I’ve always hated retired people who say things like –“I’ve never been busier” or “I don’t know how I had time to work.” Bullshit, I thought, that’s pure whistling in the wind, trying to spit in the face of retirement when the truth is they’re bored, bored, bored. There might have been an element of that in our retirement. Well, that is until now. We’ve been retired a month now give or take a day or two and, to this point in time, we were, shall we say, breaking even. But now our lives have changed. Just the simple act of writing this blog now has to be squeezed in between ‘other’ events.
And that event is – we’ve become the owners / custodians / parents whatever of two dogs. Yep, not one dog, two. Two Border collies or sheepdogs we think they are. Is there a difference? It all kicked off one Sunday over a week ago when we were up at our vineyard. I went to the farm next door. Mistake.
I did not go to the farm to buy a dog let alone two, I’d gone to talk to my neighbour, Neil, (the farmer chap who helps me with our vineyard) about bashing in some more posts to extend the vineyard a wee bit and then I saw, or rather heard, (they were ‘contained’ in an outhouse), the yelping, crying, whimpering, whatever it is that puppies do. They’ve had puppies before so I knew what to expect. Don’t open the door, I thought. They opened the door. Don’t let me see them. I saw them.
Here I’m in danger of sounding like the kind of cretin I had always avoided at any kind of event – dog people. But what the heck. So out poured, literally, a stream of 9 – takes deep breath – adorable puppies, there I’ve said it, – sheepdogs or whatever, brown and white and black and white. I’m only going to say, takes deep breath again, they were unbearably cute. Judge for yourself. Photos to follow.
Oh shit, I thought, I’m in trouble here. They were unbearably (I need to stop using that word – unbearably – but one last time) fluffy. I don’t think I’ve used the word fluffy before in my life either written or spoken, but you get some idea of how mentally disturbed I am now. Back to the trouble. When in trouble try and involve some other unsuspecting sucker has always been my motto. Step forward my wife. She had been sitting quietly in the Land Rover, minding her own business, imagining Neil and I talking about nothing more emotive than post bashing.
She said later that as soon as I stepped around the corner of the building into plain sight and crooked my finger at her, she knew that our lives were about to change. She knew that that crooked finger was a portent of dozens of cute, cuddly puppies. Lives changed beyond all recognition, she thought. She’s a clever woman, my wife.
I indicated the fluffy mass. What do you think? I simpered. I think that’s what I did. She refrained from saying something to the effect – I think you’re a complete bastard for involving me in this scheme. To be fair we had been talking and thinking about buying a dog, for comfort and companionship in our old age, you understand, but we had given up when confronted by the complications, by the endless decisions and difficulties, but that’s for my next blog. We had decided it was all too difficult and it would be a whole lot easier not to have a dog. At this moment in this farmyard that decision fell apart. We would have a dog, as they were to us then, a doggie, woggie, cute and fluffy. We were dragged from our reverie by a question.
What do you want said Heather, the young lady breeder we bought them off? (the daughter of Neil). Umm, a dog – obviously. Isn’t that what we’re looking at and why we’re here? I thought this girl’s a bit slow, suppose that’s what happens when you live in the country. A dog (only one at this point), I replied helpfully. Heather seemed to take a deep breath and said without any apparent impatience, a dog or a bitch? She was obviously used to dealing with thick, city folk. Well, she’s at school so some of her teachers probably fall into this category. Umm, don’t know, we replied incisively, what do you think? Karl, Heather’s uncle, suggested well, dogs are messier.
OK on such flimsy and eventually erroneous information was our decision made. Right, I said, we’ll have a brown and white bitch. Not so simple, all the brown and white bitches had been pre-sold. This was trickier than we had imagined. We walked away to decide which one, if any, we wanted. A sensible thing to do. Deciding it would be great to have two, a boy and a girl, black and white and brown and white was not quite so sensible. Read on next time.