Dear Irish Terrier friends,
Libbs and Marybell are watching me in dismay. I have picked up my work book and pen and settled down to write this letter. They know perfectly well that interrupting me is a no go and my loud ‘go away and shut up’ backed by meaningful glares, should not be completely ignored. They have mastered the notion of ‘fake news’ long before Mr T thought of it and try a few little tricks, rushing to bark at the front door ‘there is no one there you fools’, I shout, pulling all the toys out onto the floor, creating a scene called After the Battle of Waterloo. And the most insidious nuisance is the smiling, tail wagging, ‘haven’t you finished yet, please? They’ve had a particularly sociable morning too – a walk with Marie and the gang in the forest, home to find Jeanette whom they adore, tidying up the house, and oh joy, a new young man digging over the rose beds.
The young man turned up last week asking whether we needed help in tidying up the garden. What he failed to say was that I know his family well and had photographed them all as children with their dear little bitch Juno. There had been a desperate tragedy when Juno died after whelping eight puppies. No one seemed to understand what had happened and I, like many friends, needed time to dry my tears and stay away – and how quickly children grow up.
They kept one pup called Troy – for some reason, I persist in calling him Trojan by mistake . We meet him sometimes on the sea wall. He is an adorable rascal and makes frequent solo appearances in the street market on a saturday morning. The girls fell in love with Rory instantly and he said: ‘it’s extraordinary how very recognisable they are – so friendly and funny’. Well, of course, we’ve made a date for Troy the Trojan to come to tea.
Marybell looks like a shaggy sheep again. I can’t raise an answer from Adore A Dog and no one seems to be hand stripping at all. Her claws have grown into talons like Dolly Parton’s and she is a scratcher. How I long for the days before the virus, when the dogs were clean and groomed. I’m not however as tidy as I used to be – my hair looks like a faded haystack. I’ll have to take myself in hand – one day!
We had a last patch of good weather when cousins Frank and Alison came to stay. Biggles, their Jack Russel, is a great friend too and Miss Libbs and Maryb were excited to see them. We had some lovely walks on the sea wall, with Frank in charge of operations. We seemed always to be walking, meeting and crossing over in different directions. The dogs all wanted to stay with Frank and walk high on the sea wall, whilst Alison and I wanted to be out of the wind behind the wall. We love having them here and poor girls climbed into the car determined to drive off with them. Not a thought about leaving me, but I expect there might have been tears at bedtime.
We spent a happy Sunday with my son Boo in the Woodford Valley. There were shrieks of delight from Libbs and Maryb when they saw Imogen coming out to greet us followed by Margo and Peggy Sue who was spending the day (this month’s calendar girls). There was much riotous racing and climbing over garden furniture. Libbs, who was so embarrased by the youngsters, then let the side down by nicking a chicken drumstick from the lunch table and then refused to part with the bone. Now that was bad – and we’re still apologising. We rocked up at the vet for the annual jabs.
The consultation was held in the car park, everyone swatched in masks and scarves. Marybell made a scene last year, mainly I think because we’d left Libby at home. I was anxious that she might object to being led away, but was told very firmly to ‘wait in the car, please’. I need not have worried. With Libbs leading the way, she bounced off, swinging her bo-hind from side to side, and never a backwards glance. They were both pronounced to be in excellent health and ten out of ten for polite behaviour.
We have found some charming new friends: Jenny and Sky, her five month old Irish Terrier puppy. They live round the corner and we have exchanged tea dates and Marie walks them all together three times a week. It seems that Maryb is in charge of her on the walk, waiting to round her up if she loiters behind.
Sky is enchanting and we all adore her. She is everything that a Mick should be: full of fun, loves a party, wayward, super bright, and bold as they make them. I must confess to some heart stopping moments when I went to tea. Grandaughter Kate was here, which put these two girls in high celebratory mood to start with. They ran up the steps of the terrace and – no – they didn’t crash the tea tray. But, Marybell threw herself off the terrace, a high drop on to the grass below. Shouts and shrieks from everyone as she dashed back up the steps and threw herself into another sky dive just to show us again. Poor Bibs I suspect by this time was so anxious and embarrassed she found a safe spot under a small square coffee table and squeezed herself in. She looked like a lady – in – alarm – in a four-poster bed. But I had been seriously worried and know perfectly well that the puppy wanted to join the jumping and that could have been a disaster.
What a lesson for me. After a long life spent with my ‘best beloveds’ they can still catch me out. A warning for us all. Maryb would protest that she is the best judge of how far she can jump! The geese have arrived on the marshes and we discovered them honking and trumpeting, grounded in a field. Such a rumpus I wondered whether this party had just arrived from Norway. Absolutely on cue they rose in a mass and streaked over our heads, flying fast to the other end of the marshes. Maryb hid under my coat, but Libbs watched carefully remembering from other winters these amazing races through the sky. I absolutely love it and my heart flies with them.
Its difficult not be bored by the lockdown and the rain, but all that matters is keeping well. Thank you so much for lovely pictures for the calendar . I don’t think we’ve ever had so many and please don’t be disappointed. We will keep them all , they will be in the gallery and we may use them another time.
With kindest greetings
and special love to the dogs