Dear Irish Terrier Friends,
It seems strange not to have been away this summer and I keep losing count of the days or even which month it is. I’ve missed several shows which always pin down the summer months and I’m also missing that shot of heat and sea bathing in the Mediterranean. I do look at my suitcases rather wistfully, but it is easy to be happy in Lymington especially in the summer.
Libbs and Marybell hold my life in place and they are so blissfully happy here. One thing that makes it such fun for them is that everyone here seems to love dogs—the postman, the gardener, the builders next door, the bin men, Jeanette and Sherene who come to clean, Rudy from the pet shop who delivers their food, Cat who walks them with Louise and their new friend Debz who arrives in her –dog–spa– on wheels and spends hours doing a very leisurely hand stripping on their coats and a general tidy up.
People have time here to ‘expand’ the day and how they do love to chatter. Well I know I do too, but I try to choose my spot — not with an elbow over the gate in pouring rain, or shivering in front of the fish fridge in M & S or swaying in the heat trying to get away in the car. There’s no escape and the dogs love it.
They were thrilled when Debz arrived in her dog spa and were anxious to case the joint as soon as she opened the door. They love the front seats too, sitting up high very still and gazing out into the middle distance. It reminds me of a game we played as children in my grandfather’s old Sunbeam car (we’re talking now of the early Thirties) pretending we were going on a ‘journey’. Jocky -Boy, my brother’s Irish Terrier, often joined the game, especially when we had ‘arrived’ at our picnic spot and had to get out and sit on the running board to eat our biscuits.
“No crumbs in the car please and no squeezing the horn”. What a relic of a past age I have become. We were happy children, always busy with hours of unsupervised play.
Back to Debz who stripped the girls to the bone and Maryb managed the warm tub without protesting. Debz knows a trick or two and put her into an empty tub and then ran the water and missy didn’t mind a bit.
I can’t pretend to like the skinned look, especially the ratty tail, but they are clean and cool and the feathering reappears very quickly and turns them into my little beauties all over again.
I spoke to Alan and Lyn Summers who bred Marybell and they did laugh when I told them what a little tyke she can be . Apart from the tennis ball she carries around in her mouth and keeps dropping in front of me, her latest obsession is hiding anything she happens to fancy, here and there about the place. Her bed is the favourite spot, but also behind cushions, underneath tables and behind the sofa. A friend sat on a home grown green apple on a garden chair…Good Lord, what’s this? And Marybell rushed forward to claim it. This morning when I was loading the washing machine, I picked up a sheet and out fell three slices of mouldy brown bread. Marybell rushed to the rescue, but I threw the sheet over her and by the time she’d untangled herself the bread was back in the bin.
Can anyone register disapproval like an Irish Terrier. ‘Huh, and who’s being a meanie now’— I almost apologised.
This links up with Lisa Kopper’s darling Alice, who is an artist and picks up things which she arranges in stylish patterns very carefully and often sits back to admire and consider them. Lisa, who is a painter and likes to paint on the floor, is sometimes surrounded by ‘Alice’s conceptual art’. What a hive of creativity and Alice does her own collecting — ‘my things’ a sock, a spoon, her bowl, a ball, or a paintbrush — anything she takes to. Lisa has sent these pictures and she’s convinced that Alice understands artistic endeavour and is making her own contribution.
Lisa says: ‘I’ve had dogs all my life and loved each one, but this one is something else. We absolutely adore each other and Alice is just so special’.
My cousin Malcolm and his family have been to stay. His wife Kate and two daughters, Cressida and Jess. I always think of them as his three beautiful girls. Malcolm was in the Royal Marines and I so admire the way he managed the children. Lots of fun, up for everything, and no complaining. They are really a ‘cat family’ and have two cats always referred to affectionately as ‘the boys’. This doesn’t deter Libbs and Marybell in any way. They consider themselves quite irresistible. Libbs is very devoted to Malcom. I think she remembers the lovely holidays with them when she was a puppy and he played football with them on Woolacombe Beach. Libby was always a little pest running off with the ball.
I spent a week in London and left the girls at home with Sherine. She spoils them rotten and when I come home they probably wonder why the service I provide of ear tickling and throwing tennis balls is not totally continuous… just not good enough, outrageous in fact, to be told ‘go away, I’m busy’!
Jamie and I had lunch with Derek and Richard and the darling Daisy. Richard cooked a delicious lunch and it was a jolly time. Another friend was there with her charming long-haired dachs and I was delighted to see that Daisy is not such a saint even without the influence of Mbell.
The Kennel Club is such a good place for lunch and my stepdaughter Annabel and her husband, who live in the Bahamas, were keen to see Libby’s picture in its right place and some of the art collection. Rose Smart, the Chief Executive, and Arabella Dorman who as we all know painted Libbs and has two glorious Micks named Zorba and Ziggy. We were becoming our usual noisy gathering, when our new chairman Tony Alcock arrived. I’m not very goo d at remembering people and was going through my usual panicky mental gymnastics searching for a name. He is, however, a very charming man and chatted on. ‘I so enjoyed the Irish Terrier Fun Day last year — remember, I was the judge at the open show in the morning. We had lunch together and I was so enjoying myself that I watched the Fun Day races and stayed much longer than I should have’. He then said: ‘Thank you again for the lovely book you sent me, ‘Jock of the Great War’ — such a moving and wonderful story’.
Jock’s character is based on our beloved Jocky — who played the game in Grandpa’s car. He still lives in my heart and has never left me– oh these Micks!
The sun has lost its summer heat and the garden has relaxed in the showers of rain. We’ve already picked and eaten the fifteen plums from my little tree and the roses are almost over. I feel autumn is nudging in.
Did I really complain about the heat?
With many greetings
and my love to the dogs
P.S. Don’t forget the ‘Fun Day’ (open show in morning and fun day starts at 2pm)
Roade Community Centre Roade
22nd September 2019