The expression, “Living the life of Riley” suggests an ideal contented life, possibly living on someone else’s money, time or work. Rather than a negative freeloading or golddigging aspect, it instead implies that someone is kept or advantaged. The expression was popular in the 1880s, a time when James Whitcomb Riley‘s poems depicted the comforts of a prosperous home life, but it could have an Irish origin: After the Reilly clan consolidated its hold on County Cavan, they minted their own money, accepted as legal tender even in England. These coins, called “O’Reillys” and “Reilly’s,” became synonymous with a monied person, and a gentleman freely spending was “living on his Reillys.” Wikipedia
Serendipity is a wonderful thing.
This weekend a year ago I stumbled out of bed cursing my hangover and lamenting the fact that I had made a Saturday morning arrangement. I would usually luxuriate in bed but uncharacteristically I had made plans for a Saturday morning highlight session with the fabulous Gillian, who sometimes sees to my tendrils.
The old me would have cancelled, but I had just committed to keeping my commitments as a kind of new life challenge…and so I found myself on a Saturday morning speeding down Chamberlayne Road in the back of a minicab. Distracted by the sight of cherry blossom and Solomon Seal in the Window of Scarlett and Violet my local florist, the taxi screeched to a halt and I dashed inside deciding to make the morning more bearable by accessorizing it with a beautiful bouquet of flowers for Gillian.
Inside the flower shop amongst the towering stalks of cow parsley and the pails of delicate sweet peas was a slightly hysterical woman with a small plastic cage. She was yelling about the puppy inside and begging anyone at all to relieve her of the burden. The puppy she wailed, was constantly crying and she couldn’t bear it anymore. We all blinked at each other in disbelief.
Nobody took the puppy, the woman left the shop and my heart lurched. I worried about the fate of this unloved creature. I decided immediately that I would take him from her and bring him to the Mayhew Animal Home, that at least would be better. I ran down the street after her just as she accosted another stranger. She demanded £80. I had no cash, we went back to Scarlet and Violet where I put him on my Amex and the start of a wonderful relationship ensued.
The fateful bunch of flowers that brought us together
He has crammed rather a lot into his first year. He has flown to Ireland in the Pilots cockpit, broken his leg, been snuck into many a swish eaterie, has his own tailors (Douglas Hayward), likes nipping to Scott’s afterwards, eats only organic (Lily’s Kitchen), has Craniosacral Therapy, has had a near death experience, has two wives and the holy grail…has been featured on the Vogue Blog with pictures of his seasonal tailors fitting. The life of Riley…
A few months after finding him I was dashing to an event meeting and grabbed a half used notebook. Idly passing the time in the back of the cab I opened the notebook. Ah! The dream diary that I kept for all of a week (more life improvements). Reading what was written was quite bizarre…
“I am walking home from school in Tipperary, it is a long winding road and from behind a wall I hear a dog whining. I find a shivering puppy, a ginger and white terrier abandoned. I decide immediately to adopt him. We have a wonderful time together and my life is transformed by the Love I feel for this dog. I wake up from the dream and have immediate sadness that in reality I don’t own a ginger and white terrier. End of dream, end of diary”
I stumbled upon Riley six months later, not even remembering my dream until I found the notebook. Serendipity indeed.
Happy Birthday Riley. Dreamdog!
His favourite bedding, the train of my McQueen drama dress
He’s partial to a Louboutin and has no interest in chewing them whatsoever. Perfect.
“I’m on the Vogue Blog bitches!”
My favourite Riley expression. Blissed.
How could anyone give this away?
Nancy, one of his indifferent wives
Harrods, he likes the Pet area particularly the Pupcakes in the bakery
Hid for hours in the Burka pocket of a chair cover for a Middle Eastern wedding
Barking orders from his desk
He loves eating flowers, fitting for a dog found in a flower shop I guess.
Brunch at The Wells, Hampstead.They have Lily’s kitchen dog food on the menu. We like
Partial to a pig’s snout
On a visit to my osteopath, Gary Trainer. Riley dissapeared. We found him on a power plate in the room next door…Working on my fitness.
Riley and his X-Ray selection. We could do a coffee table book on his X-Rays
He likes to fit in. Color matching is his thing
A Ferrero Rocher Moment…