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A Celebration of Lil – Louise Douglas

This month, our darling Lil is thirteen-years-old in human years which is knocking-on-a-bit in dog years. Fortunately, Lil is of the opinion that age is irrelevant as long as everyone knows who’s boss, which, obviously, we do.

Our other dog, Lola, is nine. Lola started off completely black and is now almost completely grey, so she looks older than Lil who started off a very pretty tricolour and still looks more or less the same as she did as a youngster. The only thing that’s aged is her tail which has lost its gorgeous, luxuriant, flag-waving fluffiness and gone a bit bald.

Lil is a creature of habit. She starts every day standing on the window-ledge in the front bedroom barking at the post-person as they make their way down the lane, a routine that brings great personal satisfaction to one of the parties involved. This is followed by a patrol of the garden, chasing away cats, birds and other intruders, barking bossily at the neighbours, a good sniff and tramp through the flower-borders, digging in said borders – especially if any bulbs/seeds/flowers have been newly planted, and, if it’s raining, making sure her surprisingly big paws contain as much mud as possible before she wanders back into the house to settle on whichever bed was most recently changed for a well-earned snooze.

For years I used to do agility training and competitions with Lola. Lil had the opportunity to participate, but declined on the grounds that nobody was going to tell her what to do thank you very much. (I made the ‘thank you very much’ part up). Lil does not follow instructions because Lil is her own person. Luckily, she likes coming for walks with us. These days she doesn’t wander far from my side – although she still won’t walk past a rabbit without attempting to herd it. The rabbits roll their eyes, lollop a few metres away and continue whatever they were doing. Lil walks on with her head held high, pretending she won.

Lil likes her family, stealing from the fridge, plastic bottles, radiators, the warm side of the bed, and being the centre of attention. She does not like vacuum cleaners, aerosols, spray bottles, steam irons, brushes, hair-dryers, fireworks or unexpected loud noises. This is why our house is not as clean as it could be, our clothes are creased and if we want to open a bottle of anything fizzy, we have to hide in the bathroom with the taps running to disguise the ‘pop’. On November 5th and New Year’s Eve, you’ll find us driving around the Mendips, stone cold sober, with the dogs in the back of the car, waiting for the celebrations to be over.

The reason I’m writing this blog today is to celebrate the publication of my new book, The Scarlet Dress, with Boldwood Books. Dogs are important to the main character, Marnie, which is something she and I have in common and the reason why this book is close to my heart.

I’m so lucky to be a writer – the only job I ever wanted to do, and privileged to be working with my amazing editor, Sarah Ritherdon and the Boldwood team. I’m also extremely privileged to have Lil-the-Lou in my life and it’s lovely to have the opportunity to celebrate the new book and her birthday at the same time. Mini dictator that she is, I adore her. She and Lola have been constant companions during the writing of The Scarlet Dress and it’s during our walks that I untangle problems with the plot and think of what’s going to happen next. It honestly wouldn’t have been the same book without her. So, credit where it’s due: thank you my darling Lil and I’m looking forward to another year of being told what to do and how to do it. I’m yours, devoted, always x


The Scarlet Dress is out now in ebook, audiobook and paperback. Click on the banner below to see more by Louise Douglas.

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