November 25, 2013

Dreaming Middle Earth



Do you dream Middle Earth, Robin, or is that just Kes? (If you’re willing to tell, of course.)

Yes.  Absolutely.  I was probably ‘dreaming’ the Shire before I got to the end of chapter one and it went with me when I went to bed.  I read LOTR for the first time at eleven, like Kes, and it immediately altered the entire shape and extent and bias and EVERYTHING of my mind and imagination.*  It was like adding dye to your rinse water:  suddenly all your white shirts are hot pink.  And will never be white again.**  And you become a different person, wearing pink shirts, when you used to wear white.  I really can’t exaggerate the effect reading LOTR had on me.  And I’m a very visual person, both awake and asleep.

Middle Earth is so irretrievably and inextricably mixed up with my mind and heart and life and memories that I can’t always be sure what is dream and what is memory—or what is dream-memory of Middle Earth.  You dream something enough and you develop a kind of belief in it:  I think before a year ago last September it was also my Dante and my Milton.   A lot of its landscape is as familiar as anything I’ve seen when I’m awake, and it’s mostly fairly consistent.  Also I’ve been dreaming it for fifty years.  [Note:  eeep.]  By sheer accumulation it’s a lot realer than some of my so-called real-life stuff.  And I’d much rather spend time there, even when there are Balrogs involved, than—oh—sitting in endlessly stalled traffic breathing exhaust and missing your appointment or discovering that your favourite dress in the universe has moth holes.

About questions I won’t answer:  when I used to talk to school groups a lot I used to tell them I’d answer almost anything but what I had for breakfast and what colour my typewriter was.***  The idea being that there are no stupid questions although there are a few irrelevant ones.†  I can usually put a spin on the ones that I consider to be invading my privacy;††  people have different ideas about where the lines are, and I don’t have a tattoo on my forehead that says PRIVACY FETISHIST.  A lot of mistakes are genuine:  even a hellgoddess knows this.

And I’ve relatively rarely been heckled.  It’s happened a few times, and very unpleasant it is—and I’ve also, a few times, had classrooms that were out to get me, but every one of those without exception I saw coming by the relationship of the kids with their teacher—but I don’t (much) write the kind of edgy, controversial, in your face stuff that attracts aggressive or splintery personalities.†††  My problem more often was the warm fuzzy patroniser:  the perfect stranger who would walk straight up to me (around a podium or signing table at a publisher’s booth as necessary), give me a hug, and tell me what a sweet little story BEAUTY is.  ARRRRRGH.

One additional reason why I am the snarling hellgoddess you see before you today is because of all those people warping me when I was a tender young author.  ‡

* * *

* This effect may have been exaggerated by the fact that it was happening in Japan.  I’ve told you this before of course.  My US Navy father was stationed there—this is the early sixties, less than twenty years after the end of WWII—and we lived on a ‘dependents’ base in a Tokyo suburb.  You don’t get a lot more alienated from your surroundings and apparent reality than being an immediately-identifiable kid belonging to the military-occupation gang, surrounded by a people and a culture who don’t want you there—and where by the shape of your eyes and the colour of your hair don’t belong.  Going native is only a limited option:  you can’t just go over the wall, borrow some clothes and hang out.  Japan itself looked very strange to me but—and I’ve told you this before too, but it’s also one of the major influences on my life and my storytelling so on a blog that only exists because I write books for a living it’s worth repeating—when I got back to America it looked strange and—alien.  Home was no longer home.

And I missed Japan, where I didn’t belong and never learnt to speak the language.  Speaking of dreaming:  I’ve dreamed of Japan all my life since we left too, and I guarantee it has as much to do with reality as the Shire does to the Worcestershire of Tolkien’s childhood.^

Lots of writers and other artistic types feel like rejects, oddballs, exiles and outcasts for one reason or another, and I was a dweeby, awkward kid and would have found my dork status quickly enough even if I’d been born and grown up in the same town and graduated from high school with the same class I’d started kindergarten with.  But I got to have the whole creative-doodah-stands-apart-from-society made manifest by being a Navy brat.  As the saying goes, if Tolkien hadn’t existed I’d’ve had to make him up.  I’m very glad I didn’t have to make him up.  I wouldn’t have done nearly such a good job.^^

^  My dreams of Middle Earth are, of course, dead accurate.

^^ Although there would have been more WOMEN.+

+ How frelling convenient is it that dwarf women are never seen?  And that there aren’t very many of them, and to outsiders they look just like the blokes?  Why didn’t Tolkien invent cloning and get it over with?  Or maybe they slam a couple of gems together and SHAZAAM!, new (male) dwarf?

** Which is a good thing.  White is a nightmare to keep white.^  Although I have no idea why I would necessarily think of this image in terms of hot pink.

^ At least if you spend a lot of time in the company of garden plants and hairy hellcritters.  And chocolate.

*** It’s been a very long time since I did a lot of school groups.

† I was also lucky.  No one ever asked me anything like ‘Have you ever had sex with a giant tortoise?’  That one is perhaps easy^.  But I also pretty much escaped any of those questions where the discernable pause before I said ‘no’ might have been suggestive.

^ No.

†† Where do you live?

In England.

††† Mostly.  I have referred occasionally to the fact that a few of my letters and emails are real snorters.  And it’s funny not-ha-ha what some people think is edgy and controversial and in your face.

‡ This is also one of the reasons I’m a bit testy about a certain attitude toward my first novel.  I know, I know, long-time blog readers have heard this all before.  The people who love BEAUTY because it’s sweet and who therefore (inevitably) think all the rest of my books are less sweet like this is a failing, FRELL ME OFF.  I know, I know, it’s just another demonstration of the ‘if you do something once successfully DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN.’  This works pretty well with kicking footballs and making brownies.  IT DOESN’T WORK WITH STORY-TELLING.  NOT REAL STORY-TELLING.^

^ And please don’t remind me that some of those purveyors of the same frelling story, yea verily unto the ninety-sixth volume, are wealthy and I am not.  You win some and you lose some.

KES, 106



When something struck me from behind I screamed.  “Lady!” said a strangely familiar voice.  “Thy sword!  Where is thy sword?  Fetch thy sword, thou hast need of it!”

“I haven’t got a sword!” I howled.  And I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I did.

“And thy wristlet,” went on the voice, inexorably.  “I left it for thee—there, I see it, tis on the table.  Put it on!”

If the owner of the voice could see the table, it—he—was doing better than I was.  I put the useless lamp down since the cord wouldn’t stretch far enough and blundered in the general direction of where I thought the table might have been before the world ended, and (of course) banged up against it.  Ow.  More bruises.  But at least it seemed to be the ordinary table I remembered. In the frenzy of the moment I decided it was better to put something presently on the table on me as instructed, whatever it was, so I patted over the nearly-invisible surface and found . . . a button.  No, wait, it was Sid’s pebble.  And the rose bracelet.  In the absence of anything likelier I slid the bracelet on.

Sid was still barking.  The universe was still roaring.

“Thy sword!” said the voice, sounding slightly desperate.  “We have little time!”

“I told you,” I said, sounding a good deal more desperate, “I haven’t got a sword!”

The voice made an inarticulate noise, of fury, frustration or—possibly—command, and there was yet another colossal bang, this time sounding like a dozen or so book boxes exploding across the floor.  I whirled in the direction of the noise and saw, abysmally clearly, through the open kitchen door, past the cellar door and into the front hall, the boxes by the (closed) front door scattering like rabbits from a sighthound and a gleaming silvery thing that was definitively not the frame of my Margaret Macdonald print emerge from the shadows behind where the stack of boxes had been.  It seemed to glitter with its own light.

It looked remarkably like a sword.  “Go!” said the voice, and something again struck me from behind, although this time it was identifiable as a shove in the direction of the glittering thing.  “What am I supposed to do with a sword?” I wailed.

Grip it,” said the voice, Sid redoubled her barking—why wasn’t she paying any attention to the owner of the bullying voice?  As if she had bigger worries?—and behind me, in the direction the shove had come from, there was still another huge BANG . . . rather like, perhaps, a section of the back wall of Rose Manor disintegrating.  I plunged forward like someone falling downstairs and hadn’t quite finished losing my balance when I hit the wall next to the front door—and next to the, uh, sword.  Even more bruises.  I turned around, gasping, facing back the way I had come, and Sid was standing immediately in front of me, now barking at . . . an enormous black figure striding toward me, raising one arm holding another long silver gleaming thing that began to arc down toward us . . . no, toward my dog.

I grabbed my sword before I thought, hurled myself forward off the wall toward my opponent and interrupted the descending arc with my own blade.  Or at least that’s what I meant to be doing.  And the other blade bounced satisfactorily off mine, even though it nearly knocked me down in the process.  I threw the hand that wasn’t holding the sword up and back in an attempt to keep my balance—being right-handed, it was my left wrist I’d shoved the rose bracelet over, and when I saw the other sword swing round and come at me again much faster than I could move mine in response, I feebly brought my left arm down to protect my face. . . .

The other sword crashed into the bracelet, driving me to my knees.  The bracelet held against steel swung with intent—and erupted in a shower of sparks which pattered harmlessly, if somewhat alarmingly, off my skin, but where they struck my enemy, he screamed.  I knew he had been trying to kill me a second ago, but I still didn’t like hearing someone screaming with pain that I had (inadvertently) caused.  I screamed too, out of sheer overwhelming too-muchness.  My adversary reeled back, but finished the reel coming forward again—still, may I add, screaming, although it had mutated into more of a bellow—and raising his sword again, while I knelt there stupid with adrenaline and cluelessness.

But my black dog, invisible in the shadows, reared up from nowhere and sank her teeth in the sword arm reaching past her.  This dragged him off balance . . . at just the moment when another sword BLOOMED in the middle of his chest. . . .

And then I was really screaming, as the blood rocketed out, and he sank to his knees and then slumped to the floor.


Sunshine and Kes


It’s been a beautiful if cold late autumn/early winter day* and since you never know when the English weather is going suddenly to develop unending sleet for the next twelve weeks it seemed like a good idea to get everyone out for a Glorious Country Walk today.  Which would explain why I am shattered.   One of the rather expensive-in-other-ways aspects of no longer having a dog minder is that not only can I wedge in another Glorious Country Walk at a nonstandard time but I’m motivated to do so because with two shifts of critters seven days a week** it would be easy to go frelling nuts with only the standard local half-dozen hurtle possibilities.  I find that I’m using the poor hellterror as a kind of advance scouting party:  countryside we’ve fallen out of the habit of using in the last year, since the hellterror, and the second hurtle shift, arrived, I take her first, to look for new bad-tempered Mastiffs having moved into the neighbourhood.  Because I can pick her up.  And while you still get idiots who are brass-faced enough to tell you as their ****** dog is jumping all over you as you stand there with your critter in your arms that if you’d only put her DOWN you wouldn’t have a PROBLEM, generally speaking the owners of discourteous off-lead dogs are embarrassed if the frelling beast attacks you because you have uplifted your delicate little four-legged furry flower and are clutching her frantically you hope above drool and gnash level.***  Arrrrrrgh.

Hellhounds and I had a lovely extended hurtle out Jenny’s way and then farther into the sheepy hinterlands—you are slightly less likely to meet off-lead monsters in active sheep country.  Slightly.  I took Pav for a hurtle over a piece of ground I haven’t been to in yonks . . . and there appear to be no ill-natured Baskervilleans newly installed.  Excellent.  But it’s a longer stretch than I remembered and we were kind of each holding the other up by the time we got back to Wolfgang.  And this might explain why when I let Herself out of her crate after dinner to do her dangling-from-the-chandelier thing at the mews† she trotted around a bit, had an uncharacteristically mild go at a toy or two . . . and then came and nested . . . in EXACTLY the place I LEAST WANT HER.  I’ve been putting her long-down ‘bed’ to the other side of where I sit at the kitchen table with my computer because the side next to the bookshelves is also where all the wiring lives, the computer, the telephone, the electric fire, the glibberzinge.  And my knapsack(s) with their interesting ends of knitting yarn and lovely velvety-textural laptop sleeve and so on sticking out the tops sit leaning against the bookcase.

So that’s where she wants to curl up like a normal dog instead of a perpetual-motion hellterror and have a snooze.  Siiiiiiiigh.  She had quite fifteen more minutes of semi-structured pootling before I was going to make her long down.  And she went and frelling pre-empted me.  Here I am, with a nice quiet well-behaved dozing hellterror in the wrong place so when she woke up enough to ask for a lap, well, clearly this was the easy way out.††  Except of course that she takes up most of the space on the seat of the chair, because I need both hands free to type instead of holding a hellterror in place, and I am hanging by a thread and RATHER UNCOMFORTABLE.

It’ll keep me awake long enough to torture you a little in anticipation of tomorrow.



 Robin!! Did you HAVE to do that when I’m spending the night in a hotel room??

When I don’t sleep tonight I’m holding you responsible!

I dooooooo hope you aren’t in a hotel room tomorrow night.  Mwa hahahahahahaha.


All RIGHT then…(glancing at the swords in the hall.) NOW we know where we are…(wondering where the dagger is. Yes, that one.)

Sigh.  I do have some weaponry:  I have a fencing sabre, which . . . well, it looks like something you take fencing lessons with, rather than something you repel burglars or Yog Sothoth or invaders from other dimensions with.  And I do have a Blue Sword, I’ve told you this story, haven’t I?  How it arrived in the post LOOKING like a sword, with a tactful little label on the obviously sword-shaped parcel-wrapping saying ‘ornamental arme’?  (It was from a friend who makes swords in France.)  But I envy you being able to say ‘glancing at the swords in the hall’.  And ‘wondering where the dagger is . . .’

So how much of this, I wonder, is because Kes has refused to call her agent back (unless I missed that episode somehow while traveling or something.) Or has whatsisface the ex-husband sent trouble after her because of those rosebushes? And do hobs who are happy with their new householders ever go stick a knife in an invader’s ankle?

I am under the impression, although I have often been wrong in stories past, that Mr Wolverine is being held in abeyance for future atrocities.  And I don’t actually think Gelasio is a villain.  He’s just some dork in midlife crisis with bad taste in relationship hopping.  Although I think possibly his second wife outclasses him as much as his first one does.  We shall see.  I hope.  Oh, and the hob!  Well . . . um . . . †††


Eeep! I know you are having fun with cliffhangers, but gosh! I don’t know how I’m going to wait a whole week to find out what happens next! You really weren’t kidding yesterday.

It’s only going to get worse, you know.  I may have mentioned that it’s only going to get worse?


I wish you many more years of terrorizing your readers with cliff-hangers!

Thank you!  Thank you very much!  Heh heh heh heh heh.


I’m really hoping KES comes out in a hard-copy version for off-screen reading..

So am I.


I am now very glad that when KES is posted on the blog and I get to read it it is in daylight hours!!

Hmm.  Now that is something I hadn’t planned on.  Yo, Blogmom, is there any way to delay posting the blog in Australia till NIGHT TIME?  ‡


As for KES – where do I even begin to comment on this? The world is ending! Hoofbeats and candlelight and Sid barking (and Sid’s collar change)

Well observed.  Extra points.

and Caedmon rousing himself and Rose Manor shuddering and the driveway-rut universe descending and then… ?!?!?!?!

Yep.  Definitely ?!?!?!?!

In true hellgoddess form, that was a frelling ratbag of a cliffhanger!

Thank you!

Can’t wait til Saturday – will there be resolution? Will our heroine finally find herself irretrievably swallowed up by the alternate reality that has been shadowing her?

We-ell . . .

(I should just mention, by the way, that if Murac and all the scaries get horses, Kes better be given a magnificent, swift and sure-of-foot steed PDQ. Maybe Merry transforms into a glorious fleet-footed steed? I wonder if Caedmon will play an alternate-reality part? Protector, maybe? Although Sid seems to be covering that part pretty well…)

Hee hee hee hee hee . . .


Halfway through the week now. Only 72 hours left until KES tightens the rack on us…

::falls down laughing::  Only twenty four hours now. . . . Is that the creak of rack-screws I hear—?

* * *

* Summer is in many ways to be preferred, because in the first place there are roses, and in the second place there is A LOT MORE DAYLIGHT^.  But there is nothing like the long golden afternoon light of this time of year, especially when you are fortunate enough to be watching it lying over countryside—Hampshire’s, for example—that is pretty fabulous to begin with.

^ You will observe I have my priorities clearly in order.  Even if perhaps the latter has a critical effect on the former.+

+ Note also that latitude has a lot to do with it.  You do get more sensitive to daylight, and lack of it, as you get older, and I was still relatively (!) young when I left Maine.  But the south of England, despite the friendlier climate#, is a LOT farther north and the swings of daylight-plus to daylight-minus are extreme.  My fantasy of the castle in Scotland didn’t founder so much on the standard questions of money and so on, but on the realisation that Scotland has even less daylight in the winter.  I don’t know how people in, oh, say, Lapland, or Barrow, Alaska bear it.

# Thank you, Gulf Stream, please don’t go away

** Which is twenty-eight hurtles a week, plus tiny round-the-block/churchyard/park sprints of about another two a day . . . this does not bear thinking about.  What a good thing my arithmetic is really bad.

*** Cough cough cough.  I like to think that it is a development of trust in my goddessy abilities that appears to make Pav enjoy these confrontations.

† The mews does not have chandeliers.  I have the chandelier(s).

†† Clever little ratbags, hellterrors.

††† Mwa hahahahahahaha.

‡ No, I’m not a nice person.  You knew that.

Sixteen November revisited continued



The dress with the extreme skirt is my favourite dress in the universe . . . the ninety-seven yards of skirt on my dress

Oh, pictures please? Pretty please! Even if it has moth holes, I’d still love to see your favorite dress, especially if it has ninety-seven yards of skirt!

Why don't you come up and see me some time?

Why don’t you come up and see me some time?

I realise I should post photos of me in it and I’m sure there are some but the only one I can lay my hands on easily is a lot better of me than the dress.*  Peter won’t touch my current camera because it has too many buttons** and I am not going to race upstairs and put the dress back on the next time a non-camera-phobic friend drops round.  So this will have to do.  It’s a very very fine wool—you’d need like .00001 needles if you were knitting it—and the bodice fits snugly and then the skirt drapes and swirls from the seam, including that fabulous deep V in the front, which is what really makes it.  ALSO THE SLEEVES ARE LONG ENOUGH.

Because I am a silly person I’ve left it sitting on the sofa.  It’s very like having a friend visiting, even if she can’t take a photo of herself.  Although I’ll have to put her away soon because in this weather the indoor greenhouse’s need is greater.

Mrs Redboots

. . . but you were so busy talking about the champagne that you forgot to tell us what you ate!

Not exactly forgot.  One gets a trifle shuffly-footed about what one puts on a public blog:  menus are like holiday photos, most people groan.  I had chicken liver pate because I always have foie gras or chicken liver pate any time it’s on offer, cod with lentils, and petit pois with bacon.  And a chocolate pudding.  Peter had onion soup and swordfish—yes and red wine:  the sommelier produced something that could cope—and wilted spinach, and then he sat there drinking coffee while I ate my pudding, although he helped me with the ice cream since I shouldn’t really eat any ice cream.


. . . And that was supposed to have a paragraph suggesting that accessorizing the Doc Martens with painted roses and rhinestones might make it perfect for the dress. DUH.

I totally understood that!  No need to explain!  And I’m sure ANY regular reader of this forum ALSO understood immediately!  We’re a highly intuitive bunch!***

Diane in MN

I think it’s perfectly okay to be slow after a birthday celebration, especially one that included several glasses of champagne, which I find quite stealthy in producing its effects: a big red wine is up front about its alcohol content, but champagne seems so innocent until it isn’t. Hurtling hellhounds in heels must have had a few interesting moments.

Yes about champagne:  it’s all jolly and effervescent and it slides down so easily,† it can’t possibly hurt you.  Um.   Oh, and heavens, I changed my shoes before I took critters out—!!!

* * *

* Yes, it is from quite a few years ago.

** He’s right about this.

*** Also we’re mostly girls.  Girls make sideways leaps of topic, logic and network-iness with grace and aplomb.  Well . . . maybe not always grace and aplomb.  But we do it, and we think it’s normal.

† Especially when it’s very cold.  That was the other problem about Peter’s free glass:  you want to drink it while it’s still cold.  I won’t say I chugged two glasses of champagne on a nearly empty stomach, but they did go down pretty briskly.^

^ It’s probably just as well I didn’t get Astarte out and try to type anything.  Did I tell you we printed out, to have another look at, the beginning of GHOST WOLVES from . . . I forget, some restaurant celebration of yore.+  It foundered because we had no idea where we were going, and while Peter has written most of his books that way++ I tend to like to have some vague idea of what’s ahead, and this ridiculous attitude was holding up progress.  And I know some people collaborate easily but Peter and I each suffer from Minds of Our Own.+++  However we’ve now got a workable plot-idea, so all we have to do is . . . go out to eat a lot++++ and the typist must not have champagne.


++ I would have sworn I’d told you the story that goes with the fabulous ending of Chapter One of YELLOW ROOM CONSPIRACY but I’m not finding it from ‘search’.  Here is the fabulous ending of Chapter One of YRC:

The point is that this was the first Peter Dickinson book I read from the beginning of the beginning.  I must have told you this story . . . oh, maybe it’s back on lj.  Well, I’m not going there.  But when Peter and I decided to get married, I was in the final edit of DEERSKIN and I really REALLY wanted to get it finished before I blew up my life, and my ability to concentrate, by frelling packing everything up and frelling moving to England.  This ended up meaning that Peter lived in Blue Hill with me for about two months, and after he put up shelves and redesigned my garden# he needed something to do, so he borrowed my ancient manual portable typewriter and started YRC.  After a bit he gave me the first chapter.  I read it, gasped, and said, What happens next?

He replied:  I haven’t the least idea.

# Garden cough cough garden.  I didn’t start gardening till I moved over here and married a gardener.

+++ Yes, each of us has several minds of his/her own.

++++ Way too distracting, trying to do it over dinner at the mews.  Place is full of critters.  Also there’s a piano.  And books, some of them unread.

* * *

PS:  Yes, I know the caption is a misquote.  But it’s a misquote that has entered the language, and the original doesn’t work (say I).  And this ought to be a footnote, but I was already here in the WordPress admin window when I put the caption in, and I can’t face changing all the headings with WordPress having the screaming meemies, which it would.


Sixteen November, revisited



Mostly Peter.  The magnificent peony bag is from Nina (and contains a SPARKLY scarf).

Mostly Peter. The magnificent peony bag is from Nina (and contains a SPARKLY scarf).

The thing that amuses me is that that flowered paper on the far right appeared three times this birthday:  people seem to think they know what I like.  They would be right about this.

I was going to post birthday photos yesterday and then frelling Niall and his frelling handbells intervened.  To put my tiny triumph into perspective, by the way, tonight at tower practise one of Forza’s good ringers was telling me excitedly that she’d rung her first full peal on twelve bells.  In the tower, this is, so she was only ringing one bell, but she was standing up for three and a half hours to do it and it was some infernal surprise method—I don’t think anyone bothers to ring anything but Infernal Surprise on higher numbers of bells—so while I don’t think she rings handbells, and I did tell her about my quarter, it was still like telling someone who’s just earned a place in the Horse of the Year show that you won your walk-trot class at the local gymkhana.

Anyway.  I wanted to get my NEW WATCH back from the jewellers before I posted photos:  I needed about nineteen links taken out of the massive wristband* but I wanted the blog photo of it ON MY WRIST.

Tah dah.

Tah dah.


This is however slightly a lesson in ordering things on line.  As soon as I discovered that pink gold [plate] and rhinestones were in in wristwatches I stopped looking at anything else.  And as soon as I noticed this one had a day dial—I haven’t had a watch that told me the day of the week in decades, and I love having a watch that tells me what day it is:  us stay at home free lancers can be seriously pathetic that way**—I knew this was the one.  Also I love Roman numerals—Roman numerals and it tells me the day of the week??  And rhinestones?  Be still my heart.  I’ve never had anything half so fabulous.

And it is fabulous.  It also weighs four ounces—a quarter of a frelling pound—and is nearly half an inch thick.  I knew the face had to be big from the on line photo of everything that’s on it.  I did not know wearing it would feel like having a pendant hellterror dangling from that wrist at all times, or that I couldn’t ring [tower] bells in it because it would hook the rope.***  I feel that someone somewhere along the design line absent-mindedly added a zero on the dimensions;  and the giant-sized wristband is perfectly in keeping with the watch.  It was originally made perhaps for the Brobdingnag market, where pink and rhinestones did not go over.

But it is definitely fabulous.  And yes, those are rhinestones in the face as well as around the border:  the border ones only look pink because they’re reflecting the pink gold.

You will now see me coming any time I have my sleeves pushed up.

Oh, and my favourite silly present from a friend:

Hee hee hee hee.

Hee hee hee hee.

In case I never find that blank needlework pillow I’m still covered. †    This is one of the other things that arrived in that rose paper in the first photo. . . .††

* * *

* This was part of my running-around day yesterday.  I also did thrilling things like buy vitamins.  And puppy toys.  There’s a very high rate of attrition in the puppy toy category.^

^ Ignorant, naïve people say to me, she’s not a puppy any more, she’s a year old!  Hollow laughter.  Whippets (and perforce whippet crosses) and bull terriers are apparently notorious for being slow maturers, but are there any dogs out there who are actually ADULT at a year old?  I’ve never met one.  I’m not planning to panic about the lifestyle of the adult bull terrier for at least another nine months.+

+ There is a fifteen-month-old puppy having a swell time with a bit of disintegrating sofa cover right now.  She has however earned it:  she long downed for AN HOUR with only occasional interventions.  I can even get out of my chair to pour myself another cup of peppermint tea without her immediately bouncing to her feet to follow me.#  Usually.  ##

# Because any excuse will do.

## And having spent 90% of that hour stiff with outrage/misery/disbelief/despair, despite the comfy nest of towels at my feet and the fact that all appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, if obliged by circumstance she is quite a good sleeper . . . upon release she spent ten minutes racketing around the house like an extra-large rhinoceros in a china shop . . . and is now completely crashed out on my lap, which practically speaking is a lot less comfy than the towel nest.

**  Handbells are quite a useful way of keeping track of the passage of the days however because of the texts from Niall.

*** If I wear it for ringing handbells my left arm will become twice as large and muscular as my right.  I suppose I could swap wrists to a carefully balanced schedule.

† Whoever said I’d have trouble finding one . . . you’re right.  WHY?  There must be other people out there who’d like to choose their own Words to Live By.

†† Bratsche, I’ll post a photo of my dress TOMORROW.^

^ If I forget, nag me.


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