Today is dedicated solely to the story about dogs for two reasons. The first is that the illustration of the puppies appears in the dedication of the book, and because I came across a couple of photos of the dogs mentioned in the story, and thought that a spot of colour from some real photos from 25 years ago would not go amiss. It is no coincidence that the two photographs here were taken on the property we moved to which had the charming name of “Fiddler’s Green” – an obvious throwback to Britain – yet was owned by the only Iranian I have ever met. Just outside the gate, the tired metal plate sign was nailed to a mopane tree at a height of about three metres.
One of our moves was because we were landed with looking after a litter of five pedigree Labrador puppies, only ten days old, and their mother.
From one day to the next, all eight of us moved from a garden flat to a very small house on a big plot of land. We looked after the brood for the next six weeks and ended up keeping two.
Topaz, the yellow one, was my favourite. He used to stay up at night with me when I was translating. If I started to nod off, he would whimper, or nudge me.
Jet black Rubi chose João and was fiercely loyal and naughty. Two of a kind, if you ask me.
We loved our Labradors. Although we did have a couple of chairs, we spent most of the time on the flooring playing with them. Sometimes they would fall asleep after the excitement of playing. All dogs we ever had loved to chew my shoes, hence their absence here:
The kitchen was quite basic; it lacked a certain designer quality, shall we say. That is why we had basic barbecues in the garden occasionally instead. For a long time, the puppies had a hard time catching me as I ran around the plot like a mad thing.
Topaz won “Best Puppy” in a dog show at 4 months old, about a month before this photo was taken. It was the first and last dog show we went to; we felt that any further experience with dog shows would damage their psyches – and ours! Here, he is standing in the classic pose that won the judges’ hearts. He was the best dog a translator could have, and had advanced spelling knowledge. I exaggerate. He knew when I was spelling the word b-i-s-c-u-i-t and when the word was not biscuit, but b-a-t-h.
I have just remembered that at this time, my Singer treadle sewing machine served as a desk, on top of which I had an old manual typewriter – oh, and a chair, believe it or not. That was the extent of my office furniture.
Next time, we shall advance the clock by one year to the start of less idyllic times. If you cannot wait for the next instalment, you can purchase the real book immediately from Amazon – as a Valentine’s gift, if you like. Click on the picture below:
© 2016 Allison Wright