April 2, 2012

Shadows is here!

Poor overwhelmed exhausted lurgified person

 

My dog minder didn’t show up today. 

            Ordinarily I don’t absolutely need a dog walker to give hellhounds their second long sprint of the day Monday or any other day.  But I found out the hard way that if you don’t get your dog minder on retainer, so to speak, she’s less likely to find time for you when you really need her for the exciting one-offs of life*.  So I have her every Monday, and then I can come home and have a nice cup of tea after my voice lesson and before I have to go ringing.** 

            We had a traumatic morning*** when I bundled hellhounds into Wolfgang and went out to Warm Upford for fuel.  It is insane that there are no petrol stations within about five miles of New Arcadia† but that’s the way it is.  New Arcadia has several thousand residents and Warm Upford has several hundred, but it’s Warm Upford with the petrol station.  It took sixty one quid to fill Wolfgang’s tank.  I nearly had heart failure.††  Granted the tank was unusually empty, thanks to the petrol-strike panic-buying nonsense which I wanted to give a miss if at all possible (and there was no sign of it today), but for sixty-one quid in the current economic climate I could buy a perfectly serviceable, low-maintenance pony.†††

            We did still have an excellent hurtle—it’s the beginning of April, the progress of the bluebells must be closely monitored from here on.‡  And this is the beginning of my favourite time of year:  from the daffs and forsythia and the first little bluebell florets and the swelling lilac buds through to the great midsummer hurrah of my roses:  everything is rushing out at increasing speed and your mission, Ms Briggs, should you decide to accept it, is to try and frelling keep up.  I squeezed nearly an hour in the garden out of a schedule that had time for no such foolishness in it‡‡ and I did think, as I pelted off to Wolfgang‡‡‡ and Nadia, that it was odd my dog minder hadn’t come yet.

            Nadia was teaching in a new place—and fortunately I met her previous student leaving or I might never have found it, hidden away as it is behind some trompe d’oeil hedges.  It’s a nice if fairly ordinary looking bungalow and then you get inside and . . . golly.  Serious music room.  Yeep.  Intimidating.  But it was still Nadia.  And it was Nadia who had told me during my last lurgy§ that often enough to be hopeful about it, you can sing through a lot of head, throat and upper respiratory malfeasances, and this is (so far) one of those.  It’s positively bizarre, to sing as well as you ever do§§ and then as soon as you stop, to be sneezing and talking in a hoarse, scratchy voice.  And I have not one but two new songs to learn over the Easter break§§§.

            I then came back to the cottage, feeling a trifle worn, wanting only to pick up well-hurtled hellhounds and sweep down to the mews to have a nice cup of tea and perhaps some extravagance like an apple before ringing . . . and my dog minder hadn’t come.  Weep.  Weep.

            I hurtled hounds—perhaps a little slower than usual, and with more pauses for nose-blowing.  I rang Niall to ask if he was going ringing tonight.  He answered the phone sounding like me.  I will if you will, he croaked.  So we went, trying to breathe shallowly, although a bunch of ringers is not so unlike a classroom of virusy children, and you all know how that works out.#  It was a particular ratbag to be tottery and brainless too because my old ringing master, from the veriest deeps of time before ME and the turn of the century, was there, and he can ring anything.  He does, however, need the band to ring any/everything, and . . .

            I am so going to bed early.##           

* * *

* Or possibly the opera-season-offs. 

** I like that have to go ringing.  Well, I do.  Ringing is necessary to my life.  Which is a good reason for living in England, which still has the highest density of change-ringing bell towers anywhere on the planet.^ 

^ Not to mention the beginner handbell education seminar tomorrow.  Did I tell you about this?  Niall got me into it.  Of course.     

*** Aside from the ‘getting up’ part.  Lurgies share with ME the delightful business of making you need more sleep and allowing you to get less.  La la la la la la la.  Well, my TBR pile has lowered noticeably, although I may be throwing the rejects against the wall sooner than usual. 

† I suppose one positive side effect of all the new-build we’re going to get whether we like it or not, or whether we sign petitions till we’re blue and purple in the face or not, or whether we attend town meetings twice a day for the next sixty years or not, is that we may finally get our own petrol station.  I guess that’s positive. . . . 

†† I nearly bit the attendant, who was way too jolly and perky.  I could probably have claimed it was an uncontrollable spasm. 

††† I tweeted the £61 and had a few tweets and emails in reply that I should stick to walking, biking, buses and trains.  In a perfect world.  Nadia is twelve or twenty-plus miles away.  When she’s twelve miles away the bus service between here and there exists, but it would take me all day, and I could probably knit cardigans for all of you in the time I spent waiting around for my next connection.  When she’s twenty-plus miles away . . . I don’t think you can get there from here.    

           I will not bike on Hampshire roads.  People certainly do and they shouldn’t.  They’re a danger to themselves and to fossil-fuel-powered traffic.  The little country roads are mostly barely two lanes wide—at least when they’re one lane wide you jolly well ought to be driving carefully—and usually close-bordered by hedgerows, but most of those tiny roads nonetheless have a 60 mph speed limit, which most cars are eager to take advantage of.  And then you hove around a blind corner and find a bicyclist pedalling slowly down the middle of the road, either because he is a careless moron, or because he’s read or been told that it’s safer to occupy your lane and make cars slow down than to hug the edge and encourage them to blast past whether they’ve got room or not.  I don’t know why we don’t have gruesome bicycle fatalities a lot more often.  I personally slow down on blind corners, but then I’m a wuss. 

            And local trains are a species of fiction out of P G Wodehouse or Dornford Yates. 

            The pony-trap could at least carry my music.  But it would still be a long jog to Nadia on Monday afternoons. 

‡ Yes, gods willin’ and the crick don’t rise, there will be the Ritual Sea of Bluebells Photos in a few weeks. 

‡‡ The robin is still sitting on the nest.  Yaaaay.  The first time I saw her she was sitting high and proud but as the days pass she seems to be sinking lower and lower.  I wonder if the fault in three-dimensional space on that shelf is likely to spread.  I could use some hidden space for empty plant pots, which breed like mosquitoes in a marsh, but only if I can get them back out again at need. 

‡‡‡ I half-expect his fuel tank to Glow with an Unearthly Light 

§ Generally speaking I rarely get this kind of dumb short-term bug.  I resent being ill AGAIN. 

§§ Poised under the ceiling dormer with the glass sun roof, where the acoustics are a bit friendlier 

§§§ And a third if I’m feeling silly.  I do need to be kept away from Una Voce Poco Fa for another . . . decade.  

# The seminar tomorrow may sound like the ear, nose, throat and pulmonary ward. 

## EARLY!  EARLY!  EARLY!

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When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking. -- Albert Einstein