I re-read my last blog a couple of days ago and it filled me with remorse and embarrassment at its ignorant irrelevance. Just three short months ago the world was a very different place and now it is filled with disease and hatred. My blog was never meant to be about the three forbidden subjects of “Politics, Sex and Religion” so I just plain won’t go there except to say that of course I am thoroughly aware of what’s going on in the world. Indeed the dreaded “R” word is universally endemic in every aspect of our lives and I am constantly reminded of it every time I look out of my kitchen window at our little flock of sheep. We have fifteen Merino’s and one Southdown and I will just park that there for you to deduce what goes on everywhere even here in our little Australian backwater.
From top left: Our little house in the trees, an afternoon log splitting, social distancing at our local park, the Kiwi and Friday discussing the bonfire.
Our lockdown in rural Victoria has been very unlike that of my family and friends back in the UK and I have experienced huge feelings of guilt that we are so far away from it all and my heart has bled for everyone back home. The Kiwi brought me back to life this morning reminding me that yes, we do feel guilty but look at the road we came down to get here and the sacrifices and energy we expended on achieving our small piece of Utopia. It has taken us four years to finally feel settled and able to start really enjoying our lives. Lockdown has given us the opportunity and time to galvanise ourselves and get lots of jobs done around the place. Additionally I have become a “Bunnings Widow”. Bunnings is a part of Australian culture and for those that don’t know it’s basically B&Q and our newly opened palace of DIY is just a four minute drive away.
Not being able to do much except look after our four Golden Girls and the Kiwi results in having no news to report when talking to friends and relly’s’ on the phone. All we can talk about is the latest binge we’ve had on Netflix, the awful events in our cities and what veggies we’ve planted.
The main event of our Lockdown has been the arrival of Margot’s seven beautiful puppies. In my last blog I showed you the vastness of Margot’s pregnant tummy and our excitement and anticipation of the arrival of little furry paws. The birth was unfortunately a troubled one. Margot woke us at 1am on the morning of 12 March with the start of her contractions. We sat with her all night but nothing appeared. Eventually we could bear it no longer and whisked the poor girl down to the vet. The vet examined her and told us that Margot was quite ok and dilated as she should be. “Go home and things will start to happen very soon”. She was right and all of a sudden an enormous pup was produced but sadly it was dead. I was getting increasingly concerned and we collectively “called it” and fled at high speed back to the vet where an emergency C-Section was performed. I was distraught and completely beside myself. The Kiwi and the veterinary nurse told me not to worry and sent me home to collect a laundry basket to transport the puppies home. On the way back to the vet, now replete with laundry basket, my mobile went off and over the loudspeaker the Kiwi told me I was the proud breeder of five boys and two girls and all, including Margot were doing well. Phew!
The Kiwi and I were ushered into the vet’s recovery room and there on a blanket was Margot, still a little drowsy but her seven blond babies were already stuck-in and having their tea. What a rollercoaster of emotions it was that afternoon!
Margot’s puppies provided us with a wonderfully absorbing distraction from the turbulent outside world and we fell in love with all of them. Each had a different coloured collar so we could identify them and all had an equally different personality. We tried so hard not to get too attached but it’s easier said than done and everyone advised us not to name them. But there was one who was born the smallest who we nicknamed “Floki” after a character from the Viking’s series on Netflix. Floki was a rather eccentric boat builder and it seemed to suit him. He was a complete trooper and soon was not the smallest in the pack. In fact, Floki’s new owners were also fans of the Viking’s and to our delight his name was kept.
My days were filled with constant cleaning and then once they were weaned, cleaning and feeding. Not being allowed visitors I was happily forced to spend a lot of time with the puppies getting them used to human contact, something, of course, I didn’t mind a bit!
We had decided a while ago to keep one of the puppies, mainly because our other English girl, Daphne had to be spayed. Taking us up to four Golden Girls, our new addition, Flora Humphrey-Birtwhistle has been an absolute joy, except when she’s digging up my new flower bed of succulents or the Kiwi’s cabbages.
Flora’s siblings have all gone to fabulous new homes, two of which were repeat customers. One of the boys went to the headmaster of a boarding school and my heart burst with pride when I heard that already he was proving to be a great comfort to the newly returned, homesick boarders.
Other than the puppies not much has happened in our lives. We have had to miss our trip back to the UK for my mother’s significant birthday otherwise I would have had more to tell you. Who knows when we’ll be able to travel again and when life will get back to normal whatever “normal” will then be. In the meantime dear friends, keep safe and well and sending everyone much love. xxx