Things That go bump in the night
These days, little Rosie, the spaniel, bumbles along on walks. Long brown ears swinging, and highlighted fringe bopping up and down, she sort of follows us, lost to our voices and safe in her own world as she is now almost totally deaf.
Yesterday, on a walk, I was standing by a gate trying to attract her attention, waving my arms to get her to come towards me. It was not working so Geordie kindly jogged towards her whereupon she picked up speed and led him a merry dance entirely the wrong way. It was very funny. Fifteen years old, Rosie is stiffer and everything works less well and we can see she is getter older. I don’t think, however, she knows or worries about the fact that she will die. Her thought processes remain “of the moment” from the little delighted prance she gives when food is about to arrive to the way she makes clear that she is in two minds about my dog grooming techniques.
W B Yeats compared this difference between man and animal in a short poem beginning:
“Nor dread nor hope attend
A dying animal;
A man awaits his end
Dreading and hoping all;
Many times he died,
Many times rose again …”
She also retains her excellent sense of smell as do her children and granddaughter, Evie, as, of course, do the Labradors. Alfie the fox red Labrador seems to be able to find a corner of a sandwich at the bottom of a skip 100 yards away. He is also a good guard dog and always looks after me as did his grandfather Percy.
Percy had another ability in that he also shared my spiritual adventures with at least one ghost here at the Castle. His daughter Bella was likewise fey and I relied on them for early warnings of when better to vacate a corridor.
Of course, we have just passed the time of the year when traditionally the worlds of the quick and the dead merge and superstition suggests it is easy to pass from one to another. As a race, we spend much time defining and naming what we see around us and our imagination and mind leads us to fear and worry about the less tangible things like death. In order to get around death, we believe in other worlds, resurrection or put it off through good living or drugs. Whilst we seem to look forward to another world, it is also one that scares us and merges with dark winter nights, unexplained sounds, witches, pumpkins, vampires and a time to remember the dead – All Hallows’ Eve.
An entire genre of plays, poetry, novels and films has developed from this. There are at least twelve Halloween films, demonic ones, ghost and trick or treat ones and, to my relief, some fun ones like Ghostbuster.
Through history, the traditions of All Hallows’ Eve have been either quite serious and stoic or a combination of prayer and merriment. From there it became an opportunity for begging at a door in return for “soul cake” and prayers for the departed. It has always been deemed important to pray and not forget our predecessors: the more prayers you bought, the more likely you would be to stay in heaven.
Queen Elizabeth I of England banned all spiritual or social observance on all Hallows Day which was not entirely popular and, of course, it came back later. Likewise, some 350 years ago, Oliver Cromwell legislated Christmas out of the calendar which we may also be looking at today, although it was so unpopular it led to rioting. Luckily Rosie the spaniel does not worry about either Halloween or Christmas Day but nor does she have a vote.
Personally, I think I prefer the older version of All Hallow’s Eve. A celebration much like our Halloween, with bonfires and feasting on apples and nuts and harvest fruits, it was part of pagan worship for centuries.
Will we ever stop being afraid of nights and death?
When you reach the stars, boy, yes, and live there forever, all the fears will go, and Death himself will die.”
I really enjoyed reading this piece. Rosie has a beautiful face and spirit. We all need some daily fun. The castle looks very spooky too against the night sky. Fabulous.Thank you.
Dear Lady Carnarvon
An enchanting read all around. Love stories about your dogs. What fun to see your jack-o-lanterns. The final photo of the castle with the brooding dark and orange clouds is perfection! How ever do you capture your excellent images…do you use a camera or a smart phone?
Warmest wishes to you and the Earl,
Cate Sullivan in Maine
I use a smart phone – they are amazing!
Hello Lady Carnarvon: If your dear Rosie has some arthritis, she will likely benefit from a glucosamine/MSM joint supplement, in the US, this is sold over the counter as Cosequin as well as other brands and is available for canines and equines. There is a next generation supplement called Dasuquin available in chewable form through vets only in the US. I started giving it to my 12 year old Japanese Chin who was showing signs of slowing down and arthritic pain in his hips. He’s been taking it for a month and is running around the garden like a two year old dog again, what an amazing difference! Please consider looking into this for your Rosie. I suspect it will improve her quality of life.
She does have that and some tumeric and olive oil sometimes!!
I love seeing pictures of your dogs ! The last picture of the orange clouds over Highclere are fantastic. To me they looked like a witch flying over on her broom!! I love reading your blog, and books. I was sorry that my last trip to England was during a time that Highclere was not open to the public. I definitely plan a visit after the pandemic has passed.Hopefully, travel restrictions from the USA to England will normalize soon. I am of British heritage, and I guess that’s why I am so intrigued by your books, stories, pictures. I hope your week is wonderful!!!
Thank you – the sun is shining if the week is challenging !
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
The pictures you take are stunning, as usual. I remember reading a National Geographic issue many years ago that had a story about the Celts celebrating the harvest season. These celebrations were co-opted by the early Christian church, perhaps as a way of encouraging conversion to the new religion.
I recently saw a family with a fox red Labrador puppy. The puppy was gorgeous. I was not aware that there was a coloring other than the yellow, black or white.
I did find it interest that Percy and Bella were sensitive to the presence of Highclere’s ghosts. Perhaps some ghosts stories for next Halloween?
Thank you- actually there are ghost stories in the book “Christmas at Highclere”! Please have a look !
As I mentioned to another of our Monday club,I wrote some into Christmas at Highclere
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Your sharing of your family history, pets and pictures each week are not only enlightening, but they make you smile. Thank you for taking the time in your busy life to share with us.
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
Thank you for taking the time to write your Monday blog. Perfect story for the season.
The photographs of the dogs brought a smile to my face. Cherish the time remaing with Rosie, as the moment is fleeting. The late evening picture of the Castle is ominous looking, but indicative of this time of year.
Here in Michigan, Halloween passed quietly with everyone participating in a low key celebration. All Saints/All Souls Day ushered in the “gales of November” early, with the first howling, ghostlike sounds mixed with hail, sleet, and snow of the season.
I look forward to next week’s post, and wish you good health during England’s current stay-at-home.
Thank you – we are -touch wood – all fine
It’s valuable history, too. I’m so grateful.
Fun and comforting!
What a marvelous, marvelous story. And the dogs! The land lions-especially Rosie. We love our pets, don’t we? And I think they love us back.
All creatures great and small….
So delightful, Lady Carnarvon. Your pups are spectacular, and your description of each of their personalities makes me grin.
Enjoy the fall, although today here in southern coastal Virginia it is like winter: blustery and cold. Had to turn the central heat on and bundle in layers!
It’s so timely to see this post, as we lost our Gizmo, a fabulous Pug of almost 16 years a few nights ago. He fought passing for 2 days, but finally took his last breath in my arms, with a smile on his face. He too was deaf and almost blind, it is amazing how well they operate with the loss of senses that are so vital…so we know as hard it is for us, he is much happier now on the other side of the rainbow bridge.
Our other furry friends, one of which is Bella, named after your Bella, are adapting to the loss as well. We are so thankful for them to hug and hold on to during this time.
Big hug from here!
When one of my beloved cats became quite ill and passed some years ago, a friend wrote that he “now runs free and without pain”. That has always comforted me, and I hope it will you, too.
Here is California because of our large Hispanic population, many people celebrate Dia de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. This is a wonderful event, recognizing that death is a part of life and encouraging us remember those that we have loved that have passed. This is explained so well in the Disney movie Coco. Disney spent two years researching this cultural event and although it contains much of the Disney charm, it accurately explains the holiday very well. I have an altar in my home for my best friend, Donna, who died five years ago. As Disney explained, those that we remember are not dead but remain in our hearts.
We do hold their smiles and warmth, it is just their hands…
A good insight these days for All Hallow’s Eve. This pandemic has given us time to think of ourselves, others and the state of the world. Let’s hope good things will come out of this opportunity and humans will become a better race.
Wonderful, as always, thank you so very muchxxxx
Your story of Rosie and her outlook on life is so sweet. Happy always, ready to respond if she looks in the right direction. May she inspire happiness in others, and remind us that each day is a blessing. We miss our Welsh Springer, Chester, and hope he is happy in some sort of dog heaven!
During the pandemic, Halloween was very quiet this year. Our Sunday worship service via Zoom allowed us to honor our church’s and church family’s departed in a lovely way.
Thank you for another thoughtful and funny message!
I am of the belief that most fear the unknown, especially as the world begins to shut down, and we find ourselves isolated from the ones we love. I pray we find the strength to overcome the fears of the unknown. And we find contentment with those who can be around us. The pups should be our guides, as yours are to you. Stay safe and healthy.
Dogs and walks are such a help
What an intensely moving post. As my Parkinson’s Disease slowly worsens, I think more about the dark night ahead. But I try also to practice mindfulness- focus on the moment of beauty that I’m living right now…. especially at this beautiful time of year when the sunlight and colors are almost painfully gorgeous.
Luckily we got in in time before the big lockdown again to come a have a tour of highclere. It was a wonderful morning but unfortunately the weather was not kind to us so we were unable to tour the gardens or even see the follies through the mist but it was still a beautiful autumn sight
We had travelled from Cheshire and I would do it again in a heartbeat I now have joined your blog and podcast once my son told me what to do. I would have been better living in Downton Abbey times. I can see myself polishing the copper and brass as I do in my own home. Not many do anymore but I find it therapeutic Lesley
It is rather therapeutic – taking care of things
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for his very interesting entry of All Hallows’ Eve. It is fascinating to about the olde English pagan versions.
Years ago I brought a group of preteen students to a local, but very isolated, Revolutionary War graveyard on All Hallows’ Eve for a “haunted” historical field trip. It was eerily dark with only the moon for light. The students were waiting for Revolutionary skeletons to jump forth at them from their crumbled graves. Not one soldier or other spirit was motivated to do so. The teens stood by very quietly in anticipation. It was their parent chaperons who were most scared!
Thank you again for brightening on Monday mornings.
Nice history lesson….banning Christmas????Horrors! A few years ago several of my girlfriends and I, in an effort to celebrate Hallow’s eve a little differently, decided to light a roaring bonfire in my meadow and enjoy Samhain! Such fun! As for your pooch….we became our 14 year old yorkie’s eyes and ears but you’re right…the nose never fails them! Enjoy the time you have left knowing you’ve provided the most loving home….
You are a poet ! Always love your observations and feelings …. Please hug little Rosie from Lily and Hudson ( our 9 year old Field Springer and 8 year old Cavalier King Charles spaniel ). She has a fringe just like Hudson !!
Vancouver , B.C.
I will – she is now waiting for a walk
We love our Springers!! We had a Welsh – beautiful copper and white, which glowed in the dark!
Lovely thoughts this fine Monday. I especially appreciated the mention of a dogs tendency to “live in the moment”. Would that we as humans being did the same. Something I have been endeavouring to do myself. Saves a load of worrying.
And, I agree about All Hallow’s Eve and would like to see the old ways again rather than the commercialised juggernaut it has become. Ah well. T’is what t’is. 🙂
I love to see your many dogs (and horses) and hear about their antics, always uplifting especially in these unusual times. Thank you for a lovely post on this Monday morning!
Stories about dogs – my favorite! Your photos are marvelous. Dear little Rosie. How old is she? Our dog will be 10 next month. Even though the arthritis in his hips and knees cause him pain he still loves a good walk. My 92 year old mum used to send him packages of dog biscuits. They were all natural. Homemade at the elderly day care center she used to volunteer at. Mum would address the package of treats FOR: SIR RILEY – ONLY! These days “Sir” Riley & now my sweet Mum both “live in the moment”
Rosie is 15 this month. She was my Christmas present in a basket to my husband and son 15 years ago! She came for the morning as she was so little and then came in January.
M’Lady…It is interesting what you wrote about your darling Bella living for the moment and not pandering death and what may be beyond. I have a sister who is head injured many years ago. She is wheelchair-bound and lives in lovely facility and has no short or long term memory. She lives in the day and smiles and laughs all the time. She has no clue what’s going on but in the immediate moment….I do declare she’s the happiest person I know! Thank you for your wonderful thoughts.
Dear Lady Carnarvon, what a wonderful read, Rosie is such a sweetheart, I love her fringe, such amazing pictures, I love the one of all the dogs and the castle in the dark, very spooky. Take care.
Dear Lady Carnarvon, I enjoyed your blog. ( Just joined.) I also loved your photos, particularly the one of the castle. We were going to go to England This year for our 50th wedding anniversary, but of course Covid put a stop to that. So, we are planning on 2022 and will also make a trip to Highclere Castle. We will have to check when tours are available but that will be a highlight!
Look forward to seeing you then !
Animals — pets — are a balm for the soul. A comfort in every respect. Thank you for sharing. Wishing most sincerely that you stay well amid the chaos of this pandemic. Easy to see that those beautiful dogs must help.
Thank You Lady Carnarvon for posting your Monday blogs! Always a joy to read and thought provoking. Here in the United States Halloween/Trick or Treat has been celebrated for many, many years. When I was a child my parents walked me along our neighborhood street for treats from the neighbors. When I grew older a group of friends would go treating together. Yesterday our virtual church service celebrated All Saints Day, when we remember our traditions and loved ones past and present. Over the past month our Pastor has been giving his sermons on the old testament of the prophet Jonah. Giving us pause to look at the four seasons of our lives, Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.
This is from one of my favorite writers, Susan Branch:
“Tradition: A lovely word that brings up childhood memories & feelings of security~something steady & dependable in an ever-changing world. You can make that for people & it doesn’t have to be big. It’s the over & over again that gives a tradition a place of honor in your family lore. It’s the little things in Life.”
Warmest regards to you, your families and your pups!
A lovely definition!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I love seeing your dogs and they pose so well for photos. My black Labrador doesn’t always cooperate for pictures. He did however, sit nicely with us around the fire pit as we watched the blue moon rise on Halloween. I think it’s so interesting that some of your dogs pick up on ghostly happenings at Highclere. I’ll have to read “Christmas at Highclere” so I can learn more.
I think we can learn so much from our animals. Your Rosie seems so very happy even though some of her senses may not be quite as sharp. Humans should be more observant of our furry friends and learn a thing or two from them.
Enjoy your dog walks today,
They do teach me a lot – reading their language
Always delightful.It’s my Monday morning treat with that first cup of coffee! Thank you again for doggie noses,tales and photographs.
I love coffee too
Sometimes we think so much about death that we forget that we should be enjoying life right now. Animals have a way of teaching that to us. I like what John Donne has to say,
“Death, be not proud, though some have called thee.
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;…”
I am sorry to hear that you are under a month-long shutdown.
I am a huge fan of Donne’s poetry – extraordinary man. Yes this is a challenge again but like all other businesses we are planning now for December 3rd. I think we had all rather hoped our “great leaders” had planned for winter 6 months ago because winter comes every year and we all knew this was going to be a hard winter.
A good Monday back to you as well Lady Carnarvon!
I do hope you are thrilled you made it through another All Hallows Eve without being visited by your Castle Ghosts! Your photos of your dogs and home are as always warm and comforting especially during these horrid and trying Covid times (and Presidential election days here in the U.S of A.). Thank you again for yet another lovely read which is always a great way to get my week going no matter what time of day I read it! We raised a most amazing pure bred English Lab from 10 weeks old until he passed at 15 years. He was a warm, loving and protective member of our family and is always missed as I am certain your adorable Rosie will be one day. Best of health to her and no long days of suffering going forward. Same to you, your family and staff family as you continue to face these trying Covid days and keep the castle moving forward. Take good care. Looking forward to another visit in the future!
Thank you so much Lynn. We are in good heart and trying to “pivot” a new very for an old house!!
What would we do without our dogs…….and cats and birds and horses…..??? Seems like they are serenely happy just knowing they are safe and loved. A nice reminder, thank you.
There is a lovely comparison of a pumpkin to a believer: God scrapes out all the yucky insides and replaces it with a light. Obviously, this is paraphrased, but I love the message.
Thanks for sharing your sweet Rosie. To lose her will be like losing a family member as it happens to all who love their precious pets.
We all love our dogs so much! We have a Boykin Spaniel that looks like the dog on the right of the picture. Were Rosie’s ears brown and changed as she got older? I have seen many programs about the Castle on TV lately and I saw the Spaniels. I had to get my husband to watch them. Our’s is very young (a little over a year) but he is going to training every week and just loves it. I hope Rosie lives until she is in too much pain. I will think about her.
I truly do not think she is not in pain…
MY DEAR LADY CARNARVON AND MONDAY FAMILY,
GOOD NIGHT FROM BRAZIL.
SERÁ QUE ALGUM DIA DEIXAREMOS DE TER MEDO DAS NOITES E DA MORTE ??
“NAITRE, MOURIR, RENAITRE ENCORE ET PROGRESSER SANS CESSE TELLE EST LA LOI.”
“THERE ARE MORE MYSTERIES BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH THAN OUR VAIN PHILOSOPHY DREAM OF.” SHAKESPEARE.
“BEING BORN DYING AND BEING REBORN AGAIN IS THE LAW.” ALLAN KARDEC.
RIO CLARO – SP
Ahh! Our wonderful cockers. We had Biggles until he was 17 and on his last day he was jumping up at the cupboard demanding food. Buttons was 16 and wagging until the end. He was deaf and had diminished sight so to alert him we used a fan and waved it nearby, a much gentler way to catch his attention than touching – followed of course by lots of cuddles. All the best to you, yours and your amazing crew and long may Rosie wag.
She has just had her goodnight treat!
We have a cocker mix. She is 7 years old but my what a lovely dog she is. She loves people and dogs alike. I walk her every day in our neighborhood, so we both get exercise and I’ve made many acquaintances that way. Where we live she must be on a leash but she’d be after every squirrel and cat if allowed to chase. I take her to an off leash park and let her run to her hearts content every week or so. Unfortunately we don’t have any acreage to allow her to run as she wishes.
Dogs are the best companions.
Dogs give and lead to companionship
Our Beckett (Boxer)was born deaf. I have taught him sign language for all the usual commands and some tricks.
He gets along as well as our other pups and his deafness has intensified his other senses especially smell. He’s only a year old now so hopefully he has a long life ahead of him like your Rosie.
C’est toujours avec plaisir que je lis votre blog. Les chiens sont les meilleurs amis de l’homme et c’est toujours intéressant d’entendre des histoires les concernant. Ils sont plus intelligents qu’on le pense.
Thank you for the reminder to live in the moment. I turned 75 yesterday and seem to focus more on obituaries now and health worries…so much better to be like our animals!
A lovely piece. It is a problem when our animals (and spouses too !!) become deaf. My beautiful champion Golden was deaf in old age, but thanks to a little abandoned Sheltie who came to live with us, he knew when to bark at door bells ..because the Shelti barked right in his face. It was very useful to have someone who could prompt him. Our aged Tabby cat ,during WW2 lost his hearing…we knew because previously he would race inside from the bottom of the garden when he heard the 6.00 PM BBC news started which meant too that the bombing would start soon. One day he simply stayed out. Sad, Mother knew then that he was stone deaf. There have been many cats and dogs since, but only a few have been deaf..my little black cat, found in a dumpster, does not hear me put her supper dish down now, but the others hear wherever they are and come circling around me impatiently.
My chocolate Lab has now got failing eyesight and her hearing is going or it may just be selective as it is apparently good when the food dish is moved! She is a rescue dog who was used for puppy farming in N Wales then abandoned due to illness That was over 10 years ago Now she is getting very stiff and can’t walk far so l’ve taken the decision and a new puppy, again a Chocolate Lab , will be arriving here soon. Already named Lucy Fun and jinks will begin lockdown or no lockdown.
I note the reference to Alfie being Fox red When l was about 8 l got my first Labrador, a yellow one, almost exactly the same colour as Alfie. Back then nearly 60 years ago there weren’t the very pale almost white Labs you see today all the yellow ones were dark and chocolate ones ( the best colour in my view lol) were called liver. I’ve had all three colours since then.No real difference in them as dogs it just depends on what colour hair you prefer to live with lol Wouldn’t be without one though
I was intrigued by your slight reference to “ guests” you have in the house and look forward to hearing more about them one Monday
I think I have all shades of “yellow” labrador – I sat and wrote about my ghosts in “Christmas at Highclere” and other sightings too
I hope you dont mind my saying so but this is precisely why I recommend all owners train hand signals from a young age I hope you dont mind my saying so, beautiful pack you have there btw
So loved the opening photo of all your animal companions!! Just a lovely, lovely photo!
I look forward to your blogs every Monday to be entertained and informed about all things Highclere. I realize too all the hard work it takes to keep them coming every week.
How kind you are !
God bless Rosie and all your pups. I cherish every time I spent with our little Charlie. Hoping his soul and ours will be forever joined. I too, think Autumn is a magical time. Wishing you a blessed and joyous harvest time.
Your posts are always lovely, but the ones with your sweet dogs are so wonderful.
My big, goofy lab Damon sends his love to Rosie all the way from Oregon, as do I.
Thank you and hugs back to you in Oregon
That was a lovely little story to read. My Pomeranian is deaf and going blind, but he doesn’t fear death, either. Just if his meals are late!
Rosie has had a bone this afternoon so I hope life is rosy!
Lady Carnarvon, a truly marvelous photo of Rosie and her friends. May she live a very long life and enjoy all the things she so enjoys. Best Wishes to all, Cheryl
Thank you for making us think of better and greater things than our own bickering, You are a treasure, much like Almina. You do your legacy proud.
Lady Carnarvon, On your Instagram today so enjoyed it, a lovely video. Very much looking forward to tomorrow. Kind Regards Always, Cheryl
Thank you Cheryl! You are so amazing!
I’m reading this post a few dates late, but I definitely needed it today. I love the way you talk about the grandfather and the daughter of your beloved dogs. Lovely dog pics are helping me get through the ridiculousness that is our 2020 election. Your pets are all so blessed to live their lives with you. It’s obvious how much you love and care for them. But I guess you’re blessed to have them too. Keep the pics coming.
Lady Carnarvon, A stunning photo of yourself, your Husband and Mary Berry. Just lovely. With Kind Regards, Cheryl
Thank you- it was not great weather and I was in cooking mode yesterday!!!
Your Rosie and the dog on the right in the first photo have very human like expressions on their faces. Grave and thoughtful. I enjoyed hearing about your dogs, and how they do not fear death.
It’s interesting how a dog can lose an ability and adapt so easily. When humans lose a limb or one of the five senses we mourn it and take a long time to adapt. But dogs take it in stride and move on, finding a way to continue their usual fun.
We had an aging Husky that was exhibiting the typical symptoms of arthritis when our vet recommended a supplement for dogs called Phycox made by Dechra Veterinary Labs. It has an anti-inflammatory that inhibits an enzyme that causes inflammation (COX-2). It took about 2-3 weeks for us to notice a difference and it helped her immensely. I believe it’s available in the UK and may be worth a try.
Dear Lady Carnarvon
We have a 6 year old Working Cocker named Lulu who I believe is the sister of one of your dogs. I hope you have had as much joy from your dog as we have had from Lulu. She has had 10 puppies in two lots from our American cocker Boris who are also much loved. They are all either black or gold.
How lovely – spaniels are so enthusiastic