1. Our neighbour calls: there’s been a change of plan and could we possibly look after their dog today? I run downstairs to John with my arms flailing above my head. When I go into their house to fetch her, she’s sat with both the cats on the sofas in the snug – three creatures who each, in turn, hated the new interloper when they first arrived but now are a happy pack. (The cats expect me to feed them but I just give them hugs instead.)
1b. I don’t know where from, but M-dog finds a squeaky toy that Lily had in her later months (it came free with some dog food). The squeaking is so incessant that it becomes funny. Ditto the beanbag digging.
1c. Strange wants to be M-dog’s friend but she can’t quite bring herself to just accept her. Slowly, over several interactions (and some scent swapping by me), they get closer and close until they sniff noses and happy sleep just a few inches apart.
2. I alternate the different salamis and arrange them in a fan.
3. I’m haunted by the water-up-nose from the first week and am nervous to try the repeated dunks that he suggests – but I grow more confident with each one.
3b. Driving down Armley Ridge Road on the way to the pub brings back two layers of memories.