I’m so glad it’s short Wednesday, I’m so tired I am in grave danger of falling off my chair.*
Also, I am in shock. Which is very tiring.
***MY BANK APOLOGISED.***
FURTHER TRUMPET FLOURISHES. IN FACT AN ENTIRE CONCERTO, INVOLVING SEVERAL ORGANS WITH FIFTY THOUSAND PIPES EACH AND A FEW OF THOSE HUGE JAPANESE TAIKO DRUMS THAT FEEL LIKE YOU’RE BEING PUNCHED IN THE CHEST WHEN SOMEONE THUMPS THEM.
It’s taken my bank nearly four months and they’ve still got both my name and my address wrong BUT NEVER MIND. THEY APOLOGISED. They’ve REFUNDED the substantial number and £££ of fines they charged me and have sent me copies of all the letters they wrote to all the people whose cheques bounced—including scary, credit-rating-ruining people like my credit card companies—saying it was THEIR FAULT. NOT MINE. THEIRS. THE BANK’S. THE BANK’S FAULT.
Good news. I can USE some good news.*** And I can continue to contemplate the goodness of this news tomorrow during the three and a half hours I am due to be in dentist from R’lyeh’s torture . . . I mean, chair. † I think you had better expect tomorrow night’s blog to be short too.††
* * *
* It was a bell-ringing night, one of those nights when there were only six of us so all of us had to ring all evening. You know retired people may still have some BRAIN left by the end of the day. . . .
Also my beloved Celtic-knotwork-pattern-cover cushion is going—has gone—to pieces. There is no security in this insecure world where things wear out. I am sure I am much unsteadier in my chair in the mews kitchen with my chair cushion in SHREDS,^ whether or not I just spent an hour and a half on the end of a bell-rope.^^ And I’m totally failing to get my head around replacing it. There are gazillions of cushions out there.
^ It disintegrated all by itself, with no help from hellterrors whatsoever.
^^ One of the other ringers, whom I would have said I had never met before, stared at me for a minute and said, I know you. I rang a wedding with you at Ditherington last year. You’re the knitter.
** Pity they can’t make an itsy-bitsy further error, move the decimal place over six or seven or eight places to the right and make me wealthy.^ Then I could not only keep Third House I could build a conservatory off the sitting-room.^^ I suppose, having noticed one error, they might notice this one too. No, wait . . . I pointed their previous error out. I had to point it out. Hmm.
^ And for those helpful people telling me if I’d only write this or that book/sequel I’d immediately become wealthy . . . in the first place *&^%$£”!!!!!! and the frelling horse you frelling rode in on. In theory this blog nonsense—and the Twitter nonsense, and the Facebook nonsense, and the public email address nonsense—is so that public people can have some direct contact with their private readers/fans/supporters. And vice versa. Which seems to me to be mostly a good idea: we’re all human beings first and last. But shouldn’t there be some FAINT responsibility in that vice versa-ing, for paying attention? Which is to say HOW MANY RATBLASTED TIMES DO I HAVE TO SAY I ONLY WRITE WHAT I AM GIVEN TO WRITE? I’D BE ON SUNSHINE SEVENTEEN AND DAMAR THIRTY-TWO BY NOW IF I COULD.
And in the second place . . . SUNSHINE and Damar didn’t make me wealthy the first time. There’s no reason to think that a second or a third or twenty-seventh book would do any better. Remember that for every GAME OF THRONES there are 1,000,000,000 series that only did well enough to bully the poor sweating author to keep trying.
. . . an autographed book sale? I’m sure that the hell-hounds and -terror would cooperate to place ‘official’ pawprints.
Sure. The minute I finish the last frelling doodle from the now-ancient-history Bell Fund. Siiiiiiigh. . . .
^^ Have I mentioned that one of the knock-on effects of letting Third House is that I won’t have the little summerhouse as a greenhouse this winter? I have therefore, with Atlas’ aid, brought the grow-light to the cottage and hung it from one of the big ceiling beams in the already-small sitting room, and in cold weather we will have to have handbells at Niall’s because my sitting room will be full of PLANTS.
*** There are way too many alligators in my immediate vicinity. As the saying goes.
† On Halloween.
†† And apropos of nothing at all, any of you folk on this side of the Atlantic have experience with Lovefilm vs. Netflix?
I think the frelling rain last night left bruises—hellcritters certainly wanted me to think so—but other than that we got off pretty lightly around here. I have some seriously unhappy dahlias and a kamikaze geranium but I did NOT lose any of those huge unmovable pots I’ve got braced up in a foolhardy manner at the top of the outside half-flight to the greenhouse and the bins. I took the little pots down off their various walls and posts and wedged them all in up there between bins, water-butt and house walls (mine and Theodora’s) and they’re all fine . . . so long as I move them back again before someone stumbles up there expecting to be able to walk on the ground. Me, pre-caffeine, for example.* I also, very late last night, got out of bed and padded downstairs and out into the screaming gale in my nightgown to unhook the frelling hanging basket from the front of the house. It and I both came dripping indoors again.**
We do have some trees down and as hellhounds and I were sprinting off toward Nadia at 10:15 this morning there were several tailbacks where the road was down to a single lane: the heroic road-clearers with their electric vorpal blades had been out since dawn, but they were still at the clear-one-lane-and-get-on-to-next-total-blockage stage. Tonight the wind is still frisking around rather—making early compost out of all those autumn leaves—and the electricity is also still bleeping off and on, much to the consternation of our older technology***, and the internet did say hahahahahaha you must be joking for a while last night at the cottage. But according to the meteorologists (if you believe meteorologists) the worst is over.
I made it to Nadia’s. It has not been a good week, for singing or anything else—some of this will be brought out of the shadows, dusted down, its hands examined for stickiness, and introduced on the blog†—and I went in clutching my music with no great hopes of anything. But I . . . sang again. This is almost becoming a habit. Golly. I do feel I need to keep reminding you that we are talking relative here. On an absolute scale where Beverly Sills is a ten and the East Water Vole Debating Society’s surprise performance of CATS in which Old Deuteronomy is played by a Dalmatian dog named Spot is a one, I am somewhere between .0025 and .003, depending on the kind of day I’m having.
This is nonetheless significantly up from being an ungradeable tinny wailing from the void. I was trying to explain to Nadia that having any voice at all is disconcerting and in a weird way it feels like starting all over again because I have no control over it. Yes, she said immediately, it’s like when you change up from the 14 hand New Forest pony to the 15.3 thoroughbred. Yes. That is very like—even if it’s a thoroughbred you got cheap because nobody else wants it. It’s still 15.3 . . . which is a lot bigger than your pony . . . and it wants to work. Which brings me to the next thing I was trying to explain to Nadia: I now sort-of have a voice, which I have attained by ridiculous struggle, but here it is. And there is apparently responsibility involved. How more-than-ridiculous is that. It’s like a dog is for life and not just for Christmas: if I don’t give my voice regular exercise and attention it sits in a corner looking at me with large sad forlorn eyes. MCKINLEY. GET A GRIP.††
I still frelling go to frelling pieces as soon as I have to sing an actual song. Let’s just stay with exercises where I have a prayer of remembering everything. THERE’S TOO MUCH TO REMEMBER WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO SING A REAL SONG. And I don’t mean memorizing the lyrics, although when I do—usually inadvertently, from pounding through the poor thing so often bits of it helplessly adhere—that actually helps because it’s one less thing to have to remember consciously†††. Meanwhile you’re trying to negotiate the jungle full of things with teeth of maintaining air space and support, keeping your huge fat tongue out of the way, melody, dynamics, meaning, emotional commitment and expressiveness, twiddly bits and so on. . . .
I’m presently rather madly floundering among not one, not two but three Mozart arias, all in Italian. Well, I love Mozart, I can just about sing Italian‡, and the prospect of my ever singing Verdi even as an amateur doofus are not at all good.‡‡ And then Nadia told me I had done very well with my first German song‡ AND SHE GAVE ME A NEW ONE TO LEARN.
* * *
I hope none of you are at your best and brightest when you’re reading it and, if I’m lucky, making amusing/interesting/engaged comments on the forum.
Oh yes. I read this blog as part of my morning routine during the work week. Aka prior to caffeine ingestion. . . .
You can READ before caffeine?!? You can make your EYES FOCUS and your BRAIN TRANSLATE THOSE SQUIGGLES BEFORE CAFFEINE? I’m so impressed.
** I would probably have risked it for myself but I was having visions of a freak tornado throwing it through some neighbour’s window.
*** I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR SELF-SETTING CLOCKS. Especially when frelling Daylight Savings Time has just begun/ended less than twenty-four hours before a major power-chopping storm.
† And some of it won’t.
†† The development of some kind of singing capacity is not unlike my struggles on the end of a bell-rope. When I was a young ringing thing groping through trebling to bob doubles . . . progressing in time to the horror the horror of ringing bob doubles inside . . . the idea of ringing Stedman was beyond my capability to imagine. And that was just Stedman doubles. Stedman triples was something that only happened among superhumans.
Well. No. I ring Stedman triples. I don’t ring it very frelling well, I’d better be on the one or, if it’s a only plain course, maybe the two and I’m totally dependent on the rest of the band being SUPERB to get through a touch at all. But I do ring it. This was inconceivable to me nine years ago.
You wouldn’t want to hear me singing Voi che sapete—or Dido’s Lament or Linden Lea. But I am singing them.
††† Which is just great till I suddenly REALISE I’m singing the lyric from memory and then panic. And forget, of course. This happens regularly with Nadia. Sigh.
‡ It sure beats singing in English: all those consonants. All those diphthongs. But I haven’t given up on Linden Lea. Or The Roadside Fire or Finzi’s Fear No More. I am a sap.
‡‡ Maybe Azucena. Siiiiiiiigh. Stride la vampa is even in my Big Cheezy Book of Mezzo Opera Arias. With Voi che sapete and Dido’s Lament.
‡‡‡ Mind you it’s taken something like six months. Maybe more. I thought I never would get my head around those frelling words. And then quite suddenly it started becoming possible. I still sound about as German as a chipmunk sounds like Brigitte Fassbaender . . . but I sound a lot more German than I did six months ago, and I don’t just keep breaking down spewing gggrrrrmmmmvvvvzzzzzgrzldblgggg any more.
It’s frelling tipping it down out there—no, hurling, smashing it down. Anyone who either lives here or likes following global weather will know that the south UK is in for a hammering tonight. The weather guys are permanently twitchy since the seriously under-predicted storm of ’87 that pretty much took out the south of England* but they’re rolling out ‘worst storm since ’87’ warnings now, although maybe that’s only foolish young reporters who were still in grammar school in ’87.
The storm wasn’t supposed to start till later but I’ve just had an undesirably exciting time driving back from church** where there’s so much water on the roads in some places that you’re effectively fording, with a bow-wave higher than your bonnet/hood and the water showing a deplorable tendency to slash across your windscreen and there’s enough rain there already thank you. And you’re white-knuckling the steering wheel, which wants to sashay with all that water slamming into the wheels, and KEEPING YOUR FOOT DOWN on the ‘go’ pedal because if you get water up your tailpipe you will stall and then you are there till someone with a tow-chain rescues you, which is not a good position to be in at the beginning of a major storm.
So I’m going back to the cottage early and posting what in my case passes for early and short here before I leave because I’m expecting the internet to go belly-up any moment, and probably at the cottage first.*** Very possibly followed by the electricity. I should be able to find torches/flashlights, candles, oil lamps and matches in the dark but I am so not looking forward to trying to convince an assortment of hellcritters that these are the current conditions, and the sooner they get on with things the sooner we can all go back indoors.
I’m supposed to have my voice lesson tomorrow morning. . . .
* * *
When I moved over here in ’91 it was still practically speaking recent because you can’t regrow old gardens and forests that fast. I saw a lot of what it had done in Hampshire and Kent.^ And as the Wiki article tells you, that the meteorologists missed it has become a standard British joke.
^ And am in the process of remembering the storm itself, like I now remember the ’40s well as a result of being married to Peter. The really weird thing is that I remember the American forties.
** Having had a pretty undesirably gusty drive to ring afternoon service at Forza with Wolfgang bucketing over the road like a cold-backed horse.^
^ The ringing wasn’t much better. But for once it WASN’T ME.+ I held my line through most of my feeble repertoire of methods—there were only eight of us at full strength—while not everyone else successfully held theirs. This might be more satisfying but in the first place it’s a lot more fun to ring in a good touch than a bad touch as well as less nerve wracking since there’s always the (in my case dreadfully justified) fear of someone falling off their line dragging you with them. And in the second place you always feel crummy ringing badly for service, especially when it’s something the band ought to be able to ring, which it will be or you wouldn’t be trying to ring it for service. AND IN THE THIRD PLACE while it wasn’t my fault, I’m an erratic enough ringer that things are more likely to go wrong—and less likely to recover—when I’m on a rope. Good ringers can hold their rhythm as well as their line when other parts of the row are falling apart. I can sometimes hold my rhythm on six bells just because I’VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR NEARLY A DECADE and most of that time has been on six bells. On eight bells, forget it. If the person I’m supposed to be passing or dodging with has drifted astray all I can do is go clang and look for my next victim, and hope that I’m not now so far out that we will fail to find each other too. Sigh. One so wants to be on the side of the angels, instead of the side of the bodgers—the side that finds itself using safety pins on its hems because it doesn’t have time to find a needle and thread, the side that finds itself making chocolate apple cake because it discovered after the shops had shut that it’s a little short of both chocolate and flour but it has lots of apples . . . the side that sets out to write a short story and finds itself writing a frelling trilogy. I am a bodger through and through.
+ It wasn’t I, either. This blog tends to be pretty colloquial.
*** I am so tired of living with wiring made of pipe cleaners and chewing gum.
. . . It’s that communication problem again. . . . I thought the comment about engineering texts was funny. But I did feel dumb about my shock over the empty dish. Of course I knew the hob was there. . . .
It must have been good writing.
YES. DEFINITELY. IT WAS DEFINITELY THE GOOD WRITING. Also may I say you’re reading it in the spirit in which it was intended. If you give a story its head and let it run away with you, you will be surprised at the things the story wants you to be surprised about. It doesn’t have to be a big surprised. Just a little ‘you’re the boss’ surprised. When you close the book (or the ereader-of-choice case) you think, why was I surprised about that? Of course the villain was going to tie the hopelessly wet heroine-facsimile to the railroad tracks. And of course her dishy true love is going to arrive in time and untie her . . . and whap the villain up longside the head while she’s at it, and then order her hopelessly wet girlfriend to take those frelling self-defense classes. Of course. You’d have seen it a mile away, if you hadn’t been letting the story have its way with you. Which is a very nice thing in a reader. Just by the way.
As for ‘seventy is the new fifty,’ a cousin blithely emailed that to me. A much younger cousin. I growled back at him, via email. I’ve spent seventy years growing up. I’ve left a number of difficulties behind and collected more that I’ll never leave behind. I want to now say, “I’m 70, I can’t/don’t want to/won’t do that anymore.” Don’t tell me now I have to wait another twenty years.
YES. I COULDN’T AGREE MORE.* Granted I’m only sixty (-one) but the principle has been manifesting itself in my life for some time. I’m not crazy about the wrinkles and the horrible squidgy sagging skin—I’m especially not crazy about the skin, but I’ve had awful skin all my life**, why should it change for the better now—and the memory that makes a snapped rubber band look like the much-desired steel trap, and the stealthily accumulating assortment of aches and pains. But they absolutely beat being young and clueless and having all those frelling mistakes yet to make. Granted some people make fewer mistakes than others . . . some of us make LOTS AND LOTS MORE than others . . . but everybody makes some. And I made a few that it’s worth being thirty or forty years older to be thirty or forty years away from. And a lot of that thirty or forty years has been pretty interesting in its own right.
When I have ‘What the?’ moments, I just think, why SHOULD I expect to understand everything?
Everything? I don’t want to understand everything because then I’d be God and I have enough trouble being responsible for three hellcritters. I wouldn’t like reigning over all of creation at all. But it would be nice to understand one or two things occasionally. And I feel the labelling and signposting system could be expanded a good deal.
. . . BTW- are there publishing rules on having the same exact title as another author?
Ah yet another query about my life’s work that I can’t answer. Generally speaking, however, no. I imagine that if you named your book Qzhhgorgum because it was about a race of creatures called qzhhgorgum which you invented, you’d have some kind of copyright protection against someone else calling their book Qzhhgorgum: the Doodah, or possibly even Qzzhhgorgim: the Semi-Original, as well as the line of merchandise including the fuzzy earmuffs (qzhhgorgum have four ears) in a range of exciting decorator colours and the frying-pans with the specially adapted handles (qzhhgorgum have four fingers and four thumbs) and . . .
. . . Ahem. But—still generally speaking—you’re going to avoid, if at all possible, having the same title as somebody’s else book for all the obvious sales and marketing reasons. It happened to me once: ROSE DAUGHTER started life as ROSE COTTAGE. And then Mary Stewart came along in the same frelling year and from the same frelling publishing house. I grant you that ROSE DAUGHTER is a much better title for my book*** than ROSE COTTAGE would have been, but at the time I was not at all happy when my publisher told me I had to change it.
. . . I feel I need to stand up for linoleum. It is not anything to do with vinyl, but a wonderful floor covering made from naturally occurring substances. (The lino bit of the name is from linseed oil.)
I actually knew that about linseed oil. But I didn’t google it first, and would have said if I were asked that it was probably one of those things that originally had linseed oil in it and the name was still being used, like ‘knitting wool’ may in fact be acrylic. And I wouldn’t have been surprised if the linseed oil part was an urban myth and people who knew better fell down laughing if you said there was a floor covering with linseed oil in it.
Its trendy new name is marmoleum.
. . . And I did not know it still existed. I do know that my floor-installers got very huffy when I said lino, and insisted that theirs was the much superior . . . um, vinyl.
Vinyl is a much easier material to install and is waterproof, but all the eco credentials are with lino.
Yes. Sadly the vinyl pongs. I want to believe that you stop smelling it not because human noses aren’t very good but because it stops off-gassing SOON after it fulfils its purpose and becomes a floor.
To find out more, can I recommend the fabulous linoleum museum at Kirkcaldy. (If you are not a lino fan, it also has an amazing collection of Scottish colourist paintings.)
Okay, now I am going to fall down laughing. A small Scottish museum specialising in . . . lino and the Scottish Colourists. I wonder if there’s a B&B in the area that takes hellcritters. Several hellcritters.
But I don’t like eating in a group and I resent being forced to do so…
Ah, my mistake. I misconstrued the problem. Preferring not to eat in groups is totally a different deal than dietary requirements. I can’t say for sure how I would deal with it, since we’ve always been upfront that dinner is part of what we do and I assume that people who don’t like to eat in groups join a group that is a better fit for them. . . .
It’s the Curse of the Talking Fingers thing again I think: if we’d been speaking face to face we’d’ve had this sorted before we knew there was anything to sort. I’ve never been a happy social eater but I’ve grown worse about eating in groups as I’ve got older and have less slack for making bad guesses about food—both what’s in it and if I’ll get away with eating it. And I used to do a lot of cooking ESPECIALLY BAKING and I used to like feeding people, a select few at a time. Any more, eh, well, putting together one of my gigantic mixing-bowl-ful lunch salads takes a surprising amount of time, even after Peter washes the lettuce. Before I sound too pathetic, I miss communal food philosophically more than literally: my life abhors a vacuum at least as passionately as Mother Nature ever did, and time that I might once have filled with baking brownies tends to silt up with other activities.†
There’s another thing to keep in mind: I’m not at my best and brightest at (usually) mmph o’clock in the morning when I’m writing this thing and I hope none of you are at your best and brightest when you’re reading it and, if I’m lucky, making amusing/interesting/engaged comments on the forum. It’s a blog. It’s only a blog. So we’re all going to misstate ourselves from not being awake yet/enough or because our minds are on the funny noise upstairs/the funny noise from the dog bed/whether or not to ask the cute cop for his phone number/whether or not to ask the cute cop for her phone number/etc. It happens. I hope we’ll all live. Especially me, since odds are overwhelmingly that I screw up the most.
* * *
* Except about the good writing. I agree even more about the good writing.
** Although if anyone had ever heard of dairy allergies forty-eight years ago I might have been able to miss out both the pizza-faced stage and a lot of by-the-time-I-figured-it-out, lifetime-established digestive mayhem, and focussed on the stunning variety of rogue rashes. Yes I know I’m oversimplifying.
*** Thank you Peter
† Handbells, perhaps. It was to laugh, tonight. Gemma had brought her husband, who claims for some inexplicable reason to want to learn to ring handbells. There were FIVE of us which was pretty amazing—especially wedged into my tiny cottage sitting-room—and trying to get five people properly rung in takes a while. Niall finally had to leave in something of a hurry to go be ringing-master at the tower and didn’t have a chance to do his Diary Trick and browbeat all of us into another meeting. The four of us remaining all sat around chatting^ instead of dutifully going along to tower practise. . . . hee hee hee hee hee.
^ And eating brownies. Just by the way.
Niall so has your number.
Yep. I expect the insinuating texts to start up any minute.
The last few weeks . . . months . . . have not been splendid in every way. You hear about most of the bloggable stuff*; I assume it will not surprise you that quite a lot of screaming, throwing things and hiding under the bed happens off line and stays off line. Arrrgh. I also make periodic attempts to yank my life into something more nearly resembling order** which always involves . . . less. Less doing stuff. Less running around. Less overbooking myself because there seems to be white space in the diary.*** Less signing up for new stuff.† Less acquiring stuff.†† Less less less less less.†††
However. In the scrum of failing to become organised, things get lost.‡ I’ve barely been ringing handbells all summer. Initially I had made a laudable attempt to cut back on how much handbell ringing I did, not least because it’s seriously brain-draining and I do need to reserve a few of my easily-tapped-out brains for other purposes: earning a living, for example. But cutting back on handbells went a bit wrong. Colin kept frelling going on frelling holiday‡‡ and then Gemma kept going on holiday‡‡‡ and then, I don’t know, I lost the plot. I had some ME days, I had various eruptions like Ms OTP, my dogminder quit/fired me, and the Street Pastor training was rather involving.
And then we rang handbells for that wedding on Saturday and I was thinking, eh, handbells, and I looked in my diary and there was a small timid handbells?, with a question mark after in this week’s diary for today. Thursday is the Colin-and-Niall day: Colin and Niall who can ring anything, or at least anything I’ve ever heard of. So on Monday I texted Niall. And for some reason he thought handbells on Thursday was a good idea. And—even more amazing—Colin wasn’t on holiday.
I haven’t rung anything but frelling bob minor and some teaching-type methods in yonks and here was my opportunity. I decided I had three options: I could brush up on my St Clements, my Kent, or my Cambridge.§ I threw Cambridge out at once. It’s way the hardest, although it’s also the one I’ve spent the most time trying to learn and I was nearly there when life started happening in a handbell-unfriendly way. I was a little wistful about Cambridge but I was sure this was the right choice for starting up again.
That left St Clements, which is really only a bob minor variation§§, and Kent, which is kind of the gentle approach to Cambridge.§§§ It was going to be fine. I half-knew them both already, I just had to drag that half-knowledge out of the shadows#, dust it off, and start sticking it to its other half.
Or halves. And therein lies my TERRIBLE MISTAKE. I didn’t look at them together. I did not look at them in relation to each other—a method is a method; it doesn’t matter what some other method is—and I therefore didn’t notice that the beginnings of these two methods are as if malignly meant to confuse the living doodah-whatsit out of you. Can I explain this in a way a non-handbell-ringer will understand?## Three people ring six bells. Each row consists of all six bells ringing once each. Each bell can move only one place from one row of six to the next row of six. So if in row one you rang in thirds and fourths place, your third-place bell can ONLY ring in either second or fourths next row and your fourth-place bell can ONLY ring in either thirds or fifths. Or stay in the same place, which is also permitted.
I’m ringing the trebles, the first pair, which are the easiest pair in most ordinary methods because the no.1 bell has the easiest path through the method, so when you start ringing touches where the pattern gets messed up by the conductor’s calls, only your second bell is affected. The first bell toils on doing what it always does and never mind how explosive the other five may become.
The problem for me was the first frelling leads of Kent and St Clements are like the evil antipathetic twins of each other. Like that extremely subtle Star Trek The Original episode where these two guys really hate each other because one of them is black down the right side and white down the left and the other one is black down the left side and white down the right. Kent is a treble-bobbing method which means the treble has a different basic unaffected line through the diagram than St Clements does. And furthermore bell no.2 in both methods hangs around the front for a long time before it heads out to the back, but in St Clements its location in the row goes: 1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2 and in Kent it goes 1-1-2-2-1-1-2-2-1-1-2-2.
Okay, you have no idea what I’m talking about. Let me be succinct: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH.
By the time Colin and Niall arrived this afternoon I couldn’t ring anything.
But by the end of the afternoon I was ringing little tiny, and perhaps somewhat lumpy, TOUCHES of St Clements. We even essayed a small bit of spliced, which is where you change frelling METHODS in the middle of a touch, and we did not crash and burn, which is to say I did not crash and burn.
It was fun.
Whereupon Niall got his diary out and said, well, we can ring major [eight bells] tomorrow, because Gemma and Jillian are both available.
I can’t do tomorrow, I said.
Can we meet here again? said Niall, staring at his diary.
I told Gemma at tower practise on Wednesday that I couldn’t do this Friday, I said.
I’ll text her, said Niall. We start at 5:30, okay?
I thought about it. When I cut back on my handbells, I said I was going to ring only once a week. If I rang Thursday, I wasn’t going to ring Friday. This Friday . . . I was supposed to go to a dog show. Southdowner is still trying to convince me that it would be fun to take the hellterror to some breed classes.###
But I can’t go because I don’t have a dogminder to cosset hellhounds in my absence.
Okay, I said. Five-thirty.
Niall smiled. Evilly.
* * *
* Occasionally there’s so frelling much of it I don’t get around to all of it.
** Not very nearly resembling order. In fact not nearly at all. Just slightly resembling order.
*** Very misleading, white space in the diary.
† First Street Pastors duty night in a fortnight. Eeep.
†† Fewer hellcritters, say. Oops^.
^ And we’re not even going to discuss bookshelves.
††† More sleep would be nice however. Which is to say when I manage to be in bed with the lights out and my eyes shut I should be ASLEEP.
‡ Just had an email from Merrilee reminding me of something I’d promised for a fortnight ago. Something on deadline. AAAAAAAUGH. I don’t even remember which catastrophe derailed this, I emailed to her. I know, she replied. That’s why I’m here.
‡‡ What did he think it was, summer? What did he think he was, retired?
‡‡‡ Who did she think she is? A woman with a big family she wants to spend time with?
§ They’re METHOD NAMES, okay?
§§ You know, like the Hammerklavier Sonata is only a variation of Chopsticks.
§§§ And a partridge in a pear tree is the gentle approach to sending your true love round the twist by day twelve.
# I have a serious word-usage problem any more, with a hellhound named Darkness and a book named SHADOWS.
## Let alone care.
### Probably closely related to the fun of destroying your brain with handbells.