Remorse…maybe!

I know it has been a long time since I put my fingers on the keyboard to share my thoughts and activities wit the world out there. It has been busy dare I say, or just lazy on my part. But the inspiration did not come at all. The incessant rain, the cold freezing nights did not help or should it have been? I can’t decide at this very moment. My little voice inside says : ‘c’mon you have been lethargic, uninspired and just plain leisurely.’ I will opt for the latter and also for the second one uninspired. Well, what is inspiring now? I truly still can’t say. But here I am. Even if I said above that I was lethargic, that was only regarding the writing. I have not be idle on different levels. The garden as usual has taken its share of pleasure and little work at that time of the year tending to the winter vegetables growing profusely at the moment.

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One of the many cabbages
Fennel
Fennel

I have also knitted a pullover to take with me on our trip to France. I have knitted also countless hats for friends and at the same time listened to many audio books. Organising accommodation and itineraries for our trip. And it has been also a few weeks of constant socialising. Sometimes I wonder if I am really retired. Like I said to Peter, it is worse than our job in Hong Kong. But in a nicer way really. No demands on my time and deadlines. Yes, I am glad to be off  the vicissitudes of a working life. I guess retiring has it advantages as you choose what you want to achieve, and put your attention where you like. Our new puppy dog  Zaina, now just over a year has also been a handful. Very demanding and we sometimes wonder why on earth we got such a large dog. German Shepherd can be formidably exhausting. Wanting to play and spend her boundless energy teasing us and always on the look out for some sort of mischief. Luckily the cat, Fripouille takes care of that by taunting and goading her to play. The two of them running around the garden like lunatic, he climbs up the highest tree and stares at the dog while she whines and whimpers in frustration. Then, it is another gallop at full speed hiding under the car or on top of it while she is not looking. Maybe tired of having her neck stretched up in the air.  He waits till she gives up, climbs down and starts to all over again. Peter and I are stitches. But that is not all. When the day is over the same scenario repeats up and down the stairs, under the bed, behind the curtains waiting for the dog to appear and then springs in front of her nose pawing her or just crawls under an opening of her belly and grabs her fur. The poor dog has not got a chance in the world with those claws. Exhausted they crashed at the foot of our bed. Not really, because Fripouille chooses the comfort of the plush blanket of our bed and he is higher that Zaina.

Fripouille in all its length
Fripouille in all its length
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She stole my chair while I was not looking
Cat on a hot tin roof
Cat on a hot tin roof

Then one day, one of the newly born calves decides to scamper next door and starts bellowing as it can’t get back to its mum. The two of them wails till they are reunited. But in the meantime we are chasing and searching for the calf. Nowhere to be seen. Neighbours on horses and on foot in pursuit of the little one. After a whole afternoon we give up in despair and distressed and leave it to mother nature to take its course. Nevertheless, we know if calves are separated for too long from their mum they can perish. The little blighter was only a few days old.  As one might expects, the next day mother and calf are peacefully side by side. The kind lady Jo, who shares the property with us tells us that she had seen the two together that morning. It was incredible after all the efforts of the day before. The mother cow stands patiently while the young one suckles its heart content no doubt. All our efforts were in vain. That night, we just crashed completely exhausted. So, life goes on with visits from friends, our days volunteering at the gallery, attending the property and the vegetable garden, walking the dogs, feeding the cows and so on. All sounds so trivial, but I can assure you it is far from it as it demands constant devotion and attention. Of course I have not mentioned the marathon cooking, jamming, pickling and cheese making. One thing that we have been experimenting with is our new wood oven.It took a lot of know-how, patience and perseverance to sort out the real temperature and the length of cooking bread in it. The results were worth it but it is so time consuming and frustrating. But the taste of bread cooked in a wood oven is unbeatable in spite of the instability of that mode of operation. We have not given up yet. It will take lots of practice and assiduity to savour a home cooked and home made bread and cooked to perfection.

Home made olives with homemade flat bread
Home made olives with homemade flat bread
Sour dough bread from wood fired oven
Sour dough bread from wood fired ovenYes, that is already a lot.

We are now preparing for our next trip and already the excitation is palpable. France and Thailand here we come. Tho, the readiness is here, there is always the feeling that we are better off in the splendid surroundings of our beautiful farm. I also know that a nice break from it all will be welcomed. So, do I feel guilty for not writing, I must confess …not at all.

Till next time

The few stages of having a dog. Reflections and observations.

The other day I was just thinking about the different stages on possessing a dog. These are the thoughts that I had. This came to my mind as I was watching our new German Shepherd puppy frolicking round and playing with the cat in the garden. Jumping, chasing, running .

Fripouille and Zaina
Fripouille and Zaina

There are different moods and stages on owning a dog. Especially a pedigreed one.

The first stage, one is proud to be associated with a mighty beast. It gives you a sense of power. Reasserting who you are. The power, the strength of the dog is transmitted to you and you feel the ownership of it all. As you strut on the roads, people admire the dog and your chest pumps up every time you receive a compliment from the people sharing your footpath. The kids also want to pat the dog and you feel friendly and want to show off how lovely your dog is. Power is the first stage that goes to your head.

Time flies. Time changes. The dog is no more. You have given it away because you are moving overseas, going into a flat, or a completely different circumstances forces you to find alternatives for your dog..or simply the dog passes away.

After mulling around for a while thinking will I or won’t I get another dog….you still are not quite sure. We start thinking about getting another one. Will I get a big one again or just a little dog from the RSPCA? Not sure. I leave it for a while…but time is not in my favour and after lots of deliberation… from one day to the next I am the owner of another big beast.

A puppy, yes, but this time the dog has to be trained properly. It has to be obedient and his behaviour impeccable. We are going to work on that one and we do. We take the dog for long walks, sit, stay, hold, heel, down, shake hand and the list goes on. My dog is perfect and the compliments keep on pouring in as we parade in the streets showing how well behave our dog is. An example of well-heeled pedigreed canine. There, there is a mixture of the might of the dog and the pride of having done some nice recognised work. A sense of power with the might of the big dog and the fact that the animal is beyond reproach. Total satisfaction, total identity with the size of the dog, achievement, self-importance and snobbish.

Then, times are changing again and they do change of course as one moves through different stages of life. The perfect companion is no more. Another phase, another moment in one’s existence.

Again after a long time of reflection the eternal question arises. Will I get another one? No, I shall leave it for a while. And one does. But after a few months or just a couple of years, the urge to own another little German Shepherd resurfaces and the hunt starts for a nice one again.

The new puppy is brought home. But something has shifted. Sure we still want the perfect mighty and well-trained dog. After all we always did train and groomed them to be the apple of our eyes. The responses that we had from people were always flattering and encouraging. But, it looks like this time not much importance or urgency is given to any of that. It seems that all the associations that we previously had simply vanished into thin air. Yes, we have the “ferocious GS, but he is just a companion a bundle of energy to be reckoned with. We are more laissez-faire, the training is not rigorous, tho, still the basics are taught. We are not ready to walk down the road with her showing her off. We are just contented to take care another lovely bundle of fun and cherish her.

Zaina and Elsie
Zaina and Elsie

Has something changed in the attitude of possession and pride or is it that we are getting older and all the self-importance has just flown out of the window? Well, I think that both are play.

Till next time.

Busy in spring

Well, it has been a while since I put pen to paper or should I said keyboard to WordPress.

It is a glorious day. Spring is definitely here. Judging by the smell of orange, grapefruit, lemons and lime blossoms. The bees are buzzing around selecting the nectar. The wisteria is in bloom. We do have a white one at the moment and the scent is just so subtle and sweet. The daitura are also propagating their scent at night and the evenings are just divine with their sweet and overpowering smell. Just a delight! And the native iris are also showing their best. As dusk slowly arrives the frogs in the background are already calling their mates. The owls are fluttering as soon as I walk out and I can hear their heavy flights above the bottle brush when I take the dogs for a late night wee before retiring for the night. The green frogs are croaking in the background. The cows are still begging and bellowing for extra hay every night. They must be the best fed cows around.
Native Iris

We have not heard nor seen the butcher birds over the last couple of weeks. I guess they are busy mating. The magpies tho, have come for a nightly feed, still awkward at catching the little meat that I can throw at them. Frip, the cat does not help there I am sure as he stalks them ready to pounce and catch…if he can.

It has been a very busy few months since we got back from Europe. Very busy indeed. I have redone the whole veggie garden. A complete overhaul. I have weeded 8 beds and recovered them with wood chips. A new technique inspired by the video called:” Return to Eden”. Not that I am very keen on religious propaganda. But that does not distract from the fact that the principles explained have got some merits. I was a little suspicious at the start to hear all this bible recitation at every step of the video. It got quite tedious. In the end I decided to give it a go in spite of the spiel.

So quite painstakingly, I weeded all the beds . Yes, the 8 of them meticulously.
As for wood chips it was not too hard. When we were away, the local charming and efficient Bill came and lopped a few trees that were quite dangerous to have around. He made a huge pile of wood chips which I wheeled into the garden day after day. The results were quite amazing. After just a couple of weeks I could see how the soil was still very moist and the newly thinned and planted vegetables were growing very well. I was impressed.

They did mention in the video that there was no need to add any fertiliser of any sorts or even watering should be kept at a minimum if at all. But I decided to complete the experiment keeping only 2 beds mulched with the chicken manure and hay that I collected from their coop.

I also planted the same vegetables on the chips bed and the manured/hay bed just to confirm it for myself and to see if there was a grain of truth in all that.

It has been a 3 months now and I really can see the difference between them. We had a few days of over 31 dry and windy.
The one with the chips are springing and shooting ahead at quite a speed. The weeds are down and if they spring up a gentle tug will do the job. The soil underneath is really moist. As for the other beds with the straw, they are quite dry and weeds crawl onto the surface at a faster pace, making harder to pull the whole root. The soil has also hardened quite a bit and I have been watering them more often.

Veggi garden with wood chipsWood chip beds

We also has some fabulous crops of broad beans and peaches. The peach trees have been thinned last summer and this year we had huge peaches, but they were not as sweet a little floury. Nevertheless quite good and are still producing. Maybe the later on they might get a little sweeter. Mulberries have also been abundant and every morning we go to the trees and harvest a little basket. I am freezing some for later on also.

Broad beans
2014-09-25 11.29.39 Peaches

Well, that was the garden bit. In the meantime with the few days of rain that we had, I managed to finish Peter’s pullover. I had knitted one last year with hemp and wool and it became an Indian dress. So I redid the whole lot. It fits him to perfection now. He is very happy with it and so am I. As I was knitting, I also listened to some audio books. Nothing fancy. Just a thriller by Harlan Coben. That really got me in and help me finishing the knitting quite nicely.

New pull over.

Another event that took place was the arrival of a new dog. Yes, after we lost our last German Shepherd 2 years ago, we were playing with the idea to get another one for quite a while and having difficulties in making up our mind. So one day I looked up to see if there was a local breeder. We don’t like driving too much. I was not hoping to get one around here. Finally, we did and the little Zaina is among us. Peter and I were quite impressed by the way the kennel was ran. We saw the mum, aunties and uncles. After 3 hours of talks and info (which drove me crazy)  we drove away with her…not the owner but the dog. Deb was a real German Shepherd lover and has been doing it as a hobby for 30 years apart from her teaching biochemistry at the local school We did have something in common as both of us are also ex teachers. So the yakking went on for quite a while and I was glad to drive back home finally!

The old Labrador, Elsi, is not sure of the new arrival and Frip, the cat, did not take it too nicely either. (to be expected) But after a week of cohabitation the two of them have become the best of mates. Running around the house and the garden playing chasy. Of course you may have guessed, The dog is really at a disadvantaged here as she is the newly arrived on the block. But that does not stop her from trying to get the upper hand with her size and being boisterous. Frip so far is winner. And Zaina is nicely fitting in in our routines.

After all this, we also managed to catch up with friends and have a lovely lunch and working at the gallery over the week ends and doing a new hanging there. As I said a very busy few months.

Till next time.

 

ZainaFripZaina

 

 

Inspiration on the new deck!

I am here today sitting for the first time outside on the new veranda and new deck that Peter and a friend Benoit have finished building. A completely new outlook over the paddocks and the hills across the valley. Just stunning and so appealing to be sitting here and writing. Truly inspiring.

It is really a totally new experience to sit out among the trees, the bamboos, the flowers and the smell of burning mosquito repellent. (not bad as scent goes) The black and white breasted pigeons are perching on the mighty bamboos and cooing their heart content. The butchers birds are demanding their daily ration of bits of meat. They have arrived and perched on the surrounding trees twittering noisily. The Noisy Minahs are quarreling for space in the grevillias for the last few drops of nectar. The sun is setting down in the west starting to glow and scintillating slightly in between the trees and the breeze is definitely getting cooler but still very agreeable to be out.

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In the meantime the butcher birds are really getting more vociferous as Fripouille the cat (which means brat in English) is stalking them with devouring eyes. But they surely know by now what his intentions are and making a raucous to warn him off. So, Fripouille, sits also among the trees hoping and hoping for a decent bite. But this is not going to happen. Fripouille is now stuck high on the branch and is deliberating how he is going to come down. That is more crucial for the moment.

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The quite largish white breasted pigeons are flapping their mighty wings and trying to find a spot for the night. The cows across the paddock are for ever eating grass. Insatiable creatures. Just munch and munch. They have not come up to the fence today bellowing for an extra feed. That is because, we have cleared a big patch of sweet potatoes early in the afternoon and they had a little feast with it as well as the bamboo culms and small branches that I trimmed. They have pretended to like them, not quite sure about it, but ate them in the end.

The chickens are making their way slowly back to the coop ensuring that they have not forgotten that lonely insect on a twig not far from the entrance and where they will get another scoop of grain before Peter shuts the coop door for the night.

A few swallows are catching the last few flying insects on the wind and the cockatoos calling with their grating screams are surely going to roost at some stage not too far away.

The plovers are starting their nightly call for safer ground and the swamp hen is already on top of the sedge near the dam ready to settle down. And I almost forgot Elsie our faithful Labrador that has just arrived and sits by my feet looking forlorn: “Dinner time boss, I am getting hungry you know, it has been a long day”. Well, how can I resist that look? Won’t be too long, I almost finished writing this paragraph and your bowl will be full shortly. So, her head goes down for now… maybe she understood. Well, she surely saw that I was not in a hurry to move right away.

Pink Datura

As it is definitely getting cooler, I am going inside to light a fire for the night, and Peter will starting to cook the salmon with our first batch freshly harvested of sweet red potatoes just a few hours ago.That is the first time that we managed to grow them properly and they were quite large. I was so excited about it that I rang our friend who actually told us how to do it properly. He was elated that we finally managed to grow them and enjoying eating them.

The sun has now vanished and the ski is clear . That breeze is definitely much colder and it is about time I packed up and move inside where it is warm and cozy.

Till next time.

The dog and the lady

Just a couple of days ago, a friend of the lady who rent our cabine up the hill arrived. EM, our tenant, asked us if it was ok by us to have a friend staying for a few days. She had a dog with her but this dog was pretty well behaved . Of course we said, it should not be any problems. Em’s dog is sweet and a real little gem and she gets on so well with our black pudding of a labrador.

Black pudding

After, having taken J to the airport for his flight back to Melbourne, we arrived  back at home. Our cows were bellowing their head off for their 4 o’clock feed. I jumped out of the car, got the wheelbarrow and walked to the hay stack where I fetched 3 arms full of top lucerne hay. On my way to the paddock, I see this brown dog running full speed towards the fence. It got zapped by the electric wire separating the paddocks. That did not stop it. He went back a second time and charged the cows down the hill. The four cows including the 2 calves were galloping at full speed roaring with fright, they did not know where to run, they huddled against a clump of bamboo together. It did not stop, it went at them biting at the heels of the 2 little calves. They were wailing with terror not knowing what was suddenly happening to them at feed time. They kept stampeding  in all directions the dog being more agile and more nimble catching up with them. Their cries could be heard for miles away. I was totally taken aback.

The owner, kept on calling the dog but it would not come, desperate Em, ran down the drive to fetch the dog calling all the time to no avail. Finally, after what seemed an eternity out of sheer despair and fear, I screamed to the owner to do something. She was totally inept. The dog arrived back up the drive not wanting to obey and sheepishly made an attempt to go to its owner who did not do a thing.

She told us that she had never seen it behave in that way. He loved cows and in fact was scared of them. She had photos to prove it. I was totally dismayed by her reply. NOW,  you are seeing what your dog is capable of doing on a farm and from now on your dog must be kept on a lead at all times. No, she said, I could not do that. Really, you come as a guest here, and you lay down the rules, that is really incredible I thought. This is not how it works here. I reiterated my point, but she carried on telling me that her dog NEVER behaved that way. I don’t care what happened before, what matters is what is happening now here, let it be a lesson to you and your visit on a farm. She still would not take my point and insisted that her dog would not go on a leash and so on.

One of the calf

The next day, after having her dog finally tied all night she asked Em, if the dog could be left off the lead, absolutely no said Em, I do not want to risk another episode like yesterday. The woman was not going to take it that way. Em, told her to go as she was not going to take responsibility for her unruly mutt. She asked her to leave and she moved on.

My husband rang me at the Gallery and told me the ending of the dog and the lady. I breathed a sigh of relief, I was fearing that she had seriously intended to let her dog off the lead and both of us were going to kick her out in a very unpleasant way. My husband did not rest all night at the thought that she might not have heeded our request. But all is well and end well.

The cows are just getting back to normal still a little weary as they are checking around around to see if the horrible mutt was still around and today at 4o’clock they came by the fence and started their usual demands…maybe insisting for a little extra for the troubles they went through the other day. I was not going to give in this time…maybe tomorrow.

Till next time.

Preparations

The weather is getting slightly colder but not quite. And it is time again to think about our big trip.

Part of the excitement is all the preparation  beforehand . I am not quite sure whether I call that excitement or a lot of thinking before going…anticipation. Well it is going to be the usual taking care of the house taking care of the chickens and the cows, ensuring that the hay has been ordered and delivered. Taking care of the dogs sorry the dog. I had almost forgotten that Sam had gone last year.Taking care of the veggie garden. Planting the a few seedlings that will (maybe) be ready when we get back. Ensuring that the house sitter knows the routines and where everything is. Sometimes I wish that I did not have such a menagerie. But that is only a wish, because when I am not going anywhere I love to have them around and looking after them all. Plenty of weeks left to prepare the little goodies to take with us and think up of what we are going to carry. Not much but, it is when we come back that we are going to be loaded…as usual. Lucky Thai Airways is quite generous with our luggage!

Also the small butcher bird that made himself at home… He comes everyday for his little feed. Should I tell the house sitter to feed it or do I let him fend for himself for two months? He did manage well before. I have just noticed also that he got rid of his babies. They use to come all four of them for a feed. No more. What happened? Well, I gathered that he gave them the whole the boot. Nowadays he is the only one. All of them  have gone away , they deserted the nest. Now, he gets all the best bits.

I had noticed over the last few weeks as he brought them for a feed. They would arrive and wait on the veranda each of them singing their head of for a feed. I did feed the lot of them. HE would not give them the bits of meat that I had presented to him. So, I diligently gave the meat to the babies which of course they looked at puzzled then, chirped, sung for dad or mum to give it to them…to no avail. They would not budge. They would wait patiently on the balustrade and not  moving till they had begrudgingly flew down to pick up their meat. One of them had even the temerity to take it from my hand. Great, I thought you are daring and you are going to be part of the clan. At one time they even flew into the living room, my husband was horrified and would choo them away. That little circus went on for a few weeks till, I am sure the parents “told them” enough, you are on your own guys, now it is time to go and fetch your food somewhere else. Presently , he is alone and enjoying the privileges of being king of the roost. Talking about roost, we have just discovered that the surviving chicken that the python did not manage to eat ended up a rooster. This morning for the first time we heard a croaky sound coming from the coop. Peter said:  “Listen, carefully” I stop what I was doing and gave my attention to the sounds around me and low and behold, indeed, it was the young rooster exercising his first song. I was stunned because all along I was almost sure that it was just another hen.

But back to the preparations. We still have heaps to do. We have not booked any flights within Europe. We have not booked our trains tickets for travels within France. So, in the next few days this is going to be out priority. All the families in France and England have been told of our arrival. I did change some money already, that is done. I’ll have to buy heaps of food for the chickens and the only dog. What else is there? Gosh! Have I forgotten anything? I am sure I have, things will start to come to the surface as time comes near. In the meantime, I will be busy at the Gallery doing some voluntary work till the last minute.

I am so looking forward to this break, as I said earlier it is exhilarating knowing that there not long to go. It has been a very demanding last few months. The little cabin that we built had taken so much time. Peter has just managed to install the last few bits this afternoon and I am happy that he will not be doing any more work on it. That project had taken so much of his time, energy and I dare say sleepless nights of fathoming what the next move will be or churning over and over what would be the best approach to the sink, the composting toilet, the kitchen shelf and above all the immense chore of all the water works. DONE! finished and well executed Peter. You earned a great holiday from it all. Now, he sleeps better not having any more ideas or designs..till when… that is what I am scared of with him.  Time will tell!

In the end I talked about lots of other things and got  a little carried away. Till next time!

A week of sunshine and the butcher bird

Yes, a week of sunshine after a days and weeks of rain in our valley. Suddenly a renewed energy has transformed our activities and from the hopelessness of being inside and not being able to go out in the garden, here we are working like bees on the new nectar.

The birds are also out in force and demanding food, I am talking about the butcher bird. This one lives here. Bird in residence. He comes in, sits on the sofa, looks around and starts singing…Singing? I just wonder. I truly thinks that the is begging for food. So I reach for the fridge door and get him a little minced beef. He knows what I am doing. He follows all my gestures and mouvements. He is on the look out for my next gesture. Will I throw him the bit or will he take it out?

After a second of reflexion I decide to throw it and he catches it on the wing. Then settles on the sofa, drops it on the edge and starts to nibble . He forms little balls so that he can swallow them, tear it a little more. But as he does that the meat flies everywhere…on the carpet, on the other side of the sofa and on the wooden floor. But there is one little problem. When it lands on the floor, the dog is watching. He looks at the bit on the floor and pauses for a few seconds before deciding if it safe. Hesitation? Fluttering? He looks again sideways to gage if it might be within his range to grab and quickly fly away from the dog. One seconde later, he dives on the floor and low and behold he eats right there. Cutting the piece with his beak, and when he does this there are bits splattered everywhere. But that does not bother him as he hops from one to other picking it sideways and swallowing them. And at the same time of course watching the dog in it slightest move. But the dog does not move. All is safe.Though the dog eyes him in a funny sideway look. “how come he is getting a bit and not me” surely does he think.

The butcher bird, hops across the sofa to an other side, sits there as if to enjoy the company and the inside of his newly found little place. If friends drop in for a bite or a cup of coffee, “butchie” as he is nicknamed flies in and sit on the edge of the sofa or the wooden table soaking in the atmosphere of the chatter and clinking of cups. He stays there for minutes at a time. Just resting. A sofa is softer than a branch of a tree, has he already learned the soft comfort of a plush sofa?

But it does not stop there at all. Come 5 o’clock he rushes towards the backdoor and perches on the top.It does swing from side to side. Why this hour? the answer is very simple it is the time of feeding the dog. He knows that there would be some extra for him. And everyday the same scene re-occurs, punctual. Does he hear the noise of the dog’s bowl?Maybe? does he have a time in his memory that more food is coming his way? Maybe? But,  he certainly knows that he will be getting more.

This morning the smell of the bbq spare ribs brought in a family of magpies. Will they stay around for food also?

Now, did I tame and trained this little creature or has it trained me and tame me? Relationship is a two way channel that is for sure.

Sam is gone.

Sam, dear Sam,

You have been such a pain to be with but such angel to share the few years we had together, a companion that read our minds, read our moods, followed us like a shadow. On our heels, never leaving us alone and not wanting to be alone. Wanting to jump in the car as soon as you heard the keys of the car, pulling lantana with all his might, waiting at the door like a “gentleman” not pushing to get past. PLaying with your toy and never wanting to let go of it, running away with it so that we can run after you to get it. Sneaky! Scratching at the door wanting to get in wanting to be inside.

Going upstairs to sleep at our feet if we had been away too long on a holiday. Wanting to be reassured that we won’t leave you again for a while. Being in our bedroom was a treat hey Sam!

Every morning I used to curse you for the pile of hair you left on the wooden floor. I would have filled a few cushions and mattresses with all the hair you shed over the years . As soon as I picked up the broom you went out making sure that your spot was clean and you got back to it. Every time I washed your bedding you used to love being on it but just before making sure that it was all ruffled on the floor, you just look at me as if to say thank you or why did you bother it is all in a mess again.

How you used to love your treats! After meals sometimes you showed me where thy were and made sure that I understood what you wanted. A game! Yes, I used to hide them all over the place and  asked you to find them. And find them you did in the most remote places in the house.Well, sometimes you used to cheat and see where I had hid them. Peter called you and he just gave the second I needed to hide them. But you knew that anyway and you played. Under the carpet, or the cushions, inside the cupboard or behind the sofa, in the end you knew all the possible places. I tricked you at times but you always made sure to find it. You went to the drawers where they were stored and pawed it and even managed to open the little handle to get them.  You also knew where the pigs ears were. You walked into the study and sniffed around : haha here they are. So you walked back into the living room to come and get me. You never barked but your dark brown eyes spoke a million barks.

You were so ever gentle. when the chickens roamed free in the afternoon and it was your diner time, one of the chooks came over to your bowl and tried to steal your food. You shared it with them for a brief moment, but when they pushed their luck a little too far you just barked ever so gently. The naughty chicken not really frightened flew up scared squawking.  You never hurt any of them. If they came back for more, you looked puzzled and looked at me to make them go away so that you could eat in peace…

After your dinner, you were happy to come in and lay by our feet and wait for the bits that might fell off the table. In the morning, with pleading eyes you waited to get onto the sofa, but you knew that your blanket had to be spread first.You waited patiently then climb onto the sofa and rested your head on my lap or just the other way. With one habit that you used to drive us nuts…. licking you and scratching you upper limb. Sam! stop that! You winged and reluctantly stopped. The same thing happened when you climbed in the back of the car, you whinged the whole way to wherever we went and there was no way you’d stopped. You used to drive us crazy in the end. Boisterous, lively, gentle and above just so part of our lives

Till the last moment your eyes told us a million things and your suffering was heroic. We are extremely sad to see you go. Such a great companion and a faithful one, an intelligent one, a gentle giant full of life and spirit as well as tenacity. Always by our sides.

I will never curse you in the morning. The wooden floor is clean and I don’t have to broom so often. You are leaving a big gap in our life and you will be  remembered  so very fondly with a big grin on our faces.

Oh ! one more thing Sam, even with your floppy ear you were still the admiration of the people around the neighbourhood.

Keen as always