I can’t remember if I told the blog that I’d been blowing off my mouth to Aloysius six weeks or so ago, after the gratuitous extra-fancy swearing-in of my intake of Street Pastors last January, with the forty-seven bishops and a miracle or two*, and which Aloysius and Alfrick had attended. Given the forty-seven bishops and various other bits of high-churchery I was startled by the music, which was the Modern Christian Whatsit we sing at St Margaret’s and which drives me to despair.**
But I sang it, because singing is better than not singing. And what I noticed—and what I imprudently said to Aloysius—is that while it used to be that when I was in a mob and wanted to feel that I was contributing, I dropped down to chest voice and BELLOWED . . . now, after getting on for three years of Nadia’s elegant mercilessness, I make just as much noise in head voice and I suspect it’s more penetrating.*** And Aloysius responded promptly that if I ever felt like singing with the band† I would be more than welcome.
Hmmmmmm . . .
It had occurred to me some time ago that the only way I could, you know, validly try to have some effect on the music at St Margaret’s evening service is to become one of the people who produce it. So I didn’t laugh like a drain or whap Aloysius up longside the head. Or run away. I said, Ah. Er. What an interesting idea.
And he said, If you want to give it a shot, I suggest you try it the next time I’m in charge.
Okay, I said.
. . . Which was last night. AAAAAAAAAUGH.
Where do I BEGIN? For example . . . they don’t even much have sheet music. It doesn’t actually seem to exist for a lot of this Modern Christian doodah?? It is no longer assumed that makers of music can, and might possibly want to, read the line they’re supposed to be performing? Or possibly take it home and nervously pick it out on the piano first? What? And at St Margaret’s, for example, the regular keyboardist†† doesn’t read music—he plays by frelling ear.††† Buckminster doesn’t read music either—he has a chord sheet, as does the church office guru who I think usually plays bass. There’s a rota, and Samantha, who is a volunteer,‡ organizes folders of music for all the regulars, in whatever form the recipient of the folder prefers—so Aloysius gets sheet music (when it’s available) and Buckminster gets chord sheets. Ugly, I think, just gets a playlist and maybe lyric sheets, although the lyrics are also computer-projected on the walls. Samantha was a trifle startled by my vehemence on the subject of sheet music. . . .
Apparently you only get your playlist a few days before you go on. GORBLIMEY GUYS. THIS IS HARD ON A NEWBIE. Aloysius emailed ours out on Thursday in the form of a title list and some YouTube links . . . and there went any possibility of my practising Italian art songs or German lieder for the rest of the week, while I got a lot of knitting done listening, relistening, and re-re-relistening to YouTube, whilst simultaneously moaning and chewing on the furniture.‡‡ St Margaret’s spends quite a lot of the evening service singing, so there were a lot of YouTube links. Long YouTube links. Fortunately about three of the songs are half familiar from regular evening-service use but the one that I’d never heard before in my in-hindsight-privileged ‡‡‡ life also had the worst performance, the one that made me want to stick my knitting needles through my monitor.§ The lead singer was having oral sex with her microphone, the massed electronic instrumentation was making drooly Technicolor-sunset noises which made me feel I was being hammered to death with fluffy bunnies and there was some escapee from the Swan Lake chorus line gambolling at the front of the stage WHAT IS THIS. ALSO, WHY. —I failed to learn this one. I failed to go on trying to learn this one because I don’t really want to buy a new laptop just now.
But I put my time in on the others. God help me, God, you got me into this. And I’m supposed to trust in him, right? Old habits die hard. Because I am a hopeless wet dweeb I didn’t sleep very well Saturday night because I was going to have to sing from the wrong side of the microphone the next evening. And . . .
TO BE CONTINUED.§§
* * *
* I could have sworn I had, because I remember remarking on the plentifulness of bishops, but I can’t find it in the archive. It’s probably in a footnote somewhere.
** Alfrick, given the setting, hadn’t been expecting it either, and commented drily that it was out of his comfort zone. I thought of the antiphonal chanting—and the little square tail-free notes of the music—at the abbey and tried not to laugh. Or possibly cry.
*** I do not say this is a good thing. I merely make note of it.
† Sic. It’s not a choir; the instrumentalists usually outnumber the singers, and said instrumentalists include the vicar on guitar or bass, the curate on guitar—he’s got more than one guitar, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play bass, but he has at least once played ukulele—and various admin and ordinary congregation members on electric keyboard, drums and the occasional woodwind.
Sigh . . .
†† Who I’m about to name Ugly, because he doesn’t approve of singers—and we are, furthermore, not singers but mere backing singers—and has declared that there are never to be more than three of us cluttering up the stage. THREE? THREE? That is nowhere near enough bodies to hide among when you’re one of them. I had noticed that there weren’t very many, week to week, but I hadn’t caught on that there were EVER only three. I’m going to start putting peanut butter on the keyboard when I know Ugly is playing. Hmmph.
††† Another reason to LOATHE HIM, just by the way.^
^ No it does not count that he probably doesn’t have a clue how to write a novel. Or that he’s kind to his mother, has adopted six stray dogs and has solar panelling all over his roof.
‡ The kind of volunteer without whom a lot of things like churches and underfunded charities would not be able to function: dedicated, competent, intelligent, and mad.
‡‡ Not the knitting needles. Never the knitting needles. TOOTHMARKS ON MY PRECIOUS ASH AND ROSEWOOD KNITTING NEEDLES? ARE YOU KIDDING?^
^ I might chew on bamboo needles if I were desperate. Fortunately the current project is on ash, because Hey God You’re My Bestest Bud, which I describe below, might have driven me to intemperate behaviour with bamboo.
‡‡‡ Ignorance is bliss.
§ Which would be one way of deciding it was time for a new laptop.
§§ Sorry. I have to go to bed. Raphael is coming tomorrow to discuss why Outlook occasionally decides to send a crucial email to perdition instead of to me^ and various other variations on a theme of technological havoc and I may be looking at a new laptop after all. I need to be well rested for the conflict.
^ Maybe the hellgoddess shtick confuses its tiny solid state unmind?
The expert bozos and the news-dispensing people are already saying that even if it stops raining we’re going to have excess-of-water troubles, including some increased flooding, for the next few weeks and possibly the next few months, because of saturation and groundwater levels and so on. And it hasn’t stopped raining. It rained yesterday. It rained today. It’s raining now.
According to the five-day it’s going to rain every day this week. It’s (maybe) going to rain less on Wednesday . . . but it’s still going to rain. ‘Sometimes heavy. Sometimes with thunder.’ Sometimes with three hellcritters linking arms/legs and bracing themselves against whatever is available* and thus preventing the hellgoddess from dragging any of them outdoors for a hurtle.**
It’s been sucky recently for other meteorologically inaugurated reasons. I didn’t make it to silent prayer Wednesday afternoon because the ME and the weather linked arms/legs and prevented me from dragging myself out the door and going anywhere.*** I cancelled going Street Pastoring on Friday, as I told you at the time. †
Saturday . . . I got to the monks’ a little early because I’d been worrying about water on the roads—one of the intersections not far from them is on the official list of closed roads, and I wouldn’t have said it was the lowest patch of country in the area—and then sailed (so to speak) through with minimal splashing. I noticed the monks were blacked out (also so to speak) more than usual—the abbey is often really dark when I turn up for Saturday night prayer†† but there’s usually a light shining somewhere. No light. As I walked down the path to the chapel the security light failed to come on. Power cut, I thought, but I kept going. They’re monks. Monks have been doing this for almost two thousand years. They’ve been doing it without electricity for most of that time. I assumed they’d break out the candles and get on with it. Maybe some of them would have blankets too, in the circumstances.
The door was locked. Nooooooo. Robin bursts into tears. It’s been a crummy week.
I’ve emailed Alfrick, but I have no idea when, or if, he’ll get it. I assume what’s happened is that they did have a power cut, but that they have no back-up for things like heat and cooking—they live on a frayed shoestring, so while I might have expected oil lamps, a camping stove and a substantial log pile for the fireplace(s), I’m not at all surprised at the lack of a generator—and most of them are, you know, old.††† The average temperature of their chapel is challenging enough. So I further assume they’ve evacuated themselves to somewhere that the central heating still works.‡ Or maybe I should say that has central heating. I just hope they don’t decide they like it and refuse to come back.
And then last night . . . I was going to go to church. I have three services I go to pretty faithfully every week, and I’d already missed two of them, due to circumstances beyond my control. I really had to get to church Sunday night because otherwise I’d’ve had no official public worship all week and would instantly become a heathen. And it shouldn’t be a problem; there was nothing too exciting going on with the weather. I mean, sure, it was raining, but the Pope is Catholic, isn’t he?
I need to leave at about 6:45 so at about 5:30 I stood up—from laptop on kitchen table at the mews—to perform evening hurtles.
And the lights went out.
We hung around, the way you do, waiting for them to come on again. I shut down and unplugged the laptop. Eventually Peter went off to have a nap and I took the first critter-shift out. It was only Peter’s end of town; I had power at the cottage. But the cottage is (still) full of stuff from Third House and my steep, narrow twisty stairs are not ideal for someone who had a stroke a few months ago and whose right leg still doesn’t work too well. Hellhounds and I hurtled back down to the mews, where the lights were still out. I took the second critter shift for her hurtle.
We returned. The lights were still out.
I didn’t go to church. We found a pub that (a) had power and (b) served dinner on a Sunday night. I dropped Peter off while I schlepped hellcritters, hellcritter dinner, laptop etc back to the cottage. I was very glad to see the glass of champagne Peter had ordered for me when I finally got back to the pub. And the food was really good: add that pub to our list for future reference. So I may be a heathen but I’m a well-fed heathen.
And Pav is definitely coming off heat. Yaaaaaaay.
* * *
* This is really easy at the cottage. Finding one’s way through is the hard one.
** I’m not cleaning any litterboxes.^ You’re going out. I admit that I’m a little disheartened that Pav the Thunderer, Pav the Riotous, dislikes rain as much as the hellhounds.
^ Cats are small. Maintaining litterboxes for a hundred and fifteen pounds of critter(s)? NO THANK YOU. Aside from where I would put this yacht+.
+ I seem to be preoccupied with watery things. I wonder why.
*** Also the village next door was under water and the way around is not only longer, it involves the kind of fast ‘A’ road I try to avoid when the ME is whacking me.
† The weather was plenty dire enough for me to be glad to be staying home, but not as dire as it might have been so I was enabled to feel horribly guilty for not going. But there was enough wind from an unfriendly direction that my eaves at the cottage started doing their banshee imitation, whereupon Darkness shot out of the hellhound crate and cowered trembling by the front door. Arrrrrrgh.
†† One of the minor pleasures of driving in in the dark is that while they’ve got a big official VISITORS WELCOME sign out by the road, there’s another small sign that just says WELCOME as you trundle down the little drive to the (unlit) car park—it’s like ‘just in case you thought we didn’t really mean it’—but if you’re coming in after dark your headlights pick it up and it’s like a smile from a friend.
††† Alfrick is nearly as old as I am.
‡ Have I mentioned that my central heating at the cottage crapped out about three weeks ago? Feh. But while my hateful bank is hanging onto my brought-over-from-America money for Bank Reasons that for some reason the government and judicial system let them get away with I can’t afford to hire someone to mend it. Fortunately I have an Aga, it’s a small house, and the weather is only really fierce in terms of precipifrellingtation, not temperature.^
^ Although being helped to dress by a hellterror, as I shiver by the Aga, is not ideal.
There may be hope. The whining is now broken rather than incessant and HELLHOUNDS ATE SOME OF THEIR DINNER. Chaos ate about two thirds of his and Darkness half, but I think that’s the FIRST eating Darkness has done voluntarily in about FIVE DAYS. Aaaaaaaaaaugh. ::Gibbergibbergibbergibber::
Diane in MN
It’s really really NOT EASY to have intact dogs and bitches in the same house,
APPARENTLY. Gaaaaaaah. The thing is, I have known people who do/have done it.* Unfortunately I don’t know any of them now, so I can’t ask.
even a big house*, so I truly sympathize with your situation. I hope young Pav is an early ovulator and stops broadcasting super pheromones sooner rather than later.
If I’m right that IT’S BEGINNING TO WEAR OFF—and there have only been sporadic outbreaks of moaning this evening—then she’s about dead on average, because this has been her second week. All century. All eon. I mean all this week.
I’ve never tested the theory that giving a bitch chlorophyll tablets masks or reduces her scent, but I do know that a drop of vanilla on the dog’s nose does not prevent him from knowing what’s up (it was a forlorn hope but worth trying). . . .
I have so many allergies myself I’m twitchy about experimenting on my hellcritters. Once this is OOOOOOOVER and I can maybe think about something again I’ll do some research and consult my vet(s). This last week has been bad for additional reasons** and ordinarily I’m pathologically anti-drug and anti-squashing-Mother-Nature-just-because-she’s-pissing-you-off—although I’d’ve tried the vanilla if you’d said it had worked—but the stress level was such that I was afraid if someone said here, try arsenic/strychnine/amatoxin/cyanide, I’d’ve said fine, great, what’s the dosage?
* I have a big house, and it didn’t help. They just called to each other LOUDER.
I’m still not convinced that Pav has known what’s going on. It has seemed to me that she wants to get at the hellhounds the way she always wants to get at the hellhounds—and she has been fabulously dog-resistant on hurtles.*** Which is not necessarily a bad thing. But all those morons out there with their off-lead male dogs? Yes. So I’ve had a few interesting occasions of clutching thirty pounds of snarling fury to my (muddy) chest while some four-legged Lothario tries to climb my leg.† Pav hasn’t been miserable this week the way she was the first, but rampaging hormones haven’t been doing her temper any good. Anyone would think she was having her period.
You will be able to guess why my boys were pretty regular visitors to the boarding kennel.
Sigh. I can’t board the hellhounds. In the first place I wouldn’t because of all their digestive issues, but in the second place I can’t because I don’t vaccinate them every year and the vast majority of boarding kennels require yearly vaccinations. A lot of traditional, middle-of-the-road vets are saying that yearly isn’t necessary, that three-yearly is plenty . . . but boarding kennels just roll over and Big Business wins again. There is a homeopathy-using kennels about an hour from here that doesn’t require yearly vaccinations that might be a possibility for Pav some day if neither Southdowner nor Olivia could have her and I needed to stow her somewhere for a bit . . . but that’s not going to solve the hellhounds’ guts and you can’t foist a hormonal bitch on a boarding kennels.
Mum and I once minded my aunt’s girl when she was in heat because our dog was neutered and the boys at my aunt’s weren’t. It was a special kind of hell.
I assume your dog was neutered in fact but not in, um, attitude? I know this happens with a lot of critters who are neutered late—people who geld a dog or a horse because it’s acting too male often find not much has changed except that they don’t have to worry about the possibility of offspring.
(The following year they tried to keep her at home… and that’s how I got my first chihuahua. Although they made the basic mistake of trying to throw a barbecue party instead of watching the dogs)
They had a FERTILE bitch LOOSE with DOGS AROUND?! That was . . . very unwise.
The flooding situation out this way isn’t much better. . . . The river paths in Windsor, and it’s been touch and go all week, were well under on Friday and the current river forecast is that the Thames will continue to rise until the middle of next week. . . .
Pretty much every town and village around here has a flood watch or a flood incident or is simply closed due to flooding. I’ve retweeted a few repressed-hysteria bulletins from the Hampshire County Council. They’ve got the ditch-dredgers and the sandbag-layers working twelve-hour shifts round the clock, poor, um, sods. Peter’s mews is low-lying enough that it will eventually be at risk at this rate; I’m on a hill and it’s half a flight of stairs to my front door. If I’m at risk then we’ve already lost London and Manhattan.
I would have thought excited mammalian hormones might have a generalised effect.
I wonder if there’s any sort of correlation with what you may (or may not) be picking up from Pav et al and what happens in new parents. Because when Schmoo was newborn, I knew somewhere in my brain that certain things smelled horrid (some of those being my fault: milk is lovely)
GRATUITOUSLY GRAPHIC REMARK WARNING: In my extremely limited experience of babies and babysitting one of the things I noticed is that 100% breast-fed babies’ crap was startlingly inoffensive. It wasn’t till they started eating something besides breast milk that diaper-changing became a trial.
but they never smelled horrid to me. So maybe there is a sort of… anxious scent that you’re living with these days. It could also just be the silted up stress of the past while, compounded and focused by the WEATHER we’ve been having.
Certainly my stress level is in the high gazillions AND THE WEATHER IS NOT HELPING.†† But the thing that suddenly occurred to me a day or two ago is that I’ve had more hot flushes/flashes in the last ten days or so than I’ve had in years. Which are totally hormonal. I don’t understand the mechanism because it doesn’t make any sense but the hot flush style I specialise in is putting out so much heat that when my super-heated clothing then touches my skin it feels like I’m being burned. I was glad to think this stage was over.
And the other thing . . . and I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this on the blog before . . . stallions know when you’re menstruating. I’ve talked to enough other women about this that (a) I know I’m not making it up and (b) it’s not that I hung out with peculiar stallions. But they get very bright-eyed and interested. And the thoroughbred stallion I adored was the most colossal flirt. He’d make little humming noises and hug you with his long beautiful stallion’s neck during your time of the month.
Critters go to heaven too. I say so.
I’ve never quite understood the people who feel like they need to spend a lot of theological time proving that critters don’t go to heaven. Why??? If God is a good God who loves his children, why on earth (or heaven!) wouldn’t he make sure the animal friends they love could be with them?
Well, and if God created the lot then dogs/horses/cats/blowflies are his/her/its/their children too. But my childhood churches’ insistence that animals didn’t go to heaven because they didn’t have souls is one of the things that put me off Christianity early. I’d be glad to miss out on eternal tapeworms, cockroaches, blowflies and so on but I assume they get all shiny and appealing in heaven somehow too.
In vet school, one of my patients was a deerhound who presented for castration . . . he was a bad eater (at the time I wasn’t reading this blog so didn’t know it was a sighthound “thing”);
Deerhounds and Salukis are supposed to be the worst. BUT SID IS A GOOD EATER. Maybe it’s the winter she spent starving on the street. BUT SHE IS A GOOD EATER.
the owner was hoping that losing his testosterone would do what happens to normal dogs – castrated males tend to eat a bit more and tend to put on weight rather more easily than entire ones. . . . However, that owner makes you, Robin, look positively laid back on the subject of dog-not-eating.
The dog had the world’s most varied and unbalanced diet, involving various mostly raw meats, raw and cooked eggs, yoghurt, lard and salmon oil. You should have seen the bags of groceries she gave me for his two-night stay at the university hospital (which, btw, included the night-before-surgery-therefore-no-food night… she gave me enough food to feed a family of four for a week). She also forcefed him something like 8 times a day, and oddly enough, he never ate the free-fed kibble always available to him… I also wondered if part of the reason he didn’t eat on his own was because he was never hungry because he always had something in his stomach and who wants dry kibble when you could have raw hamburger shoved down your throat?
Was she expecting you to force-feed him? That’s over the line. And . . . she’s force-feeding him eight times a day with enough food for a family of four? And he was STILL THIN? There’s more wrong there than a bad attitude toward food. And yes, I’d begun to worry, this last week, that since the hellhounds are such bad eaters, they’d decide to stop eating entirely and leave it up to me. NOOOOOOOOOO. So since they ate dinner at all tonight I haven’t force-fed the rest even though this means that Darkness has had even less than the starvation rations he’s been getting poked into him. Although I keep thinking, as I prod the fabulously expensive kibble and the lovely roast chicken scraps and the raw liver that under normal circumstances is Darkness’ favourite thing far enough back in their mouths that when I clamp their jaws shut they have to swallow†††, that they can’t possibly taste any of it, I might as well be using cheap (cereal-free) unadulterated kibble. Yaaargh.
Have the bitch pants arrived?
YES. AND THEY MADE EVERYTHING WORSE. They are awful cute though. . . .
* * *
* Including Kes’ mum. Kes probably has some stories about this. Maybe they’ll come up.
** MY BANK IS DICKING ME OVER AGAIN. FOR THE SECOND TIME IN LESS THAN A YEAR. Speaking of things I have to do some research on BECAUSE I’M NOT DOING THIS AGAIN.
*** Although she let a (female) puppy take liberties. It fascinates me to see my puppy acting like a grown-up to eager clueless babies.
† The morons, of course, think that it’s MY fault for bringing A BITCH IN SEASON TO PUBLIC GROUND. Oh right, I’m going to keep her in a closet for three weeks because you can’t be bothered controlling your dog.
†† I know people have lost their homes, farms, livelihoods and there’s a lot of scary stuff for all of us thinking about the future. But I’m just FRELLING SICK OF HURTLING ON PAVEMENT because all the countryside is under water.
††† . . . probably
Furthermore there have been actual sunlight sightings.*
It’s fabulously past mmph o’clock even by my standards . . . or, no, I’m never asleep by a mere mmph o’clock but I’ve posted by now . . . and I’m only just sitting down to my computer rather the worse for wear in the aftermath of a substantial amount of champagne. Mmmmmm. But I do not repine. I do not, either, write a full, not to say fulsome, proper blog post. There are limits.
B_twin is here—and I might have called her Bertwine or Caronwen but SHE HAS PROMISED AT LEAST ONE GUEST POST out of this trip to England and I figure if I [user-] NAME HER she will have NOWHERE TO HIDE. She was originally going to be here several days and we were going to scramble about the countryside having various adventures** but circumstances intervened, including Peter’s stroke and my ME. So we had to pack a lot into today because she’s off again tomorrow, and we did, joined by Ajlr and Southdowner, braving the mud slides, the potholes and the unscheduled fords to stroll, somewhat squishily, around the kind of large old-fashioned National Trust garden with good bones so it even looks ravishing this time of year***, and cream tea after in the café, which reminded me of being a tourist in this country. B_twin and I then went to the abbey for evening prayer, where B_twin attempted to have us ejected by throwing the furniture around, but my monks are very forbearing and I’m sure they merely put her down for extra prayers since she’s obviously in need of having extra prayers said on her behalf. † Home again there was a (noisy) assault on all fronts by my generous selection of hellcritters, and some hurtling was accomplished, and then us two humans, somewhat hairier than we’d been an hour previously, repaired to a local pub to join the others for champagne—oh, and dinner—and additional stimulus was provided by admiring, if admiring is the right word, the interesting paint work in Ajlr’s bedroom, which appears to be a reject movie set for the Pit and the Pendulum. I considered offering her a blanket by the Aga at the cottage, but she’s British—she’d be too polite to accept.
Speaking of blankets, I really really really need to go to bed.††
* * *
* And the hellhounds ate all three meals today without fuss. B_twin . . . don’t go home . . . stay here . . . please
** I was looking forward to the excuse to book tickets to the All New Stonehenge Experience which is apparently not going according to plan but I would still like to see it, but book ahead? It’ll never happen unless I have a visitor as an excuse.
*** Also there were snowdrops. There were winter aconites too but I’m a bit, meh, weeds, about winter aconites. I believe my companions think I’m a snarly old so and so. Well, yes, and your point would be?
†Alfrick came up after, chiefly to give me a hard time about hiding^ behind the forty-seven bishops at the swearing-in ceremony on Sunday—well, if you can’t hide behind forty-seven bishops who can you hide behind?—but I noticed him listening carefully when I introduced my accomplice–er–comrade. It’s easier to pray for someone when you know their name. Rather than ‘person who throws furniture around during evening prayer’.
^ Speaking of hiding. B_twin . . . bishops won’t save you from guest post composition.
†† Right after the bath in the shiny-glistening-visitor-worthy-clean bathtub.
The tail dropped, the ears flattened . . . and she rushed past Yog-Sothoth and hurled herself into my lap/arms.
My hellterror. Mine.
I’m not tearing up. I’m NOT.
Oh good. No of course you aren’t. . . . I was counting on there being at least a few saps in my audience.*
Feynman, my youngest cat, is . . . aloof and troublesome and prone to destroy things. . . .
. . . Richard Feynman, I assume? Well, you’d expect him to destroy things, wouldn’t you?
Except. He loves it when I sing. Or play the piano. Or sing and play the piano . . . he’ll come, force his way into my lap, and PURR, and snuggle, and do all the cute things that cats do that, in most cases, prevent us from turning them into earmuffs.
I’ve tended to use the threat ‘hearthrug’ to the dog population. Hazel, the smallest whippet of the previous generation, was going to be a muff. Pav, with that dense plushy fur, would make a very good muff.**
The other day, I was standing up and singing, and he couldn’t figure out what to do.
You don’t stand up to sing? Golly. I’d still be making tiny squeaking noises*** if I sang sitting at the piano.
He tried twining around my ankles, but that wasn’t good enough. He stood on the coffee table and watched. . . . After a few minutes . . . he launched himself into my arms (cats almost never do that, by the way).
Snork. What a guest post this would have made . . . ::wistfully:: . . . a video guest post. What do you sing? Does he have a preference for Aida or Les Miz?
Anyone else have into-arms-leaping or musical critters? Chaos tends to stare at me when I sing—the hellhound bed at the mews is right next to the piano and he will get up, gravely take the few steps, sit down, and look at me earnestly—I think it’s a ‘are you feeling quite all right?’ look. He comes racing back to check on me if I sing out hurtling too.† Darkness is eh, whatever, and Pav is YOU DON’T PLAY THE PIANO WITH BOTH HANDS WHEN YOU’RE SINGING YOU CAN PLAY TUG OF WAR WITH THAT OTHER HAND, AND IF YOU DON’T I AM GOING TO BASH YOU REPEATEDLY WITH THIS TOY UNTIL YOU FALL IN WITH, OR POSSIBLY ON, MY EXCELLENT PLAN.
I’ve known several cats that did go in for leaping into people’s arms, but they were all Orientals—Siamese and Burmese—which I think cat people consider a Race Apart.††
. . . Oh, bleggh. I have to go to bed. I have to get up early and address some . . . ANGUISH. ANGUISH . . . housework. I have visitors coming on Thursday and this ‘oh my husband’s had a stroke and my ME is in a bad mood’ will still only take me so far. D’you suppose I could call the festoons of cobwebs swags?
PS: THE DISHWASHER REPAIRMAN COMES TOMORROW. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY.
* * *
* Just as I was delighted as well as relieved that a number of you got a thrill out of Kes’ last line on Saturday. This is a digression for another evening, but this is an example of why KES is fun for me too—I wouldn’t ever have dared write a proper book about a fantasy-writing protagonist, let alone a LOTR-obsessed fantasy-writing protagonist, let alone a LOTR-obsessed fantasy-writing protagonist who quotes one of the peak moments in LOTR during a culminant moment of her own.
** Speaking of which, I don’t seem to break out in a rash on contact any more. Major yaay. It’s not that hard to keep her off the insides of my arms, which are most at risk, in winter, when I can pull my sleeves down, but it’s a big lousy nuisance in warm weather. I suppose it may have been puppy fur or some seasonal allergen that we missed this year because of the RAAAAAAAAAIN but I think it’s likelier that, as we roll into our second year together^ I’ve just got used to her. I have a long history of adjusting—usually respiratorily—to critters I live with, but also, age is good. The wrinkles and the rheumatism are a big stupid bother^^ but your body is also a whole lot more likely to say, Get all hysterical and overwrought about something? Nah. Can’t be arsed. Whatever. Get on with it.
^^ If I didn’t have rheumatism I could still eat tomatoes and ice cream.+ Erm. Not together.
+ So, would I rather have weird, mostly of unknown origin rashes most of the time and be able to eat tomatoes and ice cream or wrinkly baggy but rash-free skin? And yes, I suspect an underlying intolerance of dairy and the nightshade family has been a problem for a very long time.
*** I made a startling discovery Sunday night at the show—I mean the Christian unity service. There were, as previously observed, lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of people there. And the hymns, to my horror, weren’t the fine old classics, but more of the ghastly power ballads to God things that we sing at the evening service at St Margaret’s. Shudder. Well, I like singing, and if that’s what’s on offer that’s what I’ll sing. Feh. But in order to make a noise I may shift down to chest voice and bellow. My startling discovery is that my head voice is now just as loud as my chest bellow—possibly louder, or at least there’s a cutting edge to the soprano range that makes it more readily noticeable in a mushy crowd roar.
† When I sing in the car I have to be prepared for the cold wet nose in the back of the neck. Since hellhounds are pretty well trained to lie down in the car in motion this usually only happens at stoplights when sudden convulsive jerks on the part of the driver won’t send us into the opposite lane of traffic.^
^ Also I’m betting that nine out of ten, indeed ninety nine out of a hundred, people seeing my mouth moving in the car assume that I’m talking on a hands-free phone. I know we’ve had this conversation about random singing in public and some of you insist that I’m not the only one. Well, I seem to be the only one around here.
†† Although I know people who consider sighthounds a Race Apart. And other people that bullies are a Race Apart.^
I’m sure that the hellhounds would have examined the deadly grey balloons closely, and given that superior sighthound sneer, and strolled away.
Well . . . whippets aren’t usually sneerers. They’re sort of the bullie end of the sighthound spectrum: cheerful and optimistic and possibly a little frenetic. And my guys are mostly whippet. They would certainly do the close examination but then they’d prance past in a ‘you don’t scare us but we’re keeping an eye on you so don’t think you can try anything’ manner.
^ I think bulldozer-headed Labrafrellingdors are a Race Apart. Just not far enough.