It’s been a while since I’ve said “Hello” – or “Bonjour” – whichever side of the newly tariffed border you’re reading this from.
I’m sure you’d agree that it’s all been a bit of a roller-coaster since we last chatted. I had hoped to be dusting down my penguin suit and rocking up to a wedding or two by now, but sadly that’s not looking too likely any time soon. Never mind, the penguin says he’s happy to remain in the closet.
Talking of closets, we took on a new recruit this summer at Ollie & Ivy. Back in July, Alfie joined as our florist-in-training and quite frankly life has never been the same since. Like me, he’s a fully-fledged Yorkshire Terrier, but his Ayrshire origins give him a bit of a Gaelic lilt to his bark. Sometimes, I struggle to understand his West Coast ways, but he loves a good romp and who am I to complain? It’s the most fun I’ve had since Ivy made me ‘incomplete’.
I must confess, I turn ten this week and whilst it’s safe to say I’ve retained my youthful looks and boyish charms, as the older statesman, it falls to me to lead the young Alfred and show him the ropes (or in our case, floristry twine).
Not long after the wee pup arrived, we began his floral training with a photoshoot. The lovely Hannah from @houston_hello arrived to take charge of proceedings and whilst Ivy faffed around with flowers, Alfie and I prepared ourselves for our publicity shots. When you’re the face of a nationwide business, it’s always important to look your best, whilst at the same time, trying to make it look effortless. A bit like Jennifer Anniston. To be fair, I’m pretty photogenic - if I do say so myself - and I’ve always been a hit with the ladies – in a sort of George Michael kind of way – so for me – being in front of the lens comes naturally.
Unfortunately, it turns out Alfie is also a bit of a natural when it comes to posing and I am starting to feel the pressure a bit to retain my rightful spot as top dog. Of course, there’s no doubting I’m the more conventionally handsome one, but there’s no getting away from the fact that his impish, cheeky chappie look is also starting to impress the girls.
So much so in fact, Hannah chose Alfie to model our first Ollie’s Grand Bouquet! I mean to say I was agog at the sheer gall of the woman to pick Alfie over me, is an understatement. Not only was it an insult, had she no understanding that this was designed by moi and part of the Simple Ollie’s Flower Collection? What on earth was the woman thinking? She tried to placate me by taking some lifestyle shots. You know the sort - reclining on the sofa or looking wistfully out of the bay window. But I was not amused and I pretty much showed my distain, as I bore my eyes into her, whilst she directed me to “Look this way!”
Anyway, Alfie turned out not to be quite the auto cutie she’d fallen for, when she stepped back into a puddle he’d lovingly created. See, that's what you get when you trade us oldies in for a youngster. “I could take you home, you’re so adorable Alfie!” she cooed. Yeah, well, you take him and I hope he has a swell time with your cat!
Having said that, he’s proved quite useful when it comes to clearing away discarded stems. You’ll often find him chewing on a bloom, which he’s managed to dissect and rearrange on the floor, channelling his inner Jackson Pollock as he scatters. I do tell him that flowers aren’t good for his digestion, but he refuses to take any notice and blindly carries on stuffing himself with stems. He’ll learn. No doubt the hard way. You just can’t tell these young’uns sometimes.
But for now, he’s passed his probation and he’s part of the Ollie & Ivy crew. He seems to be settling in. I just hope he’s the only new addition to the team. If Ivy starts hiring, then I think I’ll have to reconsider this partnership and toddle off back to Paris, where I’m truly admired.
You see, I’m above all that quarantine nonsense. I am a canine and I’m not just simply Ollie, I’m simply a cut above. Not sure my pet passport is valid now though… I’ll have to think about marrying that Irish Setter from the park… hmm….