January 27, 2013



THAW YAAAAAAAAAY THAW.  I got back to my monks last night for the first time in over a week and it felt like years had gone by.*  They still have quite a lot of snow so I have been making the right decision to stay home but** . . . YAAAAAAAAAY.  Not that unmixed blessings are standard, and in this case IT’S BEEN RAINING AGAIN.  IT’S BEEN FRELLING THROWING IT DOWN AGAIN.  Arrrgh.  However meteorological mayhem did assist me to get to bed early last night because the troika had a minimal final hurtle—with the hellterror forging ahead at the end of her lead and the hellhounds dragging behind at the ends of their leads which at least meant there was less Extreme Plaiting last night than sometimes.

Today I have been a thawed-out model citizen.

I got up early.

I rang morning service at New Arcadia.***

I rang afternoon service at the abbey.

And I went to evening service at St Margaret of Scotland† and clambered all over poor Aloysius with questions, including the one about having a second silent prayer meeting that happens somewhat LATER in the day.  And he’s reading DRAGONHAVEN.  Yes.  Really.

But so you won’t think I might become vain or anything, I copy and paste in its entirety an email received in my inbox today:

Just read Pegasus.  And the sequel isn’t coming out till 2014?  You stink.

::falls down laughing::  And you, whoever you are, are charming and delightful and exquisite and I’m so glad you’re not my next-door neighbour.

* * *

* As a Christian I’m still a very small child.  Remember when you were in primary school summer vacation went on FOREVER?^  And the time between birthdays (with the presents and cake and everyone was supposed to be nice to you etc) went on for MORE THAN FOREVER?  By the time you’re my age now you’re like, ewwwww, another birthday?^^  Take it away.^^^  But ten days without my MONKS?  Totally forever.

^ In America.  Over here they break up the holiday time more.

^^ There may, of course, be other issues here.

^^^ I have more hellcritters than I can handle I don’t need any more.+

+ I usually am in a hurry, of course, because I’m already late for the next twelve things, but the hellterror and I were going a lick as we wheeled around a corner and . . . came face to face with a GIGANTIC male Rottweiler on a loose lead looking at us with interest.  My life flashed before my eyes, as it does on these occasions# as the woman on the other end of the lead said off-handedly, as owners of drooling monsters tend to do, oh, he’s fine, he loves puppies, and I was thinking uh-huh, grilled or roasted?  But at this point, as I was about to reach down and grab my hellterror—out of the monster’s gullet as necessary, although I was aware that by bending down I was putting my jugular at greater risk—my life finished flashing and I could begin to register what I was seeing.  In this case the woman was telling the truth:  he was fine.  And he did seem to love puppies, at least manic bullie puppies.  I was also thinking, if you describe a dog as having his ears and his tail up, this can be good or bad:  hellhounds and I met a bad out today.##  But the first thing I noticed about the Rottie once I was looking at the Rottie is the soft eyes and the soft expression on his face.  That’s your real clue—the lack of tension.  His raised tail was wagging, not the stiff territorial wagging of a thug, but a floppy waving back and forth, and he was standing four square but completely at ease.   You get so traumatized by all the villains out there you almost don’t recognise a sweetie when you meet one.###  The two of them made an attempt to play which in the middle of main street and on short leads was doomed to failure, but it was still pretty cute.  Breed that dog.  We want more of him.

# Funny how much better your memory is when you’re about to die.  I can’t remember half this stuff when I’m sitting at my computer trying to write a blog post.

##Siiiiiiigh.  I knew from across the green that this ears-and-tail-up were the bad variety.~  The hellterror hasn’t had a genuine bad yet:  I pick her up or turn on our various heels and go somewhere else if I recognise one of the local thugs.  But our hurtles are also still relatively short and I choose the territory carefully.  I’m putting off the inevitable bad as long as possible.

~ Still not as terrifying as the Elvis Impersonator we’ve now met twice.  He has an American accent and he likes sighthounds.  I keep wanting to ask him, Are you really an Elvis Impersonator?  And if so what are you doing in New Arcadia?  But if you’re not, what’s with the hair?

### We meet lots of nice dogs.  But not many nice-to-other-dogs Rotties.  I’ve known several Rotties who are pussycats with human beings but morph into the Terminator when faced with another dog.

** I was beginning to have cabin fever, for pity’s sake.  After a week?  Pull yourself together, McKinley.  You used to live in Maine.  But I wasn’t going regularly to tower practise at Forza last winter—I don’t off hand remember when I quit New Arcadia, but Forza was such a gruesome learning curve that it took me a while not to look for excuses to miss a ring—and I only went over the line into Christianity this September, and started picking up out-of-town churches.  Two winters ago, which I think is the last time I had my Yaktrax out for an extended period, New Arcadia could still hold me.

*** Did I tell you I went to practise again on Friday?  —Having gone last Friday, when we were snowed in.  This week Gemma and Niall more or less got me by the elbows after handbells and frog-marched me to the tower.  The problem is that I owe them:  I owe Niall more than any other ringer in making me the mediocre git that I am today, even though he doesn’t have Wild Robert’s deranged brilliance.  And if it weren’t for Gemma cheering me on I would never have stuck it out at Forza.  So when they smell weakness I don’t resist very well.


They sainted her for doing something rather than wringing her hands, remaining virgin or having bits cut off, I like the Scotland part, the Anglicans recognise her too, and look at her feast day.


Please join the discussion at Robin McKinley's Web Forum.