WHISPERING SMITH: It’s easy to win a lot of new friends

I HAVE had a lady friend staying with me over the last week, handsome in her own way but a tad neurotic,

She cried every time I left the house and spent the first couple of days following me from room to room, sleeping on my feet and trying to eat the cat.

She settled down after a short while, though only after the cat fought back, leaving her a nervous wreck, and having accepted the fact that her tears meant nothing to me.

My lady friend also had the annoying habit of pooping as far away as possible from a red bin, leaving me to trek across The Green or along the Promenade carrying a yellow plastic bag filled with I know not what, certainly not resembling anything I had given her to eat.

She chased a ball, thrown from one of those brilliant stick ball throwing things a couple of times, but if it went too far, she simply stared at me, turned her back and left me to go fetch it.

Still, all in all, it was an interesting experience, getting me up and out of the house early in the morning and again in the late afternoon, come rain or shine, and I did meet a lot of other really nice, chatty Littlehampton doggy people.

Strange how folk are more sociable and all round more friendly if you have a mutt with you.

She goes home today and in some ways I will miss her. I have packed her bag but I am retaining any uneaten black dog biscuits, as they go down quite well with a late night cup of cocoa.

I TREKKED out to Slindon with a friend last week on a wet, grey day and had a simple snack and a glass of wine in The Forge village shop-cum-café – sadly, there is no longer a public house in the centre of the village.

We ended up in the delightful Church of St Mary, a peaceful setting and a lovely building with that special feel to the interior that you get from very few places of worship these days.

Interesting architecture and artefacts included a wooden effigy of ‘The Nameless Knight’.

Our Sussex poet Hilaire Belloc, when only a young lad of nine, penned a delightful poem about the knight, the verses propped against his tomb. Alas, I cannot find a copy anywhere else, not even in the Collected Works…