I’ve written about Simon, the first dog who came to us after we moved to Oulton Broad, some 18 months ago, but didn’t put the story in context.
My mother’s old dog Bobby died, soon after my fifth birthday. I only remember him as very old and not very affectionate. In fact, being blind, it was better to give him ample warning before you touched him. But there was a huge hole in my mother’s life when he died. When she married my father, she took little except her clothes, her dog and her Grandmother’s grand piano.
Since we were taking that 3 week tour of Europe in the Sprite only a few weeks later, it was agreed to leave getting another dog until our return, but the silence became unbearable for my mother and she phoned the RSPCA to ask if there was a dog in need of a good home. And the next thing was, she went round to see Mr and Mrs Bagshaw of 19, Moyes Road and came back with a young mongrel. He was so naughty that the elderly couple (probably about the age I am now, darlings) couldn’t cope. He chewed everything. All our towels gained patches in the middle – it was never round the edges, only the middles that he chewed. Why all doors weren’t kept shut is beyond me, but we just put up with it until he grew out of it.
My parents were wonderfully happy-go-lucky in those days. They had more money than ever before – the hotel in Weymouth never really paid, all the summer profits were eaten up by winter expenses. My mother said she sometimes couldn’t afford toothpaste and cleaned her teeth with salt. But once the hotel was sold and they moved into the house left them by my grandfather, they were pretty well off. Wink and I were well past babyhood and they could please themselves, pretty well.
As I said yesterday, I remember little of the holiday except for Austria, especially Innsbruck, but Mummy’s main memory was the complete unsuitability of a two-seater sports car for a family holiday. So the next year, they took us to The Hague, to stay with our au pairs’ family and set off on their own.
They did that every year for some time and their various trips have all become blurred in my mind. There are a few stories that I remember, however and I’ll write them down to remind me in my dotage, assuming I remember how to turn the computer on by then.