Ed­i­tor’s let­ter

EDP Norfolk - - EDP NORFOLK MAGAZINE -

As I sit at the kitchen ta­ble typ­ing this, a whiskery chin rests on my knee; a pair of beady eyes gazes up. No, it’s not Mrs Cas­tle, it’s one of the two hounds that cur­rently dic­tate much of life in Cas­tle Acres.

We’ve al­ways had dogs. While I was grow­ing up near Dere­ham our furry friend was Lisa, a cream Labrador with an al­legedly posh blood­line that had the word San­dring­ham in it.

To be fair, she was a re­triever of sorts and on at least one oc­ca­sion proudly pre­sented my mother with the car­case of a piglet thrown out on the muck heap at the pig sheds op­po­site. Farm hy­giene was a lit­tle more re­laxed in those days.

Then it was Susie, de­spised at first (A poo­dle? Se­ri­ously?) then adored; she was fol­lowed by a beau­ti­ful but mute golden Amer­i­can Cocker Spaniel called Span­gle and a jet-black, less mute Amer­i­can Cocker called Boomer.

Boomer wrote his footnote in fam­ily lore by open­ing the bot­tom door of the Aga and eat­ing, straight from the hot bak­ing tray, a dozen fist-sized meringues. He sat, glis­ten­ing with sugar and lightly blis­tered round the chops, en­joy­ing the big­gest rush a dog has ever had.

Once we had our own home, Mrs C and I col­lected a suc­ces­sion of beasts; a loopy spaniel, a grey­hound and a labradog called Lot­tie. She was a Ge­ordie dog al­lowed to roam the streets of New­cas­tle by in­dif­fer­ent own­ers.

Hit by a car, she lost a fore­leg

and was res­cued. A friend, know­ing we were look­ing for a dog, brought her round. Lot­tie hopped in, looked around and lay down in front of the fire. I got down next to her and she gen­tly put her sur­viv­ing paw on my arm as if to say; “Divvent fret, man, I’ll be a canny pet.”

And she was too, full of joy and bright enough to work out how to open an in­ward-open­ing door with her sin­gle forepaw.

We’ve also had chick­ens – joy­ful crea­tures to have pot­ter­ing about the gar­den – and cur­rently share our home with a whip­pety thing and a Staffie cross. Ol­lie the whip­pet is the lazi­est dog ever, per­ma­nently au­di­tion­ing for the lead role in Dog in a Coma.

Lexi the Staffie is busy, needy and quite adorable, de­spite pos­sess­ing a snore that must show up on the British Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey’s seis­mome­ters.

That’s the thing; as this is­sue shows we pet own­ers gen­er­ally adore our companion an­i­mals, be they cat, dog, tor­toise, rabbit, bearded dragon or chicken. They all in­vei­gle their way into our hearts and when they go they break them.

Non-pet peo­ple just don’t get it. “What’s not to like about hav­ing a pet?” we say.

“Apart from the clear­ing up, the hair, the smells, the food and vet bills, wrecked fur­ni­ture and the bark­ing at the moon? Noth­ing,” they say.

Points well made, but so what? Life is bet­ter with an an­i­mal in it. Fact. Happy July!

Miss Needy and Mr Lazy

DO­MINIC CAS­TLE, Ed­i­tor, EDP Nor­folk Mag­a­zine 01603 772758/07725 201153, do­minic.cas­[email protected]

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