to stop him doing it completely. Sun, Sand and Sea. That’s why we came to Margate.’
‘But not Sun, Sand, Sea and Splash!’ grumbled Alfie.
‘Lighten up boys,’ said T. ‘Laughter is part of being human. Why the wife of Abraham, mother of the great religions, even laughed at God and called her son ‘laughter’ or Isaac. But I don’t think the humans totally understand it themselves.’
Sunset over T and Alfie and Ajax’s house, Margate, January 2017.