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?

The frailty of life

I am going to let my dad write on my blog today as, in the early hours of this morning, my nanny passed away in hospital. She made her longest journey to the Rainbow Bridge, as it were. I loved my nanny, she was the best.

Watching the person who gave you life, who then preserved and progressed your life, gradually deteriorate is a strange and slightly surreal experience. Seeing my father shortly after he had died was somewhat of shock to the system and I suppose the only redeeming factor to his death was that he did not apparently suffer toward the end and indeed the end came quickly.

Conversely I, along with my siblings, have watched as our mother at first slowly and then more recently deteriorate markedly to what is sadly the inevitable conclusion. Looking at the person who gave you life, now being relieved of pain by medical means at the very end of her days is a thought provoking thing. It is said that as people near the end of their life, they seem to become a shell of their former selves and this seems to ring true in respect of my mother. Seeing her in the last seven days she seemed at once to have no cares in the world, yet at other times had her life etched upon her face. We were assured that she passed away in peace and was not in pain. This provides a modicum of solace to us all.

My mother and father had five children in eleven years. They watched as one of their children died at far too young an age. The family was raised in the age when predominantly dad went to work and mum kept the house, along with the children, in line until they flew the nest. In addition she managed numerous jobs for around fifty of her eighty three years on this earth.

Born prior to World War two commencing she was evacuated and then returned to her home in south London at the time of the Blitz. She was one of four children (the others were boys) so she would have been used to the general disorganisation of life that conflict brings to any scenario as well as having many children in the same house at the same time.

Malta

She met my father who then served his National Service in Malta between 1958-1960 and they returned to the UK to set up home and start their lives together. Along with my father they worked hard to ensure that the children had a roof over their heads and that they would grow up with a good moral compass and a clear understanding of right and wrong. Maybe I messed about along the way with some of their efforts at showing us the good from bad, but overall their teachings have succeeded I hope. In her later life, as her health failed to a constantly greater extent she relied more and more upon my father until his untimely demise in December 2017. Dad had been, to all intents, an unpaid and on site member of the wider care team that looked after her needs all day and night. At the point of his death both of my sisters stepped up admirably and assisted mum where they were able to do so. Without their help, she truly would have been lost. Problems with mobility as well as various further health scares and the odd fall meant there would be a move from their house of some 50 years to a flat where it was easier for her to get about. Subsequent visits to hospital for various ailments ended with her being looked after in a nursing home for the final 8 months of her life. It seems to have been a fairly painful end to a life lived fully by someone who felt that her task was to try and ensure her children were level headed, reasonable and didn’t get into trouble. My mother, along with my father, achieved these goals.

Best mum in the world

The inevitability of the end doesn’t dampen the feeling of emptiness in your stomach, the knowledge that you will no longer be able to call and tell of good and bad news, to be able to sit down, have a cup of tea and chat about whatever comes to mind. The contact with the past is broken, abruptly and permanently. However she said she doesn’t want sadness, foreboding and a sense of navel gazing. To her life is to be lived. We get one chance to get it as right as you can so we have to take it.

Thank you mum, for giving me and my siblings that chance.

I love you nanny. Fly free.