A good pal to Boot

My internet has been non existent for a week or so which means I have some serious catching up to do. I feel like I want to tell you about everything that has happened in one message. I will string them out a little however.

There was sad news indeed that on 4th February one of the best, brightest and most lovable furs made his longest journey to the Rainbow Bridge. Boot was the brother fur of Charley Beagle who sadly made his way to the Rainbow Bridge in September 2018. Boot was the sensible one (I know Boot and Charleys mum wont mind me saying that) whilst Charley was the maverick with the cheeky streak. Boot was a working Cocker who was always happy when he was out on the moors doing his job. Mind you he was equally as happy curled up in front of the fire, resting his head on a beagle belly, whilst savouring the warmth of the flames. He knew where the pub was so he could walk his parents there without fear of recrimination and they could sit and enjoy themselves. He was the animal whisperer as he had a special knack of being so gentle with every other creature he came into contact with, be it sheep, pig or even a parrot. Boot loved to curl up on his mum and enjoy gentle strokes and ear ruffles.

I had the pleasure, nay the privilege, to meet Boot on a number of occasions and I even introduced him to Lenny. He was at the Beagle World Record when we became record breakers and he was at his home when I arrived unannounced with my parents to help deliver Charley’s bench. I met Boot for the first time when I, again, arrived unannounced at the meet up in Yorkshire. Throughout every meeting he was a fun, happy and wonderful fur who knew he had the best of life with loving parents who looked after him. Even in his dotage, when his legs were beginning to fail him, and the forgetfulness was becoming more prevalent, he still managed to encourage his mum and dad to push him in his chariot wherever he needed to go. He went to his favourite cafe for a cinnamon bun and a ponder.

The world is an emptier place without friends like Boot. Sadly the Rainbow Bridge is gaining more friends whose calling has come. Rest easy Boot my friend, and fare you well. Seek out Charley, Raffa, Gunner, Fred PH dude and many more who have preceded you to the everlasting meadow. I miss you but my heart is full of pride for knowing you and, better still, being your friend.

Excuse me, why are my beds and toys disappearing?

I noticed something strange happening a while back, maybe in late November. Whilst Lenny and I were snoozing or running around the garden like a couple of hounds possessed, things were going missing in the house. A little freaky but I thought I would keep an eye open in case it kept on happening. Which it did, and I thought I should investigate.

During the course of my attempted reconnaissance I was unceremoniously shooed away by both my parents when they were hiding things in boxes, including our toys, leads, harnesses and some treats which would store for a while so they wouldn’t need them. This only raised my suspicions even further but every time I went to investigate I was told to go and lay down and stop being a trip hazard. Apparently humans cannot see very far when they are carrying boxes and crates around the house. I had no idea. One of the rooms in the house looked like a storage warehouse which was concerning as its a house and not a storage warehouse facility and I am banned from snooping around the boxes.

The weekend has passed and the box numbers have increased. Plenty of stuff is now being put into boxes and then carefully stacked in the rooms that Lenny and I are not allowed to play in. My parents are numbering and labelling everything and more rooms are now being filled with boxes. I never realised they had this much stuff.

My parents seem to be getting more excited, or is it agitated, over the increasing number of boxes which are appearing in my house. These infernal things are starting to block the race tracks that Lenny and I have had around the house for some time now. This is grossly unfair. How am I supposed to chase after him?

The latest weekend has finished and it has snowed so my focus has been on watching Lenny enjoy himself in his first taste of snow. Sadly I have not persuaded him to try yellow snow but I am working on it. In any case a number of boxes have been added to the packed ones stored in the bedroom that Lenny and I are not allowed to enter, let alone play in. This is getting very strange indeed. I will get to the bottom of this mysterious parental activity.

Yawning as I awoke from my slumber on a rainy Thursday morning I am surprised to see the parents already out and about, with more boxes being added to the already groaning stack. Suddenly knock knock, arooooo bark aroooo and we are once again shooed out of the way, put onto our harnesses and kept quiet whilst three men come and steal all our belongings and put them all on a big lorry. We’ll be back tomorrow to get the rest of the stuff, they cheerfully tell us as they leave. I searched around the house and could only see bare rooms, bare walls, bare floors and everything echoed. What was this trickery? I had no time to think about it as my parents were quickly into their stride and cleaning and dusting and making the house look spick and span, whilst all the while being empty. Ok, I will sleep on this and try to work out what has gone on. I was rudely awakened once more on a rainy Friday when three men returned to remove the rest of my belongings. Dad was busy helping them steal our stuff whilst mum held on tight to Lenny and I. We just looked confused at each other. The house was empty, utterly bereft of anything except walls, floors and ceilings. And a roof, of course it still had a roof. A final whizz around with the vacuum cleaner and the lorry doors shut with a clank. And that was it. We were hurriedly bundled into the car and off down the road we went. Two hours later we sat outside another very smart looking house whilst my parents spoke to a man about the house. Then the guys who stole all my belongings were giving them all back to me. I had very confused ears and three hours later, Lenny and I sat in a new house surrounded on four sides by boxes. Mum and dad were there thankfully as they finally explained to us that we were now going to live here, in a new kennel that they had purchased. I had to explore as I wanted to make sure that my treats pennies had been wisely spent. Having wandered, sniffed and nosed about in every place I could find, I think they have spent my treats pennies wisely so I approve.

Lenny and I took the parents for a stroll to have a sniff and to investigate our new local surroundings. Mum and dad were of course extremely grateful that we made sure they walked us whilst it rained and we all got wet and had fun. There are so many walks that we will find here that I am looking forward to checking out the new area. It’s going to be fun as we had already found the muddiest track really close by so that’s a bonus for us. There are plenty of other dogs around here and we even saw a fellow beagle on our first full day. He was very friendly, as you would expect, and was very well behaved, which was a bit surprising.

Hopefully I will be able to explore more places and find more fun things to do. I am looking forward to this, the new chapter in mine and Lenny’s life. We have to wait for the garden to dry out before we can go racing around out there like a couple of possessed hounds. Apparently the turf is very new and the soil is very squashy so we need a dry few weeks. The garden is frustratingly out of reach.

Firstly however we need to find out where all those pesky squirrels live so we can do some serious bothering.

What a day

As soon as I managed to open an eye this morning I had a feeling that today would be different and maybe fun. I was proved correct. I was not surprised to see that Lenny had sneaked onto the big bed during the night. He does try his luck far too regularly and usually gets kicked off but last night was quite chilly around here. I knew he was on the big bed as there was a strange lump that wasn’t mum or dad shaped. When I shook to make sure I was heard, Lenny roused from his slumber and slinked past me whilst aiming a sly bite at my ear. I looked out of the door to see the sunrise was beautiful and almost fiery in the sky. We went out for our morning constitutional in the frosty garden and by the time we returned to the kitchen door, the cloud had rolled in so my parents decided to have some breakfast before taking us over the fields. I get used to them taking liberties like this so I settled down at a window to watch for squirrel invaders into my garden. That is when it started, light and fluffy at first and then heavier and heavier. It was snowing and we were going to have fun, I could feel it.

We were harnessed and then out of the door, turn left and down the hill, turn left down the lane and footpath and turn left at the school. Lenny was pulling and yanking on his lead, so much so that mum was having to rein him in as she slipped on the newly laid snow. It was then that I remembered that Lenny hadn’t seen snow before and, looking at the heaviness of the clouds, we were going to get a fair covering of it. Anyway onward and up the hill to the first field which was already filling up with snow. Let the shenanigans commence. We pulled and jerked our way around the field, got snow plough noses and then wandered through the deeper stuff until the bottom of our harnesses acted like snow shovels. Lenny was running around like a fur possessed. He had this silly grin on his face as he tried to run and then bounce through the snow. Along the edge of the next field, up the slope and then toward the big field at the top. I figured that the far end would be the deepest and I was proved right once more when we got there and even I was having to leap almost gazelle like to make sure I walked and landed in the deepest parts. Straight through the woods on the return journey and the trees were covered in their wintery coats. Still Lenny has this grin on his face that he was in his absolute element. I was also enjoying it so much that I had forgotten to introduce him to yellow snow. That I had been warned by my parents not to be so horrible to Lenny didn’t contribute to my forgetfulness at all.

Mountain climber Lenny

When we got home we both got towelled down and warmed through. Before I had my second breakfast I decided to cavort around the garden only to arrive back at the kitchen door to be captured by dad and then I had to watch Lenny go racing past me to do “snow zooms”. I watched him having so much fun that I felt happy for him. We were a bit worried that he might not like snow or think it very strange stuff. However, watching him run around and aroooing made my little heart sing with pride.

He’s sleeping soundly on one of our eight beds in front of the wood burner at the moment. I wanted this day to come for some time. I wondered what he would make of snow and now I know that he loves the stuff. Maybe making him eat yellow snow is a bit naughty. I’ll save that for another day.

Warm and happy

Sleep well Lenny buddy.

And another

As if yesterdays sad blog wasn’t sufficient for the near future, I heard today of another kind and happy soul who has made their way to the Rainbow Bridge in a distinctly untimely fashion.

My friend Fred lived in Germany with his parents. I came across Fred early in my Twittering career and he has remained a resolute and funny pal ever since. Most weekends I would see that he was accompanying his mum on her Parkrun and he was clearly the centre of attention for the volunteers who were there to make sure everyone got around safely. Let’s be honest, he was always going to be the centre of attention, the handsome devil. Even when it was time for dinner I would see Fred waiting im-patiently beside the counter for his mum to hurry up and make the food, cut up the fruit and ensure that he had something tasty to eat. Typical beagle you may say. There is nothing wrong with making sure our parents do things right and on time, say I. Whether it was sunshine, rain or snow (I wonder if he ever had all three?) he was outside and enjoying his life running around being silly and making everyone smile.

I shall be there in spirit.

His parents were supposed to be married last year and Fred was to be the ring bearer. I suspect they will be sad when they do finally have their lovely day and there is no four legged pal to accompany them to make sure they do it all correctly.

Eleven years of wisdom, not grey fur.

So when today I saw that he had succumbed to a number of nasty tumours, I was saddened to see that he had made the longest journey. His parents made the bravest, and the most difficult, decision to release him to the company of those who have passed to the Rainbow Bridge before him. As with Lucy yesterday there will be far too many of our friends and allies who will be awaiting his arrival. He leaves behind a legacy of fun and a life lived fully. Run free Fred, free from cares, woes and troubles. You are once again young, healthy and you now have the warmth of the everlasting sun upon your fur.

Come on mum, run faster!

We only get one go at this life. Live that life like Fred. And Raffa. And Gunner. And Lucy. And Pruny. And Charley. And Seb. And Bean. And Port Hunter. And far too many others that I apologise for not mentioning.

Officially, I’m not actually in the kitchen.

The sun set a little today

It was a lovely crisp start to my day. The rain of the previous couple of days had cleared to the east although for many people in the Midlands and north of England it was still sadly pouring down, causing flooding and misery aplenty. Our walk was nice as there weren’t too many people out and those that were seemed a little cheery due to the blue skies and chilly wind. Lenny and dad saw a rainbow in the distance, away toward the horizon.

Once we had returned and our second half breakfast was consumed, we went about our daily routine of messing about and playing bitey face before looking to snooze on our beds. Suddenly dad looked up from his computer and told mum something that made them both very sad. He had seen that Lucy Beagle whose parents visited the UK from Arizona in December 2019 had been taken ill quite suddenly. The most difficult but kindest decision had been made to release Lucy from her suffering and she went across the Rainbow Bridge to seek out far too many of our friends who have already made the journey.

Contented sleep of a good life

I first came across Lucy a few years ago and when we spoke she was always polite friendly and clearly had a love for life and everything it involved. She would complain about toe nail theft, she would badger her parents for food and then look at them pleading for more in case they had forgotten that she had just had something. She would wait and listen for her parents to return from this work malarkey that they all seem to do, and then curl up and revel in the love that she was, quite correctly, given. Even when she damaged her cruciate ligament later in 2020 there was never a bad word from Lucy. She enjoyed the life she was living and the friends who she shared it with. When her parents visited the UK, both Lenny and I had the privilege of trying to show them some interesting things in London that maybe people aren’t aware of when they visit. I hope they enjoyed their trip. Lucy wrote a guest blog, which I was more than happy to publish, about her parents adventures in the UK.

It’s comfy. Sshh.

I will miss Lucy, she is a good buddy. I say “is” because she may be gone from sight but she will remain forever in the hearts of her parents and many other friends around the world. I chased a squirrel in her honour today and mum said I nearly got it. Run free sweet Lucy, you are released from your worldly duties. You are free from pain and suffering, so seek out the friends who are on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge to look after you and show you the way. Dad just looked at me and I think his heart hurts a little as he knows I am getting older.

Rest easy Lucy

My world is emptier today.

January blues. Or should that be greys?

Ugh good grief it’s depressing looking out of the window recently. January has arrived with a vengeance, quarantine is apparently in full swing again and the rain and cloud have descended to dampen my mood.

I have been accompanying Lenny on walks over the last few days as the weather has been so rotten that neither of us can be overly enthusiastic about strolling too far for too long. Since Lenny’s dismal impression of Captain Oates on 5th January, the weather has become damper and more depressing. As a result we have been out and about, got wet, been dried when we return and then run around the garden for about twenty minutes in the morning and then again in the afternoon. The log burner has been lit and we can snooze in front of that, so there is a small silver lining. Ok its a warm orange glow. It’s about all we can be bothered to manage to be honest.

When will the sun come out?

This morning was no different in that it was dark, the rain had persisted all night and our parents took the usual inordinate age to get their wet weather walking gear on. I don’t know why they haven’t got fur and then shake regularly like we do? Anyway out we went, and it was decided for us that Lenny and I didn’t need a long walk. Three miles would be enough. I wasn’t in the mood to argue, to be truthful. Around the lane into Pednor we sploshed, up the rise in the road and follow the road around to the right, then down the hill and through the gate across the field, through the next gate and across that field, through the last gate and turn right toward home. We didn’t even get to wash our paws off in the river as we didn’t need to. Home and we were duly towelled down so cue much running around the house playing bitey face whilst rubbing our still damp fur across as many items of furniture as we could manage. For some reason the parents weren’t enamoured with our efforts. Then it was into the routine of breakfast, pester mum, chase each other, pester dad, snooze, watch dad light the wood burner, run around the garden whilst the rain abated temporarily and then repeat the previous activities of running around and annoying parents.

Wake me up when dinner is ready.

It’s sleep time so I am off to the garden for a pre snooze run around to make sure there are no squirrel or deer invaders. Wish my parents luck as it’s very soggy under paw out there and if I get a scent I could be a long time.

Lenny’s lonely loop

We have been walking together, Lenny and I, over the past couple of weeks. Depending on the quantity of scents available this has led to a number of incidents where we are both going for the same scent and there is the inevitable tangle of leads with the even more inevitable huffing and puffing from our parents as they try to disentangle us. Lenny and I have been competing for scents and we tend to be rather ungentlemanly about each other, pulling suddenly on our leads and shoving each other out of the way. One thing Lenny has learned is to step back when I need to “send a peemail” as he’s received one of my “peemails” on his head before as he was trying to read it too early. Anyway it was decided that Lenny and I would walk separately this morning and it sounds like he had quite a fun walk. I suppose I should hand over to him to tell you more. I shall be checking later to see if he’s been cheeky.

Hello everyone, it’s me Lenny. I went out for a solo stroll today albeit attached to dad. My brother wasn’t with me so I could sniff and forage at my own pace without him trying to get to the scent first. We went on a ten kilometre anti clockwise round of Pednor, one of our favourite, if not our actual favourite, walks around here. With the new quarantine about to come into force and the fact that a major road had been reopened after works taking three months or so, we weren’t expecting much traffic. Also the schools are closed so the usual rat run type traffic should have been reduced. We were proved correct. We walked the first stretch with Dex and mum so after a while they turned left and went on a shorter walk whilst I strode out for my adventure. Don’t tell him but now that Dex is a bit older he doesn’t need such a long walk as his “weary bones” start to ache a little quicker. Anyhow I was quite surprised as we were keeping up a fair pace along the first bit of our freedom trail. The scent count was low apart from the two deer that ran across the road in front of me. I may have bayed loudly and caused Dex to wonder what the dickens was going on? Having overcome the excitement of deer, we sped along the road, across the muddy section where the council never clear out the drains properly and then got to the long hill. The road curved away to the left and we began the ascent toward top Pednor and we could see the manor house on the top of the hill. The scents got more frequent here and my pace slowed so I could inhale as many smells as my olfactory organ would allow. I need to store these sniffs in my data bank for later. Along the top and turn left again to go through the small group of lovely old houses in their courtyard. As we walked along the road we could see down to both Pednor Bottom and an old path called somewhat strangely Herbert’s Hole.

Suddenly Bella the chocolate lab appeared in front of us. She is a lovely older lady dog who we see regularly and with whom Dex and I exchange stories briefly as we pass. Today her parents were surprised that Dex wasn’t with us. I am very polite to her and I always get complimented on my gentlemanly behaviour. Sadly mum wasn’t with us so I didnt score any treats for being good. Continuing along the crest of the hill we descended Holloway and zigzagged around the lanes until we arrived back at the start of the loop.

I was getting a bit tired now so wanted to get home and have my second half breakfast when into my view came Molly who is a sweet little spaniel pup. She is such a happy dog and is always really pleased to meet Dex and I. For some reason I shy away from her and no one really knows why. She is playful like me, she is happy like me and she is noisy like me. However I try to hide behind my parent whenever we meet and they can’t work out why? In any case dad spoke to Molly’s mum for a while whilst I reminded him about my second breakfast by pawing his leg to get his attention. After a few minutes he relented and we made it home just in time for my stomach to rumble and a quick session of bitey face with Dex who seemed quite pleased to see me again. A good walk followed by some exuberant snout jousting and subsequently long snoozes on the sofa. Mum was told that I behaved extremely well and that without Dex there wasn’t any competition for scents. A good day I think.

I should hand you back to Dex but he is sleeping. Must be those old weary bones he tells me about.

Well, that was all a bit unnecessary

Firstly Happy New Year to one and all. I have been fairly quiet over the festive period as there is quite a bit of activity going on in the house and I have needed to be good. As some may know, this can be challenging for a beagle who lives with a vampiric younger sibling. I may have been good at times.

Walks have been taken with sights and smells duly appreciated. It’s been drab and dreary here since New Year arrived. We have mainly walked the lanes as the rain has turned our field walks into a muddy quagmire in places and our assistants complain of slipping and sliding all over the place when trying to control us. They need four paw drive. The number of people out walking, running and walking their dogs has increased significantly so our walks haven’t been as solitary as we would have liked but you can’t have everything, can you?

Isn’t this a little early for a walk?

This morning started like the previous two or three. The parents were lazing about until Lenny planted an excellently placed pounce on dads kidneys. After our first half breakfast we were away through the lanes sniffing rabbits and squirrels in the hedgerows and walking through the filthiest puddles we could find. Having returned home, we had our second half breakfast and then we thought it was time for our usual session of bitey face followed by some snoozing, all interspersed with regular trips to the garden to check on the Sciurus position. As I returned from my fourth foray into the garden I found myself harnessed up again and attached to my dad who told me to be good, whilst putting a bag of gravy bones in his pocket. I had suspicious ears. We marched quickly out of the house and soon found I was in the car park at the vets. This definitely wasn’t in the script for a lazy Sunday. In we go and I am trapped in the consulting room whilst dad then explains to the vet that, on a few occasions, I have been a little less than solid in certain areas over the past six weeks or so and my diet has been changed to make it blander and more accommodating to my bodily functions. I looked at dad to inform him that I had not authorised this conversation to take place, but he just ignored me. Typical. All the embarrassing details are laid bare and I haven’t seen these gravy bones in his pocket yet. The vet thinks I may have some colitis which is normal for a “beagle of my age” and that the bland diet is a good idea so it should be continued for a week or two. Again I didn’t authorise this change to my food.

Then to add insult to injury the vet noticed that my annual boosters were due about this time. Cue the stethoscope and being investigated in my ears, mouth and round the back. I am apparently in good shape for a “beagle of my age” and it was then that the gravy bones miraculously appeared from dads pocket. My suspicions were exceeded by my craving for said gravy flavoured snack and I missed the vet wander around behind me with a needle to ensure I had my boosters for another year. The liberty of it all. The shame wasn’t finished though as I was marched over to the scales and dad told the receptionist that I was fourteen kilos. How could he? In public? In a loud voice? Whilst rolling his eyes? The only redeeming factor was that dad had to pay for my travails so this put a slight spring back into my step for the return home.

Quick session of bitey face with Lenny, followed by my dinner and I now find myself snoozing on the sofa whilst allegedly kicking mum in my sleep. I have no idea what she means.

I wonder if I will get extra sympathy gravy bones?

And apparently Lenny missed me whilst I wasn’t here. Nice to know someone loves me.

Where is Dex?

Sad yet hopeful – the final part

As promised I continue my thoughts on the strange year just ending. It’s a sad, frustrating year, yet it had some bright sparks now and again.

July.

Lenny and I had been set the task of trying to recreate all the photographs on a calendar we sent to Raffa’s mum last year. According to our very kind pals the pictures we were in were better than the originals. Then on Raffa’s birthday there was a little tribute where many friends painted a rock and took it to somewhere that Raffa would have loved to go. We went to our garden and tried not to squabble whilst the picture was taken. It didn’t last long. Sadly I heard that a long time friend called Seb the BT was due to go to the Rainbow Bridge. He had such a wonderful heartfelt send off that it made me proud to consider that I had known him and woofed with him over his time on Twitter.

August.

My nanny died. Dad was very sad as she had been ill for quite some time and he had been half expecting the phone call for a while. When it came though it was still a nasty shock. Lenny and I did our best to behave in an appropriate manner. Lenny then celebrated his birthday and I allowed him to beat me at bitey face. Later in the month we went to see our remaining grandad who said we should all go to the seaside. Lenny had never been to the sea in the UK and he was in awe at the wind and waves. In fact he was so much in awe that he fell asleep. He didn’t try to lick the seawater like I did in the Lake District a few years ago. Everyone had a nice time and mum even got saltwater spray all over her face as she forgot to take her sunglasses. We didn’t laugh, honestly.

September.

Knock knock, who’s there? Arooo, its auntie J. Raffa’s mum was going on holiday and diverted to come and see us in our natural habitat. She was rubbish at hide and seek although quite good at starting bitey face games. We were still under some restrictions but they seem to be easing once again. Not that it made any difference to Lenny and I, as we still got our walks, food and beds. We could feel the seasons changing toward the end of the month so we got ourselves ready to bed down and hibernate for the winter months. The squirrels were much more active. Lenny and I managed to catch one but were told in no uncertain terms to DROP IT.

October.

Time for trees to fall down in front of us. This stick was too large even for Lenny and I to take home with us. The rain returned with a vengeance, causing the ground to be saturated and the tree roots to give up completely. Luckily we weren’t underneath it when it came down. Lenny is looking up to me a bit now. I think he has accepted that this is his forever family and he’s relaxing enough to want to know what else we can get away with.

November.

Here we go, back into a partial quarantine. Will it work, will it fail and will we ever get our dinner. This year the service has got worse as the days and months pile up. Maybe we need new parents as the current incumbents clearly aren’t up to the mark. Lenny and I are bonding far more. We are taking time to do things that don’t always include bitey face games or chasing each other around the garden. In fact we managed to steal socks from dad and were referred to as “International sock thieves of some distinction”. We remain quite proud of our abilities.

December.

As I write this missive we are in Tear (yes I did mean to spell it like that) 4 of restrictions which means that the pubs and restaurants are closed, and only the essential shops are open. We cannot see friends from other households over Christmas and we still wont be able to go to the pub. This quarantine is like the hokey cokey. We’re in, we’re out, we’re in again and then we’re shaking it all about. Christmas is likely to be quiet with just ourselves to play together and amuse ourselves.

I am not sure how to sum it all up really. We lost some well loved and revered furs this year. Raffa, Gracie and Seb the BT amongst too many others. Sadly life and death were ever present as usual. The pandemic spread fear, death and misadventure throughout large swathes of the human population which was sad to see. Many people got on with their neighbours better than they had for a long time. Some people even found out that they had neighbours which was a bonus. This lockdown brought the best and, sometimes, the worst out of people.

I did learn something in the past year that will stick with me for some time. I realised that many of my friends live in beautiful places around the world. As we were all restricted in one way or another, I got to see friends local areas when they tweeted about their daily lives. Often because you are familiar with your local area, the beauty of it passes you by. I have also learned that Lenny is settled, he is happy and likes living here. This makes my heart sing as, despite what I may say about him sometimes, I do love him and want him to be happy.

And we move on to 2021. I cannot begin to wonder what it holds for us all. Hopefully vaccines are developed and provided so the virus recedes and some degree of normality returns to swathes of the worlds population. I hope so as this will allow us to get out and about more often. We want to see friends and family to try and resume some degree of new normality. Is there to be such a thing as normality? There is only one way to find out.

Sad yet hopeful – part the first.

I know many people do a review of the year passing or passed. Where shall I start without using the C word? Ok, I shall take this month by month and try to explain why this year, which will pass into history very soon, was seemingly one to forget but also contained some little gems.

January.

It’s on its way everyone. 2020 was starting on a chilly and cool note although January was surprisingly dry for us in Chesham, where it is usually soggy, drizzly and really rather damp. Lenny is getting used to the incessant photography, however he has yet to master the art of the silly grin. I’m working on him so please bear with us.

February.

It’s arrived although not yet in huge numbers which we will soon suffer. Raffa went to the Rainbow Bridge and many, many people were very upset at the loss of a fine and wonderful friend. The days were getting a bit longer, the mornings were misty and made Lenny look thoughtful. I spent much of the first few weeks wondering why pals aren’t here any more, why we have to go to the Rainbow Bridge and generally having a good think to myself.

March.

It’s here. Just before the quarantine took place fully I had the chance to travel briefly into London. I was intent on finishing the postcard for Raffa. She had missed the Beefeater and I thought it was only right that I get the picture for her. Then it struck and we were all locked away for a while. People panic bought toilet roll, bleach and pasta (I do not need that recipe) and we made sure we didnt make contact with anyone in the hope that this might slow down the transmission rate.

April.

Flowers bloomed in my garden. Lenny and I helped to water them as the sun grew warmer and the colours burst back to life. Out of quarantine at the end of April but it made no difference. We were living like hermits and avoiding as much contact with other people as possible.

May.

Now it was beginning to get a bit boring. We still got our walks. We still got to arooo in the garden. We still got to chase each other around the garden playing bitey face. However we were a little restricted on where we could go for walks outside the garden. Fortunately we were able to walk in places that not many others knew about so we often had the lanes to ourselves.

June.

We were still under restrictions so had to behave ourselves in and out of the garden. It had the advantage though of showing Lenny that I didn’t want to be bitten all the time and often it was nice to just chill out instead of running at 100 mph around the garden. We became more accommodating of one another as the restrictions wore on. It got warm and we became lazy or lazier depending on who you listen to. Early in the month we learned that another friend, Gracie, also passed to the Rainbow Bridge. This was another time for sadness and reflection as she was a good friend.

Here ends todays missive. The final part will be published soon. I am not sure if the year got any better to be honest. However you’ll just have to wait to find out.