As I write, we are all enjoying the wonderful warmth of the intense sun on our wet fur; it is just like August up here! We have just returned from our afternoon romp on the beach, an outing blessed in all kinds of ways. First, the tide was low-ish so there was plenty of room for the holiday-makers as well as our posse; next, Newman’s pool was still just within reach, so we took it in turns to retrieve the ball from deeper water – terrific fun, always guaranteed to get me over-excited and drive everyone mad with my barking. Also this was the day on which young Nico took to the sea, swimming out and back in Barnaby’s wake, fearless and free. He really is a brave boy, just six months old indeed. I took much longer to take the plunge, but then I had not then – nor have I yet – been emboldened by meeting any of the siblings I so loved.
For over the weekend, Nicholas and his only sister, Tiggy, were unexpectedly reunited. Neither he nor she nor anyone else had any reason to think there would be a serendipitous reunion on the occasion of the Scottish Dachshund Club Championship Show, on that day or any other and, moreover, that she would turn out to be living not so far away.
More wonderful still, though, was the reaction when these siblings were re-introduced to each other: the flurry of kisses, rollings, mouthings, squealings, inexpressible joy. In that instant, months and months of separation, new faces and new experiences evaporated like a mist before the sun, and all at once the glorious rays of infant fun and frolic, warmth and cosiness, the togetherness of the whelping box, and memories of a beloved dam, filled their hearts and minds. All those who witnessed the intensity of their pleasure in seeing each other again were moved and silenced; that two such tiny creatures could sustain emotional memories so deep and indissoluble; that they would never forget each other, no matter what. They paused in their mutual delight for the above picture to be taken, a special family portrait to mark a magical moment. That neither Lokmadi Miss Tiggywinkle (to give her her full title) nor her precious brother troubled the judges that day mattered not a jot. For each took home an inestimable prize: touched by the lasting love that will never die and the knowledge that they will see each other again very soon.
These last couple of days have brought unexpected turns of event: both busy – painting, reorganizing, dutifully travelling on one another’s business; days by turn pleasantly warm and miserably drizzly. Enough rollers for a surfer or two yesterday and today a calmer sea, low tide and a glimpse of weathered rock. I was gazing into the horrid pool when this chap and his companion were spotted bobbing like seals beyond the rocks. It brought a touch of California to a chilly Northumberland afternoon when each in turn stood upright on the waves, though his ride was short-lived and the vicarious fun all too fleeting, a dangerous collision on the cards. Only Newman would have joined the lads, fearless and skilful both, not to mention already wet through. What lies beneath holds no fear for him and he throws himself into the pool as readily as a cheery cove. For me, though, the mysteries of the horrid pool can never be fathomed: its waters once blue-black like oil, sometimes absinthe green; the tiny bubbles popping to the surface as it breathes. After clearing completely through the high tide’s good offices, it is darkening and beginning to murmur again. Creatures are caught in the strata which enclose it: maybe they can explain why some act while others watch.
Yesterday I fell into the sea, slipping rather alarmingly between two rocks. For once, I needed help to get out safely but as the tide was coming in there was little to fear. The risk was mine but the joy of bouncing was too great. Though I am the smallest in our family, I am adventurous and hold myself as a king or prince before the Lord. Having heard much about what there is in the world, courage and caution are my watchwords. The closest encounter of an uncomfortable kind I ever had was with an otterhound, who towered over me, gently it is true but with determination. The grille betweeen Mabel and me enboldened this pictured meeting at Crufts with a breed of dog everyone does well to treat with suspicion until friendliness is assured. I learnt that from Uncle Jonny, whose London life taught him a lot. And this was before one of our dearest friends, all innocent and unwitting, was savaged by another such, suffering dreadfully for many weeks. Dangerous reality gives life colour but keeps me on my toes. There are those who would hurt me and I do well to get to grips with how they might go about it, in thought or word or deed: a certain kind of innocence is neither comely nor appropriate.
Barnaby swam across a little inlet this evening and insisted on swimming back again, though the tide made it hard for him. It helps his knee, after his operation, but the cold wind from the north made him shiver and we turned tail soon after. Autumn’s on its way and we had fish at home – a treat from who knows where.