Saturday, 30 May 2015

Touring and traumas

We set off for our second touring gig on the bank holiday Monday. The weather was okay and the location picturesque but I could not shake a feeling of unease which grew with each solitary Magpie we passed. Not generally given to superstition, the sight of a single Magpie always has me asking after his family and looking around hoping to see his other half.
Trying to shake the feeling off, we set up with relative ease, managed to avoid a terrier escape and went off to explore. The presence of several Rabbits meant that our walk was a little stressful. Trying to contain an excitable dog and stop her from crawling commando style under barbed wire was no easy task. We cut things a little short went back to the van to heat up a preprepared curry then took a gentle stroll to the pub. The locals were very warm and welcoming and the ale was very acceptable according to my other half. Next day was my birthday which as I approach 50, I hope they slip by largely unnoticed. We did a favourite walk around the village of Thorpe. Perfect for Muffy as she can run across fields fairly freely. (she has a long lead as she knows 'come' perfectly well but is a terrier and has periods of unexplained deafness.
I check my phone often as facebook tells everybody that it is your birthday. The posts can disappear down your timeline quickly and I feel a big social obligation to respond to everybody who took the trouble to say 'happy birthday' with a like to acknowledge there greeting. At 2.17pm, Suzanne Archie Cape, wished me a happy birfday (Not a spelling mistake, it is really Muffy's sweetheart Archie, in cognito) I remember feeling slightly uneasy. Nothing sinister, no great premonition, just wondering if Suz was okay. It seemed like not a typical message from her. I actually checked her page for any more clues that all was not well. There was not much posted that day but otherwise nothing. I felt a bit relieved when shortly after, she posted about 2 Cairn terriers looking for a home. It felt as if normal service had been resumed. Her pages are full of lost and homeless dogs. 
It seemed however that all was not well. At some time after the post about the terriers, which was 2.30ishpm. Neighbours went round as Archie had been barking frantically and they found Suz in the garden. She had passed away by the time they found her. The cause of this tragedy has yet to be identified. Suz was not very much older than me and looked fit and healthy. 
If anyone is in any doubt that our dog accounts are not real, you only have to look at the tributes. The grief, disbelief and bewilderment is overwhelming. A page set up to raise funds for Cairns in her memory, has already made over £1000
Suz was just one of those people who had something that made others warm to her instantly. There are times when I feel that I am a high functioning person with autism. I feel bad about it but sometimes my words of condolence are hollow and I wonder if I have no ability to feel. This is not one of those times. Tears have been close to the surface since I returned to the caravan after a dinner out on the 27th May, to see that many of Muffy's friends had candles for there profile picture. I soon found a post saying what had happened but had to read it 3 times before it registered. Initially I thought it was Archie who had met with some tragedy. To add to the sadness, myself and many of her friends had private messages which got deleted with Archie's original account. I still have a few when we corresponded through her craft page but have lost the majority of them. I was soon going to be the proud owner of some terrier cushion covers which she made so beautifully. I feel sad that she never had the chance to finish them as it would have been a special reminder of her.
So nothing to be done on this tour but to acknowledge the sadness and reflect on how quickly things can change, to think about the family she left behind and what they must be going through and to try and honour her memory by aspiring to be the person she was. Rest in peace Suz, will will miss you and of course Archie who said goodnight to all every night without fail. How I wish I had responded to everyone but mostly I didn't see them until the morning :-(
As for the Magpies, they still followed me around this morning but the sorrow has come and can't be undone. I don't even bother to salute them. Towards the end of our walk, however, a pair flew over and gave a little aerial display. A reminder that after the rain, the sun will surely reappear.

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