On the move again

Six months after settling her in with us at Peace Cottage Dee's mother, Wynne, having already become something of a local character, pronounced - quite out of the blue - as follows ... Oh, if I never see another mountain or another sheep again - I want to go home. With help from friends down south and in collusion with Dee's sister Gloria we found her a fine en suite room in Fareham's Merry Hall Care Home. I then packed all her goods and chattels with the two dogs into the Jeep and set off at six a.m on the 700 mile trek south. A couple of hours later Dee and Wynne took a taxi to Inverness and then a first class train to Southampton. I actually had time to unload at the Care Home before going with Gloria and Peter to meet mother and daughter on arrival at Southampton rail station, ten p.m. Wynne came bouncing off that train, a woman re-kindled. Personally I was exhausted! Our pair of hungarian vizslas were good as gold, perhaps sensing in the mysterious ways of dogs that they were back on home turf..

Back on our real home turf I set about marketing my artworks as cards etc with renewed energy, much aided and abetted by Dee, now resigned from her Isle View Care Home duties and doing the accounts, manning our marketplace stalls etc. Our tide had once more turned. We and our two dogs, although now visibly ageing, were indeed very happy ....
Good food, a regime of different daily 'walks', each other and an abundance of love - why would they not be happy - indeed, why wouldn't we be?

At this point the contentment was inadvertently shattered by our widowed ladlady and good friend, Brenda, who understandably decided to sell her big old 'Kirkhill' manse house. As a result she needed to occupy 'our' Peace Cottage. We were therefore out, albeit at six months notice. Whilst we were still in the process of cogitating over our next move the phone rang. Dee was out at the time. It was Kitty Wiseman asking us if we would consider her Loch Ewe Cottage for a long term rental? Dee knew Kitty well as they had been working together at the Isle View Care Home. I said, yes of course we will look at it, and thank you. By the way where are you? If you look out of your dining room window, Kitty said, you'll see the cottage just a way up the hill. We walked up to have a look around, hardly able to believe our luck. Loch Ewe Cottage was even more perfect than had been Peace Cottage: mostly hidden in a little wooded dell, surrounded by Kitty's and daughter Ann's sheep, chickens, geese and ducks, even nearer the sea shore, plenty of room for work and comfortable living and a lot better appointed. Perfect for us.This was the view out of our new dining room window ...
Oh, and no difference in the rental - even more important as the years went on for even though our income was happily increasing, Dee's share of her mothers Will was being steadily eroded down to zero by her Merry Hall Care Home fees. But they were genuinely never begrudged for we were happy that her final years were of well deserved care and reasonable contentment. A very fair exchange - one's own roof for one's own care.

I have no doubt but that our five years in Loch Ewe Cottage were as happy as any years that Dee and I had shared, right up until the day of our dogs' passing. For some time Sorosh had developed much pain in his hips as well as bad teeth and severe incontinence. Mati was almost but not quite in as bad a condition. Fifteen is very old for a vizsla. That morning our poor old lad could not get up. Of course, like all animals knowing their end is nigh neither of them complained but Sorosh looked at me and I looked at Mati and both of us looked at both of them and we all knew ... I called the vet. He shook his head at Soroth, said that Mati was close behind, would it not be kinder for them to go as they had lived - i.e. together? I held our boy and Dee held our girl as they each in turn received the fatal injection. The vet took what was of their earthly remains away with him in black plastic sacks. Even as I type this the tears I cannot deny the tears in my eyes. Look, I do not ever want to compare sadnesses but we had truly loved those dogs, those wondrous fellow creatures who had been with us through thick and thin, from birth to death, who so many, many times had lightened our darkness.

We buried the caskets containing their ashes in the beach-side hillock where the ashes of old Seth and Chloe had fifteen long years before been placed. May the four of them always run the sands together. One can always hope...even can believe.

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