This is Nell. She’s a Border Collie. Though many folk ask what she is crossed with, she is in fact a pure-bred and  has papers.  She may not conform to  some ideas of what a collie should look  like but she’s pure collie in  temperament and behaviour. A little bit OCD, maybe. Somewhere on the autistic spectrum, perhaps. Fixated on various things, definitely.

Nell enjoys routine and is not behind the door when it comes to enforcing said routine. Things have to be proper. The right thing in the right place and at the right time. Otherwise her world appears a bit freaky and scary.

She has not enjoyed a recent burst of DIY on the Windswept Acre but she has tolerated the upheaval, so long as playtime happened at the right time.

Nell was cage-trained as a pup and we have not been able to break her of the cage as an adult. Even now that she is approaching middle-age, she needs to sleep in her cage –  and with the cage in the correct location. Fair enough.

I did wonder if, having moved the cage from the rear hall in order to paint the walls, now was the time to introduce her to the idea of sleeping free-range. Mr L was sceptical and did not wish to make her do anything that made her feel uncertain. We put the cage back when the walls had dried.

In the meantime, I had washed Nell’s bedding. This is always a traumatic event for her as she likes her belongings to smell “right”. Unfortunately, I like my house to smell a little less doggy from time to time and, as I keep trying to tell Nell, actually it is I who rule this particular den.

Nell’s bedding consisted of three layers. The base layer being a fleece blanket. This went in to the cage. The next layer is a lovely doggy duvet – washed and newly-fluffed and with a freshly washed cotton cover. In that went too. The third layer was an oval dog bed, made of fleece fabric and of doughnut-type construction i.e. it has a raised stuffed edge. The stuffing in the base was relatively thin and has migrated over the years. This time when it emerged from the wash it was lumpen and horrible. It looked like it would be uncomfortable f or her, so I left it out.

Bedtime came and the dogs went out for a toilet break. Nell, as usual, trotted over to her cage when she came back in. She opened the door with her nose and then stood stock-still, with her head in the cage and her body outside. She seemed unable to move any further.

It took me a while, but I got it in the end. Her doughnut bed was retrieved from the bin and put in to the cage on top of the duvet. All was well, and she popped into her bed very happily.

I am a Taurus. They say that we do not like change. Taureans have nothing on a Border Collie.

I really would like to be rid  of that cage, though – especially now things are beginning to look nice again.

The painted walls are now a lovely soft shade of palest sage green. The skirting boards have been replaced. Now the carpet needs to be laid. The carpet layer has been summoned elsewhere this afternoon so we may well have to wait a week now before it goes down.

The carpet is down in the cloakroom, though and it is looking very good in there. New fittings have arrived (apart from a missing mirror) and will be going up later. I still need to transfer some photos to canvas to decorate the walls, and I urgently need to find the window pole that has gone missing.

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