It's less than two months since a certain Tibetan Terrierist dropped out of our lives and things have changed in a few ways.
Lily has been a little disconcerted to find herself the sole object of attention after three years slip-streaming behind Mr Personality the TT. She has the concerned and slightly worried look that Ernie Wise used to exhibit on his solo appearances in the spotlight without the dazzling radiance of Mr Morecambe to deflect the attention.
Meal times have been the biggest change. When there were two dogs, dinners were 'woofed' down in nano-seconds because there was a major "use-it-or-lose-it" issue. Now the competitive element has been removed, Lily takes a much more leisurely approach, picking and savouring like a gurning Gregg Wallace. She paces around the kitchen, sizing up her bowl assured in the knowledge that nobody else will dive in and pinch the Bakers Complete Shite.
From the biped perspective, we have missed the Tibetan input as our resident Hislopian pricker of pomposity and provider of home truths. This may be too-much-information but I can reveal that the famously extra-normal and well-balanced relationship between Mrs Rine and myself has been sustained by the fact that no words of criticism pass directly between us - negative comments and cutting ripostes would always be provided by the Terrier. Any sentence beginning with “Oz says...”, “Oz couldn't help noticing...” or “The Tibetan wonders..” was certain to involve heavy sarcasm and cutting critique that couldn't possibly be offered directly.
Say, for example, I wandered down at lunch-time and said something like “Phew! What a morning! I haven't stopped packing since breakfast time!”. The response might come back, “Oz was very relieved to note that this frenetic activity has not precluded 3 Facebook updates, 12 Tweets and comments on 14 separate blogs. He’s delighted to see that our social media strategy has not been cast aside at the expense of the business”. At this point Mrs Rine would be smiling sweetly and innocently like someone who had just blamed a bad smell on the dog.
Why, I hear you ask, can't Lily fulfil this role?
Well she just can't, that's all. She is far too sweet and naive to exhibit the kind of feisty attitude required to make this kind of system work. Plus it doesn't sound right in a French accent.
No, this marriage urgently needs another dog.
I did acquire one at the car boot on Sunday - his name is Baxter. Unfortunately he doesn't follow us around all day so often isn't in the right position to offer appropriate words of advice and comment when required. We may need to look elsewhere.