As I told you, I was at boarding school when I got Niggy. After Vl form, I had a year at home (now known as a gap year). Most of it I actually spent at home. I did a correspondence course in Physics, which I hadn't done at school' and typing and shorthand. The latter was very difficult by post because they simply did not understand the long a that I used!! Anyway, that has nothing to do with Niggy. I disappeared for a fortnight to France to practice French but otherwise spent my time with Niggy and Jenny, my pony if I was not in my room doing one of the courses, writing to friends, going to the pictures with a friend, learning to drive and passing my test at the second try or trying my hand at the garden because that was what I had decided to do. Oh, and no doubt falling out with the parents - that's what one does at that age isn't it?
The next 3 years, for Niggy, were the same as when I was at school. Mine in the holidays, the parents in the term when I was at College learning Horticulture. After I left College, she remained at home because I got a job in South Harrow, working in a Nursery. About the end of this time, I met No 1 so came home and saw more of my dog, though I was working for the parents of a friend. No 1 and I were married in August 1955 and went to live in Cullercoats as he was completing his Chief Engineers qualifacations in Gateshead. As we looked out to sea and all I had to do was walk on the beach, it was very sad that we were not allowed a dog in the flat. Consequently, we were only with Niggy at the weekends. We had already bought a house on the North side of the Cleveland Hills, and spent our weekends working on it, usually staying at my home, so Niggy came with us. It was at this time that we became very friendly with someone who was to be very important to us for the next 15 years. He had a breed of yellow labradors, and usually had several of them about. It must have been about then that his main bitch gave birth to a litter which included Charloch (Charly), Cassiopea (Cassy) and Cobnut (Cobby).
We moved into Withy Brook in the spring of 1956. Niggy moved in with us and we were soon joined by Charly. Cassy went to a family who soon returned her as they couldn't cope. They had used a rolled up newspaper to control her, so that she went beserk if she saw a paper. Our friend soon got her sorted out and she was a happy member of the family group. Cobby was a really lovely dog - darkish yellow coat and huge. His gorgeous labrador head was vast in proportion and he was loving and giving. Very sadly he met an untimely end by jumping out of friends van and straight under a car. He was always headstrong. I have a lovely bit of old movie of him jumping a fence - beautiful.
Charly was one of those dogs that you never forget. He was a child substitute for the first 6 years of his life but still loved A when he finally arrived. He gave Niggy abit of hassle as a puppy, but she didn't really mind. She liked Withy Brook and pottered about happily until she became old and ill. She ended her life at my old home which I think she had always thought of as her home. Back to Charly. He was very naughty and very happy to go hunting on his own. I had to watch him the whole time. Despite that, he would escape quite often. I remember once, he had been missing for a few hours. The gamekeeper, who lived just down the lane and was a fairly nasty character, appeared at the door, with Charly's collar in his hand. He drew it out as long as he could before he told me that he had managed to get hold of the collar, but Charly had slipped it! I was quite certain that he had shot him! [Said gamekeeper, shortly after we left, was shot by his wife who then shot herself!]
So, Niggy has gone. Charly is growing mature and we are still at Withy Brook. There is still quite a lot more to tell about him and it is bed time, so that's it for now.