3BT – fighting it, warmth, perfect combination

1. Since she came to live with us a week ago, Lily has fought a constant battle against sleep during the day – she’s exhausted but there is a slim possibility that something exciting might happen (and everything we do is exciting at this stage) so she wants to keep watching us just in case. Slowly though, her eyes give in and the muscles around her eyes twitch as they relax. It reminds me of the time I watched my lovely boy Carbon fall fast asleep.

2. I think about lighting the stove to recreate the loveliness that was last Sunday afternoon but instead, we head out inside. After a morning of sunshine, the metal of the balcony is warm underfoot. I eat my lunch while the cats and dog sunbathe around me.

3. The cheese – a mature but creamy cheddar – is perfect on the jacket potato. The Tommy flakes* in the tuna are a hit too.

* A selection of spices supplied in a ready-to-use grinder by our friend Tom. The plan is that from his base selection, we’ll involve our own mix then pass some back to him, and so on – the spice mix evolving as our tastes change over time. Our current Tommy flakes mix is garlicky and salty, but with a spicy kick too.

3BT – Lily’s second day

1. She wakes up at dawn but is coaxed back to the sofa for another couple of hours sleep. When my alarm goes off at 8:30 (her old feeding time in the shelter), she’s still sleepy and we cuddle instead. I explain to her that this is how the Peach household works: we always start the day with hugs.

2. By early afternoon, the cats still aren’t sure of her but seem to have decided she’s not a threat. They keep watching but not obsessively so and blinking all the while.

3. I spend the afternoon stretched out on the floor in front of the stove, listening to Joanna Newsome. The dog and cats take it in turns to lie across the newspaper and when they do, I stare out of the window at the bare branches silhouetted against the brilliant blue sky.

4. She takes the blue rubber bone from me and carries it to her bed. She puts it down matter-of-factly at one end and looks at me with disdain: “the blue bone is clearly for later, mum, clearly”.

5. Tom arrives at bedtime and as I lead him through the porch, I explain that Lily can be nervous around new people so let her come to him rather than crowding her. Or rather I start to explain because before I can finish, she’s launched herself at him, tail wagging, the happiest, most welcoming dog in the world.

3BT – laughter, beauty/ugly, alone-together time

1. I go downstairs and Tom is there. He arrived with John, via Paul’s housewarming party, in the early hours of the morning, after I’d long gone to bed. Over breakfast, we discuss art history and laugh raucously.

2. Later, we get the bus into Leeds together. Under the snow, the first part of the journey feels even more like being in the middle of the country. Everywhere we look is a scene from a Christmas card – except for the racist propaganda stickers stuck on the adverts above the windows. They unpeel easily and we screw them up into little balls.

3. We say hasty goodbyes to Tom as he runs off the bus to meet a friend. Alone for the first time since in what feels like weeks (our illnesses were like unwelcome house guests before actual, more welcome, guests arrived), John and I have the afternoon together, indulging ourselves – lunch at Art’s, our beloved doughnuts & coffee for dessert, then drinks at North Bar. Good food but even better company. ;)