1.2 Doubly and Mateczka

Rest in peace, dearly departed Doubly Dog, Border Collie of the gentlest and most loving nature, and softest of fur; mother (even though a man) to our puppy Mateczka; companion for nearly 10 of your 11 years; tireless swimmer in your youth; herder of swallows and dragonflies. You are the first of our three older dogs to leave us. The inevitable has happened. We thought we were losing you in September, but you lived to see our puppy through her needy youth; and you were oh so taken by the beautiful young lady’s attentions. No more of your plentiful fur on the carpets, no more your nuzzling muzzle upsetting my mouse hand at the computer.  A part of my life is past, and you were its symbol…

2 Big house from arboretum 

More than just a season has passed. Last week my dad finalised his  decision to leave the big house to me. He and Felicity – his caregiver and my adopted sister – arrived this afternoon on their last visit as the householders, not the house guests. He brought two paintings which belong to me and have been hanging in his house, and will take two others back with him. Thus will start my long journey of taking ownership.

1 Doubly and Taubie

On Sunday I arrived home after four days at the Rotary District Conference to find autumn well and truly entrenched – and Doubly with two lesions on his arthritic old hips. But he was quite ready for a walk around the garden, exploring the effects of autumn, and though subdued he was happy. Along too, came Taubie, the x-Bull Terrier, my first dog and still my greatest love, subtler and brighter than any dog I have ever known, and also aging. And Stompie, the Fox Terrier, Dad’s dog (when he is here, but mine when he is not), looking like an aging vamp who should have given up on stiletto’s ages ago, she staggers along but loves the walk. Then there are the younger dogs, Monty, my Alpha Male, a x-Jack Russell who believes he can conquer the world with whatever it takes: charm, guile or sheer Napoleonic chutzpah; his daughter Abigail, whose mother looked like a character from Dr Zeuss, and she a tiny little thing who farms hard with the staff all day then comes home, if she chooses, to be a lapdog – or else protects us with a shrill yelp from creatures of the night: porcupines, jackals, and other dangers real or imaginary. And lastly there is Mateczka, a red Rhodesian Ridgeback, 5 months old now, who threads between us like greased lightning, delirious with life…

4Autumn from the Cottage Garden

We get to The House that Jack Built and a stab goes through my heart as I realise not for the first time that this is no longer my daily canvas. The view towards the Liquodambers is yet again, miraculously, turning to flames of red, orange, yellow and purple. Autumn leaves have more magic even than flowers.

Autumn flames

Here the view is again, this time from the bridge.

Mateczka, Taubie and Stompie

Acer palmatum atropurpureum, Stompie, Taubie

and Mateczka bounding towards me,

always out of focus…

3 The House that Jack Built from carpetgarden

The House that Jack Built … framed from the Carpetgarden by another Acer  palmatum atropurpureum (Red-leaved Japanese Maple) and a Cornus Florida (Flowering Dogwood). These are only the first of over 200 photos I took on the walk. I will be posting more on the rapid changes that take place now in the garden.


  1. Partykeer voel dit dat ons so bietjie moet stilstaan en die tyd met ons hande vasgryp want dinge verander sonder dat jy dit partykeer raaksien. Maar jy, my liewe Jack, ervaar hierdie veranderinge met soveel deernis en moed en jy laat herfs soos ‘n avontuur klink. Jou herinnering van jou pragtige viervoetige metgesel sal jou in die oggende en op ‘n stil dag laat glimlag. Geniet jou blog baie. Jou tuin is ongelooflik. xx

  2. Sad for you, but enjoyed a longer post, and those magnificent autumn trees. My little Japanese maples are shuffling their feet in embarassment.

  3. Oh dear. Shuffling of feet is never good for a tree. Suggest to them they rather rattle their branches. 🙂

  4. I enjoyed your post, though it made me sad and reminded me of my own dog Jasmine who is buried under the weeping Japanese maple in the woodland garden. Life, like the seasons, is always changing. Your photos are wonderful. Autumn is a very close second to spring as my favorite season. Thanks for the post!

    • Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment, Deborah! I must admit that autumn is my favourite season.

  5. Pingback: DOUBLY’S LAST WALK « Sequoia Gardens Blog

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