It’s shattered. I finished the last post with the following reference to leaving Margaret alone just after our container arrived:
“Predictably – the day after its arrival, I’m back to London for a brief business trip. Mags will face the mountain of boxes alone, at least for a couple of days. Unfortunate timing? Or excellent planning? Again. I’ll let you know next week.”
I flew to London Thursday afternoon for a Friday conference. I was giving the last presentation. It went well. There followed an awards dinner, complete with cheerleaders and a stand-up comic. All great fun.
On Saturday morning, I awoke early and through some sort of instinct checked my phone.
“#livingthedream” shattered there and then.
Mags was in the village square, screaming and sobbing, our beloved miniature schnauzer, Nero, bleeding at her feet.
A dog, habitually chained up, had somehow been freed. It saw Mags and Nero and charged them. Instinctively, Mags scooped Nero up and tried to shield him from the attack. The aggressor snatched Nero from her arms and savaged him.
Mags’ screams of terror had roused the village and the dog was pulled off. I called at this point. Mags called some local friends who whipped Nero to the vet and my wife home.
I was due to leave from Heathrow at lunchtime and arrive home in the evening. Mags and I talked on the phone, exchanged messages. Physically, she was relatively unhurt, but I could hear the trauma in every word, sob and tear. Never have I felt so useless and so remote.
The 12 hours between the voice mail (which you can listen to here – although it’s a very hard listen) and finally getting home are the longest that I have endured.
So – to answer the question that I posed at the end of the last post – “unfortunate timing?”
Timing that will haunt me forever.