Possible reasons for going up Thaxby hill were to stretch my legs or gaze out to sea. But today was different. Old Mark Bamber, who lived nearby, said he’d heard a dog barking up there every night for the past week.
Along the top is a spinney with numerous imposing trees. A thorough search revealed no dog, and there was nowhere else for one to hide.
Scanning the horizon with binoculars, I spotted the almost invisible white blur of a distant steamer. Sweeping back to land I saw someone running up the hill, a dumbbell in each hand.
He reached me, sweaty and panting, and dropped the weights. “Hello. I’ve never seen anyone up here before!”
“Nor me!” I laughed.
Amicably he indicated landmarks on the horizon. “I used to come every day with my dog,” he said. “He died two years ago, unfortunately.”
“That’s sad. What was his name?”
“Titus, he was a dalmatian. Me and my wife carried him up here. He’s buried in the spinney.”
“Wow! … Does she walk up here much?”
“She had cancer.”
“I’m really sorry.” The words sounded feeble. “Is she recovering?”
His eyes misted over. “She passed away a week ago.” he replied.

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