Picture the Seventh.
Alas, Beanie dog has retired. Before you even knew of his prowess, his superpowers. You have never heard of Beanie, yet he will superheat and comfort no more. Now he is just a beanie old dog, made of sackcloth, a noticeable burn creating a fetching belly button.
I jump ahead. Beanie has backstory.
Just before Christmas I spied Beanie on the shelves of a well-known supermarket which shall remain nameless. He is a hot dog: a dog filled with wheat or some such thing which can heat up in the microwave.
Beanie proved very comforting, very quickly. He put Bagpuss, rabbit and the other beanie occupiers of Shrewsday Mansions to shame. He had extra-super-qualities, and at key moments all of us here have spent a night with Beanie Dog and been the better for it.
The Celt and I have been poorly: me with flu, transmogrifying into a crippling migraine, and he with a very painful back. He does not possess a microwave(it is the instrument of the Devil) and Beanie only works here at the forest house. I’d sit staring through a fevery haze at his house, watching him wincing, and I’d say: what you need is Beanie Dog.
He arrived duly on Sunday and Beanie administered his doggie magic. And when it came to Monday morning early I padded downstairs to heat Beanie for half an hour of comfort before the day began.
Only I am not a tempered person, so to speak. Here they would say I don’t do things by halves. I put him in and turned the dial to two minutes on full heat, and Beanie began to warm.
When I returned, Beanie was a little more than warm. There was a smell coming from Beanie Dog and he steamed industriously. I carried out a Shrewsday health and safety check and concluded he was safe but smelly. I bore him through the house, upstairs to a sleeping Celt. Fumes followed me slavishly.
I have no idea whether Beanie was a comfort to him. I opened the gambit over coffee later. “Beanie Dog is quite smelly,” I pronounced. The Celt agreed and began scrutinising Beanie’s label, which I confess I have never, ever, ever read.
Half an hour later I walked into the room to be told Beanie had heated his last human. “Have you read this label?” the Celt asked.
I shook my head meekly.
“This says you can heat Beanie Dog for 30 seconds, and a minute at the most,” he said in that very measured, patient, level voice, the one with has an imperceptible overtone of scandalised incredulity.
We did not say any more on the subject. Beanie will not be thrown away, you understand, but he must be retired. Once there is a mark on a beanie warmer it is best not to use them again.
I am scheming to track down a Beanie II.