Thursday, July 19, 2007

Travel and Travail

I actually have a great explanation for why I was unable to blog last week. I was on a cruise to the United Kingdom, visiting a different port nearly every day, with Internet access on the ship that was slow and inconsistent.

Was the trip fun? Absolutely! And I of course attempted to focus as much as possible on things that were of particular interest to me, which naturally includes pets.

Which means I was somewhat disappointed. I only saw one Cavalier King Charles Spaniel on the entire trip, and was only able to purchase Cavalier souvenirs at one spot--in Scotland.

So why wasn’t I excited that I saw any Cavaliers at all while traveling, or found any Cavalier items to tote home? Because I fell in love with my favorite breed decades ago while on a trip to England, and saw my very first one on the London Underground. At that time, Cavaliers were a rare breed in the U.S. but common in England. They were, after all, a British breed, first made popular in the 1600s during the Restoration and the time of King Charles II; hence, their name. (That was why and how I made Cavaliers the vehicle of traveling through time in my time travel romance ONCE A CAVALIER, my first book published by Berkley, in 2000.)

We spent only a short amount of time in England this trip, since our ports were primarily in Wales, Ireland and Scotland, which is probably why Cavaliers were not extremely visible. Even so, lots of people in other countries love the breed, so I was hopeful that their presence and popularity would have spread to other areas of the UK as well. No such luck, though--at least not in the areas we visited.

We were gone for just over two weeks. I was naturally concerned about Lexie and how she would do during her first prolonged period without us around, now that her good friend Sparquie is no longer with us. We hired a delightful pet-sitter whom we had used before (no, not Kendra Ballantyne, though I wish...!), who also has a full-time job. We asked her to stay at our house so Lexie would have company during evenings and weekends. They got along famously. The only glitch was that our sitter accidentally locked herself out of the house while cleaning the dog run and wound up having to break a window to get back inside.

Meantime, my husband, Fred, had hooked up our “cavcam”--a security camera that we can monitor on the Internet that focuses on an area in the house where Lexie is usually confined during times alone. She wasn’t always on-camera, unfortunately, during the times we were able to get Internet access and check on her, but it was a delight to see her when she was.

Was Lexie happy to see us on our return? Maybe even a little more than I was to see her! We arrived home in the wee hours of the morning, and during our short time in bed that night Lexie woke us several times. I had the sense that she wanted to assure herself that we were really there.



Kathryn Lilley said...

I envy you that trip, sounds wonderful! First time I've ever heard of a cavcam. Great idea! Sounds like you have a great pet sitter. I've been leery of using sitters since a time when the sitter mixed up the return dates for us with another client. Our kitties were on their own for four days! We always leave out tons of food and water so they were fine, but it was scary!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Kathryn, what an awful situation! "Cavcam" is the name my husband gave to our Cavalier camera. And thanks to today's amazing communications avenues, we were somewhat in touch with our sitter via e-mail and text messaging.

Kathryn Lilley said...

Oh, lol! So if I search on "Cavcam" to find a camera for my kitties, it might not turn up anything! LOL!