I am first to wake in the mornings here; sometime between 6 and 6.30; and get up from the roll-out bed that Paul and I share in Rob's living room.
Bruce is asleep either in the hallway on a quilt, or in his bed lined with cushions under the shelves in Rob's storage cupboard. He doesn't stir as I tiptoe past on my way to the bathroom, but is ready the moment I emerge, getting to his feet with an ear flapping shake. He is still in his "pajamas." This is what Rob calls Bruce's attire when he takes off his collar at the end of each day. He always says that his pajamas look very much like his stripey day suit! :) Mum used to love that little joke, as well as when Rob would speak Bruce's thoughts out loud. She would say with a laugh, "I love it when you do that!"
I pick up Bruce's collar from its place by the kitchen door, and a lead from the hook at the top of the stairs, as Bruce rockets to the bottom and waits to be "dressed" in collar and lead.
We go out into the freshness of morning, the village wakening with us, most curtains still tightly shut, but workmen starting their day's work bustle about and behind the closed door of his shop the butcher is setting up for the day.
By the time we get back from our walk about an hour later, the traffic is increasing and the village is humming with life and activity.
Bruce shoots up the stairs as fast as he had descended them earlier. Sometimes the flat is as quiet as I left it and Rob and Paul have not stirred yet.
I reach for the small, aqua coloured cloth book bag, hanging from a hook in the storage room, and leave the flat again, this time on my own and headed for "The Meadows," and some quiet time on a park bench, alone with my Bible, other books, and in thought and prayer.
"The Meadows" evoke happy memories for anyone whose childhood days included time spent there. How simple a place it is in comparison to the the places of entertainment the children of today have to choose from--choices we would never have dreamed of! And yet it is a happy and blessed place with a poignant history. More on that next...