in love 2

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Winnie Dixon

My perfect, extremely patient, constant companion - Miss D

A passage from my absolute all time favourite book - My Family and Other Animals book one from The Corfu Trilogy - written by Gerald Durrell. If you love animals and living creatures of all kinds, if you enjoy laughing until tears stream down your cheeks and beautifully descriptive writing that will have you feel like you're there on that magical jewel of an an island in the sparkling Mediterranean, just hanging out with a wonderfully wacky family - then rush out quickly and get a copy of this book ! I read it again every summer.

In those early days of exploration Roger was my constant companion. Together we ventured farther and farther afield, discovering quiet, remote olive groves which had to be investigated and remembered, working our way through a maze of blackbird haunted myrtles, venturing into narrow valleys where the cypress-trees cast a cloak of mysterious, inky shadow. He was the perfect companion for an adventure, affectionate without exuberance, brave without being belligerent, intelligent and full of good-humoured tolerance for my eccentricities. If I slipped when climbing a dewy shiny bank - Roger appeared suddenly, gave a snort that sounded like suppressed laughter, a quick look over, a rapid lick of commiseration, shook himself, sneezed and gave me a lop-sided grin. If I found something that interested me - an ant's nest, a caterpillar on a leaf, a spider wrapping up a fly in swaddling clothes of silk – Roger sat down and waited until I had finished examining it. If he thought I was taking too long, he shifted nearer, gave a gentle whiny yawn, and then sighed deeply and started to wag his tail. If the matter was of no great importance, we would move on, but if it was something absorbing that had to be pored over, I had only to frown at Roger and he would realize it was going to be a long job. His ears would droop, his tail slow down and stop, and he would slouch off to the nearest bush, fling himself down in the shade, giving me a martyred look as he did so.

Another favourite passage begins Chapter 5. His description of beach combing with his dog Roger always makes me smile and reminds me of my own beach walks with my much loved pack of three - Em, Jake & Winnie Dixon

One hot, dreamy afternoon, when everything except the shouting cicadas seemed to be asleep, Roger and I set out to see how far we could climb over the hills before dark. We made our way up through the olive groves, striped and dappled with white sunlight, where the air was hot and still and eventually we clambered above the trees and out onto a bare, rocky peak, where we sat for a rest. The island dozed below us, shimmering like a water-picture in the heat-haze: grey-green olives; black cypresses; multi-coloured rocks of the sea coast; and the sea smooth and opalescent, kingfisher-blue, jade-green, with here and there a pleat or two in it's sleek surface where it curved round a rocky, olive-tangled promontory. Directly below us was a small bay with a crescent-shaped rim of white sand, a bay so shallow, and with a floor of such dazzling sand that the water was a pale blue, almost white. I was sweaty after the ascent, and Roger sat with flopping tongue and froth flecked whiskers. We decided that we would not climb the hills after all; we would go for a bathe instead. So we hurried down the hillside until we reached the little bay, empty, silent, asleep under the brilliant shower of sunlight. We sat in the warm, shallow waters, drowsily, and I delved in the sand around me. Occasionally I found a smooth pebble, or a piece of bottle which had been rubbed and licked by the sea until it was like an astonishing jewel, green and translucent. These finds I handed to Roger, who sat watching me. He, not certain what I expected him to do but not wishing to offend me, took them delicately in his mouth. Then, when he thought I was not looking, he would drop them back into the water and sigh deeply.

As I sit here at the teak topped desk, finishing up this morning's blog posting, I can hear Oliver on the main floor racing back and forth the entire length of the house and up onto the furniture and back again, at his top, top speed - for he is preparing diligently for today's first Parkour (free running) time trials which begin sharply at 7:30 Atlantic Time.


  1. Thank you for telling me about the book, Susan. I think I need to read the whole thing (at least once)...and I have another friend who is dog-centric :) and she will love it, too. Give Miss D an extra hug from me. xox Pam

  2. Your pics of Miss Winnie made me smile. The book sounds lovely, too.
    Love Durrell's descriptive writing.

  3. My favourite book too!! Gosh I adore it. I have several copies, but have never seen the trilogy put together before. I must look for that.

    Oh and I cannot get enough photographs of Winnie! I just love her, too!

    Edward sends his most admiring regards! And Apple would like to be her BFF!!!

  4. Thanks for the book recommendation! And thank Winnie for posing so beautifully! Love that girl from Canada!

  5. I'm in love with Miss Winnie D 2!
    I am also in love with my baby boy Patch! He is just a como of Jake and Sadie's best traits! :)

    xoxo's to all the les gang!

  6. Lovely photos :-)

    I will have to look out for that book, can't quite believe I haven't read it before but I am sure I haven't!

    Thanks for visiting my blog, you're right, Oldies Club is a wonderful charity :-)


  7. This is the best series yet of Miss Winnie! Amazing capture of her character and charm.

    This books sounds fantastic. It is on my reading list now for sure!

  8. Ah Miss Winnie. That face. That beard. That little hint of crab claw stuck in your teeth.

  9. Miss D has almost the identical pose that Jake does! They are both looking up saying the same thing..."I adore my Mama!"

  10. Susan,
    I love the pictures of Winnie ... they made me laugh! You live in a beautiful location. Love reading your postings.
    Enjoy ... Maria

  11. Gorgeous passages. I'm putting that book on hold at the library, thanks!
    I've spent many months in Greece. It holds a dear place in my heart.


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