Living Between the Lines


A slight frisson of fear ran through us just as we were about to take off from Gatwick. A lone passenger stood up and demanded to leave the plane. His sudden departure sparked an unscheduled search of overhead lockers – in case he was a terrorist and had left an explosive device on board, I presume.
The airline staff opened every locker, matching each bag to the remaining passengers.
“Why are they only searching half the plane?” hissed my worried friend, not realising that while one worked from the front to middle, her colleague was working from the back of the plane to middle.
Dave did not move – he’d fallen asleep as they closed the doors the first time.
There was a slight feeling of unease as we finally roared down the runway but this soon gave way to a feeling of relief that we were on our way, at last.

We spent a wonderful ten days in Crete. True, when Dave went to the local bank to withdraw some cash from the hole in the wall, on our last day, he found a real hole in the wall. The cash machine had been blown up in the early hours of Saturday. It’s ok, the bomb was meant for the Construction company next door and presented only a slight inconvenience to the townsfolk of Almyrida, who shrugged and carried on as usual. Someone had held a grievance against the Russian owner apparently. No one was hurt in the blast.
We went to another town to withdraw funds.

Dave takes a dip in the pool at sunset - what do you mean you can't see him?...
Dave takes a dip in the pool at sunset – what do you mean you can’t see him?…

Back home, having had an uneventful return flight, we picked up Charlie Brown.

Now that’s not Charlie Brown!

Here he is, eight weeks old and as cute as can be.

Charlie Brown
Butter wouldn’t melt…

Here he is again, 9.5 weeks old and already a feisty adversary for Flossie who is extremely patient with him…

Look at my new collar...
what next?…
Someone to play with...
Charlie’s MeerKat impression…

Charlie’s first night with us was memorable because it was the night of one of the loudest thunderstorms we’ve had of late. We’d put Charlie to bed in his crate and had expected a few whines. He was fairly quiet until 1.15am when lightning lit up the room and thunder rent the air.
Reluctantly, I climbed out of bed.
Dave did not move.
I was not the only one to have heard Charlie’s cries for help however. Lisa, she who also lives in this house of ours, which plays host to a variety of visitors from time to time, had also woken and we arrived at the scene together.
What met our eyes (and our nostrils) was not pleasant: One terrified puppy leaping about the cage like a demented spirit, having had a slight accident, the result of which was now not only smeared on every bar of the crate, including ceiling and floor, but was also obviously covering poor puppy who had jumped, rolled and wriggled in it in his fright.
We stopped and stared for a moment before springing into action.
Towels and rubber gloves were grabbed. The baby bath that had lain unused for a few months, was dug out and at half past one in the morning, I was bathing new puppy and wondering if this was his very first bath at the tender age of 8 weeks. Clean but decidedly wet, little Charlie was wrapped in a towel, giving him more than a passing resemblance to ET, and cradled on my lap. Happily, Lisa took charge of the crate.
We surveyed the damage. There was only way of cleaning all those crevices in the wire – the shower. So, at 1.40am, Lisa was washing the crate in the shower and I was warming up Charlie who now looked and smelt sweet again.
By 2am, little Charlie was safely back in his clean crate, snug in a fresh bed (Doris’s abandoned puppy bed came in handy) with a hot water bottle under his blanket. The washing machine was busily washing the soiled bedding, the floor had been washed and we were free to go back to bed.
The storm had passed.
Dave still had not moved.
Flossie, who had not stirred during the thunderstorm by the way – do we have the only dog in the neighbourhood who is not afraid of thunder storms? – has been marvellous with Charlie.
He has pulled her tail, hung on her ears, climbed on her head and nibbled her paws but she treats him with gentle firmness and I think she is happy to have a friend again.

She is much bigger than me...
She is much bigger than me…

I have a new collar!
I have a new collar!

A good pair of shoes is a find indeed!
A good pair of shoes is a find indeed!

Time to sleep…

So, Charlie has come to stay and promises lots of fun for the future.
So, tell me, why am I so dog-tired? 🙂

P.S. Charlie’s Pedigree name? BorderGold Pocket Rocket – very fitting!

I am an Author, wife to one, mother to five and grandmother to six. I live in the English countryside in Hampshire, UK, with my husband and two dogs and am a non exec Director for Glow


  • Hilary

    Hi Deborah – just glad you had a happy ten days getting prepared for the onslaught of Charlie Brown .. at his age of course he won’t remember that first storm! Gosh – well thank goodness for Lisa – if you’d had to cope on your own …. lots of work … especially with frightened pup …

    Welcome back and all is well … cheers Hilary

  • Deborah Barker

    Hello Hilary – it is taking me some time to catch up with everything but I am getting there slowly. Pup is currently playing beneath my chair having been chased there by Flossie. Actually, not sure who is chasing who… 🙂

  • Teresa

    Oh oh oh I am in love! Isn’t he gorgeous? Such a little sweetheart and isn’t Flossie lovely to be so good with him. Thank goodness you had help clearing up after the storm!
    Glad you had a wonderful holiday – even if it started off with a bit of a scare! 🙂 x

  • John Cowton

    Hi Debbie. So glad you enjoyed your holiday, despite a scary start on the plane. There must be something about Crete, you came back and got Charlie, and we came back from Crete this year and got Jim our tabby cat.
    Charlie is lovely.

  • deb

    Nothing like brushes with disaster to make home a happier place to be. Nothing like a new puppy to make life fun. Nothing like your writing to make me happy.

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