My ENTIRE LIFE is about dogs at present.* That the hellterror can now go for itty bitty walks does make life simpler, but it doesn’t make the time invested any shorter.** And, furthermore, it is slowly dawning on hellhounds that she’s not going away again and some fairly heavy angst and dismay is being manifested which requires more time in which to provide reassurance.*** And our visitors arrive tomorrow. I may just pass the puppy around and then tell them to take Peter and go have a nice time doing . . . whatever.
* * *
* With the occasional aberration for bell ringing.^ Tonight was Wild Robert’s Random Wednesday practise and this month it was at Fustian, and aside from a brief desperate and doomed raid on Cambridge minor while there were still only six of us, we rang triples—mostly Grandsire—all night. There were finally only eight of us and that meant we all had to ring all the time which was great. And I was not the worst, by a margin of leagues, ringer there and that was better yet. I did not cover myself with glory^^ but I did not crawl out of the tower bent under a heavy load of humiliation and convinced that my future was in javelin-throwing or cross-stitch^^^ like last time I was at Fustian either. Yaay.
At one point as we were swapping the fellow who had been ringing the bell I was about to grab# said, that rope is very short. You may need [to stand on] a box. —Pardon me, but snork. He is taller than I am, but I am the one with gorilla-length arms. That rope was not short. I had a good four inches spare. And I am so queen of the jungle.
^ And, uh, work. I’ve got through to the end of SHADOWS again . . . but I’m still wrestling with some of my editor’s comments. It’s the same old same old, and I assume it’s especially acute with fantasy because of the whole world-building thing, there’s so much less you can assume everyone knows. Except you’ve been there for so long some of the stuff seems, you know, normal, like the required Tarot card unit for a standard liberal arts degree and the way you don’t have to wonder whether your blasted pears are ripe yet+ because if they are they will be dancing on your kitchen counter waving tiny flags and shouting in tiny almost inaudible voices, EAT ME! EAT ME NOW! And then your first readers all go, hey, what’s with the silver-haired gold-wanded magician on page 364 who cleans up Godom and Somorrah++ single handed but for the assistance of his eight-legged+++ talking horse Fido? And you’re like, what do you mean, I introduced Dalfgan on page 12, blowing smoke rings while he and Fido engage in waggish dialogue with the local earth spirits. No you didn’t, say your first readers, and you are suddenly stricken because you remember that you cut the waggish dialogue and Dalfgan seems to have gone with it. Curses. So, do you reintroduce Dalfgan, doing something useful like exorcising the village hall of verticillium wilt instead of larking about with earth spirits, or do you cut Godom and Somorrah? But you really liked the way the evil grand vizier, running away from Dalfgan, or possibly from Fido’s bad jokes, was eaten by that tiger that had appeared in chapter three and you had no idea why. If you cut Godom and Somorrah you’ll have to cut the tiger, and . . .
I hate rewrites.
++ This is fantasy after all
+++ I’m listening to GOTTERDAMMERUNG on Radio 3, although I don’t think Sleipnir comes into it. I’ve done my rant here before about Brunhilde riding her poor bloody horse into the flames at the end? You want to die by burning, sugar, which is approximately the worst death going, possibly with the exception of drawing and quartering, you go right ahead. Leave your horse out of it. I get totally creeped out every time I happen across that part of the story. I suppose if the whole world is going up it’s a bit moot, BUT EVEN SO. I don’t think it’s one of Wagner’s clever ideas, is it? I’ll be here all night if I try to google it to source. Brunhilde riding Grane into the fire certainly pops up all over the place, not least in the Rackham painting reproduced on the Gotterdammerung page of Wiki, but I think he was illustrating Wagner. And you don’t usually get the horse staged, I don’t think, although since I doubt I’ll ever have the stamina to sit through it live, there will be no unfortunate incidents of hissing and popcorn-throwing.
^^ Granted that given my penchant for becoming obsessive about things I’m not very good at I’m not sure I would recognise glory if it introduced itself politely, but then since it would only be asking directions to someone else, I don’t suppose it matters.
^^^ I wouldn’t be any good at these either. Especially the cross stitch.
# One of the three nosebleed ringers present. A nosebleed ringer is someone who has attained campanological heights so extreme that the air is dangerously thin. Also those of us at ground level may get nosebleeds from the strain of tipping our heads back that far to try to bring the distant peaks into focus. Sigh. I really do want to ring a little surprise. A little more than fumbled plain courses of Cambridge minor. Siiiigh.
** She also continues to be mind-bogglingly the easiest puppy I’ve ever had, as I’ve said here before, and as every (relatively) amiable and (relatively) disaster-free day passes I worry more about adolescence. Something Has to Go Wrong. Mind you she is not perfect. She’s a frelling little paper-shredder, for example, and when she’s been out recently AND DOESN’T FEEL LIKE SETTLING DOWN THANK YOU I take the newspapers out of the crate thus forcing her to play with her TOYS, WHAT DO YOU THINK THEY’RE THERE FOR, YOU FRINKLEDASTED PUPPY?, or, of course, eat her bed. She’s also coming out of the fearless early-puppy stage and is a little more reactive than she was when she arrived, although I think I’m only noticing because I’m looking for it and it’s NOTHING on the Jekyll and Hyde that was our Chaos at three months. But for example something set her off at about . . . six o’clock this morning and she barked off and on for a good ten minutes before she decided that the aliens hadn’t landed after all and went back to sleep. Which made one of us.
Some of the easiness is also merely that I’ve now had Kind of A Lot of Puppies in My Life and with every one you get more used to the drill. And Darkness and Chaos were only six years ago. But for example . . . I’ve had puppies that were NIGHTMARES about learning to go on lead, and puppies that were ho hum no big deal. Because both Southdowner and Olivia had warned me that you don’t EVER want to get into a collision of wills with a bull terrier I was expecting lead training to be a trifle exciting, and of course it could still go in that direction, but I’ve been putting Pavlova on lead pretty much every time she goes outside, even in the tiny cottage garden, just so she’s used to the idea. Now that we’re going Out into the World while we have our occasional difference of opinion^ nine times out of ten if I bend down, hold a bit of kibble and call her [call] name she’s more than happy to sprint in my direction, and then, usually, I can convince her to keep going that way. She is such a cheerful little creature.
^ Whereupon I pick her up and tuck her under my arm and we go where I want to go. Obviously we have to reach an understanding about this before she gets too big for this ploy.
*** You are my darling and adorable and much-loved hellhounds! And you could eat supper, you know!
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