A group of a dozen or so German tourists stop as Sophie is about to climb up the ramp into the back of the car. 'May we watch ?' asks a German gentleman before adding ' I have never seen such a thing before '. The family diva, recognizing she has an audience of adoring fans trots up the ramp as if she's a young thing. The Germans clap. Sophie exudes contentment. A true diva thrives on adversity. The crowd of admirers are surprised to discover Sophie is a Polish Lowland Sheepdog. 'We thought she was a bearded collie '.
The PONettes routines changing. She now likes a long walk pre-breakfast, a short comfort break afterwards and a longish trip , in the car, to the soft grass on the golf course in the early evening. In between, if it's quiet, there may be a couple of brief outings across the road into the cloisters. Sometimes she sits in the sun on the doorstep and watches the world go by. She does not like heavy trucks when they pass and she views other dogs as a threat. She has taken to howling at the sight of any canine interlopers. Thank heavens there are no C-A-T-S around. Most of her day is spent asleep, on her side, in a downstairs bedroom with a particularly thick and comfortable rug. Last night she had a large helping of chicken and pasta which she devoured as if food was going out of fashion.
By eight on this Sunday morning we've done a tour of the university, had a drink from the bowl of water outside the charity shop and been to the beach. Life with an old dog has been made much easier by the fact that it's been dry and warm for the last three weeks. We've barely had any clouds - let alone rain. In a country known for its reserve it is remarkable how many people come up and greet her.