Readers of this blog may remember this photo of Hamish. I took it last Spring in the front garden of my West Highland cottage.
The stone when Hamish stands is just outside the front door of the cottage, overlooking Loch Torridon. The sheltered garden faces south, and even in Winter, if the sun is out, I love sitting there, contemplating the quiet and unspoilt beauty of the surroundings.
Hamish's preferred position was to lie on the soft peaty soil of the flower bed immediately to the left of the stone. Every year, he cheerfully flattened what was, until he turned up, a delicate display of autumn crocuses.
Hamish so loved our trips to Torridon. I think of it as his spiritual home. He knew that, once there, he'd have my full attention, no disappearing off to work and boring stuff like that. He 'd have such fun exploring the garden and roaming around the numerous and boggy footpaths along the loch and up the nearby hills. I'd let him get all muddy, safe in the knowledge that I could wash him off in a cool clear stream just a few yards down the road from the house. He didn't even mind the midges in Summer....
So it didn't take long to decide where to bury his ashes.
I drove over there a week last Sunday. Then, first off, I went down to the rocky beach a short distance from the cottage and selected a suitable stone to mark the spot. It had, of course, to be Torridonian Sandstone (part of the oldest sedimentary sequence in the UK, from the Precambrian era, approximately a billion years old, and so much easier on the paws than the other rocks of that region, the sharp angular quartzites, and coarsely crystalline schists and gneisses).
I chose a square squat stone, perhaps fancifully thinking of my compact and sturdy little dog.
Then I returned to the cottage, dug a little hole (unearthing a few crocus bulbs in the process).
I scattered in the ashes, lifted the marker stone into place, and made the bed tidy again.
Now I can sit in my favourite spot, think happy thoughts about my beloved and unforgettable little pal, and pat his marker stone from time to time and feel that all will be well.
PS Still working on ideas for a new blog. Watch this space.