The ‘Bell’

At the mouth of the Tay Estuary there stands in the sea the prodigious Bell Lighthouse, an absolute necessity for shipping working the inner waters of the North Sea. The stone to build the ‘Bell’ came from Carmyllie, not so far away as the crow flies, and when the massive amount of stone was carted away, there remained deep, dark and dangerous quarry holes. Some close to towns were fated to receive garbage, but the rural ones were left to fill with water, fully or partway, and were used as mini reservoirs.
Or baths!
Grandpa, around the end of summer, would cast the collie dog, Pat, a jaundiced eye, and whistling her to heel, would advise her as he walked along that it was time for her dip. The dog knew the signal perfectly well, and slunk along behind as only collie dogs can do, hoping that the order might be rescinded along the way. No chance – the dog bath served two purposes, the other being to ascertain the level of water in the quarry hole.
If the summer had been a wet one, then the water was only eight to ten feet down from the top; however, if the months had been dry, then it was a good twenty feet to splash down.
In she went, never of her own volition. Grandpa would direct her nicely a couple of times, but when getting no response, he’d pick her up and drop her over the edge.
Aw, poor doggie!
Forget it, once she surfaced, Pat was off, paddling like a mad thing; round and round she’d go, and if she found a stick to push about, all the better.
On a whistled signal she’d head for the low bank and clamber out, advised at the same time not to come home until she was dry, which was the signal to take off and explore the neighbourhood, something that was generally not allowed. The ground sloped away from the farmhouse, so it was possible to see the dog tearing across the open fields, scattering rabbits and raising clouds of birds.
The state of her when she came back nearly called for another dunking!


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