she gets mad and|I get brushed



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Wednesday February 21st 2018


You wouldn’t believe the rude things Human is shouting at the computer. She’s historical histrionic hysterical.

I’m afraid I’ve had to take over. At this time of night as well. Everyone knows it’s past dogs’ bedtime.

It’s the pictures of me again. They’re beautiful of course. She’s cross because the pictures  won’t come of her phone onto here.

The words she says smell  dreadful and she’s jumping up and down in her chair. Disgusting. She needs putting out in the garden.

She’s just gone into the kitchen. I expect she’s re-heating her coffee in the microwave again.

Quick! Quick! What can I say? I know. I’ll tell you about what she did to me the other day. It was horrible.

Now I’m as quick to know what she’s going to do as any other dog. I may not be able to see or hear  but I can smell brushes and combs as soon as she brings them in. Even if they’re in my room already, I can smell them being taken out from under the trolley.

Well, my winter undercoat grew as usual this year. I didn’t let her know I had it on in case she started thinking about grooming. Horrible word, grooming, it makes me shudder.

But the other week little bits of it kept popping through my top coat. She noticed of course. I wish humans would mind their own bloody – no, I won’t sink to human levels – business. Then, and you’re not going to believe this, she starts pulling the little bits out. Yes, I know they’re not attached and it doesn’t hurt. That’s not the point. They belong to me, not her.

Dog knows what she’s do if I pulled her hair out. She behaves badly enough when it’s just the phone and the pictures upsetting her.

Anyway, I’m just standing there, waiting to see where we’re going next, when next thing I know I can smell the brush in her hand. As usual, I rush for my big box. I’m safe in there. But she’s taken the box away.

My bed’s still here. I get in quick. But she can still reach me. I jump up onto my futon.

But it’s no good. Nowhere is safe. I used to snarl and snap at her hand but that just doesn’t feel all right now. Don’t know why. She needs a – no, Isis, you’re a dog, not a human. Dogs have standards. She needs a good, hard bite.

Anyway, I put up with it all, even being brushed under my chin which I hate, even being combed behind my ears. It’s really awful. She hasn’t been able to groom me like this for months because it hurt her. Snigger. Now she’s got stereos  androids steroids she can do nasty things to me again.

She goes on and on and on. Still I didn’t say any of the bad things she’s being saying all night.

I feel the brush getting fatter and fatter and my lovely undercoat getting thinner and thinner.

I know she feels guilty because my nose keeps getting kissed.

I’d rather skip the kisses and be left alone.

At least I get a piece of cheese when she’s finished.






I should bloo think so too.

I think she’s going to bed now. Thank dog for that.


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or


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things are getting better



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Sunday February 18th 2018


It’s still the same week. Despite Isis venturing on the day bed and lying beside me on Monday evening, she refuses to repeat the performance. On Tuesday she returns to her futon and there she stays.


On Wednesday morning, Ja. struggles with the washing machine filter but can’t get it out. In the afternoon I notice that the pools of water from the filter have dried up, leaving behind a myriad of tiny fragments of tissues.

Now, anyone can leave the odd tissue in a pocket, but a boxful? Rather extreme. Even for me. No wonder the machine won’t drain.

I wonder if I put it on a programme which includes draining automatically, rather than one which requires you to switch to drain manually, the machine might work.

After two days I try this. The machine completes the programme and drains.

What a relief.

I’ll wait a while before I try the ‘manual drain’ programme again. I’ve had enough for this week.


The defunct microwave is part of a combination oven and will be expensive to replace. After indulging in a good sink, I decide to keep the cooker and grill part and just buy a new microwave, so that doesn’t seem so bad.

Now, over a week later, things are looking up.

The washing machine is still working. Adopted Niece collected a new microwave for me from Argos when she was in Birmingham last weekend. The replacement radio lead has arrived from Amazon.

And ……………………………………………………….






…………. little Isis has taken to the day bed as her default sleeping place.


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or


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but we’re not finished yet ……



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Wednesday February 14th 2018


Three days after the hexed Monday, the microwave stops working. Honestly.

No cooking for me then!

Then, the day after that, I knock my radio onto the floor and a wire is torn out of the connection.

This Monday, Isis can’t go to the park with the Pet Angels because the sun is too bright, so, exactly a week after all our troubles began, there we are in The Lane, Isis playing with snake in the shade, I sitting on my plastic chair in the sun.

Soon I become aware of a very cold sensation in my nether regions. I know it’s an extremely cold day, but not this cold, surely?

When I get up to examine the chair seat I find that a sheet of ice has formed on it overnight. I hadn’t noticed it when I placed my plastic bag on the seat.

The sheet is now deliquescent and the bottom of my coat is very wet. Ew!

With difficulty and a short stick, I prise off the ice.

Settling back on the chair, I feel it lean a little to the right. Sensible as ever, I lean a little to the right too to test it out. I can’t of course, break a fall with my arms so I have to stay put as the inevitable happens in slow motion and I descend into the brambles.





Chuckling away to myself, I take the above image. I find it very funny. Until I face the challenge of getting up. Unable to risk further damaging my dislocated shoulders, I can’t pull myself up with my hands.  And although the backs of my knees are nowhere near as painful and swollen as they were, I still can’t kneel.

Oh dear.

At least no-one can watch the pantomime, sheltered as I am by garages on each side.

I glance over at Hairy One. She’s snake hunting.

It’s quite easy to shove the chair back upright with one foot, but it takes me a long time to shuffle my head and shoulders onto the seat, rock myself forward inch by inch and gradually stagger to my feet.

I’m grateful that the brambles broke my fall. They weren’t a comfortable resting place ….





but it could have been nasty if I’d landed smack on the frozen earth. And I have five layers of clothing on.

Isis is now dancing up and down the lane with her snake, quite oblivious to my plight. I make my way towards her. It’s home time.

She looks as happy as ever, so I’m unprepared for what happens next. As I reach out to place my hand on her back, she leaps, snarling into the air and jerks her head round, growling and biting at her tail.

I know that she’ll not bite me, but, as always, it’s a startling display.

This time I know immediately what must have happened.

Yes, it’s another stick mouth!

This time she is panting so heavily that she can’t clamp her jaws shut. I am able to grab the offending stick and remove it.

“Well, it’s Monday again, isn’t it?”, says Adopted Niece.


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal fro

Posted in deaf/blind dog plays, I'm off my lead!, relationship building, running running, strange behaviour | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

what a day! part 2



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Sunday February 11th 2018


Isis, who has recovered from her nasty ‘stick mouth’ experience is awarded a tasty treat for being a brave girl and I decided to venture into Kings Heath for the first time since the joint swellings began.

Off I set, a little nervous but in good spirits, and the 18 bus even arrives on time.

I get off just past the bottom of my road. There’s a short list of tasks to accomplish: collect my glasses from the optician; change two twenties for eight fives at the bank, buy small brush heads for my friend’s battery toothbrush and a replacement cable for her landline phone.

I head to the opticians. They’re on lunch break. Silly me.

Crossing over the road, I make my way to the 50 bus stop just as a bus arrives. Now for Kings Heath High Street and the Nat West Bank.

It’s the lunch hour and there’s an enormous queue. Ah, the powers that be haven’t yet caught on to the fact that the lunch hour is when all the local workers tend to come to the bank, probably especially on Monday. There are only two bank workers and one of them is only dealing with certain designated transactions.

I breathe deeply and stand on each foot in turn. Eventually, the designated transactions lady opens for general business. We get moving at last. My cohort has been standing in this queue for nearly thirty minutes and I’m not feeling at my best.

It’s my turn. I ask for my two twenty pound notes to be changed.

“I’m sorry, I can’t do that”, says the cashier.

I can’t believe it. She explains that she can only give me change if I am a Nat. West customer.

I gape in disbelief.

She advises me to go to my own bank. That’s really helpful. My bank doesn’t have a branch in Kings Heath. The nearest branch is in town.

Incandescent, I limp out of the bank.

Thanks a million, Nat. West. At least you could have a large, unmissable notice in the window stating that you don’t give change.

I walk down to the other end of the high street to Superdrug. All their small brush heads are size 4. Not the size I’ve been asked to buy.


I walk back and try Boots. They, too, have only size 4.

The final purchase is the telephone wire connection. The shop actually does have one.


When I arrive at my friend’s and triumphantly plug in the connection, the phone doesn’t work.  A British Telecom engineer is summoned. He will come out on Wednesday.

None of the tasks have been successfully accomplished.

Before leaving my friend, I go into her bathroom. I forget that she’s just had a shower and fail to notice a puddle of icy cold water on the floor. I have taken off my shoes and my right sock is soaked. My friend lends me a pair of socks and I leave.

At home in the evening, I am dismayed to discover that the washing machine refuses to drain. After many ill-tempered attempts to persuade it to do so, I snatch out the filter cover. The machine then, of course, drains all over the kitchen floor.

As Popeye once declared, “That’s all I can stand, and I can’t stands (sic) no more!” I grab all the dog towels I can find, throw them on top of the spreading pool and retire to the day bed.

But then, after a few minutes, the loveliest thing happens. Isis gets down from her futon, stretches, yawns mightily, interrogates the edge of the day bed very diligently for several minutes and then, finally, joins me, leaning against my legs.

I pull my double fleece throw over my head and close my eyes.


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or


Posted in clever girl, dear little Isis, Isis at home, sleeping arrangements | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

what a day! part 1



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Wednesday February 7th 2018


Oh, so got the date wrong on last Wednesday then. Par for the course.

Now, I know that if I read in a newspaper column what follows, I wouldn’t believe it. I’d be sure that the writer had made up bits, exaggerated others or at least conflated incidents which actually happened over a much longer period, or happened to someone else.

I assure you that the following did happen exactly as told, and all in one day: last Monday.

The catalogue of woe begins with Isis.

Isis is enjoying her lane play.






She’s really laid claim to the space. Now that we enter through our own garden gate, she tends to stick to ‘our end’ of the lane; consequently, there is a trampled muddy path down the middle of the once green track. There are also slain brambles scattered across it. Yards of them!

My lawn had no chance of surviving.

Today it’s all my fault. I haven’t given Isis her snake, and I don’t notice that she is playing with sticks.

I glance up from reading the news on my phone (shame on me) to see her whirling round angrily, attacking her tail. Something must be caught in her hair. I walk over to see what is  bothering her and find nothing.

Then she begins to paw at her mouth frantically. Must be ‘stick mouth’- my blog friend A’s name for such incidents. Poor Isis is quite distressed but refuses to let me examine her mouth.

Just as I am about to take her back to the house, she shakes her head and gallops down to her favourite dancing corner. This is a frequent response to anticipation of the walk ending.

She seems fine now. The stick must have been dislodged.

Usually, when I place my hand on her back and grasp her collar, she surrenders. But not today.

She begins to twirl again angrily, growling and grabbing at her tail. Then she tears at her mouth so fiercely that she makes her lip bleed.

She doesn’t want me to peer into her mouth, and clamps her jaws tightly shut. After a while her jaws slacken and I manage to insert a finger. She tries to close her mouth, but she doesn’t attempt to bite me. It’s no-go time.

“Dear, dear, dear”, I repeat over and over again as I always do when she is unhappy or frightened. I know that she can’t hear me, but perhaps she can feel the rhythm. Or perhaps the chant just makes me feel better.

She licks her lips and I hastily prise open her jaws. Yes, there’s a nasty, short, thick little stick jammed tight against the roof of her mouth and both ends of it are wedged firmly between her teeth. She closes her mouth again.

It appears that this stick must be hurting her a lot because, after initial reluctance, she  usually allows me to help her. This time it takes a lot of persuasion. Eventually I manage to grab the stick. Whether she bites me or not, I have to hold onto it. She might not let me have another go. It’s hard to shift. There’s no space between the roof of her mouth and the stick, and the blasted thing won’t break or bend.

I have to twist it and pull and pull as hard as I can. After about a very long minute, it comes loose, falls onto her tongue and slides off into the grass.

We’re both mightily relieved.

“What a good girl”, I tell her, patting her flank. She wags her tail heartily.



Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or

*So far I’ve been lucky and had no noticeable side effects from the nasty Methotrexate. I was horrified to discover a couple of days ago that it’s a chemotherapy drug.

Posted in deaf/blind dog plays, dear little Isis, I'm off my lead!, relationship building, strange behaviour, twirling | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

goodbye futon!



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Sunday February 5th 2018


Goodness me. Futon seems to be the most frequently mentioned object in the blog. Probably because I have always spent so much  lying on it, usually thinking about the tasks that I ought to be doing. Now, hopefully, it will soon be claimed by someone else. I’ve put it on Birmingham Freegle (our local ‘recycle, don’t landfill’) group.

It’s an excellent wooden futon frame, but it doesn’t have a mattress. That might put people off. I found the original one too heavy to handle and very uncomfortable, so I’ve been using foam cushions.

We’ll see.

On Thursday the futon is moved away from its space. The reason for its abandonment is the anticipated arrival of a gifted day bed, a delightfully comfortable single-bed sized piece of furniture. It belonged to Polymath who no longer has a use for it.

I love it.

Unfortunately, Isis has different sentiments.

On Sunday, the intruder arrives. It is propped up against the back room wall, waiting to be assembled. As soon as she comes into the room, Isis begins to attack it, dancing and mouthing. She is not exactly aggressive, but definitely aroused. Perhaps she can smell Polymath. Or Adopted Niece, or Daisy. Or even previous dog Ellie. All of them have slept on it many times, as have I.

Her fervid interest amuses me for a while, but after an hour or so it becomes very irritating. I pick her up and place her on the futon. She gets off and returns to her quarry.

Eventually, after numerous attempts to distract her, I bellow, “NO!” She pauses, then realises that she is tired and returns to the futon.

What was that all about? She’s not visibly upset. She’s definitely not afraid. Perhaps she’s challenging it, I decide, just feels that it shouldn’t be there.

On Friday afternoon C. assembles the day bed for me. I can’t wait to sink onto it.

Wonderful. I lie there all evening, waiting for Isis to join me.

She doesn’t.

Now and again she approaches the bed and sniffs. Then she returns to her futon.


On Saturday morning I make my way downstairs expecting to find white fluff on the bed cover. (Hairy One’s downy undercoat is beginning to loosen. It gradually comes to the surface in dear little wedges and can be plucked out, or gradually frees itself).

No, not a white hair to be found. Clearly, she has stayed on her futon.

Perhaps she is nervous of the new bed after all.

I spend as much time as I can revelling in its comfort: Isis sticks obdurately to her favoured resting place.

This morning I am sure that Hairy One must have succumbed to the delights of the day bed. But no, again not a hair, not a wrinkle in evidence.

When when we retire to our back room den, she snoozes on her futon. Later it’s the futon or her bed or the rug.

Now I’m thinking that her attack on the day bed was an expression of disgust. She is, after all, very attached to her futon.




She sleeps on it every night – in my place, of course – and shares it reluctantly with me at other times. It’s been her sleeping place for more than three years.

I think she is cross with the new bed because it has usurped her futon.

Oh dear.


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or

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a magical walk



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Wednesday January 31st 2018


Thoughts of the summer in Highbury Park assail me. Way back when life was drifting along nicely, I took these photos of Isis in Highbury and made some notes of thoughts I had.

Sometimes, you return from your walk knowing that your dog hasn’t had a brilliant time because she had to hang around on her lead while you’ve been yattering to your mates.

Sometimes this summer, Isis has been afraid of the bright sun and shadows and hasn’t enjoyed herself at all.

But this turns out to be a magical day.

I release her from her lead  and immediately she begins to race around a clump of trees and shrubs.












There really is magic in Highbury Park.

Must be the fairies.

The fairies, of course, live in fairy sized houses. You can judge the size of this one by comparing its front door with the sycamore keys, and the tiny blue and silver stars which a child must have left.





The one below is slightly larger. Perhaps a bigger family lives here. What do you call a baby fairy: a fairilet, a fairifant?







Sadly, the fairy houses’ doors are tightly locked. And no-one I know has ever seen a fairy enter or exit his or her home.

Apparently, there are two more fairy homes in the park. Isis and I will search for  them when we can go to Highbury again.


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or

*Hospital again today, this time for a doctor to check hand and foot joints, then Doctor S. to discuss my horrible Methotrexate prescription. After this, X-Rays of chest, hands and feet. When these are done, The radiographer ‘phones the results through to Dr. S who tells me it’s OK to begin taking the Methotrexate once a week. You can choose the day you take it. I decide to take it at midnight on Sunday, so I can go to bed before the side effects hit me.

Then off to the pharmacy to pick it up with all the other stuff needed to stop it destroying my system (my observation, not the official one).

So on Sundays it’ll be the Methotrexate, on Mondays Folic Acid, and seven days a week, steroid, calcium, Omeprazole, and vitamin D. Can’t wait.

Posted in Highbury Park, I'm off my lead!, running running, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

hello gate!



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Sunday 28th January 2018


A. comments that she hadn’t heard of any plans for a gate. That must mean I didn’t mention any.

The rheumatology doctor tells me that after a few weeks’ monitoring on the new medication- the name of which I’ve forgotten – there is no reason why, at last, I shouldn’t have the first of the shoulder operations. Hurray! At last! Across the dim light at the end of the long tunnel, there’s the possibility of driving again, walking Isis and returning to my art group.

At the bottom of our garden is a lane. To Isis and me it’s The Lane. Most houses have a garden gate which leads onto it. Polymath  lived here at least ten years before I took over the house and at the bottom of this garden there are not even any fairies, just a very old, dilapidated, interior door nailed across the gateway.

Even though, two years ago, specially tough grass seed called Sprogs and Dogs was sown onto rubber matting to create a durable play area for Isis, the hoped for lawn which, by now should be green and vigorous, has not materialised.

Honestly, I did the right things, keeping both shoes and paws off it for a year, cutting it at the right time and even buying a new lawn mower. Sick titter.

It only took Isis a matter of days to kick start its demise. Within weeks it was becoming bald. It now looks like the head of someone suffering from acute and extensive alopecia.

Hugely disappointing. And a very expensive mistake.

It felt like an investment for both me and Isis. O.K., she’d wear it down a bit in the winter, but it’d grow back in by spring. She’d have a year round safe play area and I’d have a decent lawn on which to sip beer with J. on balmy summer days.


Admittedly, the grass didn’t grow that well in the first place but with Hairy One’s pounding, no chance!

Another sigh.

Best not to think about it.

With all the heavy rain we’ve had – for ever, it seems – the area where the lawn was supposed to be has become a sticky lake of mud with a few clumps of defeated looking grass here and there.

For weeks we got into The Lane through the large security gates six houses down the road. This, however, as I have mentioned before, necessitated sashaying along the pavement with Hairy One’s running lead attached to a belt around my waist. It also required me to unlock and open the heavy gates.

Isis, of course, failed to appreciate the precariousness of my situation: the closer we got to the gates, the more excited she became.





Not only did the shoulder injury prevent me from using my arms for balance, it also meant that I had no way to stop myself from falling on my face.

We managed though, until the joint swelling began. When it hit my feet, the short walk was impossible.

On the Pet Angels’ days off, Isis had no walk.

In December procrastinating Human finally got round to asking handy man T. for an estimate of the cost of supplying and fitting a gate; he was also asked to replace her Heath Robinson stair guard because, once Hairy One sneaked upstairs, Human could no longer carry her down.

Both have added hugely to our health and safety.

The new stair gate does not disintegrate when you move it, or slide into the hall in the middle of the night. Or fall forward and smack us on the head when we stand in front of it.

Isis knows exactly where we are going when she smells that I am carrying the belt and running lead, putting on boots and gathering dog bags. After only three outings via the gate, she trots down the garden on her own and waits for me at the bottom.

Unfortunately she’s not quite so obliging when it comes to our return: hence the belt and lead.

Not yet. She’ll soon learn.

Most importantly, she can go out to play every day.







Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or



Posted in clever girl, deaf/blind dog plays, I'm off my lead!, running running, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

sorry Isis, sorry Daisy



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Wednesday January 24th 2018


Not a brilliant week so far.

Tuesday is rheumatology appointment day. My appointment is at ten-thirty. It’s an easy journey as the bus stop is virtually opposite my house, but the  18 is a very unreliable ‘ten minute’ service. Unfortunately, a bus leaves the stop as I am locking my door and I have to wait twenty minutes for the next one. At Northfield station, the usually very reliable train is delayed for six minutes.

I steam into the Q.E. hospital with about three minutes to spare. Phew!

The Rheumatology Department is impressive. The staff couldn’t be more friendly, empathetic, professional.

“Have you experienced  ……. ?”, asks the doctor. Yes, I have: acute joint pain, swelling, exhaustion, depression, anaemia, severe stiffness in the morning, weight loss ………  It’s yes to everything, I think, except for mouth and eye ulcers. But my right eye has been sore for two days and, ironically, in the evening I discover a small ulcer!

Yes, I have rheumatoid arthritis. Now, I’m not glad about this, but it could have been something much worse.

J., the research lady tells me that she has had rheumatoid for twenty-three years. She drives, has a demanding, full time job, a child to care for, and she seems very fit, so that’s encouraging.

Because I agree to join the patient research group, there are lengthy discussions and a multitude of questionnaires interspersed among the physical tests, and five hours have passed before I leave. There are more investigations to be done but I am worrying about Isis and Daisy so I am told that the other checks can be done next week when I begin on the medication. This should be as effective as steroids, I’m told, but without the negative side effects.

I am so exhausted I’m almost plaiting my feet but I’m treated to a taxi home where I  discover that Hairy and Furry have survived.

They are both sound asleep. A baleful yowl floats down the stairs to inform me that a Daisy cat’s dish has been licked clean and starvation will soon ensue.

Isis, obviously aware that Human has been missing for longer than a dog expects, is behind the front door. I place my hand close to her nose. When she breathes in my scent, she leaps up in a paroxysm of wagging and accepts repeated apologetic hugs.

She hasn’t allowed me to move out of reach since, though this morning she can’t wait to leap out into the rain with Pet Angel R. and trot off to the park.

I was awake all of last night, mind churning, and feel more and more grotty as the day goes on. Eventually, I doze off with Isis on the futon this evening, just in time to miss my Ocado on-line shopping delivery.

They have to dispose of all perishable goods. That costs me over sixty pounds. And I’ve no milk.

I also forget that it’s blog night. That’s why I’m late.

So it’s sorry everyone.


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or



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Rufus and Nancy



Monday January 22nd 2018


Yesterday I posted that Cookie is the only surviving dog from our original bottom bowling green group. How could I have missed out Rufus and Nancy, still youthful and hale and hearty and very much part of the group?

Sorry Rufus. Sorry Nancy.

As an apology, here’s one of my favourite images of you.



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