I am sure you must have heard that Opie Dopes died in his sleep yesterday morning. Although he was not happy and in a lot of discomfort, and we are glad that his suffering is all over, it is still difficult to come to terms with the fact that he won't be there when we get home. We have one more day in New Zealand and then we will be home to comfort Omie Domes and the spaniels who must be feeling rather low.
Our last few days here have been warm, beachy days – on dog-and horse-friendly beaches which made me think of you and Dougal and wish we had you with us. These west coast beaches have black sand, so it gets rather hot and I don’t think you and Dougal would enjoy that.
Nicky took us to her holiday place at Matarangi on the Coromandel coast for the weekend. This is right near to Mercury Bay where Captain Cook first came to New Zealand to observe the transit of the planet Mercury in 1769. She has two caravans and a shed and a “utility shed” (which is a small shed with a shower, loo and a sink in it) on her “section” (New Zealand-speak for plot). It is a really lovely part of the world – on a beach of wonderful white sand and lots of amazing shells and seabirds, And lots and lots of dogs too – like this vertically challenged dachshund that rolled over on its back for the Alpha Male to tickle.
Dougal would fit in in New Zealand because the dogs and people are rather solemn, but I think your shrieking and crazy ways would not go down well here!
Here is the Alpha M and Nicky and Richard, a friend of Nicky’s who lives in a big house on the beach, having a New Year’s glass of New Zealand champagne at Matarangi. Our caravan is in the background. Richard used to have an Airedale who flew helicopters with him (there is a photo of her in his house). He has always had terriers so you would have got on very well with him.
Still seen no sign of the monstrous Taniwha, so hope to be back in Cape Town on Wednesday. I gather Philip has arrived safely in Johannesburg. So look after Simon for me, and see you very soon.
Lots of love from the FL xx
PS. Look who is watching tv with the Alpha M as I write this letter! Jeffrey the Cat!