While we were still at Withy Brook, A was born. As Charlie was a child substitute up to that moment, it could have been difficult. However, he was a dog in a million. He certainly was not adversely affected by the advent of a baby into his life. The fact that said baby was a 'screamer' affected his missus a great deal more than him!.
Life continued in a rather different way. A baby who had to be 'walked'. Charlie did not know the meaning of the word - so this was a benefit though the walks were constricted to the only road, because of the pram! An extra person entered his life - the Mother's help. I dare say she slipped him food which, being a labrador, was of immense importance. When the baby was about 10 months old, missus became pregnant again and after a while, it was found that her blood pressure was up. As far as I can remember, it was at about 6 months. After that life became very boring for a labrador. Missus was in bed. The mother's help looked after the baby during the day. Master came home about 6.0 but the baby had to be put to bed. The dog took a very minor part. Looking back, as I write this, all I remember was the terrible frustration of being bed-bound and the difficulties of a hyper-active todler. No memories of how we looked after a yellow labrador. It is part of his glory that he did not cause us any problems.
It was probably during this time that 2 things happened. The first was when I was up. An Indian carpet seller came to try to sell us carpets (!) He got no nearer than the front gate. A yellow lion stood between him and me. A huge ruff and a deep voice were enough to persuade him that I did not need one of his carpets.
The other thing was when, about 1.00 am, a knocking came at the door. We were the last house on the way up to the moor. No 1 went down to see what it was all about. He was quite frightened and took Charlie with him. Again the huge ruff and the deep bark were enough to reduce the man whose car had failed up the hill to a heap of shaking jelly!!
In the end the baby who had caused Missus to be in bed for 2 1/2 months arrived. 6 months later the family moved to Hurworth and The Old House. This was a large house in the village. It had a large garden, but there were no longer fields around. Despite this, Charlie seemed to keep well. He was, by now getting on in age. He developed a kidney problem. The vet that we used was in Darlington. Those of you who know the Herriot stories may remember that Herriot used a vet in Darlington for small dog problems. This was Petty who was a brilliant vet and looked after Charlie very well. By the time he died, I reckoned I had bought at least one wheel of Petty's Bentley!! Charlie was not allowed any meat for the last part of his life and lived on a special kidney diet, which came in a can. The butcher and his delivery boy knew about the ban on meat. Charlie had always had an absolute passion for kidneys. No 1 went to Harrow School and had fond memories of Sunday breakfast - bacon, egg, mushroom, and kidney. As a result, we often bought kidneys from the butcher. One awful day, the 'boy' gave Charlie kidney, or maybe put the kidneys where he could get at them. The result was fatal. During that night he started to leak almost continuously and could not stand up by morning. It was clear what was to happen. I took him to see Petty, knowing what he would say. I could not stay with him - isn't that awful? But I just couldn't. I went back to the car and just wept and wept. After a short time Petty came out and said that Charlie had gone peacefully to Dogs Valhalla and what could he do for me? He offered a cigarette which I took, but all he could really do was leave me till I felt I could drive home. I got there in the end! (I have tears in my eyes as I write this)
More will come in the next addition. It would not be right to go on, after Charlie's going.