I have been out-calendared.
Seriously. Here is me handing over a pretty (perchance a little dull) South West Guide Dog Association calendar to Grace’s new family for Christmas. ‘Grace is Ms December!’ I twinkle smugly.
‘Ahh, that’s lovely!’, they reply, handing me a calendar they have made themselves. On their shiny calendar, EVERY month is Grace month!!! Grace, and Max her new buddy, Grace with all the balls, Grace camping, Grace eating Grace, Grace…!
‘Holy Bonio, Grace,’ I hiss. ‘How did you pull this off?’
She grins widely and winks, going back to demurely ripping the Xmas paper off the carrot I have bought her on this my first visit to see her since August.
I can safely say that Grace is VERY happy with her new pack. She is currently doing the Noble Retired Guide (Diva) Dog and it seems to me the whole village has been taken in…I mean taken to her! She has been on more adventures in the last few months than I can list and has made an enormous number of new buddies, human, horse, canine, chicken. And she is cherished.
It is time for me to move on.
But it is tough going. There is no news of another guide dog yet although I am high up on the list and so I continue without that interface between me and the world. I don’t have my Grace walking a little ahead, ice breaking, charming, guiding, disarming. I feel armour-less, a little raw.
Having said that I am enjoying the freedom from dog shit. Oh yes, siree! I still have poo bags in every pocket but I don’t need ‘em. All the dog towels are washed, some even folded in drawers. I have thrown away all the half-chewed toys. I keep her blanket though and sniff it every now and then when I am in need of the honey smoke smell of her ears.
It is 2018 tomorrow and the wonderful Unbound development editor has sent me back some cracking notes on CULL. The next three weeks will see me grapple with some style choices and fiddly but essential re-writes; the button-hole stitching and hemming to ensure the novel holds together in all weathers!
So, dear friends, a huge thank you for all your kindness, support and encouragement through what was for me, and perhaps you too, a particularly rambunctious year!
Have a wonderful start to this next one and I will be in touch again very soon!