Copyright 2017 Debbie McGowan at Shakespir.
This book is available in print at most online retailers.
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Shakespir.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
I originally posted this on my blog, but cleared out all my old posts in a ‘fit of pique’. I’ve decided to re-share this story as a short ebook, for free. However, if you read it and can afford to do so, please make a donation to an animal welfare or cancer support charity of your choosing.
Back in January 2014, as part of my endeavour to get my online marketing organised, I looked at my social networking accounts, which I’d set up when I first started using the internet for teaching purposes. They all had my ‘WeeMee’ as my profile picture. Even now, it’s still on some of my online accounts (, for instance), and it consists of a caricature of me (all in black, cool shades) with my pets.
When I first put this little likeness together, I remember thinking it maybe wasn’t such a good idea to include my dogs, because at some point they were going to be no more, and the prospect of removing/replacing them in my WeeMee was not one I relished.
At the time I wrote what follows, a year had passed since we’d made the decision to take Goody for her final visit to the vet, during which I’d not been ready to talk about it, nor to address her continued presence in my profile picture. Since then, Max (the collie in my WeeMee) has also passed. We now share our house with two other dogs and a cat, and I got around to updating my WeeMee—I should probably dispense with it altogether, but I like it!
NOTE: what you will read here is not embellished in any way. These are real events, and they may cause some readers distress. Thus, whilst I’ve tried to capture the character, sense of humour and generosity of spirit of my much-missed friends, both human and canine, it is only right to forewarn you that this ‘story’ deals with the terminal conditions of cancer of the fallopian tube and canine degenerative disorder.
Yesterday, I asked Nige if I should change my WeeMee, or just stick a halo on Goody. He said I should give her a sheet with eye holes and a pair of wheels. And we laughed. And I thought maybe now I’m ready. I guess I’m about to find out…
It’s always awful to read about much-loved and lost pets, because inevitably we know how the story’s going to end. I can’t even watch movies/TV or read books with animals in them for fear of something happening to them. Sadly, they’re more often than not a plot device.
Needless to say, I avoid the ‘Rainbow Bridge’ stuff online, because it’s too painful.
Indeed, it would be wrong to write such an obituary to Goody, because she really wasn’t that kind of dog. Much more than that, her story is one filled with so much fun and joy, right to the end.
What makes it harder for me to tell it is the circumstances through which Goody came to live with us, and so, I begin.
Back in 1994, we moved to a rented house in a cul-de-sac consisting of twelve houses. Whilst most of the residents of the street were ‘locals’ and had lived in the town/village for all of their lives, two households had not: us, and our new next-door neighbours.
To say we didn’t immediately hit it off would be neither over- nor understatement. Prior to moving in, our landlord had told us what E—the formidable head of the household next door—did for a living, and Nige immediately recognised her description as being ‘that woman who stopped me from becoming a [redacted] because I’m a man’. She did later explain that she’d turned him down for training because he came across as arrogant during his interview, and had she known what he was really like, she’d have accepted him without hesitation.
So, for the first few months, we exchanged the usual greetings of neighbours who share a driveway, but otherwise don’t really know each other. We heard stories from the gossip brigade of how E had four children by four different fathers, that her youngest son was always up to no good, her eldest daughter got pregnant as a teenager, her eldest son lived up in the North-East because she couldn’t cope with him, and the youngest daughter was obviously her favourite, because she was at private school. I say we ‘heard’ these stories—we have never been the sort of people to hold any stock in gossip, so we by and large ignored what we were being told.
And then ‘Mizzy Night’ happened.
Now, I don’t know how well this translates elsewhere; in the UK, the night before Halloween is ‘Mischief Night’, but where we live is close enough to Liverpool for the Scouse penchant for shortening words to have rubbed off. Thus, we have ‘Bonny Night’ (November 5th—colloquially ‘Bonfire Night’, but in actuality ‘Guy Fawkes Night’), ‘Chrizzy prezzies’ (Christmas presents), and ‘Mizzy Night’.
At this point in time, we had a fourteen-month-old child who refused to sleep, and I was three months pregnant, so it’s safe to say we weren’t really feeling the revelry. However, a certain M (youngest son of E) was in full celebratory spirit. He knocked. We ignored. He knocked again. We ignored again. He knocked a third time. I shouted ‘go away’. Suddenly there was an almighty bang on the window, followed by another, and another. I stormed to the front door and flung it wide open, in time to watch M running away, laughing. I stepped outside and glanced up at the front of the house. It was strewn with broken eggs.
“Bastard!” I shouted after him.
I went back inside, slamming the door on the way for good measure.
Thirty seconds later, there was another knock at the door. I took a deep breath and turned the handle, ready to blast whoever it was with both verbal barrels.
“How dare you call my son a bastard!”
Ah. Shit. Soooo… And I thought I was angry.
E stared me down. She was absolutely livid.
“I didn’t mean it like that,” I tried to explain, indicating my egg-slimed brickwork in the hope she would understand.
“It’s a disgusting word. My son is not a bastard.” She turned on her heel.
“I’m sorry,” I called after her. It was useless. She disappeared back inside her house. Bugger. Way to make friends Deb, or not.
Not to be outdone (after all, I had to live alongside these people), the next day, when I hoped she may have calmed down a little, I waited for her to come home from work and went round to repeat my apology. She did that thing where you say the words of acceptance, but you don’t really accept, but what she did do was explain her reaction.
The long and short of it: her four children do all have different dads, and had been subjected to the B-word insult for real so many times it was no wonder my use of the term, even though it was shouted in frustration rather than in reference to M’s ‘illegitimacy’, provoked the reaction it had.
At this point, I shall step out of the general narrative to explain a little more about E, because ‘four children by four different fathers’ will undoubtedly have planted a specific notion of the kind of woman I am writing about, and it’s almost certainly wrong. E was a professional woman and a member of the Church.
Without going into the private nitty gritty, she had been through some terrible relationships, but ultimately she was her children’s mother, and that was more than enough (‘sufficient’, she would say, but she was so much more than sufficient). I know that at least one of them still has regular contact with their dad, but in all honesty, E’s family was complete. She was an incredible parent; there was no ‘lack’ in their household, and it was one of love, tolerance, patience and…lots of fights!
The two boys (now men) are relatively close in age—I think there’s about three years between them—and have very different physiques and personalities. J (the eldest) is a typical wiry Geordie type. He’s tough, but he’s pretty laid back and patient. These days, he’s so much like his mother that talking to him is like talking to her. He has an air of ‘happy go lucky’, even though he’s been through some hard times. M, on the other hand, has a larger, more muscular frame, and as a teenager, he was…a lunatic. He was diagnosed with ADHD, and E always said she was too soft on him, making excuses for his naughtiness when he was younger for this reason.
So, when J came to live with his mum, all hell would often break loose, and these were the times when E admitted to wishing she had a man around, because her sons were big (compared to her) and she struggled to break them up when they started fighting. For all his waywardness, M has a cheeky charm and such a generous, forgiving side to him—again, just like his mother.
Over the course of the next couple of years, there were a few incidents which further cemented our friendship, usually involving M, although there are a couple that stand out above the others. The first occurred whilst I was at home alone, having recently started my degree, and I was sitting, reading, in silence, when I heard an almighty commotion in the driveway. As previously mentioned, it is a driveway we share with next door, and the back gates to our gardens meet at an angle just shy of 180 degrees.
I cautiously peered over the top of our gates (solid wood, standing at around five and a half feet), to find M on one side of their gates (smaller, wrought iron) with a garden fork in his hand, wielding it menacingly at his mother, who was standing on the other side of the gates. M was in such a state—crying hysterically, angry, out of control—and E wasn’t much better. I went to intervene.
Why? I don’t know! It’s what I do!
I somehow talked M down, although the prongs of that fork were scarily close to my face and he wasn’t holding back on stating his intentions if I didn’t go away, but I stayed calm, and eventually, he allowed me to disarm him. I still don’t know what the kerfuffle was about, but in due course, I advocated for M and E at a school hearing, where M was being excluded; I envisage it was something to do with the distress that education caused him (long and personal story, but not all his fault).
The second incident was actually rather funny, even at the time. V (youngest daughter) had been sent to get me, and I opened my front door on a very teary, panicked little girl.
“Come quick! M’s bleeding.”
I went, quick.
Their kitchen was like a video playback on pause. E was standing next to an open cupboard, tea towel in one hand, arms poised in mid-action. M was standing not so far away from her, with his hand against his head, and yes, he was bleeding.
On the floor were the shards of a broken plate. I lifted M’s hand to examine the damage.
“We’re going to the hospital,” I told him. His eyes were frantic.
“No. We can’t. They’ll do my mum.”
“No they won’t,” I said. “We’ll figure it out on the way.”
So off we went to A&E, and here’s what had happened (honest, Guv):
E had been putting away the washing up and thought the plate was safely stacked on top of the others, but no! Just as M walked past, it slipped off the top of the very high-up pile and fell on his head.
And that’s the God-honest truth, Your Honour.
A couple of hours and several staples in the scalp later, we returned home. All was well. In fact, M found the whole thing highly amusing, and this in itself was enough to make everything OK again. Yes, he is/was a lunatic, but a lovely one.
Needless to say, E and I had become very close friends, to the extent that she even put aside her fear of our large and not-so-friendly German Shepherd dog in order to visit our house unannounced. That’s the sort of friendship we had: we could just walk into each other’s house. The best thing about it was that Prince (our dog) was getting on a bit, and was going deaf and blind, so E would come through the front door with a call of ‘It’s only me, Prince’, and he’d just sort of squint at her and not even bother getting up. I am truly thankful we became friends.
Halfway through the second year of my degree, after two abnormal cervical smears and a failed cone biopsy, I was advised to have a hysterectomy; the risk of the abnormal cells turning into cervical cancer was too great, and I had two children, so the consultant suggested I consider my family complete. I was twenty-seven years old, and I was devastated. Whilst we probably wouldn’t have gone on to have any more children, the fact that the choice had been taken from me was difficult to come to terms with, and I spent a good few months wallowing.
At the same time, E had gone into hospital to have an ovarian cyst removed, and initially, in contrast to my failed cone biopsy, her operation was declared a success. Alas, a few weeks later, the consultant contacted her to tell her that they had found malignant cells in her fallopian tube, and because they hadn’t been expecting this, they had not taken the usual precautions when performing surgery in relation to ‘cancer’. The follow-up was surgery to perform a full hysterectomy, followed by aggressive chemotherapy, and I really do mean aggressive.
Clatterbridge Hospital (the cancer hospital) was running a double-blind trial (in case you’ve not heard the term before, it’s where one group get treatment, the other get a placebo, and the healthcare team don’t know which group patients are in) on anti-emetic medications (they stop you from vomiting but don’t take away the nausea), and E agreed to take part. However, within a few weeks, it was apparent that whichever group she’d ended up in, her sickness meds were not working. She was bedbound, vomiting, dehydrated, and when she sent for me, my first thought on seeing her was that she was dying.
When I later saw her doing this for real, she actually looked better than when she was going through the chemo.
We drove to Clatterbridge, where they immediately hooked her up to a drip. They were very apologetic and so kind, and her relief was immediate. But I confess I was struggling. I was in a cancer hospital, full of people who were dying, or fighting tooth and nail not to, poison being pumped into their veins. I knew I had to try to stay positive, and E had drifted off to sleep, so I went outside to smoke a cigarette (I have since stopped smoking—nothing to do with what I saw at Clatterbridge—we smokers must find our own time to quit).
I sat on a bench with a couple of other smokers—both of them in dressing gowns and carting chemo drips on trolleys—and I wrote this poem:
It is a place where we are forced
to face our mortality—
that which we feel we possess,
but do not.
Yet only the trees are weeping;
the sky is that of summer,
as are the prints on the wall.
the shadows like the hands of a clock,
positioned with precision
and a swish of artistic flare.
They are of bright hot walls
Not like the watery sun that
cascades the gardens here.
They are not hairless!
They are happy
and they smoke a message
across the treetops to say,
“We defy you.
“The shadows will not move for us.”
They will be like the prints
on the waiting room wall.
We returned home, and E continued to brave the vicious anti-cancer treatment. One of the hardest moments for her came when, on a visit to the temple, her hair started to fall out. She had bought a beautiful dress for the occasion and had been looking forward to it for so long. It was so unfair, and just one of so many injustices she faced. Prior to the cancer diagnosis, E had taken voluntary redundancy in order to dedicate more time to helping M through his adolescence, which meant she no longer had the salary/sick pay of a senior manager. In due course, her house was repossessed, and the family watched from our house whilst the building society heavies waded in to change the locks then walked away, satisfied at a job well done and without the usual bother. Leeching scum.
E rented a lovely little cottage out in the hills of West Lancashire. It was beautiful. We visited, and she made us toast—“Proper toast like my grandma used to make,” she told us, which is to say that it was dripping with butter. Since then, we’ve always had butter in the house. There’s nothing on Earth comes close to the comfort food that is proper toast.
Throughout all of this, she had continued to pay her tithings to the church, although I got the feeling that they weren’t aware of just how poor she was at that time, so I interfered. I don’t know if it made any difference.
E went for follow-up scans, but the results were ambiguous. The consultant told her that, for now, she was probably in remission of some sort, but if it came back, there would be nothing they could do. She got on with living her life, raising her children, being a friend.
S (eldest daughter) was getting married, and asked Nigel and I to play at the wedding. We did. It was the poshest wedding I’ve ever been to, and a lovely day. S is glamorous—tall, with long blonde hair and a curvaceous figure—beautiful! And she looked stunning.
Not long after that glorious day, Nigel had a dissecting aortic aneurism, an event which changed our lives forever. I worried all the time that he was going to suddenly collapse and die, so it did nothing to reassure me when he started smoking again (having quit a few years earlier). But E dispelled my fury.
“It’s about quality of life,” she said sagely. “Not quantity.”
OK. Can’t argue with that.
At the time, we had two border collies; for those unfamiliar with the breed, they’re not pets. They’re not especially friendly, although they can be very loving on occasion. They only ‘tolerate’ others of their kind, and they can live together amicably, but by and large ignore each other.
So, here’s me: the active parent in the house, with a disabled husband, two young children and two border collies, trying to hold down a job, keep a house and not have a breakdown.
“Our M bought this puppy for his girlfriend, but she doesn’t like dogs. Would you like another one?”
And I said:
“Oh aye, yeah!”
To translate, in the North-West of England (and again, I believe, derived from Scouse, which likely derived from Irish), this phrase actually means, in no uncertain terms, ‘No, thank you very much’. However, I can only assume that in the North-East, whence E hailed, it does not mean the same thing, for the next day she returned with this small bundle of, erm…lunacy.
Her name was Goody, and she tore through the house, out into the garden and back again, a streak of black and brown, floppy ears streamlined behind her, in and out of every room, jumping up, sniffing.
She was her previous owner in canine form!
Eventually, when she stopped long enough for me to get a good look at her, I noticed she had cut her paw on the edge of a tile. I’d had this mad idea to ‘crazy tile’ the kitchen, which was far more difficult than I’d anticipated and I never finished it, thus, the soft pad of this young dog found a sharp edge. For the first couple of weeks, the cut did subdue her to some extent. She was like a miniature, short-legged Doberman and was one of two in a litter dumped outside a pet shop. And now she lived with us.
Our male border collie Max (who passed away in 2015 at a decent age—fifteen, deaf, with a touch of doggy dementia, cancer, and finally a stroke finished him off) had had three homes by the time he was six months old. He lived in his own little world of border collie obsessions, chasing his own shadow around the walls, barely able to stop long enough to eat his dinner. Penny (our female collie, who died suddenly at the age of five) paid him little attention, but Goody…
She was on a mission. She was going to get Max to play with her, and she was relentless. For weeks, she pestered him, bouncing at him, barking in his face whenever he was scratching at the walls, whilst he would just scoot off somewhere else and start over again. She wasn’t giving up, and finally, one day, he tore off after her.
And there it was! Where we had failed, she had succeeded in getting through to that poor lost little collie dog in his own mad world. It is because of her that he lived the rest of his days, for the most part, no longer stuck in the shadows, and enjoyed attention from people. He went off to play with other dogs…so long as they weren’t collies too!
Meanwhile, E’s cancer had returned. By that time, she’d moved to Wales, and we didn’t see so much of each other anymore, but we were still in touch. We admitted to missing our Christmas mornings, where we would visit each other with small gifts. I missed ‘lending’ her a piece of coal for New Year’s Eve—a Newcastle tradition called ‘first footing’, whereby a piece of coal is carried over the threshold soon after midnight, to bring luck and prosperity. We don’t have a coal fire anymore, but we do still have a bit of coal left over.
I definitely don’t miss getting up at six a.m. to remove hot embers and reset the fire.
When, finally, the consultant offered a definitive prognosis, E organised a party to celebrate her life. It was a surreal experience, to attend a celebration that feels much like a birthday party, yet knowing that it is a leaving party of the worst possible kind. It was nowhere near as awful as I’d envisaged it would be, but fun? Not really. At one point, J’s young daughter got stuck in the toilets, too small to open the door, and after a bit of a panic, I found her and took her back to her dad. This and other distractions got us through the evening.
It was another couple of years before the time finally came, and E and I had been out of contact for much of this. Thus, I knew immediately when M called to tell me his mum had asked to see me that this was it. This was goodbye.
I drove to Wales, parked up outside and approached the house. I’m one of those people who can keep emotions at bay, and that’s what I was doing that day. E was in bed, her words slurred and so hard to understand because of the pain relief she was taking. She said something. I didn’t understand. She asked why I didn’t answer her, and I had to come clean. It was OK. We were friends, after all.
Two days later, M phoned to tell me she had died. In that call, I felt his strength. This was no longer the crazed adolescent, pushing his mother and everyone else to the limit. This was a young man, who had been with his mum when she died.
V had been away at school, and had written a poem to her mum, which she asked me to read at the funeral, and of course I agreed to. I felt honoured, but I was also terrified, for much as I can hold back on most emotions in most situations, this, I knew, would not be one. I think I made it to the second stanza before I apologised to V and took a moment to get myself back together.
After the ceremony, Nigel and I went to the pub with M and J, who didn’t want to be there for the burial. They wanted to remember their mum as the lively, vibrant woman that she was, and I was with them one hundred percent on this (although I’ve since talked with V about it, and I can also see her side of it—the men left it to the women, essentially).
One of the things E had worried about (aside from her constant anxiety about M getting into big trouble) was that she’d left nothing for her children, and we got to talking about this, wondering if she’d sorted out the insurance policy she’d always said she would, what her will would have in it, and so on. M laughed and assured me it wouldn’t be very much, but if there was anything left at all, she’d still be on his case.
“It’ll say, ‘to M, I leave four pounds fifty, not to be spent on cigarettes.’”
And so, I said goodbye to E.
But…we still had Goody.
She was always a bit stiff-legged, a bit like Spotty Dog when she ran, and if she got a bit of speed up, it was apparent that she couldn’t run in a straight line. She also had really sharp claws and jumped up a lot, so my t-shirts always had holes in them. But she was happy and healthy and full of life.
Early in 2009, she started to drag one of her back legs—just a little, and only when she was tired, but that was really the start of it. In December, she started falling over, and I took her to the vet. Now, one of our vets is great—positive, optimistic, practical—the other is a bit on the bipolar side, so some days he’s OK, other days, like the one on which I took Goody to see him, he is not.
“Oh dear,” he said solemnly and without a single ounce of hope. “This is very serious.”
We tried anti-inflammatories. They made no difference. We tried steroids. They made her worse. In the New Year, I took her back to the vet, this time seeing the other guy. He said that it could be a spinal embolism, in which case it was just a matter of time. She might improve, or she might stay the same. Or, if it was something else, she might get worse. Whatever, both vets concurred that the cost of an MRI scan wasn’t worth it, because whatever this was, it wasn’t treatable. And it turned out not to be a spinal embolism.
Over the months that followed, Goody lost first the use of her right back leg, then the left one, yet in all other ways she was happy and healthy. I took her to hydrotherapy twice a week, during which she would use both back legs to swim, and she was really fast. We really enjoyed our little trips out in the car, with her chilling out on the back seat while I fed her treats over my shoulder. The hydrotherapists are incredible people—so grounded and professional—and the swimming helped her to keep muscle tone.
In those situations, I was ‘keeping it together’, but each morning, as I ‘walked’ the dogs (with Goody’s back end suspended from a makeshift sling to support her), I would cry as I watched her dragging herself across the fields, until I had a sudden, Cesar Milan inspired epiphany.
‘Live in the moment’, he says.
And I thought, well, she’s not dead yet, and she doesn’t actually care. In fact, she’s enjoying herself, so stop grieving for her and get on with it.
So that’s what I did.
In the house, she’d developed an interesting method of getting around. Someone would knock at the door, and she’d go tearing off barking, dragging her back legs behind her. My eldest daughter and I came up with a duet of the sound it made, with one of us making a tck, tck tapping noise (Goody’s working front legs) and the other a shh, shh brushing noise for her stupid back legs. Every time she did it, we’d end up laughing. She even managed to get down the stairs like that for a while.
However, it was obvious her condition was degenerative; it fitted the symptoms and development of canine degenerative myelopathy, although she was not a susceptible breed, and without the MRI scan, we will never know. Regardless, over the course of two years, she slowly deteriorated physically, so that eventually her entire back end was paralysed.
Still she was loving life, and much as our backs were suffering, we continued to assist her with her mobility. We bought a set of doggy wheels, which required a fair bit of customisation, because she was an odd shape (as mentioned—like a short, stocky Doberman), but they were liberating. Where we went walking there is a lake, and she took great delight in freaking me out by bolting headfirst towards the water, although most times she turned at the last minute and raced off in a different direction.
On one occasion, we were walking across a field when she eyed a Labrador in the distance and went tearing off towards it, hitting her wheels on crop stubble along the way. She did a complete somersault, and landed upside down, like an upended beetle, waving her legs in the air. I put her the right way up and off she went again. She didn’t care—took it all in her stride.
To cut to the chase, she was still going out on her daily walks right up until two days before ‘that trip to the vet’, although by that stage, I had further adapted the wheels so that there were now wheels on the front as well as the back, as she was losing the use of her front legs. Ultimately, her bowels stopped working (as in, they were no longer digesting food), and she made it clear she was done fighting. For those reasons, it was not a hard decision to make, and we knew we’d given her the chance to live out her life to the fullest, so there’s no regrets.
When we look back now, we wonder how on earth we coped for two years, particularly as we reached a point of having to carry her up and down the stairs and she wasn’t especially light! But we did it, and we’d do it again. That old adage ‘A dog is for life…’? Damned right, it is, and what a full life Goody lived.
And so, I write of these events not for catharsis, but to tell the story. It goes without saying that I miss E and Goody, and that both losses are massive, for they are entwined in my heart. There is nothing to be done about death. It happens, and nothing makes it better, though the acute pain dulls with time.
E told me that she believed we live our lives over and again with the same people, but with different challenges, and we shall meet again and again. I don’t know about that, although it’s a comforting thought.
However, there’s one thing of which I am absolutely certain. The next time she asks me:
“Would you like another dog?”
I will probably still say:
“Oh aye, yeah!”
Debbie McGowan is an author and publisher based in a semi-rural corner of Lancashire, England. She writes character-driven, realist fiction, celebrating life, love and relationships. A working class girl, she ‘ran away’ to London at seventeen, was homeless, unemployed and then homeless again, interspersed with animal rights activism (all legal, honest ;)) and volunteer work as a mental health advocate. At twenty-five, she went back to college to study social science—tough with two toddlers, but they had a ‘stay at home’ dad, so it worked itself out. These days, the toddlers are young women (much to their chagrin), and Debbie teaches undergraduate students, writes novels and runs an independent publishing company, occasionally grabbing an hour of sleep where she can.
Social Media Links
Sugar and Sawdust
Cherry Pop Valentine
When Skies Have Fallen
Coming Up ~ co-written with Al Stewart
Of the Bauble
Checking Him Out (Book One)
Checking Him Out For the Holidays (Novella)
Hiding Out (Novella – Noah and Matty)
Taking Him On (Book Two – Noah and Matty)
Checking In (Book Three)
The Making of Us (Book Four – Jesse and Leigh – exp. 2016)
~ co-written with Raine O’Tierney
Leaving Flowers (Book One)
Where the Grass is Greener (Book Two)
Christmas Craic and Mistletoe (Book Three)
And The Walls Came Tumbling Down
‘Time to Go’ in Story Salon Big Book of Stories
The ongoing story of ‘The Circle’…
Nine friends from high school;
Nine friends for life.
The Story So Far…
in chronological order:
novellas and short novels are ‘stand-alone’ stories, but tie in with the series. Think Middle Earth—well, more Middle England, but with a social conscience!
Class-A (Short Story)
Hiding Behind The Couch (Season One)
No Time Like The Present (Season Two)
The Harder They Fall (Season Three)
Crying in the Rain (Novel)
First Christmas (Novella)
In The Stars Part I: Capricorn–Gemini (Season Four)
Breaking Waves (Novella)
In The Stars Part II: Cancer–Sagittarius (Season Five)
A Midnight Clear (Novella)
Red Hot Christmas (Novella)
Two By Two (Season Six)
Hiding Out (Novella)
Breakfast at Cordelia’s Aquarium (Short Story)
Chain of Secrets (Novella)
Those Jeffries Boys (Novel)
The WAG and The Scoundrel (Gray Fisher #1)
Reunions (Season Seven)
To Be Sure (Novella – expected 2017)
Tabula Rasa (Gray Fisher #2 – expected 2018)
For more titles from Beaten Track Publishing,
please visit our website:
Thanks for reading!
So Long, Little Black Diamonds A short and glorious true tale of friendship, and a dog on wheels. NOTE: what you will read here is not embellished in any way. These are real events, and they may cause some readers distress. Thus, whilst I’ve tried to capture the character, sense of humour and generosity of spirit of my much-missed friends, both human and canine, it is only right to forewarn you that this ‘story’ deals with the terminal conditions of cancer of the fallopian tube and canine degenerative disorder.