The day after Ten Blankets died, the dawn was gloriously bright despite the fact that there had been woeful little sleep that night and minds were numb. The sun’s blush can be seen here kissing Newman’s neck, as he sits that morning thinking about another kind of altered landscape in our lives. We have earned our keep this week, I can confide, and that frame – like Barnaby’s and mine – has done its share of burden-bearing.
Here my tail is wagging to the left, which – as someone famous said – indicates my own insecurity and unhappiness that dawn, something I rarely feel as I usually have an irrepressible joy about me which expresses itself in the song of spaniels. Every night this erupts noisily as I anticipate the moment when I can collapse exhausted on to Boggis, boney biscuit downed in a couple of bites. Then I am out like the proverbial light. It is, I realise now, not so for them. Lately there have been terrible stirrings all through the night: kettles boiled, milk warmed, herbs infused, lists compiled and – even more extraorinarily – the computer turned back on despite the unearthly hour. I have attended sensitively, alert but unobtrusive on my furry bed, one ear cocked lest I should hear a sob, occasionally and very tactfully drawing attention to myself by the odd brief sally back and forth through the catflap. But Kemo Sabe has wandered in her mind, staring abstractly and stirring regularly, alone in her imagination. All I can do is to offer my warmth, as she holds me to her during the evening, and I fall asleep without even trying. I pray wordlessly that her day will end in longed-for rest. Even a spaniel can be silent when he must.