I’m sorry I haven’t updated my blog for a while, but it’s been a hectic – and a rather up and down – few weeks since I last wrote.
I’m so sad to tell you that we’ve lost our lovely dog Barney. He has been part of the family since he was a puppy and the children were young, and a more loved family dog you really couldn’t find. We had the most marvellous times together – he loved chasing waves at the seaside and squirrels in the woods, paddling in rivers and – when he and I were both younger and fitter – joining me on my runs around the nearby fields.
He was 16 years old, enjoyed a wonderful life with us and gave us so much pleasure – I’ve posted some photos to give you just a glimpse of what a fantastic dog he was. I feel the one of him racing the children down a mountainside could be used as the cover of an Enid Blyton storybook. I can almost hear Billy yelling ‘wait for me!!’.
We miss him terribly.
Billy was only three when Barney became ours, and one week after Barney died Billy left home. He was offered a new job in Castle Donington working with a company distributing extreme sports equipment which is right up his street, so it was up the M1 for him to a rented flat and a new life! Needless to say, without either Barney or Billy the house has been very quiet, but also considerably less messy.
Two weeks later and it was Charlie’s turn to leave, along with his girlfriend Maddie. They’ve been living back with us after travelling around Southeast Asia earlier in the year but decided it was time to have their own place, so Friday saw us carrying boxes up stairs again!
Then more sadness – our 18-year-old cat Buddy has not been well for a while now and on Saturday we had to say goodbye to him. He was a handsome tabby with loads of character and a killer instinct when he was younger. He often brought us ‘gifts’ – once he even caught a pheasant and dragged it through the cat flap! When Charlie was little and playing hide and seek he squeezed behind the sofa and thought he’d found a furry soft toy – it turned out to be a dead squirrel, courtesy of Buddy! He certainly made the most of all his nine lives but time finally ran out for him.
Which leaves just Olley and me.
Except we haven’t felt the full impact yet, as Billy was home with his girlfriend Sherilyn yesterday for a Sunday roast to celebrate his 20th birthday. Along with his best mate Glenn, Granny and Grandad and – of course – Charlie and Maddie (who said they could smell the beef from their new flat a few miles away) we had a full and noisy household again. It made me realise the truth in the thought that if we succeed in raising our children not just to have the wings they need to fly in this world, but also the roots required to ground them and give them stability and security, they’ll always come home. Especially if Mum’s Yorkshire puds and roast potatoes are on offer…