The Winds of Change

Sun 29 Mar 2015 09:11
I am sitting comfortably on Zoonie in Port of Poole Marina, our present home berth for just a few more weeks before our big journey begins.

Last Saturday we hosted a big retirement party for all our family and friends which went well and satisfied my intention that Rob, a true son of Oakham, should have an appropriate send off.

The cloud that hung over me all week was knowing that on Saturday,  yesterday, we would be parting with our much adored friend, Toby, who has been with us for the past 5 years.

Suddenly everything we were doing with him, walks, pub visit, long journey south, hugs, strokes, chat, humour, wash off and drying of his soft fur and lanky legs, was all being done for the last time.

Before, I have parted with Odin, a labrador whose back legs and hips that were so arthritic  they would no longer support him, and Meggy,  a blue rhoan cocker spaniel who was leaping happily around the Ringwood Forest in the morning unaware of the fact her kidneys were on the decline and she had a tummy blockage. The vet said she would have an unhappy demise if we did not do the merciful thing.

Toby by contrast is as fit as a flee, and hopefully will have another 5 years with his new chums, Tracey, who works here at the marina and her husband Darren. They provide a half way house to dogs that are being rehomed but when we asked her if she would find a home for Toby she replied,  to our enormous relief, "If Toby comes to us Barbara he won't be going any further. "

And so began his transition amidst much barking and a few little puddles,  he got to know Bailey, and Poppy, two fellow springers, Jim a little black cocker spaniel  and Missie a heinz57 with definite lurcher tendencies. They all got on from the start but Toby is easy with dogs,  it is humans he has problems with and needs many meetings, gentle approaches soft voices and little eye contact until he eventually gives the human hand an accepting lick. 

Two days ago Rob completed his last day at Fords of Oakham, the 140 year old family business and we made our way to our local,  The Grainstore or Grainy to us, to celebrate the end of the working week and this time Rob's career.  The first time we took Tobes in there he ground to a halt at the door,  I don't think he had ever seen so many people. 

He ended up sitting next to me on the seat, it's that sort of pub,  everyone more than welcome. 

Yesterday we met Darren and the dogs for a favourite walk around Rockley park overlooking Poole Harbour and then  followed him home, a place to whichToby has given his seal of approval. It lies peacefully in countryside complete with Tracey's two donkeys in a nearby field. The dogs have their own room with sliding doors into the garden and Toby loves to stare out of windows watching the goings on in trees. 

After a cup of tea we put Tobes in with his chums,  unloaded his modest possessions and drove away from him.  

Within an hour of being back on board Rob's daughter Charly texted her dad with a photo of her left hand showing her beautiful new engagement ring and Oakham in the background.  As I listen to the howling wind outside I reflct on our own winds of change.