Friday, 7 January 2011

New Year's Eve 2010 and all that . . .

A week ago we were preparing for New Year’s Eve. Normally we go to bed early with a good book but this year we were invited to join some friends at a country house hotel. We liked the idea but there was a problem – well, three, really, and all of them canine!

We don’t go out very often and never overnight, unless the dogs come with us or one of our children can come to dog-sit, but New Year’s Eve (or Old Year’s Night as my Norfolk brother-in-law calls it) is perhaps the worst time of the year to find sitters of any sort – baby, house, or pet. Nevertheless, I enquired, expecting that we would have to decline.

Gillian provided the solution. Why didn’t we take the dogs to stay with her? Her dogs spend a lot of time with us and all the dogs get on well together at our house. We decided we could try it. We were slightly concerned about Frodo the Faller, the Velcro dog, who is my guardian, my shadow, my knight in shining (well, spotted) armour. He had been to Gillian and Paul’s house before but we had never left him there. On balance, we considered that he would feel comfortable because his housemates would be with him and he knows Tia and Foxy very well, too, as well, of course, as the humans! The children were very excited and had already allotted dogs to beds – theirs, of course.

We agreed that it would be sensible to have a trial run and take the dogs there for a day and go out, leaving them in the house. That was a good idea, but bad weather and the return with a vengeance of my ‘giddy bug’ meant that it didn’t happen. Christmas came and overwhelmed us with family, which was thoroughly enjoyable and suddenly, or so it seemed, New Year’s Eve was upon us.

On December 30th we packed the dogs and their bedding and food and Frodo’s medication into the car and set off to Dorset. Despite having had a long walk beforehand, Frodo and Gus whinged for much of the journey and were very happy to bounce out at the other end and play with their friends. Once they had settled (and Frodo was soundly asleep) we left. Arriving home we were greeted by Winston protesting that he had been alone all day.
Tylney Hall
On Friday we fed Winston, made sure there was plenty of food for him and that the house was warm and secure and repaired to the hotel, a mansion house in wonderful grounds. The evening began with champagne and canapés and progressed very pleasantly to a splendid supper followed by music and dancing. We even danced, which I came to regret!

Just before midnight the piper appeared, ready to play in the New Year and, true to form, Barry was nowhere to be seen. He came back in time to join in Auld Lang Syne which we sang with a young couple and their two small sons. It was strange to sing about ‘auld acquaintance’ never being ‘forgot’ with people we‘d only just met!

On New Year’s Day we drove to Dorset again. We called in to see Barry’s mother and then visited his brother and sister-in-law. Finally, we reached Gillian and Paul and the dogs clambered all over us in their joy. Frodo had been very good – most of the time - but had woken everyone by howling at 2:30 on Friday morning. I suppose he woke in unfamiliar surroundings and wanted some reassurance.
The photographer photographed. My camera battery expired just after this!
We eventually arrived home in the late evening after an extremely peaceful journey. The dogs slept all the way and passed the night in an exhausted slumber. The following day was quiet and relaxed and then a niggling ache began in my back and proceeded to worsen. Dancing in high heels – when I normally wear trainers every day – and two longish car journeys had made an impact. Consequently, I have been hobbling round like the Hunchback of Notre Dame for the past few days. Anyone watching would think I have one leg three inches shorter than the other! It’s not a pretty sight but it is improving.

It was a pleasant weekend, all told, and rounded off a busy festive season in style.


  1. Your dogs are so good to be able to be left at a friend's house! The place you stayed looks good and you look lovely in your evening wear. Sorry to hear you have hurt your back though, hope it feels better soon.

  2. So glad you had such a great time. Glad the dogs endured it as best they could. It's good to have loving people willing to dogsit. Now you need to relax and recupe.

  3. Ooh, I know just how you feel. I can't dance any more. I can't even wear high heels any more, and I miss both!
    Poor Frodo, and poor everyone else, when he woke up and howled.
    I worry about Lindy. We wouldn't have adopted her if Dick's daughter hadn't promised to dog-sit for us. Now she has a dog of her own and has lost enthusiasm for Lindy-sitting. A quandary.
    -- K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  4. What a beautiful mansion. Your evening sounds wonderful. I had champagne, but no dancing. I'm glad you had a good place for the dogs.

  5. Sounds like a great way to bring in the New Year. We had a cat sitter when we went away for two days - Pepper and Charlie wouldn't have anything to do with her unless she gave them tuna!

  6. Oh I can identify with this so much - when we go away we spend a whole day transporting our animals to their hotels! We have one more family celebration - tonight and then I think we can safely say that is it for one year. Fortunately it is at my MIL's so slippers are acceptable! lol! I am no good in high heels either!

  7. TIlney Hall looks beautiful!

  8. Sorry the year started with a creaky back! Let's hope the rest of 2011 will be painless!

  9. I'm glad the canines were fairly well behaved. I think they tried their best. :) I'm sorry to hear of your bad back, though.

  10. Tylney Hall is impressive! What a great place to attend a New year's Eve party!

  11. Sounds like a nice New Years' Eve for you and an adventure for the dogs. Sorry to hear about the post-dance hobbling. Hope you're completely recovered soon.

  12. I am jalous ! what a nice New Year's Eve you had in such a beautiful surrounding ! I would even accept to hobble around like the Hunchback of Notre Dame for a few days. I spend New Year's Eve with a falling asleep Mr. G. two movies on TV and such a foggy night that I couldn't see the fireworks only hear them. I'll wait until I am 90 or 100 to celebrate again this way !
    Dogs are always a problem when you want to go away, cats are far easier. You look very elegant in this black dress, a pity I can't see your face !


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