Dear Irish Terrier Friends
Christmas seems to be a lifetime ago and my main memory is that there seemed to be even less time than ever in which to keep ourselves tidy, punctual and reasonably organised.
Debbie and I managed to have the Calendar ready in time (only just!) but we are old hands at this one and curiously, considering the haste, there has never been a Calendar which has received so much approval. Thank you for all the charming comments – there are so many but two I really loved were –
“It warms up the whole year for us – each month is an absolute gem”
“It is so funny and beautiful and makes me laugh and cry”
We need to remember that the photographs are yours, anyway and I do think they capture our ‘best beloveds’ and remind us of the laughter and the tears that they bring.
Christmas with Miss Marybell in full swing, was an adventure. For some reason all our other dogs have been ‘spring babies’ and consequently slightly older and moderately more sensible by the time we got to Christmas.
The tree caused huge excitement, as always when it was first put up and Libbs seemed to feel she might as well join in with the general misrule. Standing on a ladder putting up the lights and baubles (mostly old mutilated clowns, dollies and ‘whatevers’) whilst fending off two playful, overexcited Irish Terriers, was no mean feat. There was a lot of bellowing from me and they were banished several times for the sake of peace and quiet. But the tree did look lovely and seemed to represent, in my mind anyway, all that makes life worth the effort. It is in the garden still, festooned with fat balls and peanut stockings for the birds.
In the middle of all the preparations we did the London Christmas ‘round’ which included the ‘unveiling’ of Arabella Dorman’s Installation titled ‘Suspended’ at the Church of St. James in Piccadilly reminding us of the plight of displaced people everywhere.
It was a strangely beautiful and moving ‘conception’ with a large ball of yellow light representing the sun surrounded by garments suspended from the ceiling left behind by refugees trying to cross the Mediterranean to get to Europe. The clothes were of all shapes, colour and size and must have been a nightmare to put in place. But the whole effect was very moving and miraculous – and the baby clothes especially brought tears to one’s eyes. Arabella spoke eloquently of the terrible suffering of these displaced people. Derek Jacobi read (exquisitely of course) the Auden poem about refugees. But it was Zorba Arabella’s beloved Irish who stole the show for me. He was so funny and busy being the perfect host, greeting friends and acknowledging acquaintances – of yes, there was a definite hierarchy in place which did make me laugh.
We saw a great many friends including our two new ‘puppy loves’, Bailey and Fiddle – two boys who are ten weeks old and have already taken over their respective families!
We’ve had no snow in Lymington – not even a single flake but whilst in London Brenda’s garden was covered in whiteness with more flakes landing silently. Libbs and Marybell were amazed looking out of the window – absolutely spellbound.
They raced around the park and Miss MaryB had some very stylish manoeuvres especially when using her nose like a snow shovel building up a white beard like a Father Christmas with a black nose and just two bright eyes peering through.
We have had some clear blue skies, a waxing moon causing some very high tides and the salt marshes are more like a swamp. I do feel for the rabbits, there are very few about and their burrows must be waterlogged.
Libby was streaking across the saturated marshes last week with Marybel in hot pursuit. She had, what looked like an adder hanging from her mouth. She eventually came across to show me and even allowed the puppy a twirl around with the wretched thing swinging from her muzzle. I was terrified but good sense did indicate that it could not possibly be a live snake. In fact it proved to be a dead eel with a piece of its tail missing but still an alarmingly impressive creature.
I heard a vet recently on a television programme, talking about this mysterious and dreadful ‘Alabama Rot’ which seems to appear in some places during the winter months, fatally affecting some dogs. It is a terrible disease and no one has been able to discover how it has come about. This vet was a fish specialist and has seen similar symptoms in fish – the strange skin lesions and ultimate failure of the internal organs – she seems to connect it to the time when the water is very cold. Who knows?- but it would be a vast relief to us all who live in and around the New Forest if some cause could be discovered. I can’t imagine why there should be a link between fish and dogs – why not cows and sheep?
I have made a muddle with MaryB and missed the time she might have been spayed. We rolled up to see the Vet – Mr Bentley, thinking we would fix a date, when to my horror, he said “we are too late, she’s already coming on heat.” I have always had them ‘done’ before their first season as it is a far more simple operation. I don’t subscribe to all this guff about their ‘personalities’ not developing – good heavens our glorious string of Irish Coleens have been the most impressive women I have ever known – always spayed early. I was dismayed and truly the last three weeks have been awkward to put it mildly, though there have been some comic moments. She flung herself at a most unbeautiful fifteen year old Staffie (sans teeth and all that) who lurched sideways and I thought was going to be flattened, whilst his owner reassured me that he was well past all that. Well yes, but he doesn’t know our Marybell.
We had a visit to Bath to catch up with our favourite cousins and the family dogs – not easy with an ‘eager’ girl in tow. Liberty Belle, who loves the children moved in with them on the third day which made life easier for me but there had been some hair raising walks avoiding possible suitors in the Sydney Gardens (what would Jane Austin have said) and surviving a freak wind and rain storm which pinned us to the railing in Great Pulteney Street. We crouched behind my umbrella which flipped inside out and has never recovered!
It was great fun seeing everyone and Libbs was overjoyed to be with the children. They are coming here for lunch on Saturday but I won’t mention it to her until they are about to arrive.
What bliss that the days are longer, even if my garden, except for one sweet scented Daphne, looks like a tangle of twigs growing out of a mud patch. The robins are singing and can you believe it we had a tawny owl perched on the front gate yesterday in broad daylight. The girls and I waited in the car and watched this beautiful bird with that strange way of swivelling its head and peering around.
I have been writing this with half an eye on the enormous ‘Supermoon’ high in the night sky. It is supposed to turn blue or bluish but seems to be bright shiny silver at the moment. They say she (the moon) rose with a red glow which sadly, I missed. I am not sure how all this comes about – something to do with juxtapositions of sorts.
My beloved girls and I are well and happy. It feels so right to have a second dog in the house and Libbs and I dote on her. Wilful and indulged she may well be, but there is such a joy in this passionate young life.
With many greetings
and my love to the dogs.