Happy birthday, happy birthday, happy birthday dear puppies (if that is what you still are now you are one year old), happy birthday to you. Yes, today is the pup’s birthday which means we’ve had them for six weeks less than one year. As we took them home when they were six weeks old. Not sure which event we should celebrate but we’re going for their birth date or as close as we can determine it. We got them from a working farm near our vineyard and they’re a bit casual about such niceties. Anyway we’ve chosen today. They don’t seem very bothered either way, so it’s up to us. They are, however, very excited about their birthday cakes featured here. I’ve also included a couple of special birthday photos taken with my best camera, at the end of this blog. Don’t miss them. In the meantime here are photos of their birthday cakes and excitedly receiving their new toys.
Time to reflect on what Millie and Archie have brought to our retirement first year. Simple, one word answer, challenges and pleasure, that’s two words. I could go on but then we’d get into the Spanish Inquisition sketch so I’ll leave it at that. Did we need more challenges in our life? No. Do we need more pleasure in our lives? Of course. That’s the deal, I guess. And that’s as far as I will go in answering the question posed in the title to this piece. Read the blog and decide for yourself.
We’d always vaguely thought about having a dog, one dog, note, when we retired and had a proper amount of time to be with / look after them. Mrs Summerhouse still blames me for choosing two pups but she was complicit in the choosing affair, so she can’t say too much. One reason we decided to have dogs was because we thought it would make us get out of the house and take some exercise which would, in turn, benefit our health. The first bit was right, taking them for a walk in all weathers every day, that happened but the second part, as you will know if you’ve read my diabetes blog, hasn’t, so far at least, gone to plan and yes, there are times during the walk when I stroll (as my nursey put it) rather than power walk along. So a little bit of a disappointment health-wise but basically still a plus.
Also maybe when we thought about retirement we might have thought we’d be a bit bored so having two boisterous collies would give us another activity, keep us lively, postpone the onset of senility, but if you’ve read some of my recent blogs about cognitive decline you’ll know that hasn’t quite worked either, but hey ho, it must be good for us, if only I could remember why. As it has turned out we’ve been pretty well-occupied in this first year – working in the vineyard, writing this blog, Mrs SH’s art work, playing my guitars and of course our charity work, otherwise known as mother, pretty much take care of our time.
What has not happened in our first retirement year and one thing we thought would happen when we looked forward to our retirement, is travel. Before we had the dogs and even before seriously thought we would get them, we thought we would continue to travel the world, quite looking forward to being able to go away without any restrictions time-wise. You know, decide we would live in a place of our choosing for six months. This has not happened in a big way. The only vaguely travel activity we’ve engaged in during this last year is one trip to Filey when they were real pups. They loved it. But they are restricting, of that there can be no doubt, although you could argue that they’re saving us a lot of money (to offset against their financial cost which is considerable and which I haven’t mentioned) by making it more difficult for us to eat out and, of course, travel. As far as the traveling in the future, is concerned we can always visit all those places in the UK or even Europe providing Mrs SH and I could agree whether this would be courtesy of caravan (Mrs SH dead set against), camper-van (seems a bit of a waste when we have the Land Rover to pull the aforementioned caravan) or cottage which seems to be the favourite, after the school holidays that is. That’s me stopping us not the pups. And I still haven’t checked out the price of taking them on a flight to the USA, although we have had them chipped and inoculated (puppy passport) with this in mind. Hmm, maybe.
Plusses and minuses as with so much of life, retirement or otherwise. So then, overall are we glad we got the pups or whatever they are now? The answer is yes, definitely. OK, yes, they’ve been a challenge but they’re dogs they didn’t ask to be adopted by us, well Millie did but Archie would basically have gone home with anybody or not as the case may be. But yes, they have brought genuine pleasure into our lives and we love them dearly. There I’ve said it and ….
Would you believe it, just as I’m writing this eulogy to the pups, one of them, impossible to tell which as they both look so guilty, has pooped behind the sofa while we were upstairs. This is so far out of character for both of them that I wonder if they know I am writing about them and, sensing that I am a few words short of my usual total, thought they would provide me with another paragraph. At time of writing the mystery remains unsolved. But see how cute they are. That’s pups and retirement, what do you think?
Millie doing her ‘little princess’ look
Archie doing his ‘I also can be regal’ pose