An extract from our Christmas family circular of 2006 talks about a new family member.
“Our surprise family addition was subject to some debate, cat loving father bring out voted 2:1 in favour of the arrival of a pooch. Needless to say he predicted damage, nuisance, vets bills and long night walks in the dark and rain. Also needless to say he is a complete softy whenever presented with Murphy the collie coming for his head to be scratched. Actually, we are fortunate to be within striking distance of lots of woodland so we have settled rather well to our new friend. Someone had obviously looked after him well before he ended up in dog rescue, he is well trained. Of course, the real reason he has fitted in so well is because he loves his mountain biking – or at least the 2-hour run that goes with it.”
Here is that young dog in 2006.This Christmas there will be a black and white hole in our letter, except to say that my companion on so many of those rides and walks for the past 14 years lay down after a walk round the garden and didn’t get up again.
I inflicted a few cycling indignities on dear Murphy over those years, mainly when our bike rides were likely to take in busy roads, but enabled us to connect up the lanes, forest, hills and trails that he loved. I think he eventually understood that the bike trailers were a promise – but he always behaved as if they were an insult.
He hasn’t run with the bikes for the last 3 years due to failing hips, but my memories will always include a view of him looking back at me to see where I am, waiting at the top with some impatience for my laggardness or just wading belly deep in the worst of the mud.
He really disliked hot weather which overheated him, especially as he got older, but the colder and wetter it gets, the happier he has always been.
One foul, wet February day of mountain biking in the hills of Snowdonia when he showed every inch of his sheepdog breeding will always stay with me, two hours almost flattened me but he never missed a step.
Thanks for being part of our lives Murphy.