In due course, Bobby was joined, at the hotel in Weymouth, by Shulie (I don’t know how it was spelt) and Goggy (named because the small Wink couldn’t say doggy). Shulie was a bull terrier and all I know about her is an anecdote about the time my mother heard a tiny Z voice crying “Give it back! Give it back!” and went into the room to find me, aged two or three, trying to pull open her jaws and retrieve the biscuit she had stolen. Ever greedy, you see, no wonder I struggle with my weight (lost all I put on in Corfu and another two pounds mind you, hah!). Goggy was a smallish black mongrel terrier. When my parents left Weymouth, they bought their much-loved and respected pastry-cook, Mr Dyke, a guesthouse in appreciation of his years of service, and gave him Goggy as well. We always stayed there when we visited my grandfather.
So, we brought Bobby to Oulton Broad. He was very old and feeble by that time. He was a wire-haired fox terrier and had been a great rabbiter in his early days. Sadly, he came a cropper through running about on the cliff-top chasing bunnies, because he twice had dreadful mishaps and lost the sight in both eyes. One was scratched by brambles, I’m not sure about the other. Did a rabbit fight back? I can’t remember what I was told – Wink, are you reading this? My parents married in 1947 and he died in 1959, less than a year after we moved house – I think he was about 15 years old, maybe more.
And here he is in his younger days. He was very much my mother’s dog, she adored him. I don’t remember him taking much notice of me. When he died, we were due to go on holiday within weeks and my parents decided to get another dog on their return. However, the silence was soon too much for them, they rang the RSPCA and they heard of a puppy whose elderly owners were struggling to cope and who wanted him rehomed. Their name was Mr & Mrs Bagshaw and they lived at 19, Moyes Road.
I know, darlings, what a memory. Ree-markable.