September 29, 2011

Oh, the usual. Bells.* Hellhounds. Singing.


The main thing to say six days into the New Arcadia Bell Restoration Fund auction/sale [see SIDEBAR—yes!  Yes!  It’s right there] is . . . THANK YOU.  You’re amazing and wonderful and I’m very grateful.**  I was going to try to do a bit of a round-up about comments and the view from here and future projects and so on tonight but I’m too frelling brain dead.  So I hope I’ll do it tomorrow.  Meanwhile . . . THANK YOU.

 * * *

It’s been another one of those days that started last night . . .  in this case when the hellhounds did NOT eat supper.  Again.   They do this to confound.  Also because I have been talking about them on the blog.  We’re just going to have to come to terms about this:  I can’t afford to lose such great blog material.  Even if it’s not always such good great material. 

Diane in MN:  It’s just a good thing they’re cute.

Puppies are cute so we won’t kill them before they grow up and turn into dogs. Obviously being cute has survival value for dogs as well.

Sometimes when there are so many things I should be thinking about that the brain overheats, and waving the smoke*** of burning transmitters and plastic shielding away from my eyes I search urgently for some intellectual cul de sac . . . and I wonder what dogs think they’re doing when they’re trying to charm you into doing something you don’t want to do.  They know they are using the persuasive tools available to them, but what does it mean in dog terms? 

if I ever find myself in the dreadful position of not having a hellhound of my own

Bad thought, don’t go there. I get as far as “If I ever had to size down . . .” and then shut the door on it.

Yes, the problem with Great Danes is that there is nothing but more Great Danes in that category.  Sighthounds offer a few more possibilities.  Clearly I’m a whippet specialist, and they’re small.  But if I got desperate—the dog-tenacious among you may remember that I found this area rather a sighthound-puppy desert when I was in the market—I could be happy with some of the retired greyhounds I’ve seen†, retired greyhounds being famously known as 40 mph couch potatoes.  But the Joe Gores remark on the blog’s quote thingy keeps obtruding here:  Old age means realizing you will never own all the dogs you wanted to.  Yes.  But given that Salukis are notorious for being both the most stubborn and the most resistant to eating of the sighthound group, it’s probably just as well I’m already old.

 * * *

Anyway.  The day got off to another stupid start because I so wasn’t expecting hellhounds not to eat supper, and this startled me into staying up later than planned waiting for them to recover their senses . . . dumb, McKinley, really dumb.  And the truth is that I’m still a whole lot thinner on the ground semi-post-flu than I want to admit to so today has been a little blurry and I seem to be seeing things from a lower vantage point than usual, like maybe I haven’t noticed I’m on my hands and knees. 

            I did make it to Wild Robert’s Occasional Wandering Bell Practise tonight.  Every now and then you get a mysterious email saying something like ‘Crabbiton. 28 Sept. W.R.’  Us acolytes live in a state of permanent yearning for the next such Delphic instruction and it’s another of those cases where you go unless you are positively chained to the wall with a guard at the door and barbed wire around the perimeter.  It was not one of our more brilliant nights however:  to give you one trenchant example we tried to ring Cambridge minor and I counted as one of the people who knew what she was doing.††

            It was not all bad however.  I tackled several of the other middling ringers about going to the Forzadeldestino practise on Wednesdays, and, you know, lowering the level.  Most of them made ‘avert’ signs and retired hastily to the other end of the nave.  Forza does have a bit of a reputation.  But one of my fellow middlers said why yes, I keep meaning to go.  I’ll see you there next Wednesday.  Um . . . okay. 

* * *

And now, brain dead or bright, lively and ready to tackle a cure for malaria or an internal noncombustion engine or the creation of a dog food hellhounds will always eat, I need to sing.  Os Justi with Ravenel and without Griselda is now only about eighteen hours away.  I was thinking this afternoon as I was doing a few vocal exercises in a scrap of time before the predicted collision between the irresistible force and the immovable object and making what in my case is the rafters ring, that there is a serious drawback to developing your voice.  More people can hear you.  Possibly I should have thought of this before I started voice lessons. 

* * *

 * And knitting.  I knitted while I sat out.  Of course.  

** So are the bells grateful.  Bong.  However I am also grateful for a fact beyond x amount more money to buy gudgeons and headstocks and things, which is that my auction and I are on the list of how bell ringers are contributing to the effort to raise money, which Vicky presented to the church council ten days or so ago—shortly before the auction actually went live here and you lot had the opportunity to begin proving what magnificent, open-walleted human beings you are.  Whew. 

*** At the abbey last week, at the end of practise, as we were pulling ourselves together—some of us needing quite substantial pulling together^—to escape and go home, I smelled burning.  It was unnervingly strong.  Especially unnerving when you’re in the ringing chamber of an ancient building the size of a small country, said ringing chamber reached by a route labyrinthine enough to rouse unwelcome thoughts of minotaurs.  Bronwen smelled it too.  So I asked Albert, acting ringing master that week, and he said, oh, don’t worry, it’s just the bug zappers.  Bug zappers?  By the smell they were frying squirrels.  Not that I have any objection to fewer grey rats with fluffy tails in the world, but it makes me worry if a stricken ringer, staggering back from a touch of Grandsire triples that more closely resembled a burning squirrel, stumbled a little too near one of these high-performance sizzlers. . . . 

^ I wonder if anyone has suggested an official abbey ringing chamber dustpan and broom, to live in a clearly marked cupboard—and bring your own heavy duty tote bag? 

† The smaller, whippet-shaped ones 

†† I was moaning to one of the other ringers that I frelling know the frelling line.  Frelling frelling gods I know the frelling line.  I just can’t ring it.


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