The drip to replace Snoopy's lost fluids did the trick and when we collected him on Saturday morning from the vet, he was a different dog, apart from a hole in his leg where the drip had been. He could walk again and his rear end had stopped exploding! Unfortunately my bank balance is slightly wobbly now instead as the vet's bill came to £587. Now I am hoping the pet insurance will kindly pay for most of it. The claim form goes off today. Wish me luck.
Kay and I did all our packing for the big trip North late on Saturday, after we were reassured that Snoopy was better and had started to digest the prescription food we had been given by the vet. We felt confident the live-in dog-sitter we had hired for three days would be able to cope and would not be saddled with a leaking dog! (I wouldn't have been happy leaving him in that state either - in fact I had prepared myself for the fact I would have to stay behind.)
Thus on Sunday Kay and I left for Northumberland on an early train and were met at lunchtime at Newcastle station by Greg's sister Jill and her family, who had themselves travelled up from Lincolnshire the day before and were renting a cottage for the week. A lot of Greg's family originally come from that area (many are still there) and, on the way out of Newcastle, we first set off in search of Kirkheaton where one deceased aunt used to live. We found her old cottage, chatted to some inquisitive neighbours and found her gravestone in the village churchyard. Kay and her cousin Rhianna had a day of piecing together the family history and we made further trips to Belsay to discover other houses and cottages in the family folklore. Inbetween that we managed to walk Jill's dog (which made me miss Snoopy even more) along bits of Hadrian's Wall.
I finally saw the rented cottage near the village of Wark late on Sunday. It was at the end of a very long dirt-track off a fairly small road and just what the doctor ordered. It was so remote, it did not even have a mobile phone signal (so I could not ring the dog-sitter for reassurance until we were out of the cottage and amongst larger habitable areas). It was in need of modernisation but it had charm (meathooks hung in the ceiling so we guessed it had been an outhouse for a nearby farm) and we were warm and comfortable, even if the shower was not up to the 21st century.
The 90th birthday party for Greg's elderly aunt was held at Whitley Bay on Monday. The clan all gathered there at lunchtime to celebrate and it was good to catch up with so many relatives- some I had not seen since the aunt's 80th birthday ten years before. Inevitably the conversation turned to Greg and it was at times difficult thinking Greg would have so enjoyed seeing his family again and yet was missing all this. I was there to represent him, but nevertheless his absence left a big hole.
We came home yesterday after a day touring the gorgeous countryside along the A69. We lunched in Corbridge and explored the the quaint shops and buildings around, before walking along the river. Then we only had time to drive quickly through Hexham (Greg's father's home town) before catching a late afternoon train for London at Newcastle. Snoopy was fine on our very late evening return and was so pleased to see us again. The dog-sitter had been very reliable.
It was a very relaxing/entertaining/ happy few days away. It did Kay and me some good to get away and breathe country air. I leave you with the view from the cottage bathroom window. Imagine sitting on the throne and seeing this..........