The puppy has arrived. An utterly adorable, squirming bundle of liver-and-white Spaniel, with a furiously wagging tail and a face you simply couldn’t refuse. I am besotted. Yesterday I worked in the garden, fire-fighting emails while Maddie explored our sunny garden, and taking five minute breaks to teach her to ‘sit!’ Today I left her to nap downstairs, while I retired to my office to bang out a column. No deadline has ever been more motivating than the lure of a warm puppy, so desperate to see me she becomes a quivering blur. I should go back to work; now that we have played, and walked around the garden, and learned to ‘lie down!’, but I can’t bear to leave her. Instead I am curled up on the kitchen sofa, the iPad a weak attempt to convince me I shall actually get something written this afternoon.
Maddie likes to sleep on feet. Stop just for a second as you cross the room, and she’ll bolt after you and wrap herself around your ankles before you can take another step. She gives me the excuse I need to stand still. She isn’t old enough to go on walks yet: until she’s been vaccinated she mustn’t go where unvaccinated dogs may have been, which means no pavements for another fortnight. I took her on the school run this morning, holding her in my arms so her wide eyes could take in the traffic, the children, the wind in the trees. She is learning, even faster than the children do, and I’m learning too. I’m learning patience, and understanding, and tolerance, and I’m learning to do nothing. And I like it.