A House on a Hill


Every third Christmas my friend – let’s call her Terry to provide some anonymity since I’ve highjacked the story and it’s too late to ask for permission – goes on holiday with her husband’s family in a remote spot near St Francis. It’s a private nature reserve with no electricity, two lone houses, lots of space and their own beach. The kids (lots of them) run wild. Rex, their black Labrador also enjoys the freedom – he strolls rather than runs though (his name has also been changed to protect his dignity).

The houses sit on a hill a fair way away from the beach. Maybe it’s more of a slope, or a foliaged covered dune than a hill – let’s not let the details get in the way of a good story. The point is the houses are some way from the beach.

One afternoon (it could’ve been morning), Terry sees that Rex is swimming in the shallows – nothing unusual about a Lab taking a dip. Rex, however, is on not at his physical peak (read slightly overweight). He starts to struggle in a rip. Terry watches anxiously from the house, scared that the backwash will pull Rex deeper and deeper out to sea. She shouts to her husband, Joe to ran down and help. Joe is up to the task, sprinting down the shore but he stops short of the water. Watching.

Terry starts to panic. “Why is Joe just standing there?” she asks her sister in law who is also watching Rex flailing in the ocean below.

“He’s worried he’ll get caught in the same rip. He needs to think of his own life,” her sister in law says in his defense.

Rex’s snout is going under. Popping up every now and then.

Terry starts crying. Again, she asks, desperate now, “Why isn’t Joe doing anything?!”

Because it’s an otter.

Not Rex (who is resting in the shade behind the house, well out of danger). An otter.

Photograph of the day: Playing around with a slow shutter in this evening’s blue light. 

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply