Sophia was born on 25 July 1998. So, today is her 11th birthday.
The "birthday cake" I cooked for her was rather special, but I knew she would find it delicious. Normally, whenever I shell prawns (which is quite often, because I'm fond of several prawn dishes), Sophia waits for the heads and shells. Today, after preparing half a kilo of prawns, I put the heads and shells in a mixer. Then I added an egg and fried the mixture in olive oil. I had the impression that Sophia was pleasantly amazed to find herself being offered such a delicacy.
Happily, she's in perfect physical form. In fact, the only problem with Sophia is that, through living alone with me at Gamone, she seems to have become somewhat antisocial... like me. So, on hot days, when I take her down to the Bourne for a dip, she often growls at unfamiliar dogs that approach her. She leads an extremely regular existence, of a clockwork kind, even to the extent of rolling around on her back, once a day, in exactly the same patch of weeds alongside the house. At another spot, near the main door of the house, there's a corner of bare earth that I've been trying to cover with grass for years. But Sophia has made it clearly known to me that she prefers to lie down there from time to time in a soft heap of thick warm dust. So, I've given up trying to grow grass there. Sophia has won. Funnily, the regularity of Sophia's daily existence (which starts early in the morning when she wanders upstairs to wait alongside my bed until I wake me up) seems to rub off onto me, and exert a kind of reassuring, stabilizing force in my own life.