Jas left the house for the first time in several weeks. Previously, our large garden hedge had completely prevented her from venturing outdoors; not physically, of course – it hadn’t suddenly developed feet and moved closer to our door. It (apparently!) had an illness-inducing smell, one that Jas could detect even if she was sitting inside and a hedge-facing window was open.
So, during this slow first walk to the shops, Jas took her new favourite friend: a small bottle of lime essence. It was kind of like walking with someone who was slightly deranged, someone who could see things no-one else could, who was carrying a tiny bottle of gin. Jas would stop after a few steps, look, and then point at nothing in particular (a blank brick wall, for example) and announce that “it smelt”. Then the lime essence would be swiftly planted under her nostrils to mask the smell, and we would move on to a safer sniffing area. This was fine for the quiet walk in, but it did draw a few curious glances in the busy supermarket...
The next day, I was outside in the garden reading on the lawn in the sunshine. Inside, Jas had awoken and gingerly came down the steps, and waved at me from the doorway, Where It Was Safe. She then slowly poked her head outside, and sniffed the air. I felt like I was watching a clown fish wondering if there was any evil lurking in the unprotected open. She then cautiously stepped outside, staying close to the safety of the door, looking and sniffing about, wary of unsuspecting wafts of offending odours.
We’d started thinking of names, but not really coming up with any good ones: good ones that were not already used by friends and family; good ones that didn’t remind us of a kid at school who was a bit of a knob, like the guy at high school who ran into a classroom wall to see if he could put a hole in it with his head. For inspiration, we even started scanning film credits for ideas: “Rupert”, “Shakira”, “Berlin”...Oh, that’s where the film was made. Still, Paris & Siena have become popular, but nothing had grabbed us yet.