Territorial War of Paws !

There definitely is a territorial war going on on Lake Road – or – in Sri Lankan parlance  – an ‘eelam‘ war as it is a battle to claim the Northern and Southern ends of Lake Road.

The main defender of territorial rights is Smokey Rasquinho, with backing and full support of FFF (fearless freedom fighter) aide and body-guard, ‘Kella’

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Smokey – looks to his Commander in Chief for support.  Double brace put on after Bambi jumped on him snapping his leash 🙂

The usurpers  (listed later) are trying to  take over territory, staking a claim to the North of Lake Road whilst the bystanders (see list) who get involved in the fray are seeking promenade rights 🙂

So many tails – sorry  tales, of the War of Paws on Lake Road.  Today’s tale is how Snitch earned her name.

I was late, so Usurpers were out in full force when we stepped out at 7.15 today.  It is an unwritten treaty that whoever leaves the bedroom first Continue reading

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My neighbour Mr. Croc

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My neighbour on Attidiya Lake – Lotus Grove in background.

My neighbour causes many passers-by to stop, to gaze, and to take his picture if possible.  You have to be a bit quick though because he tends to submerge himself if he thinks there are too many inquisitive eyes staring at him. 🙂

I myself have a bit blasé about having him for a neighbour.  He generally goes for a lazy afternoon stroll around 2 or 3.pm – Continue reading

Next door Nana

Today we will lay Next door Nana to rest. She was 97 years old and a story book grandma – petite in build, silver hair, alert eyes and a slightly mischievous smile.

You could always see her at the big bay window … her face pressed against the pane as she waved at passers by.  She had her meals by that window – and the ‘walkers’ would pause to exchange a greeting.

Sometimes she would venture out to get ‘up close and personal’ 🙂

I think I first met her on one such occasion when, bored with standing there, she came to my doorway, curious to see what her neighbour was up to.

I was just about to invite her in when the helper appeared, alarmed that ‘nona’ (Sinhalese for Lady) had wandered over.  Assuring them I would take her back, I invited her in to watch me work in the garden.  I think she enjoyed the break.

It was the beginning of a few such encounters. In the beginning, she would wander over to keep me company whilst I did my chores.  I would put some music on and she would watch me or walk around around till it was time for lunch or someone came to fetch her.

The ‘someone’ was one of the many helpers hired by her daughter who lived in Australia but maintained a home here for her mother.  When she started getting on in age, Rosemarie and son-in law Mike would take turns with one spending time here whilst the other remained in Sydney with their children and grandchildren.  They would then ‘switch’ – meeting up in either country to be together a week or two before exchanging locations.  I have never seen such commitment from a daughter – or for that matter a son-in-law,  for Mike took on the role of the son that Nana lost at an early age.

When Mike passed on unexpectedly about five years ago, there was no one to ‘switch’ with Rosemarie.   Nana had longer spells of being alone.   But despite the financial toll, and pain of separation from her grand-children, Rosemarie would make two or three trips a year to be with her Mum (all because the Australian government just did not have the humanity in them to allow Nana to join her daughter.  Incredibly, they did not even grant her a holiday visa – such is the ‘heart’ of a big nation).

Rosemarie was due on 20th November.  Her Mum had been in reasonably good health when she was last here in August.  Nana had fallen a couple of times but had recovered and was not on any medication.  Rosemarie planned to spend Christmas with her mum.

Sadly, Nana took ill unexpectedly on Tuesday.  She joined her Maker early on Wednesday morning.

By the grace of God,  something nudged me to drop in on Monday.  Nana was watching TV.   She had developed a fever and was looking a bit under the weather.  At lunch time, we assisted her to the dining table. On an unexplained impulse – for I had not taken one with her before – I took a selfie.

Next door Nana

Next door Nana – the last picture.

Again, something,  I know not what, made me inform our priest that he should visit soon. House visitations are normally on Fridays but again providentially he said he would drop in next morning.

When I went in to wait for him, Nana’s fever had unexpectedly taken a turn for the worse.  I held her hand and sang to her, hymns of comfort and the Our Father.  She smiled once at something in the distance and I thought she was slipping away but she continued to hold my hand.  My sister joined me.  Our priest Fr. Anton Saman annointed her and gave her Holy Communion.

The Doctors visited but she was too weak to respond to medication.  She was reunited with her Creator later that night.  A peaceful, serene death with no suffering nor pain except slight difficulty in breathing.  A grace-filled death for a graceful lady.

I am thankful for the mercy that sent me there, to allow me to get the priest and comfort her in some small way although I am sad that circumstances did not permit me to be with her in her final hours.

But I will cherish the time spent together and the memories of a lively, lovely gentle lady who was alert enough to remind me if I was being careless 🙂

I had the habit of dropping in ‘garage to garage‘ a couple of times for a quick hello and she would always offer me a cup of tea or persuade me to join her for  lunch.   One day, I said I would have to be quick as I had not locked up.   After that, she would check with me if anyone was home or if I had locked up.  I rarely did as these were impromptu visits so I used to tell her I would sit at her seat by the window and keep watch on the street.

She also always inquired about my mum – whether she was staying with me or my sister, and on at least two occasions berated me for parking my car on the road with a curious ‘Why don’t you put it in the garage?’  

That’s a good question Nana.  Why don’t I?  I said I would, but truth is, I need to get my garage door fixed!

When I used to take her to church some time back, she would always want the page turned and attempt to sing and follow the service  – or ‘pretend’ the way little children do 🙂   They,  the children just adored this picture book grandma.

Sadly she will not be around  for them or for the passers by on Lake Road.  It will take some time to get used to an empty window at 329/124.  But the big bay window will be a reminder to all that there once  was a little lady who, as our priest said, stood there and gave everyone what she could:  a cheery smile and a wave that brought joy to all.

Rest in eternal joy with your Maker, sweet and gentle lady – Madam Doreen Webster.

Note:   This post was begun on 7th November but I had another bereavement in the family … a beloved Uncle who was the same age 96!  It has been a melancholy two weeks with the loss of two wonderful nonagenarians – a gracious lady and a true gentleman and scholar about whom I can write volumes.  Maybe soon… 

Je t’aime Monster – King of the Road!


This post was in my draft box whilst I waited to get a video of Monster.  Sadly he passed away in December when I was overseas. The neighbours videoed the funeral service but I have not been able to look at it.  Too sad. 

I also feel sad that I have let him down by not telling his story and although it still hurts when I think about him, I feel he deserves to be introduced even though he is not with us. 

This post is thus in the present tense as originally written.  

Rest in peace Mon … I love you so  ~♥~

November, 2014

“Yesterday for the first time I thought I had given you a wrong name.  You are so loyal, faithful and loving … how can I keep calling you Monster?

True, it is shortened to ‘Mon’ most of the time … and Monster is only a name of love … but still it is not an endearment of love. So what shall I call you from now on for  I do love you so.

And I realised how much you love me too yesterday when you came running to me from your wanderings on the road the minute you heard my car start up.  You followed me from Romy’s home to my home, waited outside whilst I did some work, and then started to follow me back.  When I called to you that I had forgotten something and turned back, you turned back too – and waited patiently outside.  Then you saw me safely into Romany’s home and went back to your wanderings on the road.   Oh Monster … can anyone have a ‘road dog’ who is so loving and concerned, so loyal and faithful, so protective of me !!   You are the best, the very very best.   And I want all the world to know about you so here is your story.

Monster’s mother was a road dog.  When she littered near my garage,  I fed the little family but a monitor lizard devoured all but one little pup … so I took Mother and son into my garage for safety.  When the pup was big, he joined his mother on the road.

They looked after the neighbourhood. Everybody fed them. I would get the mobile vet for vaccines or treatment. Mother dog was so easy to manage – meek and patient. The little one … he was terrified and gave us such a difficult time with howls and yelps.  I think that was perhaps when I started calling him ‘Monster’.

The mother was run over one day and Monster was on his own so I started paying him more attention, talking to him whenever I saw him. He had an incredible attachment to me.  He would come running from wherever he was the minute he heard my gate click and follow me whether on foot or car. .  If I went to my sisters a few doors away, he’d follow me there.  If I went to a neighbour’s, Monster would come there too.

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Monster waiting for me outside my neighbours home.

If I went to church at the end of the road, he’d come there and join the congregation.

This was OK whilst the church was being built and we had no formal arrangement downstairs. But when we completed our beautiful chapel upstairs, Monster would still join the congregation and sit under my pew. We could never get him to leave as long as I was there. I decided tough measures were called for when he came right into the sanctuary one day and sat there right next to me whilst I was making an announcement!  Nobody was listening to me; all eyes were on him!!  Our priest  took it in good spirits saying he was the only Catholic dog he has seen. But after that, I would try to inveigle Monster into the house and lock him in before we left for Church.

Not an easy task – and still achieved only 50% of the time for Monster knows without a doubt when Sunday evening draws near.  Nothing we can do will persuade him to enter the house.

Suspicious Sunday - steering clear of you today look. Also is the vet nearby look !!

Suspicious Sunday – steering clear of you today look. Also is the vet nearby look !!

He knows all our tricks now so it is difficult to trick him indoors.  If by chance we succeed, he hangs by the door and rushes  past us my mum when she steps out. There is high drama each Sunday for he has to go to church. There are people there who love him, talk to him and even buy him food.  The only good thing now is that he does not come inside the church (the new priest did not allow him) so he joins the fellowship outside after Mass.

Monster still leads us a dance when we have to get the vet.  He is not well now. He has got injured in a fight and has a touch of mange. I look at him and say “Mon will you let me get the vet?”  But unless we have a many pairs of strong hands and prepare ourselves for days, it is going to be really difficult.  He hates the vet or even mention of the name.  We have to resort to code language like “Canine caretaker”  or speak in Sinhalese  (the local language which he does not understand !) for on countless occasions, the vet has turned up, after we have secured Monster indoors, but has not been able to treat him. Somehow, Monster manages to escape. Once we had the whole neighbourhood looking for him because the Vet had drawn the injection.  We ended up paying for treatment not administered.

Now, we have to give him sleeping tablets before the Vet arrives.  It is not good for him, that’s why I hesitate and delay. The first time we gave him one tablet, he woke up when the vet touched him and ran away.  The next time, tablet plus muzzle.  He still jumped up and ran away.  The third time, tablet, plus muzzle plus both legs secured when he was drowsy. I hated such drastic treatment but felt the end justified the means.  He needed medical treatment. He still struggled so vet gave him a fast acting injection. He took so long to come out I was terrified it had gone wrong.

But Monster is a strong dog.

I think with wonder and undiluted thanks of the day that I ran over him.  Yes, I who loved him so, ran over him.

He had run out in front of the car for his usual ‘advance party’  but suddenly decided to roll over and scratch his body.  I was just inching the car forward when I heard a yelp and froze wondering which way to move. Monster dragged himself out from under the tire where I had run over his lower belly.  He was grumbling and whining and would not allow me to touch him.  I cried profusely, Monster I am sorry but he was in too much pain to heed my tears  and only grumbled at me – you had to hear it to believe!  Honest. That dog could almost speak.  He allowed my mum to hep him and this was only time we had no difficulty with the Vet for Monster knew he needed help.  Later, he allowed me to take care of him till he recovered.

I am still very nervous when Monster is on the road as he expects vehicles to move out of his way!   Just look at him below !! 

t nervous when driving home as Monster  takes over the whole road and forms a welcome brigade for me, prancing from side to side, till I reach my house. Many times, I just wait till the road is clear before driving on.

Monster… thank you for all the happiness you have brought me/us, and all who love you: your road friends (the ‘walkers’ 🙂 your church friends and your many admirers, including the baker who brings a bun for you each day.  Thank you for being so faithful and loyal and watching over me wherever I go.

I thank God for you and pray that I can keep you healthy and safe into your old age.

I love you Mon. ”

Postscript.

Sadly it was not to be.  But Monster taught me how to love unconditionally, faithfully and without expectation of anything in return.

“Love me for a reason and let the reason be love.”