Bridget Jones years...
An odd 'title' but it is how I think of my life at this time as Collies had to take a back seat...I went to very few shows and bred only one litter and went slightly wild! It was the whole 'tragic' Celine Dion moment and embarrassing situations as I tread deep into the unknown abyss of real life!
I had moved to a wonderful little one bedroom cottage (called 'The Bungalow as I think it started out this way but had since acquired space upstairs) in a lovely village called Morton, 2 miles outside of Southwell in Nottinghamshire with my 3 remaining Collies - Dotty, Zed and Rosie. My landlord was an elderly lady who used to live there but as she was getting frail had moved next door to her daughter and son-in-law and I couldn't have wished for better landlords. The garden was very small but there were wonderful walks everywhere.
I remained on the committee of The British Collie Club until 2000 and did some photography every now and then, it was lovely to still be asked. I was given a wonderful opportunity (which I sadly wasted) by Geoff Duffield and Gwen Beadon who introduced me to their contacts at Dog World and I was due to work for Dog World at an ad hoc basis, covering shows and visiting breeders for breed specific features but I, regrettfully, did little with this.
I did, however, go to some of the 'main' championship shows as my interest and love for Collies was with me as always. However, I was also occupied with work commitments and seeing friends at the weekends and life took a different turn. I met my husband shortly before my last travel to Russia in 1998 and we married in 2002.
In 2000, I had a very welcome phone call from Audrey Chatfield asking if I would like to take over the publication of The International Collie Handbook... I felt incredibly honoured that she should ask me and saw it as a 'meant to be' gift that had come out of the blue and would maybe help me rekindle some enthusiasm for the dog world. Editing magazines and handbooks was something I had always enjoyed and I couldn't wait to start. This was an exciting and challenging task albeit one that I did not find that I could continue. It was a two fold decision as I could not seem to gather enough interest (I think it didn't help that I was not attending enough shows and the first book’s print quality was very disappointing) and my life was changing as I had married and was expecting our son. After the second book I concluded that it was not viable for me to carry on – luckily, Val and John Geddes picked up the pieces and carried it on successfully for another 10 year or so.
Our one remaining Collie by this time (Zed was tragically killed and we had to say goodbye to Dotty at nearly 13 years) was 'Rosie' who had had one litter of two boys in 2001 and when Oliver was 6 months old, I was sorely tempted to mate her as I knew it was my last chance to breed from her and continue on from Dotty but I capitulated. I still sometimes regret this as she was a nice bitch and
had the potential to breed on but I think with the loss of Zed and his half sisters (one was mine and one was on breeding terms), I was in a 'Collie loss mode' and decided to let go and let be.
When Rosie passed away 10 days before her 13th birthday, I pondered if we should no longer have a Collie but this turned out to be a disastrous thought! I had not been without a Collie since I was 12 and before long I was making enquiries to purchase 'a new start'. However, my mum was also looking for a Collie at the same time and the litter she was waiting for only had one sable girl available and my mum was in the queue before me, so I had to wait...
In the meantime, one fateful day in April 2010, whilst we were staying with friends in Newark over the Easter break, I took some flowers over to Barbara and John as it happened to be the day of their 50th wedding anniversary and we were invited in... Miranda brought in two puppies she was keeping and little 'Button' came to sit beside me (as Dotty had done before her) and to my great luck and astonishment Miranda gave me the chance to purchase her. I could not sleep that night (as my husband will remember!) and a few days later, on the 10th of April, we travelled up to Newark again and Button became part of our lives and my life was whole again.
"Leap and the net will appear" - unknown