And the first picture can only be of Old Faithful, who's been with our family for nearly eleven years now, right from birth. He's never ever let us down. Only when there was a slight chance that he was going to be left in Holland. Then he went on strike, refusing to continue his services for us. I pleaded with him, but not until I promised him that of course we would take him to England with us and of course I would ask Ken to treat him gently - Ken tends to have a very heavy left foot - only then did he get himself into gear again and carried on as if nothing had ever been wrong.
The dogs love him to bits. When I take the dogs to Old Faithful they know we're going to have fun. Like today. Today Old Faithful took us all to the river Liddel, about two miles down the road from here, the border between England and Scotland. It was such a beautiful day and the girls had already taken the dogs for a long walk. But Bobby had found a ditch full with frogspawn and jumped into it. He stank so badly that I didn't want him in the house like that. Good Old Faithful had no hesitations about taking the dogs to the river and didn't seem to mind the smell - he smells quite badly himself when he gets started, to be honest - so off we went.
Well? What do you think? He doesn't look his age, does he? He sounds it, though. There's something not really well with his clutch plates, so every time we change gear he wheezes like the old man he really is. But Malcolm, our wonderful local mechanic, has promised to have a look at it. He thinks he can fix it. We're just keeping our fingers crossed that it's not going to be too expensive. But if we do have to decide to not have him repaired we have promised we will not part with him. We've booked him an old git's slot in our own yard, where he can stay and undoubtely be used as sleepover place or birdfood storage or whatever else we can think of. After all he's seen and done with us - his counter is nearly on 300.000 kilometers - we just couldn't bring ourselves to dumping him.
So here's to Old Faithful and all the adventures we've been through with him! May we enjoy him for many more kilometers and a long, long time!