Anyway, Cleo had some irritated-looking (yes, they frowned and gnashed their teeth) lumps on her stomach and we took her to the vet, and it was a flea allergy. We were given a powder to put on her to soothe them which had to be mixed into a paste with water. And then there was a bottle of Gentian Violet to paint on her too – fortunately, she was a black dog so it didn’t look too awful.
A year or so later, she started to show signs of another attack, so we went to the chemist for the Gentian Violet and dabbed it on her. She got up and had a good shake and it went everywhere – all over the floor and the kitchen cabinets. A drawer of the dresser was partly open and it covered everything in there. We wiped it all up of course, but we carried on finding spots of violet for several years. In the end, she didn’t get better and we had to take her back to the vet and it turned out that there was something else in with the Gentian Violet to do the good.
As I said before, several of the dogs had died by the time my mother sold Seaview, the house in the photo, but five still seemed too many. We took Simon (the second Simon, that is) and Wink took Sam and my mother and stepfather moved to Wrentham with Muldoon, Bassington and Izzy – Isobel, that is, who was blind.
So at last the Sage and I had a dog of our own. We lived in a lovely house then. I first saw it soon after Al was born and we were staying with my mother and stepfather. The Sage suggested a short outing to see a house he was selling at auction the next day. I walked in the door and staggered slightly. “Can we buy it?” I said. So we did.