This week, I’m having puppies! First litter! The Johnsons were not doggy as we always moved around too much (my late mother claims it was 32 times in 17 years), but once you have a dog, life seems boring without. I have a theory that children give couples something to talk about and, when they go, only a dog can fill the conversational void. The mother (or ‘dam’) is Ziggy, who entered our lives one week before lockdown after I had a sudden strong urge to get a dog. On 13 March last year I drove to a farm in Somerset and fell for a puff of white fur with three black dots for a face for which I shelled out a four-figure sum. I’m afraid she is a cockapoo, like every other dog in London, but that’s not her fault. Anyway, two months ago she married Baxter, the scrappy terrier belonging to Mr and Mrs James Mates of Bark Place. Every time Fiona Mates and I see each other we shriek: ‘We are a grandmother!’ I have also ordered the bible, The Book of the Bitch (great Jackie Collins energy), and have set my tail to permanent ‘wag’ as I am having puppies for Christmas and for life.
Since my beloved mother died I have become an executor. I have this top tip to pass on. When you register a death, the name on the death certificate has to be exactly the same as the one used on all important documents for probate to happen. If it isn’t, you are in a world of pain as well as grief. Well. I was pretty confident my twice-married mother’s name was Charlotte Maria Offlow Johnson Wahl. But it turns out ‘Maria’ was her invention (either when she became a Roman Catholic or after her second marriage to an American whose middle name was ‘Maria’) and she went by around eight variants of her names, both here and in the US, where she was Mrs Wahl.