Whew – that sums up the weekend, now moving swiftly on…………….
But actually, life did not grind to a halt, and had its usual exciting moments, its highs and lows: Including a very scary low. Hatty and Greg and babe went off on Saturday afternoon, to visit big brother Will. When our babies were young, did it really take us that long to get baby, baby equipment, find phone, bag, purse, driving glasses, oh and baby food just in case? I say this to explain that the front door was open for quite some time, and my train of thought for what came after.
Peace reigned supreme in the house, the husband snoozed in sunroom, and the dogs were quiet and contented…………….in fact the fiery little terrier, Hesper was too quiet, as a highly trained lap dog she has a mission to curl up and sleep on any sleeping body’s lap. But she was nowhere to be seen, no panic for the first ten minutes, she was probably shut in somewhere, more panic for the second ten minutes; then we calmed a little, she has never run away before, surely she would just explore a little and then come home. We did what any true Brit should do, stiff upper lip and a nice cup of tea – which we couldn’t bring ourselves to drink as the tale of Purdey rushed through both our heads.
The tale of Purdey – told briefly and without emotion.
We have always been a Labrador sort of a family, until our son Charlie, begged for a Jack Russell for his 16th birthday; Maisie, who will be 14 in a week or so still beguiles us, she’s very much free range, but doesn’t stray far from the house and never leaves the grounds. So when the family finally left home completely I decided – much to my husband’s horror, that I wanted a little dog of my own, a companion that would sit at my feet whilst I painted or sewed, jumped in the car when I shopped, walked with me……….you get the picture. So Purdey was duly purchased and my husband’s heart was completely melted in the space of about ten seconds, Oh, it’s a hard man I live with!
The summer of 2008, was blissful, my husband’s Parkinson’s was responding well to drugs, and the little dog got on well with Fable our old Lab.
My husband’s family, have always from way-back been great letter and journal writers; his great grandmother, had lands in Inverness-shire and my husband read her journal of a trip she took in 1839, to visit them – usual thing, stage coach to Liverpool, little ship to Fort William and puffer steamer to Inverness – piece of cake. What’s this got to do with the plucky little Purdey? Well my husband discovered that the puffer had been restored and was making trips from Fort William to Inverness along the Caledonian canal and through all the little lochs and locks , through loch Ness to Inverness – in fact the whole nine yards. So he and his brother booked the steamer. Not to be outdone (no dogs allowed on the puffer), Purdey and I walked the great glen, stopping at B&Bs and joining the men every night on board the steamer for supper. It stays in my heart as one of the greatest summers of my life. The little dog barely nine months old and the best companion possible.
I will end the tale of Purdey swiftly, because that’s how it did end, at home, (we were still living at the Hall then) she got out, made her way up to our terribly quiet road; and well…………..there was a dog, a tenant farmer, a car…………………..
We buried her in the cottage garden.
I vowed I would never have another dog, my husband – yes the same one that was dead against having a terrier in the first place – that husband, picked up the phone and placed an order from the next litter Purdey’s parents produced – Hesper.
Back to Hesper and Saturday afternoon…………………
Tea cold, voices hoarse, we had completely run out of places to look, I even phoned Hatty to see if she had stowed away in the car.
Finally, out came the Land Rover and, in slippers and coatless, I searched the lane, my stomach churning, I went down to the village and up to the farm, onto the farm around every farm track, through the wood, down to the lake………
Home again, heart heavy, my husband waiting by the gate with a grin…. where had she been? Digging. Peter Rabbit and his ilk had decided to set up home under the decking in our garden, and Hesper, deaf to all, and very much out of sight under the decking, in her quest to rid the garden of such cheeky squatters, had dug and burrowed until she was able to return to the kitchen door triumphant with (oh, my goodness, the cutest, the sweetest) baby rabbit in her mouth.
We are so very pleased to have our highly trained – in urgent need of a bath – lap dog, home again.
Alice and Jem arrived yesterday, with the cherubic Teddy in tow, he really is a cherub, with silky ash-blond hair, that curls around his face and emphasises his rose-bud mouth.
This week I am to teach Alice how to make a variety of cords, and how to put them together to form belts and bag handles, even curtain tiebacks. She’s a quick learner, but it will depend very much on the Angelic Teddy.
Today my walk took me through the woods, where the bright green fronds of Queen Anne’s Lace / Cow Parsley / or where I grew up, Keck, is pushing through and will soon cover the floor of the wood entirely. The green is mouth-wateringly bright, almost gaudy; I came home looked to see if I have a yarn that even comes close, I don’t – this is another moment when I could come close to dying my own wool – but hell, there are only so many hours in a day. But I have not completely deserted my studio over the Easter week end, Ingrid’s quilt is gradually taking shape, even if I am only adding the odd French knot or daisy when passing;
I do a fair bit of patchwork but can never resist wearing it!
Now to take Teddy on the Easter egg hunt…………………..