As I write this, it is the 25th September, just over a year since we moved to Powdermills Bed & Breakfast in Furnace. Recently, I was at my ‘happy place’ (sad as I am…) at the Lochgilphead Caravan Park’s laundrette when I thought I saw our old dog, Lilia. The dog was in a large white van, sitting in the driver’s seat, waiting for its owner to come back from chatting to the caravan park owner and it was the absolute spit of Lilia’s lovely old and greying Boxer face. 

Ironically, Lillia only lasted only a couple of weeks with us at Powdermills losing her long fight with cancer. Lillia was ten years old, well trained for a Boxer and an integral part of the Campbell family. She was daft, loving, excitable and a wonderfully loyal companion. She was literally on her last legs when we moved over from Edinburgh. Right to the end, she would slowly walk around the Powdermills grounds. On the day before she left us, John and I walked up the ‘Howden’ to the swing that overlooks Loch Fyne. It is a steep climb but she made it and we rested at the top and enjoyed the glorious views of Loch Fyne. That steep climb is now called ‘Lillia’s Way as a tribute to our great friend.

Lillia quickly adapted from ‘city dog’ to life in the country, enjoyed several day trips and a wonderful visit to the Isle of Gigha. The sun shone and we enjoyed a leisurely stroll round the wild Achamore Gardens. We always recommend that guests visit Gigha as it has everything – a short ferry ride ride from Tayinloan, beaches and an historic garden for walks, a lovely hotel for coffee and lunches, a seafood restaurant, and art gallery and shops. It’s an ideal day trip.

So September is special and poignant in our life. We have always loved this time; when our kids were young; at school; and the rugby and hockey seasons was underway; and Edinburgh was usually sunny and dry and the colours of Autumn were emerging. As our kids left the nest, we always holidayed in September to such places as the Mull of Kintyre, Islay, the Outer Hebrides and Arran.

Well, I said our experience of the weather in September was always good but this year’s first half of September has been just as wet and stormy as when we moved in!  Then we experienced some of the wettest and stormiest weather ever.  In fact, one late-night thunderstorm back then scared the life out of us both and was as dramatic as one we got caught in, in London in the early 1980’s, when we were students.  Perhaps it was coincidence, but that was the day after Lillia passed.

But, having said this, by the third weekend of September we had a so called ‘Indian Summer’ along with the rest of the UK, when the weather was glorious for a few days.  And one morning last week, we were visited by this stunning rainbow. It was a sight that made me think of Lillia. We are blessed to have Boo and Mabel, but at times when faced with such beauty my heart has a special place for our Lillia.