We’ve got guests coming for the weekend, and (smug in the knowledge that I’d prepared their bedroom in good time) I pottered into the spareroom just now with a vase of flowers as the final welcoming touch. Then I stopped aghast (there is no better word than aghast for how I felt, very onomatopoeic).
The room looked as if a troop of baboons had just turned it over. Duvet on the floor, crumpled pillows, sidetable cleared of alarm clock and book (yes, I put out Book for guests to read: ‘Tales from a Stone Cottage’, a hilarious story of village life, according to the dust cover), a scatter of oddments over the floor (nailbrush, small pointless bag that I never know what to do with, miscellaneous sock).
After a startled pause I realised what had happened: Indie had got in there and played a solo game of Flat Whippets. Flat Whippets, for anybody unfamiliar with the concept, is a lively whippet’s top, top favourite game. To play it properly the whippet needs to start on a bed, or sofa, or raised soft surface. Whippet A bounces into a stylised bowing attitude – front arms flat on the bed, tail in the air (frantically wagging) and waits. Whippet B (or Human B if no Whippet B available) does the same sort of thing. On the count of 3, both leap in the air and come down in a different place but in the same position. This happens several times, and then both A and B freeze, looking at each other with enormous eyes.
Then – this is the interesting bit, and the reason why the spareroom looks as though a twister has just passed leisurely through it – at a time decided by Whippet A, both parties (or just Whippet A if they’ve just got a boring old Human to play with) spontaneously spring off the bed with a scream of excitement and do a wall of death around the room. Several laps are usually needed before Whippet A arrives back on the bed and starts at the beginning again.
I quite often play Flat Whippets with Indie, because he has a vast well of untapped energy, and a brisk few bouts of Flat Whippets leaves him flat on his side with a lolling tongue and heaving ribcage. Nothing else I can offer him at this age has the same effect – one day I’ll be able to take him for long bike rides etc, but he’s still only 5 months. So everybody in the house – cat, Labradors, humans, everybody – welcomes the after-effects of Flat Whippets.
But of course, Indie likes the game very much indeed, and if he can find nobody else to do it with, he’ll do it all by himself. And that is what has happened to the spareroom.