I HAVE JUST FRELLING ORDERED A FRELLING [YARN] SWIFT AND A FRELLING FRELLING NOSTEPINNE. Two days ago I didn’t know what a nostepinne was. I think I’ve seen the word somewhere and assumed I was too young/old and that ignorance might not be bliss but was probably better for the blood pressure and the too easily over-stimulated fantasy-writer’s imagination.* And then I brought up the yarn bowl question on Twitter the other night and someone else started talking about her nostepinne and I’m like whoa, are you sure you want to discuss this in public? **
Diane in MN
Does anyone out there have any useful guidelines for when you cut your losses and frog again and when you soldier on
A glance around my house would reveal that I can tolerate a lot of imperfection in some areas, but I HATE visible mistakes in my knitting and will rip (or tink, if I catch any soon enough) back to get rid of them. More than once, if necessary and if the yarn will take it, if I like the project.
I don’t think I’m a perfectionist about anything any more***. Spending a lot of time and effort at something you’re essentially pretty awful at—let’s say bell ringing—will do that to a person.† But I agree about actual errors. Part One of this particular project has only one really gruesome error which I think would disappear when I got to the seaming-up stage, supposing I got that far—and I left it in because I had NO idea what I had done and therefore no idea how to undo it. But especially on something that is, for me, relatively small-gauge, which is to say 4 mm needles [US size 6], and a non-stretchy yarn, which is this cotton-bamboo stuff I’ve made several baby bibs in and I like it but it’s not very forgiving, the—ahem!—slight variability of my stitch-making starts to show up over time and distance. I ripped out my first couple of bibs once each, but they ended up not too embarrassing.†† This New Secret Project is bigger and . . . well. So I’ve got to the end of Part One and put the wretched thing on a stitch holder—it’s getting so that every time I order yarn††† I automatically order another pair or packet of stitch holders‡—rolled it up and put it aside. I’ll think about it later.
Which leaves me with only ::urglemmph:: other unfinished projects and therefore of course I need to start something NEW!!!!
Which is going to be Manos del Doohickey—I’ve left the tag back at the cottage‡‡—and it’s mostly silk with some wool so it’s NOT VERY STRETCHY again, uh-oh‡‡‡, but I want to make myself a LARGE SQUARE (SOMEWHAT) WOOLLY SCARF. Because I’m tired of how difficult it is to find Large Square Wool Scarves. And the reason this is the particular New Project that leaped to mind—despite the small-gauge-unstretchy thing—is because it will be ACRES AND ACRES OF MINDLESS GARTER STITCH YAAAAAAAAAY. I’m always amused at these high-falutin’ knitters on Ravelry going on about how this or that pattern is too boring because there’s too much garter/stockinette/ribbing. I LOVE GARTER/STOCKINETTE/RIBBING. I tend to knit to calm down. I don’t want to have to think! I don’t want to have to memorize a frelling pattern! I don’t want to figure out why my sleeve-shaping decreases look like tiny stairs rather than a nice smooth line like in the frelling photos! I just want to keep looping the yarn around the needles!!!
But first I need to wind these wretched hanks into something I can use. . . .
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* I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I nostepinne in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.
Not all of Monty Python is totally deathless and mesmerising, in my cranky^ opinion, but I would have trampled a few grandmothers to have written that particular piece of dialogue. Although some of my attitude problem may be due to having a few issues with Monty Python. For some reason. I mean, it could have been Sir Rupert. For example.
Minstrel: [singing] Brave Sir Robin ran away…
Sir Robin: *No!*
Minstrel: [singing] bravely ran away away…
Sir Robin: *I didn’t!*
Minstrel: [singing] When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled.
Sir Robin: *I never did!*
Minstrel: [singing] Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about, and valiantly, he chickened out.
Sir Robin: *Oh, you liars!*
Minstrel: [singing] Bravely taking to his feet, he beat a very brave retreat. A brave retreat by brave Sir Robin.
^ And easily grossed out. Just by the way.
*** Although I still want my socks to match what I’m wearing, even if nobody but me is going to see them. Or nobody but me, Peter and the hellcritters none of whom care. I care.
† Circumstances are not helpful. Last Wednesday due to the very mixed assortment of ringers who turned up for practise I rang ONCE. ONCE. I got a lot of knitting done. Speaking of knitting. On Sunday afternoon there were eight of us. Which meant we all had to ring all of the time. Which since most of us were the weak end was a trifle challenging for the ringing master and I was somewhat drily amused to note that I was being relied on to hold it together in a way that I would not have been if he’d had any choice. You know I would get to holding-it-together better sooner if I got more practise time in. Sigh.
†† And I finally asked one of the recipients if the thing, you know, WORKED? Because babies keep getting born, in the alarmingly incessant way of babies, and bibs are something I can, apparently, do. Yes, he said. It’s very chewable, and it goes through the washing machine fine.
††† Not that this would be often or anything
‡ And another frelling tape measure. What do I DO with tape measures?!? Is there a Tape Measure Planet like there is an Odd Sock Planet?
‡‡ Oh please. What is Google, chopped liver?
‡‡‡ McKinley, not that we expect you to be relentlessly intelligent or anything, but the two most outstanding unfinished projects^—which is to say well enough started to count as ‘unfinished’, which are First Cardi and First Pullover, are NICE REASONABLY LARGE GAUGE STRETCHY FORGIVING WOOL, you meatloaf, why don’t you go FINISH ONE OF THEM?^^
^ Plus legwarmers. I think I’m on my fifth pair. You know this weather may be my fault. It’s the middle of May, WE MAY HAVE AN OVERNIGHT FROST LATER THIS WEEK+, and I’m knitting legwarmers.
+ And I am not going to dig up my petunias/begonias/gladiolas/dahlias/osteospermums, so I hope they FRELLING COPE. Maybe I could lay some legwarmers over them.
^^ And the current not-given-up-on-yet Secret Project is also mostly wool.
I am beginning to feel—irritably—that I am forgetting what it feels like not to feel shattered. I did go to my Bowen lady today* which always whacks me out and then went to Fustian open practise tonight siiiiiiiiiiigh. The problem with going even to the dummies add-on practise at Fustian—their real practise is about as far over my head as I am over Pav’s**—is that even the dummy advice is to a level and precision that I only aspire to when I imagine being someone else with a good sense of rhythm and fewer nerves. Arrrrgh. I was also the only beginner there tonight—which is another aspect of the problem—I am not a beginner—but compared to everyone else at Fustian I am. I’m not sure this isn’t more demoralising than inspiring—why am I BOTHERING??—and then just to finish the job of deciding that I’m going to devote myself single-mindedly to knitting for the rest of my life I made a complete compound hodgepodge botch of poor old Grandsire Triples which I should have developed some kind of auto-pilot for by now, for those days when you’ve recently been to your Bowen lady and are still feeling a trifle rubbery and glutinous about the brain cells. ARRRRRGH.*** Nobody threw me out of the tower window or laughed nastily or anything, and they still let me ring a touch—a touch!—of Stedman Triples† and a plain course of Cambridge Minor, neither of which I did perfectly but I didn’t do too badly either so I didn’t have to rush out to the car park afterward and order Wolfgang to run over me, in the absence of a sword to fall on. They’re even going to continue to let me come back. And I got some knitting done while they rang spliced Demmelhemmeldrigglefarthing Doodah.
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* We. We went. I hurtle critters while Peter is on the table and then Peter gets tea while Tabitha goes after me.^ Just because he’s eighty-five years old he gets tea! And biscuits! However I’ve made the system work. Tabitha usually gives him two biscuits—beautiful crisp chewy homemade biscuits!—and he only wants one. I nail the second biscuit. Well, I need the strength to drive home, right? After all the hurtling and everything.
^ And critters, strenuously hurtled, flop in the car. I now feel guilty every month for pleating Pav up in that too-small travelling crate for that hour I’m on Tabitha’s table but she actually does curl up in it without looking like Alice after she follows the instructions on the cake to Eat Me. Although, speaking of eating, as long as there is foooooood involved, I’m pretty sure the hellterror would figure out a way to fold herself up like a handkerchief in a pocket, and she goes eagerly into that mingy crate in pursuit of the kibble I have thoughtfully thrown into the back—even if I have to kind of wedge the gate shut behind her.
Did I tell you she’s smaller than Southdowner’s two? They initially looked HUGE to me, but that may just be the effect of the Delighted Bullie’s Response to Getting Out of the Car—Pav tends to get larger under these circumstances also—and they can’t be that much bigger because I managed to lift each of them in turn+ and they are less svelte than Pav. Anyway. I think it is really very sweet and cooperative of Pav to stay small enough to fit in that thrice-blasted piece-of-junk crate—because it’s the biggest that will fit in the space available. Meanwhile she seems to be coming back out of her heat without having ever quite fully gone into it, which means I should probably re-experiment with the fasten-your-critter-to-the-seatbelt harness, except that that will be the moment when her hormones do a u-turn and she PLUNGES into her proper season . . . and there could be Terrible Things Done in the back seat before I frantically pull over to the side of the road and break it up.
Besides, she still chews on any harness I put on her. One of the reasons she’s still wearing her nasty little nylon collar is that she chews harnesses because she can reach them. She’ll shift over to a harness as soon as she either (a) sits quietly to have the beastly thing fastened on or (b) doesn’t CHEW the sucker. Southdowner was expressing the professional dog trainer and behaviourist’s horror at my admission that I allow Pav to take me for a walk occasionally by a pant leg.++ And I daresay I should be obliging her to sit quietly to have a harness put on (and taken off). But . . . puppies do calm down. Well, sort of. But the hellhounds used to eat pant legs and do airs above the ground while their harnesses were put on. They grew out of it. Choose your battles, I say, not being a professional dog trainer or behaviourist, and contain the battles you aren’t engaging with at the moment. I can live with slightly gnawed pant legs and a nasty little nylon collar for the fact that she lets me pry her jaws open. And I’m not doing everything wrong: she checks back pretty often when we’re out, and Southdowner says that checking back is not a big bullie trait. As I keep saying, Pavlova isn’t a bullie really, she just looks like one. . . .
+ It was DARK and I couldn’t SEE PROPERLY beyond that there was a very happy out-of-the-car bullie somewhere in my immediate vicinity and lifting seemed the better choice than falling down, even if it was rather like clutching the Large Hadron Collider only with legs and fur. Both Fruitcake and Scone are white which does make them glow in the dark rather#, but that only adds to the effect of size and several dozen titanium-piston legs and tails.
# Probably something to do with Particle Acceleration
++ There are disadvantages to a public blog. But I knew that.
** Farther. She boings quite a ways, straight up, on those steel-spring hind legs.^
^ And the hellhounds don’t even have to try. They can jump over me. Standing up. Ask me how I know this. I have the scars that are the result of lack of faith.
*** In hindsight I do kind of know why. I haven’t rung there in some time due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unnerved by being the only beginner and I was on the wrong bell. Still. The bottom line is still that I’m a moron.
† It’s a bit depressing ringing with a band who rings Stedman frelling Triples as an indulgence to the feeble. At a normal tower ringing Stedman (frelling) Triples is mostly kind of a big deal.
I don’t think I told you I was ringing three services today? Feh. But I tend to feel that if people want bells they should have bells and it’s Palm Sunday. Especially they should have bells on Palm Sunday.* So when Amy phoned me on Friday and asked if I could ring a service Sunday afternoon at St Obdurate in Gentle Dribbling I thought about how, with two service rings plus a bell-free church service, my Sundays are a bit of a wipe anyway, and said okay.
Today started with me having set my alarm wrong leaving me with twenty minutes instead of forty-five to get my rope-pulling hands to the tower YAAAAAAARG and so of course this is the morning that Pavlova would rather shadow-box with the rose-bushes** than crap. I therefore got to the New Arcadia tower five minutes late, direly undercaffeinated, and only about one-third awake. And went wrong in Grandsire Doubles which is usually one of the methods I have a reasonably good Sunday-morning-brain automatic pilot for SIIIIIIIGH.***
I went home and drank a lot of tea. And gave everybody a good hurtle because the afternoon was a trifle overbooked. And the Easter Bunny had brought me an early present: the hellhounds ate lunch. YAAAAAAY. So I got off to the abbey in both plenty of time and with a song in my heart.†
Where we were five. FIVE. It’s the abbey, it’s Palm Sunday, we have four hundred and ninety-two bells and FIVE ringers? At least I had a chance to redeem myself by ringing Grandsire Doubles . . . and without a tenor-behind, what’s more. ††
Gemma and I managed to lose an hour over a cup of tea††† and I came PELTING back to the mews to whizz first hellhounds and then hellterror around block-facsimiles for the purpose of eliminatory relief—but the weather is SO SUCKY that I don’t think anybody minded. Then I leaped back into Wolfgang and drove off in all directions for Gentle Dribbling.
To my complete astonishment Amy’s very simple directions were adequate. I feel that your average directions-giver fails to take into account when, for example, they say ‘next left after the rhinoceros’ there is that ancient aurochs trail that no one has used in thousands of years between the rhinoceros and the road you’re supposed to take, which a very determined person in a very old car that has seen worse and has the scars to prove it, could force herself down. But in this case both Gentle Dribbling and St Obdurate were right where they should be. And the bells were not possessed by demons so even on an insufficiency of sleep and getting on toward the end of a rather long day I didn’t do anything that might make the wrong sort of history. . . .
And I joined St Margaret’s tonight. Officially. The vicar was holding forth in a businesslike way when I burst through the doors—late as usual. Lotte said oh, don’t worry, he’s just talking about voting for the council‡ but you have to be a member. She looked at me thoughtfully and said, you’ve been coming six months, haven’t you? You’d be eligible to join, if you wanted to. But you need to fill out a form.
I filled out the form. And the vicar snatched it away from me and said Welcome. We’re glad to have you.
I belong to a church. Yeep.
* * *
* Or Easter Sunday, or Christmas, or their wedding day, or whatever. Occasions that happen anywhere near a bell tower should have bells. If anyone is asking me, which anyone rarely does, I would say that includes the town fete, school graduation and the local something or other team winning its first game in twenty years. Of course I also think that the town council should subsidize us, so . . .
** Which are leafing out, poor blind fools. MAY I JUST REITERATE HOW MUCH I HATE THIS HARD FRINGLEFRANGLING FROST EVERY NIGHT AND EVERY DAY NOT MUCH BETTER WEATHER. I was tweeting furiously about this yesterday. My twenty-three thousand sweet pea seedlings arrived in the post this week . . . and it’s too cold to put them outdoors during the day, never mind needing to bring them in overnight, nor do I have anywhere to put them indoors, let alone somewhere to put them where they can get enough sunlight not to turn ashen and die. I think I’ve only lost a couple of my begonia tubers—from having brought them in at midnight instead of at sunset about a week ago—and they’ll put up with staying indoors in the dark for longer, but they won’t start growing till they get some sunlight and warmth, and in my experience they’re a little slow off the mark anyway^ and therefore the spectre of having them finally in full flower just in time for the first autumn frosts manifests like a snow-fog vision. ARRRRGH.^^
^ Unlike, say, dahlia cuttings, which grow like crazy. If my dahlia cuttings arrive before the weather changes I am so screwed.
^^ I had only barely taken on gardening as a practical concept that last summer I was in Maine, when Peter came to visit the end of July and drastically altered my view of the future. But I do remember that the ordinary backyard gardener didn’t buy begonia tubers, you bought plants already in full leaf and just coming into flower.
*** Very slightly in my defense, I yanked myself back on my line again. Good ringers can do this so fast the rest of the band doesn’t even notice. This did not occur in this case.
† Possibly I Wanna Be Your Dog
†† It’s perhaps a good thing that I was the one who caught the Dreaded Long Thirds when our conductor called a single. The thing about abbey ringers is that they are CLUELESS about methods on fewer than seventy-eight bells. I, on the other hand, am much more likely to get through a touch on five or six bells without humiliating myself. I did say to Gemma on the way out that it amused me, in a dry sort of way, to be telling someone—ie her—who can ring frelling Grandsire Caters (nine bells with tenor-behind) how to ring plain bob doubles (five bells with tenor-behind and usually the first method you learn to ring).
††† I am short of sleep, time is the evil empire anyway, and I FORGOT I had a third ring . . .
‡ Do I mean council? I can’t remember the word she used. Church admin.
. . . Is it still up? Is it still up? Rats. I guess I have to write a post. It’s been really epic. Last night when it first fell off the air I thought oh pfffffbt. When it stayed fallen off the air I assumed it was frelling gremlins my end, because it usually is, either this blasted laptop is having the vapours again or my connection has . . . vaporized. EVENTUALLY, after a certain amount of language and banging and stamping and the hurling of old newspapers across the room* I bethought me of a link Blogmom had sent me a while ago that will tell you if your blog is working. It ruminated briefly and then came up with YOUR BLOG IS BROKEN.
And it stayed broken. I don’t know what fabulous adventures were going on at the doohickey admin but it has to have been at least an alien invasion.*** It was dead air for several hours last night and then Blogmom tag-teamed me till she went to bed† and I picked up again in the morning, when it was still playing hide and seek with standard consensual reality.
Tonight was a little blurry in the three dimensions for a different category of reasons. I had a friend preaching at St Radegund, who assured me the service would be over in plenty of time for me to pelt on to St Margaret’s in my I-think-it-probably-counts-as-habitual by now way. No. Wrong. I’d managed to arrive late†† which meant I was tucked away at the back . . . which was a good thing when at five minutes after I had to leave to arrive late at St Margaret’s THEY WEREN’T ANYWHERE NEAR THE END. My leather jacket and I tried not to creak on our hasty way out. . . .
The three-dimensional blur, however, was in the contrast between the two services. Evening services at both churches tend to be the informal end, with audience participation from people ineligible for dog collars, and, sadly, they both indulge in the fashion for icky soggy modern Christian song rather than real music. St Radegund, however, is polite, thoughtful, reserved and grown-up. I walked††† into the Youth Group service at St Margaret’s where about twenty striplings were up on the stage with a bank of rotating coloured spotlights and a particularly loud drum kit. YAAAAAAAH.‡ As Aloysius said several months ago, one of the strengths of the Anglican church is that it holds great variety. . . .
* * *
* A folded-up weekend newspaper is a very good object for the venting of extreme feelings. As long as you aim carefully so you aren’t taking anything with it, it makes a very satisfying THUD on the opposite wall and does neither itself nor the wall any harm. REASONS TO KEEP HARD COPY AVAILABLE. I don’t think an iPad even in its protective shell is going to like being thrown across the room against the wall very often.
** I had assumed that my connection had some excuse for megrims last night because we’d been having spectacular weather—not only hellhound-pummelling rain^ but thunder, lighting and hail^^. It was sheeting when Peter was due to go to his bridge club, so I drove him over there and on the way back watched the sky lighting up with a display that Frankenstein could have animated a whole regiment of monsters off. So, I thought, am I going to make a bolt for the monks even in this? YES. NEXT SILLY QUESTION. I wouldn’t have thought you could hear anything through the monks’ chapel walls except (possibly) the Last Trump, but toward the end of the service there was the most unholy racket, apparently of a small lake being dumped over the chapel roof, and I had a bow-wave most of the way home. It did occur to me to wonder if critters would care if the lights went out . . . but if either lights went out or critters cared, it was all over by the time I got back. But I was not really surprised to begin with that the blog wouldn’t connect. It seemed almost more surprising that everything else would.#
^ Pav gets a little flat-eared and oppressed-looking by the time the floodwater is brushing her belly, but she’s generally willing to take the weather as it comes, and I don’t think she recognises pummelling, by rain, hellhounds, or anything else. Hellhounds, on the other hand, in wet weather are already going into their tragic postures while I’m still locking the door and we haven’t got down the stairs to ground level yet. And poor Pav doesn’t even have a raincoat—she has a hand-me-down waterproof fleece from a hellhound puppy but that’s only for serious penguin weather—I’m waiting for her to STOP GROWING.
^^ Among my least favourite memories of the old house is having the garden in full summer hurrah torn to shreds by a hailstorm. This didn’t happen often, but it happened a few times in the thirteen years I lived there—once, even more anti-memorably, less than week before an open day.
*** @robinmckinley also tweeted: AM TOTALLY W THIS SUGGESTION @Ladykuro Mayb it’s battling monsters frm another world, mayb hv guest blogs frm Other World when it gets back
# Wall? Garden wall? What about it? Oh, the gigantic hole? That’s been there forever. We hired someone to rebuild it, but we haven’t seen him around for a while. We think he drowned.
† Hey. I go to bed early Saturday nights. Because I am naturally perverse . . . no, no, because I seem to have re- or de-morphed back into a regular New Arcadia Sunday morning service ringer. I couldn’t stand the combination of Niall’s accusatory stare over handbells and listening to four or five bells ringing on Sunday morning. Funny how penetrating the sound is even through several pillows. I’m still an official member of the abbey band^ —as well as officially persona non grata with the New Arcadia admin, as evidenced by the fact that they rang seven out of their eight bells for the wedding yesterday.
^ The equally accusing stares of the ladies in the portraits overseeing the abbey AGM are still vivid in my memory
†† Due to complications arising from having too many hellcritters
††† Or rather tore, nearly a quarter hour late
‡ The sermon, by the way, by one of the teenagers who comes regularly to that evening service, was brilliant.^ She will probably invent practical faster-than-light travel in a few years.
^ With the exception of the clip from CARS that was showed on screen as an alternative approach to the concept of win/lose. You all know CARS? You all know how it ends? . BLEEEAAAUGGGH. But I am an evil-tempered cow. We knew that.
It’s southern England in the middle of March and it’s snowing. And the wind chill factor is something like minus eight hundred and twelve.* What’s the opposite of a meltdown? I’m having one. I am not willing to PUT UP WITH THIS WEATHER in the south of England in the middle of MARCH.** My crocuses, daffs, hyacinths and hellebores have SNOW on them. And the wind? Not only does it try to push your teeth down your throat should you be so injudicious as to open your mouth—in shock—to breathe, it makes Wolfgang rock on his (elderly) suspension as we speed toward Sorgumlea and Nadia and it lifted one of the Wall Man’s neatly stacked bricks and threw it at my greenhouse—crash! Bricks are heavy, you know? And their glide ratio is not good. But a brick still levitated off the pile, flew up into the air and whanged down on my greenhouse.
The Wall Man hasn’t been here in about four days—it’s been raining till it started snowing. So not only is our wall not being finished, but the WIND comes through the gap into my garden galloping like a jousting knight—GET OUT OF THE WAAAAAAAY. Pavlova was nearly tossed over the opposite wall onto Phineas’ lawn.***
Generally speaking however Pav doesn’t care. The hellhounds care. Make it stop or we’ll stop eating (again). I also hate picking up crap in this weather: you have to take your gloves off. For most of your average [sic] English winter fingerless gloves, especially the kind with the little fold-over mitten end, are perfectly adequate. I suppose if the evil aspect of winter is going to hang around more I will be forced to learn to adapt to picking up crap with my gloves on.† I took Pav with me today—now that the daylight is getting loonger†† in the afternoons again there’s a perfectly good hurtling opportunity post-voice-lesson before we return to familiar territory—and since as we know she only ever craps at home and when ordered to do so by the hellgoddess, the taking off of gloves was not going to be a problem. But it was so COOOLD that she managed to hucklebutt the end of the lead right out of my numbed fingers—she’s mostly figured out how long her (extending) lead is, just as the hellhounds did at her age, and watching her hucklebutt in a tight zigzag pattern is better entertainment than most West End plays. But she misjudges occasionally. Today when she got to the end the handle just rattled straight out of my failing-to-close non-grip. Oops. Loose frelling hellterror in the middle of vast edge-of-town park and sports and playground area with lots of lovely people and other dogs to meet. Hey, Pav, I said casually. She looked at me. Pav, come, I said, and knelt, which is one of those cheating-but-whatever-WORKS recall tricks—and she came to me instantly. Noble Pav. Fabulous Pav.†††
I finally made it to Colin’s Monday tower practise tonight too—I was thinking that in the last few weeks I’ve had a sick car, a sick husband, a sick dog‡ and a sick me. It’s not surprising my life is even more ramshackle than usual. But Nadia had dragged me through the first two pages of Vedrai, carino‡‡ and then offered me my first Schubert.‡‡ ::Beams:: This because I wanted to sing something cheerful, and this is one of those spring-it’s-spring-la-la-la-la songs even if it’s called FRUHLINGSGLAUBE for pity’s sake and is (duh) in German. So I was feeling all chirpy and upbeat and it isn’t snowing hard, the roads are clear. Although the South Desuetude tower has to be the coldest place on earth, if I hadn’t gone Niall would have kidnapped me off to Old Eden and those cranky bells in this rotten weather? Nooooooo.
Maybe if I sing FRUHLINGSGLAUBE with feeling it’ll bring the season on a little—?
* * *
*Fahrenheit, Celsius, Kelvin or Icicledoolally, I don’t care. Cold. Very frelling COLD.
** Cue every (old) person who has ever lived in southern England telling me about ice-skating every winter in the 60s. I don’t care. It’s not the 60s any more.^
^ For which I am very grateful. I did not enjoy being a teenager. At all. You know that so-called joke about locking kids up when they turn 13 and letting them out again when they turn 20, so that parents, other authority figures and random adults are spared the whole teenage thing? Sounds good to me. As the kid. I’d have been great locked up for six years as long as there were sufficient supplies of books, chocolate, a piano, what in those days would have been a ‘stereo system’, a (large) sketchpad, a dog or dogs at my feet and a (walled) field out back with two or three horses in it (horses are herd animals: you should have more than one).+ I’m getting all wistful just thinking about it.
+ I didn’t discover gardening till I married Peter and bell ringing requires other people.#
# And maybe someone could have taught me to knit when I was 12. So books, chocolate, yarn . . .
*** This probably has not improved her attitude toward the whole having-a-crap thing.
† I was younger when I still lived in Maine.
††† It’s always something. With the hellhounds, when they were insane puppies and I wasn’t sure of their recall, when they occasionally got away from me I freaked because they are so fast. I am not joking that they can have disappeared before I’ve finished shouting their names. Fortunately they never have,^ but they could. With Pav, my number-one fear is becoming that she is a dangerous bull terrier with dangerous bull-terrier fighting DNA^^ and people are STUPID. I realise that the Language of Dog is pretty much as complex as any other language but I feel that anyone who lives in an area that has pet dogs—which would be pretty much everywhere in England—ought to frelling recognise the wagging tail, flat ears and belly-creep of the (over) friendly hellcritter, whatever the shape of its profile.
^ knocking on wood here
^^ In terms of bull-terrier jaw DNA, by the time she’s grown I’m not going to be able to pry her mouth open any more. Hellhounds I still can—but they aren’t big clampers anyway, aside from not being wired to grab something and not let go. I am hoping by the time she’s grown I will have less need to pry her mouth open. Today I saw her go for something, and I could see by the way she was holding her mouth closed there was something in there . . . a broken-off chicken thighbone GEEZUM GEEZUM GEEZUM that could have killed her if she’d chewed it up and swallowed it—oh yes, she chews her trophies. I’m having to learn that too—hellhounds mostly just carry their treasures around—Pav, with that bull-terrier jaw, will chew up heavy plastic, for example, which SPLINTERS. Whimper. I will have to ask Olivia or Southdowner what you do when you have to get something out of your puppy’s mouth after she starts biting steel girders in half. Small pocket-sized titanium-alloy crowbar?
‡ And then frelling Chaos decided to stop eating too because the fact that Darkness wasn’t eating was making him nervous.
‡‡ Zerlina, in DON GIOVANNI. Mmmmm Mozart.
‡‡‡ Not quite my first Schubert. Blondel tried to give me the ratblasted Lotus Flower but I hated the lyrics so much I couldn’t engage, even with the protective colouration of the terrifyingly unpronounceable German.