No Change

I went to Amsterdam for a quick (2 day) visit,  with my art loving daughter, Sara. We had a great time managing to visit The Rijks museum, Rembrandt House, The Maritime Museum along with a couple of canal tours.  It was perfect weather to explore this amazing city.  And we made the best of it. 

Though I did worry about Bob and his side kick.

 When I returned, I was delighted and relieved to see nothing much had changed. 

Ellie had added some socks to her collection and Bob. Well he just whiled away his time dreaming.

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Maria’s Stuff: Life is stranger than Fiction Part two

This story might be familiar to some of you already.

 

Amadeo's house

Niall’s legs felt like lead as he walked the short distance to collect his car which he had left parked at the house his sister was minding. Two days of work with only travel time between jobs left him feeling as grey as the sky overhead.

Lost in this hazy greyness he failed to notice the tiny woman until she spoke to him. “Good afternoon.” Her soft voice had an authoritative air to it which made him stop before her.

He noted her pastel pink coat, soft nude coloured shoes and pink hat thinking, she is dressed like the Queen of England. Niall noted the package she carried was square, wrapped in a crimson glossy paper and sitting on top of it a perfectly formed golden bow. He looked around him and couldn’t see how she had arrived at this old house on the top of the hill. He wondered if she was an angel.

“I’ve been invited to tea.” Her crisp words brought a smile to his face.

Niall opened the gate and she, to his surprise, walked through. He followed and they walked towards his car.

“You must work here. Are you the gardener?” She stared at him closely. “I have come to have tea with Lady Louise.”

He wondered in what parallel universe did gardeners wear nifty suits and white shirts. But she reminded him of his grandmother, whom he missed, so he made no caustic comment.

“No, I don’t work here. I left my car with my sister who is minding the house while the owner is away and I have come to collect it. I don’t think there is anyone here.” He waited for her to digest this information.

“So I am at the wrong house. I should try the other big house on the far side.” She said with a nod which sent a ripple waving across her silver hair.

He opened the passenger door intending to leave his jacket on the seat when, to his astonishment she neatly slipped into the seat.

Her blue eyes flashed at him as she said, “That is good you have your car. It won’t take a minute.”

Niall smiled while inside he groaned. He had thirty minutes to get to Dublin for his last appointment, then it would be home for food and sleep. He opened his mouth then thought better of speaking. He shut the door carefully and got into the driver’s seat.

The house in question was a mere four hundred yards away. He drove slower than normal and arrived before the large electronic entrance gate.

“It’s shut.” His passenger said. “I’ll wait.”

Lucky for all concerned the gate opened and he drove through, straight to the front door.

Then without thinking he got out, raced around to the passenger door, opened it and when she alighted Niall gave a slight nod.

With a nod in his direction she sailed sweetly past him carrying her gift.

Niall didn’t linger. Tiredness evaporated as he got back into his seat, gunned the engine and got out of there before he was snared again. “I am not up to dealing with a double dose of silver-haired trouble today.” He said with a sigh of relief as he noted his passenger had gone inside.

****************************

I was reminded of this tale last week.

It was late, I was late.  And worse the automatic gate was playing up. The reason why became apparent when I stopped outside the gate and rolled down the passenger window. A ladies voice wafted in to me “Ah good I thought I was late.”

I frowned wondering if I, yet again, had got my wires crossed. I didn’t remember volunteering to drive an elderly lady anywhere.

So I leant across the seat and peered out the window. No, I didn’t volunteer to drive a stranger anywhere, especially to a committee meeting,  which I guessed was her destination judging from the clipboard and file she carried.

She was talking at a rapid pace. I remembered NIall’s encounter and wondered should I shut my window, lock my doors but her next words caught my attention, “It is kind of you Maureen to offer me a lift.”

“I am sorry I am Maria,  not Maureen. Are you sure you have the right house?”

She looked at me blankly then grimaced. “You are not Maureen”

I overlooked the disdainful look she shot my way. I smiled and agreed.

She didn’t look happy at all. “Where is Maureen?”

“One house over,” I said , thankfully at this point the gates clanged shut and I put my foot to the accelerator and left her to toddle into the house next door.

Like mother like son, I decided.

 

 

Life’s Lessons – Maria’s Diary

Learning is an ongoing natural progress for everyone. My dad used to say, the day we stop learning is the day we die. That was when life was sweet, everything ran in a predictable fashion.  That is, toasters blew up, kids got sick with all the normal stuff, flu, measles etc. Back then money was tight but everyone managed as we simply got on with day-to-day living. Today life should be easier two kids grown and with no mortgage, we have it made.

Now, however, we are faced with a new challenge. How to cope with and help an aging parent whose memory is behaving in an erratic fashion. When I mention the words, vascular dementia, I get sympathetic looks but not much practical advice. So if anyone in the blogging world has experience of this unpredictable event in our lives, I would appreciate all of the advice you can throw my way.

Bob is as usual, kindly on standby to offer hugs to everyone including dad. Though he is still miffed over the bow  tie photo so, what the heck here is a reminder.

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Maria’s Stuff: Sample Chapter of The Runaway Schoolhouse

runaway_schoolhouse_cover_Latest_151031As promised here is a sample chapter of the book aimed at children of 7 years plus.

 

Chapter 1

 

John and Sara Buggy were twins who didn’t look alike. They didn’t think or act alike either. In fact, they were complete opposites. Sara was a quiet, studious type while John was a messer who hated school and spent his days there playing practical jokes.

One blustery, grey Monday morning, they trudged their way to school, all set for another run-of-the-mill day in the tiny two-classroom building.

“Why are we walking fast?” Sara asked John.

“I have something to do,” he replied, with the beginning of a smile tugging at his mouth.

She knew that look but instead of pressing him further, concentrated on stretching her short legs to keep up with his longer stride. There was a six-inch height difference between them and while John had a head of smooth, dark brown hair Sara was stuck with a headful of tangled, red curls. This didn’t sit well with her.

“School is the oddest place because most of what we learn is pretty useless in the real world,” John was saying, as they walked through the main door.

Sara considered her answer for a moment.

“You may think you’re right but I like learning new things and it’s always so cosy in here.”

***

Once they were seated,  Sara started to worry about what trick John was about to play on their teacher. Mrs Brown, she noticed, kept sniffing and clutching a hanky to her nose. Sara wondered if she were ill. She glanced at John who winked at her.

“Not long now,” he whispered.

“What have you done?” she hissed.

Suddenly, Mrs Brown sneezed. John giggled. Sara turned her attention back to their teacher who sat in her chair with her nose twitching like a rabbit. She sneezed six times in succession, sending her glasses bouncing onto her desk. She managed to stop long enough to hold her nose and shove her glasses back in place. Getting up from her desk she walked to the door and said very quickly, “Carry on with your maths.” This short statement was followed by more sneezing as she left the room.

John was given many high fives and claps on the back as his mates asked how he did it.

“A master never reveals his secrets,” he grinned.

Sara was not impressed. “Someday Mrs Brown will get really mad at you and…”

“And what?” John demanded. “Writing a hundred lines is nothing I haven’t done before. Now, come on, it’s break time.”

Suddenly a shadow fell across his desk and Mrs Brown said, in a sharp tone, “Let’s try five hundred lines on the blackboard today John, not on your tablet where you are a master at copy and paste. The line, I should not play pranks on the teacher, is to be written at lunchtime.”

Mrs Brown then turned to Sara adding, “And John is to do it on his own.”

“Yes, Mrs Brown,” Sara said.

***

At lunchtime Sara slipped back into the classroom to help her brother, but found him staring at the blackboard.

“You haven’t written many lines,” she said.

Sara noticed a message written across the board – and it wasn’t in John’s handwriting.

School is a useful tool for life, John and Sara.

Sara read the words aloud and looked at John.

“I didn’t do it.The board was clean when I began and then it just appeared. It’s wrong anyway, school is stupid.”

He wiped the message away.

“Perhaps it is magic?” Sara said in a wistful tone.

“Huh, there is no such thing,” John sneered. “If there was I would click my fingers and the whole board would be full of lines, just like this.” Turning to face Sara he clicked his fingers but noticed her smile fade as she pointed back to the board.

There before them, more lines of the same sentence appeared. They watched as they scrawled, with no sign of a marker, in neat, tidy rows.

Sara counted the lines.

“There are twenty rows of twenty-five lines.” She looked at John. “Did you do this? Do something else!”

“Two packets of crisps,” John shouted, then clicked his fingers and waited. Nothing happened.

Sara was busy staring at the blackboard again. She read the message aloud.

You have enough lunch to eat in your schoolbag.

“I don’t like this. Is it a ghost? ” Sara whispered and jumped further away from the board.

John was curious and moved closer. “Rubbish! Ghosts don’t exist.”

“I wonder why it happened today?”The words changed and she read aloud, Today is my birthday, I am one hundred years old.

Gathering all of her courage Sara said,  “Happy Birthday to you but who are you?”

I am the schoolhouse you are standing in and my name is Clearie.

“Clearie, what an awesome name!” John said.

The words on the bottom changed once more and they both read the message.

Clearie means minstrel and scholar in Irish.

Suddenly, the ringing of the bell announced the end of break. The arrival of the other children back into the room prevented Sara and John from finding out more.

Sara did notice the last message was wiped clean before Mrs Brown arrived back to her desk but she instinctively knew  it wouldn’t be the last of them.

In the meantime, there was John’s lack of lines to worry about…

Copies of the book can be purchased via http://www.emuink.ie

This company also offers a unique book rental along with the usual, Kindle/e-reader and printed copies to buy.

I am truthfully hoping I can get some reviews as feed back is how we can develop and change as writers.

Thank you all and have a great Christmas.

 

 

The Runaway Schoolhouse Book Launch Night

It was a great night, and everyone seemed to have fun as you can see by the pictures I was supported by family and friends, and some of my Facebook friends surprised me by dropping in.

Thank you everyone and a reminder it is for sale as an e-book and you can rent it  which is an unusual option but one worth considering: http://www.emuink.ierunaway_schoolhouse_cover_Latest_151031

 

 

 

 

 

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maria and family (minus niall)

 

But there was someone missing who needed a hug, but he got plenty when we got home.

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Maria’s Stuff: Children’s story: Betty’s Do-whacky’s.

Betty is a Grandmother who loves inventing things.

“Gadgets, Do-wacky’s” she calls them.

Her inventions hang from the ceiling in her workshop.  Everything will be useful some day, Betty says. Especially, the wind powered dog walker and even the grass-growing timer.

Betty would love to invent a special car just for her.  A car, which will not collect great bumps and dents whenever she tries to park it. Until then, Betty cycles everywhere.

She is easy to find with her hair pulled into a high bun, which perches on top of her head like a small bird having a rest. Her eyes are large and dark brown. When she laughs, stars tumble from her eyes.

Baby-sitting and Bird Watching.

Betty was babysitting Jim.  She watched him carefully because, Jim loves trouble. Betty did not want any accidents.

Betty’s white cat Sourpuss was sleeping on the floor.

“W-h-a-t ?”  Jim, a very yoghurt faced Jim asked. He waved his spoon around. Dollops of yoghurt flew off his spoon and landed on Sourpuss.

“What indeed Jim!” Betty said. She stopped eating and put down her own spoon. Betty said,  “Well done, your first word. Say it again!”

“Whaaaattt?” he shouted.

Betty picked Jim up. She danced around the room hugging him. It was a hop, skip and jump dance over the toys on the floor.

Wouldn’t it be handy if I could just fly over all of this mess?  But I’d need a flying suit or gadget of some sort! Then an idea danced about in her head until a picture of it formed. “What a brilliant idea, – a flying suit.”

Later when a nice clean Jim was back in his own house, Betty began to work on her idea.   “How heavy could it be? ” Betty said aloud waving her hands in the air.  “I can imagine how it would feel to fly high with the birds. Splendid.”

Betty went outside. She looked up at the sky. “I need to study the birds for clues” she said to the blackbird sitting on her fence. He didn’t like the sound of that and flew off.  A floating feather gave her the answer.

“If humans had as many feathers as birds then they could fly couldn’t they?”

The Feather Hunt.

The group of children were fidgeting and whispering excitedly as they stood in Betty’s garden. Something great was about to happen.

“What do you want us to do?” the tallest of the children called Harry asked.  Harry was in a hurry to get back to his game boy.

“I need your help, please. To collect loads of feathers.”

“What type of feathers?” This was from Sara a very nosy little girl.

“Dog feathers,”her brother said digging her in the ribs.

Sara glared at him. “I meant what size? Big ones or little ones Betty?”

‘All sizes, types and colours, but only ones that have fallen off birds. You are not to chase the birds.’ She added this as she noticed Jonathon eyeing up a very fat pigeon waddling across the road.

They set off at a run. Feather pillows suddenly became featherless. The empty pillows were stuffed with the most unusual items, old socks (mostly of the smelly variety), sheep’s wool and Harry had a brain wave of filling the empty pillowcase with a cabbage from the garden.

Hen houses and hedgerows were searched. Trees were climbed and bird-cages were emptied. Betty found some feathers in the hedge where Sourpuss slept and she put them in a box inside her workroom.  She went to sleep that night dreaming of skies filled with flying children. Much safer than airplanes Betty decided before she fell asleep.

 The Flying Suit.

 

The next morning after a large breakfast of cereal, two hard boiled eggs and three slices of toast, all washed down with a pot of strong tea, Betty went to her workroom.

The sight of the large box stuffed with feathers, sitting at the door, was a surprise. Betty dragged the box indoors. She emptied it onto the floor. The feathers were all co lours and sizes, some were bright yellow, others were as dark as a lump of coal. Betty felt a tingle of excitement run through her. Taking her oldest boiler suit Betty began to cover it in feathers. She was no good at sewing so she was gluing them to the fabric. It was a sticky, tricky job.

At one o clock the back of the suit was covered in feathers. The wings were her next problem. Walking around her workroom she glanced up at the ceiling. There was the answer, – two old kites dangling above her.  Betty began to work again.

By nightfall Betty was hopping about with excitement. It was finished.

The suit looked strange but impressive. Betty wondered who might test it for her.

“I’ll do it.” Licking her lips and rubbing her hands together, she sensed an adventure about to happen.

Betty Goes Flying!

 

Betty woke the sun up. She pulled on loads of clothes, because, she was afraid the sun might forget to shine. On went her warmest jeans, thick socks, boots, two tee shirts, a huge woolly jumper and matching hat. Plonking her sunglasses on her head, she said, ‘I’m ready.’

Betty quickly loaded the suit on to her wheelbarrow. Pushing the barrow to the old barn in the field next to her house didn’t take long. She was huffing and puffing harder than any wolf blowing down a house. She looked about her for a moment or two.

‘How, and where, will I land?’ She looked about her.

The ground looked hard. The cows in a field beside her looked lumpy.

‘What I need is a nice soft landing pad.’ Betty opened the door of the barn and

smiled. Hay, lots and lots of hay! ‘I’d prefer to land with a bounce instead of a thud!’ She said making a giant hay bed in the field.

Her next job was to climb the ladder into the hay loft.  She looked from the barrow to the loft. It was a long way up. ‘Best have the suit on just in case I fall.’

Putting on the suit was hard. With a lot of wriggling and groaning, she managed it. Climbing the ladder was tricky. Her flapping wings kept getting in the way.

Standing on the upper floor of the barn Betty pushed open the upper door and looked out at the wide countryside before her. The sun, now awake and interested, was beaming down on her.  The ground looked a long way down.

‘I’m not too sure about this,’ she whispered.

A gust of wind came hurtling in through the doorway. The wind was singing as it neatly collected Betty on its way out.

She was tumbling along. Betty was flapping her arms up and down at a terrible pace.  She realized something important. It didn’t matter how fast she flapped her arms because it was the current of air, which was carrying her.

By now Betty was tired. Oh my, I need a rest, she thought. There was a huge roar beneath her. Looking down she saw a small airplane. I’ll take a lift on that, Betty thought and holding her wings by her side she dropped towards the plane.

Landing was a bit tricky and noisy as Betty kept shouting things like, “Mind my new wings you big galoot!” to all of the birds who came to watch. They were flapping about and getting in her way.

Finally there she was – sitting on the wing of the plane looking about her.  I wonder where my house is? Another question popped into her head. ‘How do I get back?’

The pilot couldn’t understand why one side of the plane was dipping slightly. The co-pilot could as he spotted Betty land. He was trying to speak.  His mouth didn’t work! He tried rubbing his eyes to make her disappear but it didn’t work. Betty was waving at him.

“There’s a granny sitting on our wing!” he spluttered.

The pilot chuckled, “What? A Granny on the wing, nonsense.”

But turning to look out of the window the pilot got a surprise. “Oh my.”

“What shall I do,?” the co-pilot asked.

“Ask her to buzz off, politely though, if she is like my own granny, we will be in trouble no matter what we say.”

He opened the window of the small plane and shouted in his most polite voice, “Excuse me. Would you mind, hopping off our wing and flying away?”

Betty stared at him. Was he stupid? she wondered. If she knew where to fly to then she would not be sitting on his plane. “Could you please tell me how to get to Ballytrickle?”

The pilot shouted back, “Two miles that way.”

“Thanks ever so much,” said Betty as she was sucked underneath the plane by a current of air. Turning towards the sun, which was hiding behind a cloud, Betty headed home. As she neared the barn she spotted a tiny toddler playing in his garden. She swooped down near him. He saw her coming and his mouth opened wide but no sound came from him. His toy car was made from plastic and very round. Instead of crashing on to its side, it wobbled for a bit. He started to cry!

“Sorry baby,” Betty said. The barn appeared before her. Seeing the giant bed of hay she aimed herself at it and closed her eyes. Landing was a very bouncy affair as she bounced from one part of it to another. She ran out of hay and rolled onto the ground. ‘Ouch!’ Betty sat up to look at the damage.  The left-wing was in tatters but Betty was in one piece.

“I did it!” She said to a bewildered looking cow. Then she put her suit back into the barrow and headed for home.

Time for an extra-large brunch, Betty might fly like a bird but she won’t eat like one, she thought.

“Rashers, sausages, egg and tea all for little old me,” she sang, as she walked. This was followed by an extra long nap.

Bob’s Diary: Why me?

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The trouble with being such a sociable charismatic dog is simple, Maria keeps putting me in stories. Here is a short one. ( I’ve met Molly. She is cute and she feeds me jelly babies.)

Children’s Story: 500 words.

 

Chasing the snow dragon.

 

Snowflakes twirled and danced about Molly. ” I love snow,” she said.

“Woof” Bob said jumping around her.

Molly whispered, “Quiet Bob. A  Snow Dragon might hear us and run away.”

The dog nudged her hand with his nose. He tickled Molly, making her giggle.

They began their search in the garden.

No Snow Dragon.

They walked through the gate, looking right and left. Molly walked past Gran’s kitchen door. They looked in the garden shed, even behind the coal bags but didn’t find a Snow Dragon. They did meet many birds and Gran’s fat cat.

They walked to the front garden. They met the postman. “Hi Molly. Where are you going?” he asked.

“We are going to catch a Snow Dragon.” She whispered.

“Well – don’t let him catch you.” He said.

“No. We won’t.” Molly told him.

Bob looked behind every tree.  Molly looked at the bare branches.

No Snow Dragon.

“Not even a squirrel, Bob.” She said.

Molly looked behind them. The snow was falling onto the ground covering her footprints. She couldn’t see her house. “Let’s go home,” She said.

Molly made a snow ball. She threw it. “Go get it Bob,” She said.

He sat and watched it land.  Molly sighed. Bob never chased tennis balls.

“Lets make a snowman instead.” She began by making a small ball and then dropped it on the ground. As she rolled it along the ground the snowball changed from being a round ball into a wobbly, wonky shape. It was big and getting bigger.

Bob helped by staying out of Molly’s way. She pushed her snowman into the garden saying, “I’ll finish you after tea.”

It was warm inside. Molly felt tired. She forgot about her snowball but told dad about her search for a Snow Dragon.

“I think there are no Snow Dragons,” she said. Molly felt sad.

“Maybe they are shy, creatures. Perhaps you should send an email to one and see what happens.”

“What would I say?” She liked this idea.

“That you believe in them but you would love to know what they look like. Wait then and see what happens. Granddad always said, they were magical creatures.”

Molly wiggled her nose as she thought about this. “Let’s do it, can you help please?”

The email was sent and Molly went to bed.

Next morning she got up and peeped out the window.

Her heart jumped for there in the garden was a large dragon. He was white and very still. Molly raced outside to see him. “Its a Snow Dragon.” She said to her dad who came to look at it.

“But Dad, how did he get here?”

“Molly you did say you would love to know what they look like, didn’t you?”

Molly nodded her head. “I did. Now I know they are amazing.And he chased my snowman away. ”

Dad took a picture of the snow dragon.

It hangs on Molly’s bedroom wall in case she forgets what they look like.

 

Bob’s Diary: Who needs a time travelling machine, check this out.

Ellie’s comment on the Ferrari got me thinking.

She is correct (don’t tell her I said that) we need proper transport.

bob in car 1

 

So….Opinions please…. what do you think of this? My hunt an Ogre car….

bob in car 2

 

Only problem is, I’m not letting her in, she is always mucky. (Maybe she will fit in the boot).

Children’s Story: Milly Plants Ideas

Milly loves to help in the garden. “Squish, squash,” Milly sang jumping up and down on the seeds she planted. She wore her favorite bright green boots with pink butterflies painted on them.
Granddad said, “be kind to them Milly.”
“I am. See, first I dig a hole, then I cover them up with a blanket of soil. Then I make sure they are in good and safe.”
Granddad said, “Jumping on them and shouting isn’t being gentle. If you are gentle surprising things can happen,” Granddad said. “Try it and see.”
Milly liked surprises. She decided to try it on her pets. She sat on the grass whispering to Bob, (her dog) Brandy (Granddad’s lazy cat) and a fat blackbird who sat on the fence.
Milly said, “Brandy you are to catch the biggest mouse in the whole world.” He looked at her then went back to washing his paws.
“Mr. Blackbird, you will sing the best song ever.” The blackbird flew away.
“Bob you will learn to smile.” Milly said.

Granddad asked her what she was going to do. Her answer made him smile.
” I will plant ideas in the garden to grow.”
Granddad looked at his garden. It was very neat, “but perhaps not in the vegetable beds.”
Milly went into the house to find ideas to plant.
She found a cupcake recipe. She folded it over and sprinkled it with sugar. She picked the sunniest spot in the garden. She dug a large hole. Milly pressed the paper into the earth. On top of the paper she placed a red cherry. “I love cherries.”
In the house she found a hat that belonged to her granny. “I love hats but you need a scarf,” she murmured carrying it outside. With a soft ‘plonk’ it went into the ground.
After their lunch of tomato soup and fruitcake Milly went to help Granddad with his digging.
When they finished she was tired.

Milly sat on an old bucket and asked the blackbird. “Did you learn a sweet song?”
His answer was a sweet song.

Granddad said, “I told you, being kind and gentle works.”

She went in search of Brandy. She discovered he had found and eaten her two chocolate mice. “Don’t be sick,” she warned him going in search of Bob. She searched the whole house for him but could not find him.
“Milly, come and look at this.” Granddad shouted.
Down in Milly’s special flower bed she discovered a smiling Bob wearing a straw hat with a red scarf tied dangling from the brim. Bob was eating a large cherry cupcake. Granddad was sitting beside him on the grass minding four cupcakes.

“Great work Milly. Try the hat on.”
She did. “You were right Granddad. Surprising things happen when you are gentle and kind.”
They sat wearing big smiles as they ate cherry cupcakes in the evening sun.

 Bob’s Comment – 100th Post should have been about little young me!

So we compromised – Here I am: Spring is here but Summer is coming

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Bob’s Diary: How we met: Bob and Ellie (as told by Maria)

Bob arrived into our lives like a hurricane. Brought about as a result of events. Before he came our house had endured many pets, cats, rabbits, a roaming escapee hamster, and more cats. But I was always a dog person. He was a boisterous two year old living with an eighty three year old woman, so when asked if we could take him – how could I refuse?

Both of our children loved him on first sight, I did too, but with a lot of doubts, he was big and bold. He came home in the back of the car, the boot was full of shopping. In the following weeks he proceeded to work his magic on those around him. He won even the grouchiest of neighbours over,with his soppy smile and wagging tail. Back then he was playful, he would eat everything in his path, even the cables to the electric gates were sampled. 

Barking was only done when he got excited, which we learnt wasn’t often. Bigger dogs were an issue as he despised them, the smaller ones he adored. But we decided he was lonely, as I was working a full day and it seemed unfair to leave him home alone.  Buying a pup was an option but we held out and time as usual sorted the problem. Before I was made redundant my husband and kids decided a husky dog would be a great present for me. But how and where to find one? Buckets of questions were asked of all the dogs rescue homes and one in particular refused us because we insisted the dog would have to live outdoors. Bob did and he loved it, so the pup or new dog would have to do the same.

Our searching led us to Sligo. We loaded Bob in the boot of the estate car and we set off for the long drive. Pat and I were excited. However,  our passenger seemed to have a worry of his own. Bob’s eyes never left the road for the entire journey.  We agreed it was a fear in him of being abandoned in the middle of nowhere.

But looking back on it now I believe he was worried about what lay ahead.

Beautiful blue skies and a wailing wind that would knock the skin off your face was the greeting we got in Sligo. 

Bridget opened her gates with a smile and a big welcome, then showed off the dogs one by one.

Bob stood in the middle of the large field. Huskies of all shapes, sizes and ages came to say hello. He ignored each dog, though a few growled and snarled at him.

We were interested in two until we discovered they had a problem with men. Our hearts plummeted. Looked like we were going home as three and not four.

 We pressed Bridget for information about any other dogs she might have or know of,  “there is one, but it is not a grown dog and she is crazy.” She warned us.

We asked to see the young dog. She left and we sat on an upturned trunk of a fallen tree  afraid to speak. The gate opened and a black and white streak flew past us.

She bounced over Bob as nimble as a lamb would, ran under his legs and repeated the circle once more. The atmosphere changed in a few seconds.  Both dogs raced about the field and we smiled,  we had found our dog.

Back home now, three years later and I bet he regrets it every so often and longs for the peace and quiet of days long past.  

He does get his moments of peace when a neighbour who adores him dognaps him to accompany her on her walk or when Ellie is taken away  for Search training. 

All in all I think the pictures I show speak for themselves. 

Companions?

Companions