We were back on the beach this morning, after more than a week’s holiday, running ahead of the forecast rain which we did in fact beat back to Seahouses with only some drizzle on our fur. As a spaniel tried and true I love routine, but I also enjoy the opportunity to meet new friends in new places – as dear Barnaby did last week in Somerset. For there he met busy little Biscuit (a spaniel cross) and for the first time in his life he has an admirer, who hero-worships him devotedly and missed him greatly when he returned home. It is a huge responsibility for Barnaby to be adored, especially as Kemo Sabe says that he is spoilt and who – unlike me – has up until now been largely ignored by Nico. But Barnaby will soon be six and a dog to look up to.
Barnaby and Biscuit hit it off from the moment of arrival at the little puppy’s cottage home, deep in the rolling countryside which borders three counties. Biscuit immediately invited Barnaby to enjoy chasing him up the hill, across the lawns towards the fence from where they could stand and stare at the black and white dairy cows in the farmer’s field. Biscuit plunged enthusiastically into the raised flower and vegetable beds, hoping that big Barney would have a still more devastating effect on the carefully tended flora and fauna. O tempora, o mores! as someone famous once said. Now that I am four I can barely recall what it is to be mischievous!
Biscuit has fallen on his considerably furry feet (which we have in common). He is wanted and loved, and has loads of space to run around; he responds with delightful enthusiasm, directed by Barnaby’s deliberations over leaf and log as if he was reading the revelations of a seer. Such are the benefits of having a mature dog around a baby one, so long as the older is indeed more sensible and a teacher to treasure. Up Ham Hill they went together, nipping ripe blackberries and sniffing the rabbit holes, playing hide and seek behind the standing stones and, a full twenty eight miles in another direction, gazing up in wonder at triangular Alfred’s Tower and all those bricks. A puppy life so new and so enchanting inspires us all; we who are older must remain patient, and remember the devoted love from older dogs, now gone, in whose wisdom we glowed, and grew, in the special times we shared together.