Posted by Tania Kindersley.
It is very cold in Scotland and the sun is quite gone by 3.15pm, but our hearts are warm because the pandas arrived at Edinburgh Zoo. People stood out in the streets to see them, bagpipes were played, humans dressed up in panda suits, the newsreader on the BBC kept getting the giggles, and Twitter went nuts. It was very funny and sweet. There was rather a horrible shock when News 24 reverted to its usual diet of cuts, unions, Eurozone smash, and other animals. 'Bring back the pandas,' I wailed.
Then I looked at The Pigeon and thought she looked a bit like a panda herself, and felt better.
Here are some of the things I missed:
The Pidge is very pleased to be back. She loves it at the Cousin's house; there is a beautiful valley to walk through, two younger dogs who rather worship the old lady, and the children, who adore her, and hug and stroke her all day long. But there is no place like home. Perhaps it's all the familiar smells or something, the ones she grew up with, but she is bounding about like a puppy.
She celebrated re-entry by demolishing a most satisfying stick:
Yeah, stick-work. How about you?
I think I see another one over there:
Then she played around a bit with a fake mouse I'd given her. I'm not much for toys for dogs. We usually just make do with old bits of wood and an ancient tennis ball. But she does seem to like tormenting this poor little critter.
Whilst sticking her bottom in the air, for some reason:
And, the hill, from a wider angle than usual, to show her in all her glory:
Very Scottish, that. Low white sky, dour, serious colours. Some days that thick Scottish sun comes out, and the whole thing gleams and glows. On others, it's lovely and understated, like this.
I missed my dad last night, like a blow to the heart. No reason. I suddenly, terribly, stupidly, wanted him back. The missing, I have discovered, does not hurt less, as time goes by. It's just the spaces in between grow stronger and wider. I missed my Duchess too. She was such a fine dog, and I don't know if I'll ever know another like her.
But I have The Pigeon, and she is happy as a nut.