Now although we'd set off in glorious sunshine we had only got about halfway when the sky clouded over and the rain came in a short but heavy shower - added to that was the gale blowing along the beach so we all got pretty wet, especially those like me who had no jackets; the rain didn't last long though and the sun did try to put in another appearance through the clouds but the wind didn't let up at all. When we got to the right spot on the beach Sylvia walked out close to the water's edge with Belle then slowly sprinkled Kip's ashes from their container in a line along the sand - and unexpectedly, but very appropriately, a rainbow appeared over the sea. It was as if Kip was looking down on his mum and telling her that he was okay; I think at that point there were more than a few misty eyes around. Sylvia gave a yellow rose each to those who wanted one and we threw them into the sea; the lifeboat flashed its light and we waved to the crew in return, then after trying unsuccessfully to send up a heart-shaped Chinese lantern with Kip's picture on it - it was too windy to light it - we all set off back along the beach to the village hall.
Of course we couldn't get back there without the rain coming down for a second time, and while it was our fronts which got wet the first time it was now our backs which got the soaking. Having no jacket and being just in t-shirt sleeves I looked and felt like a very cold drowned rat by the time the rain stopped again; the dogs didn't look very happy either, so I quickened my pace to warm up a bit and walked on ahead of everyone else so I could get back to the van, where I had a dry t-shirt and my lightweight jacket. Feeling a bit drier (on the top half at least), and leaving the dogs in the van to keep warm, I went back to the hall; as I don't 'do' barbecued food I'd taken some of my own, which I ate inside, then after spending some time chatting to Sylvia I went outside to talk to some of the Doglost helpers in the garden. Food-wise the dog population hadn't been forgotten either; there were lots of dog treats of various shapes and sizes and someone had even made a special doggy cake with Kip's name on the top in bone-shaped treats. Fortunately the weather had stayed dry after the second rain shower and the sun had come out again, so it turned into quite a pleasant, although cool, evening.
It was 9.30pm by the time I was ready to leave, and after another brief chat to Sylvia and a hug I returned to the van and set off back to the camp site. I had spoken to several different people and their dogs that evening, and although I'd never met any of them before then it was as if I'd known them all for some time as we all had two things in common - our love of dogs in general and our love for Kip in particular. Every single person was there because of him, many of them had joined Doglost because of him, and because of him many more lost dogs will have a better chance of being found. He may be gone but he'll never be forgotten.