The reasons for moving to Paris were initially unclear to me. But then, as is often the way, Ivy comes up with a crazy plan and before I can protest, I’m being picked up and carried off to start a new adventure.
Parisian life was definitely different to anything I had experienced before. Even a cultured canine like myself could not have predicted the intensity of living in such a magnificent city. It was a two-year sensory overload!
Ivy and I regularly promenaded along la Seine. She would sashay along in her 1950s apparel and I would strut my stuff, like I was auditioning for Paris Fashion Week to grand acclaim by the locals. To be honest, I’ve never fully understood why they’re called catwalks… I mean… what’s so special about cats, uh? They don’t even leave their apartment in Paris. Strange creatures.
But catwalks are where it’s at, certainly in this town and they’re where you’ll find a whole cornucopia of fabulousness. Including amazing florals. In fact, our fleuriste extraordinaire, Catherine, who was our floral guiding light whilst living in Paris, was a bit of a fashion week expert, when it came to creating blooms for the rich and famous.
The notches on her flowerbed post are pretty impressive and it’s certainly true that when it comes to training, Ivy and I were definitely tutored by the best. Catherine and her team inspired us both to throw away the flower rule book and think outside the floral box. I mean, I’m not really sure I even know what the rules are that principally govern flower arranging, but whatever they are, I’m told we don’t use them.
Of course, the combination of Ivy’s mood swings and my creative genius means that together, we’re incapable of following any rules or indeed any book. We make it up as we go along. Or as Ivy puts it, “we let the creative spirits in and guide us”. In reality, the only spirits Ivy lets in are the ones she finds in a bottle, but it’s probably not wise to divulge too much, dear reader, not at this stage.
So, part of the reason we rocked up in Paris was to find ourselves. A mid-life crisis in my view, when it comes to my assistant, but what can you do? So I indulged Ivy by joining her in her quest to be ‘rediscovered’. And in fairness, we did discover a lot of things. Firstly, I’m a natural when it comes to colour and creativity. I always knew I had a bit of a flair for design the day I ‘rearranged’ Ivy’s flowers in her precious raised beds back in Blighty, but I was unprepared for the depths of my talents.
I think Ivy was somewhat taken aback, when she discovered how naturally floristry came to me. She’d imaged she’d be the better designer, but I surpassed even Catherine’s expectations of any Parisian chien she’d allowed through her Rue des Pyramides school doors. Our French queen could see I was going places, long before even I recognised my own genius. But then, being modest has always been my downfall.
Time to step aside Simon Lycett, there’s a new dog on the floral block and once my paws hit the cobbles of New Covent Garden Flower Market, you’ll be quivering in your DM boots! So be prepared… I jest of course. I’m not really that competitive. But touch one of my Sweet Avalanche roses and I’ll kill you with a deathly stare. Ivy and I have perfected the deathly stare for those hard to please customers. So if you find yourself in possession of one, you know you’ve crossed the line. Forewarned is forearmed. Or in my case, four-legged.
So, there we were – in Paris – learning all about colour, form and texture, gliding down Rue des Pyramides with our bouquets of carefully curated stems each evening after school, pinching ourselves that we were actually here, living the dream! Stopping en route home for a Kir Royale and an occasional sniff.
But of course it wasn’t all dreamy. Some days were in fact dreary, but that was largely down to the weather. I’ve never been a fan of the rain, which is naturally why Ivy chose to relocate us to Scotland! No method - but plenty of madness – for all to see here!
And that’s how we started. By dipping our paws into Parisian life and learning new lessons and new ways.
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Ivy on the other hand, she’s a tough cookie to teach, but Lord, you can’t say I’ve not tried these past years…