We spent yesterday afternoon in the garden, firing up the barbecue for tea. Barbecues don’t happen very often here because barbecue weather does not come along unless there is a month without an R in it during a Blue Moon. This witnessed by the fact that yesterday we got out the last disposable BBQ from a pack of six that we bought when we first came here, ten years ago. Of course, it would not light and the lighting paper burned away before the charcoal took. So Mr L deployed a bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol! (Do not try this at home yourself, Children) The charcoal burned unevenly and failed to get properly hot, so he had to go to the shop and buy a bag of briquettes – 5 Kg is going to last us until we quit this planet, I reckon.
Eventually the fire was warm enough to cook but by this time I’d had an over sufficiency of Cider and was rendered a haphazard cook. It was a good job that I had done plenty of prep whilst Mr L was mowing the grass.
It was a simple meal of assorted salads and rolls to accompany some Halloumi and Vegetable Kebabs that I had constructed and a pack of Tesco’s Piri Pri Pork Steaks obtained on our last trip to town. Although the actual cooking was very much a hit and miss affair the meal turned out very tasty in the end. I particularly enjoyed my potato salad, made from the remains of the crushed potatoes that we had with the Basa the other day – dressed with my new favourite dressing for potatoes, a blend of creamy Greek Yoghourt and Smoked Garlic Aioli from The Island Smokery. This latter is an Addictive Substance. Don’t even try it unless you can source a regular supply. The same advice goes for their Orkney Cheddar with Smoked Garlic. Not possible to get enough.
We’d had a fairly late start to the day and what with all this messin’ aboot, the rest of the day just disappeared, with nothing concrete or useful happening at all. I made half a Hexapuff. I’m left wondering what in earth I did do with my time and now I realise that most of it was spent on the computer as the reality of Retirement looms ever closer. Mr L has 33 days left at work and is itching to be on the road and away.
I did a little looking around related to our June trip to the Solway Firth and found that there is to be an exhibition of needle-felting and textile art in Castle Douglas, so that’s one for the diary. Castle Douglas is on the itinerary anyway. It is a place we have not visited since the day that we bought our Bar Billiard table there. We need to refresh our acquaintance with the town before deciding if we want to spend some time staying there this winter.
What else? Oh, yes, I was looking into house-sitting agencies again.
Oh, and Loki came for a visit. Well, Loki’s mum called by to return my dressing wires and brought Loki with her. I asked Nell if she would like to meet Loki and well, blow me down, she did! Not only did she want to meet him but she also offered her ball to him and invited him to play with her. Our Nell appears to have climbed that learning curve. Well done, Nell! or perhaps I should say Well Done, Tan as I do believe that the good experience that she had playing with Tan the other day has taught Nell a great deal.
Loki is a handsome beast, a greyhound cross I believe. I was rendered rueful. The island now seems full of lurchers, whippets and greyhounds. SO many of them all of a sudden and I am reminded of all the times that I went to find a greyhound or lurcher of my own and was never successful.
It was in my early teens that I first learned the plight of greyhounds and I decided there and then that one day I would rescue a greyhound of my own. And then I met lurchers and totally lost my heart to their quiet but hairy charms. I’d give my home to either any day of the week.
There was once a time when I was close to homing a Wolfhound. His name was Maximilian. I’d spotted the ad in the local regional newspaper and realised that we knew this dog, which belonged to a place where we used to buy car spares in a nearby town. We rang the number to learn that Max had already gone. The next day we went to visit friends up the dale and they introduced us to their new dog, Max. It was hard not to be envious. As it turned out though Max was a difficult dog with dominance issues – the kind that takes over the family sofa and then goes all growly at any suggestion he should move. We had young children, it might have been a poor mix.
Time moved on and there were Labradors and Spaniels and Pointers in my life, but no hounds. When Mr L arrived in my life we went looking for a rescue dog and I indicated a greyhound preference – there were none available but Mr L lost his heart to poor starved Suzie (as did I) and thus we got ourselves a collie mix. We also got ourselves several years of anxiety and a great deal of work. Lovable as she was, Suzie was entirely unreliable with small people, and rather iffy with many grown ones too. It took years to rehabilitate her. The note from the postman was embarrassing, I have to say.
When later we found ourselves in Dumfriesshire with an acre of land high in the moors and room in our hearts for an addition to our family, we knew that there was a Greyhound Problem in the region and we badly wanted to home one. I kept an eye on all of the rescue organisations but never seemed to find a dog in need that was the right one for us. We went to the rescue kennels and there were hounds, but none deemed cat-safe or reliable with so many rabbits about and sheep loose in the village though none of this seemed relevant when we spotted poor Griff leaning up against the bars of his cage with pleading eyes saying: “Get ME Out OF Here!”
Yes, a Border Collie.
Another beaten and broken one, with Issues a-plenty.
Well, we’d successfully rehabilitated poor Suzie. Why not try again.
Broken Collies are Seriously Hard Work.
We had a good time, Mr L, Suzie, Griff and I – we tramped the moors and lost ourselves in forests for hours on ends, we played on beaches though Griff was afraid of the water, the four of us walked very many miles together over the years. We dug up a lot of Tupperware together and even a few bottles of whisky.
Then we came here. Two dogs was enough. Two dogs with “Issues” more than enough to be honest but then came little Nell, a pup from a good home, not beaten or battered or starved. She needed a home and, well, we’d cope with one more Collie, wouldn’t we? and would it not be nice to have an unbroken animal for a change?
You know what? I think all Collies must be Seriously Hard Work and perhaps they are all born with Issues. I already knew that though, I always used to say I’d never have a Collie because they are too much like hard work unless you are going to train and work them at what they are bred for. Prescience? Common Sense? No, common sense went absent when I took on three of them, I reckon.
Don’t get me wrong, loved ’em, all of ’em and miss Suzie and Griff almost more than I can bear. Griff was actually the first dog in my life that I had until the end and Suzie the second.
Only Nell remains and we have no plans to have another dog after her, we feel we are too old now – or will be by the time she goes as she is only yet 9 years old and showing no signs of slowing down. Griff was already an old dog at that age but he’d had a harsh start to his life and was stiff and achy even when he came to us at about 4 years old and only lasted out to 12 or 13. Suzie seemed to stay youthful forever, that would hybrid vigour I reckon, only really showing her age right at the end of her 17 years. I think Nell may well match her. So we’ll be really old by the time she leaves us.
All the same I never homed a Greyhound, and that would have been a good ambition to have fulfilled. I am certain one could live in a van on the road with no problems – as long as it’s cat-safe. All I have to do is to put forward a convincing argument…
Good heavens, what a post – how did I get to here?
I need to go and help Mr L, he’s cleaning algae from the porch walls.