Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Beth Morrey & Polly

Who is in the photo at right?

The human is me: I am a writer called Beth Morrey. My first book, The Love Story of Missy Carmichael, is published by Putman on 7th April. In my previous life I was a TV producer, and nowadays as well as writing I have a podcast series, One Torn Every Minute, which is about childbirth, and also write a TV blog called Square Eyes. The dog is Polly. She is a labradoodle and she is 13 years old. Her occupation is lying on furniture, and going out for the occasional perambulation.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Polly and I like to stop at the café in our local park in North London. We sit outside on the verandah and enjoy the views, often talking to people and dogs we know who pass by.

What's brewing?

I like a very plain Americano with lots of cold milk. Polly prefers puddle water.

Any treats for you or Polly on this occasion?

The reason Polly likes going to this particular café is they do a very good sourdough toast. We usually cut it in half and share it, and she insists on butter and jam. The combination of butter and sugar makes her drool uncontrollably. Me too.

How were you and Polly united?

My husband and I got her from a farm in Chepstow in Wales. She was three months old when we met her, and it was love at first sight.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

Her full name is Polly Wolly Doodle the Brave the Good and the True. We often call her Poll Woll for short, or the Pollster, or the Brave Doodle of Barking & Pawchester. She has many aliases and pays no attention to any of them.

Does Polly do more to help or hinder your writing?

She often occupies my writing chair when I want to sit in it. Or, while I am sitting in it, she paws me aggressively and barks until I get out and let her have it. So no, she’s not particularly helpful. And yet I credit her as my muse in my Acknowledgements.

In your work, have any actual dogs inspired the creation of fictional ones?

Yes – the character of Bobby in my novel was inspired by a handsome Australian shepherd we see in the park. He’s really gorgeous with vivid blue eyes. My husband and I refer to him as The Most Beautiful Dog in the Park because we don’t know his name. Oddly though, he’s not particularly friendly, whereas the Bobby in my book is a very affectionate hound. My dog also appears in my book, but it’s just a brief cameo for her fans, and she’s not named, to protect her privacy.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Polly loathes cats and does highly embarrassing howls whenever she sees them in the street. She’s not keen on squirrels and will chase them in a business-like way. She barks at the postman, but only in the sense that she barks at anybody who comes to the house – she’s not remotely threatening; more like a very loud doorbell.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Polly occasionally picks up sticks to chew them, but she would never chase a thrown stick as she’s too grand. She also used to love finding discarded tennis balls, but now she’s a more senior lady, she’s not so interested. She has always loved soft toys, and gets a new one for birthdays and Christmas. Her favourite is called Bob (oh my God, I’ve just realised that’s why I called the dog Bob in my book – duh!). Bob is a very large soft toy Labrador from Ikea. She often uses him as a pillow.

Where is Polly's favorite outdoor destination?

There’s a stretch of grassland alongside a row of houses in Highbury, where we live. It’s not very well-maintained, and there’s lots of rubbish and dubious substances left there. She loves it, and always tries to drag me over there when we walk past. Her favourite thing is to pick up and eat a discarded wet wipe. We tried one of those muzzle things, but it didn't work and she still managed to suck things up. She’s utterly vile.

Who is Polly's best pet-pal?

Polly doesn’t really like other dogs as she doesn’t see herself as one. But if she had to pick a BFF (Best Four-Legged Friend), it would probably be Baxter, a border-terrier owned by the guy who took my author photos. She deigns to romp with him occasionally.

What is Polly's best quality?

She is incredibly expressive, and doesn’t need words to communicate – you know exactly what she wants from her facial expressions. Her best physical quality is her fine lustrous beard, which is currently shaved because of a rather unpleasant mouth infection.

If Polly could change one thing about you, what would it be?

She would want me to be less affectionate around her – she doesn’t like being cuddled and would rather I stayed away. I am constantly mauling her.

If Polly could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?

What is it about filthy wet wipes that you love so much?

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Polly could speak, who should voice her?

Ooooh! What an interesting question. My husband and I do impressions of Polly’s speaking voice and it sounds like no one on Earth. But I guess if I was casting, I’d choose Amy Poehler, make her do an English accent and then slow down the recording.

What advice would Polly give if asked?

Leave me alone.

Visit Beth Morrey's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Love Story of Missy Carmichael.

--Marshal Zeringue

1 comment:

  1. A perambulation with Polly sounds lovely. Though I prefer my beverage a bit tastier than puddle water. LOL