Every morning, one of the first things I do is to set off up the road with the dogs for Sophia's morning "business", which always takes place ritually at the same spot, on a track running down from the road. After that, we often continue up along the road for a while, just to stretch our legs. Inevitably, the dogs discover wild pears that have fallen into the grass alongside the road. Sophia likes to bring back such a pear as a kind of trophy, and then she looks for the right spot to start eating it.
Eating, for Sophia, has always been a solemn affair… on a par with cuddles for Fitzroy, or ripping up cushions.
Talking of Fitzroy, who often forgets to eat unless I remind him, his tastes can be curious. When I clean the ashes from the fireplace, Fitzroy hangs around waiting for a chunk of charcoal, which he chews until it crumbles into dust. He's also capable of devouring damp Kleenex tissues. From my earliest days here at Gamone, I instigated the pleasant wilderness practice of peeing out in the open, under the heavens, where there's nobody around (apart from God) who might possibly be offended. I now find myself reluctant to pursue this fine old tradition, for the simple reason that Fitzroy is there in a bound, ready to lap it all up, apparently with relish. I wouldn't want to poison my dear dog.