The Tales Of Slipper & Rope
Two drunk dogs, Slipper and Rope meet and go on pub crawl which lasts for 28 days.
1st Feb 2022
Once there was a dog called Slipper who spent his days getting drunk, sniffing things and wondering the streets welcoming the attention from kind strangers…and there was no shortage of attention, for Slipper was a very good looking dog. Slipper was at his happiest when completely sloshed, which meant he was always happy. One day on his daily loll abouts, he went into
There sitting at the bar was an old salty sea dog, named Rope. Rope liked nothing better than tying things up, swearing and getting totally plastered. Rope was on his forth whisky and putting a knot in something, when Slipper walked in.
“I’ll have a Bloody Mary,” said Slipper to the Barkeep.
“Ain’t got no tomato juice, I’m afraid,” said the Barkeep.
“’In that case”, said Slipper reaching into his bag, “use this!”, he pulled out a carton of tomato juice and gave it to the Barkeep.
Rope raised half an eyebrow, “Someone came prepared.”
“Oh, you have to,” said Slipper, “what’s the point in living, if you don’t take your drink seriously?” Rope raised his glass in a ‘cheers to that’ for this was music to his pricked ears.
Slipper and Rope talked the whole night through. They discussed everything from barking up the wrong tree to
the 7 principles of art.
When they were 3 sheets to the wind and had totally wound up the Barkeep, by insulting his intelligence and snapping at his heels, they decided to move on to another watering hole, but not before Rope tied him to the jukebox and put
“Who Let The Dogs Out?” on repeat.
2nd Feb 2022 (2.2.22)
“Have you been to Dirty Dicks?” Rope asked Slipper as they staggered out of The Ship.
“No, but I knew a dirty Dick once. He was so filthy, made a coal miner look like a Persil advert.” Slipper replied.
“Yeah? Well they got some ‘real characters’ in Dirty Dicks, kinda does what it says on the tin mate.” Rope snorted.
His senses became heightened, for just at that moment a familiar aroma caught his attention and also the attention of Slipper, who thrust his nose in the air and inhaled.
“Hmm, what’s that? He asked.
“That, my furry friend is Navy Cut tobacco, my favourite”, and they both turned to see an albatross walking by, cigarette in bill with plumes of smoke following behind.
Rope bounded after the albatross, barked a curse word in Mandarin (for he had just spent 8 months on a Junk with Chinese sailors, and couldn’t remember any swear words in English at that precise moment), leapt upon the terrified albatross and pinned him to the ground. “Gimmie those cigarettes”, he snarled. The albatross handed over his nearly full pack of cigarettes and Rope tied him up to some railings for good measure.
“Want one?” Rope asked Slipper
“No, thanks”, said Slipper, “I don’t smoke.”
“And neither should that albatross“, growled Rope, “the amount of flying they do. They need clear lungs for those distances.” Rope exhaled a huge puff of smoke right into Slipper’s face.
“That’s beautiful”, said Slipper sniffing it greedily as they ambled down the street to Dirty Dicks.
3rd Feb 2022
Slipper awoke to a gentle rocking
and for a while couldn’t work out
what it was or where he was.
He sat up feeling very queasy and looked around.
It was a barge.
Then he heard the soft padding
of paws and then Rope appeared.
“Drink this!” he proffered a glass to Slipper, “Hair of the dog. Make you feel right as rain.”
Slipper took the glass and drank and immediately felt better.
“I’m starving”, he said, scratching his tummy, “The Kings Stores, do a very good pub lunch.”
“Lead the way.” Rope collected his stolen cigarettes and they set off.
“You were very popular in Dirty Dicks.” Rope looked at Slipper, the sun
glinting off his collar bathed him in a sanguineous glow.
“I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers.” Slipper replied.
“And I've always been a stranger to kindness.” Rope said.
Slipper looked at him and smiled and Rope squinted ahead.
And with that they silently made their way to the Kings Stores.
Neither could think of anything else to say and it didn’t matter.
4th Feb 2022
Rope was watching two men bare knuckle fighting outside the Tom Cribb, when Slipper came around the corner singing, "A boxing we will go." He stopped in his tracks as he saw the fighters. This was a strange coincidence indeed! What made him sing the words of that poem, for he didn't know there would be boxing outside the pub?
Slipper told Rope about this, who looked at the men battering each other and casually replied, "Synchronicity."
"Oh!" said Slipper.
"Happens all the time." Continued Rope.
"Yeah, but you only notice it occasionally that's all.
"Huh" mused Slipper. He was deep in thought when one of the men came crashing down at his feet. Slipper jumped and heard someone counting backwards and he instinctively leaned forward and licked the man's face, who revived instantly. Leaping to his feet the man punched his opponent squarely on the jaw and sent him flying.
There was cheering and the next thing Slipper knew, he was being taken into the pub, by the man whose face he licked.
"Thank you" said the man as he set Slipper down at a round table. "Let me get you a drink. My name is Tom Cribb and this is my pub."
"Synchronicity." Said Slipper as he remembered seeing the name outside the pub.
"We don't have that." Said Mr.Cribb.
"Oh, no I meant...it doesn't matter, I'll have a Bloody Mary and a whisky for my friend. I'm Slipper." Rope appeared, "and this is my friend Rope."
Mr. Cribb shook their paws and told them that all of their drinks were on the house.
"Result." Said Rope, sitting down next to Slipper.
5th Feb 2022
There was a huge celebration at Tom Cribbs' following his victory, which resulted in the pub having a lock in, where Slipper and Rope drank until they couldn't even sit up or see straight. Slipper became something of a celebrity and he drank like one. Bloody Marys, gin&tonics, pina coladas, black russians, white russians, sangrias, margaritas and every other cocktail the jubilant barmaid could concoct.
Rope stuck to his trusty whiskey, but he did try one of Slipper's cocktails, just to see if he was missing anything...he decided he wasn't.
When Slipper and Rope were finally able to open their eyes, they found that Tom Cribb had them both under each arm and he was smiling in his sleep, probably dreaming about the moment he made the birds twitter around his opponen’s head. Slipper gently nudged Tom Cribb awake and said, "Mr. Cribb, we've got to move on, I'm afraid."
"What? No! Why?" murmured Tom Cribb, still half asleep.
"We cannot stay for two days in any one pub." explained Rope.
"Why is that?", murmured Tom Cribb.
"We don't exactly know why," said Slipper,
"it's like someone else is controlling our destiny."
"You are in charge of your own destiny." Tom Cribb, fully awake now, countered.
"You think so, Mr. Cribb?" Rope asked.
"I do." said Tom Cribb firmly.
"OK." said Rope. He didn’t need to argue his point for he was resolute in his belief.
Tom Cribb looked deep into their eyes. “Lads, I respect your right to have a different opinion
and you must do what you must do, but remember you'll always have a spot and warm welcome here at Tom Cribbs." And with that he kissed each of them.
Slipper was used to the attention and relished it, but Rope struggled with the affection and hated it, but he didn't show it for he did like Tom Cribb."Thank you for your hospitality, you're a true gent, Mr. Cribb." said Slipper
"Call me Tom!" smiled Tom Cribb.
"Much obliged." murmured Rope and with that they set off down the road.
"Where to now?" asked Rope.
Slipper closed his eyes."I'm getting...Mabel's Tavern." Slipper replied.
"Ah, yes," said Rope, "I can see where it is."
6th Feb 2022
“Mabel schmabel!” Sulked Slipper.
“Would you like another Bloody Mary?” Rope tried to console.
“No, I need a rum please.”
“That bad eh?” Rope raised an eyebrow.
“Why call a pub Mabel if your name’s really Lavern?
“Maybe she thought, Lavern’s Tavern wouldn’t be taken seriously?”
“Well, she’s a fraud.” Slipper lamented.
“You probably didn’t have to bite her though?” Rope mused.
“She had it coming.”
“You’re probably right. So a rum then? With coke?"
“Yes, I’m not a savage - Sorry, sorry Rope, I didn’t mean to snap at you.”
“That’s ok Slip, I’ll get the drinks in.” Rope started to make his way over to the bar, but came back immediately. “I think you should know this pub doesn’t have anything to do with the Marquess Of Anglesey.”
They were now in the Marquess Of Anglesey pub.
“I know not all pubs are run by people bearing the names that are on the outside.” Said Slipper indignantly. “I’m just disappointed with Mabel, that's all!”
Rope went to the bar.
Slipper felt bad, he really didn’t mean to be mean to Rope and told him so when he returned.
“I’m so, very sorry Ropey for talking to you like
that - Can I call you Ropey?
“Well, I didn’t ask if I can call you Slip, so I guess it’s ok.” Rope smiled at him.
“It’s just that Mabel…” Slipper took a sip of his rum and coke, “ Mabel was…” he trailed off and looked out of the window. Rope looked at him, but didn’t press. He just waited for Slipper to continue, but Slipper didn’t continue, instead he kept looking out of the window. Rope didn’t say anything, but just moved a little closer to Slipper so he could feel that Rope was there.
Ten minutes went by.“Besides”, said Slipper, “The Marquess Of Anglesey is most likely too busy fighting in the Battle Of Waterloo to run a pub in Theatreland.”
Rope looked ahead and said, “Yes, I think you’re right.”
Slipper looked at him and smiled and Rope smiled back, raised his glass and said, “To the Battle Of Waterloo.”
“Battle Of Waterloo.” Slipper echoed, clinking Rope’s glass.
7th Feb 2022
“Rope, is it really you?” A voice greeted Slipper and Rope as they walked into The Shakespeare. Rope followed the voice from whence it came and there behind the bar, stood a beaming silver haired fox.
“Oh my giddy aunt! Feste, you old fool.” Rope grinned widely.
“Get knotted, Freya.” Teased the barman. “Come ‘ere you old lug.” He came out from behind the bar and he and Rope hugged and slapped each other on the backs so hard, it made Slipper wonder if they were going to start fighting.
“Feste, may I present my friend Slipper?” Feste thrust out his paw.
“Slipper, this is my old ship mate Feste.”
“How do you do?” Said Slipper shaking Feste’s foxy paw.
Feste smiled at Rope, “So, proper!” Returning his dazzling smile to Slipper and shaking his paw, he continued, “Very well, dear chap, very well indeed. Come gentlemen, pull up a pew.” Feste pulled out two bar stools onto which Slipper and Rope hopped. “This one will have a whisky, I know, but what’s your favourite tipple?” Feste inquired of Slipper.
For a reason unknown to Slipper, he responded with, “I’ll have a whisky too.”
Rope shot Slipper a look of surprise and Feste returned behind the bar.
“Neat or on the rocks?” Feste called out to Slipper.
Slipper was thrown. ‘Neat’ sounded quiet, simple and comfortable, whereas ‘on the rocks’ sounded cold, hard and jagged. He refused to look at Rope for help, so he answered, “Neat, please.”
"We sailed around the Cape Of Good Hope together, this clown and I, many, many moons ago.” Rope informed Slipper, who noticed a lightness - a certain playfulness in his companion he hadn’t encountered before. Slipper was very intrigued.
“Do you remember that Boatswain? Nearly got us killed so many times.” Rope continued.
“Couldn’t supervise his way out of a paper bag, poor wretch.” Feste retorted.
“Why ‘poor wretch’, he was an idiot?” Rope grumbled.
“Well, he’s a dead idiot, now.” Said Feste gently.
“Oh, no!” Slipper jumped in involuntarily and immedimmediately felt stupid, because he didn't know the fellow and this wasn’t his story.
“How?” Enquired Rope.
“Made one too many mistakes.” Feste sighed.
“Rather him than us.” Said Rope, feeling like he had dodged a bullet. “Well, anyway cheers to the silly bugger” he raised his glass. “Wait,” said Feste, “let me pour myself one.” Then the two of them raised a glass to the unfortunate boatswain. Feste made a new toast and included Slipper. “And here’s to life .”Slipper coughed loudly as the whisky burnt his throat. He blushed beetroot and made a feeble apology. The two salty sea dogs roared with laughter and patted Slipper on the back.
“Aw, bless!” declared Feste, water pouring from his eyes.
8th Feb 2022
In between serving customers, Feste kept going back to chat to Rope and Slipper which prompted some customers to comment, ‘In your own time mate’ and ‘Don’t mind me!’ and ‘I’ll just stand ‘ere and maybe the lager will jump out of the tap and pop itself into my glass?’ Feste took it all in good spirits.
“You do talk the hind legs off a donkey, Feste.” Said one customer wearing a monocle. “You’re lucky I like this dump, and you.” The monocle laughed.
“Indeed, Sir. Hawtree, I am very lucky…and I know it” Feste beamed as he handed over a cold Guinness to The Monocle.
“That’s one of my regulars. Mr hawtree. I call him sir on account of his monocle. He does wear it well.” Feste was back talking to his friends. “Was thinking of getting one myself.”
“Don’t!” said Rope firmly.
“Just because you have no style, you old knot, doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t pull it off.”
"You can't even pull a sharon off a stone." Rope parried.
Fetse howled with laughter and thumped the bar with his paw. Then stopped suddenly and said, "wait, that doesn't make any sense. Why's the sharon on a stone?"
"Listen, haddock brains..." Rope proceeded to explain the situations where a sharon might be found on a stone and how pulling it off, (or in this case not being able to), might be the cause of some mirth.
Slipper observed the old friends with bemusement. He wished he could be part of that familiarity. He asked for another Whiskey, even though he thought it tasted like hot old boots.
“Are you sure? Wouldn’t you like something a bit more...? ” Feste queried.
“- He generally likes cocktails. Bloody Mary’s mostly.” Rope tried to help by jumping in.
“Listen you stupid old fools. If I say I want a whisky, then I want a bloody whisky, not a bloody mary. Comprende?” Slipper expected them both to crack up laughing and appreciate his gumption.
“Oi! Watch it, you little foot envelope.” Thundered Feste as Rope scowled at Slipper.
Slipper sank into his stool and wished the ground would open up. How could he have misjudged that so badly? Just as he was on the verge of tears, Feste and Rope hee-hawed uproariously.
Your face?” Rope was almost crying, holding his sides.
“A picture!” added Feste. “Pricless.”
Slipper attempted a feeble laugh, but decided he couldn’t, so didn’t.
“Oh come on, was only having a laugh. If you give, you gotta be able to take.” Said Feste.
“So many can’t.” Rope looked rather pointedly at Feste, who returned his gaze. Old memories materialised and bounced like a rubber ball between them. A split second containing a multitude of vistas.
Feste addressed Slipper, “have your whisky mate, on the house…” Then to Rope, “you as well, money for old rope…on the house.”
“I don’t want a whisky, I hate it.” Slipper sulked.
“I’ll have his.” Said Rope.
“What would you like Slipper?” Feste asked gently.
“A bloody Mary.” Slipper whispered.
“Coming right up.”
The three continued to drink and gradually as the haze of the spirits descended further and further, so too did any strangeness.
When it was time, Slipper and Rope said their drunken farewells to Feste and made their way to The Old Monkey.
9th Feb 2022
The Angel In The Fields had a very serene atmosphere…at least that’s what Slipper and Rope thought. They were oblivious to the city clatter permeating their surroundings for they were cocooned by The Spirits smiling at them and they felt warm.
Slipper stood up, his knees buckled so he sat down again.
“Where are you going?” whispered Rope.
“I’m going to the fields.” Whispered Slipper.
“You’re in it.” Breathed Rope.
“Oh yeah.” Slipper looked around. “But, where’s the angel?”
“There!” purred Rope, pointing at Slipper.
Slipper giggled a little giggle and slumped back in the booth. They both exhaled simultaneously and then began breathing in unison as they watched the flowers swaying gently in the breeze before their eyes.
10th Feb 2022
“Ugh, I’m sticking to this carpet!” Slipper wrinkled his nose, returning with a tray of drinks. “I was sticking to the bar and now I’m sticking to theses seats. What in the name of Toto is wrong with this place?”
“I don’t care, the booze is cheap.” Rope quaffed one whisky and reached for another. “Sling a few more bloody mary’s down yer neck and you won’t notice.” Rope was as content as a bee in a buttercup.
“No, yer plonker, we’re inda Pyke. Wot yer doin’ there? Get over ere.” A shrill voice emanated from behind them followed by a shove aimed at Rope’s head.
Rope sprang up and barked ferociously at the leary assailant.
“Sorry mate, sorry.” Apologised the leary one.
“You spilled my drink.” Rope growled.
“Ah sorry mate, I’ll get you another one.” And off he went to the bar.
“Still like it here?” asked Slipper, somewhat amused.
“it’s all part and parcel innit!” Rope resigned as he waited for his replacement drink.
11th Feb 2022
“I once saw Eugen Sandow lift a beer barrel weighing a ton”. Rope was inspecting a new whisky and the light travelling through it made it look like gold. “ Well it wasn’t actually him, it was a look-a-like, but what a look-a-like?
“Who’s Eugene Sandy? queried Slipper.
“Eugen Sandow”, corrected Rope slowly, “was the greatest Victorian strongman and music hall performer.” Rope continued with reverence.
“What was so great about him?” asked Slipper nonplussed.
“His strength. He could lift things, heavy things and flex like no one.”
“I don’t know what flexing is, but lifting heavy things, that I know about. I once had to lift a sack of potatoes out of a van and it was very difficult.” Said Slipper.
“Why were you lifting a sack of potatoes?”
“I was helping a butcher’s lad.” Explained Slipper.
“Oh!” Said Rope. “Well anyway, The Natural History Museum, which was then The British Museum’s South Kensington site, commissioned a cast of Eugen Sandow’s body, but it was too ‘risqué’ for some folk and so it was stuck in the basement for about a hundred years until Arnold Schwarzenegger got in touch and asked to see it.”
“Who’s Arnold Schwarza…Schwarza….?” Stumbled Slipper.
“Schwarzenegger.” Cut in Rope, with just a hint of irritation.
“Arnold Schwarzenegger is the greatest modern day strongman and film star entertainer.”
Slipper thought for a moment.
“It must’ve been very dusty when he got it” he said.
Rope just looked at him and drank his golden nectar leaving Slipper to think about
a hundred years of dust.
12th Feb 2022
Slipper and Rope were on their way to the
Old Coffee House,
when a trio of barber bears came ‘round the corner carrying three lightweight chairs, their barbershop implements and a sign saying ‘Alfresco! Shearing On The Go.’
“Gentlemen”, one of the bears drawled in his silky tones, “can I interest you in a quick trim, not that your appearance is aesthetically displeasing, it’s only a matter of accentuating your already fine features.” The bear’s voice could seduce a duck billed platypus at ten paces. Slipper and Rope were immediately entranced.
“Yes.” Squeeked Slipper.
“Uh-huh!” Rope agreed.
Quick as a flash, the 3 bears swept up Slipper and Rope in their giant paws and firmly, but attentively secured them into the barbering chairs. They sang ‘O Solo Mio’ exquisitely as their fingers with speedy dexterity, snipped and nipped at the offending hairs. Slipper and Rope were in a heavenly repose as the bears worked their magic.
Then, just as quickly as the bears had put them into the chairs, they quickly put them out again. Slipper and Rope came back down to earth with a sudden bump.
“Thank you Gentlemen, you are ready to devastate the world.” Drawled the bear.
Slipper’s head was still slightly cloudy, but Rope replied, “We’re only going across the road to the Old Coffee House.”
“Well, devastate them in there. That will be 300 berries please.”Insisted the bear.
Slipper was fully compos mentis now. "We don’t have 300 berries," he said with a touch of despair.
"Do you think we walk around everyday willy nilly with 300 berries?” demanded an incredulous Rope.
“That is the price.” Growled the bears in unison, extending themselves fully onto their hind legs and towering over Slipper and Rope. “Are you going to pay, or do we stick those grubby hairs back on and not necessarily where they came from?”
Rope was not in the slightest bit intimidated by them. He had dealt with a lot of alpha bears in his time. “Alright, alright lads”, he said politely, but very firmly, “I’ll tell you what. We clearly don’t have 300 berries about our person at the present mo, but how about we buy you a round of beers. Beers for bears, what do you say?”
The 3 bears looked at each other. Using telepathy they communicated that beer would indeed be a helluva lot better than berries.“Alright” said the bear who spoke them originally. “But we might need more than one beer!”
“Of course!” replied Rope as though it was a given. And with that he and Slipper lead the 3 bears into the Old Coffee House where they remained for the rest of the evening, getting smashed and becoming firm friends in the process.
13th Feb 2022
Those are a fine looking pair of Wellington boots,” said Slipper admiring Rope’s get up.
“Oh these old Wellies?” deprecated Rope, “I’ve had them ages. They’ve travelled around the world with me.”
“Those boots were made for walking, eh?” Beamed Slipper, quite pleased with himself.
“These boots are made for walking!” Said Slipper encouragingly.
“What?” Rope repeated.
“You know.” And Slipper proceeded to sing…”These boots are made for walking / And that’s just what they’ll do / One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.”
Rope looked blankly at Slipper.
“Oh come on.” Cried Slipped. “You must know that.”
Rope shook his head.
“Nancy Sinatra?” Slipper’s mind boggled.
“Who’s that?” asked Rope.
“Who’s that?” Blurted Slipper. “Frank Sinatra’s daughter.”
“I didn’t know he had a daughter.” Rope replied unimpressed.
“Oh, you heard of him, have you?
“Everyone’s heard of Frank Sinatra.”
“And everyone’s heard of his daughter.”
“I haven’t. I don’t keep tabs on celebrity’s offspring.”
“But, this one was famous…and for good reason.” Slipper tried to impress upon Rope, but he wasn’t having it. As they were about to enter the Duke Of Wellington, Rope changed the subject. “Bloody mary?”
“No, Gin&Tonic please.”Just as they passed the pub’s threshold, ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking”, greeted them from the juke-box. Slipper squealed with delight and grabbed Rope, this is it, this is it. Nancy Sinatra…boots are made for walking.”Rope stopped for a second and listened. “Catchy!” he said flippantly and then continued to the bar.
“Catchy? It’s a classic.” Remarked Slipper pompously.
“’Strangers In The Night’ is a classic. ‘My Way’ is a classic, ‘Come Fly With Me’ is a classic. ‘The Walking Boots’ is catchy.”
“Well, they’re gonna walk all over you one day.” Muttered Slipped under his breath as he strode away to find a table.
14th Feb 2022
“Have you ever had a Bishops Finger?” Rope asked Slipper.
“Once a long time ago, when I had a bone stuck in my throat, the local bishop reached inside and very kindly plucked it out, but I’m not religious anymore,” Slipper remarked.
“You’re very lucky to be here,” reflected Rope.
“I’ll say!” Slipper replied gratefully. “Whisky?”
“Yes please,” answered Rope and off Slipper trotted to the bar.
Rope sat in a booth and ruminated. He took something out of his pocket, which he always carried with him and looked at it. He hid it as he heard Slipper's whistling approach .
“Here you are!” said Slipper cheerfully.
“I have something for you,” Rope told him. “Close your eyes and hold out your paw.” Slipper did as he was bid, then Rope said, “Open your eyes.”
Slipper opened his eyes and looked at the object that Rope had placed there. “What is it?” he asked.
“A talisman. It was given to me by a village chief in the Pacific Isles, for good luck.”
“I can’t accept this,” pleaded Slipper. “It’s yours.”
“And, I want you to have it…for continuing good luck.”
“But what about you? Don’t you need good luck? Slipper asked concerned.
“I’ll have it If I’m with you!” Rope took a sip of his whisky and settled back into his seat. Slipper turned the talisman over in his paws and felt a warmth spreading through them and into the rest of his body. He sat back and sipped his bloody mary.
“Thank you Rope.”
Rope looked at him and smiled. “You’re welcome Slipper.”
15th Feb 2022
Slipper and Rope were walking through the park on their way to another pub. “I’m getting… hope,” said Slipper. Then a little bit later, “Ah yes, It’s called The Hope.”
Rope was working on a knot and Slipper started to sing a little song that just popped into his head.
As they walked a smell travelled through the air to reach Slipper’s nose. “Hmmm! Don’t you just love the smell of freshly cut grass?”
“I prefer the smell of gasoline, myself," Rope said casually, “and metal…and grease…and oil.”
“You just like being on a ship,” Slipper laughed.
“I do,” agreed Rope.
“I also like the smell of wood shavings", continued Slipper.
“Me too,” said Rope.
“Perhaps we can visit a carpenter one day and sit in his shop?" suggested Slipper.
“That would be nice.”
“I like the smell of the earth when it rains.” Slipper thought about other smells that he liked.
“I like the smell of the sea, the salty air,” said Rope wistfully.
There followed a little silence, then they continued listing the smells they liked as they sauntered through the park on the way to The Hope.
16th Feb 2022
Admiral Hardy was propping up the bar when Slipper and Rope walked in. Rope ordered his usual whisky and a bloody mary for Slipper.
“Have you tired Whyte & Mackay 50 year whisky? The Admiral asked Rope.
“Don’t think I have.” Rope replied.
“Cost about one and half grand a bottle.”
“Then I definitely haven’t .” laughed Rope. “I’m not that refined.
“Neither am I,” laughed the Admiral too. “A salesman tried to sell me a bottle knowing I like whisky."
“My pallet is more accustomed to paint stripper.” Rope joked.
“Ha! That’s exactly what I said to that salesman.” The Admiral roared and Rope thought, he seems like fun.”Admiral Hardy at your service” he said extending his hand.
“Rope, and this is Slipper.”
“Nice to meet you both. Rope, you strike me as a sea-faring fellow,” the Admiral observed.
“Takes one to know one, eh?” said Rope, raising one eyebrow.
“I knew it. What boats have you sailed on?” quizzed the Admiral.
“The Mary Celeste, The Bonham-Carter, The Almodovar” and “The Jolly Roger,” said Rope wryly. The Admiral slapped the bar and cried “Ha ha, good one...Jolly Roger ha ha. Speaking of pirates, I know the Captain of The Almodovar. Pedro, the old dog…no offence,” the Admiral added quickly.
“None taken, smiled Rope. “Captain Pedro taught me a lot about tying things up and down. It wasn’t a bad education at all, but sometimes I used to think what have I done to deserve this as the lessons could go on and on and this from someone who loves tying things up.”
“Yes, Captain Pedro can be a bit intense, it’s all about pain and glory with him, but a decent fellow none-the-less and a matador in this spare time, I hear. Well, good for him, although I really don’t like bull fights.”
“Me neither.” said Slipper with disgust.
“So, what boats have you sailed on Admiral?” Asked Rope.
Only one, in fact my boat The Cutty Sark’s moored just outside.”
“That’s your ship?” Squealed Slipper with delight. The Admiral smiled and nodded. “It’s possibly one of the most beautiful ships I’ve ever seen. I’ve always wanted to have a look around inside.” Slipper continued gushing.
“Well in that case, I’ll give you a tour a bit later on.” said the Admiral kindly.
Slipper could hardly contain himself. Rope was terribly impressed as well, but he was far too cool to show it.
17th Feb 2022
"Where the dickens is it?" Slipper sniggered, pretending not to see the pub across the road.
"It's right there." Rope replied flatly pointing at the pub just across from them.
"I know." Slipper said rather dejectedly, "I was being funny."
"You were? Oh ok sorry." Rope thought for a second. "What's the Joke?"
"I said Dickens and it's the Oliver Twist pub." Explained Slipper.
Rope thought again. "Ok." Still sounding non the wiser. "I don't get it."
Slipper tried again. "Charles Dickens wrote the book Oliver Twist and this pub is called Oliver Twist. And I said where the dickens is it when I could've said where on earth is it, but I said dickens. See?"
"Oh, I see! That is funny." Rope tried to sound sympathetic.
"Not any more," said Slipper gloomily.
Slipper and Rope went into the pub and after a few rounds, Rope looked at slipper, held out his glass and said, "Please, Sir, I want some more."
Slipper sprang up and cried, "That's what Oliver Twist says in the book. It's the famous quote."
Rope looked very pleased with himself and replied nonchalantly, "I know."
"What? What?" Stammered Slipper, "So you were just taking the mickey outside?"
"Sorry, you did set yourself up quite nicely. I couldn't help myself," laughed Rope.
Slipper wasn't amused. "Oh couldn't you? I should aim a blow at your head with a ladle, but luckily for you, I don't have one, so instead, you can get your own drink." And with that he got up and went to the bar to order a bloody mary for himself and nothing for Rope.
18th Feb 2022
It turned out that Slipper and Rope were good friends with Jack Beard, but only realised it when they got to the pub.
"How do you know him?" Rope asked Slipper.
"He used to run with the wolves on sports day at my school. He was very fast and broke quite a few records. Much faster than Mr. Hook, the wolf who had previously held the record as fastest hairy thing. Then Jack Beard came along and snatched the record." Slipper felt immense pride in his friend. "And you?"
"I met him in a bar in Shanghai." Rope answerd. "He was trading with some merchants, not sure it was all legit, but that was none of my business. He seemed like a good egg and we got on like a house on fire.
In fact we did set fire to the bar...quite by accident - "
"Naturally!" Slipper interjected, but Rope's smile left him with a smattering of uncertainty.
"You see", continued Rope, "we were completely blotto and didn't realise our cigars had rolled off the table and had found its way to the straw which was littering the floor."
"Straw?" Slipper was perplexed
"Yes, for the livestock." Explained Rope.
"Interesting place!" Mused Slipper.
"You have no idea," said Rope mysteriously.
19th Feb 2022
The fire was crackling and Slipper and Rope were eight drinks in and feeling very mellow in the cosy bosom of The Talbot.
"This is the life." Slipper said taking a sip of his bloody mary and missing his mouth. This caused Rope to chuckle, which in turn made Slipper laugh. "Where is my mouth?" He said, licking some bloody mary off the table.
"You look like a hunting hound." Rope told Slipper, "Licking up some blood from his catch."
"Yuck." Slipper made a face. "I'm glad I wasn't born a Talbot. I don't have the stomach for biting the heads off things."
"That's not what Talbots did," Rope slurred. "they were hunters not psychopaths."
"Same difference." Slipper said trying to take another sip of his drink and succeeding this time...just about.
20th Feb 2022
Rope woke up to a rattling. He looked over and saw that Slipper was still fast asleep. He got up and followed the sound. It was coming from outside his barge and there was a large man rattling a large chain.
“What in the name of Rover are you doing?” Demanded Rope.
“What’s it to do with you?” Came a rather unpleasant reply.
“You’re outside my barge at this unholy hour making a flippin’ racket. So I’d say it has a lot to do with me,” growled Rope.
“I’m on my way Ghostville and this chain is bloody heavy, so forgive me if I’ve woken you from your precious slumber,” came a sarcastic and simultaneously melancholic reply.
“Why do you have to carry that there?” asked Rope a bit gentler.
“Penance.” Replied the man.
“Is it far?” Asked Rope.
“It’s an eternity,” said the forlorn man.
“Would you like a whisky for your travels?” Rope offered.
“That would be nice.”
Rope went to fetch a bottle and poured them both a drink. They drank in silence and listened to the birds singing in the trees.
“Thank you” said the man getting up and picking up his chain. He started to move off, then stopped, looked over his shoulder and said, “your kindness has helped me.”
“I think I’ve been helped too.” Rope returned. And with that the man was off on his rattling
way. Rope watched him then went back to Slipper, who yawned himself awake. “I had the most peculiar dream. There was a man outside the barge rattling a large chain. That’s funny. It’s almost like I can still hear it. Weird!”
Rope listen to the chain in the distance. “That is a weird dream." Rope said surprised. He looked out of the window and asked "Where’s our watering hole today?”
Slipper closed his eyes and tuned in. “The Kilkenny Tavern.”
21st Feb 2022
"What's a doric arch, when it's at home?" Rope asked, slurring his words.
"I think it's a hic..." Slipper had the hiccups.
"A what?" Rope questioned, turning his glass upside down and looking into it - yes it was empty.
"An arch with a doric on hic, on top," offered Slipper helpfully, licking his celery stick that was dripping with bloody mary.
"I see," said Rope, wiping the inside of the glass with his paw then licking it, "but, what's a doric?"
Slipper thought long and hard through a series of wild hiccups, then when he felt it safe to speak said, "it's a hat that the arch wears...hic"
Rope looked at his companion impressed. "Makes sense," he said attempting to get up, but found that he couldn't. "I need a wee," he said unable to move.
22nd Feb 2022
Rope was feeling a little ignored as Slipper flicked through the latest edition of Doggie Styler. "Did I tell you about the time I worked with Sherlock Holmes?" Rope aggrandised.
"You worked with Sherlock Holmes?" Slipper's attention was caught like a salmon leaping out of a stream right into the arms of a bear."
Rope beamed and said rather loudly, "Oh yes, I worked with Sherlock - I was the inspiration for the hound - in Hound Of The Baskervilles."
"Who was the inspiration for the Baskervilles?" Slipper leaned forward in his seat.
"That's irrelevant." Rope replied dismissively. "Sherlock was very impressed with my ability to tie an impressive knot."
"I didn't realise the hound tied things up in the story." Slipper furrowed his brow.
"That bit was left out of the book, due to the publishers wanting a shorter version, because people's attention spans were quite poor at the time - they're even poorer now, so they took it out purely for marketing purposes. The knots were put back in, in the redux edition."
"Oooh, I must get that edition." Slipper was dead impressed.
"That edition is now out of print...erm, due to it being so popular." Rope wet his lips with a sip a whisky and looked into the light.
"Look at you superstar! Rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous."
"They're really just like everybody else."
"Oh, did you meet Dr. Watson?" Enquired Slipper eagerly."No, I wasn't sick at the time." Rope replied."Pity." Said Slipper."Pity." Said Rope. "Because a few days after meeting Sherlock, I developed a rash on my...well that's not important, but if I had met the Doctor I could've shown it to him.""I'm sure he would've loved that." Said Slipper."Yes," said Rope, "doctors like looking at rashes." "It's what they do," agreed Slipper.
23rd Feb 2022
"How gruesome" shuddered Slipper after Rope explained what it meant to be hung, drawn and quartered. "Why are humans so violent?"
"It's in their DNA," said Rope.
"Oh, so they can't help it?" asked Slipper.
Rope drew down the corners of his mouth. "Oh no, they can help it alright. It's a choice."
"What a barbarous nature people have?" said Slipper.
Rope looked around. It's getting busy in here, work rush. I'm going to the bar, bloody mary?"
"No", replied Slipper, "I don't want anything bloody today, I'm choosing a gin&tonic"
"Good lad." And off popped Rope to the bar, which was filling up with people being pumped out of their offices.
24th Feb 2022
"You know, I once journeyed on The Enterprise? Rope informed Slipper as he gulped down one whisky and reached for another.
"What was Spock like? You know he always reminded me of my cousin, Nigel Doberman. He had sticky uppy ears just like Spock." Slipper was having a Margarita today, in honour of his favourite D-list celebrity, Margarita De Pooch, whose birthday it was..
"Not The Starship Enterprise, but the boat that this pub was named after. We sailed to The North Pole and I made friends with a sleuth of polar bears." Reminisced Rope, downing another whisky and reaching for another.
"Was their fur really soft and fluffy?" Slipper asked stroking a beer mat.
"Extremely so," said Rope. "Curling up next them and going to sleep, you forgot you were in minus 89 degrees."
"Minus 89? O.M.G! That's as cold as the ninth circle of hell." Slipper was incredulous.
"Well, it was around there, give or take a few degrees. I was very sad to leave. Roger, one
of polar bears carved an igloo for me, but it melted when we got to the South Pole. But it did make a very good ice cube for my whisky."
"That was handy," said Slipper licking the salt off his glass.
"Indeed," said Rope. "Those polar bears are very forward thinking, when it comes to things having multiple uses."
Slipper was impressed. "I've always liked polar bears. Perhaps we can visit your friend Roger one day?"
"That's a good idea," said Rope. "I'll send him a letter and some fish and ask when he's free?"
25th Feb 2022
"Funny we should be here in the Dial Arch today and with the Woolwich Aresnal just a stone's throw," said Rope
"Yes, very strange." Slipper concurred. "Why do you think history is circular?"
Rope thought about this. "I've never thought of it being circular."
"It repeats itself doesn't it, history?" Slipper said.
"Yes, I suppose it does," agreed Rope.
"Then it must be circular. And, is that because the world in which we live is rotating on an axis and all of nature is cyclical and history is not something in the past, but is being made constantly from the present and we are ever changing and therefore oscillate back and forth in our ideas and beliefs?" Slipper was nursing a bloody mary with his eyes closed and it was as if a voice was speaking through him.
Rope looked quizzically at his companion, but didn't have
"I don't really understand all that you've said." Rope took a swig of whisky and stroked Slipper's paw.
Slipper opened his eyes and scratched his head. "Actually neither do I," he said baffled.
"Let's not think, let's just drink. Slip, that I understand," said Rope.
Slipper looked at him and nodded.
26th Feb 2022
Norman Rhinestone was looking out of his inn as Slipper and Rope drew up in their coach.
"Hello Slipper. Who's your friend?"
"This is Rope, he's good at tying things up."
"Oh good, well there's a rather naughty badger out in the beer garden that needs rounding up and taking back to zoo." Norman started leading the way, but Rope stopped him.
"I need a drink first." Rope grumbled and walked towards the bar. "Oh and by the way, nice to meet you. How are you? Charmed, I'm sure.. not!" He didn't wait for an answer.
Slipper looked at Norman and blushed with embarrassment. Norman went into the beer garden and Slipper followed Rope into the bar.
"That was a bit rude."
"Not as rude as your Gemstone." Huffed Rope.
"Rhinestone." Corrected Slipper.
"Could be millstone for all I care, that man is rude. Doesn't say a single word to me, no greeting whatsoever but expects me to go to work for him like some lackey? Not on your Nelly mate." He turned to the bartender, "Whisky please. Make that two." Then back to Slipper. "Why don't go with him. Coming in here, telling me I'm rude." Snapped Rope, his face like thunder.
"What is wrong with you?" Slipper's voice cracked from the hurt.
"Nothing wrong with me mate, what's wrong with you?" Rope turned away and downed one whisky after another. "Bartender, another one."
"You're being unreasonably mean and I don't like it" cried Slipper.
"Good," said Rope coldly.
"I'm going to Norman, not staying here with you." Slipper was confused, hurt and angry. He ran out to the beer garden to look for Norman.
Rope scowled and poured the whisky down his throat and asked for another.
27th Feb 2022
Slipper came into the bar with Norman Rhinestone from the beer garden where they had captured the cheeky badger and sent it packing with the zookeeper. They went over to the table where Rope was slumped looking very miserable.
“Hello Rope,” said Normal Rhinestone, “I want to apologise for my behaviour earlier on. It’s inexcusable and I’m sorry.”
Rope looked up and saw Mr. Rhinestone holding out his hand with an anxious Slipper behind him.
“Thank you for your apology and please accept mine.” Rope replied shaking Norman Rhinestone’s hand. “And sorry to you as well Slipper.”
“Oh, Rope, I’m sorry too.” Slipper ran over and hugged his friend.
“Sit down and you as well Mr.Rhinestone.”
“Call me Norman,” he turned to the bartender and shouted, “Balthazar, bring us 3 shots and boys order anything else you like.”
“Whisky.” Rope called over and Slipper shouted for a Bloody mary.
After several drinks and stories of animals escaping from the zoo, especially the badger who keeps coming back. Slipper received a message that they had to go The George.
“Why don’t you come with us, Norman?” Rope suggested.
“Yes, do.” Slipper encouraged.
“Ok, thank you, I will. I understand that George is now friends with The Dragon,” said Norman Rhinestone.
“Yes, after they both realised they had more in common, they started to see each other in a very different light,” added Slipper.
“George saw that he didn’t need to dominate Dragon and Dragon no longer saw him as a threat,” continued Rope.
“Balthazar, please get my coach and horses and tell Mr. Jangles we’re going to see George and his friend Dragon.”
“Yes, Mr. Rhinestone, would you like your stetson?”
“Yes, Balthazar and let us take a cask of our finest ale as a present for our two pubs belong to very different breweries.”
Slipper looked at Rope and smiled and Rope squeezed his paw in return.
28th Feb 2022
“The visions have stopped.” Slipper closed his eyes and concentrated more intently, then after a while, “No, nothing. We’re not receiving instructions for any further pub crawls Rope.”
“Well, Slipper mi lad, looks like this is it I’m afraid! Plus my ship leaves at midnight.”
“So this really is it!” said a very dejected Slipper. He picked up his bloody mary and took a gulp. Rope swigged a mouthful of whisky and remained silent. “We’ve been together, every day for the last 28 days. It will be very strange not to see you tomorrow.” Slipper’s gloom was beginning to slip and Rope caught some it.
“Weird!” Rope told the bottom of his glass.
Just then Irma Thomas’s ‘Time Is On My Side” issued forth from the jukebox in the dark, dusty corner. Slipper looked at Rope, his eyes battling to keep the floodgates closed. Rope looked at his companion and felt a knot doing a number on his intestines. Alas he thought, ‘if only I could untie this wretched knot….Oof, it’s really squeezing my guts…I’m usually great with knots’. Just then a wild thought sprang into his mind like a gazelle springing through the plains of the Serengeti.
“Why don’t you come with me?” He grasped Slipper’s paw.
“What?” Slipper was jolted out of his gloomy reverie.
“Come with me, when we set sail tonight. You can share my cabin and the Captain won’t mind as long as you pull your weight on deck. What do you say?.”
“Ok, yes! Yes, I’ll come.” A fire was lit under Slipper. “And I can provide the entertainment on rough stormy nights when the crew need cheering up.” Slipper’s elation was gushing out of him like a shooting star hurtling across an inky sky shedding light into the folds of darkness.
“Yes, you can sing.” Rope jumped up.
“And I can play the ukulele too.” Slipper sprang into the arms of his friend and they danced into the night with Irma Thomas serenading them.